Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Walking With My Savior #13

#13 September 27, 2005
Walking with My Savior
"Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." Galatians 5:25

I was reflecting this morning on a devotional by one of my favorite writers and preachers, fellow God Chaser, Tommy Tenney. (http://www.godchasers.net/) The reading dealt with distractions that take our eyes off of Jesus. In my mind's eye I saw myself walking a road with my Savior by my side. Walk the road with me for a few minutes and let's see what happens...

We are on the path of the righteous with Jesus which the Bible tells us is "like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day" (Proverbs 4:18). The path is bright and light because "in Him there is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5). Our Lord, our Redeemer, our Friend, our All in All is talking to us and we are abiding in Him. Our minds are set on Him and we have life and peace (Romans 8:6). His words are a "lamp to our feet and a light for our path" (Psalm 119: 105).

There are many signs along the way. STOP and go down the path of offense for a while. YIELD to the voice of gossip, backbiting and slander. GO the way of anger, bitterness and resentment. Liar's Lane on the left and Revenge Road on the right. Selfish City this way...Lust Lane that way. Take a swim in Superficial Swamp - dive into Complacent Canal. Watch out! It's pretty shallow! Worry World, with all of it's rides and attractions bids you to come and take a vacation. Judgement Jungle beckons with the promise that you will see "a roaring lion waiting to see who he can devour (1 Peter 5:8). You get the picture...

All of a sudden it's cold. It's dark. Your insides are churning. Your mind is racing a mile a minute. Focus has left and fear has taken it's place. And wait a minute....Where is Jesus? He was with us a minute ago...He was right here...Jesus? JESUS?

Softly He waves and says, "Here I am...right here where you left me." We got distracted, we were enticed, we wandered away. But Jesus didn't follow. He stayed where we should have stayed. You see, the Lamb of God knows who His Shepherd is - His Heavenly Father - and He only follows Him. But "we all like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way. (Isaiah 53:6).

I imagine Jesus sitting down at the side of the path and saying, "there they go again - why won't they ever learn?" As He cried over Jerusalem, He cries over us, "how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings" (Matthew 23:37). But He doesn't leave - He doesn't go on without us. He loves us too much to leave us but He also loves us enough to let us learn the lessons of the wayward path.

So we make our way back. Bruised, cut, broken, guilty, ashamed and so, so sorry! We part the trees of the dark forest we have been in and there He is! Patiently waiting, arms open wide, a smile on His face. The Balm of Gilead Himself with His hands poised to heal our wounds (Jeremiah 8:22 and Jeremiah 46:11). His arm extends. His finger points to the Path once more. Faith replaces fear. Peace replaces confusion. Hope replaces despair. Life replaces death. Blessings replace curses. Forgiveness replaces condemnation. We receive beauty for ashes, strength for fear, gladness for mourning and peace for despair (Isaiah 61:3).

And we wonder...why did we ever leave His side in the first place? Why do we always think we know better? But our Lord never says, "I told you so". He lovingly says, "Follow me". "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12). His arm goes around us and tenderly He says, "Let's walk -- I've got some secrets to tell you".

Walking with Him,

Donna Schultz

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

#12 Getting to Know Him

Getting to Know Him
#12 September 20, 2005
Let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me." Jeremiah 9:24

I can remember the days when I first met my husband. I can't say that it was love at first sight but there was certainly something about him that was drawing me, intriguing me, and beckoning me to get to know him. I wanted to spend more time with him. I wanted to find out who he was and what he was really like. As we grew closer it became important to me to find out his thoughts, his dreams, what he liked and what he didn't like. Whether we are meeting a future spouse or a future friend, we go through the process of getting to know them in the same way.

I have heard it said that we can never really know God. I don't believe that is true because God says in His word that He wants us to know Him. And His word is the truth! I believe we should go about knowing God in the same way that we get to know people in the natural world.

When we are getting to know someone we spend time with them and so it should be with God. The knowledge of God doesn't just come to us by osmosis the day we are saved. We have to make time with the Lord our number one priority. He should receive the "first fruits" of our day. We shouldn't squeeze Him in between our schedule or come to Him at the end of the day when we are spent and tired. Awake and alert we enter His presence with praise and thanksgiving and He meets us then, for "God inhabits the praises of His people." (Psalm 22:3) He will meet you in the midst of your praise. And through the reading of His word He will reveal Himself to you. Everything that you want to know about Him is there for you...in His word.

