Joy in January: God vs Fear

Joy in January: God vs Fear

The last in my “Joy in January” series, originally posted in January 2015, is a post written by my youngest “Guest Branch” and my oldest grandchild Kaden. When he wrote it, he was just 8-1/2 y.o. and now he is almost 13 … how can that be? So it’s my delight once again to share this awesome blog. We can all learn from the young ones in the faith, can’t we? By the way, be sure to see Kaden’s “today photo” at the end…yikes!

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children [and grandchildren] are walking in the truth.
3 John 1:4 ESV

It is pure JOY for me to introduce my youngest "Guest Branch" to A Branch in the Vine.  My 8-1/2 year old grandson Kaden is today's blogger.

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Post Christmas Comfort: Fear Not...Emmanuel Finally & Forever (Part 3)

Post Christmas Comfort: Fear Not...Emmanuel Finally & Forever (Part 3)

As the old year is coming to a close and the holiday glitz and cheer have dwindled, what is rushing in?  Anxieties and fears for today and the year yet to come? Then hear these words again from your Creator and Savior:

Fear not, for I am near you!

Fear not, for I am closely associated with you! I've gone through it all too!

And now finally and forever...

Fear not, for I am united with you forever...we are one!

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Post Christmas Comfort: Fear Not! Emmanuel, One of Us (Part 2)

Post Christmas Comfort: Fear Not! Emmanuel, One of Us (Part 2)

As near as God has always been to His people, when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, pierced through and entered our human history, everything changed.

But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman... Galatians 4:4

God came closer still... He became one of us and so He took on our fears, the greatest of which is our separation from Himself.  Even though God was nearby, there was separation...until Jesus!

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Post Christmas Comfort: Fear not...Emmanuel Still! (Part 1)

Post Christmas Comfort: Fear not...Emmanuel Still! (Part 1)

Now that gifts are unwrapped, the food at least half-eaten, the many emotions grabbing at us during the season fading, the loneliness getting deeper and the grief, abandonment, "being left out" -- all having left their wounds...and the dread of bills looming in the back of our minds. We feel lost! So enters in...fear!  Yes, fear!

God had set me up one year to think of fear...

from the terror of a grandchild seeing glimpses of a horror movie on Halloween to a blog by a young mom about the fears for herself and her family....

from the anxieties of aging to the arresting truth, read in a book, that fearlessness is a characteristic of the Holy Spirit in a life...

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Post Christmas Comfort: Fear not...Emmanuel Still! (Part 1)

Post Christmas Comfort: Fear not...Emmanuel Still! (Part 1)

Now that gifts are unwrapped, the food at least half-eaten, the many emotions grabbing at us during the season fading, the loneliness getting deeper and the grief, abandonment, "being left out" -- all having left their wounds...and the dread of bills looming in the back of our minds. We feel lost! So enters in...fear!  Yes, fear!

God had set me up this year to think of fear...

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Fear Not: a Conversation for Every Day of the Year

It's never too late to enter into this conversation. Hear your Lord speak to your heart: My child...

Fear not...you are never alone for I am with you!prayer

Fear not...you are never left out for you are one with Me !

Fear not...you are never condemned, but always accepted! I not only love you...I like you!

Fear not...you are always adequate with My adequacy...no matter how helpless and inadequate you feel!

Fear not...you are alive with my everlasting, indestructible life, no matter how dead you feel inside! I am your Life!

I AM in your "right here, right now," whether it be suffering in a hospital room or struggling over a wardrobe choice in your closet...and everything in between...I am with you!

Lord, I believe, help my unbelief...

You are my Courage, when I am afraid!

You are my Adequacy, when I am helpless and afraid of failing!

You are my Comfort Zone, and nothing You send me is outside of YOU, my Comfort Zone Christ!

You are my words, the Word, when my words fail me!

I invite you, O my King, my indwelling Lord...

into my fears...one by one...moment by moment...day by day...

into my mind and harassing thoughts...

into my nervous system and blood pressure that tends to be like the wind and waves being tossed to and fro...

into each and every thing I face today and for as many days as we walk together on this earth...

I chose YOU afresh this year... this day, my God.  Amen.

The Lord is ever present with us. Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.

Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy... and the God of peace will walk with you. Philippians 4:5b-9 VOICE

Post Christmas Comfort: Fear Not! Emmanuel, One of Us (Part 2)

As near as God has always been to His people, when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, pierced through and entered our human history, everything changed.

But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman... Galatians 4:4

God came closer still... He became one of us and so He took on our fears, the greatest of which is our separation from Himself.  Even though God was nearby, there was separation...until Jesus!

Why were we separated from God?  Our sin, rebellion, independence...yes, of our first parents, but we confirm that choice time after time with our own. And this one of us Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became closely associated with us as the God-Man who died to pay for that independent way of ours.  But not only that, He lived our life...the life we couldn't live.

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New Year Prayer and Encouragement

Frances Havergal
Frances Havergal

I love praise and worship music...and many of our contemporary songs express the heart of what we often go through in our lives. But time and again, what a treat to sink down deep into an old hymn book and enter the depths of communion expressed by saints of old.  One such saint of old is Frances Havergal and here are two of her little known hymns written to be sung at the beginning of a new year.

