Is Black and White Thinking a Biblical Truth 2?

Welcome back! This second part has thrown me for a loop inside my brain. As I struggle to put thoughts to words and ask God for His guidance and truth, the black and white theory of the world comes full circle. A parable written in 3 separate books of the bible keeps coming to mind and I just cannot move forward until I study on it. How does the black and white thinking theory come into play in the parable?

The Parable of the Sower breaks down the heart of four types of people. Let’s take a look at each person and how Jesus defined each experience they had when they heard the word of God. Each of these people have been presented with the Truth of Jesus and his sacrifice for their sins; but there are four outcomes that occur to give us some food for thought on what is black and white and what is not. In all of these the seed represents the word of God. For we must first hear before we can believe.

Mark 4:3-23 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred. And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick? For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

Defined in this parable given by Jesus himself, are 4 types of people. I believe it is safe to say that in this world we live, Jesus is telling us there are 4 ways people will react when hearing the word of God.

  1. This person was presented with the seed of Christ and did not understand. Satan came along and took whatever seed was there. Satan snatched it away before they could believe in it.
  2. This second person was presented with the seed of Christ and received the message. With great joy he accepted. When affliction, persecution, trials, and temptations come along like the heat of the sun, the seed withered and they fell away and became tripped up.
  3. This next person was presented with the seed of Christ and received the message. The thorns of the world and its riches and pleasures and the deceitfulness choked the word and it did not grow fruit.
  4. Lastly, we have the person who was presented with the seed of Christ and received the message. His seed was planted within the field of an honest and pure heart that studied the word and kept it. It was of good ground and the seed of Christ could grow.

Each person heard the word of God. One did not believe. Three believed, but two of them were overcome with temptations and worldly desires. The two that were overcome did not bear no fruit. They let their desires of the flesh control their choices instead of turning to the word of God for guidance. (I believe this is also defined as the carnal Christian in the scriptures, that we will address in another blog). The last one not only took it to heart, but when those trials, temptations, and enticing pleasures of the world came about, they chose to battle it out and turn to the word and God for guidance. With that guidance they grew and developed fruit.

As you can see, the black and white theory does not necessarily fit in this parable that Jesus is describing. With four types of people only one is black, three are gray, and none of the are white until they reach complete righteousness in heaven. Why is that? Because, none of them are perfected and righteous until they stand before God (Hebrews 9:27). Their path to righteousness begins with belief, but it not made full until the appointed time. Just as the prodigal son. Two of these believers will pull away and be enticed with the ways of the world and the trials that come. They will look to themselves and others for guidance. They will direct their own path and find hardships. They have accepted Christ as God’s son, but they have yet to make him the Lord of their life. Maybe, at some point there will be a time when they will find their way back. Back to the truth, back to the belief and to the seed that was accepted before. This time, they will water and grow that seed and face the trials and temptations of this world without succumbing to them. They may grow fruit, but all at different quantities. This process is called sanctification.  

The path to complete righteousness is called sanctification. It’s at the time from when a person accepts Christ as their Savior until they pass from this life and stand before God. I call this the gray area! When they stand before God their righteousness will be made whole (2 Timothy 4:8), then they will be white. During this time period from salvation to death, believers will grow and change, and lay up treasures in heaven. Everyone will be at a different level on this path. Based on their choices and decisions and the amount of growth they choose to have. On this path we must understand the obstacles that lay in our ways to divert us. I would not call them black and white obstacles. I would just call them like I read them in God’s word.

All three of these obstacles have been already introduced. Just because you accept Christ does not mean you won’t still be enticed and subjected to the ways of the world; there will be distractions and arrows the devil will sent your way.

  1. Satan- Satan is constantly roaming seeking who he can devour. He is always around stealing seeds that are trying to be planted, laying traps, and doing everything he can to keep us from believing in God or bearing any fruit.
  2. Affliction, persecution, trials and temptations- Our world is full of all sorts of burdens. Pressure to conform, criticism, struggles, and testing of our faith. When the time comes, we flounder and have no roots in God’s word to stand on. Instead of digging into Gods word for truth and answers we tend to get mad at God for not delivering us, or blame other Christians who lack knowledge and depth in God’s love and misrepresent what God stands for.
  3. Worldly Riches, lust, desires of the flesh, pleasures of this world. The avoidance of fear, pain, and uncertainty because it’s just so hard. But also chasing after the desires of the flesh. Chasing those feel-good endorphins. Chasing activities and situations that cater to the flesh, instead of letting life come and go with the highs and lows. The lack of making sacrifices of the flesh to heed to the obedience of Christ.

