Tag Archives: anxiety

Where are the answers?

We all have moments of crisis. We all have times when we are overwhelmed by what life has just brought to us. We all have real-life, human emotions. And it’s ok to say it.

In Jeremiah 37, the people of Judah were facing a real life battle. But here’s the rub; and here is where the enemy wins, our anxiety, anger, sadness, or other things overtake us, and we veer further off course than we meant or needed to:

Just like the people of Judah, we look for our conclusive help in the wrong place.

They looked to the army of Egypt to save them. But God was there all the time, and had been from the beginning, trying to get them to turn to Him. Yet they refused.

We do it, too. Proverbs 20:7 says, “Some nations boast of their chariots and horses, but we boast in the name of the Lord our God.”

The Lord had saved them time and time again, but they kept forgetting, and way too often not even giving Him credit. Sound familiar? 😬

Proverbs 44:6-8, “I don’t depend on my arrows or my sword to save me. But You saved us from our hateful enemies, and You put them to shame. We boast about You, our God, and we are always grateful.”

My, oh my. Why do we continue to look to ourselves, to others, and to outside sources for the answer, the solution, or the salvation? It is God that fights, God that has the answers, and God that is Faithful.

He protects, shields, defends, provides, supplies, heals, comforts, creates, fights, gives wisdom, gives knowledge, gives understanding, unifies, loves, breathes life. There is literally nothing He can’t do!

The answers we seek? They lie in Him.

We saw the mountain, in the photo, when we were in TN. I mentioned that it reminded me of when Moses was on the mountain talking to God, and it was covered in cloud and smoke. My son said, “Maybe someone’s up there talking to God.” ❤️ Maybe they were. I sure hope so. That’s what we all need to do.

You are loved,

jamie

Who/what is driving our choices?

The Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul the moment he left Samuel, after he was anointed to become king.  The Bible says that God made him a different person.  The Lord had also helped Saul defeat the army of the Ammonites when they came against the town of Jabesh, rescuing the people, when His Spirit once again came upon Saul.  

The Lord had sent a thunderstorm in the middle of the dry season to show his power and might.  And Samuel reminded them of all the other amazing things that God had done for them before.  

Now, another army is coming against them, and King Saul’s soldiers are shaking in their boots.  Fear is a natural human emotion, but the Lord had continued to prove Himself to them over and over again, so they knew they had a Helper to watch their backs.  Other soldiers had run off and left, and suddenly Saul, the one who had been anointed, the one who had become a different person, the one upon whom the Spirit of the Lord had come again and again took on the fear and the worry of the others around him, and he began to worry, as well.  

Not only that, but Samuel, who was supposed to come and offer sacrifices to the Lord for them, had not yet come.  Where was he!?  (enter nail-biting)

Saul, let all of this fear and worry from these outside sources drive his choices, and he took matters into his own hands.  If that doesn’t sound like us, I don’t know what does.  

Things look scary, people say things that drive up our fear, worry, or anxiety, and it doesn’t seem like help is anywhere to be found.  All the while, the Holy Spirit…the Comforter…is living inside of us.  The One who gives peace, who guides us into all understanding, who leads us into the right paths, is living within us, and is ready to help us make choices that are not driven by outside circumstances, but by faith, by hope, by truth, trust, and peace.  

Not only does the spirit of fear not come from the Lord; but when we keep our eyes on Him, He allows His perfect peace to be ours.  With that peace guarding our minds and hearts, we are able to trust Him to fight our battles, just like He’s done in the past; and go forth, in victory!

Don’t bite those nails,

jamie 

An unseen enemy

I joined my son in tubing down the Greenbrier a few weeks ago.  Walk up, ride down, and repeat.  As we walked up once, I saw a water snake hiding in the grass.  It headed upstream as we got closer.

My son weren’t fighting the current that day, or the rocks just under the tubes…that wasn’t what we really needed to worry about…and that wasn’t I was watching out for.  I was looking out of the corner of my eye for what I knew was unseen.

Eph. 6:12 says that we are fighting evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.  We aren’t fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but things we can’t see.

Therefore, we need to put on our armor so we will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil.  Then after the battle we will still be standing firm.  (The armor is described in Eph. 6:14-17)  And we are to PRAY in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion and stay alert!

My son didn’t even realize that I had been keeping an eye out the entire time.  Having grown up in the waters of WV, I knew that a snake was most definitely lurking in there somewhere.  They blend in so well, you can’t see them until you’re right up on them or they move.

