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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

BE ANXIOUS FOR NOTHING


“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6 – 7

*If you don't read the rest of this blog, scroll down to the end and read the last paragraph - you'll be glad you did.

I recently took a medical test called a ‘MRI’. They slide you into a narrow tube and take pictures of the inside of your body. You have ear plugs because it’s a noisy procedure. I had extensive back surgery four years ago and they like to check and make sure that everything is still good. Some people feel claustrophobic while in this tube and get a little panicky. The technician asked me if I was “anxious”. I told him, “No, not at all; be anxious for nothing!” He looked confused, so I told him “That’s a Bible verse.” "Oh yes, where is that verse?" he asked. As the apostle Peter once said, it's always good to be prepared - I Peter 3:15.
        We have a lot of reasons to be up-tight and stressed out. Most of us suffer from anxiety from time to time, sometimes extreme anxiety. The Lord doesn't want His children to live like this. I've often written about the fact that believers should not use these two words - worry and fear. But we hear them all the time, "I worry about. . .", "I'm afraid that. . ." The Lord said we should start living here on earth as we will in heaven - anxiety free because we know He cares for us and is protecting us.
        Not only does God protect us, we can linger in the shadow of His wings. I made that statement once and a little boy asked me if God is a bird. A reasonable question for a five year old, after all, only birds have wings. Sometimes it's helpful to understand Biblical history in order to make better sense of Bible verses. Picture the Jewish priests of old. They wore a four-cornered garment around their shoulders that draped below their knees. The outer edges of this garment were fringed and the corners had tassels, tzitzit in Hebrew. The dictionary refers to these tassels as 'wings'. You can picture a rabbi raising his arms; a picture of a place to hide, be protected and spiritually healed.
        Recall the story of the women in Mark 5:25 - 29. She had "been subject to bleeding for twelve years." She'd suffered a great deal, been under the care of many doctors and spent all she had. She was desperate so when she heard that Jesus was near preaching and healing, she went to Him. She was familiar with this verse from Malachi 4:2
"But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will arrive with healing in its wings."
She had been given the faith to believe that this verse referred to the Messiah - Jesus. She knew if she could just touch His clothes, she'd be cured. . ."If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed."  Mark 5:28, and indeed she was. She was cured of her anxiety and illness. But important, she understood that Jesus had healed her spiritually and she was forgiven of all her sin and now would appear before God with no shame or condemnation. Romans 8:1
        As Job wrote in Job 1, Satan is roaming this world looking for those he can devour. Satan will attack us anyway he can and loves to see us upset and full of fear and anxiety. But we can live in amazing peace as we come to understand that God is sovereign and is working for our good. We can relax and know we are safe in Him. Our real life is hidden in Christ - Colossians 3:3.
        David wrote in Psalm 17: 8
"Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.. ."
        Going back to the 'do not be anxious for anything' verse, Paul was telling the believers in Philippi to bring their concerns to the Lord in prayer with an attitude of gratitude. This is the only way we can find true peace...and when we have peace, the rest of our life often falls into place. We are the 'apple of God's eye' and we can hide in the shadow of His wings!

        I can't end this blog without sharing a precious story I read some time ago and have never forgotten. A forest ranger was walking through an area that had been burned to the ground. He came upon a large bird with her wings spread out, dead, but the body was whole. What a sad sight this ranger thought. He poked the bird with a stick and her body crumbled apart as four little baby birds scurried away from beneath her wings. She knew danger was coming and spread her wings to protect her babies. She could have  flown away and saved herself, but she stayed there and died so her babies could live. It reminds me of Jesus on the cross - He could have saved Himself, but He withstood the pain, paid the price for our inequities, spread out His arms, and died so those who believe in Him could live. What an incredible love!

Thank you Lord for giving us a way to cope with this world and all the problems that come to us. Bring your truth to our hearts every time we stumble and become afraid. Let your peace wash over us.