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Posts tagged ‘Psalms’

How Staying Calm Keeps You Healthy.


Hand of God
Are you able to relax and let the hand of God give you rest?

You’ve probably noticed at least one of the countless “Keep Calm” posters that seem to be popping up all over social media sites bearing imperative phrases that are as cutesy and quaint as “Keep Calm and Eat a Cupcake” and as instigative and contradictory as “Keep Calm and Punch People in the Face.”

A Google search will inform you that the original “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster was created in 1939 by the British government just before World War II began with intentions to boost morale. The British public, having just been made aware of a prediction of mass air attacks on major cities, were encouraged to carry on with business as usual. (Easier said—despite the advantage of a delightful British accent—than done!) Keep calm and have a crumpet. Have a spot of tea. Don’t panic; just “carry on.”

More than 2.5 million copies of the poster were printed and set for distribution upon the invasion of Britain by Germany. Fortunately, this never occurred, and so the poster was never seen by the public—at least not until the year 2000, when a bookseller stumbled across a copy buried beneath a pile of books bought from an auction. Since then, the poster has been reissued by a number of companies promoting a wide range of products and also by individuals sharing their own unique brands of humor, motivation and stress management, as you saw in the aforementioned examples.

My favorite “Keep Calm” poster simply reads “Keep Calm and Keep Waiting on God.”  If King David were reigning today, I can imagine he’d have it framed and hanging in his living room (by a window overlooking green pastures and still waters, of course!) beside his book of Psalms, opened to the 130th, which reads:

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than those who watch for the morning—
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning” (vv. 5-6, NKJV).

There may not be much merit in eating a cupcake in an attempt to keep calm. One is certainly not made calm by punching people in the face. (One is usually incarcerated.) But continuing to wait on Godalways generates a sense of peace, an uncanny wave of calm that originates in our spirit and manifests itself in deep breaths of incomprehensible contentment.

This past weekend I heard a story of a few young brothers who were playing tag outside near a freshwater lake in Florida. The boys’ father had to go in the house to take a phone call, but before leaving, he sternly instructed the elder son to make sure the youngest—just 3 years old—didn’t get too near the water’s edge because he didn’t know how to swim.

No sooner did the man go inside than one of his sons cried out that his little brother was in the lake; he’d tried to tag one of his brothers who quickly evaded his touch, sending the younger one over the edge.

The father ran full speed across the pier and dove into the murky water. He spent a full 60 seconds swimming blindly, reaching out desperately for his little boy. He came up gasping for air and asked the others if they’d seen anything, any movement or air bubbles.

Nothing. All was smooth on the surface.

The father dove back down, this time frantically exploring the underside of the pier. Spreading his body out as far and wide as he could, hoping to feel the hand or foot of his drowning son, he crashed again and again against the wooden pillars. At last, after what seemed like an eternity within an airless, mud-colored cave, he felt his son’s tiny body wrapped tightly around one of the columns.

The father climbed his way out of the watery nightmare and carried his son to shore. After spitting up bit of water, the little boy was perfectly all right and eager to resume playtime with his brothers.

What struck me most about this story, more than the boy’s miraculous rescue after upwards of three minutes under water, was his response when his dad asked him why he was clinging to that pillar.

“Because,” the boy said, “I was just waiting for you to come get me.”

It was as simple as that. This helpless 3-year-old didn’t know much, but he knew the most important thing: He could count on his father. As long as he just kept calm and kept waiting, his dad would show up, scoop him up and carry him up and into the light.

This story is a beautiful parable demonstrating what it looks like to keep calm and keep waiting on God. How often in life are we that lost and imperiled child with deep waters swirling all around us and no way of escape? And how often do we just keep calm and wait for God to come and get us? Probably not nearly enough.

Isaiah 40:31 tells us that those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength, soar like eagles and run without growing weary. Science also confirms the importance of staying calm amidst stress and danger with numerous studies that show keeping one’s cool can reduce the risk of acquiring neurological illnesses in old age.

When we allow anxiety to have control over our thoughts, words and actions, the result can be catastrophic. An overload of stress means an overwhelmed nervous system. When your nervous system is stressed, panic attacks, nervous breakdowns, and depression are often the result. Be wary of “mild” stress, too. Headaches, stomach aches, and digestive disorders may not seem like a big deal, but they can lead to conditions that are much more devastating, such as heart attack and stroke due to high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system.

