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Month: September, 2013

How About A Heaping Dose of Kindness?

by ivyjonah

heartkindnessGod is kind, but He’s not soft. In kindness He takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.

Romans 2:4 The Message

 The Lord’s heart must break, when the Gospel of Love, is presented in a negative away. How skewed a presentation is, to make people frightened by God, rather than embraced.

 Here are a few instances in which I’ve found Christianity misrepresented:

1) Presenting God the Father as a vindictive and angry person
2) Believing God’s main role is to catch you doing something wrong
3) Instructing others that they have to reach unbelievable heights of perfection to get any Love from the Lord.
4) Shaming people as a means for them to turn away from their sinful lifestyle
5) Publicly exposing sins, so that a person will feel naked in the sight of others
6) Creating a long list of manmade rules and regulation
7) Telling people how to dress and wear their hair
8) Wrongly declaring that men are superior to women

 I am sure that you could add your own to this list.

 Scaring the bejeebes out of me would never be a method I would respond to.  Scripture says it is the kindness of God that brings a person to repentance. It was kindness that caused me to open the door of possibility.  Why? Because, it dawned on me, this Love was not anything like I expected or ever experienced.

I thank God for ordinary women, who week after week in a Bible Study, with no other “agenda” in mind, showed the love of God through His word. They provided the platform for the Holy Spirit to woo me into Truth and subsequently into the Family of God.
Until then, I avoided the God by any means I could.

Step by step, His kindness broke through the dark clouds of fear in my heart.  As Kindness sang a song of deliverance, I was able to fly out of the cage that held me prisoner for many years.  Now, I too can sing a song declaring that the Lord is kind.  He is not One to fear.
It is a very sweet sounding tune indeed.

Lord, let me be the expression of Your kind love to all those I meet. When the realization comes, walk through the door of life.
.

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Your Distress Can Birth a Champion

by mandyade

“All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.” 1 Samuel 22:2

David was one of the world’s greatest military leaders. We imagine he must have chosen the finest men of Israel to make up his army. Yet we find that David did not choose his army. Rather, his soldiers came to him in the most desperate time of their lives; they came to David not as military heroes but as men who needed help and refuge.

David was also at his lowest point – fleeing from his enemies and taking refuge in a cave. “All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.” 1 Samuel 22:2

These were the men who were broken and who had failed in their present system. A far cry from our image of young military prodigies in training. Yet these very men were the ones to become David’s famous ‘Mighty men’ – an army of such powerful military force that many of them are named and their acts of valor recorded in the Bible. This army who were at one time a weak, distressed and in debt group of people went on to personally finance a large part of the building of the temple – (David’s mighty men were able to give millions when converted to our currency).

Sometimes failure in the worlds system will create a hunger in us for something more. These men turned their energy to another kingdom. When distress and disappointment came they allowed it to turn their hearts to another kingdom.
They could have allowed their pain to make them give up hope, shut down and become isolated. They could have submitted to the voice of fear when they needed to think clearly with a sound mind. Often the only way to think clearly in hard times is to gather together with others of the same heart. This is exactly what these men did –  they rallied together under the hope of a new kingdom – these are the men who were done with personal pursuits and who wanted to seek something greater than their own personal success – they knew there was the hope of something greater ahead and they wanted to be part of it.

David, their leader, was not only a man of faith who wet their appetite to believe the God of Israel, but he was also a man of encouragement; he received the broken men with open arms seeing something greater for their lives. David was a shadow and a type of Jesus Christ, our Kingdom leader.

Activate these principles in your own life:
1. Allow the pain of your season to turn your heart and faith toward the hope of an unfailing Kingdom.
2. Don’t allow yourself to become isolated but surround yourself with people who can help you think with a sound mind.
3. Re-examine your life purpose. Ask God to redirect your purpose to be centered on His kingdom.
4. Make it your primary goal to seek God for His vision and purpose for your life. You must know your purpose in the kingdom, this will give you so much hope and energy for your life. It is so much greater than an ego centric life goal.

Love Casts Out Fear

by Dawn Aldrich

toddlersleeping“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…” 1 John 4:18a NIV

The shadows rise tall above her bed in the purple room as the night-light bleeds shadows across the ceiling. Blessed with an active imagination, monster pictures squelch sleep from her eyes. She braves the shadows and tries to shut them out, but soon her tiny feet pad across the carpet and into my bedroom next door.

