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Monday, July 27, 2009

Fearless- More than a Feeling

I am sure at some point in your life you tried to imagine you were blind. You may have even taken just a few steps with your eyes closed and if you were like me you became totally disoriented in a matter of moments.

It is so unnatural for us to walk without looking where we are going isn’t it? But when we read 2 Corinthians 5:7 it is precisely what Paul is instructing us to do, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

We are still in our series regarding fear and I am sharing with you some of the tools and weapons I used to fight my way out of paralyzing fear; the Word, prayer and now faith.

When going through this difficult time in my life, I took this scripture in 2 Corinthians and stood on it but I also would tell myself, yes I am walking by faith and not by sight, but I am also walking by faith and not by how I feel.

This is huge when you are battling anxiety and fear because the symptoms you experience are so physical. Your heart races, blood pressure rises, hands become clammy and your chest feels like a 20lb bowling ball is resting on top of it.

So as I went through every day I had to tell myself, I am walking by faith and not how I feel, because I felt like I was going to have a heart attack at any given moment.

It was at this point that my faith had to be stronger than my fear.

As I counsel with people, one of the first things I share with them regarding breaking the stronghold of fear in their life is no matter how you feel, remember, you are walking by faith.

You see, the enemy will use how you are feeling to make you think you are no closer to your freedom. He will infect you with these thoughts, because I am feeling all these physical symptoms, because my thoughts are being constantly bombarded with negative things, because I am struggling with depression, therefore I must be losing ground. Lies. Lies. Lies.

Those are the moments I had to vehemently remind myself and the enemy, I AM WALKING BY FAITH AND NOT HOW I FEEL.

And pretty soon what I felt was no longer fear but peace.

Whatever you are going through right now, even if it is something different than the paralyzing fear I encountered, you have no need to worry. God has already conquered fear and death and gives you and me the complete and full assurance that nothing can pluck us out of His mighty hand.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

Take everyday one faith step at a time and it will not be long before you too will come out on the other side. There you will find peace, rest and joy. And you will definitely have a faith that is stronger than any fear.

Blinded by faith,

Tina

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fearless- The Word

Three out of four people suffer from an extreme fear of public speaking. These last few posts are not necessarily dealing with a fear of common things such as standing in front of a group and delivering a speech, fear of rejection or passing a test. The fear I encountered was a much deeper and a completely paralyzing fear. If you're joining this series of blogs midstream, you can scroll down to read the two previous posts.

What I dealt with was a tormenting fear: a fear of death, major loss and a lack of peace in every sense of the word.

As I stated last week the enemy had engaged me in a battle and I had to fight if I was going to survive. But I did not just want to survive I wanted to win. So I used the weapon of prayer and I used the weapon of the Word.

When you read about the armor of God, every piece of it is defensive keeping you from incurring an injury: helmet, shield, breastplate, etc. The only one that is offensive, the only piece of the armor you use to fight back and defeat your enemy is the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6).

Why do we use the Word? Hebrews 4:12 tells us why, because it is alive, it is powerful, it is quick and it is sharper than any two-edged sword. Just reading the Word gives you strength and encouragement. But that’s not all it will do, it will defeat your enemy because the Word cannot return void (Isaiah 55:11). Which means that it WILL, it HAS to complete its mission.

These are just a few of the scriptures I quoted daily and used to fight my fear:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation. Psalm 91:1-16

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, In this I will be confident. Psalm 27:3

Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Psalm 46:2

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." Romans 8:15

There is power in prayer and there is definitely power in the Word; power to comfort, power to inspire, power to live... and power to fight. Use them!

Everyday I filled my mind and my heart with the Word. Remember it is alive so everytime you speak it or read it you are inhaling life. Darkness and light cannot live in the same house, therefore, the more you fill yourself up with the Word of God the less ground the enemy has to stand on.

Oh, I pray if you are engaged in this battle today that you would not give up. That you would stand on the word of the Lord and see your salvation! (2 Chronicles 20:17)

You can win it... even if you don't feel like you can. This I will dive into next post.

Again, you can do all things through Him who empowers you! Philippians 4:13

TINA

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fearless- Prayer

Today I want to share one of the three main tools I used to defeat the enemy and overcome my paralyzing fear, and for me it was truly paralyzing.

As I shared in my last post, I was inundated with feelings of doom, death and defeat. These feelings literally led me to a four walled prison called my home. The only place I could go other than my home was church. And even that was very difficult for me.

I spent most of my days freaked out and balled up on the floor in the corner of my bed room. Just thinking back to these times and how imprisoned I was, not just in my home, but in my mind makes me appreciate the freedom I now walk in even more.

