No Cowards In Heaven!

6 08 2013

As a coward – fearful, timid, and full of dread, Revelation 21:8 stopped me dead in my tracks. It reads:

“But as for the cowardly,

the faithless, the detestable,

as for murderers, the sexually immoral,

sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars,

their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur,

which is the second death.”

I realized that I was in big, big trouble.

Yesterday, Diana Rasmussen asked how we go about possessing our inheritance. The answer can be found in one word:

Courage

As we read in the verse above, courage is extremely important – more than I previously imagined.

Courage isn’t the absence of fear – it is doing what we know to be right despite our fear.

At its roots, cowardice is a lack of faith…and “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6).

Based on Revelation 21:8, I’d say that impossible means just that…

Impossible

For me, the first stronghold God took down was an abusive marriage. Within its walls was a wicked ruler, one who hurt me and our children. God made our “crooked places straight and rough places smooth” and we were able to escape to the Women’s Refuge. (You can read that story here.)

It took courage to leave, to guilt my mom into taking us (they were also afraid of my ex), to follow through with a restraining order, and to return home – knowing that a restraining order is only effective if the other person honors it.

It would take courage to figure out how to take care of four small children…more courage than I had. I invited our “wicked ruler” to rejoin our family.

He moved us out to the middle of nowhere to a dump of a trailer (no hot water, no heat, no propane to cook on, a door that wouldn’t stay closed so our chickens ran through the house, a hole in the kids’ floor you could crawl through, broken windows, etc.), and disabled all the vehicles except one. Beware: abusers do that sort of thing.

The next several months were hard, but God graciously brought down this stronghold again…this time for good. In the meantime, He provided for our needs and taught me that I could trust Him. (You can read about that here.)

At last I mustered up the courage to grab the car keys and my purse during a particularly ugly tirade and drive away for good. I was scared out of my mind, unsure of what the future held for me and my children, but believed that God would take care of us.

As I stated yesterday, I had no idea that it was okay for a Christian to have boundaries; to say, “No, that behavior is not acceptable to me.” I believed I’d “made my bed” and my punishment for being divorced and remarried was the abuse I experienced.

At that time I had no concept of a gracious and merciful God; nor did I understand that Jesus took all the punishment for my every sin upon Himself. (Colossians 2:13-14)

One of my greatest character flaws has been my dishonesty. Oh, not about external things. There I’m honest to a fault. What I’m talking about is being honest about my feelings. I’ve gone along with, and put up with, some outrageous things in an effort to be a “peacekeeper.”

Countless times I’ve hidden my feelings or refused to give my opposing opinion to something that was dead wrong. The reasons I gave were so lame that I won’t even state them here.

Every time I did that I lied. I believed that somehow God would work it out. The thought of “speaking the truth in love” never crossed my mind.

I’m pretty sure He was leaning over and shouting in my ear, “I gave you a mouth – use it!”

Here are some acts of cowardice that are common:

Hide true feelings

Don’t speak up about injustice

People-pleasing

Rely on others to fill physical needs

Take care of my adult children;

Protect them from the consequences of their choices so I won’t feel like a failure as a parent

Failure to trust, and thereby obey, God

The last one is what has taken me most by surprise. I never thought about the failure to trust God or obey Him as an act of cowardice. However, when I consider why I would do such things, it boils down to the fact that I’m afraid of what might happen if I do:

People might not like me;

They might reject me

I might look like a fool

I might miss out on a good time

I might have to give up something I think I need

I might have to take responsibility for my life

Most of us have been called to take a step of faith and do something that is risky. It is scary. People may not like us – may even reject us…perhaps for a long time. Things could get sticky for a while…

…and we will mature a little more

…and God will increase our boundaries!

God told the Israelites that they would possess the land bit by bit so that they would have time to grow in number and strength – and not be spread so thin that they would be easy pickings for their enemies. He graciously does this for us as well.

When the Lord directs us to act, however, we dare not do otherwise. Numbers 33:52-53; 55-56 reads:

Then you shall drive out ALL the inhabitants of the land from before you and destroy ALL their figured stones and destroy ALL their metal images and demolish ALL their high places. And you shall take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given the land to you to possess it…

But if you do NOT drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land where you dwell. And I will do to you as I thought to do to them.”

Thanks for your question, Diana. It caused me to think through how I “possess my inheritance”. It really does boil down to courage, to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

I will not be a coward for one more day!

 I leave you with this word of encouragement:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.

Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed,

for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9

Read Possessing My Possession.

More to come tomorrow!

