Stress

Carrying the Burdens of Your Past?

We're commanded in Hebrews 12:1 to "lay aside every weight" so we can "run with patience the race that is set before us." Consider that first command: lay aside every weight, every burden that slows us down in our race forward. If we're dwelling on the past, that means we've stopped running, picked up some weights we were commanded to drop, and are giving them (not God or His commandments and His service) all our attention. No wonder we stop running and even start walking backward. For good reason do race horses wear blinders that force them to look forward, blocking out distractions so they can focus on the race.

Even worse, Hebrews 12:1 continues on into the second verse, explaining what we should be looking at when we run the race "set before us" (set in front of us): "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher ofour faith." If we're looking at the past, we're violating this second command of God's: we're not only picking up weights and burdens we were told to lay aside, to drop to the ground and regard as worthless impediments, but we're not looking at Jesus but rather at those forbidden weights instead. We should be rejoicing that Christ tells us to drop all these weights. Satan's worst enemy is a Christian focused on the future and running his race well.

When Things Look Bleak, Do You Still Trust God?

Genesis 50:10-20a NRSV
Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good."

The story of Joseph is always amazing to me. I keep coming back, again and again, during different experiences in my life, to this particular verse and to the reality that was Joseph’s. You see, I’ve heard many preachers extol the honors that Joseph received, how he went from a slave to becoming Prime Minister of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. But that’s not quite the entire story.

Giving Faith the Victory Over our Fears

A study on Life Controlling Fears

    8:35-37, NKJV
    Then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. They also who had seen it told them by what means he who had been demon-possessed was healed. Then the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the Gadarenes asked Him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. And He got into the boat and returned.

The Answer To All My Prayers

I asked God for strength that I might achieve
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey...

I asked for health that I might do greater things
I was given infirmity that I might do better things...

I asked for riches that I might be happy
I was given poverty that I might be wise...

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life
I was given life that I might enjoy all things...

I got nothing I asked for
I got all things I hoped for...

Despite myself my prayers were answered
I among all people are most richly blessed...

Prayer of an unknown Civil War soldier

When You Want Revenge

1 Corinthians 13:6 RSV
[Love] does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.

Ever want revenge against someone else? I think that one of the innate human emotions is the desire for one's persecutor to suffer as much as they have caused suffering (or more). I think that many of us, at one time or another, fantasied about that horrible person being humiliated or hurt like they humiliated or hurt us.

It's simple human nature.

But Paul tells us that we, as Christians, deny ourselves, deny our nature and choose love. We refuse to rejoice at wrong, even the suffering of our enemy, are rejoice in right. That we have a higher calling: to trust God in everything.

Prayer: No Greater Gift, No Greater Service

Philippians 4:6 NRSV
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

I have a wonderful adopted aunt. (My parents were both only children, so I didn’t have any aunts or uncles by blood). She has now gone Home, but while on earth, she was a girlie-girl if ever there was one. I can’t ever remember her wearing pants . . . ever! She was always in a dress, with heels (at least small ones), her hair done up in curls, beautiful jewelry. She was a minister of God, speaking and writing music, traveling all over the world telling others about God. Today, I read something she wrote and saw these words:

"I find myself praying, 'Oh, God, let me be there when someone needs me!'"

I almost laughed. My wonderful aunt was marvelous at speaking and at music, but she was totally inept at cooking, cleaning, fixing, doing. Almost anything that required more than a piano or a pen. Who could she help? She couldn’t fix a meal, mend a dress, change a tire, even pick up a box to help someone move.

And then I read on. She wrote:

Afraid to Die, Suffer, Loose

Psalm 23:4a RSV
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me.

There are very few Americans, believers included, who are simply (if they were honest enough to admit it) petrified to die. It's why "staying young" is a multi-billion dollar industry. Plastic surgery, health care, exercise clubs... even the insistence that 50 is now the new 40!

We are afraid to die.

But I was ready something this morning in Spurgeon that hit a note with me:

I am God!

My children, I am the Creator of ALL, and ALL power originates with ME!

There is no power in heaven or on earth that is able to thwart My purposes for your life as you yield to Me. NONE!

Have I not promised that as you seek Me, you will find Me, when you seek Me with all of your heart? Have I not said to ask, and you will receive? Ask then, and let your hearts run wild and your imagination run vagabond, for you cannot plumb the depths of My planning and provision for My own.

True Peace Beyond What We Know and How We Can Have It Daily

We all have struggles in our lives that make us wonder if things will ever get better. Sometimes we get so stressed out about things that we feel like pulling our hair out.

And then there are everyday stressors that we all face, causing some upset in our lives. Getting to work on time, getting that essay done for our term paper, making all the appointments with work, the school your children are in, getting supper ready and getting the children to bed BEFORE you can actually sit down and go PHEW!!!

When Families Fight

Who in the entire universe knows you better than your family? Who do you spend at least the first 18 years together with on a daily basis (in functional families)? You eat together, talk together, go places together, worship together, pray together, have fun together, grow together and so on. If you've ever watched the television show 7th Heaven, you may be aware of their opening theme song:

"Mmmm, 7th Heaven, when I see their happy faces smiling back at me, 7th Heaven, I know there's no greater feeling than the love of family. Where can you go, when the world don't treat you right? The answer is home; it's the one place that you find, 7th Heaven, mmmmm 7th Heaven."

If you haven't figured out by now, I'm a BIG fan of the show - watch it everyday on Vision TV. But they have a point; where in the world can you go when you are not treated right, if not your family?

I like 7th Heaven because it shows a fairly accurate representation of what a typical functioning family's dynamics are like. Brothers and sisters fight amongst each other but when it comes to someone else interfering or hurting one of them, they all come together an support and lift each other up. They may fight for a few days, but eventually, they get past the hurtful words, betrayal or bribe and become that loving, caring and united family they desire to be.

In our world today, there are possibly more broken families than in our long history behind us. Divorce is more common now than in any other time and is more accepted. Children are abusing their bodies with cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, sex and self-abuse of other forms. Predators hungry for power and sex are everywhere and our justice systems offers very little justice for the victims of violence.

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