Author Archives Beth Weikel

In Our Fearful Times

“Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

(John 14:27b) 
Life can be chaotic and feel out of control. As a result, some of us seem destined to go through life in a state of anxiety, agitation, or alarm, while more fortunate souls find the path to calm and contentment. Medical records attest to the former mode gaining dominance in our times. Stress, and its related physical maladies, plagues far too many in Western society.

Yet as I’ve noticed, many de-stressing techniques are mere


distracters. They shift our focus for a time but do little to transform our stressful states. Still Life is based on actual transformation. Its ability to produce change from the inside out is authentic. It’s knowing where to get help with our problems and disturbances  — the stuff of daily life.

Psalm 23 is a place to start. It’s familiar to many, believers or not, and shifts our gaze to consider another reality: an eternal one. “The Lord is my shepherd.” That’s an arresting statement. Is He? How do we know?

Look closer at what He does for us and see if this has happened to you. “He makes me lie down in green pastures…leads me beside quiet waters…restores my soul…” If it has, you’ve been given a sample of Still Life (vv. 1-3).

Later in this passage, David tells of a stressful time but is accompanied by the Lord. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me.” Like us, sometimes, David was faced with enemies, but God’s comfort and holy presence make him feel safe. David was in that place on purpose: God’s purpose (vv. 4-5).

If we have that sense of being led, guided, and provided for, we can endure. The future, as well as the present, is secure. We can choose where we “dwell” (v.6).

Still Life is a habit, a cultivated response based in our spiritual make-up. It’s a snatch of grace amid the constant bombardment of living with what rattles us and challenges our desire for well-being.    Still means both rest, quiet calm, serenity, and soothing, as well as endurance. It’s how we last.


Instead of bolting or zoning, we wait in patient confidence. Stillness is undisturbed, not unlike the eye of a storm. Its deep pool a reservoir of reserve. It’s not dependent on outside influences, but more on what we allow to matter in the present. Stillness happens in the present.

When events swirl around us, how do we keep from falling prey to emotional and spiritual vertigo? Like ballet dancers who master the pirouette, we find our fixed spot, our place of reference. When we do, the motion isn’t relevant. We are stable and assured.

Those who haven’t discovered this foundation keep riding the waves of worry or woundedness. They hide or escape when they sense another nauseating taste of overwhelm. Frustrated, they blame their circumstances, or beat the air in anger or fear. Endurance becomes a pipe dream.

The pages of Scripture are full of examples of those who last, and those who can’t–ones who trust and others who panic. Mere human beings subject to our same weaknesses, yet, “by faith,” lived out invisible realities that supported and sustained them like bedrock.


“And what more can I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon…Samson…David and Samuel and the prophets, who, through faith, conquered kingdoms, administered justice…shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames…whose weakness was turned to strength…” (Hebrews 11:32-34 NIV).

Still Life is a longing in our hearts, an ache that doesn’t go away. It’s “losing our lives to save them” (Matthew 10:39). It’s forgiveness undeserved, courage in the face of fear, humility that dismisses boastful pride.

It knows no bounds, because nothing can defeat it. It’s a life


transformed and empowered to live against the undertow. It buoys us when we surrender to it and reassures us of the future when we can’t see it yet.

Stress and turmoil happen. We know it, but we don’t have to be their victims. The answer is as ancient as the Ancient-of-Days. It’s no secret. And it still works.

As David says, “I shall not be in want…my cup overflows” because the Shepherd’s goodness, comfort, and mercy will follow [us] all of [our] days (Psalm 23:1b, 5b-6 NIV).

Come to Still Life. Now is the perfect time.    -adapted from Still Life, Finding Calm in a Chaotic World

By : Beth Weikel /June 16, 2020 /By His Design Blog, Uncategorized /Comments Off on In Our Fearful Times Read More

The Language of Hope: Finding the Way Through

We’re still sequestered in our homes, but signs of new life are


emerging every day. It’s spring! Where we live the wildlife is starting to peek out from their winter homes and are invading our yard in a welcome way. The dry grasses are slowly turning green again.

