Anxious Thoughts

“When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.” Psalms 94:19 NASB

In 1872, a young wife and mother named Annie Hawks penned these words:

I need thee every hour,
most gracious Lord;
no tender voice like thine
can peace afford.
I need thee, O I need thee;
every hour I need thee;
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to thee.

In times like today, when so many people are frightened and worried, these words offer Christians the comfort that we are safe in the arms of Jesus. For those of you who want that comfort, it’s within your reach. I know how it feels to believe that you’ve done something that can’t be forgiven. I know what it means to be standing on the outside looking in, deep in sin and wondering how He could possibly reach me – and thinking that there was no way the LORD would even want to reach me.

Please, listen.

No matter what, God knows you and loves you.

He forgives, no matter what. Liars, cheaters, adulterers, thieves, even murderers. Don’t take my word for it! Read the Bible! The greatest people in it are sinners. Moses was a murderer. King David was greedy and an adulterer. Rahab and Mary Magdalene were prostitutes. Peter lied. Paul persecuted the early Christians! There are many, many more, too. Nothing can separate you from the Love of the LORD, once you have accepted Jesus as your Savior. He is our salvation. No one, and nothing, here on earth can save you. Not Buddha, not Mohammad, or Joseph Smith, or any of the other thousands of imposters.

“For GOD so Loved the world, that He gave His ONLY Begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have ETERNAL LIFE. For GOD did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16‭-‬17 NASB

Believe it. Believe HIM.

Courageous

I wrote this on March 26, 2014, and it popped up in my ‘memories’ on Facebook, and it is completely appropriate for the crisis we are facing today!

From Billy Graham:

Courage to Stand

“A great problem in America is that we have an anemic and watered-down Christianity that has produced an anemic, watered-down, and spineless Christian who is not willing to stand up and be counted on every issue. We must have a virile, dynamic, aggressive Christian who lives Christ seven days a week, who is ready to die, if necessary, for his faith. We need Christians who are ethical, honest, gracious, bold, strong, and devoted followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I realize how spineless and pampered my Christian walk is. Give me Your courage, Lord Jesus, to follow You more devotedly.”

“But suppose you suffer for being a Christian. Then don’t be ashamed. Instead, PRAISE GOD because you are known by that name!” 1 Peter 4:16

Vengeance…..

Today, as the nation bows in prayer, I think the following scriptures speak more than anything I could possibly say.

O LORD, God of Vengeance, God of Vengeance, shine forth! Rise up, O Judge of the earth, Render recompense to the proud. How long shall the wicked, O LORD, How long shall the wicked exult? They pour forth words, they speak arrogantly; All who do wickedness vaunt themselves. They crush Your people, O LORD, And afflict Your heritage. They slay the widow and the stranger And murder the orphans. …..Can a throne of destruction be allied with You, one which devises mischief by decree? They band themselves together against the life of the righteous And condemn the innocent to death. But the LORD has been my Stronghold, And my GOD the Rock of my Refuge. He has brought back their wickedness upon them And will destroy them in their evil; The LORD our GOD will destroy them.” Psalms 94:1‭-‬6‭, ‬20‭-‬23 NASB

Vengeance is Mine, and Retribution, In due time their foot will slip; For the day of their calamity is near, And the impending things are hastening upon them.’ For the LORD will vindicate His people, And will have Compassion on His servants, When He sees that their strength is gone, And there is none remaining, bond or free.” Deuteronomy 32:35‭-‬36 NASB

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:14‭-‬16‭, ‬21 NASB

Finally, even with all the fear and chaos:

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.” Romans 12:10‭-‬13 NASB

We are the Called.

Fearful?

“Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You. I said to the LORD, “You are my LORD; I have no good besides You.” The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied; I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood, Nor will I take their names upon my lips. The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot. I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalms 16:1‭-‬2‭, ‬4‭-‬5‭, ‬8 NASB

Are you worried about your health and safety because of this virus called COVID19? Are you fearful that the world as we know it is ending?

I will say this. Yes, the world as we have known it is over. We can’t go back. I’m not convinced we should want to. My fears aren’t because of a biological “bug”. I’m much more concerned about the actions of people, and especially of those who are “in charge.” Government, whether it’s your local town or those in Washington, doesn’t easily let go once they have taken over something. Is it necessary for the powers that be to pass resolutions to order people to stay at home except for going out for essentials? Apparently so….. but for the criminals, and those people who consider themselves above the law, will it make a difference? Probably not, and those are the very people who are creating issues for the rest of us. Politicians have turned it into a political issue. I’m talking about both sides of the aisle.

