Tag Archives: Fear

LOOKING BACK: Spider Web

bflw-devotional-800x490Writing the Life-Giving Water devotionals is not only an important ministry, but is a deeply rewarding spiritual discipline for me as well. With that said, observing Sabbath (aka rest) is an important spiritual discipline as well. So here is a LOOK BACK to a devotion I wrote in the past. Read it, reflect on it, be challenged by it. Who knows how God will speak to you through it and how it will bear relevance in your life today? May the Holy Spirit guide you as you read the suggested Scripture and subsequent devotion.

What Do You Fear?

Read Luke 12:1-7

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear expects punishment. The person who is afraid has not been made perfect in love.” (1 John‬ ‭4:18‬ ‭CEB‬‬)‬‬‬‬

 My youngest daughter and I have gotten into the show, Supergirl, which airs on Monday nights on CBS. In one of the episodes, Cara Zor-El (aka Supergirl) ends up joining forces with Maxwell Lord who, up until this point, has been one of her enemies. Family members from Cara’s home planet of Krypton, have decided that they are going to take over the earth to save it from human destruction. Their method for doing so is by using some device called the “Myriad” which allows them to have control of all human minds that are within the range of the device.

Using satalites, the myriad literally enslaves the minds of everyone within National City and Supergirl must find away to stop her fellow Kryptonians from doing that to the people of her city. This is where Maxwell Lord comes in. Maxwell is a rich entrepenuer, scientist, and inventor who has invested his life in trying to prevent “aliens” from taking over the world. He fears no aliens can be trusted and that they are all out own the planet. This is, ultimately, what has set him against Supergirl, who herself is an alien. But, you know how the phrase goes, “The enemy of your enemy is your is your friend”. Thus, Maxwell Lord reaches out to Cara in order to ally himself with her and offer his services to her in order to stop the Kryponians from mind-controlling everyone.

While this all sounds good on the surface, Maxwell’s plan is pretty dark and twisted, He plans on making a bomb that contains a significant amount of Kryptonite in it. The idea is that when the bomb explodes, the Kryptonite will be vaporized and in the air, effectively killing off the evil Kryptonians that are turning humans into mindless drones. The only drawback is that, in order to do that, at least 8% of the human population will be killed by the percussion of the explosion. Maxwell’s logic is as follows, it is better that 300,000 or so people die than for all of National City and the world be turned into slaves of the aliens.

Cara Zor-El is left with a crazy choice. She does not think that killing 300,000 people should be an option on the table, and yet Maxwell’s plan seems to be the only one that has any chance in stopping the Kryptonians. The question becomes does she try to take the high road and do what is morally right, possibly risking losing to the Kryptonians? Or, does she act quickly out of fear of what might happen if she doesn’t?

While the show is obviously fiction, it sets up what we face every day in our lives: FEAR and the choices such FEAR presents us. The question is, what do you fear and how does it affect the decisions you make in your life? Do you allow your fears to consume you, do you allow them to cause you to justify what you would otherwise deem morally reprehenisble? In today’s world, where fear runs rampant and rules us like a tyrannical dictator, we find ourselves faced with people pushing some really crazy and scary idealogies. What’s more, many people are willing to toss their good sensibilities and morals aside, for fear of what will happen if they don’t “DO SOMETHING” in order to prevent what they fear from happening.

Christ does not call us to DO SOMETHING, Christ calls us to DO THE RIGHT THING. Christ is calling us to know what we fear, to name those fears, and to put them into check with our faith. If we have faith in God, if we truly have faith, we will do what is right over and above what seems expedient in preventing our fears from coming true. When we let go and we trust in God, then we can conquer our fears and rise above the things our fears dicate we should do. I pray that we all find the truth in this and place our trust in God.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

PRAYER

Lord, help me to name my fears and conquer them with your love. Amen.

Spider Web

Read Joshua 1:1-9

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE 
“Fear betrays our ability to help ourselves by thinking clearly. Expecting the worst, people prefer to remain ignorant of the cause of their torment.” (Wisdom of Solomon‬ ‭17:12-13‬ ‭CEB)‬‬‬‬‬‬

img_0200-1I was just recently in a conversation with someone about the difference between the world I remember when I was growing up, and the world we are living in today. The conversation started around the fact that so many children, youth and young adults are suffering from levels of anxiety that I don’t remember existing when I was growing up. I remember dealing with depression as a teen, and I remember the anxiety that can well up due to bullying and things like that, but that kind of anxiety is different than the kind I find in today’s generations.

