Archive for June, 2021

Fear Nots That Untie Fear Knots

You are involved in a process. That is a word often associated with athletics, but it deserves to be in the vocabulary of the faith community. It involves a series of well designed activities intended to achieve a well defined goal. What the Lord is doing in your life is trying to lead you in a process resulting in a productive life called “abundant life,” consummating in eternal life. He wants to enable you to achieve all He has created you with the ability to be.

The development of faith is a process. If you don’t go through the process to get it, you don’t have the strength to keep it. Don’t let the past or the future control your present. The present is a process you are going through to get to where God wants you.

Consider the experience of Israel and how His commitment to them relates to us. They had been slaves for 70 years when He shared two “nots” with them that are also applicable to us.

The first not is FEAR NOT. (Isaiah 41:10)

Studies show 90 percent of our fears are without legitimate basis. The devil uses fear to keep us in bondage. Fear not, why not! “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (Titus 1:7)

Therefore, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in the Lord.” (Psalm 56:3)

So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper I will not fear.’” (Hebrews 13:6)

The second not is BE NOT DISMAYED.

The word dismayed means to develop a defeatist attitude, a hopeless outlook, a sour disposition, a joyless spirit. Bottom line: don’t give up. 

This takes courage. Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes it is simply a quiet voice that says, “I will try again tomorrow.”

The text presents two “I ams.”

First, “I am with you.” We need to be able to focus on the line from Psalm 23, “Thou art with me….” Ringing in your ear more clearly that the blasphemy of the crowd should be the words of your Beloved: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” That is the reason we should not fear.

Second, “I am your God.” The word used in the text for God is “Elah” or “Eloah.” “El” means the strong one. Elah speaks of durability. It carries the idea of faithfulness. He is faithful.

Don’t let success go to your head or failure to your heart. Sometimes you may think you are being rejected by God, when you are simply being redirected by God.With your hand still on the doorknob of the unknown you can enter it with boldness because of the infinite resources of your faithful God.

Our Prophet, Priest, and King

Many churches are described as H. R. Niebuhr famously said of liberalism regarding proclaim and worship “a God without wrath who brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”

That is quite a contrast with the 1689 London Baptist Confession which states: “Christ, and Christ alone, is fitted to be mediator between God and man. He is the prophet, priest and king of the church of God.”

Consider His roles as aligned with what many psychiatrists consider our three fold nature as: intellect, emotions, and will from a Biblical perspective.

INTELLECT – Our “understanding is darkened” (Ephesians 4:18)

EMOTIONS – Most are “unhappy” (Romans 7:24)

WILL – Our will is bent toward evil. (John 3:19)

In the Old Testament there was a threefold theocratic anointing:

Prophet, Priest, and King.

Our concept of Christ in these roles is traceable all the way back to the fourth-century writer Eusebius of Caesarea, who found it helpful to think about Christ as a Prophet, Priest, and King. 

As prophet He represents God to man, enlightening our intellect.

As priest He represents man to God having come to remove our guilt and inspire our feelings.

As King to rule and guide us on our life’s journey. The basis of kingdom loyalty is confidence in and love for the King. When we fully acknowledge we are kingdom citizens, it is logical our primary allegiance is to the King. 

He illumines our intellect, stimulates our emotions, and controls our will.

Affirm Him as your Prophet to teach you; your Priest to sacrifice for, intercede for, and bless you; and your King to rule and guide you.

After a stunning performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the renowned Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini is said to have leaned forward and said to the orchestra: “I am nothing. You are nothing. Beethoven is everything.” If Toscanini could say that about a brilliant but dead composer, how much more should Christians say that about the living Savior who is our Prophet, Priest, and King.

Are You a Seeker?

Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness….” (Matthew 6:33)

Thus, He set the table for contentment and productivity. To fail in this conquest is to crucify one’s self between two thieves:

The regrets of YESTERDAY and the worries of TOMORROW.

Jesus’ call is a call to prioritize your life. To do this is to put first things first. If you were to make a list of the ten most important things in your life, where would Jesus rank? That is a gut punch for some, He doesn’t. If He were to become number one in your life what changes would He enable you to make in the other nine?

The verb Jesus used, “seek,” means being absorbed in the search for, that is, making a persevering effort to obtain. Literally, “Be constantly seeking….” A visual is offered: “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before you, looking to Jesus….” (Hebrews 12:1, 2)

Looking translates the word “Ap-Horan.” “Ap” means “from” or “away from.” “Horan,” means “to look.” Thus, we are to look away from those things that detract us, and deliberately look to Jesus.

