Friday, January 27, 2012

Thoughts on Neediness

We all need the love of Jesus.

“He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap.” 1 Samuel 2:8 (NIV)

As a teen I heard the term “needy” used to describe those who were without certain basic material belongings. Reflecting on those years, I only heard the word used in November and December.

As a young adult, I attended a Women’s Missionary Group that visited the county ‘poor farm’ from time to time. The group decided to visit at a time of the year other than Christmas. While I understood the thinking, it became clearer when one of the administrators of the children’s home down the road the road from where we lived told me that the residents there ‘got Christmased to death.’ By this, he meant that every civic group in the area visited during the Christmas season.

As a regular attendee of a growing church, I noticed the prayer sheet given out twice a week-on Wednesdays as well as Sundays. The names are those of members, constituents, and their friends. These people are from all age groups and all walks of life. The one thing binding these names together is their need for prayer.

We all are a needy people. Whether it is a healing touch from God, His guidance through a circumstance in our lives, or His presence in our lives, we all need the Lord.

Have you ever been in a public place and watched people as they pass by? Studied their faces, their stance, how they walk? Spoken to them? Listened to them as they conversed with others? Sent up a silent pray for these people? I should do this more than I do. I will start as a part of my goals for 2012.

Sometimes we learn more about people by watching them than by talking with them. How they behave in certain situations, how they respond to others. Do they show respect? We can learn things about people that are things we have to learn to live with and work around.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Prayer and Anxieties

“Do not be anxious about anything,

but in everything, by prayer and petition,

with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Phil. 4:6

Paul presents an antidote to worry. Why don’t we follow it? Is it that we don’t believe God’s Word?

Time and again, someone has asked friends of mine to pray for a special need. Some of these requests include: the search for a bone marrow donor, a change of program format for a ministry of the church, guidance for a family situation that caused deep hurt, the healing for a son, the healing for a friend or a family member, or consolation after the loss of a loved one.

I once heard that when we worry we cause ourselves to erode from the inside out. This analogy continued to remind me of a tin can. It begins to rust because of its contents. The chemical reaction between what’s inside the can and the metal itself brings about weakness in the can and that vessel can no longer do what it was designed to do.

When we worry about something, a situation in our lives, a circumstance in a friend or loved one’s family, or an issue in our community or society, we set ourselves up for ulcers, digestive conditions, forms of arthritis-like symptoms, and other disorders.

When we pray about a need, we receive a peace or we feel the need to pray fervently and wait for God to work. We turn these vexations over to God who has all things under His control.

I had to learn this lesson in my adult lifetime. Have you had experiences where you kept something bottled up inside of you and didn’t turn it over to God?

Monday, January 23, 2012

What To Do With Our Burdens

Casting for fish. Bing
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty had of God,

that He may exalt you in due time,

casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:6-7 (NKJV)

When we have a burden, a concern, or a worry, we have certain options we can pursue. We can fret and stew about it; that can lead us to getting physically sick or we can give it to God and let Him take care of our need.

God allows us the choice. When we choose to ‘stuff’ our problems, we eventually get a lot of issues on our hearts. The modern psychologists refer to this as having a lot of ‘baggage.’ When I first heard this term, I thought of a person carrying a full suitcase on his or her back. This imaginary person, bent from the waist, couldn’t move with ease. That person carried the weight of all his misdeeds and hurts in such a way he couldn’t see the road ahead.

Our scripture today tells us when we humble ourselves before God, He will lift us up. Our being free of the burden might not come as soon as we want. It comes ‘in due time’, when God chooses to intervene and remove that concern from our hearts.

Casting all your cares, I like this phrase. Being married to a man who used to fish, I get a mental image of a person stretching his or her arm over their head and letting the reel release the line as far away as possible. In the spiritual sense, I hear Peter telling his readers to hurl those woes onto the Lord God and not pick them back up again.

While it is sometimes difficult to leave our requests with Jesus, when we learn to do this we grow in our faith.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...