Showing posts with label Anxiety/Pain. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anxiety/Pain. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

2-Finding God's Will: Bible Survival

The Big Idea: Bible verses that help you trust God and seek His will.

Can I know God's Will?

In the mid-sixties on a cold day in September. We lived in Grand Forks, North Dakota where the black rich soil grew the best of crops. My mom and dad took us to a potato field where combines were harvesting potatoes. Mom gave each of us an old ice cream bucket and invited us to help gather potatoes left behind in the dirt. It was called "gleaning," just like what Ruth did in Bible times.

"It's because Daddy's job is on strike again," Mom explained. "This will help us to have enough potatoes to last us through the winter."

We filled a large sackcloth full of potatoes, stored them in sand in the basement, and ate them through the winter.

How does a child feel when their parent's world caves in? 

I remember the first time Dad's job went on strike. Dad tried to sell World Book Encyclopedias door-to-door. Then he got a job processing milk. Mom became a Tupperware lady. 

My siblings and I pitched in monthly to clean the local Red Cross building. We got by. But we all knew money was short and we should all pitch in.

Less than two years later, Dad's company went on strike again. By the time it would be done, dad would have been off work for almost a full year between the two strikes. We could hear his disgust and frustration by now.

"I need to look for a new job, Eileen," he told my mom. "I can't keep doing this anymore with a company with this attitude."


As kids, we had not really noticed the hardship. 

Then we started to notice the cracks in the serene facade as the strike got longer and longer. I started to worry about my dad. But one night, at our church's Wednesday night prayer meeting, my father stood up to share a testimony.

"I want to share two verses with you tonight," he began, "that have been important to me for a long time. 

 'For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

A couple chapters later is another favorite verse. 

 'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'  Jeremiah 33:3 NIV

 As you know, I have been out of work for awhile now because of the strike. We feel I need to find something else. I don't know what that is, but I know I can depend on God and call on Him. He will take care of us. I find great comfort in that and I hope you can too in your situation."

I felt better about our family situation after that night. And I decided I needed to remember these verses for the rest of my life. They got marked in my Bible.


Years later in college, I went back to these verses when I was not sure where I would get my first job. The hiring market had completely upended and no one was hiring in my home state of Minnesota. I wanted to panic. It helped a little that the rest of my class was in a similar situation. Still it was very unnerving. 

I made these verses into homemade bookmarks to remember them. I put them on a 3x5 card and propped them up on my dresser. I remembered them when I prayed.

Another verse in the Old Testament became a significant part of seeking God's Will for my life.

The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Isiaiah58:11 NIV

This verse allowed me to trust Him when I found Him leading me to be a missionary in Africa. It was not what I had expected. I really thought I was to go to Japan as a missionary. But He changed my course. 

I knew as I prayed and sought Him, he would guide. And He would satisfy my needs and give me strength.

Later I was at another standstill in life. I was very torn. I was a missionary and I thought I was supposed to go back to Africa. That was my life calling, right? But I kept getting led in another direction regarding service to God in the United States. 

This would be a total shift from how I had envisioned what I thought God had for my life. 

How could I know what to do? 

What was the right thing to do?



When I suggest you mark up your Bible, it helps you find verses again and again during the hard parts of life. His Word for us is eternal. It is always relevant. 

Often the trials and upheaval of life gets harder each time. We can lean on the former verses, for it helps us build on what we have already experienced. 

God's Word is active. It is not static. It is not dead. It is living and active (Hebrews 4:12 NIV). It grows in us and deepens. It reminds me of a diamond that has multi-facets. You bring the verse out in a new situation and find the relevancy and understanding to be a new, deeper hue.

By this time, colored sticky notes were available. Instead of writing these verses on 3x5 cards, they went on colored sticky notes. I put them on my mirror, in front of the kitchen sink, on the door of the fridge and any other spot I frequented. 

By this time these verses were memorized. I could reflect on them and pray through them at any time during the day.

It fixed my mind on Him and was like nourishment for my soul day and night. He answered my prayer for guidance. It was never immediate. It always took time. I think this is in part, because God loved how much I leaned on Him in moments like these. 

I look back on these days as a sweet, special time of intimacy with God. 

And these verses are precious to my soul.


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Previous Post: MRI Meditations


1. Have you worried about your parents too? Or worried how to provide for your children?

2. Where do you turn when you have no idea what to do?

3. Is there a verse in the Bible that gives you comfort? How might you apply this in an unnerving situation?

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

1-MRI Meditations: Bible Survival


The Big Idea: When anxious about the unknown use Bible verses to keep your sanity.

The doctor says it might be WHAT?

If you ever had an MRI you know how disconcerting all the pulsating noises can be. Last week I needed a brain MRI. They strapped me in and fit headphones over earplugs in an effort to provide enjoyable music for the experience. Imagine the stress knowing you need a brain MRI. You hope they find nothing out of the ordinary!

As they strapped me tightly in with whirring and piercing beeping sounds gearing up, I wondered how I would endure the next hour or so. I recently read about the value of Scripture meditation. It seemed the perfect time to put it to good use. I knew I must stay still and this verse came to mind.

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10


One of the first verses or chapters that a Christian often memorizes is Psalm 23. “The Lord is my shepherd.” One of the benefits of scripture memory is the ability to meditate on it. Chew on it, as it were. I began with those first five words, repeating them and putting a different emphasis on each word sequentially, thinking about the difference of the phrase by each particular emphasis.

THE Lord is my shepherd.

The LORD is my shepherd.

The Lord IS my shepherd.

The Lord is MY shepherd.

The Lord is my SHEPHERD.



