Cease Striving

I read Psalm 46:10 in the Bible I have used since I was a teenager. It is a New American Standard Reference Edition printed in 1975, the year I graduated from high school. Psalm 46:10: “Cease striving and know that I am God.” The footnote for “Cease” is “Or, Let go, relax.” I wonder if that’s what the Hebrew really means! God says, “Let go, relax, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Here’s the point: If you really want to KNOW God, then let go and relax. Stop trying to control everything. Your human insecurity makes you strive to be in control. Cease striving. Stop trying to control what you cannot control. When you let go of control and relax in God’s love, then you will KNOW God. When you let go of control then God can work to bless you with His good purpose and plan. If you must be in control, then God’s love and power are limited in their effect to bless you. Cease striving and you will KNOW God is God. This “KNOW” is not just facts about; it is experiential knowledge. I can know facts about someone by reading his/her bio on Facebook. If I spend time with him/her in person, then I will have experiential knowledge. So, if you want to KNOW God, then let go of control, relax, and let God work out all things according to His good will (Romans 8:28).  

I am serving as a chaplain resident at a VA medical center with three other residents and a supervisor. We had a COVID-19 outbreak among us. Two residents and the supervisor had symptoms and tested positive. They must quarantine. The situation was out of my control. I thought I would not be able to work at the VA for two weeks. I read Psalm 46:10 and knew I had to let go and relax and know God. I prayed and God answered. (I have daily prayed Psalm 91 and believed God’s promise.) I was able to get a COVID test in one day and the result was negative. God says, “Cease striving, let go and relax, and know that I am God.” The more I let go and let God work the more I experience His love and power.

[Note: Letting go of control does not mean I do not do my part. I pray, do what I can do, and trust God with the result. I had to make some phone calls to find a place to get COVID tested, drive there, wait in the line, and have a long cotton swab stuck up my nose.]

Questions Answered

While hiking in the forest, I meditated on Psalm 139. The Psalm answered two questions I thought at 4:30 in the morning. First question: Does God “hear” my thoughts? (I know he hears my spoken prayers, but does he hear when I’m praying with my thoughts?) Second question: Have all the events of my past 65 years been God’s plan or did I make choices that frustrated and changed God’s “perfect” plan? (I am referring to Proverbs 19:21.) First question answered: Psalm 139:2: “You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.” Yes, God hears the prayers I think at 4:30 in the morning when my mind is awake. Second question answered: Psalm 139:16: “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” God wrote the story of my life in His book before I was formed in my mother’s womb. Therefore, what I think were my own choices were actually God’s choices for me. God put the plan and the desire in my mind and heart and opened the door of opportunity. I did not mess up God’s plan. My desire and plan to work at a Christian camp in Hawaii after earning my Master of Divinity was not a selfish choice, but a day ordained for me and written in God’s book before my body was formed in my mother’s womb. That means that where I am and what I’m doing now was written in God’s book before I was born. Trust in the Father’s good purpose and plan.

The Lord’s Prayer, My Daily Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer: Matthew 6:9-13
(Personalized with scripture references)

My Father who is in heaven. (John 14:1-11)
Thank you for giving Your one and only Son.
(John 3:16)
By Your great love You have made me Your child.
(1 John 3:1)
May Your Father’s love be perfected in my heart and mind
and remove all fear of condemnation and judgement.
(Romans 8:1; 1 John 4:16-18)
May Your holy name be honored in my life, my actions, my speech, today.
(Leviticus 11:44-45; 1 Peter 1:14-16)
May Your kingdom come. Maranatha, come Lord Jesus!
You have made me a citizen of Your kingdom,
and I live under the authority and protection of Your kingdom today.
(Ephesians 2:19; Philippians 3:20-21)
May Your will be done on earth today as it is in heaven.
May Your will be done in my life today
according to the good purpose and plan You have in heaven
to bless me and make me a blessing to others.
(Jeremiah 29:11)
Supply all my needs today
(spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, financial)
as I seek first Your kingdom and righteousness.
(Matthew 6:33)
Cleanse any bitterness and resentment from my heart,
and forgive my sins as I forgive anyone who has sinned against me.
(Matthew 6:14-15; Hebrews 12:15)
Do not lead me into trials today,
but lead me into the abundant life you promised.
(John 10:10-11)
Do not allow me to be tested beyond what I am able to resist,
but empower me to remain steadfast amid every trial.
(James 1:12-15; Matthew 4:1-11 & Luke 4:1-13; 1 Corinthians 10:13)
Deliver me from all temptations of the world
and the fearmongering lies and schemes of the Evil One.
(1 John 2:16; John 8:44; Ephesians 6:10-17)
The kingdom, the power, and the glory belong to You
and will one day fill the new heavens and earth.
(Habakkuk 2:14; Revelation 21)

