How to Stay in the Day (and Stop Worrying So Much!)

Have you ever noticed that when you’re busy and active, you have less time to worry? Well, Jesus takes this one step further.

He says that if we correctly identify, and then stay busy with, our highest priority, then we will have far less time and opportunity to worry about tomorrow. It will be far easier for us to stop worrying about tomorrow, because the little things we tend to worry about will fade into the background.

We’ll have an important truth running through our mind: “Let tomorrow worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.”

So, what is our highest priority? Jesus gives that one to us. Our highest priority is to seek God’s kingdom and his righteousness.

This means we start taking time to connect with God through word and sacrament, and asking God to rule in our hearts and minds, as Paul says, “…and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV).

It also means we stop thinking that a restored relationship with God is about what we do, and realize that Jesus has arranged for us to receive his holiness and righteousness as a gift (and how great that moment of realization is!).

Once we’re busy and active seeking these every day, then the worries about what we’re going to eat, or drink, or wear, or what kind of home we’re going to live in, or what kind of car we’re going to drive, etc. will fade into the background. We will commit ourselves to seeking Jesus in this day and stop worrying so much about the next day.

So, busy your mind, your heart and your hands! Worry will fade, and God’s kingdom will come.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:33-34, NIV).

Lord, I repent of seeking to please everyone and obtain everything except you. Forgive me. Give me Jesus’ righteous record of seeking you. Make his obedient record my record. Help me to change and invest my life in seeking your kingdom and your righteousness above all else. As I do this, help me to stay in the day. I submit all my plans to you, and I commit myself to not worrying about tomorrow.

Our Bible reading for Thursday, January 8, is Genesis 17:1 – 18:33, Matthew 6:25 – 7:23 and Proverbs 1:8-19.

Header image based on "Worried!" by Alon, CC by 2.0

How to Be a Wise Man (or Woman) in 3 Easy Steps

What in the world are “magi”? Strong’s Concordance defines the word this way: a magus; the name given by the Babylonians (Chaldeans), Medes, Persians, and others, to the wise men, teachers, priests, physicians, astrologers, seers, interpreters of dreams, augers, soothsayers, sorcerers etc.

It’s a pretty broad job description, isn’t it?

Matthew, one of Jesus’ disciples, writes about the wise men: After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him'” (Matthew 2:1-2, NIV).

Something in their education and experience told the wise men that this particular star was unusual, and the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy about the birth of a king.

Whatever it was that told them this, they dropped everything—their schedules, their jobs, their families, their friends, their familiar places of living—and went together to find Jesus.

Why? Because they knew the most important thing they could do in this moment of their lives was just that. Find Jesus, the king, and then worship him. But they also knew that their destination was far. And as the old saying goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Wise men, indeed!

What if you grabbed another person or two this year and did the same? You’re just three steps away!

Step 1: Commit to someone. Ask your spouse to pray and read the Bible together with you in 2015. In my humble opinion, way too few marriages feature spouses that pray and read the Bible together daily. Just saying. Alternatively, you could do the same with your children, or a buddy from church or your growth group. If you’re feeling particularly outreach-minded in 2015, you could even select someone from work, or school, or your neighborhood.

Step 2: Commit verbally. Say to the person(s) you have selected “Let’s do this! Let’s go search for Jesus, the King, together. We’ll pray with each other each day, share our SOAP journals, and go together to worship Jesus every day this year.”

Step 3: Commit the time. Put it on your calendar. Block out a daily opportunity with your fellow “wise man” when you can meet (even over the phone or via text) and share your thoughts about the King. Don’t forget to clear a space for prayer together daily, too.

Lord, help me to find you daily in the gospel. Help me to find someone with whom I can share this daily journey. And then, put your Spirit in my heart so that we may respond—mind, body, heart and soul—with worship.

Our reading for Friday, January 2, is Genesis 2:18 – 4:16, Matthew 2:1-18 and Psalm 2:1-12.

Header image based on "Orion Nebula" by Familiar, CC by 2.0