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Archive for the ‘From My Heart’ Category

 

 

Numbers 13:28-33

28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.” 30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 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.”

 

Are you afraid of giants? The Israelites were. They were so terrified of the giants that they almost forfeited the promise of a land flowing with milk and honey. The Israelites took their eyes off of the God who had performed numerous miracles on their behalf and started to focus on the giants in the land they were to conquer. They forgot one little piece of information, IF GOD BRINGS YOU TO IT, HE WILL BRING YOU THROUGH IT! Their fear cost them 40 years!

Do you have a dream? A goal? An every day struggle that won’t go away? Are you facing a circumstance of giant proportions? Are you tired of fighting only to have that giant look down and laugh at you? Are you more like the Israelites cowering in fear, afraid to claim what God has promised to you?

If this describes you in any way, don’t worry! I know exactly how you feel! I have been afraid of giants and truth be told, if I came upon a giant standing in my way today, I would probably be very tempted to run. Except that, running doesn’t always work. Those giants have a way of catching us or keeping us from our promised land.

There were two who gave the opposite report of the other spies. They didn’t deny that the giants would be formidable opponents, BUT they knew that God had already given them the land AND that God would fight for them. Their FAITH was BIGGER than their FEAR!

Challenge:

Make a list of all of the giants that you are facing right now. Ask yourself, are you the Israelites and cowering in fear? Or are you Joshua and Caleb, believing in the promise of God? If you are cowering in fear, I encourage you to pray for courage. If we ask for what we need, God is good to answer those prayers. God is in the battle with you. You are NOT fighting alone! Channel that inner Joshua and Caleb and go get what God promised you!

We will fight many battles in this life, but we do not have to fight alone. The Israelites ended up facing the giants and claiming the promised land. God was with them and He is with you too!

 

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1 Corinthians 3:10-15

10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

Matthew 7:24-27

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

We all know that anything that is not built with a solid foundation will crumble and fall. The same goes for our Christian walk. Our foundation as Christians has to be built on the Rock (Jesus). How do we build a firm foundation as a Christian?

1 Corinthians 15:58

58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Matthew 7 tells us that those who HEAR what Jesus is saying to us AND PRACTICES what He says will have a solid foundation. We need to be ACTIVELY LISTENING to what Jesus is telling us. Not only do we need to listen, we need to PRACTICE what He says. We need to be OBEDIENT.

Corinthians 15:58 tells us that we need to STAND FIRM. It reiterates this by saying that we are to LET NOTHING MOVE US. We are to GIVE OURSELVES FULLY TO THE WORK OF THE LORD.

As Christians, there are some spiritual disciplines that we should be actively practicing in obedience to Jesus:

  1. PrayerDo not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
  2. Bible StudyKeep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Joshua 1:8
  3. Fellowship with Believers42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. Acts 2:42-44 

Of course, we can’t forget the commands that Jesus gives us in the verses I started with:

  1. Hear (Listen)
  2. Practice (Obedience)
  3. Stand Firm (Let nothing move you)
  4. Give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord

Challenge:

These are not the only spiritual disciplines of Jesus or that the Bible commands us to practice. I am challenging you to find the other spiritual practices of Jesus. I challenge you to find the other disciplines that the Bible tells us that we need to actively practice. Reflect in your journal and find ways to implement these disciplines into your daily life. Don’t think of it as something that needs to be checked off of a to-do list. the disciplines are not meant to be legalistic. They are meant to bring you closer to the heart of God. They are meant to help you build your foundation as a Christian.

Life as a Christian is not easy. It’s not meant to be. As with everything important, it takes a solid foundation to build a strong house, car, relationship or Christian life. Dig into the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you as you seek His ways. A foundation built on anything other than Jesus will crumble and fall, so build your foundation on the ROCK (JESUS).

 

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Genesis 25:29-34

29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom.) 31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.” 32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?” 33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.

Have you ever been so hungry, tired, overwhelmed, frustrated, ______________________, that you were willing to sacrifice something important (valuable) just to alleviate the feeling? That is exactly what Esau did. He was famished (starving)! He wanted food NOW and didn’t care what he sacrificed to get it.

