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Not listening to your threats

As pressures mount in life, we have two choices - either we embrace them head-on, or we run in fear as far away from them as possible. I suppose there may be a third choice - we could just be paralyzed in our fear, neither moving nor being moved. Many will venture into the "thick" of the unknown - facing the mounting pressures without timidity - sometimes merely looking for an adrenal rush of sorts. Others will venture in, but with a much more timid, almost respectful apprehension of the unknown - movements calculated and determined, but based in fear nonetheless. The others who remain will just stay where they are and hope for the best - cringing in fear and unwanted anxiety. What the last group needs is to be grabbed by God - not to drag them in, but to encourage them he has them in his arms the whole while!

God spoke strongly to me, grabbed me with both hands and warned me not to go along with this people. He said: "Don't be like this people, always afraid somebody is plotting against them. Don't fear what they fear. Don't take on their worries. If you're going to worry, worry about The Holy. Fear God-of-the-Angel-Armies. (Isaiah 8:11-13)

Ever been "grabbed by God" in such a strong manner you could not deny it was his hand holding you back or pulling you forward? Isaiah speaks of an encounter he had with God - being spoken to with all the strength of the God of the Angel Armies. The warning is strong - it is directional for not only his life, but the entire nation of Israel. God's intention is not to frighten Isaiah, but to preserve him from a course which would prove to be his undoing if he followed along with the "trend" of the crowd. There are times we follow the trends, but don't realize how truly unwanted their influence will prove to be in our lives. Wouldn't it be great to get a warning light every time we even thought to move in that direction?

It appears there is a group of individuals living with a little bit of paranoia - fearing the plotting of the other guy in the picture. In a purely psychiatric sense, paranoia is any set of "delusions" or "projections" we conjure up within which one imagines the hostility of others. These "imagined" beliefs can cause us a great deal of personal conflict - paralyzing some, driving others into the confines of solitude and withdrawal. Either way, the paranoia is kind of like a warning light for these individuals - but is it warranted? In a more practical sense, paranoia is really anything we believe about the motives of another person which are basically without any reality. In other words, they are simply suspicions - baseless imaginations that occupy space within our minds and hearts. If we look at our lives, we probably have experienced a few of these moments - believing something or someone was "out to get us", but having no real basis for our imagined threatened posture.

The God of the universe is totally aware of these moments of perceived threat and he takes great care to keep us grounded in reality - to give us clear warning signs! There is a futility in fearing what the others fear - the basis of their fears having no real power backing them. God reminds us of the futility of taking on the worries of another - it is even more silly than taking on our own set of worries! Sometimes we need the "grab" of our God to get us in touch with our worries - seeing them for what they really are - baseless imaginings, without power to overtake us until we give into them! God is very clear - if you are going to worry, find the right thing to worry about! To be specific about this he says, "Worry about me!" To us, I think he is saying the same - "Focus on me!" After all, he is the one with the power to turn the tide!

Not sure if you find yourself in a moment of "paranoid" thought today, but you may find yourself there soon. Remember, there is but one basis for perceiving reality - it is through the eyes of Jesus. Take those things which challenge you, keep you tied in knots, awaken you from sleep, or drive you into hiding - and go to the source of all peace. His warning to us - control what you allow to affect your life! How? By placing these "perceived threats" into his hands. He holds the key to unraveling the mess of worries we have wrapped our brains around! He makes short order of those things that pose a 'real' threat and he embraces us so we are kept safe even in the face of those things. Just sayin!

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