Hi!

15 May

Fearless is a blog dedicated to the truth that God has told us over and over again in His Word:  FEAR NOT.  We have been created to walk fearlessly secure in an intimate love relationship with Jesus Christ.  The question is…how???

How do we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Savior and shrink in the areas of fear and insecurity in our lives?  The answer is simple–and difficult:  We look into the Word of God, receive it, and apply it in our lives through dependence on God.  Please join me on this adventure trek through the Word of God!

–Susan Jean Stevens

Fear Not!

12 May

1But now thus saith

       the Lord that created thee, O Jacob,

       and he that formed thee, O Israel,

Fear not:

        for I have redeemed thee,

       I have called thee by thy name;

          thou art mine.

The But now of 43:1 refers back to chapter 42 when God gave Jacob up to the looters and Israel over to the plunderers—He poured his anger upon them when they failed to hear and see.

But now God says, it is a new season and you need not fear. Fear, yare’, is a Hebrew word which means to morally revere and to causatively be frightened. It is used here in its causative sense. I am always a bit surprised to learn that Fear Not, which sounds like an order, is not written in the imperative, but in the Qal Imperfect tense, which is a simple tense written about a continuous or repeated condition.

I would imagine that God does not give us an order, because we perhaps are not capable of carrying it out, although He does give us four reasons ascending in prominence so that we can look at our fear rationally.

  1. God created us. The verb, bara’, is actually written in the Qal Active Participle tense which would read literally: God, creating you, Jacob. Why would God not take care of that which He has created?
  2. God formed us. The verb, yatsar, is also written in the Qal Active Participle tense which would read literally: God, forming you. This is the word used for a potter molding his clay. God is continually forming us into His image. Why would God not take care of that which He is forming?
  3. God redeemed us. The verb, ga’al, is written in the Qal Perfect tense, which signifies a completed act. He bought back the Israelites from captivity and paid the ultimate price on the cross for us to be freed from the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13) and be bought out of our captivity as well.
  4. God calls us by name. This verb, qara’, is also written in the Qal Perfect tense, which signifies a completed act. To be called by His name implies that He has intimate knowledge of us, that He has a loving friendship with us, that we belong to Him, that we are part of His family, and that we are created in His likeness.

What amazing reasons not to be frightened! And God gives us one more in verse 5:

       5. Fear not: for I am with thee. The God of all the universe is with us RIGHT NOW!

Life as a Metro System

9 May

Sometimes my life and interests seem so fragmented and even random.  I did the diagram below to try to make some sense out of my life and see where strands come together.

One thing leads to another, for example I’m doing a deep study on the book of Isaiah, which leads me to a course on Bible Arcing where you connect the propositions in the verses with one of 18 Logical Relationships to help with the understanding of Scripture.  I’M TERRIBLE AT IT! I mean it’s kind of frightening how bad I am at it.

This led me to apply what I know about Growth Mindset to my work.  I remind myself that I’m not good at this, YET!

Knowing what I know about scaffolding, or supporting, learners, I decided to do sentence diagramming as it too depends upon logical relationships, but is easier than Bible Arcing. I also felt like I had to learn more about learning, so I am taking two courses from Coursera: Learning How to Learn: Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Master Tough Subjects and Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential. (These courses are free and from well-known universities. If you haven’t taken advantage of free courses called MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) offered by many of the best universities in the world, you should check it out.)

One powerful tool that has come out of this is that I am now learning the Pomodoro Method, which is a simple, but effective method of keeping you focused and on track in your learning.

All of this came out of the diagram I made–My Life as a Metro System–to help me to perhaps see and understand God’s purpose for my life and my desire to study Scripture well. I’m not saying that I understand His purpose, but I am loving digging deeper into the Scriptures.

Iron Sharpens Iron

21 Apr

Unknown Beauty: The closer you look, the more you see.

 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17

I am so grateful for friends who move me toward a deeper relationship with the Lord. I’m thankful to my friend Becky, who has opened up the world of listening to Christian books to me, which has led to me reading books out loud and making my own audio books.  (That sounds much grander than it is; I’ve just gotten started.)

My friend, Vicki, and I Facebook Message back and forth while we each have our morning quiet time/devotional/Bible study/prayer time, encouraging each other in our study, sharing books we’ve found on Amazon (You should see our Wishlists!), and yesterday encouraging one another to take a Bible course.

