Fret Not

“Have you been bolstering up that stupid soul of yours with the idea that your circumstances are too much for God?”~~Oswald Chambers

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Happy Independence Day to everyone in the U.S.A!

“The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves.” – William Hazlitt
(BrainyQuote)

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is egalitarian, one of those words of which I’ve never been quite clear on the meaning. Well, now I know. It means, “asserting, resulting from, or characterized by belief in the equality of all people, especially in political, economic, or social life.” Supposedly, we believe that in this country. But do we, really?

Today is Sidewalk Egg Frying Day. No one seems to know the creator or origin of this day, but I think it’s obvious why. At least if you live in Texas or any other southern or western states. I’ve never actually tried to fry an egg on a sidewalk, but I have seen people bake cookies on their dashboards. Maybe it should be Dashboard Cookie Baking Day. For the record, my normal source for “holidays” gave me one choice, Independence From Meat Day. No way am I celebrating THAT! In fact, we are having nice steaks with baked potatoes for lunch today. So there.

Yesterday was a great day! It began with a fantastic worship gathering. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits, and the worship time was really good. Jacob’s message was spot-on, and the music seemed to go really well. My mother enjoyed getting to hear me play keyboard again, and said the music was powerful, especially the last song, Overcome.

After church, we went to McAlister’s Deli for lunch. This has become one of my favorite restaurants, of late. I like the food, and I like the atmosphere, as well. It’s not terribly expensive, and you can get half-servings of anything on the menu.

When we got home, C took a nap, so I played on the PS4 for a bit. My mother sat on the love seat, and started out doing some cross stitching, but fell asleep, as well. About 3:30, we headed to Southlake for Stars & Stripes 2016. When we got to the Southlake Town Center, parking was not an issue at all. We found a great spot, very close to the gazebo, so we didn’t have to carry our gear very far. I have a collapsible plastic stand, now, that’s very durable, so it’s a lot easier to carry. We packed an ice chest with a case of water and ice, and we had our folding canvas chairs. We got pretty much the same space we had last year, right under a nice cedar tree, providing total shade from any sunlight (remember, it was Stay Out of the Sun Day). We relaxed for a while, then the Swing Band played at 6:00 PM. They did very well, including some vocal numbers with a female singer who did quite well. Our Community Band got on stage around 7:45. There was a brief patriotic ceremony, which included bagpipes, a color guard, and a twenty-one gun salute. Okay, it was actually a seven-gun salute, three times. Then a teen-age girl sang the national anthem. She did okay, but she said, “per-o-lous.” That’s the second time I’ve heard that word pronounced that way in the national anthem, in the last month. Is that a trend?? The word is “per-i-lous!” Gah!!

We started playing around 8:15, and played for about an hour. We wound up cutting three songs from the set list, but no one was surprised at that. We always have more music planned than we need. Sort of a safety net, I think. The fireworks started promptly at 9:30, and we got the heck out of there. S was a tad miffed, because she wanted to stay and watch all of the fireworks. We told her we would do that next year.

Next year is going to be interesting. July 3rd will fall on Monday, and I will have to work that day (unless I take PTO). This will mean that we will pretty much have to take two cars to the event (unless the rest of the family doesn’t go). But that’s a year from now, and I don’t need to, as my mother always said, “borrow trouble.”

Today, R & J will be coming over, and, as previously mentioned, we will have steaks and potatoes for lunch. Not grilled outside. I’m not insane. It’s too hot to grill outside, and besides, my grill is currently plagued by rust.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed.
You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.

For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh.
The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.

Psalm 90:7-10

Those who are true believers understand that God’s wrath is no longer directed at us, because we are under the blood of Christ. Martin Luther, however, before he experienced redemption, said, “It often happened to me, when I was a monk, that when reading this psalm I had to lay it aside. For I did not know at that time that these frightening truths were not intended by Moses for a terrified soul.” Later on, he would write, “His wrath is a wrath of compassion.”

“Lord God, there is much unproductive stuff in my life that needs pruning: I submit myself willingly to your scrutiny. I know that your anger is only the other side of your love and that any pain I experience is only a part of my growth in your love. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

One of God’s Great Don’ts

Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
Psalm 37:8

Before I begin summarizing this reading, I will offer this disclaimer that I realize that there are, in fact, conditions of anxiety which are physical issues and cannot be helped. What follows does not apply to people with these conditions.

What does it mean to “Fret not?”

It’s easy to say, but totally different to be able to have “such a disposition that you find yourself able not to fret.” We speak so easily about “resting in the Lord,” but then things get upset, and suddenly we are in “tumult and anguish.”

“This ‘don’t’ must work in days of perplexity as well as in days of peace, or it never will work.” However, we must understand that resting in the Lord has nothing to do with external circumstances, but everything to do with our relationship to our Father.

“Fussing always ends in sin.” Worry and anxiety do not indicate wisdom; rather, they indicate distrust (Chambers even goes so far as to call it wickedness). “Fretting springs from a determination to get our own way.” Do we ever see Jesus fretting? (The closest we can find is in the Garden of Gethsemane, as he struggled with what was about to happen to him.) “Ah,” we will say, “but he was Jesus! That’s not fair! He was God!” Do we not believe that God, in the person of the Holy Spirit, dwells within us? “Have you been bolstering up that stupid soul of yours with the idea that your circumstances are too much for God?” I love that statement. “Stupid soul!” Hah!

We need to put all of the “what ifs” on one side and “dwell in the shadow of the Almighty.” Yes. Look up a few paragraphs . . . I make mention of what my mother always said . . . “Don’t borrow trouble.” Fretting is exactly that . . . borrowing trouble. It is “wicked if you are a child of God.” When we fret, we show our lack of trust in God, whom we claim to believe.

Father, keep teaching me not to fret. I’ve gotten better at it, but still have far to go. I even make up circumstances to worry about! That falls in the “what ifs” category. As I work on the disciplines, I pray that I will learn, among other things, to fully trust you in all circumstances, regardless of appearances.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. Psalm 119:35

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends!

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