Posts Tagged ‘Fear’

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Fear or Friend – Psalm 46:1–3

May 4, 2020

“God is our refuge and strength,
a very sufficient help in troubles.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth change,
and though the mountains totter into the midst of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though mountains shake with its surging water.”

May I be bold enough to add, “though a virus infects throughout the earth, and though people fall, though economies totter, though our healthcare system shakes”.

We are not a people accustomed to uncertainty.  We are accustomed to regular returns, predictable profits, and a pill for every malady. We are accustomed to the refuge of a regular wage and the strong towers of a robust hospital.

Where does the anxiety of this time come from?  Why do we hear of despair from COVID’s destruction?

The earth has changed, and our response has been an innate cry for help in these time of trouble. That cry has been direcred largely toward the government.  The government, who according to the news, should possess all the resources for sufficient help.

Yet, this fact reveals the greatest deficiency of our modern world.  Society’s cry reveals it’s misplaced trust for refuge and strength.  Our greatest help in times of trouble is never the institutions of man nor the strength of one’s net worth.  

COVID is a merely another revelation of our greatest vulnerability.  We are a society in a fallen world, full of sinful people without sufficient help against the troubles of coming eternity.

Therefore, COVID is a blessing.  Any crisis that awakens a misplaced cry, serves the helpless by informing them of a trust that has drifted from the true source of strength and refuge to an illusion.

Uncertainty is a friend.  A friend does not allow loved ones to meander into destruction with insufficient refuge.  This current uncertainty can be that friend if we allow it to reveal were we have placed out trust.
https://ref.ly/Ps46.1-3 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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You Got to Fear Something – Luke 12:4–7

March 1, 2020

““And I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after these things do not have anything more to do. But I will show you whom you should fear: fear the one who has authority, after the killing, to throw you into hell! 

Yes, I tell you, fear this one! 

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten in the sight of God. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered! Do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

We have nothing to fear but fear itself.  While a great political speech, it is completely untrue.

We all have something to fear. Actually, we have someone to fear. We are to fear the One who can throw us into hell!  Too many people punch out at this and lose the context of how to live with that fear.

Here is the good news, the One who can throw us in hell is also the One who values us more than many sparrows. (I’ve always wondered if this is an example of Biblical understatement. I hope so, otherwise it is not much of a compliment😁)

We all need to remember the order of the fear and fear not.  Just because we are valued by God doesn’t mean He has relinquished His authority to punish.  The fear of falling into the hands of an angry God underlies the gloriousness of the fear not.  

We cheapen the cross when we stop appreciating the fearfulness of God.  We steal the glory of grace.

A world that doesn’t fear the One who can throw them into hell is a world that has something to fear that is way more dangerous than fear itself.  The only way to escape the fearful One is to flee to the merciful One, who is the same One.

My meditation for the day will be the wrath of God.

https://ref.ly/Lk12.4-7 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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QUOTE (Bernard L Montgomery)

November 17, 2015

bmontgomery“Every soldier must know, before he goes into battle, how the little battle he is to fight fits into the larger picture, and how the success of his fighting will influence the battle as a whole.”

“Discipline strengthens the mind so that it becomes impervious to the corroding influence of fear.”

~ Bernard L Montgomery

 

In honor of Bernard L Montgomery, World War II British Field Marshall, who was born on this day in 1887.

Resources:
Famous Birthdays on This Day – Nov. 17th 
Top 19 Quotes by Bernard L Montgomery

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“NAKED GUY” – July 10

July 10, 2013

“…the Lord spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, “Go, and loose the sackcloth from your waist and take off your sandals from your feet,” and he did so, walking naked and barefoot.  Then the Lord said, “As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years…” Isaiah 20:2-3

There is a naked guy down at the pool.  To be fair, he is not naked all of the time but he is naked way beyond my comfort level.

2005_12_04
2005_12_04 (Photo credit: DennisSylvesterHurd)

This particular individual feels that it is necessary to be al natural while showering off pool water.  He is the only individual who takes this approach.  Everyone else leaves their swimsuit on while showering.  Most use the communal shower pole to wash the chlorine off of their skin and out of their suits in one efficient, modest, activity.  Naked guy does not take this approach, to my consternation.

I became acquainted with naked guy a while back after a particularly good swim.  I rounded the corner into the men’s shower and was caught unaware by naked guy.  There naked guy stood with suds flowing down over all his “overish-ness”; Over fifty and over-weight do not a good naked combination make.  First impressions are difficult to overcome, add nudity, and it becomes nearly impossible.

Unfortunately, that has not been my only exposure to all that is naked guy.  My timing has been poor on a couple of other occasions.  There will be naked guy, one arm extended over his head, leaning against the shower pole, looking over with a “hey” greeting.  I work so very hard to maintain eye contact or look at anything other than naked guy but it is sort of like a car wreck.  At some point, you have to sneak a peek.  I regret every peek that I have ever sneaked.  Curse you, naked guy; I am forever scared by those mental pictures.

