I have something to confess…
I can be a pretty passionate hand-wringer.
I know, I’ve told you I’m in recovery when it comes to worry and anxiety, and I am … really! At least that’s what I tell myself. (Picture an awkward smile here.)
But the truth is … the news, a controversial post on social media, or a divisive op-ed can agitate me in a matter of seconds.
When I see the ways the enemy is at work trying to turn us against each other, I’ll admit I occasionally find myself worrying about the future for us, for our children and our grandchildren.
I’ve even been known to do a little ranting about it on occasion. Based on the emails I receive, and the posts and comments I read online … I’m not the alone in this struggle.
Which is why I’m stopping today to remind myself of one very important truth…
God Never Changes!
It’s easy to look around, focus on the negative, and get upset when it seems like culture is on a path to self-destruction. But take a look at the wisdom of Solomon…
History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.Ecclesiastes 1:9
When I read through Bible as history … the evidence is clear, sin has been sin since the Garden.
People are selfish, prideful, and power hungry. They manipulate the truth for personal gain and do what it takes for popularity.
But God said about Himself through James…
Don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.James 1:16–17
And through the writer of Hebrews, He said this…
God also bound Himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that He would never change His mind. So God has given both His promise and His oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie.Hebrews 6:17–18a
And the promise is Jesus…
These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest.Hebrews 18b–19
Which makes me stop and ask the question…
How do I keep my hope anchored on the truth when the world shouts louder than God’s gentle whisper?
And that’s when I realize this 3-part answer…
1. Read God’s Word – Old and New Testaments.
I know, life is busy and our time is limited. So, if you and I are able to find time to read our Bibles at all, it’s tempting to stick with the parts that are interesting and easier to understand.
I get it … traveling through the wilderness with the Children of Israel can seem like it’s actually taking 40 years and it’s easy to wonder how the accounts of judges and kings apply to the 21st Century. But reading through the Old Testament reminds me how often I sound like a whiney wilderness wanderer and begin to know that it’s true … “nothing under the sun is truly new.”
This year I’m following the Bible Reading Plan at the back of the Life Application Bible. It “offers a complete view of Scripture and does so without being overwhelming” by skipping repeated material. I have a little more time for study this year, so I decided to add a Psalm or a few verses from Proverbs, and a section from my favorite books of the New Testament (John, Romans, or 1, 2, 3 John).
As I’m reading, I write the verses that stand out to me in my journal and when I’m done I write a prayer based on what I’ve read.
So, part #2 is…
About everything always!
Never stop praying.1 Thessalonians 5:17
Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.Colossians 4:2
You and I can trust the God who promises to hear us…
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.1 John 5:14
And calm our fears…
I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me. He freed me from all my fears.Psalm 34:4
Because He loves us…
God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him.1 John 4:9
I haven’t always kept a prayer journal but I’ve discovered this year that I love writing my prayers. Putting my words on paper slows me down and helps me really think about what I’m praying. And I love being able to go back and see the ways God has worked on my heart and mind as I’ve cried out to Him.
The next one is important. At least it is for me…
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise … then the God of peace will be with you.Philippians 4:19, 20b
Last week, I made the decision to stop following anything or anyone that posts negative rants on social media and I stopped watching all news outlets.
I get to choose what I read, listen to, and watch. I also need to carefully choose what I think about and I’ve decided that for me, it’s self-defeating to dine on a constant diet of messages that discourage my mind and hurt my heart.
When I do these three things, I am better able to…
Trust the God Who Never Changes
The One who has faithfully kept His promises in the past and will keep His promises in the future … God never changes!
What makes me so sure?
He gave us Jesus, the fulfillment of all God’s promises … from the Word spoken in the Garden, to kings and prophets—Jesus is God’s answer.
And when I’m “still.” When I fix my focus on Jesus. When I listen to the Holy Spirit … I’m not worried!
When the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.John 14:26–27
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
Because God, who created everything, sent Jesus to suffer our punishment and give us eternal life. And for today’s struggle, He has given us His Spirit’s presence to help us remember the truth about His grace, mercy, and love.
So, I’m taking some time to turn away from the stuff that agitates me and spending more time thanking God for the gift of the peace I have in Jesus. And with the Holy Spirit as my Helper … I will reject hand-wringing and remember – God never changes!
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