Life is a battle. It is the battle between the flesh and the spirit (Ephesians 6:12). These 3 things are ways the devil will use the flesh to keep your spirit from maturing and growing deeper in the truths of God and His word. Wherever the spirit lies, the flesh with follow (Luke 6:45). The battle of this life and keeping the faith while growing deeper trust in the spirit is defined as sanctification. I Peter 1:1-9 lays it all out. The conclusion of part one brought back to conclude this blog as well.

1 Peter 1:1-9Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

The development and skill to go through struggles and trials, while keeping your faith and trusting in Gods ultimate plan while praising God for it all! This is the path of sanctification. To stay the course, while keeping the faith. No matter what uncomfortable feelings or circumstances may come. It is truly a testing by fire. The growth, trust, and maturity of faith that come from it is so precious. Through all this God does not leave us alone. He is with us, He has given us his word to study and find solace, comfort, and guidance in it. He gives us the promise of an expected end and treasure to lay up in heaven for Gods glory. I pray this has brought clarity to you on the difference between justification and sanctification. I pray that you choose to grow deeper and cling to the promises of God as Satan and this world try to steer you away.

I also pray this has brought some clarity to black and white thinking. You see, Following God is a process of growth in ourselves as we have been reading. Being in the black is a person that has totally rejected God and refuses Him, they are born dead in their sin. Refuse to acknowledge their sinful nature, and turn their back on God. They live their life without thought to anything spiritual. The white is those believers who reach heaven and are presented to God. They no longer have anything to learn, gain, grow in. They have finished the course, and kept the faith. The gray! Hold onto your hats. The gray is those who believe in God, accepted those non-negotiable truths, and are continually growing in Christ. Now remember, we are all growing at different speeds. Some take a detour on the path in their growth, but ultimately God is in control, willing to help, be there, rescue us, forgive us, and guide us. Once we are in his hands, we are His and nothing can pluck us out. There is nothing we can do to be taken out of his hands. I believe black and white thinking keeps us on constant edge in fear and anxiety of being rejected by God for any false move we may make. Instead I choose to live in the gray area of grace. I may make mistakes, I may fall, I may crash from time to time, but my God sees me as a working progress. I believe that’s how we need to see ourselves.

Take a deep breath, take two. Now go out into this world, not as you are either black or white, good or bad. Go out with your head held high and walk in the gray where the grace of God abides.

1 Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.


God gives us….courage?

And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord. 1 Chronicles 28:20

When I think of courage, I think of the cowardly lion standing and holding his tail in the Wizard of Oz movie. He is bashful, and afraid of everything. The tears that fall down his face are of sorrow and fear. Just a whim of suggestion from anyone around him and he believes whatever anyone says as truth and his fear is overwhelming. Courage. All he wants is a little courage. He knows what it is and he has a desire for it, but he just needs someone to give it to him, because he cannot conjure it up on his own.

Courage in the Greek definition means to fasten upon, to seize, be strong, help, fortify, to bind and restrain. If I was to fasten upon courage to seize it. That means that God has given us the ability to do so. The ability to stand strong, but how do I do that and not let the fear override me?

2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” God hath created us with a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. A mind that can decipher the difference between truth and lies. Fear grabs us when we believe something that is not true. A falsehood that is contradictory to our beliefs. Just as David says to Solomon, to be strong and of good courage, fear not. David is telling his son that he has the God given ability to stand firm in what he believes and to carry out the job that God has given him to do. That God will be with him every step of the way until the end.

To have courage and not let fear override us means we have to take an active part in what we believe is true. Just as Dorothy and her companions shook with fear as they entered the realm of the oz, because they believed the wizard to be something greater than he was, so do we often do in life’s struggles and battles. Are we gonna jump on every word that someone says to us, false teachers preach to us, or bad thoughts that overtake us? Or are we gonna pick up our Bible and take it to heart and stand firm in what the pages say we are in Christ? Gods word has the power to instill us with courage just by reading it and taking it to heart, especially when we feel as though our courage is failing and weak. God says that we have the courage to fasten upon, to seize, to be strong, to ask for help, to fortify our beliefs and bind and restrain them upon our hearts. You are courageous! You have the ability to seize the day, to stand firm in your beliefs, and the time to search for truths in Gods word to keep you strong!

