Love is Greater than Fear

“God’s love is the deepest foundation of reality.”

Today is Thursday, November 7, 2019. Peace be with you!

Day 22,519

FIVE DAYS until C’s birthday!!

Today is Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day. I would love to have some of that! I’m a huge fan of dark chocolate. And almost any kind of nut.

Today is my Friday, as I have tomorrow off. Primarily, I took tomorrow off because I need to go to the doctor for blood work (every six months). But I had the PTO to use, so I took the whole day. And, I already had Monday and Tuesday, to celebrate C’s birthday, so now I get a five-day weekend. My only real plan for that whole time is to learn how to use Pro Tools. Oh, and we have R & J coming over Saturday to help celebrate the birthday.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!
Psalm 57:8

Today I am grateful:
1. For birthdays and anniversaries.
2. That God’s steadfast love and faithfulness will ever preserve me (Psalm 40:11).
3. That we can cast our burdens on the Lord, and he will sustain us (Psalm 55:22)
4. That love is greater than fear.
5. That perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).

As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!
Psalm 40:11
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody!
Psalm 57:7
Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
Psalm 55:22
May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you! 
May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion! 
May he remember all your offerings and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah. 
May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans! 
May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!

Psalm 20:1-5

(From Our Daily Bread)

“Love You–Whole World” by Monica Brands

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 
No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 
And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 
By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 
We love because he first loved us.

1 John 4:7-19

Which is greater? Love or fear?

If you’re like me, and you are, sometimes, it depends on how you’re feeling that day. Because I believe it is safe to say that we all have days where our fears are stronger than love.

But the reality is, regardless of how we feel, love is always greater than fear, always stronger than anxiety.

Monica Brands uses the example of her three-year-old niece, Jenna, to illustrate love. Whenever Jenna really loves something, she says, “I love it–whole world!” The words “whole world” are accompanied by “a dramatic sweep of her arms.”

How often do we love like that? With the reckless abandon of a child? We know that Jesus told us that we must become like children to enter the kingdom. There have been countless debates as to what, exactly, he meant by that, and we don’t have time to get into those. But children love, naturally.

John wrote, “God is love” in verses 8 and 16 in the passage above. The whole passage is wrapped around that truth. And, in doing so, he reminds us that “God’s love–not our anger, fear, or shame–is the deepest foundation of reality.” And then, Monica writes this difficult truth: “The world divides us into camps based on what we’re most afraid of–and all too often we join in, ignoring or villainizing the voices that challenge our preferred vision of reality.” This may be my favorite sentence in the whole reading, because that is exactly what is happening in our country right now!

But in the middle of all of the “deception and power struggles,” the reality of the love of God stands firm, “a light that shines in the darkness, inviting us to learn the path of humility, trust, and love.”

I love verse 18. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” My friends, God’s love is perfect love. And when we abandon ourselves to that love, there can be no fear. Because there is nothing to fear in the reality of God’s love. This is why Dallas Willard said, “This world is a perfectly safe place for us to be.”

So, today, when our enemy tries to get you to believe that fear is greater than love, I pray that the Holy Spirit will remind you of these verses. And how much better will all of our relationships be if we realize that there is nothing to fear?

Father, I thank you for your perfect love. Today, when fear crouches at my heart’s door, may your Spirit remind me that your perfect love casts out fear. Help me to abide in your love, that you might abide in me.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

Grace and peace, friends.

Trinitarian Prayer

Today is Tuesday, November 7, 2017. Day 21,789.

Five days until C’s birthday!

Joni Mitchell, who was born on this date in 1943, said, “Rachmaninoff made a musician out of me. His ‘Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini’ was the piece that sent me into raptures. It spoke to me. To me, it was a tender entreaty for the misunderstood.”
BrainyQuote

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is logrolling, a noun, meaning, “the exchange of support or favors, especially by legislators for mutual political gain as by voting for each other’s bills.” Also, “cronyism or mutual favoritism among writers, editors, or critics, as in the form of reciprocal flattering reviews; back scratching.”

Today is Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day. I could definitely get into some of that, for sure.

There’s not much news concerning C’s recover. The physical therapist never showed up, yesterday, calling to say that she had gotten stuck in traffic in Dallas, and wouldn’t make it until today. She is planning to come Saturday to make up for it. In the meantime, C still has that low-grade, fluctuating fever, and feels achy part of the time. She is also about to run out of the pain pills, which makes me wonder if they thought she shouldn’t need any more after five days or a week. Mobility seems to be increasing, though, which is good. But she still has quite a large bruise on her thigh and a good deal of swelling in that leg.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
Psalm 32:12
Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. 
Psalm 119:18
With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!
Psalm 119:10
I hate the double-minded, but I love your law.
Psalm 119:113
“Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”
Mark 13:33-37
I hate the double-minded, but I love your law.
Psalm 119:113
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Psalm 23
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your Name. May your kingdom come, and your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer

I wanted to share a brief quote from C.S. Lewis, this morning, regarding prayer. This quote gets to the heart of the Trinitarian nature of prayer.

