“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

“Fear not! He is there!” April 4

 

fear not

Whether it’s a bad report at the doctor’s, a wayward child, or a difficult marriage … fear not! He is there!

 

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 31 & 32
Psalm 40.6-12
Proverbs 13.11-12
Luke 7.31-50

 

Deuteronomy 31 & Deuteronomy 32:

Fear not! He is there!

Repeatedly God tells us:

“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you” (31.6).

fear worry

Think about that, when we go for that doctor’s visit or procedure, He goes with us! When we go for that job interview or to share our testimony or all those other situations that tempt us to be afraid, He goes with us! When our children walk away from God or our spouse walks out, He is there.

When we’re tempted to worry about how we’ll pay the bills, live with the loss, handle caring for an aging parent or another baby … He is with us! He will not leave us or forsake us! That’s reason to rejoice!

Continue reading

October 27 “Guilt, anxiety and paranoia” & LINKUP

fear paranoiaGuilt and anxiety can be God’s early warning system to keep us from hardening our hearts and doing things that can harm ourselves or others. But when we refuse to heed those warnings, they can morph into paranoia and a continued downward spiral of sin.

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 39 & 40
Psalm 119.81-88
Proverbs 28.1
1 Timothy 6.1-21

 

Jeremiah 39 & 40:

The faithfulness of God in hard times

What a sweet testimony to the faithfulness of God! When the city was defeated, Nebuchadnezzar gave orders that Jeremiah was not just to be spared, but to be given a ration and told he was free to go anywhere he wanted to go!

We get so concerned about how the economy or some political change will affect us. Instead of standing firm for truth in the face of adversity and evil, we compromise, worry, and put our trust in other gods, like government, to save us. Instead of voting for candidates who are morally right we vote our pocketbooks (who promises me the most?). We lie to get unemployment benefits. Or we compromise our values in the work place, the classroom and the marketplace. 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

August 28 “Money without peace & contentment”

money in handMoney without peace, contentment, and someone to share it with truly is futility. And if we take it for granted or live like there is no tomorrow, we may find we are working only to give it away or wake up and find it all gone.

Today’s Readings:
Ecclesiastes 4-6
Psalm 102.18-28
Proverbs 24.5-6
1 Corinthians 9.1-27

Ecclesiastes 4-6:

Money without peace & contentment

In this portion of Ecclesiastes, Solomon begins talking about the futility of money for money’s sake.

Better a handful with quietness 
Than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind (4.6).

What good is an abundance of money with no peace or contentment?

There is one alone, without companion:
He has neither son nor brother.
Yet there is no end to all his labors,
Nor is his eye satisfied with riches.
But he never asks,
“For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?”
This also is vanity and a grave misfortune (4.8).

What good is much success and no one to share it with?

Chapter 5 also warns us to be careful with our words.

“Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands?” (5.6).

How easy it is to let our mouths get us in trouble!

There is also a warning against discontent and greed. Look at verse 10 in the New Living Translation:

Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness! (5.10).

And chapter 6 warns against taking the blessings of God for granted.

2 A man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor, so that he lacks nothing for himself of all he desires; yet God does not give him power to eat of it, but a foreigner consumes it. This is vanity, and it is an evil affliction (6.2)

We might say it this way: it’s better to find peace and contentment with a modest income than to be constantly working to pay a huge mortgage and trying to keep our heads above water, while appearing to “have it all.”

images[11] (2)

God blesses us so we can be a blessing, not so we can hoard it, use it strictly for our own pleasure, lord it over others, or get proud and boastful. 1 Corinthians 4.7 says:

7 For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

As God provides for us, let’s pray for the wisdom to use it wisely. If we take it for granted and live like there is no tomorrow we may wake up and find it all gone. Continue reading

July 7 “Consequences & bad advice” & LINKUP

bad counselTruth isn’t always comfortable or pleasing to our sinful, selfish nature, but it’s the truth that will deliver us from the consequences of foolishness and sin. Bad advice, on the other hand, tickles our ears and gives us the “go ahead” to do what we really want to do.

