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Showing posts from April, 2021

Verse 4

 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. Genesis 12:2 NIV https://genesis.bible/genesis-12-2

Verse 3

 If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:  You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.  The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.  Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.  You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.  The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.  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.  The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of th

Verse 2

 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live Deuteronomy 30:19 NIV https://deuteronomy.bible/deuteronomy-30-19

Verse 1

 Praise the Lord . Blessed are those who fear the Lord , who find great delight in his commands. Psalms 112:1 NIV https://psalm.bible/psalm-112-1

Blessed (Day 2)

  “Blessing” “Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who fears (reveres and worships) the Lord” is the way the Amplified Bible (AMPC) translates the first verse of Psalm 112.  Throughout the Bible, God consistently promises to bless His people, but His blessing also depends on our choices. He puts two clear choices before people: “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).  The book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament contains a list of blessings and a list of curses which were directly linked to whether one chose to obey or disobey the commandments of the Lord. You can read these in Deuteronomy 28:1-14, but understand that to choose life with God is to choose a blessed life. God’s will is always to bless you, but if you think His blessing is entirely for you, you are missing the point.  The blessing of God in your life should go well beyond your own existence. God tol

Verse 2

 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalms 100:4 NIV https://psalm.bible/psalm-100-4

Verse 1

 Praise the Lord . Blessed are those who fear the Lord , who find great delight in his commands. Psalms 112:1 NIV https://psalm.bible/psalm-112-1

New Plan: Blessed (Day 1)

  "Praise The Lord" Praise the Lord! Within those three words is the powerful beginning and foundation of a blessed life. It starts with knowing who God is and praising Him. Praise is always a starting point.  It means thankfulness — that is why we give thanks before  a meal and start church with songs of praise.  Jesus began to thank God before Lazarus was raised from the dead, and Moses praised God before He parted the Red Sea. Human nature likes to wait until after an answer is received, but blessing begins with praise.  The Word of God tells us to “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise” (Psalm 100:4). Yet praising the Lord is not limited to singing a few songs once a week in a church service. Worship is a lifestyle that embraces the entire spectrum of life. You can praise God at any hour of the day, seven days a week — in the car, the shower or the middle of night. It isn’t about singing a particular hymn or reciting a prayer — it’s about

Verse 3

 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1‭-‬3 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/heb.12.1-3.NIV

Verse 2

 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. Psalms 34:17 NIV https://psalm.bible/psalm-34-17

Verse 1

 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:4‭-‬10 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/eph.2.4-10.NIV

JOY! (Day 5) Last Day

  Unspeakable Joy I am constantly challenged not to let the Scriptures be the truth that I only read, but an actual experience of the unspeakable joy and sweet communion we find in being enthroned with Him. Admittedly, it is not easy to imagine that He has raised us in the spirit to this position, but the Word says it and so it is true. We must allow the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of our hearts to see from His perspective. What pleasure He took in planning this! To snatch us out of the hands of the devil and the land of the dead was the costliest rescue operation possible—what a price He paid to have us in His presence! He not only rescued us but also co-seated us with Him in authority over the devil. He rules from the heights of His throne with joy. In Psalm 2, we see Him laughing at the futility of the enemy with supreme authority over all things. There is nothing moderate about heaven; extreme love and joy are the norms. Just like the cross. What balance or moderation was there wh

Verse 4

 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. Hebrews 10:14 NIV https://hebrews.bible/hebrews-10-14

Verse 3

 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:11 NIV https://romans.bible/romans-6-11

Verse 2

 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. Romans 5:18 NIV https://romans.bible/romans-5-18

Verse 1

 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” Romans 4:8 NIV https://romans.bible/romans-4-8

JOY! (Day 4)

