A Thousand Anxieties
Man has always been beset by worry, and the pressures of modern life have aggravated the problem. To men of all time Jesus said, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow . . . but seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33–34). Many of you are filled with a thousand anxieties. Bring them to Jesus Christ by faith. He will bring peace to your soul and your mind.
Knowing You hear me, Lord, as I talk with You brings me peace in the midst of any storm.
Devotional by Billy Graham. I love how he mentions how the Bible radically transforms our lives on so many levels.
The Gift of Freedom
Read | Galatians 5:1-14
Every time I celebrate Independence Day, I am reminded of the freedom Christ accomplished for us on the cross when He paid the penalty for our sins. Now all who believe in Him have been liberated from the destructive power of sin. But sadly, many Christians don’t live in the freedom He won for them.
That’s what happened to the Galatians. They’d been saved through faith in Jesus, but some false teachers told them they also had to keep the Law of Moses to maintain their salvation. Adding requirements to the finished work of Christ can make people uncertain and insecure about their spiritual standing.
When I was saved at the age of 12, I was immediately held in bondage to the rules my church established for me. The list of condemning sins included going to movies, wearing cuff links, and reading the comics on Sunday. That was a real problem for me because I loved Dick Tracy. Every Sunday I had to confess to the Lord that I had sneaked a peak before delivering the papers on my route. In time, I lost much of my childhood joy because I was plagued by guilt. I never knew if I was destined for heaven or hell. Every night I’d climb into bed and beg God to forgive me because I hadn't been able to obey the rules.
If you’re struggling with feelings of guilt and condemnation, I want you to know there is freedom in Christ. When He cried out on the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30), that’s exactly what He meant. Nothing else is needed. He paid in full for your salvation and promises to complete the good work He began in you (Phil. 1:6).
The world’s millions could come down to the beach and reach out their hands to be filled with sea water. They could each take as much as they wanted, as much as they needed—and still the ocean would remain unchanged. Its might and power would be the same, the life in its unfathomable depths would continue unaltered, although it had supplied the needs of every single person standing with outstretched hands along its shores.
So it is with God. He can be everywhere at once, heeding the prayers of all who call out in the name of Christ; performing the mighty miracles that keep the stars in their places, and the plants bursting up through the earth, and the fish swimming in the sea. There is no limit to God. There is no limit to His wisdom. There is no limit to His power. There is no limit to His love. There is no limit to His mercy.
Almighty God, how glorious are my thoughts of You, for You are everywhere—loving and caring for the minutest details of our lives!
Here is an extensive excerpt from a book that every Christian should certainly read; One Book Rightly Divided.
Our Casual View of Sin
Read | Romans 6:1-7
Believers recognize the depravity of sin, but many continue to have a careless attitude about it. We hear people argue, “Everyone sins at times, so don’t worry about it. Confess, and God will forgive.”
If we are honest with ourselves about the nature of disobedience, we know the issue isn’t that simple. God is faithful to forgive (1 John 1:9), but His gracious provision isn’t designed as license to transgress. Commandments are in place to protect us from enslavement, which is the natural result of persistent wrongdoing. Each choice to break God’s rules, even for “little” sins, adds another link to our slavery chain, which eventually is long enough to wrap tightly around our heart. When that happens, it hinders us from enjoying the Lord’s blessings.
Any sin, no matter how insignificant it seems, is rebellion against the Lord. God didn’t come up with the idea of scales for wrongdoing; we did. We think a lie weighs only a little, whereas stealing is heavy; we view adultery as hefty but less substantial than homicide. Likewise, we reason that a lie needs only a small bit of forgiveness and grace, while murder requires generous amounts of both. Yet God’s perspective differs from this man-made notion. Jesus still had to die on the cross to forgive a lie. Though different sins cause different amounts of damage, it takes the same sacrifice to pay the penalty for theft as it does to pardon murder.
We are privileged to have a Father who breaks our human chains. However, we are not freed so that we can disobey; rather, God offers us freedom from the domination of sin.
Failure to Listen to God
Read | 2 Timothy 4:1-4
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul solemnly charges him to preach the Word and to reprove and rebuke with great patience (2 Tim. 4:2). A pastor could hardly have a more difficult assignment than this, because few people respond well to correction. What you do when you are criticized is a good indication of the maturity of your faith. The Bible tells us that “he who neglects discipline despises himself” while “he who listens to reproof acquires understanding” and “will dwell among the wise” (Prov. 15:31-32).
Every time criticism comes our way, we stand at a crossroads of possibilities for good or evil. We can either embrace correction and grow up or reject it and start down the slippery slope described in 2 Timothy 4. In this passage, Paul outlines the behavior of those who become tired of reproof. He says they will reject sound doctrine and instead embrace the teaching of those who “tickle” their ears (v. 3). This means they’ll hunt for churches or religious teachers who fail to apply the whole counsel of God. Then they “will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths” (v. 4). Most people in this state probably couldn’t trace how they went from truth to myths, but it may have started when they rejected some hard saying from the Bible or ignored good advice from a critic.
We can’t afford to “turn away our ears”—not even from critics who are immature, ignorant, or evil. Remember, if God spoke through Balaam’s donkey (Num. 22:28), He can speak through anyone. Be mindful to keep your ears open to God’s voice, regardless of the form it may come in.
There is much in our nature that perplexes us. Many people are disturbed as they confront the troubling riddle of their own existence. They are bewildered by their proneness to sin and evil. They quake and tremble at the thought of their inability to cope with their own lives.
Christ can give you satisfying answers to such questions as “Who am I?” “Why was I born?” “What am I doing here?” “Where am I going?” All of the great questions of life can be measured when you come by faith to Jesus Christ and receive Him as your Lord. Let Him be your Pilot. He can take away the worry from your life.
I trust You, Lord, to control my life. Knowing You will guide me in the right path gives me joy.
"Good people" don't get to Heaven, only saved ones do. Are you saved from your sins by true faith in Jesus Christ?