The Elephant In Your Living Room (Elements To Courage)

I remember taking my daughters to school one day and both of them didn’t want to go. My daughters have always wanted to be with my husband, Ron and I instead of going. I can understand as I was the same way when I was younger. I would rather do anything instead of go to school. As I was saying, “Good bye” to them, I spoke out, “Be brave, and be strong and courageous!” I started to think about those words and what I was going through in my own life.

I want to be a little vulnerable to you and share some of my fears I have.

Recently I have been facing my fears and walking through things I have avoided for years. God has been telling me to be “strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:6) as I face my giants and obstacles that come my way to get to the Promised Land.

Fear of the unknown, fear of my past, fear of man, fear of failure, and even the fear that I missed the Promised Land altogether.

Being courageous is not an easy thing to do, especially when it has been marks of my character to run and bolt under pressure.

The word courageous means: possessing or displaying courage; able to face and deal with danger or fear without flinching.

The word courage means: The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc, without fear, and with self-possession, confidence, resolution; bravery.

Joyce Meyers states in her book, “I Dare You,” that we need to exchange our fear for faith. She says, “Courage is doing a thing while you feel fear so don’t wait for all the feelings of fear to go away – do it afraid!”

There are times when I do feel courageous and I face my fears, other times I shrink back and find a place of refuge. I believe God knows and sees this. He knows when I am weak or vulnerable.

I also believe God will bring about encouragement somehow. It might be a passage of scripture you read that blesses you and gives you strength to continue. It might be a friend or loved one saying or doing something for you. It might be the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart in such a way that you realize you can keep going under fire.

There are several elements to courage that are always there. When we follow through with what we need to do, even though we don’t want to do it, we will see all these elements come to pass.

ELEMENTS TO COURAGE

1. Courage takes boldness – To Face your fears

Fear, in itself, can rule us and paralyze us if we let it. Fear of the unknown is overwhelming if we allow the thoughts to take over our minds.

We have to remind ourselves: He’s been faithful before, He will be faithful again… He’s been faithful to me.

One thing I have found to combat fear in my life is to remind myself of God’s faithfulness. I remember situations in my past that God has brought me through and I tell myself that He will bring me through this too.

We must remember that retreating from our fears only brings weakness. It also multiplies the fear in our minds and it becomes even bigger than reality.

I know as I have done it in my life. Then, instead of facing something small and manageable, we face a puffed up illusion of the fear. This can only bring torment and pain. This is the enemies work too. We have to recognize it for what it is. God is not a God of fear. He is a God of courage. So, if you face any fears in your life, realize God wants you to have courage. Pray and ask God what you should do. Should you confront the fear? Should you wait? Should you just let the fear go and trust God for the outcome?

This week I have had to look at some “scary” fears in my life. As I looked at them, I let them overwhelm me and I began to retreat and want to give up. Courage was not in me at all.

This is rather hard for me to share this with you as I struggle with a fear of people thinking I am not a strong woman of God, or weak in the face of fear. But as I started to retreat, I turned around and looked at the fear. It became even bigger to me. I stopped and walked right up to it and saw it finally for what it was; fiction. Fear is fiction, at least the fear I was facing. It was not reality. I had allowed the fear of man, and fear of my past, to paralyze and prevent me from moving on with my life, and with ministry.

THE OPPOSITE OF FEAR IS FAITH! Ask God for a measure of faith to face your fears head on.

One of my fears is not measuring up to other people. I have always felt “less than” others. This fear has blown up so big in my life this past week. I was shocked at the size I had allowed it to get. My insecurities and weaknesses were so huge in my mind that they seemed insurmountable. But the only way I will overcome them is to face them and push myself towards them. I am determined to not be in bondage to my fears. We all have them; it is how we deal with them that really determine what we will do in life. So I have made a determination in my heart to walk towards my fears instead of retreating or finding a place to hide.

Some friends pointed out some of my fears to me. It was like the big “Elephant in the living room” syndrome. Everyone sees you have a big elephant in your living room, as matter of fact it is taking up all the extra space for anyone to sit down and fellowship with you. Yet, you have no clue that the elephant is there.

