Tag Archives: belief

Do You Believe? ~ Matthew 9:27-31 (Part 1)

Image Credit: St-Talka.org
Image Credit:
St-Talka.org

27 After Jesus left the girl’s home, two blind men followed along behind Him, shouting, “Son of David, have mercy on us!”

28 They went right into the house where He was staying, and Jesus asked them, Do you believe I can make you see?”

“Yes, Lord,” they told Him, “we do.”

29 Then He touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.” 30 Then their eyes were opened, and they could see! Jesus sternly warned them, “Don’t tell anyone about this.” 31 But instead, they went out and spread His fame all over the region. ~ Matthew 9:29-31 — NLT ~

Do you believe that Jesus can…? Fill in the blank and ask yourself, “Do I believe that Jesus can heal my disease? Free me from painGive me a childGive me a home? FoodClothingDeliver me from fearDepressionAddictions? Do I believe that Jesus can forgive meLove meChange me?

When I began to truly follow Jesus, dedicating my whole life to Him, I could feel my faith growing stronger and stronger, as I read and studied God’s word…

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. ~ Romans 10:17 — NASB ~

Image Credit: Apostolic Titbits
Image Credit:
Apostolic Titbits

One of the ways our faith can grow is from hearing God’s word. We can hear His word when we go to church on Sundays, but hearing His word only once a week, will not help your faith to grow. If we want to have the faith that moves mountains, then we must know His word for ourselves. Indeed, we must know Christ  for ourselves, and there is no better way to know Him than to read His word and spend time talking and listening to Him.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:6-7 — NLT ~

Do you believe that Jesus can change your life? Can He heal your broken body? Can He mend your broken heart? Can He restore broken relationships?

But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. ~ James 1:6-8 — NLT ~

How strong is your faith? When Jesus asks you, “Do you believe I can make you (fill in the blank)how will you respond? Do you believe He can do anything, or do you doubt it?

I’ll be honest with you… I have such a strong faith that Jesus will help others, but when it comes to me personally, though I desperately long to believe, I struggle. I don’t think the struggle is so much can He, as will He? For the last three years, I’ve suffered with constant, chronic debilitating back pain, and I’ve prayed for relief, which hasn’t come.

When I first started dealing with this pain, I sensed the Lord telling me that this is something I must go through. So what does that mean, exactly? Is this a temporary thing? Or is it something I will have to deal with for the rest of my life? I desperately want to believe that  this won’t be forever, but I’m not sure. I want to pray according to God’s will for this, but I’m not sure what His will for me is… Is my faith weak? How about yours? What do we do when our faith is weak???

There was another person in the bible who loved the Lord and wanted to believe in Jesus’ power to help him, yet, like mine, his faith was much too weak. Yet this man didn’t allow that to stop him. Do you remember the man whose son was possessed by an evil spirit that caused him to have violent seizures, and wouldn’t allow the boy to speak? He brought his son to Jesus, hoping that He would heal and deliver his son, but when he arrived, Jesus wasn’t there, so he asked the disciples to cast the demon out. However, they were unable to do so, and the man was left feeling as dispirited as I’ve felt about my chronic back pain…

Then, of course, there were also naysayers in the crowd, who further depressed the poor crestfallen man, by stirring the pot. You know the kind of people I’m talking about. Instead of encouraging and empathizing your plight, they instead try to stamp out any faith you might still hold onto, by adding their opinions… “I told you, there’s nothing anyone can do”… “You don’t really believe God can do anything about your problem, do you???” This is the scene Jesus came upon when he returned to His disciples…

Image Credit: bongodogblog
Image Credit:
bongodogblog

16 “What is all this arguing about?” Jesus asked.

17 One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son so you could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk. 18 And whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.”

19 Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to Me.”

20 So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth.

21 “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father.

He replied, “Since he was a little boy. 22 The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if You can.”

23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”

24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” ~ Mark 9:16-24 — NLT ~

Image Credit: Darrell Creswell
Image Credit:
Darrell Creswell

Have you been there? You want to believe, and you know you should believe, but there’s still a part of you that just can’t believe. Not only that, but others have seen your situation, and added their opinions, and though you’ve tried not to listen to the negativity, it’s still registered in your brain, and you have that doubt on top of your own. 

