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What Would You Do with Space in Your Life?

Aug 27, 2019 | |Andy Nash

When Jesus was on earth, He told us not to worry about tomorrow—what we’ll eat and drink, what we’ll wear, how we’ll pay our bills, how we’ll have time to get everything done. But what happens when we place ourselves in situations where we can’t help worrying about these things? Perhaps Jesus’ admonition not to worry also means to be wise and cautious with the things of earth so that our minds are not constantly filled with anxiety about them—so that they don’t become too important to us.

A Christian doctor, Richard A. Swenson, wrote a powerful book, Margin, about having spaciousness in our lives and finances, so when the unexpected happens we’re not completely stressed out.

The conditions of modern-day living devour margin,” writes Dr. Swenson. “Marginless is being thirty minutes late to the doctor’s office because you were twenty minutes late getting out of the bank because you were ten minutes late dropping the kids off at school because the car ran out of gas two blocks from the gas station—and you forgot your wallet.

Margin, on the other hand, is having breath left at the top of the staircase and money left at the end of the month.

Marginless is the baby crying and the phone ringing at the same time; margin is Grandma taking the baby for the afternoon. Marginless is being asked to carry a load five pounds heavier than you can lift; margin is a friend to carry half the burden. Marginless is not having time to finish the book you’re reading on stress; margin is having the time to read it twice.

Marginless is fatigue; margin is energy. Marginless is red ink; margin is black ink. Marginless is hurry; margin is calm. Marginless is anxiety; margin is security. Marginless is the disease of the new millennium; margin is its cure.[i]

Cutting Back

Isaiah 30:15 text on a blue screenThe doctor who wrote this book practices what he preaches. Working in a stressful medical practice, he cut back his workweek to just three days. It meant giving up a big income and lifestyle,  and it put him out of step with the heavy workload typically expected of physicians. But he has never regretted it.

Now a lot of us probably wish we could back down to a three-day workweek! But the issue isn’t necessarily just the number of hours or days we work. A lot of times it’s the type of work we do, and the levels of mental and emotional stress associated with it.

Dr. Swenson writes:

A person can work 12 hours a day, six days a week for an entire life at physical labor and suffer no ill effects—as long as that person has decision control over the work schedule. Actually such hard physical labor would usually have salutary health benefits. But if the strain is mental and a person is constantly being frustrated, the negative healthy effects can be catastrophic. . . . In one study that compared physical exertion with mental exertion, a patient was first given a cardiac treadmill exam. Despite vigorous physical exercise, the patient’s cardiovascular status remained normal throughout. He then was asked to (stand still and) subtract seven from 777 serially for 3.5 minutes. His blood pressure went up forty points.

Swenson explains that no one talked much about stress prior to the 1950s. But since that decade we’ve been increasingly inundated with not only mentally taxing work but a bombardment of noise from our culture and media. Our minds and bodies weren’t designed to handle such a frantic pace. We were created to follow the natural cycle of the day: working with the sunlight and then resting in the evening shadows. Jesus Himself modeled this schedule: “In the daytime He was teaching in the temple, but at night He went out and stayed on the mountain called Olivet.” (Luke 21:37, NKJV). But with the invention of electricity, our workdays never really  end.

In the wired-up culture in which we live, we may not even realize the pressure we feel to be doing multiple things at the same time. Once when I was speaking at a church, I asked the congregation, “How many of you have used your phone or other gadget since the start of our worship service today—either to text, talk, or surf?” Of the approximately 300 congregants, about 100 of them raised their hands—many of them students.

I didn’t ask that question to condemn anyone. I’ve used my phone during church too. And as someone who works with students, I’ve actually come to see that doing several things at once isn’t necessarily a sign of blatant disrespect as it used to be. It’s often just the way we’re conditioned: we’ve become accustomed to doing several things at once—to filling any possible gaps with busy-ness.

