Browsing Tag

Fear

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #38: Proverbs 14:26–Living with Confidence

My husband, Glenn, is sharing these daily lessons for our West Huntsville family as we are necessarily (because of the virus) spending less time physically together in worship, study and fellowship. We may be “socially distanced,” but  we’re a close-knit family and we want to keep it that way! One way to stay on track together, spiritually, is to think about a common passage and make applications for our lives together even when we are unable to assemble as frequently. I’m sharing these daily family lessons here for those in other places, whose families (or even congregations) might benefit from a common study in these uncommon days of semi-quarantine. There are Family Bible Time guides included, as well. You can adapt, shorten or lengthen them according to the ages of kids (and adults) in your family. Blessings.

From Glenn:  

My Favorite Proverbs:  Living with confidence

“In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge”  (Prov. 14:26).

In today’s proverb, Solomon distills into a few words something all serious-minded Christians feel.  Here are some of my favorite passages which express that peaceful confidence—not in our own strength, but in His faithfulness.

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need”  (Heb 4:16).

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).

“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).

The last few weeks have taught us much, but perhaps no lesson more than this one:

You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that” (Ja. 4:14-15).

Even in our awareness of our vulnerability in this life, though, dedicated Christians develop a sweet and broad view of our own existence. We don’t think merely in terms of earthly life, but we think and  speak openly and casually of a seamless transition into the other world to which we all will go.  Quoting this proverb, the “fear of the Lord” gives us that confidence.  It’s a little ironic that fearing God elbows out all other fears in this life. And, back to the proverb, that place of eradicated fear is called refuge.

“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:17-19).

Today, my prayer for you is that, in these uncertain times, you will not fear what shall be on the morrow.  He will never forsake you (Heb. 13:5).  Remember what our Lord said to give us confidence and reassurance:  “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matt. 10:31). 

Enjoy your day in Christ.  

Family Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy

More of Matthew 25: 31ff…

Jesus said “I was thirsty and you gave me drink.” 

Tonight, try to prompt your kids to think of ways we can give Jesus a drink. 

For the teeny people: Let them go to the sink and help them get a glass of ice water. Have Dad come in the room and feign a thirst of massive proportions. Have the child give him the glass of water. Let him really dramatize his relief. Then Dad should make sure the child knows that he/she just did something for Jesus. This is practice, for young children, for the real situations down the road. 

For bigger kids: Brainstorm ways we could give Jesus a drink today: Choose one of the following to plan and execute OR come up with your own idea. But give someone a drink this week. 

  1. Buy a case of bottled water to keep in your car along with several packages of Bumble Bee (or other brand) chicken salad and crackers, or Vienna sausages, or peanut butter crackers. Keep these in your car along with a stash of tracts about salvation to pass out to the people you see begging at the intersections in your town. Be sure the tracts have info for your congregation. 
  2. Take a case of bottled water to a base location of first responders in your area, along with information about the church. 
  3. Mix up a batch of chai mix and divide it up into several containers to take to families or individuals who may be having an especially hard time during the pandemic. (sickness at home, loss of job, relatives in hospital with “no visitors” restriction, etc..) Attach a note to the jars of drink mix letting them know you’re praying for them. Deliver to doorsteps or organize a drive-by parade to cheer these folks. It’s cheer-chai! (Recipe below.)
  4. Donate a quantity of juice pouches to the systems that are providing lunches to school children during the pandemic. Be sure to give your congregation credit for the donation. 
  5. Take water bottles and juice pouches to the hospital in a basket for the workers to leave in the ICU waiting room for families who may be there and unable to see loved ones. Many hospitals will have those areas off-limits for several weeks to come, but you can still collect these items for the earliest possible donation time. Be sure to identify the church on the basket of donations. 
  6. Do the above (#5) for your local funeral homes. 
  7. Have a drive-by parade for some of your shut-ins and wave to them on their porches or through the window. Leave hot chocolate pouches where they can retrieve. 

After you have chosen your activity, take your children to John 4 and tell them briefly about the Samaritan woman, who got to (literally) give Jesus water, and explain to them how Jesus has the water of life. Make sure the older children know why this is the water that makes people never thirst, spiritually, again! 

Praise God in prayer with your children. 

Best Chai Ever!

1 cup nonfat dry milk powder

1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer

1 cup French vanilla flavored powdered non-dairy creamer

2 1/2 cups white sugar

1 1/2 cups unsweetened instant tea

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

Directions

In a large bowl, combine milk powder, non-dairy creamer, vanilla flavored creamer, sugar and instant tea. Stir in ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. In a blender or food processor, blend 1 cup at a time, until mixture is the consistency of fine powder.

To serve: Stir 2 heaping tablespoons chai tea mixture into a mug of hot water.

