Posts Tagged ‘Philippians 4:6-8’

Distractions and Diversions

May 28th, 2014

“Anyone who starts to plow, then keeps looking back is of no use . .” Luke 9:62 TEV.

The devil is the master of distraction and deception.

My thoughts and comments today are about “distractions and diversions.”

Distractions happen. Distractions waste more of a person’s time than we realize when they occur. Ironically, while writing this, I became distracted. That happens easily to any of us. Interruptions occur; misdirection results. Here’s the problem. Typically, you are not interrupted by more important matters. Usually, lesser things crowd into your life and crowd out of your life things you cannot afford to procrastinate. Your success results from setting priorities, maintaining focus, and avoiding distraction.

A distraction can be a brief, pleasant diversion. However, any diversion has potential for a misdirection you may not intend. That can be costly if not noticed and corrected. Unfortunately, distractions come in all shapes and descriptions, some in the pretense of responsibilities or others disguised as opportunities. The devil is the master of distraction and deception, using love of the world, desires, worry, regret, greed, anger, offences, or temptations to dissuade you from being the person Christ means you to be.

Jesus spoke of the danger of spiritual distraction, “Anyone who starts to plow and then keeps looking back is of no use for the Kingdom of God.” Read Luke 9:57-62 TEV. See John 6:66-69 NIV. Jesus’ clearest teaching on distraction is found in a parable He told. Read Matthew 13:3-8 NIV. The same seed – with incalculable potential for good – had differing results, according to the reception of its truth. Jesus was not talking about farmers and fields, nor seed and soils. In His story, Jesus was describing people into whose hearts and lives the Word of God was sown, inefficiently in some but effectively in others. Read Matthew 13:18-23 NIV. Whatever diminishes your obedience to God’s Word, His will, and His ways is a distraction you cannot afford.

Beware; distractions preempt attention from what God is saying and doing in your life. “The evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.” Vs 19. Your spiritual life requires priority and focus. Distractions dull God’s calling in your heart and diminish His dreams for you before their time of harvest.

Be careful; distractions prevent the Word of God from becoming rooted in your heart. “Since he has no root, he lasts only for a short time. When trouble comes . . he quickly falls away.” Vs 20-21. Avoid shallow convictions and superficial faith. See Colossians 2:6-7 NKJV.

Be watchful; distractions preoccupy your mind with worries and fears instead of God’s Word. “The worries of this life choke [the Word], making it unfruitful.” Vs 22. Worry ignores God’s Word while consuming thoughts and emotions with fear, suffocating hope, and destroying expectation. See Philippians 4:6-8 NLT/2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV.

Jesus’ conclusion is, “. . the man who hears the Word of God and understands it. He produces a crop yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.” Vs 23. Paul was neither distracted nor dissuaded, “None of these things move me, nor do I count my life dear to myself . . one thing I do, forgetting . . reaching . . I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Acts 20:22-24/Philippians 3:13-14 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you be steadfast, immovable, and always abounding.

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Fretful and Worried

December 4th, 2013

“So I tell you, don’t worry about everyday life.”  Matthew 6:25 NLT.

Unbelievable peace will envelop your heart and mind when you remove worry.

My thoughts and comments today are about “fretful and worried.”

Being told, “Don’t worry,” though usually well intended, is not normally very productive. There are things and times everyday that invite you to feel anxious. Feeling anxious is unsettling, even distressing. Sometimes such feelings are rooted in things that have already happened. At other times, being anxious is about a present situation that is concerning to you; then, sometimes anxiety attaches itself to a future, undesirable possibility. The corner of “fretful and worried” is not a good place to live.

Whatever the origin or focus of your concerns, God’s Word is clear, “Don’t worry about everyday life – whether you have enough . . Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not . . Your Heavenly Father already knows your needs and He will give you all you need from day to day if you live for Him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.” Read Matthew 6:25-34 NLT. Feeling anxious is a warning that you are failing to see God in the moment and, in some measure small or large, considering your future apart from Him.