The Lord’s Prayer, My Daily Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer: Matthew 6:9-13
My Father who is in heaven.
Thank you for giving Your one and only Son.
By Your great love You have made me Your child.
May Your Father’s love be perfected in my heart and mind
and remove all fear of condemnation and judgement.
May Your holy name be honored in my speech and actions today.
May Your kingdom come. Maranatha, come Lord Jesus!
You have made me a citizen of Your kingdom.
I live under the authority and protection of Your kingdom today.
May Your will be done on earth today as it is in heaven.
May Your will be done in my life today
according to the good purpose and plan You have in heaven
to bless me and make me a blessing to others.
Supply all my needs today
(spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, financial)
as I seek first Your kingdom and righteousness.
Cleanse any bitterness and resentment from my heart.
Forgive my sins as I forgive anyone who sinned against me.
Do not lead me into trials today,
but lead me into the abundant life you promised.
Do not allow me to be tested beyond what I am able to resist,
but empower me to remain steadfast amid every trial.
Deliver me from all temptations of the world
and the fearmongering lies and schemes of the Evil One.
The kingdom, the power, and the glory belong to You
and will one day fill the new heavens and earth.

Praying the Psalms

Praying the Psalms (with NT fulfillment and commentary):

Psalm 103:1-5: A Psalm of God’s Lovingkindness and Compassion

Here is my New Testament enhanced version of Psalm 103:1-5:

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me,
from my innermost being, bless His holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and do not forget any of the LORD’s benefits
for those who love and fear Him.
The LORD’s promised benefits are yours
by the finished work of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases
by the sacrificial atonement of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Who redeems your life from the grave
by the bodily resurrection of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion,
the same lovingkindness and compassion
that keeps the LORD faithful to old and new covenants.
Who satisfies your desires with the good things He has created,
so that the vision and strength of your youth is renewed
like an eagle maturing into its full color and strength.

What is Hebrew meaning of “benefits”?

Hebrew (Orthodox Jewish Bible): Barachi (Bless) Hashem, O my nefesh (soul); and all that is within me, bless His Shem kodesh (Name holy). Barachi Hashem, O my nefesh, and forget not all His gmulim (benefits).

The Hebrew noun means “recompense, reward, benefit.” It comes from the Hebrew verb gamal “to deal fully or adequately with, deal bountifully with” (Psalm 13:6). The wicked receive a very different “benefit” from the righteous. The wicked receive “recompense” for their wicked deeds. The noun is translated “recompense or repay” in Psalm 28:4, 94:2; Proverbs 19:17. The righteous receive forgiveness of sins and healing of diseases from God’s lovingkindness and compassion. (Hebrew “diseases” tachalu = disease, sickness, pain. It may be derived from a Semitic root word for rust that deteriorates metal, so may refer to anything that corrupts the body – disease – and the soul – unforgiveness and bitterness.)

How do we receive these benefits? Have we appropriated these promised benefits by faith? We have no doubt God forgives all our sins because Christ paid our sin penalty. Why don’t we also believe God heals all our diseases?

Forgiveness of sins, “spiritual healing,” is primary. Psalm 103:10-12 emphasizes forgiveness of sins. We have continual forgiveness even after we are “saved” because we still sin (1 John 1:9). Healing of diseases is secondary. Just as we still sin after we are saved, we still get sick living in this world under the curse of sin, but there is provision for forgiveness and physical healing. I see indirect references to healing in the fact that God knows our bodies are made of dust and He is compassionate (103:13-16).

All the benefits Christians receive come through Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:20: For every one of God’s promises in “Yes” in Jesus Christ. Therefore, through Him we also say “Amen” to the glory of God. Christ has purchased with His blood our spiritual and physical healing. Both are provided for in the atonement of Christ. Read Isaiah 53:4-5 and Matthew 8:14-17. Matthew quoted Isaiah 53:4 and applied it only to deliverance from demons and healing of sicknesses. “Jesus took upon Himself our illnesses and carried away our diseases.” There’s no mention of forgiveness of sins which is how it is normally interpreted.

1 Peter 2:24: He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. Peter applied Isaiah 53:4-5 to forgiveness of sins and physical healing. The “wounds” may refer to the scourging or crucifixion scars. The Greek word for “healed” generally refers to physical illness but can be used for restoration from a state of sin and condemnation.

Read Isaiah 61:1-2a and Luke 4:16-21. Jesus’ messianic claim at the Nazareth synagogue is immediately followed by physical healing and deliverance from demons. So, deliverance from demons and physical healing are evidence of Christ as Messiah with authority to forgive sins. (Read Luke 5:17-26.)

Both benefits are received the same way – by grace through faith. How do we receive forgiveness of sins? By grace through faith and not works (Ephesians 2:8-9). How do we receive physical healing? By grace through faith and not works. There are two physical healing extremes to avoid. First, cessationism which teaches God does not do physical healing anymore. It was only a sign for Jesus and the Apostles. Second, “works faith” which says, “You do not have enough faith!” Healing, like forgiveness of sins, is received by grace through faith and not works. It is a gracious gift of Christ’s compassion. Never lay guilt or condemnation on a suffering person. God does not punish his faith children with sickness.

The benefits of Psalm 103 are fulfilled in Jesus Christ and are ours by faith.

First, Jesus performs physical healing today because of his compassion and mercy: Matthew 9:35-38, 14:14, 15:32; Mark 1:40-42 (Jesus said, “I will” and touched a leper). Second, Jesus performs physical healing today to confirm what is unseen, the kingdom God and forgiveness of sins: Luke 5:17-26, 9:1-2, 10:1-12. This happens frequently with my friend’s ministry The Elijah Challenge which focuses on Christ’s Great Commission.

[Note: Faith is necessary to receive God’s benefits: Hebrews 11:6. The benefits are received the same way, but the result may be different. Sometimes persevering “mountain-moving faith” is required for healing. See Matthew 9:20-22; Luke 8:42-48; Matthew 17:20. Jesus identified “little/weak faith,” Matthew 8:26 & 14:31, and “great/strong faith,” Matthew 8:10 & 15:28, based on a person’s understanding of who He was and His authority. There is a Greek word for “little faith” = oligopistos. There is always room to increase faith: Luke 17:5.]

Conclusion: Forgiveness of sins and physical healing are provided for in the atonement of Christ. Both benefits are received by GRACE through faith and not works.

What pit have I been redeemed from?

Hebrews V4 (OJB): Who is the Go’el (Redeemer) of your life from shachat (corruption, pit, grave); Who crowns you with chesed and rachamim.

This is God’s promise of bodily resurrection. God will redeem our bodies from corruption in the grave. This promise is true and certain because Jesus Christ was raised from death and said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” (John 11:25-26) The ultimate healing of all diseases is when our bodies are redeemed from the grave by bodily resurrection.

What does it mean to be crowned with lovingkindness and compassion?

God’s lovingkindness is emphasized in Psalm 103. It is the Hebrew word chesed = lovingkindness. I prefer covenant love or loyalty. The Psalm emphasizes the LORD’s lovingkindness (vs. 8, 11, 17). The LORD has abundant, immeasurable, and eternal lovingkindness for those who fear Him. It is the steadfast love that keeps God faithful to His covenants with people. Deuteronomy 7:9: Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments.

Most English versions use “crowns.” Some use “surrounds” and the meaning is “encircles for protection.” God “crowns” the year with His bounty (Ps. 65:11). Psalm 8:5: Mankind was created lower than angels, but “crowned” with glory and honor because mankind was created in the image of God.

How would you feel if someone put a gold crown on your head? The act of crowning means value and dignity. When God puts a crown of lovingkindness and compassion on your head that means you are of great value to Him. You are the precious object of His lovingkindness and mercy.

How is youth renewed like an eagle?

An eaglet passes through several stages of growth until it becomes mature. At about 5 years old the eaglet sheds its first feathers and grows its mature feathers. This is called “molting.” During the molting stage the eagle looks sickly and weak. The eagle is “renewed” as it grows into an adult with the white feathers of its head and tail and its yellow beak and eyes. When David wrote this Psalm, he meant when he remembered and appropriated the LORD’s benefits he was renewed in soul and body. David may have been weary and discouraged from his trials, but when he remembered, believed, and appropriated the LORD’s benefits, the LORD’s rewards for the righteous, he was renewed in body, soul, and spirit. The LORD makes you feel young again. The LORD restores the vision and strength of your youth.

[Note: Most Bible commentators affirm the first benefit “He pardons all your sins” immediately when you repent. They have doubts about the second benefit “He heals all your diseases.” One commentator wrote, “There is a difference between God’s handling of iniquity and of diseases.” His example is David’s sin with Bathsheba and the death of the child. David repented. “Forgiveness was immediate; but healing was denied, in spite of seven days of prayer and fasting (2 Samuel 12:13-23).” (Source: Tyndale OT Commentary, Derek Kidner, Psalms 73-150, p. 364.) I do not think this is an appropriate example as the death of the child was God’s judgment for David’s sin. God decreed the death of the child (12:14). I believe in God’s spiritual and physical healing until it is our time to die and be with Him.]

Psalm 23 Prayer

It Is Written: Psalm 23
Jesus Christ, You are my Good Shepherd.
When I seek first Your kingdom and righteousness
I shall not want.
You supply all my needs in this world.
You provide me with green pastures where I can rest.
You lead me to clean, cold waters
where I can quench my thirst.
You restore my soul and body.
You enable me to walk in Your righteous ways
for Your name’s sake, so You will be glorified in my life.
Even when I am tested
by walking through a valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil because You walk beside me.
When I see You holding Your rod and staff to protect me
I am comforted. I feel safe and secure.
You are my provision and protection.

You even prepare a banquet for me
in the presence of my enemies
so they will see how good You are to me.
You anoint my head with the oil of the Holy Spirit.
You fill my cup to overflowing
so I can be a blessing to others.
I am blessed to be a blessing.
Your goodness and mercy will follow and bless me
all the days of my life in this world.

When my time in this world comes to an end,
when I have fulfilled Your purpose for my life,
I will dwell in the place You are preparing
for those who love You.
I will be with You in Your heavenly Father’s house
with many rooms FOREVER.

Note: Pray and appropriate the Psalm 23 promises.

It is the Word of God.

NT references: John 10:11, Matthew 6:33, John 14:1-3.

Praying with Authority

Jesus commanded a storm to stop. The disciples feared death. Jesus said to the storm “Peace! Be still!” Jesus exercised great faith and used authority over nature and any evil spirits using the storm to drown Him and the disciples.

I hiked to the top of Guadalupe Peak with my son Timothy. It is the “top of Texas” at 8750 feet. It is June and it was 100 degrees. There were many switchbacks as we ascended 4 miles and 3000 feet to the top. About a half mile from the peak I was dehydrated and had leg cramps. I thought about returning. But I drank my electrolyte water, stretched out the cramp, and continued slowly ascending switchbacks. We scrambled up rocks and finally made it to the summit.

