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One of my favorite old-time hymns growing up, was  called “Victory in Jesus”.  My dad was a singer and guitar player in a Christian bluegrass band, and their country rendition of it would send us all to our feet, hooting and hollering about the celebration of victory we have, in Jesus. It was usually the “closer” song at their shows – with the banjo, fiddle, harmonica and several guitars collaborating in this bluegrass favorite. It always delivered.

Lighthouse Band

As a kid, I would watch people dance, clap, throw their hands in the air and sing along in sweet victory.  It was always amazing, always. I would usually run in circles or mimic some strange hopping movement from an old guy in the back – and then roll on the floor laughing.  There was always laughing. How could there be anything less than festivity  when we claim defeat over bondage in our life?!

Well, then I grew up, and found that sometimes a once sweet song of victory is followed by time on our knees and tears filled with hope.  Those days when we really want to claim it, but it doesn’t seem like its gonna happen. You know, facing the reality of what is.  And so, the song becomes less of a celebration and more of a prayer for hope.

I am reminded of this gift that was given to us all:

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

I love the contrast of each of these fruits: power overcomes fear, love overcomes timidity and self-discipline is the capability to continue to remain a overcomer.

When we identify what it is that  ushers in fear, we can contrast it and consider what the opposite of that fear looks like in our life.  Is speaking in front of others something that stirs up fear?  Consider the courage needed to stand and deliver a message, and then consider that it is waiting for you, to dispel that fear, and move you into the joy that comes from overcoming it.   What is your fear?  Can you put a face to it, look at it, and then envision what the opposite looks like? Now consider that which attempts to hover a fear over us, is really something we are called to overcome!

Faith allows us to believe that power is readily available and that overcoming our fears is even a possibility. But faith without works is dead, right?  So knowing that power exists and not utilizing it is of no gain! I can own a lawn mower, I can clean it, fill it with oil and gas, but if I don’t pull that handle and crank it up and actually move it around my yard, then that grass is not going to get cut.

Start here:  Lord, thank you for your promise, thank you for your incredible love for me that you give me such rich gifts.  And Lord, not only  do I believe in the power you have placed inside me to overcome this fear, but Father, please show me what my part is, my action step towards activating it, today. As your faithful companion, I am willing and ready to walk out in your power, in faith, so I’m asking you to show me what that looks like, just for me, just for today. Thank you, Father. Amen.

Immense love for others gives us the courage to speak truth and life into them.  When we love like Jesus, we would lay down our own fear, pride and timidity, risking abandonment and rejection, in order to save others from pain, hurt or death.

When we sit by in silence and shake our heads at another’s misfortune, pain or damaging behavior, it does not allow our love to shine.  We then, become part of the problem, assisting in the thievery of fullness of joy, in their life. Honest, deep and sincere love comes alongside them, gently speaking truth and life from a heart that radiates love for them. We become courageous. Love that is bold, is seen and heard;  it is felt from near and far. Let your love shine, today.  Do not hide it in fear or timidity.

Start here:  Lord, I want to be someone who loves and loves well.  Please stretch and grow my heart for others, so I can have the courage to passionately care for them free from concern about looking silly. I want to be someone who encourages others and inspire them into finding freedom, joy and peace in their life.  I want to share what you have done for me, to help someone else find that same victory, in you.  Thank you, Father.  Amen. 

Self discipline is ours to claim over it ALL.  We may celebrate a victory over fear and timidity, but the challenge to remain in that power and love is not easy, it gets harder and harder the more complicated life gets.  I may have declined that second serving of cheesecake today, but tomorrow may be a different story.  Thankfully, that most empowering last word of this promise in scripture  is self-discipline.  The Lord gives us the strength to discipline ourselves, holding captive any thought or belief that does not fall in line with His character.  We are able to arrest those attacks and replace them with truth, according to the discipline we cultivate by practicing power, and practicing love.

Each time we rehearse using these gifts, we become more comfortable using them and more equipped to handle them.  They become our friends, our comrades – lifting us up when we are down, encouraging us when we stumble, and then when we start to actually see the blessings that come from holding them close, we become quicker to claim them over our life in any and all circumstances and situations.

Start here:  God, I thank you for giving me self-discipline.  It is not easy to practice this, and you know this, so thank you for your patience and your understanding with me.  You know my heart, you know that I long to be someone who is disciplined in exercising the power and love that you have given me, so I ask for continued strength to persevere. Even when I fail, I will commit to trying again.  I will never give up on the eternal hope that you have given me.  Thank you for the courage to never stop trusting you and to continue drawing from your strength and your power, in my life. Amen.

 

This verse speaks of freedom waiting to be claimed.  A treasure, no longer hidden but ready to be cashed in for profit.  Its verses like this that remind us of our inheritance that is active and living in us.  You have already received it, it is yours.  So today, take it! This gift has got your name all over it and it’s not even wrapped. No mess to clean up.  It’s perfect for you and it’s just your size.  Its your favorite color.  It smells amazing.  Its flawless and was given to you from a loving Father who knows your every need and anticipates your every desire.

Go ahead, take it.

M

psst…want to read more about how this verse speaks to others?  Swing by Eyes of Your Heart and listen to the beautiful heart of Stacy Voss.

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4 thoughts on “Bluegrass blessings

  1. You weren’t kiddin’ when you said it was good. Wow, girl! That’s a rockin’ post. I never, ever thought about how each of these fruits dispels things like fear and timidity. Thank you so much for supporting me in this new little venture, but above all else, thanks for opening my eyes even more to the riches in this verse.

    That’s one yummy pie. Thanks, Melinda!!

  2. I love that song….it’s rolling around in my head now, not the bluegrass version, but the one with the old tinny piano and the warbly voices of the grandmas singing with all their might. Thanks for this trip down memory lane and for pointing out a brand new way to look at this verse!

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