Life is becoming renewed. Our winter storms are subsiding, and rain showers are doing the work of waking up the garden. Let us share an excerpt from Hope in the Midst of Loss that expresses this mood we’re noticing all around us:


“Bird Party” (from Matthew 6)  “Let all who take refuge in You be glad,
let them ever sing for joy.”    
(Psalm 5:11)                       
   Splashing, spraying, zooming, clowning,  Perching, peeping, chiding, chirping,  Rivers of riotous joy in meadows in full flower.   Breezes beckoning, sun glistening, clouds swaying,  Swelling sounds of motion, commotion mingling of summer’s songsters.   Why?  Wherefore?  Because I filled the feeders in my backyard, and they came.   Before I knew it, a glut of friendly nuthatches, wrens, sparrows and curious bluebirds, robins, and finches were cavorting among the lush evergreens, the tall grasses, and showy wildflowers that lined our pond.   Sage and spirea, hackberry and cockspur were alive with varieties


of boisterous warblers preening, whistling, and calling out to each other, happy for a generous handout. Sometimes hiding, often waggish, I amused myself with their unaffected caprice, drinking in the natural perfection of a lazy mid-summer’s afternoon.   Such a display was a reminder of what we’re not to be: anxious, worrisome, troubled. What if? If only…dreading times of leanness, distrusting the dark clouds building.   As if we can avert storms, catastrophes, and unforetold events.   Why don’t birds despair? Don’t they recognize life is full of risk, and existence fragile?  


“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet…”   “Yet?” (One may say) “How careless and irresponsible they seem. Don’t they know about IRAs and flood insurance? Who’s going to take care of them when they’re old, in ill health, forgotten?”     “The lamp of the body is the eye: if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness.”   “But I’m afraid of the dark. Aren’t you?” (I hear another respond)   “…and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth


much more than they?”   “I’m not sure, but I want to think so.” (Someone may think)   “Therefore do not be like them (the hypocrites or the unbelievers) when you pray. For your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him.”   It seems to me that my heavenly Father knew about the birds of the air and their needs when He sent me into my backyard with a bag of birdseed. I got to benefit in their obvious pleasure at the bounty around them.

How often do I acknowledge this promise of provision, even in the waiting, the dry times, especially in the shadowy threatening times? How clear is my eye? How full of light?   “…for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  


Faithful, Abba Father, let me esteem my treasure, even now, or when faith is faint. When I would have things otherwise, show me where the bird party is.

Help me hold onto those things that don’t perish, that can’t be destroyed. Pull back the curtain on the bird party, with its lasting refreshment for all the senses, or give me memory to reflect on previous bird parties with confident hope that they won’t be the last.

Let me never lose sight of my treasure and fill my heart again to overflowing with its abundance.  Hope Applied

What significant question do we need to answer about our worth to God?

Where should our focus be? How do we lose that?

What truth is mentioned about prayer? How does that change the way we pray?

How can we recognize the bounty around us despite challenges? And how can we hold on to our treasure?

By : Beth Weikel /April 25, 2020 /By His Design Blog, Uncategorized /Comments Off on The Language of Hope: Finding the Way Through Read More

“Hitting the Pause Button…”


We’ve all probably had enough time at home by now to appreciate a few questions I jotted down in my journal a couple weeks ago. They came to mind when the reality of this new pace of life with its special guidelines and cautions settled in. Here goes:

1. What did we take for granted?
Here are some possibilities– “community” in all its forms: high


school plays, free concerts with local bands or national touring groups, routine celebrations like parades or birthday parties, inviting people over, church services in person, time spent in conversation with friends at coffee shops and favorite restaurants, workout classes at the fitness center, doing errands around town with several stops, not hesitating to give someone a hug…

2. What’s difficult?   Getting up each day to wonder what choices we have, reminders of the pandemic and its international impact, trepidation and paranoia when we try to get groceries (have you noticed how many avoid eye contact now), being connected with those we care about, dry, chapped hands from repeatedly washing them and not rubbing or itching our eyes or nose, putting plans for our special anniversary trip overseas on hold this year…

3. What am I grateful for? Being at home in these mountains where beauty is framed in every window, appreciating the


enormous efforts people at all levels are making to help us get through this time, focused leadership and collaboration, making adjustments together and listening more intentionally, personal and intercessory prayer that redeems this situation, reading Scriptures that remind me all that God is and can be, health…

I hope you are making similar lists and considering what lessons are available for you, too, as we “hit the pause button.” This is a unique opportunity to prioritize and reflect on what matters most.          

