Healing From The Heartache of Rejection

so-sad-2551808_960_720There is a way out of the pain.

Feeling accepted goes beyond just something we all would like to experience; it’s a basic human need. Rejection shrinks us, tempting us to pull back from others. It can cause us to seek isolation to prevent further rejection. It tempts us to become invisible so others won’t see our perceived failures and weaknesses. It has the potential to keep us from our destinies. Rejection can be like a contagious virus, infecting everyone it comes into contact with. It ricochets back and forth between people like a cruel game of catch. Rejection is one of those emotions that not only could be described as extremely painful, but a place of agony. Continue reading

What does it mean to be given a spirit of power?

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“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Have you ever read a scripture a hundred times, then suddenly you come to understand it on a whole new level? Today was one of those times for me. I wasn’t even looking for it, and there it was.

First of all, let’s lay some groundwork. We as human beings are made up of body, soul and spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:23) Our spirit has been given power. The Greek word for this power is dunamis. It means ” (miraculous) power, might, strength.”    It is a miraculous power, given by God, to His children.  This power enables His church to perform marvelous works and is, in itself, a miracle. Strong’s concordance suggests that this power energizes us with physical power. It gives us the ability to achieve all that He calls us to do with strength. It implies possessing force that gives us the ability to produce a desired result. This power enables us as believers to be powerful and effective in this world, having an ability to be productive and successful in what God has gifted us to do.

Ephesians 1:18-20 says,

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms…”

The same Greek word for power (dunamis) is used to describe both the power that raised Christ from the dead and the miraculous power that has now entered our spirits!

What are the implications of this scripture? When the world, or our flesh or the evil one tries to convince us that we just don’t have it in us to accomplish what God asks us to do, we have a sword of truth we can pull out…

“For God gave us a spirit, not of fear, but of power…”

Dunamis is a miraculous power that energizes; it gives us the strength to produce the desired result we are called to. This miraculous power raised Christ from the dead! It was unstoppable! Even death could not overcome it.

Here’s the deal; I want to offer one disclaimer. Accomplishing our calling does not mean that we will never suffer. It doesn’t mean we’ve become immortal.  Hebrews 11 is full of examples of God’s people who, while victoriously accomplishing the call on their lives, still at times suffered. We are no different. Victory in God’s eyes isn’t necessarily success in the world’s eyes. This power from God has been entrusted to God’s people to accomplish God’s purposes on this earth. When we walk in it, we will bear fruit for His kingdom, enabling us to one day hear those precious words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

In His name we overcome,

Arlene

 

Overcoming the spirit of slumber

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How To Overcome The Chronic Fatigue It Causes

“As it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear; unto this day.” Romans 11:8

The fatigue came on slowly at first. I didn’t really stop long enough to see what was happening. It was so mild that it didn’t really catch my attention. Like a foggy mist, it had silently crept in. As the fatigue grew stronger, I just dug down deeper into my own determination to keep going. One day I remember feeling exhausted as I came in from gardening. I remember in that moment stopping and asking myself why I did it. Why work so hard? Surely the weariness would let up if I would just slow down. So I did. But when I yielded to the weariness it only grew stronger. Continue reading

What are strongholds and How To Be Set Free From Them

hand-in-chainsA stronghold is a false argument that rises up as a defensive wall behind which a person seeks to find a safe place to escape from the reality of the problems they are facing.

Strongholds form as a result of deciding what we consider weighty or powerful. If there is something or someone that we perceive to be bigger or more powerful than God, then God by default is lowered in our estimation. Since God is seen as unable or unwilling to defend against that which we feel threatened by, we will seek to erect our own “safe place.” When we do this, we often subconsciously come to the conclusion that we need to protect ourselves from God and cut ourselves off from the One True Protector; instead we wall ourselves in with lies that Satan uses to lie, steal and destroy with. Continue reading

Rebuilding on the ruins of our lives

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How God can use the most devastating moments of our lives to change the world

As I write this post, my husband and I are climbing the shore of Lake Superior…climbing rather than strolling because we’re not walking on a smooth sandy beach. We’re hiking over huge boulders, driftwood and slabs of cement intertwined with rebar…echoes of the past mixed in with the realities of the present. The cement and rebar remind me of the storms of life that can crash in on a person, leaving what we have worked so hard to build lying in a heap of ruins. Those ruins can be hard to look at, because they remind us of the pain we felt in the midst of those storms.

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10 Tips for Overcoming Fear and Anxiety

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Fear is a tormenting emotion, and if you struggle in this area, you know what I’m talking about. It has the potential to cause us to walk away from engaging in life and keep us from being all we were created to be. If we allow it to rule over us, our world will become smaller and smaller until we have shut out much of what God wants to bless us with. The more control we hand over to fear, the more it will be empowered to steal from us.  It consumes. It drives. It steals sleep and drives us down paths we never thought we’d go. Fear can cause us to hide from God, from others and even from our true selves.

