THE PEACE-OF-MIND GAME
Read: Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. - Psalm 23:1
In her down-to-earth book "More Than Sparrows," Mary Welch
tells of her discussion about worry with a group of teenagers.
Although they were Christians, they were worried as unbelievers
about the common things of life. As she lovingly listened to
them, an unusual idea came to her for a game they could play. It
went like this:
Instead of saying; "I'm worried," stop and say, "The Lord
is my Shepherd." Then add, "So I'm worried to death!" The
students laughed at the absurdity of the idea, but they all
promised to play this new "peace-of-mind" game.
Later, Mary received a phone call from a young woman who had
been paralyzed by worry over an exam she had been dreading to
take. She said, "I must tell you how the game helped me trust God
today. As I froze with worry, I remembered to say, 'The Lord is
my Shepherd ... so I'm afraid I'll fail!' Suddenly I felt the
strangest peace of mind. I laughed at myself, then I took the
exam - and I passed!"
Saying "The Lord is my Shepherd, and I am worried to death"
is more than a mind game to point out the absurdity of worry. God
can use this contradiction to bring us to a fuller trust in Him.
- Joanie Yoder
Why worry when you can pray? Trust Jesus, He'll be your stay:
Don't be a "doubting Thomas," rest fully on His promise. Why
worry when you can pray? - Peterson
WORRY IS THE INTEREST YOU PAY ON BORROWED TROUBLES.
Read: 1 Corinthians 13
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not
parade itself; is not puffed up. - 1 Corinthians 13:4
Our flight to Singapore was delayed because of mechanical
problems. The 15-minute delay turned into 30 minutes, then 60 -
and then 3 hours. The ground staff was scrambling to calm the
crowd, but people were fired and soon became angry. As the night
stretched on, the crowd began to turn into a mob-screaming at the
staff with harsh language. The pilot even came to offer
encouragement, but the crowd turned on him as well.
As I watched the scene unfold a Singaporean man standing
beside me softly said, "Patience will be a much needed virtue
Life can be frustrating, even exasperating. Yet, many times
impatience is just a reflection of our own self-centeredness in
response to life's disappointments. Real love is pictured in the
Bible as self-sacrifice (John 15:13), and one demonstration of
that love is patience toward others. "Love suffers long and is
kind; love ... does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is
not provoked" (l Cor.13:45). It sets aside our personal agenda
and seeks to model Christ.
Sound impossible? It is, if we attempt it in our own
strength. But as we pray for help, God provides us with patience
that reflects His love - even during frustrating circumstances.
When irritated and upset Do you complain and gripe and fret? Or
is your life controlled inside, Because in Jesus you confide? -
WHEN TEMPTED TO LOSE PATIENCE WITH OTHERS, REMEMBER GOD'S
PATIENCE WITH YOU.
Read: Deuteronomy 34
(Moses') eyes were not dim nor his natural vigor diminished. -
Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical "Sunset Boulevard" tells the
story of Norma Desmond, a former silent film star. When the
talking movies came into fashion, she lost her audience. As an
older woman, she longed for the glory of her past. In her mind,
silent facial expressions alone made a good movie - not dialogue.
In the song "With One Look' - Norma sings:
With one look I can break your heart; With one look I play every
part ... With one look I'll ignite a blaze; I'll return to my
Because Norma lived in the past, life ended in tragedy.
It's been said that each life is like a book, lived one chapter
at a time. If you think your most fruitful years are behind you,
remember you're writing a new chapter now. Learn to live each day
with contentment in the present.
Near the end of Moses' life, God showed him the promised
Land. Clearly, he had accomplished his mission in life. But he
didn't long for the miracles of his "glory days." Instead, Moses
was content to obey God in the present. In his sunset years, he
mentored Joshua to be his successor (Dent. 31:1-8).
Living contentedly in the present has a way of making us
productive for a lifetime - for God's glory. - Dennis Fisher
I give my life to You, O Lord, And live for You each day; Grant
me contentment as I strive, To follow and obey. - Sper
LIVING IN THE PAST PARALYZES THE PRESENT AND BANKRUPTS THE
THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE CROSS
Read: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11
We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not
trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. - 2
In J.R.R. Tolkien's fictional "The Lord of the Rings," a
simple, goodhearted hobbit by the name of Frodo Baggins is
entrusted with a dangerous mission. Together with a group called
the Fellowship of the Ring, he must defeat the forces of evil by
returning a magic gold ring to the fires of Mount Doom from which
it was forged.
Along the way, evil stalks Frodo. Battles are lost. Friends
die. Reflecting on such tragedies, Frodo confides in his wise
friend Gandalf, "I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish
that this had never happened:" Gandalf replies, "So do all who
live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All
you must decide is how to use the time that is given to you.."
In the "fellowship of the cross," a servant of Christ is
also tested. Like Paul, we may feel crushed under the weight of
circumstances (2 Cor.1:3-11). The path seems too steep to climb.
We wonder if there is a dawn beyond the darkness.
Though we may not choose our circumstances, we do choose
whether to trust God (2 Cor.1:9). Through the fellowship of the
Son and the enablement of the Spirit, we can carry out our
mission for God (1 Cor.1:9; John 16:13).
Trust Him to guide you along the way. He offers wise
counsel. - Mart De Haan
Then in fellowship sweet, we will sit at His feet, Or we'll walk
by His side in the way; What He says we will do, where He sends
we will go, Never fear, only trust and obey. - Sammis
YOU CAN TRUST GOD IN THE DARK AS WELL AS IN THE LIGHT.
THE GIVING KING
Read: Ruth 2:14-20
Blessed be he of the Lord, who has not forsaken His kindness to
the living and the dead. - Ruth 2:20
At one end of the truck terminal where H. H. Lee worked
years ago was a coal company. Nearby was a railroad, and each day
several freight trains passed by. Lee often noticed that the
owner of the company, who was a Christian, threw chunks of coal
over the fence at various places along the track. One day he
asked the man why he did this.
The man replied, "An elderly woman lives across the street,
and I know that her pension is inadequate to buy enough coal.
After the trains goes by, she walks along and picks up the pieces
she thinks have fallen from the coal car behind the engine. She
doesn't realize that diesels have replaced steam locomotives. I
don't want to disappoint her, so I just throw some pieces over
That's Christianity in action! The book of Ruth vividly
portrays this principle of giving. When Boaz saw Ruth gathering
grain behind the reapers in his held, he commanded them to leave
some handfuls of grain for her. To her, this was a blessing from
In the same way, the people whose lives we touch need to
experience God's love through our compassion and generosity.
That's why we should ask God to make us aware of opportunities to
show kindness. - Henry Bosch
Do a deed of simple kindness: Though its end you may not see, It
will reach like widening ripples, Down a long eternity. - Anon.
KINDNESS IS THE OIL THAT TAKES THE FRICTION OUT OF LIFE.
CARE OF THE HEART
Read: Proverbs 24:30-34
When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received
instruction. - Proverbs 24:32
My father-in-law took a rocky, barren hilltop in Texas and
transformed it into a beautiful homesite with a shaded green
lawn. After removing thousands of rocks, he added topsoil,
planted trees and grass, and kept it watered. Since his death, it
has lacked his consistent care. Today when I visit and work
around that house, battling the invading thistles, thorns, and
weeds, I ponder the state of my own heart.
Am I like that neglected yard, or perhaps the field and
vineyard described in Proverbs 24 - overgrown with thorns,
covered with nettles, its stone wall broken down? (v.31). The
owner is lazy and lacks understanding (v.30), perhaps putting off
today's tasks for a more convenient time.
Along with the practical instruction about diligence in
work, I find an application for the care of my soul. The thistles
of self-interest grow naturally within me, while the fruit that
pleases God requires constant weeding and watering through
prayer, confession, and obedience to the Lord. Without these, the
soil of my heart will become choked with the thorns of trivial
pursuits and greed.
"Keep your heart with all diligence;" Solomon wrote, "for
out of it spring the issues of life" (Prov.4:23). That requires
constant Care. - David McCasland
One little sin, what harm can it do? Give it free reign and soon
there are two. Then sinful deeds and habits ensue - Guard well
your thoughts, lest they control you. - DJD
THE GARDEN OF OUR HEART NEEDS CONSTANT WEEDING AND CARE.
THE QUARTER IN YOUR POCKET
Read: James 5:13-18
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. -
Some things are irresistible. For me, it's bubble-gum
machines. I can hardly resist the urge to watch one of those
colorful gumballs roll down the tunnel so I can pop it into my
mouth. But without a quarter, those gumballs are locked up
inside. You can be sure that as long as I have the right coin, I
won't pass up an opportunity to enjoy the mouth-watering treat.
Prayer is the quarter in your pocket when it comes to
releasing the vast resources of God's character and blessings in
your life. The "muchness" of God stands in sharp contrast to the
leanness of our souls. and without prayer we cannot begin to tap
into the reservoir of all that He is waiting to bestow on us.
When we long for a satisfying taste of His resources, prayer
is essential. James makes it clear that our prayer needs to be
"fervent" and "effective" (5:16). God is not into ritual but
reality. He wants us to avoid formulaic prayers in exchange for a
persistent passion. We are to approach His throne of grace with a
keen awareness of our need for Him.
As James stated earlier in his book, "You do not have
because you do not ask" (4:2). The more we pray, the more we
receive, and before long our lives will demonstrate the
life-changing reality of the muchness of God. - Joe Stowell
The more we go to God in prayer, intent to seek His face, The
more we'll want to be with Him, Before His throne of grace - Sper
MUCH PRAYER, MUCH POWER; LITTLE PRAYER, LITTLE POWER; NO PRAYER,
Entered on this Website April 2007