Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chapter 2: The Fear Factor


(words from the book noted in red; Scripture is in bold)
When writing about the untimely loss of her husband, Micca explained an important truth about trusting the promises of God. She explained how she "...chose to trust God's purpose...chose to believe what (she) couldn't understand..." The word 'choice' seems to be coming up a lot in my life lately. Because of a background that definitely frowned upon thinking for one's self, "choice" has not always been a welcome action. I am coming to realize that having the power to choose can be incredibly freeing.

I loved how Micca pointed out that the phrase "fear not" is found 366 times within Scripture. Powerful. My Scriptural lifeline over the past several months have been 1 John 4:16: "...God is love..." and 1 John 4:18 "There is no fear in love...perfect love drives out fear..." I love the words she wrote "You and I were created to live by faith, and in God, we have all the power we need for a faith that is stronger than all our fears." (See 1 Timothy 1:7)

I wrote the words 'PERSONAL GOAL' in the margins on page 27 next to the words: "You'll discover how to balance pressure and stress without giving way to anxiety, and you'll recognize the promised presence of God guiding your daily life. You'll see how confidence in a faithful God unlocks the gateway to overcoming the fears of betrayal, loneliness, rejection, and the unknown." Those words alone make me want to devour this book, yet I know that it is important for me to allow these truths to sink deep within my heart. I can hardly wait to see what the following chapters hold after being so blessed by Chapters 1 and 2.

Another truth that I want to sink deeper within my heart are the words Micca mentioned about 1 Corinthians 15:10 (ESV) But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. The simple reminder that only by God's grace can one do ANYTHING!

This chapter also helped me realize how I've often allowed my relational priorities to be out of whack. (Page 31) "...my biggest obligation is to maintain my relationship with God. When I lean on Him, my anxieties give way to peace." I so often make choices based on, hopefully, keeping the peace within other relationships and frequently lean on my own self, rather than placing my all in God. How I needed this timely reminder that my relationship with God is of THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE and that He never intended for me to go at this life on my own.

If you've read any of my previous posts, you've probably come to realize that I am, somewhat (ha!) of a control freak so I could SO relate to the words on page 35: "One of the hardest things to do is to give up control and trust someone other than ourselves...we misunderstand the benefit of a surrendered life. It's not about giving up; it's about gaining the power and presence of God living His life through us...Satan often takes what is meant for good and twists it into something damaging...you and I must always be on guard." AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! and THANK YOU!

The chapter closes with steps to avoid the Enemy's attacks:
  1. Submit yourself to God. Resist the Devil. (See James 4:7)
  2. Remember God's Words are true. (See Hebrews 13:5)
  3. Put on the armor of God. (See Ephesians 6:11)
  4. Live daily in the presence of God.

I would like to close this post with a condensed version of a study done by Charles Stanley years ago. I have the thoughts that he shared on one side of an index card and the prayers He wrote on the opposite side. (It is a little lengthy but my prayer is that at least one person will find these thought to be a blessing.)

Remember, it's never too late to join in on this study. For more information, click on our hostess' name, Lelia, and the link will take you directly to her website. May God bless all of you with a wonderful week!

(Source: Charles Stanley's http://www.intouch.org/)