  The Bliss of What Christ Has Done ( For Us and To Us) In Romans, chapters 3, 4, and 5, the apostle Paul outlines what God did  for us  through the giving of His Son. By believing in Christ’s sacrifice, we have been declared  not guilty , legally acquitted from all charges against us. His blood washes us clean and makes us justified ( just-as-if-I’d  never sinned). We are headed for heaven; this is Good News for which we daily rejoice and are grateful. But guess what! There is even more Good News. We can abide in His holy presence as joyful saints right now; we do not have to wait until we go to heaven.  In Romans chapter 6, Paul explains that on the cross Jesus did something  to us . By including us in His death, Christ destroyed our sinfulness. Now that we are born-again new creations, the tyranny of sin no longer enslaves us. We are now alive to God with brand-new hearts, and the Holy Spirit can reside in us with the beauty of His holiness. In essence, Paul is describing two sides

Verse 3

 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4 NIV https://philippians.bible/philippians-4-4

Verse 2

 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4 NIV https://1john.bible/1-john-4-4

Verse 1

 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:19‭-‬20 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/gal.2.19-20.NIV

JOY! (Day 3)

  Your License to Rejoice The Gospel is not about endless self-improvement; instead, it is about the end of  self , the  ego , the  I . It is freedom from sin’s tyranny that begins with “ Not I, but Christ. ” Not a single one of us can free ourselves from that depressing old  self-identity ; only Jesus can. He came to crucify that old “I” on the cross and to destroy the lie of the independent self-existence (ego) that the devil and world system uses to enslave us. That is why it is essential that we never reduce or lose sight of the magnitude of what Christ our Redeemer accomplished on the cross. His sacrifice was not solely to forgive our sins and secure our access into heaven: He makes us brand new. If we were to believe that Jesus covers over our rottenness and allows the poison of the serpent to remain inside of us until we finally make it to heaven, we would be denying the fullness and grandeur of His death and resurrection. Adam Clarke, a brilliant eighteenth-century Wesleyan the

Verse 3

 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. Galatians 3:10‭-‬14 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/gal.3.10-14.NIV

Verse 2

 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4‭-‬5 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/gen.3.4-5.NIV

Verse 1

 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Genesis 2:17 NIV https://genesis.bible/genesis-2-17

JOY! (Day 2)

  God’s Solution To grasp the full magnitude of what Christ accomplished, I began by looking at the severity of what happened during humanity’s Fall. When the Lord placed Adam and Eve in the Garden, He told them that they could eat from any tree except the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Why? Because eating from that tree would cause them to die (cease to exist) spiritually (to God). Satan used the serpent to question Adam and Eve about what God had said. He twisted God’s warning by telling them that they would not die.  The truth is, God had already created Adam and Eve to be like Himself, yet without the devastating effects of the knowledge of good and evil. God had already blessed them to be fruitful, multiply and subdue the earth. When they bit into the lie of the deceiver, however, they became permanently separated from God. The Supplanter succeeded in ruining the plan of God for Adam and Eve and their offspring to rule the earth under God’s leadership. Thus, they forfeited th

Verse 2

 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1‭-‬4 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/rom.8.1-4.NIV

Verse 1

 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.  Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for

New Plan: JOY! (Day 1)

  Alive to Joy Salvation is a deep well whose waters bring deep joy and refreshing to the soul. One morning years ago, while I was reading Romans 6:11 in the King James Bible, the word  reckon  lit up on the page like a neon sign. Although I had read this chapter countless times and even had it memorized, I had never noticed this word or thought about its meaning. I did not realize it yet, but the Lord was raising an issue. Over the years I had constructed a spiritual list of “holy things to do” and “unholy things to avoid.” I was diligent to keep my list up every day, and I felt pretty good about myself. Instead of a pat on the back for approval, however, I got the feeling that there was something very wrong with my holiness program. With that feeling came the sudden awareness that, while I was busy keeping my holiness checklist, I had also begun considering myself holier than those who were not keeping checklists as robust as mine. As the Lord was bringing this to the surface, I was

Verse 4

 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 NIV https://isaiah.bible/isaiah-41-10

Verse 3

 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6‭-‬7 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/1pe.5.6-7.NIV

Verse 2

 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 NIV https://john.bible/john-14-27

Verse 1

 When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. Psalms 94:19 NIV https://psalm.bible/psalm-94-19

