Have no fear.

Terrorism has one goal: to produce widespread fear, or to spread terror. Last night was an upsetting night for many. Many people became victims to the terrorist attacks in Paris. However, the victims were not only the ones who were in Paris at the time but those of us who read what had happened and became fearful.

Fear is a gift from God. Fear is our bodies’ survival mechanism, it can help us discern dangerous situations and protect us from putting ourselves in an unsafe position. But at the same time our fear can be abused and then used to control us.

“For God did not give us a spirit of fear. He gave us a spirit of power and of love and of a good mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

The gift of fear is a physical response, but as the verse states, God did not give us a spirit of fear. Fear is not supposed to be the ruler of our lives. However, with all the social media and ways of communication it is so easy to hear and see all the horrible things happening. It is easy to be consumed in fear when we are bombarded by these stories.

From the time I was 11 to 12 years old I suffered from nightmares. There were many sleepless and fear filled nights. I lived in a world of fear. I can remember vividly telling my mom one day that I was so afraid because of the world, there was so much going on. I watched the news a lot at that age, and those of you who watch the news know that all the depressing stories are reported for the majority of the program. Well since then I have tried to greatly limit my intake of the news, but that was not the only thing that aided me in overcoming this paralyzing fear of sleeping. Every night I would say these verses (2 Timothy 1:7 and Deuteronomy 31:6). God became bigger than my fears, in my heart.

As I have gotten older I have realized that I have no reason to fear. Now this does not mean that I am fearless, what I’m trying to say is that I am in the hand of God and because of that, fear has no place in my heart. It is so scary thinking about the terrorist attacks from last night, knowing that they were only a few hours away. Even before coming here people had made me aware of the unrest here in France, but thankfully God, my heavenly Father, is bigger than this world.

In my last blog I talked about the last bit of Isaiah 41:10, but today I am taking comfort in the first part where God says “Fear not for I am with you, be not afraid for I am your God.” He has already determined how many beats my heart has (Psalm 139:16), there is not one person on the earth who can stop my heart early – not even one beat. This does not mean I am going to necessarily place myself in dangerous situations, but while knowing that France is not the most restful country I knew this is where God had called me to be and the best (not the safest) place for me is in his will.

Jesus is my Savior, he is my protector, and he does not always protect me from physical harm, but he protects me from eternal death. So I have nothing to fear because the one whose blood was shed for me walks beside me. I refuse to be held captive to my fear; that is not its purpose.

(Psalm 118:6)

Guard your heart from being afraid (1 John 4:18). In these moments of terror take comfort that God knows what is happening. He is weeping over this evil, but he is not overcome by it. To overcome the fear that creeps into to my heart I need to remember that my Father is bigger than anything that tries to come against me, he will never be overcome by this world. His only son, Jesus, overcame the grave! My God conquered death! Nothing will hold him back, so I will have confidence in him. Fear has no grip on me.

Praying for Paris
Praying for Paris

As we mourn, pray, and stand with France remember that God is bigger. Fear has no place in our hearts.

(Matthew 10:28-31)

(Zephaniah 3:17)

(Philippians 1:21)

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After Amen

There are so many times when I have been told to pray. Having a rough time? Pray. Don’t know what to do? Pray. Need something? Pray. So many times and situations prayer seems to be the answer, but is it really? Prayer, I find is more about the way to an answer and less of a solution (James 5:13-16).

Prayer has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a Christian home, so I was taught to pray at every meal and my parents prayed with me before bed. In my first post I described a few stories of prayer that I have experienced. However, this post is not going to be about prayer itself, but on what happens after.

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Write your prayers down and see how He answers.

God hears every one of our prayers (1 John 5:14-15, Micah 7:7). However, what do we do when we are waiting for him to answer us? This question is hard to answer, and I don’t think it can be completely answered (especially not by me), but here are some of my thoughts based on my life and things that I have experienced.

  1. After I say “Amen” I need to let it go. If I have asked for something, if I have asked God to take something from me, when I say “Amen” I need to surrender it to God and not take it back (Psalm 55:22). I will leave my prayer with God and know that he hears (Psalm 34:4).
  2. After I say “Amen” I need to do. (Exodus 14:15-16, Joshua 3:13) In these two instances God told the children of Israel to move forward, then the miracle happened (then God moved.) God steers moving ships, he waits for the ones in the harbour to start their engines.
  3. After I say “Amen” whatever answer I receive I need to move forward.
    (2 Samuel 12:15-23) After God had answered David, David got up and went on with life. God always answers me (Isaiah 65:24). Regardless if the answer is what I want, I still receive one. But I can rest in the knowledge that God is my Father and that he cares for me (1 Peter 5:7), he knows the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4), he is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9), and he knows the best way for me (Proverbs 16:9).