When I was growing up I knew that I needed to be aware of my surroundings and not talk to strangers. Still, even though I knew that, it was not like I ever came into an encounter with creepy, stalker-like strangers. One would hear of kids getting kidnapped, but it wasn’t on the news every day, nor did it really happen (to my knowledge) in my area while I was growing up. I never, EVER, had to worry about someone blowing the mall up, or someone coming into store and blowing everyone away with semi-automatic weapons. It just never crossed my mind.

In school, all we ever had to do was prepare for potential fires. Every now and again, the fire alarm would go off, which usually meant that we were having a “fire drill.” If it wasn’t a fire drill, it was a dopey prankster pulling the fire alarm. We never, EVER, had to have “active shooter”, “lock-down” kinds of drills. We never, prior to the Columbine High shooting, worried that high school wasn’t a safe place. Sure there where bullies, and high school didn’t always feel safe in terms of my social life. But the most I had to worry about was being bullied and beaten up, not blown away! When there were bomb scares, it was pretty much always because another one of those dopey pranksters were attempting to get a day off from school.

Yet, that is not the world my daughters are growing up in. In this post-Columbine, post-9/11, post Newtown, CT, post-Paris/San Bernardino/Brussells world, we cannot help but fear for our lives. Every nght the news is on, the world is exploding, people are being massacred, martyred, and tortured at alarming rates. And the level of fear and anxiety is at an all-time high! That fear and anxiety is also causing people to go into “self-preservation mode”, where it is literally everyone for themselves.

Fear does that, it is like a huge spider web. There are so many webby threads for us to get caught up in and, if the truth be told, we are often caught up in many more than one. Once the fear web has us in its grip, we cannot escape! We are stuck in the web of fear until the spider comes down and consumes us. As we pass through the bowels of the spider, we become defined by the fear that has killed us. What’s more, we become the very thing we fear. Instead of working toward building a sanctuary, we build up walls that further divide us. Rather than building up community, we become a part of it’s destruction.

Christ is calling us away from the spider web that is fear. The Bible is consistent in its call to the faithful to “fear not”, for we trust that God is, indeed, with us, that God will never abandon us or fail us. We trust that God will be with us always, even to the end of our lives and to the end of the age. While it is hard in this world to maintain this kind of faith, I pray that you surround yourself in a loving, faith community; I pray that you immerse yourself in the Scripture and in God’s promises, and that you turn from fear to faith.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY

“I sought the Lord and he answered me. He delivered me from all my fears.” – King David (Psalms ‭34:4‬ ‭CEB)‬‬ ‬‬‬‬‬‬

PRAYER

Lord, deliver me from my fears and lead me to the promised land of faith. Amen.

The Path to the Dark Side

Read 2 Timothy 1:6-8

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“So what are we going to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31 CEB)

yoda-jedi-councilOne of my favorite film series of all times is the Star Wars saga. I grew up watching the original series of films, “Star Wars”, “The Empire Strikes Back”, and “The Return of the Jedi”. While many people criticized the newer films, finding them to be more about special effects and less to do with plot and character development, I actually disagree with that. The Phantom Menace for example, which was my least favorite of the films, was still filled with the same story and character development as the others. And we find great wisdom in it as well.

In it we come across a young Anakin Skywalker who, as all fans know right from the get-go, will one day become Darth Vader. With that said, he wasn’t always bad and, in fact, a Jedi comes to see great hope in his abilities to naturally tap into the force and so he decides to train him. In order for Anakin to be trained, however, he would have to leave his mom (both he and his mom were slaves) as the Jedi could only secure his release. As it would any 9-year-old boy, having to leave his mother behind devastates and distresses him and he vows to come back and free her one day.

Yet, before any future Jedi can be trained, the council has to approve the person to be trained. Thus, the Jedi brings Anakin before the council to be questioned and, hopefully, approved. While they are impressed with Anakin’s natural ability to sense and use the force, Yoda (who is the head of the council) is concerned for this young boy as well. He states that he senses fear in Anakin. “You have much fear in you. You fear the loss of your mother, don’t you?” Yoda interrogated. Anakin replied defensively, “What’s that have to do with anything?”

