Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Are You Giving Life to Faith or Fear?

When I was a child, my family lived in the beautiful town of Williams, Arizona. I have reconnected with several people from there through Facebook. One of those friends is a man named Bill Sutton who was born and raised in Williams. He attended college At Northern Arizona University and became a schoolteacher and local newspaper writer. He then became a judge for 20 years and was awarded the McKeachem Award for being the nation's outstanding non-attorney judge. He is the founder and president of Yes, I Can, Inc. as well as the founder and president of his own company, Wise Choice Alternatives. I have enjoyed reading his Facebook posts, especially his posts called Thought for the Weekend. This weekend's post was called "Peace on Earth." He graciously gave me permission to share it here. I hope you enjoy it and benefit from it as much as I did!

Thought for the Weekend: Peace on Earth
Bill Sutton
       With Jeff being home this week, I'm reminded of a Christmas story of when he was a toddler, and unable to sleep because of a terrible fear. He screamed in the night, and I arose from my bed to see what was the matter. He said that he was seeing a giant bug on the wall of his room. He was pointing to an area directly above the little lighted Christmas tree. I told him that there were no giant bugs, and to go back to sleep. He soon screamed again, and again I had to tell him and show him that there were no giant bugs. The third time he screamed, I was getting mad, and went into his room to tell him to knock it off. Then what to my sleepy eyes should appear? A foot long shadow of a bug; Jeff had much to fear! What was going on was that a tiny box elder bug was climbing on the Christmas tree, and every time it climbed on a light, the shadow of the bug projected on the wall! He was right, in his own little eyes. I felt like the Grinch for getting mad at him.
       Jeff's story is a lesson for all of us. Fear gives big shadows to small things. What you focus on, you give power and life to. Once Jeff saw it was a common box elder bug, we had a prayer time, and soon he was nestled all snug in his bed. He went from fear to faith in minutes.
       What you focus on, you give power and life to. Do you give life to your faith, or life to your fear? Fear won't take away tomorrow's troubles, but it will take away today's peace.
       On the night of Jesus' birth, there were shepherds in the fields, probably looking in wonder at the beautiful star shining through the night. Then an angel appeared and they were terrified. Then the angel said, "Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." The angel replaced their fear with great joy and faith, because of the truth. Just like Jeff.
       Everyone has fears, so how do we go from fear to peace? First, when those fears start taking over, ask God for help. Let him show you what is truth and what are lies about your circumstances and about your tomorrows. And maybe most importantly, quit giving life to your fears by talking about them so much. That gives your fears a much bigger shadow that will follow you wherever you go. You may have some big fears and big problems, but always remember you have a bigger God. Ask God to help you trade your fears for faith, and bring peace to your life, starting this Christmas.
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." ----- Luke 2:14

I love the picture of the bug casting a big shadow in Bill's article and the fear it caused for his young son. In the support groups we run at our church, we often deal with fears. Some of our fears are very real and based on truth. leaving us to have make some hard decisions to stay safe and some of our fears are based on lies that cast big shadows like the one Bill's son saw. Those lies can cause fears that leave us paralyzed and unable to move forward. When we share our fears with the wrong people who can't discern the lies that create the enormous fear we experience, the fear only continues to grow. But if we choose to talk about our fears with wise people who help us discern the difference between the lies we believe and the truth, the shadows grow smaller and we can walk more securely in our faith. The truth is ruminating on lies casts big shadows resulting in paralyzing fears, while ruminating on God's truth puts things into perspective which keeps our fear from overwhelming our faith. 

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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!