By : Beth Weikel /April 13, 2020 /By His Design Blog, Uncategorized /Comments Off on “Hitting the Pause Button…” Read More

Reassurance in Our Insecurity

Reassurance in Our Insecurity    In these times of trouble and turmoil, life is getting stripped down to essentials that we need to remember. This time will eventually pass, but there are lessons to carry forward. What do you know that will never change? This story may help uncover a truth you need:     Years ago, I had the joy of spending an extended weekend with my grandson. This seven-year-old was all about thrilling rides at Nickelodeon Universe, an amusement park next to our hotel. We got there later than planned and needed to move quickly to get to all the rides we wanted to experience. And, what an experience!   After a warm-up on tamer rides, it was on to a roller coaster. The Orange Streak speeds down a twisting, turning track, leaving nothing but screams and startled pedestrians in its wake. At Nickelodeon Universe the staff wears bright t-shirts that say “We want to hear your screams!” My grandson took them at their word.   After a short wait in line, we began our ascent before plunging, tossing, and reeling for several minutes. We screamed the whole way. When we came around the last turn, two girls in front of us craned their necks to spy my grandson enjoying himself at full throttle. I looked at the girls and yelled over the commotion, “They wanted to hear our scream. We gave it to them!”   Before we could call it a day, we had to do the Log Chute. Though this water adventure had quite the wait, it was the one attraction we both wanted to do. As the line crawled along, we had time to think about what lay ahead and knew we would travel through a cavernous mountain that ended with a forty-foot drop.     We were ready for this, we thought; and before too long, we were climbing aboard the log, straddling a bench with no seat belt to hold us into the ride.   What were we thinking? My grandson, feeling like he could fall out of the log, turned around to me and said with urgency, “Hold me, Grandpa. Don’t let me go!” I looked at him and said, “I got you buddy. Believe me, I won’t let you go.”   When we made another turn picking up speed, he repeated, “Don’t let me go!” And I repeated, “I won’t.”   Nearing the end of the ride knowing the forty-foot drop awaited, I heard one more time, “Grandpa, hold me tight. Grandpa, don’t let me go! I don’t want to fall.” Even though I had not let him go, I told him, “I will hold you. You are safe with me.”     The log carrying us plunged what seemed like more than forty feet straight down, splashing us and holding our stomach hostage. But we made it, and with much effort, I did not let him go.   Holding On in Another Time   Long ago, a man in Jerusalem committed many crimes against people in the area. Ruthless and willing to do whatever it took, he was caught breaking into the home of a prominent Roman citizen. Eventually captured by Roman soldiers, he was tried and quickly found guilty, which meant death in those times.     The Roman magistrate had many choices in using the death penalty. The magistrate could bury him alive, throw him from a cliff, or burn him to death.   The decision was made that day this thief would be crucified with two others. His punishment began by scourging. The whip used consisted of metal thongs with pieces of pottery attached to the tips of each strand. The thief was struck thirty-eight times.   The custom was for the condemned to carry his own cross to the place of execution outside the city. When the journey was complete, he was nailed to the cross and it was set in place. Another criminal was already there. The thief knew him because criminals share a bond.     Soon another man appeared. The crowd was following him and chanting, “Jesus, Son of God! The Chosen One.” Hours crawled on as those present waited for the spectacle to end. Suddenly, the other criminal scoffed at Jesus, “King of the Jews, save yourself! And us!”     The thief, overwhelmed, could only say, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? We are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”   He continued by saying to Jesus this time, “Remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”   And Jesus replied, “Truly you will be with me in Paradise.”   What the thief was asking that day was, “Jesus will you hold me? Don’t let me go!”   By His reply, Jesus meant, “I will hold you through death, then deliver you to Paradise. You will always be with me, I will not let you go.”   This promise Jesus gave the thief who asked for Jesus’ rescue is the same promise He gives all of those who seek Him.   He says to you and to me, “I will hold you through life. There will be times when you will forget that I have you, but remember I am holding you tight and will not let you go.” 

-excerpt from Called to Be a Warrior,Encouragement for the Battle in All of Life’s Challenges by David B. Weikel

By : Beth Weikel /April 13, 2020 /By His Design Blog, Uncategorized /Comments Off on Reassurance in Our Insecurity Read More

Peace Amid Panic and Pandemic: Who Can Help Us?

Peace Amid Panic and Pandemic:     A few days ago while listening to the radio, I heard the daily press conference updates which the President and the Task Force team gave. When it came to the Q & A time, I heard an exchange that has bothered me since.

After some back and forth to clarify specifics, a journalist named Peter asked an open-ended “feeling” question something like, “What do you say to the people who live in fear?” Immediately, the weary Commander-in-Chief snapped back by claiming “sensationalism” and faulty journalism.

After weeks of intense work, pressure, and unknowns, I could appreciate how this question might have felt like a trap and back-handed criticism, despite the obvious care and concern the Team was exhibiting.

