A Christian Journey

Archive for February, 2014

Calm And Quiet My Soul

“Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty, neither do I exercise myself in matters too great or in things too wonderful for me.  Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with her mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me, ceased from fretting.  (O Israel) hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever.”      Psalm 131:1-3

Sometimes when we read scripture it comes across very thick and hard to understand.  One of the keys to understanding it is to slow down, break it down and think/pray on it.   There are also two things you need when studying God’s word – a dictionary and a concordance.   If you went digging for gold you wouldn’t just use your hands you would likely take a pick ax and a shovel, maybe even a pan to sift through the dirt.  When we study the bible we are actually digging for the golden nuggets of God’s wisdom and guidance.

Even in the Amplified version of our verse there are words we don’t really use much today, like haughty.   Haughty means having or showing the insulting attitude of people who think that they are better, smarter, or more important than other people, in other words pride.  We must humble ourselves before God.

Next the verse says “neither do I exercise myself in matters too great”.   I have heard it said that worry is like sitting in a rocking chair, it keeps you busy, but doesn’t take you anywhere.  I think that’s the type of exercise talked about here.  The devil loves to keep us busy without accomplishing anything and that’s what worry does.

The next part gives us an example of the parent/child within us all.  “Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul like a weaned child.”   That tells me I still have childish emotions that demand attention, but the parent in me must deny the child.  A child will throw a screaming fit when denied of something it wants, but it will also eventually get quiet and calm.  We must be the parent when it comes to our emotions and not let them rule us like a spoiled child.  When we do that we “cease from fretting” or worrying.

The last part says “O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever”.  I put my name in the place of Israel because I plan on putting my hope in the Lord, will you?

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With Thanksgiving

“Don’t fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.” Philippians 4:6

This verse starts out with “don’t fret”. The definition of that is “to cause to be uneasy; vex,  to gnaw or wear away; erode, to produce a hole or worn spot in; corrode.”  Wow!  When you look at it that way that sounds pretty serious.   I know there is another meaning for fret and that is the neck of a guitar.  Well when I fret, though I say I don’t want to, it seems I sing a little song to myself repeating the chorus over and over.  What if this, or what if that, or why not this, or could be that.   I try to look at all the angles of a perceived problem or circumstance to figure it out.  That’s where the gnawing and wearing away leads to.  What comes after that is the eroding, producing a hole and corroding. By doing all that fretting and being anxious I have blown a hole in my faith.

The solution is in the rest of the verse “in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.”  The most important part of that is “with thanksgiving”.  I noticed that when Jesus prayed, He always thanked God before he ever said anything else.

Jesus is our Guide for life, if we will only follow His example.

And if you want a tranquil state check out verse 7, that’s where I want to be.

Be Of Good Cheer

“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have perfect peace and confidence.  In the world you have tribulation, trials, distress and frustration; but be of good cheer (take courage, be confident, certain and undaunted)! For I have overcome the world.  I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.”  John 16:33    Amplified

Jesus said this to His disciples just before He was arrested and crucified.  He knew what was just ahead of Him yet He cared for us.  We must always keep a heavenly perspective on our earthly situation, we are not of this world.  No matter what lies ahead of us He is there with us and He has overcome it.

Take courage, be confident, certain and undaunted – Be of Good Cheer.

The Faith of Job

“There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who reverently feared God and abstained from and shunned evil because it was wrong.”        Job 1:1

No man recorded in the bible had more troubles come upon him at one time than Job, yet God said of him that there was none like him on earth as he was a loyal servant.  We get a picture of heaven in this book, in that Satan goes before God saying he has been going to and fro on earth, and walking up and down on it.  Then God asks Satan – Have you considered My servant Job?  So we see here that God points Job out to the prince of lies.   Wow!  Let’s put a target on Job’s back, huh God?   Let’s think about that, why would God do that?

The devil goes on to explain to God that Job is a wonderful believer because God protected him and blessed him, but if he lost everything he would curse God.  Is it fair to say that God knew what Job would do?  He knew Job’s heart and the reason why he loved God.  How would you react if you lost your family and all you had?  Job certainly didn’t praise God for all he lost, we wouldn’t either, but in the final steps of this journey Job acknowledged that God was in control and he trusted him.   That’s what God looks for in us.

We hear about the patience of Job, but we really need to focus on the faith of Job.

Be Lacking In Nothing

“Consider it wholly joyful, my brethen, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.  Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.  But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be people perfectly and fully developed, with no defects, lacking in nothing.”  James 1:2-4

Well I have to confess that we have been going through trials a lot lately.  I felt a little like Roseanne Rosanna Danna, if anyone remembers her from Saturday Night Live, she would say “if it’s not one thing it’s another, it’s always something.”  I thought about asking God to give us a break and let us not have any drama for a while.  Of course He knows my thoughts anyway, but then I thought, what I really want is His will.  If that means going through trials, then that’s what I want, but who really wants trials?  Then I looked back on what we have been through and I see blessing after blessing.  I see God’s hand moving us in different directions and affecting the people around us.  As they have blessed us God has blessed them and opened their spiritual eyes, and drawn them closer to Him.

The verses today talk about trials, but then it says they are the proving of your faith. Do you trust God no matter what is going on in your life?  Remember in the book of Job that Satan went to God and asked permission to put Job through some mighty trials to prove his faith.  Are we any better than Job?

In these verses James tells us to let the trials have full play and do a thorough work so that you may be perfect, fully developed and lacking in nothing.   Perfection here does not mean you will never make a mistake, it means you will be mature, that ties in with being fully developed.  Ironically as a mature christian we must have childlike faith, trusting our Father to take care of us. Just as when we were an actual small child we trusted our earthly father to take care of us.  When we trust God like that, no matter what the trial is, He will make sure we are lacking in nothing.   AMEN!

Chicken or Eagle

“But those who wait for the Lord – who expect, look for, and hope in Him – shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up close to God as eagles mount up to the sun, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.”  Isaiah 40:31

We’ve talked about the athletes in the olympics and what they do to prepare to compete.  We’ve compared it to the christian and how we must run the race for the eternal reward.  What do the olympic athletes do when they’ve given their all and are not finished?  For the christian “athlete” to be strengthened to run life’s race we must wait on the Lord.  I like what the amplified says – we expect, look for and hope in Him.  This verse says when we do that He will keep us from being weary and fainting.

I’ve heard it said that in this life you can run around like a chicken pecking at the ground or you can rise up like an eagle and fly above the fray.   I’m claiming this verse and my eagle’s wings.

Have You Received The Prize

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize?  So run your race that you may lay hold of the prize and make it yours.”    1 Corinthians 9:24  (Amplified)

Do you like running?  I’ve never been a very good runner, I’ve got bad knees and they don’t tolerate it very well.  Of course in this verse we aren’t talking about the physical act of running, we are talking about the race of life.  It’s been called the rat race, with visions of people clawing and fighting each other to succeed.  But note the writer, Paul, says to “run your race”, don’t be like everyone else clawing and fighting to get their own way. 

In verse 25, which we looked at yesterday, it states we win a crown of eternal blessedness.  So run your race to to please the Lord for eternal blessings.