RAISED WITH CHRIST

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 2:4-6

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raise us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

During our celebration of Holy Week, we are going to focus on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every day we are bombarded with bad news. I imagine we will hear even more bad news as we approach the peak of the virus these next couple of weeks. We need some good news to help us cope with all the bad news. The best news ever is that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead! The message of the resurrection offers us life and hope and joy and peace. It lifts our spirits and comforts our souls. It takes us to heavenly realms.

The words of the Gaither hymn, “Because He Lives,” are so comforting to me — “Because He lives I can face tomorrow, Because He lives all fear is gone; Because I know He holds the future. And life is worth the living just because He lives.” These words are so true — Because He lives we can face tomorrow!

The gospel is a message about the incredible life we have in our risen Lord Jesus Christ. Once we were dead spiritually, but God made us alive together with Christ. He opened our eyes to the good news of salvation and He caused us to be born again to a living hope. Jesus Christ came to live in us. Therefore, we are never alone.

But there is more. God not only made us alive together with Christ, He also raised us up with Him. In the power of Christ’s resurrection, we too have been raised up. We are given new life, fullness of life, now. The very power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to us. “Because He lives I CAN face tomorrow; because He lives ALL fear is gone.”

But there is even more. God made us alive together with Christ. He raised us up with Him. And He seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. We are seated with Christ now. He has hold of us and thus we are safe and secure in His hands.

Whatever bad news comes our way this week, let’s remember the good news. We are seated with the glorious, risen Savior in the heavenly places. We can be filled with life and hope and joy and peace because we are in Christ and He is in us. Jesus is alive and we are safe and secure in His presence.

Lord God, thank You for making me alive together with Christ. And thank You for raising me up with Him and seating me in the heavenly places in Him. Thank You for the resurrection of our Savior and for the fact that because He lives I can face tomorrow.

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SHARING IN CHRIST’S SUFFERING

Scripture Reading: I Peter 4:12-19

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.” (I Peter 4:12,13)

Throughout this week we have been focusing on the good that comes out of trials. God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). God uses trials to mold us more and more into the image of His Son Jesus (Romans 8:29). Trials produce endurance, character and hope (Romans 5:3-5). God tells us that trials may be necessary, for a little while, to test our faith and through these trials He purifies our faith (I Peter 1:6,7). And we saw how the testing of our faith produces steadfastness that leads to spiritual maturity (James 2:2-4). God allows us go go through times of difficulty because He knows what is needed to strengthen our faith.

I saved this last passage on suffering (I Peter 4:12-19) until the end of the week because it takes us to another level in our spiritual understanding and growth. The passage tells us that we can rejoice in our sufferings because through them we have the opportunity to share in the sufferings of our Savior to a very small degree. When we suffer, our minds should turn to the suffering of Jesus Christ. Of course, we cannot grasp the extent of the sufferings Christ endured for our sake. He bore the pain of being abandoned, abused and humiliated. He suffered horrific physical pain. But far greater than these things, Jesus suffered the wrath of God, the pain of hell, when He was nailed to the cross. He suffered in our place, so that we will never have to suffer the kind of suffering He endured.

“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces He was despised and we esteemed Him not” (Isaiah 53:3).

“Surely He has borne our griefs and and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:4).

“But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

While we can never experience the degree of suffering our Savior did, we can have a small taste of what He went through. Each time we face trials, difficulties, suffering and pain, our minds should go to the sufferings of Jesus. We can say to ourselves, “I hurt, but my Savior hurt infinitely more than what I am experiencing and He suffered because of me.” When we do this, we share in Christ’s sufferings and find strength to endure whatever comes our way. We can rejoice that we have the opportunity to taste a little of our Savior’s sufferings. “Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted” (Hebrews 12:3).

Lord Jesus, the trials we are experiencing pale to nothing compared to the trials You went through. You were despised and rejected. You were abandoned and humiliated. You were stricken by God and afflicted, so that we would never have to experience these things. And You bore the judgment of God, His holy wrath, so that we would not have to bear it ourselves. I rejoice when I can share to a very small degree in Your sufferings. I can never thank You enough for what You have done for me.