Worry is never beneficial. Worry adds nothing good to your well-being and relationships, while taking from you much that is good; worry changes nothing, except to diminish your confidence and distort expectation. “Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength – carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” Corrie ten Boom. Worry offers a false promise of solutions it never delivers.

(1) There are options to being fretful and worried. “Do not be anxious about anything . .” Read Philippians 4:6-8 NIV. By itself, that would be good advice, but it gets better. (2) A healthy, positive action that God rewards can fill the emotional void you previously occupied with anxious worry. Paul continues, “. . but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.“ When you refuse to indulge your anxious feelings, prayer and thanksgiving replace your previous anxiety.

(3) Unbelievable peace will envelop your heart and mind in ways you cannot foresee. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (4) The victory over worry and the anxiety it causes begins in your heart and mind; submit your emotions and thoughts to Christ. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true . . noble . . right . . pure . . lovely . . admirable . . excellent . . praiseworthy. Think about such things.”

Conquering emotional anxiety and mental apprehension requires vigilance and Godly strategy. “We do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have the power to demolish strongholds. We demolish every pretension that sets itself against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV. The Word of God is stronger than worry.

My prayer for you today is that you are free from anxious thoughts and troubling worries.

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Handle with Prayer

September 26th, 2012

“Jesus . . spent the night praying.” Luke 6:12 NIV.

Every care and consideration about your life should be handled with prayer.

My thoughts and comments today are, “handle with prayer.”

For all that you do know there is so much that none of us can know completely. For all your capabilities, there is so much of life’s responsibilities and possibilities that you will not successfully handle without help. Everyone likes to think they can handle whatever comes their way; and that seems to work until there is a crisis that requires more than your personal resources or abilities. That seems to be when people are eager to pray for God’s help and willing to accept the prayers anyone is willing to offer on their behalf. So many situations need to be handled with care; every care and consideration about your life should be “handled with prayer.” “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests . .  and always keep on praying . .” See Ephesians 6:18 NIV.

Why should prayer be reserved only as a religious emergency exit from problems or as an emotional relief valve for occasional pressures? Prayer can and should be a suitable and valuable lifestyle. Jesus prayed frequently, often withdrawing from the crowds and relentless needs to simply talk with His Father. “Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.” Luke 6:12 NIV. For Jesus, time with His Father was typical, not an exception. For Him, prayer was neither occasional, casual, nor brief. Jesus modeled the Bible’s expectation, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2 NIV.

There was something so appealing and desirable about His praying that the disciples requested of Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray!” See Luke 11:1 NKJV. The model that Jesus gave His disciples is as powerful and practical now as then. Read Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV. Recognize your relationship; reverence God at all times; acknowledge His sovereignty; pledge yourself to His will; receive daily needs gratefully; live in forgiveness; give forgiveness freely; avoid temptation; declare His “Kingdom and power and glory forever.”

I propose you consider this: if Jesus needed frequent times of prayer, why wouldn’t you and I require regular times of communion and communication with God even more? Prayer is not reserved for only the Biblically sophisticated or just those few who have the time or temperament; prayer is an essential lifestyle for all who recognize their need of spiritual resources beyond what they naturally possess. That description should encompass all who value their faith and prize their personal relationship with the Father and Savior.

Prayer should be sincere, serious, and specific. See James 5:16 NLT. Prayer deepens and sustains your growing relationship with God. Prayer focuses your heart and mind on what is eternal rather than momentarily pressing. See Philippians 4:6-8 NIV. Prayer aligns your spirit with God’s heart and will. See Romans 8:26-28 NLT. Prayer connects you with God’s purpose. See 1 John 5:14-15 NIV. The practice of prayer is simple enough for the youngest child to do. Listen to a child’s prayer. No wonder Jesus spoke of people who “receive the Kingdom of God as a little child.” See Luke 18:16-17 NKJV. Children pray with such innocence and faith, unspoiled by the complexities of doubt and circumstance. There is much to be learned from their example.

My prayer for you today is for you to enjoy rich fellowship with God in your daily practice of prayer.

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