He will tell you who He is....the great I Am, El Shaddai (God Almighty), Jehovah Jireh (God is our provider), Jehovah Rophe (God is our healer), Jehovah Raah (our shepherd), Jehovah Nissi (our banner in battle). He will tell you that He is your creator, your father, your friend that sticketh closer than a brother. God will show you that He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He will reveal Himself as the Prince of Peace, Mighty Counselor, Holy One, Lamb of God, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is Love. He is Savior and Messiah. He will show you that He is your soon coming King. And that is just a glimpse of who He is! Do you really want to know God? Then spend time in His word.

We ask people questions when we are getting to know them. What do they like - what do they dislike? What makes them happy or sad? We need to ask those same questions of God. Lord, what do you love - what do you hate? What breaks your heart so that it will break mine too? He wants to tell us, among other things, that He loves the righteous (Psalm 146:8), He loves justice (Psalm 99:4), He loves a broken spirit and a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17). God even gives us a list of six things that he hates in Proverbs 6: 16-19. It's all there - again - in His word! You don't have to look far to find out who God is. He did not leave us to wonder or grope around in the dark. He left us His written word to search for who He is and He says, "Seek and you will find" (Matthew 7:7). He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Ask Him the questions - He will answer.

Besides finding out who He is, you will also find out what He is like. He will tell you that He is faithful, He is kind and compassionate. He longs to be gracious to you. He is merciful and forgiving. He is patient and full of loving kindness toward you. He protects, He shields you from harm, he answers your prayers, He has a great and glorious plan for your life. Through seeking Him and letting Him show you Himself, you can draw upon truth in the storms of life because you know God! The voice of the enemy of your soul will grow fainter and God's truth will guard your heart, your mind and your emotions. You will not fear - you know God!

A very important part of getting to know someone is listening to them. Besides reading your Bible, there should also be some time to just be quiet and listen. Be truly quiet because the Lord doesn't often come in the whirlwind and the earthquake. He most often comes in a gentle whisper (Read 1 Kings 19: 11-12). This is a time when we don't speak - He does. Through an inner voice, through leading you to a passage of Scripture, through a tender touch of peace that only He can give. Through a clear directive or a strong conviction of your sin.

Last we get to know someone by observing them. Be alert and in tune to God's hand in your life. Don't mistake anything for coincidence or happenstance. See His faithfulness to you when you have needed a miracle. See His healing in sickness. See His peace in the middle of a raging storm. Feel His strength when you were about to give up and He held you up. Don't ever give credit to yourself or other people - know that it was God, walking into your life saying, "I will show you who I am and what I am like and because of what I've shown you, you will be stronger next time because you know me!"

The way that I have it figured, the only way to know God is to spend time with Him and in His word. He loves spending time with you. I believe He gets excited when He sees you coming. He drops everything for you. He is honored when you let Him know that nothing is more important. Paul said in Philippians 3:8, "I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of KNOWING (emphasis mine) Christ Jesus my Lord." He considered everything else "rubbish".

The Bible says that God knows you. He knows everything about you. He knew your name and your days while you were still in your mother's womb (Read Psalm 139). He knows the number of hairs that are on your head (Matthew 10:30). Now He calls you to know Him. He longs to reveal Himself to you. He is waiting for you whether you have just accepted Christ or whether you have been a Christian for many years. There is always something new to learn, more to know about Him, more secrets to be revealed. No relationship is more important. No task is more pressing. Like Paul, consider everything else rubbish and a loss compared to knowing Christ Jesus, your Lord.

Until next week,

Donna Schultz

Monday, September 12, 2005

#10 Lessons from My Own Backyard

#10 September 6, 2005
Lessons From My Own Back Yard

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse". (Romans 1:20)

I love our backyard. Over the last 15 years we have let nature take it's course and it is now surrounded by trees and green ground cover with a smattering of color here and there around the yard.

Early this morning before most folks were up and moving, creation was alive and revealed the glory and power of God. The birds were singing, a rabbit and a squirrel were scampering around. I heard the sound of the breeze blowing through the trees. Off in the distance a ships' horn could be heard on the lake.

When the world and our own personal lives seem to be reeling out of control, God makes sure that He leaves us evidence that He still is. In fact, all through time God has always made Himself visible through His creation.

