“Is your state of mind tied to your relationship with God?” October 9

 

State of Mind

What is your state of mind? Is it full of anxiety or is there peace? Are you meditating on some wrong done to you or how God has blessed you? Are you content or striving for more? Your state of mind leads either to peace or to turmoil. But more importantly, what does it say about your relationship to God.

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 3 & 4
Psalm 116.15-19
Proverbs 27.2
Philippians 4.1-23

 

Is your state of mind tied to your relationship with God?

 

Philippians 4.1-23:

Pray & Be Thankful

Yesterday I talked about some of my favorite passages in Philippians. Today I want to share a few more:

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

“Be anxious for nothing …” is a command, not a suggestion.

Worry is sin! Ouch, that hurt since I have a couple of things weighing on my heart right now.

We’re told not to be anxious, worried, fearful and fretful about ANYTHING! Instead, we are to pray about everything and be thankful, and when we do, the peace of God, which often makes no sense to the world, will stand guard over our hearts and minds. What a great promise! But it’s a conditional promise—dependent on our faithfulness to choose not to worry and to pray and be thankful, instead.

The more we come to know Him, to trust in His sovereignty and goodness, the more His peace will guard our hearts and minds. In other words, the level of our peace depends on the quality of our relationship with Him.

Think About This

8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Instead of playing the video tape in your mind about that hurt, that sin, or that wrong done to you, meditate on what God says about your situation: how He’ll use all things for good (Rom. 8.28-29), how He takes care of His own, including any retribution that needs to happen (Rom. 12.17-21), how we can be joyful in trials (Jas. 1.2-5), and how, out of His love for you, He died in your place so you could extend His love and mercy to others, even your enemies (Matt. 5.43-48).

So how do we grow in our ability to trust in Him and to live the way He’s called us to live? It starts with our thinking.  Continue reading

“How much do you really want to know Jesus?” October 8

 

How much do you really want to know Jesus? How much we value knowing Him reveals a great deal about our hearts. The Apostle Paul who had all the Jewish credentials: education, a great family pedigree, and his own achievements, said he counted it all as garbage, literally “dung,” in comparison to knowing Him.How much do you really want to know Jesus? How much we value knowing Him reveals a great deal about our hearts. The Apostle Paul who had all the Jewish credentials: education, a great family pedigree, and his own achievements, said he counted it all as garbage, literally “dung,” in comparison to knowing Him.

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 1 & 2
Psalm 116.5-14
Proverbs 27.1
Philippians 3.1-21

 

How much do you really want to know Jesus?

 

Philippians 3.1-21:

Knowing Him

Several years ago I started listening to a worship song entitled All I Once Held Dear (Knowing Him). You may be familiar with it.

I believe when it comes to worship, it’s not about the style of music, but about the words. It’s the words that we are offering up to God in our worship. It’s the words that really matter.

I was greatly moved by the lyrics that come right out of this passage in Philippians.

But as I was singing and worshiping two lines toward the end grabbed my heart with a holy fear. The lines were, “Oh, to know the power of your risen life and to know You in Your sufferings.”

The thought occurred to me that this isn’t generic. I was saying to the Lord, “I want to know You in Your sufferings.” And that would most likely happen through suffering on my part.

We have all suffered in various ways. I have and I’m sure you have, but there was something that gave me pause about singing and saying I wanted to know Christ in that way. I had to ask myself, “How much do I really want to know Him?”

As I went to my Bible to read the entire passage, I thought about the Apostle who had all the Jewish credentials: education, a great family pedigree, and his own achievements, and how he said he counted it all as garbage, literally “dung,” in comparison to knowing Christ (3.8). Not just knowing Him in His resurrection power, but in the fellowship of His sufferings.

Verse 10, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”

bibleI don’t know about you, but I like the part about knowing Him in the “power of His resurrection,” but the “fellowship of His sufferings,” is another thing. But I’ve, also, come to believe we can’t have one without the other.

There will be times when we will suffer simply because we live in a sin-cursed world. There will be times when we will suffer because of the sins of others. And there will be times when we suffer because we are His and His light is in us. And darkness doesn’t like the light.

“And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (Jn. 3.19-20).

The Christian walk is not without tests and trials, but ultimately God takes care of His own. As the Prophet Jeremiah said:

“‘They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you. For I am with you,’ says the LORD, ‘to deliver you’” (Jer. 1.19).

And in the process of that suffering, we come to know Him in increasingly greater ways as we learn to depend on Him and cling to His promises.

 

 

Here are the lyrics to the song:

All I once held dear, built my life upon
All this world reveres, and wars to own
All I once thought gain I have counted loss
Spent and worthless now, compared to this

Knowing you, Jesus
Knowing you, there is no greater thing
You’re my all, you’re the best
You’re my joy, my righteousness
And I love you, Lord

Now my heart’s desire is to know you more
To be found in you and known as yours
To possess by faith what I could not earn
All-surpassing gift of righteousness

Oh, to know the power of your risen life
And to know You in Your sufferings
To become like you in your death, my Lord
So with you to live and never die

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Jeremiah 1 & 2:

Our All-Knowing, Sovereign God

Jeremiah is often called “the weeping prophet.” He also wrote the book of Lamentations. Its name refers to a funeral dirge. Jeremiah grieved over the judgment of his people and the destruction of the once flourishing and beautiful city of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. The destruction was God’s judgment on a people who had repeatedly turned their backs on Him. But before doing so, God through Jeremiah called the people to repentance and warned of the judgment that would come if they did not repent. Continue reading