Monthly Archives: September 2010

His love is boundless

Luke 12: 27-28

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? NIV

It’s Fall.  I love every season, but, I think that I love Fall the best.

In the part of the country where I grew up, the leaves don’t turn.  The first day of Fall is just another day on the calendar.

But now, I live where the leaves do turn … wondrous glorious colors.

The first fall that I lived here, on one of those gorgeous mornings, I spent some time with a lovely, Christian woman.  I was dumbfounded at how beautiful the trees were … for her, it was “old hat.”  She had grown up in the North, and couldn’t imagine not having Fall.  When she explained her theory of Fall, I was even more amazed, and I’ve never forgotten it.

She said that once, when she was younger, growing up in Michigan, they’d had a very early snow fall.  It was so early, that the leaves were all still green.  She explained that the snow coated the trees and all their leaves and the results were disastrous.  She explained how branches had broken, and the town was without power for days, and how it took the trees quite some time to recover.

She said it was at that point that she realized that God had to get the leaves off the trees before winter, and, it was also then that she realized what a show He makes of it … all for our benefit.

He takes a task that must be done, and turns it into wonder.  I love that.

God cares for us.  He delights in us.  He wants us to delight in His creations.  If he is willing to invest that kind of creativity in trees and flowers which come and go so quickly, and which He did not gift with eternal life … how much more must He care for us?  I can’t measure it.

God’s love is boundless … without worries.

That’s what I’ll think about today.


Filed under Luke, New Testament, Worry

With wisdom comes worry …

Job 39:14-15

She lays her eggs on the ground and lets them warm in the sand, unmindful that a foot may crush them, that some wild animal will trample them.  NIV

I found this verse by searching the New Living Translation for the word “worry” on Bible  There, verse 15 reads, “She doesn’t worry that a foot might crush them or a wild animal might destroy them.” NLT

God is speaking here, to Job.

He’s talking about the animals that he has made.  In this case, the ostrich.  Verse 13 says, “The ostrich flaps her wings futilely — all those beautiful feathers, but useless!” MSG

Verse 17 says, “For God did not endow her with wisdom or give her a share of good sense.” NIV

I love the way The Message translates that verse and the last part of the one just before it, “she cares nothing about anything.  She wasn’t created very smart, that’s for sure, wasn’t given her share of good sense.” MSG

God goes on to discuss what she IS really good at — running.  I think that is why he created her.

But, I’m most interested in the part that comes before the running, where God is pointing out that the ostrich makes very poor decisions without worrying about them.  I think that is so interesting.

In contrast, humans spend a great deal of time caring for their little ones.  There’s a movie out that I want to see.  It’s called “Babies.”  It follows four children in four different countries for the first year of their lives.  People that I know who have seen it, have said that they gained a new perspective.  Regardless of the culture or circumstances into which it is born, a baby does certain things in its first year, and its parents do, too.

We were created with knowledge and we were given a measure of good sense … and we worry … about our children and about the decisions that we make.

I think that is so interesting.  Because we were given the ability to contemplate the consequences of our actions, we do.  For some of us, that leads to worry, which we are called not to do.

God knows that we will worry.  He created us that way.  But, He also gave us the remedy … trust.  We must trust God, day by day, moment by moment.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

Leave a comment

Filed under Job, Old Testament, Worry

Sometimes, “poor baby” just won’t cut it

2 Kings 8: 14

Then Hazael left Elisha and returned to his master.  When Ben-Hadad asked, “What did Elisha say to you?”  Hazael replied, “He told me that you would certainly recover.” NIV

I found this verse by plugging “worry” into Bible and searching, “The Message,” which translates this verse, “Hazael left Elisha and returned to his master who asked, “So, what did Elisha tell you?”  “He told me, ‘Don’t worry, you’ll live.'” MSG

This is part of the story that I looked at a few weeks ago.

Ben-Hadad is king, and he is sick.  So sick, that he fears that he will die.  When he hears that Elisha, the famous prophet, is somewhere near, he sends his servant to inquire of the prophet whether the king will survive what is ailing him.

Ben-Hadad is no doubt sick.  He’s also scared and worried — which likely isn’t helping his condition.

He wants someone to tell him that everything will be ok … preferably someone with a direct line to God, who will surely know the truth.

How often do we do that?  We are scared and worried, and we look for reassurance … from someone, anyone, who will tell us that everything will be all right.

Don’t get me wrong … I’m a firm believer in “poor baby.”  Sometimes, when things are going really, really poorly, I just need to dump all that out on someone that I love and hear them say, “poor baby.”  This is accompanied by an obligatory hug, after which I usually feel much better.

But, while “poor baby” is momentarily soothing, it doesn’t really change or fix anything.  Our only source of true comfort is found in our Heavenly Father.  And, we don’t have to wait for a prophet to visit the neighborhood.  Through Christ, we have the privilege of going directly to God, who has proven himself flawlessly trustworthy.

That’s a reason not to worry, and that’s what I’ll think about today.


Filed under II Kings, Old Testament, Worry

The top dog has no worries

Deuteronomy 28: 13 -14

The Lord will make you the head, not the tail.  If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.  Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them. NIV

I’m back in Deuteronomy 28.

The Message translates these verses, “God will make you the head, not the tail; you’ll always be the top dog, never the bottom dog, as you obediently listen to and diligently keep the commandments of God, your God, that I am commanding you today.  Don’t swerve an inch to the right of left from words that I command you today by going off following and worshipping other gods.” MSG.

There’s a lot here to ponder.

Obedience … bottom dog … the narrow path.

I’m not a dog person.  For the most part, they frighten me.  When I was very small, we moved into a house next to a family that had a German Shepherd.  Lucky was his name, and he was much taller than I was.  Lucky was loud.  He would stand at the chain link fence between our houses and bark, and bark and bark.  When I was outside, he would run up and down the fence and bark, and bark and bark, and I remember how big his teeth seemed, and how mad he seemed.

Now that I’m older and have played with a few dogs, I can see that it is likely that Lucky just wanted attention.  I’m betting he was pretty frustrated by the little kid who wouldn’t come over and talk to him or try to pet or play with him along the fence.

I was the bottom dog.  The bottom dog always submits to the top dog’s wishes.  In my case, I interpreted Lucky’s wish as being that I would stay as far away as possible … I was more than happy to do that.

There’s a Looney Toons cartoon that I’ve always loved.  It features two dogs …  a big bull dog, whose name, I think, is Chester, and a much smaller dog, who spends most of the cartoon trying to please Chester.  Chester is the top dog … he gets to call the shots … the top dog has no worries.

This verse is very interesting to me when I bump it up against Matthew 20:16, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”  NIV

In Christ, we are called to be servants.  We must put the needs of others first, and our own second.  This seems counterintuitive to Deuteronomy 28, but, as I think about it, it makes perfect sense.

If we follow the commands of the Lord our God, if we love our neighbors as ourselves, if we follow Christ’s teachings and his example, we will not veer from the narrow path referenced at the end of these two verses.

We will be the victors, we will be the head and not the tail, we will spend eternity in the kingdom of heaven.

That’s what I’ll think about today.


Filed under Deuteronomy, Old Testament

Don’t throw your confidence away

Hebrews 10:35

So do not throw away your confidence, it will be richly rewarded. NIV

This section of the 10th chapter of Hebrews is called, “A call to persevere.”  I heard a lesson this morning that started with this verse, and, as soon as I read it, it struck me that this is a reminder not to worry.

Life here isn’t easy.  If we’ve chosen to walk with Christ, there is a cost.  Sometimes that cost is the disapproval of others, which can be challenging to bear up under.  Sometimes the cost is far, far higher.

In the face of persecution, it is often tempting to worry.  What if I AM doing this wrong?  What if my efforts DON’T measure up?  What if I’ve completely missed the boat?

But, those, “what ifs” are not valid.  They are merely, What I Fear.  And, they will quickly and effectively rob me of my confidence.

A woman who is very dear to me  shared a story with me this week.  She said that there was a time in her life that she made a decision, a big decision, and then worried that it had been the wrong one.  For years, she looked back, pondering the path not taken, and wondering if the choice she had made had been the right one.

She said that one night, God gave her a revelation.  It all of a sudden became clear to her that God was not sitting on the other path, waiting for her to show up.  He was right there, on the path that she was walking, leading and guiding.  He knew exactly where she was and the path that she had chosen and he was blessing her.

I love this verse … it says, “don’t throw away your confidence.”  Notice, it doesn’t say, “don’t let anybody take your confidence,” no.  It says that I have control over this, and that I should NOT throw my confidence away… (in favor of worries).

I should hang onto my confidence … it will be richly rewarded.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

Leave a comment

Filed under Hebrews, New Testament, Worry

There will be plenty of money

Deuteronomy 28: 12b

You will lend to many nations, but borrow from none. NIV

This is the second half of the verse I looked at yesterday.  I think it is its own reminder.

There will be plenty of money.

In my experience, money, or the lack of it, is often a source of worry.

This verse says that it needn’t be.  In exchange for our obedience, God will provide.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

Leave a comment

Filed under Deuteronomy, Old Testament, Worry

There’s a whole storehouse of blessings!

Deuteronomy 28:12a

The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. NIV


How often do we think about rain as being a blessing? Since I don’t live in an agrarian society, my answer is, “not often.”

I am more prone to think of it as an annoyance or inconvenience, “Where is my umbrella?” or “If it would just rain, I wouldn’t have to water the azaleas.”

Either way, I take it for granted. It will rain. Rain is an inescapable fact of life.

But, it’s not.

I know this intellectually. I have a good friend who works in this field, and he and his colleagues are painfully aware of the tenuous existence of this, “fact of life.”

This verse says rain is a blessing from God’s storehouse. He will provide it.

At first, I thought of God having a storehouse of rain, which He well could, but, then I thought about a storehouse of a whole variety of blessings. I love that.

He will open the storehouse of his blessings … they’re all there … stored up for us … waiting for the time when He will bestow them.