Psalm 19:1-4 says, "The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech, night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world."

Since the creation of the world God can be seen through what He has made. The Message says, "the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can't see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse". (Romans 1:20) In creation the everlasting power of God is seen. By observing His work, men are confronted with the living God.

In a broad sense, this past week has been hard on all of us. We are bombarded with images of catastrophic loss of life and property in the South. On a more personal level, you may be enduring a loss or catastrophe of your own, bombarding your thoughts with images that are just as frightening for you. But my Bible tells me that if I just take my eyes off of myself for a little while, maybe, just maybe He will show Himself to me. He's not hard to find, we don't have to look far.

He is in the sunrise of the morning and the moon at night. He is in the constancy of their rising and setting each and every day. When you doubt that He remembers you, look up at a starry sky and hear Him tell you that He knows each and every one by name. (Psalm 147:4). If He knows each star - He remembers you. He has engraved you on the palms of His hands (Isaiah 49:16). Learn a lesson from the birds - Jesus says that you don't need to weary yourself - He provides for the birds and you are much more valuable (Matthew 6:26). Two sparrows are sold for a penny, yet Jesus watches over them. You are worth more than many sparrows. Even the hairs of your head are numbered (Matthew 10: 29-31). Observe the expanse of the waters - their gentle beauty and their awesome power.

Take note of His faithfulness in the seasons. Year after year, the seasons change. And we know by natures' example that God is faithful and that spring will come to erase the winters of our souls.

When the warm summer breeze brushes across my face I like to think that it's the hand of God reminding me that He is there and that He loves me.

God's attention to detail is evident in His work. The minute fibers inside of a flower, each leaf, each blossom. He is just as concerned with even the smallest concerns of your life.

When we truly look at God as He reveals Himself in His creation, we are given peace. We are inspired to worship Him because He is splendid and beautiful...just like His creation.

See Him when He releases the rain from it's storehouse and praise Him because you know that it makes things grow, in nature and in your life. He is in the rainbow after the storm.

And the clouds remind us that one day He will come on those very clouds and we will see Him as He really is.

But for now, until that great and glorious Day - He has left us this amazing world - His majestic creation. His love letter to you. Sometimes it's not very dramatic but it is always there, constant, faithful - just like it's marvelous Creator.

The next time that you are overwhelmed, burdened with care, unsure of exactly where God is - touch a part of His creation. See what He has made and read the message that He has left to you. Focus on the One who created the whole universe and feel His peace. Remember, you don't have to look far. I know. He was there this morning - while I was learning lessons, right in my own backyard.

Until next week,

Donna Schultz

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SPECIAL: After the Hurricane

September 2, 2005
2 Chronicles 7:22 and 2 Chronicles 7:14

At times like this, times when tragedy strikes in a way that leaves us weak in the knees and barely able to breathe, we long to hear an encouraging and uplifting word. We long to hear how much God loves us and that all things will work for the good. We need to hear that God is still in control and that the world has not spun off of it's axis while we were asleep. All of that is absolute truth, but.....

God is love. He is also a just and jealous God. He is long-suffering but the Bible affirms over and over again that He is not forever-suffering, just long-suffering. I believe that God reaches His limit and says, "That's enough!"

So many are asking right now, "Why has God done such a thing to this land? How could a loving God allow this to happen?" In 2 Chronicles, Chapter 7, Verse 21, it says that people would ask that question in times of disaster. Could it be that God has given us His answer, right there in His Word? "Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their fathers, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshipping and serving them - that is why He brought all this disaster on them."

This great United States of America was founded on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It's laws and foundation were grounded on Judeo-Christian principles. Our founding fathers believed that government without God was unheard of. But look at where we are today. God has been thrown out of our schools. The display of His Ten Commandments are being outlawed. Homosexuality is changing the face of marriage and the family as we know it and of how our Master created it to be. Millions of babies are being slaughtered everyday in the abortion houses. Our respect for life has been reduced to determining it's usefulness to society. Judicial tyranny runs rampant. Judges who are appointed for life are rewriting our Constitution to make laws that fit their own personal agendas or cow-tow to the homosexual agenda (only 3% of our population) and Planned Parenthood. We have allowed the Jews, God's chosen people to be evicted from their homeland. God says that He will "vigorously defend their cause." (Jeremiah 50:34) God has a proven history of avenging Himself on nations that are against His people, Israel. This country has turned it's back and shaken it's fist at Christ.