Yoda’s face turned even more concerned. “Everything,” he exlaimed back! “Fear is the path that leads to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hatred. Hatred leads to suffering.” What Yoda is trying to convey to young Anakin is that, while fear is a natural part of life, if we allow it to control us it will lead us to dark and, often, deadly places. This is a profound truth and we don’t have to think far or wide in order to reach it. Look at post-World War I Germany. It lost a major world war, had been dumped with the expenses of that war by those who fought against them, and they had fallen into a terrible depression. Along came a young man, who was a former soldier, and would-be leader, who sensed the fear of the people, drummed up that fear, and used that fear to scapegoat groups of people as being the ones holding Germany down. Ultimately, Adolph Hitler’s personal fears, as well as the fears of Germany which he preyed upon, led to the rising up of one of the greatest evils in modern human history. Yes, fear is the path that leads to the dark side.

We live in such a fear-driven world right now. We are a people who are fearful of each other, we’re fearful of our leaders, we’re fearful of people with different politcial viewpoints, we’re fearful of people from other countries, we’re fearful of people from other religions, and we’re fearful of terrorism and a very real existenital threat to our lives and to our way of life. All of these things strike fear into the hearts of people; however, it is in that fear that I hear people suggesting all sorts of things that, in another time and place, they would be horrified at hearing others even suggest.

For us, the question is not whether or not we will experience fear. We will! The question should be for us, in the voice of Yoda, is this: “What, to fear, will your response be? Hmmmm?” Will you succumb to your fears and place your faith wildly in the winds of rapid response? Or will you place your faith in force…rather, in the presence of God? Will you let your fears drive you, or will you let your God guide you? The one way leads to the dark side (e.g. anger, hatred, and suffering), the other way leads to forgiveness, mercy, compassion, hope, love, joy and peace. Yours to make, young padiwan, the choice is.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“To him who is in fear everything rustles.” – Sophocles
PRAYER
Lord, drive my fears far from me, for they are not of you. Fill me, rather, with faith and hope and love. Amen.

SON OF GOD: Holy Saturday

Read Matthew 27:62-66

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“’Go out and stand before Me on the mountain,’ the LORD told him. And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.” (1 Kings 19:11-13a NLT)

Jesus in the TombToday is Holy Saturday, which is the day in between Jesus’ death and his resurrection. It is on this day that his disciples sat in hiding. It is on this day that the uncertainty of death hung over them like a shroud, clouding them with the fear of the unknown and paralyzing them in that fear. They had followed Jesus for three long years and had invested all of their hopes and expectations in him. Now he was dead, gone, and the silence of the tomb echoed in their psyche about as loudly as a shrill scream in the night.

On the flip side, the powers that be that opposed Jesus were scrambling to keep the silence from becoming to uncertain. Caiaphas and other religious leaders were holding a meeting with the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, regarding what they were going to do with this dead trouble maker named Jesus. The religious leaders were claiming that his disciples might come and snatch the body in order to make false claims about some sort of bodily resurrection. Out of fear that the body might disappear, they all decided that it would be best if guards were posted at the tomb to ensure that nothing happened to the body.” These men, too, were disturbed by the silence of the tomb, for they were afraid it might remain silent. So they did everything they could to ensure that it would.

The silence of death and the tomb affects each of us in many different ways. It seems so final, yet so uncertain, and we are left feeling not only loss by a sense of hopelessness. And I need not be talking about the physical death of any one person, but death in the broader sense. Throughout life, aspects of our lives die off. We come to identify ourselves one way, or another, and for a season that identification endures; however, there comes a point when that identity, that aspect, that part of us dies off and we are with a tremendous sense of loss and of fear. Who are we? How do we respond to this particular loss? Do we, like the disciples, hide in the shadows afraid of what lies next? Or do we, like the religious and political leaders of Jesus’ day, place guard over the tomb to make sure nothing is out of our control?

