Revive Me #46–Live Victoriously

Revive Me, Week 46–A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Live Victoriously

Have you picked up any anxious vibes lately?  We went to lunch with some friends a couple of days ago and as soon as the waitress greeted us she launched into her fears about our nation.  I’ve heard other conversations swirling around me involving words like unsafe, need protection, and division.  The fear is palpable.

Fear, doubt, insecurity, anxiety, mistrust, timidity, alarm, dread…surely these are the devil’s tools.  How will we react to them?  Will we freeze up or faith up?  Will we cry out or carry on?  Will we shudder or shoulder?  God’s people are armed with His strength.  That should make us view things differently:

  • “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4).
  • “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
  • “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Eph. 6:10).
  • “Salvation belongs to the Lord.  Your blessing be upon Your people!” (Psa. 3:8).
  • “Stand firm in the Lord, my beloved” (Phil. 4:1).
  • “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the Lord” (Prov. 21:31).
  • “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57).

Courage!  Inspiration!  Power!  Victory!  These belong to us because we belong to God.  Oh, how the world needs to see that in us.  We are not of this world (Col. 3:1,2).  Our hope rests in Christ Jesus (1 Pet. 1:3).  Our peace cannot be taken away (John 14:27).  So let us smile more, teach more, love more, and shine more.  We can do it (Phil. 4:13)!

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;  We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Rom. 8:31-39)

Suggestions for the Week:

  1.  Choose a verse about power or victory to memorize.
  2.  Have a song in your heart (like “Victory in Jesus” or “Faith is the Victory”).
  3.  Don’t be driven by fear.  Pray for confidence in Christ to saturate your thinking.  This should affect your choices, temptations, speech, demeanor, and relationships.

Read it.  Memorize it.  Live it.

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image credit: sparkpeople.com

 

Revive Me #33– Grow Through Change

Revive Me, Week 33– A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Grow Through Change

In my personal life I’m in the midst of four major changes.  Change is a natural part of life.  I know this fact but I’m a chicken.  I wrestle with fear, insecurity, and just saying goodbye to what used to be.  While I may be the only chicken, I know I’m not the only one facing change.

Our Nation Changes.  From the leadership to the values it upholds, our nation is not the same as it used to be.  I imagine we have more changes to come.

Our Church Families Change.  The kingdom will stand (Dan. 2:44) but the makeup of each body fluctuates.  Neal and I were just discussing all the changes that have occurred in the ten years we’ve been here.  Several members have gone on to their reward, various leaders have come and gone, and dear families have moved away.

Our Homes Change.  Children come into the home and then before you know it, children leave the home.  Aging parents or others may need to live in your home.

Even Our Bodies Change.  Aging.  Enough said.

While the items I mentioned aren’t all negative, they are definitely changes.  How can we face them gracefully?

  • Remember the One who never changes.  “For I am the Lord; I do not change” (Mal. 3:6).  His promises stand regardless of shifting circumstances (2 Pet. 1:1-4).  His love for us is constant (Rom. 8:37-39).
  • Turn the changes into a challenge.  Who doesn’t love a good challenge?  It can be invigorating and life-giving.  When fear threatens, remember that growth comes from being stretched.  Facing challenges builds strength and confidence through Jesus Christ our Lord (Phil. 4:13).
  • See the Blessings.  Those who have experienced change will probably tell you that some good came about as a result (James 1:2-4).
  • See the Opportunities.  Times of change can be the perfect time to try new things, to test yourself, to walk through open doors that you’ve been hesitant to before.  God has work for us always (Eph. 2:10).

Suggestions for the Week:

  1.  To prepare for changes in our nation, pray for courage.  We all need to stand up for what’s right and shine for Christ regardless of threats, persecution, or personal cost.
  2.  For changes in the church family, pay attention to who could use some love.  New members?  Recent widows?  Help those who are most affected cope by being their source of encouragement.
  3.  In your own family, thank God for any who might be in your care now.  It is always a blessing.  Open your heart to those who may need your care.  Don’t be hesitant to let go and let God (*pointing to myself big time here).
  4. Concerning your body, keep up with time.  Work to keep it in good condition so you can serve to the best of your ability.  Exercise more, make better food choices, drink plenty of water, and don’t become crotchety.

Read it.  Memorize it.  Live it.

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Out of Control

I just watched my youngest son almost get into an accident.  It is an overcast, rainy afternoon and Carl was driving behind me.  I glanced in the rearview mirror to check on him and, to my horror, he was no longer on the road.  Carl hydroplaned while pulling out onto the street and lost control of the car.  When I saw him, he was on the sidewalk on the far side of the road about to hit a pole.  He swerved out of the way which threw him back into the street.  For the longest half minute of my life, I watched Carl try to right the car as he jerkily swerved back and forth from one lane to the other.  There was traffic both ways and I thought, “My baby is going to die.”  I heard myself screaming, “Caaaaarl!”

My hands are still shaking as I type this.  I apologize for the drama of this post, but I wanted to write while the feelings are still fresh.  Thankfully, all traffic was able to move off the road to avoid hitting Carl.  Thankfully, he was able to finally gain control and pull over into a parking lot.  I have never felt more helpless than I did as I watched my “baby” fight for his life.

So now I’m overwhelmed with fear.  I never ever, never ever (NEVER) want Carl to drive again.  How am I supposed to keep from replaying that scene in my mind the next time he gets behind the wheel?

Somehow my guys aren’t nearly as shaken up.  I drove straight to Neal’s office and sobbed on his shoulder.  I said, “Carl could’ve been killed!”  Neal said, “But he wasn’t.”  I told Carl I had just finished praying for God to keep him safe when I saw him lose control of the car.  He said, “And He did.”  While I was shaking from head to toe and imagining what could have happened, Carl said, “I’m glad Dad’s car is okay!”

The truth of the matter is that it was probably a good thing ultimately.  Carl just gained some valuable experience with driving, rain, hydroplaning, and overcorrecting.  He’ll be better prepared if he’s ever in that kind of situation again.  My mind knows that but my heart is protesting.

Honestly, this has been the hardest part of parenting for me.  Losing control.  My sons are grown and nearly grown.  I’m watching them make decisions, make mistakes, sin, or flounder around as they try to figure out their own lives.  What I want to do is have complete control again. They could get hurt!  But I know they’re growing and gaining valuable experience.  I know that they are capable and good.  I also know that while they will never stop being my sons, they really belong to their heavenly Father.  And He is always in perfect control.

“I know that You can do everything,

and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You” (Job 42:2).

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Photo cred: Carl Pollard (I look like my grandpa in this pic)