The greatest thing about this is that God knew that we would have to face fear. By knowing that he equips us with courage. The power to seize and stand firm without wavering when necessary. To do this without guilt or shame. He also supplied us with the Bible to find truth in so we are confident in what to stand on. There is no greater joy I have found then standing firm on a truth that I know will last a life time and will never waiver. Truth that gives me strength and confidence in my God and creator! Truth that when I lay down my head for the night can bask me in peace to know that my God will stand with me and watch over me and will help me fight the good fight!! God has done so much for us!!

Dear Heavenly Father, 
Help me today to stand on the truths of who you are and what your word shows me is true. Instill in me the courage to seek these truths out and face everyday fears that keep me from growing in you. Thank you for the ability to tap into your courage and allowing me to have access to it whenever I call out to you! 
I ask these things in Jesus name, Amen.

God says I am Blessed

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: Ephesians 1:3

In the verse we see blessed mentions 3 times. The first is talking about God who is blessed. This definition of blessed in the Greek means adorable. It is saying God the Father is adorable. I think of a baby kitten and how adorable and easy to love a baby kitten. The definition of this first blessed is saying God the Father is also that easy to love. To picture God as an adorable kitten, so to speak, and how easy he is to love when we get to know him better and spend time with him. The second blessed is talking about how God has blessed us! This definition in the Greek language means to speak well of. Also, the word blessings mean to speak in elegance with reverential adoration. God is not also adorable, but he thinks we are! He talks about us and sees us with adoration, love, respect, and high esteem. He doesn’t go around heaven pointing out every mistake we make or talking about what we have done or what sins we have committed. God is the giver of blessing who talks about us in heaven as if we are precious to him and deserving of acknowledgement.

God who is easy to love, love us in return and speaks about us with great esteem. So right now, I want you to think of someone who you love and adore. This could be anyone. This person would definitely love you in return. Think about that love and adoration you have for each other and now apply that to God times 10! That is how much he loves and adores you!!

Dear Heavenly Father,

I thank you for the gift of another day, I thank you for the adoration you bestow upon me, even when I feel as though I am not worthy or deserving. I pray Dear Lord that I will continue to remember when life gets hard and I make mistakes that you still love and adore me as no one else can! I ask these things in Jesus name. Amen.

Want to know how to find out the Greek/Hebrew definition to bible words on your own. Check out this app link below for android. There is also one for apple users as well, just go to your apple store and search Bible with Strong’s or Strong’s Bible Concordance.


How to have assurance in the midst of pain?

One sad reality of this life is the fact we will have some pain. I thought that it was possible to live this life without any pain, and the reality is that no matter how you avoid, convince yourself, and control there will be times in your life that you will have pain. Pain in any sense seems to bring out great fear and anxiety in me.  Emotional pain, physical pain, mental pain, spiritual pain all make me feel alone. The one thing that has brought me such great comfort is the assurance that all pain is temporary and that pain can also bring about great opportunities and extreme personal growth. Yet, there was a time when I was not so sure and the never-ending cycle of pain left me battered and bruised and crying out to God with anger. Why? What have I done to deserve this? Why are you mad at me? Why wont you give me some relief? My body was in constant pain, my family and doctors didn’t believe me, my friends were tired of hearing about it and my pastor could only tell me there was a reason that would reveal itself in time. Yet, I was still alone and my prayers felt like they never reached past the ceiling. Fast forward to today, with some of the same pain, but a different outlook that I would never have hoped for in a million years. Today I have assurance!

Assurance of what you may ask? Well, let’s take a quick look at what assurance is and grow from there. Assurance defined in Hebrew is truth itself. Truth about life, truth about circumstance, but as I sat at church last night, our guest preacher said something about assurance that I had never heard before. He asked himself what did assurance look like? What kind of scenario in life would give us assurance, would give us truth? This got my wheels spinning and I haven’t been able to get past this. I just knew I had to share this with you. He was talking about Paul and what assurance he had, but not just Paul, but Paul’s followers. What assurance did they have that they were gonna be okay and their pain and suffering would not be the end of them. The answer was Paul’s life! Not just Paul’s life, but the life of anyone that has suffered or lived with pain or trying circumstance for extended periods of time; but Paul in particular kept coming back to mind and it led me to this scripture…

