Friends,
I was comforted just now to read my own post here:

https://knowgodsword.wordpress.com/2010/06/15/restful-peace-is-my-desire/

The last few months have been hard for my husband and me as we just keep receiving one trouble after another. Then there are SOOOOO many others who are having huge problems as well, and yet with our own trials, our ability to help them is greatly hindered. But what are our main deterrents? They aren’t always what we think, are they? They aren’t always the trials themselves. Instead, is it not fear, anxiety, discouragement, lack of gratefulness for those things that are good in our lives, and lack of trust in God to see us through, that are our main problems? I certainly believe so.

No matter what pain or trial we are in, we can ride above them. We can have joy in spite of them. Why? How? Because we have the Lord! We exist not merely in the stormy sea, the evil world, but we exist in Him who surrounds us –who lives in us and we in Him– even as we still live in this groaning environment (of people and the earth itself). Therefore, all our hope is in Him. All our strength and courage is in Him. All our peace and rest is in Him. Without Him, truly we have nothing. Nothing but fear, pain, death.

But let’s look up. Let’s remember. Let us keep calling out to Him who can calm the raging winds. Let us keep stepping forward, even through the uncertainty and sufferings, and keep praising the One who knows all about everything, who knows what to do, who knows the final outcome, and who knows how to protect, provide, and comfort us.

Please click on the above link, and as you read, keep in mind, as I also keep in mind, that our trials at that time were enormous, and yet the Lord gave us, day after day, renewed strength, peace, comfort, joy, provision, protection, Himself, and all those other blessings that come from being untied with Him, so that we rode through safely. The testing went on for a much longer time than anticipated, but we came through –and learned a ton in the meantime.

So, although Fear tries sometimes to strangle us, let us again focus our minds only on Jesus. On what He can do. On the fact that He is the Healer, the All-powerful One, the One “who performs miracles.” (Ps. 77:14)

It does help to remember God’s faithfulness through the past, to declare His most certain faithfulness to us now and into the future, to write it down and confirm it to ourselves. This blog has helped me, if no one else. I’ve written a lot down. A lot of what God has done for me in my life, and for my family, the Agta, and others I’ve prayed for. I’ve written down what God has taught me –from His Word and His Spirit and through circumstances –the difficult ones and the ones full of peace and joy. I have thousands of notes and dates in my Bible, and those, as well as my blog posts, will, and have been, extremely helpful to me in remembering. Remembering that God does speak, that He does care, that He is in control, and that He does deliver. And even when I’m very old, I will look back and read my own writings about God’s faithfulness to me, about His love to us all, about His kindness, His power, His mercies, and His tender love. I will read my own writings about His expectations of us, but also about His help to us.

I’ve written about God’s Word, and have shared much about its effects on me personally –my life, my beliefs, my words, my actions. I’ve written about spreading His Truth –how I do it and about the huge importance of doing so in whatever ways He directs each one of us. I’ve written about the importance of praising the Lord, obeying and honoring Him, memorizing His Word, and putting it into practice. I’ve written about my Savior, my Lord, my Counselor, my Teacher –about His attributes. I’ve written about how much I love Him, and have shared about what He has taught me. I have written because it makes a difference. For eternity. At least for me. And hopefully for others as well.

May the Lord give us continued peace, courage, and rest –the real kind which He only can provide. And may we all wait calmly and faithfully until He delivers.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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Friends,
A friend was telling me a couple of days ago that a man had asked their small church body to lay hands on him and pray for him regarding attacks of fear he was having. This they did and then the body was given opportunity to encourage the man. One individual, a Vietnam war veteran, encouraged his brother with Ps. 4:8, saying that he quoted that verse every night with the result of God’s peace washing over him through it each time. When this man was finished with his edification, my friend spoke up and said that Ps. 4:8 was the very verse she had been planning to remind the fearing brother to take to heart. Here is that wonderful verse:

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” (Ps. 4:8) This, from God’s Word, gives us the confidence we need that God Himself is keeping His watchful eye on us, keeping us safe in His care, and is causing us to dwell securely. Therefore, in peace –peace in our spirit and with peace surrounding us because of God’s presence– we are enabled to lay ourselves down without fear or turmoil or apprehension, and the corresponding tranquility within our souls will grant us the restful sleep we need.

Truly this verse is a good one to give to anyone who is experiencing fear. For if God alone is our care-taker, and He alone makes us dwell in safety, and we trust that what the Word of God says is true, then what have we to fear? What have we to worry about?

