Hello! I'm so glad you have come by. We are currently discussing Micca Campbell's first book
If this is your first time here you can find out more about YES to GOD Tuesday's on the sidebar. Just click on the blue square YES to GOD button for the FAQ's. Hopefully you will join us for our next study beginning on Tuesday, June 23, 2009. The announcement of what book that will be will be made this Friday. It will be light and easy for the summer. Nothing deep, just a time to grow closer to God.
Okay, before we get started I have to share.
Sunday my husband decided to take us to our friends' church so we could worship with them. It was a great time of worship, sharing and praising God. I talked to many people afterward and then my family all piled into our car to head home. My contact was bugging me so I pulled down the visor mirror to take a look. That's when I saw it.
Coming from my nose.
Then much like those Orbit gum commercials when the brightness of the gum and clean mouth make that little dinging noise...the hair protruding from my nostril gleamed in the sunshine and I think I heard a ding.
It gleamed because it was gray. Or platinum as Gene calls his evidence of aging.
I gasped and so of course Gene asked, "What?"
As if my shallow world was crumbling...
"Gene! I have a nose hair! And its gray! And long!"
"Oh yah, I saw that earlier."
That's when my neck whipped to the side to look at my BFF for life. The one who is supposed to alert me of food in my teeth and hair in my nostrils.
"WHAT? You saw it and didn't tell me?"
"Yah, I saw it this morning."
"Gee ean!! WHY wouldn't you say something??" (The kids are laughing.)
That's when he patted me on my knee and said, "Cuz honey, I just saw it as a sign that we're growing old together and it made me feel good because now I don't feel like I'm robbing the cradle."
I think I just stared. I don't remember.
All I know is I had no verbal response to him. Especially after he sealed it with a wink and nod of his head. So strange.
Even if our greatest worries do come true, we must not allow ourselves to be taunted day and night by "What if?" We must trust God's plan. Regardless of our spooks, God's plan alone stands firm and true.
When my oldest was growing up I parented her out of fear. I did not want her to be anything close to how I was...unmarried and pregnant.
My biggest fears are being played out in front of me and yet in Jeremiah we read that God has plans for us, plans that will prosper and not harm us. Just because my daughter has chosen to stray He STILL has plans for her and plans for her two babies. That hope alone is what I can cling to because if He hasn't given up on her, why should I?
The future is unknown. We can't control it. That's why Jesus says three times in Matthew 6:25-34, "Do not worry." When you and I are tempted to worry, we should heed Christ's advice and not do it. Worrying won't change the outcome. It only steals our peace.
I've heard it said that when Jesus repeats Himself, we better listen up. Do not worry...isn't that so much easier to shout to someone that is sitting in a sinking boat with no life jacket on in the middle of a shark infested ocean while you're standing safely on the sandy shore making sand castles? But that is exactly what God wants us to do. Trust Him. While the future may be out of our hands, it's not out of the hands of an adequate and trustworthy God. Thank God for that!
When we come to a place we've never passed through before, God is always present to help us.
Yesterday I received an e-mail requesting prayer for a couple in Ainsworth, Nebraska. On May 4th, Tom and Amy Ford's 16 year old daughter Ashley was killed in a car accident. They buried her on Saturday, May 9th. On Monday, May 11th exactly one week later they lost their 21 year old son Andrew who was killed in a separate car accident. Their other son, 19 year old Adam was driving and is okay.
HOW this Mom is even breathing is beyond me. From the shore I can yell to Amy...don't worry! God is in control! I can yell it because my 3 kids are alive and well, but what if I was in same sinking boat that Amy is in? Would my faith waver or become stronger? I want to believe that based on what I know of Him that my faith would go deeper, but I can imagine the fight to stay focused on the King would be a might tough one. Please keep the Ford's in your prayers.
I just wonder how Tom and Amy Ford will ever let their only child left out of the house. God...how do You allow someone to be led into this kind of dark, deep valley and expect them to trust in You? How do you keep them from panicking every time their only child that they haven't buried walks out their door? Micca tells us that It takes endurance not to give way to fear but to press forward with our eyes firmly fixed on our leader---Jesus Christ.
I pray that the Ford's gets to this point during their time in the valley of the shadow of the untimely deaths of their children and that many will come to Christ because of their witness of how great our God is even during the unimaginable. Something amazing happens when we faithfully cry out to the Lord, believing in His perfect care. Our faith suddenly becomes stronger than our fear. None of us knows how to act or what to do during a crisis. However, if we will fall on our face before His throne in total weakness and cry out, He will strengthen and lead us. This is God's promise.
I loved how Micca reminded us that we have to surrender to Jesus and it's not just a one time thing. It's every day. Every minute. Something miraculous happens when we yield our lives to Christ. Surrender is not just a one-time action we take when we first give ourselves to Christ. Yielding our will to God's will is a day-by-day, moment-by-moment, even minute-by-minute way of life for the believer. Surrender is challenging, but it wasn't meant to be that way. It's where fearless living begins.