The father of this boy had heard that Jesus was a miracle worker, and though he desperately wanted to believe, his boy had been like this for a long time.  Still, he had worked up his courage, and brought his boy, and the disciples had tried to cast the demons out to no avail. How discouraged he must have felt! 

Have you been there? I have. I’ve had several people, from several different churches, pray over me and prophesy that I am healed, though I really haven’t been. I’ve had some tell me to walk in my healing, even though I’m still in pain, denying the pain, though it remains. They’ve commanded me to walk around the church, when I can barely hold myself up, let alone make a trek around the church. I’ve been told to ignore my pain, and though I’m in excruciating pain, I should repeat over and over, “I am healed.”  Jesus never told anyone to deny their condition. He always deals in truth.  

Therefore, I am left with this realization… I am a lot like the father in this story. I desperately want to believe that Jesus will heal me, but I’m not sure that He will… Though I believe that He can, what if it’s not His will to heal me?

22 The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.”

23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”

24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” ~ Mark 9:22-24 — NLT ~

In the beginning of this study, Jesus asked the blind men, “Do you believe I can make you see?” (Matthew 9:28 — NLT) Later, He told the father of the demonized boy, “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?.. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”  (Mark 9:23 — NLT ) Therefore, in light of this study, I will join with  the boy’s father, tell ing the Lord, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 — NLT)

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers


All bible references are taken from Bible Gateway. Do you want to look up a scripture, but can’t remember where to find it? Try finding it on Bible Gateway, a wonderful website that includes many different bible versions, study aids and helps. Bible Gateway is a great resource for all believers to grow in wisdom and knowledge of the Lord.

Religion vs. Spirituality vs. Christianity

Religion and spirituality are man’s attempt to reach God…

Image Credit: http://betteroffread.com/2012/04/03/the-rescue/

Christianity is God looking down on mankind, and seeing that we were desperately lost in sin. Knowing that the wages of sin is death, He reached down to mankind. God knew that there was not one man who ever had lived, nor would ever live who was without sin – no, not even one. So God, who loved the world so much that He gave His One and Only Son, so that whosoever believed in Him (Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the living God), should not perish, but have everlasting life. Christianity is knowing and recognizing that apart from Christ, we are dead in our transgressions.

Christianity is confessing with our mouth, right out loud, for the world to hear, and for us to hear, that Jesus is Lord. It is believing in our heart that God raised Him from the dead. It is having the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though He was God, He did not demand and cling to His rights as God. He made Himself nothing; He took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form He obediently humbled Himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross. Because of this, God raised Him up to the heights of heaven and gave Him a name that is above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Image Credit: http://khollandsblog.wordpress.com/2009/06/19/remember-the-thorns/

To be a Christian is to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy He knew would be His afterward. It is knowing that every man, woman and child who was, is and is to become a part of His eternal Kingdom, that is every Christian (who is a true worshiper), is the joy that was set before Him.

It knowing that Jesus is seated in the place of highest honor beside God’s throne in heaven, and thinking about all He endured when sinful people did such terrible things to Him, so that we who love Him, don’t become weary and give up. Christianity is believing that Jesus Christ, the One who paid the debt that every man, woman and child owed (the debt that I owed), so that we who believe would become His beloved bride, His church (not the four walls of a building, but we, His beloved people), could spend eternity with Him.

Image Credit: http://pastorrussell.blogspot.com/2008/11/return-of-christ.html

Christianity is knowing and believing that the same Jesus who was crucified on the cross, died, and was buried, rose from the grave and ascended into heaven on a cloud. It is believing that Christ is preparing a place for His people… His beloved… His bride… and knowing that if He is preparing a place for us, then He will return for us, so that we may be where He is, reigning and ruling with Him for eternity.

Christianity is sharing this Good News… this Gospel with others. It is loving God, first and foremost. It is loving our neighbor as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us… It is loving our enemies… If we love Him and obey His commands (to love the Lord, our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; and to love our neighbor as ourselves), then we will abide in Him, and He will abide in us…

Daily Prompt: Ode to a Playground

A place from your past or childhood, one that you’re fond of, is destroyed. Write it a memorial.
Daily Prompt: Ode to a Playground

I couldn’t believe it when I heard it on the news. I must have misunderstood what was said. Surely the church of my childhood… the church that held such happy memories for me… the church where I first came to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior couldn’t have burned. I hadn’t been there since I was around fifteen or sixteen years old, but I always had such fond memories of it.

