Monday, September 16, 2019

Fear on the Run - Part 4

Hello Everyone,

Some people believe that fear can be a healthy emotion, and that it’s even responsible for us to have little dose of it to keep us living within cautious, reasonable boundaries.  But that’s not God’s will for us.  According to the Word, fear is a spirit that is relentless in its intent to keep us in bondage, paralyse our faith, and stop us from experiencing fullness of life.

Since we know fear is our enemy, the Bible teaches us how to practically refuse and overcome it so we don’t have to be bound by its destructive power.  Fear will always bring bondage, torment and oppression; but if we establish ourselves in God’s Word, we will be equipped to refuse it and keep it out of our lives!

Did you know that God has given us spiritual equipment of an entirely different nature than fear - according to 2 Timothy 1:7, He has given us a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind to combat it!

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”

We can refuse fear by taking a hold of any negative thought or emotion and pulling them in line with God’s Word!  When we bring our souls into submission to God’s Word, we actually do what the Bible calls, “establish ourselves in righteousness”, which is exactly what causes us to overcome!

Let’s take a closer look at what it means to Establish Ourselves in Righteousness.

Take a look at what Isaiah 54:14 says, “You shall establish yourself in righteousness (rightness, in conformity with God’s will and order): you shall be far from even the thought of oppression or destruction, for you shall not fear, and from terror, for it shall not come near you.”

In the New Covenant we have in Christ Jesus, we have been made the righteousness of God. This means it’s now our nature and expected behavior to constantly know and be aware of what God’s Word says about Himself, and to live in Him and His ways. 

When we are established in these truths, we are established in righteousness and, according to the Word, will be able to resist and refuse fear!  In fact, when we get into the habit of establishing ourselves in God’s thoughts and ways - the Word says we will be far from even the thought of oppression or destruction, because we will not fear!

Just on a quick side note, the word oppression means removing the power from someone being able to control their own future.  Fear says we are bound to destruction and hopelessness, where God’s Word says we are bound to life and victory in Him.  We don’t have to settle for what the devil dictates, he doesn’t have the power to oppress us, unless we give it to him - by yielding to fear.

In today’s letter, we are taking a look at one of the foundational truths, found in God’s Word, we must establish ourselves in order to refuse fear:

We must know and believe the love God has for us.

1 John 4:16-18 says, “And we know (understand, recognize, are conscious of, by observation and by experience) and believe (adhere to and put faith in and rely on) the love God cherishes for us. God is love, and he who dwells and continues in love dwells and continues in God, and God dwells and continues in him.

In this [union and communion with Him] love is brought to completion and attains perfection with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him], because as He is, so are we in this world.

There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection].

We can know and believe God’s love for us when we continuously spend time learning about Him in His Word. The Holy Spirit makes that truth alive in our hearts and begins to reveal the true nature of God to us in a most intimate way.  Our hearts literally swell with the love God pours into us (Romans 5:5).  

That love produces a deep sense of trust in us towards Him, and His Word.  When His character and promises become more real to us than our troubles, fear looses its power and is literally driven out.  

Take a look at how this happened to Jesus’ disciples when they were faced with fear:

John 20:19-20, “Then on that same first day of the week, when it was evening, though the disciples were behind closed doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, Peace to you!
So saying, He showed them His hands and His side. And when the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with joy (delight, exultation, ecstasy, rapture).”

Did you notice how Jesus responded to the disciples when they were fearful, He came and stood among them.  God is not distant from you when you go through trouble.  He promises that He is with you, and insists that you realize and recognize that He is your peace and your refuge.

It’s time to settle in your mind once and for all that God loves you with an unfailing, never ending love.  He is for you, and completely dependable and faithful to you.  You don’t have to worry about Him turning His back on you, or leaving you desperate and alone.  You can trust Him with your life.  

In John 15:9, Jesus says He loves us, as much as the Father loves Him, and He invites us to continue in that love with Him. “I have loved you, [just] as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love [continue in His love with Me].”

In John 16:27 He says,For the Father Himself [tenderly] loves you because you have loved Me and have believed that I came out from the Father.”