The Happiest Place on Earth

A few years ago an ecological group called the New Economics Foundation decided they were going to try to find out what was the happiest place on earth. They set up what they called a “happy planet index” that tried to measure what people put into a place (the resources) vs. what they get out.

quote on a blue screen with white textOut of 178 nations surveyed, the happiest place on earth was determined to be the small Pacific island nation of Vanuatu. Vanuatu was followed by Columbia, Costa Rica, Dominica, and Panama. Out of 178 nations, the U.S. ranked 150. In fact, none of the G-8 industrialized nations made the top 50.

Prior to this study, the island of Vanuatu was known primarily for inventing bungee jumping. (They use vines, not elastic ropes.) But the happy planet index cited other reasons for happiness, such as the moderate pace of life. In Vanuatu, things are done in the time they naturally take, and people have great respect for the land they live in. Vanuatu has beautiful coastlines and rainforests. (It also has no income tax.)

Here’s the interesting part. Vanuatu actually has high unemployment rates and poverty. It’s a third world county. It’s economy is ranked 207 out of 233. But as one expert noted, “If you don’t have money in Vanuatu you can still live happily. You can grow everything you need to eat. If people have an opportunity to make money, they will take it, but it is not their ultimate aim.”

The national motto of Vanuatu is “We stand with God,” and the national anthem is called “Yumi, Yumi, Yumi,” which means “We, We, We.”

We don’t have to live in Vanuatu to be happy. We can choose a more spacious lifestyle wherever we live and work. A few years ago, a friend of mine I’ll call Tom was telling me how much pressure he used to feel to keep up with other families: to have a lucrative job and all the toys. For many years he strived to attain this level of living and eventually took a job in which he traveled most of the week. Finally, he just decided, “No.” I’m going to let go of this stress and just be me. He took a modest paying job at a mobile phone store, which he enjoyed. His family bought a small house, his wife homeschooled, and he was home each day by 4:30 without bringing with him much stress from work. Tom was a new person, and his family was a new family.

Having space in your life might mean saying no even to good things. Having space in your budget might mean settling for a house or lifestyle that humbles you, but humility too is part of the kingdom of God that Jesus told us to seek.

The title of this piece is “What would you do with space in your life?” In a way, this was a trick question. The answer is: Nothing. If you can achieve spaciousness in your life, protect it. Preserve it. Do whatever you have to do to put your earthly needs at rest so you can devote your minds to seeking the kingdom of God.

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength” (Isa. 30:15, NKJV).

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[i] Swenson, Richard A. Margin: Restoring Emotional Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives. NavPress, 2004.

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Andy Nash  is an author, professor, and pastor who leads summer study tours to Israel.

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The Premier Collection from Thomas Nelson and Zondervan offers beautiful Bibles created with premium materials, fine designs, and the exclusive Comfort Print® fonts. Learn more at  www.PremierCollectionBibles.com.

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Embracing the Hope of Our Identity in Christ

The apostle Peter offers a profound summary of our identity in Christ in 1 Peter 2:9-10. In the process, he uncovers a wellspring of hope for everyone who follows Christ.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

Trace Your Path

In the first place, no one can appreciate the light like those who have been in darkness. The apostle Paul encourages to forget “those things which are behind” (Philippians 3:13). But sometimes a backward glance can help us appreciate just how far we’ve come.

How has your life changed since you gave it to Christ? What differences do you see in yourself? What differences do other people notice? By taking measure of what God already has done in your life, you can light the spark of hope as to what your future holds.

Find Your Strength

In the second place, Peter was writing to a church that was being persecuted. They had little obvious reason to hope. Yet Peter is firm in his assurance that God will fully equip His own to face opposition and challenges. When our strength and endurance falters, God will renew us. He will re-energize us. He will give us what we need to stand strong and thrive.

Energize Your Worship

In the third place, our very calling is hopeful in nature. According to Peter, our job is to “proclaim the praises” of God—to worship Him with everything we’ve got. In order to do that, however, we need to understand God, to get a sense of who He is and what He’s done.

