Monthly Archives: October 2010

You can’t save yourself

Matthew 14:29-30

“Come,” he said.  Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” NIV

I love this story.

This week, I’ve been feeling a lot like Peter.

He got down out of the boat and walked on water … astounding.  I heard a lesson earlier this week during which the speaker challenged us to set a goal for ourselves that only God can achieve.

A goal that only God achieve … walking on water.

It is interesting to me that Peter was not astonished by his ability to overcome the laws of physics.  He asked Jesus to perform a miracle, Jesus delivered, and Peter stepped out on faith.

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and began to sink.

Wind is something he had seen all his life … and THAT was what worried him?  So interesting.  The God of the universe had given Peter an amazing gift, and yet, he cannot overcome his own understanding of how things work to accept it.  He was willing to walk on water … but the wind was somehow beyond God’s control in his mind.

How often do we do that?

We set a goal for ourselves that only God can achieve … absent blind faith we would never attempt it.  We move forward in faith and experience God’s blessings, and then we allow ourselves to be derailed by the trivial.


Mark 10:27 says, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” NIV

We are so trapped by the physical — our perspectives are so framed by our own limitations — that this verse is one that is difficult to truly comprehend.  Even Peter fell victim to his own perspective, at a time when he was experiencing the greatest of miracles.

I was talking to my sister yesterday.  We share many things, among them, a great frustration with the Israelites as we read the Old Testament.  When it is all laid out there in black and white … when we can read about the promises God made and fulfilled, and the miracles that He consistently worked on their behalf … why is the Old Testament filled with stories of their doubt of Him?

I think it is because we are human … we are imperfect … we don’t have God’s perspective or His wisdom … we’re not meant to.  We are trapped by time, and this tumultuous existence unfolds for us moment by amazing moment.

We see the wind and it frightens us, regardless of whatever current miracle we might be experiencing.

The most important part of this example is the last part of verse 30.  Peter knew what to do.  He cried out to God … “Lord, save me!”  He knew he could not save himself.

I know that, too.

That’s what I’ll think about today.


Filed under Fear, Matthew, New Testament, Worry

You’re safe

Proverbs 18:10

The name of the LORD is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe. NIV

I love the images in this verse.  The Message translates it, “God’s name is a place of protection — good people can run there and be safe.” MSG

The thing about it is, I can never be good enough to earn God’s protection or his love.  He loves me because I am his creation … not because of what I do or what I don’t do.  And, no matter what I do, I can’t be made righteous on my own.

But, through the gift of his son, Jesus, I am made righteous … I am afforded that safety.

I am so thankful for that!

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Filed under Old Testament, Proverbs

He will give you rest

Matthew 11:28

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” NIV

These words of Jesus are so powerful!

Sometimes, when I am upset about something, I tend to talk about it … mostly to my husband.  After the third or fourth iteration of the same general topic, he will often say, “Stop being so upset about this.”  That’s what he says.  What I hear is, “Stop talking about this,” which, of course, I know I should have done three iterations ago.

It took a long time for me to realize that he really means, “stop being upset.”  Before I began this project, I was pretty unclear on how to do that.  I had been a Christian for most of my life.  I made the decision to trust God for my eternity, but, my day-to-day was still my own dominion.

Through the course of this daily focus on what the Bible says about worry, I’m learning to trust God in all things … big and small … and this verse is a perfect reminder of that.

I can take my worries to the cross, and leave them there.  Christ will exchange them for an unharried, peaceful heart.

He will give me rest.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Filed under Matthew, New Testament, Worry

He’s there

Luke 12:4

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.” NIV

There is nothing that can happen to me here on earth, no circumstance in which I can find myself, where God is not there.

That’s a pretty powerful thought to start the day!

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Filed under Fear, Luke, New Testament, Worry

Don’t be foolish

Ecclesiastes 5:3

As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words. NIV

This morning, I went back to the New International Reader’s Version on Bible  There, this verse reads, “Dreams come to people when they worry a lot. When foolish people talk, they use too many words.” NIRV

I like the symmetry of the NIV translation much better, but, the NIRV just lays the issue on the table.  When you’re worried, it seems you dream more.

I saw part of a story about dreaming the other day on one of the morning news shows.  A dream expert was being interviewed and the moderator asked her if we dream every night, because, she said, she sometimes feels like she’s had dreams in the night, and other times not.  The expert said that humans dream an average of about five to seven times a night, but that we tend only to remember dreams when we wake up immediately following them.

When I fail to exercise self control — one of the fruits of the spirit — and  I choose to worry over an issue, I don’t sleep well. defines “fool” as, “a silly or stupid person; a person who lacks judgment or sense.”

If I lack judgment, if I fail to exercise self control over my speech, I’ll say things that I regret.

It is interesting to me that one of the things that people seem to worry about most is stupid, thoughtless things they’ve said to others.

So, there are choices to be made … if I will choose wisely, I will have less cause to worry … and if I will choose not to worry, I’ll sleep better.

That’s a lot to think about today!

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Filed under Ecclesiastes, Old Testament, Worry

Make up your mind not to do it

Luke 21:14

But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.  NIV

Make up your mind not to worry.  I love that!

Galations 5:22-23a says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” NIV

As a Christian, I am called to exhibit self control … it is one of the fruits of the Spirit named in Galations.

Worry is something I have control over … I can “make up my mind not to do it.”  If I will exercise self control, worry is but one of the multitude of sins that I can overcome.

That’s what I’ll think about today!

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Filed under Luke, New Testament, Worry

Don’t be a frog in boiling water

Proverbs 1:33

“But whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease without fear of harm.” NIV

This is the last morning of my trip.  I’ve enjoyed my tour through various versions of the Bible on Bible, and I’m thinking that there are many reminders left to find … perhaps even the 143 I am looking for.

This morning, I looked in the New International Reader’s Version, where this verse reads, “But those who listen to me will live in safety. They will not worry. They won’t be afraid of getting hurt.” NIRV

I like what this verse says when you combine it with the one before it, “For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them.” NIV

The image that comes to mind is the frog in boiling water.

I’ve heard it said that if you drop a frog in boiling water, it will immediately jump out.  But, if you put it in a pot of water that is a nice, warm temperature, and then slowly increase the heat, the frog will happily stay there until it dies in the boiling water.

This is a good analogy to remember as we Christians strive to live in the world, but not to be of it.  If we are to live here without worries, we must listen to our Father.  If we follow His ways and His commands, we will live in safety, we won’t have to worry about getting hurt.

But, if we are disobedient, or wayward (which is a stupid, or simple choice) or if we are complacent to what is going on around us (like the temperature rising in the pot), things will not turn out so well.

I don’t want to have to worry about getting hurt … I want to stay on the narrow path.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Filed under Old Testament, Proverbs

Check your heart

1 Samuel 29:10

“Now get up early, along with your master’s servants who have come with you, and leave in the morning as soon as it is light.” NIV

I’m traveling.  I don’t have my concordances this week, so, I’ve been fully reliant on Bible to find new reminders not to worry.  I’ve taken the opportunity to look at the word “worry” in different versions of the Bible.

This morning, I chose the God’s Word Translation, with which I am unfamiliar.  There, this verse reads, “Get up early in the morning with Saul’s servants who came with you, and go to the place I have assigned to you. Don’t worry about the unkind words, because I still approve of you. Get up in the morning, and leave when it’s light.” GWT

When I looked at the verse in the NIV, I don’t see that Achish tells David not to worry, and it’s not really evident in The Message either, which says, “So get an early start, you and men who came with you.  As soon as you have light enough to travel, go.” MSG

But, when I read the entire chapter, I can completely see that this is what Achish is saying.  Achish is allied with the Philistines at this point, and David and his men, servants of Saul, are fighting as part of Achish’s army.  The Philistines and Achish’s forces are preparing to go into battle.  The Philistine commander becomes worried that David and his men will turn against them, and he tells Achish that David must be sent away.

David is confused.  He’s done nothing to prompt Achish to doubt his loyalty.  Achish confirms this.  In verse 9, he says, “I know that you have been as pleasing in my eyes an angel of God; nevertheless, the Philistine commanders have said, ‘He must not go up with us into battle.'” NIV

Bottom line?  The Philistines are scared.  They know that David is powerful, perhaps they even realize that he is one of God’s favorites.  In their hearts, they know that they and David’s people are not strong allies, (they were arch enemies a short time before) and, it appears that they fear that if David decides against them, they will be in danger.

The interesting piece here is that David seems ignorant of the fear that his fellow soldiers might have.  In verse 8, he says to Achish, “But what have I done?  What have you found against our servant from day I came to you until now?  Why can’t I go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?”

So, what can I learn from this?

David has a pure heart … the Philistines are afraid of him … they send him home … Achish disagrees with the Philistine commander, but sends David home anyway … as he does so, he lovingly reassures him … “don’t worry about the unkind words because I still approve of you.”

Maybe that’s it.  People may say unkind things to me or about me, but, if I have a pure heart, I shouldn’t worry about it.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Filed under I Samuel, Old Testament

Don’t worry — you matter!

Genesis 35:17

And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, “Don’t be afraid, for you have another son.” NIV

I’ve know that this reminder was sitting here in Genesis, almost from the beginning of my project.  It popped up again this morning when I searched for “worry” in the Contemporary English Version of the Bible on Bible  There, this verse reads, “She was having a rough time, but the woman who was helping her said, ‘Don’t worry! It’s a boy.'” CEV

“Don’t worry! It’s a boy.”

Rachel is giving birth to Benjamin.  Immediately after naming him (she named him something else, by the way — Abraham changed it), she dies.

When I first read this reminder … I didn’t really feel like it applied to me.

But, this morning, with the perspective gained from a week of full-time babysitting for two little ones whose folks are out of town, I get it.

The highest calling a woman could have in Rachel’s time was to produce a son.  She did this not only once, but twice.  As she breathed her last breaths, the mid-wife, I think, was attempting to reassure her — her life, however short, mattered.  She made a difference.

We all want that.  We all want to matter, and to impact the world around us, to somehow make this a better place.

The trick is, aligning our will with God’s will.  God has amazing plans in store for us.  He created us to delight in us.   He knit each of us together and gifted us with skills and abilities that uniquely suit us to achieve His purpose for our lives.

When we’re not serving as God intended, we feel out of place … we’re the butter knife trying to chop wood.  But, when we employ our skills and abilities in the direction He intends, amazing things happen — for us, and for the kingdom.

In Rachel’s case, the midwife’s reminder was not a series of hollow words, as I always saw it.  No.  It was a recognition of a crowning achievement … Rachel birthed the heads of two of the 12 tribes of Israel, and, her first son, Joseph, would be the tool God would use to save the entire family from starvation, years in the future.

Rachel mattered.  We all matter — to God.

That’s what I’ll think about today.


Filed under Genesis, Old Testament, Worry