Image Courtesy: http://meadesbranchfwb.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Church-bus.gif

I remember the first Sunday I attended Gethsemane United Methodist Church, in Reliance, MD as though it were yesterday. The day before, some stranger and his wife came to visit my mother and father, and invited my sister and me to ride on a church bus to this church. I couldn’t believe my parents said yes! They didn’t even know these people, and they had agreed to let them take my sister and me on this bus.

Although I was only around ten or eleven at the time, I had a vivid imagination, and I was very distrustful of people and their motives. I was certain these seemingly nice people were going to get my sister and me on that bus, then kidnap and murder us. The whole ride to church, as the bus would stop and pick up more and more children along the way, Mr. W. stood at the front of the bus, singing songs about Jesus and laughing and smiling. It was really a lot of fun, but I wasn’t about to let my guard down. I didn’t trust these strangers, not one little bit.

I was surprised and relieved when we reached the church, but I was still suspicious. “They probably brought us here in case our parents call to check up on them,” I thought to myself. “They’re probably going to kill us on the way home from church.” Praise God, they obviously didn’t kill any of us, or I wouldn’t be sitting here writing my story for you. Nevertheless, when we were safely delivered to our house that afternoon, after enjoying Sunday School, church and snacks afterward, I continued to be suspicious of them. Perhaps their plan was to win our parents’ confidence, and then, after several months, they would kill us. I remember, I was so distrustful, that I imagined different scenarios of our kidnapping and murder, and I would daydream, imagining different ways in which we might escape.

Eventually, over the months, I began to let my guard down and trust these people, who seemed to genuinely love us and care for us. I couldn’t believe that they really cared for me… my sister, yes, because she was cute and sweet and everything that I wasn’t. I remember how I hung out with some of the tougher girls, those who at the tender young age of twelve or thirteen had already had many boyfriends — and some of their boyfriends were actually men, not boys. I remember that I envied those girls, because they were so much prettier than me, attracting grown men!

As I reflect on these memories now, I am grateful to the Lord for guarding and protecting me, at a time in my life when I was so vulnerable and needy. I remember cursing and swearing with one of the girls, and going behind the community house to smoke cigarettes, because I so wanted to be cool and fit in… and be liked by the boys. I tried to act tough like one of the other girls in particular, whose name, like mine, was Cheryl, and I would be so disrespectful, because I needed to be accepted by someone… And there on that church bus, was Mr. and Mrs. W., who continually showered their love on me.

No matter how bad or disrespectful I was, they treated me with love. I can remember Mrs. W. looking up at me one time, when I had behaved so terribly, with such a look of unguarded love on her face, that it left me feeling ashamed… She acted like she really loved me, but how could that be? At home, when I was bad, my own parents cursed me and called me stupid, dumb@$$, worthless… But here, at church, when I really behaved terribly, Mrs. W. still acted like she loved me. When I misbehaved, she didn’t act like she was angry with me at all… Instead, she looked at me with her pretty, expressive brown eyes that looked as though she was hurt and ready to cry, and continued to love me.

I didn’t understand these church people, but I admired them and loved them, and I wanted to be like them. I remember one Sunday in church, when I was around twelve or thirteen years old, the minister preached a message, and I was compelled to move forward toward the altar, while the hymn, Just As I Am, was being sung by the congregation. There, at that wooden altar, with the red velvet cushions, I knelt on my knees, and asked Jesus to come into my heart and save me and deliver me from evil.

That afternoon, I couldn’t wait to get off the church bus and share the good news with my parents. I remember running into the house and breathlessly telling my mom that I was born again. That really irritated her, and she told me that if I was going to start acting religious like Mr. and Mrs. W., she wasn’t going to let me go to that church anymore. I was devastated. Mr. and Mrs. W. were good, loving people. Why shouldn’t I be like them?  I didn’t talk about Jesus to my mom and dad until many, many years later, when I was a grown woman.

I have such fond memories of Gethsemane United Methodist Church, in Reliance, MD, and although the fire completely destroyed the church on May 11, 1998, my memories of it remain intact. A couple of years later, the church was rebuilt, not on the same site as the original structure, but across the street from it. The new church is quite lovely, and although it is a brick structure, it bears no resemblance to the original. Nor does it invoke the same feelings that the original one did.

