The words of the Lord are timeless, as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago, and if we listen we will hear His voice. When it happens, may we all be like the young boy, Samuel:
And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” 1 Samuel 3:10
One day I heard the still small voice of the Spirit whispering truths as I journaled. As thrilling as that was, it was also very encouraging because each word that was spoken was a relection of familiar scriptures, and evidence to me that over the years I had hidden His words in my heart.
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. Psalm 119:11-16
The secret place, the secret place Treasures are hidden in the secret place
Follow my way, follow my way From darkness into day, from darkness into day
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5
Evil may think that it has you trapped The entrance caved in and the road isn’t mapped But a way has been opened, a way bright and clear And the angels cry out, “Never fear, never fear”
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19
And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them,and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them,“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:9-10
I am the way, the truth and the light As you focus on Me, I’ll increase your sight
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. Psalm 119:18
Go steadily forward; in pain persevere You’ll soon be amazed as I wipe every tear
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
Stand faithful, stand faithful; the trial’s almost done And you’ll walk in the light, hand-in-hand with the Son
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. Hebrews 11:1-3
Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Psalm 73:23-24
The Spirit’s voice continued, but the message changed from one of encouragement to one of end-times expectations, which I will share in my next post. We are there, folks! If ever there was a time in history to hide His words in our hearts so as to be prepared when trouble comes, it is now. In my next post, In the meantime:
Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Proverbs 30:5
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38
It was just after Christmas in 2009. We’d celebrated Christmas with our son’s family, which now included our first grandchild, a precious 1-month-old boy. Now, I was left in their home to dog-sit with our two granddogs while my husband, Jack, flew off to Alabama for a holiday visit; and our kids left for a few days to attend our daughter-in-law’s family reunion.
Aside from a bad cold, I was all set to enjoy myself with left-over Christmas goodies, the dogs, and a movie marathon. But then… Isn’t there always a but?
I journaled: “Jack’s computer charging cable didn’t get packed and he called, desperate, because he had no way to show the very-old super-8-to-DVD movies we’d made for his family. I located a nearby post office, went out with my cough and runny nose, and sent the cord via priority mail, hoping it would arrive before he had to fly home. But now (another but!) apparently my phone cord did make the trip to Alabama! I am so grateful that my connection with God can never be lost, stolen or broken.”
Our guaranteed God-connection does have one mandatory requirement – to receive Jesus Christ as Savior:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:16
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13
Yet, sometimes it just seems like God is so far away and, like King David, we may begin to doubt:
Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? Psalm 10:1
Or, perhaps we wonder if He’s even aware of our difficulties. Scripture is clear that He is:
O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. Psalm 139:1-5
For every concern there is a corresponding biblical truth, so let’s look at a few common questions. First, how can we know that He even hears our prayers, let alone listens and answers them?
Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear. Isaiah 65:24
“Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it—the Lord is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:2-3
We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. John 9:31
How can I be sure God will not just give up on me and walk away?
It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. John 3:18
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
Is it even possible for me to ever become close to God?
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. Jeremiah 29:11-14a
But I’m afraid. How can I trust Him?
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. Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Isaiah 41:41:10-13
I am a Christian, but I need to grow closer to God. I really want to have a secure connection with Him. How do I do that?
Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
The Apostle Paul summed it up well in his letter to the Colossians:
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:1-17
Recently, The Lord impressed me that I needed to re-do the book I published in 2008 after my battle with breast cancer. The revised and updated edition of I’m Still Standingis now completed and is available on Amazon. From the back cover:
The revised and updated edition of I’m Still Standing includes both the original compilation of essays about the author’s battle with breast cancer in 2006, and an addendum to each that is sub-titled 2020 Hindsight. The intervening years, including the challenges of Covid-19, are discussed. As a RN and former hospice nurse, she fully understands the potentially serious outcomes of diseases such as cancer and Covid-19 that may range from complete recovery to a slow-and-painful death. This is a testimony of God’s sufficiency throughout that terrible year of suffering in 2006, as well as during the intervening years. It illustrates how faith truly does overcome fear, delivering peace in the worst of times. Prayerfully, her experiences will encourage others, and bolster their faith in the God who is able to do far more than we even ask.
