Author: Jo Anderson

When It Feels Like The World Is Against You

I sat in my car with tears streaming down my face and hands gripping the steering wheel. My thoughts were filled with pleading and accusations against the Lord. Where are you, Lord? Everything is falling apart and I don’t see you anywhere in this mess. Why aren’t you with me?

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Thankfully, God is unendingly patient with me. Once I had gotten over my mini-meltdown, He met me right there in my car with four simple words that changed me. Four words that I still hang onto when trouble comes.

I am for you.

When He said those words, Bible verses I had read for years came flooding back.

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you. (Deuteronomy 31:8)

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. (Romans 8:34)

Yes, God is for me. And He’s also for you. Jesus himself is advocating for you right now in heaven. God sent the Holy Spirit to be with us and help us. (John 14:16)

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Take heart, friend. When the whole world feels against you, God is still for you. He has not abandoned you. Even if your troubles and sorrow are a result of your own sin, Jesus is still your advocate. (1 John 2:1) There’s no other champion I’d rather have!

So, when I find myself weary by the troubles of this life, I quickly remind myself that the God of all creation is on my side. My job is not to worry, but to rest in Him.

 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm. Exodus 14:14

Unwrapping the Gift of Peace

In the early years of being a mother, I would often wake in the middle night full of anxious thoughts. Sometimes those thoughts were about real challenges I was facing, but many times my mind would be overtaken with a variety of imaginative what-ifs.

peace

What if my child’s cough is something more serious?

What if he gets lost?

What if my child never potty trains?

What if he gets attacked by a lion that escaped from the zoo?

The weight of being responsible for another person’s life can lead to some interesting thoughts at 2 am in the morning.

I found myself turning to books, friends, and the internet for answers to my worries. I would makes lists and plans. Yet even when I did find the answers, I was typically still left with doubt and the occasional nagging worry. What if I totally messed up my child? What if I was missing something?

The truth is that I was missing something.

Peace.

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27

Nothing in this world can compare to the peace that God gives us. It’s beyond our understanding. (Philippians 4:7)

I had heard about God’s peace most of my life. I had even sung songs in church and summer camp about it. But I didn’t know what to do with that gift. It’s like I received a present in pretty wrapping, admired it, and put it on a shelf without looking inside the box.

Peace is a gift from God that He wants us to enjoy daily. What I learned is that this gift does not come with batteries included. It requires action on our part.

peace

If we want peace in our lives, we should:

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

Pursue it: Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14

Love God’s law: Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. Psalm 119:165

I found that the more time I spent in prayer and in God’s word, the more peace I found. When doubts and worry woke me, they didn’t keep me up for long because I knew where my trust and hope belonged.

Lord, nothing in this world can compare to you. Thank you for Your peace. May it fill our hearts and our homes that we can go out and bring Your love the world.

The Yoke of Humility

“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.” Matthew 11:29-30 NIV

yoke of humility

Ever since I was a young Christian, I have loved the idea of taking on the Lord’s yoke. In my head, I could always picture myself trading in one heavy load of baggage for the promised lighter load from Jesus.

A yoke is a piece of wood used to unite two animals allowing them to pull equipment and work in fields. The two animals, usually oxen, must be similar in size and height. When a farmer had a new animal, it was paired with an older animal to be trained. When the new animal tried to veer off the path, the yoke would keep that animal centered. What an amazing picture this creates when we think of a relationship with the Lord.

God is offering us a personal invitation to be united with Him and to learn from Him how to walk in humility. Jesus lowered himself by coming to this earth and dying for our sins. And He’s calling us to tie ourselves to Him and take the path of humility with Him by our sides.

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Not only does He promise to teach us how to be gentle and humble, but He promises that on the path of humility we will find rest for our souls. And it doesn’t stop there. God promises that the humble person will be:

  • Crowned with victory: For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory. Psalm 149:4
  • Given wisdom: When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:2
  • Lifted up: Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10
  • and gain honor: Pride brings a person low but the lowly in spirit gain honor. Proverbs 29:23

Lord, help me to remain yoked to you. I ask you to reveal any area in my heart that is not tied to you. Help me to remain on the path of humility and to put others above myself.