No Fear in Love|By Tori Savoy

In just a few days, I will celebrate two years of marriage to my high school sweetheart. As I sit and reflect not only on the two years of marriage but the last 9 years we have spent together, I cannot help but thank God for each and every day.

Everyone asked after the first few months of marriage, have you had your first big fight yet? Has he gotten on your nerves?

Actually, no. A few disagreements maybe, but nothing that has kept us in a bad mood for more than a few minutes.

Some may say I lucked up with a great marriage or found my perfect match. However, fear tells me another story. Fear tells me to wait around every corner for hell to break loose in my marriage.

Marriage has always been the most terrifying thing to me. I grew up surrounded by unsuccessful marriages. Even the ones that did not end in divorce, were nothing but a prison for the two.

“Marriage is for life,” I heard growing up in church. What if I ended up trapped in a marriage that was miserable when I thought I would love this person forever?

God had to heal me a lot before my wedding day in order for me to consider committing my life to Brandon. There was no doubting I loved him. I was just afraid for so long of that love ending.

However, God placed some godly marriages in my life just when I needed it most. He restored hope that marriage could be something beautiful. In these marriages, I saw perseverance through the hard times, and love that did not waver through the decades.

So on March 25, 2017, I took a step out in faith and said “yes” to my best friend. I put on the white dress and walked down the aisle to the promise of God waiting for me at the end of it. As I said my vows, I felt an overwhelming peace. I felt gratitude that God had sent this man into my life to show me what real love was like. To this date, choosing to do life with him has been the best decision I have made (aside from giving my life to Christ).

Although my hope in marriage was restored, the devil still likes to bring back that fear. He tells me I am not good enough for my husband, and one day he will decide to leave me. I sometimes strive to be a better wife out of fear of losing him rather than my love for him.

The enemy attacks the things that are good in life and keeps you from embracing the memories to be had in the here and now.

Every time I become crippled by my fear, God reminds me of the beautiful marriages he placed in the latter part of my life. He has promised to make this marriage beautiful from beginning to end. So when the devil’s lies come, I hold on to the promises of God.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭(ESV)‬‬

When the devil says, “Work harder to keep your husband”,

God says “Work less and let me carry the weight”.

“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” ‭‭Exodus‬ ‭14:14‬ (‭ESV)‬‬

When the devil says, “Your marriage will only be happy for a season”,

God says, “I renew your marriage daily and make it new”.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” ‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:22-23‬ (‭ESV‬‬)

When the devil says, “Your husband may want to leave you for better looking woman”,

God says, “you were created for such a time as this”.

Fear cripples us temporarily, but God’s words are eternal.

Marriage will definitely have its challenges. This I am sure of. However, I also know God’s word stands, and the challenges will not end my marriage. We will walk through life’s challenges with our love still intact.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” Isaiah‬ ‭43:2‬ ‭(ESV)‬‬

If you find yourself fearful of marriage and love because of the world around you, just know that God is writing your love story. Do not let the lies of the devil distract you from the beauty of what love can be when a relationship is centered around Christ. We need a generation of individuals ready to fight for the sake of love and marriage, not cowering in fear as the devil would have us. Because when two people choose to love like God intended, powerful things unfold.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (ESV)

Trusting God in a Season of Waiting| By Christina DePino

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“Where is Bella?”

We all looked around in confusion. I suddenly realized I had not seen my 9-year-old Yorkie in the hour since we returned from watching fireworks.

After an extensive search of the entire house, we determined Bella must have somehow gotten outside in all the craziness that is July 4th. To make matters worse, we were in the Ozark Mountains, an area filled with wild animals.

The local “Lost Dog” Facebook pages made it apparent that July 4th week is a super common time for scared dogs to go missing.

My heart ached for our lost puppy, but it also ached with the realization that we are often like this with God.

When God instructs us to wait, but we allow fear to take over, we end up running towards the very things that will harm us.

Sure, “Trust God” is a cute bumper sticker slogan that gets thrown around a lot. However, when times get tough, and it seems that God has left us to fend for ourselves, that is the time when our faith is truly tested.

God promises us that if we will wait on him, He will supply us with the strength we need.

“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

When I’m going through a difficult time, I like to encourage myself with words of scripture. One of my favorites is Proverbs 3:5-6:

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he will direct thy paths.”

This verse always reminds me that God created us with limited understanding, and we do not always have to know the answers. We only have to acknowledge that He is in control and allow Him to lead us.

Did you notice how this started out about waiting, but ended up being about trust?

Something the Lord has been showing me lately is that waiting and trusting go hand in hand. Learning to wait on the Lord is learning to trust Him.

Sadly, our Bella was never found. After searching a few separate times and not being able to find her, I had to pack up and go home. There was nothing else I could do.

Fortunately for us, God is not like me. God will never leave us. He will never lose us! He knows where we are at all times. He feels your pain,  and He knows your sorrows. His arms are always open. No matter the mistakes you have made, if you turn back to Him, He will be there waiting with open arms.

“…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5

“And the lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you’ do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

I believe that learning to trust the Lord completely is a lifelong journey. We may have learned to trust God with our finances, but still struggle to trust him with our health, or with our children.

What scriptures do you hold onto in the times or waiting, or when it seems difficult to trust God?

Faith Is Bigger Than Fear|By Jasmine Beard

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Everyone has their thing. You know that thing that you feel like you’ve conquered, but then still you have to conquer it over and over and over again.

That thing for me is fear.

Even as young children the enemy is scheming against us in the very area that God desires to use us in.

Throughout life, we go through experiences – some good and others bad. Unfortunately, some of the experiences I had as a child left me very fearful and unable to trust completely.

Even after giving my life to Christ, fear still seems to be a recurrence in my life. For me, speaking in public is something that often scares me – which is pretty ironic considering I have a degree in Communication and took speech classes growing up.

Just like that doesn’t make any sense, neither does fear!

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”1 Timothy 1:7

This scripture is proof that God has not given me a spirit of fear and does not desire for me to be fearful. Fear is simply a small scheme from the enemy in comparison to the very big God that I serve.

Over the years, I have come to realize that fear doesn’t magically disappear on its own. Even if God has completely set you free from fear, you will still be confronted with fear in life. It is when you step out in faith in spite of the fears that fear disappears.

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” Matthew 17:20

The enemy’s scheme with fear is to make us believe that our fears are bigger than our God, but the truth is our faith has to be bigger than our fears.

If we truly feared God, we would fear nothing else. When I say fear, I mean a holy awe, respect, and submission God type of fear! Then we would recognize that there is truly nothing to be fearful about.

“And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

So the next time your fear is bigger than your faith, remember that God is bigger than your fears and that he is walking with you every step of the way.

“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9