The Daunting Power to Choose

By faith Moses, when he had grown up refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time

Hebrews 11:24-25

The Biblical story of Moses, the reluctant emancipator of the Israelites, is a fascinating read. Starting in the second chapter of Exodus, the saga unfolds with a plot worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster.

I’ll spare you the details, as you already know or can check it out for yourself. However, I’d like to focus on two toxic thoughts Moses faced that involve us all, together with the antidote Jesus provides.

If Only <<<rewind

Moses was a Hebrew baby saved by Pharaoh’s daughter and raised as her own son; a prince of Egypt. Yet when he grew up, he chose advocacy for his own people over a life of affluence and power. But one disastrous day, defending his kinsfolk went too far, when he murdered an Egyptian he found beating a Hebrew (Exodus 2:11-15). When Pharaoh found out, he tried to kill Moses. But Moses ran away, disappearing into the desert.

There, on the back side of the wilderness, Moses served his new father-in-law as a shepherd. He’d gone from a prince who could actually help his own people to a simple sheep herder in the middle of nowhere!

Standing in the blazing sun counting sheep, Moses must have said to himself a hundred times, “If only I’d not lost my temper and killed that Egyptian foreman.” But it was a mute point, what happened happened and no amount of regret could erase it.

Like Moses, I’ve said my share of “If onlys.” Yet it hasn’t gotten me anywhere either.

What If? >>>fast forward

One day, while on sheep duty, Moses sees a bush on fire that isn’t burning up. Curious, he goes over to it, only to hear the voice of God Himself, “Moses, Moses.” It turns out the Almighty wants Moses to go back to Egypt and finish the job–freeing his people from slavery.

This time, however, our hero is not so eager to jump into the fray.

Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?

Exodus 3:11

This is followed by several “what if” questions. “What if they don’t believe me.” “What if I don’t know what to say? Remember, God, I stutter!”

Like Moses, I’ve said my share of “What ifs.” But worrying about the future hasn’t helped me either.

The Antidote

Near the conclusion of his famous Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus speaks to the worry-warts in the audience. He basically says, “Folks, when you worry you’re like a hamster on a wheel–all worked up but going nowhere. Look to God first and everything else will fall into place (Matthew 6:33).”

Christ then says the following, comforting insomniacs like me ever since:

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:34

Effectively dealing with depression or anxiety means living in the NOW. Therefore, henceforth, I choose to keep the rewinds and fast-forwards to a minimum. I’m just going to press “>play” and take each moment as it comes.

Care to join me?

The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.

Abraham Maslow
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Peace by Piece

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Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

Romans 14:19

During WWII, Matsuko and her family were among the many Japanese Americans forcibly interred in camps. For three years she longed to return to the farm near Salinas, CA where her husband Hayato’s family had grown strawberries for three generations. It was HOME.

Finally, the war ended and the Nakamura family returned. But as they stood across the road from their once well kept farm, it was clear all was NOT well. The strawberry fields surrounding their home were overgrown and the front door of the house gaped wide open.

Thankfully, a kind neighbor had saved all the farm equipment, but the house had been ransacked. Almost everything of value had been either looted or destroyed.

Matsuko was particularly distressed that the pillagers smashed all of her mother’s china. Not one plate, cup, or saucer survived intact. Methodically, she began that same day to sort the broken pieces, putting them back together again as best she could with glue.

One day her young son, Kato, asked her why she was going to so much trouble. After all, she’d only been able to patch together a few plates.

I must take things broken apart and make them one again.

Matsuko Nakamura

Thank God for people like Matsuko who strive to make things right; who pick up the pieces (no matter how small) and put them back together again.

Is there something broken today that with God’s help you could “peace” back together?

Blessed are the peacemakers.

Jesus (Matthew 5:9)

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/08/03/peace-by-piece/

Promises, Promises

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For all the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.

2 Corinthians 1:20

Have you ever had this experience? Your new electronic gizmo isn’t working properly, but there’s a number to call for customer service- “Satisfaction Guaranteed.” Did I say customer service? It should be called customer NO service! What you get when you call is a computer generated recording with a lengthy menu of choices, none of which fit your particular problem. To add insult to injury, just press 9 to repeat the same worthless menu again! Your odds of actually talking with a real person are up there with winning the lottery.

On the other hand, when God says, “Satisfaction Guaranteed,” He really means it. Every one of His promises comes with an automatic, “Yes.”

Here are a couple of my favorites:

Draw near to God and He will draw near to You.

James 4:8

Isn’t it great that God is willing to come close to us? Like two boats coming alongside each other, our loving Father is willing to link up.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

Matthew 7:7

Here,Christ Himself reminds us that God doesn’t hide from those who seek Him in earnest (Jeremiah 29:13). Look for God and you will find Him.

Promises, promises. Man makes them, but doesn’t always keep them.

God does.

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

2 Corinthians 7:1

Don’t Feed the Fears

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.

Isaiah 41:10

My family loves to celebrate Independence Day, but our little dog doesn’t. To say she’s afraid of fireworks is putting it mildly.