I have asked many times - How long, Lord until you say "That's enough?" Well maybe...just maybe...

We can't blame it all on the devil. The responsibility rests on the shoulders of the church and it's individual members as well. Notice the 14th verse in 2 Chronicles, Chapter 7. A verse we are all very familiar with. God says, "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

Notice that God said, "my people." That's you, that's me, that's the Church. It's not the unbeliever, the unsaved, the activist for evil or the devil -- it's you and me! God has expectations of us. We should know better. Unless we live in a cave, we know what kinds of evil are permeating our society. And many choose to do nothing. We get so wrapped up in our lives, our problems, our needs that as long as things don't seem to directly affect us, we do nothing. We say, I've never committed murder. I've never had an abortion. I'm not gay. I'm okay. No, really you're not. Proverbs 24:11-12 says "Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, "But we knew nothing about this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?" Proverbs 31:8 says, "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." We are commanded to act...to do something. Our inaction and complacency are sin. Proverbs 1:32b says.."the complacency of fools will destroy them." Jeremiah 49:31 says, "arise and attack a nation at ease, which lives in confidence, declares the Lord."

There are some wonderful pastors throughout this country who are not afraid to address these issues. However, the church in general thinks that God doesn't want them to be outspoken about them. It is time for the churches of this nation to stand up and as Pastor Rod Parsley says, "Be Silent No More."

Our allegiance is to Jesus Christ. Not to our fear of the government taking away our 501c3 status. Not to our fear of offending someone. My goodness..the preaching of the Cross is offensive - should we stop that as well? Our allegiance is not to our desire to be seeker-friendly and non-threatening. I believe that those words make Jesus sick.

As individual believers, God spells out what we are to do, right here-right now. "If my people" - that's you. "Humble themselves" -- See the might and power of the living God and come under His direction and mighty hand. Acknowledge your nothingness. "And pray". Oh, pray like you've never prayed before. Go boldly to the throne of grace and intercede for this nation and it's people. Pray for our President. Don't blame him for not doing enough. If you can do a better job right now...go for it! Pray for our Congress, Representatives, local officials. Pray that God will bring constructionist judges who are Christ followers to the bench to enforce the Constitution, not rewrite it. Pray for Roe v. Wade to be overturned. Pray for people to see that Allah is not the same God that we serve and that we will not become a Muslim nation. Pray for the church, that they would be bold and stand up for truth, unafraid, in the example of the church of the Book of Acts - filled with the Holy Spirit and putting Jesus Christ and truth first.

"Seek my face". Stop seeking His hand. Seek His face! Cry out for Him to manifest Himself in our lives and in our assembling together. Hunger and thirst for more of His presence. Surrender it all to Him, make everything all about Him. Chase Him, run after Him, He will show Himself to you.

"Turn from your wicked ways." Examine yourself and confess your individual sin. Confess the corporate sin of the Church. Repent and do His will. Be ashamed if the tragedy in the Gulf Coast doesn't break your heart; it should.

He promises that He will "hear from heaven and will forgive our sin and will heal our land."

I am like Jeremiah in Jeremiah 20:9. "But if I say, "I will not mention him or speak anymore in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed I cannot."

So, I implore you to do something. Pray. Be concerned. Give your money to a good organization who will use it to help those who are so devastated along the Gulf Coast. Go and help if you can. Start paying attention to the issues of our day and our country's responses to them. Write or call your Senators. Stop supporting companies and causes that do not adhere to Christian values. Be bold, speak out, do not be afraid. It is time for the church of Jesus Christ to stand up and be counted. Jesus took a beating for us and died a horrible death. We are not being asked to suffer to the point of shedding our blood (Hebrews 12:4). It's the least we can do for Him.

Speaking the truth in love,

Donna Schultz

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#9 Inquire of the Lord

#9 August 30, 2005

"We did not inquire of him (the Lord our God) about how to do it in the prescribed way." 1 Chronicles 15:13b

Have you ever noticed when you are reading your Bible that God spoke so specifically to people when they prayed? He answered them audibly, clearly and told them exactly what He wanted them to do. The other day I was reading 1 Chronicles about King David who asked God if he should attack the Philistines. He did this twice and God answered specifically each time, letting him know what action to take. I stopped and said, "Lord - do you still speak like that to people today?" And as clear as a bell, I heard him say to my heart, "Donna, I've given you my Word."

