ANXIOUS – Peace of Mind – Verse 5

During our series ANXIOUS, I’ll include a passage in this blog every day or so that’s helped me during a time of Anxiety or when I’m troubled. Worship/Praise music/songs help me along with reflecting upon and praying through the truth of a passage of Scripture.

Philippians 4:4-8 NET Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice! Let everyone see your gentleness. The Lord is near!  Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things.

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ANXIOUS – Peace of Mind – Verse 4

During our series ANXIOUS, I’ll include a passage in this blog every day or so that’s helped me during a time of Anxiety or when I’m troubled. Worship/Praise music/songs help me along with reflecting upon and praying through the truth of a passage of Scripture.

Isaiah 41:10 NASB ‘Do not fear, for I am with you;  Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,  Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

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ANXIOUS – Peace of Mind – Verse 3

During our series ANXIOUS, I’ll include a passage in this blog every day or so that’s helped me during a time of Anxiety or when I’m troubled. Worship/Praise music/songs help me along with reflecting upon and praying through the truth of a passage of Scripture.

Psalm 46:10 MSG “Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.”

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ANXIOUS – Peace of Mind – Verse 2

During our series ANXIOUS, I’ll include a passage in this blog every day or so that’s helped me during a time of Anxiety or when I’m troubled. Worship/Praise music/songs help me along with reflecting upon and praying through the truth of a passage of Scripture.

Isaiah 26:3 NLT You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

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ANXIOUS – Peace of Mind – Verse

For the next few weeks, I’ll include a passage in this blog that’s helped me during a time of Anxiety or when I’m troubled. Worship/Praise music/songs help me along with reflecting upon and praying through the truth of a passage of Scripture.

Psalm 94:19 GNT Whenever I am anxious and worried, you comfort me and make me glad.

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ANXIOUS: Finding Peace of Mind

Most of us know someone, or we are the one, who deals with anxiety.  Anxiety is a major issue in our country and is a very complex issue.  If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, tell someone and get some help!   Please don’t try to deal with this alone!

As I mentioned in the message on Sunday, Oct. 6, I’m listing some things here that can help you with anxiety, but are not a cure-all.   However, I want to restate the fact that if you’re dealing with anxiety or depression please talk to someone or get professional help!

Occasionally, I use the ABIDE app which is a great 2-3 minute way to fix my thoughts on the right things in the morning or during the day.  Here’s a link to their meditation on Philippians 4:6-7 https://abide.co/prayer/duw7bd

We are using and adapting a LifeChurch series for our series on Anxiety.  LifeChurch put together an entire page of helps.  You can find it here: https://finds.life.church/be-anxious-for-nothing-a-guide-to-finding-peace/

At Grace Fellowship, we’ve given Right Now Media to our members and attenders as a gift.  It contains thousands of helps on many subjects, and a plethora of materials to help you grow in your relationship with Jesus. If you’re a member or attender at Grace and don’t have an account with Right Now Media through our church, you can go to http://www.gf.church and scroll down to Right Now Media to set up an account.  If you already have an account you can follow this link to find help and information on dealing with anxiety. https://www.rightnowmedia.org/CustomLibrary/35939

I hope you’ll join us live or online for each week of our series: ANXIOUS: Finding Peace of Mind.   Our service times each Sunday are: 8:30am, 10:00am and 11:30am CST. You can connect with us and watch online at http://www.gf.church/watch or you can go to our Grace Fellowship Facebook page to watch on Facebook Live.

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When We Aspire To Greatness

Can you imagine being one of the twelve Jesus chose to be His first disciples?  Prior to the resurrection none of them fully understood what was coming and what to expect.  I’m sure some of them felt like the rest of the Jews, believing the Messiah would establish some form of physical Kingdom on the earth.

You learn that two of your friends in the group have (with the help of their mother of all people) petitioned Jesus to allow them to sit at His right and His left when He establishes His Kingdom.  Like many of us today they were vying for power, authority, control, prestige, titles or to rule.

In my time alone with God this morning, I read Matthew 20:20-28 which includes this story and Jesus’ response.  The most significant things I took away from it were that God determines our position in His Kingdom, and the best place to be to discover what He wants is to follow Christ’s example.

Jesus said: “Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.”  Jesus said you must be like me: I did not come to be served, but to serve and give my life as a ransom for many.

