Fear as an Idol

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. -2 Timothy 1:7 ESV

Can fear be an idol? This is something I recently began pondering. If we are drowning in our fears, instead of hiding in God, I believe it absolutely can be. When we are in fear, we are not trusting our Creator. And mistrust, is the opposite of having faith. If we are so frightened and wrapped up in our fears, we are not walking in faith-not believing that our Father has everything under control. When our fears are elevated to the point of interfering with our relationship with God, fear has become an idol. We must instead, give these fears to God and choose trust. By handing each thing we are afraid of over to Him, we can rest in peace knowing that he has us. He has our lives and those around us in his palms. This doesn’t mean we won’t have hardships, of course. He, however, will give us the strength to endure those trials, blanketing us with His peace along the way.

So do not fear, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. -Isaiah 41:10

Fuel Your Walk Friday

Fuel your walk with some Jesus and Joe.

I love Jesus and I love me an iced cuppa fresh cold brew halved with vanilla almond milk. What better way to combine the two and perk up the beginning of your weekend, than to “Fuel Your Walk” with some Jesus and Joe. Once a week, I will be posting a little snippet, thought, quote or question to ponder in relation to your walk with Christ. So grab your favorite mug, pour yourself a delicious cuppa Joe and get comfy as you let these questions percolate in your mind:

This week’s quote hit me hard and made me really think. In his book, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God, Francis Chan said, “Both worry and stress reek of arrogance.”

Are you placing your worries and stressors in His hands?

Misguided Hope and Healing

He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” -Mark 5:34

Are there things in your life that are difficult for you to surrender and place into God’s hands? I realized recently that my health was one of those things I hadn’t yet fully surrendered into His care. A few weeks ago, my family and I made the two and a half hour trek to see an hematologist/oncologist that my doctor referred me to. After I checked in, I waited nervously in the room for an hour and a half for the physician to come in. During that time, I was skeptical of being helped, but prayed and put the situation in God’s hands. When the doctor finally came in, it was one of the most demoralizing and hope-crushing appointments that I had ever had. Within the first minute of my appointment, I knew this doctor had dismissed my case-and he had. He didn’t want to take the time to look into what other doctors had been unable to figure out, and he later admitted it.

What I’m beginning to understand is that I’ve been putting my hope in the wrong place, when it comes to my health. Instead of seeking God first, I’ve been putting my hope in a worldly medical system. It’s a system that has failed me and at least three other friends I know with chronic illnesses, time and time again.

As many of you are aware, I’ve struggled with chronic health issues for years. I’ve seen countless doctors ranging from regular MD’s to naturopaths. And while I have one doctor in particular, who has has really dug in the most, thus far, she still doesn’t have all the answers about what has caused such profound fatigue or the other mysterious symptoms.

More despair followed my appointment the following week, as I waited for an ultrasound result that I was told would be to me that evening, but still did not have in my hands. Again, the tears flowed. Over the years, there have been so many mountains I have had to scale to try to get proper medical care. At this last appointment with the hematologist/oncologist, I was in no way treated like a human being and it made me believe that I cannot be helped by our current medical methodology.

The afternoon of my appointment, with tears steaming down my face, my husband said this: “I think you going in there and saying you were putting it in God’s hands, He just closed the door and solidified what you’ve always known. And, you’ve been hurt way too many times to let people keep doing this. Western medicine is never going to be able to help you.” Shortly afterwards, I spoke to my good friend and told her what my husband said. She said that God had also told her in these exact words “they can’t help you”. So, a new journey for me has begun.

And while I’m in no way advocating not seeking medical care, what I am saying is our faith should be in God first and foremost. For myself, I had been leaning on doctors who couldn’t help me, rather than leaning on our Great Physician in this area. My faith was backwards. It needed to be in Him, above all, not in a worldly system. I cannot hand over my hope to these doctors, who are merely human.

Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. -Psalm 30:2

Fuel Your Walk Friday

Fuel your walk with some Jesus and Joe.