Thankfully, there are proven ways to combat stress and wash away worries. Doctors suggest:

  • Exercising
  • Taking a vacation
  • Sleeping more
  • Listening to relaxing, soothing music
  • Reading
  • Do deep breathing and/or muscle relaxation exercises
  • Journal
  • Meditate
  • Pray

Personally, I’d start with the last bullet point: pray. I will honestly confess that I don’t always bow my head when I feel stress coming on. Indeed, the enemy will do everything he can to distract and dissuade you and me from going before the Lord with our problems and fears; he doesn’t want us to wait for God but to toil to find our own solutions. Why? Because after millennia spent observing and afflicting followers of Christ, Satan knows we are most powerful when we’re on our knees, that we’re strongest when we’re staying still, holding fast to our faith in God like the little boy with the pillar.

When we take a moment to pray amid the chaos howling like a wicked wind and the worries filling our minds like a flood, we are given the strength to wait and to sing with David, “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” We are given the faith to wait for our Abba Father to find us in life’s darkest moments, wrap His arms around us, and carry us to shore.

“Humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Pet. 5:6-7, NLT).

Stay fit and stay faithful.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Diana Anderson-Tyler is the author of Creation House’s Fit for Faith: A Christian Woman’s Guide to Total Fitness. Her popular website can be found at fit4faith.com, and she is the owner and a coach at CrossFit 925. Diana can be reached on Twitter. This article was originally posted to her blog.

The Light of His Glory.


One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.
Psalm 27:4

Recommended Reading
Psalm 73:16-17, 23-28 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2073:16-17,%2023-28&version=NKJV )

At a meeting of the Socratic Club in Oxford, England, in 1945, the Christian apologist C. S. Lewis said, “I believe that the Sun has risen not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else.” In his biography of C. S. Lewis, Alister McGrath explains what Lewis meant: “We can look at the sun itself; or we can look instead at what it illuminates — thus enlarging our intellectual, moral, and aesthetic vision. We see the true, the good, and the beautiful more clearly by being given a lens that brings them into focus.”1

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio.aspx?tid=email_listenedevo )

The psalmist Asaph had a similar enlightening experience. He was confused and frustrated about the prosperity of evildoers in the world — “Until I went into the sanctuary of God;  then  I understood their end” (Psalm 73:17). When he went to the temple to worship God, suddenly he saw the answer — the answer was God! Somehow, when we “worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 29:2), life looks different.

We worship God not only because He is God but because we see everything else more clearly in the light of His glory.

In the light of God, human vision clears.
James Philip

1Alister McGrath,  C. S. Lewis: A Life—Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet  (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2013), 277.

Read-Thru-the-Bible
1 Corinthians 1-4

By David Jeremiah.

Voluntary Thanksgiving.


Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!
Psalm 107:21

Recommended Reading
Psalm 107:8, 15, 31 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20107:8,%2015,%2031&version=NKJV)

The American Pilgrims weren’t the first to give thanks with a meal: “The meat of their fellowship offering of thanksgiving must be eaten on the day it is offered; they must leave none of it till morning” (Leviticus 7:15, NIV 1984). Due to the lack of refrigeration, the “fellowship offering of thanksgiving” had to be offered and eaten on the same day. Today we enjoy leftovers for several days after!

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio.aspx?tid=email_listenedevo )

The Israelites did not restrict their expressions of thanksgiving to one day. “Thank offerings” could be offered at any time as a type of “fellowship offering” (Leviticus 3; 7:11-34), one of the five categories of Old Testament sacrifices (the others were burnt offerings, grain offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings). A fellowship offering was a voluntary offering. When offered for the purpose of thanksgiving, it included not only an animal sacrifice but various breads to be consumed as a meal.

Voluntary  is the key word. We are free at any time to thank God for His goodness and wonderful works: “Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15).

God’s giving deserves our thanksgiving.
Unknown

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Romans 15-16

By David Jeremiah.

Avoiding a Generic Thanksgiving.


Avoiding a Generic Thanksgiving

My thrice-great grandmother was a Choctaw Native born in South Mississippi in 1845. Her name was Clementine “Thankful” Page. I’m not sure what her parents called her in the day-to-day but I’ve imagined it would be great if she went by “Thankful.” I can imagine that name echoing through a house in those antebellum years. “Thankful, it’s time for dinner” or maybe, “Thankful, what did you do?” What a wonderful name and a great way to be remembered. For whatever reason, her parents chose to mark her life with a constant reminder of gratitude. Likewise, Christians have been given a new name in Christ and we should be marked by the virtue of thanksgiving. “Thankful” should be our name.

Many nations have their own traditional “Day of Thanks.” Here in the United States, our country celebrates Thanksgiving every fourth Thursday of November. It has a long history and has been on the books since 1863, when Lincoln declared, “Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” To be sure, there are gluttonous excesses associated with the holiday that old Abe probably didn’t envision but I believe it can serve as a vital reminder to followers of Christ. Any “Day of Thanks” should serve as a genuine cue for the believer that real thanksgiving is a daily virtue skillfully pondered and carefully applied.

Move Beyond a Generic Thanksgiving

The interesting thing about Thanksgiving Day, Gerald Bray writes, is that it “manages to be religious and secular at the same time.”[1] However for the believer, a secularist perspective will not do. Bray gets to the point of this noting that, “Today it is a major celebration when people are expected and encouraged to be grateful, but no one specifies to whom thanks should be given.”[2] This requires us as Christians to move beyond a generic thanks.

So what is biblical thanksgiving? If we tied together the wealth of the Bible’s teaching we would see that thanksgiving is the recognition that God has blessed us. One of the biblical words used for “thanksgiving” (yada) means to praise, confess, or witness. These are words that are directed to something or better still, to someone. This of course points us to the fact that our confession and our witness are rooted in the character and work of the Triune God. As Christians, we do not offer generic thanksgiving to a generic Being with generic adulation. So, we confess the work of the Son as given by the Father in the power of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 2:14). As believers, we are witnesses to the grace of God, which has been richly lavished on His Church (Ephesians 1:3).

Thanksgiving for Every Occasion

In Scripture, especially in the Psalms, thanksgiving is often bound together with praise. So to offer praise to the Lord is to give thanks (Psalms 106:1Psalms 136:1). In thanksgiving, we loosen our tongues and proclaim with our voices all that the Lord has done. We declare all of His wonders (Psalms 26:7). So in this way, the Psalms can serve as a voice for our particular praises of thanksgiving (Psalms 95:2). Taking our cue from the Psalms we can learn to offer thanks in some unexpected places. We learn that thanksgiving can come through the channel of suffering, spiritual apathy, and lament as well as times of exuberance, joy, and prosperity. In this way Calvin was right to call the Psalms “An anatomy of all parts of the soul.” Biblical thanksgiving will move our hearts to confess the works of the Lord in all circumstances.

Thanksgiving Made Visible

The Church is the chosen vessel for making the praise of God visible in the world. On a few occasions, the Apostle Paul paused to offer thanks to God for the work and witness of the churches in which he ministered (see Ephesians 1:162 Thessalonians 2:3). Specifically, Paul noted how their faith had been enlarged by the example of their love for one another. Their perseverance under difficulty, their faith in the midst of persecutions, and their resilience in afflictions were all visible grounds for Paul’s thanksgiving. Christian, are you thankful for your church? Are you enlarging the faith of your fellow members? Are you modeling perseverance under duress? The gathered Church is the embodiment of the grace of Christ in the world. Our praises, fellowship, and various efforts for outreach are tangible expressions of thanksgiving to God.

Thanksgiving Every Day

365 days in a year offer us 365 unique opportunities to demonstrate our life in Christ. 365 opportunities to pray, to lead our family in worship, to grab a friend by the hand and pray with them, to minister to the sick, to prepare a meal for someone who is hungry, to take in a fatherless child, to go on mission, to write a check to a missionary, to roll up our sleeves and serve in the church, and 365 distinct opportunities to tell someone that “Jesus will set you free.” In this way, thanksgiving is every day.

Clearly, there are many opportunities to express thanks to God. Do our various celebrations of thanks carry the distinct aroma of the glories of Christ? For the Church, thanksgiving is every day. After all, her name is “thankful.”

Here are a few ideas for incorporating thankfulness into your Day of Thanks:

·         Read or sing Psalms of thanksgiving (Psalms 9, 30, 32, 34, 40, 41, 92, 103, 107, 116, 138).

·         Pray through Ephesians 1:3–10 and discuss with friends and family what Christ has done in your life this year.

·         Sing or listen to Charles Wesley’s hymn “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing.”

·         Have each person detail something they are thankful for and then use the opportunity to pray and give thanks to the Lord.

·         For small children, have them create a picture or a craft that demonstrates the practice of thanksgiving to God.

·         Serve someone in physical and/or spiritual need whether in your local church or in your community (nursing home, hospital, shelter, etc.).

Dr. Paul Lamey is Pastor of Preaching at Grace Community Church, Huntsville, Alabama. He and his wife, Julie, have four children. You can read more from Paul at his blog, expository thoughts and follow him on Twitter @paulslamey.


[1]Gerald Bray, God is Love: A Biblical and Systematic Theology (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012), 35.

[2]Ibid.

Paul Lamey

How to Cast Your Care for Good.


praying hands on Bible
Use this arsenal of Scriptures when you feel plagued by worry. (David Hensen/Stockvault.net)

Are you worried about a specific relationship or circumstance? This index, derived from Rx for Worryby James P. Gills, M.D., lists some key Bible verses you can use to battle worry and fear. These verses are God‘s promises that He is with us and will be our support and strength. Read them. Believe them. Let His Word become the foundation in your struggles!

Are you worried, anxious, afraid, or troubled?
God will give you peace.
In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. … He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. —Psalm 18:6, 19

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.—Psalm 46:1-2

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? —Psalm 56:3-4

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. —Isaiah 26:3

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me . . . Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.—John 14:1, 27

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.—John 16:33

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.—Philippians 4:6-7


Are you worried about the future?
God will guide you.
He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.—Psalm 25:9

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. —Psalm 32:8

If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.—Psalm 37:23-24

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.—Proverbs 3:5-6

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. —Proverbs 16:3

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. —Isaiah 41:10

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”—Jeremiah 29:11

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.—James 1:5


Are you afraid of feeling alone?
God will never leave you.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.—Deuteronomy 31:6

Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. —saiah 58:9

The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.—Zephaniah 3:17

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.—John 14:18


Are you worried no one loves you?
God loves you.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.—John 3:16

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. —Romans 8:38-39

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. —1 John 3:16

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. —1 John 4:10


Are you worried that God could never forgive your sins?
God’s salvation overcomes all sins and guilt.
As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. —Psalm 103:12

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. —1 John 1:9


Do you feel depressed?
God will comfort you.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. —Psalm 34:18

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. —Psalm 42:11


Are you worried because you face opposition?
God is with you.
If God is for us, who can be against us? —Romans 8:31


Are you worried about physical needs?
God will provide.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.—Matthew 6:25-34

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!—Matthew 7:11

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. —Luke 12:6-7

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? —Romans 8:32

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.—2 Corinthians 9:8

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
—Philippians 4:19


Do you worry about your safety?
God will protect you.
I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. —Psalm 4:8

The Lord will keep you from all harm-he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.—Psalm 121:7-8


Do you worry so much that you can’t sleep?
God will ease your fears.
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. —Psalm 3:5

I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. -Psalm 4:8

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. —Proverbs 3:24


Are you worried about your appearance?
God looks at your heart.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” —1 Samuel 16:7

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. —Ecclesiastes 3:11


Are you worried about your health?
God will give you strength.
A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all. —Psalm 34:19

The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.—Isaiah 58:11

“But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,” declares the Lord, “because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.”—Jeremiah 30:17

Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. —James 5:14-15


Are you worried about getting old?
God will stay with you.
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green.—Psalm 92:12-14
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. —Isaiah 46:4


Are you worried about dying?
God offers eternal life.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.—Psalm 23:4

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.—John 3:16

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. —John 10:28

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” . . . Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. —1 Corinthians 15:55, 57

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-that is, the devil-and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. —Hebrews 2:14-15

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE.

FELICIA ABRAHAM

Look Up!


My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.
Psalm 5:3

Recommended Reading
Psalm 5 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%205&version=NKJV )

The phrase “look up” occurs four times in the Bible (NKJV), and it conveys four different truths. In Psalm 40:12, the writer was so discouraged by looking around him that he found it difficult to look up: “Innumerable evils have surrounded me; my iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up.” But Mark 8:25 says Jesus helps us look up, even when we can’t see straight. Referring to the blind man of Bethsaida, Jesus put His hands on the man’s eyes “and made him look up.” Our Lord offers the same encouragement to us, especially in these Last Days, for in Luke 21:28, Jesus said, “When these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio.aspx?tid=email_listenedevo )

So we can say with the psalmist: “My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.” Whatever is happening in your life today, look up. When we turn our eyes heavenward and celebrate what we see, our hearts will overflow with joy.

“Behold the Lamb of God,” and always behold Him. Look to Him; look up to Him, and follow where He leads the way.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Romans 4-7

By David Jeremiah.

The Nine Guys Who Missed Thanksgiving (1 of 4).


Series: The Optimism Factor
Pastor Chris Brown
Luke 17:11-19

A QUESTION AND AN OBSERVATION:
Luke 17:11-14

- What does it take to get you to use your “Master” Card?
Luke 17:13

- Obedience always precedes God‘s blessings.
Luke 17:14

GRATITUDE: IT’S WAY MORE THAN AN ATTITUDE!

1. It’s a decision and an action.

Luke 17:15, Philippians 4:4-7, Colossians 3:17

2. It’s an act of humility.
Luke 17:16, Deuteronomy 8:11-17

3. It draws us closer to God.
Luke 17:12 and 16, Psalm 100:4, James 4:7-10, Romans 1:21

4. It’s God’s will.
1 Thessalonians 5:18, Ephesians 5:19

PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE:

TAKING IT HOME
1. We’ve all found ourselves at some point falling into the trap of not showing gratitude just as the nine lepers did. Which of the following gratitude roadblocks could most likely become a barrier for you?
- Not realizing all I have been given
- Taking for grant …

How to Conquer Discouragement.


Felicia Alvarez

“I have a tough life,” my five-year-old cousin said.

“Really? Why is that?” I asked.

Folding his arms, he looked up at me with his big blue eyes as he rattled off his complaints. “Well, I get spankings, I get time out, and I have to clean my room!”

I couldn’t help bursting out in laughter. In return, he just looked at me quizzically as if silently asking, “Why are you laughing? I’m serious!”

After regaining my composure, I shook my head and said, “I don’t think that’s too terrible, buddy. I think you’re gonna be okay.”

Later that day my cousin’s complaint made me wonder: How often does God smile down at usand say, “Everything is going to be all right, my child”?

In our fallen world, we’re constantly bombarded with situations that tempt us to complain about how tough our lives are. Sometimes our troubles are miniscule (like traffic or a cranky boss), but other times they are genuinely difficult and can be quite discouraging (like an abusive spouse or a dying loved one). Our worries can weigh us down and cloud our perspective, causing us to forget:

  • that, since we are citizens of heaven, our problems on earth are only for a season (Philippians 3:20).
  • that God works out everything—even tough situations—for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
  • that we can trust God with our lives (Psalm 55:22).

When trouble hits, we tend to see only challenges. So, how can we get a fresh perspective on life when discouragement is weighing us down?

Here are a few things that have helped me:

1) Determine if the cause of discouragement is worth being discouraged about. First, I ask myself: Am I upset about something important or something trivial? Often a long line at the supermarket or a rude stranger can put a damper on the entire day. But are those worth being upset about?

2) Determine if the loss is imagined or real. Frequently I’m only upset because of my own “what if…” thoughts: What if she thinks this? What if they do that? What if I don’t do well? What if they don’t like it? 

When “what ifs” or imagined thoughts weigh you down, ask God to help you take those thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). Choose instead to dwell on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).