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SPIRITUAL MATURITY

Scripture Reading: James 1:2-8

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)

Have you noticed a common theme in the passages we have been working through this week? “We rejoice in our sufferings” (Romans 5:3); “In this rejoice” (I Peter 1:3); and today “Count it all joy” (James 1:2). Christians have the ability to look at suffering in a different way. We know that God uses suffering, trials, pain and difficulties to enable us to grow in our faith. God clearly tests our faith, as we have seen.

Notice what the testing of our faith produces according to this passage in James — steadfastness. We learn how to stay steady when trials come our way. We do not have to be shaken by them. The Psalmist understood this — “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken” (Psalm 16:8).

The key to steadfastness is our focus — “I have set the Lord always before me.” As we set the Lord before us, we know that He is at our right hand and we shall not be shaken. Why? Because the Lord has hold of us. We are in the palm of His hand and nothing can take us away from His sovereign protection and love. Jesus said, “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:29). We are safe and secure in the hands of our Heavenly Father. We do not have to be shaken. We can remain steadfast.

The testing of our faith produces steadfastness. We learn how to be more solid in our faith. We develop a greater confidence in our Lord and we learn to trust Him more and more. A growing faith leads to spiritual maturity. A growing faith keeps us from being tossed to and fro by waves of doubt and uncertainties (Ephesians 4:14). God’s goal for us is Christian maturity — “to the measure of the statue of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). We can count it all joy when we go through these times of trial, for God is at work in us.

Lord Jesus, I rejoice that You are at work in my life. I know that You are teaching me through this trial. I am learning endurance and steadfastness. I can endure and I do not have to be shaken because You have hold of me. I am in Your hands and nothing can snatch me from them. Forgive me when I allow myself to be tossed to and fro by waves of doubt. When I do this, I know that I am not setting You at my right hand. I know that You are at work enabling me to be more mature in my faith.

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TESTING OUR FAITH

Scripture Reading: I Peter 1:3-9

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith — more precious though it be tested by fire — may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (I Peter 1:6,7)

We are looking at ways God is using this trial that we are experiencing for our good (Romans 8:28). Peter wrote this epistle to Christians who were undergoing severe and deadly persecution. Some had been imprisoned for their faith; others had been put to death. They were grieving. They were facing times of uncertainty and yet they continued in their faith. Peter says that trials test our faith and that we can rejoice in them for they are purifying our faith.

This passage is very comforting to me today. First, it reminds me that there is an end to the is trial — “though now for a little while.” It will not go on forever. We saw in yesterday’s devotion that we can rejoice in our trials because they produce endurance. We must endure to the end. We may be in grief because of the hardships and perhaps even the death of some of our loved ones. Yet, God is at work and He will deliver us from this crisis.

This passage also tells me that this trial is necessary — “if necessary.” It is occurring because God considers it necessary. He is getting our attention. None of us have ever faced anything like this before. It is necessary for us to examine our priorities. It is necessary for us to have our faith strengthened. Yes, our faith is being tested. We are being reminded that we are in desperate need of Jesus Christ, that He is with us in this trial and that He alone can deliver us from it.

Our faith is precious to God. We are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8,9). We are justified by faith (Romans 5:1). We are to walk by faith, not by sight (II Corinthians 5:7). Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). God is testing our faith because it is precious to Him. He is making sure that our faith is genuine and He is therefore testing it by fire.

There is an ultimate purpose for the testing of the genuineness of our faith — that it “may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (vs. 8,9). When we remain faithful, we bring praise, glory and honor to our Savior. Though we do not see Him, we love Him and believe in Him. The testing of our faith is the opportunity for us to glorify God, and it is our preparation to receive the ultimate outcome of our faith — the salvation of our souls. It is preparing us to glorify, praise and honor Jesus when He returns again.

Lord Jesus, You know what is necessary for me to grow in my faith. You are using this trial to test the genuineness of my faith. You are giving me the opportunity to bring praise, glory and honor to Your name. You are preparing me for the outcome of my faith — the salvation of my soul. You are preparing me for Your return. I rejoice that You are at work in my life. Though I do not see You, I love You and I believe in You.

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REJOICING IN SUFFERING

Scripture Reading: Romans 5:1-5

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

This week we are looking at ways God uses difficulties and trials for our good (Romans 8:28). Today we read these words from Romans 5 — “We rejoice in our sufferings.” Christians have a very different perspective on suffering than non-Christians do. We can actually rejoice in our sufferings because we know that God is sovereignly working out His purpose in our lives.

