Psalm 37:1-11 Don’t fret

1Do not fret because of evil men
     or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
     like green plants they will soon die away.

3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
     dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Delight yourself in the LORD
     and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the LORD;
     trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
     the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
     do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
     when they carry out their wicked schemes.

8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
     do not fret–it leads only to evil.
9 For evil men will be cut off,
     but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.

10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
     though you look for them, they will not be found.
11 But the meek will inherit the land
  (Psalm 37:1-11  NIV)

 Do not fret because of…  how I needed to read those words. 

I have allowed myself to be anxious over so many things…  my job, my wish to retire, my realization that I don’t have enough years or money in my retirement account, my desire to find a publisher for my book, my need for more time for my many projects… which takes me back to the beginning of this list of things to fret over. 

When I remember that my times are in God’s hands, and that He is perfectly capable of watching over me and supplying all my needs, I feel ashamed to have to admit all the things that I let myself fret over. 

I especially like verse 4: Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.  When I read this verse it reminds me of the reason why I may still be fretting.  I am not keeping my eyes on him, I am putting them on my fretting.  I hope that this blog will help me to do a better job of keeping my eyes on him.  I hope it will help me to feel more accountable to spend more time in his word.

Verses 5 and 6 seem to affirm this revelation:  Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.    Lord Jesus, help me to focus on you and to let you direct my paths.  Help me to turn over my anxious thoughts so I can be more productive in my day to day life.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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Do we know what we are celebrating?

I enjoy the lights and color of the Christmas season and will often go out of my way to view the Christmas lights that various families display on their homes and lawns.  But in spite of the sparkle and glitter, I am finding a hollow place in my spirit when I look for the reason people are celebrating.  I haven’t dared to start a tally sheet to keep up with the overall themes of each display, but I find I have to look harder to find nativity scenes and Christmas stars than to look for Santa Claus and Snowmen.  I had to laugh when I considered that perhaps the reason for the high number of snowmen I see might be that these might be the people’s only chance to have snow again this year here in coastal South Caolina.

So what are we celebrating anyway?  If it has nothing to do with the baby Jesus, are we celebrating the things money can buy?  Are we worshiping the gifts we give or receive?  Or are we only celebrating an excuse to throw a big party and impress others, or an excuse to get a few days off work?

During the week of Thanksgiving an article appeared in a weekly newspaper in a neighboring town that really disturbed me for much of the same reason.  I wrote about it in my “new” blog I had started before I discovered WordPress Blogs, so I would like to take the liberty to copy it into this post. 

I just read an editorial that makes me nauseated. It was given the headline “Thanksgiving should not be such a selfish holiday.” Sounds good so far…? …right? But that’s about how long the good in the article lasted. This article by Debi Ghate, who is tied in with Ayn Rand Institute, then went on to bash any credit anyone should give to God for our blessings. According to her, God had nothing to do with the prosperity our nation has enjoyed. Her idea of being thankful is to gloat over all the money we have access to and to take credit for it all. Here is one quote from her article: “Ask any hard-working American: it sure wasn’t by the ‘grace of God’.” Another quote from near the end of her article reads: “One should take pride in being rationally selfish–one’s life and happiness depend on it. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to recognize what we are truly grateful for, to appreciate and celebrate the fruits of our labor: our wealth, health, relationships and material things–all the values we most selfishly cherish.”

Atheistic people are constantly trying to erase all memory of the influence God has had on the building up of this great nation. The truly selfish person thinks if God is going to give us something we should just sit back and wait for him to act like a big Santa Claus and bring it to him. I guess that is why the idea that it is God who gives us the intelligence and the physical strength to hold a good job simply never occurs to them. They have no grasp of things like character and the methods God uses to develop it in us. If all there is to life is what we get with the least amount of effort, then her empty head must be satisfied today–until she hits a bump in the road tomorrow. Then, of all people, she is to be pitied when her house of cards tumbles down.

Not every statesman who founded the United States of America was a Christian, but most had a great respect for God. It is all over those first documents they wrote and signed. The first Colony that survived in America was the Pilgrims. That was no coincidence. Our nation is developing lots of cracks because our foundation of faith is being attacked from every side. And sadly, Christians have sat and let it happen. We have let our children soak up the Hollywood philosophy of life from TV and movies, and then we wonder why so many people, even in our churches, are willing to act just like what they have been mindlessly absorbing.

We have Christmas parties and hope God doesn’t show up because we certainly are not honoring his Son with the games we play and the jokes we tell. Just because we are getting better at forgetting he exists, there is no reason to believe he doesn’t. We don’t get the last word on that, HE does. I shudder to think what will happen in America when HE speaks up, and he certainly will. Where will our Babylon be?  (If you’ve never heard of Babylon, look it up in a Bible concordance.)

I hope you have had a meaningful Christmas, and that you will be richly blessed in the new year.