I just finished the first module on Bible Arcing, which is a method of looking at the Scripture and coding it relationally to see the flow of God’s Word throughout the Bible and better understand it. I’d been using Howard Hendrick’s method of Bible Study, but Bible Arcing is Hendricks on steroids. The course is only $10 and is a real strain on (my) brain, but I can only see marvelous things coming out of it for my study of Isaiah.

Just wanted to share the joy.

Finally, I Can Cross This Off My To-Do List!

20 Apr

When I published Fearless on Kindle in 2013 soon after publishing it on Create Space, I just assumed that it would format correctly as I had it in the paper version. In 2015 I found out that it was full of formatting errors on Kindle.

Reformatting Fearless for Kindle has been on EVERY to-do list I’ve made since then, and I finally spent three days getting it right.  It is now formatted correctly.  It is available for purchase on Amazon for $5.99.  If you purchased it previously, improperly formatted, please let me know and I will see if I can figure out how to e-mail you the correctly formatted version for free.

Bind Us Together, Lord

7 Apr

 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

For many years, I thought this verse meant if we just kind of sit and wait patiently, without striving, God would renew our strength to help us get through those tough times when we are worn down to nothing.

But. No.

The word wait, qavah, means to bind together by twisting. When we bind ourselves together with the Lord by twisting, He renews our strength. Renew written in the tense it is written, the Hiphil Imperfect, means that God will exchange our strength for His.  It is through the binding together that this happens.

BIND US TOGETHER, Lord, Bind us together
With cords that cannot be broken.
Bind us together, Lord,
Bind us together,
Bind us together with love.

 

Eternity in our Hearts

25 Mar

For me to live is Christ [His life in me], and to die is gain [the gain of the glory of eternity]. Philippians 1:21 Amp

At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door.  We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure.  We cannot mingle with the splendours we see.  But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so.  Some day, God willing, we shall get in. – C.S. Lewis

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also has planted eternity in men’s hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy], yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

Como, James T. C.S. Lewis at the Breakfast Table and Other Reminiscences. New York: Collier, 1979. Print.

My New Favorite Word – Compassionated

14 Mar

Passion Flower Growing in Costa Rica

O Lord, be gracious to us; we have waited [expectantly] for You. Be the arm [of Your servants—their strength and defense] every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble. Isaiah 33:2 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

One of the meanings of the word gracious, chanan, in this verse is compassionated. Not only is that a great word and a new one to me, but it’s written as a command.  Isaiah is commanding God to be compassionated toward us. We all know the meaning of the word opinionated–full of opinions.  Isaiah is asking, no commanding, God to be full of compassion toward us.

compassion (n.) mid-14c., from Old French compassion “sympathy, pity” (12c.), from Late Latin compassionem (nominative compassio) “sympathy,” noun of state from past participle stem of compati “to feel pity,” from com “with, together” (see com-) + pati “to suffer” (see passion).

passion (n.) late 12c., “sufferings of Christ on the Cross,” from Old French passion “Christ’s passion, physical suffering” (10c.), from Late Latin passionem (nominative passio) “suffering, enduring,” from past participle stem of Latin pati “to suffer, endure,” possibly from PIE root *pe(i) “to hurt” (see fiend).

Sense extended to sufferings of martyrs, and suffering generally, by early 13c.; meaning “strong emotion, desire” is attested from late 14c., from Late Latin use of passio to render Greek pathos. Replaced Old English þolung (used in glosses to render Latin passio), literally “suffering,” from þolian (v.) “to endure.” Sense of “sexual love” first attested 1580s; that of “strong liking, enthusiasm, predilection” is from 1630s. The passion-flower so called from 1630s.

The name passionflower — flos passionis — arose from the supposed resemblance of the corona to the crown of thorns, and of the other parts of the flower to the nails, or wounds, while the five sepals and five petals were taken to symbolize the ten apostles — Peter … and Judas … being left out of the reckoning. [“Encyclopaedia Britannica,” 1885]

Latin compassio is an ecclesiastical loan-translation of Greek sympatheia (see sympathy). An Old English loan-translation of compassion was efenðrowung.

I pray (not command) that the Lord be compassionated with us today. And that we be compassionated with one another due to the price Jesus paid on the cross for us.