By Robin Walls

 

I never realized how much of my life I have been living in fear. I don’t mean incredible fear or frightening fear or debilitating fear. I just mean small every day fears that inevitably were influencing my steps.

For example, I always want everyone to like me so when I meet someone for the first time, my goal is to end that conversation secure in the fact that I won them over. That stems from fear that I won’t be liked.

At work, I aspire to a level of success that will make people feel like I’m indispensable out of fear of not being valued. Ive also noticed that sometimes I don’t take chances or make choices to get me closer to dreams that I’ve had for years. The reason~ because I’m scared I won’t be good enough or that I’ll fail. If I don’t try, then I won’t fail.

I realized that I’ve just been going along living my safe ordinary life when the life God wants me to have is an extraordinary one. His imagination for my life is so much greater than anything I could ever dream of if I only reach out to Him.

When Grace Family Church challenged us to take part in the 40 days of Community this past Fall, a few friends and I decided to accept the challenge. From the first Bible study, God was working on me. He had me taking baby steps to get out of my comfort zone and not stay fearfully standing in a safe spot.

image1The Holy Spirit was giving me signs. He was showing me words like bold and courageous. Specific scriptures kept popping up in front of me. He was softening my heart …and at the same time, little by little, my fear as well.

As I started to lean into Him more and more, I noticed that fear was guiding my steps less and God was guiding my steps more. I prayed to Him every morning for the courage to be bold not just for big things but also in my day to day life.

As I slowly started to feel bolder, I was put in the path of a very nice older gentleman. He was kind and soft-spoken, but his words were very deliberate and well thought out. When I started talking to him, I didn’t even realize he was a Christian so it surprised me when he asked me if I prayed. I replied that I prayed a lot. He told me not to just pray for courage and boldness, but to pray for them while thanking God as if I’d already received them. He told me to go to Mark 11: 22 – 24 and pray over it:

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Studying this scripture really made me realize that because I wasn’t looking to God to find the strength to work through these fears, I was making my fear bigger than God, the Creator of the Universe, the Maker of Heaven and Earth. I was once again making the mistake of trying to do things my way instead of asking Him for guidance.

Without looking to God for His help, I couldn’t handle the fear alone. To overcome these fears, I had to keep my eyes fixed on God and realize that He is bigger than any fear!

By Wanda Grimsley

 

We’re preparing to ‘REset’ some things in our lives, thanks to powerful teaching from Pastor Craig and our new Teaching Pastor, Matt Roden.

As you press REset, do you have a network of people around you to help you stay aware? Remember that the enemy of your soul will be searching for ways to disrupt this call to REset any way he can. 1 Peter 5:8 says to ‘Be alert! Watch out for your enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.’

Peter doesn’t say satan is a scurrying squirrel seeking its next meal, or a skinny, stray dog. He uses the image of the lion… king of all animals, powerful and ferocious in his ways. When he shows up on the scene, it’s not for kicks and giggles. It is to flat out slay and devour.

This lion, though, also plays a long game. Though you may escape his reach, he won’t turn his attention away for long. He returns to his craft of studying us individually, just out of sight, because my issues aren’t your issues, and the stumbling block that tripped you up so badly before wouldn’t even make you blink now. So he customizes a strategy for each of us, based on what he observes both when we are weak and when we’re strong.

Of course…WE WIN! Jesus’ death on the cross sealed our victory for eternity. No one and no thing can undo it. The devil can never win and that is just a fact straight out of your Bible. Read it. He can, however, use any power WE GIVE HIM to harass, accuse, and cripple us, all to make God look bad.

So now, prowling and seeking, he senses something different…the Spirit of God is moving, calling you to REset. As you do, know that he will REvamp and Revise his schemes against you.

Not to be caught off guard this time, consider this: When and where are you most vulnerable? What is the enemy waiting for in your life, that he believes will afford him the opportunity to stop you? Is it when you’re tired and alone or when you’re hyperactively bouncing around in all your busy-ness and many good works? While waiting for God in those difficult roles in your life?

  • Disciplinarian to a tempted child or motivator to the underachieving one?
  • Suspicious detective in your marriage or caregiver to the parent that failed you?
  • Bookkeeper of troubled finances or bankroll to a flashy image?

Is he aware that you’re dreading something else altogether? Something you haven’t forgiven or continue to manage on your own? Remember, nothing we do in the natural realm changes the spiritual things troubling our lives, and our enemy knows that.

What lie would he whisper to make you stop and wonder if God really heard you and did you ever really hear Him? Make you wonder if God is really good, is He really guiding you along your way and do you really know His will? Ask God where you are vulnerable and listen for His answer, because he never leaves us to meander through anything alone.

images-1The call to REset is from God, so God will equip us to do it, with power to identify, cancel and defeat every assignment of every demon along the way and walk in a new level of freedom and victory. Did you identify something? Freedom Ministry and Small Groups are kicking off now. Take your next step and get connected!

 

By Leah Martorana

 

I use to say it all the time, “Go BIG or go home.” Over the last few years God has slowly shown me how much of a trap that can be; a distraction from following exactly what He has for you. It puts the Almighty God of the universe in my teeny tiny human-sized box.

