What in the world does “fret” mean? Here is a little word that doesn’t have any positive definitions. It means “to worry, to be discontent, to have something be eaten away by something else.” It means, “to torment or irritate or upset someone or yourself.” So when the Bible says not to “fret” it means “quit worrying about it.” That’s not always easy to do, is it?
Here’s another little word with a negative definition: Envy. Envy is a kind of jealousy. The dictionary defines it as the “resentful or unhappy feeling of wanting somebody else’s success, good fortune, qualities, or possessions.” We can envy someone else’s clothes, their looks, their friendships, their talents, or their achievements. For example, when a friend does well on an exam, instead of being happy for her, you feel jealous and you wish it could have been you instead. That’s envy.
The Bible says that we shouldn’t fret about or envy the apparent success of people who do wrong. Do you know someone who got rewarded for cheating? How did it make you feel? Did you fret and feel envious? Unfortunately, fretting and envy don’t change the situation, but they do make us miserable. That’s why the Bible says not to fret or envy. And although people who cheat to get ahead appear to be getting away with it, they’re losers in the long run.
Dear Lord, I admit I have both fretted and been envious. Please help me to be content with doing honest work and to trust you with the rest. Amen.
Matthew 6:30–33, The Message
Have you ever wandered deep into the woods and found a beautiful flower blooming there? Ever wondered who, besides you, will ever see that beautiful flower? Jesus talked about that. He said that God gives a flower so much beauty and detail and then he may put it in a place where no one ever sees it. Why? It is because God makes everything perfect whether or not anyone notices. Everything he makes has a purpose. You have a purpose. And he didn’t make any mistakes when he made you. Even if you sometimes feel like you are hidden in the woods where no one notices you, God has a purpose for your life.
Because you are his child, God will take care of all your needs. Jesus told the people of his time to stop worrying about everything. He told them that God knew they needed certain things to live. He said that if God dressed the flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, God will certainly take care of his children—that includes you—who are much more important to him than flowers.
If you can understand that God loves you and wants to take care of you, life will be a lot easier. God knows what you need. God knows what your family needs. Count on the fact that God knows, and trust him.
Dear Lord, I know you love me and that you care about my needs. Help me to trust you to take care of me and my family. Amen.
Storms are scary. They are destructive and they can threaten life. When a huge hurricane named Katrina swept ashore in New Orleans, it just about ruined the city. Jesus’ disciples knew all about storms, so when they got caught in a furious squall on the Sea of Galilee, they were sure they were about to die. They expected their boat to be demolished by the storm. Jesus was asleep in their boat, so they woke him up and asked him to save them. And that’s what Jesus did. He spoke to the storm and told it to be quiet.
Tough times come to everyone. Sometimes someone we love gets sick. Sometimes a friend betrays us. Sometimes there are real storms like hurricane Katrina. There are lots of scary things that can happen, but just like the disciples, we have Jesus in the boat of our life. We just have to call out to him. He will help us find a way through the worst problems we could ever have.
Dear Lord, Thank you for being there through the good times as well as the bad. I know that with your help I can overcome anything that comes into my life. Help me trust you more. Amen.
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to compare yourself to others? Even if we know better, we look at someone else and think he or she has it better. How many times have you thought: If only I had the right hair or clothes or shape … If only I were taller or faster or bolder or funnier …
There’s an old story of a king who went to his garden and found everything withered and dying. He asked the oak tree what was wrong. The oak tree said it was sick of living because it was not as tall and beautiful as the pine tree. The pine was dropping needles because it couldn’t grow grapes like the grapevine. And the grapevine let itself shrivel up because it couldn’t stand straight and tall like the peach tree. Every plant in the garden was discontented and wanted to be something different, except the violet. There it stood with its happy face turned toward the sun. The king asked the little flower why it was so happy and content when every other plant in the garden was so miserable. “Well,” said the flower, “I figured that if you had wanted a big oak tree or a pine tree or a peach tree in my spot, you would have planted one; but you planted me—a violet. Since I knew you wanted a violet, I’ve made up my mind to be the best little violet I can be.”
