1 Peter 5:6-7
In life there will be times of cares and anxiety. Each person has different ways of dealing with adversity, and coping with turmoil. In 1 Peter, we see instruction on handling the troubles of life in the light of Jesus Christ. Peter instructs the church to humble ourselves. The path to peace in the midst of turbulent times starts in humility. It is humbling to admit that we don’t have control of the situation. God has not called us to be self-sufficient. We are not to be independent, but to be dependent on Him. By acknowledging our own lack of control, we allow ourselves to both ask for help from God, and allow Him to direct our paths and actions. Our relationship with God determines how easily we are able to let go. The more experience we have with God’s goodness, knowing that He cares for us, the easier it is for us to give Him the reins in the middle of difficult situations. It is a matter of trust.
The word ‘cast’ means to throw. We are to cast our cares upon God. This implies letting go of our cares. It can be easy to take our cares to God in prayer, and then to pick them back up and take them with us as soon as we say ‘amen’. The Christian is instructed in scripture to throw our anxieties and cares upon God; to let Him carry them. Jesus told us to come unto Him all who were weary and heavy-laden, all who were burdened. As Jesus takes our cares upon Himself, we are able to rest in Him, knowing that He is interceding for us to God the Father, and that He is in control of our situation. It is time to let go of our anxieties, to throw them at the feet of Jesus and leave them there, in His hands. May a humble heart allow you to entrust your cares to God, throwing them at His feet, and may you enjoy peace and rest in Jesus.
Psalm 3:3, Psalm 42:11
Before Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus speaks to His disciples about what is to come. In the midst of communicating the truth about the difficult events to follow, He comforts and encourages His disciples about what is to come, telling them, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
The disciples still were unprepared for what was to follow. As Jesus was brought before Pilate, tortured, and crucified, the disciples watched in dismay. They were fearful for their lives, afraid that the same fate would happen to them. Peter experienced shame and guilt for betraying Jesus after swearing to go to the death with Him. John had the gut-wrenching experience of consoling Mary, Jesus’ mother, as she watched Jesus’ slow execution. They all had lost their leader. The hope in the salvation of Israel would be tested to its maximum.
With the experience of life comes moments of great trial. These trials come with powerful emotions that can sometimes seem too great to bear. In spite of what we may feel, those that have Jesus in their heart may always find peace. During David’s time of calamity the Bible says he “encouraged himself in the Lord.” Psalm 42 is an example. David speaks to himself, encouraging himself to trust in the Lord, his salvation. As we exhort ourselves in the goodness of God, our mind and emotions are lightened. With a knowledge of Jesus comes a hope that doesn’t disappoint. Jesus has overcome the world, He is the salvation out of every care and trouble. He brings hope to hopelessness, an end to grief and sorrow. Jesus truly is The Lifter of Our Head. As you find yourself in Jesus may all sorrow, grief, fear, pain and hopelessness cease, and may the joy of the Lord, which passes all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Jesus today!
Paul’s gives instruction to the Philippian church to always rejoice. It is strengthened when he repeats the command, “again I say rejoice.” To rejoice is to feel or show great joy or delight. Paul’s instruction is to always feel and show delight in God.
It is not always easy to be in joy. Circumstances and situations in life can test our mind and emotions. The hurdles of life can loom large and take our focus away from who God is to us, and what He has done. Nehemiah declared to the people “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” If the enemy can take our joy, we can be weakened.
The ability to show and feel delight comes from a knowledge of who we are in Jesus, and what He has done for us. When we remember what Jesus has done, taking away our sin and shame, and dying on the cross so that we have an eternal inheritance with God the Father, the joy of the Holy Spirit wells up from within us, strengthening us in every way. When we make a conscious effort to rejoice, we are able to take our mind away from the worries and stresses of the future, and away from the regrets of the past. We are in the moment enjoying what Christ has done for us.
As we rejoice in the Lord, our faith is built, our attitude brightens, and the light of God begins to brighten what is around us. Rejoicing in the Lord frees the believer to enjoy and to make the most of this life, eagerly awaiting the next. Today, may you rejoice in the Lord and be strengthened to praise your way over every obstacle in Jesus’ name!
Lamentations is short book of poetry expressing the hurt and sorrow of the Jewish people after the siege and destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The siege and destruction of the city was truly horrific and devastating. Worse, through the prophet Isaiah and Jeremiah, the destruction was declared as a result of the judgement of the Lord for the sins of Israel. It was truly a time to weep. However, in the midst of Lamentations, a glimmer of hope is found.
The writer declares ‘The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning.’ The ability to write these words in the midst of the destruction and desolation that permeated Israel’s view comes from a true revelation of the character of God. Even in the midst of failure and the terrible consequences of sin, the mercy of the Lord is present. God’s love and goodness does not depend upon our own behavior. His faithfulness, kindness, and mercy are who He is; they are His character. Despite our own actions, good or bad or our current situation, God’s mercy endures. Not only is it present and available in our lives, His mercy is fresh and new each day. Each moment we breathe is a moment where God’s mercy is available to us. The forgiveness that is available through Jesus Christ provides the promise of right-standing with God. Unlike the Israelites, we are no longer subject to the curse of The Law and its consequences. While we still may face natural consequences for our actions, the faithfulness of God, and the intercession of Jesus Christ and His blood provide the promise of mercy.
No matter what situation or trial we face, we cannot allow our circumstances to obscure of view of God’s character. His faithfulness is ever-present His goodness and love is unbounded. Now, through what Jesus has done, we no longer have to wait for God’s restoration. It has already been made available through Jesus Christ. Truly, His mercies are new every morning. Today, may you realize the goodness, faithfulness, mercy, and steadfast love of God the Father through Jesus Christ!