I can imagine a comedy skit of a big elephant in the living room and people are sitting down on the couches or chairs trying to drink a cup of coffee and fellowship with you, but the elephant is so big that it is sitting in everyone’s lap. Still you don’t even acknowledge it being there and you try to strike up a conversation with people. Everyone else sees the elephant and knows what needs to be done, but you are totally ignoring the obvious.

It takes courage to face our fears.

2. Courage knows God is always there – Realize you are not alone

Often times we think we have to face our fears alone. That makes our fears even worse. We think we are the only one to figure out what to do. We have to realize we are never alone, we always have God. He is constantly speaking to our heart words of help, direction, encouragement, and peace. We just have to tune our spiritual ears into His frequency.

Scripture says in 1Sa 12:22, “For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people.” 

Heb 13:5- 6  “Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you. Therefore, we may boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

God’s love can envelope us to overcome our fears. He is not expecting you to be strong and courageous without him.

Our loving Lord will shower us with the confidence of His love to walk and face what we need to face. In His love we are transformed and changed. We see things from a different perspective. The perspective is from His loving arms looking out to the situation. Everything seems smaller and easily attainable from His arms.

Let us remember that perfect love drives out fear.

1John 4:18 states, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”

If you feel like you are overwhelmed with fears and you can’t go on, this is torment. Realize it is not from God. Shake off those shackles that the enemy is trying to put on you and reach out to the love the Lord has instead. His love is full of peace and acceptance.

God’s love for us is perfect. His love drives our fear away if we receive it. We know fear is not of God strictly because fear torments us. God is a God of love; not torment.

I like how the Message paraphrase Bible states 1John 4:18, “There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life–fear of death, fear of judgment–is one not yet fully formed in love.

God is calling his people to be strong under fire. So many times we want the easy road out. We would rather find a more comfortable path to take in life then to walk through a rough trial. But if we walk through what is in front of us we will be stronger for it. We will receive a wonderful reward for endurance.

Joshua 1:6a “Be strong and courageous…”

3.  Courage takes risks – Step out beyond what you know

Usually when you have to confront something, it takes an element of risk into the unknown. Joshua visited the Promised Land earlier under Moses leadership, and knew what was in the land he had to confront. Did he know how they were going to overcome the giants? No! But he did know God was with him and He was willing to face what was ahead in the security of knowing God was for him, and not against him.

The element of risk is challenging. What is your character? Do you cringe at the thought of risking something? If there is risk involved, it does mean you will have to let go of something to reach for something new.

The definition of the word, “risk” is, “the exposure to the chance of injury or loss,” so there will be a loss of some sort. The loss here is the loss of fear! It is worth the risk of stepping out in courage to confront fear. The more and more we step out and confront the fear, the easier, and less threatening it becomes in our lives.

The risk to the exposure of injury is always a threat. That is why we retreat when we see fear. We don’t want to get hurt. Our flesh will scream at us and yell, STOP AND TURN AROUND,” while our head and our heart is saying, “KEEP PRESSING FORWARD!”

We really don’t have a choice when it comes to living life and enduring from day to day. If we stop, we will digress or self-destruct. There is nothing healthy about that. No, the only choice we have is to keep going and to press in to any fear and meet it head on to over come it.

4.  Courage takes resilience – Enduring when you want to give up

Resilience is the power or ability to return to the original form or position after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity. It is the ability to recover from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.

Courage takes resilience. It is a knowing that as you are walking in the face of your fears, you will be ok. It is continuing to move forward even though you see potential hazards around you. Remember that God is always with us,

Isaiah 42:3 He will not break a bruised reed, and He will not put out a smoldering wick; He will faithfully bring justice.” 

God will not allow you to be bent to the place of breaking. He is with you and has His eye on you constantly. That’s His character. He knows what you can endure, which is more than what you think you can endure.

Resilience is good as it brings healthy growth. I heard about an environment scientists were trying to create in the desert. They created a dome structure that would grow all sorts of plants and trees. They would plant all types of wildlife. But as the trees would grow, they started to bend back towards the ground. The scientists were baffled over this. They gave the trees proper care, nourishment, and sunlight, but they still would grow straight for awhile, and then bend towards the ground. Finally one of the scientists realized that there was no wind. The trees needed wind to face resistance to make them grow strong under pressure.

