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Worry

Matthew 6:27-34 – “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his statureAnd why take ye thought for raimentConsider the lilies of the fieldhow they grow; they toil notneither do they spinAnd yet I say unto youThat even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of theseWhereforeif God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day isand to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he  not much more clothe you, O ye of little faithTherefore take no thoughtsayingWhat shall we eatorWhat shall we drinkorWherewithal shall we be clothed(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek🙂 for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these thingsBut seek ye first the kingdom of Godand his righteousnessand all these things shall be added unto youTake therefore no thought for the morrowfor the morrow shall take thought for the things of itselfSufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

Have you ever felt plagued with worry? There are so many things that need your attention that you feel like you are ignoring some or part of them. 

I know these verses do not say the word “worry” in them, but read closely. It is what they are about. Back when Jesus spoke these words, they lived much differently than we do today, or at least some of us. (We just had a dinner at church that made me keenly aware that there are people who are not as fortunate as I am.) Anyway, many of the people of Jesus’s time were very concerned, and even worried, about where their next meal would come from or would they have the clothes they needed for the upcoming cold months. 

Jesus is trying to teach them, and us, that we need to rely fully upon Him for all our needs. You see, we seem to think that we can handle the small stuff. We shouldn’t have to bother God with our little problems. He has bigger things to deal with. 

Worry stems from a lack of trust. I remember the first time I left my children at home by themselves. I was worried. I was worried because I had not yet built up that trust with them. I didn’t trust them to not put metal in the microwave. I didn’t trust them not to get into the pool. I had to step out a few times and learn to trust that they would remember what I had taught them and remember the warnings that I had given them. I had to learn to trust them. 

The same thing happens with Jesus. You have to learn to trust Him. You have to give Him things to deal with so that you can know that you can trust Him. And He knows that you have to do this. He is ready for the test. You see, if you can’t trust Jesus for the little things, how can you trust Him for the big things? 

So today, Princess, I want you to step out and trust Him. Don’t worry about things. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Let Him handle it. When something comes up today that you don’t know how to handle, give it to Him. Tell Him that you have no idea how to handle this situation and you need help. He will come running. He wants you to trust Him implicitly. He doesn’t want you to worry for anything.  

Besides, worrying causes wrinkles. 

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Giraffes

Psalm 61:2-4 – “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.”

Every day I try to learn something new. It may be something great and awesome or something trivial and small. But any time that we make a new neurological connection, we grow.

My new thing that I learned on Saturday was that a giraffe only sleeps about 20 min in a 24 hour time period. They are always watching for predators. It reminded my daughter of “Monsters, Inc.” – “I’m watching you Mike Wazowski, always watching.” Remember that? She decided she would never make it as a giraffe.

Anyway, it made me think about how we guard our life. We let our guard down all the time. It’s probably the reason that we face so many challenges. How much better off would we be if we were always watching? It’s way too easy to let the world in for just a few minutes. If that giraffe slept for a few more minutes, it could be the end of his life. Our sleeping or just being off guard could be detrimental to our testimony. I fear, that I don’t take that as seriously as I should most days.

But thankfully, I have Someone who is “always watching” – Jesus. He knows that I will fail and fall asleep, just like the disciples did in the Garden. But He in His love, never fails, never falls asleep. What an amazing comfort and peace to know that His rock is always waiting for me to crawl back in. When the world gets to be too much, His cleft is always open. He is my Strong Tower.

So today princess, make it your goal to run to Him when things are too much. In fact, run to Him before they get too much. Live in the shadow of His Strong Tower and be at peace. And along the way, don’t forget to learn something new.

Out of the box

Ephesians 3:14-21 – “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

This is a lot of verses, I know. But do you realize what Paul is praying for the Ephesians here? He is asking God to show these people how to let Him out of the box.

You see, I think we put God in a box too often. I think that we try to contain Him, to control Him. We don’t fully understand Him and, therefore, are often scared of Him and of what He might do. I mean, we are talking about the Creator of the universe here. The One that spoke things into existence! That is Huge! How do you understand Someone like that? How do you wrap your brain around The One that is capable of all that and still cares that you stubbed your toe the other day?

Paul knew that we, as human beings, would have a problem with that. He knew that in order for us to possibly attempt to comprehend all that God is that we would have to limit Him in some way. That is why he was praying for the Ephesians and, essentially, for us today. Because you see, we have the same problems as the Ephesians. Ecclesiastes 1:9 – “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” No new thing under the sun. The problems they had are the problems we have. They struggled with understanding all that God is. They put Him in a box. In verses 18, he asks God to help us to understand the “breadth, and length, and depth, and height” of God, specifically, His love.

