The Word

Whether you realize it or not, you probably have a lot of questions going through your mind right now. You are not alone. Every single human being on this Earth has questions. One big one is…”Am I going to make it through this?” It could be a medical issue, financial hardship, challenges with your business or career during Covid, or family/relational challenges to name few. During these times many of us in the U.S. are asking when the racial tensions and other political turmoil will end. When we will get past this as a country? Again, most questions come back to am I going to be ok, or will we be ok?

There is great news in that every one of these questions can be answered in the Word of God.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were mad through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:1-5

The Word is Jesus. He has always existed. The book of Genesis gives us the first indication of the triune God the Father, God the Holy Spirit, and God the Son (the Word).

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness..

Genesis 1:26

Note the words “our likeness.” From the beginning of creation, Jesus was there. God knew man would sin before He made us and due to sin would have all the problems and questions we have today, so He had a plan and answer. His plan and answer was and still is Jesus.

He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know Him.

John 1:10

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14

Jesus came down from His throne in Heaven willingly and without sin to die for you and me the cross. Because of this and His Resurrection on Easter Sunday, the answer to every question is that all who believe in Him will be ok and get through whatever challenge we are facing. However painful our life on this Earth is, it is brief and we will spend eternity with Him without any of the burdens we face while here.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

Revelation 21:4

As I was writing this I was thinking, and you may be thinking the same while you are reading this, “Wow..there is a lot of Scripture here and not much other writing/dialogue.” Well..that’s really the point. Every answer we are looking for is found in the Word. The Bible is called the Word because it all points to Him, the Word. It is not just God’s story and love letter to us, but it is our story because we are all part of God’s plan through Jesus.

When you get down to it, I believe every human being is looking for truth whether they know it or not. John 1:14 above says Jesus came in grace and truth. Note that grace comes before truth here and every time it’s mentioned in the Bible. I’m thankful that grace and forgiveness came before truth, and we should follow Jesus example in our lives. When we, and others, dig into the Word we find the truth and answers we are looking for and we fall in love with Him. We find that truth and love in His grace. Then, we can’t get enough of it.

I’ll wrap up with these 2 questions…

  1. How can you be in the Word more to fall deeper in love with Him?
  2. How can you introduce someone else to the Word who is struggling and needs the grace and truth only He can give right now?

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:7

 

Quieter

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.

Psalm 23:2

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

We live in a world today with a lot of noise. When I say noise, I don’t necessarily mean audible sounds, although for many of us with young children that may very well be the case except before they get up and after they go to bed. When I say noise, I mean all the things that distract us causing us to focus on and think about the wrong things.

What do most of us do when we first wake up…we grab our phones. You don’t even have to go to your preferred news website to hear the noise. You just click on your preferred social media and not only will you see posts from news outlets there, but you’ll see the posts and banter back in forth from your “friends” or a celebrity you follow. Nearly immediately your blood pressure goes up and anxiety is heightened based on something they said you agree with or disagree with. Nearly everyone has an agenda these days and is speaking out against or in favor something. While yes, certain things need to be brought to light..the fact of the matter is nearly everything we read is focused on problems, and it’s not just from the clickbait negative headlines news outlets post. I’m already getting anxious, and we haven’t even looked at today’s long personal and professional to do list, opened our email with the unexpected fire to put out, or dug into our mail with the bill we didn’t see coming.

What do you do during these times to calm your self and get your mind back focused in the right way? Yes, I would recommend the centering breath Dr. Jason Selk taught me…breath in for 6 seconds, hold for 2 seconds, and out for 7 seconds. This simple method has helped some of the world’s greatest athletes calm their nerves in the midst of some of sports highest stress situations and perform at their best. However, this does not give us the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

Pastor and author Francis Chan said, “People who are obsessed with God have an intimate relationship with Him. They are nourished by God’s Word throughout the day because they know 40 minutes on Sunday is not enough to sustain them throughout the week, especially when they encounter so many distractions and alternative messages.”

We just started a new small group Bible study this week about the seven “I am..” statements from Jesus in the book of John. This first week we studied John 6 and specifically John 6:35 where Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.” Jesus had just fed 5,000 and the same people came back to Him looking for more food. He reminded them that no earthly food would sustain them eternally. Their fathers ate manna and still died. He was the only food that could give them eternal life and that is what they should be focused on…Him and eternal matters…not temporal matters.