How can we rejoice in our sufferings? Paul gives an answer to the question — “knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” Trials are unpleasant when we are going through them. None of us looks forward to times of suffering. This trial we are in is difficult and trying. Our lives have been radically changed because of this pandemic.

I have come to the the realization that things will get worse before they get better, and that we will be in this longer than I had expected. Anxiety began to creep back into my mind and my spirit was down. But, as I was reading this passage, I realized that God is at work in my life, teaching me endurance. We have to keep on keeping on. We have to endure through this trial.

Another passage came to me — “Let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1b,2). Endurance produces character — “let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely.” Running the race with endurance requires us to get rid of things that hinder us, such as anxiety, fear, doubt, and negative thinking. God has us in training. He is building our character by making us more Christ-like.

Character produces hope. Look at Jesus. He endured the agony of the cross for us. We are the joy that was set before Him. Joy came to Him in His suffering when He considered what the outcome would be — the salvation of those whom He loved. The suffering and shame He experienced was worth it to Him. Jesus gives us hope in our sufferings, for we know that “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” We are deeply loved. We are not alone. Jesus is in control. He “is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” He is there to intercede for us and He is fully in charge. Looking to Jesus will bring great joy and peace to us in the midst of our sufferings.

Lord Jesus, You endured the cross on my behalf. You bore its shame because of the joy set before You. We are Your joy. We are the beloved of God. We are not alone. We rejoice in our sufferings for they are producing endurance, character and hope in us. Let us keep our eyes on You.

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ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD

Scripture Reading: Romans 8:28-30

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

I memorized this verse early in my Christian life. It has brought great comfort to me over the years. However, I have learned through my years of ministry that we must use the verse wisely. I have made the mistake of quoting it too quickly to people who were going through major trials. They were not ready to hear it and it came across as insensitive the way I used it. For this very reason, I have waited until now to use it. For the past couple of weeks in my devotions I have tried to give verses and thoughts about them on how to process this current overwhelming crisis we are facing. We have all been in a state of shock and unbelief.

The time has come for us to look at the good that is coming out of the difficulties we are facing. Romans 8:28 is absolutely true. God does work all things out for our good. God uses trials and other painful experiences in our lives to mold us more and more into the image of Jesus Christ. God’s purpose, to which we have been called, is that we become more like Jesus Christ — “For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers” (v. 29). God is working all things out for the good of those who have been called according to His purpose, which is to make them more Christ-like. That is the ultimate goal.

How has this crisis making us more Christ-like? I have had much more time to read and to meditate upon the Scriptures. God is using this trial to teach me more about Him. He is taking me deeper in my walk with Him. I have prayed more as well. This crisis has driven many people to seek Christ in deeper ways. We realize how much we need Him and we have time to develop our relationship with Him.

God is using this trial for our good in many other ways. Mary Ann and I try to walk each day through our neighborhood. We have seen members of families spending time together. Dads throwing footballs to their sons. Moms doing chalk drawings on the sidewalks with their children. Families playing together and spending time together. Children seem happier and parents are getting to know their children better. These remind me of the days when I was growing up — riding bicycles, playing games in our front yards, being outside together.

God is using this trial for our good in that we are able to build much needed margins in our lives. He is giving us the opportunity to reset our priorities. He is making us more sensitive to the needs of others.

Let’s not miss the good that God is working out in us through these trying times. Take time today to talk as a family about all the good things that are coming out of the trial we are facing. And let’s be very sensitive to those who are struggling through these times. They need our prayers and our encouragement.

Lord Jesus, thank You for all that You are teaching me through these difficult times. Thank You for the good that You are working out through this trial. It is so comforting to know that You work all things for the good of those who love You and are called according to Your purpose. Don’t let me get so focused on the bad news that I miss the good that is taking place.

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KEEPING AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE

Scripture Reading: I Peter 5:6-11

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever.” (I Peter 5:10,11)

As with all good things we experience during our lives on this earth, there will always be times of difficulty, disappointment, and disaster. Because of this fact, we must learn to live with the end in mind. We must keep an eternal perspective and remember where we are headed — we are headed for glory!