Needless to say, I am very uncomfortable around naked guy.

The Prophet IsaiahI cannot imagine Isaiah’s reaction when God told him to become naked guy.  Even worse, he was told to be a full-time, naked guy for a three year term.  That had to have had an impact on his social life.  I don’t know if an Old Testament prophet had much of a social life to start with but refusing to get dressed probably would have put the dampers on dinner party invitations.  My own family would send me packing if I showed up at Thanksgiving with my only dressing being in a bowl.

Those had to have been some lonely years for Isaiah.  He was being obedient to God’s directing and made everyone uncomfortable in the process.  The words of Isaiah’s prophecy would have been uncomfortable enough.  It had to get even more uncomfortable when the prophet went naked guy.

Isaiah’s obedience is remarkable.

I realize that my belief in Christ has made some people uncomfortable.  Conversations have been steered away from the spiritual.  Invitations have been withheld.  Facebook “friends” have disappeared.  Snide comments have been posted to my writing.  The intellectually superior have dismissed my ignorant position.

However, none of that comes close to the stigma of being naked guy for three years.

Following Christ has never been the path to popularity.  We have been called to love God above everything else – even other people’s opinions of us.  Loneliness has been the price of obedience for many who have been called to difficult paths.

Isaiah’s obedience confronts our willingness to follow Christ.  How unreservedly will you follow?  Thankfully, getting naked in public is against the law so that is a good out.  But seriously, how far does acceptable obedience go?  The problem comes when God calls His children to what most consider the unreasonable.  The Bible is full of examples of God calling his disciples, apostles, and prophets to unreasonable acts of obedience.

What is acceptable giving?
What is acceptable service?
What is acceptable sacrifice?
What is acceptable suffering?

How far does your obedience go?

Does it go to the modern version of naked guy?

PRAYER: Lord, may there be no limits to my willingness to follow you.  You know my heart and how much the thought of being naked guy scares me.  Examine my heart – show me what holds me back from the unreasonable.  All that you direct is reasonable and good.  Help me to love you with all that I am.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“TOSSING BABIES” – July 6

July 6, 2013

“O Israel, trust in the Lord!  He is their help and their shield.
O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord!  He is their help and their shield.
You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord!  He is their help and their shield.”  Psalm 115:9-11

Baby Toss

Baby Toss (Photo credit: Valdemarick)

Squeals of delight; shrieks of admonishment.  Most every father has heard both of these sounds at the same moment.

I do not know what possesses us fathers to throw our children but it must be written in our DNA.  Fathers have this strange obsession with making their progeny fly.  If it were not for the concerns of mothers and grandmothers, we probably would have made it into a sport.  I can just imagine the World Championships of the Baby Tossing.  It probably could be an Olympic event.

Like any good sport, there are some fundamentals to baby tossing that need to be mastered:

  1. The power for the toss comes from the lower body.  So, a good explosive movement from bent legs is essential.  A tosser might even exhibit a small hop when transferring his upward motion into the frame of the toddler.
  2. The release needs to be crisp.  Entanglement on a diaper or the clinging of small hand can send the tossee into the most irregular of patterns.  The energy is then wasted into flailing rather than soaring.
  3. While the soaring occurs, the tosser has to keep his eye on the child.  ADD dads might struggle at this stage but it is critical not to become distracted while the full delights of flight are expressed in wonderful squeals of youth.
  4. The most critical of all the baby tossing stages is the catch.  The arms should be extended high so the catch can be accomplished as early as possible.  This enables the speed of decent to be consumed into the arms and legs of the father as they bring their joyful child back to ground.
Baby Toss

Baby Toss (Photo credit: deltaMike)

The most important factor in baby tossing is trust.  The child must trust his father.  For the child to fly, he must trust that his father will not drop him.  Flying can be terrifying if you are afraid of being dropped.  There can be no delight in flying upwards when all you can think about is tumbling downwards.

Therefore, trust is the difference between experiencing delight or fear.

Trust is defined as an assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.

The child who loves being tossed has an assured reliance on the character, ability,  and strength of his father.  He knows that he will be caught.  He can enjoy the flight because he is assured of the catch.  Mothers’ concerns arise because they do not have the same assured reliance in the father as their child.

The uncertainty of this world can often feel like being tossed in the air.  There are a variety of emotions that can be felt when we are tossed about but I have known very few who have described it as delightful.  I wonder if the reason we fail to enjoy the flight of a good toss comes from being so concerned with the catch.  Our unwillingness to being tossed into the unknown often has more to do with trust than prudence.

Happy Baby Toss

Happy Baby Toss (Photo credit: Kables)

Do you trust your Father in heaven?