But my victory did not come without hard work and fighting on my part and one of my main weapons was prayer.


Listen to the words of David in Psalm 55:


Listen to my prayer, O God.
Do not ignore my cry for help!
Please listen and answer me,
for I am overwhelmed by my troubles.
My enemies shout at me,
making loud and wicked threats.
They bring trouble on me
and angrily hunt me down.

My heart pounds in my chest.
The terror of death assaults me.
Fear and trembling overwhelm me,
and I can’t stop shaking.


David has found himself in a situation that is overwhelming him with fear. In the New Testament we see even Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane overwhelmed to the point of sweating great drops of blood.


But in both of these situations, prayer becomes the guiding force in their lives. In the darkness of fear and doubt, prayer is like the rays of the sun. It penetrates even the darkest day by linking us with the hope and glory of the God of all power who loves and is caring for us in our most desperate of times.


When we pray we are not informing God of our situation. He knows what are needs are even before we ask (Matthew 6:8).


We pray to invite God into our lives and our situations.


I could not destroy the chains of bondage in my life alone so I called on the only One who had all power and all authority.


But I did not just pray, I did not just say words, I prayed with desperation. James 5:15 says The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.


It’s amazing how your prayer life will change when you are in the middle of a battle. You hear so many times of soldiers getting close to God, praying out to God and reading God’s word when they are in the midst of a battle. Why? Because no matter how many guns hang at their side, no matter how many tanks are rolling beside them, they know God and only God is their true protecter and deliverer.


In my three months of battle I knew I needed God on my side fighting with me. Prayer was one of my major weapons then and it is still a major weapon in my life today!


Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. Mark 11:24

Pray. Believe. Then you will recieve.

Tina




Monday, July 13, 2009

Fearless

I have really never been afraid of much in my life except of those things that are very natural for us to fear: snakes, spiders, jumping off a 20 story building with a glorified rubber band tied to my ankles. You get the picture.

But December 22, 1999 that all changed. I was on my way to meet a friend for lunch on one of the most pristine of days when I was instantly overwhelmed with the feeling of impending doom. Needless to say, I did not even entertain the thought of going into the restaurant where I met my friend. Instead I turned around and drove back home as fast as I could.

That was the first day of a three month journey that changed my life forever.

I have a friend that is going through a similar situation right now. The enemy is using people to almost destroy every area of her family’s life and livelihood which would bring fear to even the strongest of us. I shared with her this past weekend that God takes everything the enemy is trying to destroy us with and makes it turn out for our GOOD. She knows this, I knew this in 1999, but it became not just something I knew, but a reality that I experienced.

I shared with her that had I not experienced what I did those three long months I would NOT be the person I am today. And that is a fact. God took what the enemy was trying to destroy me with (fear) and used it to catapult me into my purpose and destiny.

In a series of blogs this week and maybe the next, I want to share with you my journey and how the Lord forever changed me and delivered me. I wrote a status on my Facebook a few days ago that said God is more interested in changing me than He is changing my circumstances. And boy was I ever changed. But as I was changing, my circumstances too were changing.

There are so many details to my journey that I hope I can remember them all and get them written in these blogs but one of the first things I did was realize the enemy does not attack without a good reason.

When a country attacks another it is not because they are bored and want to engage in war and possibly lose a few lives. They engage in battle because they feel threatened.

Therefore if the enemy has engaged me in a battle it is because he is very afraid of ME! That, along with many other things I will dive into later, gave me the fortitude to not lie down and let him win. Obviously there was something in me, whether I saw it or not, that he was terrified of. And I liked that.

Before I end today I want us to read Ephesians 6:13-18:

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand, stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

The soldier portrayed in the passage is not a warrior flailing wildly at an enemy he cannot see and doesn’t understand. But one that stands tall in the confidence that he has all the protection and weaponry he needs to meet any attack of the evil one. He is alert. And he prays for all the saints that they might be so equipped as he.

If you are feeling ill equipped today, I pray that as I share with you the weapons I used they too would become the same weapons you use to defeat the enemy.

So, if you are experiencing fear right now, know that the enemy is attacking you only because he is afraid of you. There is greatness and destiny in you he wants to get his grimy hands on and destroy. BUT... Greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world (1 John 4:4)! You are more than an overcomer through Christ Jesus (Romans 8:37)! And God has not given you the spirit of fear, but Power, Love and a Well Balanced Mind (2 Timothy 1:7)!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, makes me Fearless!

Tina