Matthew 13:22-23 (NLT)
“The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
It comes like a small dark cloud on the horizon of my thoughts. Threatening rain and bursting with thunder it begs entertaining. In tests my faith like the little house supposedly built on a rock, but will it be that strong. Although I cannot determine the size of the storm or the amount of rain that will fall, I can determine the stance I will take in it. The cloud has a name. It is called Worry. It is covered in fear and doubt always filled with questions. It is not discriminatory but comes to each of us from time to time. It is ominous as it lingers there rumbling in my midst. I don’t want it to come. I hate that I can even see it. Why do I worry? Why am I ever afraid? Where is my faith? A mustard seed would do to chase away the coming storm that is sure to beleaguer my mind. Lord, I need you. I need you right now. I need you to remind me that every moment is planned. (Psalm 139:16) Every need already provided according to the wealth of Your Household not mine. (Philippians 4:19) Your Word is true and You never change your mind. (Numbers 23:19) So why do I keep changing mine? Please Lord teach me to live for today.
How quickly does God’s Promise for our life become choked out by the “worries of this life?” It seems ironic that after trusting God with the life of our son that in this moment when we celebrate his successful treatment and miraculous recovery that I would still find time to worry but I do. This is for those who are unwilling to admit that your faith has holes in it like mine who live under the guise of “super Christian” too afraid to let anyone know that we are only human. There is no condemnation in this today just a clear cut path from wherever our mind has been wandering and worrying about tomorrow back into today right where we belong. Faith secures our place in God’s Plan, His Provision and His Promises. It allows us to live in joy and peace through any storm threatening this life. It becomes the confident hope that allows us to face each day with confidence knowing that God has already been there and Jesus has given us enough grace and mercy to get through that day. The thorns of this life are those things that choke out God’s Word from our heart and mind. Those things that we allow to become more than God can handle. How will we ever trust Him with our forever if His Power is limited in this life?
Matthew 6:25-30 (NLT)
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?”
When the little cloud called worry popped up this morning, I ran for cover. I find that in moments of despair and desperation, I find comfort and covering in His Word. It builds a pavilion that covers me in the midst of the storm and I wonder how I ever wandered out of it? Can all my worries add a single moment to my life? No, but robs me of valuable time as I stand stricken in fear. Yes, cancer seems to have left now but there is still so much more to do. He must recover from the harrowing treatment delivered. He must regain his strength to continue living beyond a shut-in. How will he support himself since he cannot work for at least a year? He desperately needs a car to have reliable transportation to and from the many doctor’s appointments in the coming days? With all the medications, appointments and such will he be able to manage without me with him? So many things that are required to get through this life all part of the not so distant future that has now become a heavy burden on my heart. Yet, God’s Word paints a different picture of the future than the one that I have mustered up. God says there is enough food and drink and even clothes to wear. He promises to feed my child. The Lord promises that he is valuable and precious to Him but oh how quickly I had forgotten. He doesn’t have to worry about whether or not God will provide his needs and neither do I. God cares more wonderfully for my son than I ever could, He will certainly care for us. Why do I have so little faith? Good question. I ask myself over and over. God has proven His Love for me. He has saved my son from death and promised that he will live. He keeps coming through on His Promise (five times so far). Each time our son has had treatment, he has fully recovered in a miraculous way. The medical team has come to expect the unexpected in this kid to the glory of our God. Why am I worrying now?
Matthew 14:27-32 (NLT)
Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.
Could it be that jumping out of the boat is way easier than walking on the water? Of course, it is. The leap of faith is always easier than the walk because it is just one step. But we know to walk requires more than one step but continual motion. Peter jumped out of the boat and began walking then I believe logical and rational thoughts started as a little cloud of worry and became a storm of fear and doubt. Suddenly, He stopped looking at the Author and Finisher of Faith to focus on natural circumstances. Peter shouted, “Save me, Lord!” But do you really think that Peter’s life was ever in jeopardy – no but his faith was. Why do you doubt me? I hear the Lord whispering this to me today as mounting worry tries to suppress my joy and growing concern overwhelm my peace. Like the wind and waves that Peter encountered, Jesus wants me to stop worrying about all the details and fix my faith back on Him.
2 Corinthians 6:1-2 (NLT)
As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.
