For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him …. Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him …. But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children. Psalm 103:11, 13, 17
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
“Stress” is something we are all too familiar with and yet it is not easily defined. Perhaps we could say it is “life’s pressures bearing down on us.” As these pressures take their toll on us we say we are “stressed.” Being under stress doesn’t automatically result in a specific toll being exacted by the stress. How we respond to stress is a huge factor in the impact of stress. There is an old fashion word that captures our wrong response to stress that multiplies its impact. It is the word “fret.” Psalm 37:1, 7, & 8 say, “Do not fret.” When we “fret” we are letting ourselves respond to stress with a combination of “worry” and “whining.” Someone who is “Fretting” is someone who is all “fussed up” about something.
“Do not fret” can come across to us like the old slogan, “just say no.” God isn’t merely admonishing us to “just say no” to stress.” While this can be useful as one part of a fuller approach to stress management, it is not sufficient in itself. Those who can “just say no” to fretting are those who don’t have a problem with fretting. We need a fuller approach to managing our response to stress. If you are not familiar with a “fitbit,” you have likely seen one. People everywhere are wearing a band on their wrists that looks something like a faceless watch. A “fitbit” monitors a person’s “activity level” as they go about daily life. If we had a “fretbit” device we could wear that would monitor our “fret level” as we go about daily life, we would be shocked at the results.
For this week, however, we want to let our devotional moments serve as an opportunity to do some self-monitoring of our “fret level” as we rely on the Holy Spirit to give us insight and guidance. Psalm 37:7 also says, “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” “Rest” and “fret” are opposites. When God says, “Do not fret,” he is saying I want you to become someone who overcomes “fretting.” When God says “rest in me,” He is saying I want you to become someone who learns to rest. Just saying “no” to one and “yes” to the other are not sufficient. This week we are going to look at things that are true of God that come to us through our relationship with him. Perhaps part of our struggle with “fretting” and not “resting” in the Lord comes from our not being firmly “settled” in regard to the things that are true of Him and come to us from Him.
Today’s Scripture gives to us the first thing that is true of God. He is the God of “unfailing love.” As we learn to settle into and rest in God’s “unfailing love,” we will “fret” less with stress and “rest” more in God’s presence. Let’s read our Psalm again: “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him …. Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him …. But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children.” The “unfailing love” God has for us is an amazing reality. Settle back into the reality of God’s “unfailing love.” Feel stress and fretting losing their grip on you and feel yourself settling into and resting in God’s amazing “unfailing love.” At this very moment, may God’s loving presence become more real to you than anything else.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, thanks for understanding my frailty and the burden of stress I experience. Take me on this journey of learning to rest in all that you are to me. Thank you for your “unfailing love.” Forgive me for losing sight of you and your unfailing love. Forgive me for getting so caught up in worry and whining. I do choose “resting” over “fretting” for the path of my life and I know you are wonderfully at work helping me to go forward victoriously. Amen!
Posted on Mon, August 29, 2016
by Ken Hart