Fear is optional

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said my pastor this morning. “For God did not give us a Spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).”

Don’t you think our world could use a little less fear, and a little more power and love and sound-mindedness?*

Uncertainty is unavoidable, but fear is optional.

Do you know why? It’s because of the God we serve. We serve a God who parts the waves and shakes the solid ground, the God who at a word would stop the sun or send down chariots from heaven. We serve a God who holds a host of angels at his command and formed the earth with his breath, the God who makes water spring from rocks in the desert and lets bread fall like rain from heaven.

We serve the God who holds the world in his hands yet catches the sparrow before it falls, the God who reversed places to take the curse we deserved. We serve the God who conquered death, who went through hell and back for me and crushed the darkness beneath his heel like an insect.

This is why, while uncertainty is certain in this broken world of ours, we do not have to be afraid, because this God is on our side. Our sovereign Lord has become our friend.

I am reminded of the old hymn:

Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

That’s power, isn’t it? To know that that God is the one who is with me. Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…” How little do we take advantage of that power!

When I was a little girl, I often fantasized about what it would be like in heaven to meet Moses, and Abraham, and Peter, and Paul, and to ask them, “What was it likeWhat was it like, to have the literal voice of God ringing in your ears, to hear his voice and commands and to carry out his work directly?”

Someone I said this to once responded: “I think maybe they’ll say, ‘No, you tell me what it was like, to have the literal spirit of God dwelling inside you?”

How quickly we forget! How quickly we take it for granted! How often do we let the power of God blow our minds? How often do we let his love ravish us, sweep us away on his tide of grace? His love and faithfulness, to never give up on us, never let us go, to see us through to the end as we “run with endurance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1).”

Uncertainty is unavoidable, but fear is optional. He takes our fear, and fills us with his spirit–with love, and power, and a sound mind. May you never lose your wonder at his grace.

Blessings,
–Bre


*Spell-check isn’t underlining it, so I’m going to assume it’s a word.

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There is a music inside me…

There is a music inside me,
free of thought and language:
a voice that sings–
But lacking instrument,
this sparrow lacks her wings.

There is a magic inside me,
dancing like sparks from the fire:
a power that burns–
Though trapped by ignorance,
there’s still something in me that yearns.

There is a tempest inside me,
raging with wind and with fire:
turbulent mind-storm.
Thunder cracks, lonely and loud.
Jesus, get rid of this thorn!

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A Plethora of Poetry!

April, as knows anyone familiar with the blogging hemisphere, is NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month! An English teacher of mine challenged me to write a poem a day, and despite a lot of crazy stuff going on this month and the extreme likelihood of acute lack of sleep in the last few weeks due to my show this last weekend, I decided to give it a go. This is the last one I wrote for the month, and somehow it seemed fitting to close out a month of this writing exercise that really challenged me in a great way. It’s a little more playful and sing-songy than many of my others, as well as not so personal, which makes it easier to share.

Anyway, without further ado, I present “Paper Wings: An Ode to Books.”

Sequestered in a corner
they make the world go round
In someone else’s problems
my own no longer found.

They are ocean waves of power
or portholes of escape
Ideas yet unpondered
or dreams yet to be made.

I take flight on paper wings
Fresh eyes behold the view
Exposed to these unheard-of things
Books have now become my shoes.

I may be sharing more poems in the future. Depends how brave I get. Blessings!

–Bre

When Jesus Wept: Part One of Four

11.35

 

John 11:35 is the shortest verse in the Bible. But behind those two little words, there lies a powerful theology. Here is part one of the story.

 

Lazarus laid in the bed, his sisters hovering over him. Martha, the elder, the ever-busy one, was bustling around him, trying to make him comfortable–fetching him water, another blanket. Though she knew by now–they all did–that it was pointless, she stubbornly refused to give up.

Mary was sitting by his side. No tears now. She put her hand on his beneath the sheets, but he couldn’t feel it. All he could feel was the pain, and he was ready now. Ready for it to stop. Ready to give in. Ready to surrender, to leave this broken body.

But he couldn’t yet. Jesus wasn’t here yet.

Jesus might be able to heal him. He’d done miracles before. Those who’d been blind all their lives could suddenly see. Those who’d never learned to walk were dancing in the streets. But even if he couldn’t, he had to say goodbye.

Because Jesus, to him, was more than a teacher, more than a prophet. More than a preacher, a revolutionary, even a Messiah. Jesus was a friend, and he loved him dearly.

Jesus would come. He had to come. He had to.

That was why Lazarus was holding on.

But he could feel himself slipping away. Jesus should have been here by now. The message had been sent two days ago. What if…

Lazarus’ thoughts dissolved in another round of wracking coughs. Martha ran to fetch him more water, and he didn’t have the breath to tell her not to waste the time. The light was already drawing nearer, spots dancing before his vision as his sister’s face faded.

Jesus hadn’t come.

And Lazarus was gone.

 

Out of the nothing, he heard a voice. A familiar voice, it seemed, but he couldn’t place it.

“Lazarus, come out.”

“Is that you, Jesus?” He’d come! But how…why was everything dark? What was that bright light? Why was he in a cave? And good heavens, WHAT was he WEARING??

“Lazarus.”

He stood, carefully, loosening the tight wrappings enough to walk, and moved toward the light. Blinking, he stepped into the sun.

As his eyes adjusted, he saw his sister’s teary faces, suddenly full of joy. Running toward him, they nearly knocked him over with a huge hug. “You’re back,” Martha choked. Mary was too overcome to speak.

He looked around, and saw them all, his friends, his parents, his cousins and their wives. Standing there in shock as the dead man walked out of his own tomb.

And then his eyes found Jesus.

The prophet was standing there, with red eyes and a blotchy face. His eyes glistened, and Lazarus went to him.

“You came,” he breathed.

Mundane Announcement and Powerful Words

Announcement first.

Basically, I just wanted to clear up a few things on regularity of posts. There will probably be some fluctuation, but for my own sake I like to keep things pretty regular. For the most part, you can expect a written post (most) Sundays. I also want to post quotes, lyrics, verses, etc. every Thursday. Because seriously, what are my words compared to the word of God?

In addition, for those of you who like to know a little bit about whose words you’re reading, I’ve set up a page “about me” that you can view here.