Cast Your Anxiety on Him

s1

By: Savanna Howell

 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:7-11 NIV)

Have you ever felt anxious?  Work, school, meeting new people, the future, if I am honest, can take over my mind and cause me to become anxious and anxiety leaves me feeling exhausted.

Maybe some of you are like me and if you think back there is a moment in time where you feel like the innocence of a child and the trust that you had that all would be okay and work out fine seemed to be gone.  The  reality of growing up and your responsibility in your day to day decisions and the role you played in your future hit you. For me my moment was when I was twelve years old.  That open, out-going, bold little girl I always was seemed to be lost.  I didn’t know how to bring her back and walk in the confidence and freedom I always seemed to do so naturally. My zeal for life and adventure was diminishing.  I began to realize that life can be hard and struggling with how to navigate it successfully. Honestly, I struggled for years. I was confused. I didn’t understand why I was struggling like this and I didn’t know how to let go of my anxiety and find that childlike faith again.

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:1-4 ESV)

I didn’t question my salvation as this scripture says in Matthew 18 but I wanted to humble myself before Him to where I could trust him again and cast my anxiety on Him because as 1 Peter says He cares for me.  This took me a while to figure out, but the reality is it is more simple than we know.  The more we grow in our knowledge of the Lord the easier it is to trust Him.  If you are struggling with anxiety get in the Word of God.  As you grow in your knowledge of who He is, you will find you are able to give it all to Him, all your anxiety, depression, worries, ALL TO HIM.

Every day we choose to cast our anxiety upon Him, we take back what was stolen from us. We take back the innocence of a child, our humility, our faith, our trust in the Lord and our freedom.  Now instead of new opportunities and the future making me anxious they excite me. I am 18 years old now. It has been 6 years since the time this struggle began for me.  Today I find myself not just excited about the future and meeting new people, but looking forward to talking to the people God brings across my path, getting to know them and their stores and looking to the future with great anticipation.  I literally cannot wait to see what God has in store for me.  So I encourage you to dig in to God’s Word, grow in the knowledge of who He is and cast your anxieties on Him. In doing so you will be able to embrace the beautiful future God has waiting for you and you will do so with great anticipation.

I want to close with a prayer that has helped me a lot recently.  I say this each morning.

Dear Lord, open my eyes to see and comprehend your powers and my worth with You. I am not weak, I am strong in You. I will not let worldly people or circumstances affect me and the faith I have in You. For You have blessed me in heavenly realms and I have redemption through Your blood, I am also lavished in Your Grace. Thank you Father. Amen.

Advertisements

True Forgiveness and Trust

forgiveness

By: Roslyn Maglione

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:14-15)

It is amazing the sense of relief and the joy you can feel when you truly let go of the past and forgive. Your entire view changes, on all issues around you, and you finally have a sense of wholeness again. You realize you can move on. You no longer have to look over your shoulder or wonder if the person who hurt you will hurt you again.  You no longer have to worry if you are being judged for what you do or say by someone who may have judged you in the past.  Forgiveness allows you to stop comparing your sin to someone else’s because you realize sin is sin and we all fall short of the glory of God and we all need the grace of God , we all need to forgive.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

As I have dug deeper into the Bible over the last year and really read his Word to gain understanding, I have realized that God doesn’t see one sin greater than another. Adultery is not a more serious sin than taking the Lord’s name in vain, and being a false witness against your neighbor is not less than stealing. There is no rank order for worst to least; God has given us these laws to show us not only how to live but how to love.

When you compare your sin to someone else’s or think someone else’s sin is greater than your own  this can lead to pride and self-righteousness.

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. (Romans 12:3)

When you look at a person with the natural eye and choices or decisions they are making and not the heart you have been deceived.

For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)

None of us will ever do anything too big that God’s grace isn’t sufficient to cover it. No sin is too big that His death didn’t pay the price for it.  And for those that think your good works will get you into heaven, know you can never do enough to make it to Heaven by works, it is only by grace and the love of God who gave up  His only Son to die for our sins that we can go to Heaven. Our salvation is in Jesus. If God gave His beloved son to pay the price for all our sins.  Why is it so hard for us to forgive? Why is it so hard for us give to others what we want God to give to us ….forgiveness? Who are we to not forgive what Jesus Christ forgives and covers with His blood.  If we want God to forgive us we must forgive others.

So I encourage you to forgive in every circumstance. Do not hold on to the past, give someone the same grace and love that you want from God. That is what He expects from us each day and trust God with the rest.

True Friendship – True Accountability

friendship

By:  Dawn Ashley

Let’s be honest relationships can be some of the most rewarding parts of our lives, but they can also be some of the hardest and most challenging.  A good friend can bring so much joy into your life. There is nothing like the fun and laughter a good friend can bring to a day. The kind of friend you can be free to be yourself with all the blemishes.  Not only will a good friend celebrate in your victories but they are also there to share in the toughest seasons of your life. They walk hand in hand with you by supporting you, encouraging you, praying for you, believing in you, and let’s be honest holding you “accountability” to the truth of God’s Word because they want God’s best for you and your life.  They are a refuge for you and when you come together it is a place that glorifies God as you seek to be better followers of Christ.