2 Corinthians 11:24-28 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

Paul’s was…

  1. whipped 5 times with 40 stripes save one
  2. beaten 3 times with a rod
  3. stoned once
  4. shipwrecked 3 times
  5. lost at sea
  6. in constant journey with no safe place to lay his head
  7. in danger in the water
  8. in danger from robbers
  9. in danger from his own neighbors
  10. in danger from other tribes
  11. in danger in the city
  12. in danger in the wilderness
  13. in danger out at sea
  14. in danger from those who preach opposite to his teachings
  15. often depleted of strength and in great pain
  16. insomnia
  17. hunger and thirst
  18. fasting, going without food or drink
  19. cold and naked
  20. constant living without comfort and things
  21. daily trials that arise
  22. responsibility of the churches

Paul here is giving a tally of what he went through as a disciple of Jesus. Not including his times of arrest and imprisonment and his thorn of the flesh . All while sticking to the course of faith in Christ. If Paul can survive with Gods help, and find glory in his tribulations, then this gives me the truth and assurance that I can also. My pain is not just a heavy yoke of bondage around my neck. My pain is a crown of glory that has the assurance of who’s in charge and who will not let me fall. Time as time again as Paul survived, I also, time and time again have come through many trials. Yet, I have not suffered as much as Paul has and He still kept going. I have the assurance today through Paul’s life and ministry that God will see me through and the truth is that with God all things are possible.

I encourage you to cry out today and ask God for help. Ask him to help you, ask him to carry you, be open for him to show you the truth and assurance that what you’re going through is not in vain. That It has a purpose and a reason. Today I find that purpose and reason and that is sharing my story with you. To let you know that you are not alone and that God has not abandoned me and will not abandon you no matter how dark your circumstances are. Have assurance that as a believer in God you too can come out of your struggles victorious and in full blessed assurance of His love for you!

Count It All Joy

The trials of life are not just all consuming, but leave lasting marks on our souls. How we deal and process these trials sets the tone for how our bodies and minds automatically deal with it. This process of dealing is called coping skills. We develop these coping skills usually as a child. As hard times and difficult experiences come, we take on ways to help ourselves deal. Usually, these coping skills are not always healthy. A lot of the times it depends on the role models we have in our life and how they deal with trials. We adapt our role models coping skills and run with it. There is no blame to be found in doing this, it’s our natural human response. Some people resort to drowning out their sorrows in drugs or alcohol and not dealing with tough emotions. Some people go on shopping sprees and lots of vacations to induce feel good endorphins. Some take on loads of work to avoid relationships or any change that they cannot control. A lot of people get angry and lash out. They are bitter, resentful, and linger in a state of despair. No matter what, the one thing we all have in common is that we all have trials and we all have different or even multiple ways of dealing with them.

My personnel struggle with trials all began with the coping skills I took on in face of adversity as a child. I would lash out and rearrange my room at first, because anger is something I seen and thought was how to deal. When this was not satisfying and did not resolve anything for me, I then turned to fantasy. I would go into my mind and dream of the perfect world and the perfect people and a safe place for me to escape and feel wanted and loved. I could not do this during the daytime or in crowds so then I took on smoking. If I got a little stressed, I reached for my pack of cigs and escaped to the nearest smoking section. Later, I took on avoidance and withdrawal. I would do everything to avoid conflict. I took on the responsibility of everyone’s feelings and did everything I could to control how they reacted. I became more withdrawn, afraid to voice any opinion or struggle. The fear of what others thought of me and facing more conflict controlled me. Thirty-five years later it all caught up with me and I was drowning in a sea full of fear and avoidance. I had nowhere else to go, but through. I had to face all the hurt, all the pain, all the trauma of life’s trials. Then I met a man named James and my life changed.

I met James by accident one day. I was having a really tough day. I was constantly wrestling a thought in my mind and could not for the life of me figure out the answer. The thought was, “How do people keep going, when they are in so much physical and emotional pain? What is the secret?” I knew of many people who suffered great physical tragedies and no matter the state they were in, they found a way to cope and found new meaning to life. They found joy again and I just knew if I could figure out their secret, I too could obtain that joy myself. I could learn to live a new and improved life with healthy coping skills. So, in the midst of my research, James appeared and he helped me find one of many coping strategies that would change my life.  James was a carpenter’s son. He is a common man and lived a common life. James did not believe in Jesus until the later years of his life. This was crazy to me because he grew up within such a God-fearing home. A home so surrounded with the plan of God and salvation for all. Once James surrendered to the possibilities of Jesus and his purpose, James’s life took on new meaning and He shared this one phrase that changed my life as well as his. “COUNT IT ALL JOY”