Both of the above questions are pathways that we can take? Both seek to hang onto whatever control we have left. Paralysis and overreaction are on the opposite side of the same coin of control. However, there is a third option. We need not hide in the shadows or overreact in some outlandish way or through some sort of crazy power grab; rather, we have the option of letting go. We have the option of allowing the silence of the tomb to speak for itself. We have the option of letting go of control and allowing God to work resurrection in our lives. The reality is that no matter what we do, whether we hide in the shadows or stand guard over the tomb, that stone will be bursting forth with or without us. The question is not “if”, but “when.” When the Son of God sparks resurrection in your life, will be open to it or will you let it pass you by? The silence of the tomb gives you ample time to reflect on that very question. May that reflection be rich in the darkness and the silence of the tomb.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.” – Steve Jobs

PRAYER
Lord, prepare me for the death in life, and for the death of life, for I know that all ends are the beginnings of something new. Amen.

Antichrist Superstar

Read Matthew 18:1-10

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“I tell you the truth, all sin and blasphemy can be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. This is a sin with eternal consequences.” (Mark 3:28-29 NLT)

tumblr_static_antichristsuperstarIt was October of 1996, I was 18 going on 19 years old, and I remember the religious fervor that was being struck up by a band that had just hit the mainstream airwaves a year before with their cover of the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These).” Though this band came out in 1994, it was clear that this latest album would become it’s defining moment; for some Christians, choosing to listen to that album would be a soul-damning moment, one that had eternal consequences, and this is just what the band Marilyn Manson was banking on.

It’s not that they were banking that their album, Antichrist Superstar, would send people to hell; however, Marilyn Manson were banking on the religious fervor that inevitably ignited against it, and they rode that money train all the way to the bank. The album, to date, has sold over 7 million copies, with 1.9 million of those copies being sold in the United States alone. That’s probably not what the protesting Christians were hoping for, but it was an unintended consequence of all of their protests.

One of my favorite songs off of the album is the title track, “Antichrist Superstar.” In it Manson writes, “You built me up with your wishing hell, I didn’t have to sell you…cut the head off, grows back hard. I am the hydra, now you’ll see your star.” Many Christians feared that Manson was the Antichrist, that he was leading kids to Satan and ultimately to hell, and that the end of the world was near with the rise of someone who seemed so blatantly Satanic. But when you look at the lyrics, we find some substance beyond all of the theatrics. It is Christians who created this “Antichrist”, and it is Christians who were now protesting his rising like a star.

Brian Warner grew up going to a Christian school that taught him all about the devil. It taught him to fear Satan, but to fear God even more. He was taught that if he didn’t do the right things, think the right things, say the right things, and pray the right things, he would end up going to hell. He grew up having nightmares of the Antichrist coming and devouring him, he grew up having nightmares of God damning him to hell for not living the “good” life. This was what Brian Warner (aka Marilyn Manson) grew up believing Christianity was. The lyrics to his song, “Antichrist Superstar,” are a mirror of how Christianity represented Christ to him. It was Christianity that had built him up to fear, it was Christianity that taught him God was a God of wrath, and it was Christianity (sadly enough) that helped drive him away from Christ. Of course, it was only a certain brand of Christianity; however, it was the brand he grew up knowing and fearing. Though he attempts to show he’s broken free of that fear, his album is really more of a reflection of how that fear still consumes him.

As Christians, we are not called to be driving the “fear” of God into anyone. Satan only has as much power as we give him. If all we do is focus on evil, on the possibility of misstepping, of the possibility of damnation, then we imbue power into our fears of such things. God has not called us to do that; rather, God has called us to focus on the hope, healing and wholeness that comes through a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. What saddens me is that Marilyn Manson, and countless others, have not gotten that memo because the ones who were representing Christ were too busy pushing fear rather than love and acceptance. Let us not be such a people. Let us not fail the little ones who look up to us and model themselves off of us. Let them see within us the light of God, rather that the fear of darkness. Let us not build up antichrists by our wishing hell, but let us build up Christians by showing the love and the light of heaven in all we do.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“This is the culture you’re raising your kids in. Don’t be surprised if it blows up in your face.” – Brian Warner

PRAYER
Lord, teach me to move beyond fear and into your eternal arms of love. Help me to grow in that love and share it with others. Amen.

ALWAYS

Read Mark 4:35-41

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE

“Cast all your anxiety on [God], because [God] cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

Jesus-calms-the-seaFor anyone who has been living in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States, you know what kind of a winter this has been. From Arctic Vortex temperatures to tons of snow, ice and sleet, this winter has not let up and it doesn’t look like it is going to anytime soon. Depending on who you are and weather or not you like winter will tell how exactly you are handling this; however, for those of us who have to brave the elements in order to go to work, or to go to conferences, or to go anywhere, all of this weather can be quite a bit stressful and intimidating.

