Friday, January 27, 2017

My mother is right again

How often over the years, when I would pour out my problems and fears to my mother, she would respond with these words: "God is so pleased when we trust Him." Then she would faithfully remind me again of all the amazing things God had done for me in the past.

In her book, A Chance to Die - The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael, Elisabeth Elliot says:
"The Christian life comes down to two simple things: trust and obedience."
When Amy Carmichael's father died at the age of 54, her mother found strength in the words of Nahum 1:7:
 "The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth (or cares for) them that trust in Him."
This example of strength was passed down to Amy, just as my mother's words are passed down to me.

I like the way author Sarah Young refers to trust in her Jesus Calling devotional:
"Trust is a golden pathway to heaven." 
Ms. Young goes on to say that it is the most direct route to heaven. Compare the other route - focusing on our problems, doubts and fears. That route is filled with twists and turns in agonizing knots she says. So why would I want that route?

How to live this life of trust and obedience comes from one Source:
"We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne." Hebrews 12:2 NLT

Friday, January 20, 2017

How to resolve worry and tension

When God says something to you three times through three different people, in the same week - it's important to listen!

What He has been saying to me is: you seek Me and My Kingdom first, then all other the other things you are worried about will be taken care of. (adapted from Matthew 6:33)

How does one seek God? In Matthew 6, Jesus instructs us. First, I must establish if I am truly a disciple of Jesus Christ. In verse 24 of Matthew 6, Jesus tells His disciples that they cannot serve two masters. I must make a decision which master I am going to serve. Jesus Christ or the the things and cares of this world. If I choose to constantly focus on and run after the things of this world, then, according to Jesus in verse 32 of Matthew 6, I am a Gentile (or a non-believer)! One of the speakers mentioned above said "Decision resolves tension." Another one of those three people said that the word anxiety means to have a divided heart about something. I must decide this day if I am completely surrendered to Him and His will.

In verse 7 of Matthew 6, Jesus teaches His disciples not to use meaningless repetition in prayer like the Gentiles (or non-believers) do because His Father already knows what we need. Another one of the three people mentioned above said that after we lay our requests before God, we should thank Him for the answers that He has already set in motion. And we are to continue to thank Him for the answers that are on their way, because if we keep stating the same concerns over and over, we live in a state of tension. I agree!

So, I've made a decision to surrender my will and allow God's will to be done in my life. I've also decided to be thankful in my prayer life. Now only one thing is left. I must follow Jesus' example of doing the will of the Father. In Matthew 7:21 Jesus says: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." When we are doing His will, all the other things will fall into place. In John 7:17 Jesus says: "Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own."  In other words, worry and tension will be resolved. Amen.