"Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light." (Romans 13:10-12 NKJV)
Have you found yourself eyeing the woman in the grocery store holding the last four rolls of toilet paper in the free world, wondering if you could take her?
Have you been scouring the internet searching for the most inexpensive hazmat suit you can find?
Have you had thoughts of driving to a remote area, living in your car for the next six months, while dining on nothing but your secret stash of wine, cheese, and chocolate?
If so, you may have unknowingly given in to the pandemic of fear:
Fear is a response to a supposed threat: the plane may crash so I will white-knuckle it the entire flight and miss the wonder that flying truly is. Fear clouds the mind and darkens the soul. Fear causes us to fall into the deep sleep of reacting; that place where you rest your head on the shoulder of worry, where you snuggle up to panic, and fall asleep hugging the warm body of despair. Fear makes you irrational, irresponsible, and quite often makes you do unkind or even crazy things.
Faith, on the other hand, makes people radically defiant to fear. Faith wakes people up to the truth. Faith looks beyond what we see with our natural senses. Faith makes us come alive. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)
We were not designed to walk in fear, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (II Timothy 1:7) We were designed to walk in faith, in power, in love, with a sound mind; a mind that is focused on right things and right thoughts which lead to right actions. "Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10) Faith overcomes fear. Listen to Philippians 4:6-8, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there is any virtue, if there is anything praiseworthy, think on these things."
What are you thinking on?
What thoughts fill your mind?
What are you dwelling on?
What occupies all of your time?
Is your mind filled with clutter?
With things that bring death?
With empty vain thoughts?
With fear, anxiety and dread?
What will tomorrow bring?
Will I still be here and alive?
Will all I have worked for
come undone, weaken, and die?
Will my children be healthy?
Will the paycheck be there?
Will the supplies and food last?
Will toilet paper be rare?
What we think becomes prophesy
when we speak it from our lips
Only we can shift our focus
when fear has tightened its grip
Focus on what is beautiful
Focus on what is honest and true
Focus on faith that moves mountains
Focus on what God can do
Focus on things that are good
Focus on things that are pure
Focus on what is truly important
Focus on things that endure
Focus on faith rather than fear
Focus on peace rather than strife
Focus on love and kindness
Focus on the wonder of life
Faith is the antidote to fear. What we believe affects everything about us. Allow me to pray for you today:
I come to pray and to believe for my friends, my family (whether by blood or by bond), for my community, and for the world. I pray 'that the eyes of their understanding be enlightened,' (Ephesians 5), that they would embrace faith and let go of fear. I pray You would give them eyes to see You, ears to hear You, and a heart to know You; the God who made them and loves them with a deep, relentless, everlasting love. I pray You cover them, that You become their shield. I pray that You would invade their space. I thank You that You are never socially distant but ever present. I pray the space between their hearts and Yours would become thin; that they would hear You whisper their name. I pray if they have been socially and privately distant from You that Your love would wash over them like a flood, and carry them back to You. I pray that You would meet their every need whether financial, mental, emotional, or personal. I pray that You would overtake any darkness that is either being pressed upon them, or allowed by them through their ignorance of who You are and what You are capable of. I pray they would set things right where they can, that they would walk in kindness and love, that they would forgive because life is uncertain, too short, and too beautifully precious to waste. I pray they would bow their hearts and bend their knees to You. I pray they would do the hard things, that they would have the hard conversations with You, with themselves, and with others. I pray You break them open and keep them open--for it's only in vulnerability and openness that true intimacy and freedom is found. I pray they come to know You in all Your fullness, in all that You are: God Almighty, Defender, Healer, Refuge, Fortress, Friend, Redeemer, Comforter, Light, Love, Hope. I pray You show Yourself mighty on their behalf. I pray that you wake them up, that they not wander through life asleep, unaware of You. I pray You clothe them in the armor of faith, and love them with all the fierceness You are famous for. In Jesus' name I pray and believe...Amen.
