My Fear

It’s strange…the places you can stumble across revelation. I was registering on a website when the security question asked me, “What is your greatest fear?” Without hesitation, I typed my answer.

FAILURE

Then I sat staring at it, wondering where THAT had come from. It wasn’t long before I admitted to myself, for perhaps the first time, that this has been the truest answer to that question from the time I was a small child. While others went out and did things that looked fun, I sat on the sidelines.

I never tried because I was afraid to fail.

As an adult, I’ve learned better. I understand that failure is part of the learning process. At least…I understand it on a superficial level. My instant answer to the question, though, shows that I still have some very real issues.

So it’s time to self-assess. I’ve conquered this fear in so many areas, but I’ve got to move forward and eliminate it in more. I mean, really, at this point in my life how bad can failure be?

I’ve already raised my kids; any failures I had there are over and the damage done. That’s one of the biggest potential problem areas I can think of in this life. Well, other than failing where your relationship with God is concerned, and I work in building that all the time.

It’s time to kick my fear to the curb, to realize that it’s STUPID. Yes, I said stupid. Me failing at something might lead to my embarrassment, but it won’t result in WW3. Besides, how many times did Jesus issue the encouragement, “Fear not!”?

What about you?

What is your biggest fear?

And what are you going to do about it?

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

He is I AM

Jesus said to His disciples, “Before Abraham was, I Am.” (John 8:58)

I’m sure you’ve heard someone, at some point, refer to a Scripture as having leapt off the page while they were reading. This is one of those verses for me. There I was, reading along, when suddenly I SAW Jesus say, “Before Abraham was, I AM.”

I’ve heard this verse used to support Jesus’ divinity, as it hearkens back to God’s declaration to Moses, but the revelation I gained in that moment was entirely different.

Picture me sitting there, stunned expression on my face, realizing that He’s saying “I AM before Abraham,” that even though He was standing there talking to them He was also, at the same time, before Abraham was born!

The revelation hit me in a moment, but it took my brain weeks to process it. Throughout my days, I kept going back to the thought the way you keep returning to a pot that’s simmering on the stove. I even pulled out my concordance and sought out similar times when God made such references to Himself.

You see, I’d always heard it taught that God was saying, “I am _________ (insert your need in the blank,” meaning He is whatever you need.
I am your Savior.
I am your deliverer.
I am your healer.
I am your provider.

This is all true, and lines up with the very names of God. The challenge is that Scripture isn’t two-dimensional. You can look at it one way today and see that it means one thing, and realize tomorrow that it means that and much more. The challenge is to keep from getting locked into only one view.

As I meditated on Jesus’ declaration, God lifted another verse from the page. “Be still and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10) It was as if He were writing me a personal message.

Be still and know that I AM
~God

It’s a fact: Time is meaningless to God. Yes, we find it hard to comprehend this truth, because it’s almost everything to us, but I’m convinced that its only use to God is that it helps us keep our own lives in order. Well, perhaps that’s an oversimplification, but you get my point.

Through the weeks, I slowly gained an understanding that GOD IS, that even as God IS with me as I type this, He IS also with Moses in the desert and Adam in the garden. At first, it was almost like a mental exercise. I’d been given a new piece of information and was slowly grasping what it meant, what its significance would be in my life. Like watching the sun slowly creep up over mountains, I knew something was coming. And I was actively watching for it.

And then the day dawned.

We’d been dealing with CPS (Child Protective Services). The report was completely bogus but, like everyone else who has ever been accused, we had been doing our part to prove wrong the accusations made against us. On “that” day, I walked out my front door, heading to the mailbox, and I suddenly GOT IT. Even as I took those steps, I prayed something along the lines of, “Daddy, you’re in all times at once, so I ask that you do whatever you have to do three days ago for there to be a letter in the mailbox today saying, ‘We’re so sorry. We’ve found nothing wrong. We’re dropping the whole thing.’”

The letter was there. It didn’t say, “We’re so sorry,” but I really didn’t care. That was the day my prayer life radically changed, the day I realized that what I call retroactive prayers are a thing.

Have you ever received a prayer request at noon for a surgery that was taking place at seven, and felt terrible because the surgery was surely over and all you could pray for was a swift healing? But you can still pray in such situations! God, who is with you when you get the request, is – at that same moment – with the person before they go into surgery, in surgery, and as they come out. Truly, since God isn’t bound by time, there’s almost no such thing as “too late” for Him. (Almost. There are definite spots in Scripture where God declares to man that time is up.) I mean that literally.

We’ve heard it said that when a man is dead he’s dead, that you might as well stop praying for him. As a Protestant who doesn’t believe in Purgatory, I understand where that teaching comes from, but I don’t entirely agree. Not anymore.

