What’s Stopping You? – A Devotion

What's Stopping YOu

I John 4:16-18 (NLT)

We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the Day of Judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.

 

I live in a house of jokesters. Real comedians or so they think. My husband for years has tried to scare me hiding behind doors, around the corner, or in a dark room ready to pounce the minute I walk in. He gets a real kick out of me jumping, screaming and sometimes turning around to punch him as hard as I can. Now as luck would have it, our youngest is following in her dad’s footsteps and now thinks it hilarious to do the same thing. A child who cannot be silent for a solid minute will literally hide quietly for an hour just to scare the dickens out of her unsuspecting dad. If he jumps, snorts, grunts or even yelps slightly (because God forbid he ever yell out or scream), she dissolves into laughter. She has hid under the bed to grab her sister’s foot at the risk of life or limb. She loves to scare people. A regular chip off the old block, I have limited her terror to her father only since he likes to play the same game. The irony is that this very same child has struggled being afraid of the nighttime ever since she was a very small child. She is not scared of the dark obviously and for her victims, one would only hope. But rather she is afraid of being alone. We have prayed over her and with her reminding her continuously that God loves her, Jesus is with her and that the Holy Spirit lives in her. Sometimes that isn’t enough for her…and obviously for us either.

Perfect love expels all fear. Living in God our love grows more perfect and so we should live fearlessly in the Light of His Love. But we don’t. In fact, for the majority of believers this is where we lose our way. The enemy hides behind the next corner of life and when he jumps out to scare us – we jump, run and hide rather than standing boldly in God’s Love. I fall for it just like you. God has laid some things on my heart for the coming year that are quite extensive. It will require my time and energy. It will take a lot of discipline on my part. I know it’s the Lord because as I get closer to taking on this challenge, I am not my usual take charge like a bull in a china shop self. The Lord laid on this on my heart so it’s His Plan not mine. It will take me out of my comfort zone which no one likes and it will require change. The same is true of fasting. When I decide that I want to go on a diet to lose ten pounds, I make up my mind and do it. The enemy doesn’t come in and try to scare me out of it but is overjoyed that I am self-focused and self-motivated so my attention is on me at that time. It’s not a bad thing. I am just no threat to his kingdom of darkness when I am dieting. But now let’s call a fast, and my flesh gets all crazy. I dread it. Fear it. Don’t want to do it. All of a sudden, I am filled with fear and anxiety. The enemy is knocking on my heart. He wants to stop this nonsense and limit God’s Power in my life. Our love affair with Jesus Christ should produce a confidence that eradicates fear from our life. If we still have fear in our life, we have not fully experienced His Perfect Love.

John 16:31-33 (NLT)

Jesus asked, “Do you finally believe? But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

 

Do you finally believe? No really do you? I have to ask myself this all the time. I have gone through five cancer treatments and a bone marrow transplant with our son. I can tell you with complete honesty that I have had the Peace of God throughout. When God told me that our son would live and not die, I had to believe Him. The world has offered no such confidence in their diagnoses and prognoses concerning his life. Only God has pronounced “life” over our child. I had to move all of me into the refuge of His Love to make it through the last three years of my life without completely falling apart or breaking down. So when fear came calling concerning the changes that I am committed to making in 2015, imagine my surprise when I became completely overcome by fear. This feeling was foreign to me. I felt trapped. I could feel hopelessness looming. My heart was beating so loud in my chest I could hear it with my own ears. Suddenly as if a loud voice called me to attention, everything stopped and the emotional crises and overload fell silent. The Holy Spirit had enough and that’s when I realized I had fallen for it again. Dang it! Just like when my husband jumps out from behind something to scare me, and inwardly I berate myself because I should know better. This life will have trials, sorrows and tests. It is all about growing our faith and confidence in God’s Love. Fear is evidence that we are moving in the right direction as the enemy tries to scare us from knowing and living in the Perfect Love of God.

Romans 8:14-16 (NLT)

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.

I am a Child of the Living God. How many times do I forget that God’s Presence in my life is not manipulative but motivated by pure and unfailing love like I have never known before? That is why we do not trust the Lord with all our life. We have a reserve just in case something falls through. God is moving me in a new direction to bless me. It is taking me out of my comfort zone because I have to trust Him. I want the very best for my family so why is it so difficult to believe that God wants only the very best for me. I am His Child. I have His Spirit inside of me that comes up with all these crazy ideas. His Spirit must become with my spirit by faith and total trust so that I can live like I believe that nothing and no one can ever separate me from His Great Love. The details of my life are not so much about what goes on in the natural as they are in the supernatural. I must believe that His Love for me is real. I must believe that nothing can separate me from His Love. I must believe that God is always good concerning me. Why must I believe? To live fearlessly in His Love. “No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)

2 Timothy 1:6-8 (NLT)

This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News.