Putting an 'X' thru Anxiety (Day 7) Last Day

  Let Go & Breathe When you stop and think about it, it’s amazing that we're not all in a heap in the corner given what is happening in the world around us. Add to that the challenges we face in our personal world and you have a recipe for worry, fear, and, in the most extreme cases, a complete nervous breakdown. It’s easy to forget that we are not in charge of the universe, and we then run the risk of collapsing under the weight of the affairs of the world. Anywhere you turn for help with anxiety you will find a few common themes. One of those is to relinquish control—to bend the knee and admit to God that we are trying to manage life on our own. To admit this doesn’t imply that we shrink our responsibilities, or that we fail to pray in faith, believing that God can change nations and history. Rather, to admit we are not in control allows us to remember who it was that brought us from death to life in Christ, and causes us to realign ourselves with the reality that He is actua

Verse 3

 I will give thanks to you, Lord , with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High. Psalms 9:1‭-‬2 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.9.1-2.NIV

Verse 2

 Deliver me from my enemies, O God; be my fortress against those who are attacking me. Psalms 59:1 NIV https://psalm.bible/psalm-59-1

Verse 1

 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalms 23:4 NIV https://psalm.bible/psalm-23-4

Putting an 'X' thru Anxiety (Day 6)

  God’s Got Your Back The problem for those who battle anxiety is there isn’t a physical weapon big enough to defend us from every fear we face in life. But, thankfully, we have a Shepherd who has pledged to defend us. Every shepherd in the time of David had a rod, a formidable staff carved out of the center of the lower part of a tree trunk. With that rod the shepherd could fight off the lion, the cougar, the wolf, or the bear. With the staff it would guide the sheep, but with the rod it would pulverize anything that tried to snatch one away. To put an “X” through your anxiety you are going to have to see Jesus as your defender. So often when we feel under attack, vulnerable or stressed we look for someone who will take up our cause no matter what. Someone, as we say, who has our back! Some time ago when I was coming through a challenging season I traveled to speak at a conference in another country. Before the session started a large group of leaders and conference organizers gathere

Verse 2

 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6‭-‬7 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/php.4.6-7.NIV

Verse 1

 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 NIV https://1peter.bible/1-peter-5-7

Putting an 'X' thru Anxiety (Day 5)

  Digging to the Bottom of Your Fear Many of you have fought the giant of anxiety for years, suffering from the paralyzing effects of panic, anxiety, or depression. I would be a fool to try to prescribe a simple Band-Aid of spiritual-sounding mumbo jumbo. But, as I sit on the other side of this valley, I can tell you that God does not want you to lose hope. During my journey, it was important to realize my “anxiety” wasn’t a thing in and of itself. Rather, my anxiety was a symptom of something else. I found myself saying things like, “I’m not going to be able to make it to work today, my  anxiety  is acting up again.” Or, “I feel like my  anxiety  is rising up, I better go lie down.” I was acting like anxiety was a cause rather than a symptom. That's incredibly frustrating because  you  can’t touch or see anxiety, or even describe it well. Anxiety in all its forms, is vague, murky, invisible and hard to pin to the wall. But, something was causing the anxiety. Sometimes it was somet

Verse 3

 I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. Psalms 118:17 NIV https://psalm.bible/psalm-118-17

Verse 2

 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” Numbers 13:33 NIV https://numbers.bible/numbers-13-33

Verse 1

 I keep my eyes always on the Lord . With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalms 16:8 NIV https://psalm.bible/psalm-16-8

Putting an 'X' thru Anxiety (Day 4)

  Resizing Your Giant One of the many things the Devil lies about is the size of your giant. For David, Goliath wasn’t a shrimp of a guy. He was over nine feet tall and towered over the best of Israel’s fighting men. It’s likely your anxiety looks a lot bigger and more powerful than you, too. The Enemy might be telling you right now that reading through this journey “thing” is not going to work either. He’s saying,  Don’t get your hopes up, friend. Things are never going to change for you. But, you must remember that when the Devil speaks he never leads us to the truth. Your giant may be big, but your giant is not bigger than Jesus . Today, Jesus wants to break the power of the lie that says otherwise, and tell you again that He is bigger than whatever you are up against . The question today is which voice will you choose—the liar or the One who speaks truth. You have the power, no matter how helpless or broken-down you feel, to choose what you set before you today. You can fix your ey

Verse

 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44 NIV https://john.bible/john-8-44

Putting an 'X' thru Anxiety (Day 3)

  You’re Not Crazy You will never win. You are in this alone. You are going crazy. The Enemy wants you to believe these lies. He wants you to feel like you are the only person who is in this bubble of darkness. He wants you to believe there’s no way out…no end to this misery. He’s trying to convince you right now that you will never be normal again. That you are in fact crazy.  A big breakthrough in my journey to freedom from anxiety was when I learned I was not alone. A friend told me about a pastor I very much respected who had shared a message about his battle with depression. At the time, I had never heard of anyone who was dealing with a situation like mine.  When I realized this other pastor had similar initial symptoms to mine (“crazy” physical symptoms), a layer of hope was deposited into my heart. Though things didn’t change instantly, I was comforted by knowing someone had survived to tell about it. I didn’t have an instant turn-around. But I did come out of the night and int

Verse

 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. Psalms 23:1 NIV https://psalm.bible/psalm-23-1

Putting an 'X' thru Anxiety (Day 2)

  Say Hello to My Giant Slayer Each person’s anxiety is complex and unique. But all of us have the same hope today—God is fighting for us. Walking free from panic attacks, depression, fear, and worry is a process, one with many steps and turns. But the key to living untangled from anxiety is not a plan, but a person. Your hope is in Jesus, the Great Shepherd of the sheep. He is the way, the truth, and the life. And he is inviting you to allow Him to lead you through whatever you are facing in this world. God understands that we get stressed in life. Dozens of places in Scripture speak directly to anxiety, and hundreds more to fear and worry. Why? Because people have always been anxious. Arguably the best-known text in the Bible is Psalm 23. At the core of this Psalm is an extraordinary offer from God—that He will lead and guide us through every season. Specifically, God promises to lead us through the valley of the shadow of death, that dark place where we doubt everything good and fea

Verse

 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalms 73:26 NIV https://psalm.bible/psalm-73-26

New Plan: Putting an 'X' thru Anxiety (Day 1)

  Set Your Gaze Anxiety. This looming giant in a deep valley threatens, taunts, intimidates, incapacitates, and paralyzes. This giant is real. And it can be deadly. Anxiety and its cousins—panic, worry, fear and dread—is complex. There are spiritual, mental, physical, emotional, genetic, and circumstantial factors that can cause us to fall into the grip of depression, pulling us away from those we love and shuttering our ability to deal with everyday life. To underestimate the problem, or blow it off with a,  hey, shrug it off and bounce back  mentality, is a mistake. I know this because I have suffered defeat in this valley in years past. Yet, I also know there is a way to overcome anxiety. I know first hand that you can emerge on the other side of depression and dread, and live to tell about someone who is more powerful than whatever has a grip on you. I am not offering a quick fix, nor a promise that you will escape the fight. But I’d like to tell you about a champion, a giant-slaye

Verse

 You have searched me, Lord , and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord , know it completely.  You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.  Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,  even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.  If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”  even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.  For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you becaus

Breaking Anxiety Grip (Day 7) Last Day

  Day Seven What If? Scripture: Psalm 139 When my husband was diagnosed with cancer for the second time, I jumped into a familiar coping pattern: staying busy. I alerted family and friends to the news and answered the plethora of questions with what little sure information we had. I prepared freezer meals for the weeks when doctors’ appointments and chemotherapy treatments would keep us too busy to shop or cook. I rearranged my work schedule to accommodate the myriad new appointments that took priority.  In my effort to control the uncontrollable, the busyness overwhelmed me and left me exhausted until finally one day I collapsed in a pile on the floor and wept. My mind ran to all the “what-ifs?” that cancer brings. As I desperately cried out to God, I heard His familiar question yet again: “What if . . . you trusted me?”  What if  you believed that this didn’t take Me by surprise? (Psalm 139:16; Matthew 6:8) What if  you believed I really do work all things together for your good? (Ro

Verse

 Starting at "Martha down, is Written in Red . As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38‭-‬42 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/luk.10.38-42.NIV

Breaking Anxiety Grip (Day 6)

  Day Six The Better Way Scripture: Luke 10:38–42 Years ago, in the face of unanswered prayers for my son, I frequently thought back to the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10. As Jesus and the disciples traveled to Jerusalem, they stopped at Mary and Martha’s home. Mary sat at Jesus’s feet, listening to his teachings. But Martha was distracted by her dinner preparations. She complained to Jesus, asking him to see the unfairness of the situation and to make Mary help her in the kitchen.  Jesus replied, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41–42, NLT). The NIV says, “Mary has chosen  what is better ” (v. 42, emphasis added).  As a parent, nothing tempts me to worry more than concern for my children. During that difficult week with my son, I let the concerns that preoccupied my mind distract my heart. When the results didn’t go as I’d

Verse

 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44 NIV https://john.bible/john-8-44

Breaking Anxiety Grip (Day 5)

  Day Five The Father of Lies Scripture: John 8:44 Do you ever feel as if your thoughts are tumbling around in your head like balls in a pinball machine?  Will the insurance agent call me back? Can I pick up the kids from school without running out of gas? What will my boss think if I don’t get this sale? I think we forget sometimes that all those everyday worries add up to an uncomfortable way of living, void of the peace God promises. Worry stems from believing the father of lies, the accuser of the brethren (John 8:44). I’ve taken his bait many times. Have you?  The enemy always wins when he convinces us to divert our attention from God to the details of to-do lists, overcrowded schedules, praiseworthy holiday costumes, perfectly set dinner tables. We focus on “impression management” with styled social media photos and status updates to engender likes, comments, and shares, as if they mean anything about our value and worth. We might even say yes to commitments when we’d rather not,

Verse

 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 NIV https://ephesians.bible/ephesians-6-12

Breaking Anxiety Grip (Day 4)

  Day Four What I Dreaded Most Scripture: Ephesians 6:12 When we allow the spirit of fear to operate in our lives, it is like we are putting a cast on an arm or a leg that doesn’t need it. We are allowing it to immobilize us and hinder us from effectively living in the center of the peace that God has offered us. We are not alone in our struggle. Scripture gives examples of biblical greats who also struggled with fear.  Consider Job. He was devoted to God and hated evil. Through Satan’s doing, all of Job’s livestock and shepherds were killed, his children were killed when a great wind leveled his son’s house, and Job was struck with painful sores over his entire body. “ What I feared  has come upon me;  what I dreaded has happened to me. I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil” (Job 3:25–26, NIV, emphasis added). The personal picture of disaster that Job had held in his heart made it easy for him to paint himself into the picture frame when that sequence of even

Verse

 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV https://2corinthians.bible/2-corinthians-10-5

Breaking Anxiety Grip (Day 3)

  Day Three Is It God or Is It Me? Scripture: 2 Corinthians 10:5 As God walked with me in my journey to relinquish worry, anxiety, and fear, He showed me that exchanging them for His peace isn’t a onetime event. It’s a process. I’m grateful that the book of Psalms gives us a glimpse of David’s struggle, a bit like spiritual whiplash. In one breath, he laments about his worries and fears, and in the next, he returns to profess his faith in God, who reigns bigger than all his fears.  The best way to prepare to fight worry, anxiety, and fear is to learn God’s Word and plant it firmly in our hearts. Then we must take our thoughts captive and discern if they are from God or from the enemy. When they’re from the enemy, we must exchange them for God’s truth, just as Paul instructs us in 2 Corinthians 10. Many people have asked me how they can determine if their thoughts are from God or from the enemy. Here are some suggestions:  * When God speaks, He never contradicts the Bible or His charact