And the stress isn’t just related to our own travels. My wife works an hour away from where I live. She is a registered nurse and has to go to work regardless of the weather. People’s lives depend on nurses showing up and performing their duties. I know that in winter storms, I get particularly stressed out when she is driving to or from work. There are a lot of unknowns and uncertainties. Will she make it to work okay? Will she make it home okay? What happens if she gets stranded somewhere on the road? What happens if she crashes and dies? How will I ever even begin to explain that to my children? What will my life be like if that were to happen?

The worries and the fears can certainly add up in such situations. Now, some might call me a worry wort, some might say that I’m making a big deal out of nothing; however, there are also a good many people who went out in storms, died and never came home. That reality exists, and the possibility of it happening to anyone of us is also a reality. So, for those of us who do get stressed out, know that you are not crazy for being worried. It is a natural reaction to stressful and unsettling stimuli, to get clinical about it.

With that said, what good does all of that fear do? Is it saving your’s or your spouse’s or your children’s or your parent’s lives? Is it ridding you of the situation? Is it helping you to remain focused and calm? Is it lifting you up and providing you with clear and rational thought? Of course, the answer to all of those questions would be no. When fear spirals out of control, it can paralyze us and leave us in an even worse state than the actual circumstances we find ourselves facing.

Jesus understood the meaning of fear and, without a shadow of a doubt, he certainly was stressed and fearful of the many circumstances befalling him. Yet, he also was a person of profound trust. He was a person that was able to give everything, including his fears, to God. Did that take away his fears? Did that take away his stress? Did that relieve him of his circumstances? Nope! But what it did do was give him the peace and the courage he needed to face his fears, to face his stress, and to face his circumstances.

God is asking you to place your faith in the power that God has to get you through your circumstances. Notice I did not say around or beneath them. But God can and WILL get you through them. “Yea, 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.” (Psalm 23:4, KJV). Remember, that God is ALWAYS with you. And since God is with you, what do you have to fear? So, fear not for God will see you through any and every storm that comes your way.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY

“Leave it there, leave it there, take your burden to the Lord and leave it there. If you trust and never doubt, he will surely bring you out; take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.” – the refrain from Charles Albert Tindley’s hymn, “Leave It There”.

PRAYER

Lord, I put my trust and my faith in you. I take my fears and anxieties and give them all to you. Give me strength. Amen.

Stepping Up to the Plate

Read Mark 8:34-38

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE

“Whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:38)

PlateWhen I was younger I was interested in various sports. Two of earlier sports I played were soccer and baseball. I wanted to be like all of the other kids and be good a playing sports. In fact, if I were to psychoanalyze myself, I would have to say that I was seeking recognition and validation from my peers, and people who were good at sports seemed to get plenty of that.

Baseball seemed like a good sport to play. It was considered an American pastime and they had all of those Baseball trading cards filled with sticks of bubble gum to lure kids into wanting to become a MLB star. So, naturally, I wanted to become a baseball player. I had heard stories of my uncle who had quite an arm and even pitched at the college level. My cousins played baseball and were quite good at it. So why not me?

I will never forget my first time at bat, when the ball came whizzing by me. It seemed so fast and so frightening. That thing was not soft, what if it hit me? I remember being filled with fear of being hit by that ball. I remember swinging half-heartedly because I was too terror-stricken that I might get hit.

Boy, did that turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. I remember when that hard baseball came flying into my leg. Thwack!!! It stung something terribly. I remember the tears wanting to come out and my forcing them back in…after all, we’re told that big boys don’t cry…right? While I did finish out the season, as that was the rule my parents set before me anytime I signed up for something, that was my last season of baseball.

What would have happened had I sucked up the pain, pushed aside the fear, and gave baseball my all? Who really can tell. But I let the pain of the ball hitting me, and the fear that it would happen again, to keep me from giving it my all. I let fear and a little pain keep me from ever truly stepping up to the plate. Sure, I “stepped up to the plate”, but not really. The reality is that I always did it hesitatingly, and therefore, I never really stepped up to the plate at all.

