“I’m out of here!” Most of us will feel like crying out this way at some point in life. When a demanding circumstance feels overwhelming, or when the pressure of the daily routine seems unbearable, a common reaction is the desire to escape. Whether the stress is related to a job, relationship, or other situation that seems too hard to handle, we want relief. So we decide we are walking out. Moving on. Heading for anywhere but where we are now.
The Father has a powerful truth for us: The way to handle stressful situations is to cease fighting against them and instead be at rest. To the psalmist, this meant being still and knowing God is truly God (Psalm 46:10 NIV). Jesus promises peace in the midst of trials when we let go of troubles and entrust them to His care. (See Matt. 11:28-30; John 16:33.) So, while human instinct clamors for escape, God calls us to draw near to Him. Then we can discover calmness of spirit as we absorb the truth of His Word.
Most of all, the Lord wants us to know who He is. As we believe the truth of His sovereignty (1 Chronicles 29:11) and accept both the absolute goodness of His plans (Jer. 29:11) and His deep, abiding love for us (Eph. 3:17-19), we will grow in our trust of Him. Then we will find it easier to be still and truly know He is God.
Our stress need not become distress. The better we understand our heavenly Father, the more we’ll be able to walk through circumstances with calmness (Phil. 4:7) and confidence (Jer. 17:7 NIV). This is our privilege as God’s children.
Bible In One Year: Psalm 119
Read: Joshua 7:1–12
Bible in a Year: Job 25–27; Acts 12
I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.—Joshua 7:12
A writing deadline loomed over me, while the argument I had with my husband earlier that morning swirled through my mind. I stared at the blinking cursor, fingertips resting on the keyboard. He was wrong too, Lord.
When the computer screen went black, my reflection scowled. My unacknowledged wrongs were doing more than hindering the work before me. They were straining my relationship with my husband and my God.
I grabbed my cell phone, swallowed my pride, and asked for forgiveness. Savoring the peace of reconciliation when my spouse apologized as well, I thanked God and finished my article on time.
The Israelites experienced the pain of personal sin and joy of restoration. Joshua warned God’s people not to enrich themselves in the battle for Jericho (Josh. 6:18), but Achan stole captured items and hid them in his tent (7:1). Only after his sin was exposed and dealt with (vv. 4-12) did the nation enjoy reconciliation with their God.
Like Achan, we don’t always consider how “tucking sin into our tents” turns our hearts from God and impacts those around us. Acknowledging Jesus as Lord, admitting our sin, and seeking forgiveness provides the foundation for healthy and faithful relationships with God and others. By submitting to our loving Creator and Sustainer daily, we can serve Him and enjoy His presence—together. —Xochitl Dixon
Lord, please help us recognize, confess, and turn away from our sin, so that we can nurture loving relationships with You and others.
God can purge our hearts of the sin that destroys our intimacy with Him and others.
Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev was a nineteenth-century rabbi known for his mastery of an unwieldy Mishnaic teaching. To carry one’s self with the ayin tovah, or the “good eye,” is to see in a certain light the world and everyone in it. One scholar describes it as the choice “to intentionally focus on what is most pure in each person—to see their highest and holiest potential.”(1) Rabbi Yitzchok was beloved for his good eye, utilized even in cases where virtue seemed entirely wanting and holiness altogether deficient. As one author describes, “He’d roust the local drunk from his stupor on High Holy Days, seat him at the head of the table, and respectfully ask for his wisdom… He extended his caring to all, whether powerful or impoverished, scholarly or simple, righteous or reprobate.”(2) In minds often besieged by warring sides, opinions ad nauseam, and defensive or disparaging thoughts, the good eye is indeed a shift of perception.
I appreciate stories that remind me to keep my eyes opened for all that can be seen but can just as easily be missed. How we learn to see the world, how we labor to see and know the world, is profoundly important. Despite the perseverance of goodness, beauty, and truth around us, the collective wisdom of sociologists, philosophers, historians, and artists all indicates that contemporary culture is structurally estranged from the transcendent. Learning to see with the good eye may well be a difficult feat without mindful effort and practice. But could it not be an entirely transformative art for both the seer and the world being seen?
Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.] —John 14:27
Perhaps you have never thought about how important it is to manage your emotions. I imagine we all think, I can’t help how I act when I am having a hard time. That is a normal human reaction, but with God on your side helping you, you don’t have to behave the way a “normal” person would.
It is obvious from Jesus’ words in John 14:27 that He desires for you to have wonderful peace, but please notice He is also giving you a responsibility. He wants you to choose to control the negative emotions that can steal your peace. You cannot always control your circumstances, but you can control yourself with God’s help.
Power Thought: God has given me His peace, and I will walk in it.
From the book the book Power Thoughts Devotional by Joyce Meyer.
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
Though prayer has been a vital, integral part of my life since I became a Christian, I am always discovering new challenges and new facets of prayer. I find one of the most powerful, exciting and fulfilling privileges God has given to man to be that of prayer based on the authority of God’s Word.
Man instinctively prays, even if only to false gods built of sticks and stones. Whenever he is faced with tragedy, heartache, sorrow or danger, he prays.
There is a serious danger in this “ignorant” kind of praying, however. It is a well-established fact of philosophy and history that man always assimilates the moral character of the object he worships. People who have prayed to gods of blood, fire and war have become militaristic, ruthless and sadistic.
This same principle applies to the Christian, who can pray to the one true God. “As we behold His [Christ’s] face, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory.” This explains the scriptural emphasis of praying worshipfully to the only true, righteous, holy and loving God.
In spite of this potential metamorphosis, however, the lives of few Christians today are impotent and fruitless compared to those of the first century. This is because the average Christian spends so little time at the throne of grace, so little time beholding the face of our Lord. And, as a result, he does not really believe that mercy and grace are available to enable him to live a supernatural life.
Bible Reading: Hebrews 3:1-6
TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Knowing I can come boldly to the throne of grace and receive mercy, cleansing, forgiveness and help for my every need, challenge and opportunity – from my Lord Jesus Himself, our great high priest – I will spend more time in His presence and not be satisfied with an impotent, fruitless life.
God gives us more by going deeper than we ask. He not only wants your whole heart—He wants your heart whole. Why? Hurt people hurt people. Think about it. Why do you fly off the handle? Why do you avoid conflict? Why do you seek to please everyone? Might your tendencies have something to do with an unhealed hurt in your heart? God wants to help you for your sake.
Your family history has some sad chapters. But your history doesn’t have to be your future. The generational garbage can stop here and now. You don’t have to give your kids what your ancestors gave you. Talk to God about the scandals and scoundrels. Invite Him to relive the betrayal with you. The process may take a long time. It may take a lifetime. It may be difficult, for certain. But let God do His work!
From You’ll Get Through This
For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.
Megan Johnson received a heart transplant at the age of twenty-three. The next year, she married a Christian musician named Nathan Johnson and moved to Nashville.
Last week, she gave birth to a girl named Eilee Kate. She and her husband were ecstatic, posting pictures of their baby online. Later that morning, Megan died. The cause of her death has not yet been determined.
Josh Wilson, leader of the Christian band in which Nathan plays, told reporters: “We have grieved in hope, but we believe Meg is with Jesus and one day we will be too, so that is how we grieve with hope.” He started a GoFundMe account to help Nathan with expenses and give him some time at home.
As of this morning, the fund has raised $401,500.
On the eve of our nation’s Independence Day, there are many reasons why I am thankful for the United States of America. Our historic commitment to religious liberty, our passion for individual freedom, and our natural beauty and resources are gifts to Americans and the world.
But I am especially grateful for the benevolence of our people.