We need to take a fresh look at His creation, the wonders and intricacies of His loving design. We need to immerse ourselves in the stories and passages of the Bible that reveal aspects of God’s nature and detail His awe-inspiring works. We need to talk to others about God’s work in their lives. We need to read the words of the psalmists and others who committed themselves to worship—men and women who were inspired to write words like this:

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?

Psalm 8:3-4

The more we learn about what God has done, the more we understand about what He’s capable of. How He brings ultimate good from even the worst circumstances. The more we immerse ourselves in the business of worship, the more hope we will ultimately find.

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Claiming the Bible’s Legacy of Hope

Offering Hope to the Next Generation

Surviving and Thriving in an Anxiety-Filled Culture

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Help Each Other Grow Up in Faith

Apr 18, 2019 | |Dennis and Barbara Rainey, Co-Founders of FamilyLife

But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. – Colossians 3:14

 

Do you want to grow up in your faith? Do you and your spouse desire to the know the deep joy that comes from maturing in your relationship with God?If so, I have an insider’s secret that will help.

For centuries followers of Jesus have recognized the critical importance of discipline. While I have no interest in a lifeless list of legalistic tasks that will turn the Christian life into a graceless, joyless religion based on works, I know that certain basic exercises will change a flabby, weak faith into a strong one.

Consider a few of the most important:

 

  1. Prayer: Prayer is the way we communicate with God. Pray both as individuals and as a couple. Perhaps the two of you can pray together briefly before you go to sleep at night.husband and wife kissing in sunset
  2. Bible study: In God’s Word we learn everything we need to know about God, His promises, and what He wants from us. Make use of commute or an exercise session by carrying a pocket-sized Bible or listening to the Bible on CD or your MP3 player.
  3. Worship: If you are not worshipping God, you are probably worshipping something else. Find a vibrant, Christ-worshipping, Bible-believing church, and commit to regular worship there.
  4. Giving: We own nothing; we are simply stewards of resources, on loan from God. Regular tithing (giving 10 percent of your income to your local church and generous giving to other Christian causes is a great way to strengthen your heart for God’s work See Matt. 6:21).
  5. Fellowship: We need others and they need us to accomplish the work of the kingdom. How about building relationships with others by joining or offering to lead a small group Bible study at your church?
  6. Service: In every local church, this is a need for people to use their spiritual gifts and natural abilities to serve others. And there are ministries in every community that need volunteers to feed the hungry and help the poor. Seek one out!
  7. Witness: Jesus has entrusted to us the task of reconciling men and women to God. Cultivate friendships with neighbors, plant seeds by sharing your testimony along with insights from God’s Word, and extend an invitation for them to receive Christ. Let the light of Jesus shine out of your life.

The apostle Paul instructed Timothy to exercise himself for godliness. When you practice these important spiritual disciplines, you’ll be getting the kind of workout that makes you spiritually strong.

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For additional articles on marriage, check out the following:
Five Guidelines for Building a Strong Marriage
The Virtuous Wife of Proverbs

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Which Bible Characters Struggled with Depression?

The heroes of the faith loom so large in the consciousness of believers that it often comes as a surprise—and a comforting reassurance—to realize that they were every bit as human as we are. After all, if God worked in the midst of their struggles and weaknesses to accomplish his will—often in extraordinary ways—he can and will do the same in our lives.

Case in point: if you’ve ever struggled with depression, you may find comfort and encouragement in knowing that several well-known Bible characters seemed to struggle with it as well.

David

In Psalm 42:11, David asks, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?” The beloved king of Israel seemed to have it all. He had enjoyed more victories and success than any other leader in Israel’s history. He was revered by his subjects and respected by his enemies. He had wealth, prestige, and family. God called him a man after his own heart.

Yet David was no stranger to the dark night of the soul. All of the accomplishments and adulation in the world couldn’t insulate him from bouts of depression.

Elijah

In 1 Kings 18, Elijah scores one of the most decisive victories in the Old Testament. He challenges the prophets of Baal to a contest. He will prepare one altar; they will prepare another. The God (or god) who sends fire to receive his offering will be declared the God of Israel. The prophets of Baal are unable to elicit so much as a spark from their god. Elijah’s God, on the other hand, sends a fire that consumes everything in its path, leaving no doubt as to who deserved Israel’s worship.

When his mountaintop experience ended, Elijah crashed—hard. A few verses later, we read this: “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, ‘It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!’” (1 Kings 19:4).

Naomi

Naomi’s future looked bleak. Her husband had died. So had her two sons, leaving no one to provide for her. She was stranded in a foreign land with no clear sense of how she was going to survive. Naomi’s story is found in the book of Ruth. At the center of the story is the bond between Naomi and Ruth, her daughter-in-law, who is also widowed.

Yet even that bond is not enough to lift the spirits of Naomi. Her bitterness and despair pour out in Ruth 1:20–21. When Naomi and Ruth return to Naomi’s hometown, the women recognize Naomi and greet her by name.

But she said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?”

Jeremiah

StormsThe ministry God called Jeremiah to was a difficult one. Nicknamed the “weeping prophet,” Jeremiah was often the bearer of bad news. He was rejected, despised, and punished by the people he was sent to minister to. He remained faithful to God and resilient in the face of ridicule, but he felt the pain of loneliness deeply. His words in Jeremiah 20:14, 18, will resonate with anyone who has struggled with depression:

Cursed be the day in which I was born! Let the day not be blessed in which my mother bore me! . . . Why did I come forth from the womb to see labor and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame?

Each of these people has an important story to tell—one that involves depression but doesn’t end there. Their stories also include wonderful, thrilling, and heartwarming accounts of how God worked in and through their lives to accomplish his will.

 

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INTERESTED IN KNOWING MORE ABOUT THE WRITERS AND CHARACTERS IN THE BIBLE? CHECK OUT THESE ARTICLES:

WHO WROTE THE BOOK OF ROMANS?
WHO WROTE THE BOOK OF JOSHUA?
WHO WROTE THE BOOK OF JOB?

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This commentary is from the New King James Study Bible. With more than 2 million copies sold, it’s no secret that the NKJV Study Bible is a reliable guide for your journey into God’s Word. This Bible provides a complete resource for study, including thousands of notes, articles, extensive cross-references, and features contributed by top evangelical scholars.

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An Ancient Tradition of Worship in a Modern World

Worship has existed since … well, since humankind has existed. Adam and Eve lived in a paradise. They experienced God’s creation before the Fall, in all of its unimaginable splendor. They walked with God Himself in the cool of the evening. You think they weren’t bursting with expressions of worship and gratitude?

So when we worship today, we’re tapping into something ancient. Something timeless.

Something that connects us to our Creator in the same way our first ancestors were connected to Him.

There are four things we need to understand about this ancient tradition.

 

Worship gets us out of our own head.

Out of our own head is a very good place to be. In a culture where selfies are everything, it’s easy to become the center of our own universe. To pursue accolades and fish for compliments. To promote the brand of Me. To embrace the people, opportunities, and things that benefit us and dismiss the rest.

Genuine worship, on the other hand, requires a 180-degree turn. There may be an “I” in worship, but it’s strictly phonetic. Worship compels us to focus on God and His works alone.

 

Worship requires awareness.

If you go out of your way to do something extraordinary for someone else, at the very least you’d probably like the person to notice what you did. Receiving a heartfelt thank you from the person would probably be even better. And perhaps the best-case scenario would be to receive (a) a detailed expression of appreciation for your gesture that demonstrates a deep understanding of its value, as well as everything that went into it, and (b) a heartfelt tribute to your kindness, generosity, and skill-set.

Worship gives us the opportunity to offer such an expression and tribute to God. In order to do that, however, we must be aware of what it is He’s done. We need to pay close attention to His work in our lives, in the lives of others, and throughout creation. We need to learn to spot God’s handiwork in big things and small.

