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Posts Tagged ‘Philippians 4:19’

In the cool of morning two weeks ago, I sat on our deck before the sun had cleared the distant trees–much less those close by.   Below, the creek bed of lush foliage loomed dark and still, but above me birds chattered happily while one lone cardinal out-sang them all.  Thankfully the cicadas hadn’t started their ruckus yet.

a bit later in the morning

From several blocks away, commuter traffic already rumbled, and high in the sky the occasional jet roared northward.  Yet the serenity of my immediate surroundings superseded the extraneous noise.

And I sensed God saying to me:

Breathe in the stillness, in spite of traffic din and aircraft drone. 

I’m referring to the serenity you feel in your spirit because of what you see around you:  quiet trees unmoved by breeze, the tranquil creek bed, and the peaceful yard to the east where golden light silently presses against deep shadow—portraits of stillness in spite of the noise.

Be mindful that, as the sun faithfully turns darkness into day, my face shines faithfully upon you with the golden light of peace (1).  I push back the shadows of worry and fear while the noise in the world clamors around you—political factions arguing against one another, loud voices contending for self-serving agendas, terrorists, criminals, and thugs wreaking havoc, and more (Philippians 4:6-7).

 

Learn from the birds and woodland creatures who find refuge in the thick foliage of bush and tree. You too can find refuge—in me.  In fact, peace grows in direct proportion to time spent with me (2).

Picture yourself surrounded by my protective, calming presence and affirm:

  • I will never stop caring for you or supplying your every need (3)
  • I will never leave you to struggle alone (4)
  • I will never fail you, no matter how the future unfolds (5)

Focus the eyes of your spirit on such promises. Feel their truths calm your heart (6).

Even as the noise of this world grows louder because the end of time draws near, breathe in such peace-generating realities often.  Let them usher you into my Presence, surround you with comfort, and encourage your soul (7).

I long for you to live within the tranquility and protection of my Presence.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *    

Thank you, Father, for even wanting to be my shelter. Thank you for your loving care expressed in countless ways over the decades.

I know you are trustworthy. I praise you for your unfailing love that will see me through whatever the future holds. In addition, you will provide quiet refuge within my spirit where I can rest in you.

Help me keep focused on you, to live in the shelter of your love no matter the noise of the world.

(1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 9:10; Psalm 32:10;

Isaiah 26:3; Psalm 119:114)

Notes:

  1. Numbers 6:24-26
  2. Isaiah 26:3
  3. Philippians 4:19
  4. Isaiah 41:10
  5. Hebrews 13:5c
  6. Psalm 119:50b
  7. Psalm 119:165

Photo credits: Nancy Ruegg (2), http://www.flickr.com; http://www.canva.org; http://www.dailyverses.net; www. heartlight.org.

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Depressed young woman

 

“I don’t understand why this is happening,” Kelly cried. “Doesn’t God want me to be happy?”

*     *     *

“I’m not sure what God is doing, but business is bound to pick up soon,” Dave asserted. “I’m working harder than ever—like seventy hours a week. God helps those who help themselves, right?”

*     *     *

“I thought I was where God wanted me to be, but that loser job was not a good fit—such boring work and for such a lousy salary,” moaned Erika. “I just had to quit! But I’ll be OK. God loves me; he’ll take care of me.”

*     *     *

Ever hear comments similar to these? Each one represents a misunderstanding about God. The truth is:

  • God’s primary concern is our welfare, not necessarily our happiness (Philippians 4:19). The two are not synonymous.
  • God has not promised to help those who help themselves. That proverb is not in the Bible.
  • Neither has God promised to take care of us if we live irresponsibly (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

So, I’m sorry, Kelly, Dave, and Erika. Somewhere along the way you’ve heard these ideas about God’s ways which were misrepresented as truth.

But how can we know the truth of how God works in our lives? (They might ask!)

By becoming better acquainted with God’s Word. Within its pages we find such wonders as perfect wisdom, inspiring encouragement, hope-giving promises, and practical instruction.

For example:

Kelly, God loves you too much to grant everything you want. Over-indulgence leads to spoiled children. Discipline demonstrates true love; permissiveness demonstrates foolishness. Sometimes God exercises tough love in order to develop our characters, grow our faith, and prepare us to serve him in greater capacities.

 

no-pain-no-gain

(“The Lord disciplines those he loves”–Hebrews 12:6a).

Dave, God is compassionate and good to his people (Psalm 103:4-5). He has promised to be our help, but it has nothing to do with our effort prompting him to come alongside. It’s the person who trusts in God wholeheartedly and follows his ways who may anticipate divine help:

“You who fear him, trust in the Lord—

he is their help and shield.”

–Psalm 115:11

and…

 

16072

(“May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts” –Psalm 119:173.)

 

Erika, God certainly does care for you (1 Peter 5:7), but he does not condone irresponsibility. A wise course of action would include prayerful assessment of the current job as well as other possibilities, while asking God for his guidance. Meanwhile:

“Do your best.

Work from the heart for your real Master, for God,

confident that you’ll get paid in full

when you come into your inheritance.

Keep in mind always that

the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ.”

–Colossians 3:22-24 (The Message)

To all of us: When our corner of the world is rocked by challenges and disappointment, our best strategy is to turn to God’s Word. We can steady ourselves with the truth about his character and his ways, even experience joy and peace as those truths soak deep into our hearts (Psalm 119:35, 165).

“It is only when we understand who God is

that we begin to understand what he does.”

– Selwyn Hughes

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *   *

Thank you, Father, for the precious gift of your Word, for the way it continues to minister afresh, day by day, year after year, with reliable truth and uplifting encouragement. As if that wasn’t enough, you reveal yourself through its pages, allowing us to know you, the King of the universe. Open my eyes that I may see even more wonderful things in your Word (Psalm 119:18)!

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(Art & photo credits:  www.med-health.net; http://www.kristamcgeebooks.com; http://www.biblepic.com; http://www.pinterest.com.)

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Woman with piggy bank at rainy window

 

“Save for a rainy day,” financial experts advise.  And they’re right.  It is smart to have funds set aside in case of emergency.

But we would also be wise to save up for another kind of rainy day:

  • The day great disappointment shatters our joy
  • The day the doctor begins a consult by saying, “I’m terribly sorry, but…”
  • The day a loved one calls with disturbing news

What could we possibly save up that would help in such circumstances?

Consider: monetary deposits in a bank account insulate us against financial emergencies.

Similarly, we can make faith-statement deposits into our soul-accounts, to insulate us against life’s emergencies.  A healthy soul-account offers peace of mind, confidence, and a sense of well-being.

The most valuable faith statements are those straight from scripture, since the Bible is our source of truth.

Statements such as these are worthy starting points:

  • God is with me, even in the midst of trial.

“Those who know Your name will trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You” (Psalm 9:10).

  • God is my stronghold in time of trouble, offering help and deliverance.

“The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.  The Lord helps them and delivers them” (Psalm 37:39-40).

  • He will supply all my needs.

“My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

 

Sometimes God makes deposits in our soul-accounts through other reading.  Here are a few examples I’ve collected:

  • “God makes good things out of the hard times.” – Erica Hale
  • “Difficulties are sent to make us grow. Move from complaining to proclaiming what God is doing through the problem. Remind yourself, for every Calvary, there is an Easter.” – Barbara Johnson
  • “When we understand that life is not about us, we learn to overlook the trivial and fix our gaze on the eternal. What is an offense compared to His love? What is a rejection compared to His unconditional acceptance? What is a momentary trial compared to an eternity with Him?” – Emmanuelle Gomez

 

Faith statement deposits also come through experiences, such as:

  • The spontaneous hug of a good friend who knows of our struggles. That’s God’s way of assuring us…

…We are not alone.

  • An answered prayer—and the answer is far beyond what we asked for. That’s God’s way of showing us…

…His love and blessing never fail, even in the midst of difficulty.

  • A transformed spirit through worship.  Worry becomes faith. Fear becomes courage. Depression becomes gladness. That proves…

…The joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 4:8).

 

Faith-statements, deposited in our souls even before we have need of them, provide a deep, sweet sense of security.

When difficulties arise, and the time comes to make withdrawals, we can praise God for each truth. Praise will fill our hearts with song and drown out the voices of worry and fear.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Your faithfulness, O God, is unwavering and unfailing.   Oh, how I want to be faithful to you, especially during difficult circumstances.  You have provided the tools.  I praise you for the deposits your Spirit makes into my soul account, offering solace, perspective, strength, and wisdom.   Help me to avail myself of your gracious provision.  

 

(Photo credit:  www.dailyfinance.com.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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