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Girlfriends in God - Dec. 31, 2007

  • 2007 Dec 31
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December 31, 2007

A Worry-Free 2008

Mary Southerland

 

 

Today’s Truth

“Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks.” Philippians 4:6 (GWT)

 

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Standing on the brink of a new year naturally evokes a variety of human responses. Some people are excited at the new beginning and fresh start before them. Many are simply relieved and even amazed that they survived 2007. Others are a bit fearful of all 2008 will hold and are already worrying about the “what ifs” tucked into the days, weeks and months ahead. We have no reason to worry and every reason to trust God. Yet, countless lives are diluted by worry and barricaded behind a formidable wall of fear and doubt. To dwell in doubt, fear and worry is a deadly sin.

 

The Comanche Indians tortured and killed their enemies by staking them to the ground. They then took a wet leather strap and placed it around the neck of their enemy. As the leather strap slowly dried in the blazing desert sun, it would gradually cut off the air supply until their enemy finally choked to death. Worry does the same thing. “Worry” literally means “to be pulled in different directions”. The old English root from which we get our word “worry” means “to strangle”. Worry literally strangles our peace and honestly, has no place in the heart of women in ministry.

 

·         Worry is a control issue.

·         Worry is wasted energy.

·         Worry is consuming and unhealthy.

·         Worry is a joy thief.

·         Worry is the interest that we pay today on tomorrow’s problems.

·         Worry is practicing atheism.

·         Worry makes everything seem bigger than it really is!

 

When we choose to trust God, we are choosing against worry. Isaiah’s prayer of faith should be our prayer as well. “You, Lord, give true peace. You give peace to those who depend on you. You give peace to those who trust you.” (Isaiah 26:3 ICB) It is simple. God rewards our trust with His peace. Recently, I saw a bumper sticker that read, “Worry is the darkroom in which “negatives” are developed.” How true! I can only imagine what it does to the heart of God to see His children caught in the trap of negative attitudes when His plan is a peaceful mind-set. We will never minister in freedom and power until we consistently choose against worry and deliberately choose to trust God alone.

 

It is possible not to worry. It must be. God never asks us to do anything that He doesn’t empower us to do! The question is, “Who is God in our lives?” Playing God is the root of worry. When we take life into our own hands, worry will always be the result. The apostle Paul certainly had plenty of reasons to worry. He was in jail, facing a trial and almost certain execution. Paul’s health was failing rapidly and the churches he had spent his whole life building were struggling to survive. Yet, Paul refused to worry and so can we. Paul lived a life marked by peace and so can we.

 

Paul gives us the formula for eliminating worry and establishing peace when he writes “in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks.” In this verse, “prayers” are thoughts spoken to God while “requests” are specific needs presented to God. In other words, if it is big enough to concern us, it is big enough to concern God. Then why do we get serious about prayer only as a last resort. We have forgotten that aside from God’s power, we are nothing but helpless and lost. Peace comes while we are on our knees before Him in prayerful dependence. Paul reminds us that we are to pray about everything! Prayer should be a habit instead of a last-ditch effort.

 

I heard the story of a man who encountered trouble while flying his small airplane. He called the control tower and said, "Pilot to tower. I'm 300 miles from the airport, six hundred feet above the ground and I'm out of fuel. I am descending rapidly. Please advise. Over." "Tower to pilot," the dispatcher began "Repeat after me: "Our Father Who art in heaven...'" Prayer should be our natural response and our first reaction to every circumstance because peace is our defender. Paul states that while the peace of God is beyond our understanding, it is ours to enjoy through Jesus Christ. “Then God's peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7) “Guard” is a military term. Peace will stand guard our thoughts and emotions, turning away every enemy of peace.

 

Notice that Paul says if we want to experience peace, we must give thanks while we are praying, the perfect picture of praying in faith. To pray in faith is to believe that God not only can answer or will answer prayer, but that He is answering even as we pray. The story is told of a small town in west Texas that was experiencing a severe drought. One Sunday morning, a pastor in that town announced there would be a prayer meeting that night and encouraged every member to meet at the church to pray for rain. The pastor challenged them to come in faith, believing that God would hear and answer their prayer. That night, the church was filled with every leader of the church and community. The preacher stood, looked out over the crowd and said “Only one of you has come in faith.” He then pointed to a little girl seated on the front row. She was holding an umbrella. Faith feeds peace.

In the over 3100 years of recorded history the world has only been at peace 8% of the time or a total of 286 years. Over 8000 treaties have been made and broken. Even now, we seem headed for a nuclear showdown. It is time for us to cry out to God, asking Him to unleash His power in our lives. He will answer!

 

Jehovah Shammah: “I am there.”

Jehovah Jireh: “I am your provider.”

Emmanuel: “God with us.”

Jehovah Shalom: “I am your peace.”

 

Let’s pray

Father, another year is gone and a new one is just ahead. I want to face this year with peace instead of fear. Please help me focus on You and Your power instead of on myself, others and human power. I want to trust You with my whole heart and please You by the way I live out 2008, starting with today. Lord, I commit everything I am to You and ask that You fill my heart and life with the peace only You can give. When the hard times come, help me remember Your sufficiency and run first to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Now it’s your turn

Inventory time! Store employees are busily counting and recording the holiday “leftovers”. Reports will be turned in, orders placed and some stock discontinued. We need to do the same in our lives. And now is the perfect time to do it. Set aside some time to examine and evaluate 2007. What needs to go? What was missing in 2007 that needs to be part of 2008?

 

Prayerfully set five goals for 2008. Record those goals on an index card that you keep in your bible. Refer to it often to chart your progress. Ask the Father for His guidance and direction…and the strength to realize each goal for His honor.

 

More from the Girlfriends

Sharon, Gwen and I want to wish you a new year filled with Jesus. Wherever the year takes you, celebrate the truth that your Shepherd has already been there, preparing the way for you, His precious lamb. And know that we, Girlfriends in God, are with you every day, cheering you on, walking with you and loving every minute of doing life with together. I also want to invite you to visit my new website where you will find free resources that will help you on your journey, as well as a free online bible study beginning January 8, 2008. Blessings!

 

 

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