During the long, hot summer months in Phoenix, if you don’t have a swimming pool in your backyard, you have to get creative when thinking of ways to occupy your kids as they’re cooped up in the house. One such pastime that I play with my young boys is hide-and-seek. Now granted, our home is about 2,000 square feet and has a pretty open floor plan, so there are only so many places to hide, but it usually keeps us busy for at least a half hour and the kids love it.

On one occasion when my wife was out of the house, the boys and I began a game of hide-and-seek. They usually count together while I go hide and when I’m found, I count while they inevitably hide together. During one of my turns to hide, I quickly and gingerly climbed up on the top bunk of their bed set and covered myself with as many stuffed animals and blankets as possible to conceal my whereabouts.

I soon heard the boys calling for me while running through the house trying to find me. Sometimes when I’ve hidden myself well, I’ll help them out by giving a short, sharp whistle and after a couple minutes of searching, Benjamin was calling for me to do so. However, this time I decided they were going to have to find me on their own.

Maybe another minute went by, which must have seemed like an eternity to my boys, because suddenly I heard them running through the house screaming and panic-stricken. I immediately called to them from their room and they came running in, tears streaming down their faces, as they slowly backed away from the precipice of uncontrolled fear.

I asked them what was wrong. They exclaimed that they thought I had left them because they couldn’t find me. My supposed absence quickly drove them to hysteria.

The funny thing is that nothing really changes as we become adults. We grow up and pretend that we’ve got it all together, that we’re self-sufficient; but after salvation in Christ, we realize how much we need our heavenly father and how dependent we really are. Many times, when He feels far off or we’re experiencing some difficult providence, we begin to anxiously cry out for Him just like children. We panic just like my kids did. However, as Christians, this should not be so. We must strive to remember His Word, His character, and His love for us.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

Just as I was only hiding in the next room when my boys were driven to panic, God is never far off. In fact, He promises that He is with us (present tense) so we need not panic ourselves. If we give into our fear, we distrust our heavenly father and cast a shadow on His character. Instead, we should remember His perfect love for us, which casts out fear (1 John 4:18), and that He has promised that if we diligently seek Him, we will find Him (Prov.8:17). May God give us the grace to seek Him diligently so that we may cast out fear in our homes.

Journey of Financial Freedom

Finances! Even the word scares me a bit, I must confess. But, being honest and real about my disobedience and mistakes, confessing all and seeking direction have been blessings for our family. I cannot continue typing and not mention this journey has been and continues to be a humbling experience; but as we continue to pray as a family and make decisions together, we are starting to see that the journey will soon be over. I know we will continue to apply everything we have learned. Especially because we want to be an example to our Olivia.

Continuing our journey of financial freedom, we as a family with a new toddler have noticed many changes in our lives, as well as how we are affected by our choices. We have seen how our past choices have affected our freedom from debt today. We continue to seek the Word of God to be aligned with what honors the Lord (Philippians 4:6-7).

Praise God! We have started to see good changes: we have eliminated our debt by at least 50% or more of what we had just six months ago. What a blessing! God remains faithful, even when we are not. Remembering that God’s promises are good causes His peace to take over us. Knowing He will always be with Olivia is just an indescribable assuredness (Psalm 119:90).

Although, the journey is not and has not been easy, we again and again realize we are being molded with His mighty hands (Isaiah 64:8). We lift our eyes to the hills and SHOUT! Our help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He is our great provider (Psalm 121:1), the One who has the words of eternal life. Where else can we go to, but you, Lord (John 6:68)! These words, as we read them in the Bible, reassure us that we are going to make it, and know it is all in His good timing (John 14:27).

We pray we be an example of good stewardship. All we can say today, as when we started, “Praise Him at all times”; it is worth the journey.


The Heart of Fear

I think the scriptures can be absolutely hilarious (please hold your stones and let me explain). In the Gospel accounts, the life of Jesus is so vividly portrayed, and as you read, you come face to face with the God man and stand in complete awe and wonder. What cracks me up at times is the disciples: one, because they are walking with Jesus and yet they say and do some of the funniest things; and two, I often see myself in their responses to Christ, which leaves me then to laugh at myself.

One account that I think of is found in Matthew 8:23-27 where Jesus calms the raging sea. The disciples have been following Jesus long enough to see His great power and attributes that testify of His divinity. Christ has been healing the sick and demonstrating His authority, and yet when we make it to this point on the sea, the disciples STILL don’t seem to grasp whom they are with, which is too comical. They become crippled by fear upon seeing the storm and respond in unbelief rather than faith.

This is the heart of fear: unbelief. Fear looks at the inadequacies in self and draws the conclusion that our personal lack calls for us to not react. This is something we can all relate to, seeing that we are weak and needy sinners and at times refuse to act in faith simply because we are afraid and know we are unfit. Here is where we miss the mark: we allow our insufficiency to blind us to God’s perfect character. If the disciples would have just believed Jesus for who He said He was, they would have responded with a steadfast faith instead of responding in panic and distrust. They would see their weakness and instead of panicking and being self-reliant, they would see the opportunity to humble their anxious hearts before Christ and simply cry for help.

It’s so easy to look at these biblical accounts and see the disciples’ responses and not see how, today, we respond in the very same way. We have experienced God in salvation and know His Word and have tried Him time and time again, yet we still fear and doubt His character in times of trouble. Let’s learn to fight our fears with faith—faith in Christ. Faith in His promises revealed in the Scriptures, faith in His finished work on the cross, and faith in God’s perfect love. This is the love that boldly and intentionally says “I have chosen you and I will be with you forever”; this is the love that casts out all fear. When we realize that nothing can separate us from God’s love, what should we fear? He alone will remain faithful; He alone will be my anchor and will continue to remain.