I pray that the people in this new Gethsemane will impact the lives of men, women and children as the people from the old one changed my life. To the old structure, I reluctantly bid a fond farewell.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Hide and Seek

 I love those who love Me, And those who seek Me diligently will find Me. (Proverbs 8:17 NKJV)

Photo Credit: http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/1721.html

I was reading a  post today from someone who is seeking spirituality. This person’s cries really touched my heart, and though I responded personally to this person, it made me think of the many others, who are seeking, and what a distorted picture of Christ we give people. I’m not sure where this post will take me, but the Spirit is stirred up within me, and I need to share what He is speaking.

Who was it that said you have to go to church in order to find God? Do you know that I’ve never read that in the bible? Since when does a person have to go to a church in order to find God? Here’s what God says:

 I love those who love Me, And those who seek Me diligently will find Me. (Proverbs 8:17 NKJV)

In order to find God, we have to diligently seek Him. That’s not the only place where God says that:

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13 NKJV)

Photo Credit: staceynicole.com

Does that say anything about coming to church to find God? Does it say anything about following a bunch of rules and regulations to find God?

Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be obedient to the laws of God and man, because there would be utter chaos if we did not. What I am saying is that you will not find God by obeying all of these rules and laws. If you really want to find God, you must diligently seek Him with all your heart.

Do you want to find God?

Diligently seek Him… This is how diligent is defined in dictionary.com

  1. constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything: a diligent student.
  2. done or pursued with persevering attention; painstaking: a diligent search of the files.

A lot of people say they want to know God, but they never really look for Him. They don’t make much effort. You see, in order to seek God diligently, you have to put forth some effort. You have to be constant in your effort to find Him. You must be attentive and persistent in seeking Him. You must pursue Him with persevering attention. You must be painstaking in your effort to find Him. 

Photo Credit: http://www.prwatch.org/spin/2010/08/9395/playing-hide-and-seek-oil

Do you remember playing hide and seek as children? There were some children who were “It” and their job was to seek those who hid from them. I used to get irritated with the one’s who were “It,” and after glancing around a little bit, and putting forth very little effort, would just give up and quit — right in the middle of the game! They didn’t even try to find the hiders. If they were “It,” then they would quit. They said they wanted to play hide and seek, but it quickly became apparent, that they only wanted to play if they didn’t have to be “It,” or if they didn’t have to look too hard to find the hiders.

That’s how many people are about God. They say they want to find Him, but they don’t really look for Him. They’re not willing to put forth any effort. They’re not willing to let go of some of their own ideas about finding Him. They’re not willing to let go of their own opinions about how things should be. They’re not willing to look at the bible. They’re not willing to actually live out what the bible says… They don’t really want to know God — they may say they do, but their actions say that they only want to know Him if they don’t have to be “It.”

Photo Credit: http://ivyleagueinsecurities.com/2009/12/hide-seek/

There were other kids that played hide and seek with passion. Do you remember? These were the ones who left no stones unturned when they were “It.” They would search and search, taking note of the smallest of clues… the rustling of leaves… the slight movement from the midst of a bush… the sound of a giggle coming from behind a tree… They were diligent in their pursuit of the hiders, and they usually found them before they could return to “base.”

In spiritual terms, these are the people who seek God with all their heart. They read the scriptures to find clues about Him. They do what the scriptures say, in order to try the words and see if God is truly in them. They talk to God and listen for His voice. They keep looking and looking, leaving no stone unturned, because they must find Him. These are the people who diligently seek God and find Him.

Photo Credit: http://preparednotscared.blogspot.com/2010/04/family-activity-indoor-hide-and-seek.html

Often, when the children would play hide and seek, there were those who would try to “help” the person who was “It.” Oh, you know the ones I mean… the ones who would say they saw so and so run that way, when it wasn’t true, sending you off on a wild goose chase. Or they would tell you their opinions… “If I was ‘It,’ I would count faster… or I would do it this way… Those people weren’t really there to help “It.” They were there to make “It’s” job harder.

Sadly, this is true spiritually as well. There will always be those who try to “help” you, by telling you, “Girl, you need to go to church.” Or some might say, “Boy, he needs to find religion.” Then there are those who tell you that you have to say the sinner’s prayer (the bible does’t say anything about that) to find God… They tell you that you can’t wear that short skirt if you want to find God… You can’t have tattoos if you want to find God… If I was you, I would start living right… You better stop cursing… You’ll never change… And that’s just the people in the church, who can distract you from seeking and finding God!

