Monthly Archives: September 2014

Fear Factor!

IMG_1147He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. Psalm 23:2 (NASB)

 

Are you crazy busy? I challenge you to stop your frantic pace and “lie down in the green pastures and sit beside the still waters.”

 

 

In his book, A Shepherd Looks at PSALM 23, Phillip Keller says, “Sheep refuse to lie down unless they are free of all fear.”

 

Have you considered the root of your frantic pace may be fear? Do you worry that if you stop over-achieving your life will no longer have value? Are you running hard in order to avoid dealing with past and present hurts? Do you fear that if you lie down in the green pastures you won’t be able to get moving again?

 

We all need soul-rest with our Creator, and we must be intentional about making it happen.   I used to run all day every day, refusing to listen to friends who exhorted me that I was doing too much. The Good Shepherd finally got my attention when I fell flat on my face. After many years of doctors and counseling, we finally realized my problems were three-fold: physical, spiritual, and emotional. I am doing so much better, and can now see how my neuromuscular and seizure disorders force me to take that precious time in the green pastures and beside the quiet waters with my Good Shepherd.

 

Living at a frantic pace? Take a minute to journal about any fear factors you may have. Like sheep, we cannot rest when we are fearful.

 

Phillip Keller said, “nothing so quieted and reassured the sheep as to see me in the field.”

“In the Christian life there is no substitute for a keen awareness that my Shepherd is nearby.”

 

Take an inventory of your fear factors and talk to a friend or therapist about them.

 

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8 (NASB)

 

“Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NASB)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good Grief!

IMG_1596 “So that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope…” 1 Thessalonians 4:13 I feared I was slipping into depression last week, and my heart grew troubled within me. Thankfully the Helper (Holy Spirit) revealed to me that I am not depressed, but rather grieving. Grieving is a positive thing for a former professional “stuffer.” It is important for each of us to remember any loss is a death. Loss of health, loss of a dream, loss of a marriage, or as I am experiencing, loss of a church family, are all examples of a “death.” Some losses come suddenly and unexpectedly, and some losses are prolonged and expected. My dad died suddenly. My mom died slowly of cancer. I grieved both deaths (though not always constructively). I grieved for my mom as she was dying. Most of the grieving for my dad was done afterward. There are several stages of grief. Denial and anger are two of them. If we grieve properly, we will eventually come to the acceptance. We’ve grieved the loss of five church families over the course of 25 years. When we left our beloved body of believers at Covenant Church in Hammond, IN, we had a couple of months to grieve before a final decision was reached (calling from God). We recently left one of our most blessed of my husband’s pastorates, (Westminster Chapel in Ball Ground, GA), and the decision was quick and unexpected by some. We have a clear calling from God to move in a new direction, yet the grief runs deep. I am grateful for the growth God is bringing into my life to allow me to process this pain, and not stuff it down deep where it will pop out in destructive ways. I am likewise thankful that as 1st Thessalonians 4:3 states, “I’m not grieving like the rest of mankind, (unbelievers) who have no hope.” I’m choosing to believe in the HOPE of the resurrection power of Christ, knowing He will provide for Westminster Chapel, and for my family and me. I’m trusting as Proverbs 3: 5-6 calls us to: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” What about you? Are you experiencing a loss (death)? Are you trying to stuff it down deep and ignore the pain, or are you learning to grieve (yet not as one who has no hope)? Look to Jesus, our only hope in life and in death.

Feeling Restless?

photo Psalm 23:2 says, “He leads me beside the still waters.” We all have an insatiable thirst for God. How are you trying to quench yours? St. Augustine said, “O God! Thou hast made us for Thyself and our souls are restless, searching, till they find their rest in Thee.” I just completed The Shepherd’s Song, by Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers. It is an inspirational work of fiction. Betsy and Laurie created a story that uses Psalm 23 to touch twelve unique lives. Are you feeling like your life isn’t having an impact? Order a copy of, The Shepherd’s Song, today. Feeling thirsty? Look to the only one who provides “fountains of living water.” Psalm 23: “Read it again for the first time!”

Restoration:Break Free From Anxiety and Find Restoration for Your Soul!

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Psalm 23

(Verses 1-3 NASB)

 “The Lord is my shepherd,

I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside quiet waters.

He restores my soul;”

 

All of us have a deep-seated desire for freedom and victorious living, but most of us are unwilling to discuss the continual bondage we feel. According to the Anxiety Disorders Associations of America, “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 or older.”

 

I am one of those 40 million! It took me many years to admit it. Most people described me as “calm, cool, and collected,” yet this was because I suppressed my anxiety. Sadly, no one knew the mental torment I endured daily, or the angry outbursts that came out against my family.

 

The Lord is MY shepherd. Meditate on the magnitude of those five words! The Creator God, the Lord of the universe is a PERSONAL shepherd to each of His children.

 He also says, “I SHALL NOT WANT.”

Psalm 37:25 says, “I have been young, and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken Or his descendants begging bread.”

Luke 12:26-28 says, …”If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith!”

 

“He makes me lie down in green pastures.”

 

“Dear One, as one of the Lord’s sheep, you have the promise of God to feed you! You and I, as creatures who need physical and spiritual food, enjoy both from the hand of the Shepherd. He cares for us throughout life and brings us to places of pasture. Through circumstances and events, He insures that we are brought to the place where we will feed—and feed on His best.” (Elizabeth George, Powerful Promises for Every Woman)

 

“He leads me beside still waters.”

 He LEADS us! As we “seek first His kingdom and righteousness” He LEADS we FOLLOW. Even when we can’t see, we can trust our Good Shepherd.

 

“He restores my soul.”

 Too many times I find my soul downcast. During these times, like the Psalmist, we must ask ourselves, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:5 (NIV)

 

Dear One, Stop! Put your hope in God. Turn on worship music, or take time to praise Him in the quietness of your heart.

 

Break Free From Anxiety and Find Restoration for Your Soul!

 

“Casting ALL you anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 NASB)