We have been called to share in God’s eternal glory. All of history is moving toward the day when Jesus returns and makes the final and complete restoration of all things. There will be new heavens and a new earth. Sin and all its consequences will be gone forever. The New Jerusalem will appear and we will see our Savior face to face.

John received this vision of the New Jerusalem — “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be any mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away'” (Revelation 2:2-4).

Keeping an eternal perspective enables us to find joy and peace even when we are going through difficult times. For this very reason, we are told — “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). No matter what we have to endure here on earth, it pales to insignificance when God’s glory is revealed to us.

We will behold the glory of Christ. Jesus prayed, “Father, I desire that they also whom You have given Me, may be with Me where I am, to see My glory, that You have given Me because You loved Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24). The Father will certainly answer the prayer of His Beloved Son. One day we will be with Jesus and we will behold His glory.

David asked the Lord for one thing — “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple” (Psalm 27:4). We are destined for glory. We will dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of our lives and we will gaze upon the beauty of our Lord. This is our destiny. We are headed for glory. Keep an eternal perspective. The God of all grace has called us to His eternal glory in Christ!

Lord Jesus, I long to see Your glory and I long to gaze upon Your beauty. I know that one day I will see You face to face in the New Jerusalem. What comfort it gives me to know that then there will be no more death nor mourning nor crying nor pain. All things will be restored and Your people will be established forever in glory. Enable me to keep an eternal perspective, especially through the difficult times. I know there is something far better awaiting me in glory than the very best this world has to offer.

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LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL

Scripture Reading: I Peter 5:6-11

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (I Peter 5:10,11)

During times of difficulty, our grandmother would say, “This too shall pass.” She was right. What seemed to be an endless struggle wasn’t endless at all. “This too shall pass, ” and it did. Our current crisis will pass. God puts it this way — “And after you have suffered a little while.” There will be relief from this trial. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

God makes a promise to us — After we have suffered a little while, the God of all Grace Himself will “restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” In other words, God is going to bring restoration to us and He will make us stronger and even more settled. Notice who will do these things — the GOD OF ALL GRACE. We will be changed because the God of all grace will restore, confirm, strengthen and establish us. His grace sustains us and is at work in us.

We should not attempt to shortchange what God is doing. He is giving us a chance to reset our priorities, to identify what really is important. He is making us slow down and enjoy the small things. He is at work in us now and He will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish us.

There is an end to this trial. Don’t lose hope. Don’t get overwhelmed and discouraged. The God of all grace is at work in us. Our Lord Jesus Christ is in control — “To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” He created all things and He sustains all things — “For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16,17). Because all dominion is His, Jesus has the end in mind. “This too shall pass.” There is light at the end of the tunnel.

But let’s remember that after this trial others will come and go. But one day Jesus is coming in glory, and all suffering will disappear forever. There will be no more disasters, diseases, and death. There is a day when all things will be perfectly restored, confirmed, strengthened, and established. The Light at the end of the tunnel is none other than the Light of the world; it is the Light of our Savior.

Lord Jesus, You are the light at the end of the tunnel. You created all things and You hold all things together. You are in control. You will bring an end to this crisis and we will be restored, confirmed, strengthened, and established. I pray that I will learn through these times of uncertainty. Don’t let me miss what You have to teach me. Thank You for letting me slow down, reset my priorities and enjoy the little things of life.

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THE REAL ENEMY

Scripture Reading: I Peter 5:6-11

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” (I Peter 5:8,9)

Yesterday we dealt with anxiety. God tells us what to do when we become anxious — “casting all your anxieties upon Him, for He cares for you.” Most anxiety comes from fear. We become afraid of what we may experience. But we must remember that fear does not come from God — “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (II Timothy 1:7). So, what is the source of our fear and anxiety?

The real enemy is the devil. He is the ultimate adversary. He attacks us when we are weak — “the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” He comes to us when we are most vulnerable and causes us to doubt, to fear, and to be anxious. He robs us of the joy and peace God wants us to have. He is a thief and a liar. He causes us to have anxious thoughts, and his attacks are relentless.