I want to be worthy of those blessings.  I want to be an obedient servant.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

Leave a comment

Filed under Deuteronomy, Old Testament, Worry

You will be blessed with abundant prosperity

Deuteronomy 28: 11

The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity — in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground — in the land he swore to your forefathers to give you.  NIV

I skipped verse 10.

I’m working my way through Deuteronomy 28 and looking at all of its reminders not to worry.  Verse 10 essentially says that all the people on earth will fear the people of God.  I don’t want to be a source of fear or worry for others … in fact, it would be a worry to me to worry others … I don’t want to be feared.  So, for me, verse 10 really is not a reminder not to worry.  But, verse 11 is.

The Lord will grant abundant prosperity … defines “abundant,” as “present in great quantity, more than adequate, over-sufficient, well or richly supplied, abounding.”  That’s a lot.

Prosperity is defined, “a successful, flourishing, or thriving condition, esp. in financial respects; good fortune.”

In my experience, “abundant prosperity” is all about your perspective.  For some people, there is never enough … they always are looking for the next new thing … more, more, more … and our society plays on that.

But, if we are truly honest with ourselves, abundant prosperity is anything we have that meets, or even perhaps a bit exceeds, our need.

I love Costco.  I love the whole concept of it.  Every time I go, I’m delighted to see what new  pallet of fun stuff will have been delivered there … things I could never have possibly thought that I might need are there in abundance … batteries by the case, lightbulbs by the case … everything by the case, actually.

For years, I lived in small apartments.  When I lived in New York city, I had so little space that three of my dresser drawers were inaccessible.  I stuffed them with off-season clothes, and closed them up … the bed completely blocked them.  Each season, I would move the bed, rotate the clothes and then put the bed back.

Now that I have a bit more space, I don’t have to do that anymore.  Now, I have enough closet space, and even a pantry.  So, I can go to Costco, and buy a 24-pack of paper towels and a similar-sized bunch of toilet paper and pop them in my pantry so that we never run out.

Abundant prosperity.

How much do we define “abundant” by the space we individually have to fill?  In New York, if I had an extra roll of toilet paper … that was abundant.  In fact, you could buy single rolls at the corner store and I did that sometimes, so I wouldn’t have to store five rolls I wasn’t using.

I just counted.  There are 24 rolls of toilet paper in my pantry … 24!  That’s abundance.

God promises the blessing of abundant prosperity … more than we need.

Today, I’m going to adjust my perspective.  I’m going to rejoice in the over-abundance of blessings in my life, and I will be thankful for all that God has given me.

That’s a lot to think about today.

Leave a comment

Filed under Deuteronomy, Old Testament, Worry

You don’t have to figure it out on your own

Deuteronomy 28: 9

The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in his ways. NIV

There are 14 verses in this passage of the Bible.   I’ve found seven reminders not to worry here … almost one for every verse in the chapter so far.  This is the eighth.

We aren’t here on our own … God is with us, we are his people.

And, we don’t have to figure everything out by ourselves … God has a plan, and he has shared with us our role in it.

We are to follow His commands, seek to do His will, and trust in Him for our safety and our security.

The Message translates this verse, “God will form you as a people holy to him, just as he promised you, if you keep the commandments of God, your God, and live the way he has shown you.” MSG

Walk in his way … live the way he has shown you.  I want to do that.  I want the blessings that come from that.  I don’t want the worries of trying to figure this out on my own.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

Leave a comment

Filed under Deuteronomy, Old Testament, Trust, Worry

A blessing on everything you put your hand to

Deuteronomy 28: 8

The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to.   The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you. NIV

At this point, the Israelites have wandered the dessert for 40 years.  They’ve been true nomads.  40 years!  I can’t imagine.  And, before that, they were living in Egypt, where life was beyond hard.

Now, God is promising them blessing upon blessing as he gives them the promised land — if they are obedient, their worries will be over.

This verse gives such hope to me in 2010 … I am thinking of how much more it must have meant to a people that had endured so much.

His blessing on everything I put my hand to …

This ties right back to John 15:5 — He is the vine, I am the branch.  If I abide in Him, I will bear much fruit.

Years ago, before we bought our house, an invasive vine took root in our front yard.  There are at least 10 places where the thing has roots.  I have dug and dug and dug … a few times, I think I’ve gotten all of one of the root balls, but, within a few months, a pleasant green little vine will pop its head up again in that same spot.

I’ve hacked them, I’ve sprayed them with weed killer, I’ve consulted other friends who garden … all to no avail.

I’ve finally given up.  The vines were here before we were, they will be here long after we are gone, and the best that I can hope to do is to coexist with them.

But, I do keep them cut back.  If I don’t, within about three weeks time during growing season, they are so vigorous that they will overtake whatever is near them.

I never thought of those vines as being a metaphor for the family of God until this morning.  Those vines are blessed … wherever they grow, (whatever they put their hand to) they are the victors.  I can cut off the branches, but, I cannot kill the vine.

I’ve gained a whole new perspective.  The next time I’m out cutting them, I’ll be thanking God for His blessings and His assurances and His abiding, everlasting love.

That’s what I’ll think about today.


Filed under Deuteronomy, Old Testament, Worry