Scripture

Greater than My Fear

Yes, I feel afraid when I hear of all the awful things going on in the world. But I know my God is greater than my fear, and I know that one day, after my flesh has been destroyed, I will see him with my own eyes.

 

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No Safer Place

I drifted off to sleep the other night with one persistent thought floating through my mind: wouldn’t it be nice if I could whisk my family away to some safe place, hidden from the trauma and turmoil that is our modern world? I reeled through an imaginary rolodex of potential locations only to cross them off my mental list.

Some…other…country? Nowadays, the threat of terror seems to run rampant in everywhere.

A remote island? Not with the danger of tsunamis and hurricanes.

A wilderness hideout? Lions and tigers and bears, oh my.

A picture of Antarctica flashed across my computer screen as it powered up the next day. How cold does it really get there, anyhow? And would we have what it takes to survive the terrain?

I realize how unrealistic (and selfish) my ponderings are, but I wouldn’t be surprised to discover I’m in the company of millions who have such thoughts on occasion. Who wouldn’t want to escape the madness of today for somewhere more peaceful and predictable? The truth is, I learned long ago there is no such place on earth.

Even amidst Scriptures so woven with comfort and hope, we’re told that in this world we will have trouble. As a matter of fact, these verses warn that deep darkness will cover the earth before the dawning of great light. We will “hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.”

Sound familiar? Even if you haven’t read the Bible, I’m sure it does…because this is now our daily reality.

If anything, I am convinced that while there is no safe place on earth, there is no safer place than in the only refuge that will withstand the ravages of evil: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”

Yes, I feel afraid when I hear of all the awful things going on in the world. But I know my God is greater than my fear, and I know that one day, after my flesh has been destroyed, I will see him with my own eyes. And until then, my job is not to hide away in some obscure shelter under the false notion that I’ll be protected from harm. Instead, it’s his will that I embrace the cross and endure whatever trials come wherever I am, withstanding it all to declare, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth” in victory! For he has promised that one day “he will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things [will have] passed away.”

Whatever is…

The Most Important of Seeds

Our thoughts are among the most important of seeds, yielding a harvest of good or of evil. May our thoughts bear good fruit, producing words and actions of justice and truth, mercy and love.

 

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Captive Thoughts

As a parent, I’ve become expert at many things by sheer necessity. Some things I never expected would be part of my job description. And some things I never wanted to add to the list. Like nit-picking. And I’m not talking about an overtly excessive form of criticism.

When I found out one of my kids (the one with a lot of hair) had contracted head lice from summer camp, I knew I’d be in for at least a week of hard labor. I’d been told that the miniscule squatters don’t typically gravitate to coarse, coily-curly hair, but apparently my kid was part of the .3% non-typical demographic. At the end of the ordeal, I’d clocked a full 24-hour day plus of examining, treating, separating, combing, and re-examining, and was prepared for weeks ahead of frequent preventative measures.

There’s no being lazy about it when your kid has head lice. If one small nit survives, the threat of re-infestation prevails. Every corner of my house was vacuumed, every piece of affected clothing laundered. Even precious stuffed animals were stored away in tightly closed bags for at least a couple weeks to ward of further threats. And I now know every detail of homeopathic head care I could find.

I apologize if all this is too much information, and I’ll spare you further details. But there’s something to be learned from everything, and I always like to share what I’ve learned…the good, the bad, and the ugly. And I’d like to think writing about something so drudgerous (yes, I think I invented that word) could maybe redeem the hours spent on the tedious task for something worthwhile.

Combing through my kid’s endlessly thick hair minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day…I had a lot of time to think. And one scripture verse kept coming to mind: “take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” Just as I had to take captive every tiny nit due to its potential to terrorize my child’s head, I have to take captive my every thought. One small thought can yield a reign of terror in my mind…and life. And it can transfer to those I’m close to.

It might sound scary to submit your thought-life to Christ, but it’s not so scary when we know that he wants us to fill our mind with GOOD things.

The Bible says, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” So taking my ignoble, unrighteous, impure, unlovely and unworthy thoughts and making them obedient to Christ is not only necessary, it’s good! And it’s survival.

Who can live with bitterness, rage, malice, and hatred reigning in their minds? Who can survive when evil rules over every thought? It’s not only a danger to our own mental health, but to everyone we know and love. Even the innocent bystander is not immune.

EVERY thought must be held captive and made obedient to that which is noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Each day, we must stand on alert, combing through our minds for any thought that can take us off course. Our lives depend on it.

 

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Refuge

Beyond_Refuge

Take Heart

Unfortunately, there is no promise that life will be pain and problem-free. If anything, we’re told, “in this world, you will have trials.” Yet we can’t neglect the words that follow: “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Freedom comes in knowing we’re not alone in the midst, and there is one who is stronger and able to carry our every burden.

 

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