“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” (John 15:16, NIV 1984).
“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will 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 righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25, 32–34, NIV 1984).
“[For] my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19, NIV 1984).
“Every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.” (Psalm 50:10, NIV 1984).
My Musings – Followers of Christ are chosen and appointed by Him. So we need not worry about the things that the rest of the world worries about. He knows our needs, and whatever we need for our appointed tasks will be provided. So we need not seek after these things. Rather we should seek after the things of God and God will take care of adding the other things as well. According to His riches. This should tell you why we need not worry. His riches (“cattle on a thousand hills“) are abundant.
My Advice – So let’s not get greedy by asking God to meet our wants instead of our needs. Let’s make sure that “whatever [we] ask in [His] name” are needs not wants.
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My Musings – Although our troubles are temporary, while we are in them, we all have a tendency to be consumed by them. We fix our eyes on them. We can hardly focus on anything else. Yet because we are in Christ, if we fix our eyes on Him, things can be different. Hard pressed but not crushed. Perplexed but not in despair. Persecuted but not abandoned. Struck down but not destroyed. Wasting away but being renewed. With the proper focus we can see the all sufficient grace of God while still in the midst of what is pressing against us, perplexing us, persecuting us, or striking us down.
My Advice – In the less than memorable movie Noah’s Ark, starring Russel Crowe, there is one brief exchange between Noah and Tubal-Cain that I do remember quite well.
Tubal-Cain (menacingly): “I have men at my back, and you stand alone and defy me?”
Noah (matter-of-factly): “I’m not alone.”
Remember, no matter how desperate the situation, if you are in Christ you are never alone. Fix your eyes on Him, not the situation.
My Musings – Anxiety is an uncomfortable feeling of nervousness or worry about something that is happening or that might (or might not) happen. Anxiety can rob us of happiness, because happiness is usually dependent on circumstances. When difficulties arise, happiness fades away. But these difficulties need not rob us of joy, because joy often happens despite circumstances. If that joy is in the Lord, we need not be anxious about anything. In everything (all circumstances), we can petition God to drive out the anxiety and replace it with peace. When this happens, it surpasses understanding because having peace and joy in the midst of all kinds of adversity (in everything) is incomprehensible.
My Advice – When faced with oppressive anxiety, pray. When faced with oppressive anxiety, rejoice (count your blessings) in the Lord. When faced with anxiety, focus on “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.” (Philippians 4:8, NIV 1984). Put this “into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:9, NIV 1984).
Today’s musing was inspired by Pastor Kevin Rutledge’s sermon on November 17, 2019. Check it out at https://www.fbcsycamore.com/sermons. If you live in or are visiting the area, come and join us Sundays at 10:30 a.m. We’d love to be partners in the Gospel with you.
Philippians 4:6-7 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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 minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV 1978)
My Musings – We do not have to live in anxiety, no matter what perilous things we may be going through. We need only pray. We may not always get what we pray for, but we can always find peace.
My Advice – Don’t let anxiety overwhelm you. You may not be able to control your circumstances, but you can control how they affect your heart and your mind. Just pray. God will grant you peace in the storm.
Ecclesiastes 7:10 – Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions. (NIV 1984)
My Musings – We can learn from the past, to help us live in the present, not to relive the past successes or repeat the past failures.
My Advice – Do not live in the past (thinking they were better) or dwell on the past (regretting mistakes made). The past is the past, the “present” is a gift.