“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Matthew 6.34
How many times have you said something like, “Man, I hope tomorrow never comes. I don’t think I can handle it.”? The truth of the matter is this; God wants us to live in the present – today – because this is the only certain thing in our earthly lives. Jesus is NOT saying in this statement that we should not plan for the future. He is saying that worrying about what MAY happen tomorrow is wasted energy.
This is a true and interesting phrase: “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Today contains enough elements of concern for us to give attention dealing with the problems that are present now. In light of God’s invitations found in other places in His Word to trust Him and to lean on Him, we would do well to heed the words of Jesus here.
There are some principles set forth in Psalm 37 that have a bearing on this verse. Let’s tale a look at them: (1) Fret not – v. 1 – don’t worry. (2) Trust in the Lord – v. 3. Why? Because he knows everything, he can do anything, and he is everywhere. (3) Delight thyself also in the Lord – v. 4. Live as though He is looking over your shoulder 24×7. (4) Commit thy way unto the Lord – v. 5. Acknowledge your desire to follow the path He chooses for you. (5) Rest in the Lord – v. 7. Learn to let God accomplish His purpose in His time in His way. (6) Cease from anger and forsake wrath – v. 8. Stop CHOOSING anger over a forgiving spirit. Let’s learn to give God His place in our lives and get out of the way and let Him be God in our lives. Just my thoughts …
“I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. (9) Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.” Psalm 16.8-9
I love the way David makes His God such a vital part of his everyday life. I want to learn to emulate his actions and make them my own. “I have set the LORD always before me … ” It appears from David’s comment here that God is the continual focus of his life. I WANT God to be the continual focus of MY life. Is that something you long for too? It appears that David’s stability in his walk with God comes from this next statement: “ … because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” Realizing that God is always in “reaching distance” makes it easier to focus on Him and that which He alone can bring to any situation.
Here is a three-fold testimony to God’s presence at work in his life: (1) Therefore my heart is glad. (2) My glory rejoiceth. And (3) My flesh also shall rest in hope. David’s gladness comes because the Lord is always before him. If it worked for David, guess what? It will work for us too. David’s rejoicing was the result of God always being in reaching distance so David never had to wonder if God was aware of his (David’s) need. Finally, the fact that his flesh could rest in hope was the result of the absolute trust that David was able to exercise in this God who was always before him and at his right hand. How would your life change if you could exercise this kind of trust in this always present and always available God? Just my thoughts …
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace; whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (4) Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOAH is everlasting strength:” Isaiah 26.3-4
There are some distinct advantages to having a consistent faithful walk with the Lord. Isaiah identifies some of them here in these verses. (1) When our mind is fixed on the Lord, He gives us perfect peace. (2) When our mind is fixed on the Lord, the result is that our trust in Him is strengthened. (3) As we learn to trust in the Lord, He becomes our everlasting strength.
Perfect peace – I almost want to ask if that is possible, but I know it is because God promises it. What would your life look like if you were experiencing perfect peace? Would that mean no problems? No. Would that mean no disappointments? No. Would that mean everything in life was going well? No. Well, what then would it mean? How about a sense that since God is in control of my circumstances, I don’t have to try to be in control of them? Perfect peace is the result of perfect trust!
Trust – this is not some magical word we throw around to try to convince others that we are spiritual. This is the word we use to illustrate the reason for God’s perfect peace. Trust is something we learn over time. Just as a toddler learns to trust dad when he says to “jump and I will catch you,” we learn to believe that God will do exactly what He has promised to do and our trust is strengthened more every time we do it.
In the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength – if this strength is everlasting, then it never runs out, no matter how many times I draw on it. I can draw daily, hourly or even moment-by-moment and I will never exhaust the supply. I would say that our heavenly Father has provided everything we need to live every day to its fullest, no matter what life throws at us. And those are just my thoughts …
“(5) For his anger endureth but a moment, in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. (11) Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness. (12) To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee forever.” Psalm 30.5, 11-12
It is interesting to note how many of our life experiences run parallel to the life of David. “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Who among us has not spent a night in weeping? But the sun still comes up the next morning and if we are willing to appropriate it, the joy of the Lord is there for the day. God is able to turn our mourning into dancing and to take our attire that speaks of our grief and gird us with something that speaks of gladness.
When the circumstances of life seem to overwhelm us and God gives us an overcoming spirit, we can take that experience and use it to praise the Lord “and not be silent.” The world around us needs to know that God really is good all the time. They need to know that when heartache and disappointment come (as they always will), that “God’s Got This!” is more than a cliché, it is truth that sustains us moment by moment.
When the scripture speaks of giving thanks in the midst of our painful life experiences, we are not being asked to thank God for the tragedy, sickness, or whatever is present. We are being asked to give thanks for the God who never leaves us in those moments and for the people He brings into our lives to sustain us as we walk through those valleys. Just my thoughts …
“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4.18
Sometimes I just wish God would let me see beyond today, but I know in my heart of hearts that it not possible and not even desirable. I love the words of the song that say: “If we could see beyond today as God can see, if all the clouds should roll away, the darkness flee. O’er present griefs we would not fret; each sorry we would soon forget. For many joys are waiting yet, for you and me. (Verse 2) If we could see, if we could know, we often say. But God in love a veil doth cast across our way. We cannot see what lies before, and so we cling to him to more. He leads us ‘til this life is o’er. Trust and obey.” (Words anonymous)
But this verse is talking about something entirely different. Paul talks about looking at things that are not seen. When you look at the events of your life as they unfold each day, do you only look at the effect of what you are doing in the here and now, or are you concerned about how your life and its actions impact eternity? I think THAT is what is in Paul’s mind in this verse. If our only concern is the “here and now”, then we give little thought to the “eternal” consequences of what happens in the “here and now.” If I realize that the words that I say, the actions that I take, and the attitudes that I display may have an eternal impact on those with whom I interact, then I am going to consider “the things which are not seen are eternal.” Just my thoughts …
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Proverbs 17.22
“A merry heart … ” Do you have a merry heart? Would you recognize it if you did? What does a merry heart look like? Most of us can recognize if someone does NOT have a merry heart. Their countenance betrays what is in the heart. Do you agree with Solomon that a merry heart does good like a medicine? I read a book some years ago by a doctor named S. I. McMillen entitled, “None of These Diseases.” The premise of the book is that when we allow things to eat away at us emotionally, it literally affects us physically. So, Solomon got it right when he said, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine … ” There is something truthful about the power of positive thinking. I don’t mean that in the sense that all we have to do is think positively and everything will be all right. What Solomon is telling us is that when our heart is filled with the right spirit, a spirit that we allow God to manifest through us, that is good for us mentally, physically, and emotionally.
So if Solomon is right with his first statement, he is also right with his second statement: “ … a broken spirit drieth the bones.” When you have experienced a “broken spirit,” you know the detrimental affect it had on you both physically and emotionally. When we know the affect of such a spirit, it is foolish for us to allow it to linger on for hours and sometimes even for days. We need to learn how to take that “broken spirit” to God and exchange it for the “merry heart” that only He can give us. Just my thoughts …
“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. ” Psalm 28.7
When David writes words like these, I am compelled to not only listen, but ask the Lord to help me apply them to my daily life. “Why is that?” you ask. Because the experiences through which the Lord took David are much more trying than anything I have encountered in my life. If David can pen words like these after what God was doing in his life, then I can certainly find significant meaning and encouragement in these words.
“The LORD is my strength and my shield … ” David was in good physical shape. He was a shepherd and he was a warrior. But he is acknowledging here that he needs something that is not already a part of his makeup. I want to suggest to you that no matter what condition we are in physically, emotionally, or mentally, we too, need the Lord to be our strength and shield. These next two phrases are so closely tied together: “ … my heart trusted in him, and I am helped … ”When you and I are able to have ABSOLUTE trust in God, then He can and does help us. Absolute trust leads us to allow God to BE God, to let Him do what only He can do in our lives. That was the lesson that David had learned.
These final two phrases are equally important: (1) “ … therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth … ”, (2) “ … with my song will I praise him.” Notice two important words here … rejoicing and praise. I am fearful that these two characteristics are missing in the lives of many believers. David made the conscious choice to rejoice. He also made the conscious choice to praise the Lord. are those two choices that you have made? If not, why not? Just my thoughts …
“Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 1 Corinthians 1.10
When Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthian church, he was forced to deal with some issues that were divisive in the church. Now I know that none of us go to a church that has any divisions in it, but just in case you ever do, here is some good advice.
Paul begins by saying “I beseech (beg) you … ” He was very serious about the topics he is going to discuss. The first one deals with divisions. What causes divisions in a church? I believe the primary reason is that each person seems to think that what happens in the church is all about them, when in reality, what happens in the church is supposed to be all about glorifying God. If we get that mixed up, we have a division in our thinking. What does Paul mean when he says, “that ye all speak the same thing … ”? Is he suggesting that church members should be like robots? No he isn’t. He IS saying that we should all be on the same page, speaking for God and His church and not against them. The world doesn’t need any help from us to think badly about the church of the living God. They need to see in us and hear from us that God and His church are life-changing elements in our lives.
Look closely at this phrase: “ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind … ” What would happen in churches all across America this next week if all of its members were “ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind”? There would be revival like this world has never seen before. Why? Because we want for the church what God wants for the church – the salvation of the lost and the growth of believers. Just my thoughts …
“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Jeremiah 33.3
There are times when I think we as God’s children do nothing more than pay lip service to prayer. In this verse God says, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee … ” Do you view that as an invitation to pray, or is Jeremiah simply writing something to fill space on a page? Is God serious when He calls His children to prayer? Your answer to that question will determine your desire to pray in response to this verse. God doesn’t say, “Call unto me and I will think about it.” Sometimes we say things to other people, when they ask us a question, “Let me think about it.” God says, “I WILL answer thee (emphasis mine) … ” It is a great comfort to me to know that WHEN I pray, God hears and WILL answer. That is a great encouragement to me.
“I will … show thee great and mighty things … ” Sometimes we need God to come through for us in such a miraculous fashion and we wonder can He – will He – do it? Here is His answer: “I will … ” We must choose to remember that no problem is too big for God. No problem is beyond God’s understanding. And no problem is beyond His power to handle. Since that is the case in every prayer, we can expect: “great and might things … ” Let God be God in your prayer life. You will not be disappointed and you may be surprised. Just my thoughts …
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4.23
Have you ever said to someone, “Guard your heart”? What does that mean? The heart is that part of us that is the center of what really matters to us. When we are trying to express our feelings to someone, we say, “I love you with all my heart.” We are saying that we love them with the core of our being. So, Solomon’s advice here is valid. We must “Keep (our) heart with all diligence … ” It is with our heart that we express our love for God. It is with our heart that we reach out to others to give the hope of the gospel. It is with our heart that we allow God’s Holy Spirit to work in us and through us. So it is critical that we “Keep (our) heart with all diligence … ”
“ … for out of it are the issues of life.” What kind of issues? The issues of life … the things that matter for eternity – not just in time. If we clutter our hearts with the corrupt messages found in this sinful world, we leave no room for the message of hope and help to work in us and through us. What is most important to us? The “stuff” that seems upper most in the mind of the world leaders, or that which God in His Word has declared will matter for all eternity? We already know the answer. So, examine the words of this verse and apply them as we should: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Just my thoughts …