If our stomach growls after just a couple hours without earthly food needing 3 meals per day and Jesus tells us He is more important as the bread of life, how many times are you eating His bread throughout the day? Based on His words, how many times do we really need it?

Be real and ask yourself the following questions…

  1. How many times am I in His Word each day..even once?
  2. How many times do I pray and talk with Him throughout the day?
  3. How many times do I even think about Him throughout the day?
  4. How many times do I mention His name to others throughout the day?

Are you eating His bread throughout the day so He can feed you and quiet your heart, mind, and soul? We are facing really challenging times of unrest right now, and although I’m not going to say they are the worst our world has ever faced, I will confidently say there has NEVER been a time with so many negative distractions and alternative ungodly messages being thrown at our brains because of the access to our minds through the amount of technology and media we use on an hourly basis each day. There is a slow trickle to normalizing and justifying what the Bible says is clearly wrong through the messaging we are constantly receiving and then even getting Christians to think they are in the wrong by disagreeing and following the Bible.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:12

We must find ways to lead us in the right direction and to quiet our hearts and minds through eating the bread of life every hour of every day, and even more importantly, we must teach our kids and grandkids the same. Their little fragile minds are like Play-Doh and are being shaped by whomever and whatever we let mold them. What foundation is being formed in their mind?

Let’s be fed by Him. Let’s go to His Word. Let’s go to Him in prayer and talk to Him throughout the day not just about the big things…but about the little things. Let’s tell others He is the only bread that will quiet our hearts and minds and satisfy our eternal hunger so they can be fed too by the only food that lasts.

Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted In the Earth!

Psalm 46:10

Lord

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:11

Today’s word to describe Jesus is Lord which is defined as ruler or master. Would you say Jesus is your ruler or master? If you asked me this question, I would be quick to answer yes. However, when I really sit back and reflect, unfortunately, He is the Lord of my life some of the time and in some things, but I have to admit He is not all of the time and in all things. He’s the Lord of my Sunday mornings when there is church, and He is the Lord of my Thursday nights when we have our scheduled weekly small group. But, everything in between…again..some of the time when I think to consult Him and to make Him a part of some aspects of my life.

It is often easier to go to Him as your Lord when you have nowhere else to turn or you know you have no control anyway. Last year, we were faced with some major decisions in how to treat spinal stenosis in my neck which had already caused me to lose strength and functionality in my right hand and threatened my ability to walk long-term without surgery. I learned one big thing, when it comes to certain things like your health, we are often times forced to make Him Lord and give Him control because there is literally nothing we can personally do to fix it. Looking back, this probably should have been much more stressful with questions like do I have surgery or try another route first, which type of surgery when there are multiple options, which doctor do I trust, will my symptoms get worse and will I lose my ability to use my hand or even walk, and will I need more surgeries in the future? However, we leaned on Him and prayed not only for healing, but for wisdom, guidance, and clarity to make the best decisions. He gave us peace through it all, and not only did He provide an unexpected surgery option different than what Mayo and other doctors were performing for my conditions, but He made it clear this was the route to go. At the same time, we were faced with a major decision on whether to change my role within my career at Northwestern Mutual. Again, we made Him Lord and prayed through these decisions and the direction was clear without much stress or anxiety. Out of necessity, I learned how He can make major things not seem as big and stressful when we make Him Lord.

Then, why do I get stressed about a little thing at 2:00 on a Tuesday or wondering if my to-do list will get done or when our kids are acting up? Simple…I am not making him Lord of the small, everyday things..only the big things. My opportunity for growth in my relationship with Him is to make Him Lord of these little things. Not making Him Lord of these things robs me from gratitude for all He’s given me and the joy of everyday life with my family, friends, and in my career.

Why do we do this? Some may wonder if He even cares about the little things. Why would the God who created the sun, moon, stars, and the universe really care about my little problems? Simple..He created us. For us who are parents, think how much we care about our kids’ problems. We would do anything to help..to a fault sometimes. Think about our kids when they create a Lego or block tower. They are so proud of their creation. And in turn, they are very protective of it and get really upset when their younger sibling wrecks it. Why? Because they created it. The creator cares immensely about their creation. Each one of us are His special creation as Psalm 139:13-14 tells us.

