The way to attack anxiety

Psalm 20: “May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. May He send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion. May He remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings. May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God.

May the Lord grant all your requests.

Now this I know:     The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of His right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm. Lord, give victory to the king!  Answer us when we call!

Anxiety hits all of us at some point in our lives. Some of us have learned to handle it better than others. God does not want us to be anxious about anything. When we find ourselves in distress, Psalm 20 can bring us the comfort we need. I used to have a friend who carried this Psalm around in his wallet. I often saw him pull it out before football games. The greatest part of this scripture is found in verse 7.

Some of us trust our cars more than God. Some of us trust our jobs more than God. Some of us trust our homes, our education, our friends, our looks or our money. We are putting our faith in the wrong things. None of those things can save you!

God tells us the way to attack anxiety is to trust in the name of the Lord our God. It is that simple.

Today, reflect on Psalm 20. Outwardly speak the words of affirmations – “I do not trust in chariots or horses…NO! I trust in the name of the Lord my God.” Try it the next time you feel worried. See what a difference it can make.


A Need for Justice

We all have a need for justice. Some of the toughest times in my life are when I feel the wicked are prevailing and the righteous, God’s people, are getting the short end of the stick, so to speak. Habakkuk is feeling the same way. It’s around 605 B.C. and the Babylonians are wreaking havoc over God’s people. The prophet, Habakkuk, questions God, “Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me, there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails.” (Habakkuk 1:3-4)

Can you relate to what he is questioning? Do you feel a little like Habakkuk, wondering how a loving God can allow evil to prevail? Is God stuck in some kind of Godly paralysis?

There are times in life when we have to wade through our losses. It means we have to experience the grief of our hearts, release the tears of pain, work through the struggles of disappointment and shattered dreams and let the Holy Spirit teach us not only to endure but to live and heal and grow.

I love oak trees. Some that have been around for hundreds of years, stand so proud, and their majestic beauty is overwhelming to me. To sit at the base of such a tree, under its protective shade, secure in the thickness of the trunk, reminds me of God’s word and guidance in my life. Oak trees have two kinds of root systems: surface roots (which are very fragile) and tap roots (which can dig as deep as the tree is tall). Tap roots cement the tree. They give the oak its foundation and are the reason the oak can sustain gale force winds and torrential storms. Do you know when tap roots grow the most? During times of drought, because they dig down deep searching for a source of water.

The world around you might be in chaos. You may believe your questions and problems are falling upon God’s deaf ear, but I want you to know, He’s there. It may feel like He’s on vacation or mad at you or listening to anyone but you, “But the Lord is in His Holy Temple, let all the earth be silent before Him.” (Habakkuk 2:20)

Sometimes we have to reach a level of commitment in our walk with God which expresses to Him total devotion, even when our world is in disarray.  Habakkuk 3:17-19, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines; though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

Do not fret; do not worry; God is not paralyzed; He is on the throne, knows your name, knows your need, and knows your answer. And He is on the way! He is the voice of hope in despair. He is freedom rising up in the midst of bondage. He is making a way for you to overcome and declare victory. He is God, and He is mighty.

Though you may have lost your job; though sickness may run through your family; though you may be facing foreclosure; though divorce may be knocking at your door; though your child may be in trouble; though death may have taken someone you love; though you may have been betrayed; yet we will rejoice in the Lord, we will be joyful in God our Savior!


A Different Day

One morning I jumped out of bed, literally shaking the floor boards under my feet. Connie joked with me exclaiming, “Mike, I think Hell shook when your feet hit the floor!”

While I know she was teasing me, it made me think. Hell should shake when my feet hit the floor. Satan should worry that I am awake and ready to start my day focused on the Lord; changing lives; benefiting God’s Kingdom. I want Satan to say, “Oh no! Mike Franklin is up again spoiling my plans!”

How many of us wake up to prayer? Of those who do, how many of us pray about ourselves? Humans are very self-centered beings. We focus on the here and now and most of our focus is upon our needs, desires, and wants. Satan knows if all we are worried about is ourselves, he is going to have a pretty good day.

But, what if we changed it around. What if we focused on God and His wants and desires? What if we started the day asking Him what He wants us to do? Hell would start shaking with fear.

God has called us to be movers and shakers for Him. There is 0 unemployment in Christian service – there is always a job for someone – always – and when we put our attention toward His Kingdom – can you imagine how different our lives can be?

Today, pray about God’s plans for your day. See how different the day can truly be.