(Side note): When we have received an answer from God, we can hold to that, even when things seem to take a turn. When the Israelites were in the process of leaving Egypt it seemed like God was taking them in circles, and to an extent he was, but he had a purpose in it (Exodus 13:17-18, Exodus 14:1-4). For all of God’s promises come to be (2 Corinthians 1:20-22). Not now doesn’t mean never.

He loves, cares… and provides

Ever since I was little God has revealed Himself many times to me. He has proven many times that He is listening, that He loves, and that He cares for me. One such way He has revealed Himself is through the Bible and prayer.

The Parable of the Lost Coin and the Lost Sheep (Luke15:1-10) are ones that I hold close to my heart. They show that God cares about the one, that what many see as insignificant He sees as valuable and purposeful.

There are three short stories I would like to share with you: The Bike, The Necklace, and The Ring.

The Bike

I was probably about 8 or 9 years old. My cousin and I had been riding our bikes around the block together for a while before being called in for bed. Now like any child that age, putting things properly away always seems to be a chore – we were no exception, and decided not to put our bikes properly away in the shed where they would be safe from vandalism or theft. To my utter dismay, I awoke in the morning to find that my bike had indeed been stolen. With tears streaming down my face, my cousin and I started to walk around the neighbourhood in hopes of finding the lost bike. Meanwhile, my mom gathered my younger siblings and they prayed that the bike would be found. Not two seconds passed after the “amen” had been said when the doorbell rang. My mom opened the door to find a neighbour, from across the road. He asked, “Did you lose a bike?” Slightly shocked she replied yes.

The bike that he had found was indeed mine.

The Necklace

It was my 11th birthday and as a present I received a necklace from my best friend. Unfortunately that same day I lost the present. Now to anyone else this necklace would have been seen as insignificant and worthless; however, to me it was worth a fortune! You see my best friend would be moving away that year and this would be something to remind me of our close friendship. I looked the large field all through recess, and could not find it anywhere. The next day I went out with my mom and we began to scan the grounds again. I had no idea where I could have dropped it, and the field was so big (two baseball diamonds and a soccer field in size, respectively) we walked for about an hour, back and forth and still nothing. My mom then called me over and told me to pray that we find it. After we prayed I went back to where I had left off and my mom took two steps looked down and there it was.

My necklace was lying in the grass at her feet.

The Ring

I was 16 and on an exchange in Montreal. On this particular day we had to wake up extra early due to the full itinerary. We were supposed to be at the bus pick-up by 7:30 am and on our way there I decided to put lotion on my hands. Now at this point you might be thinking nice putting lotion on your hands, why do I care, well this simple act was the catalyst for an amazing miracle. 578543_679564778742695_150438972_nWhen I was 13 my parents gave me a ring as a present. Nothing super fancy or expensive, but a gift that I cherish to this day and I took this ring off to lotion my hands. We arrived at our destination and without putting my ring back I left the van for the bus. Not 20 minutes into the ride I came to the realization that I had forgotten my ring. Panic! Anxiety! It could not be! Then I stopped and prayed and with my amen I felt an unexplainable peace come over me. I was able to enjoy my day (I even went on my first rollercoaster!) Late that night we returned to the same spot we had been dropped off. Now keep in mind it was dark outside except what little light came from the street incandescent street lamps. I stepped off the bus and looked down.

There was my ring, perfectly nestled in a knoll in the pavement.

In all these instances God showed His love for me by revealing that He cared enough to hear my prayers, even though these items seemed to be of little value. He has shown me time and time again that He cares and loves me. I don’t doubt His love or that He cares, but I continue to doubt His provision. And why? Has He not proven time and again that He provides?

I felt a pull on my heart to go on this journey. For those of you who are unaware I am leaving for France for 10 months to further my education. I have decided to use this trip to stretch my faith. Through my whole planning process for this trip I have seen His hand: all the pieces falling together. There have been and still are moments of worry, but I am continually reminded that my Father provides.

Matthew 6:25-34 … Now that you have looked up that verse… God made this whole I will provide, let Me deal with the details, you just keep on seeking Me, live for today thing easy. God does not try to make life hard, it comes down to where our heads are. We make it hard, so thank God for His patience, love, and care. Thank God that He will provide through our doubt.

So welcome, everyone, to my faith journey! I am excited to see where it takes me.