Free from all Fears

Psalm 34:4, 6, 17, 19, 22

The world we live in is full of rational and irrational fears. We people seem to grow the list of things we are afraid of constantly. Fears like ’fear of heights, fear of flying, fear of snakes” seem old tales nowadays compare to some of the unusual things that we are afraid of at the present. 

Common Phobias now include fear of chicken, names, beards, water, clouds, numbers etc etc hundreds of them.

If we add to that, problems that we face daily, trails, tribulations, difficulties, pain and suffering and that makes for a life ruled by fear and anxiety. 

There is one answer for all our ’fears, troubles, problems and difficulties’ we face and that is: Freedom from them all

LD

Yes, freedom from them all. ‘Is that even possible’- you may ask?

Yes, it is!

Let us read the assurance that today’s devotion gives us.

“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.

In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles.

The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.

The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.

But the Lord will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.”

Psalms 34:4, 6, 17, 19, 22NLT

Trusting God to come to our help and deliver us from ALL our fears is possible.

Fear and troubles might be present, but with God, they are not the driving force of our lives.  

(See 2 Timothy 1:7, Luke 11:9, Isaiah 12:2, 2 Timothy 1:10)

Everything is Better Together

Psalm 34:3

A shared joy is a double joy, ( Swedish Proverb) and a problem shared is a problem halved! Togetherness is more important than we anticipate. It gives us that strangely beautiful sense of family, belonging and support that we all need. 

Togetherness enhances our joy and halves our burdens. 

LD

What is even more powerful about togetherness is when we worship God as a whole organism. 

We may come to a place of worship as individuals beaten by life, disappointed by our decisions and in physical or emotional pain,  but all that changes when we are together. All our life seem to look different when we join our voices in adoration with others.

Corrie Ten Boom said : If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest. That’s what we do when we are drawn into corporate worship.  

We magnify Christ, his attributes and love for us, we fix our eyes on his incredible grace and forgiveness, mercy and truth. By doing that together we get this sense that we are not alone, that we are far stronger than we think, that fear has not got the last word in us and that we are his forever. 

That’s why worship is magnetic, it’s supposed to draw us to Christ and to each other as one. There is not becoming one unless we come together. 

( See Hebrews 10:25, Acts 2:42, Matthew 5:15-16

Drop the Weights off

Psalm 32:5

The truth will set you free! The truth about the heaviness of sin is the first step to that freedom. LD

To confess your sins to God is not to tell [God] anything [God] doesn’t already know. Until you confess them, however, they are the abyss between you. When you confess them, they become the bridge.

Frederick Buechner

”There’s nothing heavier than the weight of sin in our lives. It’s crushing. What a luxury to know the burden of it can be lifted off our shoulders if we repent and give it to God.” Terri Blackstock

Now, sin in our days and times can mean different things, we call a chocolate cake sinful, we recall lingerie as sinful too. 

But sin is primarily that which separates us from God. The perseverance of the human race from the very beginning to live a life apart from God, us trying to get redemption through our ’righteous’ acts. 

Sin will keep us in the dark, always. As long as we ignore it or try to justify with our own works, sin remains heavy on our backs. 

Repentance, on the other hand, is the ’turning back’ from the hiding or ignoring sin and the embracing of the freedom that the new life in Christ gives. 

That is the picture that David gives us in today’s devotion, the before and after of sin in our lives.

The burden of sin and the freedom that repentance gives, the slavery of sin and the salvation of Christ available to us, the heaviness of the weight of sin kept inside and the liberation that Jesus gifted us. 

Today we are given the opportunity to drop the weight of sin off and enjoy the freedom obtained for us. 

( See Acts 3:19, Romans 6:22, Proverbs 28:13, Ephesians 1:7

You Can Begin Again!

Psalm 32:1-2 MSG

You can begin again!

Getting stuck in life is our speciality, getting us started is God’s!

LD

What stops us to begin again is either our mistakes which we think are too big and too bad to allow us a fresh start or the burdens that others have put on our shoulders, responsibilities and commitments we can’t detach or dro.  

Think about it, what is blocking the view of a fresh new start for you today? 

“Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be— you get a fresh start, your slate’s wiped clean.”

Psalm 32:1 MSG

Know this, we can begin again because we are forgiven, our slate is clean and our burdens are removed. Jesus Christ gave us a new beginning, new hope and a new life. 

It’s true that our mistakes can slow us down, it’s true also that the burdens of life can delay a little bit our commencement, but our beginning is connected to our becoming and our becoming is God’s. 

The secret to a new beginnings rests with forgiveness. 

In receiving and giving forgiveness, that’s the forward way. 

We receive forgiveness and grace from God so that sin does not separate us any longer from him – that puts us into new grounds.

Then we receive and give forgiveness to others and ourselves ( that might be the hardest for some of us). 

Forgiveness is the engine that starts change and the light we see new beginnings. Forgiveness is The New Hope 

”Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning.”

Desmond Tutu

( See Philippians 1:6, Zachariah 4:7, Colossians 1:13-14, 3:13

Feelings vs Reality

Psalm 31:19-24

Are you a feeler or a thinker?


To me, people who filter life first through their feelings are -the feelers in our midst. And they who consider life and different circumstances by weighing down arguments and facts are the thinkers. Now, there is none better than the other, we all have both components, some of us, one more than the other but in life, we need both the thinkers and the feelers.


If we have only thinkers, life with appear dry and hard going, and with feelers, life can be dramatic and emotional constantly.
A balance of both is the best way. Oftentimes, in couples or close friendships happens to be one of each, and when they are healthy the relationship goes from strength to strength.

That’s how Psalm 31 concludes, with a picture of both feeling and factual walking together hand by hand and trusting God to bring the best out of them both.

We feel and we think, we bring the pain of feeling into the praise of thinking and expect God to meet us there with his truth and love.

(See Colossians 3:2-4, Isaiah 35:3-4, 1 Peter 1:21-22)

Feeling Hallow and Ignored?

Psalm 31:9-15

There is going to be moments in our lives when we will feel ignored and rejected by people. What is even harder to bear is when we are treated ill by those whom we love the most and don’t expect to come against us like that. 

See what David writes about one of those times 

‘My life leaks away, groan by groan;

   my years fade out in sighs.

My troubles have worn me out,

    turned my bones to powder.

To my enemies I’m a monster;

    I’m ridiculed by the neighbors.

My friends are horrified;

    they cross the street to avoid me.

They want to blot me from memory,

    forget me like a corpse in a grave,

    discard me like a broken dish in the trash.

The street-talk gossip has me

    “criminally insane”!

Behind locked doors they plot

    how to ruin me for good.”

It is difficult to know what to do when we feel that way. Life is hard and even harder when we don’t have people to walk with us when we are facing hardship. But, David finds a way out from his hallow and rejected state. 

“But I am trusting you, O Lord. I said, “You alone are my God; my times are in your hands. Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly.”

Psalm 31:14-15 

Prayer and keeping our hearts clean before God is the way we go from hollow places to deep places, from a place of rejected to a cherished one. 

(See Isaiah 49:15, John 15:18, Romans 8:31)

Silly Religion

Psalm 31:6 MSG

When I meet people and they ask me if I am religious, my answer is always, no. They are surprised because my conversations and my life show that I am ‘a believer’ but there is a big difference to me between religion and what I believe.

You see, my concept of religion is different from what many people assume. The idea of religion in the world focuses on behaviour restrictions and following laws and obligations, but for me, what I believe, is in a relationship with our creator.  

A relationship with God means that each individual has been given the opportunity to connect and communicate with him through His Word ( the scriptures, Bible), through history and by his Spirit. 

All this all is made possible through the person of Jesus Christ. 

He is the door, the acceptance ’love letter’, the password to a new life. The gospel is the good news about Jesus Christ coming to earth and positioning the human race in a new way of connecting with God and putting an end to religion as we knew it. Through him, we have a relationshi with God.

That’s how I see the difference between: 

Religion vs Relationship 

Religion is Mechanical,  Relationship is Organic 

Religion is about ’what you do’  Relationship is about ’who you are’ 

Religion is about outward appearance, Relationship is about inward transformation. 

