Wipe Your Fears Away

One possible response to the truth that our anxiety is rooted in unbelief goes like this: “I have to deal with feelings of anxiety almost every day; and so I feel like my faith in God’s grace must be totally inadequate. So I wonder if I can have any assurance of being saved at all.”

My response to this concern is: Suppose you are in a car race and your enemy, who doesn’t want you to finish the race, throws mud on your windshield. The fact that you temporarily lose sight of your goal and start to swerve does not mean that you are going to quit the race.

And it certainly doesn’t mean that you are on the wrong racetrack. Otherwise, the enemy wouldn’t bother you at all. What it means is that you should turn on your windshield wipers.

When anxiety strikes and blurs our vision of God’s glory and the greatness of the future that he plans for us, this does not mean that we are faithless, or that we will not make it to heaven. It means our faith is being attacked.

At first blow, our belief in God’s promises may sputter and swerve. But whether we stay on track and make it to the finish line depends on whether, by grace, we set in motion a process of resistance — whether we fight back against the unbelief of anxiety. Will we turn on the windshield wipers?

Psalm 56:3 says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

Notice: it does not say, “I never struggle with fear.” Fear strikes, and the battle begins. So the Bible does not assume that true believers will have no anxieties. Instead, the Bible tells us how to fight when they strike.


Weeping and Wailing That is Everlasting

Do you look at politicians, high paid sports figures and other rich people with an envious heart? What about those that win the lottery? Are you happy for them? Most likely not, as you wish it were you that had won. God’s word is a great tool for measuring our level of contentedness or discontent.

By reading the bible you’ll find that we are cautioned against discontent at the prosperity and success of evil-doers (Ps. 37:1, 2): Fret not thyself, neither be thou envious. We may suppose that David speaks this to himself first, and preaches it to his own heart, for the suppressing of those corrupt passions which he found working there, and then leaves it in writing for instruction to others that might be in similar temptation.

When we look around we see the world full of evil-doers and workers of iniquity, that flourish and prosper, that have what they will and do what they will, that live in ease and pomp themselves and have power in their hands to do mischief to those about them. So it was in David’s time; and therefore, if it is so still, let us not marvel at the matter, as though it were some new or strange thing.

When we look within we find ourselves tempted to fret at this, and to be envious against these scandals and burdens, these blemishes and common nuisances, of this earth. We are apt to fret at God, as if he were unkind to the world and unkind to his church in permitting such men to live, and prosper, and prevail, as they do. We are apt to fret ourselves with vexation at their success in their evil projects. We are apt to envy them the liberty they take in getting wealth, and perhaps by unlawful means, and in the indulgence of their lusts, and to wish that we could shake off the restraints of conscience and do so too.

We are tempted to think them the only happy people, and are inclined to imitate them, and to join ourselves with them, that we may share in their gains and eat of their dainties; and this is what we are warned against: Fret not thyself, neither be thou envious. Fretfulness and envy are sins that are their own punishments; they are the uneasiness of the spirit and the rottenness of the bones; it is therefore in kindness to ourselves that we are warned against them.

Yet that is not all; When we look forward with an eye of faith we shall see no reason to envy wicked people their prosperity, for their ruin is at the door and they are ripening to receive it, Ps. 37:2. They flourish, but as the grass, and as the green herb, which nobody envies nor frets at.

The flourishing of a godly man is like that of a fruitful tree (Ps. 1:3), but that of the wicked man is like grass and herbs, which are very short-lived. (1.) They will soon wither of themselves. Outward prosperity is a fading thing, and so is the life itself to which it is confined. (2.) They will soon be cut down by the judgments of God. Their triumphing is short, but their weeping and wailing will be everlasting because they chose the wealth of the world instead of the wealth in God.

Examine your heart. Do you have any envy? Ask God to remove it from your life that you might not fret thyself or be thou envious but instead live forever in His kingdom.

Caught A Bad Cold

How does one catch a cold? Does someone throw it at you and you catch it or do you shake hands with someone who has a cold and then touch your eyes or nose? For me, it was the latter.

I went to a church function and unbeknownst to me one of my bible classmates was sick. I came in contact with them and that’s why I’ve not been posting the past few days. I’ve been down with a bad cold and all its lovely side effects.

I’m starting to feel a wee bit better so hopefully, I’ll be back in the saddle soon and posting. Until then, praise the Lord for all He is, who He is and His love for you and me.

Blessings to all.

Are You A Good Manager In God’s Kingdom?

Don’t worry my post today is not an introductory course in Business Management 101. It is about being a productive, loving Christian.

Some of you might say you’re not managers. I respectfully disagree. We are all managers of sorts, either good or not so good. Let me explain. Take a look at Jesus. In my opinion he was an excellent manager. Why? Good managers lead by example, whereas poor managers use tyranny or punishment tactics to get the job done.

Jesus led his disciples for three years showing them how to be loving, leading others to salvation and spreading the good news of His kingdom. Then with His blessings, he sent them out into the world to continue the work he started. Good managers also have a plan of succession. Someone who will take over after they’re gone. Paul and Peter have been the perfect choice.

