overcome

A to Z: Z is for Zenith

Zenith

The point of culmination; the peak

My heart is so full right now. I have tried to sit down and write this final post and I simply can’t do it without tears and a heart ready to burst. Last night we sang a song, that beautifully describes the Zenith of the believers life, the culmination of our fight to finish well, to walk worthy, to not bend under the trials, sorrows, and hardships of life . If you were to ask me “why Jody, why do you fight to overcome? Why do you live for the “Forever“, for the intangible and unseen? This is my answer.

My Atonement, Belief, Confession, Death, Eternity, Forever, Grace…….all these culminate and will merge in one glorious moment, the day I will rise, when he calls my name!

Please worship and glory with me as you listen to this song by Chris Tomlin. Revel in these words from Revelation. Allow these lyrics  to refresh your heart with truth, glory and hope. He is the Zenith of life, and the day I see Him face to face I will proclaim “It was worth it all, for Worthy is the Lamb!”

Revelation 22:1-5 (Esv)

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of he street of the city;also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

There’s a peace I’ve come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There’s an anchor for my soul
I can say “It is well

Jesus has overcome 
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

[Chorus:]
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain 
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise 

There’s a day that’s drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes

Jesus has overcome 
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

[Chorus:]
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain 
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

And I hear the voice of many angels sing,
“Worthy is the Lamb”
And I hear the cry of every longing heart,
“Worthy is the Lamb”
[x2]

[Chorus:]
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain 
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

A to Z: V is for Victory!

Victory

1. Defeat of an enemy or opponent.
2. Success in a struggle against difficulties or an obstacle.
3. The state of having triumphed.

I Cor 15:42-45, 50-58

42So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

43It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:

44It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

45And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit……

50Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

51Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

55O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

“Death is swallowed up…..Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory”

Are there any other words as sweet and liberating as these? Over the last few weeks, I have blogged about the atonement of Christ that gave me freedom from the condemnation of sin. I spoke about the liberating power of faith, truth, grace and God’s love. What a great way to wind down this challenge, by speaking about the ultimate fruit and reward of our battle to Overcome and to walk worth of the amazing gift we have been given.

The truth is alive within my heart. Grace has been poured out upon my life. God’s love has transformed me from a condemned sinner to an adopted daughter and joint heir of Christ. I am His and He is mine. My death was swallowed up when Jesus rose from the dead. He bore the sting of death on the tree fulfilling the law of the Righteous and True, the Only Wise God.

Because He is, I have Overcome!

Thank you Father the the Victory that is mine through you!

A to Z: U is for Overcoming Unbelief

Unbelief

Hebrews 2:18
For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

 

When Jesus walked this earth, we are told He was tempted and suffered just as we are. Our pain and suffering moves Him with compassion. Our Father understands our pain, weaknesses, and needs but what He will never tolerate nor allow is a faithless unbelieving heart. He is True and Faithful and in Him is no deceit or variableness. He has never failed to prove Himself to be who He has proclaimed Himself to be,  nor has He ever failed to fulfill the promises He has given us.

 

Unbelief  is an extremely dangerous thing to harbor in our hearts, and scripture spells out clearly what happens when we allow unbelief to take root and grow in our lives.


Dangers of Unbelief:

1. God can not work in a heart of unbelief

Matthew 13:58
And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.

2. A heart of unbelief leads to a heart of stone & Rebuke from God

Mark 16:14

Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.

3. Unbelief steals our peace and keeps us from finding “rest”

Hebrews 3:19

So we see that they were unable to enter (into rest) because of unbelief.

Unbelief = Heart of stone = God’s Rebuke = No Rest….

Hebrews 3:5-30 (ESV)

A Rest for the People of God

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
on the day of testing in the wilderness,
where your fathers put me to the test
and saw my works for forty years.
10 Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
they have not known my ways.’
11 (I)As I swore in my wrath,
They shall not enter my rest.’”

12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 15 As it is said,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned,whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

 

When my faith falters and the trials and burdens of life press down upon me, I find victory to overcome unbelief by remembering, recording, and recounting the goodness of God. My history with Him is the lifeline of my faith. He has never forsaken me or withheld His love or goodness. Who He was yesterday is who He will be today and tomorrow. There is no room for unbelief. 

 

What has become bigger in your life, your problems or the “Solution” to your problems?I Overcome unbelief by switching your focus from the problems to the “Truth.”  Remember yesterday’s A to Z! “The truth will set you Free.” Hear His voice, believe His words, overcome your fears, pain, anxiety….

A to Z Challenge: T is for Truth

Truth

“The quality of being in accord with fact or reality.

Fidelity to an original or standard.

That which is considered to be the supreme reality

and to have the ultimate meaning and value of existence.

John 8:32
And you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”

What do you say to the friend who suffers in an invisible prison, held captive by a smothering blanket of depression? How do you comfort the grieving woman who has miscarried her fourth child and has to bury that tiny life and with it her dream of being a mother? What can you say that will encourage the single woman who sits alone her apartment tormented by insecurity and the unfulfilled desire to “just be loved by somebody?” What words can sooth the raw aching heart of a wife who has stumbled upon the sordid details of her husband’s infidelity? How do we find hope when life seems hopeless?

The Bible tells us that Truth is the key to freedom but it is not merely the presence of truth that liberates. This is evidenced by the fact two people can go through similar circumstances with totally opposite results.

 In “The Passion of the Christ” Pilots wife makes a profound statement to her tormented husband who has begged her to explain the truth.

“What is truth Caludia? Do you hear it, recognize it when it is spoken?

Pilots wife replies, “Yes I do, don’t you?”

Pilot answers back  “No. How? Can you tell me?”

With sorrow Pilots wife whispers, “If you will not hear the truth, no one can tell you the truth.”

 

Truth has the power to liberate and conquer BUT only if that truth takes root deep within our heart and soul. Once truth is heard it must be received, seized, and hidden deep within our needy hearts. It is here, in that deepest part of man’s heart that faith gives voice to truth.

To the hurting and needy I say, it is in “The Truth” that you will find freedom, but if you will not hear truth, you will not experience freedom.

Are you willing to hear the truth? Are you willing to have the scales washed away, so that you can see life as it truly is? If you are hurting and looking for answers, your only hope is found in Him who is “Truth” and who offers that truth to all mankind.

John 1:14
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,
and we have seen his glory,
glory as of the only Son from the Father,
full of grace and truth.

John 14:6
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.

Will you listen to His message and plan for your life? He posses the truth capable of setting you free.

Are you seeking to comfort or council a friend imprisoned in hopelessness? Unless they are willing to hear the truth and to allow its roots to be buried deep within their hearts and minds, the truth will not do them any good. The first thing they need is prayer, that their ears would be opened.

A to Z: S is for Overcoming the Challenges of Single Life

S is for Single

Overcoming the challenges of Single life

When I was 28, I could recall a number of vividly painful moments when the world around me seemed to flaunt the relationships and opportunities I yearned for yet had not experienced. I would like to suggest a valuable piece of advice for those of you with single friends.There are certain times you should avoid telling a single woman she should enjoy her freedom and take advantage of all the amazing opportunities she has been given because she is single. Avoid these obvious nuggets of wisdom on valentine’s day, weddings of siblings or close friends, major holidays, or when 90% of her friends have just left for a special “couples only” retreat. If you are brave enough to do so, be sure to protect your face while bracing for the dreaded “Hairy eyeball” because it is coming!


Myth: I am Lonely because something is missing from my life.


For years, I dutifully attempted to exploit the benefits of “single awareness day.” Honestly, I did enjoy my freedom but many days loneliness and uncertainty pushed my faith to the edge. An entry from my journal describes the emotional battle I engaged in so frequently as a single woman.


8/27/00
“Life is so very interesting & complicated. Each day becomes a painful mirror into the imperfections and weakness of body and spirit…. sometimes I struggle so violently to cross over from knowledge to experience.” 


Crossing over

If you are single, how do you cross over? How do you transform your desires and emotions  so that they line up with what you profess to believe? As I walked through life, seeking God’s peace and direction, I discovered a truth that empowered me to cross from knowledge to experience. The key was found in my understanding of God’s name and nature.


The more time I spent in His word and in His presence, the more clearly I began to understanding that my single status did not interfere with His love for me or His desires for my life. Being single didn’t mean I was waiting for God’s best. God’s ultimate plan for my fulfillment and happiness wasn’t a gift that would be handed to me on my wedding day. Every new day of life I was given, whether single or married, would be filled with all the goodness and love God could give me. His offering of grace, mercy, peace, and love was the same to every one of His children. Our Heavenly Father does not withhold love.My marital status didn’t need to change in order to obtain purpose, peace, and happiness but my perspective did.


The Truth of the Matter

If it is impossible for God to lie, then I can cling to any promise of truth I find about himself in scripture. This brings me to how I overcame the feeling that I was missing something I needed in order to be content and happy because I was single.


Psalm 84:11-12was the key.


The Lord God is a sun and a shield

The Lord will give grace and glory

No Good thing will he withhold to them that walk uprightly.

O Lord of Host, Blessed is the man that trusteth thee.

Are you ready to have your faith supercharged? These verses will do just that, because they present an intimate glimpse into an amazing attribute of your Father’s nature. These revelations provide a foundation you can anchor your desires and dreams upon.  Verse 11b is an integral key to the kind of faith able to sustain and empower you as you accept the Lord plan for your life.


Verse 11 states that each morning the Lord is present and ready with “every good thing” you needed in order to get through the day. Christ faithfully prepares and will pour out upon you, to overflowing, all the strength, encouragement, wisdom, and blessings you need. Anything truly necessary to navigate through the trials & temptations, joys & sorrow, excess & need today is at your disposal. Your loving Father is there with it all, so that tonight you can testify to the world and for the Glory of God,


My Father has withheld nothing!”


As a single woman, some of the emptiness I struggled with was the result of an attempt to peer into the future to see if God’s will lined up with my desires. By doing so, during momentary periods of discontent, I trampled over hills and valleys paved with His Grace, Glory, and Blessings.


As I struggle to be content with my life (yes it is still a struggle today), the Lord still uses these verses to rebuke me with the truth, my emptiness is the result of a self-imposed, narrow sighted, earth-bound vision and a failure to look at life with spiritual eyes.


My prayer has become, “Today Lord,  give me eyes to see, that I might not miss even the smallest blessing that you, in love and Mercy, have prepared for me.” These verses spoke to me as a single woman and they still minister to me today. This promise sustains me as a mother of three when my days consists of mounds of laundry, disappointments, and mundane trials of life.


We should never hesitate to enter into the presence of  the God who formed and knew us intimately before we uttered our first cry. As we place our will at his feet in humble submission, may we never lose sight of the fact he has all ready given His best, His most precious and beloved Son. He will withhold nothing of lesser value.


When you have unburdened your heart and submitted your will to His, do not forget to gather up your basket with faith unmovable, and eyes set to the heavens. Purpose to recognize, accept, and receive  “every good and perfect gift” prepared for your life by the Creator of the Universe. You may be missing a ring, an invitation to a couples party, evenings with company, but you are not missing the key to happiness, peace, and fulfillment.


How full will your basket be tonight when you lay your head upon your pillow? Did you see, accept, and use all he prepared for you today?


What are some other myths about single life you struggled with? What advice can you offer to women enduring the challenges of single life?


What truth about God encourages you heart, chasing the shadows of unbelief away?

A To Z: Q is for Quietness

Quietness

And the work of righteousness shall be peace;

and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.

Isaiah 32:17 (KJV)

There is a time to fight, but there is also a time to be quiet and still. The ability to discern when to do which is critical when it comes to overcoming.

 

As a kid I was terrified of quicksand. No, I had never seen it, felt it, or come remotely close to the stuff, but the thought of something sucking me down into the darkest depths of  earth, slowly sucking life from my lungs, scared the snot out of me. I mentally went through the actions, or should I say inaction I would take so that in the event I ever did find myself doing the backstroke in a pool of it, I would be able to escape. At that young age, I understood that in order to survive, to had to “do nothing.”

 

Quicksand moments of life

Sometime life hands us fight/flight situations, times when there is no getting around confrontations, battles, disputes, or disagreements. Then there are the days when we are thrust into  “quick sand” moments of life. These are instances  when words, actions, and confrontation only make matters worse. No matter how cool, calm, and collects we are, anything we do or say sucks us deeper into the suffocating quagmire. I have found this to be true on both a physical and spiritual level.

 

I have a broken and sick grandparent. No matter what I  say, do, or don’t do, I can’t win. I can’t rationalize with her or make her see the truth. I can’t refute her illogical reasoning and distorted view of life and our family. Like my husband puts it, by doing so I “only get myself a blot.” It is maddening, but for the sake of not being engulfed into a bottomless pit of bitterness, anger, and strife, all I can do is nothing. I just walk away.

 

I love my sister, and have no idea what I would do without her. She has given me a few “quick sand moments” of a different sort. They start something like this, my phone rings and Amy is on the other side. “Jody, I have something I need to talk to you about. Your not going to like what I have to say, but please just hear me out. If you want to hang up when I am through I understand.” This might astound and even offend you, but you have to understand and personally know my amazing sister. She has never been wrong and true to her word, I did not like what she had to say. It was a “quick sand moment”,  I had to relax my heart, mind, and emotions and allow the love and truth of her words sink in, and guess what I survived, but better than that, I was a better wife, mom, woman because of it.

 

On a spiritual level,  I had some similar conversations with the Lord. As Beth Moore explains in her book “Get out of that Pit,” Sometimes were pushed into pits, sometimes we innocently fall into them. Then there are the times we just jump in headfirst.

 

There have been moments when I had to claw my way out of trials. Times when my fingers were raw, my skin bruised and bleeding, and I needed to, had to fight. BUT There have also been times when my battle wasn’t a pit I needed to claw out of but a pool of quicksand I had to relax in and yield to.

 
Sometimes the Redeemer doesn’t require we fight, He just asks us to yield, to relax, to rest. To believe He is who He says He is, and who He has all ready proven Himself to be. It is during these “quicksand moments of life” that He who is True and Faithful whispers

“…Your strength is to sit still.”

Isaiah 30:7

Quietness, it is an absence of striving, clamoring, protest, questions, doubts. Quietness is the ability to embrace an absence of words and explanations because I understand the absence of His voice by no means indicates an absence of His presence. Quietness is an opportunity to  receive things I might otherwise not see, hear, feel, or discover.

Do you know how to be quiet? Do you know how to let quietness envelop your heart, mind, body, soul and spirit? You can overcome through quietness. You just have to know when it is time to fight and when it is okay to relax, be quiet, and let another work and move on your behalf. Yes, there are moments when your strength to overcome is through sitting still.

A to Z: Overcoming through Prayer

Prayer

Communication with God

through written or spoken words, thoughts, meditation, or song.

A reverent petition

 The Power of Prayer

 There is something raw and exposing about prayer. Weather out of joy, longing, or sorrow, prayer is a purposeful and  submissive bending of body, soul, mind and spirit. It is the acknowledgement “I am not all there is, nor am I all I need to be.” There is One greater, mightier, more Holy, Wise, Loving, and Powerful!

As a youngster I struggled with prayer. If God was in control, and if God had a plan, why did I need to pray? He knew my heart, and could see what I was going through.  I wasn’t going to change His mind so why pray?

In a way I was right, my prayers would never alter God’s ultimate will and plan for my life, BUT there was something prayer would and could alter, ME!

Over the past few years, the Lord has mercifully led me through some lengthy periods of stretching, purging, refining, and growth. These private, humbling, and sometimes painful trials have opened my eyes to the transforming purpose and power of prayer. You see, prayer does not bend the Lord’s will to mine, it softens my heart to His.

What Prayer isn’t…..

Prayers that begin as tattle-tale list of offences, hurts, and need accomplish little when I came determined to “Get what I thought I needed.”  There is no room for the stubborn in prayer! I have experienced moments of stubborn prayer. Times I rudely and proudly presented myself before the throne with an agenda. I would come determined to tell Christ the way things were, determined not to walk away till I was satisfied. Usually I walked away frustrated and an even more distant relationship with Him. These prayers never accomplish anything!

Proper, Powerful, Purposeful Prayer

Praise the Lord for His mercy and patience,  He never turned His back from me. I am grateful for the times he ushered me through sweet, intimate moments of brokenness and fellowship with Him. Special seasons of life when my heart, soul, spirit, and body yielded in great heaving sobs, bending malleable and submissive to the gentle, purposeful hands of the Loving Father.  In these times of prayer, heaven and earth parted to unite a broken, needy, and seeking child into the presence of her Abba, Pappa, Father.

When I have fallen on my face before Him, not demanding answers, but pleading for grace, strength, understanding, and the desire to obey His will, He has gloriously spoken. He has granted ears to hear, eyes  to see, and a mind able to comprehend the love, grace, power, and glory He has bestowed upon me.

Prayer that overcomes doesn’t make hardship disappear, rather it moves man out of the way, overcoming him. The Prayer of faith might be able to mover mountains, but far greater is it’s ability to conform the once broken, wayward, rebellious, deceived, sin blinded heart of a man so that he can cry with passion,

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him”

“To live is to die and to die is to gain”

“I will decrease that He might increase!”

“Not my will oh Father, but  Thine.”

“To you alone of God may there be ALL Glory and Honor, Praise and glory”

“It will be worth it all, the day I see my Jesus!”

Psalm 66:20

Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayeror removed his steadfast love from me!

Psalm 69:13
But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.

Psalm 141:2
Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!

Proverbs 15:29
The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayerof the righteous.

Romans 12:12
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant inprayer.

Philippians 4:6
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything byprayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

James 5:16

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

A to Z: Overcoming Through Love


Love

Love is not an emotion.

Love is consciously choosing what emotions

I    allow    to   rule   my   heart,   soul,   spirit,   &   body.

Love  is not  given because  the  other  is  worthy,

Love is poured out because it was given to me

When I wasn’t worthy.

This is love

1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,

I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge,

and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love,

I am nothing.

3 If I give away all I have,

and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love,

I gain nothing.

4Love is

patient and kind;

love does not envy or boast;

it is not arrogant 5 or rude.

It does not insist on its own way;

it is not irritable or resentful;

6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8Love never ends…

I Cor 13:1-8a (ESV)

It is easy to display love, when others love you in return, but what happens when your heart is wrenched from your chest, ripped in two, and dropped at your feet? When you have been betrayed, crushed, rejected, insert your hurt here, how can you be expected to endure, believe, hope, and bear your pain while dishing out love in return?

I found myself struggling with this thought a few years ago when someone I loved hurt me in a way I never thought possible. In my stunned pain, sorrow, and grief, I never stopped caring, but my hurt made believing that the pain could ever stop long enough for the damaged pieces of my heart heal, seem impossible? I would never have dreamed of walking away from this relationship, but how was I supposed to bear the burden of my pain without insisting they feel, carry, or pay for what they had done? How was I to hope for healing and restitution when it seemed I was doing everything to make things right, while they went on with life, as if nothing had ever happened? How was I supposed to endure through my sorrow while they remained oblivious to how broken and hurt I was? Was my love really expected to never falter or fail?

I still loved this person, but it wasn’t a healthy, vibrant, enduring love. I went through motions, said the right things, declared I had forgiven, but for all my actions, I gained nothing. Our relationship was not repaired, my heart was still broken, and I was dying within. On the outside everything looked normal, but inwardly I was nothing loveable. I was angry, fearful, suspicious, and proud! I went through the motions and actions so no one thought less of me, but my actions were meaningless. I was not demonstrating true love. I was a loud, clanky, noisy, FAKE cymbal!

As I sat on the couch one morning, in desperation, I cried out to the Lord for mercy. I needed Divine intervention and power to break free from the bondage that was slowly sucking away my life. The Lord heard my cry and He broke my heart. It was not a merciless destruction, but rather a tender, and loving fracturing of a sick heart by a Master who understood exactly what had to be broken before it could be healed.

One image He brought to my mind was the picture His Son hanging broken, bloody, forsaken, and unrecognizable on the cross. When did I love you Jody, He asked? You loved me before I was knit together inside my mother’s womb Father. How much goodness, righteousness, and holiness existed inside you when my Son hung on the cross for you Jody? None Father, I was entirely sinful and lost with nothing inside me worthy of your love or regard. Did I require perfect love from you before I demonstrated and gave my perfect love to you my proud child? I choked back sobs as I thought through I Corinthians 13 and the vivid picture of His love in action on the cross. He bore all things, believed all things, hoped all things, and endured all things as he hung on that wretched tree. His Love NEVER failed. He never wavered, never hesitated, He never considered getting down, weighting his actions against my worthiness.

He was not asking me to do something new, He was asking me to give the exact same gift that had been given to me, Love Without Fail. I could heal, forgive, bear up, endure, believe, and hope by loving as He had loved me.

Unconditionally, Selflessly, Completely, Sacrifically!

I had been given a choice and an ability to deny feelings of anger, fear, suspicion, hurt, and bitterness. I was empowered with the ability to choose to overcom with real, true, genuine love! Not the hollywood, 50/50, until you hurt me, until it stops working, unless the fuzzies go away, unless someone better comes along, kind of love! He was asking for the selfless, bloody, bruised, broken, glorious kind of love that breathes life into every being it comes into contact with.