He didn’t rebuke a desire for greatness, but redefined it: greatness is serving others just like I do.  Or as Paul wrote in Philippians 2:5: “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”

I wish I could say I’ve arrived, but I haven’t.  Too often I consider my own interests instead of in humility looking for ways to leverage my position to serve and help others.   I hope you do aspire to greatness in whatever you do, but in that journey and/or when you arrive, I hope you’ll leverage your influence to serve others as Christ did.

For all of us who follow Christ it’s a choice and an important part of our spiritual growth. I hope we’re all making progress.  Having the same attitude as Christ should be our desire and we should strive to be intentional in applying that mindset with our choices daily. In all of our relationships let’s choose to treat people as Christ did and ask (as Andy Stanley has said): “What does love require of me?”

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42 YEARS OF MARRIAGE

WOW – It’s hard to believe I’ve been married to this beauty for 42 years. This photo was taken when we were first dating; I’m shocked she went out with me again after seeing the oversized bow tie!

Janet and I have had an incredibly blessed 42 years and we’ve gone through tragedy in our family like everyone else. The one thing that’s helped us is our common commitment to Christ, one another and our family.

We are as different as can be, but also have some similar loves! A few of the things we love: each other, Jesus, our kids, our grandkids, our families, our church family, serving in our church, our friends, serving people, traveling, going to sporting events, and playing games with family and friends.

One of Janet’s greatest joys is loving on and serving our kids and grandkids! She’s an amazing wife, mother and Nonni. She’s played such an important role in raising our children to love Christ and His church, and to demonstrate love for other people.

Even though we’ve been together 42 years, I’m still learning and choosing to love and serve her. One of the most significant things I learned in my Radical Mentoring groups the past two years is that my primary responsibility is to love her like Christ loves me (and loves His church). Her response and actions don’t determine how I respond; I’m to love her like this no matter what. How am I doing with this? I guess you’d have to ask her, but I’m better with it now than I was before. I intend to love her this way for the rest of our lives.

In my time alone with God this morning, I was reading in Matthew 18 on what Jesus said to the Pharisees about divorce. One thing rang clear; Jesus said Moses permitted divorce because of the hardness of people’s hearts. This is not a commentary on divorce. Some of our best friends and best ministry leaders in our church have gone through the pain of a divorce. Janet and I went through a tough time about 20 years into our marriage and I’m grateful we made it through that time. It was the result of my hard-heartedness; I drifted from a close relationship with God and her. Jesus was speaking specifically to the Pharisees in Matthew 18, but I believe a heart that is hardened toward God will always end up being hardened toward others which makes it easier to excuse behavior. For me to love Janet like Christ loves the church means I have to love Jesus and maintain a close relationship with Him where I choose to apply what He says.

As I was thinking about this and what it means to love Janet like Christ loves the church, I reflected upon Galatians 5; especially verses 22-23. As I choose to submit to Christ and love Him, I’ll see an amazing work take place in my life that allows me to love Janet as I want to and should. I’ll demonstrate love in ways that make sense to her (that usually means time together and serving her in some way). I’ll do all I can to help her experience the things that bring her joy. I’ll do my part to make our home and marriage one that’s filled with peace. I will intentionally choose to be patient with her especially as our differences play out in our marriage. I will be kind to her in words, actions and attitudes; putting her needs before my own. I will be good to her and I choose to be faithful to her no matter what. I also choose to be faithful to the Lord which impacts all of this. I will strive to be gentle with her and treat her with understanding, and I will demonstrate self-control in our relationship.

Again; how am I doing? You’d have to ask her. Yes, I fail. Yes, I choose to be selfish and self-centered at times. However, the commitment I’ve made to her and to Christ is to love her like Christ loves me and His church – no matter what. How she responds isn’t my responsibility; my responsibility is to love her like this.

Anyhow, I love you Janet. Happy 42nd Anniversary Sweetheart!

Here’s a more recent photo showing a portion of our legacy and our greatest loves.

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AmazonSmile Makes Us Smile

If you use Amazon for any of your shopping as I do, you can be a blessing to God’s Kingdom and our church by doing something that doesn’t cost you a penny and will only take a few minutes of your time.

AmazonSmile donates a percentage of everything you buy to a charity of your choice. I’d ask you to choose Grace Fellowship Church of Wise County Inc as your designated charity. Every penny given helps us accomplish the purpose and mission God has give us as a church!

