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Listen to me. Never let anxiety enter your hearts. ~ Jesus (Luke 12:22 TPT)

How do you guard your heart?

As I scanned through Luke 12 this morning, I was struck by how many times in this address, or this collection of addresses, Jesus gave instruction on what I would consider emotional control, or emotional intelligence.

The chapter starts with,

Don’t fear those who may want to take your life, but nothing more. (Luke 12:4 TPT)

Followed closely with,

The one you must fear is God (5)

A few paragraphs later we have,

Don’t worry about defending yourselves or be concerned about hot to answer their accusations. (11)

Next Jesus tells them,

Be alert and guard your heart from greed and always wishing for what you don’t have. (15)

Still further down the page,

Never let anxiety enter your hearts. Never worry about any of your needs, such as food or clothing (22)

And finally,

Don’t let worry enter your life. (29)

So with all that, I ask you, whose in charge of your emotions?

I know hormones and sleep and health (or lack there of) all play into your emotional state. I know there are chemical tricks your body can play on you, and sometimes the forces that would attack your peace are immense.

That’s why we must be super vigilant in the guarding of our hearts.

That’s why it’s imperative to stay in God’s word.

That’s why it’s important to stay in fellowship with folks who will stand with you and help you fight these external enemies.

I’m not saying “suck it up” and “stoic” your way though emotional valleys. There are things that are out of our control. I get that.

But we must do our part.

If you find certain activities bring you down, or draw you into lust, or greed, or anxiety, follow Solomon’s advise.

Avoid it, do not pass by it; Turn away from it and pass on. - Proverbs 4:15 NASB

In the same way we must guard against the feeling of condemnation. Don’t let any outside influence (including this post) wiggle it’s way into a place of condemning you. If you are in Christ condemnation can only come from the mouth of the liar.

Today, make choices that guard your heart.

benheadshot1Thanks for coming by.

Shine where you’re screwed in.

Ben

Many Waters - SoS header

Until the cool of the day when the shadows flee away,
Turn, my beloved, and be like a gazelle
Or a young stag on the mountains of Bether. ~ Songs of Songs 2:17

So here we are – the moment of truth.

Remember back to verse 8 the Shepherd King came to our maiden fair climbing through the mountains and leaping across the hills. He invited her to come out. He described the glory of the newly sprung spring, fragrances, sounds and colors, beauty on every side. He promised to keep her safe, to hide her from the danger, and expose her only to the wonder and glory.

Sadly her answer is "I am not quite ready."

She tell Him, her gazelle, her young stag, to turn, leave her there and head out to the mountains. You can come back home this evening and I will have dinner ready.

God’s design for our lives is to move from glory to glory. He has a path we can walk that will take us to new levels of intimacy, to grow in our relationship, in our reliance on Him. He does not however drag us kicking and screaming. There are always choices we can make.

He is calling her to drop her concerns about foxes and flocks and follow Him, to join Him in what He is doing. Come and climb the mountains, leaps among the hills with me.

Nevertheless she sends Him on ahead. “No, you go, I am not ready, I don’t have enough practice, I am not prepared, my garden is a mess, frankly, I am afraid.”

The excuses all boil down to that last bit, “I am afraid.”

What kind of excuses do you make when you are simply afraid to step out into something completely new and foreign to you?

Have you been in this place?

Let me be completely clear here. We are going to see, by the way Jesus deals with her here that this is not a huge “sin issue” in her life. She is not staying at home because she is lazy, or lusting after other things.

She is desperately in love with Jesus, and wants to step out, she simply can’t stir up enough courage to take the plunge. At this stage in her story, it is not that she is unsure who is calling her. She knows His voice, and she is not confused about what He is calling her to do.

When we come to these places there are a couple things we need to know.

  • Jesus does not react in anger toward her.
  • Jesus is not surprised.
  • Jesus does not love her any less.
  • Jesus does not punish her.
  • Jesus does not move on to someone else.

In fact we are going to see (it may take a couple sessions to get there – but we will) that Jesus is simply going to give her more reasons to trust and answer her fears until she is strong enough to go for it.

If you find yourself frustrated by your inability to say “Yes” to the Lord in some area,  and the opportunity has moved on, don’t despair! All is not lost. Yes, there was a better choice you could have made, but our Father is all about growing us, and growing our relationship with Him.

Is the Lord inviting you to step out into something new?

What are you going to do?

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping in today.

See you again soon.

Ben

I wanted to share with you a blog from Helen at Are we nearly there yet? What a great insight!