I stopped my son, and we let it get well ahead of us before we continued.  The truth is that the snake had been there all along, hiding in the shallows, and we had gone by it at least 12 times.

I was definitely staying alert on that river.  I knew there was enemy somewhere.  So, when I saw it, I was able to protect us.

We also have an unseen enemy, who is skilled at keeping us worrying about all the wrong things, and we need to stay alert and keep praying, so God can give us that same pause and wisdom I had when I saw my enemy.  He can, and He will.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

This song came on during my worship time this morning, and fits perfectly to this thought.  The waves and wind still know His name…He is still in control…and is still greater than he that is in this world.  If we keep our eyes on Him, it will be well with our souls.

I hope you can take a few moments sometime to today and worship the One who is still in control of all things, and gives you the shield of faith to stop all the fiery arrows of the devil!  Our enemy will never be stronger than our Lord.

Pray and stand firm,

jamie

Feeling dismayed?

These all look to You to give them their food in due season.  When You give it to them, they gather it up; when You open Your hand, they are filled with good things.  When You hide Your face, they are dismayed…”  Ps. 104:27-29

Since Creation began there have been moments where the creation has felt like God has hidden His face from them.  All throughout the Pslams you can see the questions, posed, “Why do you hide Your face from me? Why are You so far from helping me?”

Before that, Job asked, “Why do you hide your face and consider me your enemy?” We even heard Jesus, from the cross, ask, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Because we look to God for all things, it is in our moments of sorrow, pain, anxiousness, or uncertainty; it’s in the moments of silence that we sometimes feel as though He has hidden His face, and we are dismayed.

As we can see from the reaction of Jesus, and all throughout the Bible, it is a normal, human reaction.  We were created in God’s image, with emotions; and loneliness, uncertainty, grief, and pain are some of those emotions.

What can we do?  Keep looking for Him, seeking Him, and reminding ourselves of all He has done.  Job was looking for him in his darkest moments, when all he wanted to do was die, and he couldn’t find God to the right or the left–he kept seeking.

He spoke of all the works and wonders God had done in the past, and even as he wondered at first where God was, speaking of who God is built him up, and helped him keep close the One he needed all along.  Eventually he found his way back, not just to physical health, but to emotional and spiritual health, too.  This is how it works for us all.

I know there was a lot involved behind the scenes in Job’s story, but seeking God in the tough times the way Job did, praising, and reminding ourselves of God’s works and the things He has done in the past is the best way to find our way out.

We tend to pull away when we go through pain and crisis, and we feel like we can’t find God, but the truth is that the answer lies with Him alone.  He is the One.  He is the Salvation.  He is the Deliverance.  He is the Healing.  He is the Provision.  He is the Wisdom.  He is the Unity.  He is the Peace.  He is All in All, the Great I Am.

Every answer we need to fill the great gaping hole we feel inside is found in Him.  We just have to hold on and seek Him.   God said in Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  This is still true today.

Grateful for a God who cares,

jamie

Lessons from ol’ Eb

In Jeremiah 38, we find Jeremiah cast into a dungeon, meaning he had to be lowered down with ropes; and the Bible says there was no water, but mire, and Jeremiah sank in the mire.  Jeremiah is in a bad situation.

Someone found out about this.  He was a eunuch in the king’s house, named Ebed-Melech.  We’ll just call him Eb, for short.

Jeremiah was a prophet, which means he normally had some respect, but right now he is sinking in mire, in a place where he had to literally be lowered down with ropes.  Yikes!  Not much respect here.  Eb goes to the king and says, “My lord the king, these men have done evil..to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon, and he is likely to die from hunger in the place where he is.  For there is no bread in the city.”

The king commands Eb to take 30 men with him to go lift Jeremiah out of the dungeon before he could die.  So, the men got some old rags and clothes and lowered them down into the dungeon on some ropes and told Jeremiah to put them under his armpits, under the ropes, and then they pulled him up, and hopefully fed the man and let him get cleaned up a little.  (I don’t know…it doesn’t say that part)

There are people in our lives right now that feel as though they are sinking the mire.  Are we taking the time out of our lives to send down the ropes and pull them out?  It’s ok if we need to get some others to go with us.  Eb took 30 men with him.  If you’re too insecure or uncertain to do it alone call for back up!  But never leave someone sinking if you know they’re there.  Pull them out before they can die…emotionally, spiritually, or physically.

