In the Headlines
By J.A. Marx
Sitting at the breakfast table, I spread the Dallas News before me and start scanning the pages.
Suicide attack kills many in Mali. Increase in abduction of foreign reporters in Syria. Do we really know what happened at the embassy in Libya? Our country is turning socialist and healthcare is falling apart. Immigration ... a never-ending debate. Policeman convicted on two accounts of reckless homicide—texting while driving. Bullying pushes girl to suicide. Diseased jerky killing our beloved dogs ...
I can only take so much of the headlines. The news causes dread to simmer in my gut. Fear boils over to the point of insomnia, ulcers. And on occasion, panic. I know people who take desperate measures to safeguard themselves by setting up a secret stash of food, water, and ammo. In fact, a few miles south of my city, an entire fringe church group is doing this very sort of pre-apocalypse planning, in the name of the Lord.
This reaction to world crises does not surprise me.
We humans must like pain because we spend hours poring over negative news. No wonder we are a depressed, violent, and irritable culture. Then we turn to deceit as a way to survive. Or we oppress our fellow man as a way to generate security. We are a crazy bunch. God's patience is so amazing.
Then I read what the prophet Isaiah learned by divine impartation.
"The Lord has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said, 'Do not call everything a conspiracy [or hard, or holy], like they do, and don't live in dread of what frightens them. Make the Lord of Heaven's Armies holy in your life. He is the one you should fear. He is the one who should make you tremble. He will keep you safe.'" Isa 8:11-14
Holy. He is my only true hope of safety, but I must guard my mind from the world's unstable and ever-changing approach to life.
Fear Him. I am already a member of the winning gang, a Kingdom tribe. Any other type of fear is a distrust of God. I recently read how a lack of trust/faith in God leads to trusting in manmade resources (idols), which leads to fear; and that leads to lies and eventually strongholds. But how do I know I'm really trusting in God and not some other means of survival?
Safe. An indestructible asylum. Armored and shatterproof. That is the Lord, my God, and He never changes.
Voila! Peace amid chaos. A peace attained only through the supernatural. A peace too deep for words.
Chaos will be with us until the end of time. No need to go look for it.
My new headlines: Whatever is true, noble, and pure; whatever is admirable, right, and excellent ...
"Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you're on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life." Phil 4:4, 6-7 (msg)
Lord, reveal the mental strongholds and lies I can't see. Dig into my underlying fears and expose any idols. Turn my heart to trust in You and put my faith in You alone. Amen.
What are your new headlines?
Copyright 2013 J.A. Marx, used by permission.
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J.A. Marx, author/editor, resides in Texas. She and her husband enjoy being grandparents. Seventeen-plus years in marriage and small group ministry has given her a desire to see people living free in Christ. J.A. has written various articles, and edits for a national healthcare e-zine. Her debut novel, Destiny Defied (Part 1 of the Destiny Series) released April 17, 2013. You can contact J.A. at www.jamarx.net or Embattledspirit@jamarx.net
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