However, not knowing the motives of either party, I’ve been mulling over other responses:

Past Crises  Though I didn’t live through the era, I’ve heard FDR’s inaugural speech in the depth of the Depression. “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself…” That response was planned for and carefully worded. Not a surprise.

Not many years later, Winston Churchill rallied the nation when the Nazi’s were at the door. He said, “Never, never, never give up!” And it would take their “blood, sweat, and tears” to see them through. Both men had the media’s support at that critical time.

Our Real Enemy  What occurred to me now was a missed opportunity to admit the panic and paranoia many have displayed, and recognize this human tendency in any crisis. Feelings of helplessness run high, as we react irrationally in survival mode. (Who needs that much toilet paper?!)

However, we are not alone as mere humans with this “invisible enemy.” As we face weeks perhaps months of disruption, we still have choices and can turn to faith in our fears. Fears about death, lost wages, missed opportunities, what this means going forward, and so on.

Though politically sensitive in our society, let me say, there is a God in heaven who is sovereign, Almighty, and shows mercy. This perspective is shared by many who trust more in the God of the universe, who has allowed this trial and turbulence at this appointed time, than human solutions and governmental aid. The Scriptures are evidence of His comfort and wisdom, though people were desperate and afraid.

Make no mistake, we also have an “invisible enemy” of our souls. He has been with us since the beginning of time. He is a “liar, a thief, and a murderer.” Our weapons of warfare are clearly stated in God’s Word. He doesn’t leave us defenseless.

Take Action  So, continue to pray for our leaders who make decisions for us and tirelessly seek answers, while we share this burden. Let us lift up one another and find creative ways to not live in despair, and let God’s Spirit renew our hope daily.

If this message resonates with you, please forward it to those who might need it. 

By : Beth Weikel /April 13, 2020 /By His Design Blog, Uncategorized /Comments Off on Peace Amid Panic and Pandemic: Who Can Help Us? Read More

A Still Life Promise

What do you do when there seems to be nowhere to go with the pressure you’re under? When you’ve tried to be patient for so long and are past hope?     Well, we have models to look at and a Resource that matters.


Let me share an excerpt from our devotional Still Life that may help. Your circumstances may be different, but the principles still apply.       God’s Inbox   Often in the Scriptures, we see people cry out for God to answer their prayers–prayers of deliverance, rescue, supply, or healing. The psalmist here is no different. He is plagued by enemies and offers his plea to the One he knows can help.   “O Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief. Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you…Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground” (Psalm 143:1-2, 10 NIV). We often do this same thing today. Wise ones who put their trust in the living God ask, even plead, for God to respond to their pressing need. But, what’s noteworthy here is the position the psalmist takes. He say, “Help me, have mercy, but I don’t deserve it. I can’t earn this.” He acknowledges it’s in accordance with God’s character that he hopes–God’s righteousness and God’s faithfulness. Do we start there? Am I humble before Him, or do I demand and whine? “Therefore, my spirit is overwhelmed within me. For the enemy has persecuted my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he had made me dwell in dark places…” (v. 3) While listening to an acquaintance tell me about her ongoing pressure at work, I couldn’t help but notice underlying her complaint was an assumption: if God would remove them, their unfair tactics aimed at me, or better yet, miraculously whisk me away, life would be perfect. Really? I heard her pain. I saw the weariness of trying to deal with a


negative environment day after discouraging day. I could relate because of similar experiences, but I’ve seen one thing so far, it’s how sovereign God is big enough to use these times for our good if we wait and lean into Him. I don’t have to like what’s happening, but I can remember He’s with me and knows all about it.   After the writer of this psalm lays out his problem before God, he declares that he wants to be taught by Him.  He’s teachable. I don’t think I admit this accompanying need enough when I’m in distress. I want to be rid of my “enemy,” the source of my frustration, or the system I feel abused by. “Just fix it, God. I’m fine–it’s them.”   Better still, how about letting my Lord teach me right where I’m at, before He changes anyone else, or perhaps chooses not to. I have His “good Spirit” to lead me. I have what I need already, and it’s important for me to do His will, even in uncomfortable circumstances. This is my level ground.  


