Free to Fear

Suggested Reading: Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

“Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.” Ecclesiastes 11:9b

The decisions of today affect the experience of God’s kingdom tomorrow. We weren’t created for this moment, we were created for eternity. Likewise, our choices have an eternal weight. Life is fleeting, our youth wanes, but His word endures for all time.

We are free to choose fun, free to choose hobbies, free to choose jobs, and free to do as we please but God, enthroned above all, is free to judge His creation.

“Fear God and keep his commands” is undoubtedly the wisest advice ever penned in Scripture. Obedience in this point will result in obedience in all points. One choice stands between mercy and wrath; judgment and reward; ruling on high or regret down low.

Freedom for pleasure or freedom to fear; I choose the latter.

Advertisements

Well, That’s Not How I See It….

“Mommy, when I’m 29 like you, I won’t be afraid anymore!” My daughter has an interesting perspective on things. She firmly believes that everything will be better for her when she is older. Eventually we are faced with the reality that life does not get easier with age.

Children can be short-sighted in their perspective.

They get excited over little things like petting animals at a farm, eating at a special restaurant, or getting a new box of crayons. Their world is small and simple and they usually don’t understand why the adults are so serious. They want to run and play, laugh and learn while the grown-ups have to work and budget, say “no” to their wants, and discipline the bad choices.

As adults our perspectives can be influenced by outside sources. Some may become “pessimistic” because they see everything in their life as a personal attack against them. There is the “glass-half-full” crowd who appear bubbly and worry free most of the time, skipping gleefully by the faulty elements surrounding them. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle.

Media plays a role in our views. We are inundated with messages to look good, spend money, get rich, and seek personal happiness at any cost to those around us. We receive messages from other people that may influence our perspective. Recently my daughter looked up at my husband and said, “Daddy, you’re fat! I think you eat too much!” I quickly shushed her and explained that it wasn’t nice to call people “fat”. However, my husband was deeply affected by that statement from his wide-eyed four year old even though he knew she was not being malicious. A few minutes later he came to us and exclaimed, “Daddy’s going on a diet!” For some reasons my pleas for him to improve his health went unnoticed, but this comment from his daughter was a powerful motivator. Over time we each receive similar messages from people about who we are and what we are worth which shapes how we view ourselves and our world.

God also has a perspective, “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” (Isaiah 55:8-9) His perspective is far superior to ours and as much as we try to understand, it will always surpass our complete comprehension.

God’s perspective is righteous, “Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.”(Hosea 14:9), and eternal, “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)

Understanding how God sees things should effect how we see things. As we learn his ways we recognize through our circumstances we are given opportunities to trust him (Psalm 37:7-9), be rewarded (Proverbs 14:14), mature (Philippians 4:11-13), and fulfill our purpose (1 Corinthians 7:17, Ephesians 2:10).

Today I woke up and checked my electricity meter. (We have a pay-as-you-go system where we load our card with whatever amount of money we want then insert it in our meter to purchase as much electricity as we can afford at any given time.) It read $3.34 and I chuckled to my husband, “Not bad!” That would get us a few more hours of lights, computers, televisions and air-conditioning. There was a day when I would have panicked at the same scenario but I realized this morning that God is reshaping my perspective. He uses his word of truth, wisdom of Godly friends, and sometimes the honest remarks of my little Samantha.

As I traverse my God-given path through life,

 I’m trying to be mindful of my limited and somewhat faulty perspective. I’m determining to give my experiences to God and trust him with the results. Thank you, Jesus, for continuing to mold my perspective.

“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am God, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 46:4

Faithful

“Your faithfulness
continues through all generations.” Psalm 119:90a-NIV

Faithful

Let’s play a game.
Think of a person in your life with the following attributes. This person must
exhibit these qualities 100% of the time, without error. Who do you think of
who is:

Reliable

Competent

Authentic

Accurate

(I said 100% of the
time!)

Infallible

True

Honorable

Unchanging

Dependable (my
favorite)

Hmmm…it’s OK, I’m
having a hard time too. Hopefully it didn’t take you long to figure out that
only one person can exhibit these characteristics perfectly, and that is Jesus,
aside from that, well, you have us.

Disloyal

Unreliable

Fickle

Insecure (ouch)

Fake

Undependable

Dangerous

Maybe you can see
yourself in the negative list more so than the first? Or is that just a problem
I have? I can tell you what my nature is drawn to without Jesus, and it’s not
pretty!

2 Timothy 2:13 tells
us “If we are faithless,” (and we usually are) “…He is faithful [true, infallible,
constant, dependable] for he cannot deny himself.”

Throughout all time,
all eternity, God and every word he spoke remains faithful no matter how we
react to life. (Insecure, unreliable, fickle…) This promise of God’s character
is not only true for his children today but for every generation preceding and
coming hereafter.

Does the reliability
of people ever get you down? Take heart; rather, take refuge in the faithfulness of God’s word!