Photo Credit: http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/888.html

Then, there are those of different faiths, agnostics and atheists… They also do their part in muddying the waters, making it harder to find God by offering their opinions… Where was God when this happened…? If there really is a God, then why…? There are many ways to find God… Christians are intolerant… Christians are too rigid… I have the right to live my life the way I want to live it, without some religion telling me what’s right and what’s wrong…

My friend, do you really want to find God? Do you really want to know the truth? Jesus said:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NLT)

Photo Credit: http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/1793.html

Do you want to know the truth? Go to Jesus. Do you want to know what way to go? Go to Jesus. Do you want to have abundant everlasting life? Go to Jesus. Do you want to find God the Father? Go to Jesus.

My friends, my heart’s desire is that you would know the truth, and that you would not be fooled by the lies that people sometimes knowingly, and sometimes unknowingly tell you. If you want to find God, seek Him and go through Jesus. If you go to Jesus, He said:

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

My friends, I want to encourage you to seek God while He may still be found. My prayer for each one of you is this:

Father, in Jesus’ name, I pray that You will draw each person you lead to read this post, to diligently seek You with all their hearts. I pray, Father, that You would give them a hunger and thirst for You and for righteousness. Lord, I pray that You would reveal to them how deeply You love them. In Jesus’ name, I pray that each man, woman and child who reads this post would come to understand how long, and how wide; how high and how deep Your love for them is. I pray, Lord, that You would give them understanding hearts, and that they would truly understand how much You care for them.

Lord, I pray that You would give these people supernatural wisdom, so that they would not be confused by what “church people” say… so that they would not be confused by what people of other religions say… so that they would not be confused by what people of no religion say… and so they would not be confused by their own opinions of right and wrong… Father, you are not the author of confusion, so I pray that You would speak to the hearts of each person reading this post, and they would come to know and understand You, and Your will…

Father, give each person a heart that diligently seeks You, in Jesus’ name, amen.

May the Lord bless each and every one of you!

Love,
Cheryl

One of My Most “Spiritual” Moments

You’re locked in a room with your greatest fear. Describe what’s in the room.
Daily Prompt: 1984

Isn’t it funny how the Lord works? I wrote this post in the wee hours of this morning, before the Daily Prompt was mailed, and in it, I talked about fear. Since the Lord set me free from fear (see the post below), as unbelievable as it might sound, I have no fear. Does that mean I never get scared? Yes, there are times when fear will creep in, but they’re usually short-lived. Anyway, please see the post below, which dealt with my fear once and for all!
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What was your most spiritual moment?

This post is in response to the question above, raised by Tilda Swift, at Swift Expression.

I’ve had many spiritual moments since I began walking with the Lord, and the one that I’m about to share with you now is only one of many. How do you rate an encounter with God? Every encounter with the Almighty God, Creator of the universe, Father of Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, through His Holy Spirit is powerful and exciting, as well as transforming.

Photo Courtesy Of:http://godisgood.info/2009/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/2009-10-prayer.jpg
Photo Courtesy Of:
http://godisgood.info/2009/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/2009-10-prayer.jpg

This encounter took place around sixteen or seventeen years ago. (I’ve had many other encounters since, but this is the one that the Lord placed on my heart to share with you) At the time, I was dealing with many issues from my past, and I was in a lot of pain. I was also held prisoner by a spirit of fear, that had enslaved me since childhood. I know this may sound crazy to some, but I’m sure others of you may be able to relate to this. I lived in fear of what might come in the mail.

From the time I was a child, I lived in fear of the mail. Do I sound like I was a little bit crazy to you? Perhaps I was, but teachers sometimes mailed letters to the parents of their students, and more often than not, those letters were not letters of praise, but of condemnation. I was not a model student, and so I lived in fear and dread of what might show up in the mail and get me in trouble.

Photo Courtesy Of:http://restministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/god-has-not-given-us-a-spirit-of-fear.jpg
Photo Courtesy Of:
http://restministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/god-has-not-given-us-a-spirit-of-fear.jpg

Therefore, I used to pray that my mother hadn’t come home for her lunch break at work and gotten the mail before I could check it and intercept it if need be. I had learned to forge my mother’s signature quite well, and if I got home and found a letter from one of my teachers, I would open it and sign it if necessary, to avoid beatings and punishment. I’m not proud of my actions, nor do I condone them, but I was a scared little girl, living in a constant state of fear and anxiety, and rather than risk getting a beating and facing the wrath of my parents, I chose to lie and cheat.