In Isaiah 38:17, we see how powerful God’s love for us is. “...You have loved back my life from the pit of corruption and nothingness, for You have cast all my sins behind Your back.”

His promise in Jeremiah 31:3 stands true for us, “...I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you and continued My faithfulness to you.”

Spend time meditating on these scriptures that speak the truth concerning God’s love for you.  Let them fill your thoughts throughout the day, and meditate on them before you go to sleep at night.  They will begin to dominate the way you see yourself in God’s eyes.  

The moment a negative, fearful thought comes into your mind, vying  for your attention, it will hold no ground in your heart or mind.  Since you are more convinced of God’s love and care for you than what that negative thought has to say, it has nothing to latch onto and it’s power over you is gone.

Now you can confidently find refuge in the truth you’ve become establish in, and refuse even the thought of fear.

In the next letter we’ll learn how knowing God’s love for us hardens us to difficulties and secures us in a place of complete dependency on Him.

All my love,


Jenny

Monday, September 9, 2019

Fear on the Run - Part 3

Hello Everyone,

The Book of Proverbs tells us that God’s Words are, “... life to those who find them, and healing and health to all their flesh.” - Proverbs 4:22.  We’ve been learning how meditating on the truth of God’s Word brings life, peace, and healing to our lives as it produces the spiritual force of faith inside us (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2-3; Romans 8:6; Romans 10:17).  

Just the same, we know that meditating on anything that contradicts the truth of God’s Word, produces the spiritual force of fear inside us. Fear is a destructive force that has no place in a believer’s life, yet we all fall prey to its tactics unless we constantly guard the thoughts we allow ourselves to mediate on.

Being in the habit of guarding our hearts and minds to combat fear is something we can learn to do, in fact, we can become quite skilled at it.  The Word of God clearly tells us how we can go about doing this.

1) Refuse Fear!

To begin with, let’s look at what Jesus said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]”

Jesus tells us to not allow our hearts to be troubled, and to not be afraid.  Now, I found an extract about this verse from Rick Renner’s Sparkling Gems From the Greek 2, and I want to share it with you.

“...The word “troubled” is the Greek word tarreso, which means to shake, to disquiet, to unsettle, to perplex, to cause anxiety, or even to cause feelings of grief...

Often when these troubling emotions begin to work in the soul, they open the door to other negative emotions and eventually pull us over into the realm of fear.  That’s why it’s so important to bring the soul into submission before this happens.  This is precisely why Jesus continued to say, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

The word “afraid” is from the word deilos, and depicts a gripping fear or dread that produces a shrinking back or cowardice. In essence, our ability to calmly and objectively look at the problem head-on to deal with it appropriately disappears when fear sets in.  It literally paralyses our ability to move forward and causes us to retreat into our own mode of self-preservation - which, in effect, is cowardice or the lack of courage to face what is before us...”

That’s why, even when we find ourselves thrust into situations that are designed to unravel us, and cause us to fear, we must remember we were not created to shrink back and retreat in this life.  Jesus knew what we would be facing and told us in advance how to deal with these moments.

2) Find Your Peace in Him

He says we must refuse fear and find our peace in Him!  We cannot allow ourselves to stay in a state of feeling troubled, upset, and fearful.  Instead, we must let His peace become the dominating force in our lives.  

The Bible calls Jesus the Prince of Peace, and in 2 Corinthians 13:11, we are told God is the author and promoter of peace. So when trouble comes, leaning and relying on, and pressing into the Person of Jesus is where we draw our peace and strength from.   

In John 14:27, Jesus says we have the very same peace He possesses, that means no matter what we encounter in this life, we are able to navigate through it with the very peace of God.  Jesus made a point of explaining the peace He gives is not the same as the peace this world knows.  His peace is perfect, making us complete and lacking nothing! It’s based on Him and His unchanging character, not on circumstances or fleeting emotions. 

3) Fix Your Thoughts on Him

Now, since peace comes from God and His Word that is alive in our hearts, we must set our sights on its truth and His promises concerning us. Isaiah 26:3 says when our thoughts are fixed on the Lord, He will keep us in perfect and constant peace. 