 I reflected on how much I could remember of the whole Psalm. I learned it as a child

in the King James Version of the Bible with its archaic poetic style. That left food for thought, because its style helped me remember it. I mulled over each verse in my mind. I took the archaic KJV asking myself how I would express it in modern English. I dwelt on the idea of God as my shepherd. I was his sheep. Because of my anxious thoughts inside the MIR machine I pictured myself as that little lamb safely in His arms. His soothing presence was very real to me.

After about a half an hour the exam continued but I felt like I was running out of fodder. Then I remembered that I knew this Psalm also in French. Could I remember it all? Were there fresh insights for me in French, and from my time working in West Africa? Indeed there was much more to ponder.

Finally, I thought of a song or two I knew based on this Psalm. I sang it to myself, lifting up an attitude  of prayer to my God.




You would think I had saturated everything there is to think about Psalm 23. However, that night as I lay in bed, my mind was vexed with worry.

What would they find? Would I be OK?

I knew I could be up for a sleepless night if I did not reign my thoughts in and turn them toward my Creator who loves me.

There are numerous verses in the Bible about meditation as we lie on our bed. Undoubtedly the Psalmist and other saints of old also had trouble with vexing night accusations.

The Bible is a true and accurate portrayal of real people with real world problems. They teach us how to live.

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. Joshua 1:8a

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:2

When I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night. Psalm 63:6

Laying in bed with eyes wide open, I reviewed each verse of the Psalm and what I had reflected on earlier. It is always good with Scripture to review, review, review! Remember what God has shown you. Do not forget! This is one of the reasons the Old Testament patriarchs left so many stone alters and monuments in the desert. It was to remember!


Earlier that week I sat in a waiting area with delays. Though I did not have a hard copy Bible with me, I had Bible apps on my phone. I turned to a verse I have been studying, one I have not committed to memory yet, and used that time to reflect, chew, pray through and just think about who God is and what He means to me in that verse. It is a wonderful way to fix our eyes on Him in an anxious place.

Incidentally, my brain is fine. However, this week God's Word has brought my mind to return to Him and focus on Him and how much I need His Word. It comforted me and guided my thoughts. This is how we can use God's Word for our benefit and our edification. His Word is meant to be useful to us for life and godliness.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence. 2 Peter 1:3

Up Next: Finding God's Will
Previous Post: Biden's Bible


1. Can you think of a stressful or anxious moment recently when you could have taken a moment to reflect on God's Word?

2. Do you have a meaningful Bible verse memorized or that you can easily go to on a phone app when you need to focus on Him?

3. Have you ever considered memorizing some of God's Word, or reviewing what you already have memorized, to put to good use for life's stressors?

Where do you turn when your world caves in? This is the first post in a blog series on how to rely on Scripture in crisis. The crisis may entail health news, a death of someone close, catastrophic world events or some personal angst that no one around you knows. But God knows and wants you to turn to His living Word to uphold you. This series is on how to incorporate the Bible for that very purpose. It's about Surviving by Scripture.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Instruction Manual Fiasco


The Big Idea: The Bible is a good "How to" manual for the Christian life.

When my husband was deployed for six months with the military, my office chair gave out. I found one at an Office store for a great holiday sale. It came in a box that did not look at all like a chair. "Some assembly required," it read. How hard can it be, I thought? I know how to read instructions.

I pulled the instruction manual out. It was bigger than I thought till I saw the manual was in about 10 languages. My son and I got the parts spread out and read the instructions very carefully. They were not well written, and not always in good English. Finally I got the bright idea to see if someone made instructions for it on YouTube. YES!!! Show-and-tell finally allowed us to get the office chair correctly put together!

Good instructions do not always accompany a product! But instructions are necessary for so many things we try to do. I seem to consult the manual every time I get my sewing machine out! I have a manual file on my computer for PDF manuals for my stuff.

An Instruction Manual for Life

Did you know the Bible is likened to an instruction manual for life?

These instructions are not empty words—they are your life! By obeying them you will enjoy a long life in the land you will occupy when you cross the Jordan River. Deuteronomy 32:47

The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. Psalm 19:7

Preserve the teaching of God; entrust his instructions to those who follow me. Isaiah 8:16

These three verses let us know that God's Word, God's "instructions," are trustworthy. They are not irrelevant words. They are perfect! They give us a life well lived. When it says "they are your life" the passage actually implies the eternal life available to us in Jesus. We know this when we do cross references and cross checks with the rest of the Bible... "Scripture interpreting Scripture" it is called. And it revives, restores our very soul.

These words of God are not a poorly put together instruction manual like my chair manual was. It is an outstanding, perfect book that gives us satisfying, peace giving life long instruction! It is the very words of God penned with the Holy Spirit guidance.

Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophet s were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God. 1 Peter 1:20-21

This word used in our in the Old Testament passages above is sometimes translated as "law," but it is also translated as "instructions." As Deuteronomy says over and over, these are instructions for life - for a good life. They are told to tell them to their children too so they will live a long life, knowing the Lord.

When Life Throws you a Curve Ball

There are times life throws us a curve ball. Even though there is not a specific verse in the Bible on how to put together an office chair or repair a sewing machine, there are life stabilizing principles that help us deal with anything we face. We learn to know God and trust Him. We learn to lean on Him by prayer, praise, and time dwelling in His Word.

This year, commit yourself to read the BOOK every day. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what you need for your life today, each time you open it up.

My father taught me, “Take my words to heart. Follow my commands, and you will live. Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.  Proverbs 4:4-5


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Previous Post: Connoosseur of the Word



Do you need some guidance for your life? Explore His Word to see how it can help you for what you are facing TODAY!

Do you need to pass on to your children and grandchildren the value, the critical importance in life, to love God's Word and daily dwell in it? Tell them!

Do you have a plan in place to intentionally go to God's Word every day? Make a plan to take time to read and reflect on the Bible, even if it is a short one today.