Worry and Its Remedy. Anger and the News.

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Don’t worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.    Philippians 4:6,7

I can’t count the number of times this verse has come to my mind when I am upset or worried. I say it to myself and immediately feel relief. God leaves nothing out of this verse. We are to worry about nothing.

I was listening to a podcast where the woman quoted this verse and then asked, “How do we do this? She says the remedy to worry, after giving it to God, is in the next two verses:

“Finally, Brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.” Verses 8,9

I know that when I listen to Christian podcasts or music that this is hearing and thinking on good things. I am so happy to hear of the good things God’s people are doing in the world. It encourages me. And songs of praise lift me up to the skies where God abides. These things bring me joy.

But we don’t have to bury our heads in the sand on the bad things going on all around us. As we all know, reading the news is discouraging. Yesterday, I read there will be supply shortages due to the cargo ship blocking all traffic in the Suez Canal. The article said that toilet paper (Lol) might become scarce, along with other goods. I live in Canada and all our toilet paper is made in China.

I no longer get mad about politics. There is nothing I can do about that and the craziness that is going on. But I still get mad when I read how all our supplies come from China or some other country. Global Trade and the Global Economy has ruined the lives of millions of people, at least that is my opinion.

I live in an area that is chock full of apple orchards. We have an apple juice factory here. But when I buy apples at the grocery store, I see a tag saying, “Washington Apples.” I live just over the border from Washington State. So, we buy their apples and they buy ours.

How is that good for the people of our country? I have to pay $1.84 per apple. Why? Transportation costs, I would guess. Why do we do this little dance? I have no idea except to say that everything is about making more money for companies.

They say, “We can’t take in refugees. There are no jobs. Well, why are there no jobs? Global Trade. If we had lots of factories we could take in thousands of refugees. The poor here, who can’t find a job because of lack of education, could work in a factory.

We have all been screwed by the rich and powerful and this is something that has happened since the beginning of time. Read the Old Testament. God speaks of it often.

Yep, this is a subject that infuriates me and I need to pray about that because anger is an ok emotion if you can remedy a situation, but if there is nothing you can do, you might as well let it go. I did write the government about it and that is my part. I could protest about it in the streets, but I’m old and sick.

So yes, I need to lay all this aside, all the bad news, all the hatred, all the racism, all the politics and lay it all before God, and then do what I can do, and that is write. I can write about God’s love and write about Man’s hate and greed and hope it makes a difference.

A Neighbor’s Corona Virus Story.

“Therefore, my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled.”  Psalm 143:4

The verse above is from a prayer by David.

Today, a neighbor talked with me while I was getting my mail. We were careful, standing at least 15 feet apart. She poured out her heart to me about her mother-in-law, who has all the symptoms of Coronavirus and nothing is being done for her. They aren’t allowed to take her to the hospital, even though there are empty beds. She is suffering at her home, all alone. She is quarantined and in pain, gasping and trying to get her breath. She is 83. The hospital told her family, “It isn’t time yet.” My friend told her mother-in-law to dial 911 (which they did once already and no one came), when she felt she was dying so someone would come get her body.

I think hospitals here are doing this because they have run out of tests for the virus, nurses are becoming infected and she is 83 years old. I can’t think of any other reason they would not even try to relieve her suffering. I see statistics on the news that the curve is flattening here in Canada. Well, that makes sense since they aren’t taking tests and are leaving people to fend for themselves and die alone.  I felt so sad for this family.

My sister and I talk about the virus every day. She lives in Washington State and I live in BC, Canada. We think she has had the virus already. She was very sick a week ago, but is back to feeling awful instead of horrible. She has a lot of health problems and never feels normal.

She and I are both negative people. We have always thought the worst would probably happen to us and people we love. We are “catastrophic thinkers.” Each event, we take to the nth degree of disaster. We don’t want any surprises. This has made life extra hard for us, but we have both been working on turning to God with these thoughts. Believe me, he comes through big-time.

You know how a person gets into that kind of thinking? My sister was threatened by a family member a few times by waking up with a sharp knife at her throat. I was abused by my father. If your life is threatened by someone close to you when you are a little child, you never feel safe again.

But this is where faith in God comes in. Not that we think God won’t let us get the virus and die, no, we just trust him to know what is best. If God doesn’t want you to die, you won’t. And if you are dying, he will be with you. This gives me peace. I wrote about this recently, but I feel I should share this again.

Also, there is hope for new medicine and a vaccine. I just read last night a university in Canada has experimented and found a drug that seems to help people get better from the virus. That made me so happy. I hope they will start using it on patients soon.

