Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fear Not Means Worry Not – A Businessman’s Perspective

Hello, as we come to the end of 2011, my husband Bert is presenting the male’s perspective on some of the things we’ve been working through.

Luke 2:10 (KJV)
…Fear not…

I have chosen to practice my profession as a self-employed person for almost 40 years. The full responsibility for the success or failure of my business falls on my shoulders daily. I worry (another word for fear) about the potential negative business consequences should I make a poor judgment call.

However, I have to remember that worry contradicts the fact that I have affirmed my faith and belief in the Lord’s promise to guide me into making the right choices. And when I do (more often than I care to admit) make the wrong choice, I have learned that He is still there for me.

Worry (fear) is a normal human response. But, we all know that worry contradicts faith. When I experience such times as: worrying I’m spending too much time at the office, paying bills on time (both at work and home), and managing the company’s profitability, it helps when I remember that God is big enough in these cases, too.

I would like to quote from Rev. John Schmidt, Central Presbyterian Church, Baltimore, MD:

“We’ve got to deal with our trust in God, because it’s directly related to how panicked we are feeling about life around us. So we have to bring our fears to God. We have to talk to the management.”

I really need to get better at talking to the management about the fears in my life. What about you?

Men, am I alone on this?

Before I go, I need to admit another area I fear – or at least an area where I lack confidence: writing for this blog.

My monthly contribution to Sheryl’s blog has been a much harder task than I anticipated simply because I’m not the writer Sheryl aspires to be. So, I think I need to recognize where my talents lie – and where they don’t.

Therefore, this will be my last regular Bert’s Perspective. Perhaps, I will surprise everyone (especially myself) and throw in a Perspective now and then. But for now, I’ll just end with:

Keep up the good work, Sheryl. See you at home.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Not At Her Age

Luke 1:37 (NIV1984)
For nothing is impossible with God.

Luke 1:37 (AMP)
For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.

The angel, Gabriel, just left.

I’m stunned – and overwhelmed with everything the angel told me. Did I understand correctly that I am to bear and give birth to the Son of God? Me? “I’m a virgin,” I remember telling Gabriel. And how was I, of all women, chosen for such a privilege?

And, did the angel actually say my cousin Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy? No way! Not at her age.

But Gabriel was clear when he declared with such confidence, “Nothing is impossible with God!”
(Rewritten based on Luke 1:26-37).

What have you prayed and prayed for, but deep down you doubt will ever happen?” In my case, my prayers sometimes feel more like wishes.

But this week’s verse offers a lot of encouragement. Nothing is ever impossible with God.

But reality seems to scream differently, doesn’t it? And then there’s God’s-will-and-timing-versus-our-will-and-timing to consider.

So what do we do?

Let’s start by acknowledging God always knows what’s best for us. He knows what to do and when to do it – in every circumstance.

Next, we can commit this verse to memory. It’s short and easy (unless you’re like me and memorize the Amplified!)

We can recall times God answered our prayers. Reading Bible stories about God doing seemingly impossible things: separating the Red Sea, healing the sick, raising the dead, and suddenly changing a person’s destiny (such as Mordecai’s) builds faith, too.

Finally, let’s pray for each other. Sometimes others have more faith for our petitions since they’re not emotionally involved. You can share your prayer request with others here by leaving a comment at the end of this post. Please know, you can also email me with prayer requests.

Call upon Him this Christmas season– for nothing is impossible with God.

What do you think?

     • What prayer request(s) seems impossible to you?
     • What’s the biggest (and smallest) thing you’re trusting God for?

     • Will you let us pray with you?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fear Not

From Luke 2: 10 (KJV)

…Fear not…

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:8-11 NIV 1984)

This week we will be memorizing and obeying a small segment from Luke 2:10: simply, “Fear not.”

What are you afraid of?

Taking this in another direction, if I were visited by an angel from heaven, I imagine one of the things I would experience is being self-conscious about the areas I fall short as a Christian.

What about you? Perhaps, year after year after failing to keep your New Year’s resolution to read your Bible every day, you would hang your head in shame believing you’ll never measure up to be what a Christian ought to be.

Or would being in the presence of a heavenly being make you want to hide because you still struggle with that same habit or entangling sin? Maybe you would go to bed that night wishing you were a little bit more loving, a whole lot more giving, or, in short: would stop living as if “it’s all about you.”

Fear not.

God loves you deeply and He’s not disappointed in you. It is only as I write these words that I am reminded of these truths, too. He will never give up on us as long as our hearts are truly devoted to Him and His ways.

 If God were to ask you, “What do you want for Christmas?” would you consider asking for confidence? Ask Him to give you confidence in His ability to help you to become the person He designed you to be.

What do you think?

• In what areas in your life do you need assurance that God will never give up on you?

• Can this Christmas season be one of renewed faith in God’s ability to help you be all He designed you to be?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Do You Still Love Me?

Part 14 of a Segment-by-Challenging-Segment Series on 1 Corinthians 13

1 Corinthians 13:8a (NASB)
Love never fails …

1 Corinthians 13:8a (AMP)
Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].

“Do you still love me?”

How many of us have wondered if a person would still dare to love us even after we broke another promise, or failed to live up to his or her expectations one too many times?

But today’s section of Scripture gives reassurance, doesn’t it? Love (God’s love in us and for us) enables us to love strong and forever; and best of all to know the Love that never fails.

The Phillips translation says it this way:
It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen.

This week we finish our focus on 1 Corinthians 13, one small segment at a time. Wow!

How did you do? I’d love to hear from you.

 Which verses (or segments) were the toughest for you to apply?

 How have your motives changed while focusing on the Love Chapter?

 Do you think others are seeing a change in your behavior?

 More importantly, are others seeing Jesus in you?

Here’s 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 in its entirety:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NASB)

4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,

5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,

6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;

7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails …

And, for those who love the Amplified Bible’s added depth:

4 Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

5 It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

6 It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

7 Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

8 Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].

Friday, December 2, 2011

He Never Looked Back

Part 13 of a Segment-by-Challenging-Segment Series on 1 Corinthians 13

1 Corinthians 13:7d (NASB)
(Love) …endures all things.

1 Corinthians 13:7d (AMP)
And (love) endures everything [without weakening].

“Yes, Father, I will go.”

And at the proper time, Jesus left a perfect existence to live among us. Thirty-three years later, He died an excruciating death – for us.

You may be thinking that I’ve gotten my holidays mixed up. But please bear with me as I speak about enduring love.

I want to write about a love that displays perfect commitment… but how do I accomplish that?  Preparing for this post, I’ve written, and rewritten. Then I deleted almost all of it, only to repeat the cycle over and over again. This type of love …is simply beyond my skills as an aspiring writer to effectively articulate.

As we focus on the last segment of 1 Corinthians 13:7, we will memorize and attempt to obey a quality of love that endures everything without weakening. Who does that? I don’t come close to it. Do you? I mean, I’ll love pretty well for a while, but it doesn’t take much conflict or disappointment in the relationship for me to weaken in my affections.

Jesus persevered in His love while He lived on this earth, and He continued in that love all the way to the cross. And today, He consistently loves me even when I’m not very loveable

The Message translation says it this way:
(Love) … never looks back, but keeps going to the end.

I want to love that way, too.

What do you think?

      Have you experienced the kind of love that endured everything without weakening?

      How does this view of love set you free from performance based love?
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