Also, my prayers are important. They unburden my soul as I lift my concerns from my shoulders and place them onto God’s. I sometimes picture gathering up all the parts of the problem  and putting the stack into Jesus’ inbox–where it belongs. Just that act gives me peace and assurance He’ll attend to it.   Consequently, I can tell after I’ve given all that’s troubling me into His repository, He places His peace in the void that’s left. And with that, I have room to hear His steadying instructions about how to follow Him in that difficult place.   His faithfulness, His righteousness “brings my soul out of trouble,” because in humility and hope, “I am your servant” (vv. 11-12). Stuff His Inbox Lord, I’m so glad Your inbox is never too full. You don’t get those pesky reminders to delete anyone’s messages because You’re at capacity. Thank You that any request matters, any time day or night, especially night when my brain wakes me up with alarm.   Your presence and Your Word teaches me to trust and quiets me. You’ve said we’ll have enemies, but You’ve also told us that’s not unusual as we follow You. In Your faithfulness hear my plea, and remember mercy, O my Lord. Amen.   Secure and Strengthened


“O, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land, a weary land, a weary land;   O , Jesus is a Rock in a weary land, a Shelter in a time of storm.   A Shade by day, Defense by night, no fears alarm, no foes afright,   O Rock Divine, O Refuge dear, be Thou our Helper ever near.”

By : Beth Weikel /April 13, 2020 /By His Design Blog, Uncategorized /Comments Off on A Still Life Promise Read More

Looking for the Blessing in Hard Things

 Looking for the Blessing   in Hard Things   As I listened to the robotic voice I heard, “As of Dec. 31, 2019,


your health insurance has been cancelled.” So the rumors were true. Our area had been dropped from coverage.

As I kept listening, I had to choose from a menu of options, which seemed like gibberish to me. The one that I needed was to talk to a representative who was not a robot. I picked a number and said, “I need… to talk…to a… representative.” That request seemed too complicated for my robot friend. So I said loudly into the mic, “representative!”

That put me in touch with a human who decided, after I started to


explain, that I should be transferred to a more local agent. “Oh No! Transferred?” I heard the noxious music starting and waited…

Nick (I always get their names) came back on the line and said he had connected with my local agent who could help. The conversation that ensued wasn’t what I expected. She (Marina) didn’t much care to hear from me or have the information I wanted to know. “You were sent a letter on Dec. 7 that advised you of this action and options you could take,” she said.

“What letter?” Nothing came to mind, but then it was the busy holiday rush. So, she located a copy and read, “Dear Beth…” When she got to the part about my health group being terminated, it was obvious this was just a boiler plate version, not one intended for just me and my immediate circumstance.

I now had 60 days to fix this somehow and it seemed I was to start with an impersonal website with the hope I could get specific


answers, or go to the “Medicare National Sales Dept.” Yikes! The black hole of government bureaucracy. I’m doomed! Marina didn’t listen to my protests, but merely repeated what she had covered during the call and asked, “Is there anything else I can help you with today?” (She didn’t want to hear my reply.)

Since Dave was at an important appointment in the city and didn’t pick up when I called, I remembered what most people do: I texted him. Yes, a short, plaintive cry to intervene in this misery. A couple sentences alerting him it was his turn at bat.


By the time he got home, I had done what I had promised myself in the New Year. I chose to look for the blessing in hard things. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Identify the struggle and the stress: I had an unexpected turn of events that were out of my control and couldn’t connect with someone who cared to clarify a true solution. (In fact, she couldn’t clarify who was responsible or why this happened.) 
  2. Admit helpless feelings of desperation, inadequacy, resentment, and so on…(Both of us have had some serious health events in the past and needed reliable coverage.)
  3. Bring God into it. He’s part of this day with me and knows more about this than anyone concerned. Acknowledge His power to work and show me a way through, even while I wait in confusion.
  4. Step back and see the blessing: A. I had found out about the problem and had time to call (on a week day during business hours) for some answers right then. B. I figured out from my insurance card who to contact at first. C. I remembered about texting, rather than frantically calling Dave 10 X with no response. D. I could just wait for further guidance and go about my day accomplishing other things I cared about.

When Dave got home he had done some great legwork and found additional information I could be blessed by:

  1. Our health group was proactive in securing an acceptable option without our striking out on our own. (I had visions of “Affordable Health Care and sky-high premiums.)
  2. Dave also found out who was responsible for this development, which surprised me. It wasn’t what “Marina” had said.
  3. This dilemma didn’t drag out very long and didn’t put us in jeopardy, as it seemed.

