Matthew 6:30-34 (Message)
“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
I fall for it every single time. You would think after living as long as I have and being a believer for this many years, I could see right through the lie. But not me, oh no! Relishing in another miraculous victory compliments of Jesus Christ, the enemy dropped a new care or concern in my life and yes, I gladly picked it up and began to fret. Every truth planted as a faith deposit in my heart went dormant and confident hope began to tremble. My chest became tight as fear and worry had their way with me. I know better. But in the midst of the report, it is difficult to hear the Spirit as you fear the words being spoken over your life. Celebrating a cancer-free report and enjoying some precious moments with our son as he continues to receive chemotherapy to keep him in remission, the doctor suggested that we consider a bone marrow transplant. In his battle with cancer, we have chosen to live by faith and not by sight. However, discussing this procedure she is ethically obligated to review the potential complications and risk of such a choice. As if cast down from the mountain of hope built by faith in our God and His Ability to heal our son comes the stark reality that the enemy is trying to kill him every day. Not only would a bone marrow transplant effect our son, but his siblings as well because they are the best candidates for marrow. Needless to say, I did not take this information with the grace that I should have knowing firsthand the Power and Potential of God in our life. I did not see past the mountain to the promise on the other side. I panicked. I forgot myself. I was terrified. My knees grew weak. My heart seemed to be breaking all over again. But the Spirit of God said, “Not today!”
I know God. I have witnessed firsthand how He works. Obviously, we have prayed each time the cancer has gone into remission that it would be the last time. But that has not been the way of it, as he has had cancer four times with each occurrence being completely shut down by our Awesome God! How could I forget such miraculous behavior? How could I not get the fact that God is in complete control? I guess my only defense is that I am only human. But I refuse to live in the confinement of this life when a supernatural existence is completely possible by faith when we live what we believe. As Children of God, we do not have to worry about outcomes and settlements but only live to increase our faith, hope and love in Jesus Christ. This is our focus. Our goal is to trust Him more, believe in Him completely and have an intimate relationship with the One who loved us first and always loves us the most. The enemy hates such a life and will wage war against any believer who makes such a commitment. All hell will literally break loose in your life as the enemy tries to distract, detour or better yet destroy you. But steep your life in the God-reality, God-initiative, and God-provisions. Steep is an interesting word to use in this translation. Steep means to soak or be soaked in liquid in order to soften, cleanse or extract an element in most cases extremely hot water. The process of procuring faith from the human heart requires soaking in the water of the Word, allowing it to cleanse our heart changing the way that we think and respond to God, and extract faith that has the potential to become confident hope. Refinement is not necessarily pleasant but truly essential in having all that God has promised. We must learn to focus on what God is doing right now, today in this moment. Tomorrow will most certainly present problems and pressures of its own.
Romans 8:31-39 (Message)
So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.
What fazes you? Why would God go to such great lengths to restore a right relationship with us only to leave us to fend for ourselves? That’s ridiculous but exactly how most believer’s life. There is absolutely nothing that can separate us from the Love of God. Nothing that is happening today or tomorrow is outside of God’s Influence when it comes to His Beloved Children. He is on top of it. He planned every moment of our life to perfection before we were ever born now if we will just remain in a right relationship with the Lord by His Grace, Mercy and Love – we can have it all and have absolutely nothing to worry about because He loves us so. If you don’t know the Love of God, it is impossible to ever comprehend or accept the Goodness that He has already provided for you. You will not have it because it is too good to be true and defies human logic. But if you seek the Kingdom of God accessible only through the Blood of Jesus and accept that an innocent man died just for you, you will understand the Power of His Embrace and hold Him tightly, too.
I John 5:4-5(Message)
Every God-begotten person conquers the world’s ways. The conquering power that brings the world to its knees is our faith. The person who wins out over the world’s ways is simply the one who believes Jesus is the Son of God.