Consider God’s character, his ability, his strength, his faithfulness.  We can be delighted in all of our circumstances because we have an assured reliance on being caught.  He is more than able to catch us.  He has the power to lift us high.  He has the ability to make us fly straight.  He will never take His eye off of us.  He is faithful to make everything work out for good – He promises to catch us.  Our problem is that we often don’t trust the promise.

We can soar through this world in the strength of the Spirit if we will just trust in our Father.  The difference between living in joyful delight or fear resides in trust; an assured reliance on the Father.

Who are you trusting?

PRAYER: Lord, open my eyes.  I know that I hedge.  I know that I can become so afraid of crashing that I never enjoy the delights of fully trusting in you.  Father, you are more than capable of catching me.  Lord, help me to trust You when I feel like I have been tossed high.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“LOST IN THE IMMEDIATE” – May 9

May 9, 2013

“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.”  Jeremiah 29:11

I can feel my heart-rate quicken as I struggle to suppress the concerns arising in my mind.  I push back against the thoughts of the unknown and try to focus on what I do know.  My mind spins through endless scenarios and a cold sweat forms on my brow at the realization that the next step will be made blindly.  I am guessing and I have no choice.  There are decisions to be made and I don’t know the answers.  I cannot know.  I infer and postulate but I don’t really know.  I theorize and deduce but I cannot foresee beyond the immediate.  I know the statistics and probabilities but my stomach clenches at the thought of my route through life being determined by the law of averages.

... the charm of the uncertainty ...!!!I am lost and I know it. 

I fight against the powerful foe of uncertainty as I struggle to know which way I should go.  There is not enough information to make a truly informed decision.  I am lost but an even worse option is to allow the security of the immediate to immobilize me any longer.  I must make my best guess at what is around this impending blind corner and do something.

I throw back the covers of my bed and roll onto my side until my feet hit the cool carpet.  I am up and prepared to be succumbed in this battle with uncertainty; countless battles await the lost in a typical day, who can only cope with uncertainty.  They can never defeat it.

This is not how I normally wake up.  I usually roll out of bed without a second thought of the uncertainty inevitably entailed in the coming day.  I rarely ponder the transient nature of my plans.  I make various assumptions to prepare my daily schedule.  My assumptions are usually right but that does not mean that my schedule is anything more than a guess.  There are some things that we just cannot know.  There is no road map.  If I had the road map of life, then  I would probably make a whole slew of decisions differently. We can make wise and informed decisions based on the available information but that is different from knowing.  That is different from having a trusted guide.

MapWe consider ourselves lost in the temporal world when we do not know how to get from point A to point B.  We will not feel certain if we were to leave on a trip without an understanding of the route.  Anxiety is the resulting emotion from having to plot a course without the certainty of a guide.

The reality is that no one knows what tomorrow holds.  We do not know if there is a surprise in the very next second.  The future is blind to our eyes.  We are all lost in the moment because no one who can foresee the future.  Visions of the future are hopes and dreams; creations of the mind based on a preponderance of logical inferences and assumptions.  The plans that we lay out for tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, next decade are a guess.  They may be  informed guesses but still guesses.  They are guesses because we are lost in the immediate and the future is a dark labyrinth of uncertainty.

I am amazed at the apparent ease of most people in the face of so much uncertainty in their life.  This comfort with uncertainty probably comes from the fact that we do not know anything differently.  I probably would never be anxious about setting out on a trip without a map if I had never read a map.  If I never had experienced guidance, then I probably would be very comfortable in a perpetual state of being lost.   We awake every morning to engage our day in confidence without a second thought because that is all we have ever known.

We are all lost whether we want to admit it or not.  However, we don’t have to be.  There is one who is not bound by the temporal.  There is one who can see through the future’s dark labyrinth of uncertainty.

God is the only one who can truly remove uncertainty of the future. 

As a follower of Christ, I do not know the future.  I have not been given the road map to know what is behind ever corner.  That is why I am a follower.  I accept by faith that God knows the plans that He has prepared for me.  I accept by faith that His plans are for my welfare and that He is working all things together for good. (Romans 8:28)

I don’t need to know the future.  I am lost in the immediate but I have a faithful guide.  I have the Creator of the future laying out a path for me.  My job is to follow by faithfully setting my mind on Him.  The decisions of life do not have to cause me anxiety.  When faced with a particular unknown corner, I pray.  I seek the Lord for guidance, through the scriptures and prayer.  I focus my mind on the things of the Spirit and I do what seems right to me at that moment with the information that is available at that time.  I make the decision in faith with the understanding that my Lord knows my mind.  He knows what influences me.  He knows how I will react.  My decisions will not be a surprise to Him.  He knows all about me and He loves me.  My decisions, as fallible as they may be, are a part of His plan that is being worked out for my welfare and good.