Why else don’t we make Him Lord of the little things in our life? We don’t think we need it, and we think we can handle it on our own. But…it’s obvious we can’t or we would not get so stressed and upset about the small stuff. Many suffer from anxiety about things that are relatively minor in the big picture of life on this Earth and especially in the big picture of eternity.

How can we improve at making Him Lord of our life, and especially the little things where many of us need the most improvement? There are many ways such as reading His Word daily, attending church regularly, and joining a small group. However, I believe what all of these things really do is help us develop an awareness of His presence in our life which leads to a relationship with Him through the conduit of prayer. As a decoration in my parents’ house reads, “Prayer is the ultimate wireless connection.” This is how in the big moments and the small ones in life we offload our problems to Him and ask for His help. We realize we may not have this, but He’s got this and He’s got us. As a recent article in The Wall Street Journal my brother sent our family on the power of prayer stated, connecting with Him in prayer is like heading up a huge mountain with a heavy backpack and then handing it off to Him. Believe it or not, He wants us to. He asks us to. We are his creation, and He as our creator wants our hearts and for us to acknowledge that He is Lord and give everything to Him.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

Please pray with me…

God…please help me make you the Lord and ruler of my life. Help me to know that you, as my Creator, truly care about and are in control of not only the big things, but also the little things that will come up in my day today and every day. I thank you for this and for showing me your ultimate love by sacrificing your only Son on the cross for me. I love you. Amen.

God of Peace

As we explore the God of Peace together today, what comes to your mind with the word peace? Take some time and think about how you would define peace.

In English, the word “peace” conjures up a passive picture, one showing an absence of civil disturbance or hostilities, or a personality free from internal and external strife. The biblical concept of peace is larger than that and rests heavily on the Hebrew root slm, which means “to be complete” or “to be sound,” according to Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology.

This definition makes me think of words like Perfect. Whole. Righteous.

What does peace feel like to you? Physically? Close your eyes and think about what God’s peace feels like.

I feel a huge inhale and an audible exhale. A release of every muscle and tissue. Hands open. Eyes closing and letting go of the clutter in my mind. An overwhelming sense of calm and perfection. A smile across my face and sun shining down and warming me.

I believe we are created in God’s image, with a desire for peace, a searching for His wholeness to consume us. One day we will be made perfect and live completely whole in His peace. Can you imagine it?!

Are you currently in a season of searching and seeking peace?  Ready to give up the worries and anxiety that we are surrounded by? I don’t know what is stealing your peace today, but lately I know I need:

        • His steadiness for my spiraling
        • His shield for my storm
        • His strength for my struggle
        • His saving grace for my sin
        • His sovereignty for my self-reliance
        • His sanctification for my shortcomings

In order to have more of His peace, I need to draw closer to Him and His ways. I loved Jon’s encouragement yesterday to Cry Out to the I AM! He will rescue us with His peace – the world can’t offer anything close!

Our God isn’t just the author of peace – He also tells us how to have His peace in our life. He wants us to live fully in His peace and He tells us how to do it! Do you believe – truly believe – that living with God’s peace in your heart, is a choice? Do you believe that you can choose to have more peace in your life? His word tells us it’s true, will you join me in clinging to this truth and choosing peace? Let’s start together, today!

When scriptures tell us to “let” something occur, I like to replace that with “allow”. Let’s do our part in all of this ALLOWING:

Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.  John 14

Let the peace of God rule in your heart. Col. 3:15

Think about things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, worthy of praise…and then the God of peace will be with you. Phil 4:8

When you break down piece by piece and put Phil 4:5-7, in your on words, we learn that because God is working, we have no reason to be anxious:

God is here! Pray with gratefulness and ask our Father to meet our needs. His peace – which is greater than anything we can even understand – His peace will protect our hearts and our minds – in Jesus!

