“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

“I know what the Bible says, but …” September 11

 

"I know what the Bible says, but ..." How are you tempted to fill in that blank?“I know what the Bible says, but …” How are you tempted to fill in that blank? And what does it mean?

 

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 13 & 14
Psalm 106.19-23
Proverbs 25.6-7
2 Corinthians 3.1-18

 

I know what the Bible says, but …

 

Isaiah 13 & 14:

I will be like God!

 

Chapter 14.12-14:

12 “How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
13 For you have said in your heart.

‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’

In this glimpse into heaven we see Lucifer, one of God’s created angels, cast out of heaven, because he wanted to exalt his throne, his authority, above God’s. He wanted to be his own god.

hand appleAnd isn’t that what he suggested to Eve?

“Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3.4-5).

It seems ridiculous that either of them could think they could exalt themselves above God … and yet, every time we say, “I know what the Bible says, but …” we’re doing the same thing!

I know what the Bible says about unforgiveness, but (you don’t know what they did to me). Continue reading

“Squabbling, Bragging, & Sleeping” May 4

 

Squabbling, Bragging & Sleeping - The Disciples still didn't get it! While Jesus was preparing Himself for the reality of the cross they were squabbling about their future positions in the kingdom, bragging about how they would never let Him down, and sleeping when He asked them to pray.The Disciples still didn’t get it! While Jesus was preparing Himself for the reality of the cross they were squabbling about their future positions in the kingdom, bragging about how they would never let Him down, and sleeping when He asked them to pray.

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Samuel 10 & 11
Psalm 55.16-23
Proverbs 15.18-20
Luke 22.24-46

 

Luke 22.24-46:

Squabbling, bragging, and sleeping

Do you ever feel like you have messed up too badly for God to use you? Maybe it’s your “before Christ” past you’re worried about. But for others, it may be something you have done as a Christian. Sometimes it’s easier for us to believe God has forgiven us for our “before Christ” past than it is to receive His forgiveness and grace for our sin as believers.

Here in Luke 22 the events leading up to the crucifixion are taking place. Jesus has spent three years teaching and preparing the disciples.

Yet while He was preparing Himself for the reality of the cross they were squabbling over their future positions in the kingdom (v. 24), bragging about how they would never let Him down (v. 33) and falling asleep when He asked them to pray (vv. 45-46). But just as He does with us when we fail, He lovingly corrected them, warned them of the dangers to come, and prayed for them that ultimately they would come out the other side.

That doesn’t mean we should use His grace as an excuse to sin (Rom. 6.1). And even while, God forgives us and keeps working in our lives, He does discipline His disobedient children (Heb. 12.6).

But Hebrews 7.25 reminds us, “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

So cast your cares and burdens on Him. Pray and know that He is praying for You. Just as He told Peter, Satan may desire to sift us as wheat, but He has prayed that our faith should not fail (Lk. 22.31-32). And receive His forgiveness and help to change when you have fallen. It is for this that Christ died!

 

Today’s Other Readings:

1 Samuel 10 & 11:

By the way … bless me!

prayer womanNow Israel has her king and God has confirmed His choice through military victory, but that doesn’t mean it was God’s best for the nation. I believe there are times when God allows political events to bring about His holy, just and righteous purposes. Often, if not always, those purposes include revealing the hearts of the people involved. The Israelites wanted to be like all the other nations. They didn’t want God to be their King. Instead, they wanted Him to bless their choice to live like everyone else.

How like us they were! Too often, instead of seeking God’s will in a given situation through prayer and wise counsel, we make our own choices and then, almost as an afterthought, we ask Him to bless our decision. I wonder how different things would be if we got on His agenda, instead of always expecting Him to come bless ours! Continue reading

October 9 “Peace, anxiety & the state of your mind”

fear worry anxiety headacheWhat is the state of your 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? The state of your mind says a lot about your relationship to God.

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

 

Jeremiah 3 & 4:

Return to Me!

Even in the Old Testament, it was always the heart, the inner man, which God was most concerned about. We see several examples in these two chapters. Chapter 3:

12 ‘Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the LORD;
‘I will not cause My anger to fall on you.
For I am merciful,’ says the LORD;
‘I will not remain angry forever.
13 Only acknowledge your iniquity

God wants a relationship with us, not just obedience:

20 Surely, as a wife treacherously departs from her husband,
So have you dealt treacherously with Me,
O house of Israel,” says the LORD.

Chapter 4:

4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD,
And take away the foreskins of your hearts.

18 “Your ways and your doings
Have procured these things for you.
This is your wickedness,
Because it is bitter,
Because it reaches to your heart.”

God wants our hearts because it’s out of the heart that everything else, including true worship, flows. Continue reading