1 Timothy 6:17 says we are to set our hopes on God, Who richly and ceaselessly provides us with everything for [our] enjoyment.  To set our hopes on the character of God that is described in this verse, means there can be no wavering or questioning His good intention towards us, or whether He will desert us, or contradict Himself and suddenly take things away from us.  

Look at what Hebrews 13:5b-6 (AMPC) says, “...He [God]Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not,[I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]. So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?”

We are to establish ourselves in the truth of Who God’s Word says He is, and receive a revelation of His unwavering, perfect love towards us - especially when we are faced with problems that are by no means imaginary.  Our emotions must not be in bondage to a spirit of fear that will turn us into cowards, if we succumb to it.  Shrinking back is not God’s will for us.

In the next letter we’ll continue learning how to practically refuse fear in our lives.  Until then, choose to commit yourself to the Lord every day.  Purpose to keep your thoughts on Him, especially when you hear disappointing news, or you find you’re having to ward off fearful thoughts.  Deliberately refuse to focus on the negative and immediately cast your cares on the Lord.  Then as you fill your mind with thoughts of Who God is, and how much He is committed to take care of you, that peace that surpasses all understanding will be yours to experience.

All my love,

Jen


Sunday, September 1, 2019

Fear on the Run - Part 2

Hello everyone,

In our series Fear on the Run, we are learning about the perfect love of God that has the power to chase fear right out our lives.  Our chief scripture 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection].”

So far we’ve learnt that to fear is a sin, and that it’s a powerful spiritual force with the ability to paralyse our faith, and cause us to shrink back from our convictions - should we yield to it.  However, fear has a far more powerful enemy than itself.  The perfect love of God will out run, out last and completely cast out every trace of fear in our lives.

Since God is perfect love, the best way to learn the truth about fear, and how to conquer it, is to see it from His perspective.  So let’s take a look at what God’s Word says about fear.

To begin with, fear is not natural, and it’s certainly not OK for any born-again believer to have any part in it.  According to scripture, fear is a spirit that is not from God. We know this to be true from  2 Timothy 1:7 which says, For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”  

So How does fear come?  

To understand how fear comes, we must understand the nature of a seed.  It always produces after its own kind.

God’s Word is an incorruptible seed that when sown into our hearts and minds, produces the very life and nature of God in us.  1 Peter 1:23 says, “having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,...”.  

When we hear and meditate on the truth of God’s Word, it produces life, peace, and the spiritual force of faith inside us (Proverbs 3:17-18; Romans 10:17; Romans 8:6).  Just the same, when we hear and meditate on anything that contradicts the truth of God’s Word, what we hear becomes a seed that produces the spiritual force of fear inside us.

I once heard Creflo Dollar explain that just as faith is a spiritual force that comes by us meditating on God’s Word; fear is a spiritual force that comes from meditating on the contradiction of God’s Word.  

Now how are we ever going to know what the contradictions are if we don’t know what the truth is?  If we don’t become diligent students of God’s Word, we’ll never recognize if what we are hearing is contradicting God’s truth or not.  Which means we’ll just believe anything that sounds convincing enough.  Because of our ignorance of God’s truth - we end up filling our lives with seeds that will give rise to fear and death.

The problem comes when we believe what we hear from the media or people’s opinions without first checking what God has to say about the matter.  Even what we hear from the pulpit at church must line up with God’s Word, or it will be a seed that contradicts God’s truth.  When it’s sown into our hearts it will produce fear.

Here’s a well know example of this.  When we are told that God gives and takes away, unless we know who actually said that, and why he did, we will believe it’s something God said.  As a result, we will constantly live wondering if God will choose to take things away from us, for whatever reason He deems fit.  That is a complete contradiction of His dependable character.  It doesn’t strengthen our faith, it cripples it, giving root to fear.