Sami, a terrier mix, is the picture of tenaciousness. Need a rodent out of the shed? She’s your girl. Just leave the door open and she’ll come out in a few minutes with one in her mouth. But when fireworks fly, our little spitfire turns into a drama queen.

Just so you have the picture: she shakes, cries, slobbers, whines, and generally runs around inconsolably. Plus, once the fireworks start, she absolutely refuses to go outside to potty. I forgot to say we live in a small town where it’s LEGAL for EVERYONE to pop firecrackers on July 4.

Every year, we come up with a game plan to mitigate Sami’s fears. We try to schedule her outside potty breaks between barrages, and take road trips to areas that are fireworks free. No, we haven’t tried a “Thunder Shirt.” Maybe next year.

Doggie yoga doesn’t work either.

Last night, we left the house at dusk–just before the “festivities” started– and made our way to a firework-less town where no outdoor displays were planned. Sami enjoyed a walk at a park and we drove around a bit. So far so good.

“Let’s get some ice cream,” I said, trying to not seem anxious. But as we got closer to our favorite little shop, there were flashes ahead in the distance.

Oh NO! The casino up ahead must have gotten a special permit; they were putting on a HUGE display and we were headed straight for it!


Too late. Sami was already shaking like a leaf; time to turn around.

Sometime early on July 5 we made it home in one piece, and everyone began to calm down.

A day later, what happened reads like a second-rate dystopian novel–where every moment comes complete with its own artillery.

Thank God there’s a plan for such emergencies. “I’ve got this,” says the Almighty. “Just drive away from the fireworks.”

Don’t feed the fears.

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/07/05/dont-feed-the-fears/

From Grief to Joy

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I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Jesus (John 16:33)

What “things” is Jesus talking about–that he told them?


Christ had just shared the news that he was soon to be betrayed and arrested, falsely accused and convicted, and then brutally executed. Furthermore, as these events unfolded, most everyone listening to this unwelcome monologue would run for their lives.

Yet He told them these things so that they could have peace.

Peace!?


Absolute worst case scenarios don’t usually include serenity.
But Jesus knew the WHOLE story: 72 hours later He would be alive again and the disciples’ grief would turn to joy.

It’s likely you’re already familiar with the story, so I’ll get to the point.

Isolation is cured by authentic community.

The disciples were cowering behind locked doors for fear of arrest, until the risen Christ Himself came knocking. Isolation changed to authentic community the second someone turned the bolt!

Once united, these former frightful believers in Christ soon turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6)!

I bet, like me, you’ve experienced everything from rock bottom grief to over the moon joy. Here’s the good news: Christ said one day it will ALL be joy,
because the Prince of Peace overcame the world and started the most authentic community EVER!

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.

Mother Teresa

It Will Keep

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Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30)

People who’ve spent time in submarines, deep under the surface of the ocean, speak of a “sea cushion.” Below a certain depth, the ocean is as smooth as glass–no matter what happens overhead.

This illustration leads me to ponder the unshakable peace that can be found in God’s holiest servants. Each of us can probably think of a believer who trusted God and remained faithful to Him through the most perilous of circumstances. Which begs the question: How does one rest in God while the storm rages?

Rest is not a hallowed feeling that comes over us in church; it is the repose of a heart set deep in God.

Drummond

That’s it! The life that is hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:1-3).

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

Psalm 91:1

This reminds me of a godly woman who used to live in my little town. She was twice widowed and mostly confined to a wheelchair, yet had the sweetest Christian spirit! Most days, she never ventured outside her home, but friends and neighbors still lined up to see her or called her on the phone. People were drawn to this friend of God who had the peace that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7).

One day, I was visiting with Ms. Frieda, as we called her, when her phone rang. However, she continued to speak with me as if nothing was happening. As the phone continued to ring, I said, “Go ahead and answer, Ms. Frieda, I’ll wait.” But she continued to ignore it and said the most amazing three words: “It will keep.”

Today, no matter the disturbance on the surface, may we rest under the sea cushion of Christ. And despite the inevitable distractions, may we respond like Ms. Frieda.

It will keep.

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/06/13/it-will-keep/

Peace that Isn’t Pitiful

body of water
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“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you  I do not give as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

Have you ever attempted to bring peace to a difficult situation and failed?

This happened to me once with a room full of squirming kindergarteners.

I was a brand new elementary music teacher determined to prove my worth.  Those little guys didn’t know who they were dealing with!  Man, was I wrong.

I attempted to quiet down the class room using a call back:  “Tootsie Roll. Lollipop.  I was talking now I’ll stop.”  The children were supposed to repeat after me, ONCE, and then get quiet.  The trouble was, several little tykes wanted to be the last one standing.  So they just kept saying it over and over.

I spoke peace, but peace did not prevail.

Jesus, however, has a better track record.  He not only speaks peace to a situation, He creates it.  Awakened once in the back of a boat during a fierce storm, he told the wind to stop and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!”  And the wind died down completely and there was a miraculous calm (Mark 4:39).

The application here is obvious.  If the Prince of Peace speaks calm to your situation, He actually has the power to make it happen.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3