My mind races when I try to have my timewith God in the morning. My Bible lies open in my lap as thoughts and worries about the many things that need to get done block my concentration. My joy in spending time with Jesus has faded.
Do you ever feel that way? I certainly have lately.
There are so many things to do. Moving 3,000 miles across the country, overseas trips, packing and unpacking—I can’t seem to catch up or settle in. Plus, so many things keep going wrong. I am convinced the evil one does not like this ministerial work my husband and I have been called to do.
Can you relate? What do you do?
Almost everyone I talk to is stressed and busy. I have been so overwhelmed with all the problems, all the things to be done, that all I could do was pray, “Lord, help me! I don’t think I can handle one more problem, and I can’t even concentrate on reading Your Word!”
Then a Bible text came to mind: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say rejoice! . . . Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:4-6).
Well, I had sure been letting God know what I needed—over and over again—in my one-way conversations. But I realized I had not been rejoicing, and I certainly had not been thanking Him. Although I knew better, I was so caught up in my own problems and so overwhelmed with my responsibilities that I forgot.
So, once again, I started praising God and thanking Him for who He is and for what He is doing in my life. Yes, I continued to bring my supplications to Him, but now I was thanking Him for taking care of my problems and my job. I named every concern and thanked God for giving me the ability to do each thing—even though I felt totally inadequate.
I also started praising God for the good things He was doing in my life and even rejoicing over the trials and problems that seemed never-ending.
And you know what happened? Just what Philippians 4:7 says will happen: “And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Now I could focus on God and enjoy Him. Once again I could concentrate while reading my Bible. When my mind would start to worry, I would start thanking God for taking care of all that concerns me (see Ps. 18:32).
Why do I forget this so easily? I am thankful for God’s mercy and grace, His understanding and faithfulness!
The new year has been busy for my husband and me. We were in the West-Central Africa Division for 10 days for their first-ever ministerial meeting. Over 2,000 pastoral couples and leaders attended. What a thrilling experience! A week later, we traveled to the South Pacific Division for two weeks; we visited New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Australia, and Fiji. Our eyes have been opened to all that God is doing around the world. Church members and leaders everywhere are uniting together, praying at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. for the Holy Spirit to bring revival and reformation into our lives.
As you read this Journal, I hope and pray that (1) you will gain new insights for supporting your walk with God and (2) you will gain a better understanding of the power that is unleashed when we choose to give God praise and thanksgiving during life’s good and bad experiences. In this issue, you’ll find an article about reaching out to someone who has lost a loved one, an article about disagreeing with your spouse, and an article about dealing with fear. There is also a special feature about Vivian Cisneros, a pastor’s wife in the South American Division.
Let me know your thoughts about how this Journal could better meet your needs. You can reach me at [email protected].
Praying for you!