Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows…,

…but only empties today of its strength.

This quote by Charles Spurgeon about anxiety is so true. Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but it sure can deplete our strength for today.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

Google defines anxiety as,

A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.”

I remember my first day of Kindergarten. I was five and anxious about making new friends, my appearance and whether my Mother would pick me up after school.

We have to pray with our eyes on God…

…not on the difficulties.

Do you pray with your eyes on God, or like me, do you sometimes pray with your eyes on your difficulties?

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

Life can be overwhelming and at times, it may be hard to look beyond our difficulties and focus on God. We might not even know how to pray when we are suffering.

Perhaps you’re dealing with the loss of a loved one, a financial crisis, an illness or another type of difficulty right now.

We can lose sight of the greatness of God when we focus on the greatness of our difficulties.

We need faith to pray with our eyes on God. Hebrews 11:1 says, 

All our fret and worry is caused by…

calculating without God.

This quote about fret and worry contains timeless and relevant truth. It seems like with each passing day and news headline there is more to fret and worry about than ever before.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

But we’re not the first. People struggled with fret and worry during Biblical times.

Jesus Himself said: Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34 NIV)

When we fret and worry, we are calculating without God and leaving Him out of the equation.

We may be concerned about all the “what if’s” and forget that God is in control and that He promises to be with us.

Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement.

One fails forward toward success.

Failure, even repeated failures, can serve as finger posts on the road to achievement. One can fail forward toward success as C. S. Lewis states in this quote. Failure is NOT our aim, but if it comes, we must count it as a “finger post” on the road to success.

This post is co-written by Mark Alan Williams and Beth Harris. Beth is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

What is a “finger post?” Google says it is “a post at a road junction from which signs project in the direction of the place or route indicated.”

When we experience a failure, we know the direction NOT to head in! So, we go the other way. Hopefully it is the way of success.

Sometimes it is only after we have experienced failure and repeated failures that we achieve success.

We may think, if only I could have, should have, or would have done things differently. I could have avoided a lot of pain and suffering. That might be true and it may be difficult to see anything positive in our failures. But at least they showed us which direction not to head in.

You might ask, “But, how would C. S. Lewis know anything about repeated failures?”

When your level of complaining is at an all time high…

it could be that your level of praise is at an all time low.

Is your level of complaining at an all time high? Do you know anyone who is always complaining? Complaining can be very tiresome and you may find yourself avoiding chronic complainers. Perhaps, we are the ones that others are sidestepping. Could the reason be, as the author of this quote suggests, that our praise is at an all time low?

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

It is good and biblical to express our true feelings to God.

The Bible is full of expressions of feeling. Psalm 62:8 says: “…pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” (NIV)

It is also healthy, normal and necessary to grieve and express sorrow as a means of processing our feelings and finding healing.

Nothing Lies Beyond the Reach of Prayer

except that which lies outside the will of God.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

Phillips Brooks was a clergyman and author who lived in the 1800’s. He said, “Nothing lies beyond the reach of prayer except that which lies outside the will of God.” Was he correct? Is anything beyond the reach of prayer except those things that lie outside of God’s will for us? In other words, will God violate His will to answer our prayers?

We know from the Bible that nothing is too hard or too difficult for God.

Jeremiah 32:27 says: “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (NIV)

And the Bible says in Matthew 19:6, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (NIV)

The will of God will not take us…

…where the grace of God cannot sustain us.

As a young church planter in the early 1980’s, I remember feeling like I just could not do the job. People opposed me, church growth seemed terribly slow, I was working so many hours yet seeing what seemed like so little progress. It seemed that either I was out of the will of God or that God’s grace didn’t extend to this calling.

In retrospect, that perspective was an illusion. The church eventually grew, we reached many with the Gospel, we became self-supporting right on schedule, I began to hire staff, God provided a building, I never missed a single paycheck. That church, started in 1981, still has an active ministry after 35 years!

As Billy Graham says in this quote, the will of God did NOT take me anywhere His graced did not sustain me. It just seemed like He wasn’t doing enough.

I don’t know how you’re feeling today. Perhaps you’re dealing with a terrible illness, perhaps the death of a dear friend or family member, perhaps financial shortcoming, perhaps opposition and unfair pressure or persecution.

But God will sustain you and He has a plan. 

Recently my daily Bible reading brought me to the story of Joseph. Do you remember what happened to him? He was hated by his brothers, sold by them into slavery (although some would rather have killed him), falsely accused of rape, put in prison for about 2 years, had friends who were executed, and could have been himself.

But God was there to sustain him through it all. When vindicated and again face-to-face with his brothers he concluded, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” (Genesis 50:20a ESV)

  • Did Joseph suffer? Yes!
  • Was he horribly betrayed? Yes!
  • Was he incredibly abandoned? Yes!
  • Did he have reason to wonder if God was working? Yes!

Yet the will of God never took him where the grace of God could not sustain him. 

He faithfully served God, even in slavery and imprisonment. In the end, God lifted him to a remarkable place of second in the Kingdom.

You and I probably won’t ever be elevated to such a high position, but the point remains: “The will of God will not take us where the grace of God cannot sustain us.”

