Monday, September 28, 2015

How Much is Enough?

Dear Friends,

One of the things we worry about more than any other is our money – especially if we are the bread winner.  It may be we aren’t greedy and want to be a spendthrift, but we struggle to make ends meet.  Or, it could be that however much money we have, it’s never quite enough.  Listen to the Teacher.  “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income” (Eccl. 5:10).

So we worry we will never earn enough money to fulfill our dreams or our children’s dreams.  Then we begin to fear what will happen if we die and the kids don’t get the money we have worked so hard to bless them with.  Perhaps our spouse will remarry and then everything we worked so hard for will go to a stranger’s family instead of our own.  The Teacher comments on this fear.  “God gives a man wealth, possessions and honor, so that he lacks nothing his heart desires, but God does not enable him to enjoy them, and a stranger enjoys them instead.  This is meaningless, a grievous evil” (Eccl. 6:2).  If a man or woman can work hard, receive a wage, and do his best in life providing the best he can and trusting God for the future, then he can find peace of mind and not be driven by anxiety.

So are you satisfied with life?  Do you buy into a sex-saturated, pleasure-crazy society that tells you this is where happiness is to be found?  Did you try it all and come up empty?  You are not alone!  When you are ready to come to the only One who can give you a cup of cold water for your parched life, God is waiting for you in the shadows of your fruitless search.


Blessings,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Winning the Battle Over Fear

Dear Friends,

The battle over fear is fought on two fronts – your part, and God’s part.

Your part in winning the battle over fear, the Teacher says, is to “banish anxiety from your heart” (Eccl. 11:10).  Of course you can’t do this in your own strength – and God does not expect you to!  “The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong” (Eccl. 9:11), meaning our own willpower or self-discipline is not sufficient here.  We need God’s power for this.

The word “banish” means “to expel from… a country or place by authoritative decree; condemn to exile.” (Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary).  So if you have been living with fear, God tells you to “exile” it.  He tells you to get it out of your life.  You order it to go by the authority of the government – in this case, God.  This is your part.

The dictionary uses another definition of the word banish.  “To drive away, to forcibly dismiss – as to banish sorrow – to put out of one’s thoughts as security banishes fear.”  Notice it says security banishes fear.  When you are secure in the love of God, there’s no room for fear and worry.  Love dispels fear.  To dispel means to drive away – to forcibly dismiss.  So we win the battle over fear in the strength of God – the strength is God’s part.

You mind your mind – and God will mind your heart.

You look after your mind by choosing to think positively.  You “banish” negative thoughts, like expelling unwanted people from a country.  That’s our work – mind work.  Paul exhorts us in Phil. 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

We need help to do this.

Believers have the help of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to banish sorrow, fear, and anxiety from the rhythm of life.  When we are busy banishing worry by focusing on God and His promises, and refusing to allow fear a place to stay in “heart country,” God is busy supplying our hearts with satisfaction, tranquility, and joy.  When God gives a man wealth and possessions and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot (however hard it is) and be happy in his work (however dull it is) – this is an amazing blessing.  “He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart” (Eccl. 5:20).  This is a gift of God!


Blessings,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine



Monday, September 14, 2015

Our Enemy is a Robber and a Murderer

Dear Friends,

The devil wants to rob you of God – and rob God of you!  He is a murderer:  he kills our joy and robs our lives of significance and true satisfaction.  All this time he is lying through his teeth as he tells us that all the garbage he offers is the way to go.

“What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun?  All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest.  This too is meaningless” (Eccl. 2:22-23).  The devil kills your sleep – and that pretty well takes care of your joy!  He is the quintessential insomniac and wants some company.  Solomon essentially tells us that when a rich man lies down and tries to get to sleep, his body reclines but his mind sits up!  Well now, Solomon would know, wouldn’t he?  Have you ever experienced something like that?

And just what is the rich man worrying about in the wee hours of the morning?  He’s wondering how to keep what he has toiled for!  What a shock to realize he can’t take it with him.  You can’t, you know.

Many a man has toiled all his life and worried his nights away realizing he must leave it all, possibly to people who will squander it away.  That’s enough to give anyone sleepless nights!  “God gives a man wealth, possessions and honor, so that he lacks nothing his heart desires, but God does not enable him to enjoy them, and a stranger enjoys them instead” (Eccl. 6:2).

That’s frustrating!  What am I working my tail off for, when that idiot is going to blow it? the rich man asks himself.  So the devil, who is the master thief, spends his sleepless nights thinking how he can rob us of peace of mind, joy in the simple things of life that money can’t buy, and of course rob us of salvation by preventing us from thinking of anything beyond the temporal.  Our enemy hopes sensual and passing pleasure will be mistaken for real and lasting joy.

If perchance the devil loses a battle and someone becomes a Christian, he doesn’t give up and leave that new believer alone for the rest of his life.  He redoubles his efforts in order to keep the convert “worldly minded” – living, as Paul puts it, after the flesh and not after the Spirit (see Rom. 8:1-13).  John, writing his letter to new believers, tells them, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 Jn. 2:15).

It’s not only the secular person without Christ that falls into this trap.  The believer is all too often robbed of joy by the devil too.  Satan wants to kill any concept that living in a right relationship with God could possibly bring us joy.

When I first heard of Jesus Christ and “conversion” I was doubtful about any joy involved in the whole process.  In fact I thought to myself, “If I asked Christ into my life, I bet I will never smile again!  Surely being that religious would condemn me to be miserable forever.”  I remember asking the girl who led me to Christ, “What will I have to give up if I become a Christian?”

“Only your sin,” she replied.  “Surely you can do without all that makes you miserable?”

Well, what do you do with an answer like that?  I was thinking that Christ would rob me of joy, whereas it was sin that would do that.

Just as we wouldn’t dream of letting a burglar into our house and saying “help yourself,” so we should resist the devil coming into this “heart house,” helping himself to our joy and satisfaction.  Don’t let him do it!  “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (Jas. 4:7).  Satisfaction comes from living rightly before God and pleasing Him, rejecting the devil’s ploys.


Blessings,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine