What Are You Afraid of?

Image result for fearWhen America was attacked by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt went before Congress to ask them to declare war. In his speech, he said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself!”  That may make a great political speech and it might stir people’s patriotism but unfortunately it is not true. There are a lot of things to fear in life but we should not allow our fears to control us. 

My son has no fear of snakes, NONE. He has handled rattlesnakes, cooperheads and water moccasins; no problem. But spiders are a totally different matter. If he walks into a spider web, he almost has a heart attack!

When Jesus sent out the 12 disciples, he gave them detailed instructions. In Matthew 10, he let them know they would face rejection, persecution, and and possibly death. In light of this he encouaged them not to fear. “Do not be afraid of them who kill the body. They are not able to kill the soul.”  Jesus made it very clear; there is only one person we need to fear. “But fear Him Who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”  God is the only we need to fear.

What is the worse man can do? Kill us? If they do kill us, we will be immediately with Lord!

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Cops. Friend or Foe?

160213-baton-rouge-shooting-417p_a6b509fbf582470cce1495f37de464ae.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000.jpg (1659×1000)To be honest, I cannot get my mind around the senseless killing of our law enforcement officers. I do understand that those who committed these crimes have a totally different world view than most of the world. They have been taught from childhood to hate and distrust anything that even hints of authority.

Most people do not realize that God instituted authority for our good and those who have authority are God’s “agents.” Listen to Romans 13:1-5 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities,for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

I realized that there are a FEW people who will misuse their authority but we cannot paint ALL police officers with the same wide brush. We need to respect those in authority and pray for them daily.

Your Affairs In Order?

I love old western movies. Quite often there will be a scene where someone will ask the doctor about the condition of a gunfighter who just lost a shoot-out. The doctor would take off his spectacles,  pull out his handkerchief from his back pocket and begin cleaning them. And then with great emotion, he would say, “It’s time he puts his affairs in order.” A polite way to say death is certain and he needs to be prepared to meet God.

The doc’s comment is good advice for anyone who is dying. But wouldn’t be better to ‘put our affairs in order ‘ NOW before we are facing the death angel.  No one likes to think about how fragile their life is. And no one knows if their life will be cut ‘short.’

So it seems wise that we should ask for forgiveness, make restitution, pay our debts, and apologize  long before we are called to meet God.

Choose Peace

1951In 1951, the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still was a box office hit! Today it is considered a film classic. When a flying saucer lands in Washington, D.C., the U. S. Army quickly encircles the spaceship. A humanoid (Michael Rennie) emerges, announcing that he has come in peace. His galaxy has been obsereving Earth and they are concerned about the Earth’s future.

As many of the world’s greatest scientists gather, Klaatu (the alien) pointedly tells them that the people of Earth have a choice. They can join the other planets in peace, but should they threaten to extend their violence into space, “this Earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder. We shall be waiting for your answer”. Klaatu then leaves as he came.

Though this was produced years ago, it shows us that America was concerned with its future years ago. Weapons have since developed that people in 1951 could never have imagined. Laser weapons. Heat-seeking missles. Drones. Dirty bombs. Iran and North Korea with nuclear weapons. We have the capability of destroying each other many times over!

While this film is fictional it is thought-provoking. How long can this world survive? How long before God says, “Enough!” Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,  for his compassion never fail.” Lamentations 3:22-23

The Fork

TThere’s an old story about an elderly woman who was told by her physician that she probably wouldnt’live much longer. Soon there after, she called in her pastor to discuss her funeral arrangements. They talked about how the service would be, music she would like sung, scriptures to be read, etc. As the conversation was winding down, the woman remarked, “There’s one thing that’s very important: I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.”

Her pastor was understandably puzzled by that remark, and he couldn’t contain his curiosity. “That is interesting. Would you care to tell why?”

The woman explained. In all my years of attending church socials and functions where food was involved; my favorite part was when whoever was clearing away the dishes of the main course would lean over and say ‘you can keep your fork.’ It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming. When they told me to keep my fork I knew that something great was about to be given to me. It wasn’t Jell-O or pudding. It was cake or pie. Something with substance. So I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder ‘What’s with the fork?’ Then I want you to tell them: ‘Something better is coming so keep your fork too.’ The pastor’s eyes were welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the woman good-bye.

At the funeral people were walking by the woman’s casket and they saw the pretty dress she was wearing and her favorite bible and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over the pastor heard the question What’s with the fork? And over and over he smiled. During his message the pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. The pastor told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either. He was right.

So the next time you reach down for your fork, let it remind you oh so gently that there is something better coming.

Do Over

Years ago when kids actually went outside to play, they would play challenging games that would test each other’s agility and courage. When a child failed to reach his intended objective; they would suddenly shout, “Do Over!” meaning they wanted a second chance. Doing something over is great if you are playing a game but in real life there are many situations that cannot be done over. doover

In the heat of passion, a young girl loses her virginity. There are no do overs! A person driving under the influence of alcohol has an accident and someone is killed. There are no do overs! A father spends too much time on the job, years pass and he realizes he cannot reclaim the wasted years he did not spend with his children. A person smokes cigarettes for years and as a result he has lung cancer. They cannot shout, “Do over!”

2ndLife is filled with missed opportunities, mistakes, and other regrets. But life itself cannot be a ‘Do Over.’   We only get one shot, one go-around to live, so it is crucial to live life wisely. The Apostle Paul said life is like running a race, we all run but only those who finish well receive eternal life. 1 Cor. 9:24 If we ask God to forgive us of our past sins; He will. In its strictest sense; He gives us a second chance to live life as we should. But we cannot go back and undo some of things we did.

Don’t wait until old-age to prepare for eternity. Remember there are no “DO Overs.”

Who Is In Charge?

“What does a 500 pound gorilla do?” the joke goes. ” Anything he wants to,” is the punchline. People think God is like that. He is the One with all the power.  Everyone knows that insurance companies call the big stuff– –  hurricanes, earthquake, floods, and tornadoes acts of God . Bad God days, I guess.

But is it fair to blame God  for every thing that happens on this planet? What about the devil? What does he do? Are all things pre-determined that happens to us? If God is totally in charge, do we humans have any choice in what happens.

In Genesis chapter 2 it says God commanded Adam not to do something. GENESIS 2:17. After the command,  God says Adam actually had a  choice. How could Adam choose to disobey a command of the Sovereign God? Here is a maybe: maybe sovereignty always has preeminence until it hits human will – then sovereignty pauses. Sovereignty does not disappear ; it just pauses until human  choice has been made, and then it kicks back in. (Just maybe.)

There numerous accounts of people praying and God “changing” His will. Hezekiah was told by God he had a terminal illness from which he would not recover. Isaiah 38:1 Hezekiah prayed and God added 15 years to his life. Isaiah 38:4-5

Sometimes we have authority to stop things with our faith, but sometimes our faith helps us go through things we cannot stop.