Chariots and Horses or God?

Psalm 20-7Chariots and horses were used for many things in the past. People were carried in chariots and people rode on horses – both for transportation purposes. But they were also used for war. They provided an advantage in battle compared to men who were simply on foot. My guess is it was probably easy to put confidence in your ability when you knew your side had chariots and horses at your disposal.

David says in the 20th chapter of Psalms that victorious power comes from God’s right hand. And while others may trust in other means during war, He trusts in the name of the Lord his God.

It’s easy in our day and age to make things happen for ourselves. On any given day, we may or may not have to trust in God to survive and live. I mean, we have jobs that provide paychecks. We have friends who are there for us. We have family members who care for us when we are ill. I know this is true in my own life sometimes. Sometimes it’s easier to rely on that than my God.

I feel extremely blessed to have the life I live that is filled with a fantastic husband with a terrific ministry role. I have a supportive and loving family. I have friends who will stand next to me in the middle of the night when my house is burning. 

Those are tremendous blessings from the Blessor. Let’s remember that everything we have is from Him and He deserves our absolute trust. Not a paycheck or a person. Him alone. 

So, what are your horses? What are your chariots? What is it that you put your trust in more than God? Is it your spouse? A parent? Your paycheck? Your husband’s paycheck? Your employer? Your investments? Or is it that dear friend or family member who is always there for you?

What is it that tends to be your “horse and chariot” over God? Chime in below.

Pray. Thank. Ask. Receive.

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Worry and anxiety go hand in hand. Worry produces anxiety and anxiety produces worry. These terms are often used synonymously. So, what exactly do they mean?

Webster defines the verb “to worry” in this way: to think about problems or fears. Anxiety is defined as fear or nervousness about what might happen. 

Simply put, worry has to do with our mind and what we think about. It is mental. Anxiety has to do with physical manifestations that worry brings on. It is typically physical.

Thankfully, there is a remedy for us who believe the Bible to be God’s inspired Word. What is it? Glad you asked. Paul exhorts us in Philippians 4:6-7:

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. 

Do you ever worry? Do you ever feel anxious? I know the answer is yes. We all do at some point in our day. So, expecting that we will never worry for the rest of our lives is probably not realistic considering the fallen world in which we live. But, we do have the strength of Christ to be able to find victory over things that cause us to bite our nails to the quick. 

I’m not telling you to be a better Christian like your friend or mentor and stop worrying and fretting. People who don’t worry have already put this verse into practice. That’s why they don’t worry. It would be great if that simple command could do the trick. What I’m saying is that we have to act when those worries and anxieties threaten to send us into a pit of despair. 

So, when you are worried or concerned about something, stop. Go to your Heavenly Father in prayer. In your prayer, thank Him for who He is and for saving you. Then, humbly present your requests to the Creator of the Universe. And then receive His peace, the kind that cannot be understood or explained.

It’s Time To Be Selfish

ME

Selfish
: having or showing concern only for yourself and not for the needs or feelings of other people
:  concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself

Okay, so maybe selfish isn’t the best word to use here. I mean, selfish people are annoying. They get on our nerves. They make us mad. We see them and their selfishness is so obvious to us but for some reason it isn’t obvious to them. 

While selfish may not be the best word choice for what I am going to share today, I still decided to throw it into the title. Because while I do not agree with the part of the definition that says we aren’t to care for the needs of other people, I do think there is something to be said about the part that says to be concerned with oneself. Allow me to explain.

I don’t think everyone is a control freak. However, I do think that all of us have a little bit of a desire for some type of control. And we like to exercise it on other people. We want them to change and be more like us, right? We want them to think like us and act like us. When they don’t, we get mad and focus on what they should change. All the while, we have allowed ourselves to get so dadgum angry about someone else that we’ve forgotten that we have our own issues to deal with. 

And how ridiculous is that? To allow ourselves to focus on someone else’s issues when we have copious amounts of struggles to overcome in our own lives is absurd. Matthew 7:3 says, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” We do this daily. What we should be doing is seeking our Heavenly Father daily, asking Him to reveal the shortcomings in our lives, where we’ve sinned, and how we’ve made choices that will have negative consequences. Instead, we look at someone else from our ivory tower and think we can not only judge their situation correctly but come up with an obvious solution to their conundrum. If only they would pay attention to us.

