Fear Not

Good morning. It is Sunday, September 20, 2015. Today marks the fifth month anniversary of my father’s passing.

Today’s word of the day, from dictionary.com, is timocracy. It is not, as one might thing, government by Tim. It is, “a form of government in which love of honor is the dominant motive of the rulers,” or, “a form of government in which a certain amount of property is requisite as a qualification for office.” Either one is, in my opinion, not good.

Today is Wife Appreciation Day. Dang. I wish I’d known that sooner. I do appreciate my wife, very much. Christi is the biggest blessing this side of heaven that I have ever had in my life, and ever will have.

Yesterday was a pretty good day, all around. The grocery shopping went very well, and our church activities went well, too, I think. Our pastor presented a great message on the existence of God, as our church is participating in the “Explore God” series that is going on around the Metroplex. There are, literally, hundreds of local churches participating in this series, which strives to answer the following questions:

  • Does life have a purpose?
  • Is there a God?
  • Why does God allow pain and suffering?
  • Is Christianity too narrow?
  • Is Jesus really God?
  • Is the Bible reliable?
  • Can I know God personally?

If you live in the DFW area and are interested in checking this out, it is easy to find a church that is participating. Just click on the link above to check it out.

After church, Christi went to pick up dinner at Whataburger, while I went to Redbox to pick up a couple of movies. Last night, we watched “The Age of Adaline,” with Blake Lively and Harrison Ford. It was a delightful movie! I had been wanting to see that and a friend at church highly recommended it, yesterday afternoon. This afternoon, we will watch “The Judge,” with Robert Downey, Jr., and Robert Duvall.

On this date in 1633, Galileo Galilei was tried before the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for teaching that the Earth orbits the Sun. On this date in 1881, Chester Arthur was inaugurated President, following the assassination of James Garfield. Ten years later, to the day, the first gasoline powered automobile made its debut in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1946, the first Cannes Film Festival was held.

Today’s birthdays include Upton Sinclair (American writer), Red Auerbach (American basketball coach), Jay Ward (American animator, Rocky & Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right), Bobby Nunn (American singer, The Coasters), Anne Meara (American actress/comic), Sophia Loren (Italian actress), Steve Gerber (American comic writer, Howard the Duck), John and Chuck Panozzo (American musicians, Styx), George R.R. Martin (American writer), Anthony Denison (American actor, The Closer, Major Crimes), Gary Cole (American actor), Alannah Currie (New Zealander musician, Thompson Twins), Matthew and Gunnar Nelson (American musicians, Nelson), Kristen Johnson (American actress), and Jason Bay (Canadian baseball player).

Anne Meara was a comedian, born on this date in 1929. Sadly, she passed away just under four months ago. She was married to Ben Stiller for 61 years, and they are the parents of Ben and Amy Stiller. Here is a clip of Stiller and Meara, from the Ed Sullivan show, in 1964.

Jacob Grimm, Jean Sibelius, Jim Croce, John W. Peterson, and Leonard Skinner are among notable deaths on this date. Something I just learned today . . . Leonard Skinner was a high school gym teacher at Robert E. Lee High School in Jacksonville, Florida. Ronnie Van Zandt, Gary Rossington, and Bob Burns were among some of his students, in the sixties. After Skinner sent them to the principal’s office for violating his long hair policy, which resulted in their suspension, they decided to name their band after him. Lynyrd Skynyrd.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Today’s Psalm, from Heart Aflame, is Psalm 104:29-32.

When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.
When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.
May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works,
who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke!

“In these words, the Psalmist declares, that we stand or fall according to the will of God. We continue to live, as long as he sustains us by his power; but no sooner does he withdraw his life-giving spirit than we die.” (p 264)

Words we would do well to remember.

(From Daily Guideposts 2015)

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Romans 8:31

I’ve learned something else today. (That’s two things in one day. Boy, am I exhausted!)

Do you know what the most common command in Scripture is? Some might answer, “Love one another.” Others might answer in some way that includes obedience. The correct answer (and I checked multiple sources to verify this) is “Fear not,” or, “Do not be afraid.”

If you think about it, that’s stunning. Out of all of the commands that God and/or Jesus gives us, in all of Scripture, the most prevalent is, “Fear not.” How well our Father knows us, right?

The author of today’s Daily Guideposts reading relates a morning coffee time with her husband, as he prepared for his sermon. He turned and asked her that question. It turns out that they were planning to adopt a child from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and she had an opportunity to travel there, to Kinshasa, the capital city. Fear was holding her back. She feared the financial implications of the trip. She feared holding a child and falling in love, only to find out that they would not be able to adopt her. She feared for her safety, as circumstances in that city were dangerous. We don’t find out in this reading what she did. but the last line says, “So who would I listen to: God’s voice or my fear?”

Who will we listen to?

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1
but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.
Proverbs 1:33
for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7

Father, teach me this truth, over and over. My worries, my anxieties, they all stem from my inability to obey this command. Why do I fear? WHAT do I fear? What can any man do to me? I am guilty, my Father, so guilty of failing to “fear not!” I pray for your peace in my life. I pray for courage, not the kind that wants to go out and fight with people, but the kind that allows me to stand up for Jesus and live for the Kingdom every day. I confess that I worry too much, still. Take this away from me, Lord. May Jesus be my all in all, my peace, and my strength.

I pray for the rest of this day, that we will have good rest this afternoon, in preparation for the work week ahead. Let it be a week of successes and victories, not of failures and defeats.

I pray for our friend, Ann, who lost a brother this week. May you be comfort to her and her family. I pray for family friends, Bill and Ramona, as health is failing. Give strength to their adult children as they try to care for them.

Come, Lord Jesus!

To know that the most commonly repeated command in Scripture is some form of “fear not,” brings a whole new perspective to our Father’s desires for us.

Matthew 10 31

Grace and peace, friends.

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