Tuesday, August 10, 2010

God-given Boldness

"In the day when I cried out, you answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul."

Psalm 138:3

Recently I blogged on a verse that talked about the Lord's eyes searching the earth for those whose hearts were fully devoted to Him, so that He could strengthen them in their souls. Since then I came across the above verse and was fascinated to find that the Lord's strength works out in different ways. In this verse it says that the Lord's strength made the Psalmist bold. I love the idea that as we wait on God and seek to deepen our relationship with Him that He works in us to accomplish His will in us, molding us into what He wants us to be. I also know that the Scripture teaches us that it is in our weaknesses that God's strength is displayed. When I think about what the weaknesses of mankind can be, I can come up with a lot of different ways that God works in us. It becomes clear that God alone can turn a liar in to a truth teller. a prideful person in to a humble person, a self-centered person into a a servant concerned with others, a wounded person into a healer, and an anxious person into a person ruled by peace. And yes, one of the most exciting things He can do, if we will cry out to Him is to turn our timidity into boldness. Another verse emphasizing this truth is 2 Timothy 1:7-- "For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." We will be driven by the Lord’s love to face our fears and to walk boldly in the things that God has for us.

I think one of the greatest examples of boldness in a person's spirit is found in the life of the Apostle Peter! The night that Christ was arrested Peter denied knowing Christ three times. He had been one of Christ's closest friends and experienced things other disciples had not and yet, in the heat of moment, his fear got the better of him and he denied the One for whom he had previously declared he would die. Later on after the Holy Spirit was given to indwell the believers in the church the Lord’s disciples were accused of being drunk because they were speaking in different languages. Peter rises up and faces the crowd and delivers an eloquent, but powerful sermon about Jesus and over three thousand people were saved. He later addresses the Sanhedrin, and preaches to them. Acts 4:13 says, "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." From the point that Peter received the Holy Spirit he was strengthened in the Lord and became a bold speaker who overcame his paralyzing fear of man. As a result, he became a well know preacher who never quit preaching.

There are several ways that we can apply this verse to our lives. That is because there are a lot of types of fears that affect what we do or what we don't do. Some of us are facing the fear of change, which affects us when we need to relocate, make a decision, experience loss through death or divorce, or experience a serious illness in a family member. This fear keeps us from considering all the possibilities we have in our lives or even looking at the things that God may be calling us to. Some of us are paralyzed by a fear of failure, resulting in a resistance to take risks in school, careers, or in ministry. Fear of failure causes us to hesitate instead of moving through life with confidence, keeps us from trying new things, and causes obsessions with things like grades. Sadly, this is the fear that keeps us from sharing our faith. Some of us are facing a fear of rejection, resulting in isolation, unnecessary pain due to our fear of confronting, and fear of the unknown. Fear of rejection keep us from reaching out to love others keeps us from being real and asking others for prayer. Fear of the unknown can affect us in a lot of different ways. If we are paralyzed with fear we may not seek information in a healthy way that will help us make good decision or we may not answer a calling God has placed on our lives because we fear what the future holds. It is important that we realize that if we are Christians that we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within and that being filled by the Spirit gives us boldness. We also have the privilege of having other Christians to help us through fearful times. Does that mean we will never be afraid or fearful? NO! Does it mean we are “bad” Christians when we are afraid? NO! It is in the face of timidity, fear, and weakness that God's strength in the form of boldness will become the most obvious. So many people think that it is a sin or that it is a sign of weak faith to experience fear. I suggest that this is not true. Fear is an opportunity to trust God and depend on Him to help us move past our fears. It is an opportunity to trust that the invisible God is bigger and more powerful than our visible most fearful circumstances.

Are you feeling fearful right now? Is it mild a anxiousness, a big fear, or is it terror? If you are experiencing fear, I encourage you to cry out to the Lord and let Him make you BOLD with His strength in your soul. He will give you the courage to face the unknown, adversity, trials, and tribulation. As you trust Him, He will transform you in the same way that He did Peter enabling you to do all that He has ordained you to do.

Father, You have made plans for each of us and sometimes those plans scare us or even terrify us. Sometimes even obeying you can even be scary, whether it is something small like getting out of our comfort zone, looking down the barrel of a gun, or proclaiming our faith. Please remind us in our times of fear to cry out to You in faith and to allow You to strengthen us with the boldness and courage that Christ had when He faced the cross on our behalf. Amen.

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Several years ago I realized that I often sped through my Scripture reading and gave it little thought. Yet, when I had meaningful conversations with friends or family members I replayed them over and over in my head. One day it occurred to me, that if I thought more about what God says in his word that I would not only know more about Him, but I would come to know Him in a personal way. I would know more about His thoughts, His character, His intentions, His passions, and His actions. So, I began to take one verse at a time and think on it and then journal about it. At the time I was served as a volunteer in youth ministry and shared my “Thoughts on God” with those girls. For a while I have been rewriting and posting them on this blog. I have realized when I am in the Word or move through my day focusing on God's presence that I have wonderful opportunities to Meet God in the Everyday. The Everyday can include storms, blessings, hard things, scary things, exciting things...just any where, anyplace, any time. I hope that you will be able to engage with what I write with both your head and your heart. I also hope you will be challenged to love, trust, and know the God of the Scriptures. It is my prayer that as you read you will experience Him at a deeper level and share pieces of your journey in the comments. It is my desire that we form a safe community of believers who pursue the God who loves us radically, eternally, and without reserve. As a precious pastor once told me, "Don't forget, Wendy, God is Good!" I find myself compelled by His Goodness and His Love to share so others can know Him through all the ups and downs of life. Please feel free to dialogue back and to share how each passage impacts you. If if there is a passage you would like me to write on or if you would like to be a guest blogger, please let me know. I am just learning to navigate this blog and appreciate the kind comments you have made in the past...I promise I will even try to respond if you leave a note. If you are blessed please share the blog with friends!