From Fear To Faith

Frightened and stressed young business womanI’m not generally a fearful person. I know what it’s like to be afraid. I’ve never had my life threatened by another individual. I have almost been in some bad automobile accidents. I have been in storms where I was somewhat afraid. As the leader of my household, I always try to appear confident and unafraid. I remember one particular evening a couple of years ago when we were camping by the lake and a fierce storm came across the lake. There was high winds, rain, hail and lightening. Our camper is a 5th wheel so it’s strong and heavy. We had a tree limb fall on the top of the camper and another fall through the awning. I wasn’t paralyzed by fear, but I was sure nervous. The storm seemed to come out of nowhere.

Jesus taught His disciples in depth after the crowds had gone. He would further explain His teachings and the parables that He used. One particular evening, He and His disciples were going by boat to the other side of the lake when a strong storm came upon them. The waves were huge and the winds were loud. Check this out…

38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

39 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!” (Mark 4:38-41 NLT)

I love this passage in the life of Jesus and His disciples. I can relate to being afraid of a storm. The storms are a part of our climate and the world we live in – that was created by God. I’ve never rebuked a storm. I have prayed for safety in the storm. I have prayed for the Lord to calm the storm.  Today we have the technology via radar to see the storm coming. Meteorologists can measure the storm. They can predict with amazing accuracy, the timing of a storm and the different characteristics of the storm. Meteorologist don’t make the storm and can’t stop the storm. When I’m talking to the Lord about the storm, I’m talking to the One Who is over the storm.

In my life, I’ve had plenty of storms. I don’t always navigate them with great faith. I’ve learned that the storms of my life are a lot like the storm that scared the disciples. I need to talk to the One Who can calm the storm with His word. I need His help calming my spirit in the midst of the storm. My faith has grown through my fears over the years, because He has used my fear as a teachable moment. My fear can result in faith when I give it to the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Stop

Stop HandI’ve grown up knowing exactly what a Stop sign means. I also learned the silly phrase that makes the word STOP an acronym after I started driving. Someone told me the word “Stop” on the sign meant “Step Toe On Pedal” or “Squeal Tires On Pavement”. The dictionary says, “Stop means to cause an action or activity to end”. I’ve learned to stop what I’m doing and be present when one of my agents/friends needs me. I also need to learn to stop and notice things that if I’m going too fast, I might miss. Mac Davis, a singer songwriter back in the 70’s had a song that I learned as a kid called: “Stop and Smell The Roses”. The song reminded me to notice things around me every day and do not take life for granted.

Balaam was a character in the Old Testament that on one hand seemed to follow the Lord’s leading. He also liked the prestige of being sought out by kings and princes. The Lord spared him by using a donkey to stop him. Check this out.

26 Then the angel of the Lord moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat it with his staff. 28 Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?’

29 Balaam answered the donkey, ‘You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you here and now.’

30 The donkey said to Balaam, ‘Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?’

‘No,’ he said.

31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell face down. (Numbers 22:26-31 NIV)

There are times that The Lord says, “Stop”. He doesn’t always give an explanation to His instruction. I have learned over the years that He’s looking out for my best interest and me when He tells me to stop. I remember a friend of mine who barely missed a flight that he was trying to make only to learn later that the flight had crashed and everyone on board died. I think that there are times when the Lord closes a door for my protection. I need to notice when the Lord is saying “stop” or “slow down”. There could very well be a reason why He’s directing my path. I don’t want to be so “hard headed” or “hard-of-hearing” that He has to use a donkey to speak to me.

My journey with the Lord really requires me to listen to His Spirit speaking into my heart and prompting to do or not do certain things. His Spirit will actually shape my words and my activity if I will learn to listen and let The Lord lead. Today I want to listen to the Lord today as He directs my path and also guards my steps.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Just Stop

Stop HandI’ve been told to stop doing something and in my stubbornness, I will keep on.

I’ve been asked to stop doing something and I might actually stop.

If a person in authority tells me or asks me to stop doing something, I should comply immediately. If I don’t comply there are consequences. For example, a TSA agent at the airport tells me stay in line as I go through the scanner and I disregard him, I will be in big trouble.

Ezekiel tells a parable about two sisters who were representing two different peoples – Samaria & Jerusalem. The Lord explains through this parable how important it is to stop their bad behavior themselves or He will put a stop to it. Check this out…

27 So I will put a stop to the lewdness and prostitution you began in Egypt. You will not look on these things with longing or remember Egypt any more.

28 ‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am about to deliver you into the hands of those you hate, to those you turned away from in disgust. (Ezekiel 23:27-28 NIV)

 

There are times when I am doing something wrong that I need to stop immediately. I should “cease & desist” from that activity. As I follow the Lord and listen to Him speak into my heart, I know that there are things I should do and things I shouldn’t do. When He prompts me to stop some particular behavior, I should listen and obey. This is often easier said than done, but I should do it anyway – just stop.

Pressing On!

Dwayne