Then I read today's verse. God broke out in anger against the Levites because they did not inquire of Him in the past regarding bringing up the ark of the Lord. He wanted them to ask Him how to do it in the prescribed way - His way!

What importance do you place on God's Word - on your Bible? Is it a coffee table or book shelf decoration? Have you believed Satan's lie that it is outdated and not relevant in today's modern world? Do you only pull it out on Sunday mornings to carry to church? We don't even have to do that anymore do we? After all - it's up on the big screen, isn't it?

When you hold your Bible in your hands, you are holding everything you need for life and godliness. Everything! 2 Peter 1:3 says that "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by His own glory and goodness." Do we have knowledge of Him? The only source of that knowledge is His word! And it seems to me that we don't get what we need for life and godliness unless it's through our knowledge of Him. His word --- Knowledge of Him --- Everything we need for life and godliness!

If we truly want to live for Christ we must have a knowledge of His word. We need to read it, study it, meditate on it. You can't put it into practice if you don't know it. Good works won't do it. Church attendance won't do it. We have to be in the Word on our own. God told Joshua in Joshua 1:8, "Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."

God wants us to inquire of Him about how to live our lives. He longs to guide us and direct us because He knows that if we follow His way there is life and blessing and safety in our path. He is the Good Shepherd. God is the only one who can control our lives without destroying them.

We have our own thoughts, our own ways of doing things. But we need to check those things out according to what the Word says. We may be deceiving ourselves unless we line up everything with the Word. God says that His thoughts are not our thoughts or His ways our ways (Isaiah 55:8). So what are His thoughts, His ways? Read the word and you'll find out. We must begin to line up our thoughts with God's thoughts. Where are those? In His Word!

Our thoughts lead us to our actions which then influence our lives. We think something, then we do it and it sets something in motion in our lives. Good thoughts lead to good fruit. Wrong thoughts produce wrong actions and produce no fruit or bad fruit. Romans Chapter 12, Verse 2 tells us that we must be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Then we will know what God's will is. When we renew our mind, we will replace the world's thoughts with God's thoughts and again -- God's thoughts are all in His Word.

Change your thoughts
Change your actions
Change your life.

Paul told his young friend Timothy that "all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man (or woman) of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) For every issue of life, the Bible speaks a word.

How do you have a good marriage? Search the Word!
How should you raise your children? Turn the pages of the Bible - your answers are there.
What kind of an employee should you be - God's word again!
What about your finances? BINGO! In the Word!!

There are over 2000 promises that God makes you in His Word. How can you claim them? A lot of them are given to you after you've obeyed God in a prescribed way - how do you know the way to your promise if you're not in the Word?

How do you fend off Satan, his attacks and his lies? The Bible says the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. Jesus used it against the enemy in the desert. How can you defend yourself with it if you don't know it?

I heard someone talk about the Genesis 3 Question. After Adam and Eve ate the fruit in the garden, they hid themselves from God. When He asked them where they were Adam said that he was afraid because he was naked. God said, "Who told you that you were naked?" WHO TOLD YOU? Who is telling you what to believe? God, Satan, your friends, the world system, political parties?

God didn't just leave us with His Word. He also put the Holy Spirit on the inside of us. The Holy Spirit only speaks what the Father and Jesus would say. His indwelling presence and voice will confirm His Word. Again, you must know the word to know whether the voice you hear is the Spirit's, the enemy's or your own.

This may have been basic for some, new to others or a needed reminder. I believe that there is absolutely nothing more important than God's word. Carry it, search through it for truth. For every question or decision you have, ask "what does the Bible say about that?" Memorize it. Feast on it. Most importantly - OBEY IT!

A worn, broken and tattered Bible usually indicates a life that is not!

If you don't have a Bible, call me, I'll buy you one--

Donna Schultz

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#8 The Plan

The Plan
#8 August 23, 2005
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4: 6-7)

"To care is a virtue, but to foster care is sin." (Muller, J.J. The Epistles of Paul..., p. 141). Being anxious and worrying are both sin. Jesus commands us in Matthew 6: 25, 34 not to worry. In our scripture for today, the Holy Spirit (Jesus) through the apostle Paul, again tells us to be anxious for nothing. In reality however, we worry and have anxiety over many things.

