Monthly Archives: February 2017

What Are Your Fears?

My brother, sister, and I found a walnut tree in the woods. We brought our mother back some of the nuts. They were black walnuts, and Mom was thrilled with our find. She did a lot of baking, and walnuts were getting to be expensive.  It was not long before she was recruiting us to help her gather the nuts so she could make cookies and breads.

It was cold, autumn day, and the woods were wet and muddy. My sister, mother and I all bundled in our winter coats and boots went into the woods. Each of us had a brown, paper bag. To my mother’s delight, there were many nuts on the ground and no need to climb a tree to knock them down. But we had to move a ton of leaves to get at them.

The three of us kicked leaves around and picked up nuts for a good half an hour. I examined the walnuts to make sure they were good, threw them in a bag and swished the leaves with my boot. Boredom soon set in, and my sister and I started kicking leaves at one another. My mom told us to get busy because it was going to be dark soon. She wanted to shell the walnuts that night.

About that time, I bent down to pick up a walnut and happened to glance at the ground beside me, and a snake slithered its way towards me and slid under the heel of my boot. At first I was too shocked and paralyzed to say anything. Finally, I managed to scream, “SNAKE!” and took off running. There was a lot of high-pitched screaming. I never knew my mother could run so fast…she beat my sister and me out of the woods! My mother was terrified of snakes. She did not stop running until she got to the house. We were close on her heels!

My dad and my husband have told me that snakes are more afraid of us than we are of them……I don’t think so! When I think of that incident, I remember how easily fear can overtake us, and how it put an abrupt end to fun that afternoon. If we allow fear in, it can derail whatever it is we are doing at the time. We all have our fears, and not just things like spiders and snakes, but things such as, not being loved, getting ill, death, growing old…you know what your fears are. Mostly the things we fear, we have no control over. Spending time being afraid can just plain ruin a day or even worse, a good night’s sleep. It’s okay to be afraid; just do not allow fear to have power over you. There are some things out of your control, and it is essential that you accept it. When fear overtakes you, the best thing to do is hold onto your faith and the Lord to get you through the rough spots.
So do not fear, for I am with you; I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

THe Unseen

When I was about five years old, I contracted scarlet fever.  I remember being delirious and feeling horrible.  My mother told me I was one very sick little girl and there was not much she could do for me but keep me isolated from the rest of the family, give me penicillin, and allow it to run its course.  Scarlet fever was considered extremely dangerous and was known to leave people with heart trouble.  In fact, I have a minor heart murmur, a permanent reminder of that illness.

Back then, if someone had scarlet fever, the household was quarantined and the family had to take penicillin to keep from getting it. Penicillin was new at the time.  While it helped to make me better, unbeknownst to us, my father was allergic to it and broke out in hives and got very ill.  I am told he could have died.  I remember it being a scary time in our household.

Scarlet fever is a form of strep.  An untreated person is contagious for several weeks after contracting it.  It is transmitted via body fluids.  Glasses, doorknobs, towels and just any place where fluids are left turn into an incubator for the contaminates.

Just like the scarlet fever bacteria, our thoughts are small unseen things that can cause havoc in our lives.  Nobody can see or hear them, but they grow and thrive inside us and are a barometer for our soul.  Once our thoughts have firmly established themselves, they begin to show symptoms in the way we act, the things we do or the words we say.  These actions can be contagious and can be easily transmitted to others who can also become infected with those same thoughts and perhaps pass it on to others.  Sometimes we can be left with scars – permanent reminders of our sins and immoral thoughts.

Because negative or immoral thoughts can produce sin and harmful behaviors in our physical bodies, and can impact others who may be tainted or hurt by our actions and possibly encourage them to reproduce the same sin or behavior, it is important to protect our minds from those things than can corrupt us.  We can do this by rejecting negative or sinful thoughts and replace them with good, pure and moral ones.  To do this, we must make sure to be careful what goes into our minds from what we listen to, watch and read.  We also need to choose where we go and with whom we spend time carefully so that we can avoid slipping into a harmful relationship or risky behavior.

The Book of Proverbs 23:7 warn us that for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.  Ralph Waldo Emerson also said,” a man is what he thinks about all day long”.  It is incredible that something we cannot see can influence us so greatly.  Yet, the LORD looks at our thoughts and our minds.  It is where we exhibit our true self.  We may be able to hide it from others, but not from Him.   Our faith and reliance on the LORD is the antibiotic that can restore our soul.

 

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7

Who Is God?

How would you describe yourself in only two words? Because you are a complicated and a multifaceted person, two words might be considered a partial description.  There is not a more complicated and more multifaceted being than God. Yet He describes Himself in one word. The Hebrew word “Yahweh” means “I AM.”

God wanted Moses to deliver His people from Pharaoh. Even though he was a Hebrew, Moses had not been around God’s people for many years. He was not sure that they would believe that their God had sent him. Moses asked God what he was supposed to tell the Israelite nation if they asked what God’s name was. God replied, “I AM has sent you.”

Why would God use those two words to describe Himself? The two words, I AM, encompasses all three of God’s attributes. Those words all begin with “O” – omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience. Each one of those words can only be applied to God – nobody else has these traits.

“Am” is the first person, present tense of the verb to be. God was always there in the past with no beginning. He is present with us now, and He will continue to be here in the future; He has no end. The verb AM also means to transpire, happen or come to pass. God causes and can cause anything to happen because He is omnipotent, all powerful. He spoke the world into existence. I AM resonates His power. The last of God’s attributes is omniscience. God knows everything. He does not forget anything and knows all there is to know.

This same I AM loves you and longs for a relationship with you. He wants to help you navigate through life’s trials and joys. But He allows you to be in charge of the times you meet, and if you want Him to walk with you through life. I AM is waiting for you.
  Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. Habakkuk 3:18-19