Tim was concerned we would not have enough water for the descent. We rationed the water and started down. There was very little shade and the sun was sucking all water out of my body. I couldn’t even make saliva! At one point I thought I would lie down and die of dehydration, burned by the sun. I saw clouds forming over nearby mountains, but the prevailing winds pushed against the clouds and they did not move to cover the sun. As I stumbled down the switchbacks, I prayed, “Father God, in the name of Jesus, move those clouds over the sun.” They seemed to slowly move toward the sun. Then I used faith and authority as Jesus did and said, “Clouds, move and block the sun!” They not only slowly moved to block the sun, the clouds released drops of rain! I felt a surge of strength. It was a blessing. We rested, drank the rest of our water, and made it to the trailhead exhausted.

I believe there are times we can pray with faith and authority like Jesus to save our lives or the lives of other people.

Confidence & Contentment

My title is “Living with contentment and confidence” but I have not written about it for a long time. There are two emotional “states of being” or attitudes I am searching for in this world: contentment and confidence. Contentment and confidence are emotional “states of being” that do not depend on circumstances. If there is an order, then confidence seems to come first. Perhaps confidence produces contentment and contentment leads to more confidence. They work together, but I will begin with confidence. When I have confidence to approach the throne of grace and speak freely then I will be content with whatever God gives me.

My primary scripture for confidence is Hebrews 4:14-16: Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

I am not referring to self-confidence or overconfidence. Many people try to give themselves confidence with “self-talk.” People say, “I can do it! I am strong. I am smart. I am confident.”

This scripture gives me two reasons for confidence. First, the Person who sits on the throne, Jesus the Son of God. The GR word for “confidence” means “freedom in speaking, boldness of speech, frankness, openness.” This is because we are approaching a “throne of grace” with prayer requests. We can speak freely and honestly to the Person on the throne, but respectfully. Imagine a knight kneeling before his king and saying, “May I speak freely and openly with you, my king?” Jesus the Son of God can sympathize with our weaknesses. He was tested with all the temptations of the world – the desires of the flesh, desires of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17). He was tempted to take the easy way and avoid the hard way of the cross. Second, it is a throne of GRACE. Nobody has confidence to approach condemnation or judgment. A supervisor calls you to his office about a problem and you anticipate condemnation and judgment. You do not approach his office with confidence. You feel anxiety. Nobody likes to approach a person, a boss, a parent, or spouse, when he/she anticipates condemnation and judgment. The confidence we have to approach the throne is not based on achievement or possessions. It is based on a relationship with the Person who loves me. Jesus the Son of God has grace toward me, and grace is “unmerited favor.” We can approach his throne with confidence because of who He is and what He has done. Our confidence is not based on what we have or do not have. It is based on a relationship.

There are demonic terrorists that try to kill confidence and contentment. The terrorists attack confidence with fear, guilt, condemnation, and feelings of inadequacy. God said there is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear because fear is related to judgement. 1 John 4:17-19: “In this, love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, for we are as He is in this world. There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because He first loved us.” This is true because God is love (v. 16). Jesus Christ proved the Father’s love when He sacrificed His life to save sinners. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

I am confident that God finishes what He starts. Philippians 1:6: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” The GR word for “confidence” here is assurance. We can be assured, based on past performance, God finishes what He starts. I have unfinished projects. God has no unfinished projects. God began His project at creation and will complete it at consummation – Genesis to Revelation.

My primary scripture for contentment is Philippians 4:10-13: But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Contentment is not based on how many things we have or do not have. Contentment is based in a relationship that will never leave us. I have left many relationships behind after serving five churches. Christ never left me.