3) Talk to the right people about the problem. In 1 Samuel we find the story of Hannah, a woman deeply grieved because she was unable to have children. In her sorrow, Hannah cried out to the Lord for comfort. She went to the temple year after year to pray, and the Lord heard her prayers and opened her womb. Her story is an excellent reminder that we should, first of all, talk to God about our sorrows. “Cast all your anxieties upon Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

We can also dialog with encouraging Christians who will speak God’s truth into our lives. However, we need to be careful when selecting these confidants. Discussing the matter with those unable to provide wise advice doesn’t help us. It may even deepen our discouragement or spread it to others.

4) Dive into the Word. God’s truth is the best defense against Satan’s schemes. Several years ago I had two stress fractures which kept me from being active. It put my hobbies—and career—on the line. Needless to say, I was very discouraged. But during that time I dove into the Bible and, in the depths of my sadness, He spoke to me in deeper ways than I had ever experienced. The trial didn’t disappear, but God’s Scriptures lifted me out of the valley of discouragement. It empowered me to endure the trial with contentment and peace instead of depression and bitterness. Sometimes our lows in life are what bring us closest to God. Don’t miss the opportunity by pushing away from God; run to the open pages of the Word!

5) Pour into others. I once heard someone say that it’s better to live life giving away than pulling away. Giving to those in need reminds us of what we have to be thankful for. So, visit a lonely person. Help an elderly neighbor with their yard work. Write a letter to someone who needs cheering up. Are there children at your church that need a mentor? Take the opportunity to disciple them and point them to the Lord. The more you serve, the more you’ll find that your perspective change from gloominess to thankfulness.

6) Rest in the Lord. Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.” During an extremely difficult situation in the life of Christian author and pastor, Andrew Murray, he eloquently penned:

“First, He brought me here; it is by His will I am in this strait place: in that fact I will rest.
Next, He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace to behave as His child.
Then, he will make the trial a blessing, teaching me the lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow.
Last, in His good time He can bring me out again—how and when He knows.

Let me say I am here,

1) by God’s appointment
2) in His keeping
3) under His training
4) for His time” 

No matter what your trial, God will see you through it. “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:8).

Felicia Alvarez lives in Southern California and loves avocados, sunshine, and serving her Savior. Currently, she teaches dance to over one hundred students and is working on her second book. Connect with Felicia on her blog or Facebook—she would love to hear from you.

Publication date: October 22, 2013

{ Day 273 }.


I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws. I hold fast to your statutes, O Lord; do not let me be put to shame. I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free. —Psalm 119:30-32

David faced many external enemies, but he also triumphed over a much more formidable foe: his own heart. He knew how to commit his spirit into God‘s hands when confronted by his own weakness. This is one of the hardest things to figure out in the Christian walk, but to be people after God’s heart, we must. The glory of the human story is that we can’t exhaust God’s mercy. Our weakness never disqualifies us if we sincerely repent. David discovered that there is a contingency for human weakness, which comes to us by God’s grace. In his times of weakness, he ran toward God instead of away from Him.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, like David, I choose Your truth. My heart desires to know only Your Word. I cling to Your promises and trust Your plans. In the times of my greatest weakness, I will run to You and find Your strength and power.

The glory of the human story is that
we can’t exhaust God’s mercy.

By MIKE BICKLE.

Bible Verses for Hard Times.


Meditate on Encouraging Bible Verses for Troubled Times.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we can trust our Savior and turn to him in hard times. God cares for us and he is sovereign. His Holy Word is sure and his promises are true. Take some time to ease your worries and calm your fears by meditating on these Bible verses for troubled times.

Hard Times Bible Verses

Dealing with Fear

Psalm 27:1
The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid? 
(NIV)

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (NIV)

• More Bible Verses and a Prayer for Dealing with Fear

Loss of Home or Job

Psalm 27:4-5
One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.
 (NIV)

Psalm 46:1
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (NIV)

Psalm 84:2-4 
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.
Selah
 (NIV)

Psalm 34:7-9
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.
Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
Fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
(NIV)

Philippians 4:19 
And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. (NLT)

• More Bible Verses and a Prayer for Coping with Loss

Dealing with Stress

Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

• More Bible Verses and a Prayer for Dealing with Stress

Overcoming Financial Worries

Luke 12:22-34
Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

“Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (NIV)

By , About.com Guide

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