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24 responses

27 01 2014
No Cowards In Heaven! Prayers and Promises

[…] Read more at: No Cowards in Heaven […]

8 08 2013
Elizabeth Yalian

As a child I learned my feelings and opinions were best kept to myself. I grew up to be a people pleaser and worked hard at it, until years later I realized no one was working hard to please me. Eventually, I quit being that doormat. Great post, Tami.

8 08 2013
lessonsbyheart

I am so sick and tired of trying to please people. You have no idea. This is an area where I still need much work. You could pray for me – that would be greatly appreciated.

\o/

8 08 2013
Elizabeth Yalian

Yes, I will pray for you. Lord Jesus, please give Tami the strength to say no each time she needs to. Thank you Lord, You know how to strengthen her heart in this way. Help her to recognize your nudging in this area. In Your name, Amen!

8 08 2013
lessonsbyheart

THANK YOU!!

\o/

9 08 2013
Elizabeth Yalian

🙂

8 08 2013
dianarasmussen

Reblogged this on Prayers and Promises and commented:
How do you “posses your inheritance”? Thanks Tami for helping us grow stronger!

7 08 2013
dianarasmussen

All I can say is thank you Tami, thank you, thank you! For truth, for honesty, for hope. I lived in a trailer too! One car, utilities always being shut off, no phone half of the time. Ugggh! And I too found safety at the women’s shelter.

I love this post, I am still learning how to be strong and courageous. I am safe now, but I find I am still wandering. I look forward to learning more, thanks sis!

7 08 2013
lessonsbyheart

I’m probably one of the greatest cowards I know…or at least used to be. Bit by bit Jesus is teaching me how to use His armor and stand firm. It’s not easy, but I am getting better at it!

Solomon knew what he was talking about when he said, “There’s nothing new under the sun,” – eh?

The enemy only has a handful of tricks. He uses them over and over. No wonder he’s so good at what he does. Few tactics, millions of subjects to use them on.

Can’t wait for the day when he’s gone for good. 🙂

\o/

6 08 2013
tinabrenee

Amen and amen! I can so relate to your stories, as we’ve been through such similar circumstances but praise God we finally got the courage to get out! Love reading your posts. They are boldly laced with truth and I greatly appreciate that!

6 08 2013
lessonsbyheart

You’re welcome. 😉 If it wasn’t for His continual coaxing I’d still be there. God is good.

\o/

6 08 2013
tinabrenee

All the time!

6 08 2013
Pure Glory

Thanks for having the courage to share your journey. No fear!

6 08 2013
teri4sure

Thank you for your willingness to share your life experiences. If you’re anything like me, it’s much easier to write it out in order to share it with others. I’ve always been a people-pleaser and have kept my opinions bottled up for years – until this last year. It’s AMAZING to see how God can change us, isn’t it? You have a great ministry because of your willingness to share. : )

6 08 2013
lessonsbyheart

Just following the example my sister at the well laid out…come see the Man who told me everything I ever did!

After all He’s done, it’s a great honor to tell others, wouldn’t you agree?? He’s spectacular!

\o/

6 08 2013
teri4sure

Amen! : ) Feels so good – no…GREAT, to share.

6 08 2013
lessonsbyheart

Oh, man, does it ever. I just sent a door-to-door salesman on his way with a Bible, a hug, and a prayer. LOVE those Divine appointments! Pray that the enemy wouldn’t steal any seeds sown, please.

\o/

6 08 2013
loopyloo305

Wonderful post, God bless you!

6 08 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks for stopping by.

\o/
Praising Jesus who loves us unconditionally!

6 08 2013
loopyloo305

You are most welcome lessonsbyheart, I sent your formal invitation to write for “A Needed Word”, I do hope that you have received it, I talked to Teach and she is very supportive of having you join us at “The Christian Gazette” as well. I do hope that you will consider both! God bless, Patricia aka Loopyloo

6 08 2013
Toni Sprandel

Amen. 🙂 The old cliche “If He leads you to it, He will lead you through it” came to mind. I know that our God will provide you with the courage and strength to climb this mountain!

6 08 2013
lessonsbyheart

He sure is. There may be giants in the land, but they’re going DOWN! 🙂

\o/

6 08 2013
Victoria Grefer

your story is incredible and inspirational. I feel honored that you shared yourself with us all. I too struggle to find courage from day to day, though I have been blessed to never have faced such an obstacle as an abusive relationship.

6 08 2013
lessonsbyheart

When you’re raised with abuse, you don’t learn anything about boundaries except that having them is bad, bad, bad. Consequently, to set them as an adult is extremely scary. It sets people up to be walked on, and to try to please everyone all the time. That’ll make you nuts!

Have a blessed day, dear sister!

\o/

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