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Today is Saturday, April 17, 2021

God is as close as your mouth

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God is not far away, although he may seem like it when you have a loved one near death. Or, when you suffer from a broken heart over a wayward teenager or an adulterous spouse. Or, when your electric bill is about to be cut off. Or, when you are struggling with anxiety or depression. Apostle Paul says, "The word is near thee, even in thy mouth, and in they heart; that is, the word of faith, which we preach..." (Romans 10:8). God hears and that we know. Just this week, a friend asked for prayer for a family member she had not heard from. Within an hour, she received a call and found out her son was okay. That doesn't happen every time. There are times when you wait on God. His timing does not always match our schedule, but if we are his children, he promises to be there when we call.

"The LORD will keep you from all harm ... he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore" (Psalm 121:8).

Many years ago, when I was in my 20s, I was going through a very difficult marriage. I was miserable with jealousy and anger. One night a thought came to me to write down all my blessings in contrast to all the troubles I felt I was being suffocated by. I took a yellow legal pad and drew a line down the middle. To my great surprise, the blessing side was much longer than the trouble side. Right then and there, I knew if I wanted to change my circumstances, I'd have to change the way I looked at my life. Without meaning to, I had become bitter which caused my heart and mind to miss all the good things around me. In my misery, I failed to see the good things. I realized God really was near even though I had not seen it. As the old saying goes, "I couldn't see the forest for the trees". I was missing some of the best things about life, by focusing on my misery.

It was that night that I determined to stop being jealous. When I changed my thinking, although it was still an uphill battle, I began to see more clearly and be more understanding. It took me changing, and although he never changed and we ultimately separated, I no longer suffered with self-inflicted jealousy and anger. When I wasn't blinded by my own misery, I was able to see hope in the middle of what I thought was gross darkness.

Life has a way of teaching us valuable lessons. It's hard to let go of controlling things and people, but when we learn to take life one day at a time it's much easier to deal with the problems. Take care of what happens today and don't fret over what may or may not happen tomorrow. Matthew 6:34: "Be, therefore, not anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is its own evil". In other words, everyday has enough of its own troubles to keep you busy. Don't jump ahead to the next day and worry yourself into a tizzy over what may never happen. Plan and prepare, but don't worry yourself into an anxiety attack. That's what I was doing with all the jealousy I had back in those days. Most of what I worried about never happened, but I'd lose sleep all night because my imagination took over my whole being. I assure you; you can be free of jealousy, anger, and bitterness over the way someone has treated you. When the chains are broken, you're free to live and grow into maturity and you're able to really live again.

I couldn't do it on my own, but with God all things are possible. "I lift up my eyes to the mountains- where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth" (Psalm 121:1-2).

He is near, not far off. He said if we will draw near to him, he will draw near to us (James 4:8). God always makes a way through the fire if we lean on him. Isaiah 43:2 declares, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you; when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned ...".

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