The choice of joy

We live in the midst of huge cultural shifts. Mentality in so many things has shifted.

Sometimes we forget, or maybe didn’t even know, that in any shift… we have choices. We can choose “doom and gloom” or we can choose joy. Joy doesn’t mean “lack of problems.” In fact, it may compound problems. But we can still choose joy. We can choose the way of blessing, not cursing.

Choosing joy does not mean abandoning truth. It does not mean abandoning allegiance to the Kingdom of God. It may mean a less firm hold on our cultural allegiances and long-time framework.

We need to learn to lose. We need to learn to lose a few “cultural battles” because ultimately those things fade away. They will blow away like sand with time. We just may not like the way things are blowing right now.

Daniel was faced with unbelievable upheaval. It wasn’t just a cultural shift. It was a political, military, life shift. But he chose to live in blessing, even while standing for truth. He risked. And God rewarded. He ended up blessing his captor’s culture. By the time we get to Daniel 4 he is desiring good for Nebuchadnezzar! He wants the king, his captor, to choose the way of life. He mourns the thought of Nebuchadnezzar choosing wrong.

In these hard shifting days, may we have the strength in our lives to choose joy. The enemy robs through anxiety. Jesus restores through joy.

No place for worry

When we really take in what Jesus is saying about the power of the Kingdom, we come to his amazing “guarantee:” you won’t worry.

No matter how many times I read this passage in Matthew 6, I still choke on this passage. Worry. Anxiety. Things that keep me up. Things that wake me up. Things that give me nightmares.

Worry. Anxiety.

And Jesus says, “Stop.”

It does go back to FOCUS. When my treasure is in Christ, I learn to TRUST.

Life is so much more than the stuff I worry over.

Life is about his kingdomMy attention, my affections, are to be in his direction and he graciously takes care of the “little” stuff in my life.

Let my life be devoted to treasuring Jesus.

 

 

Anxiety and the Kingdom of God

There is a place of freedom we can truly find in the Kingdom of God. It’s often seen as “beyond reach,” or for when we “get to heaven,” but when Jesus talks about the abundance of the Kingdom of God he is speaking directly to tremendous benefits. Benefits NOW. Expectations NOW.

In Matthew 6:25-34 he talks about freedom from anxiety.

Grab hold of this: it is an expectation in the Kingdom of God.

If you need help with how to handle this amazing concept, this Bob Newhart counseling session could be of assistance.

But beyond that, we need to realize the TRUE power of the Kingdom of God. We need to understand the TRUE expectations of the Kingdom.

When we have been touched by the Kingdom of God in blessing, and we have understood the command to “be perfect,” and we have entered into the training of spiritual disciplines so our focus can be truly on the King and his Kingdom… we will find new freedoms, one of which is freedom from anxiety.

Jesus does not promise something he cannot deliver.

Where is our focus?

Panic Attacks

There are those days when the cares of life seem to overwhelm. “Seem?” Who am I kidding?

There are those days when the cares of life overwhelm us. The pressures come crashing in on us and while we know Scripture and can go to reliable places for meditation, it does not necessarily stop the attack. The attacks press in because the enemy is always looking for opportunity to press in on the weak spots.

These are opportunities for crying out (sometimes literally) to God. To confess our weakness. To beg for his strength. To be honest about being overwhelmed.

Don’t lie about the feelings. They are overwhelming and you feel the pressure.

Have mercy on me, O God, for men are attacking me!
All day long hostile enemies are tormenting me.
Those who anticipate my defeat attack me all day long.
Indeed, many are fighting against me, O Exalted One. (Ps. 56:1-2, NET Bible)

But even though you may think, “I’ve called out to God before. This is ridiculous! It’s like I’m not trusting him!” just remember: call out to him again.

When I am afraid,
I trust in you.
In God—I boast in his promise—
in God I trust, I am not afraid.
What can mere men do to me? (Ps. 56:3-4, NET Bible)

The cares of this world, the anxiety of life, has NOTHING on the provision of our Father. What can mere mortals do to us?

Trust.