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Discerning between gossip and problem-solving

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“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21

We’ve all done it. We’ve found ourselves caught up in conversations that we weren’t proud of, and someone else got hurt. Whether they knew it or not, their reputation had taken a hit, and the damage was done. Trying to undo that damage would be like trying to recover a basket of feathers thrown to the wind. If you’re like me, you may have found yourself asking, “Where does problem-solving end and gossip begin?” Or “How do I do life with ANYONE if I can’t discuss the problems at hand?” How do we discern the difference between problem-solving and gossip?  Here are some questions to ask yourself before talking negatively about someone:

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Choosing unity over division

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Division.  It seems to be hitting us on every level; national, regional, and individual. It has the potential to steal what is precious to us if we yield to it. Division can separate us from those we love the most; it can take down cities, corporations and nations if left unchecked. There are a few things I wish I’d known sooner in life about division that could have saved a lot of heartache:

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Fear of man and fear of God

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Have you ever found yourself distracted by other people’s opinions of you, afraid of their disapproval? Recently I found myself dealing with some dealing with some anxiety over a situation and began to suspect that fear of man was the root of it. In my search to understand the topic, I learned that this fear can mean to be afraid or intimidated, but it can also mean to revere or respect. Scripture gives us some markers we can use to know whether we fear God or fear man:

Markers that indicate agreement with fear of man/lack of fearing God:

  1. Decisions motivated by the approval of people. What we fear reveals who we love and whose approval matters most to us. In an article entitled, Lay aside the fear of man|Desiring God, {9.16.16} author Jon Bloom explains it this way: “The person(s) to whom we ascribe most authority — to define who we are, what we’re worth, what we should do, and how we should do it — is the person(s) we fear the most, because it is the person(s) whose approval we want most. God designed us this way, for it reveals who and what our heart loves.” See also 1 Samuel 15:24
  2. Taking Flight when the heat is on can also indicate when fear of man is present. Examples of this would be when Elijah (normally a man of great courage) ran from Queen Jezebel (1 Ki 19:1-3) or when the Israelite army ran from Goliath. (1 Samuel 17:23-24)
  3. Passivity when doing the right thing would require action.
  4. Mistreating others, exploiting their weaknesses/handicaps (Lev. 19:14), taking advantage of others because you can, (Lev. 25:15) treating subordinates ruthlessly (Lev. 25:43) or withholding kindness from a friend in distress (Job 6:14).
  5. Tolerating controlling behavior in our relationships
    • Allowing others who do not have God-given authority in your life to act as if they do (posturing authority) (1 Sam. 15:24)
    • Allowing someone who does hold a legitimate position of authority in your life to over-step. When this is the case, there is a breakdown of mutual respect and healthy boundaries.  In Esther 3:5 we see Haman attempting to control Mordecai, (demanding that he bow down to Haman) but Mordecai refused because he feared God rather than man.

Markers of agreement with the Fear of God:

  1. Decisions are motivated by approval from God rather than people. Examples would be the midwives who refused to obey the King’s command to kill the newborn Israelite babies (Exodus 1:17-21)and Queen Esther going before the King in order to save her people at the risk of her own life. (Esther 4:15-16)
  2. Finding refuge in God (Psalm 31:19-20; 55:19;61:5) The reality that everyone needs refuge at times seems to be assumed in scripture. Not only do these individuals recognize their need for a refuge, but they tended to verbally express their need to God.
  3. Obeying God’s commands, even in the face of danger. (Eccl. 12:13-14, Job 1:9)
  4. Hating evil (Job 1:9)
  5. Idols in your life have been cast down (2 Kings 17:33-37)
  6. Treating others with justice and honor (Lev. 25:17; 19:14;25:35)

How to come out of agreement with Fear of man:

  1. Repent if you have allowed the fear of others’ reactions keep you from obeying God.
  2. Forgive those who have intimidated, threatened or harmed you.
  3. When you need courage to face your fears, tell God how you feel. Ask Him for the courage you need.
  4. Do the right thing even if you’re afraid of how others will react. Even if you have to do it shaking in fear, press through. Fear of man weakens its’ hold on us each time we confront our fears.
  5.  Seek out Bible verses that build your faith and courage.

Scriptures for overcoming fear of man:

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10

“Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety.” Proverbs 29:25

“…when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4

“I tell you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.” Luke 12:4

“So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:6

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

““I, I am he who comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, of the son of man who is made like grass,…” Isaiah 51:12

“Stop regarding man in whose nostrils is breath, for of what account is he?” Isaiah 2:22

“Nevertheless, many of the leaders believed in Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue, for they loved praise from men more than praise from God…” John 12:42-43