7 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

1 Chronicles 1:1–2:17
Acts 23:11-35
Psalm 3:1-8
Proverbs 18:14-15

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

Proverbs 18:14 (NLT): “The human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear a crushed spirit?”

Psalm 3:5-6 (NLT): “I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the LORD was watching over me. I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side.”

Reflections from Scripture:

I like to keep my ear on the heartbeat of culture. It helps me to be of service to others, especially as I pastor a congregation. So, I listen to podcasts and read articles regularly from people talking about what is going on in society. I like hearing them speculate about the deeper meaning of what is happening and where it might lead. 

A clear theme I was hearing at the beginning of this year was that a pandemic of anxiety would follow the COVID pandemic. Leaders, counselors, and others warned that as we exited the pandemic, with everything else that took place during that time into a world of uncertainty, anxiety would skyrocket.

According to a study conducted earlier this year, those predictions of an anxiety pandemic were correct. The CDC discovered that roughly 40% of Americans had anxiety or depressive disorder symptoms during the previous 7 days. 

What’s to be done? What can we do if we are weighed down with anxiety (overwhelmed with the pressures of living in a broken world)?

The answer to that is multi-faceted. Various activities have sometimes helped people combat anxiety: aerobic exercise, uplifting music, enjoying healthy relationships, spending time with a professional counselor, being prescribed medication, etc. 

But one thing that absolutely must be a part of our healing is spoken of in a verse I chose for today…

Psalm 3:5-6 (NLT): “I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the LORD was watching over me. I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side.”

The Psalmist didn’t simply acknowledge the LORD’s power in his mind. He trusted (in his heart) in his God’s care over him. He was convinced of the LORD’s love for him, and he realized that nothing could happen to him that didn’t come from the LORD’s hands. Therefore, he was able to rest at night rather than be overcome by anxiety.

Friend, are you battling anxiety right now? A book I have found helpful for understanding anxiety and overcoming it is “The Anxiety Cure” by Archibald Hart. But, with any other cure we may choose to pursue, we simply must use this opportunity to trust in the Lord. We must be convinced of His love for us and rest in the fact that nothing can happen to us unless it goes through His hands. Even when bad things happen, He loves us so much that He desires to work that bad thing out for our good and His glory.

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, I am frequently reminded that this existence on earth is definitely not Heaven. It causes me to long for Heaven all the more. But I don’t want to simply tolerate life. I want to live it in such a way that I am experiencing the joy of my salvation so that I can be a blessing to others and point them to You. I desperately need Your grace to help me to do this. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.

Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash