No Fears

“…new day & *no fears* because fears are just the bad stories we tell ourselves. *And your Father is far bigger than your fears.*
This is why ‘I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand I will not be shaken’ Psalm 16:8. He pulls you right close & whispers it, ‘Do Not Be Afraid.’ He knows how hard things are. And He knows how *faithful He will be.*
That’s why He repeats it again & again, 365 times, so we don’t have need to fear any day of the year: Do Not Be Afraid. He holds every minute of this week & His grace & timing are *perfect.*
So we’re just going to go all out & Trust & be brave this week: It takes courage to listen with our whole heart to the tick of God’s timing, rather than march to the loud beat of our fears” (Ann Voskamp) 

Again, I remind you that fear is just False Evidence Appearing Real. Fear always looks to the future but fails to figure God into the equation. Fear always forgets what God has done in the past, but faith as the antidote to fear reminds us that God remains faithful in every circumstance.

Sometimes, fear comes over a specific circumstance, like a loved one being far away from home or the uncertainty of an undiagnosed illness.

Sometimes, fear is generalized and hard to pinpoint. You have anxiety but aren’t exactly sure why.

In either case, the cure to fear is still the perfect love of God. It’s believing that God’s perfect love can overcome whatever it is that you’re fearing.

Fear says that God is not enough. Faith says God is more than enough.

Once again, I say the words, “I believe,” even when my feelings tell me otherwise. I proclaim it until every part of me receives it and until I fully believe it.

God is enough.

More Ragamuffin Thoughts

“One hundred years ago in the Deep South, the phrase ‘born again’ was seldom used. Rather, the words used to describe the breakthrough into a personal relationship with Jesus were, ‘I was seized by the power of a great affection.’ It was a deeply human and moving way to describe the initiative of God, the explosion within the human heart when Jesus became Lord of one’s personal and professional life. It lent new meaning to the old Russian proverb, ‘Those who have the disease called Jesus will never be cured’ (Brennan Manning).

That’s it.

I hope I’m never ever cured. Ever.



I’m Not Crazy, Am I?

I think there’s a common belief among evangelicals that every problem can be solved by praying more and having more faith. Sometimes that’s true, but sometimes it’s not.

Sometimes, you need a little help.

Some people have anxiety that won’t go away, no matter how much praying they do. Some people have depression that all the faith in the world can’t lift.

That’s why there’s doctors and medication. Because sometimes your brain just doesn’t work right. Sometimes you have a chemical imbalance or synapses misfiring, and you need help.

I do think that a lot of issues are spiritual in nature and I really truly believe that God can heal. I also believe God put it in the hearts of men and women to help cure people of physical and mental ailments. God sometimes chooses to cure through human hands.

I don’t like the term “mental illness.” As a pastor said, it gives the impression that your malady is all in your head. But, as he went on to say, a broken mind is just as broken in a very real sense as a broken limb.

As of today, I am taking medication for generalized anxiety disorder (with obsessive thinking that I can’t shut off thrown in). I can’t wait to be myself again, to not live under a constant state of anxiety and to finally be able to listen to myself think for once.

It’s not a shameful thing to admit you need help. Or that you need drugs to function normally (prescribed over-the-counter drugs taken according to the instructions).

It doesn’t mean you’re less of a person or less of a Christian if you struggle with depression or anxiety or are bipolar. In fact, your struggles will give you a testimony to reach people for Christ that most people can’t touch. You will be able to use your pain and sttuggles to help someone else through theirs.

And by the way, normal is just average. Don’t be normal. Be spectacular. Be extraordinary.

Thoughts on St. Jude and Stepping Out in Faith

Today, the radio station I was listening to had a marathon fundraiser for St. Jude. It was a gut-wrenching, tear-jerking experience as they played all the saddest songs in their arsenal interspersed with audio clips of parents talking about watching their children get sick, suffer, and sometimes die.

I heard about Danny Thomas, founder of St. Jude’s Research Hospital for Children. His vow was that no child should ever have to miss out on a cure for an inability to pay. The hospital we have today is the living imbodiment of that vision.

But what if Danny Thomas had said something like, “That’s a real shame that kids can’t get treated because they don’t have the money. Someone should probably do something about that. I’m sure someone else will step up.”

More than likely, there would be no St. Jude. Probably, many children would have not gotten treatment. Many more would have died. Many forms of cancer would still be untreatable.

History shows what can happen when one person steps out in faith to make vision a reality. When one person says, “I won’t wait for someone else to step up. I will step up.”

What burden has God placed on your heart? What breaks your heart and keeps you up at night? What is one tragedy or trauma that you went through that you would want to spare anyone else from having to go through?

Now, what are you willing to do about it? You may not be able to cure cancer or solve world hunger, but you can do something. You may not be able to change the world, but you can change one person’s world.

I love the illustration of an older man walking on the beach littered with starfish. He found a young boy picking up the starfish one by one and throwing them back into the ocean.

He said to the boy, “Son, you know you can’t possibly hope to make a difference with all these starfish laying around.”

The boy replied, “Maybe not, but I can make a difference for this one,” as he threw another starfish back into the ocean.

May we each make a difference in someone’s life today.