While I am speaking in terms of baseball, I find that many people do this in there spiritual lives too. Many people simply do not step up to the plate because of one reason or the next. perhaps they have been burned before or they anticipate being burned. Perhaps they feel they’ve done their share and don’t need to step up any longer, or perhaps they always learned that ministry was “someone else’s call” and not theirs.

Whatever the reason, God is calling us to reevaluate ourselves and our committment to ministry. Are you stepping up to the plate, or is something holding you back. How far are you willing to go for your faith? How good is the news that you claim to believe in? Today’s challenge, and perhaps the challenge for this new year as a whole, is to step up to the plate, to rise up to the challenge, to answer YES to God’s call to be disciples (and even apostles) of the Good News…of God’s hope, healing, and wholeness. The new year is here, what is your response?

THOUGHT OF THE DAY

“Too many Christians have a commitment of convenience. They’ll stay faithful as long as it’s safe and doesn’t involve risk, rejection, or criticism. Instead of standing alone in the face of challenge or temptation, they check to see which way their friends are going.” – Charles Stanley

PRAYER

Lord, I seek to renew and build upon my faith. Help me to see past my fears and doubts so that I may boldly step up to the plate and witness to your Good News of hope, healing and wholeness in all that I do. Amen.

From Fear to Faith

Read Matthew 14:23-33

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE

“For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’” (Isaiah 41:13)

20090908_walking_on_water_lake_erie1When I was growing up, I knew from a very young age that I was called into ministry. At three years old, I used to use my mom and dad’s 8-track (yes…I said 8-track) cassette tower case as a make-shift pulpit. From that “pulpit” I would preach to my parents, “God tells you to lub one anudder!” From that point on, I kept growing in my faith and in my knowledge of the Bible. By the age of ten, the pastor of my church was retiring and he pulled me and my mom aside and gave my mom his entire set of commentary to hold on to for when I got older. “That boy is going to be a pastor and, since I don’t need these anymore, I would like him to have them.”

Yet, as bold as I was in my faith when I was young, things were about to change. Without getting into all of the details, which could fill up a book I am sure, I began to become a person who was filled with fear. For one, I had several close family members pass away and that caused me to fear what happens beyond this life. I never quite fit in at school and I feared not being accepted by my classmates. I never seemed to quite do as well as I wanted to in school and I began to fear the possibility of failure. There were many different varieties of fear that crept into me as I grew from boy to teenager to man. In the end, those fears put me on a decade long detour that took me far away from answering my call before I found my way back to it.

In the story of Jesus walking on the water, we see a bold Peter step out on to the water to meet his Lord. How boldly he put his feet out on that water, how boldly he took his first few steps of faith. Yet, as he began to look at the environment around him, things started to change. The wind was fierce, the waves were tall and crashing down around him, the lightning was flashing, and Peter’s bold faith began to melt away into fear. The more he feared, the more and more he began to sink down into the water.

How many of us live our daily lives in fear? How many of us go day to day fearing this or fearing that…holding back from doing things that we know we should be doing. How many of us, in the end, feel as if our entire purpose in life is sinking beneath the treacherous waves of our fear? We often mask our fears by justifying them in away that makes us feel better; however, the reality is that we find ourselves in paralysis, we find our lives have stagnated, because we simply have not let go of our fears.

Like he did with me and with Peter, Christ is reaching down to you right now. He is reaching out his hand waiting for you to clasp it. He is waiting to pull you up out of your fears and into the boldness of your faith. It was a leap of faith for me to finally say “yes” to God’s call and enter into a life of ministry, uncertain of where God will lead me. It was a leap fo faith for Peter to move beyond his fears to clasp Christ’s hand and be pulled back up to the surface of the waters.

God is calling you, the reader, as well! What is it that God is calling you to do? What purpose has God given you? And, most importantly, what is stopping you from doing it? God is calling you to move from fear to faith, from hopelessness to a world of hope and wonder! All you need to do is put your trust in God and take that first step forward. God has revealed, and will continue to reveal to you what your purpose is; however, you have to have move forward in faith before you will ever begin to live into it. Move from fear to faith and begin to TRULY LIVE.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY

“If I wish to preserve myself in faith I must constantly be intent upon holding fast the objective uncertainty, so as to remain out upon the deep, over seventy thousand fathoms of water, still preserving my faith” – Søren Kierkegaard

PRAYER

Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. Help me to move from fear to faith so that I may fulfill your purpose for me. Amen.