The prayer of David, at the beginning of my post goes on to say:

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works;

I consider the work of Your hands. I stretch out my hands to You;

my soul thirsts for You like a parched land.

Answer me quickly, O LORD; my spirit fails.

Do not hide Your face from me, or I will be like those who descend to the Pit.

Let me hear Your loving devotion in the morning, for I have put my trust in You.

Teach me the way I should walk, for to You I lift up my soul.

Deliver me from my enemies, O LORD; I flee to You for refuge.

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God.

May Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

This is a good prayer for this time in history. When we feel our spirit faint within us, consider the works of Jesus, stretch out your hands to him. Put your trust in him. Ask him to teach you how to live. Then rest in his love.

God says to all of us,Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you; I will surely help you;

I will hold you up with My right hand of righteousness.”

Isaiah 41:10

Let Go and Let God.

“Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10

I’ve read this verse many times, but I found out something I didn’t know before. A person who knows the Hebrew language said that “Be still…” means, “Loosen your grip. Let go.”

He said, “know that I am God,” means, “Experience God.”

Both interpretations are lovely, but I think “loosen your grip,” gives us a lot more to think about. What do we hold onto that we should let go? I think it means let go of your worries, sadness and perhaps your plans. You can do that by experiencing close friendship with God. When we know him better and better each day, we will learn how to trust him. We can then have a mind that is quieted by God.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6,7

I’ve thought a lot about how peace guards our hearts. When you are full of peace, the daily irritations, and even big disappointments don’t bother you as much.

I’ve been ill lately because my mother, whom I take care of, wasn’t sleeping well. So, for a couple of weeks I didn’t get enough sleep. Then two of my teeth were pulled and I had a headache for a week. Lack of sleep and pain made me feel really sad. Did I have peace of mind? I think so, but I will say sadness was in my heart. I’ve learned to give my sad feelings to God and I asked him to help me care for my mother. He helped me each day.

I tell you this because of course there are things that happen that will make us sad. Sometimes we can feel sad for a very long time. Jesus felt sadness, so it is not a sin to feel that way. But I wanted his comfort, wanted to feel his arms around me. He did comfort me as I prayed, and I’m thankful.

There has been a lot of talk in Christian circles on how to go through grief and yet have joy at the same time. Jesus did that too. He grieved for his people Israel, yet because of the “joy that was ahead, he endured the cross, despising the shame of it.”

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2,3

Feeling very sad and yet having joy about Jesus and one day being with him forever is a paradox, I guess. It is hard to wrap my mind around, but I am going to keep trying. I do know one thing, sadness alone leads to despair and God doesn’t want us to go there.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.Psalm 43:5

My Peace I Give You.

My own photo taken in Kelowna, BC.

I write this as a person who has wanted peace of mind most of my life. When I read about peace in the Bible I thought, “Once I have it I will feel nothing but peace always.” I couldn’t understand why the peace I would have in my mind would fade away. But I think I get it now. Each day, when we give our lives to God anew we can ask for peace. And when a problem or heartache comes, we can turn to God and ask for peace of mind in the situation and he will give it. We may have to ask him time and time again, when fearful thoughts come into our minds as we go through our days.

Our minds are full of thousands of thoughts each day. Some are from God, some from Satan and some from ourselves. If the thoughts we have are disturbing our peace we must fight against them by prayer. We can ask God to fight against these thoughts by his power and he will. Here is what I found on Bible Hub about peace:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” John 14:27

Ellicots Commentary for English Readers.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.”—The immediate context speaks of His (Jesus) departure from them (his disciples). (John 14:25; John 14:28

He will leave them as a legacy the gift of “peace.” And this peace is more than a meaningless sound or even than a true wish. He repeats it with the emphatic “My,” and speaks of it as an actual possession which He imparts to them. “Peace on earth” was the angels’ message when they announced His birth; “peace to you” was His own greeting when He returned victorious from the grave. “He is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14), and this peace is the farewell gift to the disciples from whom He is now departing.

Christ’s gift of peace does not dispense with the necessity for our own effort after tranquillity. There is very much in the outer world and within ourselves that will surge up and seek to shake our repose; and we have to coerce and keep down the temptations to anxiety, to undue agitation of desire, to tumults of sorrow, to cowardly fears of the unknown future. All these will continue, even though we have Christ’s peace in our hearts. And it is for us to see to it that we treasure the peace.