When you’re shopping Amazon all you have to do is login to smile.amazon.com instead of amazon.com and a percentage of the cost of anything you order will be donated to Grace (or the charity you choose). You must login (just as you’d do with your normal login at Amazon.com) to smile.amazon.com for any donations to be made to your charity.

For more information on Amazon Smile click on this link: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/chpf/about/ref=smi_aas_redirect?ie=UTF8&pd_rd_r=f24c9df4-f0e1-4469-91b6-e6896102f165&pd_rd_w=HqD5i&pd_rd_wg=JLY9Q&qid=1562859158&ref_=sxts_snpl_3_1_9d10ba21-3c04-4345-882a-4a90d597a505

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Anger Danger & Disunity

God will never lead you to do something contrary to the truth of Scripture, and the overriding principle of the New Testament Scripture when you’re wronged or hurt is to go to the person(s) involved in order to seek reconciliation, forgiveness and restoration of the relationship. It doesn’t matter what happened, this is what you must do unless you choose to ignore what Scripture teaches when you’re wronged or perceive you are wronged. By the way, I’ve found that many times the hurts we incur are unintentional, but even when they’re intentional we still need to follow the New Testament teaching.

Please note: I’m not saying this is a blanket concept that covers everything that happens, but rather I’m speaking of normal relationship conflicts and hurts. When someone sins against you by seriously hurting you or they commit a crime against you there still needs to be forgiveness, but I realize trust may never be restored and I’m not suggesting the relationship needs to be restored. There should be consequences and restitution for crimes committed against you or those you love. There again, I’m not talking about those situations in this blog; I’m speaking of normal relational conflicts.

I’ve known a number of people who have been “in a bad place” spiritually, emotionally or physically and then respond to situations where they feel hurt in unwise ways. I’ve been guilty of this personally and it doesn’t honor Christ.

If you’re a follower of Christ and you respond to a hurt or wrong without going directly to the person(s) who offended you, you violate the desire and directive of Jesus found in Matthew 18:15-17. I realize we don’t practice “church discipline” much anymore, but I also know if most people would practice Matthew 18:15, and Matthew 18:16 when necessary, most problems and hurts could be remedied.

When we respond to a hurt with anger, we end up hurting ourselves and those around us. James 1:19-20 Msg says: Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger.   It hurts you and others because being right with God never grows from our anger, and when I’m not in right relationship with God I make unwise decisions. Ephesians 4:26-27 TLB states: If you are angry, don’t sin by nursing your grudge. Don’t let the sun go down with you still angry—get over it quickly; for when you are angry, you give a mighty foothold to the devil.

I believe that forgiveness much be immediate and given over and over, but rebuilding trust often takes time. Keep in mind that scripture repeats this principle over and over; “forgive as God has forgiven you”.

The restoration of relationships is critical in the church because Satan’s strategy against God’s church is to create hurt, distrust and disunity. As Paul Billheimer says in his classic Love Covers: disunity in the church is Satan’s master strategy, and Billheimer states the sin of disunity has probably caused more souls to be lost than all other sins combined.

Almost every church in the New Testament must have struggled with this issue because it’s addressed in most of Paul’s letters. Check out a few of these passages: a) Romans 12:9-21, b) 1 Corinthians 1:10, c) Ephesians 4, d) Philippians 2:1-5, e) Colossians 3:1-17. In 1 Corinthians 1:10, Paul appealed to the Christians at this church to live in harmony with each other and to be of one mind and purpose so there’d be no divisions in the church. He didn’t make the appeal on his own authority, but by the authority of the Lord Jesus!

Speaking of Jesus, His prayer as recorded in John 17 is a clear a picture of what He desires for us as His followers. He prays for us to be ONE just like He and His Father are ONE. He prays that we’ll live in unity so the world will be drawn to Him. When we put aside our differences and hurts and work together by loving and serving one another and others, we can move forward to accomplish His purpose in the world.

Some simple things you can do are: a) pray for the unity of your church, b) protect the unity of your church by being a unifier, and c) preserve the unity of your church by encouraging others to do the right thing (Mt. 18:15) when they experience problems.

If you’re interested in hearing a little more on this topic, I’d encourage you to watch The Invisible War Part 5 from 2 weeks ago at Grace Fellowship. You can find this message under the Watch Previous Messages at http://gf.church/messages

God Bless You.

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