Jacob, who wanted Esau’s birthright (the right to be recognized as first born) saw an opportunity and took it.

Let’s take a look at the two sins that were committed here:

Jacob: 

Jacob had a jealous heart and stole Esau’s birthright. He knew exactly how to manipulate his brother and he didn’t have any hesitation doing it.

Esau:

Esau was impatient. He was hungry and he wanted instant gratification. Instead of making his own food or waiting for something else, he sacrificed his birthright and didn’t seem to care.

The Lesson For Us:

Although Jacob turned into a man of God, at this moment Jacob was a snake. He was jealous and manipulative.

God does NOT want us to hold jealousy in our hearts. 

God does not want us to use manipulation to get what we want. He wants us to be content with what we have. When we covet what someone else has, the Devil gains a foothold, and sin takes root in our lives. If you find yourself jealous of someone else right now, ask yourself why? Also, ask yourself what sacrifices, responsibilities, etc. might come with what you are coveting? One more question I want you to ask yourself is: what would I do to get what so and so has? If you are willing to break the law or sin to get what someone else has you have a heart issue and you better be on your knees before God in repentance.

Esau was impatient. He wanted food, he wanted it NOW and he didn’t care what he gave up to get it. He wasn’t willing to wait and he suffered the consequences of his actions. He regretted it later, but it was to late.

God does NOT want us to have a spirit of impatience.

God does everything in His own timing. When we try to take control of things and jump ahead of God, we suffer the consequences, just like Esau did. What are you impatient about right now? Why? Are you trying to control the situation or the timing of something? Is God telling you to wait? Why aren’t you obeying God? What could some of the consequences be of going it alone? You will be going it alone if you allow your impatience to cause you to disobey God.

I know that we live in a world of instant gratification. We are able to do or get anything almost instantly and it has made us not want to wait for ANYTHING. Are you that person who needs to be instantly gratified? Are you REALLY satisfied when you get what you want? What are you willing to give up to get what you want right NOW? Is your need for instant gratification causing you to lead a sinful lifestyle?

I want you to reflect on all of the above questions, asking the Holy Spirit to guide you and convict you if necessary. I want you to dig deep. Heart work is sometimes painful, but as a Christian it is something we need to do on a regular basis. If there is the tiniest of sinful roots taking up space in your heart, it is an open invitation for Satan to take up permanent residence. God will not stay where we allow the Devil to reside. I would rather have the love and goodness of God in my heart any day!

You choose: The love and compassion of God or the anger, chaos and evil of the dark one? The decision is yours.

 

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Exodus 16:6-8

So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of Egypt, and in the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we, that you should grumble against us?” Moses also said, “You will know that it was the Lord when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord.”

The Israelites complained ALOT! Nothing was ever good enough for them. God in His patience listened to their complaints and gave them what they wanted. Manna, quail, water, clothes and shoes that never wore out and guidance through the wilderness. Still, the Israelites grumbled.

Sounds like us. No matter what God does for us, we grumble and complain, “well, you answered our prayer, Lord, but that wasn’t the way we wanted it answered.” Really? Can’t we just be grateful?

We are especially ungrateful here in America. Life is not perfect, but the majority of us have what we need. We may not always have what we want, but we have what we need. I raised 5 kids as a single mom. We lived in a low income neighborhood and struggled financially, but we had what we needed.

There are 2 things I want you to remember:

  1. There are those that are truly suffering. There are those living around us that really are suffering and in need. Those that are homeless and food insecure. Those that have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and can’t pay their bills. Look around you and be grateful for what you DO have. Be willing to share what you have with those around you who really are in need. Be willing to give someone else a hand up to help better their  life.
  2. You are grumbling against GOD. Moses tells the Israelites that they aren’t grumbling against him and Aaron, they are grumbling against God. When we complain and whine like petulant 2 year olds, we are whining against God. We are telling God that we don’t appreciate what He has done for us and that we think that we are entitled to so much more. When we grumble we are telling God that we don’t believe that He knows what He is doing and that we think that WE could do better. I would rather be grateful for the goodness in my life that is because of God. Life is not perfect, but life is still good.