Words we choose to use

Matthew 12:35-37, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

In this scripture, Jesus rebukes the Pharisees; even though they can quote scriptures, their hearts are not good. God is more interested in our core being, our inner self, and our hearts than in our memorizing scriptures. In these verses, Jesus is pointing out the importance of our words. Words matter to God. Words are significant to Him because words reveal our heart. There are other scriptures which point out the importance of what we speak.

Ephesians 5:3-4, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.”

James 1:19, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,”

Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

NEVER underestimate the power of words. Words can cause you to ruin your marriage; separate you from your children; lose your job; break up your friendship; and cost you your reputation. Winston Churchill said of words, “By swallowing evil words unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach.”

Your words can also be a source of good. They can encourage someone who needs to hear a kind word. Words can offer hope, strength, compassion, and love. Words can change a person’s life and impact God’s Kingdom.

How do you use your words? Consider carefully what you say, for Christ tells us we will be judged by the words we choose to use.

 


You can count on Him

Psalm 86:4,”Hear me, Lord, and answer me,  for I am poor and needy.Guard my life, for I am faithful to you; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord, for I call to you all day long. Bring joy to your servant, Lord,  for I put my trust in you.”

Whatever you are facing today, know you can trust God. He hears your cry. He knows your need. He will bring joy to you, even in your darkest hours.

All around me I see people in trouble; people in pain; people sick; people with heartache. I’m sure you know many as well. Maybe you are one of those people. God wants to hear the prayers of His people. He wants to give grace and mercy. He wants to deliver you.

Sometimes it can be hard to know if He really understands or hears our prayers; especially, when deliverance is needed quickly.  Today, believe your answer is coming. Pray for joy and peace. Ask for favor and mercy. When we put our trust in God, He delivers. You can count on Him.


Transformations, little by little

There was a popular show on television a few years back. A team of demolition workers, construction workers, decorators, architectural designers would come together and transform a person’s home in a week. The family would be sent on vacation and return to their home, no longer looking like it used to look, totally transformed – in a week! A large bus usually sat in front of the house and people would gather around and the family would yell, “Move that bus!” Emotions ran high as the camera crew would capture the moment of realization when the family saw their new home for the first time.

A friend of mine remodeled his home recently. He laughed because his kids had the idea the home would be finished in a week – like they do it on TV. He told them, “No. It takes much longer than that. We don’t have the ability to do what they do on that television show.” His daughter was discouraged because she had believed it would be like that.

Dave Earley in his book Living in His Presence writes, “There is no such thing as spiritual transformation. It is an ongoing process of ever-increasing glory. Our character is transformed little by little, a bit at a time.”

2 Corinthians 3:17-18, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

When we come to know Christ, the Bible tells us we are “new creations” or that we are “born again.” John 3:3, “Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone,  the new is here.”

Like infants, we have a lot to learn! Your walk with Christ is an ongoing learning experience. It doesn’t happen over-night. The transformation does not happen in a week either. Christianity is about studying the word of God. It’s about making mistakes and learning from them. It’s about repenting and turning in the other directions. New Christians are as vulnerable as an infant would be if left unattended. God is teaching us every day, molding us, and making us into the people He needs us to be.

If you know a person who is a new Christian, make it a point to encourage him in his walk. If you feel stagnant in your relationship with God, join a Bible study and learn His ways. If you feel frustrated that you are not where you need to be in your relationship with God, talk to Him about it. He is always there. He hasn’t gone anywhere – you have!

Remember, God is the Creator. Every second He is shaping you in ways you cannot imagine. He is forming you into the beautiful being He knows you can be. What He needs is your full attention to the project.


Will you be shaken?

Psalm 16:

Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.” Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.  I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods  or take up their names on my lips.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;  you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;  surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;  even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord.  With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, 10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay. 11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

I love this Psalm by David. It says so much about out Father’s love for us. From the very first words, we are assured, like a child, that God will keep us safe from harm. You may be the richest man on the earth, but if you do not have God, you have nothing good. It doesn’t matter what you have or what you do, if God isn’t in your life, it isn’t good.

In today’s society, there are many gods to worship: money, games, material possessions, careers, and so much more. Many of us put our hopes in those fleeting things. Worshipping those things will only cause you to suffer more and more. David tells God, he will not worship other gods, but the Lord alone is his security.

When rough times threaten your peace, it is God who will take you up under His wing and give you the strength to endure. Money isn’t the answer. A new house isn’t the answer. A new car isn’t going to get it for you. Only the name of God should come for your lips.

Our portion (our inheritance) is drawn up by God. Our cup (our destiny) is planned out by God. He assigns them because He is in complete control of both. God makes known our paths for life and if we allow Him, He will see us through to the very end.

Set the Lord before you today. Remember who is your right hand and walk confidently that you will not be shaken.


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