Today’s thought is from Mary Bell.
Give all your cares and worries to God for He cares about you.
(1 Peter 5:7)
I was pleasantly surprised recently. A worry had come into my mind and I found that I was able to give it to God quite quickly, instead of worrying about it for most of the night. But I have been practising for a long time... and it has paid off! Some of us are born worriers, we see all the negative possibilities that could happen and it takes time for us to learn to give our troubling thoughts to God and leave them with Him.
Keep practising... and you will learn how to be able to lay the worry at His feet and walk away carefree. You will get better at it!
Bear not a single care thyself
One is too much for thee;
The work is Mine and Mine alone;
Thy work - to rest in Me.
A few weeks ago I read something under this heading and the thoughts have stayed with me. Nazareth was an obscure village in Israel. It was a backwater and was not highly rated by the Israelites. It is never mentioned in the Old Testament. And Jesus’ followers never referred to Him as ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ - possibly because it would have been drawing attention to the fact that He came from a place that was of no account. He lived there for thirty years before He began His public ministry. When Nathanael speaks to Philip about Jesus he asks:
Can anything good come out of Nazareth? (John 1:46)
This seems to sum up the general attitude to the town. It is the enemies of Christ who speak of ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ in the gospels - such as the soldiers who came with Judas to arrest Jesus; Pilate, who put the sign on the cross ‘Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews’. And even in Nazareth itself, Jesus was rejected. No one wanted to listen to Him and He was driven out of the town.
But that is not the end of the story. On resurrection morning, the angel declared to the women who came to the tomb:
Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.
He is risen; he is not here. (Mark 16:6)
He is identified as being from Nazareth - on the very first occasion He is named after His victory over death! When we move into the book of Acts we find that Peter preaches again and again about Jesus of Nazareth - and people are saved through that name and healed by the power of that name.
When we come to the conversion of Paul, he says later that the voice that speaks from heaven says:
I am Jesus of Nazareth, the one you are persecuting. (Acts 22:8)
Nazareth is now no longer a name that is associated with something derogatory - it is part of the identity of the risen Lord . Doesn’t this get right to the heart of the gospel? Jesus began His search for us in Nazareth. And he takes us - who are nothing in this world’s eyes - into a new place. Into resurrection life and glory.
What a gospel! What a Saviour!
As lockdown continues, and may be made more restrictive, the thought of ‘stagnant water’ has come to my mind.
Spiritually, we need to be active and for many of us that has become more difficult in the current situation. So many things have shut down - church services, communal worship, meeting with like minded friends, etc. etc.
But it is so important that there is a flow of life - like living water - between our souls and God. This can happen within our spirits and without words, but for many of us - perhaps all of us - there needs to be the voicing of our worship and our praise.
As we come before God in our homes, I think it’s important that we are vocal. I know that some of you have found that worship in a small family group has brought you closer spiritually to each other and that has been of enormous benefit. Others live alone and don’t have that opportunity. But for all of us there can be a release in being vocal as we come before God.
Hosea 14:2 says 'Take with you words’. Take words with you when you come before God. They can be words of request - bringing our needs (and the needs of others) to Him. But I’m thinking, more particularly, of words of worship and praise. Words that spring from deep within our spirits. Words in English or in new tongues. They can open up a spring of life within us - and that brings healing. As we pour out, He pours in - and the waters in our soul are no longer stagnant, they are flowing!
‘Flowing, swiftly flowing... I will lead you to my healing streams’
Try it - as you sit quietly before God or as you listen to some Christian music - and may God bless you as you worship!
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Struthers Memorial Church is a registered Scottish Charity No. SC 006960 | Struthers Memorial Church is a company limited by guarantee incorporated in Scotland Company No SC335480 | Registered Office: 33 West Stewart Street, Greenock, PA15 1SH.