When we suffer, when we are abandoned and betrayed, let’s remember that God is still working, still sustaining, still making “all things work together for good to them that love God.” (Romans 8:28 KJV)

For more help for handling pain, grief, discouragement, depression and suffering, see my articles and podcasts on: 

To learn how to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and be saved for all eternity click HERE

To develop your relationship with God, get my free eBook “10 Prayers to Unlock Heaven on Earth” click HERE.

NOTE: Facebook is random. Email is reliable. Subscribe via email and you won’t miss any of my articles, podcasts or videos. You’ll also get my eBook: 10 Prayers to Unlock Heaven on Earth 

There is no failure in God’s will,

…and no success outside of God’s will.

Do you feel like a failure? Pastor George Truett made a wonderful observation in this quote. If we are in God’s will, we are never a failure.

Conversely, if we are outside of God’s will, we are not successful.

There were so many days when as a church planter I felt like an utter failure. My church was small, I couldn’t seem to get it to grow, people questioned my leadership. I wanted to feel successful, but my viewpoint was off balance.

The Apostle Paul was probably the greatest church planter that ever lived. Yet he did not succeed in making disciples and planting a church in every town he visited. 

In fact, sometimes he was physically abused and thrown in jail for sharing the Gospel!

Did that make Paul a failure? Hardly! He was a success as long as he was in God’s will!

That’s why he was able to say toward the end of his life,

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:6-7 ESV)

  • A poor question to ask ourselves is, “Am I a success or a failure?”
  • A great question to ask is, “Am I doing God’s will?”

If we’re doing God’s will, we’re no failure! 

To learn more about God’s perspective on failure, success and winning see these resources from this website:

To learn how to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and be saved for all eternity click HERE

To develop your relationship with God, get my free eBook “10 Prayers to Unlock Heaven on Earth” click HERE.

Blessed is the man whose strength is in You

…whose heart is set on pilgrimage. Psalm 84:5

Next week I will be going on a prayer retreat near our home—a spiritual pilgrimage. Someone asked if I really needed to do that—it hasn’t been that long since I went on my last prayer retreat. The answer is in this verse: “My strength is in You.” I am going away to be alone with the Lord and find strength in Him. That’s a good thing to do!

The entire verse says: “Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage.” (Psalm 84:5 NKJV)

People think that a pilgrimage has to mean traveling to an exotic sacred destination. Of course it’s wonderful when we can take a journey to the Holy Land or other special Christian destination or site. But the location is not the point in this verse and not the point of a pilgrimage.

The point of a pilgrimage is to do as this verse says, to find strength in the Lord. That is, to draw close to Him, seek Him, wait on Him, and just be with Him. 

That can be done at a park, a camp, a beach, in the mountains, in a cabin, on a boat and so on.

The location is not the point. The journey is not the point. Spending time with our Lord is the point.

So what’s the benefit of a pilgrimage—going somewhere? A pilgrimage helps in several ways:

  • We get away from normal distractions of life; therefore, we can focus.
  • We spend extended time with our Lord
  • We seek Him in a more natural environment that He made, rather than our normal man-made artificial environment. This helps us to be drawn to our Creator.
  • We do what Jesus did: “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:16 NIV)

When I go on my prayer retreat pilgrimage next week, I will likely do some prayer walks something like this picture. But I won’t be just hiking—I’ll be praying.

Most of the major decisions I have made in my adult life have come during such prayer times in prayer retreat type pilgrimages. 

Usually these retreats have been local, but at least one major decision I made was on a pilgrimage to Greece. It was in the ancient city of Corinth in Greece that I felt God’s leading me to leave my first church plant after 13 years and start another new church.

That’s just one example.

Jesus set the example in prayer retreat pilgrimages as seen above. You’ll remember that Jesus spent an entire 40 days on an extended prayer retreat pilgrimage in the wilderness. (see Matthew 4:1-11)

In Matthew 14:23 we read that, “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone.” (NIV)

That’s what I’ll be doing. Going away to be alone with the Lord. That’s what I recommend to you.

For more help on this topic of prayer retreat pilgrimages see my articles:

To learn how to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and be saved for all eternity click HERE

To develop your relationship with God, get my free eBook “10 Prayers to Unlock Heaven on Earth” click HERE.

Defend the Bible! I would as soon defend a lion!

Unchain it and it will defend itself. --C. H. Spurgeon

Charles H. Spurgeon talked about the need to defend the Bible in this quote. He lived in the 1800’s. Back then, as today, the Bible is attacked, criticized, misquoted, and defamed.

What’s people’s problem with the Bible? Mark Twain perhaps answered that question best when he said, “It’s not the parts of the Bible I don’t understand that bother me. It’s the parts I do understand.”

In other words, the Bible is a powerful force. As it says of itself: “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” (Hebrews 4:12 NLT)

People don’t want to be exposed by it, obey it, give an account for living according to its words and submit to it. Therefore, they attack.

In the writings on this website, I seek to answer honest questions about the Bible. I have written about why we can trust the Bible, follow the Bible’s teaching, and believe it.

But many don’t ask honest questions, they just want to attack. For those people, the response is Spurgeon is the best: “ Defend the Bible! I would as soon defend a lion!”

If you have honest questions about why and how we can trust the Bible, check out these resources on my site:

To learn how to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and be saved for all eternity click HERE.

To develop your relationship with God, get my free eBook “10 Prayers to Unlock Heaven on Earth” click HERE.