This is exactly what happens with us. We need the winds of adversity to make us grow under pressure. If we never faced anything that was challenging, we would never know what it was like to overcome.

James 1:12  

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”

There is a reward for our endurance.

I want to be one that bounces back under pressure. I want to find myself strong after facing my fears.

5.  Courage takes action – Step out; make a move!

Faith takes action. It is one thing to believe God will bring you to your promised land, and it is another to never step one foot towards that promise.

We cannot expect to advance and take the land if we stay in one place. God is waiting for you to step out. The fear of stepping in the wrong direction is bondage.

If you never step, you will never obtain. 

I believe if you step in the wrong direction, God will lovingly correct you if your heart is to do His will and to please Him.

Stand in the confidence of Who’s you are. Step out in faith believing God will move after you move.

Just like the Priests who had to step into the water with the Ark of the Covenant, once they took a step, the waters began to part. Before they took the step, the waters never moved (Joshua 3).

I like what Hebrews 10:35 – 39 (HCSB) says, “So don’t throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised. For in yet a very little while, the coming One will come and not delay. But My righteous one will live by faith; and if he draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and obtain life.”

Take a step towards your fears

Retreating is the opposite of taking a step forward towards your fears. Let’s take a step forward in getting rid of the elephant in our living room.

What does a step forward look like?

  1. It can come in the form of casting down imaginations that try and exalt themselves above the knowledge of God in your heart (2 Cor. 10:5).
  2. It is bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
  3. Another form of stepping towards your fears can be doing the exact opposite of what your flesh tells you.

If you are afraid of man and what they think of you, then you need to function and walk where you think people are having a problem with you, and love them unconditionally.

How about facing the very person that hurt you in your past and give them forgiveness? I have done this in my past and it has freed me from tons of bondage fear brought.

One of the biggest things we can do is confront the enemy and cast him down. We’ve let him have a stronghold for too long and it’s time for us to take our authority and command him to leave us.

Courage is a wonderful character trait if we let it be complete in us. Courage is nothing if we don’t act upon it. It takes boldness to face our fears. We can never overcome anything in our life if we don’t confront it and look at it for what it is.

Why allow the elephant to live in your living room any longer?

Fiction will puff itself up and that is exactly what fear does. Remember you are not alone. God always sees and is constantly watching over you. You can walk through this with confidence. Don’t get discouraged at what you see, but be encouraged as you step into the unknown.

If we want to experience more of God we have to step where we haven’t been before. Be resilient!  Endure even when you want to stop, or retreat. I am sure you can think of the action you need to take to move towards your fears with courage. Ask God to show you what you need to do. Be brave! Don’t be afraid.

Be strong and courageous and possess the land God has promised you, which is an “Elephant Free” zone!!!

Blessing,

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.krisbelfils.com 

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You Are Never Too Dead For A Resurrection

We just celebrated Easter. The very crux of our Christian faith. Christ came and died and rose again for all of us.

 Corinthians 15:3 – 4 (NKJV)

“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”

We know this all happened. We stand on this everyday of our lives. We believe that Christ was raised from the dead. There is a resurrection of the dead.

Corinthians 15:12 – 14 (NKJV)

“Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.”

This concept is powerful. There is a resurrection of the dead. Not only did Christ raise from the dead, but there is story after story of people who were dead and were raised to life. I am sure you have heard of many, here are just a few:

  1. CBN – JOHNATHON ALDEE – 28 minutes without oxygen 
  2. Daniel Ekechukwu from Nigeria (2001) –  CBN.com
  3. God Can Breathe Life Into Dead Things –From Pastor Kris Belfils book: “Revive, Rebuild, andRestore”

God Can Breathe Life Into Dead Things

Eze 37:3 (KJV)

“And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.” 

