Ministry Report – the year 2015

Wow!  They say the calendar pages speed up with every birthday. In this instance, “they” are apparently correct. The latest post in the Ministry Report category was written December 5, 2014, and covered September through November. Clearly I’m not doing well with my intended schedule of updates. But, there’s a New Year heading this way fast, so we’ll make that a resolution – or at least an intention – for 2016. Continue reading Ministry Report – the year 2015

Cure Cancer Band

A couple of lifetimes ago, a coworker brought in some really great Christmas CDs. This was the third year that a group of friends had put together some songs in fine style. Sale proceeds were to go toward one of the families dealing with cancer, and then to cancer research itself. Due to the cause, the material, the quality of the albums, and my financial strength at the time, I bought a copy of each year’s CD. I’m now 3 behind, if anyone wants to get me caught up. Continue reading Cure Cancer Band

Why I should stay off FB

I declared myself off of FB…should have followed my own counsel…but I popped in and learned something important about a friend, which caused me to pop in again, and spinning deeper into the vortex that is FB, I found the following recurring themes begging comment. So, here are the comments – all in one spot.

RE: “the red cup”: you’ve heard of bait, right? why are people on both sides still biting??

Continue reading Why I should stay off FB

THoW Reality Check

I went to the hardware store, wrote down some prices, and spent some time at the pro counter discussing a full sized trundle bed. I can’t float the bed over the existing drawers as I was planning, and I may waste more space under the raised floor than I can afford to. That is, unless I can figure a way to access all the nooks and crannies between 6″ floor joists without crawling into the space reserved for the stowed bed. I’m still plotting that one. I do like the ability to access storage from the outside. Continue reading THoW Reality Check

Fear Not – Week 6 (‘ish)

Yes, it’s November, I’m woefully late…or perhaps I’m ahead of schedule for next year. A glass half empty is still half a glass, yes?

Fear Not the Hordes, This is God’s Fight

II Chronicles 20:17 – Three armies join together to take on Jehoshaphat, king of Judah and Jerusalem. In verse 3, he “set himself to seek the Lord.” In verse 12, he prays “we have no might…we don’t know what to do…our eyes are on You.”  He declared a fast that the people might also pray, then he struck up the choir to lead the people in singing praises to the unchanging God who had already shown Himself strong on their behalf.

Oh that we had the wisdom of Jehoshaphat…how many times have I cut myself drawing my sword? How many times have you?? Here’s his battle strategy: seek the Lord, lay out the problem before Him, skip some meals (or cappuccino) to devote time and focus to Him, recall His faithfulness and displayed strength. We can do that – we should do that. All this saber rattling is a noisy waste when we could be making music that proclaims the virtues of our God (not ourselves).

So, in verse 17, Jehoshaphat gets the word: you don’t need to fight this one, set yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord; #fear_not, “for the Lord will be with you.” Verse 22 gives the rest of the story – as soon as they began singing praises, the three armies turned on one another – problem solved.

“Praise ye the Lord, His mercy endures forever.” (v21)

God Avenges His Own

Psalm 55:19, Psalm 64:4 – These are the next two “fear not” references, and like a few others, they are descriptive rather than declarative. In these two chapters, David is praying about those who would stab him in the back, with no regard for friendship or for God. In Psalm 55, they “fear not God”, and in 64, they “shoot…bitter words…and fear not.”

David’s response to hypocrisy, back-stabbing, and slander is to put his full confidence in God, who avenges His own in ways most perfect.

  • Ps 55:16, “As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me.”
  • Ps 55:22, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee…”
  • Ps 55:23, “…but I will trust in Thee.”
  • Ps 64:1, “Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy.”
  • Ps 64:10, “The righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and shall trust in Him…”

#FearNot – the God who sees all avenges those who put their full trust in Him, in His time, in His way.

Evil Plots Have Short Life Spans

Isaiah 7:4-7 – The kings of Syria and Israel brought their armies against Jerusalem, but they couldn’t win. Isaiah was sent to king Ahaz to tell him “Fear Not…It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.” As a matter of fact, one group won’t even exist as a people group just 65 years in the future (their future).

As for Ahaz, he is warned in verse 9 that those who will not believe will not be established. That goes for us as well. We have to know that we are firmly planted in an eternally stable foundation, and we have to keep trusting in Him no matter what comes at us. We have to remember that His sovereignty and goodness ensures that evil plots have short life spans.

God, being eternal, takes the long view. If we can tap into His perspective, we’ll find it much easier to #FearNot.

God will Reclaim and Restore

Isaiah 35:4 – Isaiah has just declared God’s message of destruction upon the enemies of God – a sure destruction that comes from Him, not from human agents (in case anyone was thinking otherwise). In that time, after God declares enough to be enough, complete restoration is promised to the land and to the people who trust in Him.

Verses 3-4 say, “Strengthen the weak hands and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold your God will come with vengeance and recompense; he will come and save you.” Then, declares Isaiah,

  • human limitations will be removed
  • parched ground will become a pool
  • green plants will grow
  • no ravenous beasts will be there

Verse 10, “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return…with songs and everlasting joy…and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”

If you have put your full trust in God, #FearNot, He will reclaim and restore, in His time.

 The One God is Your Helper

Isaiah 41:13-14 – Twice in one statement, God says, “Fear not, I will help you.” The chapter contrasts the gods and idols crafted by hand with the One God who chose Jacob and called Abraham His friend. Those who serve other gods cannot demonstrate any power, compassion, or provision that comes from beyond themselves, so they are as nothing in comparison.

Though we are as worms before Him, God declares that He will hold our hand, will bring water to the thirsty, will help His own. Many bow to the gods of finance, politics, fame, or other things that they can make and destroy with their own hands. Those who bow to the One who chooses, leads, protects, provides, knows, and declares past and future have cause and evidence to carry on without fear.

A verse from “How Firm a Foundation” is drawn from verse 10 of this chapter:  Fear not, I am with thee – oh be not dismayed – for I am thy God, I will still give thee aid. I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand.

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent word. #FearNot.

 God Doesn’t Simply Write Us Off

Isaiah 43:1,5 – In chapter 42, a new plan is declared, a perfect/complete answer (take note, Galactic Hitchhikers).  The people God created and redeemed as His have turned aside to worship idols. By ignoring or rejecting their only salvation, they have chosen a destruction that they should know to avoid. And we tend to do the same.

Yet, as chapter 43 opens, God reminds them that He doesn’t simply write off His investments: “Fear not, I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.”  In verse 5, He says “Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west.” Those He has scattered, He will bring back, because they are precious to Him. They are precious because He created and chose them, no matter their worth by other standards.

If God has called your name and redeemed you, you are precious to Him, no matter your perceived worth by other standards. #FearNot, He will not write you off until all accounts are settled. Come back to the One who tattooed your name into the palm of His hand with a large Roman nail. In verses 25-26 He says, “I am he that blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember your sins. Remember me, let’s discuss this, confess and be declared righteous.” (slightly paraphrased)

 God is Willing and Able to Bless

Isaiah 44:2 – Again, God reiterates that in His sovereignty He has chosen a people for Himself. Though they are fickle toward Him, He will be faithful toward them and bring blessing to their generations. In verse 5 He tells that there will be others (aka Gentiles) who also belong to Him and will be blessed.

He points out the futility (and absurdity) of trusting in idols, and reminds His people once again that He alone is God, who

  • brings plenty of water to thirsty people and dry ground
  • pours His own Spirit into those who will receive Him
  • pours blessings upon those who trust Him
  • welcomes all who call upon Him
  • knows the end from the beginning and declares the future
  • blots out the record of confessed sins (greatest blessing!)
  • created the heavens and the earth
  • frustrates liars and mystics
  • confuses the wise
  • confirms and fulfills the words of His servants
  • holds power over lands, seas, and kings

He who can and will do all that has declared that those who trust in Him will be blessed by Him. There is no other to trust in, no other who has shown the mercy and commitment to give Himself that He might redeem for His own name’s sake. Let the seeker #FearNot to come to Him and find abundant satisfaction.

oddly shaped bits of color arranged to form a picture… LIFE: oddly shaped bits of experience arranged to form a character.