Tag Archives: God

Two Roads…Which is the Path of Wisdom?

The road divides. One path is paved with brick, the other with stone. There are lamps on each, about 50 yards ahead. Beyond that, darkness. Trees on either side and between indicate that you must choose now, for there is no indication that these roads rejoin one another. You have no map, and none of those around you have travelled either of these roads before. This is your journey, your choice – but where is the Wisdom you seek to guide you?

Exodus 28, 31, 35, and 36 speak of the wisdom granted to craftsmen that they might do quality work in the service of their God. The skills, talents, and experiences you possess have been granted by the One who knows the path He designed you for. You will draw upon what you know, but do not lean too hard on your understanding, as He has been known to flip human understanding on its head. Seek His companionship and counsel with all that you are, and He will add light to your way. (Proverbs 3:5-6, Deut 4:29, Psalms 119:105)

In Deut 4:1-6, Moses reminds the people that they have been given God’s commands, and their wisdom and understanding will come from following them. So, in light of Exodus 20, examine the two choices:
• Which will lead you to recognize God alone, and which will distract you from Him?
• Which will cause you to depend on, or spend time and energy serving, something other than God?
• Which will bring you opportunity to hallow His name among your peers and neighbors? Which will cause them to believe He is not enough for your needs, or theirs? Which will diminish the worth of His name in your eyes, or theirs?
• Which will honor your desire to give God His weekly Sabbath, and which will insist that you invest God’s Sabbath hours in another agenda?
• Which will lead you to honor your heritage, especially living parents? Which environment will lead your children to honor you as God commands? Which environment will lead to exasperating your children, causing their honor of you to be diminished?
• Which risks the death of another – whether their body, their spirit, their reputation, their relationship with God?
• Which risks the relationship with your spouse or chosen mate? Which will open you, or that person, to temptation? Which will best honor them and the role and responsibility granted by God to them in your life?
• Which risks your integrity? Which may lead you to take pay or pencils that are not your established right to have? Which may lead you to take time, resources, experiences, or honor from your loved ones?
• Which risks your honesty? Which may lead you to wear masks in different environments, either by command of your superiors or by your own need to hide or present an artificial self?
• Which risks your contentment? Which may lead you to become jealous of your peers and neighbors, or the stranger in the marketplace? Which may lead you to an unholy dissatisfaction with your environment, possessions, or relationships?

In summary, which choice will keep you on your face before God, honoring who He is without shame as He examines your every action, word, and motive? Which will keep you, His child, anxious to meet with Him daily, that you might hear His praise, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”?

He has never left your side, and never will. He has led others safely through the unfamiliar. He knows how you think, and how to tell you in the unique language of your heart, “this is the way, walk here.” (Isaiah 30:21, paraphrased) He also knows how to redirect your course if you choose the unfavorable path. The focus of your trust must be in Him, in the provision and protection He has already shown you.

If you remain uncertain, step slowly onto one path or the other, and trust Him to rearrange the pavement as He sees fit. He’s been known to do that, just ask Saul of Tarsus, aka Paul.

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.

DWW – Dear Donald…

One of my tasks at Silent Blessings is to respond to fan mail.  Some of it is a simple greeting, and some of it is a little deeper.  Here’s one I wrote today to a young man who isn’t sure about this whole God and Bible thing…  but those of us who know God, well, we KNOW.  Do you know, or do you have questions like our young friend?

Hello Donald, thanks for writing!

You know, you have an interesting idea – and it’s one that other people have thought about before you. When you let go of a book, does it fall up or down? It falls down, because gravity pulls it toward the ground – but you can’t see gravity, it’s just there, always working. When the wind blows your hair into your face, can you see the wind, or just your hair? The wind is always there, sometimes moving a little and sometimes moving a lot – but what you see are the things that it moves, not the wind itself.

That’s how God is – always there, always working, sometimes in big windy ways and sometimes quiet just like gravity. We can’t see Him, but we can talk to Him, and if we believe in Him and read the Bible, He can talk back to us.