It would seem that we can justify our worries in this fallen world in which we live. Marriages and families are falling apart all around us. Jobs are unstable. Prices are rising. There are more diseases now than ever before that put our health at risk. Wars and terrorism threaten our day to day sense of security. Shouldn't we worry?

The first thing to ask yourself is where are you looking for truth? In your feelings? In your emotions? In what you see happening around you? If you are looking in those places and being controlled by them, you're in the wrong place!

A favorite Crystal Lewis song of mine has a line in it that says, "Only fools believe in only what they see." I don't know about you but I don't want to be referred to as a fool!

The Bible is our only voice of truth. The word of God is the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17) to fight off all of the lies of the enemy and his world. He is the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4). And he is the father of lies (John 8:44). If we are not looking to the word of God for our truth, we have fallen prey to Satan and we will always be in worry, fretting and anxiety.

Let your troubles drive you to Jesus and His Word. Do NOT look anywhere else! I believe that worry and fretting are indications of our lack of trust in our Heavenly Father. Our problems become bigger than He who has the power to solve them.

So what should we do when the cares and problems of this world surround us? Paul tells us to pray, petition and present our requests to God - in everything,. This would be anything sufficient to cause anxiety if not prayed about. Letting God know your concerns - all of them - big and small. God cares about even the smallest details of our lives. He loves us so much!

But it doesn't stop there. We must present with thanksgiving. We must thank God for what He has already done and for the answers to our prayers that we believe we will receive. I believe that God will be more pleased and more apt to respond to our prayers when we have an attitude of thankfulness for what He has done for us in the past. (Read Luke 17: 11-19). It will also build our faith in Him when we remember and call to mind all of the ways that He has been faithful to us.

So, we first pray and petition and present our requests to God. Then we thank Him. I would add some time of praise to that as well. Personally, when I begin to praise God because of who He is and because He is worthy, my eyes turn from myself to Him. As He is magnified, problems get smaller. I become less - He becomes greater. (John 3:30)

Now isn't it just like our wonderful Saviour to give us a promise if we obey? Paul says that the peace of God that passes all understanding will guard our hearts and minds. "The peace of God is that tranquillity of spirit that God enjoys and only God can give." It passes all understanding "because of our utter inability in our mind to fathom God's peace. His peace surpasses all our careful planning and clever ideas as to how we can resolve our own anxieties." (Wycliffe Bible Commentary p. 1330). All I know is that it takes the heavy burden of trying to solve my own problems off of me and I can experience peace and joy even in the midst of my troubles. If we follow this plan, step by step, I don't know how it happens, but we really do get supernatural peace that people just don't understand. That peace will "guard your hearts and your minds." The picture here is of a sentinel standing watch over the fortress of our inner life - our mind, will and emotions. The Message bible says, "It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of you life."

Hannah followed this plan. (1 Samuel 1: 1-20) If you recall, Hannah was married but she was barren. The Lord had closed her womb. Her husbands' other wife had children and used to provoke Hannah to the point of tears. Hannah would weep and stop eating. One day she went to the Lord's temple and the Bible says, "in bitterness of soul, Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord." (v. 10) She cried, she prayed, she petitioned and presented her requests to God. She was praying so fervently that Eli the priest thought that she was drunk.With her anguish and grief all poured out at the Lord's feet, Verse 18 says that "she went her way and ate something and her face was no longer downcast." She got up and left her troubles there. She trusted that God heard her cries. The Bible doesn't say so, but I would bet that she had a thankful heart. She saw the God who was bigger than her barrenness. The God who doesn't ever say the word "impossible". The God who was her only hope in a hopeless situation. And I'll also bet that she knew His faithfulness first hand from past experiences with Him. That's what drove her to Him. Her burdens were removed because she had given them to the Burden Bearer. She went about her normal activity, no longer worried or anxious because she had followed the plan. And she didn't even have the book of Philippians to tell her how!

Be like Hannah. Follow the plan. Pray. Petition. Present your requests to God. Thank Him. Praise Him. Enjoy the peace of God. Verses 19-20 say that "the Lord remembered her" and "she named him Samuel." He will remember you. He will answer in His will, in His way and in His time. Don't waste another day in bondage to your worry and anxiety. Do it now if you can or later today if you must. Be set free. Follow the plan.

With you on the journey,

Donna Schultz

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