This week in Arkansas has been challenging.  The death of a young, innocent girl set the whole state in turmoil.  There are no words except just horrible.  Saturday, I sat seeing information about the incident while studying the book of Revelation on the First 5 app. Let’s face it the world today is just in scary, unpredictable times.  COVID, a presidential election, racial issues, school starting everything added together, leads to stress and anxiety.

I read several quotes that were put out there about be careful who you surround yourself with and who is in your circle.  I begin to think to myself, what really puts me in a state of anxiety?  What stresses me?  BUT what really matters? What can I do to enable me to be at peace?

I ask you these questions, and I invite you to visit these this week, write down your answers, and figure out how you can manage your life to be more peaceful.

DIVE INTO SCRIPTURE

  1. Serve only God

This week’s First 5-weekend teaching focused on Revelation 17-19.  We are living in a current-day Babylon.  We are living in a system that intoxicates people with wealth and power.  We can’t merge Christianity with the culture of today.  We have to separate.  So the first thing to understand what matters is to separate from the world.  We can’t serve two masters.  God is calling us out of the worldly system and our cultural flesh desires and into being a part of Him and not of a system.

In Luke 4, Satan has tempted Jesus in the wilderness.  He was tempted for 40 days.  He tempted him through his strengths.

Luke 4:8

New International Version

8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’ [a]”

  1. Know Gods Word

Jesus used scripture to center Satan’s attacks, and we should too.  Read them daily and apply them to your life.  This will sharpen your sword.  Satan knows scripture, so we must be careful.  He will try to twist God’s words.  Remember Eve as she was tempted in the garden.  From the beginning of time, Satan has been very creative.

 Ephesians 6:17

New International Version

17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

  1. Prayer

As I have mentioned the study, we are doing this year is the 52 characters of the bible.  Every biblical person has a prayer life.  I think of Esther and how she prayed before she went head-on to saving the Jews.

Esther 4:48 Queen Esther prayed for three days.

I think of Daniel and how he prayed with his friends every time he walked into deciphering dreams.  Prayer is powerful.  Prayer leads us to a deeper relationship with Christ.

Daniel 1:17-18

17 Daniel returned home and told his three friends. 18 Then he said, “Pray that the God who rules from heaven will be merciful and explain this mystery, so that we and the others won’t be put to death.”

  1. Praise God

 Daniel 1:19-20

Then he praised the God who rules from heaven:

20 “Our God, your name

will be praised

forever and forever.

You are all-powerful,

and you know everything.

Hallelujah means Praise ye the Lord. I found this to be very interesting; the actual Greek word is only found in Revelations, Praise ye the Lord is located at the beginning of 10 psalms, actually known as the Hallelujah Psalms.

Praise is at the heart of all worshipers.  It is a heartfelt response to God by those who love him.  The more you get to know God and realize what he has done, the more you will respond with Praise.  The great multitude in heaven initiates the chorus of Praise to God for his victory.

Revelation 19:1-3

New International Version

Threefold Hallelujah Over Babylon’s Fall

19 After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting:

“Hallelujah!

Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,

2     for true and just are his judgments.

He has condemned the great prostitute

who corrupted the earth by her adulteries.

He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

3 And again they shouted:

“Hallelujah!

The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”

  1. Surround yourself with Christian People

Surround yourself with those who are Christlike.  When the king brought Daniel and his friends to Babylon, the Babylonians changed their names. (Daniel 1:7) They changed their names because they wanted them to take on Babylon’s culture and separate them from God.  You can change names, but you can’t change the heart.  Be careful who you surround you.  Surround yourself with Christian people.  Daniel and the 3 stuck together when they were brought into Babylon.  They were faithful to God, prayed together, and never lost faith.  Powerful in numbers.

It is easier to stay focused on what matters when we are surrounded by those that have their eye on the prize.

  1. Moving into action- we must go

Our pastor has been doing a sermon series on justice.  Amy found a theme song for the series – God of Justice.  At first, I wasn’t really fond of the song but as I listened and sang I began to love it.  I think now it is one of my favorites.

Jesus, you have called us freely, we’ve received now, freely we will give.  We must go live to feed the hungry stand beside the broken we must go, stepping forward keep us from just singing move us into action, we must go.

We must go! God was good to the poor and the oppressed.  He is close to the broken.  We should be also.

  1. Fill us up and send us out!

When I work to do all of these things I am filled up with Christ.  It is then that I can face what is ahead.

These are the 7 things that I strive to do to walk with Christ.

  • Separate from culture
  • Know God’s word
  • Pray
  • Give Praise
  • Inner circle
  • Move into action we must go
  • Fill us up

COVID has helped me with this.  I have narrowed my focus increasing my knowledge of the lessons from God, become more aware of my prayer life, thanked God for how we have been blessed and surrounded myself with those that are like-minded.  This is what matters.

Yours may be different from mine.  You do what works for you and what will bring you closer to that which matters.

CHALLENGES OF THE WEEK

  • KEEP YOUR DAILY APPOINTMENT
  • DIVE DEEP INTO THE WORD
  • PRACTICE WHAT BRINGS YOU CLOSER TO CHRIST SEPARATING YOU FROM THE BABYLON OF TODAY. THAT WHICH REALLY MATTERS
  • FILL YOUR CUP WITH CHRIST