It is useless to tell a man, “Do not be troubled and do not be afraid,” unless he first has Christ’s peace as his. Is that peace yours because Jesus Christ is yours? If so, then there is no reason for your being troubled or dreading any future. If it is not, you are mad not to be troubled, and you are insane if you are not afraid.

Your imperfect possession of this peace is all your own fault. Conclusion: I went once to the side of a little Highland loch, on a calm autumn day, when all the winds were still, and every birch tree stood unmoved, and every twig reflected on the steadfast mirror, into the depths of which Heaven’s own blue seemed to have found its way. That is what our hearts may be, if we let Christ put His guarding hand round them to keep the storms off, and have Him within us for our rest. But the man that does not trust Jesus is like the troubled sea which cannot rest.



A. Maclaren, D. D. writes:

Peace with the outer world. It is not external calamities, but the resistance of the will to these, that makes the disturbances of life. Submission is peace, and when a man with Christ in his heart can say what Christ did, “Not My will, but Thine, be done,” then some faint beginnings, at least, of tranquillity come to the most agitated and buffeted.

God Lifted Me Up.

 

nature moss hills bog
A Bog: Photo by Jaymantri on Pexels.com

I was re-reading Psalm 40 and was moved to gratefulness again.

Psalm 40:

I waited patiently for the Lord;

he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and mire;

he set my feet on a rock

and gave me a firm place to stand.

 He put a new song in my mouth,

a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear the Lord

and put their trust in him.

I do feel God has lifted me out of a miry bog, or quicksand. I was sinking because of the memories of my father sexually abusing me. I was sinking in shame, mental illness and depression. But through the years he lifted me up out of that.

It didn’t happen quickly. It takes time for the mind to heal. Am I completely well body and soul? No. But I am now standing on the rock, Jesus. My feet are no longer slipping and sliding. I understand how to run to him, to pour out my heart to him and to let him give me peace. Perfect peace? Yes and no.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.  Isaiah 26:3

I used to think that when we had perfect peace it would never go away. But I was wrong. Our peace is disrupted when life brings obstacles or tragedy. Satan messes with our peace when he whispers negative thoughts to us.

So, we have to go back again to God and tell him how we feel and ask for his peace. We need to go again and again through the day and quote uplifting Bible verses praising God. Satan cannot stay where God is being praised and trusted. This is what I think Paul meant when he wrote, “Fight the good fight of faith.”

I learned most of this through Joyce Meyer. I watch her TV show every day. She focuses on how to live the Christian life. She was raped by her father for most of her childhood. She understands.

I still have a mental illness. I still hear my little girl inside say things. But I don’t mind too much. I try my best to stay away from things that trigger me. I can honestly say I am mostly happy and at peace. It is a wonderful feeling. He lifted me up out of the slimy pit, out of the mire and mud.

Psalm 40 is a Messianic psalm. Commentators have said the feelings expressed in this psalm are what Jesus felt. I’m going to write about that next time.

 

 

 

 

Joni.

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I just finished reading Joni Eareckson Tada’s book, 31 Days Toward Overcoming Adversity. It is a wonderful book, full of wisdom. She writes about our walk with God, and how we should consider the hard times. Here is an excerpt:

“Okay, so there was the Lord Jesus giving Paul his route. “The road I want you to take, Paul, is the one that’s going to Rome. Keep heading in that direction no matter what. You can’t miss it.” 

 With Jesus Himself as travel agent, you’d expect a first-class trip, right? Not so. For two years on that long road to Rome, Paul faced more than his fair share of bypasses, ruts, hazards, and roadblocks. The journey featured constant trouble, murderous plots, and imprisonments.

 Then there was the long detour when a hurricane tossed him around the Mediterranean for fourteen days. Until his ship finally hit a sandbar. And broke into pieces. After which he managed to swim to an island. After which he was bitten by a poisonous snake. An easy road? Hey, the Roman Road was no freeway. 

 The tolls were unbelievably high. And yet this was the very road Jesus told him to take! Ah, but Paul trusted his Friend. Though the road was rugged — even vicious at times — Paul trusted. If the Lord Jesus had set him on the road to adversity, then he knew that, no matter what, it was the best road to heaven he could possibly find. No matter what happened to Him — smooth passage or storm — live or die — he was completely safe.”

 It took me a long time to realize my life would not be trouble-free as I walked with God. Everyone in this world of sin suffers in one way or another. And as Paul says, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”  Romans 5:3-5

I take heart in the knowledge that the people of the Bible suffered also and yet found hope in God. He is our only hope in this world.