“The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied; I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood, Nor will I take their names upon my lips.” We are so busy bartering for all of our everyday gods that we have forgotten the GOD Who is in control.

I will continue to protect my family and my home to the best of my ability, but I will not fear or be intimidated by the enemy’s actions.

“The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Psalms 118:6 ESV

An Ordinary Man

Do you ever wonder what Jesus looks like? Kings and queens of Jesus’ day had likenesses carved and etched on different surfaces, and there are other descriptions of “ordinary” people from that time period. For instance, we’ve been told that David was “beautiful”. Why do you suppose there isn’t even a hint of what Jesus looks like? In the artwork depicting Jesus, it inevitably shows Him as a handome man, but fairly generic, as if all of the artists were afraid to depict a Jew. I’ve read in the scriptures that He was an ordinary man, and I’ve wondered about that. I have a beautiful picture of Him, but I really doubt it’s Jesus.

This “ordinary” man was anything BUT ordinary! Not only did He heal the blind and the deaf, He cast out demons, turned water into wine; He healed cripples and a multitude of illnesses, and He raised up people from death back to life. He Himself came out of the tomb, and there were hundreds of people who witnessed to seeing Him after His resurrection. He said to His disciples, “I have been given ALL Authority in heaven and on earth.” – Matthew 28:18 NLT

He has authority over me, and over you. Have you submitted to that authority yet? Remember, it’s better to live this life as if there were a God, than to spend eternity wishing you had…

Still Running

“Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.” But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord . So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” Jonah 1:2‭-‬3 NASB

Try this again:

“Arise, go to [insert the name of your *city/town/place of business] and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.” But [insert your name] rose up to flee to [insert the name of the your happy place] from the presence of the LORD. So [your name] went down to [your *town], found a ship which was going to [insert your happy place], paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to [insert your happy place] from the presence of the Lord.”

I’m Jonah. I don’t want to go. With all this craziness, I’m perfectly content to hang out at home with my dogs. Who needs people, anyway? (I’m an introvert so I love it.) I have a part time job at a little local grocer, so I get to interact with one or two people when I’m there. We’re not doing any walk in business, just call in orders, so there’s very little customer interaction. It’s been busy, so that’s my excuse for not talking to my coworkers much. My excuse. That’s all it is. My late husband would say “Any excuse will do when you need one.” It’s not a reason. I know that several of my coworkers are really worried about this virus. I’m really not. If I should get sick (not that I want to!), and even if I should die from it, I’m not worried. God is in control, and I know what happens when my earthly body dies. My life will improve immeasurably without this earthly body. Don’t we Christians owe it to the nonbelievers around us to share that confidence?

Just asking.

Where Is God?

“I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” Galatians 1:6‭-‬9 NASB

There is so much going on right now, it’s difficult to look outside my door and consider how other people are being affected. Yesterday, I saw a clip of a (very) wealthy televangelist exhorting people to “Do not stop giving financially! If you are laid off for this crisis, do not stop giving to the ministry!” I suggest that instead of telling people they need to be giving their money, listen to this message from Franklin Graham of http://www.BillyGraham.org:

We haven’t seen anything like this since World War II, and we need to be praying. This is a great opportunity for evangelism. This is going to … I think, open people’s hearts like we haven’t seen in a long time.

People are afraid. People are anxious. People are just outright scared, and this is an opportunity for the church to pray for revival and pray that God would use each and every one of us to touch the lives of an unbelieving world so that they would put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, that they could come to know that their sins are forgiven, that they have that hope of heaven, and that hope of heaven is Jesus Christ who took our sins and died on a cross, who was buried for our sins, who on the third day God raised to life. Jesus Christ is alive, and He’s coming back. What an opportunity to share this message with the world …

Maybe your heart has been gripped by fears as millions of others have because of the coronavirus pandemic, but I want you to know that God loves you. He made you. He created you. He knows everything about your life. You don’t need to be afraid. Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

If you’ve never invited Jesus Christ into your heart, there’s no better time to do it than right now, and you can trust Him as your Savior. Just pray this prayer right now with me, just simply say, “God, I’m a sinner. I’m sorry for my sins. I ask that You forgive me, and I believe that Jesus Christ is Your Son, and I want to invite Him to come into my heart and trust Him with my life. I’m willing to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as my Lord forever, and I pray this in Jesus’ Name.’”

His message is spot on. My prayer is that I might encourage one person to seek out the LORD and His Blessings.

“This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. The LORD’S Lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His Compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your Faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:21‭-‬23 NASB