What?! Are you telling me that this is the secret to dealing with hardship? To count the hardships in my life as a joyful experience? At first, I was in denial. Trust me, there is nothing joyful about suffering abuse, neglect, and physical and mental ailments. Then James explained it to me in a way that I could not argue with and it opened my eyes to a new way of seeing things. He said to me, “Keri, count it all joy when you find yourself in the midst of a trial. This trial is a testing of where your faith stands and can produce more patience to help you push through your trials and not avoid them. So, grow your patience by pushing through this hard time. If you need guidance then just ask God and he will give you wisdom freely as long as you hold to your faith and do not waiver. Trust that He has a reason for this and it will help you in the long run!

James opened my eyes that hard times and obstacles are meant to be a stumbling block from Satan, but God has made a way for us to grow in the midst of it. We can grow our faith, patience, perseverance, and most of all our trust that when we come to the end of this trial, and an end will come, that we will see the hand of God in it. We will be stronger in mind, body, and spirit. I believe I can trust James. James is not only Jesus’ half-brother, but was a witness to Jesus’ resurrection and a martyr of the faith. If he held to the faith and found joy in the midst of struggles…, could it not work for us too?

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers’ temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. James 1:2-6

If James does not impress you then maybe you can take Paul’s word for it…

Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Romans 5:1-5

“Nobody puts Baby in the Corner”

“Nobody puts baby in the corner”

It is time to stand in the light and let God lead you in the dance of life!

This famous line from a popular movie gets me every time. It takes me back to the scene of a crowded banquet room. This beautiful, talented girl trying to find her way in the world is sitting in the corner watching as everyone else puts on a show. She is surrounded by her loved ones. The ones who know her the best and who have loved and nurtured her, her whole life. She is to be seen and not heard. To be brought out whenever they have need of her. Need for her to act a certain way, to be what everyone wants her to be, to make a difference when they feel is the most accurate time and place. Then, she is put back in the corner to wait until she is deemed necessary. Not only necessary, but also to be socially correct by waiting for the world to tell her when it is okay to come out of the corner and do what they want her to do.

Then, we have this imperfect man walk up to the table and say, “No one puts baby in the corner.” He comes in and breaks the tradition of what is expected of this girl and takes her to the spotlight. In the spotlight she shows a side of herself that no one knew existed. She shines and glows with it. The confidence and support of this one man, guides her into the spotlight to support her talents and open the eyes of those closest to her. Letting those who are supposed to understand, support, and know her deepest of talents and value, see her in a different light. One man! One man, who was judged incorrectly. He was looked down on for the company he kept and the talent he expressed. Now, don’t get me wrong, he was a sinner. Yet, by the end of the movie the whole world sees him as a hero. One who stepped out when all else was lost to him and did what was unexpected. He did it while showing his love for this one girl and bringer her to a place she could only imagine she belonged… In the light to shine.

The amazing thing I find is we can all put ourselves in baby’s shoes. We all feel as though we are in the corner, to be seen and not heard. To not be too loud, or too flashy, or speak out and say what is on our heart. To conform to the expectations of others. The fear of stepping out and being judged by those surrounding us keeps us tied into a corner. It keeps our talents buried and something to be ashamed of. Talents that our heavenly father instills in us to grow as we grow our faith. If we find this imperfect, sinful man a hero that saves baby from the corner of life, then what about the perfect man our Heavenly Father sent to die for us? He was judged wrongly, looked down on for the company he kept and the talents he expressed. Yet, he stood up in the spotlight and sacrificed himself for the love he had for us.

 God did not mean for his followers to stand in the corner, he meant for us to grab the hand of the son and let him pull us out into the light for the world to see. Vulnerable, unsure, and under the scrutiny of others, we can step out into the spotlight and do the unexpected. We can do this by grabbing the hand of the son and having faith and confidence in letting him lead us. Now, I am not saying you need to go out and take up dancing lessons and break out in church dancing to I’ve had the time of my life. What I am saying is instead of sitting in the corner, let the Lord grab your hand and guide you to discover what talents you have and use them for the glory and growth of Gods kingdom. Let your light shine, not from the safe corner, but up on the stage of life with the Father, son and Holy Spirit taking your hand and leading you the dance of life. Let God deal with those around you for he has the ability to open their hearts and minds. Before you know it, they might leave the corner and come dance the dance of life with you and together you all can shine the light of good works your Heavenly Father has instilled and gifted to you.