I love Jesus and I love me an iced cuppa fresh cold brew halved with vanilla almond milk. What better way to combine the two and perk up the beginning of your weekend, than to “Fuel Your Walk” with some Jesus and Joe. Once a week, I will be posting a little snippet, thought, or question to ponder in relation to your walk with Christ. So grab your favorite mug, pour yourself a delicious cuppa Joe and get comfy as you let this question percolate in your mind:

Corrie Ten Boom said “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.”

Are you letting worries empty today’s cup or are you filling up on God and walking in faith?

Fuel Your Walk Friday

Fuel your walk with some Jesus and Joe.

I love Jesus and I love me an iced cuppa fresh cold brew halved with vanilla almond milk. What better way to combine the two and perk up the beginning of your weekend, than to “Fuel Your Walk” with some Jesus and Joe. Once a week, I will be posting a little snippet, thought, or question to ponder in relation to your walk with Christ. So grab your favorite mug, pour yourself a delicious cuppa Joe and get comfy as you let these questions percolate in your mind:

Martin Luther said “I have held many things in my hands, and have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.”

Are there things you need to place in God’s hands today? What are you holding tightly to?

Waiting with Trust

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit. -Jeremiah 17:7-8

Although it was a fantasy of mine, I never imagined we would actually land in Alaska. My husband and I were the ones who watched all the Alaska shows on TV dreaming of the day. Then, this past September, it happened.

During July of last year, we were camp hosting in Central Washington. We had been in temporary living situations since 2018, ever since being forced to leave our home and nearly all of our belongings due to toxic mold causing us to become extremely ill. We had camp hosted the previous year at the same beautiful campground and were given the opportunity again to live in a cabin off-grid while caring for three campgrounds over the summer. Our end date for camp hosting was September 9th and we hadn’t yet found a more permanent place to call home. With the few belongings we had accumulated over the past couple of years in tow and no leads, my anxious self was beginning to mull over the unknown. It wasn’t that we couldn’t afford a place or that there weren’t homes available, it was that due to becoming hypersensitive to mold and environmental toxins because of our previous exposure, our heightened sensitivities have made it difficult to tolerate modern housing and drywall. We found that we do best in log cabins. And these are kind of far and few between-except in places like Alaska. Alaska felt out of reach though, because I still didn’t have my passport. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the issuance of passports had slowed down tremendously.

We began scouring Craigslist and Zillow for possible cabin rentals all over, but were coming up dry. Then, God spoke in the most unlikely place. One sweltering afternoon as I fought off the mosquitos while picking up litter in the campsites and making sure fires weren’t left smoldering, God left a message, on a fire pit of all places, telling me to trust Him. I knew in that moment that all was well and He had us, that there was nothing to worry about. I didn’t have to jump ahead into the unknown, with my searching mind going into overdrive trying to figure out what we would possibly do, like I had so many times before. With a smile on my face, I could just rest, knowing He had it all taken care of, and He did. He had a cozy log cabin picked out for us planted right along a plentiful river filled with fresh salmon, here in Alaska.

See, my husband had been inquiring about cabin rentals in several states: Wyoming, Montana, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, South Dakota, North Dakota, New Mexico, Colorado, and Alaska. He wasn’t receiving any responses after reaching out. Since my husband works remote and I homeschool, we were free to go just about anywhere God opened a door. And so we prayed that God would open a door. But, we continued to wait. As the days inched closer to September, heading to our dream state was looking slim. Then, my birthday came in August and to my surprise, my new passport had shown up! It was quite the birthday gift! Shortly thereafter, my husband received a call with a rental offer. The one door that opened was this current cabin we are in, here in The Last Frontier. With a rental agreement in hand, we were allowed to cross the Canadian border into Alaska during a pandemic. It was a long trek, but we made it safe and sound, by trusting that this was where God wanted us. It was in this period of waiting, that we grew in our faith.

While it’s not always easy to have faith during seasons of waiting, we can be sure that choosing to trust Him is always the right decision. So, when we are unsure about what the future holds for us, let’s remember that even in these uncertain places, we can still trust our Heavenly Father. It’s in these times of waiting, that we hold fast to Him, not letting our faith waver. Instead we lean in closer, remembering to always be in His presence, aware and expectantly waiting for Him to speak because He might just surprise us in the most unexpected of ways!

