Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Little Tony and Pastor James have recently posted blogs that talked about fears and trusting. If you haven't read them yet, do so. Both are very insightful. How interesting that tonight, I am teaching about one of the battles that the Christian must overcome and that is FEAR.

A recent article listed over 500 fears (phobias) that haunt the human soul. Some are as common as the fear of pain (agliophobia); others as rare as the fear of frogs (ranidaphobia). What do you fear at this time in your life? Franklin D. Roosevelt said, "We have nothing to fear, but fear itself." (phobaphobia, by the way) I don't think our society is buying it. With the stock market, environmental warnings, political extremism, nuclear threats, random shootings, terrorism, diseases, etc. etc, etc, the motto of our age might read, "Be afraid, -- be very afraid."

It is easy for any of us as Christians to fall into the fears of the age. Too often we are trembling with the masses. Why, when from Genesis to Revelation, we are encouraged to boldness, confidence, courage, and peace. First I think we need to raise our sights and focus on truth. Help us, Lord, to remember the many verses that say our Father will never leave us alone or forsake us -- or have we forgotten?

Secondly, we need to press in close to God. Like LT said in his blog, knowing that I was with my dad (grandpa) I knew I would always be OK. When fears rise up, we all need to be with our Father. Safety, comfort, courage and peace are only found in the Father's embrace.

Lastly, we must rest in God's promises. When you wake up in the middle of the night, don't turn on TV or read the paper, open up God's Word and let the truth sooth your troubled spirit. For every phobia, God gives a promise and for every terror, He holds a triumph.

Up North Wisdom says most things we fear never come to pass. I know that what I share with you is easy to say and hard to do. But the truth is still truth and will set us free is we will receive it. Our worries will leave us restless and troubled. We would do well to learn as the Psalmist did: "God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea". (Psalm 46:1,2)

Fill us today, Lord, with the antidote for fear -- Your perfect love. Blessings.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Day To Remember (and Forget)

We have much to be thankful for, don't we? We live in a country that is free and we need to remember that there was a price paid for that freedom and there is still a price to pay today. We need to remember and honor and thank God that we have the opportunity to live in such a country as this. And remember that so many have died for our freedoms. For those of you who have ever served in the Armed Forces whether in war or not, I salute you and and say "thank you" from the bottom of my heart for your service to our country.

Why is it that the things we need to remember, we tend to forget and the things we need to forget, we tend to remember. What do we need to forget? These things: we need to forget our resentments. They will eventually render you ineffective for Christian service. We need to forget our worries. Constant worry as a person's companion is really a disguised kind of atheism, an affirmation that we really don't believe in God's control, direction and guidance for our lives.

Next, let's forget about "our" rights and learn to be givers instead of takers. Finally, let's learn to forget our failures. They will haunt you to your grave if you let them. Instead, remember God's Word that teaches there is always a starting over. Plant His Word deep in your heart and be free from the past.

Then there is a time to remember: First, remember the duel nature we all have. We do good and then we blow it. You all know what I am talking about. Thank God for the truth of I John I:9 that says if confess our sins, God will forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Then remember how God has brought you through the difficult times in the past. And remember Romans 8:28 that says all in all things (remember the "in" is not "for") God works for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose. You know that's true, don't you?

Then remember the strength that is available to each of us. The Word says we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. Then, finally, remember to persevere. We all have a ways to go and grow, don't we. But like Paul, we must keep pressing on towards the goal. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can and will be over comers in this life. We can not only survive but we can advance towards the good things that God has ready for us.

So Up North Wisdom says: Don't give up, friends. You may not be the person you want to be yet, but, hopefully, you can say you are not the person you used to be either. So trust in the Lord with all your heart and remember this: THE BEST IS YET TO COME!! Have a great Memorial Day weekend.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rough Weather Fishing

It has been a while since my last blog. Jeanne and I were in Hawaii for nine days and then I was fishing for a couple of days with my son, Chet, and my son-in-law, Tim, and friend Gary in the UP of Michigan. The weather contrast was dramatic. From several days of 85 degrees to 32 degrees and snowy all day. Will that get me some sympathy? I didn't think so.

Vacation in paradise speaks for itself. The fishing trip was interesting. I don't recall fishing in such adverse circumstances in a long time. When I say cold and miserable, I mean it. The wind was howling and snow was falling. Yet, we had the best fishing in recent memory. We couldn't keep the fish off of our bait. We caught fish to eat at the cabin and each of us took back a lot of fish fillets as well. So, what's the point?

Just this -- We have found the best fishing is almost always when the weather is rough and not when it is sunny and nice. I think evangelism is like that. It is nice to just sit here in church on Sunday mornings and hope God sends people through our doors to hear the Gospel. And some do. But effective evangelism for the most part is going where the people are and that means moving beyond our comfort zones. We don't like to do that. It can take us into rough situations and that makes us uncomfortable. However, that is precisely where the "fish" are.

Jesus said that the fields are ripe for harvest but the harvesters are few. Up North Wisdom says there weren't many fishermen on the lake the two days we were catching so many fish. The world (your world) is hungry for Christ even if they don't know it. Are you ready to get out of your comfort zone and share the good news when the opportunity presents itself? Ask God to show you where the "fish" are and then go fishing even if the weather, so to speak, is rough. God has already prepared the way. Blessings!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Whose Idea?

I heard an interesting talk presentation on public radio this morning that talked about peoples' ideas about God. After a lot of useless (in my mind) talk, the basic premise arrived at was that everyone's ideas of God were all valid. No right ideas and no wrong ideas. No wrong ones that is, unless you would choose to believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no person comes to the Father, except through Him. Then, we were told, you would be wrong.

Interesting that what the world calls the wrong idea is the only one that is right and true. Is Christianity that exclusive? Yes, if you believe that the way to eternal life is narrow and the way to destruction is broad. When there is so much today that could be discouraging to the Christian, the thing I really like is that it is becoming increasingly harder to "ride the fence" so-to-speak when it comes to what you believe. The time is now when it is going to "cost" to make the claim to Christianity. I think the church is up to it, don't you?

Up North Wisdom says: Let's not be like those Paul talked about in Romans when he said that the "thinkers" of his time professed themselves to be very wise, but in reality they were "fools". Wow! When the world attacks the authority of God's Word now more than ever, we must be committed now more than ever to being people of the Word. Will it be easy? No. But with power of the Holy Spirit and putting on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6) we will not only survive but will be more than conquerors for the sake of God's Kingdom. It's exciting. The best is yet to come! Believe it.