I love News 14 Carolina (a Time Warner Cable exclusive); for it provides news, traffic, and weather updates all day, in 10 minute segments. I particularly enjoy the “Business Update” segment, which announces the latest transactions in the corporate sector. I’ll never forget one episode – the day the news anchor said gas prices would drop below $3.00 per gallon. I was elated, literally beside myself with excitement, only to watch prices soar closer to $4.00 per gallon the same week. What a disappointment!
Aren’t you glad GOD’S WORD never fails? That’s JESUS’ premise in today’s text. Prior to the verse cited above, the Pharisees were upset because people were praising JESUS, just like David promised (see Psalm 118:26). The Pharisees obviously misunderstood the certainty of GOD’S WORD, so JESUS issued a gentle reminder. In our terminology, I think HE said, “You don’t understand. GOD’S WORD is so powerful that if these people hush, the rocks would start talking.” In other words, since GOD said it, it MUST happen!
GOD’S WORD is a binding agreement, so it cannot fail. HIS WORD is so wonderful that JESUS said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away” (Luke 21:33, New Living Translation). The WORD is a sure foundation, and it will help you lay your worries to rest. Why worry if GOD said it? 🙂
Walk in the WORD …
In April, my staff hosted the Gladiator Challenge, our rendition of the popular TV show “American Gladiators.” This event is labor-intensive; many volunteers help arrange the activities. While setting up an event, I noticed one of my employees carrying a hurdle across the field. She made it about 40 yards before the hurdle became heavy, and she put it down, just shy of the final destination. To her delight, I offered my assistance, and we carried the hurdle the remainder of the way.
When you’re load gets heavy, it’s good to have some assistance. Thankfully, JESUS is ready, willing, and able to assist us when our load gets heavy. The man who co-stars with JESUS in today’s text certainly has this testimony. He had a serious burden – a demon-possessed son who seemed immune to every intervention. When all seemed hopeless, however, he carried his son to JESUS. And as always, JESUS saved the day! HE healed the man’s son permanently!
This recharge is a reminder that you can give your worries to JESUS, for HE specializes in weight lifting. No wonder HE announced, “Come unto me, all of you who are weary and carry heaven burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, New Living Translation). Leave your burdens with JESUS, and HE’LL help you carry the load!
Anxiety (worrying) is a natural part of life. If you’ve ever experienced “butterflies” in your stomach or the pre-game “jitters,” then you know what I’m talking about. Prolonged anxiety, however, is not natural, and left untreated, it can have detrimental effects. Anxiety has been linked to chest pain, dizziness, muscle tension, nausea, nightmares, and shortness of breath. Anxiety can make you expire before your time.
The spiritual implications of anxiety are even worse than the health complications. According to Jesus, the key note speaker in today’s recharge, worrying is worldly (ungodly). Jesus asserts that unbelievers – people who don’t know HIM or the power of the resurrection – worry excessively. I don’t know about you, but that’s an incentive for me to lay my worries to rest.
Many things tempt us to worry – gas prices, increased crime, etc. – but don’t let Satan convince you that excessive worrying is normal. Instead, rest comfortably in JESUS’ statement – “… your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.” Better, GOD finds joy in meeting our needs (see Luke 12:32, New Living Translation).
Just wait on HIM …
Have you seen the movie Napoleon Dynamite? I’ll give you a brief summary if you haven’t. Napoleon Dynamite is a bizarre, yet comical film about an underachieving high school student (Napoleon). Throughout the movie, one member of the supporting cast emerges from the pack: Rico, Napoleon’s uncle. Rico’s stuck in time – 1982, to be exact – and he can’t move beyond sitting the bench during the high school football championship game. Rico’s devastated, and he’d rather relive the past than rejoice in the present.
Sometimes, you can miss the forest because of the trees. You can be so upset about the past, or so uncertain about the future, that you miss the blessings of today. Being in the moment can ease your tension, and that’s David’s resolution in today’s text. If anyone could groan about the past (remember Bathsheba?) or dread the future (imagine being a king), it was David. Yet, his decision resonates in this verse: I will enjoy today!