You see, I had a spirit of fear, and it had become a stronghold in my life from the time I was a child. And here’s the thing about spirits — the longer you carry a spirit, the stronger it gets, and the more powerless you are to overcome that spirit, and one spirit will also invite others to take up residence within you, which is what happened with me.

As the spirit of fear grew stronger in my life, I opened the door to the spirit of deception. I became a chronic liar. I told so many lies while I was growing up, to my parents, my teachers, the children at school and even myself, that the line between fact and fiction became blurred, because I lived in constant fear.

When I was around seventeen or eighteen years old, I began having panic attacks. I was even admitted to the psychiatric ward of a local hospital right before I turned nineteen. Of course, the psychiatrist who saw me at the time, was a quack, who told my parents that my problem was just immaturity. I knew that it wasn’t safe to confide my fears to him, and so whenever I had to meet with him, I would sit there in stony silence, while he stared at me, like a cold fish, notepad in hand, writing who knows what, until our hour was up. Then he would collect his money and send me on my way, while he reported what had transpired to my parents.

Photo Courtesy Of:http://quotespics.com/trust-in-the-lord-with-all-your-heart-bible-proverbs-35-2/
Photo Courtesy Of:
http://quotespics.com/trust-in-the-lord-with-all-your-heart-bible-proverbs-35-2/

Anyway, I got married two days before my twentieth birthday, and I figured once I left that fear-filled environment, I wouldn’t have to be afraid anymore. I was wrong. That spirit of fear had attached itself to me, and it wasn’t letting go. Even after having two children, and seeing that the man I was married to was a good man who loved me very much, I still lived in fear. At that time in our marriage, I was the one who took care of paying the bills that came each month.

I remember a time, when there wasn’t enough money in the accounts to pay a bill. I panicked. What was I going to do? I look back on this now, and I can see how irrational and foolish I was back then, but my life was spinning out of control, and I couldn’t see anything past my fears. Logic and reason tell me that I should have gone to my husband right away, the first time this happened, but I didn’t. Instead, I did something stupid. I hid the bill.

And each month, for many months, the bills kept coming, until we owed over $700. Now, more than sixteen years later, I can’t even remember what bill or bills caused me such anxiety. All I knew is that I loved my husband, and I didn’t want to lose his love. As crazy as it sounds, I was afraid that he would leave me, and I would be forced to return to my parents’ home to live, and I just couldn’t risk that happening.

Now, somewhere, in the midst of all of this, Jesus began to woo me with His love. I was drawn to Him, and I wanted to please Him. I wanted a chance to pray to Him, and worship Him alone, without any distractions from my husband or the children. So, one Saturday, I left the children at home with my husband, while I went to the church. I believe that was my first attempt at fasting, and I went upstairs to my Sunday School class, and sat there alone with God and my bible, and I began to pray.

Photo Courtesy Of:http://wallpaper4god.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/john14_18.jpg
Photo Courtesy Of:
http://wallpaper4god.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/john14_18.jpg

Then, in the midst of my prayer, I felt the Lord’s presence, and He spoke to my heart, reminding me of the $700 we owed, and urging me to tell my husband about it. I remember telling Him that I loved Him and I wanted to obey Him, but couldn’t I do something else for Him? Couldn’t I do anything else rather than confessing to my husband that I had been lying to him for months about the money we owed? Holy Spirit was very firm, as He urged me to confess to my husband. I remember crying, and telling the Lord that I really did love Him, but I just couldn’t tell my husband.

I felt the presence of the Lord so strongly, and yet I just couldn’t do what He was asking me to do. I was too weak. I was controlled by fear. I went home from that encounter with God, feeling severely depressed. I felt like a loser and a liar. I felt like I just wasn’t worthy of God’s love or anyone else’s love.

Two days later, on Monday morning, I had to take my husband to have an endoscopy. When I brought him home that day, he was feeling really nauseated, and I remember him laying his head on my lap while I sat on the sofa. A fierce wave of love for my husband washed over me as I sat there smoothing his hair, while he rested on my lap.

Suddenly, my husband’s eyes flew open, and he looked me straight in the eye and said, “I love you, Blondie.”

Guilt washed over me as I told him that I loved him too.