The truth is, Job was the one who said that God gives and takes away, and he said it when he was not in his sound mind.  Job admitted that what he said was inconsistent with the true character of God.  He was speaking out of his brokenness and despair.  He admitted that the very thing he feared came upon him.  It wasn’t God Who took from Job, it was Job who harboured the spirit of fear and it produced destruction in his life, because fear is a spirit that opens the door for the devil to torment us.

Just the same, when we live in deliberate disobedience to God’s will, we open the door for destruction in our own lives.  God doesn’t turn His back on us, or turn our world upside-down to punish us.  Our own free will to do what we know is wrong is us walking away from God’s goodness and opening our lives to trouble.

That doesn’t mean that if bad things happen to us, it’s a direct result of our being in sin either.  We have an enemy, the devil, who is bent on trying to overwhelm us with worry and fear by manipulating circumstance to distract us from our faith in God.  Jesus said that while we are in this world trouble would come - but if we learn to focus on Him and His Word, and refuse fear, we will have the power to overcome anything (John 16:33).

Let’s make a deliberate decision to not just accept what we hear from the media, or people’s opinions, no matter how convincing they may seem.  Instead, let’s take what we hear and measure it up to what God’s Word says.  If it contradicts what He says, we have every right to dismiss it from our thoughts and replace it with the truth of God’s Word.  This is how we are going to successfully guard our hearts against fear.  

In my next letter, we’re going to see what God’s Word has to say about us becoming skilled at this process of guarding our hearts and minds to combat fear.  Until then, watch what seeds you allow into your mind - hold on to the truth and refuse anything that  contradicts it.

All my love,

Jen









Sunday, August 25, 2019

Fear on the Run - Part 1

Hello everyone,

In this world we are faced with so many fears.  Fear of rejection, fear of being alone, fear of lack, fear of losing a loved one, fear of never being enough, fear of missing God’s best for our lives, the list goes on and on.  Fear is not uncommon to anyone, and yet it is the greatest enemy of our souls, and until we recognize it for what it truly is, and how to deal with it head on, we will never be free.

Most of us have read, or heard 1 John 4:18 that says, “There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection].”

Whichever way you look at this verse, the truth that cannot be argued is that perfect love is the conquering enemy of fear.  In this series we are going to look at fear from God’s perspective and discover how His perfect love can expel every trace of it out of our lives.

Perhaps the first truth to settle in our hearts and minds is that we are explicitly, and continuously commanded in the Word of God to not fear.  No matter what form, shape, or measure it comes in, fear is sin.

In Revelation 21:8, God makes it clear that the fearful, the cowards, those cravenly lacking in courage, the unbelieving and faithless will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. No mincing Words here, right? 

Out of curiosity, I wanted to understand just who this scripture was referring to as the “fearful”.  I found it wasn’t necessarily only written for those who don’t believe in God, or have never committed their lives to Him.  According to the Adam Clark commentary, the fearful here are those who, “...for fear of losing life or their property, either refused to receive the Christian religion, though convinced of its truth and importance; or, having received it, in times of persecution fell away, not being willing to risk their lives.”

Another commentary by Albert Barnes, suggests The “fearful”, “...denote those who had not firmness boldly to maintain their professed principles, or who were afraid to avow themselves as the friends of God in a wicked world. They stand in contrast with those who “overcome,” in Revelation 21:7.”

Then, John Gill’s commentary describes the “fearful” in this verse to be, “... those who are of cowardly spirits, and are not valiant for the truth, but who, through fear of men, either make no profession of Christ and his Gospel, or having made it, drop it, lest they should be exposed to tribulation and persecution; these are they that are afraid of the beast, and live in servile bondage to him.”
Both these commentaries show us the effect of fear in our lives.  Unless God’s perfect love is alive and dominating our hearts and minds, fear can cause us to become cowards, and ashamed to stand up for the very Gospel that saved us, when the heat of persecution comes.

We can conclude that the “fearful” in this verse include those who at some time professed to be Christians, but when they were faced with persecution, fear overtook their faith in God, and they renounced their belonging to Him, or being counted as His own.

Quite a sobering thought isn’t it. It makes us wonder if the faith we profess to have in God, and our commitment to Him is as deep and sincere as we believe it to be.  Do we really know God and His perfect love for us to the point where it means more to us than our own lives, or our greatest fears?