Rejoice, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances… hold fast to what is good and abstain from evil, and the God of peace will sanctify you. 1 Thess 5:16-23

Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with another, live in peace. 2 Cor 13:11

Those that love your law, have great peace. Psalm 119:165

The Bible is full of instructions on how to have His peace in your world, while living here in this world. Make your own list of actionable steps from scripture, to have more of God’s peace. I’d love to hear what scriptures have helped you have more peace. The more we spend in His word, focus on Him and what He has for us, the less we focus on ourselves and the unrest of this world.

I will leave you with this final beautiful picture from Isaiah 55:

“For you shall go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
    shall break forth into singing,
    and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Dwelling Place

What is your morning routine? How do you start your day? Do you work out? Read the newspaper (yes some still do)? Check social media? Pray? Morning Devotional?

Now that my physical health is back, my weekday routine typically involves working out. It also involves reading Bible Journal to get in the Word, prayer, and writing down at least 3 things I’m grateful for that morning. I also write down my 2-3 most important work activities for the day so that I prioritize them over things that seem urgent.

Today’s word to describe God is “dwelling place” and our verse to go with it is Psalm 90:1.

“Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.”

Later, Psalm 90:14 reads..

“Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad in all our days.

The last verse of the chapter, Psalm 90:17, says…

“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!”

My weekday morning routine help establish the Lord as my dwelling place to start my day. He speaks to me through His Word and prayer, and I give him thanks for His blessings through my gratitude list. I started this last piece of after hearing some years back you can’t feel stress and gratitude at the same time. Generally speaking, no matter how busy my day will be and even if I’m running late, my anxiety level is pretty low on weekday mornings. However, anxiety tends to go up as the day goes further along, and I forget to dwell in the Lord through talking to Him in prayer. I forget about what I’m grateful for despite the problems which arise. I forget to ask him again in the fire to “establish the work of my hands.” He no longer is my “dwelling place”…my “dwelling place” is now the troubles the day has brought.

Ironically, some of the days I seem to be worried the most about getting my to do list done or am short tempered are the weekends. Some of the days I tend to be the most anxious about what the future may bring are when I’m on vacation..yes…vacation..which is supposed to be the time to re-charge! Why? I get away from my morning routine on the weekends and vacation which make the Lord my dwelling place. Just yesterday the discussion came up, bringing some stress and anxiety, about when we may change houses and if our kids will change schools. We must remember to pray for wisdom and guidance on these decisions and remember that regardless of the physical location of where we live or where our kids go to school, He is our true dwelling place. Instead of worrying about these things, we should be grateful that we even have a home and a school which many in other countries, and even our own country for that matter, don’t have.

Let us pray..

Lord, please help us to remember that you have been, and will always be, our true dwelling place in all generations. Help us remember this throughout each day in the little decisions and in the big ones which affect our long-term plans. We know that when we truly dwell in you and you dwell in our hearts and minds, you will establish the work of our hands and we will rejoice and be glad in our days!

A Change in Paradigm

When you think of a funeral and what Bible passages are read most commonly, which ones come to mind? Today’s reading of Psalm 23 most certainly is in the top few. When I hear this verse, I picture a person walking down a dark path lonely with a light up ahead. I’m not sure this would be the mental vision God would want me to have about death. As I read this verse more closely, what stuck out to me is that it is “the valley of the shadow of death” in Psalm 23:4. We, who are still living, are in the “shadow of death.” This is where we have fears, anxieties, and worries that cause us stress. This is when we need his “rod and staff” to “comfort me.” This is when I need to “fear no evil” and my soul needs restoring by laying in “green pastures” and by going “beside still waters.”

Revelation 21:4 tells us, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be morning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” When I die, I want my funeral to be a celebration that I’m living in Heaven in perfect peace worshiping the only King forever. I want a band playing songs of praise with everyone standing and worshiping Him reminding all there of the joy they can have in eternal life through confessing their sins and belief in Him and His resurrection! They don’t need to be sad for me…I’m not in a dark valley standing there by myself lonely. I’m experiencing a joy we can’t even imagine on this Earth worshiping Him in a similar way to how I hope they are at that moment.

The first part of Psalm 23:8 says, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” telling us maybe Psalm 23 is more appropriate for a baby dedication, a first communion, a baptism, or even a wedding. We can live in perfect peace throughout our life because the second part of Psalm 23:8 says, “and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” When we fix our eyes on that which is eternal (the only thing that matters), we will have comfort and respite from the challenges in this life.