I often forget what I’ve written in days gone by, especially on this blog that has been sort of off my radar for some time since I’ve been busy writing elsewhere. So, when I posted Paul Knight’s recording, Afraid? just a few moments ago, I was surprised to see my own post, Shelter In Place, from March 5, 2020!
God has not been taken by surprise by the Coronavirus threat the world faces today, and He is still our refuge, as is clear in Psalm 91. He not only knew the days of our lives that were appointed for us, but also is aware of every word before we speak it. In this time we can take great comfort in His truth as expressed in Psalm 139:1-18:
OLord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up;you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying downand are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue,behold, OLord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before,and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. Where shall I go from your Spirit?Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there!If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morningand dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me,and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,and the light about me be night,”even the darkness is not dark to you;the night is bright as the day,for darkness is as light with you. For you formed my inward parts;you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works;my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me,when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!If I would count them, they are more than the sand.I awake, and I am still with you.
Yesterday I wrote the preface for a new book, a portion of which I will share here:
By the time this book is published, the pandemic will be history; but as Jesus foretold, the latter days, or end times, will be rife with terrible and frightening events. Even so, His promise remains certain:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27)
Contrary to the media, Christianity is not against science. Rather, the media hates Christianity and denies God’s righteousness; it denies the reality of His truth regarding the spiritual world, which the Bible identifies as the heavenly places. Oh, fictional supernatural thrillers and super heroes are fine, but in the physical realm our supernatural God is unwelcome by many.
During this stressful time, not-so-helpful suggested coping mechanisms I’ve read include:
Embrace the resiliency of life; after all, regardless of what happens, human life will go on and years from now this will be just a distant memory
Take a deep breath, hold it for ten seconds and release it slowly to alleviate some of your fears
Burdensome to-do and not-to-do lists of things that will lessen anxiety
Regardless of the advice, unless biblically based, it all seems to come down to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words, “Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.” Not true! Peace is not a place; it’s not a state of mind that one achieves; peace is a person, and His name is Jesus Christ:
For to us a child is born,to usa son is given; and the government shall be uponhis shoulder, and his name shall be calledWonderfulCounselor, Mighty Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
May the Prince of Peace meet you at the place of Your greatest need. Rest assured that He is able to bring you through the storm. As Jesus so often taught, fear not!
In my dream, I was in a restaurant where food was ordered and picked up at a counter, and there were a few tables scattered around. I was with three unidentified friends (represents God in all three persons) and there was one table for four but it was right by the line/register and was very crowded. One friend suggested we go upstairs where there were some more tables and we headed up there. I didn’t actually see it, but knew instinctively that it was surprisingly spacious and open.
At the same time, there had been an experience going on in which I had received what looked like a balloon with a small amount of water—maybe 1/3 full (me, undergirded by God!)—so plenty of room for expansion. I remembered that much earlier in the night I had been awake and got the word, ‘backdoor’, but didn’t understand why. I was developing a prayer in my sleep and couldn’t remember it when I woke up, but immediately realized that my mind/brain is an exquisitely designed computer and that programmers often leave a backdoor entry so they can get in when nobody else can. I got up and wrote a ‘backdoor’ prayer, also asking the Lord to apply to me personally everything I had ‘written’/prayed while in the dream state, though I don’t recall the exact words.
The backdoor prayer, “Lord, please forgive me for all unrighteous thought and for believing the lies of the enemy. Please forgive me for not setting my mind on things above and for allowing fear, worry, and regret to dominate my thinking. As my Creator/Designer/Programmer, please access the ‘backdoor’ of my brain/mind, which is like an elaborate computer system. Close all doors that should be closed, and open all doors that should be opened so the gates of my mind may never be shut against You. Please kill all viruses and erase all ungodly pathways. Please upgrade my speed, memory, and storage capacity so I can quickly recall all that You want me to know. Please re-program me; upgrade my existing programs and install new ones that align with your latest designs for my life; and set my entire being for automatic updates and releases. Please build a firewall of Your truth through which deception cannot penetrate, and install the Word of God as my always up-to-date anti-virus program. Please cause all of my thoughts to be aligned with Yours so I can always understand what You are doing and know how to respond appropriately in the world. Conform me to Your image, Lord.”
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:5-8)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)
I’ve often written about fear, but it seems to be on the Lord’s mind this morning so here we go again. If a lesson can be repeated over and over in the Bible, I guess it’s not redundant if I do the same.
As anyone who has paid attention to the news lately will know, fear is rampant throughout the world. The latest international incident motivating fear was the attacks against women that occurred in Germany and throughout a number of other European countries on New Years Eve. Nationally, it’s the story of a police officer in Philadelphia whose assailant walked right up to the window of the patrol car and blasted away, critically wounding him. As I watched a news program last night, I lost count of the number of times someone said, “I’m afraid,” “Should we be afraid?” or “You/we should be afraid.” But I’m here to say, NO, we shouldn’t.
Fear is NOT God’s plan for His people, as He made clear to me once again this morning. Currently, I’m reading in Genesis, Isaiah, and Matthew, which obviously covers a pretty broad span of time, yet God’s message never changes, so just from my devotional time this morning without considering the hundreds of other biblical references to ‘fear’ or ‘afraid’ (do a word search, and you’ll be reading for hours!):
And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your offspring for my servant Abraham’s sake.”Genesis 26:24
For the Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: 12 “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. 13 But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.Isaiah 8:11-13
Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced. Isaiah 54:4a
But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” Matthew 14:27
Jesus is the antidote for our hopelessness and fears, whether they are phony or based on very real threats, such as the terrorism that is rampant throughout our world. Fear not, for I am with you says the Lord!
Have you watched the news today? Undoubtedly, there’s a report of a new terrorist act somewhere in the world. Last week it was in Paris. This week, nations are on edge as threats abound and warnings are issued here, there, and everywhere. Surely we are experiencing the terrible times of which Jesus spoke when lawlessness increases and the love of many grows cold, the end times when betrayal and hatred run rampant in our streets. All around, His words come to life before our very eyes:
You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. You will be hated by all for my name’s sake…And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Luke 21:16-17,25-26
Sounds pretty bad, huh? And, of course, it is! But it’s not the end of the world quite yet, and we must not focus on the abounding terror but on the One who is ultimately going to bring it all to an end on the Day of the Lord. He has not left us un-prepared or without hope, and He is sufficient in even the most desperate of times. But what does that look like? There’s a perfect example in the story of Esther, the Jewish woman who became Queen of Persia, which is, interestingly, the region we know as Iran. It’s also interesting to note that those Persians of long-ago were just as violent and cruel as are the radical jihadists of today.
In summary, in his hatred of the Jews, Haman initiated a plan to have them all wiped from the face of the earth and the king approved it for Haman was a highly favored and trusted official. Esther 4:3-17:
And in every province, wherever the king’s command and his decree reached, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting and weeping and lamenting, and many of them lay in sackcloth and ashes.
When Esther’s young women and her eunuchs came and told her, the queen was deeply distressed. She sent garments to clothe Mordecai, so that he might take off his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. Then Esther called for Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs, who had been appointed to attend her, and ordered him to go to Mordecai to learn what this was and why it was. Hathach went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate, and Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and the exact sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasuries for the destruction of the Jews. Mordecai also gave him a copy of the written decree issued in Susa for their destruction, that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her and command her to go to the king to beg his favor and plead with him on behalf of her people. And Hathach went and told Esther what Mordecai had said. Then Esther spoke to Hathach and commanded him to go to Mordecai and say, “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days.”
And they told Mordecai what Esther had said. Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.
Can there be any doubt that Mordecai, Esther and the entire Jewish people were in mortal danger? Can there be any doubt that the terror they faced was very much like that which is seen today? I don’t think so.
So, what was their reaction? It was one we should model as we enter into mourning, prayer and fasting, and seeking the Lord for His sufficiency in our own time of trouble. We do have hope, for just look at how our amazing God stepped in when His servants humbled themselves and took a stand for righteousness, regardless of the potential consequences.
Previously, Mordecai had learned of a plot to kill the king and had saved his life. His action had been recorded but has seemingly escaped the memory of the king. Meanwhile, Haman had come to hate Mordecai more than any other Jew and even the sight of him made him very angry so he built a gallows on which to hang Mordecai, but on the very night before he approached the king about it, God intervened (Esther 6:1-11).