Today is the day of salvation. Yes, today, tomorrow and the next day. Salvation is not a one-time fix but a process working in our life every day to secure more faith so it will become confident hope. (Philippians 2:12) Walking down to an altar, meeting a smiling pastor, and praying a scripted prayer is not enough to save you – it is only the beginning. We must surrender our life to Jesus Christ. This comes at a high price called self-control and pride. We must become partners with God who live in covenant with Him. All of me for all of you. It is a life for a life. God has offered us His Kindness but too often we choose to ignore it and continue to assume responsibility for our own life. That is until everything falls apart and we lose control. When we called His Name, He heard us and issued a command in Heaven. However, we determine when the “right time” is by our ability to believe and trust in the Lord. His Word, Will and Way are according to His Plan not ours. It requires total faith in His Plan and abandonment of our ideal in order to fully accept all that He is offering. It is a good plan with a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) It requires the pursuit of my whole heart to have that plant. (Jeremiah 29:13) Jesus is the same always. (Hebrews 13:8) I am the one who is subject to change good and bad. I choose whether I receive His Blessing or not by my perception of today. Today is the day of salvation – every single day that I am alive. I choose to accept it or reject by how I live and what I believe. Christ is the Head of God’s Household. (Hebrews 3:6) Everything that I need, want and desire can be found in Him. Worry is pride telling me that I can do a better job of taking care of me than the Lord is doing right now. It is a lie of the enemy used to interrupt God’s Revitalization, Renewal and Restoration of His People. Thank goodness that God does not stop working or change His Mind just because caught up in the moment we have changed ours. Today is the day of salvation – every day!
Romans 8:37-39 (NLT)
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The cure for worry and stress is confident hope. Faith that nothing can separate us from God’s Love. It is the certainty that we have overwhelming victory through Jesus Christ in every situation. Do you feel that way today? Yeah, me either. But that does not mean that we cannot have God’s Very Best, it just means that we need to spend a little more time in His Presence so He can pour more of His Amazing Love on us until we know that He loves us! Fears for today and worries for tomorrow made number three on the list of things the enemy will try to use to separate us from the Love of God. Death is the first and demons are the second. It ranks pretty high among the strategies and lies that he uses to dissuade us from believing in God’s Love. The lie is always disarmed by the Truth. The more that you trust and rely on the Lord and He shows Himself faithful the less you will fall for the devil’s schemes. When Jesus told us how to pray, He was clear that it was for today – “give us our food for today” and “let us not yield to temptation.” (Matthew 6:9-13) Every day that you commit to Jesus Christ, the enemy will come against you. Every step you take in faith will be pummeled with lies and threats. The Love that God has for you is secure. It was paid for by Jesus Christ and given right back to you. We must have faith in His Love. We must be confident of His Love. We must learn to live in His Love today and not worry about tomorrow or the next. God is your Provider. He is a good Dad. He will give you His Very Best just because He loves us! “For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him.” (Matthew 7:8-11)
Hebrews 3:12-14 (NLT)
Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.
I was “saved” when I was eleven years old. Baptized in my mid-teens. I have been all the way to Africa as a missionary for a summer than wandering in the wilderness for a season. I gave my whole life to Jesus Christ about fifteen years ago when I hauled the bloody, broken mess that I had made to Him and humbly dumped it in His Lap. The Lord never has made me feel like a second class citizen of His Kingdom but sometimes guilt makes me feel that way. When I think of all the things I could have done for the first half of my life but didn’t because I thought I could do better than My God. Now that I have given my heart and life to the Lord as a life for a life, I still struggle with guilt more than ever especially on days like this when I dare to worry about what is coming when He has proven over and over that He is a good God who loves me unconditionally. I am a work in progress. Today is another day to work on my salvation. Jesus completed His Work on the Cross, but it will take every day that has been given to me in this life to finish mine. Will I worry again? Probably. Will fear come calling? Most certainly. But for today – I choose to live for today. I will enjoy the blessings of God as I continue to learn how to roll and repose the burden of my life on His Capable Shoulders. (Psalm 37:5 AMP) I want to be faithful to the end. I want to trust the God more firmly than when I first believed. I don’t have to live on yesterday’s bread because He promised to provide for today. I will not worry about tomorrow’s worries they can worry about themselves. I want to share in all that belongs to Jesus Christ. Believing is a daily experience and today is that day. I will not let worry rain on my parade today. God is good! He loves me! He will provide all that I need today, tomorrow and always just as He promised.
I Peter 5:5-10 (NLT)
In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.