Accountability can be a really tough subject.  Most people in life don’t want it. They just want the freedom to walk out their own will, their own way.  Others think they want it until it comes there way and then they push it away.  I will be honest with you here, a few years ago I walked through one of the toughest seasons of my life. I had some great friends, no – I had some true sisters in Christ. What we had was friendships like no other.  It was the real deal and these ladies were some of God’s richest treasures in my life.  Then a time came in my life where I was making some choices that did not align with God’s Word and these friends tried to hold me accountable and I rejected them.  I realized I did two things wrong and it cost me dearly and hurt these friends and friendships in the process.  I have always been a firm believer in humbling myself before God and others and using my messes in life to create a message to help someone else.  It is how I allow God to use my mistakes for his glory and why I share with you this devotion today.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  (Romans 8:28 NIV)

I was good at walking out “accountability” with friends and I was good at leading and speaking truth to my friends and holding them accountability, or so I thought. Then the time came for me to receive that same accountability and two things happened.  Both I have had to own as my problem. First, I realized I was in a season where honestly I didn’t want it. I had struggled for so long and was at a place where I wanted what I wanted. I know it sounds harsh. I mean I loved God just as much then as ever. I prayed and talked to God a lot and He was talking to me.  But I just wanted what I wanted.   I am just being honest.  Tell me someone out there gets me?  Someone out there has at some time or another just wanted your way in life and chose that instead of God’s. Maybe like me you even convinced yourself that God was okay with it in order to live with your choice because you did not want to let God down.   Even still, God never left me and hasn’t left you.  Secondly, I learned others were holding me accountable in the same way I held them accountable.  What I didn’t know is how harsh that was. I needed the accountability but where I was struggling the accountability felt like judgment.  That isn’t their fault it was mine.   God said to me, it is what you did to them dear.

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Matthew 7:1-2)

Oh how I wept.  Yes I was hurting, but these tears were not my pain personally they were  for all the times I did it to each of them and how I hurt them in the process.   I learned I was too harsh and judgmental at times and needed more love with the message of truth.  God says in Ephesians 4:15 we are to speak truth but do it in love. I didn’t realize I had missed that until it came my way.  Friends, if there is someone in your life you are trying to hold accountable to Gods’ Word,  I encourage you to do it in a way that is uplifting.  Do not discourage them. True accountability brings transformation.  It will help a person make progress in their intimacy and walk with Jesus

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. (Galatians 6:1a NIV)

Friends if any of you are like I was and you are rejecting Godly accountability and counsel in your life from a true friend, a sister in Christ, I encourage you to listen to the wisdom of their counsel. If you are a Christian and have acknowledged Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord of your life then like me you are held to a higher standard and are to help each other walk accountable to that (2 Corinthians 2:12-13).  None of us can call each other “guilty” as no one knows the condition of our heart.  But what we can do as a wise friend of mine once told me is to pray that God “awakens” their heart to truth.

If we look up accountability in the dictionary it will say “you have an obligation or willingness to take responsibility for your actions”.  As Christians friends we are obligated to be accountable for our actions and should be held accountable.   If you are rejecting accountability I encourage you to do what I had to do. Examine your heart to see if you are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5)  Then after examining your heart repent and receive the grace God has for you, and then move on from it and pursue a life that brings glory to God.

Psalm 63: “My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You”

Psalm 42: “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”

I close with a quote from A.W. Tozer in his classic work, The Pursuit of God.  I am praying for God to bring each of us Godly mentors and sisters in Christ to help us walk in true accountability our own pursuit of God.

O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that I may know Thee indeed. Begin a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, ‘Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.’ Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Healing Our Hearts

broken-heart

By: Tina Coble

This past year was filled with some huge blessings, but for me, it also came with some deep hurts. As I bring in this new year, my prayer before God has been to create in me a clean heart.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.  (Psalm 51:10 KJV)

I know I am not alone. All of us have been hurt.  Maybe some of you are like me and you too want a clean heart before God, a healed heart.  I believe God wants to bind up our wounds and heal our hearts completely.  God is with us and hears our cry my friends.  He will deliver us.

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.  (Psalm 34:17-20 ESV)

There is no worry, fear, or pain that is too big for God to deliver us from. No physical or emotional pain too great to be healed, but my friends we can’t gain this healing through any self-help book and time won’t heal these wounds.    I believe the only way to truly healing is take our hurts to God. These deep hurts leave deep marks on our heart and they cause us to filter our responses in life through these painful memories. This cycle of “protecting” our broken hearts can harden us and cause us to isolate ourselves. This is not God’s plan.  We have to break the cycle and trust God because this kind of healing can only be healed by the healer himself …Jehovah-Rapha – The Lord Who Heals You.  We have to be willing to pull off our mask and get real with God with the pain we have locked away.  He is safe.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

God knows our hearts and sees our pain.  He is just waiting for us to give it to Him. He died for all of it; He took on all our pain. It breaks the heart of God to see us carrying around the pain He already paid the price for.  God wants your heart full of joy.  Draw close to Him.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.  (2 Corinthians 12:9)

You are strong in Christ. In God, we can be stronger than we can ever be alone. You see my friends if we read on in 2 Corinthians the Bible tells us that Christ’s power rests on you. The power of God rests on you!

In your quiet time, picture God holding you, comforting you, being with you day and night.  Trust God with all the pain in your heart, cry out to Him.  The Lord hears you and wants to deliver you from your troubles.  He saves that crushed spirit of yours.  He is delivering you and He will keep you whole, He will create a clean heart in you, renew a right spirit within you all while wiping those tears from your eyes. You will rise from this place delivered, whole, clean, renewed. The older things will have passed away. His grace is sufficient and his power will have been made perfect in you.  Then my friends walk this healing out each day this year. Don’t let anyone take it from you. It is your gift. By His stripes my friends we were healed. No one can take that from us.

My prayer of you: Dear Jesus, thank you for your unfailing love. You know each of us and each pain we carry, each deep wound. Thank you for your desire to teach us what it means to  be cherished and protected. Please restore our hearts today, and help us to trust you to be all that we need. In Jesus name, Amen.