 

Don’t be like the grumbling Israelites. Is it to late to warn Americans not to become entitled, snot nosed, whiners who think they deserve the best of everything because they are Americans? America is a nation of spoiled brats and God is now reminding us that HE is the King of kings and Lord of lords. God is now warning us to start thinking about others and to stop being selfish or the days ahead could be full of suffering for many many people. God had patience with the Israelites but He also allowed them to suffer because of their attitudes and disobedience. Be warned Americans. God’s patience is wearing thin!

 

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Exodus 16:4-5

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”

Exodus 16:15-20

15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Everyone is to gather as much as they need. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.’” 17 The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. 18 And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed. 19 Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.” 20 However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.

The Israelites did NOT starve! They were given manna in the mornings and quail in the evenings. God gave them enough for that day. They did not have to hoard their food, because God provided for them daily. When they did try to hoard, the manna was not edible. Some trusted God for their daily provisions and some did not.

Like many of us today, we have a hard time believing that God will provide for us on a daily basis. We want to hoard our wealth or our resources for a “rainy day” instead of sharing what we have or leaving behind enough for someone else. I was astonished at this hoarder mentality at the very beginning of this pandemic. The store shelves emptied quickly of things like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, meat and other food items. The words “pandemic” and “stay at home order” were enough to send the masses into a frenzy and I believe that even many Christians forgot their faith and stocked up “just in case.”

In my household, we did not stock up. I live in a house with my ex-husband, Howard; his wife, Tami; and our 18 year old son, Ty. We trusted God to provide as we had need and He has. Howard was out of work for 3 weeks and we still ate well, paid the bills, and lived life as we always had. We live simply anyways and give to others out of our abundance. But, God provided. We NEVER had to stock up. We NEVER had to worry. God provided what we needed EACH DAY, as He did for the Israelites.

I know that these days are filled with events that cause us to worry. I know that it is easy to follow the masses into a panic and forget that God has EVERYTHING under control. If you belong to God then you don’t have to worry! He’s got you covered!

If you don’t belong to God then today may be the day that you decide that you need God on your side. I wouldn’t want to live in this world without Him. My only assurance of security and refuge is through my all powerful, all seeing, all knowing, always faithful Almighty Father in heaven. If you have been thinking about accepting Jesus into your heart or have felt a tug from the Holy Spirit, please contact me via my contact form or email me directly at pattiburris@yahoo.com. Do you really want to do life without God on your side? I don’t!

 

 

 

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My ancestors are Mormon pioneers. I come from a line of Latter Day Saints and I have distant relatives who are still Latter Day Saints. I do not believe all of their doctrine, but I do believe they have some disciplines that the Protestant church can learn from. As the Protestant church shrinks in size, losing members in droves, the LDS church continues to grow. What are they doing right?

  1. They Pray – Mormons have active prayer lives. Prayer is woven into the fabric of their lives. In the Protestant church, prayer is usually an after thought. Prayer is something most Christians do when we need something or when things aren’t going our way.
  2. They Study The Bible – Mormons study the Bible. They know the Bible and can defend their beliefs in any conversation. Most Christians in the Protestant church have a hard time defending their beliefs or their faith.
  3. They Evangelize – All young Mormons are sent on missions. It’s a requirement of all young Mormons. Evangelizing is one of their top priorities, while the Protestant church makes it difficult for missionaries to raise funds and become a missionary. Mormon missionaries spend their days going door to door talking to people while Protestants stay inside the walls of the church.
  4. They prioritize Family/Community – The LDS church has mandated that every Monday night is family night among Mormons. They spend the evening doing a Bible study, prayer or watching a family/Christian movie. It is to be an evening that strengthens the bonds of the family unit and those in the family with God. They also build community with each other through activities in the church. The women are all a part of the Relief Society and the men are all elders. I have found in the Protestant church that family life is busy with running around and very rarely is there a night at home focused on religious study. We don’t hand down our faith like Mormons do and church is not a priority other than on Sundays.
  5. They Disciple – Discipleship is a very important part of being in the LDS church. Every active member knows the doctrines and can defend their faith to those who question or oppose the faith. In the beginning they are taught by the missionaries. Later they are taught by visiting teachers, elders, and older members. Parents/grandparents disciple the children. We, in the Protestant church are largely left to disciple ourselves. We depend on Sunday school to disciple our children and ourselves. We can not be discipled by Sunday school alone! Discipleship takes relationships built over time where a mature Christian takes on the teaching of a new Christian. In the Protestant church, we gather on Sundays, but scatter the rest of the week.
  6. They Help The Needy – The LDS church takes social services seriously. They have the largest social services organization of any denomination EVER. Deseret Industries has warehouses in many large cities to help the needy in those areas. God never intended the government to provide for the needy. That was always the job of the church and Mormons take that seriously. If the Protestant church did as much instead of turning people away, we wouldn’t need a welfare system. With as many churches as there are in America and with the unlimited resources of God, there is no reason people should have to suffer in poverty.

