Lose your anxiety

“The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:5-7.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: 1 Kings 15, 2 Chronicles 13-14, and Philippians 4.

This is a hard one to live out, don’t you think?

What does our anxiety reveal about us?  With reference to today’s verses, it would imply that we haven’t trusted God enough.

This verse tells me that if I am trusting right, I will have God’s peace.  Note that it doesn’t say that we will always get what we want.

Therein is the hard part.  We present and petition and are persistent…….and then what we wanted doesn’t happen.  We become disappointed with God.  How shallow of us!

God does answer prayer.  He will give us exactly what we asked for OR its equivalent.  I don’t get the new car I wanted but I do get to ride with someone else.  Maybe not having a car or riding where I was going was God’s best for me.  Will I accept His Way?

Paul wrestled in this area regarding what he called, “the thorn in the flesh.”  Probably an ailment that was altering his lifestyle.  Later Paul writes of being content in whatever situation he’s in.  God is with him no matter what is going on.  And God knows best.

Good words for me.  My anxious moments are when I have rejected God’s answer to my prayer when it differs from my projected answer.

“Lord, correct me, I beg.  Forgive me for trusting me to give me peace.  My peace must be in Your Ways.  Show me what I need to do.  Deny me that which corrupts me.  Which lessens my hold on You.  I plead for Your Peace.  Help me to live within Your confines with rejoicing.”

My anxieties reveal spiritual deficiencies.

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Humble pie

“The leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, ‘The Lord is just.’”  2 Chronicles 12:6.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: 1 Kings 13-14, 2 Chronicles 12, and Philippians 3.

God is watching our attitudes.

Great attitude displayed in this verse.  God had judged them harshly and they are saying that they deserved it.

Am I ready to admit that I am mistaken?  Do I always want to be right?  Sometimes and often.

I often fool myself into thinking that my good qualities outweigh my not-so-good qualities.  I imagine God seeing the balance sheet reflecting more goods than bads.

God doesn’t see things that way.  He sees what I really am………..and it’s not good.  I have no business thinking that my being good carries weight with Him.

God would rather that I see my weaknesses.  This will keep me from self-righteousness.  I will be certain that I absolutely need Him involved in all that I do or else I will mess things up.  Even if things go good, I’m likely to take credit for it and ignore God.

“I am a sinner deserving nothing from You, Father.  Yet You took care of my sin problem.  You carried them away as far as the East is from the West.  They are no more.  Hallelujah!  I turn to You in weakness and ask for Your Holy Spirit to overwhelm my life.  To make it worthy of being Your child.  I need You every second.”

Has anyone ever suggested that you/I are humble?  Why not?

 

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Why did that happen to me?

“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.”  Philippians 1:12.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Song of Solomon 5-8, and Philippians 1.

God has plans for us.

Silly us when we try to make our own plans.  We do not know best.

If we cling to God’s leadership He will see that we are exactly where He wants us to be.  It may well not be the place we envisioned being BUT it’s His place.

Paul is in prison.  On at least one occasion, an angel appeared and his chains were removed and he escaped.  That isn’t happening this time but Paul has used the change of plans to please God.  Others in his current midst have been exposed to the Gospel.

God used the “inconvenience” of jail time to spread the Gospel there.  It wouldn’t have worked otherwise.

“Lord, You know best.  Forgive me for being troubled by “inconveniences” that come along.  You have Your Own ways of getting my attention.  Thank You for that.  Help me to trust You second by second.  I love You, Lord.”

God has a plan for my life.  Will I let it play out?

 

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How often should I pray?

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”  Ephesians 6:18.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Song of Solomon 1-4, and Ephesians 6.

Today’s verse answers that question, don’t you think?

The answers I see are “on all occasions” and “always.”

I have gotten comfortable with the suggested frequency, by praying for things as they happen.

When concerns come to mind I try to pray for them then.  No need to wait.  If alone, I will pray out loud.  If with others, I pray silently.

When I am not thinking about “concerns,” I have opportunity to pray for blessings.  The sun is shining.  My truck is working.  I’ve had a good meal.

