If you are like most people, you have felt inadequate and lacking in confidence at times. There have been many self-help books written to help us improve ourselves and grow in self-confidence. I have read some of these. One thing I have noticed is that they put the focus on “me.” They stress that I am the answer and solution to make things better. These books don’t give a complete answer to the problem. When we add surrendering to God, our insecurities diminish. Positive thinking and self-talk strategies go only so far for those who struggle with self-worth. These strategies can seem like good ideas that we should embrace, but only work for a while. I looked up self-talk and could agree with most everything I read. However, what I find distressing is that it is only part of the solution. Much what the world communicates today provides only part of the answer. Without the whole truth, without balancing these ideas with what God teaches in His Word, we get just half of the truth, which can lead us into believing lies.
Please take time to read these few verses. The author of Psalm 119: 137-144 writes from his personal struggles and pain. Yet, he focuses on the joy and fulfillment that God provides. The writer does not dwell on himself or his situations. He names and proclaims, with a joyful and thankful heart, the attributes, gifts and even requirements of God.
Words such as precepts and commands conjure up thoughts of rules and limitations confining and limiting our freedom and happiness. Yet the writer realizes that obedience to God’s Word brings about its own liberty. It brings freedom of spirit and eternal joy.
Each verse reflects the writer’s love and devotion to God’s Word. They reveal the fulfillment the author receives through scripture and the protection God provides through life’s situations.
My prayer is that God’s Word will fulfill the deep needs of your heart and life and that you will be able to declare God’s Glory through His Word.
“May the peace of God, that surpasses all understanding,
keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4: 7
Have you ever felt “out of sorts”, left out, or neglected? Sometimes things don’t go the way I would like them to. Sometimes my ideas go ignored. You’ve probably got buttons of your own that, when pushed, send you into a “funk.” There are so many things that can put me in a bad mood and ruin my day. But, years ago I realized that I have a choice to make. I can continue to wallow in self-pity, or I can determine to do what is right and have a pleasant attitude. The verse in Acts 11:23 describes how I need to live in all circumstances.
When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.
Barnabas had traveled to Antioch to investigate rumors that a group of unknown men were preaching about Jesus. The Apostles were concerned that this group might be preaching false doctrine. However, it seems that it didn’t take long for Barnabas to discover these men were indeed preaching truth and their ministry was being blessed by God. The verse states that “he was glad.” Some versions translate the word “rejoiced.” He was excited to see God working among these people. It doesn’t say so here, but I can imagine that Barnabas whispered a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. Then, true to his nature, Barnabas “encouraged them.” He went on to give these new followers of Jesus specific direction. He encouraged them to continue with the Lord “with PURPOSE.” They were to live a life pleasing to God with intention and determination.
It’s easy to fall back on the old “I’m a woman; it’s my hormones” excuse. Yes, hormones are real and we don’t have complete control over them. But, often it is not the female hormones. Both men and women fight bad attitudes.
Several years ago my pastor’s wife walked past me in the busy church foyer and didn’t stop to speak to me. I remember being faced with two choices of thought. The selfish, touchy Debi could have thought, “She walked right past me today at church and didn’t even acknowledge that I was standing there.” Or, the patient, understanding Debi could have thought, “She walked past me today and didn’t speak. She is so busy. I am sure she must have a dozen things on her mind. I’ll give her a call to see if there is something I can do for her.” And then, I could take it further and remember to pray for her as she faced all the pressures and responsibilities of being a pastor’s wife.
Many things can put us “out of sorts” if we let them. Many people in our lives seem to bring out the worst in us and get us into a bad frame of mind. I encourage you today to remember, and heed the words of Barnabas:
“…with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.”
Then you will be able to say with confidence:
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with my song.” Psalm 28:7
Debi Snider... more