 

I have researched the LDS church in my research on my Mormon ancestors. Although I don’t agree with everything they believe, I do believe that they do many things right. We in the Protestant church could take some lessons from our Mormon friends. We need to step it up. The Protestant church is in a decline, the LDS church had a slight uptick in conversions in 2019. If we want to transform the Protestant church, we need to get back to what’s important. Making Jesus #1 like the Mormons do.

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Luke 9:1-3

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.

Luke 10:1-4

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two[a] others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

Luke 22:35

Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”

“Nothing,” they answered.

I read Luke 22:35 as part of my daily devotion time and it stuck with me. In Luke 9, Jesus sends out the disciples, telling them to take nothing for the journey – no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, and no extra shirt. In Luke 10, Jesus repeats the command not to take a purse, bag or sandals. Jesus wanted His disciples to trust completely in God to meet their needs. When they return, Jesus asks them, “Did you lack anything?” They answer, “Nothing.”

This passage brings to mind the Israelites in the Old Testament:

Deuteronomy 29:5 

Yet the Lord says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet.

For Forty years God kept the clothes and sandals of the Israelites from wearing out and in Exodus 16, God provides manna and quail for the Israelites to eat.

I know that I have lacked faith on more than one occasion. No matter how many times God provides for me, I always wonder if He will continue to do so. It is in those moments that I hear Jesus in my heart, ” Do you lack anything?” “Have you ever lacked what you truly needed?” “Have I not always provided for you and your children?”

I am reminded that God has always provided for me and the kids. He has provided in ways that I can only describe as miracles. I still at times let the doubt creep in like a thief in the night. I let that doubt (fear) keep me from God’s will for my life. I allow my Anxiety (fear) to keep me from taking that giant leap of faith. I let that worry about the future (fear) keep me from stepping out of my comfort zone to obey God’s direction. WHAT IF GOD SUDDENLY DECIDES TO STOP PROVIDING?

He could decide to stop providing. I’m not anyone special. I don’t deserve any special blessings. God COULD at any time stop providing for me, BUT I know that He won’t. How do I know that?

In Mark 5:36 Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Jesus was speaking to Jairus, the synagogue leader. Some people had just come and told him that his daughter was dead. Jesus spoke those words of comfort, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” He speaks this word to us today, as well. What giant leap of faith is God asking you to take? What mountain is God asking you to move? How far out of your comfort zone is God pushing you? Are you afraid that God will decide to stop providing? As long as you don’t give up on Him, He will ALWAYS provide for you!

DON’T BE AFRAID; JUST BELIEVE!

HAVE YOU LACKED ANYTHING?

If God provided for those grumbling Israelites for 40 years in the wilderness, He will take care of you. Pray for the faith to conquer the fear that holds you back. Not every day is guaranteed. If not now, then when?

 

 

 

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I was helping my daughter, Cree, set up her 1st grade class yesterday when she pulled up the above poster to hang up for her kids. When I read it, it struck me that the majority of us, as adults, need to know how to fight fair. There is so much violence and hate in this world and it starts with us as adults. We refuse to listen to anyone who has a different opinion than ours. We refuse to listen to anyone who looks different, dresses differently, lives in a “less than” neighborhood, or works in a lower income job. We have become a society where CLASS places us above or below others and those above refuse to acknowledge those living in a “lower class”. We refuse to admit that we aren’t always right and that compromise does not mean we lose. We, as adults, need to step up and set a better example for our kids. We need to go back to elementary school and learn the rules for fighting fair:

  1. Identify the problem – What is the problem that needs to be solved? Is there an actual problem that needs to be solved? I have found that many of our problems start because of our own attitudes and behaviors. If there is a problem between two people or a group of people, it usually stems from heart issues that at least one person is dealing with. Simple problems such as scheduling conflicts get blown out of proportion when one or both people involved only want things their way and aren’t willing to see the other person’s side of the conflict. Our larger problems in society involve our heart issues (our feelings of entitlement, our biases, our perceptions, our belief that we are right and everyone else is wrong, and our judgmental attitudes towards others). So, what is the problem? Is it something surface level that can be solved with a simple conversation or does it go deeper? Does the problem involve a heart issue in one or all of the people involved? Is there a legitimate problem or is the problem our own attitude?
  2. Focus on the problem – When we have a problem with another person or people, we need to be careful to focus on the problem and not our own anger or our feelings about the other people involved. Each person is approaching a problem from different perspectives and view points, so we need to focus only on the problem at hand.
  3. Attack the problem, not the person – When we approach another person about a problem, we need to remember that we are confronting the problem and not the person. We need to approach the person that we have an issue with from a place of peace. Our focus needs to be on creating peace and not escalating the problem.
  4. Listen with an open mind – When we approach another person with a problem, we are coming with our own opinions, and agenda. We also, have to realize that the other person is approaching the problem with their own opinions, and agenda. We all approach problems focusing on what we want. We all approach problems with a game plan focused on how we can get what we want. We need to approach a problem focused on the best outcome for all involved. We need to listen to what other participants are saying and be open to the underlying emotions. When we approach a problem with a closed mind and a closed heart nothing is accomplished. When we approach a problem with an open mind and an open heart, it allows for compromise and the finding of solutions to all of our problems.
  5. Treat a person’s feelings with respect – We don’t know the underlying emotions or burdens that someone is carrying when we approach them about a problem. We all approach problems from our own perspectives based on our experiences, backgrounds, traditions, and cultures. We need to respect the feelings of the other people involved in the problem. We need to show respect for their perspectives, even if we don’t agree with them. We need to be kind and gentle in our approaching others about a problem. If we approach others from a defensive, aggressive, or disrespectful attitude we will never resolve the problem in a way that benefits all parties involved. If we want peace, we need to come from a place of peace.
  6. Take responsibility for your actions – No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. There are times when a problem arises because of a mistake that we have made or because of something we have done to hurt someone or cause a problem. When that happens we need to come from a place of humility and be willing to take responsibility for our actions and we need to be willing to make amends and work towards a solution to the problems that arise because of our actions. We can’t just bury our heads in the sand when we mess up. We need to be accountable and work for solutions.

 

There are fouls when approaching another person to discuss a problem. These are things that we should NEVER do:

  • Pushing
  • Hitting
  • Threats
  • Sneering
  • Getting Even
  • Blaming
  • Name Calling
  • Not Listening
  • Not Taking Responsibility
  • Making Excuses
  • Bossing
  • Bringing Up The Past
  • Put-Downs

There is so much negativity and anger in society today. There are so many people that feel that their opinion is the only opinion and that their way is the only way. There is always room for compromise. We have a choice. Will we approach the other participants of a problem with a selfish “my way or the high-way” attitude or will we come with a sense of peace and humility? It’s up to us. Do we want peace or do we want a constant state of fear and war? We, as adults need to remember that the examples we set for our kids today, will influence who they become tomorrow. Our kids will determine how our society evolves tomorrow. Will we have kids that live for peace or will we have kids that live for anger and violence? It is up to us, the adults of today.

 

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Ezekiel 33:10-11

10 “Son of man, say to the Israelites, ‘This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of them. How then can we live?” 11 Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’

The Israelites were crying out from the weight of their offenses and sins. They cried out that they were wasting away because of them. Carrying the weight of our sin can be a heavy burden. I have had to repent recently of my own wrong attitudes of anger and resentment. I know first hand how sin can weigh us down and separate us from God and God’s best for us. I was wallowing in my anger and pride. I didn’t want to give an inch and was NOT setting the Christlike example that I knew I should be setting. I knew that my attitude was wrong and yet I refused to give in. What’s even worse is that I was hanging on to an anger and resentment that wasn’t rightfully mine to hold on to. It has been weighing me down. I hate knowing that I am choosing to let sin keep me from God’s presence.