And then he asked that the Ephesians, and us, to be filled with the “fullness of God.” Now, let’s just stop for a moment and think of the possibilities of that statement. There is a lot of potential in that one. Can you imagine what it would be like if we allowed God to fill us with His fullness? We would be busting at the seams! Persecution? No problem. Doubt? What doubt! Fear? No fear whatsoever. Weariness? Never felt more alive!

By putting God in a box, we put ourself in a box as well. We limit our possibilities by limiting God’s. We allow fear and doubt and weariness into our life because we are too scared to live outside of them. We have never experienced the fullness of fearlessness or doubtless-ness or non-weariness (yes, I know I am making up words, but they work!). We have allowed these downers to become so much of our life that living outside of them frightens us.

So, my challenge to you today, princess, is this – Let God out of the box. And when you let Him out, get out of your box too. Decide today that you are going to do something amazing. Decide that you are going to expect God to do something amazing. And don’t be surprised when He does. The other day I was talking with my son’s soccer coach. He said that he doesn’t get all excited when the boys score because he expects them to score, all of them. So, when God does something truly remarkable in your life, don’t be surprised. You let Him out of the box. Let Him do His thing!

The Sly Old Fox

1Peter 5:8 – “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”

I was sitting here this morning praying about what God would have me to write about today and this song came to my head. It is an old one; one that I haven’t thought of in years. It goes like this: “The devil is a sly old fox. If I could catch him, I’d put him in a box. Put him in a box and throw away the key, for all the tricks he’s played on me. Glad that I’m a Christian. Glad that I’m a Christian. Glad that I’m a Christian and trusting in the Lord.”

I looked through my concordance trying to find a reference to the devil being a fox, but found none. But I did remember this verse that referenced him as a lion. Lions are mentioned several times in the Bible, yet with different meanings. Sometimes Jesus is referred to as the Lion of Judah. But in this instance, it is the devil being referred to as a lion.

Have you ever seen a lion hunt? I haven’t seen one in person but I have watched it plenty of times on television. They are sly and sneaky. They look around trying to find out which animal is the weakest and most easy to attack. They know they are going to have to work for their food but they want to do as little as possible. So, they pick off the weak ones or the ones falling behind the pack. They sneak around the tall grass and pounce when their prey least expect it. Sometimes they have to run to catch their food. Lions are really fast. Their prey rarely escape.

Knowing all of this gives us a greater perspective of this verse in 1 Peter. The devil pursues us in the same way. He looks for those of us who are weaker, those of us who are falling behind. He doesn’t want to have to work too hard to get another one of us to mess up. But if the need arises, he will chase us down and only an act of God will keep us from from being brought down.

The lesson to learn here is found in the verse – Be ready. Be watching. Don’t give the devil opportunity to catch you or even think about how he can mess you up. This means you have to do whatever is necessary to keep up – go to church, study your Bible, pray, talk with other believers, listen to music that glorifies God – anything and everything that draws you into His protection. Believe me, you don’t want the devil to catch you. It is possible to get free of his grasp but it is hard, very, very hard. Your best option is to not even get in that position.

But don’t try and go at it alone. Follow the Leader. Let Him show you the way. It takes effort and choice. But princess, it is worth it. I know I have said it before, but repetition is the way we learn. And trust me when I say that it is a much for you as it is for me. Life is hard. It would be easy to just give up. But we have been called to cheerfully endure until the end. And if that is what I have to do, then that is what I shall do.

Momma bear protection

Psalm 32:6,7 – “For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him. Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.”

Does momma bear ever come out of the cave at your house? Something happens that endangers or really upsets someone that you love and look out! Here comes momma bear!

Momma bears are very protective of their little ones. If they sense danger, they will stop at nothing to protect their little cubs, even to the point of death. Well, that happens with people too. Except we will protect our loved ones, whether by blood or just someone we are very close to.

I think we have all had times in our life when we have cried out for help unto The Lord. We need Him and we need Him NOW! We imagine in our mind that He will move heaven and earth to get to us. But in all actuality, He is already there. He is already there to protect us, to encourage us or just to give us an encouraging hug. But still, His protection of His own is fierce, even more fierce than a momma bear. Can you imagine that?

There are some scary things happening in the world today. You need someplace to hide sometimes. Let me encourage you, princess, with David’s words found here in Psalm 32. Go to Jesus and hide in Him. Let Him be your source of protection. Let his strength be your own. You don’t have to fight the world alone. Just let the words of this psalm be a balm to your weary soul – “thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance”. How beautiful is that? I want to be wrapped up in songs of deliverance. That just sounds amazing!

