Dealing with Anxiety – Study 2 – Hebrew midwives

Dealing with Anxiety – Study 2 – Hebrew midwives

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Social distancing is the new normal. Anywhere from 3 to 6 feet is now the respectful distance to stand from someone. Groups are to be held at less than 10. If you might be sick you should self-quarantine yourself. I am doing my best to comply with this new way of living.
I’m thankful for a God who doesn’t practice social distancing. A God who comes near…who is with us…who even goes so far as to seek us out. A God who promises to one day wipe away every tear from our eyes.
So as we wait for these social distancing days to be over remember that He is very near. That He loves us with an everlasting love. That in these uncertain times we can be certain of our God pulling us close. Use these days to be in His word. To be in His presence.
Monday we learned about Hagar who encountered the God who sees. Here is the second passage in this series of anxious people. Use the template below to work through the text.

 

trouble-and-anxiety-study-template
Exodus 1:8-21 – There are a lot of people mentioned in this passage. I would suggest you focus on the Hebrew midwives.  Study this with someone you know over the phone or by skype. Tell me what you learn in the comments. Tell me how I can pray for you.

Dealing with Anxiety – Study 1 – Hagar

These are anxious times. The unknown is always more unsettling than the known.

In an effort to be of help I have created a template for studying about other people who were in anxious situations. Scripture is full of stories that God graciously wrote down for us. Our hope lies firmly with Him, not our circumstances.

You can download a copy here.

Here is the first passage for you to look at and discover how God was at work. It is about Hagar, an Egyptian maid. She finds herself homeless, and later homeless and without food and water. Genesis 16, Genesis 21:1-21.

I will be posting a new passage at least twice a week. Take time to read it through. Our God is not far off. He is right here with us in the midst of the uncertainties. Day by day He will be faithful. Believe it.

As always I would love to hear from you. Also if you have prayer requests please let me know.

Karen Pickering

 

Lost and Found

He (Will) climbed into the box himself.

Boxes intrigue him.

Most he can get in and out of himself. This one was different.

After a minute or two he had had enough and found himself stuck. Struggling to get out, he looked up.  His father was there watching and with strong arms lifted him out. Will smiled as he looked right into his father’s face.

The sign says it all…

I couldn’t help but think of how this plays out in all of our lives. We were made to be with God.

Face to face, spending our lives in His presence. Fulfilling our destiny.

Instead we are distracted by selfish pursuits, by temporary things, by boxes.

 …and soon we find ourselves lost, in trouble, unable to get out of the box we have crawled into.

Like Will we have a Father who is watching. One who longs for us to look up into His face.

But it isn’t so he can get us out of boxes. It is so he can know us, that we can know Him. The road won’t always be easy. He won’t always protect us from the hard bits, but He will be with us through good and bad.

 “I will look for the lost, and I will bring back the strayed;” Ezekiel 34:16a

“For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.” Matthew 18:11

For further study: Luke 15

Free download – Redeemed Bible Study https://windowsofhisgrace.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/redeemed-2014-august.pdf

Photo credit: Jonathan Pickering

Living with Anxiety

As a child I was afraid of the dark. I was especially afraid of noises in the dark. I remember one particular dark night when there was an unfamiliar noise coming from outside. When my Dad said goodnight he noticed my distress.  I heard him go outside for a few minutes and then come to my bedroom. He asked me to follow him so he could show me how the tree branches were rubbing against the house. That was the offending unfamiliar noise. He tucked me back into bed, the noise explained, my anxiety subsided.

I was anxious. My Dad was there to ease my fears. He was with me, close at hand. He didn’t scold me for being afraid.

There is a verse in Philippians that talks about anxiety.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Too often this verse is used as a club to shame a fellow Christian who is struggling. The “club” is often wielded by someone who hasn’t walked through dark waters.

I think the verses in Philippians are meant to reassure us, not scold or shame us. It simply says if we go to our Father, His unexplainable peace will enfold us. He has promised to be with us. He can be trusted to keep His word.

But this is the hard bit.

He doesn’t promise to take us out of the trouble, but in verse 9 he promises something better.

“…and the God of peace will be with you.”

We need Him desperately. We don’t always know how desperately we need Him. When trouble comes we find out how valuable His presence is. Bit by bit we learn to depend on Him. The longer we are by His side the more we can relax in His presence. We don’t gain self-confidence we gain God-confidence.

Being with my dad on that dark night reassured me. My circumstance hadn’t changed. The night was still dark. The noise was still there, but my dad was there to be with me.

How much more can my heavenly Father reassure me. In my anxiety I can turn to the only one who can ease my fears.  Believe it. Cling to His promise.

