When I’m feeling a bit down with the blues, mopey and gloomy, I need to hear from my Lord Jesus.  Who better to put His arms around me, assuring me that all will be well?  Good to get reassurances from family and friends; equally to give such to those we love who need a shot in the arm (I don’t mean vaccination necessarily!); but no one satisfies like Jesus.  No one and nothing, plain and simple.

Sounds like the words of an old hymn, doesn’t it?  ‘Jesus loves me, this I know…’  ‘There’s something about that name…’  You can hum others, I’m sure, with all circling back to Jesus. He’s the reason for life, here and now, then and there.

Take a gander at John 10.  Just a few verses, which will give you a lift if you’re feeling somewhat like a wet blanket today.  Gives me a boost or two (still not talking about vax!).  More like a hug from above.  Verses 27-30 offer the best medicine even the Mayo Clinic can’t dispense.

Why not hang out around the neighborhood of Jesus’ words?  Listen up.  Chew on them.  Digest them.  Offer a large slice to someone else.  Imagine this– we can hear Jesus.  His voice.  What He has to say.

About what?  Primarily, that we’re His people.  ‘My sheep hear my voice’ (v.27).  To hear Him is to stand close by, within earshot, focusing on Him and those words from His mouth.  That we’re His own–‘ My sheep…’.  Family in the very best sense of the word.

Then Jesus says that He knows us through and through.  No reason to try to impress Him.  Or cover-up.  Or put on a mask (not referring to pandemic again!).  But be who you are, warts and all.  ‘…and I know them…’ (John 10: 27).

We should follow Him.  Be in His company, walking behind our Master and Lord–‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me’ (v. 27).  Better company you’ll never find, in addition to being our leader par excellence.

If all that isn’t enough, He has gifts for us–‘I give them eternal life…’ (v. 28).  Note that His gift is not earned.  Nothing you have to do to get it.  It’s offered freely.  That’s what gifts are.  Without strings.  No fine print to catch us off guard.  No bait and switch or false advertising.

Only to welcome Him into your life.  With a genuine appreciation for all that Jesus has done for you and me.  Why not?  Have nothing to lose except all that’s rotten in life.  ‘I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can snatch them out of the Father’s hand’ (John 10: 28-29).

His gift is eternal life which no one can take from us.  When we’re His, we’re His.  Settled.  Period.  Just make sure that you’ve accepted Him into your life and that you’re living for Him.  You know this when you want more and more to be like Him and less and less like…well, you know who.

Is Jesus worth trusting in?  Putting all your hope in?  You’ll discover that there’s nothing like His arms around you no matter what!

Thank you, Jesus, for promises made and kept.  Amen.

WHEN THE CHIPS ARE DOWN 2 Chronicles 5-7

When the chips are down, we need only a few words shared with our Lord.  Say what’s on your mind.  Get to the point, speaking directly rather than beating around the bush.  He craves a relationship that’s all in, no holds barred.  Whatever’s good or bad, we’re to come to Him.  His gates are open.  The back porch lights are on.  Doors unlocked.

Does asking you to read 3 chapters in 2 Chronicles seem a bit much?  Well, do it anyway.  Am I getting rude in my old age?  Never mind.   What jumps out at me from these chapters is the short and sweet response of God’s people when dedicating the Temple of the Lord.

Here’s what they say–‘For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever’ (2 Chr. 5:13, 7:3).    Uncomplicated words.  Unpretentious.  Making a long story short (only 5 words in the original Hebrew), reminding themselves of His goodness and never-ending love.  From head to toe, God is good.  All the time.  In all ways.  Even when I can’t see it or figure it out.  Especially then.

For God is good.  He keeps His promises.  His love knows no bounds.  Endures putting up with you…and me.  Forever.  Period.

How about praying all week this Old Testament piece of cake, easy as pie, praise-prayer to our Lord?  Count me in!  ‘For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.’  Do I hear an echo?

Thank you, Jesus, for all your goodness and love.  Amen.