My oldest daughter had a school project when she was in the 4th grade. The students were given a caterpillar in a jar. Each student was assigned to take care of their caterpillar and make sure there were plenty of leaves for them to eat. Soon, the caterpillars would make a cocoon and look dead. The students, including my daughter, were worried as they thought they did something wrong to make the caterpillar look dead. One by one the cocoons would open up and out came the beautiful butterfly they transformed into. My daughter’s cocoon didn’t open up as quickly as some of her class mates did. She was constantly thinking about it and telling me about her cocoon. I assured her that she will have a butterfly soon, and to just wait and let nature take its course. Before long, her cocoon opened up and a beautiful butterfly came out. My daughter was very happy, and when our family went camping, soon after the re-birth, we set aside a time for her to release her butterfly from the jar into the wide open space of our camping site.

This makes me think of God and how He is at work in the middle of what looks dead. He has the power to bring forth life from dead places.

Just like CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is used to help a victim of cardiac arrest or, respiratory arrest, to keep them alive, God can and will breathe life into dead things.

Eze 37:1 – 14 talks about the dry bones that came back to life as the breath of the Lord was prophesied and breathed into them. Eze 37:3 (NKJV) states, “…can these bones live?” The word “live” is translated: “To live, whether literally or figuratively, to revive – keep, make alive, promise life, nourish up, preserve, quicken, recover, repair, restore (to life) revive – Be whole.

As the wind breathed life into the bones, and as the word was prophesied, the bones received life. This is what God wants to do with our dead places. God wants to revive us. He wants to breathe life into our dead areas.

Eze 37:12 (NKJV)

“Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.”

God will bring us out of our graves and cause us to live.

The dead have to listen to God’s voice.

There is an old hymn entitled, “O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing.” It has twenty verses, but there is one verse that pops out to me; “He speaks, and, listening to His voice, New life the dead receive, The mournful, broken hearts rejoice, The humble poor believe.”

Lazarus was one of the dead that listened to the voice of Christ (John 11:1 – 44). Jesus spoke and breathed, “…I am the resurrection, and the life. He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die…” this is what he breathed or spoke to Martha when she met Him after hearing He was coming. Martha knew where her source was. She said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” There was still faith even after seeing the dead.

He is the Resurrection and the Life! If you believe, though you were dead, you shall live. All it takes is a little faith to see the wonders of God.

Scripture states, in John 11:5 and 6 “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was.” Jesus stayed two more extra days after finding out Lazarus was sick. Why would He do this? I believe for two reasons, First, He was setting the stage for a miracle so the people would see His glory as verse 4 states, “…this sickness is not unto dearth, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it,” but there is more to the reason why Jesus lingered where He was instead of making hast to get to the one He loved to heal him. Secondly, if Jesus would have hurried and healed Lazarus before he died, it would be like what He had done for many. If Christ had raised him to life after he recently died, it would be no more than He had done for some, but waiting so long gave Jesus the opportunity to do more for Lazarus, Martha, and Mary then He had done for anyone. This is His love.

I like how the Message Bible states John 11:11, “He said these things, and then announced, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, I’m going to wake him up.’” To God, raising someone from the dead is like waking them up from a sleep. It is no difficult thing for God to raise our dead things.

What areas of your life need to be resurrected, restored, or revived? Remember that the Father God is constantly watching you to bring resurrection life into your dead places. Look at delays as His love in action, just waiting for the right time to truly show you how much He loves you.

The prodigal son was dead and came back to life. We read in Luke 15:11 – 32 the story of how a father’s son asked for his inheritance before His father died. His father granted the request and gave the son what was allotted to him. The son went out and squandered all the money on extravagant living and ended up with no money wishing he could eat what he fed the pigs. He thought in his heart that even a hired hand, or a servant, was well fed in his father’s house. He came to the end of himself. He made up his mind to go home and ask to be a servant. But his father had other plans. His father missed him so much it felt like his son was dead. He grieved over the loss of his son. He longed for life to come back to him, to come back home. This is exactly like our Heavenly Father who sees the dead in our life and longs for life to come again.

God is waiting for us to “come to the end of ourselves” and come to Him for help. Resurrection power brings new life. What was resurrected, by the power of God, is even better than what was there before.

Everyone who calls on Jesus will be saved, will be revived, and will be brought back to life!

John 5:24 – 28 (KJV)

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; And hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice…” 

Jesus said this concerning His coming, but we can truly apply this to anything dead in our life.

