Monday, May 25, 2015

Stop Praying

It was an early morning run.  My friend and I met up, shoes laced and pavement ahead.  Running can be therapeutic, especially with a friend.  As we ran, we talked about life, about God, about our struggles and our victories.  Friendship is a beautiful thing and I'm very thankful for this friend.

That morning she shared how she had been praying and praying about something for years, to the point where she was beginning to get discouraged about this one area in her life.  I listened.  Then, two words, almost counter intuitive, rose up inside of me.  They could seem shocking or even blasphemous...

Stop Praying.

I'm sure my friend thought I had lost my mind on the last hill during those three miles.

Before you start thinking this girl just took the oxy out of oxymoron...

"Answer this question:  Does the God who lavishly provides you with His own presence, His Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does He do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust Him to do them in you?" Galations 3:5-6 MSG

My point is actually not to stop praying.  In fact, that would be not be Biblical.  We are called to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thes 5: 17).  However, what does praying without ceasing look like?  Isn't is just continual conversation with the Lord about all things, then trusting Him to work out everything together for our good? (Romans 8:28).

Yes. Pray. Please. Pray.  But...  After you have prayed, there comes a time when you must enter in His rest and just trust.

Does the Lord who lavishly provides you with His own presence, His Holy Spirit, working things out in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does He do these things because of your striving or because you trust Him?

The answer is simple.  Trust.

It isn't up to you! Now, that is liberating! 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Fear Steals

Fear steals.

The sun shone down warming my shoulders as we road a ski lift up to the top of a fanciful water amusement park.  At the top was a mountain plunging a near vertical 12 story drop!  However, the water monstrosity didn't scare me nearly as much as the ski lift to the top.

I never have noticed a fear of heights in me, but that day, fear was there.  All around me was beauty and a magnificent view as we scaled higher above the trees.  However, the beauty all around me escaped my vision due to fear. 

But, that is what fear does.  Fear steals.  Fear steals the beauty around us and causes us to focus inward instead of looking outward.  

Fear of rejection causes us to focus on our own insecurities instead of the beauty of the people around us.  

Fear of failure can cause us to cower instead of step out in adventure and risk.  Fear of failure can also steal our destiny if left to overtake us.   

Fear of abandonment can cause us to miss intimacy in relationships and open ourselves up to the beautiful friendships the Lord has placed in our lives.  

Fear of the unexpected can paralyze us right out of God's perfect will. 

Fear causes us to miss out on the blessings God has placed all around us.  

And fear of heights can cause us to miss out on the amazing God-given views above our eye level. 

Plain and simply fear steals. From views to value to valor to vulnerability, fear keeps us from freedom.  

Instead of allowing fear to hold us in chains, we need to take fear captive.  

I pray we would rise up with courage, cast down our fear and stand firm in God's love and care.  Fear, we are onto you.  We know how you come to steal.  You are a thief and thieves belong behind bars.  

"We demolish arguments and very pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ." 2 Cor 10:5 

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.  But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love him because he first loved us."  1 John 5:18-19

"The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?"  Psalm 27:1