With His stripes I was healed.

For His love covered a multitude of my sins.

Through His love I have earned to overcome and love.

A to Z: Overcoming Insecurity

Insecurity

1. Not sure or certain; doubtful

2. Inadequately guarded or protected;unsafe

3. Not firm or fixed; unsteadyLacking stability; troubled

4. Lacking self-confidence; plagued by anxiety

When I was a teen, I came across a story in the Readers Digest I will never forget. The setting was a small village in the Middle East. In this village lived a handsome young man who’s family was both wealthy and prestigious. His presence caused quite a stir among the single women when it was announced that he had begun the search for a bride.

This town was filled with many beautiful women. Some of these beauties possessed great wealth of their own, while others could claim only beauty. This town was the home of another figure. She walked with hunched shoulder. Her eyes remained fixed sullenly upon the ground as she shuffled silently by. She was the brunt of the scorn and criticism of all the other single women in the village. When speculation and wagers rose regarding the lucky bride this man might chose for a wife, the name of this dejected girl was never suggested, unless it was to make  her the brunt of a cruel and heartless joke.

The record for the largest price any father in the village had ever received for a daughter, included four camels. Would this man’s offer equal this? Weeks passed and soon word got out that the man had made his choice. For days the single woman eagerly spied from behind their windows, in the hopes they might see this dashing young man approaching their tent. They diligently searched their father’s eyes for any clue that he had been the honored recipient of a generous  marriage proposal.

For days whispers of “Did you hear?” or  “Do you know who?” flew from household to household yet the name never surfaced. Then a mysterious woman arrived. She appeared to be a stranger yet she looked vaguely familiar. She was gracious and beautiful, commanding the attention of everyone she met. She was stunning in every manner, and her eyes brimmed with the confidence and poise of royalty. Word soon got out, this mystery woman was the lucky one chosen by the young man. Who was she? Where did she come from? Wait, isn’t that ……… the villagers began to mutter? Their surprise was replaced with wonder but nothing equaled the astonished reactions when they received the next piece of news regarding the couple. The wealthy, dashing, handsome young man had paid not four but seven camels to make this outcast his bride!

A wise man from the village approached the young couple weeks after their marriage, no longer able to resist the mystery of the seven camels and the woman’s transformation. Why did you offer seven camels for the outcast of the village he asked? The groom smiled and looked lovingly at his bride. I watched my wife go about her life when no one was looking, scorning, or mocking her. I saw a beauty and worth inside that no one else knew existed. She was like a flower not yet bloomed. I paid seven camels for her because I wanted her to know how beautiful, worthy, and priceless her life was. My gift was but water to a thirsty flower, enabling her to thrive and be who she truly was inside, the woman you now see before you.

Insecurity, we all struggle with it in some form or manner. I have struggled with insecurity my entire life. Everyone I met became my personal measuring stick. No matter how spiritual, athletic, friendly, or successful I was, there was always someone better. I was a prisoner to my insecurity, and it transformed me within and without, but not for my good.

Years later, I look back upon those insecure years and realize how distorted my focus on life had become. I was looking to broken and fallen mankind for worth, value, meaning, and acceptance and they could not provide that. The broken can not heal, the sinner can’t save, the unrighteous can’t make righteous, the blind can’t lead.

I was like that hunched and dejected woman in the story who’s life was transformed by the unspeakable gift of a lover. I was bent and marred by sin, yet He looked upon me with love and paid the ultimate price to give me a new life, purpose, and love. He who was Beauty and Holiness, Majesty and Glory, sacrificed His most treasured Son, that I might  be transformed. The day my heart grasped the extent of the sacrifice the King of Glory made on my behalf, my life was transformed. I belong to Him now, not for the price of seven camels, but for the price of His Son. He is my beauty and confidence. His pleasure is now my desire and aim. Because of His love for me, I am learning to overcome my insecurities. Because of His sacrifice, a desire courses withing my heart to please Him, not man. Praise the Lord for His unspeakable and priceless gift that liberates me from the bondage of insecurity. May my life reflect the reality of His Gift and Love for me!

“9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you,

asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will

in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,

10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,

 fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work

and increasing in the knowledge of God.

11May you be strengthened with all power,

according to his glorious might,

for all endurance and patience with joy,” Col 1:9-11(ESV)