Tag: fear

Psalm 23… Again

My Shepherd sweet
Meets all my need,
In pastures green,
By quiet stream… Always.

He heals my soul,
Keeps my path whole,
All for the sake
Of His great name… Always.

Though death draw near,
I will not fear,
For You’re my guide,
Right by my side… Always.

Your staff and rod
Give strength, O God!
Provisions flow
Before my foe… Always.

Oil soaks my head.
Your blessings spread,
My cup to fill
To over spill… Always.

Your goodness and
Your mercy stand…
No matter where,
They’ll meet me there… Always.

And I’ll exist,
In You subsist,
Your secret place,
Your house of grace… Always.

Posted on LinkedIn as a response to a recommendation to read

I’m a pretty avid reader (think 3-5 books a week), and I have been since I was five years old. The thing that trips me up about that is that I have found my time consumed by books that DON’T MATTER in the grand scheme of things, primarily because my favorite reading material is sci-fi/fantasy with mystery/thriller/action books a close second. Those things are just stories about fictional characters, and it’s just another kind of addiction/method of escapism. I know this. I have known this for years and years.

I do read non-fictional books as well, although not as many. 98% of those are Christian in nature. When I do read those, I find God speaking to me in a lot of different ways… but even those have not helped me as much as the people recommending those books thought that they would, or that I thought they would (help me, that is).

What I have found, though, is that reading the scripture gives me an almost tangible sense that God is breathing new life into me. Even if it’s something I’ve read repeatedly hundreds of times in my life time (Psalm 23 for example). When I’m desperate for a touch from the Lord, I don’t pick up a book that some really anointed (no sarcasm at all here!) spiritual leader has written. I do go back to the basics and reread the book of Genesis, or Isaiah, or various Psalms, or the gospels, or some of Paul’s letters, or even Revelation (especially when I need hope).

I realize the value in reading, and it is a sorely neglected skill. DO read. Do read recommended books. Maybe something that spoke to the person making the recommendation will speak to you. But first and foremost, READ THE BIBLE. It was my favorite storybook when I was a child, and that’s exactly how I think people forget to read it. We’re always looking for something from God in a verse that we want to speak to us, relevant to our situation. We’re usually studying it to dig out deeper meanings or to find support for things we feel God has put on our hearts.

How often, though, do we just sit down and simply read HIS story? It’s the story of His glory… how often He showed up and moved or spoke or breathed into a situation and changed that situation by simply being there. If you can just take it in, over and over again, then without even intending to do so by human effort, you will find yourself hiding His word in your heart.

Today was one of those days when I woke up flat on my back and couldn’t get up. I couldn’t do anything but lay there and cry for a few hours. But when I talked to the Lord, the scriptures whispered back to me. When I said, “I can’t handle this, Lord,” He said, “My grace is sufficient.” When I thought of how dark my life looks right now, Psalm 23 wandered through my heart: “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me. Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.” When I just wanted to scream that despair was overwhelming me, I heard, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for…” Even now, I keep hearing, “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? Of whom shall I be afraid?”

Reading matters. Reading the Word matters even more–not just to obtain something for a sermon or a song, not just to find an answer for an argument against Christianity, not just to find something that speaks to us when we’re looking for answers, but just because IT’S GOD’S WORD. When we know it well, He DOES use it to speak back to us when we need it, and He can use it to speak through us for someone else’s benefit in song, sermon, or just daily conversation.

Hope this has been helpful for someone.

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

1And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Out With The Old Stuff

You confuse me.
Some days you act so belligerent and angry.
Then before I realize what’s happening,
You treat me with civility and courtesy.
It leaves my head spinning and
My insides churning because
I never know what to expect.
I don’t understand you at all.
 
I don’t think I ever will, if the truth be told.
I can only be grateful for the peaceful moments,
Let go and forgive the angry ones, and
Be thankful I am no longer with you…
I only count the moments now
Until the kids are grown and I can
Let it all go behind me with the rest
Of the clouded confusion and anger.
 
In the meanwhile,
Today only reminds me again
How deep this old wound is
To still make me shiver with fear,
Then tense with angry, runaway thoughts
Of all the imbalances and inequalities
I still have to endure at your hand,
Whether politely or otherwise.
 
Dear Jesus, help me breathe again–
Out with the old stuff and unforgiveness,
In with all Your grace and mercy,
Remembering that what You gave to me,
I must give to others.

Within Your Love

Pressing in to You I find
A peace I can’t explain.
Although I’ll never understand,
Your rest surrounds me
With a sense of absolute trust.
The turmoil within and without
Slips away to a distant place,
And a solidness settles me down…

Words just aren’t enough to describe
You circumambient to me.
I feel secure and safe
Like a babe in the womb.
Fear, worry, anger, frustration, confusion
Cannot touch me through
The filter of Your very Present Spirit.
O Lord, what blessing compares
When You enfold me within Your love.

Shadows On The Water

I stand, anger in hand, covered in
The tattered remains of my self-worth.
The futility of banging my fist against
The stone wall of another’s hostility and unforgiveness
Leaves me breathless and beaten and worn,
Wondering when, or if, things will change.
No matter how big the anger or
How hard the beating,
Things remain the same, or nearly so,
That they have always been.
The rebounding of my fistful of wrath
Only bruises my soul and batters my spirit.

Somewhere in the dark realms,
A part of me is screaming for release
From the bonds of my own unforgiveness.
God knows I have tried to let things go,
To feel, to work through, to release anger…
But the more I let go of, the more I find,
Until I am foundering and gasping for air.
People tell me, and I have heard it
Many times before, that I must find healing,
That I must feel, and work through, and let go of
All the anger inside of me.

I have wept repentance repeatedly.
I have cried forgiveness over and over again.
I have prayed for healing and deliverance and release.
I have given all I know how to give of myself
Toward this fantastical end-goal of wholeness.
A lifetime of habitual grieving for the loss of
More than I can bear to think of, takes its toll.
I am blind and cannot see, deaf and cannot hear,
Lame and cannot walk even one more step
Down this road of hardship and struggle,
But the frustrating part is that
I have given up before.
So, how many times must I die like this
Before some freedom comes?

I cry to You, O Lord,
Yet still the wicked triumph over me.
I fight with shadows on the water.
How long, my God, must I wait for help?
Hope escapes me, despair overwhelms me, and
I am a stupid, helpless child again,
Waiting for some sign of salvation to come.
Sometimes all I can see is futility.
I cannot even see You these days.
I affect a façade of calmness and peace
In some vain effort to make it so—
Despite my feelings of panic and fear.
Tomorrow… I wonder, will it happen?
All that I dread hangs waiting in the wings,
Weighting the balance of my emotions
Toward the expectation of loss.

What more can I say?
This, I feel. This, I despise about myself:
These feelings of anger, despair, and hopelessness
Make me feel foolish in the face of truth.
Truth is that You are…
That You are good and just and merciful.
Your patience is endless and
My impatience is fruitless.
So, while all that I feel stacks up into a mountain,
Your TRUTH is the snow that covers it,
Smoothing all the jagged edges that hurt me
Into a great, white blanket of hope.

Even though I feel so much,
I stand silenced by magnificence and
I say with Job,
“I have uttered what I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know…
I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
But now my eye sees You.
Therefore I abhor myself,
And repent in dust and ashes.?
Healing will come and the anger will go,
Though I do not know how or when.
Still, I choose to trust You again and
Release my struggles with watery shadows
Into Your graceful hands.
Once more, O LORD, I say,
“You… are… my… God!?

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