You were made by the almighty Creator with a purpose in mind. Wishing to be anything other than who you are does nothing more than steal your time, energy, and joy. But when you see yourself how God does, you realize how great you really are. So you can stop concentrating on other people and instead focus on your own blessings. Only then will you find you are ready for all the plans and adventures God has for you.
Dear Lord, Help me stop comparing myself to other people and worrying about the things I think I lack. Thank you for all of the gifts you have given me. Show me how I can best use them for your glory. Amen.
More than a hundred years ago in England, there were many orphans with no one to care for them. A man named George Müller and his wife began helping orphans by inviting the children into their own home. Soon he had five orphanages where more than 2,000 children lived. George was a man of great faith and he never asked anyone for money to support his ministry or the orphanage. He never went into debt either. He believed God would give him what he needed, so he decided not to take a salary when he became the pastor of a small church. He trusted God to care for him and his family. God always provided for George’s needs and more, and that made his faith grow. Many times, there was no food at the orphanage, but George went right on believing God would provide. Food always showed up just in time to feed the children.
By the time he died, Müller had cared for and educated thousands of children. He had given away thousands of Bibles, even more New Testaments, and millions of other religious books. He also supported 150 missionaries. You see, he believed that God could meet all his needs even when there was nothing. He was like Abraham who hoped even when he couldn’t see how God would help him.
If God took care of George Müller and his orphans, he can take care of you. Is there something your family needs? Pray and believe God will meet your need. You will be surprised at the awesome things God will do for you too.
Dear Lord, Thank you for giving us what we need as we do your work in the world. Amen.
The Choir to End All Choirs
Once in a while a writer in the Bible pulls the curtain back and we get to look into heaven. That’s what happens in Revelation 14. Wow! What a sight!
Picture this: There are 144,000 believers standing on top of a mountain. Soon there is the sound of harps being played before the throne of God and before the thrones of the twenty-four elders who are nearby. There are four creatures near the throne that are covered with eyes—even under their six wings. All these creatures constantly give glory, honor, and thanks to God. (See Revelation 4:4–11.) Then the 144,000 begin to sing a song about how they had been redeemed (saved) from the earth.
It is a song that only they can sing. It is a song of redemption. The angels cannot sing it. Only those who have experienced God’s grace and transforming power can sing this kind of song. What a choir!
Our life on earth, including the hardships, is part of our “training” to sing songs of redemption in heaven. When we accept salvation, we become part of the future choir. God’s Spirit says, “Let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:17). That’s all we have to do to join in the celebration around the throne of God at the end of time.
Dear Lord, I want to be a part of the great choir that sings around your throne in heaven. Amen.
Reminder to all parents that practice for the Children’s Christmas Program will be held after church on Sunday. Jennifer Miller and Connie Hunger are requesting that parents work with their children to learn “Away in a Manger”. A recording of this song is included in this post just in case you need a little help! Just click on the arrow on the black bar above!
In God’s Time
Did you ever notice that God doesn’t seem to be in a hurry? Often it seems as if he waits until the last moment to answer our prayers. God had promised Abraham that he would make a great nation out of him, but Abraham had no children. How was he to become a great nation if he had no son? It was thirty years from the time God first promised Abraham a son until he held his little boy, Isaac. Later, Isaac’s son Jacob had twelve sons, and the children started multiplying. After many years they formed a nation—the nation of Israel.
What is your family praying about? Is there something you’ve waited and waited for? Don’t give up. Keep praying, and God will answer in his time, which is always perfect.
When Isaac was finally born, there was much happiness in Abraham and Sarah’s house. God’s promise was worth the wait. And it will be for you too. When Jesus finally answers your prayer, you’ll be smiling.
Dear Lord, I’m looking forward to that happy day when you answer my prayer. Amen.