Paul wrote, “I have learned the secret.” What is the secret of contentment? Many commercials claim to have discovered the “secret” to a problem and then sell the secret. “I have discovered the secret to effortless weight loss! It is not diet and exercise.” The GR word for “secret” refers to an initiation ceremony or just learning a practical lesson. Paul did not discover the secret of contentment and tried to sell it. He learned it as a practical lesson. He learned that Christ was able to sustain him in any and every circumstance. That means Paul had to experience any and every circumstance to know Christ. If we pray for God to immediately and miraculously deliver us from any and every anxiety-producing circumstance, then we will never know we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

We are content in any and every circumstance because Christ gives us strength. There is no fear in contentment, no panic, no stress. Christ gives us peace when we are poor and keeps us from pride when we have more than enough. This is true because our contentment is based in a relationship and not what we have or do not have. Contentment resists the world and the things in the world, the desires of the flesh, desires of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life (1 John 2:15-17). When contentment rules our souls, these desires have no attraction to us or pull on us.

There are demonic terrorists that try to kill confidence and contentment. I visited the big beautiful custom-built house of a friend from church. The house had many decorated rooms filled with many possessions. The terrorist of envy tried to kill my contentment. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s lifestyle, house, possessions, and cars.” Contentment protected my heart from envy. Gratitude for my blessings protected my heart from covetousness. There are people who have much more than me. There are more people who have much less than me. Discontentment would be ingratitude to God and a sin.

Confidence and contentment do not depend on what we have or do not have, but on a relationship with a heavenly Father who loves us and keeps His promises.

A LOT of Mistakes

Genesis 12: Fatherless Lot, Abram’s nephew, went with Abram to the land of Canaan. After Lot’s father died, maybe Abram adopted Lot as a son since Sarai was barren. Lot had a good start in his relationship with Abram. Lot enjoyed the blessings promised to Abram by the LORD. Lot needed to stay close to Abram. “Blessed to be a blessing.” Abraham was blessed by God to be a blessing to all nations. If God blesses you, it is not so you can selfishly soak in the blessing; it is because God wants to use you to be a blessing to others. Lot was blessed by his relationship with Abram, and he could have been a blessing to many others.
G13: What was wrong with Lot’s choice? Abram offered Lot first choice. Abram said, “The whole land is before you.” He meant Canaan. “If you go left, then I will go right. If you go right, then I will go left.” Abram has been a father to fatherless Lot. Therefore, Lot should have deferred to Abram and said, “God has blessed me because of his promise to you. I am only your nephew. You choose first and I will go the opposite direction.” This was Lot’s first mistake.
This is Lot’s second mistake: “Lot lifted up his eyes and saw…” Here is what was wrong with Lot’s choice: “The grass looks greener on the other side of the fence.” This phrase is used to describe dissatisfaction and envy or covetousness. “You shall not covet.” Lot could have moved north, south, east, or west in the land of Canaan. There was plenty of room. Lot chose to move into the Jordan valley with cities and moved close to a notoriously sinful city named Sodom (13:13). Why would a shepherd settle in the cities of the valley? Yes, the valley had abundant water and looked like the garden of the LORD (Eden) and the Nile valley in Egypt, but it was also a place of danger with exceedingly wicked sinners and warring city states (G14). The “exceedingly wicked sinners” in Sodom were worse than the Canaanites. The Canaanites engaged in idolatry and child sacrifice. What could be worse than that? Keep reading.
Have you ever made a choice because “the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence?” What were the consequences of that choice?
G14: Abram saved Lot the first time. Lot moved from tents outside Sodom to living in Sodom. G19: Abram saved Lot the second time (18:22-33; 19:29). Lot continued to live in Sodom even though he knew the wickedness of the men of the city. Lot would not allow the angels to stay in the city square because he knew what would happen to them.
Lot made a lot of mistakes, but his biggest mistake was separation from Abram which was separation from God’s blessing. Lot began his journey with great promise when he left with Abram. Lot became wealthy by God’s blessing upon Abram. Lot ended his life as a penniless incestuous drunk in a cave and became the father of the Moabites and Ammonites. (Note: As proof of God’s mercy and kindness he blessed the grandsons of Lot, Moab and Ammon. When the Israelites entered the Promised Land, God told Moses not to take the land God gave to Moab and Ammon.) Lot is a tragic figure. Lot is an example of what happens when a person separates from God’s blessing.
Where is the place of God’s blessing today? It is Jesus Christ and his church. A relationship with Jesus Christ is the place of blessing. Jesus Christ alone is Savior and Lord. If you separate from Jesus Christ, then you are following the destiny of Lot. If you have a true relationship with Jesus Christ, then you will know the church as a place of blessing. The church is the body of Jesus Christ. If you want the blessing of God upon your life, then make a commitment to the church of Jesus Christ. Become a member of a church. Serve the church where you become a member. One warning: You must commit to a church that is true to the word of God. Check the beliefs of the church on its website. The beliefs of the church must state that it believes in the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture as the only rule for faith and practice. There are “churches” that have left the body of Christ because they have rejected the truth of God’s word and compromised with the wicked culture. There are “churches” that deny the deity of Christ. If you separate from the true church of Christ, then you are following the destiny of Lot.
Remain in the great blessing of Abraham. The greatest blessing from Abraham is Jesus Christ. Jesus had a conversation about Abraham with the religious leaders of Israel and said (John 8:56-58), “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” So, the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” The only place to have contentment and confidence is to remain in the greatest blessing of Abraham, Jesus Christ.

