Today is Thursday, December 27, 2018. The third day of Christmas.
Five days until 2019!
“This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer.”
Will Rogers, US humorist and showman, 1879-1935
The Quotations Page
The word of the day is ataraxy. It means, “Freedom from disturbance of mind or passion; stoical indifference.” (Oxford English Dictionary)
It was very quiet at work, yesterday. A number of our people work Tuesday-Saturday, so they aren’t usually there, anyway. Plus most people who work for our client are off between Christmas and New Year’s anyway. The driving was quite nice, as well. To illustrate, I left work, yesterday, about twenty minutes late, as I wanted to finish what I was doing before leaving. It was pouring rain for the second half of my trip. I stopped at Sonic, as usual, for our drinks. I got home at the same time I usually do when I leave on time. Hopefully, the traffic will be that light for the rest of the week.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted
Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever;
Today I am grateful:
1. For rain that replenishes the earth, even when it comes in the form of storms.
2. For the easy driving conditions at this time of year.
3. For the way prayer helps people, encourages them.
4. That God has placed the ministry of prayer in my heart.
5. That God continues to teach me about prayer. You’re never too old to learn.
You are God: we praise you; You are the Lord: we acclaim you; You are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide. You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin's womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God's right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
(The Book of Common Prayer, You Are God)
Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious 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 surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I am not a Greek scholar (that is the understatement of the year), but I have learned that the Greek word generally translated as “anxious” or “anxiety” is a word that means “divided” or “distracted.” Chuck Swindoll says that it is a combination of two words, one meaning “to divide,” and the other, “the mind.” That makes sense, doesn’t it?
You see, when we worry, our minds are divided and distracted. I like that concept. Especially in light of my “life verse” from Psalm 86:11. “Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” If I am worried or anxious, my heart is divided. I am asking God to unite my heart, unite my mind, that I might be walking in the way that I should be walking.
Swindoll also says, “Worry occurs when we assume responsibility for things that are outside our control.” (The Finishing Touch, p. 633) A simple, yet profound definition, and full of truth. That is exactly what worry is. When I am worrying about something, it is hardly ever something that I have any control over.
Now, you would think that the opposite of worry would be faith. But take a look at Dallas Willard’s definition of grace. He says that grace is, “God’s action in our lives to accomplish what we cannot accomplish on our own.” Now, I suppose that if we have faith in that aspect of grace, it is the opposite of worry. But the truth is that God has things under control. He can and will accomplish, in my life, what I cannot accomplish on my own.
The problem is that most of us have an overestimated sense of what we can accomplish on our own. We tend to not go to God with something until we have exhausted all of our own natural resources. Have you ever heard someone proclaim, “Well, it’s in God’s hands, now!” NOW?? Are we so ignorant that we don’t understand that it has always been in God’s hands?? Well, yes. Sadly, we are.
Matthew 6 contains some of the best words about anxiety in all of Scripture.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Father, show me where I am needlessly anxious about anything today. Teach me to trust in You. Unite my mind and my heart, that I might know that You are in control, and that You are, indeed, working in my life to accomplish what I cannot accomplish on my own.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Soli Deo gloria!