We are presented with so many daily opportunities that are seemingly small but in reality can be life changing for those around us. Sometimes, He simply asks us to “go”. He is the one who takes care of the “BIG”.

“My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Hello. My name is Leah and I’m a recovering over-achiever and perfectionist. Ouch. It’s tough to admit but it’s the honest truth. For a long time I was able to juggle these tendencies without issue.

  • I made the grades.
  • I got the job.
  • I got the guy.
  • I won the prize.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I haven’t always relied on God. In fact, to be brutally honest, I haven’t always lived like I needed God.

In 2014 I entered a season of life that turned my world upside down. My second son, Mason was born. I was instantly in love but was unprepared for the whirlwind of emotions that would follow.

A newborn baby, a toddler, a husband with a demanding travel schedule, and a house literally falling apart (sinkhole) left me a mess. Add a dash of crazy post partum hormones and I was a complete wreck. For the first time in my life I was forced to accept that I simply could not do it all.

You can only imagine what a troubling revelation that was to the perfectionist overachiever in me. I slowly learned how to let go of the reigns. It was a tough year. I sought counseling and took time to breathe. I battled feelings of insecurity and a loss of identity because of “being still”. God gently and lovingly kept reminding me that none of it was about me. There was a better way. A way that gave Him the glory and in return gave me freedom and rest.

This verse became my anthem:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 The Message 

On the other side of that year I felt spiritually and emotionally healed. Hooray! I felt I could breathe again. As a family we were beginning to find our stride. Yet, I was still missing the full picture of what God wanted to show me.

Leah 2I thought after my experience with post partum and depression I needed to do something about it. I needed to help others in a big way. I needed to “Go BIG or go home.” There’s that phrase again! In my mind, the solution was a “polished,” “buttoned-up,” “beautiful on the outside,” ministry for those struggling with what I had the year prior. That BIG dream left me paralyzed. So what did I do? Nothing.

Only recently while reading a study titled “Eat, Pray, Hustle” did it dawn on me. Right there in the middle of the page it said:

Don’t be that surprised if your dream is directly connected to showing the world the love of God in a practical way.” ~ Havilah Cunnington

  • Making a meal.
  • Holding a baby so mom can nap.
  • Sending a note of encouragement.

It smacked me right in the face. It’s about God. Not me. How many times does He have to remind me? But how amazing is it that He desires to partner with me. Little old me! How amazing that He can take my little and turn it into a LOT?Leah 1

I contemplated all the God-sized miracles that came to mind. None started out big. None were “fancy”. They started with everyday things. A little boy’s lunch of fish and loaves. A widow’s dwindling supply of oil and flour.

God loves to take our daily acts of obedience and turn them into something BIG. That is His specialty and it is how we make Him shine. So just GO. Take a small step of faith and then take another. Keep on going and see where it leads you. It just may turn into something BIG.

By Debbie Altman

 

I love that the New Year gives us all a chance to “reset”.  It is also an opportunity to re-new, re-evaluate and re-prioritize. I love that! I even wrote down some goals today!

But if I can be honest, all of that sometimes stresses me out. I personally feel like all the extra holiday responsibilities and festivities cause me to put some things on the back burner until “after the new year,” And now “after the new year” is here and I have to put away all the decorations, face that list…AND re-set, renew, re-evaluate, and re- prioritize! The New Year has barely started and I can feel overwhelmed. Sigh…

So today, I found some thoughts that I had saved years ago and that brought great peace to me. Some Bible verses, and thoughts from Charles Spurgeon, whom I love. I have no great revelation for you from ME today. I am simply dependent on Christ for every day of this new year.

“Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

It is a happy way of soothing sorrow when we can feel, ‘He cares for me.’ Christian, do not dishonor religion by always wearing a brow of care; come cast your burden on your Lord. You are staggering beneath a weight that your Father would not feel. What seems to you a crushing burden would be to Him but as the small dust of the balance. Nothing is so sweet as to Lie passive in God’s hands And know no will but His.

O child…be patient; God has not passed you over. He who is the feeder of sparrows will also sparrow-background-image-hd-desktop-wallpaper-free-downloadfurnish you with what you need. Do not sit in despair; hope on, hope ever…There is one who cares for you. His eye is fixed on you, His heart beats with pity for your woe, and His omnipotent hand shall bring you the needed help. The darkest cloud shall scatter itself in showers of mercy. The blackest gloom shall give place to the morning. He, if you are one of His family, will bind up your wounds and heal your broken heart. Do not doubt His grace because of tribulation, but believe that He loves you as much in seasons of trouble as in times of happiness. What a serene and quiet life might you lead if you were to leave the providing to the God of providence!… If God cares for you, why do you need to care too? Can you trust Him for your soul and not for your body? He has never refused to bear your burdens; He has never fainted under their weight. Come, then, soul! Say good-bye to anxiety and leave all your concerns in the hand of a gracious God.

(Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening)

Thank you Lord that I can “lie passive in Your hands and know no will but Yours.” I can handle that.