Two big obstacles to kingdom citizenship are:

* Avarice, which is greed. Jesus forbids it because it is foolish to lay up treasures beyond logic. Things don’t satisfy.

* Anxiety is forbidden because it does no good for us emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

A kingdom citizen believes in the King of whom it is said: “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Give Him the first part of every day. In a quiet time early in the morning set your mindset for the day.

Give Him the first choice in every decision. To do anything else is to rob yourself of His intended best for you.

Give Him the first day of the week. Public worship rejuvenates you spiritually and renews you physically.

Give Him the first tenth of every dollar. It is intended as a discipline enabling you to evidence your devotion.

In his book, “Resilience,” New York Psychiatrist Fredrick Flach wrote, “Keeping the faith is the most vital ingredient of the resilience we need to cope with crisis.”

In the first part of every day, refresh your faith. You will be better equipped by the King to cope.

Tomorrow, Today Will Be Yesterday

“Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:34)

Someone asked why when Jesus taught us to pray He didn’t include praying for tomorrow’s bread. The response was, “He didn’t want us to have stale bread.”

The importance of living in a day-tight compartment is important and can’t be overstated. We must learn from yesterday, live for today, and hope for tomorrow.

A.A. Milne said it well, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why we call it the Present.”

Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, said, “Know the true value of time: snatch it, seize it, enjoy it; no idleness, no laziness, no procrastination. Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off today.”

I would like to add a spinoff to that: “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today, you may enjoy it so much you will want to do it again tomorrow.”

Plan your schedule. If you don’t, others who don’t know your priorities will do it for you. You should know more about your priorities than anyone. If the one who knows the most about your priorities doesn’t budget the time for achieving your goals, somebody who knows less will.

To safeguard your priorities you must realize “no” is often a good answer. Therefore, learn to show some teeth when you say no. A smile always helps.

Prioritize each item you want to achieve in the order of importance so when the day is over if anything is left, it will have been crowded out by items of more importance.

An item of great importance is your time alone with the Lord. So, you don’t have time to do it! A simple solution is to set your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier to do it. It can set your mood and equip you for the tasks of the day. Read a brief passage of Scripture, meditate on it, and pray. It is that simple. 

The “present” is our only reality. Yesterday and tomorrow exist only in our thoughts. Our present is the only day we have in which to achieve anything.

Without a knowledge of its background we have become familiar with a vibrant passage: “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24) Repeat it to yourself often.

That was a song sung by the ancient Jews as they did a little jig on their way to the temple. The day of the coming of Messiah was referenced by the term “this is the day.” They were rejoicing over the coming of Messiah. Our rejoicing is made all the more possible today by the day of His coming.

Remember, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why we call it the Present.” Consider today a present from the Lord, and cherish it.

Git ‘er done — today.


As a general principle in the Millennial world enthusiasm is not “in.” The “in” people are cynical. The “out” people enthusiastic. 

Observing who the achievers, the productive people are, those who are walking in the Spirit I want to be “out.” In fairness, there are some Millennials who are enthusiastic, some.

Thomas Huxley said the essence of genius is to carry the spirit of a child into old age — to maintain all of your life the enthusiasm of a small child.

Henry David Thoreau declared, “None is as old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.”

“The worst bankruptcy in the world is the man who has lost his enthusiasm. Let a man lose everything in the world but his enthusiasm and he will come through again to success.”

The basis of true enthusiasm in found in the origin of the word. It consisted of two parts, “en” and “theos,” meaning “in or within” and “theos,” the god within. It means being one with God. When the Living Lord is the God within, there is reason to be enthusiastic. Being aware of God being with you gives warmth, sensitivity, freshness, and vigor to life.

Passion can have terrific advantages. A high spirited person can get work done more quickly, and use their energy to raise the morale of others. 

Enthusiastic persons normally channel their excitement into their work, they often do a better job than those who aren’t emotionally invested.

Avoid things that rob you of enthusiasm. One is the news. News is by its very nature negative. Discipline yourself regarding the amount of news you will watch. 

A sense of boredom robs one of enthusiasm. Fight boredom by staying current, fresh, and excited. Shake yourself awake, get interested in something worthwhile. 

Keep in mind the spirit of Scriptures such as the following to keep you aware that God is within you and you desire to please Him.

“Whatever your hands find to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, or devise or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.” (Ecclesiastes 9:20)

“…as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men….” (Ephesians 6:6, 7)

“Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord with slackness….” (Jeremiah 48:10 ESV)

Every day take your vitamins: Vitamin A for Affection, Vitamin B for Belief, Vitamin C for Commitment, Vitamin D for Discipline, and Vitamin E for Enthusiasm!