I also love the care they took with Jeremiah.  They considered his weakened state and sent down some old rags and clothes for him to put under his armpits before having him put the ropes under his arms before they pulled him back up.  When we are helping people, it’s ok to take a little extra care and not always assume “tough love” is the immediate best plan.

There are also people around us who need to be literally fed or given some water.  Perhaps you can help with that.  If so, please do.  Maybe you don’t have all the resources, but like Eb, you know someone who does.  Talk to them.  See if they can help, and maybe you can even pitch in and help like ol’ Eb did.  Don’t just watch someone suffer and do nothing.  Pr. 3:27 says, “Whenever you possibly can, do good to those who need it.”

Thanks for these great reminders today Eb!  You were a stand up guy!

Look for someone around you that may need some help today,

jamie

 

How are they so calm right now?

    Photo taken straight through my kitchen window. Notice the water drops…they’re on the outside.  I was safe and dry on the inside.

I was taking a few moments to just enjoy myself and gaze out at the rain through the kitchen window this morning.  Then I looked over and had to laugh when I noticed that our outside cat, who was now inside, was doing the same through the sliding door.

Tropical storm Michael is upon us right now, so we have a nice, steady rain here right now, some wind gusts; and it’s still a bit dark out.  Inside our home this morning; however, it has been so nice and peaceful.  It’s been very calm and quiet this morning, and I’ve felt an unusual type of peace.  It’s been quite lovely.

It reminded me of something that God can do in our lives.  Sometimes there are storms in our lives.  Winds can blow, rain can pelt down, floods can rise.  Things in our lives can be out of control all around us.  Oh, but God…He can keep everything calm and peaceful within us.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”  Ph. 4:6-7 (NLT)   

God will give us peace that exceeds anything we can understand, and it will guard our hearts and minds as we live in Christ Jesus.  That’s the peace I’m talking about.  The peace that keeps us calm on the inside while the storm rages around us on the outside.

It won’t make sense.  People will wonder how we can be so calm.  We may not even believe it ourselves at first, but then we will understand that God has just been faithful once again, like He has been before!  He cannot lie, so if He says He will give us this kind of peace, then we can take Him at His word.  We just have to trust Him enough to try it.

So, the first step is do not worry, but pray.  Tell Him what we need.  Thank Him for all He has done.  And then…then comes that peace…the peace within the storm!  I want that peace in the storms of my life, don’t you?  Let’s give it a shot!

Praying for your peace and mine,

jamie

Lessons learned on today’s hike

Life can put any manner of obstacles in our path.  Sometimes we are strong and energetic, jumping right over them.  Other times we are a little more cautious, stepping carefully over them.  There are other times; however, when we are so tired and wearied that we just feel like sitting down and weeping before them, giving up.  If that happens we sometimes even backtrack and wind up back where we began, making no progress in our journey at all.  It can happen to any of us.

 

 

Life can also offer us bridges.  Sometimes bridges can be scary things.  They can be very high, very rickety, made of rope, built over raging waters, or just something that someone fears.  In order to cross a bridge, we have to have faith that what awaits us on the other side of a bridge is worth us crossing it in the first place.

Those obstacle and bridge moments are definitely moments in our lives when we are prone to call out to God.  We cry out for help from the One we know or have heard can calm our fears or give us peace.  We reach out for the one that calms the storm when the bridge starts swaying.  We ask for help with the obstacles when we know they are Goliath’s that we cannot defeat.

 

It’s those other moments, when the path is clear and the going seems easy that we can get so confident that we forget we are still need of that same Savior.  We see the empty path and assume we can handle the steps ourselves.  We don’t feel the urgency to read our Bible like we did when we were facing the bridges, so we read less and less until maybe we aren’t reading at all.  Meanwhile, there are roots under the leaves that begin trip us up as we go.  Suddenly, the small roots begin to look like the large obstacles once again.

We think our prayer time can wait until we get around the curve, but then we get busy with our day and forget.  Next thing we know, we look up and see a bear lumbering towards us.  Because we haven’t been plugging into the power of the Holy Spirit, we aren’t prepared when the enemy meets us on the path.  Now we’re weak, meeting him in our own strength, and full of fear again.

