Today’s Reading: 2 Timothy 1: 1-18
Today’s Word: There are four types of fears: fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of rejection, and fear of the unknown. It is very likely that you are struggling with one or more of these fears. These fears can paralyze you and keep you from God’s best. Remember what 2 Timothy 1 says in that God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.
Which fears do you currently struggle with the most?
Types of Fears: Loss, Failure, Rejection, Unknown
Losing, grief and loneliness.
Failing or lacking control.
Being rejected, compared or judged.
Fearing the unknown or being unprepared.
Blue Letter Bible is one of my favorite bible sites and I wanted to share a part of today’s Day by Day Grace.
We are also engaged in warfare, spiritual warfare. “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3). As spiritual soldiers, we must use spiritual weapons. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4). The promises of God are part of our spiritual weaponry. We can stand victorious in battle by the promises of God, just as the Apostle Paul did. “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you…And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them” (Acts 18:9-11).
Friends our fears are due to spiritual warfare. We need to be aware of it. No matter how we address our toxins, or our fears, or try to deal with them and heal through them… the context is the same. We live in spiritual warfare. There will always be temptations to sin, and to fear. But Perfect love casts out fear. The LORD is already on his throne, he has won the battle and is on our side. We can stand victorious in spiritual warfare that is external and internal. Our relationships for example are always going to be under attack because Satan does not want healthy relationships, marriages or families to survive.
We must be aware to be proactive. Not the what if’s but rather the RIGHT NOW. What areas are we fearful?
Lets look through the lens of spiritual warfare to gain a heavenly perspective.
God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline
How does fear hold us captive?
It holds us captive in the areas that the spirit of power, love and self-discipline are lacking.
Lets tip the scales back in our favor, for His glory.
Today’s Scripture: Psalm 27:1-14
Today’s Reading: We are often paralyzed with irrational fear that something may happen. Rather than living by faith, we live by fear. These toxic fears can cripple our lives and rob us of our joy. This week you will read what God’s Word says about toxic fears and how we should face them.
How have you seen your toxic fears influence your actions and thoughts?
Anxiety runs genetically in my family. And by genetically I really mean spiritually through the generations. My great grandma was a case (although she was hilarious and I loved her she just WORRIED about everything, you could see concern about something in her eyes always.) My grandma and my mom are the same and so naturally I just am anxious.
My sophomore year in high-school on my way to winter homecoming I was a nervous wreck. The typically feelings of “am I pretty do I look fat in my dress, will my crush notice me, etc.” This was a new school and this was the first event like this with new people and I was mostly worried about being alone. My dad on the drive there simply said “Leslie, what’s the absolute WORST thing that can happen?” After I responded he said “Now you’re prepared for everything”. This is probably silly and simple, but it worked for me.
When I get all worked up I think “What’s the worst that could happen?” I give it to God and pray for his grace, preparation and strength to the worst case scenario and anything in between. Silly maybe, but it helps calm me down before I go from anxious to freak out.
Although, freak out happens more often than I’d like to admit.
Today’s Scripture: Mark 11:12-25
Today’s Reading: Not only should we speak life-giving words to others, but we should also speak them to our circumstances and ourselves. The toxic words we speak to ourselves can be some of the most dangerous.
What types of toxic words are you saying to yourself? What steps do you need to take to stop saying these toxic words to yourself?
A recent situation brings to mind the toxic fears that over come me whenever financial situations arise. An inconvenient charge/fee or an unexpected charge makes me go from zero to “we’re never going to get out of debt and going to be homeless” in about .5 seconds.
Finances are my #1 freakout and cause fear, which means this is the biggest area of false security/idol for me. Between Jesus and my amazing Husband I’m learning the balance the “be a good steward” with “trust the Lord”. I let ‘stewarding’ money rob me of my joy, which frustrates husband who is learning the growing pains of budgeting that can create tension between us. Satan is going to destroy us and our marriages however he can. We have to recognize the sources of these fears so we can see the eventual consequences if we don’t learn to trust God and put him first.
Today’s Word: Ephesians 4:17-32
Today’s Reading: God’s Word gives us a very important instruction that we must all take to heart and obey. That instruction is to speak life-giving words to others every chance we get.
Who do you need to start speaking life-giving words to? How will you go about doing it?
I think over and over again over something I once heard. That as Christians we lose the RIGHT to take offense. We have no right. Wait a minute… we DO have rights! Our society teaches us about our rights from day one. How hard it is to relinquish our rights to take offense so that we can extend grace, forgiveness and love. Not withholding proper discernment of where a healthy boundary with that person may be…. but not responding in anger.
It’s OK to be angry! God has redeemed our emotions as well!
26 Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
27 and do not give the devil an opportunity.
It’s difficult to come to the realization that anger, pain, rejection, love, all these feelings remind us that we’re ALIVE and well PRAISE THE LORD we’re redeemed!!!!! Without pain and suffering we can’t truly know love and grace, without forgiven we can’t appreciate being forgiven. Sure we can board ourselves up and become numb to pain but we start to slowly wither away and that’s exactly where Satan can take hold of us. And I struggled. With depression, with countering suicidal thoughts, not of my own accord but that would be planted and I would think “LORD where did that come from? Am I that big of a mess? Do I no longer value life?” And they were things I had to speak truth over, and had to start speaking out about because I could feel myself snowballing. Some of you walked this with me or observed it, others walked the following years recovery, and I made it because of you. A slippery slope, depression. You almost wake up in it and wonder, how the hell did I get here? Toxic thoughts and emotions that go unaddressed. They’re most dangerous when they lurk in the dark corner and accumulate unnoticed.
I revisited this yesterday. I was ANGRY. And I responded in anger. Thankfully Jon was the one I was getting upset with (not at the other person directly) and he calmed me down and put me back in line from my “over-reacting”, but there was a trigger and I felt every inch of my body start to suffocate me and my response was sinful. I felt the LORD saying “separate these situations Leslie, this is a different time, different people, you are a different person, do not revert back to your old ways”… and revert back I did. Lord forgive me for acting out my anger in sin, instead of giving my anger to you. And thank you for a great husband to snap me into reality.
I’m realizing more and more how sinful my true nature is, this faith thing is not for the feint hearted…..
Be grateful – our life is only for his GloryYou can’t live for Me unless you live from Me
7 days of no complaining:find a positive in the situation – Love this. I’m going to ask Jon to help keep me accountable too.
29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Today’s Scripture: Proverbs 4:1-27
Even as you strive to stop saying toxic words to others, you will still have to deal with toxic words being said to you. As a result, you must do what God’s Word tells us to do when others speak toxic words to us: you must guard your heart against them.
How will you guard your heart against toxic words?
v13) Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.
I think as Christians we get a skewed perspective on what wisdom is and what discernment is. I love that this describes wisdom as gentleness.
Whenever I’m upset, or hurt, and am seeking reconciliation or whatever… If I’m truly praying about it and listening, seeking wisdom, etc. My approach towards that person is much more gentle than when I’m lashing out in anger, hurt or frustration.
I think as Christians we are naturally discerning about more surface level things, but seeking the LORD in our discernment gives us an additional gentleness (even if stern) in regards to what we are being discerning about and our approach and response changes, our tongue becomes more tame. We are more cautious to not add to the toxic things spoken over someone else and respond in truth.
I know I took this one a little bit different direction, but this is how this scripture spoke to me.
I think seeking the Lord and his wisdom and understanding is what helps us to learn to guard our hearts and respond in love. To prevent the toxic thoughts within us and from speaking them to other people. When we sit and realize the gravity of someone’s passing comment in our lives, how much more do we say things that affect others to the same degree. Sometimes these things are even said with good intention and love. I learned by my closest friendships how important it is to trust the other’s intentions, and therefore seek understanding instead of letting something snowball into something it was never intended to mean.
I agree that we are responsible for our words and actions, not how those actions are interpreted. But in seeking wisdoms our actions should reflect that of the LORD and that includes being wise about how to present those actions and words to others in a non-toxic way.
Today’s Scripture: Proverbs 15:1-33
Our words are powerful. They have the power to kill and the power to give life. Throughout the book of Proverbs, Solomon often writes about the dangers and the life-giving abilities of our words. He was very aware of the power of words. As a result, Solomon encourages us all to be aware of the types of words we speak to others and the positive and negative affects they can have.
What types of words do you tend to speak most – toxic or life-giving? Explain.
Today’s Scriptures: Proverbs 12:11-23 & Proverbs 18:21
Today’s Reading: Words can hurt you and the right words can help heal you. Those words that crush and hurt you are known as toxic words. Toxic words are incredibly dangerous not only when they are spoken to you, but when you speak them to others. This week you will read from God’s Word about the dangers of toxic words and the power of life-giving words.