Did You Put Your Clothes On Today?

Tired of fighting your own battles! Turn it over to the Lord! He will make you strong!

Ephesians 6:10-17
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Fear Friend Or Foe??

Fear ye Fear ye??  Fear is a complex emotion.  It is our friend , but mostly our enemy.  Fear has been experienced by humans throughout history.  Without getting into debate about when the origin of life started…well, I’ll just say I’m a Creationist.  I believe God created us, and we did not evolve, and that the beginning of history corresponds to the Bible. I will say that fear has probably evolved since life first started in the Garden of Eden.  That which we fear  has changed from the times of our “Hunter Gatherer” beginnings. Mostly what we humans feared were things like being attacked by a wild beast, such as a bear, wolf or probably another human.  We all know that murder isn’t something new as Cain murdered his brother Abel in Genesis. We as humans have always experienced what they call the “Fight or Flight” response to fear.  Basically this is when our nervous system tells us to get going and fast!  Danger is imminent. The experience of fear isn’t a new thing, but it has changed. Or I should say grown in types. Yes there is the original fear, If you’re in the woods and a big bear is chasing you, or someone points a gun at you. Your going to experience this “Fight or Flight” feeling.  That’s the healthy kind of fear we have.  It gives us  energy, helps us run, and protect ourselves.  I’m going to talk some about the unhealthy fear that we all have experienced from time to time.  For some it is a daily thing and they live with what is called a “Fee-Floating Fear“.  I really feel for people experiencing this as their bodies react as if under attack for unknown reasons. If  a person perceives something as threatening or dangerous their bodies go into this “Fight or Flight” response. I have experienced fear and anxiety before, although not the free-floating type. That is why I decided to blog this.  I’ve had to overcome fear & anxiety in regards to particular things in my own life.  I have had to deal with fear of performing, and for the most part God has delivered me from this a few years ago.  I’m sure you’ve heard people say or maybe have seen surveys that people fear public speaking more than death.  They are probably not exaggerating.  There are so many different phobias & fears now that they have several books about all of them…just check out Amazon. I just did out of curiosity.. There’s fear of spiders, dying, the dark, heights, being alone.  People are just filled with fear. This includes Christians and non-Christians alike. These fears really do limit you.  The physical reactions in your body can include, breathlessness, rapid heat rate, clammy palms – it goes on and on.

Jesus tells us many times in scripture, “Fear not for I am with thee“. God wants to release us from the bondage of fear. This is the unhealthy type of fear that holds you back from living the abundant life  you have in Christ. Scripture tells us, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Fear keeps you confined or limited. God wants you to be free of these chains.  Living in fear is like living with chains and that is bondage.  Jesus says He wants us to be free of that yoke.  He tells us “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:30 (NLV). As Christians, Satan wants to keep us bound in fear.  He does that by telling us we’re not good enough, or that we don’t have the skills to do something, we can’t handle a situation.  He works by infiltrating our minds with negative thoughts.  Jesus calls the devil “The Father of Lies”(John 8:44). Satan is crafty and since God owns your soul, if you’ve accepted Him as Lord and Savior,  Satan will work to try to make you an ineffectual Christian. C.S. Lewis‘s book “The ScrewTape Letters” is a great read about how the devil works with his host of demons to plot against a Christian man.  I have read this book and have also read it in a lighter  comic book version  which was very enlightening.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve had to overcome fear, especially when I first started out singing as a soloist at church.  Can you believe that I have had thoughts such as,”What will other people think about me? I’ll  make a fool of myself!  I’m not good enough!  I’ve never done a solo before so why start now! I’m too old for this… It goes on and on.  As I type it out now it sounds ridiculous.  Maybe I’m crazy to fess up to some of these private thoughts that I’ve had in the past, but I can’t help but think that just maybe someone out there in cyber space needs to know that they’re not the only ones dealing with these defeating, self-limiting thoughts that  come from feelings of fear and lies from the Devil himself.  Don’t get me wrong, you do have to know that God is calling you to do something.  We’ve all watched American Idol probably once or twice.  Clearly some people are under the illusion that they can sing. The Devil can set up illusions in our minds as well ,so this takes discernment and prayer. Pray for confirmation from the Lord and others in your church.  You don’t have to be the next best thing to sliced bread in the area that you need to step out into, but if God has truly called you to do it you should.  I say I’ve overcome these type of thoughts and fears, because God has done and continues to do a renewing work on my mind. Scripture tells us ” Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:12). Okay, I’ll admit this, I don’t want to sound contradictory, but sometimes those thoughts crop up again and I chalk it up to the fact that Satan still tries to play mind games with me. It doesn’t last long though, because I’ve been filled with Gods truth and this is what spiritual warfare is all about. It takes time for God to conform our minds and it’s only through His word and the Holy Spirit that it can happen.  We can’t do it ourselves.  Also, it’s a life long learning.  We are forever the student of the Lord. It will continue until we are with Him in Heaven.  Real victory started for me when I began to step out in “Faith” and kept doing it, consistently, little by little. Through those small acts of obedience God has proven that He was and is with me! I’ve learned to trust Him. Breaking through the walls of fear keeps my faith muscles activated.  God is pleased and He is Faithful to me! With whatever God is calling you to do, music related or not just realize this. You may not be the best, but you’re probably not the worst at whatever the task is. Besides God wants people to serve Him that don’t think they can do it all on their own. When we lean on His power, strength and help, God is glorified, and we know beyond a shadow of a doubt, It was Him enabling us, because we in ourselves are weak.  Replace the self-defeating thought such as, I’m a nobody and an unknown with nothing to offer, with the empowering truth that you are a child of God!  You are a Son and I am Daughter of the King of Kings!  How great is that!  “Tell yourself, I’m not scared, nervous or anxious, but I’m excited!  I get to do this for the Lord”.  Every time you press through the wall of fear, God meets you on the other side. He just wants you to act in Faith and Trust Him with all your heart, soul and mind. Courage is not feeling fearless, it is acting despite fear! So I guess I’m a courageous girl.  I hope this encourages you to step out in whatever God is laying on your heart to do.  Take it one day at a time and God will make a way.  The song I recorded titled “I Know How To Fly” really spoke to me and that was why I wanted to title the CD with that title.  The lyrics made me think about how I’ve had things to overcome, times of doubt & fear, yet God was with me and helped me to rise above! He brought me through! Don’t let Satan rob you of the abundant life and your service to our Lord.  We are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus.  He gives victory and it’s already been won.  God never tells us that we won’t have scary or hard times, or even that life is fair, but He tells us we’re not alone.  I don’t know about you, but for me that’s pure comfort.