I’m reminded of how David yelled out to Goliath, “You come against me with a dagger, spear, and sword, but I come against you in the name of the Lord, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand.” 1 Sam. 17:45-46

We don’t just need the Lord on our side when the obstacle is in our face.  We need to have had the Lord by our side all along, so that once we meet the obstacles we are sure to face we can face them with a David-like faith, strong and sure.

Walk with Him daily,

jamie

You are not going to crash

I love the methods that God will use to get a message to us.  Migraine rescue medication combined with tension and sadness made for a rough morning today.  I was persevering, though.  I read my Bible while I ate my breakfast, I listened to praise and worship music all morning long.  I know where my strength lies, but sometimes I feel like I’m clawing for it.  Have you ever felt that way?  Is that just me?  Hmm…

Then my kids and I sat down for our morning devotions and the book said, “It is a great gift from God to be able to hear, but what you do with what you hear is your gift back to God.”  Then it quoted Jesus,

Everyone who hears these things I say and obeys them is like a wise man.  The wise man built his house on rock.  It rained hard and the water rose.  The winds blew and hit that house.  But the house did not fall, because the house was built on rock.  But the person who hears the things I teach and does not obey them is like a foolish man.  The foolish man built his house on sand.  It rained hard, the water rose, and the winds blew and hit that house.  And the house fell with a big crash.”  (Mt. 7:24-27)

I could literally hear God reminding me that my house is not built on the sand.  My house, my faith, my hope…they are built on the rock.  The solid rock of the Lord, Jesus Christ.  Yes, it is raining hard right now, and the waters have been rising lately.  The winds have been blowing from one direction and then another, but MY HOUSE IS BUILT ON THE ROCK!

I’m not going to fall or crash.  I’ve got the Mighty God, the Great I AM, the Prince of Peace holding me in His hand.  My life is built on a solid foundation and I can take refuge in the stronghold of His name.  I can’t just talk about trusting Him in a blog on Monday and then forget it on Tuesday.  I have to do it!  And I am.

I was immediately comforted by the Lord as we read that devotion this morning.  If the winds are blowing around you and the rains are pouring down, pelting you from all sides, take heart.  If you can literally see and feel the waters rising around you, stand firm.  Your house is built upon the Rock and YOU WILL NOT FALL!

Stand firm…He is holding you steady,

jamie

Don’t understand?

Pr. 3:5:  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.”

Last week I lost a friend to suicide.  How do you line that up with your faith?

Just like anything else.  Keep trusting in the Lord.  In this life we will have trials.  Although God’s plans for us are good, we live in a sin-cursed world where disease and sin have tainted things.  Sin brought in death and disease.  Sin brought in meanness, evil intentions, cruelty, and poison.  The life we live in this temporary place will have trials and pain, but God can turn every pain and trial around for good.

Joseph’s brother’s plotted to kill him, but instead threw him in a well and sold him into slavery.  He was falsely accused of attempted rape, imprisoned, forgotten.  But of all of the things that were meant for evil in his life, Joseph said, “God meant it for good to save many people.”  And he was right.

This morning I was reading about all the apostles of Christ that were mocked, scourged, homeless, sawed in half, tormented, etc.  (Heb. 11:32-40)  It was said that they did it that they may receive a better resurrection.  Paul, as well, was shipwrecked, snake-bitten, imprisoned, and had a thorn in his flesh that the Lord would not remove.  The Bible says he accepted that gladly for the promise of the power of Christ upon him.

How in the world can we accept suffering, pain, or trials?  How can we make it through these dark times in our lives?  By trusting in the Lord with all our hearts and leaning not on our own understanding.

It doesn’t make sense to us when the pain comes.  But the Word says that His ways are not our ways.  Perhaps, like Joseph, He is going to make something beautiful come from our pain.  Death and suffering don’t come naturally to us, but God has sent us the Comforter.  God supplies for our needs.  He comforts.  He gives joy and peace in the storms and trials of our lives.  When the storms come, He is the One in which we can take refuge.

The Lord is the One who provides the peace that surpasses all understanding which guards our hearts and minds when we pray to him in our times of anxiety.  The Lord is the One who shows Himself strong for us when we remain loyal to Him.  The Lord is the One whose strength is made perfect in our weakness.  It is the Lord in which we need to continue to trust.  He will be as faithful tomorrow as He was in the beginning.  He does not change.

Thank You, Lord, for Your faithfulness, in which we can place our trust and our hope!

jamie