Today’s Readings:
2 Chronicles 9 & 10
Psalm 80.7-13
Proverbs 20.16-18
Acts 14.1-28

2 Chronicles 9 & 10:

Empty abundance

Can you imagine the wealth, the gold, the precious stones? Silver was too common to be called valuable—such riches and abundance! Solomon saw it all and had it all! And yet, in the book of Ecclesiastes, he said if that’s where you’re looking to find your peace,  joy and satisfaction, it’s all fleeting!

Hollywood

We see evidence of that all over the news these days. If wealth and beauty and fame and success could bring peace and joy, Hollywood should be the happiest places on earth. And yet, it’s elite often go from one partner to another, from one “high” to another, with few finding true peace and satisfaction. Continue reading

June 23 “One way to peace & hope” & LINKUP

What do you rely on for peace today? Where is your hope for the future? There is only one way to have both.

one way

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 9 & 10
Psalm 77.10-15
Proverbs 19.15-16
Acts 6.1-15

1 Chronicles 9 & 10:

Failure to trust in the sovereignty of God

If you think of the Bible as being written chronologically, today’s reading and much of what follows may seem confusing. But the Bible is not put together chronologically, as far as the various books go. And at times, as in Chronicles, it repeats things that were previously recorded with a slightly different perspective.

It may help to remember that Chronicles was probably written by Ezra. He was a priest who came back to Jerusalem after they had been in Babylonian captivity for 70 years. So he was writing from the perspective of the return and how life was so dramatically different from how it was during the reigns of David and Solomon. This portion covers the genealogy of the people who were returning and emphasizes the reign of David.

The last two verses of chapter 10 are worth meditating on:

Continue reading

May 24 “The Old Testament and us”

It’s easy to read over the Old Testament stories and see them as irrelevant for today. But the Holy Spirit recorded each one for our benefit. We should never leave the reading of His Word without considering, “How does this apply to me?”

the Old Testament and us

Today’s Readings:
2 Samuel 19 & 20
Psalm 67.1-7
Proverbs 16.33-17.1
John 8.1-27

2 Samuel 19 & 20:

The Old Testament and us

1 Corinthians 10.11 says about the Old Testament, “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”

As you read these stories of all the kingdom intrigues, the in-fighting, the murders, the jostling for position, it’s a reminder to us of just how depraved we all are apart from God and how much we needed a Savior!

Psalm 67.1-7:

So His name may be known

Verses 1-2, “God be merciful to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us, Selah. That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.” Even as we pray like the psalmist did for God’s mercy and blessing, we should remember that it’s all about His glory—that His way and His name may be known in all the earth!

Proverbs 16.33-17.1:

A little with peace

bread

17.1 in the New Living Translation says, “Better a dry crust eaten in peace than a house filled with feasting—and conflict.” That is true in a family, in a marriage and in many other relationships, but it’s also true in our individual hearts and lives. It’s far better to have a little, and to have gotten it in a way consistent with Scripture, than to have much, gotten through sinful means, and have to deal with the inner conflict of knowing it’s displeasing to God. Continue reading

March 2 “My disorderly ‘self-sufficient’ life”

Do you struggle with disorder and over-commitment? Do you ever feel like God isn’t working on your agenda? Do you pray about everything?

prayer

Today’s Readings:
Numbers 1 & 2
Psalm 29.7-11
Proverbs 10.26-29
Mark 7.14-37

Numbers 1 & 2:

The who, the when, & the how

Well, we’re into a new month and a new book.

As I read these two chapters I couldn’t help thinking that God is a God of order. He specified who was to lead each tribe, where each tribe was to camp and even the order in which they were to break camp when they moved. He gave the “the who, the where, and the how” of it all. And we know from other passages that He also told them “when.”

In Mark 6 when Jesus fed the 5,000, He had them sit down in an orderly way, “… He commanded them to make them all sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in ranks, in hundreds and in fifties” (Mk. 6.39-40).

Like most of you, I never seem to have enough time to do everything I want or think I should be doing. That can easily lead to disorder in my life. It’s easy to forget that God has ordered our lives, as well, and that He doesn’t give us responsibilities and then make it impossible for us to accomplish them. Continue reading