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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sweet Dreams!

In his first letter the apostle Peter instructed us to cast all our anxiety on the Lord because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). It isn’t easy to follow Peter’s instruction, is it? When our funds are low but our bills stack high, it is natural to worry. It is also natural to worry when job layoffs are pending or we face serious surgery or a loved one is gravely ill. But Peter’s inspired instruction was backed by personal experience. He knew firsthand that the Lord could handle even the most harrowing situation.

According to Acts 12, Herod’s soldiers arrested Peter and threw him into a dungeon, and then kept him under close surveillance around the clock. Herod’s plan was to decapitate Peter, but Peter did not worry. During the night, when an angel appeared in his cell to free him, Peter was sleeping so soundly, the angel had to poke him in the ribs to wake him up. Soon Peter was out of prison and reunited with his Christian friends.

How could Peter sleep so soundly in such adverse circumstances? Here’s my guess. After rising from the dead Jesus told Peter he would die when he was old (John 21:18, 19). Peter wasn’t old when he was in prison, so he knew Herod couldn’t execute him. Taking Jesus at His word, Peter fell into a sound, peaceful sleep.

Wouldn’t our worries disappear like soap bubbles in the wind if we took the Lord’s promises to heart? Because He has promised to care for us, we can bid worries a firm adieu.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Matter of Priorities

thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20).

Somewhere I read a joke about a woman who sued for a divorce on religious grounds. She told her attorney she worshiped money and her husband didn’t have any.

We can enjoy the humor in this story, but it also has a serious side. Some people do worship money and even accompany such worship with sacrifices. They may sacrifice their own health as they work long hours in the pursuit of what they consider the almighty dollar. They may sacrifice their marriage by devoting far more attention to their financial goals than to their spouse. They may sacrifice their children by leaving little or no time for parenting. They may even sacrifice their souls by having greed as their creed and valuing gold above God.

Jesus issued crisp but significant counsel about setting life’s priorities. He taught us to set our hearts on eternal values. Serving God pays eternal dividends, He explained, whereas serving money leads only to irreversible loss (Matthew 6:19–24).

To be sure, the Bible does not condemn wealth. To the contrary, it lauds a number of wealthy men and women for their service to God. Those individuals had their priorities straight. They valued God above money. Like them, we should be good stewards of our money instead of slaves to it. Let’s build our securities in heaven!

By Jim Dyet © Anchor, Haven Ministries