More Readings for Anxious Days...
Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung
excerpts from Chapter 3—Directionally Challenged
Obsessing over the future is not how God wants us to live, because showing us the future is not God’s way. His way is to speak to us in the Scriptures and transform us by the renewing of our minds. His way is not a crystal ball. His way is wisdom. We should stop looking for God to reveal the future to us and remove all risks for our lives. We should start looking to God—His character and His promises—and thereby have confidence to take risks for His name’s sake.
God has a wonderful plan for your life—a plan that will take you through trial and triumph as you are transformed into the image of His Son. (Romans 8:28-29). Of this we can be absolutely confident. But God’s normal way of operation is not to show His plan to us ahead of time. In retrospect, maybe; in advance, rarely.
Are you feeling directionally challenged by this? Don’t despair. God promises to be your sun and your shield and to carry you and protect with His strong right arm. So we can stop pleading with God to show us the future, and start living and obeying like we are confident that He holds the future.
God Moves in a Mysterious Way
by William Cowper
God moves in a mysterious way
his wonders to perform;
he plants his footsteps in the sea,
and rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
of never-failing skill
he treasures up his bright designs,
and works his sov'reign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
the clouds ye so much dread
are big with mercy, and shall break
in blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
but trust him for his grace;
behind a frowning providence
he hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
unfolding ev'ry hour;
the bud may have a bitter taste,
but sweet will be the flow'r.
Blind unbelief is sure to err,
and scan his work in vain;
God is his own interpreter,
and he will make it plain.
Overcoming Fear, Worry and Anxiety by Elyse Fitzpatrick
Chapter 11 Growing Strong in Grace~How God’s Grace Changes Us
What does the reality of God’s grace mean to us? Does it mean that we’ll never face tragedy, trouble, or difficulty? No, God never promises us that. What He does promise us--what is part of His gracious attitude toward us--is that we’ll never suffer more difficulty than is necessary for His love to be known and enjoyed by us. That’s the purpose of trials: to free us from our ties to the earth.
Because of God’s sovereign rule in our lives, we can live confidently even when we’re facing tragedy. Grace teaches us that tragedy and difficulty are no longer to be feared. The God who is strong enough to love us no matter what is also strong enough to control our circumstances.
Examine, if you will, the focus of your fears. Do you fear illness, heartache, or trouble? Do you fear that you’ll be unable to handle an unknown difficulty that might be headed your way? Do you believe that you have to work to be in God’s “good graces”? The Lord is calling you to rest and confidently trust today. You can rest knowing that no matter how God has determined to weave the pattern of your life, even if that pattern is composed of some “dark threads,” ultimately the design will be one of great beauty and bring you great joy.
Paul faced a weakness that plagued him (so much so that he prayed three times to be delivered), he knew the truth of God’s grace. “My grace is sufficient for you,” the Lord told him, “for power is perfected in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Paul knew the power of God‘s grace, which enabled him to live confidently and joyfully in the midst of a trial and personal weakness. And as a child of God you can know the power of his grace, too.
Letters of John Newton
Submission to the Will of the Lord
It is indeed natural to us to wish and to plan, and it is merciful in the Lord to disappoint our plans and to cross our wishes. For we cannot be safe, much less happy, but in proportion as we are weaned from our own wills, and made simply desirous of being directed by his guidance. This truth (when we are enlightened by his word) is sufficiently familiar to the judgment; but we seldom learn to reduce it into practice, without being trained awhile in the school of disappointment. The schemes we form look so plausible and convenient, that when they are broken we are ready to say, What a pity! We try again, with no better success: we are grieved, and perhaps angry, and plan out another, and so on: at length, in a course of time, experience and observation begin to convince us, that we are not more able than we are worthy to choose aright for ourselves. Then the Lord’s invitation to cast our cares upon him, and his promise to take care of us, appear valuable; and when we have done planning, his plan in our favor gradually opens, and he does more and better for us than we could either ask or think. I can hardly recollect a single plan of mine, of which I have not since seen reason to be satisfied, that had it taken place in season and circumstance just as I proposed, it would, humanly speaking, have proved my ruin; or, at least, it would have deprived me of the greater good the Lord had designed for me. We judge things by their present appearances, but the Lord sees them in their consequences; if we could do so likewise, we should be perfectly of his mind; but as we cannot, it is an unspeakable mercy that he will manage for us, whether we are pleased or not….
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3
From A.W. Pink's The Attributes of God
Chapter 7 The Immutability of God
Immutability is one of the divine perfections which is not sufficiently pondered. It is one of the excellencies of the creator which distinguishes Him from all creatures. God is perpetually the same: subject to no change in His being, attributes, or determinations. Therefore God is compared to a "Rock" (Deuteronomy 32:4, etc.) which remains immovable when the entire ocean surrounding it is continually in a fluctuating state; even so, though all creatures are subject to change, God is immutable. Because God has no beginning and no ending, He can know no change. He is everlastingly "the Father of lights with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17).
First, God is immutable in his essence. His nature and being are infinite, and so, subject to no mutations. There never was a time when He was not; there never will come a time when He shall cease to be.
"I am the Lord, I do not change" (Malachi 3:6).
Therefore His power can never diminish nor His glory ever fade.
Secondly, God is immutable in His attributes. Whatever the attributes of God were before the universe was called into existence, they are precisely the same now, and remain so forever.
His power is unabated, His wisdom undiminished, His holiness unsullied.
Psalm 119:89 “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.”
Jeremiah 31:3 “The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.’
John 13:1 “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.”
Psalm 100:5 “For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.”
Thirdly God is immutable in his counsel. …the “plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations” (Psalm 33:11).
Herein is solid comfort. Human nature cannot be relied upon; but God can! However unstable I may be, however fickle my friends may prove, God changes not. If He varied as we do, if He willed one thing today and another tomorrow; if He were controlled by caprice, who could confide in Him? But all praise to His glorious name, He is ever the same. His purpose is fixed; His will is stable; His word is sure. Here then is a Rock in which we may fix our feet, while the mighty torrent is sweeping away everything around us. The permanence of God’s character guarantees the fulfillment of His promises: “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, says the Lord who has mercy on you” (Isaiah 54:10).