“No,” he said, “you don’t understand. I really, really love you Honey Doll.”

Now, I have to tell you, my husband doesn’t usually verbalize his love for me. It was totally out of character. He verbalizes now more than he used to, but back then, he usually only told me he loves me on special occasions, and then, he seemed embarrassed and awkward as he said it. He prefers to show me his love by doing things, but this day it was different.

He continued, “You’re the best wife any man could ever have.” Tears began to rain down my face, as I told him to stop it. “Why?” he asked. “It’s true. I’m really lucky to have you in my life. You’re always honest with me and –“

“No I’m not,” I wept. “I am a terrible wife. Please stop saying I’m good.”

“What’s wrong Honey Doll? I love you and you are a good wife.”

“No, I’ve messed up so bad,” I blurted out, as the tears were freely flowing, and fear kept trying to squeeze the life out of my heart. I was having difficulty breathing, as I confessed our $700 debt to him, fully expecting him to demand a divorce on the spot.

But he didn’t. Instead, he sat up and held me in his arms and proclaimed his love for me, telling me that we would work things out, and that I should never be afraid to talk to him or tell him anything.

And while he was speaking his words of love to me, I felt the presence of the Lord, and the Lord spoke these words into my heart…

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV)

I began to see just how much the Lord cares for me. He was showing me that if I will just obey Him, He will watch over me and take care of me. Then He spoke these words to my heart as well, loosing the chains of fear that had bound me for so long, and setting me free from fear, and for the first time that I could remember, I no longer had any fear.

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18 NKJV)

That was more than sixteen years ago, and my life has changed entirely. For several years after that, in order to ensure that I did not revert back to a life of fear, I would not retrieve the mail from the mailbox, lest I fall into temptation and open the door for fear to return, by hiding something. I also stopped taking care of the bills for a while, again, so that I would not open the door for fear to return to my life.

Perhaps, as you read this, you think that I’m loony. That’s okay, because fear makes a person loony, but the Spirit of the Lord gives us liberty. That day, I got a glimpse of God’s love for me, as He set me free from the spirits of fear and deception. That’s just one of my most “spiritual” moments.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Words of Jesus – Enter the Narrow Gate – Introduction

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose the easy way. But the gateway to life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14 NLT)

At the risk of sounding like an intolerant person, I need to tell you that there is only One Way to the Kingdom of God. It’s not a two way street… There are not many ways… It’s not an easy road… It’s not a major highway or multi-laned interstate…

Jesus said, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate… But the gateway to life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it.” He also breaks it down for us, making it really clear that in order to get to this glorious kingdom, we’ll have to travel down a small narrow road.

I always think of The Road Not Taken, the great poem by Robert Frost when I read this passage.

http://complicatedmelody.com/content/road-not-taken
http://complicatedmelody.com/content/road-not-taken

Jesus makes it absolutely clear to us that though there may be other roads, there is only One narrow way to the Father’s Kingdom. Yeshua said, “I AM the Way — and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 CJB)

Brothers and sisters, every one of us has at some point in our lives come to a place where, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,” and we’re each forced to make a choice. Will you travel the broad, open well-traveled highway? Remember, The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose the easy way. I know it seems so much easier and maybe it even appears safer to travel down the well-traveled road, but my friends, it isn’t.

You see, that road branches off into many other super highways, and you will be offered many choices, but don’t be fooled. Each one of those other roads, though well-traveled, ultimately lead to hell, and eternal separation from God and His Kingdom. Those seemingly well-lit highways will lead you to ultimate darkness and infinite loneliness.

Brothers and sisters, please choose to go a different way, down a much less traveled road. Yes, the pathway is rough and steep, and there will be many obstacles along the way, but be of good cheer! Though you will sometimes suffer loneliness as you travel this road, and though the way is not as well-lit as the highway to hell, continue on this less traveled, narrow road, because it will ultimately lead you to the Kingdom of God, where there you will enjoy the light of the Son, and all your tears will be wiped away.

Brothers and sisters, I close with the last stanza of Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken, and this is my prayer that each one who reads this post will join me in saying:

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

This was just a brief introduction to this passage (actually, it was all I was going to write about the topic at first, but I feel the Spirit leading me to go more in depth about it). Therefore, I devote another post to the narrow road, and yet another to the highway to hell,  followed by a final one summing up everything we’ve studied together.

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

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