Faith or Fear?

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome

Faith over Fear

Pandemic Reflections

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

8:45 AM

Today began with time spent listening to Candace Owens put all that has been happening together into one concise piece.  It resonated with me in that much of what she said I too have listened, watched and drawn conclusions about.  God blessed us with discernment, wisdom and intelligence.  We can use the gifts or cave to fear.  I for one do not want my life led by fear.  I also ask for wisdom. I have often been blessed with discernment.  God’s word is full of wisdom, wisdom that is for our use and benefit. I thank Him for those gifts and give Him the glory for the answers to prayer that permits me to continue to have faith in His work on this planet. That said, I then shared a time of devotions with my husband and this is what we were presented with.

 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

[Ecc 3:1-8 RSV] 1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

There is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.  The devotional continued with a focus on the autumnal season; a time of great beauty but also decrease into apparent death.  The point was made that the apparent death held life in the form of seeds being planted to come forth at a later season with new; new life, new possibilities, new creation… Keeping that in mind, then read what Parker Palmer had to say in “Let Your Life Speak; Listening For the Voice of Vocation. Pp. 98-99.

“Autumn is a season of great beauty, but it is also a season of decline: the days grow shorter, the light is suffused, and summer’s abundance decays toward winter’s death…

In my own experience of autumn, I am rarely aware that seeds are being planted…

But as I explore autumn’s paradox of dying and seeding, I feel the power of metaphor.  In the autumnal events of my own experience, I am easily fixated on surface appearances–on the decline of meaning, the decay of relationships, the death of a work.  And yet if I look more deeply, I may see the myriad possibilities being planted to bear fruit in some season yet to come.

In retrospect, I can see in my own life what I could not see at the time–how the job I lost helped me find work I needed to do, how the “road closed” sign turned me toward terrain I needed to travel, how losses that felt irredeemable forced me to discern meanings I needed to know.  On the surface it seemed that life was lessening, but silently and lavishly the seeds of new life were always being sown.”

 

That last line especially can be applied to events we are experiencing today.  “it seemed that life was lessening…” does it feel that way for you? “but silently and lavishly the seeds of new life were always being sown.”  are you searching for alternatives, new ways of doing, new information and understandings?  I see the emergence of new personalities who have potential for leading in healthy directions, I see the exposure of those in leadership who do not seem to have the best interest of humanity at heart, rather there is a strong element of self-interest at heart.

We will have the opportunity, Lord willing, to use what is being made clear to us to inform our choices in the days ahead. Will we function under the strong arm of fear or will we allow our faith in God to direct us in new paths according to His word?  Can we remember the words of Paul,

[Phl 1:21 RSV] 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Believers, there should be no fear of death.  Our future is sealed.  Our actions should give hope to those who do not yet know life that is found in Christ, given to us by God, lived by the Holy Spirit.  We can act with wisdom, but also without fear.

The devotional left us with a question:  “What ‘road closed’ sign is before you today that may be God’s way of redirecting you to something new?”

Take on the day and live in peace, not the peace the world offers but the peace that God gives in the midst of turmoil.  Confusion is not of God, he is a God of order.  Seek His face in today’s events.

The link to Candace Owens’ video: https://www.facebook.com/realCandaceOwens/videos/168943087616092/?t=0

Disclaimer:  if ads are appearing anywhere on this page it is because they are placed there by WordPress not by me.  I have read the information on ads and in order to be ad free now, Word Press charges a fee.  I apologize for any inconvenience these ads may cause you and if they are inappropriate please message me.  Thank you, gracie

So many regrets…Proverbs 5 and 6 what to avoid

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome

March 5 means Proverbs 5 to start the day.  Verses 1 and 2 then 9, 10 and 11 spoke to me.  It was humbling and hindsight is always clearer.

1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding; so that you will preserve discretion and your lips keep watch over knowledge. 9 so that you won’t give your vigor to others and your years to someone who is cruel, 10 so strangers won’t be filled with your strength and what you worked for go to a foreign house, 11 then when your flesh and bones have shrunk, at the end of your life, you would moan.

For many at the later years, this speaks true.  There are regrets… a desire and need to buy back the time.. It isn’t just about our walk with one another; its about our walk with God.  Who gets your youth and energy? Wrong choices can mean someone you don’t know gets what you worked so hard for.

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March 6 and Proverbs 6 focused my attention on what is not pleasing to God… Verses 16-19 elaborated on what to avoid.

16 There are six things Adonai hates, seven which he detests: 17 a haughty look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that plots wicked schemes, feet swift in running to do evil, 19 a false witness who lies with every breath, and him who sows strife among brothers.