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. -Psalm 143:

When You Need Strength…

Running on fumes with nothing left to give? I have definitely been there. But, we have a Source available to draw strength from daily. Let’s see what the Bible says about getting our strength from God:

1. Seek His presence continually

Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! -1 Chronicles 16:11

Are you all out of give? Then look to the Lord and His strength. His Word says to seek His presence-not just sometimes, but always. How can we keep going if we aren’t filled up? We must be in the Bible and in His presence, filling up on His Truth, in order to have the strength to continue running this marathon called life.

2. He helps me

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. -Psalm 28:7

God is our helper and our protector. When we run out of strength, we don’t stop trusting. Instead, we remain faithful-with a joyful heart, while continuing to praise Him, and being confident that He will help us.

3. God arms with strength

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. -2 Samuel 22:33

He is the One who supplies strength. And He is our Replenisher when we run dry. To avoid getting parched in the first place, however, let’s make sure we are intentionally connected to Him at all times, so that we are getting the proper nourishment and walking in His strength. Because like a branch cut from it’s source that withers and dies, it is in this place of disconnect, that we too, get weak and thirst for our Source.

4. God will be with you wherever you go

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9

For we need not fear, because our strength is right here beside us, at all times. God commanded Joshua to be strong. This wasn’t a suggestion. And it’s not a suggestion for us, either. Just as God walked with Joshua leading the tribes across the Jordan river, so will He walk with us. By putting our confidence in Him, knowing that He is with us at all times, we can be strong and bravely traverse the rivers put on our path.

5. Be strong in the Lord

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. -Ephesians 6:10

Paul doesn’t say to be strong in the flesh. We weren’t made to walk in our own strength. We were made to walk in God’s. And we do this by putting on His armor everyday before entering into battle. In this way, we can stand firm in Him and in His Truth.

6. I can do all things through Him

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. -Philippians 4:13

Even the hard things, we can do…through Him. They may not be easy, but through Him, they are possible because nothing is impossible with our God. Our God can do the unimaginable, and so can we-with His help.

7. God is the strength of my heart

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. -Psalm 73:26

Our bodies are wasting away with each day that passes and our minds and hearts may fail us, but God never will. We can rest securely, knowing we have everything we need in Him. He is enough and always has been enough. We can put our faith and trust entirely in Him, holding onto His eternal promises. And holding onto the promise of eternity can give us that extra strength to keep going and finish the race strong.

8. A wise man is full of strength

A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might, -Proverbs 24:5

The Bible says that Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and Proverbs 24:5 states that when we are wise, we are full of strength. Wisdom and knowledge give us power. And this knowledge and wisdom come from the Lord, as well as other other wise Christians. Part of walking in wisdom is knowing when and where to seek counsel and guidance. It is realizing we need the strength of God, and sometimes other mature Christians to help us.

9. Hoping in Him=renewed strength

But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] Will gain new strength and renew their power;
They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; They will run and not become weary, They will walk and not grow tired. -Isaiah 40:31 (AMP)

According to Oxford Languages, the meaning of renew is: to give fresh life or strength to; (to) revive. God will strengthen our weary bones. He will revive us and breathe fresh life into us, but we must do our part by seeking Him with our whole hearts and placing our hope and trust in Him. It is then that we will run and not grow weary.

10. When I am weak, then I am strong

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. -2 Corinthians 12:9-10

There is no shame in weakness and hardship, because it is in those places of weakness that He is glorified. In fact, we should rejoice in our weaknesses, because it is in those times of deep dependence upon Him that His power shines for all to see. When our flesh fails, when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, His power is made perfect. And as He is the One who upholds us, we realize that He is plenty.

Fuel Your Walk Friday

Fuel your walk with some Jesus and Joe.

I love Jesus and I love me an iced cuppa fresh cold brew halved with vanilla almond milk. What better way to combine the two and perk up the beginning of your weekend, than to “Fuel Your Walk” with some Jesus and Joe. Once a week, I will be posting a little snippet, thought, or question to ponder in relation to your walk with Christ. So grab your favorite mug, pour yourself a delicious cuppa Joe and get comfy as you let this question percolate in your mind:

Francis Chan said “We never grow closer to God when we just live life. It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.”

