Please join me in welcoming Beryl Forney, friend and prayer partner, to the ETL Blog Table! I have benefitted from more than a few visits with this special person who has fallen in love with God and His Word. Her insights bless me mightily, and I’ve asked her to share her most recent with us.

Beryl, thank you for going out of your comfort zone for our benefit; it’s all yours!

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Matthew 6:28:

 “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin.”

I was hand watering my wilting, potted flowers at the front of our home on the hottest day ever recorded in our area…a stifling 109º. Normal temperatures for us at that time of year are typically in the low 80’s.

As I watered the plants, sweat pouring off me, I grumbled under my breath about the excessive heat. I continued grumbling about other things:

  • The hardships the year 2020 had presented;
  • How I was going to manage financially, physically, and emotionally.

The pity party went on until I was in tears. At that moment, the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit whispered to me:

“Beryl, consider the lilies.”

I immediately set down my watering can and ran into the house—yes, ran—in the oppressive heat, and grabbed my Bible. Matthew 6:25-34 was calling. After reading this passage, I turned to Luke 12:22-32.

These portions of Scripture contain loving, clear instructions from Christ that we not allow the distracting and shifting circumstances of life become a source of anxiety. Clearly, we are not meant to dwell on what are even the most basics of human need.

Once again, Jesus’ truth and love can be seen directing us away from our natural, harmful tendencies. Fretting, worrying, or focusing on what we need or want in life will eventually invade every part of our being and lead our hearts astray. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).

Five times in Matthew 6:25-34  we are warned not to worry.

Verse 25, Do not worry about your life; what you will eat or drink.

Verse 27, Which of you by worrying can add one hour to the length of life?

Verse 28, Why do you worry about clothing?

Verse 31, Do not worry, ‘What shall we eat, drink, or wear?’

Verse 34, Do not worry about tomorrow.

Such concerns, when left to run unchecked, create a whirlwind in the mind which completely interrupt our God-given joy and affects every aspect of our lives:

  • Our sleep
  • Our eating habits
  • Our health
  • Our relationships

The list can go on and on.

Consider this, instead:

“Cast all your cares (all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns; once and for all) on Him, for He cares about you (with deepest affection and watches over your very carefully).” (I Peter 5:7, Amplified)

* * *

Our anxieties, cares, worries, concerns—whatever distracts and interrupts our focus on Jesus—not only affect every aspect of our lives, but they wound our souls! Yet He is not only willing to carry our burdens, but wants to carry them.

Throw your burdens on God; His shoulders are broad!

He wants to free us of anxieties, cares, worries, and concerns.

He will either ward off what we fear or walk with us each step of the way as we travel through them.

 Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not fail or abandon you.”

He cares for us! He is faithful, trustworthy, and true to His promises.

 * * *

So how do we keep our minds from surrendering to worry? Check out verse 33 of Matthew chapter 6 (Amplified):

“But first and most importantly, seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing right—the attitude and character of God), and all these things will be given to you also.”

Declutter! Simple living allows us to focus on what is important—His kingdom and His righteousness. It teaches and fosters contentment, self control, generosity, authenticity, and freedom.

Remember that God-given joy we talked about being interrupted by our worries? Look at what happens when we seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). What “things” will be given to us?

The fruit of the Spirit!

 Galatians 5:22-23, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.”

We can trade our anxieties (and more) in to God for the marvel of His life-giving fruit. God is good and He gives good gifts to His children.

* * *

My prayer is for you to know and hold to the goodness of God in your life.

In addition to God and His Word, He has been using the song The Goodness of God to refresh and encourage me lately. And what a joy it is to trade the oppressive heat of worry or fear with the truth of God’s goodness!

Link: The Goodness of God

[Recording by Rhett Walker]

I love You Lord

Your mercy never fails me

All my days, I’ve been held in Your hands

From the moment that I wake up

Until I lay my head

Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God

 

I love Your voice

You have lead me through fire

In the darkest night

You are close like no other

I’ve known You as a Father

I’ve known You as a Friend

And I have lived in the goodness of God

 

All my life You have been faithful

All my life You have been so, so good

With every breath that I am able

I will sing of the goodness of God

 

            Your goodness is running after

            It’s running after me

            Your goodness is running after

            It’s running after me

            With my life laid down

            I’m surrendered now

            I give You everything

            Your goodness is running after

            It’s running after me

 

All my life You have been faithful

All my life You have been so, so good

With every breath that I am able

I will sing of the goodness of God

 

The Goodness of God

By Bethel Music and Jenn Johnson

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Beryl, thank you for sharing with us. Friend and sister, I needed this today!

June

June

People Lover. Author. Blogger. Speaker. Forgiven Much & Wild About God. Learn about June's latest book on her website.

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