I know who holds tomorrow

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Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.~ Phil 4:4-7 (NRSV)

“Rejoice in the Lord always” doesn’t end with,”unless you are doing something really important”. No, it’s a command, “Rejoice always”. When I am consumed by my problems – my family, my job, my life, I am actually conveying the belief that my circumstances are more important than God’s command to always rejoice. In other words, I am saying that I have the right to disobey God’s command because of the magnitude of my responsibilities. My focus on my problems puts my problems first. This is a form of idolatry- taking my focus away from God.

Following the command to rejoice always is the command to not worry. Worry implies that I do not trust God with my circumstances. Is not the God who flung the stars into space not big enough to handle my problems? Is not the God who moves continents not strong enough to fix my situation? Is not the God who sent His only Son into the world to die on a cross for my sins not loving enough to hear my prayers?

Being stressed says that what I am involved in, merits my impatience, lack of grace toward others or my tight grip on control. Worry and stress say that I have forgotten that it is really not about me. God has a big picture and I am a part of it. The picture isn’t about me. The picture is God’s.

The chorus from a song has been running through my mind today, ” There are things about tomorrow That I don’t seem to understand But I know who holds tomorrow And I know who holds my hand.” So what do I gain from putting God first and trusting Him to take care of my tomorrows? Verse seven says that the peace that passes all understanding will guard my heart and mind.

No matter how hard I try to control the situation, I don’t know what tomorrow looks like. I do know, because the Bible tells me, that I am to always rejoice, to give thanks in every situation and to not worry. I also know that the One who began a good work in me will bring it to completion (Phil 1:6).

Heavenly Father, may I live this day trusting that you hold all my tomorrows. When feelings of anxiety creep back in, may that be my signal that I have lost my focus reminding me to look back to you. Amen.

Just a vapor

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Pay attention, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such- and- such a town. We will stay there a year, buying and selling, and making a profit.” You don’t really know about tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for only a short while before it vanishes.~James 4:13-14 (CEB)

What if tomorrow is too late? What things am I putting off to tomorrow that should be done today? It is easy to go about thinking this is just another ordinary day. What would I do differently if I knew tomorrow wouldn’t come?

On an average day, I am caught up in myself. On an average day, I don’t consider God very much. On an average day, I truly forget that I am just a vapor. “The LORD does indeed know human thoughts, knows that they are nothing but a puff of air.” Psalm 94:11

If I knew that I would not be here tomorrow would I give more? Love more? Would I be braver to say the things that must be said? What should I do differently today in case tomorrow never came?

Lord, may I not live this day as if I will live forever. Amen.

Hearing through community

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I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. ~Jer. 3:15 (NRSV)

We were not meant to walk this road of life alone. Jesus lived his life in community. From his childhood to his calling and traveling with disciples Jesus lived in community. A community of faith nurtured him, supported him and informed him (who do the crowds say I am?) We too are meant to live in a community. How else are we to find the strength to live a faithful life without the gifts offered in a faithful community of Jesus? Jesus was known for valuing solitude since he retired to rest and pray, but living in community also marked his life.

It is easy for me to forget the importance of Christian community. Susanne G. Farnham in her book Listening Hearts, states the importance of community, “Although God calls each of us personally, as individuals we see only partially. Individual perception, reasoning, and understanding are always limited. Even a person who feels absolutely certain that a specific revelation is from God may be mistaken as to how it is to be applied. Because God often reveals part of the picture to one person and another part to another person, it is prudent to consult one another to discern God’s counsel, guidance, and direction, even if there is no apparent reason to do so. While circumstances sometimes require us to ask without consulting others, the danger of arrogance and error in proceeding on our own can be great.”

Heavenly Father I thank You for surrounding me with people that help me discern Your will in my life. Without others perspective into my life I would not always understand the picture you have painted for me. I thank You for the counsel, guidance and direction that You have spoken into my life through others. Amen.

