Saturday, April 28, 2012

Living Each Day in a Manna Rhythm

“I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day.”
 (Exodus 16:4)
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life.”
(John 6:35).

I recently read the book, Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness by Edward Welch. Among other things, the author suggested getting in to a “ manna rhythm” of daily living. That means several things to me.

The Old Testaments relates how God provided manna for the Israelites in the wilderness, giving only enough for that day except on the day before the Sabbath, thus teaching them to rely on Him daily. Tomorrow’s provisions were not given today.

As I deal with depression and other problems, living in a manna rhythm is just that - trusting God for today’s provisions and not worrying or wondering about future days. As I go through each day, God’s manna will provide what I need to make it through, whether it’s the ability to enjoy activities of this life, strength to carry out responsibilities or ministries, or perseverance to endure pain or suffering. Whatever the circumstances, God’s manna will meet my needs.

This manna is not only provided through circumstances however, but also in the person of Christ Himself. Jesus says that He is my heavenly bread of life. Living my life in a manna rhythm means spending time with Christ - communicating with him in prayer, listening to Him speak through the Scripture, and praying for faith to act on His power within me. I am blessed with the wonderful provision of the person of Christ as well as whatever I need to go through each day (II Peter 1:3,4).

I am quite ready for my breakfast each morning. But as I begin my day with earthly food, I want to begin it with my heavenly food as well – time with Jesus and a declaration in faith that I have all I need for today, whatever it may bring, and walking in that faith until tomorrow’s manna is given.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, help me to live each day in a manna rhythm, knowing You can and will meet my every need.  Amen.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

What We Think Can Affect How We Feel

“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7 KJV).

We hear a lot these days about mind/body connections. Not surprisingly, God’s Word spoke about that long before now. There are various verses in Scripture confirming that our thoughts and emotions affect our bodies.

I have seen this in my own body over the past 15 years. I typically react to difficulties with fear, anxiety, or depression. Literally within minutes of thinking about or feeling negative thoughts and emotions, I will get a migraine or tension headache, have a panic attack, or become extremely fatigued. It takes great effort to fight these responses. It is much easier to give in than to put up a fight and respond differently.

When recently faced with some new concerns, my initial reaction was to wonder how I could endure yet another problem, will it get worse, etc. My body began responding to each negative thought. I stopped and asked myself if I really wanted to down this road again, knowing what the outcome would be, or would I choose to think on what is right and true. It was very difficult to make the right choice, but praise God I had victory that day. Of course more tests will come and I need to be prepared for them.

Although we associate the heart more with feelings and emotions, our thoughts do trigger emotional responses, which in turn can trigger physical ones. Scripture says that we are to renew our minds (Romans 12:2), to be made new in the attitude of our minds (Ephesians 4:23), and to think on what is true (Philippians 4:8). I want to develop an awareness of where my thoughts and emotions are focused at all times, not just in times of crisis. As I am obedient to His commands and control, I will have life and peace (Romans 8:6) even in my pain, and that’s a mind/body connection I want to experience.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, as I go through each day, help me to remember and act on the truths of Your Word rather than just reacting to my circumstances. As I do, my body and soul will benefit by Your refreshment and peace. Amen.