Verse

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life ?   “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that 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, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righ

Breaking Anxiety Grip

  Day Two A Thief in the Night Scripture: Matthew 6:25–34 They stepped in like a thief in the night and stole from me, and stole from my family.  Things were going well, and then it happened—“it” being worry, anxiety, and fear. Almost like I’d given them a key to my front door, worry, anxiety, and fear let themselves in without even asking.  Actually, I did give them permission. I listened to them, entertained them, agreed with them, and let them stay. But in gaining entrance to my mind and heart, worry stole my joy. Anxiety stole my peace. Fear stole my present as it projected into my future. And all these things stole from my family because I couldn’t be truly present with them when I was worried about the past or the future.  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus instructs us not to worry (Matthew 6:25–34). He puts his finger on our chief anxiety: How will I be provided for tomorrow?  We expend mental energy attempting to answer this question. We try to find a solution to each of the wo

Verse

 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 NIV https://romans.bible/romans-15-13

New Plan: Breaking Anxiety Grip (Day 1)

  Day One The God of Hope  Scripture: Romans 15:13 Deadlines looming, job demands and instability, financial insufficiency, children’s poor decisions, relationship discord, military deployment, the stress of social media distraction and comparisons, the fear of missing out, and more things to do than hours in a day. Sound familiar? This is the breeding ground for worry, anxiety, and fear.  Sweaty palms, racing pulse, headaches, butterflies in the stomach, difficulty concentrating, feeling overwhelmed—any or all of these symptoms could indicate worry, anxiety, or fear. I’ve experienced them all and more. I’ve felt so wrapped up in knots that I wasn’t sure I could get out of bed in the morning or that I even wanted to.  Have you ever had any of the following conversations, even if only in your head? “I can’t do ____, because I’m afraid that _____.” “I won’t do ____, because I’m worried about ____.” “I’m not sure about ____, because I fear ____ might happen.”  If you have, then you, too,

Verse

 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24 NIV https://1peter.bible/1-peter-2-24

The Characters of Easter (Day 10) Last Day

     Peter’s life is one, really, of emptiness and filling: empty nets, empty self, empty tomb. An empty net is a sign of professional failure and for a successful Galilean merchant, there was no greater sign of loss than an empty net. An empty net meant nothing to sell and trade. It meant an empty wallet, empty stomachs, and an empty house. Jesus entered Peter’s life, at the very beginning of this call to ministry and at the very end, filling Peter’s empty nets.  But this was only the smallest way Christ would fill the empty places in Peter’s life. Peter’s soul, that day on the beach, was also bereft. He had failed Jesus in the worst possible way in the worst moments. The news of the resurrection was both bitter and sweet. Sweet in that the one he loved was not held down by Roman nails and the devil’s schemes. Bitter in that Peter would have to face the friend he betrayed. Yet it was another empty place—a borrowed tomb outside the city walls—that healed the shame in this disciple’s so

Verse

 All the sets of "-" are Written in Red.  Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus ), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.  Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.  He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered.  He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.  Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into

The Characters of Easter (Day 9)

  We don’t know where Peter went after his denial. He isn’t present, like John and Jesus’ mother Mary, at the foot of the cross while Jesus died. But we know he likely didn’t go back home.  What we do know is that the next couple of days must have been Peter’s most difficult. Broken by his behavior the night of Jesus’ arrest and unsure of what the future looks like, Peter was staring into an abyss of uncertainty. The King he assumed would set up the kingdom of God and overthrow the Romans was decomposing in a borrowed tomb.  Unless, of course, He wasn’t. Peter’s Sunday-morning misery was punctuated by a sudden visit from a breathless group of women led by Mary Magdalene and Mary, Jesus’ mother. They could barely get the words out. What they said seemed crazy. No, actually it was crazy. The body of Jesus, gone? This was impossible. The tomb was guarded with tight Roman security. A heavy stone sealed the entrance. Oh, and there is this little detail that dead bodies don’t just rise again