Fear

What does it mean to surrender a loved one to God?Premium Content

What does it mean to surrender a loved one to God? Does it mean you turn your back and walk away?

No, certainly not. Surrendering does not mean abandoning. It does not mean you no longer care.

Surrender is motivated out of love -- such deep love for the person that you are willing to get out of the way and let God sit in the driver's seat. Admit it: with us in the driver's seat, things weren't going quite so well. There were just too many things we were powerless to control.

Surrender is choosing to yoke up with Jesus.

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Taking it to the Briar PatchPremium Content

For those who don't know the Disney's story "Song of The South" a character named Brer Rabbit, who after being captured by old Brer Fox and bear, began to plead with them "...you can do anything to me, but please don't throw me in the Briar Patch!"

When these two old fools heard his pleads for mercy they threw him into the briar patch, it was then that old Brer Rabbit begin to chant, "BORN AND BRED IN THE BRIAR PATCH!"

The point was he used strategy to out think them. They thought they were hurting him, when in actuality they were hurling him into a safe and profitable place.

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When Our Beliefs are Called into QuestionPremium Content

The Physical, Mental and Spiritual Disciplines

Speaking from experience, Philip Yancey writes, "For nearly everyone, doubt follows pain quickly and surely, like a reflex action. Suffering calls our most basic beliefs about God into question." Suffering often causes us to doubt, to question our beliefs, to wrestle with everything we ever thought we knew about God: about who He is, about what He is up to, about the very nature of His heart. All these doubts and questions can be fertile ground for spiritual growth. Go ahead and out, question, wrestle – just be sure to use this time and out to seek to know him desperately. He will keep your heart open to God so that you can hear the answers to those questions.

How do we keep our hearts open? How do we grow closer to God in our trials, instead of crashing down into bitterness and despair? That is where the physical, mental and spiritual disciplines come in.

The Physical Disciplines

Taking care of our bodies

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

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Asking for Support: Getting the Help You Need - Part 2Premium Content

by Dale & Juanita Ryan | see: Part 1

We resist getting help

In spite of the abundance of God's love and grace and the many ways in which love and grace are available to us, we do not easily reach out for the help we need. Even when we have acknowledged our need for help, we may find ourselves hesitating, finding excuses, resisting. Resistance to getting help is often the result of a mixture of fear and despair and shame.

Fear

It can be frightening to get help. In the process we feel vulnerable and exposed. Jim's Dad had made cutting remarks about him all his life. Jim was so accustomed to hearing that he was lazy and stupid and irresponsible that every time he shared in his support group, he expected to hear these same hurtful comments in response. Even though people didn't respond this way, Jim imagined that everyone must be privately thinking these things about him. As a result, he would sometimes begin to share only to freeze with fear and find himself unable to talk.

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Asking for Support: Getting the Help You Need - Part 1Premium Content

by Dale & Juanita Ryan
See: Part 2 | Part 3

The God of the Bible is a God who saves and heals. The Bible is clear about this: He will deliver the needy who cry out, he will rescue them from oppression and violence. Psalm 72: 12,14) When we see our need, acknowledge our inability to save ourselves, and cry out, God delivers us. God rescues us from oppression and violence. Whether it is the oppression and violence of our compulsions and addictions or the oppression and violence of abuse and neglect, God delivers us and heals us. God is powerful enough and loving enough to deliver us from all of the oppression and violence we face.

This is the good news proclaimed in Scripture. And it is the basis for our hope on the recovery journey. We cannot save ourselves. Or heal ourselves. But God can. And God will.

Sound simple? It turns out to be anything but simple. There are several reasons for this. First, we find it hard to believe that God is

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Is Fear "Normal?"Premium Content

We take fear for granted.

I think we live in a culture of fear. We're quite literally immersed in it. We're so accustomed to being afraid that we don't even realize how much this embedded fear drives our thinking, attitudes, and choices.

For all of our talk about freedom we seem obsessed with power and control. We have this insatiable need to manipulate others and control our environment, and I believe it's mostly rooted in insecurity and fear.

How much of your time and attention is devoted to avoiding every conceivable risk—or even the appearance of risk? How much do you worry about “threats” that aren't meaningful threats at all?

How much energy do you expend controlling others? How much do you seek power through some form of coercion, as though it's just the way it's supposed to be?

What's the cost of all that fear?

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Are You Worried about God's Provision?Premium Content


The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
the righteous run into it and are safe.
The wealth of the rich is their strong city;
in their imagination it is like a high wall.
Proverbs 18:10-11 NRSV


America is imploding on itself. And, unfortunately, as America goes, often goes the rest of the world. Home foreclosures are up; unemployment is up. Institutions that were reliable are shaky, at best. While it's important to be prudent, there may soon be no good choices left that provide for a stable economic future . . . except obedience to the Word. As believers, we always have a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11) because our trust isn't in the institutions and economy of this world, but our hope is in the Lord. The apostle Peter wrote:

He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.,/span> 1 Peter 1:3b-4 NRSV

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God Fights for His PeoplePremium Content

There was no day like that before it or after it, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel. Joshua 10:14


We don't have to attack and subdue physical cities - which in any care aren't walled today, military technology having changed since Joshua's day. Paul said that "the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses" 2 Cor. 10:4, and that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Eph. 6:12 We fight, we struggle, but not against physical enemies. Even when the church faces persecution from human beings, with very real guns, very real prisons, very real torturers, and very real executioners, the very real struggle isn't against those tools of Satan, but against the spiritual wickedness which impels men to act so barbarically.

And we're not in the fight alone. There may be no armed and armored armies beside us, and there may be no massive forces to back us up, but we're not alone. On the contrary, the Lord fights for us.

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Are You Taking Advantage of Kingdom Synergy?Premium Content

Historically, no outpouring of God has lasted very long apart from intentional Kingdom Synergy. What is "synergy?" Synergy happens when two or more entities decide to join their visions for the purpose of an agreed upon outcome. They realize that doing this greatly enhances the outcome they could ever achieve alone.

Many places in the New Testament, believers were instructed to be of one mind and heart. As a matter of fact they were told to do nothing but pray together in the Upper Room until they came into oneness-'Kingdom Synergy'.

After His death, he (Jesus) presented Himself alive to them in many different settings over a period of forty days. In face-to-face meetings, He talked to them about things concerning the Kingdom of God. As they met and ate meals together He told them they were on no account to leave Jerusalem, but must wait for what the Father promised: the promise you heard from me. John baptized in water; you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit. And soon. Acts 1:3-5, Msg.

If you can be patient with me for a moment, I'll share a bit of "Ron's" (loosely held) theology. My experience is my experience. I'm not saying any one has to agree with or mirror mine.

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Why doesn't God seem to answer my prayers?Premium Content

Why doesn't God seem to answer my prayers?

Often quoted is Psalm 37:4b, "and he will give you the desires of your heart." This portion of the Scripture is often used to say that God will give you what you ask for. However, the first part of this verse-often unquoted-provides the true meaning behind it. Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will grant you the desires of your heart."

If you are taking pleasure in the things of God, and you want for yourself no more and no less than God's will for you, then you can be confident that He will grant you your desires. But, when you mix your own desires and self-made plans into your prayers, God may not answer the way that you thought you wanted Him to. James 4:3 says, When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

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