“An ordinary simple Christian kneels down to say his prayers. He is trying to get into touch with God. But if he is a Christian he knows that what is prompting him to pray is also God: God, so to speak, inside him. But he also knows that all his real knowledge of God comes through Christ, the Man who was God—that Christ is standing beside him, helping him to pray, praying for him. You see what is happening. God is the thing to which he is praying—the goal he is trying to reach. God is also the thing inside him which is pushing him on—the motive power. God is also the road or bridge along which he is being pushed to that goal. So that the whole threefold life of the three-personal Being is actually going on in that ordinary little bed- room where an ordinary man is saying his prayers. The man is being caught up into the higher kinds of life—what I called Zoe or spiritual life: he is being pulled into God, by God, while still remaining himself.”
From Mere Christianity

And then, also regarding prayer, Eugene H. Peterson says:

“All prayer finally, in one way or another, becomes praise. Psalm 150 is deliberately placed as the concluding prayer of the church’s book of prayers. No matter how much we suffer, no matter our doubts–everything finds its way into praise, the final consummating prayer. This is not to say that other prayers are inferior to praise, only that all prayer, pursued far enough, becomes praise.”
From Living the Message

Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! 
Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! 
Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! 
Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! 
Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! 
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!

Psalm 150

Father, help my prayers to become praise today. There is so much on my mind and heart, and I confess that, during my work day, yesterday, I had feelings of being overwhelmed, and forgot to consider your presence with me throughout the day. The neglect of your presence had a negative impact on my day. It’s not that you weren’t there, because you were. I just forgot about it. Help me to remember that today, no matter what may come.
I also pray for C’s recover, that things will begin to feel better for her. I thank you for the positive things so far.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Grace and peace, friends.

Structure in Prayer

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”~~Oscar Wilde

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is absolve, “to set free from an obligation or the consequences of guilt; to remit (a sin) by absolution.”

Today is Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day. I mean, seriously. What else would you need?

I only had to work about thirty minutes over, last night, so that was nice. We had a nice, relaxing evening, watching TV for a while. Today, we have our usual grocery shopping, and then Rachel and Justin will be coming over this afternoon.

We have nailed down some plans for later this month. The Southlake Community Band will play at the Christmas Tree Lighting event on November 21, at the Southlake Town Square. We plan to go pick up my mother Friday night, the 20th, so she can come listen to the band play Christmas music. She will spend Saturday night and go to church with us on Sunday morning. Then we’ll take her home after lunch. Our church will be having Thanksgiving dinner that evening, so we’ll be back for that. Then on Thanksgiving Day, which is the following Thursday, we plan to cook stuff and take it to Mineral Wells for Thanksgiving lunch. Good times.

Birthdays are coming up next week, as Christi’s is the 12th. My dad’s birthday is November 15, which is next Sunday. We have not decided if we will try to go to Mineral Wells for that day. It is the first birthday since he passed away in April.

On this date in 1665, the London Gazette was first published. On this date in 1872, the ship Mary Celeste set sail from New York. She would be discovered on December 4, completely deserted, life boat missing. The cargo and crew’s belongings were intact and undisturbed. The crew was never heard from or seen again. No one knows what happened to them. The last journal entry had been ten days earlier. In 1908, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kind were allegedly killed in San Vicente, Bolivia. In 1916, Jeannette Rankin became the first woman to be elected to the United States Congress. In 1940, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed due to an unfortunate engineering anomaly.

The wind blowing through the cables matched the resonant frequency of the bridge, causing it to sway, even from the first day it was opened to the public, just four months prior to the collapse. People called the bridge “Galloping Gertie.”
Three years later, Franklin D Roosevelt was elected for an unprecedented fourth term as President of the United States.

Today’s birthdays include Captain James Cook (British naval officer), Archie Campbell (American comedian), Billy Graham (American evangelist), Al Hirt (American trumpet player), Jim Kaat (American baseball player), Johnny Rivers (American singer/songwriter), and Joni Mitchell (Canadian musician).

Archie Campbell was a comedian who is probably most known for his run on the country comedy/music variety show, Hee Haw. Here is a You Tube video tribute, containing several of his skits, one being his retelling of the fairy tale, “Rindercella.” Archie was born on this date in 1914 and died in 1987.

Dwight Frye, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Steve McQueen are among notable deaths on this date.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

Today, I’m looking at a second way that Timothy Keller gives us to develop a habit of adoration and praise. This comes from the sixteenth-century English Reformer Thomas Cranmer, who was the author of the original Book of Common Prayer. In that book, he had what is known as “collects,” or corporate prayers. They followed this general structure:

1. The address–a name of God
2. The doctrine–a truth about God’s nature that is the basis for the prayer
3. The petition–what is being asked for
4. The aspiration–what good result will come if the request is granted
5. In Jesus’ name–this remembers the mediatorial role of Jesus

here is an example of one of the prayers that follows this structure:

1. Almighty God,
2. unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid,
3. cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit,
4. that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy name,
5. through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Obviously, the prayers in the book do not have numbers. But this is to show how they line up structurally. The prayer moves “from a grounding in God’s nature (why we can ask) to the petition (what we want) to the aspiration (what we will do with it if we get it).” This pattern also combines “praise with petition, sound theology with deep aspirations of the heart, and concrete goals for our daily life.”

One way to cultivate this is to write prayers to God in a journal, attempting to follow this structure until it becomes a habit. “Eventually, you will find that when praying aloud or praying privately, you will instinctively start any petition by looking at God himself and appealing to that as you cry out to him.”

Father in heaven, you know everything about me. I pray that you would help me to pray effectively to you, daily. I pray that my life would be a life of constant prayer, and that all that I do I would do for your name and your glory. In doing this, your name would be magnified in all the earth, and people would see the benefit of living such a life. These things I pray through the Son and by the Spirit.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Grace and peace, friends.