Monday, September 14, 2009

Why Do I Fear???

I know I can't be the only one having to deal with issues of insecurity and fears at multiple times in these days. You know, we can also be assured that what we are facing, even the greatest of New and Old Testament saints have battled with as well. The fears that we allow to chew us up and spit us out were overwhelming for even David, who was called a man after God's own heart(Acts 13:22)...right? As I was searching for a reference on fear, forsake, and hope I came across the following passage and wanted include the entire chapter for your reading today. Please take the time to read it in its entirety!

Psalm 27..."The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (2) When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. (3) Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. (4) One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple. (5) For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. (6) And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord. (7) Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. (8) When thou saidst , Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek. (9) Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. (10) When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up. (11) Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. (12) Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. (13) I had fainted , unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (14) Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord."`

As I read through this passage this morning, the first thing that jumped off the page was with faith in the Lord, why should I fear things this world may have? If God is God of my life, what is there to worry about? I know it's easy to say, but hard to live. I get in the "me" mode and how I'm going to take care of things, instead of relying upon the One who the winds and seas obey.

In verse 4, my eyes were opened as well...the Amplified version puts it this way..." One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek, inquire for, and [insistently] require: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life, to behold and gaze upon the beauty [the sweet attractiveness and the delightful loveliness] of the Lord and to meditate, consider, and inquire in His temple."

Umm, no that doesn't sound like what one thing I would ask God for. Honestly...when I think of one thing to ask the Lord, would I truly be willing to ask to know Him and serve Him and meditate, consider and inquire in His temple? Unfortunately, if I was honest, I would fail at making that first and foremost...MOST days.

Continuing on, we come into verse 5, where we are reminded that we are hidden in Christ to be helped in our times of trouble. We are set upon a rock. I am reminded of the Church Camp I attended as a youth, Silver State in Sedalia, CO. there was a giant boulder that we would go sit on to "get away" from things. You know, when God sets us upon a rock, His rock would be high and above any "escape" we could find for ourselves. What we need is to place it into His hands.

When we take heed to what is being taught here, we will be able to rejoice as verse 6 talks about. A worship experience that is REAL, not staged! Have you noticed how people who have been beaten and bruised and wearied by the pains of this world, to be raised back again by the power of the Lord? When they have come out of the storm...they rejoice with a LOUD thanks to God for all He has done.

As we read further, David asks for the Lord to shield him against his enemies. In verse 12, he talks about the false witnesses that are working against him. Do you face struggles at work??? Leisure??? Home??? Do people try to twist and turn your words, deeds, and intents??? Does it seem like someone is always bringing everything you do into question???

Look at verse 13, as we near the end of this chapter..."I had fainted , unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." I had fainted...UNLESS...David knew the pain of being talked about, ridiculed, slandered, spoken of in hate, you name it. There was always someone ready to "cast a stone" at his every wrongdoing. BUT, he knew and believed he would see the goodness of the Lord worked out in his life. I am reminded of the definition of the word believe that Bro. Boyd always uses...rely on, cling to, trust in. What do you believe in? When you say you believe in the Lord and His you truly rely on, cling to and trust in them?

I don't think a verse could sum up the chapter any better than verse 14..."Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord." Wait on the Lord...don't get ahead of Him...He will strengthen your heart...and then we are reminded yet again to wait.

That can be the most difficult part of it all. We may endure hardships that last longer than WE want to deal with, but wait on the Lord's perfect timing. And remember the verse that will give hope in the most dire of circumstances...Hebrews 13:5b..."for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."

Also, remember when going through those times of tribulation what is found in John 16:33..."These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

I pray that this passage has brought a peace or calm in your stormy day. It has eased my troubled heart and mind to reflect upon the words found in the Scripture this morning.

As always, please let me know if there is a special prayer request I can word on your behalf today!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 9-11...

I found this photo on Flickr that was taken just two days before the attack on the World Trade Center.

Last year, we got a few responses back, but I would like to hear what you think of when you think about September 11, 2001.

What were you doing?

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear 9-11?

When I think of 9-11, I think about a time in which we as a nation and a people were so deep into our own selfish attempts that we thought of no one but ourselves. The tragedy of that day seemed to make us reach out again for those hurting. It made us take notice of how precious life is. How important each moment is. It brings to mind how we should be there to lend a hand when needed. It brought out a new charitable nature and also brought a long-forgotten pride in our country.

I'll never forget that drive in the truck listening to the radio when they broke through and announced the first plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, or the sight of the second plane crashing...and I will never forget the feeling when the towers came down. But, I also know that I have a hope no matter what comes in this life! That Hope is why we must reach out day in and day out. Sharing the story of Jesus in our lives, so that others won't have to walk around in the fear of this world's issues.

Remember, as Titus 2:13 states, we are..."Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;"

I would like to ask everyone to say a prayer for the families that lost loved ones on that day. Every year, they have this reminder, because of the magnitude of the event. Please remember them...and if you know one who personally is grieving over this, reach out to them today...maybe a call, a short email, whatever you think would help...

Also, please let me know if you have a special prayer request I can word on your behalf!!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fearless - book review

My latest book review in association with the Thomas Nelson Publishers Book Review Bloggers program is the latest Max Lucado release, Fearless. The subtitle to the book states the main point of the entire work rather profoundly...Imagine Your Life Without Fear.

With all that we face in these troubled woes, raising kids, gas prices, job instability...the list goes on and on...many folks live with fear as a normal part of their existance. But, Max Lucado works through this book giving example after example how we can live a productive Christian life without succumbing to the fears of those without hope.

In the book, Max covers many of the fears that each of us face from time to time…from feelings of insignificance, death, wars, violence, parenting issues, providing for our families, and even making God angry with us. He talks us through the fears that may take hold of our lives by opening up the Word of God and letting it dispel the fears that many would allow to rule their lives.

I found this book, as with all Lucado’s other previous works, to be a smooth read. It brought forth hope through even what many may see as the most dire circumstances we may face in our lives. I would recommend this book to anyone as necessary reading. Thanks Max, for another great book!!!