Be Not Dismayed

(One of the definitions of “dismay” is “to dishearten thoroughly.” That is the definition I always think of and use.)

Sometimes it can be easy to feel dismayed. This most often happens to me when there is a lot of bad news at once. It doesn’t even have to be something that affects me directly. If I hear too much bad news at one time, I begin to feel thoroughly disheartened. With everything going on in the world lately, I have been struggling with dismay over the past week or so.

But then I read this verse: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isaiah 41:10). In context, these words were spoken as encouragement for Israel, but they certainly can apply to all who belong to the Lord. We have no reason to fear or be dismayed because He is our God! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and he has promised never to forsake us. He will give us the strength we need, He will help us, and He will uphold us.

Such a simple thing to say, but sometimes we become so fixated on other things that we almost forget it. Just like Peter when he began to sink after walking on the water, we focus on the turmoil and trials around us rather than on the Lord. But, also like Peter, we have a Lord who will not leave us to deal with the turmoil on our own.

It isn’t our responsibility to fix everything. This is a sinful world, and with it comes pain and heartache and death. There isn’t anything we can do to fix that – and yes, it is a sad thing. But we know the One Who defeated death and sin! He has everything under His control. Our responsibility is not to fix things, but to trust, follow, and obey Him. We can rest in Him, be still and know that He is God.

So, Christians, don’t become disheartened. Be not dismayed. The Lord has your heart and He will never let you out of His grasp. Cast all your cares on Him. Think on the things of the Lord and receive the peace that passes understanding. Keep an eternal perspective. This is not our home. Our hope and joy are in the Lord!

(Even when we feel dismayed, we need to remember that our feelings are not to be our guide in this world – God’s Word should be.)

15 Things Jesus Did Say

A friend recently shared with me a blog post by Jim Palmer titled “15 Things Jesus Didn’t Say.” While the things listed in the blog post were truly things that Jesus did not say, it left me wondering what exactly he was trying to say with the post. And it made me curious why he would focus so much on things Jesus did not say when we have access to things Jesus DID say. Shouldn’t we rather spend our time focusing on that? There are myriad things Jesus did not say, but we can learn so much if we spend our time thinking about what He did say. On that note, in response to the above referenced blog post, here are 15 things Jesus said.

  1.  John 3:14-21 – I think most Christians and many non-Christians are familiar with the verse that says “For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16). And what a beautiful verse that is! But we also need to remember the context of the verse. Those who do not believe are condemned. Yes, God sent His Son, and that’s wonderful. We need to remember that doesn’t mean a free pass for every single person on the planet. A person has to believe on Him, or else face condemnation – something we all deserve and willingly choose without God’s grace.
  2.  John 10:9-11 – Jesus came that His people might have abundant life. How does this come about? By His sacrificing HIS life through the death on the cross. It goes back to my first point – we have to believe on Him and make Him Lord of our lives or we do not have life, only condemnation. And if we do believe on Him and claim Him, we need to show that forth in our lives. He has given His people instructions on how to conduct their lives – a set of beliefs to which we are called to hold. Definition of religion: “a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.” He did not bring us a new religion, rather established a new covenant in the religion He had already created.
  3. John 13:34-35 – All men will know we are disciples of Christ if we love each other as He loves us. By teaching and ministering. In order to do so, we need to be studying God’s Word and adhere to it. It is of important to believe the correct things, otherwise why would God have given us His Word?
  4. Matthew 16:21-28 – Jesus sets the example for us. As Christians we are to be living for the Lord. Do not give way to Satan. Deny yourself. Any “religion” not of God is either of self or Satan, so we need to beware false prophets and speak the Truth.
  5. John 14:15 – Jesus said if we love Him we are to keep His commandments. One of the things we are told to do is not to forsake the assembling together. But do not forget about my fourth point – we need to steer clear of false religion, even if it is disguised as Christianity.
  6. Matthew 5-7 – Read it. Yes, all three chapters because why not? Pay special attention to chapter 6 where Jesus says, “When ye do alms.” As God’s children we are expected to serve Him. Giving alms (tithing) is expected of Christians.
  7. Matthew 6 – Seems pretty self-explanatory to me. Jesus prayed for God’s will to be done.
  8. Matthew 5:43-48 – Christians are called to set the example and treat everyone with love. We are to be perfect, living according to the commands we have been given, and in so doing show the world Christ through us.
  9. John 14:1-7, Matthew 7:13-14 – Jesus said He was going to prepare a place specifically for His people. In Matthew, He makes a point of explaining there are few who will travel the way that leads to life, but many will go in the way that leads to destruction.
  10. Mark 1:15 – The time is now to repent, turn our lives over to Christ, and live for Him. Repentance is a complete change, a complete turn-around from living in sin to living for Christ, according to how He has instructed us to live in His Word.
  11. John 8:28-36 – As a result of following Jesus, we will know the truth and be made free. Being free does not mean we are allowed to do whatever we want. It means we are no longer in bondage to sin, but we belong to Christ. Now we need to live like it.
  12. Matthew 5:14-16 – We are to show forth Christ in the world. We need to live like it. We are commanded to live like it. Not to hide Him or be ashamed of Him, but to proclaim it.
  13. Matthew 11:27-30 – Notice He says He will place His yoke on us. A yoke was used to guide the ox in the way it was supposed to go. As Christians, we have been told the right way to live, so we have a guide in the way we are supposed to go. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
  14. John 3:12-21 – Context is hugely important. God sent His Son into the world to save His people. Anyone who does not believe on Him is condemned. There are two groups of people – those who follow Christ and those who do not. Those who do not follow Him are not going to receive the love of God and the eternal life He gives to His people.
  15. Matthew 28:18-20 – The act of going into the world and teaching all nations can come in many different forms for individuals. We aren’t all the same. Some of us teach one on one, and some people have huge churches. Some people are called to go far away, some minister close to home. Some form organizations, some are little known. What matters is that each of us individually is obeying the command to the best of our ability, so that collectively the church can obey the command of teaching all nations.

We should take care to be more concerned with sharing the Truth than with trying to make other people feel better about themselves. Thoughts?