Now, about the Bible…people have asked that question too. Do this: get about 4 friends together, and tell everyone to write a story that has a prince and a dragon and a horse and a mountain. When everyone writes their stories by themselves, read them all together and see if they match. Then, ask everyone to start with a clean piece of paper and write the story as you tell it. When they read the stories they all got from you, the stories will match, because they all came from your mind.

It took more than 40 people writing stories and letters for 4,000 years to make the book we call the Bible. Some of those stories, like King Nebuchadnezzar taking over Jerusalem, are also written in other books and papers from the same time. So you see, somebody big must be telling the whole story, because they all fit together, and we can see pieces of the story happening still today. That big somebody is who we call God, because He’s big enough to see the whole story from long before we were born until long after we’re great-grandparents.

And the best news? He has a chapter in the story just for you! Ask Him to help you understand who He is and how much He loves you, and then He can start telling you about your part in the big story – maybe you’ll be a prince who climbs a big mountain on a horse and defeats a dragon!

Thanks again for writing. Stay tuned, there’s more in store!

– Your friends at Dr. Wonder’s Workshop

Fear Not – Week 1

God is our Shield and Reward

It is said that there are 365 “Fear Not”‘s in the scriptures…the first is in Gen 15:1, God’s promise to Abram that He will be both shield and reward…a promise that’s valid for us as well, and a good reason to #FearNot in 2015.

Happy New Year.

Realities don’t have to be Roadblocks

The second “Fear Not” is in Gen 21:17, where God tells Hagar that He knows her situation and her son will live. He allowed her responsibilities to far outweigh her resources, and He committed Himself to be her supply, even though she was a stranger and outcast. Your realities don’t have to become your roadblocks – look to the One who works miracles, sees individuals, and says things like “Fear not” and “Come to Me”.

God keeps His promises, no matter what

The third “Fear Not” is in Gen 26:24, where the Lord appears to Isaac, introduces Himself, and says “fear not, for I am with thee”…and He repeats to Isaac the promise He made to Abraham about multitudes of offspring – for His servant’s sake. God keeps all His promises, for His own name’s sake if not for ours, and sometimes, because He made the promise to someone else who loves both us and Him. You might be alive because of your grandma’s prayers – and because God will keep His promises, no matter what…therefore, #FearNot.

Life invested in God is never in vain

I’m not sure it’s among the aforementioned 365 ‘fear not’ statements, but it exists and it comes next and it says ‘fear not’, so here y’go… Gen 35:17 – Jacob & family are traveling, Rachel is in hard labor with her second son, Ben (his name got adjusted before the paperwork was filed). The midwife says “fear not, you will have this son”.

Sometimes we may feel like we’re giving our last ounce of strength – and some truly have – but when it is given to and for God, it will live on whether we do or not. Invest yourself, your all, in His kingdom, in what He has prepared for you to do, and whether life is long or short, it will not be in vain… #FearNot.

God redeems and restores

The next ‪#‎FearNot‬ shows up in Gen 46:3, when God tells 130 year old Jacob that He will go with the family to Egypt, and when it has become a nation, He will bring them out again – moreover, that Jacob and Joseph, father and long-lost-son, will be together until Jacob’s eyes are closed in death.

The God who knows all, plans ahead, redeems bad situations, and restores relationships says “Fear not, I will be with you and yours.”

The humble need not fear God’s people

Jacob and Joseph have about 17 years together, then it’s Joseph’s turn to say ‪#‎FearNot‬, as his brothers feel certain that they’re about to see his revenge for being sold into slavery. What they have is his forgiveness, long ago granted, and finally realized. Gen 50:19 – the humble have nothing to fear from those submitted to God.

People submitted to God can be trusted

In Gen 50:21, Joseph reiterates the promise he made in Gen 47, that he will provide for his brothers and their families. People who are fully submitted to God can be trusted to keep their promises, especially when they are based in plans God has already declared, ‪#‎FearNot‬

 

A Child is Born

Within each human body, there is a person… You don’t need an advanced degree in biology, psychology, or philosophy to know that – but have you given it much thought?? Continue reading A Child is Born