Prayer:

Thank you, Jesus, for your
faithfulness in spite of my unbelief and doubt. Remind me today of the truth
that you are loyal no matter how I feel or what circumstances have come over
me.

Settled

 “Forever, O Lord, your
word is settled in heaven.” Psalm 119:89-NKJV

Settled

Look in the mirror.
How often has your appearance changed over the years? How about your wardrobe?
If you’re honest with yourself, there may be a decade (or two) that you’d
rather forget when it comes to fashion!

Trends come and go;
music fads change; seasons change; ideas change; even the tires on our car
change (at the worst times, might I add!). Everywhere we look something is changing, and frankly it
gets to be a little tiresome. How do we keep up with it all unless we spend
money? Of course, that usually requires a job
change!

What a drag.

But wait…I see the
sun beams breaking through the graying clouds of our downcast spirit. Now there is something constant! The sun!
When have you ever woken up and not found the sun in the sky? Maybe it was
hidden behind some storm clouds, but you knew it was there, and it would shine
again. It’s constant, you can count on it. We count on the stars to be there at
night and the earth to continue rotating on its axis. Who put all of these
things in motion, anyways? Do we count on Him? If God’s creation is constant,
how much more so is his Word! No, it’s
not only constant, it’s settled!

Established.

Firm.

Immovable.

God has made up his
mind about a few things (to say the least) and he has graciously poured them
out into print for us: the BIBLE! What pleasure, what relief we have knowing anytime of the day or night we have the
honor of learning the heart of God through his inspired words! He breathed it,
he spoke it; these words have no variation. They are the same yesterday, today,
and forever, settled in heaven and on earth, unchanged for all eternity for you
and for me.

Prayer:

Jesus, when everything around me
bellows with uncertainty, I will cling to your words of life as the only unshakeable
source of constant truth.

“…that I might not sin against You…”

 “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11 (NLT)

When I was a bank teller I had to undergo some training before I was allowed to be on my own assisting customers. One of the things I had to study was money; what it looked like, its characteristics, how it felt, who was on each denomination, what the security features were…etc. It was important as tellers we understood what the real deal was before we were out there handling thousands of dollars every day, because it was inevitable that we would come across counterfeits. I did discover counterfeit bills in my years as a teller, and I would not have known what to look for unless I had understood what a genuine dollar was like, beyond just an initial glance.

Each word in the Bible acts like a cell does in the human body; it has to work in harmony with all the others so that the whole sum of the product functions appropriately. When we accurately dissect the word of truth in context, rather than picking and choosing what we want to believe, we are made aware of truth as it all flows together harmoniously.  The more truth we know, the more likely we are to recognize a counterfeit when we see it. “So long as Eve kept by faith the word of the Lord, she resisted Satan; but from the time she doubted of that, which God made most certain by his word, at once she was snared.” (William Cowper)

The Song of Psalm 119

The Song of Psalm 119

 I am but a foreigner here on earth;

I need the guidance of Your commands.

 

Along the path of Your commands…

is where my happiness is found.

Give me an eagerness for Your decrees.

 

Turn my eyes from worthless things;

give me life through Your word.

Your laws are all I want in life.

Renew my life with Your goodness.

 

I will walk in freedom,

for I have devoted myself to your commandments.

Your promise revives me;

it comforts me in all my troubles.

 

Your principles have been the music of my life.

Lord, You are mine!

This is my happy way of life.

 

I will hurry, without lingering,

to obey your commands.

I am firmly anchored to your law.

The suffering You sent was good for me.

 

You made me,

You created me.

Give me the sense

to follow Your commands.

 

You dsiciplined me because I needed it,

Now let Your unfailing love comfort me.

If Your law hadn’t sustained me with joy,

I would have died in my misery.

 

I will never forget Your commandments,

for You have used them to restore my joy and health.

Your word is a lamp for my feet

and a light for my path.

 

I have suffered much, O Lord;

restore my life again,

just as You promised.

Your decress are my treasure;

they are truly my hearts delight.

 

Do not let my hope be crushed.

Sustain me.

Come and show me Your mercy.

Your decrees are perfect,

they are entirely worthy of our trust.

 

As pressure and stress bear down on me,

I find joy in Your commands.

I stay awake through the night,

thinking about Your promise.

All Your words are true;

all Your just laws will stand forever.

 

I rejoice in Your word

like one who finds a great treasure.

Those who love Your law have great peace

and do not stumble.

O Lord, listen to my cry;

give me the discerning mind You promised.

 

Let my lips burst forth with praise…

Let my tongue sing about Your word…

Let me live so I can praise You.

*I used the New Living Translation and portions from the following verses:

Psalm 119:19,35-37,39-40,45,50,54,56-57,60-61,

71,73,75-76,92-93,105,107,111,116-117,132,

138,143,148,160,162,165,169,171-172,175

Song of Psalm 119 arranged by Rebecca Aarup 5/5/11