God-begotten people are those who those who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God enough to live like it. If you say that you believe, but fail to invest your life living by faith then it is a lie. Belief implies faith and will most definitely impact our actions and attitudes in life. You will live what you believe whether you realize what that is or not. Every God-begotten person conquers the world’s ways. Faith has the overcoming power every time. If my faith remains in God alone through a relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ, I will always win no matter how scary the situation seems or even when facing possible death. I have the victory therefore I should live like it. Worry is a byproduct of fear and doubt that consumes our faith at an alarming rate. When discussing the potential of a bone marrow transplant with the doctor, I forgot who I belong to for a moment or two. I realized that more faith would be necessary to overcome my fear. This journey has taken me to the depth of my resources when it comes to faith. When trusting the Lord is all that you have because the reality is too dismal, it is more than enough for those who choose to believe. But we do not have to reach the bottom to be filled to the top, God wants you to live by faith, hope and love all from His Vast Reservoir. It never runs out but we do. It never runs dry but we do. You can live in the overflow of God but it is found in His Presence not this world. “GOD’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with GOD (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left.” (Lamentations 3:22-24) The only One who you can ever rely on completely is the Lord. He has the answer to every question. His Plan is perfect. He goes before you to make your way straight. His Hand of Blessing rests on your head. It is time to remember that His Mercy is enough for right now. You don’t need tomorrow’s right now so tell those worries and cares for tomorrow – not today! Celebrate the Love of the Father today because when tomorrow comes everything you need for that moment will be waiting just as the Lord promised. Keep looking for deeper access to the Presence of God and all that is there for you! Make it your life’s goal and daily mission to seek Him first. Everything else will fall in to place just as He planned. “No king succeeds with a big army alone, no warrior wins by brute strength. Horsepower is not the answer; no one gets by on muscle alone. Watch this: God’s eye is on those who respect him, the ones who are looking for his love. He’s ready to come to their rescue in bad times; in lean times he keeps body and soul together.” (Psalm 33:16-19)
Philippians 4:6-7 (Message)
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Before you beat yourself up too bad, you are not the only one who forgets. Remember the Children of Israel who walked through the parted waters of the Red Sea still got distracted and built a golden calf to worship. In our sin and weakness, it is hard to grasp the reality of God’s Love when we feel inferior and unworthy. Relying on our five senses to navigate this life successfully, it is a difficult transition to walk by faith and not by sight but you are never alone. If you will begin to converse and mingle with the Spirit of God living on the inside of you, suddenly a sense of wholeness and completeness begins to overtake you from the inside out. You begin to see with spiritual discernment what human eyes could not detect. It will cause you to settle down as peace that passes all understanding comforts and calms your overwhelmed heart. When Jesus Christ displaces worry as the center of your life the impossible becomes reality through the Power of His Great Love! “If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!” (John 14:15-17)
I Corinthians 13:12-13 (Message)
We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
If God allowed us to see clearly from the beginning to the end, we would manage to mess it up. Running ahead, falling behind, trying to do it our way rather than God’s Way, I know me. We cannot see farther than the day that we are living and the moment we are in. Use every piece of that segment to secure faith, hope and love. This will change your perspective as you live by faith and not by human sight. When fear rises us, use it as an opportunity to find more faith in His Word or communicating with the Lord. If your hope is wavering, find a promise and attach some faith to it. Speak it over your life. Tell others what the Word says concerning the matter and put your faith out there so to speak. Above all love extravagantly not just God but everyone you come in contact with along the way. Do not be consumed with your worries, problems and stress but rather focus on living by faith and confident hope another to help others as the Lord works for you.
Hebrews 12:1-3 (Message)
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
We have lost many people in the last two years to the terrible disease called cancer. In the fight, they found a Savior to welcome them home. So now they are cheering us on! It is time to strip down to the basics of faith, hope and love discarding worry, anxiety and stress that are weighing us down. We are to run the race of faith to the finish line and stop worrying about every checkpoint along the way. We are to keep our eyes on Jesus Christ who finished the race to perfection and follow His Example. No distractions. No detours. No delays. There are some days that I must remind myself of all that He has done for me. I must tell my heart again how very much He loves me and what His Word promises. Worship changes my mind. Praise restores hope in a wavering soul. Love always reproduces in our life when we love like Jesus Christ. So worry, I don’t have time today. Sorry stress, but I have more important things to do! Anxiety, my heart is busy loving Jesus and making faith turn into confident hope! I must keep my eyes on Jesus and reflect what I see! “Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.” (James 1:22-25) I challenge you to shove every care and concern for tomorrow right back into the devil’s lap and tell him, “Not today!” Today I will seek first the Kingdom of God and everything Jesus has to offer!
Psalm 119:1-8 (Message)
You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by GOD. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. That’s right—you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set. You, GOD, prescribed the right way to live; now you expect us to live it. Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; Then I’d never have any regrets in comparing my life with your counsel. I thank you for speaking straight from your heart; I learn the pattern of your righteous ways. I’m going to do what you tell me to do; don’t ever walk off and leave me.