Therefore, we have to be sober-minded. We must realize that Satan is the real enemy, and that he causes us to fear, for God has not given us a spirit of fear. We must be aware of his tactics and we must know our enemy. In addition to being sober-minded, we must be watchful. Expect him to show up. Expect him to sow seeds of doubt. Expect him to cause us to be fearful and anxious. Expect him to cause conflict and division.

When the devil attacks us, we must resist him. Remember what Jesus did when Satan attacked Him during His forty days in the wilderness — Jesus quoted Scripture to him (Matthew 4:1-11). Why did Jesus do this? Because of the power of the Word of God; it is the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17). The Word of God is our offensive weapon against Satan. When he brings doubt, fear and anxiety, take out your sword. Quote Scripture to him. Go on the offensive. When our Lord Jesus did this to Satan, we are told — “Then the devil left Him” (Matthew 4:11a).

We must resist Satan and we must remain firm in our faith. We have to trust our Lord Jesus Christ no matter what. We have to fix our eyes on Him, who is the the founder and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). We must remember how much Jesus cares for us, and how He comes to us in our distress and carries our sorrows. He alone is able to deliver us from this trial. He alone can take away our fear and anxiety. But we have to be firm in our faith.

This passage is so appropriate considering the worldwide trial we are experiencing — “the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” This is a world-wide pandemic. When we pray, let’s not only pray for ourselves and our loved ones, but let’s remember to pray for all who are suffering throughout the world. They are experiencing the same kinds of fear and anxieties that we are.

Lord Jesus Christ, You are my King and my Lord. You defend me from the attacks of the evil one. His doom is sure. Enable me to be sober-minded, to be watchful, to resist the devil, and to remain firm in my faith. Let me keep my eyes on You. I pray for all throughout the world who are filled with fear and anxiety. I pray that You will use this trial to bring many to Yourself and to strengthen the faith of Your own.

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CASTING ALL YOUR ANXIETIES ON HIM

Scripture Reading: I Peter 5:6-11

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:6,7)

As we have seen, we must humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. God is working everything according to the council of His will (Ephesians 1:11). He is sovereign and therefore He is in control. We must accept the good and the difficult that comes our way. Although we known these things are true, most of us are anxious right now. What if we get the virus? What if our loved ones get it? What about the decline in the economy? What if we lose our jobs? What if, etc.? The list could go on and on.

Jesus tells us not to be anxious — “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34). Jesus is telling us that we must take one day at a time. We should, but often we don’t. We still have anxieties. How could we not be anxious with all the bad news we are hearing day in and day out? It is what we do with our anxieties that matter.

Our passage today gives clear direction about dealing with our anxieties — “Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” The key is to take our anxieties to the Lord, to cast them on Him. Each anxious thought must be quickly given to Christ. Do it now! Tell Him what you are anxious about. Then give it to Him, for He alone has the power to take away our anxieties and to do something about them.

I find the times I am most anxious to be during the night. My mind goes to all the “what ifs.” I let it run wild. I think of the worst things and my anxieties become cumulative. I’m trying to learn when I do this to picture myself taking each anxious thought and casting it upon Jesus. Then I try to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ — “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (II Corinthians 10:5). Instead of focusing on the anxieties, I focus on Christ. I turn my thoughts to Him and to what He has said. I know that God has not given us a spirit of fear — “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (II Timothy 1:7). We have the very power of God available to us and we have His love lavished upon us. He gives us the ability to exercise self-control over our thoughts. So, where does fear and anxiety originate? We will look at the answer tomorrow.

The greatest relief from fear and anxiety comes in the last part of our passage today — “casting all your anxieties on Him, because HE CARES FOR YOU.” The King and Lord of this universe cares about you and about me. He genuinely has concern for us, for we are His beloved children. We must remember that we have a great High Priest, Jesus Christ, who comes to us in our troubles. He comes to bear them with us — “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4). He wants us to cast our anxieties on Him. He is willing to carry them for us and to give relief to us.

Heavenly Father, how comforting it is to know that You actually care for me. You have told me to cast my anxieties on you. I do so at this time. Forgive me when I take them back, which is what I often do. But I know that I can cast them on you again and again. And thank You, Lord Jesus, my great High priest, for I know that You are carrying my worries and You will deliver me from them. Let me take every thought captive to Your obedience and remember that You did not give me a spirit of fear, but one of power and love and self-control.

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