(But I do not do the blender thing. I just mix it up really good. That blender thing sent dust all over my house and made me cough! =)

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #7– (Proverbs 1:7)

My Favorite Proverbs:  The Fear of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7)

 

My husband, Glenn, is sharing these daily lessons  for our West Huntsville family as we are necessarily (because of the virus) spending less time physically together in worship, study and fellowship. We may be “socially distanced,” but  we’re a close-knit family and we want to keep it that way! One way to stay on track together, spiritually, is to think about a common passage and make applications for our lives together even when we are unable to assemble as frequently. I’m sharing these daily family lessons here for those in other places, whose families (or even congregations) might benefit from a common study in these uncommon days of semi-quarantine. Blessings.

From Glenn:

My Favorite Proverbs:  The Fear of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7)

It’s been a little over a week since the West Huntsville family was able to assemble. I want to encourage us all to guard against discouragement and especially against the resentment that can come with “cabin fever.” Wisdom is the ability to see how actions will turn out.  God gives divine wisdom. We can know that our trials will result in patience (James 1: 2,3)  We can know that our difficulties can accomplish His plans (Romans 8:28). We can know that times of illness can open doors of spiritual healing. 

Solomon spoke three thousand parables (1 Ki. 4:32). The book of Proverbs was written by, arguably, the wisest man who ever lived with the obvious exception of Christ Himself. It’s a great place to go when we’re looking for the good things that can be resultant from days of uncertainty. It’s a wellspring of divine wisdom. Let’s spend a few days in the Proverbs. 

The Dickson New Analytical Bible observes, as it introduces the book of Proverbs, that most of the book of Proverbs was written or collected by Solomon. It tells us that nothing is known about the men to whom the last two chapters are credited, Agur and King Lemuel. 

Then, it says this:

“The book of Proverbs, however, is more than a collection of pithy sayings. It reflects the historical background of the age in which Solomon lived, and it speaks to the needs of the people.  This was a time when great wealth and luxury in a privileged society brought the temptation to ignore the simple virtues that were the foundation stones on which the fathers of the nation had built its growth and prosperity.”

You can see why these inspired proverbs are so valuable to those of us who are navigating our course through a wealthy and changing America in this decade.  The first chapter, verse seven says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”

While this fear is compatible with loving God, it is noteworthy that he did not say that the beginning of knowledge is loving God. It’s fearing Him. 

The word fear is found four hundred times in the KJV, and most of those reference fearing God.  

Let’s think of fear in two different ways: 

1.  I am afraid of Him.

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31).

2.  I reverence Him.

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His  commandments, for this is man’s all” (Ecc. 12:13).

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (Ja. 4:10).

“God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be held in reverence by all those around Him” (Psa. 89:7).

The Hebrew word for fear in Ecclesiastes 12:13 is yare, and Strong’s says it means both cause to frighten: — affright, dread(-ful),” (put in) fear(-ful, -fully, -ing),  but also “to be had in reverence.

In the New Testament the original word for fear (as is seen in 1 Jn. 4:18), is phobeo and it is translated, to be frightened, to be alarmed,”  but can also be translated, “to revere…reverence.

It may surprise you that being afraid of Him is not a wrong reason for a man to become a Christian.  Jude 23 says, “…but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.” Certainly, fear would play a part in that conversion scenario.   And yet, fear isn’t the best reason.  The verse just before this says, “And on some have compassion, making a distinction.”  Scholars believe this has to do with convicting or convincing those who may contend with truth or differ with truth.  The reason for obedience, in this case, would be more of a conviction by logic and less a response of fear. Oh, that all men would bow their knees before the One who is powerful enough to design and create them, and merciful enough to save them (Rom. 8:32).  Reverence in conviction is the mature outgrowth of initial fear, and perfect love casts out fear.

“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us” (1 Jn. 4:17-19).  

The greatest journey you will ever take in life is to learn to fear God.  It is the beginning of true knowledge.  

Tonight’s Story Time:

Read Genesis 43 to prepare for this time with your children.  Read slowly through these verses to grasp the details.

  1. Joseph wanted to see his younger and full-brother, Benjamin, the only other son of his mother Rachel.  He must have wondered if his wicked brothers had treated Benjamin in a cruel way, too.  (Talk to your children about what it means to repent. Give them some scenarios and ask them what a person would do who was repenting. An example might be a little girl who snatched a toy from her younger sibling. How could she repent? Maybe it’s a little boy who told a lie. How would he repent?) One essential part of the brothers’ repentance, in the mind of Joseph, was that they would love and respect Benjamin;  so, he asked them to bring Benjamin:  “And bring your youngest brother to me; so I shall know that you are not spies, but that you are honest men.” (Gen. 42:34).  What do you think Joseph would have done if he learned that they had treated Benjamin in a mean way too?

