I don’t have a specific reading plan I follow everyday, but instead read from my Bible wherever I happen to feel led to, or wherever it happens to fall open to. Today, I just felt like reading Psalm 46, and was encouraged by the words of the psalmist. Then I perused the New Testament, searching for the words of Jesus, hoping for another encouraging word from the Master Himself, and my eyes fell upon Matthew 6:25, with the subtitle of Do Not Worry. I’d like to share these beautiful words from the Word of God with you this morning. I hope they encourage you – bring courage to your heart – as they did me.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its water roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire.
‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’
The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Psalm 46
Do Not Worry
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:25-34
When I opened my favorite devotional, Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest, it fell open to the August 31st entry, and I have to share it with you, as well:
My Joy…….Your Joy
“That My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” John 15:11
“What was the joy that Jesus had? It is an insult to use the word happiness in connection with Jesus Christ. The joy of Jesus was the absolute self-surrender and self-sacrifice of Himself to His Father, the joy of doing that which the Father sent Him to do. “I delight to do Thy will.” Jesus prayed that our joy might go on fulfilling itself until it was the same joy as His. Have I allowed Jesus Christ to introduce His joy to me?
The full flood of my life is not in bodily health, not in external happenings, not in seeing God’s work succeed, but in the perfect understanding of God, and in the communion with Him that Jesus Himself had. The first thing that will hinder this joy is the captious irritation of thinking out circumstances. The cares of this world, said Jesus, will choke God’s word. Before we know where we are, we are caught up in the shows of things. All that God has done for us is the mere threshold; He wants to get us to the place where we will be His witnesses and proclaim Who Jesus is.
Be rightly related to God, find your joy there, and out of you will flow rivers of living water. Be a center for Jesus Christ to pour living water through. Stop being self-conscious, stop being a sanctified prig, and live the life hid with Christ. The life that is rightly related to God is as natural as breathing wherever it goes. The lives that have been of most blessing to you are those who were unconscious of it.”
And finally, the latest quote I find comfort in, taped to the wall of my office where I can see it every time I sit down at my computer:
“Your soul may be so assailed that it shall seem as if you could not keep your hold on Christ, but Christ shall keep His hold on you.” C. H. Spurgeon
May God bless us all as we navigate our new normal in these bizarre times.