 

Music is tied closely to worship.

Many of the psalms in the Bible were intended to be sung. (David, the chief psalmist, was a musician before he became king of Israel.) In most churches, music features prominently in the worship service.

Music also works as a mood-setter for worship. If the busyness or distractions of daily life make it difficult for you get into a worship mindset, listen to your favorite worship songs. Listen in your car during your morning commute. Listen while you work out. Listen as part of your quiet time. Wherever music can be played, you can prepare for worship.

 

We were made to worship.

Passages such as Psalm 95 (NKJV) suggest that worship is part of our job description as created beings of God.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.

Worship is in our blood; it’s why God created us as He did. When we fully embrace genuine worship, we experience a sense of fulfillment and purpose that can’t be experienced in any other way.

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For additional reading, check out the article Five Ingredients for a Game-Changing Worship Experience.

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Four Bible Passages Every Parent Should Know

It may be a stretch to call the Bible the world’s first parenting book, but it’s no stretch to say that every parent can up his or her game by studying and applying the wisdom of Scripture. If you’re not sure where to begin your search for parenting wisdom, here are a few places to consider.

kid on a bike proverbs parenting1. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it (Prov. 22:6).

 

How do you prepare kids for a life journey when you have no idea where that journey will take them? You train them to orient themselves according to God’s GPS. They may not always follow His directions to a “T,” but they’ll know when they’re off course. And they’ll know which direction to head to find the path they need.

2. Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).

 

“Do as I say” is a poor substitute for “Do as I do,” although it is a lot more convenient. It’s no small thing to tell your children to imitate you. To make it work, you must understand your strengths—and especially your weaknesses. You won’t set a perfect example, no matter how hard you try to imitate Christ. But it’s in your imperfections that you can really make a difference in your kids’ lives. If they see you working hard to get better—to become more Christlike in every area of your life—they’ll have a blueprint to follow in their own lives.

3. But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things—that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed (Titus 2:1-5).

 

The essential qualities of church leaders that Paul identifies in his letter to Titus can double as essential qualities for parents. Not all of them come naturally, but all of them are attainable through prayer and sustained effort. To master these qualities, we need to be self-aware. We need to recognize situations in which we tend to be irreverent or impatient. We also need an accountability partner (in the form of our spouse) to help us recognize when we fall short of the mark.

4. And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).

 

Parental authority must be exercised wisely and judiciously. Paul warns against a heavy-handed approach to childrearing. Intimidation is not an effective parenting tool. Obedience without respect is an empty achievement—and a temporary one. Kids who are bullied into obeying will resent it eventually. As they get older, many will be provoked into anger and acting out.

In contrast, parental authority that incorporates humility, humor, empathy, transparency, and two-way communication is more likely to inspire respectful obedience in kids.

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Five Verses That Can Change Your Teen’s Life

Few things in this world hold more potential than a teenager with a Bible. A young person, brimming with the energy and passion of youth and guided by Scripture, is a force to be reckoned with. In terms of changing lives and making a difference in the world, a young person who knows how to apply God’s Word has the potential to leave an enormous spiritual footprint.

If you see that kind of potential in your teenager, here are 5 passages where he or she can begin a lifelong journey.

1. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:10).

 

Teenagers know better than anyone else that there are people who will try to cut you down and shake your self-confidence any chance they get. That’s one of the reasons that this verse is so valuable. It tells you the truth about yourself: that you were created to do—and be—something incredible.

2. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, “thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jer. 29:11).

 

God’s plan for you is unique. It will not look like His plan for other people. Sometimes that can be a tough reality to face, especially if it looks like someone else’s plan seems to follow a smoother, more important, or more interesting path. But if you open yourself to God’s leading, you will not be sorry—no matter where your path takes you.

3. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble (Matt. 6:34).

 

Worry is a heavy burden to carry through life. If person can learn at an early age to trust God to take care of all situations, they could be spared a lot of emotional, spiritual, and physical wear and tear.

