Be Anxious...

In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us to not be "anxious" in a few different ways 4 different times. I think He is trying to tell us something...something important...something, if you are anything like me, something we need to hear over and over again. So much of my life was waisted being anxious. Anxious over things I had no control over. Anxious over things I had know way of knowing how they would turn out, whether good or bad. Anxious over things that in reality I should not have been anxious or even worried about. Anxious over things I had no idea about. But there I was, anxiously wasting my time and energy.

     Being anxious robs us of our joy, steals away the "peace that surpasses all understanding", and keeps us from rightly seeing our reality and rightly seeing our Savior. And it is here that Jesus steps in and steps on our toes a bit. It is here that Jesus gives us the answer to our anxiety. And it is here that Jesus gives us the perspective that keeps our reality lined up with His.

    You see, after Jesus tells us not to be anxious, He gives us these words in Matthew 6:33 "But, seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and ALL these things will be added to you". Brilliant! Jesus just told us not to be anxious or worry about our clothing, our housing, our time, food or really anything in life, for "your heavenly Father knows that you need them all". This is a great assurance! This would have been enough! That God the Father "knows" that we need all of these things is a great and glorious comfort. But, Jesus saves the best for last!

      You see, Jesus knows we need a shift in our thinking when we become anxious and begin to worry. We need to realign our priorities. We need a divine intervention. And here, Jesus says verse 33. "Seek first the kingdom of God". So often when i fret and worry, I seek comfort  in many areas and in many things, but not usually the kingdom. But Jesus here is saying "Get your mind back on things that matter, eternal things, life giving things, and it will give you a much better perspective". Don't seek answers. Don't seek fortune and fame. Don't seek wisdom and understanding right now. "Seek Me", Jesus is saying. "Seek me first, not last". "Seek Me", Jesus says, and then listen to this glorious news, "and all these things will be added to you". All the things we fret over, worry over, and are anxious over...all of those things, Jesus says, will be added to you.

     How often have I sought the things first, and then add the kingdom to them? How often have I sought the things, and then asked God to bless them? But, even here, the anxiety never truly went away. No, it is only in seeking the Lord first...first and not last...only here does anxiety vanish. Only here does the enemy retreat. And it is only here that calm returns. It is only here that joy replaces our fear. And it is only here that peace, a peace that surpasses all understanding can be ours again. Seek Him today...and choose rightly, choose Jesus first.

What to pray for

Have you ever struggled in prayer? I don't mean with the practice of getting before the Lord here, although that can be struggle of its own. But, here, I am talking about the words to pray to the Lord in certain situations. Those times when we think we know what we need to be praying for, but we are not sure that we are saying to the Lord just what we need to be saying.

In the Book of Acts, we see the followers of Jesus being persecuted for preaching and teaching in the Name of Jesus. Peter and John have been arrested and told "not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus' (vs.18). After this strong threat from the religious leaders, they were let go.

Now, after this , I would have gone out and prayed to the Lord for my protection. My prayer would be something like this "Lord, place a hedge of protection around me and my family as we do you work. Keep the enemy far from us and lead us beside the still water, far from the valley of the shadow of death". We hear prayers similar to this in the church all the time. We pray prayers like this all the time. Protect us Lord. Defend us Lord. Save us Lord. All good prayers, but not what the early church prayed in this time of great persecution.

Listen to what they praying vs. 29 of Acts 4, "And now Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to CONTINUE to speak your word WITH ALL BOLDNESS". Wow! What a wonderful prayer! They prayed for boldness as they walked into the trouble, not provision to take them out of it! And this has me thinking. Have I been praying wrong for far to long? Have I been praying for deliverance when I should be praying for boldness? Have I been praying for rescue when I should be praying for strength? Not that praying for deliverance and rescue are necessarily bad prayers. They have their place. But how often do I pray to be taken out of the fire instead of the boldness and power to stay in and fight? To fight the good fight? To take a stand against a real enemy? 

After this prayer for boldness, the Bible says thin in vs. 31 "And when they prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the Word of God WITH BOLDNESS". You see, they got what they prayered for! BOLDNESS!! And maybe we don't get what we pray for because we are praying for the wrong things!  Today we need bold Christians boldly proclaiming the life giving, eternity altering message of hope that is only found in Jesus Christ! And the more we do this, the more the enemy will send those who want to silence us. But, instead of running away praying for protection, let us pray to the Lord who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we can think or ask for BOLDNESS in the face of opposition. Let us boldly take a stand and boldly proclaim the Good News!

Be BOLD in Him today my Christian friend. He hears you and He holds you in this time of need.

Solid foundation

A foundation. It is the first thing done in building anything and it determines whether the structure will last, stand and hold tight under pressure. So, your foundation is a pretty important thing to get right. However, so many are standing on a foundation that is not solid, a foundation that is falling apart or a foundation that is as firm as a banana peel. But, as Christian, this is never the case. Our foundation is in Jesus Christ, and there is no surer foundation than in Him.

Jesus tells us a parable in Matthew 7:24-27 about this particular topic. We read

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” 

The world offers us many foundations, but none that can stand in the storms of life. Your wisdom, your strength, your awesomeness, your bank account, your job, many weak and vain philosophies and  even foundations we build upon other people will all fail us.  Most of us know this first hand. But, and here is the glorious part, Jesus Christ will never fail us. He is the solid foundation, the one who never changes, the one who is strength, who is wisdom and the one who is peace. He only saves, and He alone is our anchor in times of distress and our hope in times of need. 

Today if you are building on any other foundation than Jesus Christ, call on Him who is mighty to save. Return to the firm foundation of Christ, set your anchor there, and let Him comfort you, protect you, provide for you and sustain you. Taste and see that the Lord is good...even in the thought times. Return to the solid ground at Calvary.