GOD designs each day with us in mind, so don’t let the past or potential worries steal your blessing. Consciously decide to have GREAT days, on purpose! That was Miles Davis’ attitude, whose quote concludes this recharge: “My future starts when I wake up every morning … Every day, I find something creative to do with my life.”
Enjoy TODAY; it’s a gift from GOD!
Earlier this year, my friend asked me to help him move some furniture. The task seemed simple: remove his couch (with a pull out bed) from the bonus room upstairs. But when I felt how heavy the couch was, and knew I had to lead the way downstairs, I thought we were in over our heads! The uncertainty racing through my mind must have appeared on my face, for he said, “You’re good (slang for capable). You lift weights every day.” In other words, my friend trusted me to lead the way, for he knew I could handle the assignment.
Sometimes we act like I did earlier this year. We magnify the enormity of our circumstances and feel like they’re more than we can handle. If you’ve ever asked GOD why, requested leave from your trials, or been angered by HIS seemingly delayed response, then you know what I’m talking about. But Paul offers an invigorating reminder in the text cited above: GOD doesn’t allow trials above our limits. In other words, GOD won’t allow anything you can’t handle.
I heard an inspiring analogy that underscores this observation, so I’d like to share it with you. One of my favorite preachers explained it like this: we’re like fine tailored clothes, and trials are our spiritual irons. GOD applies heat to remove the wrinkles in our lives, but HE’S wise enough to read the label first. So if you’re overwhelmed in a trial, just remember that GOD read your “care instructions” first. Better, when the fire seems too intense, remember HIS hand is still on the iron!
The recent economic crisis, rising energy costs, and resounding environmental consciousness have encouraged people to go green. People have abandoned SUVs and other energy depleting products for green alternatives – hybrid vehicles, low-flow faucets, Energy Star appliances, fluorescent light bulbs, space heaters, etc. Their reasoning is logical – green products use energy more efficiently, which means big savings on energy bills! More money means more options, and certainly, more security and flexibility. No wonder so many people have gone green!
I think Christians should join the green movement, too. We waste a lot of energy worrying, and it’s expensive. Worrying doesn’t resolve the problem, and we can’t redeem the time wasted while worrying. Thankfully, Paul gives us a great way to redirect the energy we spend worrying. In sum, Paul says, “Instead of worrying about what’s wrong in your life, rejoice and celebrate what’s right!” What a healthy, faith-rejuvenating outlet for our energy!
When worry invades your mind, go green! Pull the plug on your concerns by considering GOD’S wonderful works in your past and present. Better, remember this – if HE did it before, HE can do it again!
Be energy efficient …
There’s one day I’ll never forget as long as I live – the day my dad came to the rescue. We stopped to visit my grandmother one night, and Lex, my cousin’s dog, was on the porch. Lex was a large, black Labrador retriever, and he (and any other dog) absolutely terrified me. As we approached the house, Lex ran to me, stood on his hind legs (playing, of course), and started barking; I thought I my life was over. 🙂 At the peak of my fear, however, my dad spoke, and Lex relaxed. My greatest fear became my dad’s greatest opportunity to prove his keep.
Did you know that your greatest fears are GOD’S greatest opportunities? This observation permeates Exodus 3-4, the context which contains today’s recharge. GOD commanded Moses to rescue HIS people from Egypt, and the assignment scared Moses. Returning to Egypt meant confronting his past mistakes (he murdered someone), and the assignment highlighted his deficiency (he couldn’t speak well.) In the midst of Moses’ panic, GOD provided a soothing revelation: “I will be with you.”
It’s difficult to grasp, but GOD works best in the pit – not the peak – of our potential. No wonder HE told Paul, “My power works best in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9, New Living Translation). So when fear grips your mind, lay it to rest. Remember, GOD didn’t give us a fearful spirit (see 2 Timothy 1:7), rather; HE gave us fear conquering power!
Fight fear with faith …