Are you just living life or are you being deliberate in your Christian walk?

Fuel Your Walk Friday

Fuel your walk with some Jesus and Joe.

I love Jesus and I love me an iced cuppa fresh cold brew halved with vanilla almond milk. What better way to combine the two and perk up the beginning of your weekend, than to “Fuel Your Walk” with some Jesus and Joe. Once a week, I will be posting a little snippet, thought, or questions to ponder in relation to your walk with Christ. So grab your favorite mug, pour yourself a delicious cuppa Joe and get comfy as you let these questions percolate in your mind:

In Philippians 3:3, Paul writes: For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh.

Where does your confidence lie? Are you placing your confidence in the flesh or in Jesus?

Freedom and Hope In Jesus

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. -2 Corinthians 3:17

Held prisoner to memories, the torment of trauma had been weighing me down for far too long. The abandonment by my father and a nasty divorce from long ago had been surfacing a lot lately, after being triggered right before Christmas. Both last night and tonight, I was right smack dab in the middle of the trauma all over again and this boulder of pain felt like it was crushing my soul. After being stuck in this hopeless cycle of bondage, God moved a mountain.

He has recently been speaking to me about letting my father go, but the truth is, I hadn’t known how to completely do this. While I have done a ton of work on my dad and there have been layers of healing and forgiveness throughout the years, I was still experiencing the effects of this old trauma, and was struggling to fully forgive him. Each time I thought I had left the past behind, another trigger would smack me in the face and the wounds would spew, taking a week or more to move on with my life.

Yesterday, after communicating with my dad and having more hurt dug up, I was hanging by a thread. The trauma and pain were fresh again. Beyond weary, I had run out of steam to keep running the race and I didn’t know if my body could carry on. Looking at all that was on my plate for the evening, I thought I’d crumble, but I made a choice. I could have used a number of distractions to try to cover up the pain, but I reached for my Heavenly Father. Opening up His Word, I asked Him to speak to me and He spoke-Sing to the Lord. Not exactly what I expected hear, but it’s what He’s been telling me this past week-worship me in the wilderness. So, I did just that. I drew myself a bath, cranked my Worship Him in the Wilderness playlist found here and belted out songs, praising Him. That simple obedient act turned my night around. I was in a very dark place that could have spiraled down quickly, but He filled me up and lit me up. Shining hope, He brought light to my darkness. He showed me that He had this-that He had me. My Heavenly Father let me know that I could let go and trust Him with this suitcase of pain I had been lugging around for thirty-two years.

Then, tonight, the thoughts of my father returned and my heart throbbed again. The hopelessness was starting to settle in. Heading down that dark path of depression, the old wounds began crippling me. Knowing my warning signs, I had to act quick. I’ll admit, for years, distraction from the pain was my go-to-whether it be with food, my phone, sleep, work or binge watching shows. Thumbing through Hulu, I knew was the wrong choice, there was no relief there, so again, I drew myself a bath, turned on worship music and abided in Him. Tears streaming down my face, I sang and poured out my heart to Jesus. A few minutes later, I got on my knees and asked Him to break these chains as I handed Him my father and the situation. What happened next was nothing short of a miracle. I heard Him say “get up and walk”. Thinking, I’m in a bathtub, what does this mean? Did a miracle just happen? Yes, it sure did. That soul-crushing pain that had been bearing down heavily on my chest was suddenly lifted and I felt freedom.

This evening, He filled me with joy and broke chains that only He could break. I was depressed and had zero motivation to write before this happened, now here I am at my computer, telling my story. I’ve learned a lot about forgiveness in the last two days. What He’s taught me is that forgiveness is making a choice to release my father, then trusting Him to take care of what I can’t. It’s depending on God to carry the pain, resentment, and offenses, so I don’t have to carry it anymore. Forgiveness is choosing to trust that He will take care of the offender in His way, on His time, however He chooses. Do you trust me enough to set you free? This is what I heard Him asking me. Tonight, I made a choice to release my father to Him and I’m choosing trust.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. -John 8:36

**an update after writing this post, He spoke again and confirmed the broken chains. While reading another’s blog, this verse spoke right to my heart:

“Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” -Psalm 116:7