The first I discovered on facebook a few days ago...and then it just "happened" to be one we sang at church* today.  What a delight!  The second, also sung at church today, thrilled my heart.  In it the recurring theme of fear not discovers me again.  And the reality of God's presence with us pervades both.

Please enjoy, dear brothers and sisters, even if you don't sing.  Enjoy them as a poetic way to pray and worship your way into the year ahead.

Another Year is Dawning

Another year dawning
Another year dawning

Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be In working or in waiting, another year with Thee. Another year of progress, another year of praise, Another year of proving Thy presence all the days.

Another year of mercies, of faithfulness and grace, Another year of gladness in the shining of Thy face; Another year of leaning upon Thy loving breast; Another year of trusting, of quiet, happy rest.

Another year of service, of witness for Thy love, Another year of training for holier work above. Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be On earth, or else in heaven, another year for Thee.

Standing at the Portal

Standing at the portalOf the opening year,Words of comfort meet us,Hushing every fear;Spoken thru the silenceBy our Savior’s voice,Tender, strong and faithful,Making us rejoice.

Refrain

Onward, then, and fear not,Children of the day;For His Word shall never,Never pass away.

Abba
Abba

“I, the Lord, am with thee,Be thou not afraid;I will help and strengthenBe thou not dismayed.Yea, I will uphold theeWith My own right hand;Thou art called and chosenIn My sight to stand.”

Refrain

For the year before us,O what rich supplies!For the poor and needyLiving streams shall rise;For the sad and sinfulShall His grace abound;For the faint and feeblePerfect strength be found.

Refrain

He will never fail us,He will not forsake;For His eternal covenantHe will never break.Resting on the promise,What have we to fear?God is all sufficientFor the coming year.

Refrain [youtuber youtube='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Av5BKbgwbvc']

*Believers Assembly, Bellbrook, OH

Fear Not: a Conversation (a.k.a. prayer) for the New Year

My child...

Fear not...you are never alone for I am with you!

Fear not...you are never left out for you are one with Me !

Fear not...you are never condemned, but always accepted! I not only love you...I like you!

Fear not...you are always adequate with My adequacy...no matter how helpless and inadequate you feel!

Fear not...you are alive with my everlasting, indestructible life, no matter how dead you feel inside! I am your Life!

I AM in your "right here, right now," whether it be suffering in a hospital room or struggling over a wardrobe choice in your closet...and everything in between...I am with you!

Lord, I believe, help my unbelief...

You are my Courage, when I am afraid!

You are my Adequacy, when I am helpless and afraid of failing!

You are my Comfort Zone, and nothing You send me is outside of YOU, my Comfort Zone Christ!

You are my words, the Word, when my words fail me!

I invite you, O my King, my indwelling Lord...

into my fears...one by one...moment by moment...day by day...

into my mind and harassing thoughts...

into my nervous system and blood pressure that tends to be like the wind and waves being tossed to and fro...

into each and every thing I face today and for as many days as we walk together on this earth...

I chose YOU afresh this year, my God.  Amen.

The Lord is ever present with us. Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.

Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy... and the God of peace will walk with you. Philippians 4:5b-9 VOICE

Post Christmas Comfort: Fear Not...Emmanuel Finally & Forever (Part 3)

fear

fear

As the old year is coming to a close and the holiday glitz and cheer have dwindled, what is rushing in?  Anxieties and fears for today and the year yet to come? Then hear these words again from your Creator and Savior:

Fear not, for I am near you!

Fear not, for I am closely associated with you! I've gone through it all too!

And now finally and forever...

Fear not, for I am united with you forever...we are one!

Through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, our Emmanuel, God with Us, we are now in union with God, always and forever.  We are one with HIM!

Through His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension to the right Hand of the Father, Christ made this union possible through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The night before He died, our Lord told His close friends:

...it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate [the Holy Spirit] won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you. John 16:7 NLT

And it is through the indwelling Spirit of God that we are forever united to the Triune God.  So with that in mind then, Jesus could then pray that very night for all of us believers down through the ages,

I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me... I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them. John 17:20-26 NLT

The apostle Paul then later on would expound on this indwelling Spirit of Christ,

And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.... For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God...

Abba

Abba

And what is our spirit like, now that we are united to the indwelling Spirit of God?

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory... Romans 8:9-17 NLT

Did you notice?  It's not a fearful spirit that is afraid of God, but recognizes the sovereign Creator of the universe as our Abba...yes Daddy!!! WOW! So then what about all the other fears we have?

...fear of one another:  does she like me? will they leave me out?

...fear of ourselves: am I adequate? will I fail? will I get cancer?

...fear of material creation: will I have enough to pay the bills this month? will I have enough to last through the rest of my life?

But the Lord describes the spirit He has given us:

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7 AMP

So, of course, we will be afraid in this fearful, fallen world, but we can face our fears with the courage of the indwelling Spirit of Christ...with power for whatever He calls us to, choosing love instead of hate and revenge, and with the stable mind that fixes iteslf on the God of the universe...to whom we are inextricably united.

Why not journal today by listing your most current, more bothersome fears.  Bring them to the Lord, one by one, leaving them in His capable Hands.  Receive what ever words He may say to you about each.  And then rest in the peace that is yours through your indwelling Lord:

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace.In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. John 16:33 NASB