Live a day at a time

“Give us this day our daily bread.” Matt. 6:11

So Jesus taught us to live one day at a time. As our days are, so will our strength be, provided we do not try to carry the past and the future. Each new day is a bit of eternity given for our use and joy.

It has never been ours before; it will never be ours again. It will not come back. No two days are alike; each has its duty, its good and evil, and its hope. If we look for the loveliness of life and the lovable-ness of people, it will be happy.

“Undress your soul at night, as you do your body,” said George Herbert. Drop your work, your worry, your weariness, your mistakes, your fears, as you do your garments.

Shut off the future too. When we try to live tomorrow before it comes, we wake up tired and unfit to face it. Morbid regret and futile fear ruin life. It is today lived intently, earnestly, that makes the future and fulfills the past. Continue reading

#daily, #renewal, #worry

Why is worry a problem for so many people?

Lesson 5 of the Gospel Advocate’s “Foundations” study book (Fall 2017, Preaching and Ministry) covered Jesus’ lesson on “worry” from Matthew 6:25-34.

In the discussion question section, “Why is worry a problem for so many people?” was asked.

Our class didn’t make it to that question, but here are my thoughts. Continue reading

#questions-and-answers, #teachings-of-jesus, #worry

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(#63) The Proverbs of Solomon 12:25-Why Put In “A Good Word?”

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 12:25: “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.”

The preventative of “depression” is to not be anxious, and to listen to “a good word.” Jesus made this clear when He said, “do not worry” (be anxious) about life’s necessities (Matthew 6:24-33), or about the future (Matthew 6:34). Losing a job, a game, a loved one, failing a test, or any other tribulation that comes our way can make us react with “anxiety,” and is a challenge to our faith. The father of a demon-possessed boy heard Jesus say, “’If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!’” (Mark 9:23-24). Faith overcomes anxiety.

Being “anxious” burdens down a heart (“heaviness,” KJV), and is also described as “bitterness,” “sorrow of the heart,” “afflicted,” “broken spirit,” “heavy heart.” These terms come from other proverbs:

Proverbs 14:10: “The heart knows its own bitterness, And a stranger does not share its joy.” No one but God knows our heart’s “bitterness” or “joy” like we do, especially not a “stranger.” Family and friends may have a difficult enough time counseling us through our problems, so why should we expect “a stranger” to share our times of “joy” more than they? Internet “strangers” cannot understand us better than those living around us.

Proverbs 14:13: “Even in laughter the heart may sorrow, And the end of mirth may be grief.”  Proverbs 15:13: “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.”  “Laughter” is no remedy for a broken spirit, even though it make the face smile. Comedy is momentary relief, but not the solution to “sorrow of the heart.”

Proverbs 15:15: “All the days of the afflicted are evil, But he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.”  The truly “merry heart” has “a continual feast,” that is, it has a hopeful attitude, an open spirit, and a lighthearted look at life.

Proverbs 17:22: “A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.” Without the healing of a “merry heart,” a person becomes of frail inner health, and brittle support.

Proverbs 18:14: “The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, But who can bear a broken spirit?” Healing begins from within our own spirits, and without that, “who can bear” sickness?

Proverbs 25:20:Like one who takes away a garment in cold weather, And like vinegar on soda, Is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.” Taking away “a garment in cold weather” obviously makes one colder. “Vinegar on soda” creates an immediate reaction with no lasting effect. Singing songs to a “heavy heart” doesn’t help relieve the heaviness (cold) and has too quick a reaction for lasting relief.

It is “a good word,” however, that does more for “anxiety” than nearly anything else. Words of encouragement, expressing sympathy, expressions of concern, are all showing “a good word” of being loved. The purpose is not to temporarily entertain with songs or comedy, but to support and strengthen the inner spirit of the patient. The best “good word” is about our soul, thus: “Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you’” (Matthew 9:2). Physical sickness is sometimes tied in with spiritual sickness as seen in James 5:14-15: “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”  To all adrift on the sea of trouble, may we give them “a good word.”

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#a-good-word, #anxiety, #bible-study, #broken-spirit, #depression, #heaviness, #merry-heart, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #wisdom, #worry

Psalm 13 right between the eyes

Psalm 13, as I followed our reading schedule, blew me away this morning. It even inspired the Portuguese devotional, which I translated into English. It’s still ringing in my ears and led, I have no doubt, to a powerful and productive day.

Discovering the three parts of this psalm and how it unwinds (see link above), it takes the worry out of the sails of the ship called Despair.

Read it now. From a tornado of doubt and anxiety, it will bring you down to settled peace of mind. Here it is in the ESV:

1 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
4 lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.

#faith, #prayer, #psalms, #trust, #worry

Worry

Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, but only saps today of its strength.

—Archibald Joseph Cronin, Scottish novelist, 1896-1981

Psalms 37:3 – Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.

“Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day” by Glenn, Mercedes and Lauren Hitchcock

#sorrow, #time, #worry

All Worry is Sin?

I was doing research for a sermon and came across a book by John Haggai called, “How to Win over Worry.”

John Haggai says, “Worry is a sin. It is always a sin.”

How can someone make such an unqualified statement? Blanket statements are often true and false. The former will benefit the reader while the latter will chase away the skeptic. We must be careful to delineate truth so we have a chance to win all of our readers.

Worry is defined as uneasiness or anxiety. How can we say those two words are unqualified sins? Maybe Haggai has a different definition of worry. If so, he should have said so. In being precise, we must define terms so everyone understands the premise.

John Haggai says, “Worry is distrust in the truthfulness of God and worry is detrimental to the temple of God.”

Haggai is exactly correct. However, the definition above is more expansive than that. We must always realize that God is with us and that He is our Lord and Provider.

“You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3).

If we see anyone or anything else as our source of safety, answers or salvation, we have violated God’s will.

Uneasiness and anxiety, to an extent, are natural consequences of the human condition. A child will trust his father completely but will still tremble as he leaps off the pier into his father’s arms.

We know that the Lord will never leave us (Hebrews 13:5), but we are still frightened when our car breaks down in the woods or we find ourselves lost in the concrete jungle at night. It is impossible to banish all of this from our minds and hearts.

It is dangerous to teach that ALL worry is sin because it places an impossible burden on the hearer. When the widow goes out that week and someone steals her car and she loses her job and can’t pay the utility bill or mortgage, would we all not feel uneasy or anxious if we were in her shoes?

Faith in God is required (Hebrews 11:6). It is the only hope we have to survive in this cruel world. We must trust God completely. Yet, we retain our humanity and denying that is folly and to our listeners, disaster.

Let us always take the time to qualify our statements and be as precise as possible so our readers or listeners will continue to listen.

#anxiety, #faith, #worry

Worry never

Saw this on Facebook, posted by an online friend, attributed to Eleanor H. Porter:

Worry never climbed a hill.
Worry never paid a bill.
Worry never dried a tear.
Worry never calmed a fear.
Worry never darned a heel.
Worry never cooked a meal.
Worry never led a horse to water.
Worry never done a thing you’d think it oughta.
We can Phil. 4:1-9

And my little discovery here: Another don’t-worry poem in a children’s book by David Cory, words of the Big Brown Bear, who apparently needs some winter fat, to Little Jack Rabbit:

Worry never makes you fat,
Instead, it makes you lean.
Never worry for a minute,—
Worry has the devil in it,—
Keep your mind serene.

Other times those, and methinks, in so many ways, better. But we make our own times, our own worlds, in great part, by our spirit of mind.

#worry

TFT: Two excellent thoughts

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, but only saps today of its strength.” —Archibald Joseph Cronin

“God brings men into the deep waters not to drown them, but to cleanse them.” -–John Hill Aughey

(Prov 20:29-30)  The glory of young men is their strength, And the splendor of old men is their gray head. Blows that hurt cleanse away evil, as do stripes the inner depths of the heart.

God Bless Our Veterans and First Responders!

“Thoughts For Today To Brighten Your Day”

From: Glenn, Mercedes & Lauren Hitchcock

#divine-benevolence, #spiritual-cleansing, #worry

Where would I be without God?

Without God in my life, fears would rule my life, anxieties would overtake me, worries would squelch any joy I might feel in this world.

Without Christ as Savior and Lord, perfectionism would have me looking down my nose at others. Conceit would judge others and think them stupid or wrongly motivated.

Without the Spirit indwelling in me, depression would darken my days, for I would find no ultimate purpose, no real meaning, no lasting hope, no pure love.

#anxiety, #depression, #fear, #perfectionism, #worry

We filter out the pain from the past and…

We filter out the pain from the past and imagine the good old days that never were, while we exclude the joys from our view of the future, to feel anxiety about what lies ahead.

#future, #past, #worry