WHEN? Zechariah 12-13

Certain days in our lives stand out.  When we’re born, obviously.  At the other end, ‘…when we have shuffled off this mortal coil’ (from ‘Hamlet’).  And those in-between.  Graduations.  Marriages.  The births of children and grandchildren.  April 15th.  December 25th.  January 1st.  When?  Those certain days.

Have you located Zechariah in your Bible?  He’s one of the Minor Prophets in the Old Testament.  Minor, not in importance, but rather in brevity.   Zechariah contains the most prophecies about the coming Messiah, making him more of a Major Prophet in my estimation.

The reason why this Bible book is so packed with Messiah Jesus is that for far too many generations ancient Israel has eaten its heart out suffering from oodles and caboodles of sin while crying out to the Lord for His help.  Seems like they’ve been hurting forever, as all their own inner resources run on empty, and they realize their need for God.  But when?

So, the Lord wants to make it crystal clear that He’s heard them, He cares and loves them, and gives His Word that that day of freedom and salvation is coming.  It’s on its way.  When?  Only God knows.  But ‘on that day’ death and hell finally meet their match.

The phrase ‘on that day’ gets mentioned 10 times in Zechariah 12 and 13.  A perfect number reminding God’s people of His promised care.  He’ll have the last word over evil and ungodliness.  It’s curtains for Satan and his cohorts.  Their swan song and last hurrah screech and squeal one more time.  But bravos and standing ovation without end are offered to God Himself.

No matter what you’re going through, there’s a day coming when troubles and trials peter out and wither away.  Earthly difficulties will persist for only a day, so to speak.  ‘On that day’ the end of all tight spots and scrapes safely lands.  Living between a rock and a hard place makes its final curtain call.  Kaput!

Applause can be heard from God’s victorious audience.  Cheers of joy, laughter, and praise to our God echo forth through heaven’s halls.  His day has arrived!

Lord Jesus, how we look forward to the day of your return.  Amen. 

SEA OF TROUBLES Zechariah 10

We’ve been at sea on a cruise ship when it’s rock-and-roll on the waves!  Quickly we head back to our stateroom, turning our heads into the ‘head’, then off to bed a little lighter, which is when I order room service to not miss even one meal!  After all, we paid for it…  A true Fischer!

On a more serious note, years ago a neighbor sues us over trees, roots, and property lines.  Now our troubles are on land.  Our insurance company carries us through seven years of litigation.  Not a typo–seven years.  Their longest case.  We’re number one when we least want to be.  Finally, we win that case but not without acquiring anxiety-filled emotional bruises and scars.

Through it all, the Lord Jesus stays with us.  Therefore, we determine to do nothing nasty to these neighbors other than to defend ourselves in court, which we do vehemently.  No manure gets tossed up on their driveway.  No harassing phone calls at 3am.  Not even praying that the Lord would make them sick, die, and disappear.  But how tempting to be mean and rotten as others have been to us.  But we want to follow Jesus and travel His higher road.  As best we can.

What happens?  These neighbors do get sick and die, and then the suit gets settled quickly and eagerly by their heirs.  Our insurance covers every last dime of the multiple thousands of dollars dished out in legal-related bills.  Wait a minute.  Not true.  I do have to buy one stamp, mailing pictures to our attorney!

We experience what’s promised in this Old Testament prophecy–‘He shall pass through the sea of troubles and strike down the waves of the sea…’ (Zech. 10: 11).  The ‘He’ is God Himself.  He goes with us through whatever ‘sea of troubles’ we flail around in nearly drowning.

The next time waves get churned up and I’m tossed about with deep troubles, I’ll have fears, anxiety, and worries.  Sorry about that, but I know myself and so does God.  But sooner or later, somewhere deep within, I’ll hear His comforting and reassuring voice reminding me that He’s got me covered.  By my side.  Holding both my hands.

So, stay the course following Jesus.  Don’t get bitter and nasty with tit-for-tat recriminations.  No matter the outcome.  No matter if the next time we lose.  Jesus never deserts us.  Never.  That’s God’s promise–‘…I am with you always…’ (Matt. 28:20).

Don’t take my word for it.  Take His!

Oh Lord, thank you for standing with me.  No matter what.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.