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.

Thou shall not Fear?

As a person dealing with mental health issues, I often find teachings of the bible as a “you should do this and you should do that” or else you’re not a Christian. When I am faced with should and should nots, I feel a pressure to conform or else. Often times I find that preachers and teachers use a fear approach to get those to convert to God’s ways. In my struggle with depression and anxiety the people that have used fear are all about control. I am not saying that those who use fear don’t have the right motives behind what they are doing, but what I think is important to know is when you are dealing with people who suffer with constant fear already, adding more fear only alienates you more from being able to help them.

The Bible has 365 references that say, “do not fear”. One for each day of the year. Yet, the Bible also says to, “fear the Lord”. At first, I found this to be contradictor to each other. What is it that God is really trying to say? If you want my honesty, here it is…fearing God with every decision I make and every turn that I take has often led me to become a pile of shaking, nausea, don’t want to leave the house, and don’t want any responsibility in making any decisions kind of mess. Because the truth is, I do fear the Lord. I fear if I don’t act a certain way, I will lose my witness. If I don’t behave a certain way, God will take me out of this world and define me as useless. I fear if I teach and misquote anything, then I am wrong and God will be angry and will punish me with some life altering event to teach me a lesson. I fear if I can’t use my talents, God will take them away from me. I fear if I am not a good enough mother, wife, daughter, Christian, (virtuous women) I will suffer great lose and heartache and go to hell. These are things I have heard in sermons all my life and hear in everyday conversations about people who have suffering on a daily basis. It is all their fault because they have not feared and listened. They should have done this or should have done that. Another great truth is I cannot live this way and leave my house, let alone my bedroom. The constant fear and pressure to conform and act a particular way is not a reality I can or want to live in. So, how do I move forward?

First, I gain new ground, new perspective. When I read and study my Bible fear is not a tactic, I believe, God wants us to use to control others or ourselves. To control how we think, how fast we move toward a decision, how we should operate our daily lives. This I am most certain of, because if this was how God wanted my life to be controlled then it would come with great joy and happiness, because I know that when I am in God’s will, then I am experiencing true joy in my life. If I am not experiencing that joy and happiness then what I am doing and how I am processing is not in God’s will. So, what is the opposite of fear? LOVE! That is right, love is the opposite of fear. Not faith, not performance, not a should and should not list, but love.

1 John 4:8 “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”

 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”

I encourage you to go read the whole chapter of 1 John 4, and see how important love is to God. I believe that it is the most important thing to God. But these two verses stuck out to me. You see if God is love, and perfect love casteth out fear, then we can know that God does not desire us to live in fear of Him, but in awe of His love! God does not want us to fear what this life holds for use, because His love is stronger than anything else we may experience or go through. Ya’ll love is the key!

God create you! He loves you as you are. There are not stipulations to His love. It is free and all we have to do is accept it and believe it. Think about the love you have for someone. I think of the love I have for my children. There is not a battle I would not walk through, a sickness I would not take from them, time I would not give up to spend with them, sacrifices I would not make to let them know how much I love them. Now multiply that by 100. This is what God’s love would do for you. It will sacrifice his only son to be crucified for your wrong doings, it will never leave you nor forsake you no matter what, he will never hide from you, he will never forget you. Just like Elisha he will send out an army to rescue you from your darkest night. There is no distance He will not come to help you. God’s love is a love we cannot comprehend and will never find in this world.

I have seen the quote on pictures and key chains and such that say “faith over fear”, or “let your faith be bigger than your fear” and to be honest this makes my blood boil a little. Because it insinuates that if we only have enough faith then we would not be experiencing fear. It gives blame, where blame is not needed. All the amount of faith required for us to have is a mustard seed. The truth is we will experience fear in our life the same as we will experience anger, sadness, and happiness. It is part of our world that we live in and this world is not a fear free environment. What we can have hope in is that love is bigger than any fear we have. God’s love for us, his sacrifice of his only son, puts love at the top of the leader board in success. Love does not give us a do and do not list, or a should and should not list or else. Love does not say if only you do this or that then you deserve to be loved. Love is a free gift. A free gift we get from God and a free gift we give to others. So today go out and love that person who is struggling with mental health issues. Love yourself for the struggle you are facing. Let God’s love carry you through your moments of fear. Let your Love and God’s love for you be bigger than your fear! Love takes time and patience. The result, unlike fear, is a long-lasting result that produces joy. Most importantly hope! To fear God does not mean to be scared of Him and His power. To fear God is to be in awe of Him and the Love He has for us!