Is this the level of commitment Christ has called us to have?  If it is, then truly knowing Him, and His perfect love for us must be something far greater and more powerful than any fear imaginable, including losing our own lives.

This is the kind of love I want to fill my life with.  It certainly is the kind of love I want to learn more about, and in the letters to come, we are going to spend time understanding it, and how it will set fear on the run in our lives.

All my love,


Jen

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Overcome Part 6 - Rest

Hello everyone,

I’m not sure if any of you enjoy camping?  One year, when our children were quite young, we decided to go camping.  Now if you know anything about my husband, you’ll know he lives by the slogan, “Go big, or go home!”.   There is never any small measure in his scope for anything in life.  I’ve come to realise over the years that one of the reasons God paired us together was to keep me right out of my comfort zone, and stretch me beyond my own limitations.  And what an adventure it has proven to be!  

Having said that, the camping trip we were about to embark on was no ordinary one.  We were going to load up and go up Africa!  Let me tell you the planning and plotting and preparation for this trip was extensive to say the least. Road maps, border crossing requirements, survival paraphernalia, medical supplies, malaria medication, shots against yellow fever and other strange diseases, the list of necessary preparation goes on...

We’ve been taking a close look at the advice James gives us concerning the correct  preparation needed for facing any trial or difficulty we may face in life.  Now just like preparing for our trip up Africa, there are always things we must be sure to do that will help us and prove invaluable during our spiritual journey in this life.  

Things like spending time in the Word and continuously fellowshipping with the Lord.  Things like learning how to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit more clearly, so we can follow His lead, and walk in His ways.  When we gear ourselves up in these foundational principles of faith, we really do become equipped to face every day life victoriously.

This way, when unforeseen circumstances and challenges come our way, we already have something solid and substantial at to draw from to receive the extra strength we need to overcome.

On our journey through some pretty remote places in Africa, we faced having to navigate through very difficult terrain.  At times it was late at night and the road was almost non existent.  Because we had good spotlights and the correct off-road tyres, we were able to move slowly but safely along dangerous rock faces, and giant, gaping holes where the road used to be.

And when we found there was no fuel available on route, we could draw from the reserves we had brought along with us, to keep us going to our destination. Fresh water was often scarce, but our spare containers of clean, drinking water kept us hydrated and healthy, until we could find a suitable source to replenish them.

In James 1:4 it says we are to, “...let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”  In the previous letter we learnt that patience is one of the many qualities of the Holy Spirit that goes to work inside us, as we fill ourselves with the truth of God’s Word.  When these qualities work in our lives they bring us to a place where we are spiritually strong, and our faith in God and His Word is unconquerable - so we are able to push forward into victory, no matter the circumstance.

Now, when we encountered those dangerous challenges up Africa, no matter how well we were prepared for each challenge, if we didn’t have the quiet confidence, knowing we would get through each ordeal if we trusted our equipment and acted wisely, and calmly, it would end up disastrously, in spite of our efforts to prepare.

Just the same, no matter how much Word you have stored up in your heart, or how much time you’ve spent praying, unless you know how to enter the place of quiet confidence, faith will not work. 

You can learn how to calmly and peacefully trust the Lord and His Word in your heart, so that all your spiritual preparation will be effective and help you in the time of crisis.

That place of quiet confidence is called rest.  And it’s here that patience and all the other powerful qualities of the Holy Spirit go to work for you, and carry you through whatever storm you are facing.  But while your mind is overwhelmed with panic, or worry and fear, the Word, and these qualities are powerless to go to work for you.

So how do we enter this place of rest, where God’s Word and powerful qualities are able to actively go to work for us?

Look at what Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]
Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.
For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.”

Jesus tells us the first requirement to enter into the place of rest, is to come to Him.  In the book of Hebrews we are told to approach the throne room of God confidently, with boldness, knowing that we are welcome and cherished and will not be disappointed for doing so. (Hebrews 4:16).

