Thursday, March 15, 2007

Words to Admonish Myself

Words that have ministered to me lately.

From The Purple Cellar:

We all struggle with anxiety to varying degrees, from the nail-biting stress of a normal busy day to the stomach-gnawing fear that can overtake us in the bigger crises of life. Anxiety is so much a part of American life today that we are prone to forget that worry is sin. Jesus himself commanded us not to worry. The reason worry is so bad is that what underlies it is a lack of trust in the goodness and power of God. There is just no need to worry when we have a loving, heavenly Father in control of everything. Someone wisely said, God has the love to choose what’s best for us, the knowledge of how to make it happen, and the power to bring it about. So why worry? There’s just no need. Nevertheless, we are prone to it, which is why Paul provides a remedy here.

When we are tempted to worry about something, Paul tells us not to surrender to our fear, but to pray instead, telling God what’s bothering us, asking him to meet our need, and thanking him for the answer that he will provide, even when we cannot yet see it. This is a true faith-based prayer. Paul also attaches a promise to this remedy for worry—peace. If God doesn’t give what we think is best, we can be sure that he will give what he thinks is best. What we are actually promised is supernatural peace, the kind that governs our thoughts and feelings along God’s path for us. Not only does God want to give us what’s best, but he also wants us to want the very things he longs to give.

If we are chronic worriers, chances are it’s because we are set on structuring our lives our own way. In many cases, it’s not that we doubt that God can do something; it’s that we fear he may not do exactly what we want. However, if we really trust that God’s ways are best, then we will come to want the same things he wants for us. What an amazing God we have!

Some quotes from John Newton found at Between Two Worlds:

A Christian knows that communion with God in prayer, faith, and the Word should be our sweetest delight, our exceeding desire. But in reality, these are often difficult for us. Newton writes:

Though he knows that communion with God is his highest privilege, he too seldom finds it so; on the contrary, if duty, conscience, and necessity did not compel, he would leave the throne of grace unvisited from day to day. He takes up the Bible, conscious that it is the fountain of life and true comfort; yet perhaps, while he is making the reflection, he feels a secret distaste, which prompts him to lay it down, and give him preference to a newspaper." [You could substitute the word "website"!]

But then Newton turns to a perplexing question indeed:

How can these things be, or why are they permitted? Since the Lord hates sin, teaches his people to hate it and cry against it, and has promised to hear their prayers, how is it that they go thus burdened? Surely, if he could not, or would not, over-rule evil for good, he would permit it to continue.

Here is how he answers:

By these exercises he teaches us more truly to know and feel the utter depravity and corruption of our whole nature, that we are indeed defiled in every part.

His method of salvation is likewise hereby exceedingly endeared to us: we see that it is and must be of grace, wholly of grace; and that the Lord Jesus Christ, and his perfect righteousness, is and must be our all in all.

His power likewise, in maintaining his own work notwithstanding our infirmities, temptations, and enemies, is hereby displayed in the clearest light; his strength is manifested in our weakness.


At 5:06 AM, Anonymous Kim from Hiraeth said...

Words to admonish me, too.

Thank you for this, Candy. It has helped to put some things into proper perspective for me.


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