Speaking to his infant son John (John the Baptist), Zechariah said, “[You will give the Messiah’s] people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins…[and the Messiah will] guide our feet into paths of peace.”
Thank You, Jesus, for guiding my feet into paths of peace.
When I go Your way regarding anxiety, I receive peace beyond understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). If I trust You and anchor my mind in You, You keep me in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). You give real peace, not the shaky peace the world gives (John 14:27).
Jesus, You tell me not to let my heart be troubled or afraid. Sometimes I think I can’t prevent my heart from being troubled and afraid. But the truth is that with Your Holy Spirit in me, I have all the power I need to choose obedience, trust and peace instead of fear, agitation and anxiety.
Yes, thank You, Lord, for Your guidance into pathways of peace.
In addition to this blog, I have started a second blog called “Journey toward Wholeness” in which I share about my experience in dealing with a 4-month bout with anxiety problems. This is a re-blog of my first post there:
From “Journey Toward Wholeness,” https://journey1617.wordpress.com/
“In this blog, I ‘m sharing mostly about the battle I faced when medication problems threw me into a bout with anxiety late last year. Because many people struggle with depression/anxiety, I’m hoping these accounts of my feelings, thoughts, and the help God has given me may benefit someone. [I’ll continue the “Tricia’s Journal Jots Blog” with general posts.]
I’ve had difficulty with depression and anxiety for much of my life. (They often go together.) For me, medicine, counseling, and other therapies have helped. God is to be praised for all the help I received because He is behind it all. He is the source of every good thing. I have tried at times to function without the medicine, hoping that extra Bible reading or more prayer would take care of my problems. But I couldn’t do it. Speaking from experience, I can say that drawing near to God is a wonderful thing, but getting chemical imbalances corrected with medicine can also make a big difference.
I remarked once that God could just heal me, and I wouldn’t need medicine. My pastor reminded me that God could heal my eyes too, and I wouldn’t need glasses, but that wasn’t God’s priority work in my life right now. So I decided to thank God that medicines have been developed to help with the problems I have. I’m also very thankful for the many people who prayed for me and loved me through this most recent struggle.
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 New Living Translation)
The old me was touchy, irritable, grumpy, and rude. She sought only self and her way. She spent time with gossip, deception, unfaithfulness, anger, greed, quarreling, and jealousy. (See Galatians 5:19-21.)
The new me is patient, loving, pure in heart, and hardly even notices a wrong done to her (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). She fellowships with peace, kindness, joy, forgiveness, honest and loving speech, generosity, courtesy, and other such companions.
O Lord, please grant me grace to take off and dispose of the rags of the old me and put on the clothing of the new me which is renewed in the likeness of Christ. Holy Spirit, please help me do that more! (See Colossians 3:5-10.)
Ephesians 2:4-5 New International Version: “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….”
I was “dead,” but now God has made me “alive in Christ.” When I was spiritually dead, it was natural for me to do whatever I felt like doing, act like people in the world who don’t know the Lord, and listen to the devil’s lies.
For example, I see what a good wife and mother my friend is—so wise, faithful, enduring, loving. I wish I were more like that. When I look at these qualities in her, I think of my own failings and am tempted to be ashamed and think myself worthless, even though I’ve already received forgiveness for my past sins.
But that’s the old way of thinking. Now that I’m alive in Christ, I have a new nature. Those old ways are no longer “natural” for me. So God’s Word tells me to get rid of those old ways and think and act like the new creation in Christ which I am.
So because His Holy Spirit guides and empowers me to live my new natural way, I will do that. It brings glory to God and joy to His heart when His children walk according to His Spirit, acting from our new nature.
Dear loving heavenly Father, please help me walk in the light of Your love and forgiveness instead of in the dark of shame and despair. That old way of thinking no longer has any right to rule over me. You have transferred me from (delivered me out of) the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of Your dear Son—the kingdom of light. Let my life in Christ shine in all I do!
Jesus, when I’m tempted to despair, let me remember Your everlasting, perfect love. Amen. (See Colossians 1:12-13)
Mark 6:53, 55-56 Amplified Bkible “And when they had crossed over, they reached the land of Gennesaret…. and they ran about the whole countryside, and began to carry around sick people on their sleeping pads or mats to any place where they heard that He was. and wherever He came into villages or cities or the country, they would lay the sick in the marketplaces and beg Him that they might touch even the fringe of His outer garment, and as many as touched Him were restored to health.”
