As a Little Child

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“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant and their faces shall never be ashamed.” – Psalm 34:4

God invites us to come as little children, to be close, to let Him hold us. When we turn toward Him, He calms our fears by saying something like this:

Come close to Me. It’s OK. You’ll like it here.
You’re little, but I’m big.
You’re weak, but I’m strong.
You know some things, but I know everything.
You’re needy, I am generous.
You’re afraid, I am your protector.
You’re lonely, I am Love.
Just come to Me and receive everything you need.

God’s great desire is for His children to be close. He loves us infinitely and wants us to soften our hearts so we can receive His love. We do that by thinking about Him, reading His Word, praying about everything, and listening for His voice. It is always a voice of love, never criticism or condemnation for those who know and follow Him.

Let’s respond to Him with the anticipatory trust of a little child. We will never be sorry we did.

“When we hear him whisper into our souls, ‘You are my beloved child’, we can finally begin to shake off the striving and obsession that drives us. . .” – David Timms

Content?

"Godliness with contentment is great gain." - 1 Timothy 6:6

“I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am.” – Philippians 4:11 (Amplified Bible)

“Dear God, it seems I am never satisfied. Instead I always have a new goal to pursue or want one more thing to change – a relationship, a habit, or an attitude. I am getting tired of always reaching. Instead, I sense You calling me to contentment, to quit looking for more or better. Sometimes just to stop and enjoy what is.”

“My child, My desire is that you live free of worries about appearances, clothing, finances, and food. Live, instead, close to the earth, close to Me, My name easily on your lips and always in your heart.

Slow down.

Simplify.

Contemplate.

Share.

Serve.

Love.

And always give thanks.

Oh, and one more thing: Just for today, put down your notepad, stop making lists, and simply enjoy being in My presence and walking wherever I take you. Contentment always follows when you are on the path with Me.”

“I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest, and most precious thing in all thinking.” – George Macdonald

 

“Because he loves me. . .”

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Because he loves me says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.” (Psalm 91:14-15 – emphasis added)

Our Father in Heaven wants to give us good gifts. Really. Though we are never promised trouble-free lives, I can’t help noticing all the times God promises to do amazingly nice things for those who stay close to Him.

Psalm 91 is just one example. In it, God promises to deliver, protect, send angels, answer prayer, rescue, honor, give long life, and save. When we are stressed or attacked or feeling trapped, we’d like to see Him come to our rescue, right?

In this psalm, there are two things we must do to be able to receive God’s great blessings: First, we need to love Him (v. 14) and second, we are to “dwell” with Him (vv. 1 and 9). In other words, we are to make God an intimate part of lives.

Why is that important? Because we were created to be in an all-encompassing relationship with Him.  So when we live as He has designed us to live, hanging on to Him in love and living in sync with Him day-by-day, He promises to take good care of us. Whatever may happen, (and it will!) we will not be alone, we will not be powerless.

When we love and trust Him, He treats us as a Father treats His dearly loved children: responding, protecting, providing, and guiding. He wants to give us good things!

“We love God because He alone promises to fill our soul’s potential.” – Lewis Smedes

Afraid or Amazed?

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“They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed and those who followed were afraid.” – Mark 10:32 (ESV)

As we look at the road ahead of us in life, we can sometimes be afraid – afraid of the “what ifs” and even of the demands that will be made of us. Just think of how much more exciting and interesting life would be if, instead of being afraid, we could be amazed.

Jesus’ followers give us a hint as to how we can live so that confidence overtakes fear. In Mark 10, the disciples and many others were following Jesus on His final journey to Jerusalem. On the way, He told about His coming arrest and death, and there were two distinct reactions to what He was saying. One group was afraid and the other was amazed. Why such opposite responses? The text seems to indicate that the disciples, who were walking up close to Jesus, were amazed. The crowds, who were following further behind, were afraid.

What a wonderful picture of how to overcome our fears: Stay close to Jesus. He will never fail to amaze us. When we’re feeling afraid, maybe we need to assess where we are walking. Jesus will always invite us to come nearer. In fact, that’s exactly where He wants us to be so He can guide our steps as we walk along. When we are close to Him, amazement happens!

“A close, intimate relationship to Christ should always be your soul’s only purpose.” – Gene Edwards

Why Not Tell Him?

"Come close to God and He will come close to you." - James 4:

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.” – Psalm 18:2a

Who is the first person you call or text when you face a crisis? I hope we all have someone we can turn to when we need a listening ear or a helping hand.

I recently read about John the Baptist who was unfairly imprisoned because his theology clashed with King Herod’s lifestyle. Then, at a party when Herod had had too much alcohol and was enamored with his stepdaughter’s dancing, he suddenly ordered John’s execution. John’s disciples were notified of the beheading, so they sadly came and buried his body.

What to do now? Their leader was gone and they had taken care of handling the immediate crisis. They could have gone home in despair, but instead, Matthew tells us “Then they went and told Jesus.” (Mt. 14:12).

Why Jesus? Maybe because they knew . . .

  • He would want to know.
  • He would comfort them.
  • He would have a plan for what to do next.

I can’t think of a better way to handle any crisis, big or small, that might come into our lives. Jesus wants us to express our anxiety, grief, or loss to Him – in detail. He doesn’t start yawning halfway through our stories. More than than that, He will meet us at the point of our deepest need, the need we may not even know we have. Then He will guide us into the next right steps.

Now is a really good time to talk to Him.

“If we draw near to Him, then He will make His presence tangible in our lives.” – Henry Blackaby

 

Stormy Weather

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“In the end I chose to let Him love me and then chose to trust that love.”  – Peter *

Sometimes life is stormy. And when the storm comes, we usually struggle for awhile, then we pray, asking God to stop the wind and relieve our pain.

Instead, maybe the scenario should be more like this:

Think of yourself in a big wooden boat with Jesus – just the two of you. He looks at the sky and tells you a storm is coming, it’s time to go down into the hold. You remember that He did that when He was with the disciples, so you follow Him gladly.

Once there, a ferocious storm breaks out. You are afraid and are being thrown from one side of the boat to the other. Panicking, you ask Him to calm the storm like He did before. He doesn’t seem to respond. But He reaches out, pulls you gently toward Him and holds you so you are no longer being tossed about.

Then He speaks quietly, “The storm will pass, but I am not going to stop it from running its course. Instead, we’re going to stay here together. With Me you will be safe. And when it’s all over, you will trust Me more. The kind of trust I want you to have can grow only in the storm.”

Can we trust Him to take us through the storm? To hold us close when it’s darkest? To love us enough to do the right thing for us at the right time? We can. We learn that in the storm.

“We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name.” – Psalm 33:20-21

 *From The Fisherman by Larry Huntsperger

Distracted

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“Consider the lilies of the field how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed as one of these.” – Matthew 6:28b-29

Lord, what is it that distracts me when I sit in silence before You? Today it is what I am going to wear and, for later, what am I going to serve for our guests. Can you believe it? I am in Your presence at Your gracious invitation. I want to be with You and, yet, I am thinking of food and clothing, things that don’t matter at all.

So now, in Your presence, I take off my sandals for I am on holy ground. I remove that which attaches me to earth – thoughts about the daily stresses and concerns. Instead, I stand with bare feet and open heart waiting for You to fill my deepest needs.

  • Make me like a lily of the field who displays beauty that only You can give.
  • Make me like a bird of the air who gratefully receives the food You provide.
  • Make me, as Your daughter, totally dependent on You for every detail of my life.

Then I can look to You alone and not be distracted by the superficial, the earthly, the transient. I yield to Your transformation in my life. Amen.

“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.” – Charles Spurgeon