January 21, 2018

I Will Not Fear

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there is no fruit on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will triumph in Yahweh;
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!
Yahweh my Lord is my strength;
He makes my feet like those of a deer
and enables me to walk on mountain heights!
Habakkuk 3:17-19

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I am claiming this verse today…and I am placing my needs before His feet. Fig trees and olive crops are symbols for the things of this world that we may lack at this very moment.  August is always hard here.  School is looming and there are always needs: clothes, shoes, school supplies (and now with one in college), the list goes on…and on. But isn’t God so much bigger than any of these?  {yes!}

It’s funny how God leads me to certain verses on the days that i write…and it always is something that I need to hear and to pass along to you.  What are you believing God for today?  Are you struggling to believe at all?  Sometimes things feel so desperate (and, truly, they may be).  There may be no food in the pantry and no money to go purchase any.  Or a really big bill is due and you have absolutely no idea how you are going to pay it.  Or an illness and a bad report has you feeling like there is no hope at all.

But the good news is this: There is always hope in Jesus!

I know that my sound cliche but it is so true! If you put all your hope and all your efforts into just praising Him today—though the problems may still be there—there will be joy in place of sorrow!  Hope will replace hopelessness and praise will replace pity.  We may not get to choose the circumstances in our lives but we can choose how we react to them.  (I am preaching to myself!)

Fear and worry are stealers, and they come straight from the enemy who wants nothing more than to rob you of all you have.  He especially wants to take your hope away.  But if we let him have that…we have let him win.  The enemy doesn’t go after your salvation.  He can’t have it!  But he can take the peace that comes with the salvation that Jesus gave His own life for us to have.  One of my favorite passages is Psalms 23.  It was one of the first ones that I learned in elementary school and it is one that has gotten me through a lot of hard times.  In verse 4 is says:

Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me.
Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me.

Today, as you read this verse, fill in the blank with your own valley.

Even when I walk through ________,
I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me. 

And know beyond a shadow of a doubt that whatever it is you wrote down, that your God is able to do this and so much more.  Claim it with me today…and enjoy the sunshine today!

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Let us pray: Dear God, You are so full of love for us and Your grace is sufficient for every minute that we breathe.  You are the same always; You never change.  Thank You for Your provision and Your hand in everything that we go through.  You waste nothing, oh Lord!  I pray today for all these friends reading this today, that You would give them back their joy and peace, oh God!  And that nothing that the enemy throws at them can take away the hope that they have in You.  Silence his lies today and everyday.  Remind them that feelings are feelings but that Your Word is truth.  Lead them to the truth today. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“I AM” Week 3 – Day 2: Check Your Attitude

Memory Verse

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.

Habakkuk 3:19

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I find myself telling my kids to check their attitude; how to do things we’re asked to do is just as important, if not more important, than actually doing it. If Girlfrineds Coffee Hourwe do things with a negative attitude we may as well not do it at all. The other day I asked my older son to help his little brother tie his shoes. After some huffing, puffing, and stomping over to the other side of the room the task was being completed, but no one was happy about it!  The older son was bugged about having to do it, and the younger son could tell that his brother did not want to help him.

I have to ask myself though, how many times God has asked me to do something and I have had a bad attitude about it!  How many times has my boss asked me to do something and I grumbled and complained. How many times I have looked at the daily tasks of being a wife and mother and have completed them with less than a positive attitude.

I don’t think God expects us to be unrealistically happy about everything, everyday. We’re a “why” people. Thankfully, we have a patient God who answers our why’s without punishing us, or saying, “Because I said so.”   As Teresa showed us, instead of being upset with Habakkuk for asking why, for questioning God’s motives and reasons, God took the time to show Habakkuk the beauty behind what He was doing.  He showed him the goal that He was accomplishing.

“God is patient to let us ask our questions, process the answers and apply the knowledge to our lives.”  Having questions isn’t a bad thing when we come to God honestly, and with sincerity.

Habakkuk 1:2-4 (NKJV)

O Lord, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear?
     Even cry out to You, “Violence!” And You will not save.
Why do You show me iniquity, And cause me to see trouble?
     For plundering and violence are before me; There is strife,
     and contention arises.
 Therefore the law is powerless, And justice never goes forth.
     For the wicked surround the righteous;
     Therefore perverse judgment proceeds

Habakkuk 3:2 (MSG)

God, I’ve heard what our ancestors say about you, and I’m stopped in my tracks,
down on my knees.  Do among us what you did among them.  Work among us as you worked among them.   And as you bring judgment, as you surely must, remember mercy.

Look at the conversation between Habakkuk and God; look at the openness and look at the relationship between the two. Compare this to the words of Jonah:

Jonah 4:2-3 (NKJV)

So he prayed to the Lord, and said,
“Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still
in my country?  Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish;

for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God,
slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness,
One who relents from doing harm.

Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me,
for it is better for me to die than to live!”

“It is better for me to die than live!”—those are strong words.

When we’re asked to do something we have two choices.  We can either say “Yes, Lord.” knowing that sometimes that yes may come along with questions. Our patient Father is more than willing to answer our questions. Or we can turn the other way and spend time in the belly of a fish, not literally, but in our own way.

We are responsible for our attitude, and our attitude can change our outlook of the tasks we are given through life. I’m going to write this verse down and keep it with me; it will remind me that whatever happens God will make a way, He will provide for me. My job is to have a good attitude about the path He has placed me on.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NKJV)

Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls –
  Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.

Let’s Pray:

Dear Heavenly Father,

We are asked on a daily basis to complete tasks and do things in life that we may be less than happy about.  Lord, please remind us that instead of grumbling and running from the task, You will provide and make a way for the task to be accomplished, even when we can’t see that way. Thank You for Your patience.  Thank You for answering our questions. Lord, thank You for Your grace and for second chances when we run and complain like Jonah.  I pray when we’re asked to complete a task that we take the time to step back and pray, and check our attitude to make sure it lines up with You and Your word.  In Jesus’ name we pray.

Amen.