When I find myself trapped in the vortex of worry— The pandemic, climate change, an aging body. I feel like life is going down the drain. Then I remember God created me for this exact time in history. He knew all my days when He formed me in the womb. I know He loves me and has good things for me to do (Ephesians 2:10). He is with me, so my heart takes courage and rejoices in the hope I have in Him. His Holy Spirit guides me and will transform my anxiety to trusting in Him. So that I might be able to test approve His will. His good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2). In Jesus the vortex of worry becomes one of praise.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14
Waiting is very hard for me. In fact it borders on the impossible. But in Psalm 18:35 it says that God stoops down to make me great. Now that changes things and to my surprise, waiting becomes an encounter with God.
My day is as good as the amount I let God into it.
Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1
His goodness plots the course of the sun and clouds to create a beautiful scenes. Though the beauty of the moment is fleeting, His goodness and love are everlasting.
Thank God His love is not limited by my ability to put it into words or be there to take a picture.
It is greater than my imagination. It is not measured by what I deserve. It does not stop when I wander off, but seeks me out and brings me back. I cannot diminish it, but I can increase it by receiving His love and giving it away. It surrounds me like a shield, and guides me on the right path. God’s love gives me freedom to be all that He created me to be. His love washes over me and will never leave nor forsake me. I don’t have to worry about tomorrow, because God’s love and mercy will greet me like the sunrise with beauty and glory.
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning;great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
Give thanks to the LORD for He is good. His love endures forever.
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance, and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:3-5
Who in their right mind exults in tribulation? From my present vantage point, it is hard to understand the truth in Romans 5. I have to accept by faith that all the hardship has purpose and value in my life. Someday I will look back from the gates of heaven and see with clarity that the difficult trials were a blessing producing in me perseverance, character and hope. What I previously considered life’s travails were actually God’s love being poured out to bring me to the heights of heaven.
On the other hand, those who do not put their hope and trust in God will at the end of life see the tribulations as a curse, not a blessing. All the ups and downs of life will have produced nothing of value.
Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Isaiah 55:2
For you bless the godly, O LORD; you surround them with your shield of love. Psalm 5:12 NLT
How good is God’s love that surrounds me like a shield? When anxious thoughts assail me, Your love is my shield. When the accuser showers me with his words of guilt and shame. Your love and forgiveness douse the flaming arrows. When travails beset my family, Your love is the stronghold that I pray in. When my body feels lame with pain, Your love is my strength to take another step. When my mind stumbles and I fear what that portends, I can walk through the darkest valley because Your love lights my way. Though I slip and fall, Your shield of love will be steadfast to the end and carry me home.
Jesus said, “Don’t be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me.There are many rooms in my Father’s house. I would not tell you this if it were not true. I am going there to prepare a place for you.After I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back. Then I will take you with me, so that you can be where I am. John 14:1-3 NLT
Have you ever felt a long way off from God? Thankfully, God won’t settle for mediocrity or distance in our relationship to Him.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful… I am the vine you are the branches.” John 15:1-2,5
I admit I am easily distracted from being in, walking with, and depending on… Jesus. Often I have forgotten that this closeness to Jesus is the whole point of God’s grace. In truth, it is the joy of my salvation. Forgiveness is but the first step. Drawing close to the Lord and bearing fruit is the joy.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:20-21
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8
Take joy in the journey, for God wants you close so you can bear fruit for Him.
The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living. Psalm 19:12 NLT
There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12 NIV
Following the LORD can seem arduous, and often it will run against what we wish to do. But eventually doing what is right in the sight of the Lord will bring joy and light to living. On the other side, going our own way may seem best at first, but though we don’t see it coming, it will lead to death and destruction.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 NIV
If you have already messed up to where life looks hopeless, I urge you to throw yourself before the LORD for His mercy never fails.
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV
My fears can get pretty big at times. That is why I need a fear that will push aside all the fears of life. Paul, in Acts 9, encountered the fear that pushed everything in his life aside:
He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” Acts 9:4-5
We all need the fear of the Lord in our lives. Fear of the Lord helps me to do what God wants, even when I don’t understand why. Fear of the Lord lets me face trials and know He reigns supreme. He will bring me through it. Fear of the Lord gives strength to my faith. Fear of the Lord gives hope to any situation, no matter how dire. Fear of the Lord empowers my prayers, for I know nothing is impossible with God. Fear of the Lord changes me completely, just like it did Paul.
But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. 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. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you. Psalm 33:18-22
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and make me willing to obey You. Psalm 51:12 NLT
What a wonderful prayer.
I know the verse says Your (God’s) salvation, and I have put “my” in there. Truly it is God’s salvation of me, but now it is my joy also. This joy struck me as I was praying this morning—God’s salvation, my salvation allows me to commune with Him. That when I pray for people, the mighty power of God will be brought to bear for good in all situations, no matter how dire. Prayer with real purpose is part of the joy of Your (my) salvation. How good is that?!