Written by Anne Marie Hawke
To find out more about my writing or to subscribe to my blog, please visit my website at hawkewriter.com
"I will love You, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust." (Psalm 18:1-2 NIV)
I was halted by the word fortress in Psalm 18 the other day. I've read through it many times, but had never stopped to consider the words, "The LORD is my fortress." I began looking up pictures of fortresses like the one above and I was just amazed as I pondered the implications of what it truly means for God to be my fortress.
A fortress is designed to be impenetrable. Usually set on a cliff or high place, with high walls made of stone, high towers to enable seeing long distances for approaching enemies, usually with one main entrance that is not easily accessible, and the entire fortress is created to not allow ease of access due to its size and location to large groups of people, such as an advancing army. The walls of a fortress are designed to keep enemies out, but they are also designed to keep those inside the fortress hemmed in. A fortress is a safe place; a place of refuge from all that may be assaulting the outside walls.
The Lord is my fortress.
The Lord is your fortress.
Let that sink in...
He is your protection.
He is your fortress of defense.
He is your safe place.
He is your place of refuge.
He is impenetrable.
He sets you in a high place. (Psalm 18:3)
He puts you in the cleft of the rock. ((Psalm 27:5)
Any outside forces have to go through Him to get to you. In order for any fortress to be effective it is crucial for you to remain inside its walls. In John 15:4 we read, "Abide in me, and I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine: no more can you, except you abide in me." So how does He become our fortress; and how do we stay inside our fortress? In Psalm 91 we read, "He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High will abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust." It's a secret place because you cannot see it with your natural eyes, because "we walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7) The Lord is my fortress not because I can visibly see Him as a fortress around me, but because I can see Him as a fortress around me by faith. We abide under the shadow of the Almighty, we abide in our fortress, we abide in Him by faith. These verses require 'saying' and Psalm 18 tells us to 'call on the LORD.' Saying causes hearing, and "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17) "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1) Faith is believing until you see, not seeing until you believe. The more we see and say the word of God the more we believe it, the more we trust it and trust Him, the more faith we develop to believe for those things that our natural eyes cannot see. If you don't believe in the Lord, don't believe He is your fortress, your refuge, your rock, then you have no ability to walk in faith, and thus you cannot trust or speak of those realities. Without faith, without trust, without belief you cannot abide, you cannot remain, you cannot know God as your fortress.
I don't know about you but I need a fortress, I want a fortress; not one made with hands but one made with faith, one that believes He is my fortress, one that believes and sees that He is:
The fortress of my thoughts. The fortress of my life. The fortress of my relationships. The fortress of my heart. The fortress of my emotions. The fortress of my finances. The fortress of my will. The fortress of my soul. The fortress of my past. The fortress of my present. The fortress of my future. The fortress against attackers such as: words spoken in anger, difficult people and circumstances, offense, evil, fear, guilt, shame, rejection, loss, lies, doubt, insecurities, sickness, disease, death etc.
The Lord is my fortress. Allow Him to be yours. Allow Him to take all of those things that are coming against you, all of those things attacking you from without and within. Allow Him to surround you on every side and to hem you in. There is no safer place to be.
Fortress of mercy
Fortress of grace
Fortress of glory
My hiding place
Wall in my thoughts
Wall in my heart
Wall in my life
with all that You are
Wall out my enemies
Wall out the dark
Wall out everything
that threatens my heart
Keep me my refuge
My fortress of life
Hold me my stronghold
wrap me in light
You are my fortress
The place I abide
Wall me in love
in You I hide
Nothing can touch me
No fear can come nigh
No weapon shall prosper
You are my fortress Most High
Written by Anne Marie Hawke
To subscribe to my blog or to find out more about my writing please visit my website at hawkewriter.com.
qUIET IN CHAOS
Quiet in Chaos is a blog about nothing, everything, and all things inbetween…it’s a space, an ellipsis, a deep pause. Life can be chaotic, and often needs more moments of quiet…So join me as I share and give through the written word, the place I find my Quiet in Chaos…