Our tendency is to limit our prayers to the “big” things.  That, to me, is part-time praying.  If God is in life’s details, and He is, my praying can be frequent.

As I approach an event I am thinking about it.  Within that event are things to pray about.  I can be thankful for the opportunity.  I can pray for the folks who will be involved with me at the event. Numerous praying possibilities.

The opportunities for prayer are ongoing and endless.  I must move my prayer life to the full-time level.

“Lord, thank You for Ephesians.  Thank You for the practical suggestions about praying to You.  I must increase my frequency.  I want a non-stop relationship to You.  I love You.  Forgive me for being so easily consumed apart from You.  It is not where I want to be.  I love You, Lord.  I praise You, Father.”

I must increase my praying frequency.

 

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Smartening up

“But the Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.”  Psalm 94:22.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Ecclesiastes 10-12, Psalm 94, and Ephesians 5.

This speaks of someone who did not trust God before but now has seen the error of their ways.

I tend to learn the hard way on some things.  I know that if I stay up late that I will be tired the next day.  I know it but I will sometimes stay up late anyhow.

I know Who God is.  I know of His greatness and I know of His goodness to me.  BUT will I allow Him to be the One I trust?

There are many things to trust other than God: my pension, my insurance, my health, etc.  Those are counterfeit gods with an expiration date.

God is not going anywhere.  He will always be.

My trust must not be in flux.  In this verse, the Lord “has become” his fortress.  Those other things let him down.  He has now pledged his life to the One who is certain.

I must cling to God.  I must not let other gods have any foothold in my life.

The news is filled each day with demises of counterfeit gods.  I must not be guilty of clinging to any of them.

“Lord, I need You every second.  I cannot put my trust anywhere else.  I do not know my future.  I want my future to be filled with You so that I live right.  Help me, God, I beg.”

The Lord has become my fortress and I must live accordingly.

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Do not!

“In your anger do not sin.  Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”  Ephesians 4:26-27.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: Ecclesiastes 7-9, and Ephesians 4.

Plenty of “Do not’s” in today’s verses.

It is very important to evaluate my behavior.  I drift into destruction very easily.  Sometimes things are building up and I don’t realize it until entrenched trouble takes over.

Praying without ceasing makes perfect sense when it comes to fighting off the devil’s attempts to derail me from God.  I can’t pray very well in the midst of unkind words and/or deeds.  I can’t drive recklessly and then ask for God’s blessing.

I need to be clean with Him.  I need to be seeking Him all along my day.

I have had days where, after being hours into them, I wonder where my connection to God was during them.  I had begun, during those disconnected times, to float on my own wind.   Pure folly.

I need to be perpetually conscience that the enemy is lurking.  He begs for an opening.  He will figure out the weak spots and pour in if I’m not alert.  He must never be taken lightly.

“Lord, I need You every second of the day ahead.  I cling to You now.  Prick my conscience so that I can shore up my many weak spots in Your strength.  I love being directed connected to You.”

Are our defenses ready for the attacks of the devil?

 

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Beyond your wildest dream

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…” Ephesians 3:20.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Ecclesiastes 4-6, Psalm 18, and Ephesians 3.

My dreams are usually connected to something that has happened.

What Paul is talking about here are things beyond our imagination.

Part of our confusion about the after-life is that we imagine it in our own terms.  We look around us and imagine what God could make it like.  We have no idea!

I think that in our lives we have moments where we get a little peak at what the after-life might be like.  It happened to me one time when walking through a graveyard to a burial site.  Leading the way was a saxophone player with great musical skills.  What he was playing I don’t remember but it was a moment when I thought the heavens opened and a wonderful light shone on the gathering.

I have thought on recent days about a time ahead when there will be no decay, no pain, and no suffering.  In our midst now everything is terminal.  It will not last forever.  BUT in what God is preparing for us NOTHING will be terminal.

God is great.  I bask in the future I will have with Him.

“Lord, I love You.  Thank You for caring for me.  Thank You for the glowing future I will have.  I can’t imagine what You have prepared.   I am looking forward to the day I’m in Your midst.  Hallelujah!”

What an after-life He has planned for us!

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