On that night the king could not sleep. And he gave orders to bring the book of memorable deeds, the chronicles, and they were read before the king. And it was found written how Mordecai had told about Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, and who had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. And the king said, “What honor or distinction has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?” The king’s young men who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.” And the king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the king’s palace to speak to the king about having Mordecai hanged on the gallows[i] that he had prepared for him. And the king’s young men told him, “Haman is there, standing in the court.” And the king said, “Let him come in.” So Haman came in, and the king said to him, “What should be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?” And Haman said to himself, “Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?” And Haman said to the king, “For the man whom the king delights to honor, let royal robes be brought, which the king has worn, and the horse that the king has ridden, and on whose head a royal crown is set. And let the robes and the horse be handed over to one of the king’s most noble officials. Let them dress the man whom the king delights to honor, and let them lead him on the horse through the square of the city, proclaiming before him: ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.’” Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry; take the robes and the horse, as you have said, and do so to Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Leave out nothing that you have mentioned.” So Haman took the robes and the horse, and he dressed Mordecai and led him through the square of the city, proclaiming before him, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.”
Talk about God’s perfect timing! And what delicious irony, as the bad guy had to parade the good guy through the streets of the city proclaiming the king’s favor over his enemy; favor he thought should have been his.
Long story short…well, not really very long because Esther is only ten chapters…not only did Mordecai and Esther survive, but so did all of the Jewish people. And even more, the king granted permission for them to avenge themselves against their enemies and 75,000 unrighteous haters of God’s people were destroyed.
Our King is coming, and His arrival is imminent. Nobody can say exactly when that will be, but it is certain that all of the signs of the end of which Jesus warned are manifesting now. Let’s not allow our hearts to fail us from fear, but let’s rise up and stand in faith in our God. He is always sufficient and His timing is always absolutely perfect.
God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful…There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 Corinthians 1:9 & 1 John 4:18
Sheba loves people and has no awareness that there are those who would abuse her, and even if she did I doubt that she’d be afraid because she knows that she belongs to us and she trusts us completely to take care of her. As a result, she happily goes up to anyone and everyone she sees with no fear of rejection. She also knows what behavior is expected of her and that she will be reprimanded if she misbehaves; yet she remains unafraid because she loves and trusts us.
Perfect love casts out all fear, and God loves us perfectly, so why are we afraid? He’s not “out to get us.” We don’t have to fear his wrath unless we disobey his commands; and even then, while we can expect a gentle reprimand, isn’t that what we need—what we want? A master who loves us enough to correct us, to show us the right way to behave; yet a loving master to whom we can take our problems as well as our joys without fear of rejection.
As Sheba reflects our love for her by fearlessly loving others, so should we also reflect God’s love for us by loving even those who may seem frightening to us—those whose lifestyles are different than ours, those of whom we don’t approve. Jesus himself reached out to the sinners of his day, even living and socializing with them! They were the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the people who were looked down upon by the religious leaders. He was criticized for it too.
Later when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew’s house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus’ followers. “What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and riffraff?” Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.” Matthew 9:10-13 The Message
What a role model! Lord, let me love as Jesus did—fearlessly!
In this you greatly rejoice though now for a little while you may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise and honor when Jesus is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:6-9
Sheba is afraid of the water. Not long after she joined our family, we were at the beach. We wanted to play with her in the waves, but she would have none of it! We would walk into the shallow, receding tide, and she would pull away as far as she could—up to about thirty feet if we allowed her to pull the retractable leash all of the way out. A few days later, walking alongside a lake she did the same thing. We’ve also noticed that just walking around our neighborhood she strenuously avoids sprinklers or puddles of water. And if you want to make her keep her distance in the yard, just pick up the hose—it doesn’t even have to be on!
But Sheba has come to love her baths because she knows that bath time means some serious pleasure in terms of rubbing and cuddling. After all, how can you not rock and cuddle a cute, towel-wrapped bundle of pug with those huge brown eyes staring up at you with absolute love?. Her inborn fear of the water is overcome by faith that she’s going to experience incredible joy.
Faith in my master’s love also gets me through frightening situations. It replaces my fear with joy beyond measure, and I can agree with Paul, “that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
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