“Anxiety” – Charles F. Stanley
“Do not worry about your life.” – Matthew 6:25 NIV
Has anxiety become a way of life for you? Are you living in a constant state of uncertainty and worry? Fear will arise whenever you respond to a problem or troubling situation on your own – without going to God first and seeking His help and power.
The Lord gives you the gift of free will – you can choose what you do, how you feel, what you think about, and even how you’ll respond when faced with a problem.
With this in mind, the Father may allow an overwhelming situation to arise in your life in order to develop and strengthen your faith, mature you spiritually, or to change a bad habit or negative attitude. Through your circumstances, He gives you the opportunity to seek Him, trust Him, obey Him, and cast your cares into His able hands.
Therefore, understand your anxiety is an indication that you need God. Every time you sense fear rising up within you, go to you all-powerful, infinitely wise Father. And give Him thanks that He is at work, teaching you to trust Him more, obey Him faithfully, and receive more of His blessings.
“Spiritual Gifts Work Together” – In Touch Ministries
Have you ever noticed that people in the church don’t all think the same way? When we become frustrated in our attempts to communicate with a fellow believer, we may begin to wonder whether something is wrong in our spiritual life. After all, aren’t we supposed to be a united body of Christ?
It turns out that the problem could be the result of spiritual gifting. The Holy Spirit gives gifts to every believer for the common good of the church (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). But unless we realize this, we may fail to appreciate the gifts of other believers. Then it’s easy to start harboring the opinion that everyone else should be like us.
For instance, someone with the gift of mercy might judge a believer with exhortation skills to be heartless—the exhorter may appear to value explaining the spiritual benefits of adversity over sympathizing with the hurting person. Yet both gifts are beneficial; used properly, they work together to help a sufferer see there’s hope in the hardship and comfort for endurance.
The root of division over spiritual gifts is self-focus, which can be displayed in two ways. If we think too lowly of our spiritual gift, we may become resentful or feel unimportant. If, on the other hand, we think too highly of our gift, we may believe it’s the most important one.
If you feel at odds with a fellow believer because of your differing approaches to issues in the church, stop and thank the Lord for that person and his gifting. Then pray that he will be used for the good of the fellowship and for God’s own glory.
“Our God of Mercy” – In Touch Ministries
God isn’t stingy with mercy. The sunshine you enjoy on a beautiful day also warms everyone else in your area. Good health, jobs, education, families, and friends are all the result of God’s mercy over His creation. Even those who don’t recognize or thank Him for His goodness are recipients of it. However, His universal mercy is only temporal and cannot save anyone eternally.
There’s a limit to God’s mercy because it cannot contradict His other attributes—like holiness, righteousness, and justice. Sin must be punished in order for God to remain just. And without justice, mercy and forgiveness would be meaningless. This dilemma was the reason Jesus Christ came to earth to die: He satisfied God’s justice by bearing the penalty for our sins.
Although God offers the mercy of salvation to all through the gospel of Jesus Christ, only those who accept Him by faith receive it. Yet so many think lightly of divine kindness, tolerance, and patience; they fail to realize that these blessings should draw them to repentance (Rom. 2:4). These people trample underfoot His mercy and continue on their merry way, oblivious to the fact that justice, not mercy, awaits them in eternity.
Even believers can abuse God’s plentiful mercy by engaging in deliberate sin while telling themselves, “He’ll forgive me.” But as the ones who are redeemed and given eternal life, we should be overwhelmed with love and gratitude for what Christ did. Giving up the heavenly rights, authority, and comforts due the sinless Son of God, Jesus came and suffered divine justice for our sins so we could receive His Father’s mercy.