Monday, October 29, 2018

Pray More, Worry Less

I have been a fearful person my entire life, afraid for myself for those I love. This not an honorable confession for a Christian to make.

Various sources disagree on the exact number of times Scripture tells us not to be afraid, ranging from 70 to 365 times, depending on translation and interpretation of the intent behind the words, but we can be confident that our Lord has repeatedly urged us not to be afraid.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary sheds light on reasons we need not harbor fear:
"God speaks with tenderness; Fear thou not, for I am with thee: not only within call, but present with thee. Art thou weak? I will strengthen thee. Art thou in want of friends? I will help thee in the time of need. Art thou ready to fall? I will uphold thee with that right hand which is full of righteousness..."* 
"Cast "all your care;" personal cares, family cares, cares for the present, and cares for the future, for yourselves, for others, for the church, on God. These are burdensome, and often very sinful, when they arise from unbelief and distrust, when they torture and distract the mind, unfit us for duties, and hinder our delight in the service of God. The remedy is, to cast our care upon God, and leave every event to his wise and gracious disposal."**
Since my mother entered nursing home care, I have struggled more with fear for her.  During most of the hours of every day, she is out of my range of sight or ability to help if she has need.  When Mom lived here at home she was dependent on me for help with every activity of daily living, and releasing her care into the hands of others who do not know her needs as well as I do has been difficult. 

I believe that prayer for Mom is my most effective labor on her behalf and I do attempt to pray more and worry less, I really do. As Mom says, "Jesus is right here with me (she pounds her chest and glares fiercely at me, full of conviction and wanting to be sure I understand).  What more do I need?"

*Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on Isaiah 41, public domain 
**Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on  1 Peter 5, public domain 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Flowing With God's Will in Prayer

A few nights ago, I was lying in bed nearly asleep, when a precious insight straight from the Lord came into my mind.  For a few moments I could see clearly how trust in the Lord's perfect love for my loved ones could allow me to pray for them, but simultaneously to have peace in regard to them; "acquiescence" is the word that came to mind.  Acquiescence to the flow of the Holy Spirit's power, the Father's love, and the Savior's sacrifice on behalf of those I love brings peace.

Our hearts can move the heart of God, and so we should not hold back from pouring out our hearts to the Lord on behalf of others.  This is in no way a recommendation to detach from those we love just because their burdens are uncomfortable for us to share.  But I am learning that underlying my outcries to the Lord and shared heartaches with loved ones, there can flow a deep river of peace.  As I allow my prayers to flow according to God's will (and not in fear of it), my prayers become more powerful.  

We who have been cleansed by the Blood of Christ have no need to fear His good, pleasing, and perfect will.  In any crisis we have only to find the path of His provision, and although heartaches may come, we can have peace because our Lord loves us eternally, has planned for us perfectly, and once we have accepted Him as Lord, He does not let us go.


A reminder of who we are in Christ is the best way to dispel fear, both for ourselves and for our loved ones...

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Trust His Love

I found the poem, My Plans for Thee by Freda Hanbury Allen in a daily devotional I was reading 38 years ago, while I was suffering through a difficult pregnancy and struggling to hold to the hope of Jeremiah 29:11. I copied the poem onto a piece of notebook paper, taped it to our refrigerator, and read it every day until the words were mine by memory and our healthy baby girl was ushered safely into the world.  

God often asks us to trust when we can't see the path ahead. It seems a difficult assignment until we lift our eyes to His and remember how very much He loves us. The Creator of the universe, perfect in faithfulness, power, and love, cares for us!  It is safe to believe what He says and to entrust the future into His hands.  

Here is the poem in its entirety:  

My Plans for Thee

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
  - Jeremiah 29:11

        The love of God a perfect plan
        Is planning now for thee;
        It holds "a future and a hope,"
        Which yet thou canst not see.

        Though for a season, in the dark,
        He asks thy perfect trust,
        E'en that thou in surrender "lay
        Thy treasure in the dust,"

        Yet He is planning all the while;
        Unerringly He guides
        The life of him who holds His will
        More dear than all besides.

        Trust were not trust if thou could'st see
        The ending of the way;
        Nor could'st thou learn His songs by night,
        Were life one radiant day.

        Amid the shadows here He works
        The plan designed above:
        "A future and, a hope" for thee,
        In His exceeding love.

        "A future" - of abiding fruit,
        With loving kindness crowned;
        "A hope" - which shall thine own transcend,
        As Heaven the earth around.

        Though veiled as yet, one day thine eyes
        Shall see His plan unfold,
        And clouds that darkened once the path
        Shall shine with Heaven's gold.

        Enriched to all eternity
        The steadfast soul shall stand,
        That, "unoffended," trusted Him
        Who all life's pathway planned.

- Freda Hanbury Allen.