Hi! You're already here at the bench! Good. Hugs! How is the end of summer and beginning of fall going for you? Is it busy? Harvest time always is, isn't it? Good, busy, crazy, wild, comforting, hard, wonderful, all of that all mixed up together in one amazing season of joyous crazy, that's harvest all right. The days and nights have been much cooler here at Abundance House. My bench buddy in Oklahoma said she was going about in a humid 90 degrees at her house this morning. That is exactly twice the temperature I was in here. Wild, isn't it?
So, I have been waiting until I felt like God gave me words to bring to our visits rather than just showing up and hoping He dropped something in our laps. And, well, the words I thought were from Him vanished by the time I got over here. Ugh! Oh yes! Fear. Fear, that ugly force each of us comes face to face with at some point in our lives. Fear wears many faces, speaks through many voices, even presenting itself as our friend at times.
Why on earth would I feel led to write about fear? Because so many of my dear sisters, and maybe brothers, in Christ are being run ragged spiritually by this bully, and this sista senses God Holy Spirit saying "That is ENOUGH! No more! No more fear in the children of God!" The bullying, the unnecessary torment must stop! These are children of the King, the King of Kings! Fear has no legal right to them and their minds! They are to be children of faith and love, not fear. Fear must go! In the name of Jesus, fear must get out of God's children! These are Kingdom children. They must be told the truth and freed from the power of fear, in Jesus' name. It is rising up within me. Can you hear it? Can you feel it dear friends? This rising surging that says NO MORE FEAR! My sisters and brothers must hear this message of freedom. They must know the truth. They must be freed in Jesus' name!
I know fear well. I lived with fear as a close and constant companion for many, many years. Years filled with torment, ridicule, and shame not from people around me but my own thoughts and feelings. Fear is a spirit, and it doesn't fight fair. It will come in and do its work in whatever way it can. Just as God is love, the kingdom of darkness operates out of fear. For fear is the same spiritual force as faith. It just works in the opposite direction. Fear is faith in the devil's ability to do harm.
While a younger mother than I am now, approximately 16-17 years younger, I began to learn the truth regarding fear - and faith. I also began to learn how to combat this destructive force and send it packing out of my life and thoughts. It has been quite a journey since I learned the truth regarding faith and fear, love and truth. As a matter of fact, the journey isn't over. I am still learning. Not only learning but allowing what I learn to change me, to transform me through the renewing of my mind.
Dear sisters and brothers, we don't have to live in fear. Fear has no authority or control over a child of God, unless it is given. Fear is NOT of God! God is love and perfect love drives out ALL fear! If I could say one thing to the body of Christ right now it would be DO NOT FEAR!!! There is no fear in love, and God is love. Therefore, we can rightly conclude that there is NO FEAR IN GOD. This doesn't mean fear won't attempt to derail our thoughts or intrude in our lives. It will. Like I said earlier, fear doesn't play fair. However, when fear does come we need to know that it is an illegal intruder and tell it to GO, in the name of Jesus!
I know, I know, easier said than done. That is a fact. It is much easier to type these words on my computer than it was to fight the actual fight of faith and conquer this opposing foe. However, knowing the truth, that God has already conquered fear, and that I have been perfectly equipped with the armor of God so that I can fight, knowing that fear has no legal authority over me, my family, or any other part of my life has been huge for me personally. The freedom I have experienced since learning the truth and fighting for it in my life is indescribable. Words can't tell the release of faith and trust that have grown deeper, stronger, richer. The intimacy God and I share that was impossible when I lived in fear is so dear and sweet.
Was the fight easy? No. Was it hard? Yes. Was it down and dirty? Yes, it was. Did it get downright nasty? Yep, sure did, still does somedays. Was it worth it? You betcha, worth every bit of effort, every tear, every drop of sweat, every shout of scripture, every swing of the Spirit's sword (The Bible), definitely worth it. Worth not fitting in, worth not being understood, worth every ounce of self-control and patience, worth. it. all. Worth every trip made by myself downtown with small children, worth every week day and night spent alone with four small children while my husband worked out of town, worth every event I forced myself to attend, worth years of social isolation and few friends, worth every price paid.
Some days there are still areas of living that reveal fear's continued existence in me. As soon as that area of fear is revealed, I jump on it and get it out by whatever means necessary. All fear must go! It is an enemy not to be tolerated. It is not to be used as a motivation for obedience while training my children. Nor is it to be a motivator for me to do what I ought. The scripture says that anything done without faith is sin, and I do NOT want sin to be present in me at all. As soon as God reveals sin to me, I want to treat it like a rattlesnake and GET IT OUT - NOW. A minister has said that sin tolerated is faith contaminated. Contaminated faith? No thank you. I want to be an imitator of God as a dearly beloved child imitates the father they love. No fear here.
Now, inevitably when discussing the topic of fear, some dear person, bless their heart, will bring up the fear of the Lord. That is NOT the type of fear we are talking about here today. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. It is a good and healthy thing. That is all we are saying about that during this visit.
Today we're sharing our hearts of faith with each other. Today we are looking each other squarely in the eyes and from the deepest part of ourselves we are telling one another that we are children of the Most High God. Jesus paid the price to set us free from fear. Fear has no place in our lives and thoughts. It is an illegal intruder. We are not alone. We are not overcome. We are not failures. We are redeemed, saved, healed, vessels filled with God, who is love, to flow through out into a dying hurting world. And somehow, miracle of all miracles, God takes these broken messes called us, transforms them through Himself, and flows through us to extend His love and healing to others lost and broken just like we used to be, before Him. That's what we're doing today loved and prayed for friends. Today, we are pulling the wraps off of fear's lying tricks and exposing it to the light of truth, of God.
I know it's time for us to leave our bench, to go our own ways again, but today when we go friend let's hold each other close to our hearts, even closer than we ordinarily do. Fear is trying its best to stall us, to keep us all locked up inside of ourselves so that we don't open up and share healing with one another. It's an age old trap this locking up of our weaknesses, failures, and messes. A trap that no longer has the power over us because we are real here. Here at our bench we know there are messes. We are very well aware that all of us are real people, that isn't a secret to be kept. We are real, and real is oftentimes messy, very messy.
We'll say good-bye now, but know dear friend, please know that you are being held close in heart, so very, very close. Prayers are surrounding you. God is holding you close and loving you more than any of us can imagine. We will win this fight of faith. No matter how hard, how long, or how nasty. God in us has already won the war. Today's battle is already won in Him, and we are holding each other up in prayer. Here at the bench we are loving and praying and hugging and holding each other tight in God. Here at the bench we can come and cheer each other on. Here there is always a hug and love.
Until our next visit dear one...an extra long hug from a friend who loves you so