Free to love

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Your faithful love is priceless, God! Humanity finds refuge in the shadow of your wings. ~Psalms 36:7

Jesus is called Emmanuel which means “God-with-us” (Matthew 1:22-23). Jesus came into the world to be with us and to guide us with his example for living. During his time on earth, Jesus was in no way influenced by human blame or praise but was completely dependent on God’s will. Jesus was able to have deep compassion because his life was guided not by human respect but only by the love of his heavenly Father. In reading my Bible, Jesus is with me guiding me through the examples shown to me in the Bible. Allowing myself to be guided by God’s will frees me to love others.

When it is no longer about “me”, about my trying to get human respect, I am free to love. Allowing myself to be guided by God’s will frees me to love as He wants me to love. When I find my security through Jesus, the love, peace, joy and hope that He pours into me overflows to others (Romans 13:13). We are to be rooted in Jesus. With our roots firmly planted in his truth and established in faith, we won’t be enslaved by foolish deception (Colossians 2:7). Loving God with all my heart and all my strength and loving my neighbor is the most important thing that I can offer to Him (Mark 12:33).

Heavenly Father, I struggle daily with “self”. I want to love those around me with the love Christ has shown me. May I honor you this day through showing Christ’s love to others. Amen.

A mosaic piece of work

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A joyful heart helps healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. ~Proverbs 17:22 (CEB)

I once was lost. Even though I had grown up in a Christian home, brought up in church and believed in God with my whole heart I still found myself lost one day. Life’s circumstances can do that sometimes. Whether it is bad choices or not paying attention we can find ourselves in a place we don’t want to be. After a 5 year journey, I have just begun to realize it has not been so much my obedience to do His will that God had in His plans when He came after me. He wanted to heal my broken heart along the way. Who knew?

Today I am a mosaic pieced back together by the Master Creator. So often we think when something has been shattered that there is no value left. When I allowed God to mend what I had deemed beyond repair, I found that there could still be beauty. It is a different kind of beauty. I am not what I once was, but with the Light shining through me, I am more beautiful than even before my heart was shattered. Not only am I whole again but I find that I still have value in God’s eyes.

Heavenly Father, I thank you for seeking me, for relentlessly pursuing me. I thank you for going into the depths to pull me out. You not only sought me out, You healed me. May I always remember to be thankful. Amen.

Power beyond myself

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Navigation through life

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Send your light and truth—those will guide me! Let them bring me to your holy mountain, to your dwelling place. ~Psalm 43:3 (CEB)

Now that I have discovered the navigation app on my phone I have gotten to where I will use the application even for some trips that I feel rather confident about. It has been fun to see if there are better ways to get where I need to go or to see if the route I have been choosing has been the best way all along. A few days ago I had it on while driving through slightly familiar parts when I realized that my phone was warning me of upcoming trouble. On I-24 just outside of Clarkesville, there were major traffic problems and my phone was adjusting my travel time by 15-20 min to allow for the blockage. Now that I knew there was a situation I had to make a decision whether to continue on my regular route that would take me through the situation stop, somewhere and wait out the traffic or use my phone and find an additional route to avoid the situation all together.

From where I was I could not see any problems. My driving was not being hindered at all at the moment. Should I rely on what the phone was telling me or just take my chances? Whether to trust my phone or not that was the question. After a short discussion with myself, I decided to find an alternate route. My phone was quick to show me that I could drive on a highway that was parallel to the interstate for eleven miles and get onto the interstate at a different point. Following this suggestion didn’t save me much time but it would save me the aggravation and stress of sitting in traffic.

Relying on the Holy Spirit more in my life makes my travels easier as well. The Holy Spirit can see ahead to things beyond my sight. If I follow the Holy Spirit’s leading it can steer me clear of roadblocks and dangers, sidestepping much aggravation and stress. The more I trust the Holy Spirit for what I can’t see the more confident my travels through life will be. I still have to travel this life. That is not an option but I can seek God even before things become bigger than me. God will help me to be more than I am handling each situation as it comes. Fear and anxiety may always camp near my back door, but the Holy Spirit helps me to keep them at bay. I keep finding myself overwhelmed and balking at change but the Holy Spirit empowers me and gives me strength to live each day.

Heavenly Father I thank you for Your Holy Spirit that lives in me. I thank you that I can count of Your guidance in my daily life.  May it always draw my closer to You. Amen

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