That’s because this place of rest is where we make an exchange - we cast all our cares and concerns at His feet and receive Him!  Jesus says that He will cause us to rest.  The person of Jesus, through His Holy Spirit is the One Who becomes our rest.  He eases, relieves, and refreshes our souls!

Now the definition for the word rest here, is to be fortified with peace, having soul harmony with God, being fully confident to trust Him and His love for you, knowing full well that He will do exactly what He has promised you.

If you remember, we’ve already learnt that our soul is the area of the mind.  It’s our intellect, the place we reason from.  It’s also our emotions and our free will.  When our souls - our thoughts, emotions and will, are in harmony with God’s thoughts, emotions, and will - peace reigns, and the result will always be life! (Romans 8:6).

Another way to understand rest is to understand what it’s not. Any anxious, fearful, or dread filled thoughts are the exact opposite of rest.  As a born-again child of God, these kind of thoughts are to have no place in our minds, because they will always produce death.

So how do we enter this place of rest?

Well, in Matthew 11:29 Jesus said, Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls….”

In Rick Renner’s study on this particular scripture, we find the word yoke describes the wooden yoke that joined two animals together so they could combine their strength to pull a load that generally would have been too difficult for one animal to pull by itself. This yoke made the team inseparable.  As a result, they were stronger, and their combined strength made their task easier.

When Jesus says we must take His yoke upon us, He is telling us that to enter this place of rest, is something we do deliberately.  We choose to enter into a living partnership with Him, where we choose to keep our thoughts, and perspectives in sink with His.  We refuse to be swayed and distracted by worry or fear, or unbelief, by keeping Him and His thoughts in the forefront of our souls - continuously.

Hebrews 4:11 says, “Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves],...”

Labouring to enter our rest doesn’t involve our struggling to earn our way into it through our own human efforts.  Jesus has already earned you the right by the finished work of the cross.  Our part is easy, it involves us putting effort into our relationship with God, and keeping our thoughts in line with His Own.

When Jesus says “Take my yoke upon you...”, He is implying that we must deliberately step into the harness with Him, so He can help us pull the plow. 

Becoming “yoked” to Jesus is a determined choice to know Him more and include Him in every area of our lives, it’s not something that occurs accidentally.  

Which brings us back to our chief portion of scripture for our series on Overcome, in the book of James.  

The moment you find yourself in a tight spot, where you know the only way to overcome is through Devine intervention, it’s time to make a conscious decision to get right along side the Lord and draw from Him.  James 1:5 says, “If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.”

The key word in this scripture is ask. In the original Greek translation, this word means to come close and alongside someone, expecting to receive.  More than anything, we serve a God Who earnestly desires to be the One we choose to come close to, and draw alongside, to receive His wisdom, protection, comfort and help.  He doesn’t want a mechanical relationship where we just learn to recite a bunch of scriptures and throw them around.  

He wants us to find our trust and peace in drawing close to Him first, and then the investment we made by meditating on His Word becomes active and powerful.  That’s because as we draw near to Him, His Holy Spirit reminds us of the exact scripture we need for our comfort and peace.  He also reminds us of the scriptures we can use as a weapon against the devil and his attempt to hurt us.  And all of this is done in the safety of us being in the shadow of His wings.  

James says when we approach God like this, we will find He is openhanded - giving His wisdom liberally, without finding reproach.  That’s what it is to be in this place of rest!

But if we don’t first enter in, our minds will be distracted and become double-minded.  Struggling between trust and fear.  James warns us that this kind of mindset will never do us any good.  

Look at what he says in James 1:6-8, “Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind.
For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord,
[For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides].”

So, to summarise this powerful series on how to overcome, we must understand that our inner strength, peace, and victory comes from our decision to deliberately enter our place of rest.  This is where we surrender all our concerns to the Lord and confidently draw from His wisdom and power through drawing close and remaining vitally connected to Him.  This is where our thoughts come into harmony with His, and instead of our emotions being influenced by worry, fear and dread - they are filled with an undeniable peace and unsinkable joy!  

I want to end this series with a promise from Exodus 14:14, “The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.”  This is how we overcome!

All my love,

Jenny