“Grams? I’m scared,” she whispers. “Will you lay with me?”

Groggy, I lead her back to the purple room and tuck her beneath her kitty blanket, reassuring her there’s nothing to fear and pray God’s peace fill her mind and His angels surround her bed.

We’ve repeated this bedtime routine dozens of times in her five years, but last weekend it was different. Yes, the shadows still grew tall above her bed. Yes, the monster-pictures still appeared and teased her out of bed, but instead of announcing, “I’m scared,” she crawled into my bed and after a few quiet moments she asked, “Will you pray for God to give me peace and happy dreams?” And so I prayed our simple prayer and to my surprise she slipped out of my bed and tiptoed back to the purple room and tucked herself back under her own kitty blanket and fell fast asleep.

I awoke the next morning after a full night’s sleep, wondering if I’d slept through her early rising, which normally happens after a restless night. But, there she was, still peacefully dreaming. When she awoke almost two hours after me, I praised her for sleeping so well and she corrected me.

“God gave me happy thoughts. I hummed a little song and pretty soon my eyes just closed and I didn’t have any bad dreams.”

Bedtime routines are tough enough without fighting overactive monster-picture imaginations. By the time we’ve read the fifth book, traipsed back and forth to the potty three times, and answered all their burning questions, the last thing we want to deal with is their imaginary monsters. While we can spend time explaining the reality of the arching ceiling shapes, their little minds can’t comprehend reality from imagination.

So, what’s a mother (or grandmother) to do?

  • Acknowledge their fears 
  • Discuss God’s promises from scripture (Ps. 34:7 – Angels encamp around those who fear the Lord, 1 John 4:18 – Perfect love casts out all fear. God is perfect love., John 14:27 – Jesus gives us His perfect peace and says, “do not be afraid.”)
  • Pray that God would replace all fears with His good thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5b – “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”)
  • Pray God’s protection by sending His angels to protect them. I found it key to pray this because it replaces their monster imagery with God’s imagery.  They can replace their monster images with God’s angel images

While no bedtime routine is guaranteed to work every time, this routine empowers them to seek God as their comforter and acknowledges God as the giver of all good things, including dreams. It reinforces God’s promises.

What are some ways you help cast out fear in your children or grandchildren?

Blessings,
Dawn Aldrich
Author, Blogger

Do Not Be Afraid…God

by Rob Dunne

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15

Hollywood has tainted true love. In the movies, two physically perfect people meet, fall madly in love and get married. Maybe they hit a few road bumps along the way. However, the inevitable always happens and they live happily ever after.

This worldly lie prompted me to compile a list of attributes in a wife that no woman could fulfill. Using the list to measure a prospective mate, they each fell woefully short. After church one afternoon, someone boldly asked me why I was still single. I said God hasn’t sent the right one. He called me out and said that I was single because of my perfectionism and fear of making a mistake. That cut me to the core but was a real wakeup call for me.

Three and a half years ago, several friends wanted to introduce me to someone. Hesitantly I agreed. We met for the first time at a community dinner. It wasn’t long before she said she loved me. That freaked me out! Could she be the one?

One day while driving to youth group, I was praying to God. Though not typically a proponent, I asked God to give me a sign. Is she the one that you chose for me to marry? Pulling in to the parking space, the bumper sticker on the car in front of me caught my attention. It read, “Do not be afraid…God.”

Fear is one of the tools that the devil uses to keep us from moving forward and succeeding in the plans that God has for us. Fear has the ability to paralyze us and keep us in bondage. Paralysis keeps you still. There is no way to make advances for the kingdom of God unless you are free from your chains and in motion.

Within an eight month period of time, I was engaged and ultimately married to my wife. If I remained paralyzed with fear or trapped in the lie of perfectionism, I would have missed out on all of the things that God had planned for us. We are an amazing team. Together, we have prayed for countless people whose lives God has touched. Some have received physical healing. Others have been set free from emotional wounds. That never would have happened if I didn’t trust in God and his plan for my life.

Does something in your life have you gripped with fear? If so, surrender your fear to our loving heavenly Father whose heart is for you and not against you. You can trust Him to love and protect you under every circumstance.

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