Remember that reality show Fear Factor? The contestants had to go through a bunch of challenges and whoever made it through all of them won some money. They did that for a TV show that was only an hour. Can you imagine if they had to put down their fears every day? As a believer we have to do it for 24 hours, not just one. It doesn't work for us to only give the Lord certain areas of fear in our life. To win the big prize we need to surrender every minute of every day. It is challenging, but our prize is much more eternal than a bag of money. We get a relationship with Christ that goes to a new level when He sees us surrender and trust Him.
I want fearless living...but how do I get it?
We can either continue to live our lives our own way---by holding on to fear, doubt, and control---or we can die to self and allow Jesus to live His life of wisdom, faith, power, and holiness through us. This is probably one of the hardest things for me to do daily. I get in my own way of having my desired relationship with Christ. I kneel before Him and give Him whatever is going on in my life at that moment and then when I feel He isn't going fast enough then I take over and create a mess. Again and again I do this. All about choice.
The reason surrender is the way to go is it allows us to follow His plan for our lives, which is so much better than our own plan. AMEN MICCA!
Is God trying to move you off your old land onto new land? If so, He can be trusted with your unknown future. Remember, it's not unknown to Him. He has a plan far beyond our suffering. He will not let our trials go to waste. No, God will use them for our good and His glory---if we allow Him.
Unknown future. We carry a planner that holds our schedules in it, but no matter how much planning we do Jesus Christ is the only One who knows our future. 24 hours from now you or I may be gone. Amy Ford planned many things with her kids, but never their deaths. Unknown future to us, but not to God. If allowed, God will use the Ford's tragedy for His good and glory as Micca tells us.
How can she say something like that?
Because she's lived it. She tried dealing with her first husband Porter's death on her own and until she surrendered her loss to Christ, Porter's death was unusable. Once Micca gave her grief to God He took her pain and her story and is using it bigger than she could ever imagined. If Micca continued to do things her way we would not be discussing this book right now. God knows what is best for us, we just need to trust Him.
Surrendering our will for God's changes the way we live. It also quiets our anxieties as we wait for God's next assignment.I believe when Jesus sees our white flag go up waving showing we want to surrender all to Him that He comes running to meet us. I doubt He just stands there with His hands in His pockets looking bored waiting for us to get to Him. I think He gets to us first and embraces us so tight that it just squeezes out any anxieties or fears that Satan has planted in our minds. I bet our Enemy just hates the moment we surrender to Christ because he knows God's big presence overpowers his little self.
Fearless living is achieved when we take captive every thought that doesn't line up with God's truths. Either our thoughts can take us captive, or we can take them captive. The difference lies in where we place our focus. Micca....I loved that! Either we take a hold of our thoughts or our thoughts will get us. That's one thing I've really been working on as of late is my thought life. I have to take captive the thoughts that don't line up with God or else I'm in big trouble. A few years ago I was blessed to hear Bible teacher Beth Moore speak in Omaha and she taught on anxiety. She had us memorize
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable----if anything is excellent or praiseworthy---think about such things.
When I captivate the thoughts that aren't lovely or pure and I replace them with thoughts that are God thoughts, then my whole life is changed from that simple act of obedience. In our last study by Jennifer Rothschild of her book Self Talk, Soul Talk she taught us what to put on the shelves of our thought closet. If you struggle with your thought life then I highly recommend her book. Because as we know...thoughts become words and words become actions. (See sidebar for study notes if you missed it.)
When we trust God in a crisis situation, no matter how big or frightening it may be, it always leads to a greater confidence in God for the future.
I have lived this one out. A few years ago when my daughter was lying in a hospital bed, I can remember crying out to God in the bathroom. I was grabbing on to the edge of the sink and I remember just telling Him You have my trust. For once I stayed out of His way and He amazed me. So after that when I have found myself at the crossroads of faith or fear, it is faith I choose because I know God is trustworthy. Right thinking leads to right living. As we practice taking each stray thought captive, our thoughts begin to reflect the mind of Christ, and so do our actions.
In order for you and me to change from fearful living to fearless living, we must be willing to
surrender our fears of the unknown,
take our thoughts captive,
and keep our eyes on our Leader.
Even if you're in a place that you've never passed through before, you have the assurance of God's guidance.
I doubt that Amy Ford ever had the fear of losing 2 children from separate car accident's only 7 days apart. So now what does she do? The beginning of May she had a family of five. Before we even flip our calendars to June her family has been downsized to three. Will she keep her eyes on her Leader or will she stumble through the valley she is in right now by trying to lead herself through it? Oh Lord, please be with this family and may they get to know a side of You they didn't even know existed.
It's only when you and I respect God's name, power, and ways that we come to understand His love, which, in turn, eliminates fear.
This book is so rich. To me it's like my favorite Starbucks drink...White Chocolate Mocha. I can't wait to sit down with it and just drink it all in. I am learning so much from what God gave Micca to write for us in this book. It's what I needed and God knew that. I love that about Him.
Join me next Tuesday for chapter 9~The Right Kind of Fear.
I'll be back later this week just to talk and share. I better get going, I have nose hairs to pluck.