4. Arise, for this matter is your responsibility. We also are with you. Be of good courage, and do it (Ezra 10:4).

 

Making God-honoring decisions usually requires a certain amount of boldness. There’s often a price to be paid for doing the right thing. For example, befriending an outcast or confronting a bully—not to mention speaking up about your Christian faith—can have social repercussions. And ending an unhealthy friendship or relationship can have emotional repercussions.

This passage from Ezra serves as a reminder to be bold in our faith, regardless of the consequences. It also reminds us that though our courageous stance may seem lonely at times, we’re never alone. In fact, there’s an entire community of like-minded people who have our back.

5. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matt. 11:28).

 

You don’t have to pretend to be strong when you’re not. If you’re struggling—physically, emotionally, socially, or spiritually—take your burdens to Jesus. Pray about them. Ask for His help. And then take advantage of the resources He has made available to you, whether it’s the support and assistance of your family and friends or the help of a professional.

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Thomas Nelson’s new NKJV and KJV Youth Edition Bibles are lightweight and easy-to-carry for the student on the go to church, school, and summer camp. The quality of the materials used to make these editions are a step up from the normal standard and, at an excellent price, these new youth edition Bibles make great gifts for birthdays, graduations, youth camps, or other special events.

 

< Back to Christian Living

Surviving and Thriving in an Anxiety-Filled Culture

Anxiety is a relentless foe, but it’s not an invincible one. Once you understand its tendencies in your life, you can map out a strategy that robs its power and weakens its impact on your life.

Find out what you’re up against.

The first step is to get an accurate read on the nature and severity of your anxiety. If your struggles with worry are debilitating, there may be a medical reason behind it. Changes in brain chemistry, among other things, can trigger anxiety. If that’s the case, talk to your doctor and get the treatment you need. If not, read on. There are practical, spiritual steps you can take to help you overcome anxiety.

Consult the Manufacturer.

The psalmist had this to say about God: “For You formed my inward parts; you covered me in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13). No one knows more about the inner workings of your mind and emotions than He does. Spending quiet time with Him on a daily basis will go a long way toward easing an anxious mind.

That’s why prayer is essential in the struggle against anxiety. And not just as a spiritual “emergency cord,” something we desperately grab for when our anxiety threatens to send us off the rails.

Preventive prayer—a daily quiet time spent talking and listening to God—can “change your spiritual soil” and make it difficult for anxiety to take root.

 

A morning prayer time can set the tone for an entire day.

If possible, find a place to pray that doubles as a refuge from the anxieties of daily life. A place where you won’t be disturbed. A place where you can get away from it all. A place where you can hear God’s voice and find peace in His comfort.

When you pray, follow the Apostle Paul’s advice in Philippians 4:6-7. Unload your anxieties at the Lord’s feet and let Him take them. Pray about them and then do your best to forget them. After all, they’re not yours anymore.

Learn to counterpunch.

The Word of God is “sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). That may explain why Jesus reached for it when the devil launched a stealth attack in the wilderness. According to Matthew 4, the devil tempted Jesus three times to abandon His earthly ministry. Jesus responded all three times by quoting Scripture. Powerless against such a weapon, the devil left.

What worked against one enemy can work against another. If you feel yourself under attack by anxiety, fight back. Use some carefully chosen words of Scripture, as Jesus did. Memorize key phrases in passages such as 1 Peter 5:7 (“Cast all your care upon Him for He cares for you”) and Philippians 4:7 (“the peace of God … will guard your hearts”). Recite them over and over again to remind yourself of God’s power and to calm your fears.

Recruit teammates.

Many people who struggle with anxiety choose to do it alone, in silence. For some, it’s pride that keeps them from sharing their struggles. They don’t want to be seen as weak or unable to cope with adversity. For others, it’s denial. They don’t want to admit to themselves that they need help. For others, it’s fear or embarrassment. They’re afraid people will look at or treat them differently.