 

God did not give you fear. He has not given us a spirit of fear or timidity. When this feeling comes over us, it should raise a red flag in our spirit that the enemy is at work. My daughter is afraid of being alone. This seems ridiculous considering she has always lived in a full house with both parents and four siblings. Yet when the lights go out and she “feels” alone, the enemy begins to work on her tender heart and innocent emotions. We are all a lot like my daughter with our own little fears locked away. I have made no secret that I am on a mission in 2015 to simplify my life. I always thought that I was a minimalist by nature but nothing could be further from the truth. I am a survivor by nature. But I am called to be a thriver so God is calling me out. I decided to reduce the number of clothes in my overstuffed closet. I began removing every article of clothing that did not fit or that I have not worn in a year or more. I was reduced to tears at the revelation that even though I thought I had nothing to wear, that I could have clothed our entire neighborhood quite nicely. Why? Why all the stuff? When I was a child, our family went through a season of lack when I didn’t have the clothes to wear to school. Kids made fun of me. They can be so cruel. Not to mention, when I did have was threadbare from continuous wear and always smelled like cigarette smoke. I believe that part of my closet problem was from the fear that if I could not buy clothes I would have them. Not anymore. God has given us a spirit of power, love and self-discipline. Not to promote ourselves, but His Kingdom. As His Children, we live in God’s Love and Abundance when we learn to live by faith and not in fear. There are hidden fears lurking in our heart and life hindering us from having all that God desires to give us and do all that He has called us to do. We must allow these things to be exposed and removed from our life. This takes a whole lot of faith because most of the time we can’t see where we are going until we let go of where we have been including the baggage, emotions and yes, fears associated with past seasons. We must fan the flames of faith, trust, and confident hope in God’s Love for us. When we do so, we will learn to never be ashamed to tell others about the Lord.

I Corinthians 9:26-27 (NLT)

So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

 

My walk with Jesus Christ is just that comprised of putting one foot in front of the other and following Him step by step. Some are easy and some are really, really hard. The enemy wants to paralyze us in fear to keep us from where our faith is taking us. (Psalm 143:3-6) It is his most effective weapon against our faith. Fear disqualifies our faith. It makes it unworthy of our message. When our talk does not line up with our walk, why would anyone want to follow you or believe in Christ? We must decide to make every step count and fight fear every single day of our life. Fear puts all the power over our life in the control of another. This could be fear of people or fear associated with money or anything else that challenges our faith in the Lord to overcome or God’s Love for us. (Psalm 118:5-6) FEAR is sometimes described as “false evidence appearing real.” Your greatest fear can become your greatest victory in Jesus Christ. Overcoming fear is the way that we increase our faith. Faith makes all things possible. It is impossible to please our Father without it.

Hebrews 4:1 (NLT)

God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it.

 

Fear keeps us from resting in the Promises of God for our life. It is the number one thing that hinders our faith from working in our life to produce the benefits and blessings of being God’s Beloved Children. I hate it when fear gets to me. I know better, but in my human weakness the enemy preys. The only fear that we should ever have is that we do not enter God’s Rest. Each step we take by faith is one step closer to God’s Best for our life. It is always a step in the right direction whether we run, walk, crawl, or fall. The Lord is our helper. He is with us every step of the way. Fear is self-inflicted. We must eradicate it from our life with the only thing that will kill it which is faith in God, His Love, His Power, His Grace and His Mercy. God loves us. He wants the very best for us. We have nothing to fear when we put our whole life in the nail-scarred Hands of our Precious Savior. What’s stopping you today from doing what God has called you to do? Why aren’t you overcoming like Jesus said you would? It is probably fear. God’s Promise of His Rest still stands even if you have fallen into the same trap of fear, anxiety and worry again. It’s called His Love. You can still have it. By faith, all things are immediately possible again! The very best way to overcome fear is to rediscover God’s Perfect Love! It casts out all fear leading us to victory after victory! Nothing can stop us now!

Hebrews 13:1-6 (NLT)

Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies. Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery. Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”

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