  1. haughty look – the eyes
  2. lying tongue – the mouth
  3. hands that shed innocent blood – hands
  4. heart that plots wickedness – heart
  5. feet swift; running to do evil – feet
  6. false witness, lier
  7. one who sows strife

This brings me back to guarding my heart and body, self.  These are actions driven by one who is not following a path to peace or goodwill. They are to be avoided in our daily walk with others and our God.

Disclaimer:  if ads are appearing anywhere on this page it is because they are placed there by WordPress not by me.  I have read the information on ads and in order to be ad free now, Word Press charges a fee.  I apologize for any inconvenience these ads may cause you and if they are inappropriate please message me.  Thank you, gracie


 


 

A warning…Proverbs 7 and 8

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome

March 7 provided me with a warning from Proverbs 7.  Verses 24 through 27 held the warning.  Often used to warn the young of the folly of following those whose intent is to cause them to stray from the spouse and love of their youth and engage in relationships outside the parameters of marriage, it can also speak to those who leave their relationship with God to pursue other gods, other beliefs that are in conflict with His ways, much like Israel did.

24 So now, children, listen to me; pay attention to what I am saying. 25 Don’t let your heart turn to her ways; don’t stray onto her paths. 26 For many are those she has struck down dead, numerous those she has killed. 27 Her house is the way to Sh’ol; it leads down to the halls of death.

Any belief and/ or action that is away from God is the reference to ‘she’. Those who left God to follow other gods, and practice idolatry, were led to “the wages of sin” which is death. This death is a separation from God. Jesus told us that “broad is the way and many there be that follow it to destruction,,,” My take-away is to be sure my love is for God, my actions reflect that love, my words speak his love to others.

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March 8 and Proverbs 8 told me what fear of God is.  This fear is that of awe and wonder, not fear that causes me to be afraid.  Verse 13 explains simply what fear of God is.

13 The fear of Adonai is hatred of evil. I hate pride and arrogance.

When, in the Old Testament writings, we read of the punishment of the children of Israel, it is for their arrogance and pride, the arrogance and pride of their kings and princes.  Arrogance and pride rises up in us so silently and so swiftly without our awareness of it sometimes.

Have we taken offence at something someone said to us?  Pride. Have we boasted of an accomplishment of ours without giving God the credit for enabling us to do so? Arrogance.

God hates these two and verse 13 equates them with evil. if I stand in awe and respect of God, I will avoid the pitfalls of pride and arrogance.

Disclaimer:  if ads are appearing anywhere on this page it is because they are placed there by WordPress not by me.  I have read the information on ads and in order to be ad free now, Word Press charges a fee.  I apologize for any inconvenience these ads may cause you and if they are inappropriate please message me.  Thank you, gracie

Reacting To Correction; Proverbs 9

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome

March 9 found me reading Proverbs 9.  It spoke to me of confidence and how valuable understanding is to being sure of yourself. And, I found verses that gave me a clue as to what our reactions to correction say about us.  Hmmm…worth spending time reflecting on.

Proverbs 9:6 “Don’t stay unsure of yourself, but live! Walk in the way of understanding!”

What should I understand that can give me confidence? How can I be sure of myself by walking in the way of understanding? Wisdom offers me confidence; says to me I can become sure of myself by dwelling in her house and learning from her. But there’s more…

Proverbs 9:7 He who corrects a scoffer only gets insulted; reproving a wicked man becomes his blemish. 8 If you reprove a scoffer, he will hate you; if you reprove a wise man, he will love you. 9 Give to a wise man, and he grows still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will learn still more…knowledge of holy ones is understanding.

If you correct someone; note their reaction…if you are corrected; note your reaction…wise or scoffer; righteous or wicked? And it would seem gathering information will increase understanding; that includes gathering information from the correction that comes or the reaction to the correction that comes.  What say you?

Disclaimer:  if ads are appearing anywhere on this page it is because they are placed there by WordPress not by me.  I have read the information on ads and in order to be ad free now, Word Press charges a fee.  I apologize for any inconvenience these ads may cause you and if they are inappropriate please message me.  Thank you, gracie

And How Then Should We Live? Proverbs 3 and 4

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome

March 3 and 4 spoke to me about how I treat others, who I look up to and how I guard my self from those influences that would hinder my walk with God.

March 3 leads me to Proverbs 3 and verses 27-31 with words to live by; words to guide my actions and attitudes toward my neighbors.  Who is my neighbor? Jesus answered that question.

Proverbs 3:27 “Don’t withhold good from someone entitled to it when you have in hand the power to do it. 28 Don’t tell your neighbor, “Go away! Come another time; I’ll give it to you tomorrow,” when you have it now. 29 Don’t plan harm against your neighbor who lives beside you trustingly. 30 Don’t quarrel with someone for no reason, if he has done you no harm. 31 Don’t envy a man of violence, don’t choose any of his ways; for the perverse is an abomination to Adonai, but he shares his secret counsel with the upright.

