Monthly Archives: March 2010

Isaiah 30:15

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength” NIV

This passage goes on to discuss how the people failed to repent, rest, be quiet or trust.

And, guess what happened? As long as the people were running around trying to solve their own problems, things just got progressively worse for them.

Verse 19 says, “you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help.”

I think that is so interesting. God knows everything about my life. He knows when I am worried or upset about an issue. But, His grace comes when I ask for it, when I cry out to Him for help. This is completely consistent with the message of salvation — He stands knocking. He doesn’t barge in to save the day. But, when I repent and ask for His help, He is immediately there.

I am not strong enough to worry my problems through to a solution. Instead, I will rest and trust in the marvel of His strength.

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Filed under Isaiah, Peace

Philipians 4:11-13

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength. NIV

Paul has found peace and freedom from worry. He is content.

With Christ, our present, earthly circumstances matter little. We can focus on the truth, that He is the source of our joy and our contentment. He is truly the Way, the Truth and the Life.

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Filed under Concern, Philippians

Jonah 4:9-11

But God said to Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?”

“I do,” he said.  “I am angry enough to die.”

But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow.  It sprang up overnight and died overnight.  But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well.  Should I not be concerned about that great city?” NIV

I love the story of Jonah.  God has a plan, and he uses Jonah to achieve it.

Jonah is an unwilling participant in the whole thing … downright rebellious.

I love that this story shows the dominion of our Holy Father.  In the book of Jonah, He commands the weather, a big fish, a vine and a worm to do things that will achieve His purposes.  The weather, the fish, the vine and the worm all do exactly what they are supposed to do, presumably without argument.

But Jonah first runs away from God, and then, after he does what God sends him to do, and is successful, he pitches two horrendous fits, one at God for saving the Ninevites and then one over a vine.

Then, instead of completely giving up on Jonah, God takes the time to reason with him … “do you have a right to be angry?” God asks.

And Jonah says he does!  Yet, Jonah knows that God made the earth and everything in it.  Back in chapter one, verse nine, Jonah tells the sailors, “I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.”

Jonah knows that the God of creation has all things on this earth under His dominion.  Jonah knows that only God can save him, as we see when he cries out from the belly of the whale in chapter two.  Jonah knows that God is good.  He prays, “I knew this was going to happen!  That’s why I ran off to Tarshis!  I knew you were sheer grace and mercy, not easily angered, rich in love, and ready at the drop of a hat to turn your plans of punishment into a program of forgiveness!” Jonah 4:2 The Message

And yet, knowing God as he does, intimately enough to argue his point to his Holy Father, Jonah still gets distracted and worried over a vine.  He gets the big picture … he understands God’s plan, but, he is not on board.  Still, God made Jonah key to achieving His plan.

I will think about all of that today.

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Filed under Concern, Jonah, Old Testament

Genesis 21:11-12

The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your maidservant.” NIV

Isn’t this just like us? We want something, we believe we deserve it, we don’t trust God and His perfect timing, we take matters into our own hands, and then we are distressed about the results.

I love what God says here, “don’t be so distressed.” He goes on to explain that His plan is going to all work out, and that, as a bonus, He will bless Abraham’s efforts, too.

God is bigger than my biggest mess. He is more powerful than I can fathom, and yet, He cares about what worries me, even if it is a mess of my own making. I can bring ALL of my worries to Him, and He will make my paths straight.

I am so thankful for that!

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Psalm 131:1

I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. NIV

I love this verse. I love where David goes with this whole Psalm. Verses 2 & 3 say, “I’ve kept my feet on the ground, I’ve cultivated a quiet heart. Like a baby content in its mothers arms, my soul is a baby content. Wait, Israel, for God. Wait with hope. Hope now, hope always!” The Message

God is God. I am a mere human.

God can handle all of the big stuff. I will rest in Him, with a quiet, unworried heart. He is the source of my contentment, and, importantly, my hope!

Now, and always.

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Filed under Concern, Old Testament, Psalms

I Corinthians 7:32

I would like you to be free from concern.  NIV

Well, how straightforward is that?

Paul is writing to the church at Corinth.  My father gave me such an interesting perspective on Paul the other day.  He said that Paul did not get to go everywhere he wanted to go.  Instead, he had to be content with writing letters to the churches that he was really wanting to visit.  How blessed we are that this is the case!  If he had visited, we would not have his wonderful letters and all of the wisdom that is contained in them.  God had a plan.

If I go back a bit, starting in verse 29, he says, “I do want to point out, friends, that time is of the essence.  There is no time to waste; so don’t complicate your lives unnecessarily.  Keep it simple — in marriage, grief, joy, whatever.  Even in ordinary things — your daily routines of shopping, and so on.  Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you.  This world as you see it is on its way out.  I want you to live as free of complications as possible.”  The Message

I find it so interesting that Paul believed that Christ’s return was imminent.  His words, to me, are as fresh today as they must have seemed to the Corinthians, centuries ago.  When I look around my world, I, too, believe that time is of the essence.

I also love the phrase, “deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts upon you.”  This is a wonderful tool to use when working to avoid worries.  If I can see the annoyances in my path for what they are — things the world has thrust upon me — it is easy to visualize stepping around them, dealing with them sparingly, and moving on to the important work of my Heavenly Father.

I will think about that today.

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Filed under Concern, I Corinthians, New Testament

Nahum 1:7

The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.  He cares for those who trust in him, NIV


I looked up the main words of this verse in my Hebrew to English dictionary:

The Lord is good – pleasing, desirable, gracious, best, right, happy.

a refuge – stronghold, fortress, place of protection.

He cares – to know, recognize, understand

for those who trust in him – to take refuge in

So, there you have it.  The Lord is the best of all possible place of protection.  He is a caring, willing refuge for those who will take refuge in him.  I love the intimacy of relationship that this verse conveys, and I am humbled that my Heavenly Father is willing and able to protect me if I will only seek his protection and trust in Him.

Trust is the antidote to worry.  I will ponder these concepts today.

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Filed under Cares, Nahum, Old Testament, Trouble

Isaiah 54:4

Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame.  Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.  NIV

This citation jumped off the page in my concordance as I was searching the fear list this morning.

How often do we worry about things that we have done that we wish we hadn’t?  How much do we fear losing face or being humiliated?  I think that these are common worries, even for those who don’t struggle with worry.

But, this verse says to abandon those worries.   Instead, we should repent of our transgressions and trust God to forgive us.  We then must forgive ourselves and hold our heads high as children of the living God.

This verse is at the end of a broader passage, and it is one that my Bible Study group has looked at closely.  The passage says that even those without children will have more children than they can count in the kingdom of heaven.

There is so much wisdom in the book of Isaiah.  We shouldn’t waste our time being consumed by earthly worries.   Instead, we need to trust God, get out and engage with others and work to make a difference in their lives.


Filed under Fear, Isaiah, Old Testament

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

The other night, I saw “Facing the Giants.”  In it, the main character tells one of his football players that the Bible says “fear not,” 365 times.  So, this morning, I thought, “perhaps that is the source of what I had heard … that there were 365 reminders not to worry.”  It reminded me of that game telephone, where a bunch of children sit in a circle, and you whisper something in the first child’s ear and then each child whispers to the next one and ultimately what the last child hears is invariably different from what was initially said.  But, I have to say that I think worry and fear are synonyms in many cases, so the message didn’t get too garbled in this case.

I went in search of “fear nots,” in my concordance.

I am working from an NIV concordance, and there are lots of “fear” citations, but, I got all the way to the Psalms without finding a “fear not.”

I stopped here, because this verse looked interesting to me.

The Lord is my light … I love that.  Things can seem pretty dark when you’re worrying over them.  If the light of the Lord, which is truth itself, is shined upon a problem, it allows me to see the problem for what it really is.  Some problems are really devastating, but, others are mere annoyances that somehow got out of proportion apart from the light of God’s truth.  As I think about it, I don’t really spend any time worrying about big things.  Instead, my worries consistently center around small annoyances that I cannot change or cannot control.

When I looked this up in another translation, this verse is downright cheerful, “Light, space, zest — that’s God!  So, with him on my side I’me fearless, afraid of no one and nothing.”  The Message

What a pleasant thought to start the day!

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Filed under Fear, Old Testament, Psalms

Psalm 139:23-24

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.   See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the life everlasting.  NIV

What a beautiful prayer.

There are not as many verses listed under “anxiety” in my concordance as there are under “worry,” but, the worry list is becoming repetitive, so, I thought I would skip around a bit.

Anxiety and worry are, at a minimum, close cousins.

I have pondered this verse for several minutes, and I am still not certain what David means when he writes, “test me and know my anxious thoughts.”  Does he mean that God should put him to a test to see if David will worry about it?  The Hebrew to English dictionary in my concordance says that the word “test” here means, “to test and learn the genuineness of an object.”

Or, does he mean that God should examine David and understand that he is genuinely worried?

If I put this in the context of all of the other reminders not to worry that are included in the Bible, and, because the next verse says, “see if there is any offensive way in me,” I am thinking that it is the former.

In any case, that’s what I want … I want to be so free of worry and anxiety that even under pressure or a test, I will continue to trust God as my first instinct, not as my last resort.

That’s my prayer today.

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Filed under Anxious, Old Testament, Psalms