How big and powerful are God’s arms? How impenetrable is His protecting presence? If we believe in who God is, then we will entrust ourselves to His care. We will not fear but instead have fullness of peace. –So much so that we can lie down and sleep whenever we need to do so.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
For those who truly belong to the Lord, He repeatedly tells us, “Fear not.” And why should we have no fear? It is due to the fact that He has redeemed us. (Isa. 43:1) It is because He, who is the Almighty God, is on the side of all who, through faith and obedience, have come into covenant with Him. (Rom. 8:28-39) Because Christ intercedes for us (v. 34), “we are more than conquerors.” (v. 37) Because we cling to the God who is our Protector from the storm, from wicked deceivers, and from all the evil realm that is bent on destroying everyone, we are overcomers. (Luke 10:19 // 1 John 5:4,5) For the Lord –He who loves justice and hates robbery and evildoing (Isa. 61:8)– will bless and reward those who adhere faithfully to His Covenant. (v. 8,9) Such people are children of the Most High, and having been infused with His own Spirit, we no longer have a spirit of fear but instead the Spirit of sonship and power! (Rom. 8:15-17 // 2 Tim. 1:7)

So how do people of God behave when they pass through deep waters? They fear not, for they know assuredly that God is right there with them. (Isa. 43:2) They know that God has promised that they will not be drowned. (same verse) They know that the Holy One is their Savior. (v. 3) They rest in His words, “Fear not, for I am with you.” (v. 5) They take joy in knowing their impossible predicament will turn out not only for their deliverance, but also for God’s glory and theirs. (v. 4,7 // Phil. 1:19)

What a wonderful God we have covenanted with! He honors those who serve Him (John 12:26) and “gives us the victory though our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 15:57)

Let us therefore give continual thanks and praise to our Creator and Redeemer, and put our full trust in His words, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.” (Isa. 43:1)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

I Myself Will Help You

November 13, 2013

Friends,
In a fallen world where evil has set up rule, God’s soft and comforting voice can nevertheless be heard by those who are listening. And what do most people want to hear from God? What are most people warring against? Is it not fear? And do they not then want to hear God give them reason to not fear?

What does God give us as the reason to not fear? Does He take away the pain, the suffering, the uncertainty, bring back to life our dead loved ones, or immediately rebuke the storm so that all is calm? Not necessarily. He often leads us through a deep and heart-breaking valley, and it often lasts way longer than we could ever have imagined we could bear. Yet He tells us every step of the way, “Do not fear.”

So, what does God give us as the reason to not fear? He gives His Word. Through His Spirit He gives His word of promise from His Word. Certainly one of the most comforting of those is Isa. 41:13,14. For God says there, “‘For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I Myself will help you,” declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”

What comfort to read these words! No matter what we are going through, no matter how high the waves, how strong the winds, how cruel the onslaught, we who walk Christ’s path have the Most High, the All-mighty, assuring us that He has taken hold of our strongest hand and is Himself helping us through. This is the reason God gives us to not fear.

Cannot God’s power, as well as His tenderness, be heard in His words of comfort? Do we then have any reason to fear? We do not. –Not if we believe deep down in our souls that God’s Word is true. –Not if we stand firm in our faith in the Gospel –that Gospel that tells us the Spirit in us will bear witness to God’s promises.

“I Myself will help you.” Is there anything more comforting than hearing this statement from God?

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Once again, israeliteindeed published a post yesterday to which I say, “Amen!”  I’ve pasted below some excerpts which especially impressed me, but the whole article can be read by clicking here:  http://israeliteindeed.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/in-perilous-times-fear-not/

It is so true that people are taking advantage of each other in every way they can, even by peddling fear, and this they do in their attempt to get attention, not for God’s Kingdom, but for their own prestige.

However, for the true servant of the Lord, he cares not about men’s opinions or his own welfare, but only that he is speaking, proclaiming, warning, advancing, acting, living, and thinking all in the exact will of the Lord and through the power, wisdom, and insight of the Holy Spirit.  This servant does not fear men, but does fear God, and has already heard innumerable times God’s plea and warning that men repent, that His church repent, –or else reap devastating judgement.  Sadly though, just as Israel remained “hardened and obstinate” (Ezek. 3:7) and refused to listen to its prophets because they were refusing to listen to the Lord (same verse), so the peoples of the nations refuse now.

Therefore, do we have any reason to be shocked concerning the disasters that just keep coming, the chaos that runs rampant?  Hardly.  For those who have seen God’s hand upraised for several years now, it’s actually amazing to also see how merciful and patient He is as He holds back most of His wrath, waiting, wooing, sending intercessors, and granting sinners time to repent.

God, who is Love, does take it personally when people sin, for by their sin, sinners are violating His holy laws of justice, love, purity, and kindness.  Why then should sinners think that if they remain unrepentant, God will not soon avenge Himself?  For He will.  (Isa. 1:24,25 // Ezek. 5:13)

Thus God says, “I am about to pour out My wrath on you and spend My anger against you; I will judge you according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices.  I will not look on you with pity or spare you; I will repay you in accordance with your conduct and the detestable practices among you.  Then you will know that it is I the LORD who strikes the blow.”  (Ezek. 7:8,9)

But, for those who take refuge in the Lord, doing so through obedience and trust in His powerful Name, there is no need to fear.  For God is our High Tower, our Fortress, our Banner, our Confidence.  He is, because we daily call on Him to help us and protect us, and because we remain in His love, shielded from all that is not His perfect will for us.  This is the heritage of those who fear the Lord.  Yes, our heritage even amongst a generation that is insistent upon removing itself out from under God’s loving care.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

In Perilous Times, Fear Not
by israeliteindeed

1.  Undoubtedly, these are dangerous days…   Then you have the “truthers,” who claim to expose all the truth for us. But there is a subtle danger here too.  So often they do not really expose all the truth, but only part of it. They expose only the negative and they fill us with fear. They have proof and they have daily videos and caustic diatribes that get us worked up and agitated.  They make a living peddling fear and leading us to trust in them and their foresight. They exalt in…

2.  And while people expend great efforts to expose “the truth,” the whole truth is that EVERY PERSON AT WAR WITH GOD IS A TERRORIST.

3.  We are not saved to preserve whatever culture we were born in; we are  saved to advance an eternal righteous kingdom that is not of this world. We do not teach the fear of men, but the fear of God who is coming to judge the world!

4.  We do not judge by our feelings or by circumstances and current events. We judge by the mind of Jesus Christ, who has already overcome the world.  We do not turn aside from our great commission to lesser goals.

Friend,
It sounds like you really should change attorneys if at all possible. You’re right. Many people do not understand abuse. They cannot fathom that a sweet-talker can also be a complete villain, a skilled liar, and have it in him to be so cruel and uncaring as to be eager to leave destitute and anguished the wife he once made vows to –to protect and cherish. A parent harboring such a calloused heart, twisted mind, and vile spirit should absolutely not have custody of the children, for such men actually do rationalize their right to abuse when no one but their family is witnessing it. In public they put on a very different demeanor, not only because they know they’d be jailed otherwise, but because they instinctively know that what they’re doing is appalling and should never be tolerated by anyone. But, alas, whenever their lust for power and control, and/or their need to release their frustration and anger, rise up within them, they decide that, for them, it is okay. For THEY are the exceptions, according to their self-centered minds. And of course –it’s because they had “such a hard childhood.” –The typical “poor me” and “I’m a victim” song and dance.

Yes, I will continue to pray for you. And yes, that the Lord will be your Mighty Protector, Precious Comforter, and Powerful Deliverer. For we know He is all these and more, and so we pray and praise ourselves and each other into victory. All who cry out to God, all who believe in His deliverance, all who trust and rely on His Word and ability to do the impossible for His righteous people, will be rescued out of the raging waters. We may go down to the depths for a while, but it is a test. He is testing us. He is refining us. And if we hold on, if we wait His timing, if we keep calling out to Him for mercy, our tender-loving Father will definitely take pity and lift us up in His arms. He will bathe our wounds, He will hold us close, and He will turn and dash our enemies to the ground for all their cruelty toward us. For our God who is always faithful does work righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. (Ps. 57:2,3 & 103:6)

“How,” you might ask, “do we hang on when we’re slipping?” We praise. To praise God when we’re afraid is the height of faith, and God, without question, honors (and loves to honor) those who act in faith. To praise is the opposite of complaining and the opposite of doubt. If you can’t praise on your own, then open the Word and force yourself to read praise psalms, and do this even if you’re crying and even if you don’t feel the faith in you. Do it anyway. That alone will prove you have some faith, and the faith will grow, and even if you don’t feel any faith growing, keep on and God who sees your faith will send commands to the earth on your behalf. Believe this. Believe what I’m saying here, because I am telling you what the Word of God most definitely says.

Here are some of those Scriptures:

“He sent from above; He took hold of me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them who hated me, for they were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my support. He also brought me forth into a large place; He delivered me, because He delighted in me. The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands He has awarded me… It is God who girds me with strength and makes my way perfect… He teaches my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken in my arms. You give me Your shield of victory… It is God who avenges me… who saves me from my enemies… from violent men You rescued me. Therefore I will praise You…” (Ps. 18:16-50)

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, dismayed, or unnerved because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God, to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words…” (2 Ch. 32:7,8)

“When you go out to battle against your enemies, and you see horses and chariots, and a people stronger than you, be not afraid of them, for the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt [bondage], is with you… Do not faint or be fearful, do not tremble or be terrified of them. For the LORD your God is the One who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to save you.” (Dt. 20:1-4)

“The LORD tests the righteous, but His soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.” (Ps. 11:5)

The Lord doesn’t hate anyone the way men hate, as with vindictiveness; but God does abhor, resist, and bring His wrath down in punishment upon those who go on in their sins, upon those who malign others, upon those who oppress, cheat, or lie to others, and upon all who are sexually immoral, who are idolators, and who refuse to abide by His holy laws. As Ex. 15:6,7 says, “Your right hand, O LORD, has become glorious in power. Your right hand, O LORD, has shattered the enemy. In the greatness of Your excellency, You have overthrown those who rose up against You. You sent forth Your burning anger, which consumed them as stubble.”

Nahum 1:7-13 is another passage which compares God’s treatment of the righteous and the wicked. To those who trust in Him He extends loving care, providing for them His very self as their refuge, while putting an end to their troubles. But to the wicked, those whom He considers His enemies, God will cause them to be cut down and consumed like dry stubble, their yokes broken from the neck of His people.

But though wicked people have chosen to abuse and hate us, we do nevertheless want them eternally saved, as well as to walk out their earthly lives in freedom from the devil who they’ve been allowing to control them. (2 Tim. 2:26) This being the case, our best defense is to continue to exalt God for His justice, for the fact that He knows what is going on, that He is a righteous and fair Judge, and that He delivers the weak from the mouths of lions. If we keep praising the Lord, we can take confidence in the fact that He will do what is best for everyone, He will fight the battle Himself, and He will disarm the wicked and honor the righteous. By constantly praising God, we keep the situation completely in His hands, and anything that transpires will then be, we’ll know, only of Him. Events will be His doing and for His glory. This is rest! This is confidence and peace for those who truly rely on their God! For “The LORD gives strength to His people; the LORD blesses His people with peace.” (Ps. 29:11) Is there not a multitude of promises He’s given to us –to His trusting ones?

Therefore, may you not only take hope in these promises, but also rise up in joy, strength, and courage, and with a huge increase in faith. And may you, through these, hide in the One who is already the Conqueror over all evil, and there find blessed rest, comfort, and healing for your weary, torn-up soul.

My love and prayers
are with you,
Rachel

Continued Anxiety Is Sin

February 16, 2013

Friends,
The Lord heals the mind and emotions and heart and spirit by revealing to us sin in our lives, helping us eliminate it all, not by man’s methods, but through obedience to His Spirit and Word, and then by comforting us and making us strong warriors for Him as we feed off of Him, the Word. Why then should we remain in a state of anxiety?

If someone continues to battle against anxiety and the fear of man, this reveals there is a problem of sin in that person’s life. (See 1 John 5:18) For such things come from a lack of faith (see v. 4) which is disobedience (see v. 3), which then continues to all the more block the free flow of faith. More sins then come in such as ungratefulness or discontentment, and these, plus the lack of faith itself, make a person move his eyes from the Lord down to the level of man. It is to look at men, rather than Christ. Who cares if someone doesn’t like us? To fear what others think about us is to fear them, and to fear man is to step into a snare. (Prov. 29:25) True, we don’t want to be obnoxious, or purposefully try to be tactless or annoying to others, but if we’re doing our best to please them as unto the Lord, and if we are walking in the will of the Lord, then we should be free of all anxiety. If anxiety does slug us, we are to immediately call out to the Lord in our distress and believe that He does rush to our side (Ps. 120:1), yank out the spear embedded in us, and then envelope us with Himself –He who is our shield.

We are, without question, not to adhere to worldly, antichrist philosophies. However, to disregard advice that is just plain wise advice only because it overlaps with commonsense advice (which even unregenerate men are able to give), is wrong. The book of Proverbs attests to this. For there is much wisdom there which of course comes from the Lord, but there is also there the kind of wisdom which God has placed into all consciences –if they haven’t given themselves over to depravity so as to lose that natural God-given wisdom. (See Rom. 2:14,15 w/ 1:21 & Eph. 4:17-19) In other words, God’s wisdom would caution us about rebuking someone we work for, but common-wisdom would advise the same. There certainly is some overlap. This is why talking ourselves through some things is just plain generic wisdom. I’ve written several times about speaking to ourselves, not listening to ourselves, for this is a God-ordained way to walk in faith, as verses like Ps. 42:5 and 62:5 and 103:1,2 and Lam. 3:24 reveal.