My pastor, Craig Groeschel, says, “We judge other people by their actions and ourselves by our intentions.” We constantly give ourselves the benefit of the doubt but hardly ever give that same benefit to others. We know we didn’t mean to do such a thing but we assume they have malice in their hearts that would lead them to do such a thing. 

Why do we complain about people we can’t change?
Why do we let their actions literally send us into a tizzy?
Why do we get mad at organizations for not doing what we think they should do?
Why do we get fired up at the media for opposing our viewpoint?
Why do we annoyed when our friends raise their kids differently than us?

The point of this post is this: Focus on your own inadequacies and you will have plenty to work on for the rest of your life. Isaiah 56:3 says, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way…” That’s all of us, friend. ALL means ALL.

Here’s my challenge for you. The next time you find yourself judging someone or some situation in a negative way, instead of thinking you would never do such a thing or act in such a way, voice a short prayer to your Heavenly Father asking, “Is there any of this in me? In what ways am I, in action or thought, sinning against you?” 

I promise you the conviction of the Holy Spirit will gently motivate you to make changes in your own life. And then before you know it, you won’t even have time to judge someone else’s life. 

I’ve been working on this in my own life. I certainly don’t have it down and occasionally decide to make someone else’s unfavorable traits my focal point. When I do this, I actually end up feeling worse about myself than I would have if I would just focus on myself and my own imperfections. Cuz baby, I’ve got plenty.

So, get a little bit selfish. Magnify the successes of others and minimize their shortcomings. And then do the opposite on yourself. Receive people with the grace you so desperately want shown to you. 

After all, that’s what God does with us. 

Pride Is: Part 3

Pride

Today will be the day I wrap up this mini series called Pride Is. If you missed the first two posts, you can find them here: Part 1 and Part 2.

I pray you’ve been challenged to evaluate the way pride rears its ugly head in your life. I know I have. Just typing some of the things I have has made me cringe at myself. Our flesh is so strong but greater is He who is in us, AMEN?

Let’s dive into five more characteristics that are typically associated with pride:

Prideful people…
• Find it difficult to share their spiritual needs with others.
• Want to be sure nobody finds out about their sin.
• 
Compare themselves with others and feel deserving of honor.

• Have a desire to be served.
• Look down on others.

The converse is that instead of finding it difficult to share our spiritual needs with others we are willing to be open and vulnerable with others, instead of wanting to be sure nobody finds out about our sin we are willing to be exposed, instead of comparing ourselves with others and feeling deserving of honor we compare ourselves to the holiness of God and feel a desperate need for His mercy, instead of having a desire to be served we are motivated to serve others and instead of looking down on others we esteem all others better than ourselves.

Take some time this week and pray about, study up on and meditate on each of the five characteristics listed above. Ask God to reveal to you in any way where you are operating in prideful way.

Pride Is: Part 2

Pride

Last week, I started sharing about pride. That pesky, little word that has some good and bad connotations associated with it. 

My point in sharing about it and defining it for you was to help us understand the negative part of pride. The kind of pride that God hates and wants removed from our lives. 

But we have to be willing participants. And friend, it will be painful to have the flesh challenged in this way.

I promise it will be worth it.

Here is today’s installment of five characteristics that typically accompany pride:

Prideful people…
• Are quick to blame others.
• Feel confident in how much they know.
• Are driven to be recognized and appreciated.
• Don’t think they have anything to repent of.
• Work to maintain their image and protect their reputation.

Ouch, right?

The converse is that instead of being quick to blame others we accept personal responsibility and can see where we are wrong, instead of feeling confident in how much we know we are humbled by how much we have to learn, instead of being driven to be recognized and appreciated there is pleasure in just being used and an eagerness for others to get credit, instead of thinking we don’t have anything to repent of we have a heart attitude of repentance, and instead of working to maintain our image and protect our reputation, we die to our own reputation and seek to further God’s Kingdom and not our own.

Take some time this week and pray about, study up on and meditate on each of the five characteristics listed above. Ask God to reveal to you in any way where you are operating in prideful way.