Thought for today : "Take Courage! It is I. Don't be afraid!"
That was where I ended my quiet time of reading this morning. In Matthew 14:27. And I really spent some time thinking about that verse.
About 2 weeks ago our pastor spoke on this passage - about Peter walking on the water and falling in, and Jesus grabbing him. It was a great sermon, and so applicable in so many areas of our lives.
Today though, I felt God say to me - in my circumstances, in my weakness, in my lack of faith -
TAKE COURAGE!! It is I [that is working the job situation, that gave you that house and who will sell it, who will direct you where I want you to go]. Don't be afraid!"
WOW! I wish as we went through life and when we hit a stumbling place, you would hear over the loud speaker "Hey, Janelle, Take courage! Don't fear about what you are fearing! It is I orchestrating the details! Don't be afraid because I will be with you through all of it!!"
Wouldn't that make things so much easier? When you want to cry because you are not sure how much longer you can be patient and wait for his guidance. When you want to put your child on ebay because you cannot sleep or because they are pushing your buttons and you want to push theirs! Or when you just want to say "I give up." It would be great, and man would it increase my faith and my strength if he would just remind me in my moments of weakness.
But last night at Bible study we re-read a line from the book we are reading. The writer wrote that God does not make things easier for us when we follow him, instead he gives us a chance to use the weapons he gives us! Powerful! I mean - how good are we are using weapons when we only practice or use them in theory? How good can we get? We have to really use those weapons to see how effectively we learned how to use them. We need to be in God's word when times are tough and really call on his promises when we are weak, not just when things are good.
It makes me think about church on Sunday. It is easy (relatively) to get up and get pretty to sit in the pew and listen to the sermon about how we should live. But the rubber meets the road on Monday or Wednesday when we are at our whit's end. It is about how we respond to our life then. Do we yell, do we run? Or do we go back to the book - the ONLY book - that can remind us of the promises God gives us. In fact, what about before we get to that point, when we wake up before the day hits us, do we turn to God to ask for his direction? Do we pray about our day and the things to come, or do we jump up and go?
I also heard that it is not trials that strengthen us, it is how we handle those trials that actually grows our strength and our faith.
Speaking from my experience this past 8 days, when I lie in bed after waking up, pray about my day, my mind, my behavior and spend a few minutes reading his word, my day turns out so much better. I am able to stay a bit more patient, and when I am struggling with my patience or my tongue I remember what God calls me to much easier!
A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. Prov 29:11
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29
Another great passage
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does. James 1:22-25
So many thoughts.....