Tag Archives: fear

The Most Popular Bible Verse

top Bible verseAccording to YouVersion, one of the most popular Bible apps in the world, the Bible verse that was the most bookmarked, highlighted and shared over the course of 2018 in the U.S. and globally was Isaiah 41:10:

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

It is not hard to see why. It is chuck full of promises and assurances from God. Why should we not fear? Because God is with us. Why should we not be dismayed? Because he is our God and he can do anything and everything. What can our God do for us? He can strengthen you when you are weak. He can help you when you are in trouble. He had uphold you when you are down.

This is a good verse for us to commit to memory, to put on our bathroom mirror, to write on a Post-It on our desks. This is a verse that can get you through the day.

The fact that this verse was the most shared verse of the year over the internet and through smartphones warms my heart as well. It shows that people are using God’s Word to help and comfort and give hope through modern means to get the messages of our Lord out instantly.

Consider sending Isaiah 41:10 out to a friend you are thinking about who may be needing to hear these words of support right now. Become part of a positive popular trend.

 

God’s Plan Is Bigger

God’s plan is biggerIn light of the fact that over the last two decades, the U.S. suicide rate has risen by 25 percent, leaders in the Church are being compelled more than ever to speak out about the meaning of our lives in the context of God’s plan. Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, whose own son, Matthew, committed suicide in 2013, has urged those who are suffering to reach out to others for help, and he urges congregations to make a concerted effort to talk to those who are suffering.

What should our message to them be? Warren says we should remind sufferers of this Biblical truth: “God’s plan and purpose for you is greater than the problem or emotion you’re feeling now” (“People in Pain,” World Magazine, June 30, 2018, 9).

The realization that God’s plan and purpose is bigger than ourselves is a very comforting thought and one that I have gone back to quite often since I read this quote.

Are you having a problem at work or at home? God knows about it and will get you through it, as he has planned.

Are you worried, scared, nervous angry, sad, frustrated? God has the power to overcome those emotions and bring you peace and hope and confidence in him.

Life can be messy and not what we envisioned, for sure, but our faith tells us that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

And we are assured that ”he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

We may not be able to see the plan of God for us right now, but we will one day, on the Last Day, and until that time we hold on tight to and find joy in the knowledge that the Lord says, even on our saddest day, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). Keep trusting in him.

Pivotal Questions

pivotal questionsI was wondering recently about how pivotal questions are often asked at significant moments in the story of salvation. Why is that? Consider these:

At the empty tomb on Easter morning, the angels ask the women: ““Why do you look for the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:6).

When the risen Jesus appears to the disciple in the upper room, he asks, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?” (Luke 24:38)

After Jesus has ascended, two angels ask the disciples, “Why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

These seem like basic questions, but they actually get to the heart of what is going on. Those to whom the questions are asked are experiencing confusion. But each question is designed to bring them comfort.

In the Easter quote, the women were sure that Jesus was dead, but the question reveals the good news that Jesus is alive.

In the upper room quote, the disciples were undoubtedly afraid by the sudden appearance of Jesus, but Christ’s question to them assures them that they do not need to be afraid at all.

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FOMO

missing outI thought I was the only one who had this feeling. But now I see that the feeling even has an acronym that is currently in the vernacular and used in magazines and on TV quite often now.

The feeling is called the fear of missing out (or FOMO, for short). It is the sensation that somewhere someone is having more fun, doing more things, having a better time than we are and we are not there to experience it with them.

It sounds silly when you say it out loud, but I truly think FOMO is at least one of the driving forces behind our over-scheduled, over-busy lifestyles these days. We want to make sure that we are fitting all that we can into a day and experiencing everything that our family and friends are experiencing.

The problem with FOMO it that is causes us to became super focused on what can bring us the most pleasure for ourselves, what can make us seem better or more involved than others and what can make us appear cool and hip and “with it” in the eyes of society.

Unfortunately, I think that FOMO has creeped into the life of the church as well. We are not as committed to activities and programs we once were in the church because we are subconsciously waiting for “something better to come along.” In extreme cases, we see the effects of FOMO playing out in lower attendance in worship and fewer activities at church.

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Risen

I saw the movie Risen in the theater a couple weeks ago, and was especially struck by how the actors portrayed the disciples’ individual reunions with their Savior. There was utter joy on their faces at seeing their Master again and Jesus responded with pure exuberance at seeing them again as they embraced one another. The movie’s portrayals of these interactions spoke to the depth of the bonds that Jesus had with his disciples and the eagerness they all had to be together.

empty tomb

He is risen indeed!

It reminds me that Jesus desires the same sort of relationship with me and with each one of us. But I find myself not as quick to respond as the disciples did. I moan a little when I wake up on some Sundays before heading to church. I hesitate to pray before a meal or at bedtime, because I feel uncomfortable about engaging in the activity.

But worship and prayer should be something that come naturally to us as Christians. They should be things that we crave and that we are eager to involve ourselves in. Why? Because they give us more personal time with our best Friend, Jesus. They help us to grow closer to him, to build a stronger relationship with our Lord who only wants to be with us and love us. Continue reading →