Benefits of Anxiety 3

Benefits of Anxiety
I never thought I would say this: “Anxiety is not all bad. It has positive side effects.”
Benefit #3: It drives me to prayer and dependence on my heavenly Father. I know why God will not give me $1 million. I would feel safe and secure and not depend on Father for my daily bread. Even if I gave away half of the $1 million to support world missions, I would use the other half to make my life safe and secure in this world. It is not a sin to be safe and secure unless I seek first the safety and security the world offers and then I seek second God’s kingdom and righteousness.
God will use the anxiety that results from a test or trial to call me to prayer and the dependence on Him I cannot live without. Dependence on myself is an illusion. It is pride that deceives me. It is like Lot who thought he could live independent of his uncle Abram. (See Genesis 13-14.) Lot made a lot of mistakes. Lot began a journey of faith with Abram who was his uncle and ended his life as a drunk in a cave. Lot’s biggest mistake was separation from Abram and God’s blessing upon Abram. The biggest mistake anyone can make is arrogant separation from God.
We may experience a gradual separation from God without even being aware of it. We drift away from God when the wind and currents of the world push and pull us. When we drift too far away anxiety may be the alarm that wakes us up to see and feel our separation. When anxiety drives you to prayer and dependence on God it is a spiritual benefit. It is a blessing.
The house I am renting has a 2-car garage and a driveway with an approximate 5-7% grade or 8–9-degree slope. (This is my guesstimate.) I parked my Hyundai Tucson in the garage but forgot to put it in gear and pull the hand brake. I was at the bottom of the driveway where it meets the street with my motorcycle. I looked up to see my Tucson roll swiftly past me. It missed me and the motorcycle by inches. It rolled across the street and up the neighbor’s driveway. It hit the back of my neighbor’s truck and stopped. I thought the driveway was perfectly level, but it must have an imperceptible slope. My Tucson drifted slowly to the edge of the garage while I rode my motorcycle out of the garage and parked it at the bottom of the driveway. When the rear wheels of my Tucson crossed the edge of the garage and came to the 5-7% grade it was unstoppable until it hit the neighbor’s truck.
The LORD spared my life and angels protected me. If the 3000+ pound Tucson would have hit me and the motorcycle, then I would be dead. I was shocked and anxious. I prayed and thanked God for sparing my life. I realized my dependence on God to protect me when I do not even know I need protection. As far as I know this is the third time God spared my life. Remember Philippians 4:5b-7: “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”