At the risk of giving too much information about a personal issue, I’m sharing this to present a process toward adopting a new habit for any who care to try it. “Be Blessed,” regardless of daily irritations or seemingly monumental developments. Let me review:

  1. Step back and take a breath, as you go after a solution– in God’s presence
  2. He planned for your day to include this so stay focused, though it’s frustrating to work with strangers on a personal matter.
  3. Begin to let the Spirit share the blessing in this circumstance and calm your heart. Deliverance is in process.
  4. We don’t have to get our way, or abuse people who aren’t helpful. We trust…and let God put us in a different place with Him.
  5. Human weakness is exposed by such events, ours and others’. But we’re not helpless, and we will see His hand.
  6. Let God put the pieces together and lead where He wants it to go. He knows the source of the issue and the path toward resolution.

So, in 2020, join me in this new outlook of finding the blessing in hard things. And, we’ll have more to praise the Almighty for, as well as see growth in our own lives.

By : Beth Weikel /April 13, 2020 /By His Design Blog, Uncategorized /Comments Off on Looking for the Blessing in Hard Things Read More

Jehoshaphat’s Crisis and the Prophet’s Response

The enemies of Judah showed up suddenly outside Jerusalem to make war in a time of peace.

When the report came, King Jehoshaphat was struck with fear, because the enemies’ combined armies far outnumbered Judah’s.

After declaring a fast for the nation, so they could seek God, they all came from their cities to hear from the Lord.

“All Judah was standing before the Lord, with their infants, their wives, and their children,” when the king spoke. His wise and humble prayer is recorded in II Chronicles 20:6-12.

In effect, he acknowledged the true God and admitted, “We are powerless before this great multitude coming against us, nor do we know what to do; but our eyes are on You.”

“Then, in the midst of the assembly the spirit of the Lord filled Jahaziel…and he said, Listen all Judah…and King Jehoshaphat, thus says the Lord to you” (v. 14-15).

What this obscure prophet relayed to everyone was God’s battle plan when they went out to face the enemy. What God had planned the next day for them was to show up to praise Him, while He dealt with the enemy (v. 16-25).

After Jahaziel spoke, everyone, including the King, bowed their heads and fell down before the Lord to worship Him.

They knew that God’s prophet had spoken and this was the way to victory.

By : Beth Weikel /January 07, 2019 /By His Design Blog /Comments Off on Jehoshaphat’s Crisis and the Prophet’s Response Read More

“Avoiding Holiday Anxiety and Depression…”

Parts 1. Avoiding…from Philippians 2. List of tips for choices and alternatives 3. Philippians (cont.) chapters 3 & 4
-How do you get ready for giving thanks (a look back, refocusing on blessing) and celebrating the birth of Christ (a look forward to a new future with hope)?

-Assess: What are your habits and past traditions?
-Are they still relevant and serving your spirit and walk of faith?
-What are your desires around these holidays?
-What are your expectations? (and what is their source?)

Highlights for Hope from Paul’s letter to the Philippians:

-Background—Paul is writing from prison, but the tone of this letter is radiant amid life’s reversals. It’s his most personal of all his letters and conveys his hopeful mindset and excitement at what God is doing despite his situation.

-I repeat, there is joy despite outward reality. His inner reality is stronger and more meaningful.
Assess: Where is your prison? How long have you been there? Are you dragging yourself around dreading the coming days ahead, the “holiday season” with all its implications?
For this time together we’re gong to let the Lord unlock and open the door. It will be up to you to walk out with Him—as you lay your burdens down and go over the threshold. What we’re looking for is “What is God doing?” May you have “eyes to see, and ears to hear…” now and in the days ahead.

Parts 1. Avoiding…from Philippians 2.

Chapters 1 & 2
A. Bondservants: Paul refers to himself and Timothy from this lowly position. 1:1 “bondservants of Christ” Later, he tell of Christ, who “emptied Himself, taking on the form of a bondservant” 2:5-11 Read this in context to see the rationale and how it applies to any believer.

B. An offer of “grace and peace:” 1:2 from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (administered by the Holy Spirit residing within us).

C. “Grateful:” Paul declares this from the start. 1:3-5, 7-8 (focus: the fellowship of other believers, and those he loves from his pastor’s heart) Assess: What can you say you’re grateful for?

D. Our guarantee, a promise of completeness 1:6 “He who began a ‘good work’ in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (when either He returns or you go to be with Him).

-Assess: Does He have your life? Has He begun the work? 1:7-11)

E. “More reasons for thankfulness:” He sees some benefit from his current suffering 1:12-18 (Christ’s gospel is still going forth, there and elsewhere) He is trusting God with the results, though the methods seem inconsistent. Assess: Where can you keep trusting God when things initially don’t seem to add up?

F. “Rejoice:” This is the first of several times Paul will say this word. He sincerely is rejoicing, apart from his control of the current situation he’s experiencing. 1:18-20 He won’t be “put to shame in anything…but instead, have boldness.

Assess: Can you remember a time when you felt joy, even in the worst of times?

G. “To live is Christ and to die is gain:” 1:21-25 (It doesn’t really matter; he sees gain either way.) There’s freedom in this realization. (He also expects deliverance through the Holy Spirit’s provision and their prayers.) He was demonstrating this deliverance even then by his life in prison. Supernatural power is real.

H. “Strength of the Body of Christ:” of which we’re a part. 1:27-2:4 Unity—one spirit, one mind, striving together…

I. “Don’t misunderstand God’s Purposes:” (Don’t be alarmed at your opponents, or the times of suffering for Christ’s sake.) 1:28-30

J. “Work out your own salvation…in the midst of a crooked, perverse generation” 2:12-16 (Hold fast—tightly—to the “word of life.) This is the “why and how” of our walk of faith.

Assess: Are you connected to Christ’s body, the church, and has this helped by being part of this living expression of Christ in others? -H. thru J.

K. “Kindred Spirits:” 2:19-21 (–Timothy and Epaphroditus) 2:25-28, 30 Notice how they shared difficulties and cared for one another. Assess: Do you have some kindred spirits? These are gifts from God; receive them.

List of tips for choices and alternatives

Part 2. Holiday List of Tips for Choices and Alternatives

o Acknowledge that the holidays may be difficult and emotional. Acknowledgment helps.

o If you had long-standing traditions, you have the right to keep them or not. It’s up to you.

o The holidays are now all about your choices. You’re in control. This isn’t selfish; it’s about protecting your heart.

o You, your family members, and friends are all different. Each one can choose what’s meaningful, even if it isn’t what the others want.

o Volunteer for a worthy cause? It’s a great way to have your mind occupied in a different way and help others.

o Journal? It can tell you what you’re thinking and feeling. You may be surprised what shows up. Get to know yourself.

o Don’t feel guilty about what appeals to you this year. Make your choices for new memories and fun experiences.

o You may have to ignore people who are telling you what you should do.

o Eating sometimes becomes an escape. Don’t over indulge.

o Watch the booze. It’s easy to overdo.

o Focus on what you can control. What’s necessary and do-able right now.

o Have healthy boundaries. (Think of a football player giving a straight arm.) Keep at arms’ length with people who don’t feel safe.

o Read a good book. A book read to you by “Alexia,” or audio books can be soothing. Your library’s collection may be extensive.

o Go to a holiday movie with someone else, or just take yourself. Another option is to stay at home with Netflix, or your own collection, and have friends in who bring snacks.

o Allow yourself to feel emotions each day that show up. Sadness, anger, joy, longing, fear, and others. Healing involves recognizing what’s impacting you, then letting God in to help.

o People who love and support you are there. Surround yourself with others who care.

o Remember to enjoy the holidays: take a walk in nature or window shop in a festive setting. Enjoy the fragrances, sights, and sounds that are only with us for a short time.

o Or, skip the holidays all together! Take a trip somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. (You’re not a bad person if you do this.) You’re adventurous!

o Don’t over commit. You’ll pay for it with fatigue, saturation with people, agitation, and other negative effects. Be realistic with the things you say “yes” to.

o What’s something you can do for others to show kindness? Others may need encouragement at this time, too. Send a note, shovel a walk, bring a plant, make a holiday treat, or give the gift of time to someone who’s lonely. Think outside the box.

o Ask for help when you need it. We all need to learn to ask.

o Exercise in creative and fun ways. Workouts encourage restful sleep and help process our feelings. Being tired at the end of the day is a good thing.

o Remember, your loss or trauma is fertile ground for spiritual growth. Meditate on the Scriptures most days and get perspective on what troubles you.

o Give the first part of day to God. Prayer at the beginning of the day can settle our minds by unloading burdens that accumulate. Take your time and be honest. He can hear things no one else can.

o Stir a passion. What have you done that you want to try again or, perhaps, learn how to do? Are you artistic, a teacher or coach, a closet chef, a gardener, good at building things, or something not everyone can do?

o Recognize when you’re doing life in your own strength. This will be exhausting. Do you have a church body that you can share life with?