  1. The Helmet
    “Lord, I choose to put on this helmet of salvation today in order to protect my thinking. I only want to think Your thoughts, Lord. I do not want any thoughts in my head that will damage my testimony or my relationship with You. When Satan sends one of his thoughts my way, I just want to know that Your helmet of salvation will protect my thinking.”
    We must remember that the battle begins in our minds; that is Satan’s battleground. It may slip into our emotions and actions later, but it always begins with our minds. Therefore, our minds must be protected from assault at all times.
  2. The Breastplate
    “Lord, I choose to put on the breastplate of righteousness to protect my emotions. I only want to feel what You feel. Don’t let me react out of my emotions; rather, let me react to the obstacles and attacks of life based on the truth I know in my mind, in my relationship with You.”
    If you allow your emotions to carry you wherever they will, you will be utterly defeated in your Christian life. One of Satan’s prime objectives is to make us feel wrongly about ourselves. If he can distract us with feelings of false guilt and worthlessness, leading us to forget God’s amazing grace and forgiveness, then he can cripple your faith.
  3. The Girdle of Truth
    “Lord, I choose to put on this belt of truth, and I ask that it keep the core of my body centered on Your Word. I want to live in the truth, walk in the truth, and testify to the truth.”
    When we are wrapped up in the truth of God, then we cannot be deceived by Satan’s lies.
  4. The Sandals/Foot Coverings
    “Lord, I choose to put on the sandals of peace. Father, wherever I go today, I want to be a peacemaker. I want my footprints to be the evidence of the peace I carry in the Holy Spirit.”
    The Roman soldiers often had long spikes on the bottom of their sandals to enable them to plant their feet firmly in the ground. Similarly, with the sandals of peace, we can boldly set our feet on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ, trusting in the Lord that the world cannot make us lose our footing.
  5. The Roman Shield
    “Lord, I choose to take up the shield of faith. I want to thank You that, no matter how many fiery arrows the enemy hurls at me today, no matter how many trials or temptations may come, I can stand safely behind the shield of faith.”
    Faith is a mighty force; it is our faith that makes the difference between success and failure, between victory and defeat.
  6. The Sword
    “Lord, I choose to lift high the sword of the Spirit, Your Holy Word. Father, thank you for this spiritual weapon that cuts so deeply to bring about such conviction and repentance.”
    The sword of the Spirit is both defensive and offensive. It enables us to deflect the blows of the enemy, and it pierces the hearts of sinful man. Success in battle depends upon taking up and mastering our only weapon: God’s Holy Word.
  • You put this armor on by faith. Even thought you cannot see it, you can trust that God will indeed wrap you completely in His power and His presence as you go out each day into a dark world.
  • If we step onto our spiritual battlefield missing the helmet of salvation, or the breastplate of righteousness, or the shield of faith, Satan will surely attack our weak, unprotected areas. That is why Paul specifically commands us to put on the FULL armor of God. If any piece is missing, then we will give the enemy an easy target.
  • Be intentional about dressing for the spiritual battles you will face every day. God has provided resources for us; all we must do is put them on. You are heading into battle today. Are you dressed for it?
  • When you start the day by putting on the armor of God, you dedicate your whole self---your body, your mind, and your emotions---to the Lord. You make it clear that you belong to Christ and are under His protection. And you show the enemy that you will not be easily defeated.
  • Paul also tells us to “stand firm…” We must have a position that we must take in our spiritual battle. And that position is revealed in the first part of verse 10, “be strong IN THE LORD.” This fits with Paul’s theme of the whole book of Ephesians: our position in CHRIST. He is saying, “Stand firm. Don’t even think about giving up. Your strength is in the Lord, and you can keep your footing in Him. When those demonic forces start to press in on you, when the enemy fires his fiery darts your way, when the pressures of the world threatens to knock you down…stand firm.” We can do this because of the firm foundation in which our feet are planted.
  • When we respond to temptation by planting our feet in the ground and taking up the shield of faith, God empowers us to resist the enemy’s traps. In Christ, we have the power to say, “I choose to resist that.” As the Spirit of God empowers us, we can be victorious in those daily battles.
  • On the other hand, if we face the devil while depending upon our own strength, we will be defeated every time. No man or woman in history has ever been able to handle the devil, except for Christ. And now, in Him, we share in His victory.
  • Even though we have been given this mighty spiritual armor, Scripture never loses focus on the source of our strength. The Word does not say, “Be strong in your armor.” Rather, it says, “BE STRONG IN THE LORD.” (Ephesians 6:10)

5 comments:

  1. You are the apple of Gods eye.

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  2. Stacy,
    I loved this post! This part.."When I lean on Him, my anxieties give way to peace." I so often make choices based on, hopefully, keeping the peace within other relationships and frequently lean on my own self, rather than placing my all in God. How I needed this timely reminder that my relationship with God is of THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE and that He never intended for me to go at this life on my own" ME TOO, thank you also for posting the study on the armor of God, it did bless me this morning. I'm going to suit up before I begin my day!
    In His perfect Love,
    Tina

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  3. Good words!! I'm glad to be back in with the study and I too am ready to see what God has in store. Think I've needed to read this book for years, but His timing is perfect. Blessings!

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  4. Thank you for sharing that study from Charles Stanley,love it.

    You had some great thoughts!

    ~Tammy

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  5. Stacy,

    I have gotten so much truth from your post. I love that you made the quote from pg 27 your personal goal. Isn't it true how we can take on so much and never consider asking God if we should.

    I love Charles Stanely he one of the teachers that broke through into my husbands heart. We listen to him all the time. If fact I believe we have that spiritual armor teaching on CD.

    Thank you for your sweet comment, I too feel a bond of friendship with you. You are a sweet and open person. I'm enjoying getting to know you.

    Hugs friend,
    Carol

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