How to Know When it’s Time to Panic – Mark 4:37-40

Being a new parent was often stressful and confusing. I didn’t know how to juggle decisions about my infant’s care, like when to hold him and when to let him fall asleep on his own. And where should I draw the line for my older children—between intervening in their disagreements and letting them manage without my help?

I may have been overly concerned about doing everything right at first, but I did relax in my role over time. I enjoyed learning and growing with them.

One of my lessons came while chatting with a young mother in her yard one day. As she turned to go into the house I saw her little girl fall off her tricycle and start whimpering. The child clearly wasn’t hurt badly, looking around to see if mom was nearby before letting out a howl. Before the girl drew her next breath mom was running to pour out comfort with hugs, kisses, and coos in a way that I thought was overdone.

But I took her actions to heart and made a deal with God.

I knew there would be times when I needed to act quickly to protect my children or others from danger, so I prayed, “Lord, I don’t want to be overprotective or fearful, but I also don’t want to be foolhardy. Would you tell me when it’s time to panic?”

I finished my prayer asking him to help me listen to his warnings.

I’ve had many situations where the plan to stay calm until I’m told to move quickly worked out well for me, one being when I encountered a large snake in Africa (that’s a story for another time). It’s comforting to know he’s in the boat with me, helping me understand what I should do during life’s storms.

And a great windstorm arose, waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”

Mark 4:37-40 ESV

I’m happy to announce that my most current devotions have been released in the Summer 2021 issue of the Warner Press devotional magazine, Pathways—Moments With God. Yes, I’m a little late letting you know, but here’s where you can order your copy.

A Bible for a Child – Deuteronomy 11:18-19

Simon’s eyes lit up when he saw me at our regular table at Max Porter’s this week. He’s my five-year-old grand nephew, and he knows his auntie often brings interesting things to share at our weekly lunches.

This time I brought the new children’s NASB Adventure Bible.

Since I volunteered to be on the Bible Gateway blogger list as a #BibleGatewayPartner , I was offered a free copy to review. I accepted knowing Simon would probably agree to help me.

It turns out I was right

He was delighted to get his hands on it. A very discerning lad, he immediately asked, “where’s the table of contents?” This wasn’t at all what I expected his first question to be. I helped him find it and explained the meaning of chapter and verse numbers (until he was done listening to explanations).

We discovered a page that lists stories about children in the Bible. He skimmed and recognized quite a few of them, like the story of David and the giant.

He soon figured out how to locate the Genesis account of Cain and Abel, put his finger on the chapter number, and started reading it to me. Again this boy surprised me. I hadn’t expected one so young to be able to read the New American Standard Bible version.

You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul . . . You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Deuteronomy 11:18-19 ESV

Simon laughed when he read the interpretation of the second commandment – that we must not worship anyone or anything but God, not a sports hero and not a skateboard. That was on the The Ten Commandments for Kids page.

Sharing this Bible with Simon reminded me of the great blessing my Bible has been throughout my life. I received my first Bible at the age of nine, and its words are seeds that took root early and continue to comfort, instruct, and encourage me.

Thank you, Bible Gateway, for this opportunity to share my love of the Scriptures with one of my favorite little boys.

-Kathy Sheldon Davis

When You See Troubling Times Ahead, Try This – Philippians 4:5-9

In a previous post I mentioned how singing brings me comfort when I feel my life is spinning out of control. There’s another option, since singing isn’t always appreciated by those nearby. Maybe it will help you like it helps me in times like these.

Imagine you’re on a roller coaster.

Heavy chains rattle as the car drags its anxious passengers to the peak. Pausing at the top, you fight the urge to look down. A child whimpers a few rows back. You know what’s coming . . .

Then you’re descending, more like falling, down the track, and there’s nothing you can do but to hang on.

You’re sure to hear shrieks, maybe even cries, like I did at the Lagoon amusement park near Salt Lake City. But my reaction was unique, according to my older cousin. He said I laughed through the whole ride.

Like I said in my story in Jesus Talked to Me Today, I started believing Jesus was my best friend when I was very young. I don’t believe I was thinking about his presence during the ride, though. I honestly don’t know where my giddiness came from that day.

I’m also at a loss about how God wants me to “love my neighbor as myself” in some situations, but these verses offer clear direction about things I do understand.

Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:5-9 ESV

What I hear is that I need to

  1. Allow people to see what’s reasonable in me.
  2. Instead of giving way to anxiety, I should pray, make requests, and thank God in everything.
  3. Keep my thoughts on what’s true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy, and not on things that are not of God, like those which are divisive, ugly, or degrading.
  4. Practice what I have learned, received, heard and seen in the life and writings of the apostle Paul.

Then the God of peace will be with me, guarding my heart and my mind in Jesus. Isn’t his peace something we so desperately need these days?

When we manage our thinking like the scriptures suggest, the roller coaster of life can still plunge, jerk, and throw us side to side in the seat, but it will be less likely that we’ll be the ones screaming during the ride.

Kathy Sheldon Davis

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