People seem to listen to Self and feelings way too much. Instead we should ignore our fears and other negative feelings and say, “Self, you’re dead. So get out of my sight and quit blocking my view! I’m looking at my Strong Deliverer, my God and Rock, Jesus the King of kings!” Then we’re to praise the Lord (aloud if possible). We are wise if we’ve been memorizing a Scripture verse (or more) every week so that we can immediately use that exceedingly powerful Sword. For there is nothing stronger than the Word of God in our mouths by the Spirit, except God Himself.

Relying on God to do everything for us is what the Calvinists teach. Did God win victories for His people as they lay by the banks of the river? No, He told them to do a particular thing. It may have been to break jugs and raise torches, it may have been to walk around the city and then shout, it may have been to take up bow and go into the fray, it may have been to use a sling and a stone, it may have been to praise and sing so that the chains would fall off, it may have been to pray that an angel would come and lead one out… But never did God tell a person to do nothing at all. Even standing firm means: Be strong, don’t run, have faith, and exalt God for the victory which is about to come.

Eph. 3:20 is a very important verse of doctrine, for it teaches us that God, who can do anything, has chosen to do wonders through our cooperation. We need to meditate on that verse often, as well as on 2 Peter 1:3,4. A Spirit-controlled person does not have “efforts of the flesh” any longer. Every effort we make (which we are to most definitely make) is done in the Lord’s power. That does not mean, though, that we lay down and let Him do it all. Quite the contrary! WE are to train ourselves to be godly. (1 Tim. 4:7) WE are to submit ourselves to God, resist the devil, and purify our hearts. (James 4:7,8) WE are to beat our bodies into subjection. (1 Cor. 9:27) WE are to take up our cross daily. (Luke 9:23) WE are to put to death whatever belongs to the sinful nature. (Col. 3:5) WE are to rid ourselves of filthiness. (Col. 3:8 // James 1:21) WE are to put on Christ, our new self. (Rom. 13:14 // Eph. 4:24 // Col. 3:10) WE are to continue working out our salvation with fear (of God) and trembling. (Phil. 2:12)

We are to live just like Jesus did. (1 John 2:6) There were times when He wept or prayed in anguish of spirit, but did it last more than a few hours? No. For as He spent time with the Father alone in prayer, He was rejuvenated in spirit and body, and went about in calmness and confidence, even through the worst time –his trial, beating, and death. To be anxious and fearful is to fret, and to fret leads only to evil. (Ps. 37:8) We are commanded not to fret or fear or be anxious, nor are we to care if we are pleasing men, as long as we are pleasing the Lord. (1 Thes. 2:4)

Satan, at God’s allowance, may attack our body or circumstances, or he may tempt us, but how can he have his way in our mind, heart, emotions, or spirit? God’s Spirit resides and rules there, giving us a mind of life and peace. (Rom. 8:6) Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21), meaning that, if this is the case, we (our decisions, etc.) are under the rule of the Spirit of Christ. (Rom. 8:9) Though the evil realm was allowed, for a day, to have its way (it thought) over Jesus’ body, when did He ever give the evil realm its way over His mind, heart, emotions, or spirit? Never.

We are new creations (2 Cor. 5:17) born from above (John 3:3) of the Spirit (v. 8 ) and we’ve been given the mind of Christ. (1 Cor. 2:16) How then can a saint claim to have his mind staggering under perpetual attack? The only explanation is that such a person is sinning against the Lord somehow, and as a result the devil’s darts are getting in. To deny that sin is the cause, is to basically be saying that God’s Word is not true, His promises not reliable. Are we not to obey Phil. 4:6 (and other verses) which command us to be anxious about nothing? If we continue under anxiety, we are, in essence, denying that the peace of God does come to the person who obeys verse 6. (v. 7) That person’s mind is not thinking on things excellent (v. 8 ), but instead on fearful things, with thoughts that are self-centered, not God-centered. This doesn’t mean we don’t examine ourselves (2 Cor. 13:5), of course. That’s different.

God’s Word definitely teaches that those who are in-dwelt by the Spirit of God are expected to walk, not as unstable, insecure, and frightened weaklings, but as strong, confident, and mature followers of Christ.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel