Tag Archives: spirit of fear

When All Hope is Gone…

The burden Joseph’s brothers carried on their shoulders, when nine of them, and not ten, left Egypt was crushing.  “How are we going to tell Abba that Simeon is now imprisoned in Egypt, and their governor wants to see Benjamin as well?”  Reuben choked out, as he fought back the tears that flowed freely from his other brothers eyes.  As the eldest brother, he had to be strong for the others.  “This could kill him!”

“I know,” Judah sighed.  “But perhaps El Shaddai will show him mercy.  For it was we, who sinned against Him, when we sold Joseph into slavery and death, not Abba.  This punishment should be ours alone.”

“Maybe,”  Levi said.  “But I’ve noticed that every time we sin against El Shaddai, everyone, even the innocent, ends up suffering.  Look at Abba.  He has suffered enormously since Joseph died, and look at Benjamin.  He certainly committed no sin, and yet, he too, has suffered.  Since Joseph’s death, Abba won’t let him out of his sight.  He smothers Benjamin in his grief.”

The brothers nodded in agreement, then fell silent, as they made their way home, with their donkeys.  They made camp by a river, as the sun began to set, and a few collected firewood, while others led the donkeys to the river to drink.  Then, after the donkeys had their fill of water, one of them opened his sack to get some grain for his donkey, and discovered his money on top of the grain.  He face paled, and he began to tremble, as he called for his brothers to come.  “Look!  My money has been returned; it’s here in my sack!”

Their hearts sank, as they gazed at the money in his sack of grain, and they, too, began to tremble.  Fear filled their hearts and minds, and they asked each other, “What has God done to us?”  But no one had an answer to that question.  Needless to say, no one slept well that night, and they were up before dawn.  They quickly packed their belongings, and were headed home, just as the sky began to lighten.

When the brothers got home to the land of Canaan, they went to see their father, Jacob.  There was no point in putting things off.  “Did you get the grain?”  Jacob asked, expectantly.

“Yes Abba,” Reuben spoke for the group, and continued, “but the man who is governor of the land spoke very harshly to us.  He accused us of being spies scouting the land.  We told him that we are honest men, not spies.  We said that we are twelve brothers, sons of one father.  We told him that one brother is no longer with us, and the youngest is at home with our father in the land of Canaan,

“Then the man who is governor of the land said, ‘This is how I will find out if you are honest men.  Leave one of  your brothers here with me, and take grain for your starving families and go on home.  But you must bring your youngest brother back to me.  Then I will know you are honest men and not spies.  Then I will give you back your  brother, and you may freely trade in the land'”

Tears welled up in Jacob’s eyes, as he gazed at his sons.  “He took Simeon?”  Jacob whispered and the brothers nodded, with their eyes downcast.  Then they opened their sacks, and everyone saw the bag of money, which they had used to pay for the grain, in each man’s sack.  Jacob began to wail, and he mournfully ripped his robe, as terror swept over him and his sons. Then he exclaimed to them, “You are robbing me of my children!  Joseph is gone!  Simeon is gone!  And now you want to take Benjamin, too.  Everything is against me!”

Reuben knelt down in front of his father, and the tears he had kept at bay for so long, ran down his face and into his beard.  He gently placed his hands on his father’s shoulders and waited for Jacob to look into his eyes.  Then Reuben said to his father, “You may kill my two sons if I don’t bring Benjamin back to you.  I’ll be responsible for him, and I promise to bring him back.”

Overwhelmed by grief and anguish, Jacob had lost all hope.  He had forgotten that El Shaddai, the All Sufficient God, cared for him and his sons.  He forgot the visions and dreams he had received from El Shaddai over the years.  He forgot the many times El Shaddai had provided for him and his family.  He forgot the promises El Shaddai had made to him, his father, Isaac, and his grandfather, Abraham, before him.  In his pain, Jacob was blind to the many blessings El Shaddai had given him.  He only saw what he had lost. “My son will not go down with you,” he spat at Reuben.  “His brother, Joseph, is dead, and he is all I have left.  If anything should happen to him on your journey, you would send this grieving, white-haired man to his grave.”

Beloved reader, have you ever felt such searing pain and loss?  Have you been so blinded by grief that you are no longer able to even see the many blessings God has given you?  I have.  When such agony envelops you, it is impossible to rise above it, as wave after wave of despair encompasses you.  But thanks be to God!  Even in the midst of our suffering, He is with us, ready to heal and deliver us from those broken places, if we will seek His face.  When we are overwhelmed with hopelessness and grief, let’s cry out to God, as this psalmist did:

Psalm 42
Complete Jewish Bible

Just as a deer longs for running streams,
God, I long for you.
I am thirsty for God, for the living God!
When can I come and appear before God?

My tears are my food, day and night,
while all day people ask me, “Where is your God?”
I recall, as my feelings well up within me,
how I’d go with the crowd to the house of God,
with sounds of joy and praise from the throngs
observing the festival.

My soul, why are you so downcast?
Why are you groaning inside me?
Hope in God, since I will praise Him again
for the salvation that comes from His presence.
My God, when I feel so downcast,
I remind myself of You
from the land of Yarden, from the peaks of Hermon,
from the hill Mizar.
Deep is calling to deep
at the thunder of Your waterfalls;
all Your surging rapids and waves
are sweeping over me.
By day Adonai commands His grace,
and at night His song is with me
as a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God my Rock,
“Why have You forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
under pressure by the enemy?
10 My adversaries’ taunts make me feel
as if my bones were crushed,
as they ask me all day long,
‘Where is your God?’ ”

11 My soul, why are you so downcast?
Why are you groaning inside me?
Hope in God, since I will praise Him again
for being my Savior and God.

© 2019
Cheryl A. Showers

 

Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

Image Credit: http://gracepieces.com/
Image Credit:
http://gracepieces.com/

How my soul longs for You, Lord!

1 As the deer longs for streams of water,
So I long for You, O God.
2 I thirst for God, the living God.
When can I go and stand before Him?
3 Day and night I have only tears for food,
While my enemies continually taunt me, saying,
“Where is this God of yours?

 ~ Psalm 42:1-3 — NLT ~

So far, 2013 has been one of the most painful and difficult times of my life, and that’s saying a lot. I’ve been battered and bruised by the enemy of my soul, as I’ve suffered chronic acute pain, grief, and illness, followed by the deepest darkest depression I’ve ever experienced, and on top of that, terrible financial difficulty because I am no longer able to work. All of these things combined have also left me struggling with fear and anxiety. I keep trying to remember that God does not give us me a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind, but these things just keep attacking me from nowhere, while I am at my weakest. Continue reading Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

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!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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