Here is the song 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman which was sung at my wife’s great uncle Lee Dexheimer’s funeral. It reminded me we will experience a peace that passes all human understanding just like Lee did that day and still is today, forever and ever. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXDGE_lRI0E

Angels We Have Heard..in Brooklyn??

In July of 2017, I had the opportunity to go on a mission trip doing street ministry with Spread Truth. This was something I had never done before and stretched my comfort zone. Our first day was on parks where you are typically approaching people that are seated, and let’s just say the first guy we approached was about as rude and mean as you could be and I thought to myself..”well…it can’t get any worse than that. It can only get better, so let’s move on and go to the next one!” The rest of the day resulted in some great conversations where the Holy Spirit was at work. Day 2 was a different assignment standing on the sidewalks in the streets of Brooklyn as people passed. To say we were off to a rough start was an understatement. For nearly an hour we could not get anyone to even stop to talk to us as they busily hurried to wherever they were headed. We were very discouraged to say the least, and then came a conversation with Thomas King, a name and an interaction I will never forget.

Thomas, who we later would learn was age 93, was standing by a bench, and we approached him to hopefully tell him the Gospel and change his life..instead…he changed ours. He encouraged us immediately and told us to look at the faces of every person that walked by. He said they were all filled with stress, anxiety, and worry…he said, “What they all need is Jesus!” If they would just remember and lean on the words of Isaiah 26:3, they would not be so troubled. He then told us the words of this verse from memory..

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

Isaiah 26:3

Not only did this emotional pep talk fire us up like a coach before a big game to remind us that people needed what we had and we had to go back out there and push through the rejection, challenges, and disappointments we had experienced and tell them about what they truly needed….which was Jesus, but it was also a great reminder that fear, anxiety, and stress all come from selfish thoughts and concerns about ourselves. 1 John 4:18 tells us, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” When we are focused on Him and his perfect love for us given on the cross and we know His love shown in this way means we will spend eternity in Heaven with Him and that is all that really matters, we will be in “perfect peace” as Isaiah 26:3 says.

It’s hard to describe our feelings as Thomas captured our hearts and minds with his words of wisdom. Sadly though, Thomas told us than many younger than him, including his church, did not listen. He told us he was recently recognized by his church for his years of membership there, but they would not give him the opportunity to speak when he asked. This saddened me because not only did it disappoint Thomas, but his words had so much impact on us that we did not want him to stop speaking and others would be missing out on his wisdom. Job 12:12 says, “Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.”  How many times do we miss out on the opportunity to learn from our elders by not asking them or not listening to them and discounting their credibility which should be gained, not lost, with age?

Hebrews 13:2 reads, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” I don’t know if Thomas was an angel, but I do know that his words cut sharp like a knife at exactly the right time when we needed it and reminded us that what we were doing was not about us and we needed to re-direct our fear to focus on Jesus and His perfect love which every person who walked by needed. As we head into 2019, we hope and pray that it will bring us many blessings, but it will undoubtedly also will bring us challenges. Let’s commit to being prepared to face those trials because our minds will be fixed on Him and His perfect love, and we will trust in Him which will give us “perfect peace.” We have faith He will give us exactly what we need when we need it..just like He gave us Thomas King.

Greatly Distressed

Matthew 17

A couple of weeks ago, I began asking people if it were a full moon outside.  It was my sarcastic way of downplaying the distress in my life.  To be distressed, according to google, is to experience anxiety, sorrow or pain.  But, distress is more than that.  In fact, Marriam-Webster (by the way in our world that is all things Google, we lose some richness from our lives – use other sources for information occasionally) adds that distress is a state of danger or desperate need.  Distress, in my life, shows up when the things that I put my hope in, the things that I trust my future with, don’t perform the way that I expect them to.  The disciples experienced this too.

As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed. Matthew 17:22-23

Do you see it?  At this point, the disciples had given up their entire lives for Jesus.  Their careers, family life, money, everything.  The only comfort and security they know is Jesus.  What does he do?  He tells them that he is going away.  Worse than that, he is going to die.    They knew that they found the very best thing to live for and now it is going away.  It could never be replaced.  No relationship, no job, no wealth could give them hope.  The result?  Distress – agony, anguish, tribulation, excruciation, torment and torture.