Good managers also know the importance of continuing education in their field of expertise. Things are always changing, therefore they must make the effort to remain informed. Additionally, good managers are effective in their use of time. We would do well to follow this example of time management as followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus set the example for us to live our lives in a way that not only leads to salvation but also to be productive for His kingdom.

Jesus’ plan would ensure our effectiveness, success and salvation as Christians in His kingdom. The precepts and commandments we live by are outlined in detail in the bible. But, in order for us to be effective managers/Christians we need to familiarize ourselves with God’s word. Daily reading of God’s word and prayer are essential.

For those of us who’ve worked in a job have no doubt at one time or another worked for a manager that was less than desirable. What were their characteristics, actions and temperament that bothered you while under their supervision? Most likely they were living in the world and trying to live their lives according to the world’s standards. As Christians we know those choices don’t work very well.

I would encourage you to take some time today to reflect on whether you’ve been living an effective life for Jesus or whether you like the devil’s management plan better. Where do you stand today?

For me, I know which plan I choose.

Christian service outside of the church?

In yesterday’s post I talked about the difference between a believer in Jesus and a follower of Jesus. As I said, the first is sincere in accepting Jesus as Lord and savior of their lives but fall short on what it means to follow Jesus. To further define and provide examples of following Jesus, the remainder of this post discusses where you can provide Christian service both inside the church and in the community.

Any service that reflects Jesus’ love is “Christian service.” From giving a cup of water (Mark 9:41) to dying for someone (John 15:13), there are as many types of Christian service as there are needs in the world. Very few involve activity within the four walls of the church.

The Bible gives some specific examples of Christian service: show hospitality to strangers (Hebrews 13:2), remember those in prison (Matthew 25:36), provide for the needy (Matthew 25:35), and mentor others (Titus 2:2-8). Some examples speak to our day-to-day living: care for children (Matthew 18:5), tend families (Titus 2:5), treat employees fairly (Colossians 4:1), deal honestly with customers (Leviticus 19:36), and be diligent with employers’ resources (Matthew 25:14-30). As long as the act is done “in Jesus’ name”—that is, it is motivated by the love of Jesus—it is Christian service.

There are thousands of organizations outside the church committed to serving others. Homeless shelters, housing builders, and food banks always need volunteers and donations. Internationally, organizations like Compassion International provide food, clothing, and education for children in sometimes dangerous situations. Other ministries provide water, micro-loans, or resources such as farm animals to enable the child’s family to generate their own income.

The world outside the walls of the church offers many opportunities for those specifically educated in theology. Chaplains serve hospitals, military bases, and shipping ports. Foreign missionaries travel overseas to plant churches and train indigenous pastors. Parachurch ministries provide biblical guidance for families and others in need. And internet ministries like Got Questions are always in need of those who can explain the truth of God in a loving, easy-to-understand way.

The world is in desperate need of Christians willing to show the love of Christ through their actions. Jesus said the second greatest commandment was to love others—not sentimentally, but tangibly. Every action performed out of kindness, powered by the understanding of Christ and His love, is Christian service.

Breaking the Sound Barrier

If the Lord’s silence is good for us, then how should we respond when we feel as if there’s a wall blocking our access to Him? The only way to break through is to keep on praying. It’s important that we remain on our knees and continue talking to Him.

First, pray to God, requesting that He let you know the reason for His silence. While Jesus was on the cross, He demonstrated that we can approach the heavenly Father with our questions. (See Mark 15:34.) Our Lord invites us to talk with Him about anything because He understands us perfectly. He knows the motivation behind what we’re asking and has an accurate read on where we’re at spiritually.

Second, ask Him to reveal His will for your life and to guide you. Remember that His timing may not match yours.

Third, trust Him. Be still in the Lord’s presence as He works in your life, and believe that He always sees the way clearly, whether or not you do. Be aware that God desires for His children to listen—even when we feel as if He’s not talking, even when we feel like giving up.

Finally, open the Bible and start reading. The Holy Spirit living within you will interpret God’s Word to your heart, and you’ll begin to hear Him speaking to you.

In addition to talking to God, practice being silent in His presence. When you listen carefully, He will satisfy the deepest longings of your heart with a sense of Himself. Then feelings of anxiety will give way to peace.

Our Life Hangs on the Word of God

The Word of God is not a trifle; it is a matter of life and death. If you treat the Scriptures as a trifle or as empty words, you forfeit life.

Even our physical life depends on God’s Word, because by his Word we were created (Psalm 33:6; Hebrews 11:3) and “He upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3).

Our spiritual life begins by the Word of God: “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth” (James 1:18). “You have been born again . . . through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).

Not only do we begin to live by God’s Word, but we also go on living by God’s Word: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3).

Our physical life is created and upheld by the Word of God, and our spiritual life is quickened and sustained by the Word of God. How many stories could be gathered to bear witness to the life-giving power of the Word of God!

Indeed, the Bible is “no empty word for you” — it is your life! The foundation of all joy is life. Nothing is more fundamental than sheer existence — our creation and our preservation.

All this is owing to the Word of God’s power. By that same power, he has spoken in Scripture for the creation and sustenance of our spiritual life. Therefore, the Bible is no empty word, but is your very life — the kindling of your joy!