Enjoy:

Are we nearly there yet? : The Lord is near

The Lord is Near

The Lordis near

Afternoon, God.

Did you know, one of my favourite bits of the Bible is the book of Philippians. Upbeat, encouraging, reassuring, even though Paul was languishing in prison when he wrote it. How amazing is that?

The other day I was moseying through Philippians and I had one of those moments where the penny dropped. One of those moments that must make the angels giggle where I stop in my tracks and stare into space for a while until the new idea finds a place to live in my head.

It's all about living as a Christian in a non-Christian world. I like that Paul isn't very deep or theological in this book, but Paul knows that the Philippians are finding things hard and he wants to lift them up. One of my favourite bits is the bit about not worrying. As you are well aware, Lord, this bit could have been written just for me; indeed I think it probably was.

You had me in mind when you had Paul write it down.

'Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.'Philippians 4: 6-7

I like it. I'm not very good at it, but I think that because of you, I'm better at it than I was. Not as good as I will be - with your help I'm getting better and better. Maybe. But that's not the point.

The point is that I need not be anxious because you are for me.  On my side. You are looking after me. You know what I need, and you want me to trust you with all my anxieties. You want me to come to you and talk to you. Offload, if necessary. Communicate. And in exchange for me dumping my worries on you, you'll give me peace; a peace that the world doesn't know about, something that we can't imagine or understand.

You will wrap me in this peace and keep me safe.Sounds like I get the best of that deal. I give you the rubbish, you give me peace. Why don't I have peace? Because I don't give you the rubbish? I just cart it round myself, now and again show it to you, maybe even push it your way, but I fail to leave it with you. As a result, I am not particularly peaceful.via Are we nearly there yet? : The Lord is near.

Ruth Gleaning in the fields of Boaz

And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life’s span? And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? (Matthew 6:27-30 NASB)

Friday we talked about anxiety, and that is clearly the overarching message here, but today I want to do a little gleaning. Let’s poke around the edges a bit and see what we find.

As a computer programmer (perhaps that is an overstatement) Having done a smattering of computer programming (that feels a bit more honest) I am keenly aware of the power of an “If – Then” statement.

And if Jesus is going to be sharing this “if – then” we can trust it completely.

Jesus does not just say stuff that sounds good. His name is “The Truth.” In fact He told us that He only says what He hears the Father say!

Why am I making a big deal about this. Check this out:

Will He not much more do so for you” NASB

He will certainly care for youNLT

will he not much more clothe youNIV

He will surely do even more for you!” CEV

shall he not much more clothe youKJV

Won't he be all the more sure to clothe you?” GNB

is he not much more likely to clothe you?” JBP

WOW – how do we miss this. The one who has taken care to arrange for our eternal life, and at no small expense, and not without a seriously detailed plan executed over 4,000 years, this God, is going to overlook the fact that you have no visible means of support?

NOT SO!

God is on it.

Jesus is not putting out some overarching principle here. He is not even making a promise. He is just stating an obvious fact.

I love this!

I am kind of thinking - How much more Lord? And I hear Him answer - "exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think" (Eph 3:20) [Tweet This]

BenHope this helps you today.

See you next time.

Ben

 

On the same page: And Then Some: Play Grand 

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For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing? (Matthew 6:25 NASB)

For what reason?

As I said on 11/27 in my post Treasure, Lamp and Master this next paragraph in the Sermon on the Mount about anxiety flows out of a close examination of who is in charge in your life.

Jesus is giving us the antidote to Mammon worship. I told you a few days ago to break the hold of Mammon by giving.

Here is another tactic that works. Break the cycle of anxiety.

Mammon’s worship service is a fretting session.

And look who is in the front row – the poor!

I know I have thought of Mammon worship as a rich man’s sin – like the rich young ruler who could not leave his riches and follow Jesus.

But Jesus, preaching on a hillside to the multitudes of the day’s poor tell them not to worry about – food and shelter. These are not the worries of a rich man. These are the woes of the poor.

Don’t get me wrong, as I pointed out earlier Mammon worship is a danger to us all, but clearly the poor are not excluded, and there is an antidote to this problem.

Don’t worry.

That’s it! Pretty simple plan.

Don’t worry.

Hey, if you take this and add it back to the beginning of Chapter 5 we could even say

Don’t worry, Be happy!

Hmmm

Good advice for today.

Come back tomorrow and we will dig a bit deeper, but for today, I hope to hear you whistling down the halls.

BenCome back again soon.

Ben

photo credit: R. Motti via photopin cc

 

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