Devotion: Collaboration > Competition
Satan (sin) wants to isolate. He seeks the solo competitor------easier this way to overpower. To overshadow the power of relationships, between friends, families and believers in/with God. This enemy tries to overwhelm us with bitterness, unforgiveness, intimidation and betrayal. He tries to convince those who oppose his power and judgement that our sin is our shame because he knows that living in/with shame destroys our confidence. We retreat and hide.
But God "made himself bear sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Jesus," 2 Corinthians 5v21. So let us leave in this. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ, Romans 8v1. There is no shame in who were are, and have been, only redemption, forgiveness, relationship and hope.
Knowing this, let us connect with others who struggle with this same nervousness and remind each other that Everlasting Peace is ours.
♪ Jesus, You're Beautiful, Onething Live - Jon Thurlow.
In Matthew 6v27, readers are reminded that neither worry, nor fear adds length to their life. It is faith + the steadfast love of God that leads to eternal relationship (Romans 8v39).
Many things make me anxious. Travelling alone, travelling far. Loneliness, relationship. Plans too uncertain, too fixed. What if I fail to accomplish what I set out to do? What if I disappoint the people who have supported me along the way? What if I realise that what I wanted has changed?
I woke up this morning breathless. I knew it was anxiety overcompensating for little things. Or wider, uncontrollable fears. Either way, these worries responded the same, and remind me that I am small. Easily overcome.
"The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance," Psalm 16v6. This verse was opened for Feb 22, and gives me comfort. To look ahead without finding it overshadowed by the "what ifs" and "maybe thens" of the day.
When I feel anxious, my hearts beats fast-----so fast that I can hardly move. It is a hummingbird, fluttering, beating. Hard. And I feel a little cold, as if the wind of its wingbeat is cooling the inside of my chest.
So, I slink down to my knees beside the radiator by my bed and wait. I think of things that made/make me happy. Like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music. Tangible experiences & actions reinvent the abstract things: like fear, courage, comfort, betrayal, disappointment, love etc.
When we share/reflect on the details on encountering these abstracts, we realise how easy it is to associate certain individuals and their good intentions with heavy memories when we let the past affect us. Sometimes its wise to use this reflective knowledge to make descisions. As long as we don't let it blind us to (potentially) beautiful things.
♪ Here Again | Elevation Worship
Now, concerning this city of which you say, 'It is given into the hand of the king of Babylon by sword, by famine and pestilence.' 'BEHOLD,' says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'I will bring them back, and I will make them dwell in safety. And they shall be my people, and I will be their Good. I will give them on heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I. will not turn away from doing good to them. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land of faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.'
There were storms of the immense tragedy, of lightening strobe illuminating shadowy rivers The streets, like windowpanes, reflected the outscape of a sky unravelling. The towering trees shuddered, once straight and dignified, they splintered. But their deterioration could not have been the caused by this; no matter how severe the winds, these trees sunk roots to the low layers of the earth. How was it that the strong ones lay on their sides; husks of decaying wood?
We had prided ourselves on their outward appearance without realizing that, underneath, these trees were rotten. How a gust of hurricane wind would be enough to extricate trunk from core.
Fallen trees can remind us of our own lives, or those around us. People see the outward appearance, but it is underneath the skin where our integrity + stamina hides. I think it is important to find a balance between vulnerability + positivity. Sometimes we think positivity is learning to hide the hurt and insecurities we might feel at any given moment. But, positivity, in tandem with vulnerability, is an optimism. It allows us to spare ourselves the exhaustion of pretense and align our inside lives with what is seen.
I want to encourage you in this, my friends.
♪ Rivers (Turn The Tide) - Live, Justin Jarvis
"Whoever walks in integrity walks secure, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out," Proverbs 10v9.
In 1 Samuel 17v23, the Bible tells the infamous story of David and Goliath. Because we are so familiar with this narrative, it is easy to read through quickly without a second glance, but there are poignant layers of meaning and reference in the scriptures leading up to God's victory in David.
"Behold, the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, came up out of the ranks of the Philistines and spoke the same words as before. And David heard him."
David heard him. This soldier who stood between two armies, mocking the power and presence of an omnipotent God. And this made all the difference. What David heard propelled him to act-----to advocate and protect the name of the one who had given him victory against the bear, the wolves, and those who belittled his youth and strength.
"He awakens my ear to listen like those being instructed. The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious; I did not turn back," Isaiah 50v4-5.
God armed David with victory and strength because of his faith. His passion & reason for standing against the giant overwhelmed his fear and insecurities.
Let this be in our thouguhts today as we face situations that seem to loom over us, mocking our lack of skills, provision and confidence. Let us know that God has given us all we need to compete, and complete all things well.
♪ Tremble - Live, Mosaic MSC
"May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy," Colossians 1v11.
Some dreams take a long while to finalize. Months & years, perhaps? Sometimes the most gorgeous ones take longest to accomplish. Consider Solomon's Temple; 7 years of construction. The Israelites forty-years in the wilderness as they travelled to Promised Land. Even the walls of Jerusalem took 52 days to rebuild. Some things-------dreams worthy of pursuit-----take time to complete.
The detail of these stories reminds readers that (through Christ) endurance in full effect lacks nothing, James 1v4. Romans 2: "To those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, he will give eternal life," v7.