Perverse is opposite God’s ways. Quarreling is adverse to peace; generosity is a blessing; sharing when it is needed is righteous.  And…my neighbor is any who have need, any who ask, any who live beside me.

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March 4 blessed me with Proverbs 4 verses 23,24,25,26.

23 Above everything else, guard your heart; for it is the source of life’s consequences. 24 Keep crooked speech out of your mouth, banish deceit from your lips. 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze on what lies in front of you. 26 Level the path for your feet, let your ways be properly prepared;

Heart, mouth, eyes, feet…what I believe, what I allow to have entrance to my inner being, how I use my mouth, eyes and feet, what I allow my mouth to say, my eyes to see, my feet to take me.  All of these feed my heart and being.  I have the ability to deny anything that would be adverse to the will of God to have access to my inner self.  I can choose to walk away, to say no, to not look, not read, not watch anything that would have the potential to lead me away from the way of the Lord God Almighty.

Verse 24 then, says watch what you say and how you say it. Verse 25 supports what Paul says to “look forward to the prize of our high calling.” Christ calls, look to him. Verse 26 tells us to watch where we go, remove hindrances to following Christ, those obstacles to doing His will, and in doing so, level our path forward.

Disclaimer:  if ads are appearing anywhere on this page it is because they are placed there by WordPress not by me.  I have read the information on ads and in order to be ad free now, Word Press charges a fee.  I apologize for any inconvenience these ads may cause you and if they are inappropriate please message me.  Thank you, gracie

Proverbs 29 then 1 and 2

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome

February 29 allowed me to read Proverbs 29. The verse that stood out for me was 25:

Fearing human beings is a snare; but he who trusts in Adonai will be raised high.

This one is unafraid and their soul is secure; safe from the second death.

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March 1 led me to Proverbs 1 and verse 22 stood out for me.

How long, you whose lives have no purpose, will you love the thoughtless living? How long will scorners find pleasure in mocking? How long will fools hate knowledge?

Lord, have mercy, forgive our thoughtless ways and Holy Spirit help us turn toward God and his ways not away from them.  Thank you, Jesus Christ, for your sacrifice that enables us to be reconciled to God the Father in unity with Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

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March 2 gave me Proverbs 2 and several verses stood out for me. Verses 6-11 with verse 3 and 4 thrown in for good measure.  Bear with me:

6 For Adonai gives wisdom; from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding-– (3 yes, if you will call for insight and raise your voice for discernment, 4 if you seek it as you would silver and search for it as for hidden treasure–) 7 He stores up common sense for the upright, is a shield to those whose conduct is blameless, 8 in order to guard the courses of justice and preserve the way of those faithful to him. 9 Then you will understand righteousness, justice, fairness and every good path. 10 For wisdom will enter your heart, knowledge will be enjoyable for you, 11 discretion will watch over you, and discernment will guard you. 

  1. Wisdom
  2. understanding
  3. knowledge
  4. discretion
  5. discernment

Ask and He will give this to you.

James 1:5 Now if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously and without reproach; and it will be given to him.

Lord, I ask for wisdom to gain knowledge of You and understanding to apply to my walk with you.

Is there a need for this in today’s society?  Do we lack in these qualities? What can be done?

Disclaimer:  if ads are appearing anywhere on this page it is because they are placed there by WordPress not by me.  I have read the information on ads and in order to be ad free now, Word Press charges a fee.  I apologize for any inconvenience these ads may cause you and if they are inappropriate please message me.  Thank you, gracie

Proverbs 28

 

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome

Embarking on a year of Proverbs. One chapter a day correlating with the date. I began the 28th of February and the procedure I am following is to read the chapter, then write what stands out for me.  Beginning with Chapter 28 the first verse states

“The wicked flee when no one pursues them; but the righteous, like lions, feel sure of themselves…”

When you do not have a clear conscience you fall victim to paranoia…”paranoia strikes deep.”  A clear conscience allows you to advance with surety, clear vision, unafraid.  Which state allows for freedom, for unhindered progress in anything you do?

Verse 13 states

“He who conceals his sins will not  succeed; he who confesses and abandons them will gain mercy.”

This is a verse/principle for Living Free and Celebrate Recovery participants to live by.  This is a verse/principle for all of us to live by.

Disclaimer:  if ads are appearing anywhere on this page it is because they are placed there by WordPress not by me.  I have read the information on ads and in order to be ad free now, Word Press charges a fee.  I apologize for any inconvenience these ads may cause you and if they are inappropriate please message me.  Thank you, gracie