I Will Rescue You

by Lauren Daigle

How do you know when fear is running your life?

How do you know when fear is running your life? I don’t think running your life is the right word, but I am having one of those days that I just can’t seem to come up with the right words to get out what I want to say. I don’t think fear runs your life, but I do think that it consumes your thoughts, then from your thoughts into your decisions, then from your decisions to your actions. I think fear is a process. It’s like a seed being planted and your mind throws fertilizer and water on it. It starts out small and can escalate into something big. I also think there are those out there that have had such traumatic experiences that a person’s subconscious mind plunges them into a pit of fear at the first trigger of danger. It’s a defense mechanism the body automatically controls for you. I experience both kinds of episodes and it makes it really hard to calm my mind. To get my mind to slow down and concentrate on one thing.

When I first starting having panic episodes my family would say, “You need to get ahold of yourself.” All that did was bring on another wave of panic and make me feel alone. Getting ahold of myself IS the problem. I feel so out of control that the more I try to get in control the worse I become. Its more than me trying to control my emotions, it’s a knee jerk response my body plunges into at the first sign of a trigger. I think trying to figure out what a trigger is, is just as hard as calming my body down. So, I ask myself, not only what do you fear, what is danger in your mind? Most importantly, what is it in the last 24 hours that made your body kick into a defensive stance? You see, something happened yesterday that altered my mood. Instead of it being one thing, I think it was more than that.
Yesterday, I was telling someone about my blog and website. My excitement has had me running around smiling for weeks now. Everyday I feel more and more excited about this book God gave me to write. The conversations and post I have read give me hope that it will help others. Then this person (whom I will call Mo) said, “Well have you ever thought about podcast, because podcast is more popular than blogs right now.” I know Mo wasn’t trying to downplay all that I was doing at that time, but trying to encourage me to move forward and show me my options were endless. Mo continued to say, “I can see you sitting around talking freely about mental health and I think a lot of people would listen to it.” Mo was encouraging and trying to be helpful, but something in me didn’t take it that way. Ya’ll it took me 2 weeks to get my website together not including the 2 weeks before that it took me to create an author face book page, and Instagram page, a support group page. Then I am still trying to figure out how to connect them. Most troubling is managing them. I think all of the sudden I became overwhelmed with the possibilities. My mood went from living on a joyful note, to all the sudden being very unsure if I was doing the right thing. Did I just spend a month of my life wasting it on all the other media avenues when they are a dying source? The agonizing moments it took me of learning to make these pages and websites are they all for nothing?
Then, that afternoon I made a post on a support group, and got no response. I was instantly defeated. What’s the point? This is never gonna reach anyone, no one cares, and I am wasting my time. The thoughts kept coming and coming until I was on a train going nowhere but in circles. The cortisol started flowing and I am so alert everything is catching my attention and I am overwhelmed and my mind is racing. I needed to get off this train. So, I started telling myself that it was okay. I call it self-talk. Then I named off some other authors who didn’t get noticed in their first year of publishing a book. Let alone 1 book. It took them many books and time. I need to give it time. Most importantly, I needed to let God do it. There are so many things out of my control that I need to let loose and let God take this where He wants this to go. Not me. I needed to slow my mind down and listen. The best way to slow my mind down was to watch that train go by. Tell it I didn’t need the ride, because God’s coming with a Plane that will take me to places and sights, I can’t dream of. Most importantly I needed to believe this so it would stick. I remember a couple of my favorite verses and I am filled with hope.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose”

So how do I know when fear is planting a seed? For me, its when that train of thought comes and I struggle to let it go. Or, I am triggered by an event or situation and my body is in automatic response. It’s like being thrown on a fast-moving train without warning. Sometimes I am already on it and speeding down the tracks wide open before I know what’s going on. Instead of getting mad at myself, I do the opposite. I commend myself for recognizing it and I slowing get off the train with thoughts of what’s in front of me or thoughts of truth. For truth will set you free. I will definitely ride that train a few more times today before I lay my head down to try and rest. So, I will continue to get off that train with care. Care for my situation, care for my state of mind, and care with kind words and encouragement for myself. Before I know it, I will be concentrating on what’s in front of me and not on what I cannot control.

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, if ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

John 8:31-32