So what do we do when sin is weighing us down? In verse 11, God tells us to Turn! Turn from our wicked ways! I read this verse yesterday and God used it to bring me to a place of repentance and restoration. I had to swallow my pride and make amends. I now feel reconnected to God and a relationship is in a place where Jesus can transform both of our hearts.

No one on this earth is exempt from sin. At one point or another, we will ALL sin and become weighed down by our sin and wicked ways. But God tells us that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He would much rather that we turn from our sin and transform our hearts. He would much rather give us life than sentence us to death.

2 Peter 3:9

 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

1 John 2:1

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

We WILL sin! But because God does not want any of us to perish, He has provided an advocate to intercede on our behalf. His name is Jesus. If we accept Jesus into our hearts and lives, we can repent from our sin and we will be forgiven. BUT we also must TURN from our wicked ways! Accept Jesus. Repent of our sin. And turn from our wicked ways.

There is life in Jesus! Allow Him to transform your heart and live for Him.

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Philippians 4:6-9

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. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

We live in a world of chaos and evil. From natural disasters to the destruction caused by human hands, I don’t believe that there is one of us alive today that has not struggled with anxiety at some level. We become so anxious about making enough money that we start living lives devoid of joy and peace. We live in fear of being in crowded areas because of the violence of the society we live in. The media bombards us with news of shootings, abuse, drugs, natural disasters, and all kinds of evil under the sun. We begin to live in a constant state of fear and anxiety. We are robbed of the joy that God so freely gives us.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We do not have to live our lives in a constant state of anxiety. God has given us a blueprint to handle the anxiety producing situations in our lives.

Part 1:

The Command:

Do not be anxious about anything – God tells us not to be anxious about ANYTHING. This is not a suggestion, it is a command. I know how hard it is not to let panic overwhelm your spirit. Believe me, if anyone struggles with this command, it is me! Still, it is a command and God expects us to obey ALL of His commands!

But in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God – God expects us to pray about and surrender EVERY situation that causes us anxiety. Not only are we to present these situations to God, but we are to give thanks! Why give thanks in a stressful, panic attack producing event? We give thanks, believing that an all powerful God has our back and is with us in the crisis. We give thanks, knowing that He may not take us out of the situation, BUT He can and will calm the storm that rages inside of us.

When you face a situation that is causing you to panic, STOP where you are and START praying. Give that situation over to God. Pray for the presence of God to enter into the situation. Pray with thanksgiving, knowing that God is already at work to provide refuge in the mist of the chaos.

The Promise: 

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

If we are faithful to give every situation that causes us to feel anxiety or fear to God through prayer and thanksgiving, He will be faithful to give us a peace that transcends all understanding. That peace that only God can give will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.

Part 2:

The Command:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

We are to think on ALL THINGS GOOD! After we give our anxiety to God through prayer, we need to focus on the good things of God. We need to focus on the true aspects of God’s character. We need to focus on the love of God. We need to focus on how we can serve others who may be suffering. We need to focus on the positive things in this world. Turn on a Christian radio station and let the songs sink into your soul. I have the K-Love app on my phone and I listen in my car and I can tell you that there have been times when a song hits me right where I am and I will bawl like a baby. There are other times when a song will speak right to my fear and God will use the song to calm me in a very real way. Do whatever it is helps you to focus on the good that is God.

The Promise:

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

If we are faithful to focus on the goodness of God in an anxiety inducing situation, then God promises to be with us. The God of peace promises to be with us in our anxiety. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, the God of peace has promised to be right there in the midst of it with us! If God is with us, there is nothing to fear.

I know that trusting in the middle of a panic attack seems impossible. Just remember that YOU WILL GET THROUGH IT! Take a few deep breaths. Present your requests to God with a prayer of thanksgiving and focus on the goodness of God and on the goodness that can still be found in this world. If you are faithful in this, then the God of peace will be faithful to be with you no matter what you face in life. God has your back, friend! He is faithful!

 

 

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