Archive for July, 2009

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Fifteenth in the series Get close to God

 

 Worry, anxiety, nervousness, and uneasiness are all related and all come from one source-fear.    While fear can be a healthy safeguard that keeps us alive, most of our fears do not emerge from life threatening situations.  The fear of failure, not being in control, running out of money, or having to cope outside our comfort zone can also create  gnawing emotional pain that robs our peace of mind.  Full blown anxiety may need counseling or medication to treat, but this article is going to deal with day to day fretting, which can still hold us back and bring us down.  Being concerned is one thing, but according to Webster, fretting also means to become eaten, worn away, corroded, or agitated.  That’s a pretty good description of what worrying can do to us, isn’t it?

When I wrote the third article in this series back in October, Why are you so afraid? How is it that you have no faith?, I came to the conclusion that my fears are the result of not trusting in God.  So why don’t I trust the Lord more?  It’s not that I think he isn’t able or that he’s not paying attention.  Maybe it’s because I’m afraid of what he will allow or put me through.  Or maybe I think it’s up to me to pray more, trust more, or work harder so things will turn out OK, and since I always fall short in these areas God will just let things fall apart.

I need to realize that nothing happens to me that my Heavenly Father doesn’t orchestrate or authorize, but also that everything that happens to me will work out for the best, even when I’m not being the perfect Christian.  We are going through the book of Ruth at church in a series called “Nothing is Ordinary.”  Things don’t just happen by chance.  God doesn’t intervene only when necessary.  He is “intimately acquainted with all my ways.”  (Psalm 139:3)  So we need to quit running “What if?” scenarios through our heads.  Most of the things we worry about never happen.  “What ifs” are not an issue, anyway, because God knows what will happen and already has a plan in place to handle it.  Even when things take us by surprise and appear to go wrong, he is not surprised nor does he need a backup plan. 

 

My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4:19)

 

Can we trust God with our finances?  Paul advised Timothy’s church to not “fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.”  Then we can “be generous and ready to share.”  Just think how much the Christian church could help the world if its people gave more than the average 2 or 3 percent of their income!  Our security is not in our 401k’s or the government’s ability to pull us out of a recession.  It’s in Christ, who won’t let us go down the tubes.  The other day we got a $1,300.00 bill for the hernia surgery I had undergone six months ago.  We thought we had already paid our part, but you know how those medical bills keep coming in!  When I called about it, they said it was a mistake; I was actually overcharged and soon would be receiving a refund for $174.00!  The Lord works in mysterious ways, indeed.

 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be perfect and complete, not lacking anything.  (James 1:2-4)

 

Will there be struggles, grief, and pain?  Yes, but no more than we can handle.  Trials are needed to produce character and endurance.  When times are hard we cry out to God more and become closer to him.  Even Jesus “learned obedience from what he suffered.”  (Hebrews 5:8)  God doesn’t want to fill our lives with bliss.  We would turn into ungrateful, spoiled brats.  He wants to demonstrate his provision and grow us into mature and productive followers of Christ.  Not very much fun, but you know what they say about no pain, no gain.

 

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.  (Hebrews 11:11)

 

Let’s not forget the many times God has rescued us from harm, sometimes when we don’t even know it, thanks to “delays” and “schedule changes.”  Maybe those close calls we had were actually close encounters of the angelic kind!  I pray regularly for the safety of my family and firmly believe they are being watched and protected.

Finally, Jesus told us not to worry, so if we do, we are sinning.  So, let’s kick the habit.  We can do it if we put our trust and confidence in him, who is always faithful.  Let him set you free from the responsibility of managing your destiny.  You’ll breathe easier and sleep better as you experience his providence.  To use today’s lingo-It’s all good!

 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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 minds in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4:6, 7)

 

 The Lord will accomplish what concerns me.  (Psalm 138:8)

 

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This is too wonderful!

Posted: July 10, 2009 in Get Close to God

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Fourteenth in the series Get close to God

 

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  (Psalm 19:1)

 

 

Who among the gods is like you, O Lord?  Who is like you-majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? (Exodus 15:11)

 

O God,

I can’t praise you enough.

I can’t thank you enough.

I don’t have enough words to describe your greatness and overwhelming grace, peace, and love that you lavish on me! 

Even in the hard times and stressful struggles your everlasting arms are always there to carry me through.

It’s beyond my ability to comprehend or fully appreciate.  This is frustrating and incredibly amazing at the same time.

 

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.  (Psalm 139:6)

  

I pray that you may be able to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”  (Ephesians 3:18-19)

  

 

How would you describe God in one sentence?  Here’s my feeble attempt:

God is a mystery, a drama, an action adventure, a love story; full of passion and mercy with unbridled, unlimited power that’s handled with perfect wisdom and justice.   

I admit that’s a long sentence and stretched beyond proper grammar.  You give it a try and reply back to me with one!  Just don’t say, “God is love,” although that kind of sums it up, doesn’t it?

Our limited minds cannot possibly understand or even imagine the full extent of the glory and majesty of our Creator.

 

“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”  declares the Lord.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  (Isaiah 55:8-9)

 

Let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.  (Hebrews 12:28b-29)

 

  

Once in awhile I come across a verse that the Holy Spirit shoots straight out of the page and into my heart.  The other day I found one that sums up how to abide in Christ throughout the day:

   

Through Jesus, then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.  (Hebrews 13:15)

 

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Night Lights

Posted: July 3, 2009 in Candle Lights

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     My husband and I sleep among the stars every night.  The stars are not very noticeable in the daytime, but at night when we turn out the lights and go to bed, the stars begin to shine.  Several years ago Adam, our son, put “glow in the dark” stars all around his room.  When I lie in bed and look at the stars, I feel a sense of comfort.

     Living on the Gulf coast requires that we prepare for storms.  I read that parents should include glow sticks and/or glow necklaces for their children in their family’s “grab-n-go” kits so that when the power goes out, the children will have a light in the darkness.  With the glow sticks and necklaces, the fear of the darkness looses some of its intensity.

     Our lives have dark times, don’t they?  Times when hope is deferred, dreams evaporate, and faith is tested, times when the lights go out.  But, as children of the light (John 12:36), we can glow in the dark.  Jesus tells us in John 8:12 that He is the light of the world, and if we follow Him, we shall not walk in darkness.

     The key to being able to glow in the dark is for us to soak up all of the Light that we can while it is light.  Our bedroom stars would not glow if they did not absorb radiant energy from the light.  You and I will not glow in the dark if we do not absorb the Light.

     If we study the Scriptures and spend time with Jesus while the sun is shining, we will glow in the dark.  We will hear the Comforter speaking to our hearts when the darkness comes.  The light of our Lord pierces the darkness with night lights such as “I will never leave you or forsake you.”, “I have you in my hand.”, and “I know where you are.”  Look at John 8:12 once more.  Jesus did not say “might not walk in darkness”, He said, “shall not”.  It is a promise!!  Father, thank you for the Light.  Amen

 

Diane Padgett 4/25/2006