“…And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b

The Fringes of His Ways

(Glacier National Park)

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2

He stretches out the north over empty space, And hangs the earth on nothing. Job 26:7

He wraps up the waters in His clouds; And the cloud does not burst under them. He obscures the face of the full moon, And spreads His cloud over it. Job 26:8-9

By His breath the heavens are cleared; Job 26:13 (NASB)

Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who provides rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains. Psalm 147:8 (NASB)

Let the rivers clap their hands; Let the mountains sing together for joy before the Lord; Psalm 98:8-9a (NASB)

Behold, these are the fringes of His ways; And how faint a word we hear of Him! Job 26:13 (NASB)

Before the mountains were born, Or Thou didst give birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God. Psalm 90:2(NASB)

Time has Flown

I looked around the room and wondered where the time had gone. I remember being a child with all  these people and now most of us are grandparents or great grandparents. Our outer shell has changed, but the same people are still inside.

My sisters and I were at a family reunion. My father was one of eleven children. Two of my dad’s youngest brothers were there to celebrate the day with us.  

It was a day of remembering, of catching up, of meeting new people, of laughing at old jokes and some new ones. We sang old and new songs. My cousin Cindy’s husband, Les Mau, gave a short message, since it was Sunday. As we sat and listened we heard him say.

“Don’t miss heaven.” If there is anything our grandparents or parents would say to us it is “Don’t miss heaven.” I can’t get it out of my mind.

We are so busy living our lives, finding our place, accumulating things that we forget to tell those we love…”Don’t miss heaven.” Nothing else matters. Nothing.

And so dear reader, if you have followed me for any length of time, I want to tell you. “Don’t miss heaven.” This life isn’t all there is. We were made for eternity. Don’t get distracted by the here and now and forget about what comes next.

I have been reading through some of my Dad’s old notes. There is a theme. There was an urgency to his life. Our time is short. With eternity in view 80 years is nothing. Here is what my Dad laid out again and again.

We should run to Christ. – “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

If we run to Christ He will accept us. – “and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” John 6:37b

All should repent. – “…not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

We have strong encouragement – “…we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, “ Hebrews 6:18b – 19a

Gospel in a nutshell –  “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation…for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.” Romans 10:9, 10, 13

The message is simple. There is nothing I can do to earn it.

No one is beyond His reach.

None of us know how long we have.

I am looking forward to someday leaving this earth and going to heaven. I hope to see you there.

“Don’t miss heaven.”

If you have any questions please contact me through my blog.

Help for the Helpless

“Please don’t kill it!” she sobbed. “It’s unfair.” … “Fern,” he said gently, “you will have to learn to control yourself.”

“Control myself?” yelled Fern. “This is a matter of life and death, and you talk about controlling myself.”

Tears ran down her cheeks and she took hold of the ax and tried to pull it out of her father’s hand. …

“But it’s unfair,” cried Fern. “The pig couldn’t help being born small, could it? If I had been very small at birth, would you have killed me?” … “This is the most terrible case of injustice I ever heard of.”

And so begins one of the most beloved children’s stories, Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White.

I’ve felt like Fern this week. Another state, Illinois, is celebrating the fact that children are disposable. They live at the whim of their mother and her doctor. They aren’t considered precious. All of their protections have been removed up until the day of delivery. The picture of the governor gleefully signing it into law made me sick to my stomach. (See link to the article below.)

This is a very personal issue to me. All three of our children are adopted. I have two nephews that are also adopted. Four of those 5 children have 10 children between them. That is fifteen people who might be missing from my family if laws like this were enacted thirty years ago. I have a hard time with the “celebrations” going on.

A few months ago New York signed into law a similar bill and they lit up the capital to celebrate.

I have heard all the arguments. I have cried with and looked into the eyes of women who have had abortions and are now suffering greatly from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I can’t fathom what the agenda of the legislators is, but it isn’t the protection and care of women.

Killing babies isn’t a new idea. Pharaoh ordered all the male Israelite babies to be thrown into the Nile. Plain and simple, he was racist. He didn’t like that the Israelites were prospering. He thought there were too many of them in the land.

Herod was another tyrant who had all the boys two and under killed in Bethlehem because he was afraid of a usurper.

Throughout history civilizations have sacrificed their children to their gods in an attempt to earn favor.

The God of the Bible has a very different view of children. Israel was to treat their children differently than the pagan nations around them.

“You shall not behave thus toward the LORD your God, for every abominable act which the LORD hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.” Deuteronomy 12:31 (NASB)

I believe each life has purpose and meaning. We are each made in the image of God. There is no less or more important. When we stop protecting the most vulnerable among us, our society has lost its foundation.

To quote Fern…”This is the most terrible case of injustice I ever heard of.”

I pray our country changes direction.

For further study:  Jeremiah 1:5; Mark 10:14-15; Romans 5:6

 

https://world.wng.org/content/illinois_governor_signs_extreme_abortion_law?fbclid=IwAR2PVOKpY5-4_-bvQlIQhQr0F-29TPtzzAnMbCNke3VwL3gu03oX-zka4tA#.XQFsBfv6TMM.facebook