3. Philippians (cont.) chapters 3 & 4

Chapter 3

L. “The Surpassing Value:” Paul’s old life of accomplishments (in men’s eyes) seems devalued in comparison with his new life in Christ. 3:7-8, 10-11 Rather, he values “knowing Christ, even when it means suffering loss, but gaining Christ. In this new relationship he knows he will have “the power of His resurrection” in this life, as well as the next.
M. “Pressing On:”In this regard, Paul says, “I press on…in order to “lay hold of what I was laid hold of by Christ, “the upward call.” 3:12- 14 He also proclaims, “One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind…reaching forward to what lies ahead.” Assess: Have you had a radical shift in values like this since knowing Christ? Why/ why not?
N. “Let God reveal your attitude:” 3:15-17 It helps to keep before us “God’s pattern” of new birth and standards. Paul warns of others who have forsaken the cross and “set their mind on earthly things.”
O. “Our true citizenship:” Believers “wait eagerly” for their Savior to return and the promised “transformation” into a glorious state. By Christ’s authority this will happen one day. 3:20-21 Assess: How long has it been since you’ve had this reminder?
Chapter 4
P. “Stand firm in the Lord:” –and help others in the body who struggle. 4:1-3
Q. “Rejoice, and again I say rejoice:” This chapter is Paul’s great thesis of rejoicing—and benefits and reasons why. 4:4-7 These commands come with promises and blessings only known to believers.
R. “Where your mind dwells:” This list is uplifting for anyone. Paul says again how God’s peace accompanies these practices. 4:8-9 Assess: How are you doing in this area? Can you tell a difference when you “let” yourself attend to these admonitions?
S. “Be content:” Paul is not asking anything he hasn’t learned to do. He’s speaking from experience and knows it’s possible. 4:11-13 Boldly he asserts, “I can do all things…” not because he’s Paul, but “through Him who strengthens me.”
T. “And, my God shall supply…according to His riches…” Assess: Is this your God, too? 4:19
U. “Grace:” Used again like a bookend (1:2), Paul wants most of all for the brethren to have God’s grace continuing in their spirits. 4:23 There isn’t any substitute to living in this grace. Assess: How are you seeing His grace active when you face every day challenges, not to mention the holidays?

For video of discussion:

Copyright: by His design (always give credit when you borrow these ideas. Not for reprint.)

By : Beth Weikel /November 18, 2018 /By His Design Blog /Comments Off on “Avoiding Holiday Anxiety and Depression…” Read More

“More Than 100 Reasons to Trust God in Turbulent Times”

He is: always good, Almighty, “Abba Father,” Author & Finisher of my faith, my Anchor/Rock, Beloved, boundless, the Amen, my adequacy, Alpha & Omega, my advocate, Creator, Counselor, Conqueror, compassionate, Comforter, Deliverer, Defender, my desire, everlasting, Emmanuel, Encourager, enthroned, exalted, Friend, forgiving, faithful, forsaken, fairest…, my foundation, great, gracious, Gift & Giver, Guardian, humble servant, Head, Helper, Healer, hiding place, incomparable, infinite, infallible, indwelling, Intercessor, Judge/just, Joy, King, Kinsman, kind, Keeper, Light, Life, Love, Listener, Maker, Most High, meek, merciful, …Morning Star, near, Nurturer, Overcomer, Omni (all)- knowing… present… powerful, patient, Peace, Physician, Prophet, Priest, Protector, Provider, precious Lamb…, priceless, persistent, Pearl of Great Price, Potter, pure, Quickener, Quietness, Refiner, Resurrection, Refuge, radiant, Ransom, Refresher, Rewarder, Restorer, Rod, Rest, Sacrifice, Shepherd, Spirit, Satisfier, my strength & shield, steadfast, Supreme, my song, Sovereign, slow to anger, Sower, transcendent, Teacher, true, tender, transforms, unchangeable, understanding, unhurried, unfailing, unwearied, Uniter, Uplifter, unhindered, my vision, Vindicator, Vine, Way, Wisdom, worthy, Watcher, wounded for me, yearned for, yoked, zealous!

When times are hard, people are mean, and resources are scarce, review what you know, what you are sure of, not what your fears and hurts are telling you. Retrieving life from loss is about –finding God’s purpose in the past, His meaning in the present, and His hope for the future. Make your own 100 list starting today; it will do your heart and mind good.

By : Beth Weikel /January 11, 2018 /By His Design Blog /Comments Off on “More Than 100 Reasons to Trust God in Turbulent Times” Read More
  • About By His Design

    Dave and Beth Weikel have worked in full-time ministry, business, and public education for over 30 years. God is using their season of loss to provide hope and healing for others.
  • Sign up for the Newsletter

      Your Name (required)

      Your Email (required)