Wednesday, February 28, 2024

THE BURDEN OF WORRY

“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)

Do you feel that your small anxieties, cares, and concerns cannot measure up to the world’s collective prayers to God? People are dying from flood, famine, earthquake, war, and fire; yet you worry about getting to an appointment on time. It seems almost presumptuous to expect God to care about your worries, doesn’t it?

Nevertheless, hear the truth of the Christian faith: God loves you. God has concern for your life. Your greatest triumphs, your smallest sorrows, God knows and cares about them all.

The scriptures tell you to “Cast all your anxiety on [God] because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). The key word here is all -- not only the big stuff, but also the little worries and doubts that assail you throughout an average day. …

God of love, I’m tired of carrying this burden of worry. I want to believe that You will take it from me, but I find it hard because ____________________. Today, help me to cast all my anxiety upon You. Lift me up if I stumble; forgive me if I fall. I ask this humbly. Amen. 

-- Patricia Wilson in “Freedom from Worry”


#5804

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

THREE DOLLARS WORTH

I would like to buy about three dollars worth of gospel, please. Not too much -- just enough to make me happy, but not so much that I get addicted. I don't want so much gospel that I learn to really hate covetousness and lust. I certainly don't want so much that I start to love my enemies, cherish self-denial, and contemplate missionary service in some alien culture. I want ecstasy, not repentance; I want transcendence, not transformation. I would like to be cherished by some nice, forgiving, broad-minded people, but I myself don't want to love those from different races -- especially if they smell. I would like enough gospel to make my family secure and my children well behaved, but not so much that I find my ambitions redirected or my giving too greatly enlarged. I would like about three dollars worth of gospel, please. 

-- D. A. Carson in “Basics for Believers: An Exposition of Philippians”


#5803

Sunday, February 25, 2024

CHOOSE NOW

"See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to Him, and to keep His commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.”

Hear how the God of creation Himself speaks of this matter. Here lies the whole of the divine mercy: It’s all on this side of the day of judgment. Till the end of time, God is compassionate and long-suffering, and continues to every creature a power of choosing life or death, prosperity or destruction; but when the end of time is come, there is an end of choice, and the last judgment is only a putting everyone into the full and sole possession of that which he has already chosen. 

-- Adapted from William Law in “An Appeal to All that Doubt”


#5802

Friday, February 23, 2024

FORMING THE GREATEST CHARACTER

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may [discover] what is the will of God -- what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  (Romans 12:2 NRSV)

The study of God's Word, for the purpose of discovering God's will, is the secret discipline which has formed the greatest characters.

-- James W. Alexander


#5801

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

SOMEONE TO SURRENDER TO

"For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for Me and for the gospel, you will save it.”  (Mark 8:35 GNT)

G.K. Chesterton wrote, “When a person has found something which he prefers to life itself, he for the first time has begun to live.”

Jesus in His proclamation of the kingdom told us what we could prefer to life itself. The Bible ends by telling us we are called to be a people who could say, “Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20), who could welcome something more than business as usual and live in God’s Big Picture. We all have to ask for the grace to prefer something to our small life because we have been offered the Shared Life, the One Life, the Eternal Life, God’s Life that became visible for us in this world as Jesus.

What we are all searching for is Someone to surrender to, something we can prefer to life itself. Well here is the wonderful surprise: God is the only one we can surrender to without losing ourselves! The irony is that we actually find ourselves, but now in a whole new and much larger field of meaning. 

-- Adapted from “Preparing for Christmas with Richard Rohr”


#5800