The dead have no choice but to obey the voice of the Lord to come back to life. God is the Beginning and the End; He is the Alpha and the Omega. He alone knows when someone will be born and when they will die. He is the one who breathes life into them. Since He is the Alpha and the Omega, He always finishes what He starts. Nothing ends without His permission.

Resurrection Advancement

The bigger the stone the enemy places on you to stop your advancement in life, the stronger, and bigger the stage of your advancement so rejoice! Just look at the stone the enemy tried to place in front of Jesus’ tomb. Even death could not keep that stone in place. If you feel a huge stone has been placed on you, get ready for a resurrection advancement!

Hebrews 10:35 (NASB)

“Do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.”

Sometimes the fruit of our labor takes time to see. Planting a fruit tree it will take 2 or 3 years to see the fruit in an adult stage. We are to never give up!

James 1:12 (CEV)

“God will bless you, if you don’t give up when your faith is being tested. He will reward you with a glorious life, just as he rewards everyone who loves Him.”

The Living Dead

There are people, who call themselves Christian, walking around as the Living Dead. They go to church, are much involved with the activities there, but hardly have life in them. They think they are alive just because of their activity. But reality is they are walking zombies. There is no life in them. They are not relying on the resurrection power of God or even expecting good things from God. Often they feel the way their life is will never change. “It is what it is” is often said from their mouth. This kind of talk is not standing on God’s word or promises. It is not activating the resurrection power in their life.

It is God’s will for us to live in His resurrection power. Let His resurrection power quicken or enliven us to do His will. He will give us eyes to see and ears to hear what is causing us to walk around as the living dead.

Peter 1:3 – 5 (NJKV)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

Living Hope

“…a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead!” Hope is something that is living and alive!~ I watched the movie “Hunger Games” this past week and one line in the movie stuck out to me: “Hope is the only thing that can stand against fear.” Having hope propels you to keep trying in the middle of your fears. Hope helps us to stay focused. If we don’t have hope, we will fall into our fears and doubts.

We hope in the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. The word “resurrection” means: “Standing up again, that is, (Literally) a resurrection from death (individual, general or by implication (it’s author)), or (figuratively) a (moral) recovery (of spiritual truth): raised to life again, resurrection, rise from the dead, that should rise, rising again.”

Death could not hold Jesus! We have that same spirit dwelling in us everyday!

Romans 8:11 (NKJV)

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”

Message Bible

“It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!”

God can breathe new life into any situation, circumstance, or issue, and bring forth life again.

Jesus was raised from the dead. Resurrection Life came from the One who is the Resurrection and the Life. We have to remember that the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in us.

God can resurrect your dreams and passions that seem to have died while you have been waiting for a miracle. When God gives us a dream it must first die. Just like a seed that is dead has to be buried, so our dreams have to die so they can bring forth life. And just like the growth from the seed that bursts from the ground, which is exactly what happens when life comes from dead things.

What dreams has God given you? Do they seem like they will never come true? Have you held onto them too tightly for God to breathe new life into them? We need to learn to “hold on loosely” to our dreams. Don’t hold onto something so much that it consumes you. Allow your dreams to die. Give your desires to God and watch Him make something from nothing.

God can make beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:1 – 3). What if the ashes where made from your own match? What if you started the fire that burned your life into ashes, can God breathe new life into our wrong choices? Can God birth life from our mistakes? I say, “YES!” God specializes in making beauty from ashes.

What is dead in your life, your emotions, your finances, your relationships, your family, or circumstances? Maybe you feel dead inside? Do you feel God is far away and you don’t feel close to Him? Allow God to come and breathe new life into your spirit.

You might be feeling dead inside due to sin in your life. You might be feeling dead because of something you had to walk through. No matter the reason, God is there to breathe new life into your spirit today!

All our powerful God has to do is to speak or breathe life into dead things and the dead have to listen.

Do you have faith to believe God can breathe life into you? Ask God to come and breathe His life into your situation. Believe that situation will listen and be born again.

Remember “You Are Never Too Dead For A Resurrection!”

Blessings,

Pastor Kris Belfils