Love and Fear

Storm coming

Without fear of the Lord our understanding of His love and forgiveness is diminished.
Without the clouds of fear our appreciation for His light and mercy is lessened

If You O Lord, kept track of our sins, O Lord who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness; therefore You are feared.  Psalm 130:3-4

In the Midst of Fear

Tree gnome’s fearful face

My fears can get pretty big at times. That is why I need a fear that will push aside all the fears of life. Paul, in Acts 9, encountered the fear that pushed everything in his life aside:

He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” Acts 9:4-5

We all need the fear of the Lord in our lives.
Fear of the Lord helps me to do what God wants, even when I don’t understand why.
Fear of the Lord lets me face trials and know He reigns supreme. He will bring me through it.
Fear of the Lord gives strength to my faith.
Fear of the Lord gives hope to any situation, no matter how dire.
Fear of the Lord empowers my prayers, for I know nothing is impossible with God.
Fear of the Lord changes me completely, just like it did Paul.

But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
    on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,

to deliver them from death
    and keep them alive in famine.

We wait in hope for the Lord;
    he is our help and our shield.

In him our hearts rejoice,
    for we trust in his holy name. 

May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
    even as we put our hope in you. Psalm 33:18-22

Where there is Fear there is no room for fear.

Fear

Looks like trouble ahead

King David had fears, and often talks about his struggle with them.

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

David then lists his fears and lays them down before the LORD asking—“whom shall I fear?” He makes a choice to bow before God, not his fears.

Like David I ask the question, what do I fear?
Sickness and disease.
Injury or loss in my family.
Relapsing into old harmful habits and wrong ways.
Not being strong enough for future trials.

This past year has been all about fear. But God knows what we need and sends us this proclamation—

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  Luke 2:9-11

To all my fears, the Lord proclaims—Merry Christmas!

For in the day of trouble 
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.  Psalm 27:5

As I lay each fear before the LORD, I say with David, “He will keep me safe.”
Give thanks for the LORD is good, and His love endures forever. Yes indeed, Merry Christmas!

Prayer is Falling Up

Storm clouds over the Bitterroot Valley, Montana

A prayer for when I am anxious and consumed by worry. To remind me God is good and loving and greater than all my fears.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! 

His faithful love endures forever. 

Give thanks to the God of gods. 

His faithful love endures forever. 

Give thanks to the Lord of lords. 

His faithful love endures forever. 

Give thanks to him who alone does mighty miracles. 

His faithful love endures forever.

 Psalm 136:1-4

Not One Drop Out of Place

_DSC1710-Edit

Each drop exactly where God put it to be.

For many people around the world, the current pandemic has produced chaos and fear concerning life. Jesus has warned us that trouble would happen.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

It is good to know we can have courage because Jesus is in control. Even the hairs on your head are numbered (Matt. 10:30).

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

If God controls the drops of water cascading down a stream, we can trust Him in this time of chaos, for nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:35)

Looking Down Seeing Up

reflection in rock2

Clouds and trees reflected pools of water along the Icicle River.

With all the alarming things in the news, I need to see the heavens instead of the frightening rocks.

I will lie down and sleep in peace,
for you alone, O Lord,
make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8

Delight in Fear?

sh_181009-7046-b

Sunlight scattering the darkness

“… and He will delight in the fear of the Lord.” Isaiah 11:3

I know this is prophetic and speaking about the coming Messiah, but how do you delight in fear?

“He will not judge by what He sees with His eyes,
or decide by what He hears with His ears;
but with righteousness He will judge the needy,
with justice He will give decisions for the poor of the earth. Isaiah 11:3-4

The Messiah will not be driven by the fears He sees with His eyes or ears, but allows the fear of the Lord to reign, responding only to God’s will.

Whether I am dealing with health issues, or listening to the news I need to remind myself to delight in the fear of the Lord––to take refuge knowing all is under His control. I just need to follow Him.

Eruptions in Life

SH_180515-Hawaii-2188

Kīlauea erupting

Words have power

They can bring harrowing fear:
“The biopsy shows cancer.”

They can produce shame:
“The jury finds the defendant guilty.”

They can bring terrible sorrow:
“I am sorry we tried everything to save your child.”

Fortunately, the Word has more power than any words:

“Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4:41

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. Psalm 139:11-12

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

“ I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” John 8:51

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. Revelation 1:17-18

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…” Matthew 28:18

Therefore humble yourself before The Word, and let Him quiet the words in your life, and bring forth peace.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

The Way Through Fear

SH_171110-2035adj

Deep dark woods of fear

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10

“Fear of the Lord”…strange words to use as the beginning of anything let alone wisdom. It gives me the picture of Snow White running through the woods to escape the evil queen. So how is fear the beginning of wisdom? There are lots of fears in life from a child’s fear of what is under the bed, to an older adult’s fear of dementia or cancer, with all sorts of fears in between that shape our choices. Proverbs is urging us to let this fear of the Lord push aside all other fears, and let God be the one to mold our lives. But what exactly does it mean to “fear the Lord?” These words do not exactly fill me with warm fuzzies.

Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
who finds great delight in his commands. Psalms 112:1

Fearing the Lord is to delight in doing His will, because when we do that we don’t have to worry about what is coming for we know the power of God will triumph as we follow Him. And what is His command for us?

Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22: 37-40

There you are––to fear God is to love God above everything else, and love your neighbor as yourself. That is the beginning of wisdom––the way through the dark woods of life.

Fears in Life

YNP2014-2666

When storm clouds roll in––

It is good to meditate upon the truth when things look unsettling.

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

For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock. Psalm 27:5

I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:13-14