Thursday, March 26, 2020

Anxiety

Today I want to write a little bit about anxiety.  It is something we all deal with.  I deal with it myself, when I focus on how big this thing is we all deal with.  But then I think about God and how much bigger He is.  As I said the other day, our level of peace and anxiety are directly related to what we choose to dwell on.  All everyone can think of is the virus as it has altered the reality we all live in. 

The anxiety is pervasive as it is aggressive.  All we hear from most news sites is bad news and worst case scenarios.  All we think about is that how crazy someone is when they try to think positively or look at good news.  I wonder if this is how the other apostles felt when Peter stepped out to walk on the water.  A moment ago, they were all freaking out because of the storm, and now here goes Peter going to walk on the crazy wind-driven rough water. 

But Peter did walk on the water, at least for a little while.  Unfortunately, despite the miracle he was a part of, his focus again was shifted to the wind and the waves, he became scared, and he started to sink.  He came to his senses and cried out to Jesus, and Jesus pulled him and to safety and stopped the storm.

The message for us in what is going on today is simple.  We can choose to focus on what is going on all around us or we can choose to focus on Who is ultimately in control even of this storm.  We can walk on water in the peace in the faith that God will get us through if only we would believe and take the time to look to Him.  If we do, the news may get the best of us sometimes and we may begin to sink again.  If that happens, just shift your focus again and God will pick you up.  If you continue to focus on the waves, it will drag you down, if you cry out to God, He will lift you up.  Those are 2 absolute truths.  And that same God who picked you up will carry you through and when its purpose is complete, God will end this storm. 

Take heart and believe, God is in control. 

But the boat was now in the middle of the sea,[fn] tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.

Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.

But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”

And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”

So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.  But when he saw that the wind was boisterous,he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”

And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.  Matthew 14:24-32 NKJV

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Hope

We are living in a time like no other.  Very few see any hope, many are sick, some will die, and some have already lost someone near and dear to them.  We hears news reports daily, seemingly in competition with one another of who can give the most bad news.  Whenever someone does say anything with any bit of hope, talking heads line up experts to say why that hope is wrong.  Tragedy gets people to tune into the news, and their machines are in full force right now.  We are all in the middle of a slow-motion catastrophe, and we have no idea when it will end.  To make matters worse, we are forced to isolate from our support systems as we face unimaginable fear and uncertainty during this worst of times.  There is no comfort in those places we tend to get our comfort from.  There is no escape, there is no place to go. 

Today I want to share a little bit of hope.  While what we are going through rightly seems so big to us, there is something, or Someone, who is even bigger.  It is time to dust off those Bibles and return to that God you have spent so much time running from.  As big as this pandemic is, God is bigger.  As out of control things seem to have gotten, it is not out God's control.  Turn to Him and He will lift you up.  Lean on Him, and He will carry you through. 

It's easy to live in panic and fear when that is what we spend out time dwelling on.  The heart feels what we fill our mind with, and this is no different.  For today, I would hope that you all take the the following verses to heart and use it to fill your mind with the good, and your heart will follow.  Think of the family you do have, the ones living with you, the sun shining, the fact that this will end, and that God will carry you through even this. Don't think of the great tragedy that is dragging you down, but pray to the greater God who wants to lift you up. 
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.  (Philippians 4:6-8 NKJV)