The fact is that the same God who is with me now is – even now – with a specific young lady I’m thinking of who died in a car wreck, and He is capable of reaching out to her in those last few moments and saving her soul. Yes, I asked Him to as I learned about her. It is true that, even at the end, she might have resisted Him, but I still have the ability, the right, to ask Him to try. He told me so Himself.

Be still and know that I AM.
~God

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Why Church? I Never Thought of That!

One of the things I most appreciate about church is the many “AHA!” moments. God has given me a pastor who is unique and obviously chosen just for me. He sees things in the Bible that I’ve never noticed before, and shares them in ways that can be truly unforgettable. I don’t know how many times I’ve been sitting in church and, whether through his specific words or the Holy Spirit using his words as a springboard, been shown something I’ve never seen before.

I love sharing those moments with the rest of the family too, hearing what they take away from the service, seeing how each of us implements the things we’ve learned, and learning more from friends with whom I “geek out” over the Word. No, we don’t stand around all day talking about religious matters, but many a lunch has turned into a “Have you ever noticed…?” session. Again, family shares common interests, and these particular common interests help us grow in the Lord as we share and learn from one another – as “iron sharpens iron.”

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Meditations: John 8:58

Copyright Clarissa Pardue 2014
Copyright Clarissa Pardue 2014

John 8:58
NKJV

Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

       Some things you learn by careful study of God’s Word, but some things you learn when God draws out the Word you have hidden in your heart and shows it to you in a different light. Just as it is when you step into a room lit only by black light and certain colors start to glow, so also, when God shines His special light on Scripture, do certain words start to glow – not in a literal sense, in this case, but in a way that was every bit as exciting for me.

I could no more tell you what the sermon was about than I could tell you what I wore a year ago today, but there I was, reading along with the minister, when those final two words set off fireworks in my spirit.

“…before Abraham was born, I AM.” Jesus is speaking here, and He is speaking in the present tense!

Suddenly “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end,” showed itself to mean more than I had ever imagined. “I AM the Alpha,” God says. He IS the beginning, and at the very same time He is also the Omega, the end.

So there Jesus was – is – standing before a group of religious men, boldly declaring that He was not only standing before them in that very moment, but that He was also in both the distant past and a future yet to come. He was and is in all times at once. This is terribly hard for us to understand, but the reality of the thing is that HE IS GOD!

The flash of epiphany was instantaneous, but it actually took several days for the complete truth (or as much of it as I could handle) to percolate and really infuse itself through spirit and soul. And then, almost immediately, I had opportunity to put my faith to work with what I’d learned.

We were in the midst of a potentially terrifying battle, one we had been fighting for weeks against a seemingly heartless enemy. On this particular day, I was extraordinarily ready for the battle to be over so, as I took those dozen or so steps to the mailbox, I said, “God, You are in all times at once. That means You can right now see to it that they put a letter in the mail days ago – one I will pull out of the box right now today – saying they’re dropping this thing completely and won’t bother us again.”

And He did. Right then and there the battle was over because I had come to know yet one more aspect of my omnipotent, omnipresent, heavenly Father.

This understanding has changed my prayer life completely – and my faith life too. Praying retroactive prayers doesn’t bother me a bit, for instance. Say I get a prayer request this afternoon for an event that was to occur this morning. I don’t write it off as too late; I pray! I pray, sure in the knowledge that the same God who hears my prayers this afternoon IS there for that person this morning.

Likewise, when I send or put out a prayer request (via email, for instance), I may instantly see the answer – even though I know for a fact that no one has even seen the request yet, much less prayed. I see my answer right away because the God who is with them tomorrow, hearing their prayers about the situation, is with me in the here and now at the very same time!

Be still and know that I AM!

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Revelation

The Holy Spirit, and the way He reveals things in the Word when we ask Him to teach us, is AWESOME! I love it when God tweaks my view of Scripture, making me see the familiar in a totally new light.

For instance, here are some pieces that came together for me at some point last year.

1.    We know the Israelites were to use no leaven at Passover. This was part of them being
prepared and ready to leave as soon as God (through Pharaoh) gave the Word.
2.    We know leaven represents sin throughout Scripture.
3.    We know that many things in the Old Testament are types and shadows (AKA prophecies)
of what later happens in the New Testament.
4.    The Exodus, itself, is prophecy! It foreshadows our exodus from this earth at the Rapture.
We must remove sin (leaven) from our lives (houses) and be spiritually ready to leave at a
moment’s notice. Even the end times transfer of wealth that we hear so much about is
foreshadowed by the Jews requesting and receiving all sorts of valuable things from their
Egyptian neighbors.

The Word of God is SO COOL.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C