We’re Either Trusting or We’re Fearful

I am not going to quote verses from the Bible about how important it is for us to trust God. That would take up more time to go through than anyone reading this or watching the video would want to spend.

But what I will do is remind everyone of the last line of Kohelet (Ecclesiastes), which says that fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

Now, when we use the term “fear of the Lord” it doesn’t mean to be afraid of him, but to honor and worship him. And with proper worship of God comes trust and faith in him: trust that he is in charge and faith that he will care for you so long as you honor and worship him. For the past five millennia, he has proven we can depend on him.

So why is there so much fear in the world? For example, for the past 5 months, people have been frightened to death over a virus that is deadly to a very minuscule percent of the entire population. People are polarized over politics, much more so than usual, and people are afraid to say anything that represents a godly or worshipful attitude for fear of insulting someone else. It isn’t just your opinion is wrong, it has degraded to the point where now if your opinion is different from mine, you don’t have a right to it!

I believe this general feeling of fearfulness is because we have, as a nation, stopped fearing the Lord. With the loss of that fear, we have also lost wisdom, which is why people wear facemasks while alone in their car, why corporations are jumping on the fear bandwagon because they don’t want to appear to be unconcerned. It is like the story of the Emperor’s new clothes, except instead of the Emperor being naked, the little boy points out that the Emperor’s mask is not doing anything.

God has been kicked out of our schools and our courts, and even in our government, which was formed specifically in order to allow us the freedom to worship as we want to.

Fear of the Lord is gone, and we all know the adage “Nature hates a vacuum”, so when fear of the Lord, meaning to trust and have faith in him, is gone, that space is filled with fear, meaning to be afraid, of everything.

People are too fearful, and that fear grows within us. When we add the lack of control and sense of helplessness that is generated by the media reports, designed to infuriate and upset people, we become violent. The racism-based riots we have been suffering with recently, none of which are new or different from the ones in the 1960s, aren’t so much a result of the unfortunate killing of a man, but more so from being the “straw that broke the camel’s back”, i.e. there is so much repressed anger and fear from the pandemic, or I should say media coverage and leadership squabbling over the pandemic, that the white police action causing the death of a black man just caused it all to come out.

That is my opinion, of course, and you don’t have to agree with it, but there is so much repressed anger and a general fearfulness in this country that the people are a powder keg just waiting for a spark to set them off.

We need to remember that God is in charge, and even when bad things are happening, it doesn’t mean he isn’t in charge. It usually means that he is watching and waiting for the right moment to intervene. History shows that often, in truth almost always, it takes a terrible catastrophe to occur before people begin to see they are truly powerless and the only power they can rely on is God’s power to save.

That is the difference between being fearful and being fearless- we are always powerless and when you don’t have God watching your back, that powerlessness is frightening. But, when you know God is on your side, you don’t have to trust in your own power because in our weakness, his strength is made manifest (I can’t take credit for that statement- it was said by that nice, Jewish tentmaker from Tarsus.)

So when you see someone afraid of the pandemic, or the riots, or anything, ask them why they don’t trust in God to watch over them. I’ll bet the most fearful people are the least faithful ones, and the least fearful people are the most faithful.

The way to overcome fear is not trusting in your own strength and trusting in God. He WILL take care of you- you only need to ask him.

Even in the valley of the shadow of death, he is there to protect and care for you.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe and share this ministry with others.  I welcome your comments and want to remind you, again, that you will find comfort through believing God is always watching out for you.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

When the Hot Tub Stops Working

We got back from a long weekend in Washington, DC attending an annual holiday party the company I work for throws. It’ s a good company, good people, and they give a good party.

All during a long day of travelling we looked forward to getting home and relaxing in our hot tub. In fact, one of the reasons we bought this house was because there was a hot tub.

So, need I ask you to guess what happened last night? You’ve got it- the water jets didn’t work. I wasn’t even in the tub, and when I pushed the button to turn on the jets, nothing happened. I reset the breakers, and still nothing happened. The water is hot, but that’s it. From relaxing spa to outside bathtub.

We enjoyed the tub just last week, and now it’s broken. More money we didn’t expect to spend, and worse than that, there’s the disappointment and frustration that comes along with it.

There was no warning. No jets haphazardly going on and off, no bad sounds, no nothin’!  It worked one day, then the next day it didn’t.

Isn’t that how life is? Often there are no warnings, no advanced notice. You are doing something you enjoy one day, and then BAM!! It’s gone! The hot tub doesn’t work, the tire is flat, you spouse is dead. All the same, in one respect- you suffer the loss of something you didn’t expect to lose.

Of course, losing a loved one is much worse than having to fix the hot tub, but emotionally it hits the same spot. What we liked, what we were used to having whenever we wanted, what we expected to be able to do…gone in a second. Just like that!

We do have some warning: Yeshua tells us the parable about a man who was so proud of all the things he was going to do and Yeshua called him foolish because his soul was going to be required of him that very night. I like to tell a funny, and yet very true, saying: If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.

That’s how life is, whether you are a God-fearing person or not. I think a big difference between those of us who worship the Lord and those who worship the world is that the world can only promise you what you can have when you are alive. God can promise you things that are eternal. Finite vs. infinite.

It’s no wonder that people can get so worked up over missing something worldly if they don’t have an eternal perspective on their life. After all, when all you have is what you have and you lose it, that’s all there is. You had it, now you don’t, and you will probably never have it again. There’s nothing you can do to fix it and there’s nothing else to replace it.

However, if you worship God and accept the grace He offers through Messiah Yeshua, you will spend eternity in total joy and peace. It still stinks that my lousy hot tub isn’t working, but in light of the eternal picture, I can get by.

That’s one of the reasons why I began to search for God when I was in my 40’s and fed up with this life and all the tsouris it brings. I saw people who were Believers and had the same problems I did, some much worse, but they endured with dignity and grace (I am still working to achieve that level. Believe me, I am not even close) and suffered through whatever they were experiencing well. I wanted the inner peace that they had.

I don’t do a good job of handling frustration and disappointment, but I am getting better. The important thing is that I understand the difference between now and forever, and although I appreciate what I have in this world, I do not count on it. Not that I am pessimistic, I am just focused more on things that are eternal and less on those that are physical. The here and now is not something we should ignore, and we should always be thankful for what we have, but the down the road and forever is what God promises us and that is better.

We should be aware of the present, mindful of the past, and focused on the future. It’s OK to make plans; in fact, I believe that a sign of faithfulness is not just to make plans, but to go forward with them even if you aren’t fully assured they will work. That is a real sign of faith, just like Abraham left all he knew to go somewhere he didn’t know, just like Moses followed the cloud, not knowing where it would lead, just like David faced Goliath counting not on his power but on God’s, just like Gideon left behind the vast majority of the men following him to do battle with only a handful, just like Yochanan, Kefa, Shimon, Mattitayu and the other Talmudim (Students, Apostles)  left work and family to follow Yeshua. They knew and enjoyed what they had, but they left it in a heartbeat to have the greater, infinite prize: salvation, and eternity with God.

Being saved doesn’t mean you will have to give up the hot tub’s in your life, but you should be prepared to lose things that are of the world because to be of God is to be outside and separate from the world. The world is today and God is tomorrow. The world is now and God is forever.  The world promises a lifetime in a cursed and difficult place full of loss and sadness and God promises eternity in paradise.

Not a very hard choice when you put them side-by-side, is it?  So deal with the hardships and losses, no matter how significant or insignificant, with your focus not on what was lost but on what is to come. Shaul said that he learned how to be satisfied in any situation; perhaps his secret was that he kept focused on the “yet-to-be” instead of the “not-any-more.”