2.  When Joseph’s daddy, Jacob, learned that the ruler in Egypt wanted his sons to bring Benjamin, he said “no” at first.  But the famine was very bad in the land (Gen. 43:1).  Have you ever been really hungry?  Judah, who had been so mean to Joseph when Joseph was young, said to his Dad, “I myself will be a surety for him…if I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever” (Gen. 43:9).  Judah said he would take all the blame if anything bad happened to Benjamin. Jacob sent Benjamin with Judah.  Joseph had not seen his younger brother in about twenty years, and, when he saw him, he went into another room to cry.  Why do you think he cried?  

Always be good to your brothers and sisters, and decide now that you will stay close to them and love them all of your life.

3.  There are two kinds of tears. Some are sad, and some are very happy. When have you cried because you were sad? When have you cried because you were happy?

4. Have your kids make another card or two for the Christians who need our  encouragement in Vermont. Tell them you think some of these Christians will cry because they are happy when they receive these cards. It will mean a lot to  them. 

5.See if your older children can think of a sibling in the Bible who was unkind to a brother. (Elicit answers like Cain and Abel (Genesis 4), Jacob and Esau (Genesis 27), or Eliab and David (I Samuel 17:28) or the elder brother in Luke 15). 

6. Pray with your children. Remember to pray that, while we are all stuck together in this house for these days, we will love each other, have fun with each other and treat each other with great kindness.

7. Have your children quote the Golden Rule.

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Guest Writer: Lillian Howard on Fear’s Paralyzation-Part 2

(Upcoming: The Digging Deep podcast for October is next Tuesday night.I hope you can join us and we would love to have your comments in the live chat. Comments are a great enrichment to the study’s scope, of course. The winner of the international writing contest for kids will be announced here next Monday, so be watching for that, especially if you are one of those who submitted an entry. Every entry represented a great effort and a significant investment of time.)

How do we stop fear?

To begin with, remember it’s a growth process. You don’t wake up one day and suddenly have no fear any more than you wake up one day and suddenly know everything the Bible teaches on love. And it does start with courage. You’ll never conquer a fear if you don’t do it, and you’ll never do it without courage.

Next, remember why we don’t have to fear.

… the LORD is with you while ye be with him; and if ye seek him he will be found of you… 2 Chronicles 15:2

… If God be for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

… for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Hebrews 13:5-6

The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? Psalm 118:6

For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; 1 Peter 3:12-14

The almighty God is with us. We have our Creator and unfailing Lord on our side! His eyes are over us as we practice righteousness! What really is there to fear? The Lord even gives us a specific promise in Matthew 28:20. He promises us specifically that he is with us as we spread his word!

God is on our side, but he doesn’t just root from the sidelines. He does so much more than that.

He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Isaiah 40:29

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. Psalm 27:14

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD. Psalm 31:24

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 2Corinthians 12:9

But the God of all grace, … make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 1Peter 5:10

God gives us strength as we apply our courage. Psalm 46:1-2, Isaiah 12:2, and 26:4 also show that he is our source of strength to help us overcome our obstacles. And part of how he does that is through a magnificent gift.

These things have I spoken unto you that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk there in, and ye shall find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16

Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means… 2 Thessalonians 3:16

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Colossians 3:15

Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

When we walk with him, he gives us peace. He conquered the world, and now we can have peace. He is the very Lord of peace! But my favorite verses from this are in Philippians and Colossians.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds (Phil. 4:7).

But let the peace of God rule in your hearts (Col.3:15).

Peace keeps our hearts and minds from all the cares, fears, and troubles that we give to God, 1Peter 5:7. Peace rules in our hearts, which means it has conquered the fears and troubles that once lived there.

Remember back to our verses against trouble and fear. One definition of the word ‘troubled’ in these verses is ‘causing inward commotion and taking away calmness, or peace of mind’.

In closing, let’s notice 2 Timothy 2:22:

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

We have to follow peace. Like I said earlier, it doesn’t just come to us in this wonderful epiphany. Righteousness, love, and faith come from God. But that doesn’t mean they just come to us. We have to try to be righteous, try to have proper love, try to keep our faith. In the same way, peace is a gift of God, and we didn’t earn it. But we have to let it rule in our hearts. We have to remember that God is with us and give our cares to him.

Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. Psalm 37:37

Uprightness brings peace. Let’s remember that as we face this tempting and often terrifying world.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Guest Writer: Lillian Howard on Fear’s Paralyzation

I’ve been thinking about how our Digging Deep  study, Authority, is not for the fearful. I have already been called on to do some major self-examination and ready myself for submission in important ways that I have been tempted to ignore.  Recently while speaking in the state of Missouri, I met Lillian Howard. Lilly is still in high school, but she has her own personal arsenal of written defensive missiles against our great spiritual enemy. Listen to her words (and the Lord’s) about the danger of our own fear, specifically about how our fears  can make us ashamed of our Lord. They are convicting. Here’s Lillian:

In Revelation 21:8, God gives us one of several lists telling of those who will not enter Heaven. It has such people as the unbelievers, murderers, and liars. But it is the first one that really catches my attention. Fearful.

In this verse, fearful means timid or cowardly. Cowardice is succumbing to fear. Cowards will be kept out of Heaven. But why? Obviously because God said so, but why did he say so? I think we understand why most of these others are wrong. If you don’t believe, you can’t even begin to do anything else God commands us. Murder is the unlawful taking of a life, made in the image of God. And lying breaks down trust and our influence. But what does cowardice do that makes it so serious?

First, succumbing to fear can make us ashamed.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord… 2 Timothy 1:7-8

For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory… Luke 9:26

But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in Heaven. Matthew 10:33

Clearly, being ashamed of the one who died for us is a serious matter, as is being ashamed of his gospel. It is, after all, the power that saves us, Romans 1:16.

Second, fear can keep us from doing what we know is right. Remember Esther? She had the chance to save her entire race from annihilation. But she was scared. It could cost her her life. In a nutshell, Mordecai told her, opportunity + ability = obligation. It’s not as though she didn’t have a choice. But cowardice would have cost her and her family immensely, Esther 4:14.

We are given a similar command in James 4:17-

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

Next time: What Can We Do about Fear?

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: A Snake on the Porch

We live in the country. THIS week…A fat lizard greeting me inside my kitchen gate each time I come home, a fox and her three babies in the backyard, two chimney bird-nest smoke-outs, two mice caught in traps and an armadillo on Gurley Pike that I tried to miss, but just could not. (Those awkward things just cannot get out of the way, but I still will always have a little soft spot for them because of Rafaella Gabriela and Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla and Albert Andreas Armadillo, who found an aardvark in Schoolhouse Rocks!) When I picked up my mop wringer on my screened-in porch to find a suh-suh-snake, I’d just about reached my critter-quota for this week! (I’m only terrified of two kinds of snakes—dead ones and live ones.) This is the porch that’s just off both my dining room and my bedroom. The snake was lying just outside the door that I’ve left open on many a spring and autumn night. If I live in this house till my dying day, I will never sleep with that door open again—EVER! 

My faithful husband, who already had a lunch appointment, cancelled it and drove the thirty minutes home to decapitate and then discard the still-moving beast. 

I cannot figure out why I am so afraid of even non-venomous serpents. I don’t know why I thought of him last as I fell asleep at about one a.m. last night or why he popped into my head when I first woke up and lay there staring through the glass at that porch floor that will probably not ever get mopped again; at least not this year. 

Glenn tried to figure that out yesterday over lunch. “Did you have a big traumatic snake experience when you were little?” 

“I guess not except that time I was fishing with my grandmother and that snake slithered by us on the bank.”

“What did you do?”

“I climbed up in the bed of my grandfather’s pick-up truck, along with my aged grandmother, and yelled, with all of the volume I (we) could summon, across Hollis’s lake (My grandad always fished on the other side, probably exactly for the volume reason…) for him to come around there and “save” us, which he did….But I don’t think that was really traumatic, do you?”

My husband, ever the valiant and forbearing one, overlooking my reptile trepidation (really, phobia), said “Well, I think God, maybe, placed in us an aversion to the snake. After all, it was the snake in which the devil first came to tempt.”

Now that was very kind of him to give the fright that will haunt my dreams for several weeks now, a spiritual connotation, when, actually, I’m thinking all material…”You know, a condo downtown with a paved front yard might be better than this rambling old house in this forest,” … “A big and sealed screen door might be good beside our bed, here, even though the porch is already screened in,” … “ And could we caulk those porch floorboards?” 

But, really…I hope I can be as afraid of the Genesis 3 snake as I was (am) of that one Glenn killed out on the porch. I know Jesus already crushed his head at Calvary (Genesis 3:15), taking away his power over my purchased soul. But still…Jesus wants me to fear him. The serpent is still moving around in our world today (I Peter 5:8) . May I have a healthy fear of the snake that can kill both body and soul in hell (Matthew 10:28). May I call for reinforcements from the One who is stronger than I, when I find myself spiritually paralyzed by that serpent. And may I keep the door closed between me and that snake.  I don’t want to be asleep while that crafty (Gen 3:1) and venomous snake slithers into my house.