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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

Rembrandt: Christ in the Storm

So tell me the truth. When the hater of your soul throws storms at you…

And behold, there arose a great storm in the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves; but He Himself was asleep. ~ Matthew 8:24

… how well do you sleep?

There is something about Jesus’ inner peace that allowed Him to sleep in the storm.

You know what, this peace is supernatural.

Paul tells us:

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:7

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, ~ Colossians 3:15

You see:

1)    There is no apparent reason for this peace

2)    It comes from the inside, from the Spirit of the living God who…

My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him. ~ John 14:23

3)    It stands guard, protecting your heart, keeping fear at bay.

4)    It protects your mind, keeping worry and fretting from dominating every thought. Worry and fretting is what your mind busies itself with when your heart is ruled by fear.

5)    This treasure of unaccountable peace is locked in the safest of all safes – “in Christ.”

Picture it with me.

There is this fabulous treasure chest. Do you reckon your heart and mind a treasure worth guarding? Well it is! [Tweet this]

It is hidden away in an impenetrable fortress. They used to call Alcatraz “the Rock,” but that’s a leaky bucket compared to Christ!

Standing guard is a legion of heavenly armed and seriously beefy soldiers. We could call them Peace Keepers if you like.

That is how Jesus sleeps in a storm. He does not let His heart and mind entertain fear and worry.

He has heard the voice of His Father, and knows they are headed across the sea.

I hope you can see this today.

Ben NelsonI hope you will join me then.

Ben

photo credit: Klearchos Kapoutsis via photopin cc
photo credit: Klearchos Kapoutsis via photopin cc

As we approach Palm Sunday and Easter and things at church begin to swirl into the Holy Days schedule, with all its rehearsals, and preparations, and special services, I thought I would spend some meditation time in this part of the gospels. These are some of the richest passage and there is much to glean.

Today this phrase struck me. ‘The Lord has need of them.’ Here is the context.

And when they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them, and bring them to Me. And if anyone says something to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them." (Matthew 21:1-3 NASB)

It strikes me that our Lord, at times, has needs. This is not to say He is needy, just that He has needs. As He walked the earth, Jesus, the limitless one, the creator of all things, the Alpha and Omega, subjected Himself to the limitations of a man. He had need of food, clothing, shelter, as well as the felt needs that each of us is given to manage.

But He knew a secret, that would change our lives if we could tap into it.

He knew that His Father saw His every need before He expressed it. He knew that His Father, not only was ready to, but had all ready seen to every provision for His life, and all He needed to do was ask.

I don’t believe that Jesus spent those long hours with the Father begging for provision for His needs. I am more inclined to picture that as mostly worship or intercession time. I picture Jesus approaching His needs more like this:

Father? Where did you put the tax money? Oh, in the fishes mouth? Perfect – I’ll send Peter to get it, he’ll get a kick out of that.

Or on another day…

Father, it has been so good spending the night with you. Oh, I sent the boys away with the boat, what’s your plan for me to get across? Just walk? Awesome! Maybe I can beat them across!

Or on this day…

You know Father, I was reading from the prophet Zechariah how I would be entering the city on a colt, the foal of a donkey. We don’t have any livestock. Where should I get a donkey and her foal? Ah, I see, just go up to the first one we come across and tell the owner I need it.

I am messing around (somewhat) and I am not trying to be flippant or disrespectful to either the Lord Jesus or His Father and ours.

I am trying to make the point that His provision, and ours, is all part of the Fathers plan. In the case of the donkey and its foal, we can see that God the Father had made this provision centuries before.

There is no need that you have that God is not aware of, and that He has not planned for.

The problem is, there are things that blind us to God’s provision, and leave us without. The number one thing that separates us from our provision is fear, panic and their little brother worry. There are others like murmuring or self-reliance. I am sure there are lots more judging by how many of us are so woefully low on resources.

Let’s see if we can do better, and begin to believe that God has in fact foreseen our needs as He promised, before it presented the bill.

Why worry, when you can pray?

Let’s change the question we are asking God.

Rather that ‘What am I going to do?’ perhaps a better question is ‘Where have you hidden my provision?’

And just for the record, He does not hide things so we can't find them, but rather to teach us to ask daily for our daily bread.

BenThanks for stopping by today.

Ben

The Catch
The Catch

Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. (Matthew 6:31-34 NASB)

In Monday’s post [Much More] I told you that God provision was not a principal or a promise, but more of a forgone conclusion.

Today there is actually another shoe about to drop.

There is a condition – a catch – one itty-bitty proviso.

And that goes back to the last paragraph – Who’s your master?

Here is the thing – If Jesus is your master, you have nothing to worry about – really –nothing.

Worry is a total waste of ‘redeemed time.’

The time you have is a gift of God. He gave it to you with a plan and a purpose.

Worry is a waste of that precious commodity.

Remember this guy?

And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. (Luke 15:13 NASB)

We call him the prodigal son. Do you know why we call this young man prodigal? (yes it is an adjective) Prodigal means wasteful.

So are you a prodigal when it come to your time – wasting it on worry? [Tweet This]

I pray today you would come to your senses like the prodigal son, and run home to Papa who is more than willing to take care of ‘what you will eat’ and ‘what you will drink’ and ‘how you will clothe yourself.’ And He has your tomorrow well in hand.

So get yourself comfortable in the role of servant, and our Wonderful Lord and Master will sweat the details.

BenLove you guys,

See you tomorrow

Ben

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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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