I wonder how many today come to Jesus and receive healing for themselves or someone else and go away. They’re content with healing and don’t go on to become His disciples. Following Jesus instead of our own interests requires laying down the lordship over our own lives, but the rewards are worth the price. Jesus offers healing because He is good and merciful, but He offers so much more as well. He offers forgiveness of sins, peace of mind, joy, fulfillment, strength, and on and on. The most important thing He gives, though, is relationship with the living, triune God—in this life and the next.
Dear Lord, please don’t let me ever settle for anything less, but remind me to take up my cross and follow You so You can give me the greatest gift—You, Yourself. Amen.
Pastor Tom has done an excellent 4-sermon series on the homosexuality issue. He shares a very biblical view of the issue. They should be read or listened to starting with the first one and going in order 1-2-3-4. Here’s the link to the first one:
Genesis 41:16 (New Living Translation) says, “’It is beyond my power to [interpret dreams],’ Joseph [told Pharaoh]. ‘But God can tell you what [the dream] means and set you at ease.’” In The Message, “set you at ease” is “set Pharaoh’s mind at ease.”
It’s often beyond human power to do things. That’s why a doctor may say, “We’ve done all we can.” Those with faith may even add, “It’s up to God now.” Also, when I’ve sought help for problems from human beings, I’ve often been asking more than they can give.
But God is healer, problem-solver, dream-interpreter, provider, peace-giver, source of wisdom, and so much more! He can give us peace of mind. I need to seek Him always, because human power and human wisdom are limited, but He is almighty. And because He is all-wise, He will do what is the very best.
I’m not saying that God doesn’t use people, because He does. He used Joseph to interpret the dreams. But Joseph was careful to give God the glory because the interpretation was from Him. I want to remember to acknowledge and glorify God for every grace and gift I receive also.
Once when Saul and his army pursued David, David and his men lived for over a year in the Philistine town of Ziklag. At one point, the Philistines prepared to go to battle with Israel. The Philistine king Achish asked David and his men to go with them, which they were going to do. However, the Philistine commanders rejected David, so King Achish sent him and his men back to Ziklag. But when David and his army got home three days later, they found that the Amalekites had attacked Ziklag and had taken as prisoners all the people remaining there, including women and children. (From 1 Samuel 27-30)
“Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep. …6 Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” (1 Samuel 30:4, 6)
One teacher connected verse 6 above to Ephesians 5:18-20 (“…Instead [of being drunk with wine], be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”). We can encourage not only ourselves, but also others, in the Lord our God.
Dear Father, when distressing things happen, let me encourage and strengthen myself in YOU. Oh may I quickly turn to You and seek and wait on You so my strength can be renewed (Isaiah 40:31)! Yes, as I trust in You, I find that inner peace that enables me to face what life throws at me. You, Lord, are my joy, source of strength, victory, and song. Amen.
(Scriptures are New King James Version).
“Lead us not into temptation….”
Lord, please lead me always away from self-focus. There regrets, blaming, anger, pride, and self-pity lurk. These funnel into a slippery slide that winds ever downward into depression.
Teach me to walk on the solid path of humility and gratitude. Peace and joy flourish like flowers at the edges of this road. In this place of thankfulness, my focus turns to You, Lord, and seeking Your glory and honor. There my heart desires that others experience Your love also. I turn my eyes away from what I can do, what I look like to others, my past poor choices, and what I think will make me happy. [Psalm 119:37—“Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word.” (New Living Translation)]
When I’m tempted to stray onto the me-focus trail, please open my ears to hear Your voice warning, “Wrong way! Come back to Me.” Amen.
I’m just now reading Pastor Tom’s Christmas sermon,
DID JESUS REALLY COME TO BRING PEACE ON EARTH?.
It focused on Jesus’ mother Mary and really got me thinking. What a price Mary paid to submit to God’s will and plan! Oh that I would have such humility, trust, and submissive spirit! What a crown she must have!
The sermon reminded me of the hymn, “I Gave My Life for Thee”-
The song talks about what Jesus gave up to ransom me and the glory He left in order that I might have eternal life with the triune God. It asks what I’ve given up or left for Jesus. I look at how I’ve lived, and I’m afraid that all too often I’ve clung to my comfort or “walked according to my flesh” instead of according to the Spirit. So I asked for God’s forgiveness and prayed that through the mighty power of His Holy Spirit working in me, He would change me. I asked Him to teach me the humility and sacrificial love of Christ.