Those who are in Christ may be lost in the sense of what tomorrow holds but they are not lost in the sense of their final destination.  A child of God need not worry about the uncertainty of the future because they have a faithful Guide who will lead them to eternal life.

This is why we follow by faith.  We would be lost if we did not.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for laying a path for me.  Thank you for the assurance of knowing that You are working out everything, in ways I cannot even comprehend, for my welfare and good.  Father, forgive me for worrying about the future.  Forgive me for the unbelief that I demonstrate when the uncertainty of the future preoccupies my mind.  Help me to trust you.  Help me to set my mind on the things of  You and not on the uncertainty of this world.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“KALEIDOSCOPE OF A PEOPLE” – May 6

May 6, 2013

“Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who give breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it. ”  Isaiah 42:5

We made the day-long drive back from the NCFCA Regional Speech and Debate Tournament where my son competed.  We caravanned across the expanses of the State of Washington and Eastern Oregon with two other families from our club.  At one of our many stops, a club member asked me, “Mr. Blom, what was your favorite experience from the competition?”

My immediate response was the duo interpretation finals.  I was so glad that I did not have to judge these exceptional speeches and I could just lean back and enjoy them.  Several of the speeches caused me to belly laugh, nearly to the point of being a distraction.  They were so funny I had tears running down my eyes. If you have never seen this type of speech, I have attached a couple links to previous duo interpretation competitions.

We all climbed back into our mini-Van cages and proceeded across the wide plains of Eastern Oregon.  It gave me time to contemplate my answers.  I think that I may have answered too hastily.  While I did full enjoy the duo interpretation finals, I don’t believe that was what I will remember most about the competition.  I think that what I will remember most about the competition are the people.  I was so blessed by the people at this competition in a kaleidoscope sense.

I am always encouraged by the gathering of God’s people.  I particularly love the gathering of His people from diverse areas and backgrounds.  I realize that this competition was not that diverse since it was a gathering of individuals from just across the west.  Never the less, there is something special about watching people who have never met or interacted extensively with one another  exhibit the same Spirit.  I am blessed to watch people with such different personalities and experiences worshiping the same God, together.   I realize that God has blessed us with a wonderful canvas of His own people.

When we gather together in events like an NCFCA competition, where His people are drawn from far and wide, we get a wonderful opportunity to behold the Master Artist.  We are all created in the image of God but have you considered what a wonderfully extensive palate of color He uses to display that image through His people.

I saw people who are wonderful bursts of energy; vibrant colors thrown against the canvas in a chaotic merging of purpose and mess.

I saw individuals of stoic self-control; very precise pencil portraits in black and white but with incredible depth and detail.

I saw refined people; as detailed as any Dutch-master oil painting with careful brush strokes and a careful balance of light and energy.

I saw the delicate; finely crafted water-colors with so smooth and transparent edges.

I saw the bold; block and aggressively bold with a particular few colors that make their statement.

I saw the reserved; charcoal drawings that are easy to overlook until you gaze into the depths of the shading to see the master’s hand.

I saw the unique; the cubist approach that views the world from a wholly unique perspective.

I saw the informative; pure information unadulterated by form.

Louvre Dutch MastersAnd I saw all combinations of these, beautiful mingled personalities forming a wonderful kaleidoscope of colors and depths that seemed to change with every walk down the hall or turn of a corner.

I don’t think that we really understand how deeply blessed we are by the variety of personalities that God has given His people.  It would be a very boring and drab world if everyone was like me.  I probably would not be as easily irritated by these strange other people if they would simply think like me but consider what we would be missing.

God is displaying His masterpiece every time His people come together.  He has used a mind-boggling array of colors and depths in this portrait that He has continued to craft throughout the centuries.  In every generation, He gives vibrant life to His people in surprising ways and masterful strokes of His mighty hand and every generation comes together into an exquisite portrait of the same image – His Spirit.  Stand back at any large gathering of God’s blessed people and the image that should come through from the variety of personalities, experiences, joys, sorrows, failures, and victories is God.  He is proclaiming His mighty Name through the masterpiece of His people.

That was the image I was blessed to see these last several days and that was my favorite experience from the NCFCA Regional Tournament.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for blessing us in ways that we do not often even realize.  Lord, help me to slow down and behold.  Give me eyes to see your hand in all things.  Thank you for your people.  Thank you for displaying your Spirit through us.  May we never diminish that blessing.  I praise you and pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

1st place Duo Interpretation NCFCA Nationals

Grayum Pitzele The Hobbitt, Duo Interp, NCFCA Nationals 2011

“Cheaper By The Dozen” NCFCA 2010 National championship Duo Interp

A FUTURE IN GOOD AND CAPABLE HANDS – Jan. 21

“DAMAGING NORMAL” – May 3

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