As I consider the disciples’ lost hope, I see that distress reveals much about our own lives.  Chiefly, distress in our lives exposes the object of our affection. Some of us, put our hope in people, maybe a spouse.  Many choose the organization that we work for.   When these let us down, or they change course, our future looks different than what we originally chose.  We find distress.  Do not, for a second, think that distress is a bad thing.  I think Jesus allowed, even wanted his disciples to experience it.  Why?  Because it caused them to reevaluate.  It caused them to clarify why they were following him and was it worth continuing.

History shows that the disciples continued to choose Jesus, despite their distress and the uncertainty of his future.  In him, they found life, abundantly.  That abundant life continued even after his death.  Today, we get that same benefit.  In fact, he promises that he will be with us “even to the end of the age” (Matt 28:20).  Because of that eternal promise, we never have to experience distress.   When we do, our hope is in the wrong place.

 

Do Not Worry

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Today’s Readings: 1 Chronicles 24-25, 1 Peter 5, Micah 3, Luke 12

On Friday I spent the day in Chicago eagerly hunting Black Friday deals. I made a plan, packed protein snacks, skipped the coffee so I wouldn’t have to pee and made a map. Not just a map of the city but a map of deals. To say that I was caught up in the materialism of the season is an understatement. I invited a close friend to join me in my quest, which resulted in an honest conversation about money. Not just having or not having money but the fear associated with our need for wealth in order to feel secure. We live in an economy of plenty. Many of us are driven by worry to work more and more in order to achieve that level of financial security that will make us feel safe. In reality, that threshold of safety really doesn’t exist. The more successful we are, the more fear we have of losing that assurance. In today’s readings we hear from Luke on God’s provision in our lives. I love, love, love this scripture. I love it because I’ve lived its power and truth in our family life. Here it is:

“And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.” Luke 12:22-31

 I know, it’s long but every word of that scripture is so important, we need to read it all! Jesus is telling us that there will never be “enough” money for us to feel secure. No matter how much money we make it will never feel like enough. Instead, Jesus tells us to seek his kingdom…and these things will be added to you. That is so significant! Why? Because Jesus is telling us that if God’s kingdom is your ultimate goal, not wealth or security, then you have total assurance that your goal will be met. When you feel that assurance, really believe in His promise you will recognize that the money you make is actually enough. That God is providing for your needs, every single day.

When I prepare to write each week, I read the commentary from my three different study bibles. While studying Luke this week, I copied down part of the notes from my NIV Bible into my journal. It’s sort of an action list for managing worry in a biblical way. I’m praying that it reaches someone that is reading today that doesn’t know how they will afford tomorrow. Someone that may not be able to buy gifts for Christmas, or may not be receiving a gift because of financial burden. Here it is:

Overcoming worry requires:

  1. Simple trust in God, your heavenly Father. This trust is expressed by praying to Him rather than worrying.
  2. Perspective on your problems. This can be gained by developing a strategy for addressing and correcting your problems.
  3. A support team to help. Find some believers who will pray for you to find wisdom and strength to pray for your worries.

NIV Life Application Study Bible pg. 1698

 I believe that the power in Bible Journal is our willingness to be vulnerable as authors by sharing our testimony. I’m writing to you each week from my heart. I said earlier that I love this scripture because I’ve lived its power. Just 5 months ago our family was in a position in which we didn’t know quite how we would afford tomorrow. Our son was very sick; he needed me to be with him for an extended time in the hospital. We didn’t know when I could go back to work, and we didn’t know who would care for our girls. It was you, the authors and readers of Bible Journal that lifted us up and held us in that time. You were our support team to help. You were the believers that prayed for us and found wisdom and strength when we couldn’t muster it ourselves. And of course, through you, God provided for Oliver’s needs and the needs of our family. We’ll never be able to thank you enough.

As we begin a new week and welcome December, I’m praying that we can take stock of our life and ask ourselves, are the things I’m worried about genuine needs? Are they comparable to the things that the poor and hungry need? If not, then actively work toward letting those worries go. God does provide.