But silence only compounds the problem. A better strategy is to share your struggle with trusted friends. Break the silence—and encourage others to do so as well. Together you may be able to break anxiety’s grip.

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Many great Christian thinkers, past and present, have talked about the struggles of trusting God. Now you can explore what many of them say with the in-text commentary of the Ancient-Modern Bible. One Faith. Handed Down. For All The Saints.

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Think About It:

Can you think of specific Scriptures that have helped you during stressful times?

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The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament: Infographic

Some Bible readers assume that the Spirit’s activity in Scripture is limited to the New Testament. But actually He is just as active in the Old Testament.

 

This infographic illustrates 13 examples of the Holy Spirit working in the Old Testament.

For a more detailed look at seven ways the Holy Spirit works through the Old Testament, be sure to read this article.

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This commentary is from the New King James Study Bible. With more than 2 million copies sold, it’s no secret that the NKJV Study Bible is a reliable guide for your journey into God’s Word. This Bible provides a complete resource for study, including thousands of notes, articles, extensive cross-references, and features contributed by top evangelical scholars.

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What’s Preventing You from Trusting God?

It seems so easy in the Bible. People put their trust in God, and He rewards them by doing something miraculous in their lives. Why, then, is it sometimes so difficult for us to put our full trust in God?

We put our trust in lesser things every day, including weather forecasts and news sources—not to mention the online retailers and social media sites that promise to safeguard our personal information. So why can’t we extend the same trust to God? Here are four possible explanations.

We (consciously or subconsciously) blame God for things that go wrong.

When we suffer tragedy, or even a string of misfortunes, we face a very real temptation to place the blame at God’s feet. We may reckon that if He’s all-powerful, He could have intervened. The fact that He didn’t may cause us to question His reliability. Seeing His work in other people’s lives can exacerbate the problem. We may start to feel as though we’ve either been “targeted” or ignored by God. Trust is difficult for people who feel as though they’ve been burned before.

God often takes us out of our comfort zone.

Picture a little girl with floaties on each arm timidly making her way to the edge of a swimming pool. Her father stands chest-deep in the water below. His arms are outstretched. “Jump,” he urges her. “I’ll catch you.”

The girl hesitates. The pool deck is familiar and safe. The water isn’t. Her thought process is clouded by “what ifs.”
• What if I slip?
• What if the one who’s supposed to catch me isn’t strong enough or quick enough?
• What if he tricks me and lets me go under?

In order to demonstrate trust, she has to ignore the what-ifs and leave her comfort zone.

Sound familiar? Trusting God almost always involves a leap of faith away from what we know and where we’re comfortable. The fact that the leap inevitably lands us in a better place doesn’t make it any easier.

Trusting God has consequences.

To truly trust God is to acknowledge that His way is best and that His Word is the ultimate authority in our lives. But acknowledgement is only the beginning. Trusting God impacts the way live, the way we think, the priorities we establish and just about every other aspect of our lives.

Trusting God means that we can’t decide to overrule His Word when it comes to, say, the way we treat enemies or the choices we make. In order to trust Him, we must do what He says and ignore our own instincts and desires. Giving up that kind of control doesn’t come easily to most people.

We need help to trust God.

Maintaining a solid, unshakable trust in God is difficult—so difficult, in fact, that we can’t do it without God’s help. The father of the epileptic boy who begged Jesus to heal his son understood that. When Jesus told him “all things are possible to him who believes,” the man cried out, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (see Mark 9:23-24).

God doesn’t take offense at our bouts of unbelief. He stands ready to strengthen our trust in Him whenever we need Him to.

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For further reading, check out 66 Reasons to Trust God.

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Many great Christian thinkers, past and present, have talked about the struggles of trusting God. Now you are explore what many of them say with the in-text commentary of the Ancient-Modern Bible. One Faith. Handed Down. For All The Saints.

Think About It:

What is a challenge you've faced in your life that have prevented you from putting your trust in God? How did you overcome this challenge? Please share with us in the comments below.