So this week, when things start to go bad, when situations get yucky and you want to run, just “Selah”. “Selah” means to stop and think about that. Stop and think about where you find your protection. Stop and think about the opportunity for peace and comfort. And then, choose to accept it. Choose to allow the wings of the Savior to wrap you in songs of deliverance.

My refuge

Psalm 57:1 – “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.”

Ask anyone today and I would guess that they can tell you exactly where they were 13 years ago today. I was pregnant with my son. He is now taller than I am. The time seems to have flown by but I remember that day well. For the families and victims of this tragedy, my prayers are with you today.

And now our nation faces a similar threat. The evil one is trying his hardest to destroy us from the inside and from the outside. It is a full on assault. This nation that was founded on Biblical principles and ideals has always been, and will continue to be, a source of jealousy and an object frustration to those people who hate us.

Bring it down to a more personal level. Despite how Christ-like we attempt to be, there are going to be those who don’t like you. I struggle with that one. I want everyone to like me. But the reality of it is that you won’t be liked by everyone but you can get along with them. What I mean is that you can do your best to keep the peace. Sometimes keeping the peace means keeping your mouth shut. And that is hard.

When David wrote this psalm, he was being chased by King Saul. See, Saul didn’t like David. He hated him. So much so that he wanted to kill David. (Sound familiar?) David did not want to fight against the King of Israel. He wanted to keep the peace as much as Saul wanted to bury David. All of his life, David had just been trying to follow after The Lord. And Saul hated him for the blessing David had received. He was jealous.
David decided his best option was to let God take care of things. He ran to Him. He choose to let God protect him from his enemy.

When I got up this morning, I asked God to give me a verse that would bring hope and comfort to those of you reading this today. God has preserved His word throughout the years to reach out to us, to bring us comfort and give us guidance even today. And today, He wants us to run to Him. He wants to shelter us until this calamity has passed. Does this mean that we are to be passive and just let others destroy us? I don’t think so. But I do think that it means that we follow His leadership through the battle, not our own.

I don’t have any answers. All I know is that if it was good enough for David, then it is good enough for me. God was his refuge. And I want God to be my refuge.

And to the families of the victims of 9-11, it is my prayer that you will find peace and comfort in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as you remember the life and the love of those you lost that day.

The Armor and the Truth

Ephesians 6:14 – “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness”

Yeah! Time to get down to the nitty gritty!

Paul begins the use of the armor with the same word that he concluded the last sentence with – stand. Think that is important? When all else fails, when you have no clue what to do, stand.

“Loins girt about with truth” – Let me give you my perspective on this one. I see this as a belt. You have to remember that in Bible times, they often wore a long dress-type outfit. And in order to run or in preparation to do work, they had to “girt up their loins”. This means that they had to pull the material from the back in between their legs and then tuck the skirt of their outfit into their belt to free up their feet to move quickly and efficiently. The belt is what held their outfit together when they were working or fighting. This isn’t a fashion commentary, just a statement of truth. When I think about this section of this verse, I see the item around the waist holding the whole armor together. When you apply that to life, it is the truth of God’s word that holds us together. Without it, we would be a fish out of water, floundering about and gasping for air. The belt not only holds things together, but it also holds things that one might need – like water or, in today’s world, you phone. The truth of God’s word holds all that we need in life. The answers are all there. You may just have to search them out and think about them for a while.

“Having on the breastplate of righteousness” – We all know what a breastplate is. It is that shield like thing that knights and soldiers of olden days wore across their chest. It protected their vital organs. We have to put on this breastplate to protect our heart – the very thing that makes us who we are. And this is no ordinary breastplate. This one is formed of righteousness. Now, before you totally disregard this notion and think that “there is no way! I’m not a good person!” Remember what righteousness is – right living. It is not perfect living. It is not living religiously. It is living the way that Jesus called us to live – according to the truth. This right living will protect the very essence of who you are. And God will reward those who put forth the effort to live above reproach. It is difficult and the breastplate is heavy. But the rewards far outweigh the struggle.

So in this brief glimpse of the armor of God, we see that truth plays a very important role in our life. And there is only one way to access the truth – read your Bible. Prepare for life. Hide His words in your heart. You will be surprised at the number of times per day that the Word slips into your heart and mind to remind you of what you need to be doing in order to live that righteous life we all desire.

So princess, my challenge for you today is to seek out truth. Gobble it up like your favorite meal. Ingest it and allow your soul to make it part of who you are. If you have it in your heart, the truth can never be taken away from you. So, girt up your loins and put on that breastplate and go out there and…..stand.