Religion is about an organisation, Relationship is an organism (living, connected, moving) 

Religion is a hierarchical structure, Relationship is the practice of equals ( when we meet as abelievers there is no one person more saintly than the other we all are equal before God)

Religion is joining in ’to get and feel loved’ Relationship is sharing life from a place of love.

In Religion, we are the outsiders trying to get inside by our strength, morals and duty. In Relationship, because of Jesus act on the cross, we are living our lives in the light of that truth which positions us automatically inside, we don’t try to be accepted, we live our lives from that acceptance standpoint. 

It’s a Try vs Trust conviction. 

LD

“I hate all this silly religion, but you, GOD, I trust. Psalm 31:6 MSG

(See 1 Timothy 2:5, John 14:6, 2 Corinthians 5:21,Ephesians 2:8-10 )

Opportunities come Disguised

Psalm 31:3

For change to happen resistance is required.

LD

Now, we like the idea for change but we don’t like resistance, because resistance feels like pain and discomfort (who likes a resistance workout in the gym?)
Because of that, many of life’s invitations for change dressed like ‘hard work or challenges,” are not recognised or they are ignored by us.


We tend to run away, hide and avoid those kinds of storms.

What is the best way to face adversity?

In Psalm 31 the writer is facing a storm and while hiding in God from the danger coming his way, he asks for two things that I believe is what we should do when facing adversity. Leadership and Guidance

When we face something bigger than ourselves we need a good place to hide, our Lord provides that. In his presence, we are safe and secure.
But, if we want to change and get transformed from the storms of life we dont stay hiding we ask God to lead us and guide us through all difficulries and challanges in ife.
Only that way we will get transformed and changed for good.

(See Nehemiah 9:19, Romans 5:4-6, James 1:5)

The Success and Failure Dance

Psalm 30:6, 11-12

Do not let success go inside your head and failure inside your heart.

Your ability to succeed is a gift from God

Do you know that there are people around the world who work the same or harder than you do, but don’t get paid the same?


They have the same schooling, decrees, and qualifications that you have but are not as successful as you are. Our way to succeed was made possible by God giving us the ability to stay with problems ( character), people who helped us on the way up and opportunities created for us.
I am not saying that it was easy, but that our way to success was aided nevertheless.

Your failures also are not a reflection of who you are. Making mistakes is in our nature, and often we live with those consequences, but it is not who we are.


We make mistakes, but we are not a mistake.

LD

Failure can be a great teacher for us that propels us to better ways and wisdom, although I must confess it’s hard to deal and live with it, still, it’s not the end.

Alike success, failure must not be taken so much at heart that it sinks us. Failure and success are both parts of living.

What we do with each of them is very important. Our success is a test to learn humility, and our failure is a test to grow in character.
The way we handle both these events in our lives make us the person we are. David’s method to deal with success and failure was via thanksgiving (Psalm 30:6, 11-12) The thanksgiving dance was David’s style and its a good one to learn.

Looking to God and not himself helped him navigate the seasons of failure and abundance. Because life is about where we look when we face success or failure.

( See Daniel 4:30, Ecclesiastes 3:4, Ecclesiastes 7:14)

Darkness shall Demise

Psalm 30:5

Most unhappiness in life is because we “listen to ourselves” instead of “talking to ourselves.”

LD

Try to listen to yourself for one day only and see the style of your monologue.

Because what we say to ourselves is what we do in life. We people tend to fall into a routine of negativity and pessimism when it comes to how we see ourselves and our lives, which mostly is something like this: nothing good happens to us, their lives are more exciting and easy, they seem to have it together, my finances are a mess, my body is a mess and my mind is a mess.

The best way to change our inward narrative is to interrupt the old one and start and talkback a new one.

The truth is that: there is always hope!
God sends the sun every morning to remind us that darkness has an end, that light has a way of getting inside our darkness and when there is weeping joy always comes.


”Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.”

Light always reproves darkness.

( See 2 Corinthians 4:17, Matthew 5:4, Hosea 6:3 )