An Honest Account of Love, Grief and Walking With God
Finding God's Goodness in Life's Disappointments

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Fear is tormenting-do you struggle with it?


Walking through my neighborhood recently, I noticed decorations for Halloween at various home. At one home, there were all these scary looking creatures. I began to think of how God wants us to be filled with faith and confidence, not fear as we walk through this world. 
     Fear is defined as: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat. The feeling of anxiety about the outcome of something or the safety and well being of someone.  
     One thing is for sure, fear is tormenting. Fear is a thief and a robber of peace, joy and tranquility. I speak from experience and am thankful God has set me free from various fears and the bondage fear brings.
       There are many different kinds of fear. A few that I have struggled with in the past were a fear of death, fear of germs, fear of failure, and fear of the dark. I have found that many people struggle with the same fears that held me captive for years. I was good at justifying my fear, telling my self that one could never be too cautious. 
     One day I heard the words, “Fear is doubt  and unbelief and doubt and unbelief is not trusting God - that is sin.” At that moment, I knew I could no longer justify my fears. Whenever I was afraid, I began to acknowledge them as sin. God graciously began to set me free as I was faithful to repent and resist the temptation to walk in fear. Repentance is always our friend and is found on the path to freedom. 
     II Timothy 1:7 states, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” We can conclude from this passage that fear is a spirit and it is not from God; therefore, it is not our friend. There are times when I have simply said the words, “Fear go, you are not my friend.” As long as we coddle our fears, they will hang around. We must deal ruthlessly with them if we want to  get free. 
     I love Isaiah 41:10 which says, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Many times I have pictured myself holding God’s hand and that gives me great courage. Dismayed means feelings of anxiety and consternation, usually by something unexpected. Have you ever had something unexpected happen? I have. 
     Proverbs 3:25 tells us, “Be not afraid of sudden fear....” Satan loves to make us feel scared because then we are intimidated. Intimidation has one goal; to scare us from even engaging in the battle. Goliath used intimidation on David but David did not bow to fear. He quickly strengthened himself by remembering how God helped him slay a bear and a lion. I love David’s faith in response to intimidation. He told the bellowing giant he would strike him down, cut off his head and give his carcasses to the birds! 
Now those are some faith filled words!
     Prior to a personal relationship with God I was terrified of dying. I had trouble sleeping at night for fear I might die. Once I accepted Jesus into my heart and repented of the fear, I was no longer afraid of dying. Knowing God personally, is the beginning of overcoming fear. Tell God you want a personal relationship with him. He will be delighted!

     The US Navy has a slogan that I think is a motto against any fears. “Life liberty and the pursuit of all who threaten it.” God wants us to enjoy life, our freedom and get rid of any fear that would threaten us. Fear is an enemy, not our friend. Do not let fear rob you anymore. There is power in your words, so tell fear to go.
     Freedom is waiting...what are you afraid of?


Kathleen Maxwell is a native of the Hill Country, educator, writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping others discover the joy of walking with God and their value. You can contact her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com and on her blog www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.c

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Love, Patience and gentleness brings restoration

Choosing love, patience, and gentleness,brings restoration
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
Copyright
October 2016

I sat on my back porch watching a roadrunner zip by and baby bunnies hop across the field. I pondered my problem and began talking to God about it. I am so glad he is never too busy to visit with me and is my helper in times of trouble. Psalms 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (NIV) Running to him is always the best thing to do to to find safe place to access the situation and find strength.

 I usually let things roll off my back and do not get my feelings hurt very often, but a recent event with someone in the family,  left me a little bruised and  upset.  “Lord you saw what happened,” I softly said to God. “And it hurt my feelings too God,” I continued. 

Just as I uttered the words, I remembered a statement  I heard years ago, “you don’t have a right to be hurt, you have a right to be healed.” I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. I felt like I was right in this situation and felt misunderstood. I wanted to nurse my hurt a little before I really turned it over to Jesus for healing. Years ago in my life, I thought it was ok to hang on to hurt and offenses for a little while but as I’ve matured in life and my walk with the Lord, I know that is not the best thing for me or the situation.

I have been studying Galatians 5 and what God looks like in situations or otherwise known as the fruit of the Spirit. “For the fruit of the Spirit, is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22 (NIV). We put ourselves in a win-win situation when we practice these attribute and give the attributes to people. And let me just say, it takes lots of practice! 

The fruit of the Spirit is how God wants us to live. He has given them to us to govern our lives and when we live in them, we stay in step with Him. Most of all, I feel God wants us to give them away to others to touch their lives. Most situations are about us being changed to be more like Jesus and God then using us to touch others he loves.

I felt God ask me, “Kathleen, what fruit do you need to serve in this situation?” Once again, I took a deep sigh… I wasn’t sure I wanted to serve anything to anybody but I quickly let go of that thought as I thought of God’s patience with me and his kindness and love.

  “Well God, it needs love, I can be loving like you.” I muttered still struggling. “ I can serve patience because you have been patient with me and I can give self control even though I do not feel like it,” I continued to pray. “Change my heart God,” I asked.

I began to ask God to help me to love like he does, pour patience over the situation and to exercise self control instead of doing what I felt like or wanted to do. Everything in our lives is about us being conformed and changed into the image of God. He uses everything in our lives, the good things and the hard things. I also realized I could serve some gentleness in my approach to this person and that could defuse defensiveness and create a pathway for communication and restoration.

Step one in tough and difficult situations is always to get my heart right in situations. When I lay down my right to be right and ask God to help me see things from his perspective, forward steps toward restoration are always made. What about you? Do you examine your heart in situations and ask God where it needs to change?

Not long after my conversation with God, I arranged to meet this person as it is usually better to address situations  soon so walls do not build between the two of you. 

“God give me your heart and give me your grace and power to serve the fruit of your spirit well and say healing words,” I prayed. 

As we met, I gently stated my love for the person, my desire for restoration, and wanted to hear their perspective, I saw the situation begin to change. I saw where I needed to be more patient and let God work on the situation instead of me. As I served, self control, kindness and love, things changed and there was a beautiful restoration.

What fruit do you need to serve to others around you? Do you need to lay down your right to be right? Which fruit do you need to practice? God is right there to help you, to change you and your conflict or tough situation. Pick a fruit and get busy practicing and serving. You will be glad you did and so will those around you…