Tag Archives: Worry

See and Don’t Be Anxious

A few months ago, my Bride and I rented a cabin the mountains of North Georgia for the weekend and got away for a few days.  It was a much needed break as we were fixing to enter a very busy season.  There was so much joy in the weekend.  First, to just have time away with Amber was nothing but good.  It’s something that we are trying to make a more intentional part of our marriage as our kids are now older.

While we were there, we did something that seemed so new to us, but was a very good thing.  We took time to talk together and talk with God, before we arrived, and then while we were there, just to ponder what we see for our family in the coming year.  What are some of our hopes and dreams and what areas of our life do we feel like we need to focus heavier in prayer for ourselves and our kids.  It was frontier territory for us, but got us to begin thinking about things a little differently.  This is something that we have felt God really growing us in of late.  What is the frontier?  How do we stretch ourselves and grow.

While we were in this cabin, we made a cool find.  Tied up with a small band, were 3 Devotionalsbooks.  Each one was an old one year devotional from the early 20th century.  They were title God’s Minute, God’s Purpose, and God’s Message.  They were sitting on the lower shelf of a lamp stand and more so for decoration than anything.  How often do guests pick up and read those books?  Who knows.

We took some time to begin reviewing through some of the devotionals.  Such rich writing, with each day written by someone different.  We got such a kick out of those books.

Then we turned to the devotional for that particular day, March 8th, which was written by Rev. William P. Merrill.  A turn of the century Presbyterian minister.  While the date of this message was actually written is shown, based on Rev Merrill’s life, it would likely have been somewhere between the the 1910s and 1940s between the World Wars and the Great Depression.

Anyone reading this message would note, however, that it still applies today.  He starts with quoting Jesus in Matthew 24:6, “See that ye be not troubled” (KJV).  From the ESV, “See that you are not alarmed.”  If you read the full passage, you will see Jesus talking about hearing of wars and rumors of wars, and the things that must take place near the end of the age.  Merrill quotes from Robert Browning’s interpretation as, “Trust God; see all, nor be afraid.

Merrill talks about this being good counsel for anxious times.  To quote what he wrote:

“Good counsel for anxious times! We need it now, and always. 
Some see the disquieting conditions and are alarmed. They lose heart, and give up the fight. Others keep their peace of mind by refusing to face the truth…We are living in a disturbed age. Many are fearful and anxious. The Master is calling for many followers who can face the facts without fear, because deep in their hearts is the grace of a living faith, so that they can “see all, and not be afraid.”

Just ponder that and think about it.  How much do we spend of our time worrying and being anxious about one thing or another.  We know we live in desperate times.  There is so much suffering and struggle going on all around us.  People have lost sight of real joy and are too wrapped up in unimportant things.  We worry about everything.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6 to not be anxious  Do not worry.  Paul writes in Philippians 4 to “Be anxious for nothing.”  Despite all of this knowledge that, Christ, we are supposed to be free, we can’t experience real freedom, because we still let the worries of this world bog us down.  Just think of the type of freedom that can come when we stop letting the most unimportant things keep us bogged down and worried and anxious.

As Rev. Merrill wrote that Jesus is calling on followers who can rise above of all of that, see that struggle and suffering that is right in front of us, but are not afraid because of the love, joy, and peace that is found in Jesus Christ.  There’s no need to worry, ever.

I write this, not just to those of you reading this, but to myself.  I’d be lying if I said I never worried.  I’m just as guilty as anyone in different situations.  However, when I get reminded in some way of what Jesus said and what Paul wrote and to add on to Philippians 4 that rather than being anxious, “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God, “ I remember to turn to Jesus in that moment and cast my worries and anxiousness toward Him.

My challenge to you is this.  Spend some time to think about and even write down the things that have you most worried and anxious right now.  Spend time with God and talk to Him about that.  Is that thing, in the grand scheme of God’s Larger Story, really something to get all knotted up for?  Begin to pray to renounce any any agreements made with that worry and invite Jesus in.

The enemy wants to keep you in the bondage of worry and anxiousness.  All that does is keep you in a state of uncertainty, within yourself, of whether you can truly trust what God has already said and promised.  There’s is so much hope ahead for us who are in Christ, should we choose to take the narrow road and follow.  Part of following is letting go of the extra weight, such as worry, doubt, and fear.  Think of it as going on a long hike down difficult trail.  You only carry what is needed.  The unneeded stuff you shed and don’t carry.  Same here.  Don’t carry the unneeded burdens.

I was so thankful to see these devotionals.  This particular writing was so timely.  Look forward to returning to this cabin to dive in a little more.

Don’t Let Worry and Fear Run Your Life

Every one of us has worry in our life.  Worry about bills, worry about our jobs or finding a job, worry about money, worry about family and friends, and many, many other things.  A part of our nature causes us to worry about things.  We know, whether we accept it our not, that our world is fallen and full of trials that bring heart ache into our lives.  Sometimes, it can come from the craziest or most minute things.  For example, if my wife is out somewhere, and maybe I had not heard from her for a bit, I start to get worries about what may have happened, even wondering if she was in a bad accident or something.  Crazy things that I know the enemy and his cronies are flooding my mind with to try to get me to panic in fear.  The problem is, that no matter how hard we try, because of our nature, because of our experiences in life, we are going to have those worries.  Maybe we are not sure if we’ll have enough money to feed our family or keep a roof over our heads.  These things come with life.

This past week, the Lord prompted me to begin a deeper dive into the Gospel of Matthew.  In part to really get a deeper understanding of Jesus’s teaching on God’s Kingdom and our place in His Kingdom.  It has been cool so far to read through the book at a slower pace and meditate on Jesus’s teachings.  Right now I am in the Sermon on the Mount.  In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches about worry and anxiety starting in versus 25.  Here is what Jesus says…

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? and who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drive?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25-34)

Bottom line here from Jesus, is do not live a life of worry, but seek the Father first.  We have a serious struggle with this in our lives.  I know I have and my wife has struggles with this as well.  She comes from a long line of what we call ‘worry warts’ in her family.  But isn’t this teaching so simple.  Don’t worry, but seek God first.  Seek His kingdom and righteousness.  That’ the bottom line for anything in our lives.  If we learn to truly, and I mean truly seek God, what is there to worry about?  As the song we sang in worship Sunday morning said, ‘There is no one higher than our God.’  This rings out so true, if we just learn to remember it and live our lives in this way.

 I know I write this and it all sounds so easy, but the reality of it all is for us is that it’s not that easy for us.  Because of our fallen states and who we are and because we are in constant war with the enemy, worry and fears just seem to overtake us constantly.  For some the worry become so great that it’s crippling.  It literally enslaves them and overtakes their lives to the point where it’s all they think about.  It then leads to worrying about the next thing and then the next.

Seek His kingdom and His righteousness.  This something that becomes difficult for so many because we get gripped in doubts and fear.  The enemy finds those fears and then establishes a foothold where he can then camp and continue to pull at you.  It is however, something that we all can do, if we are willing.  We can choose to seek God’s kingdom.  Seek Him in all we do.  Learn to walk with Him.  Learn to talk and converse with God.  Not just where you are praying to Him, but where you are filtering out the noise and listening to Him as well.

Hebrews 13:5 says, “Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.'”  This is in reference to Deuteronomy 31 where Moses was telling Joshua to be strong and courageous, “For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you” (verse 6). God is with us through every aspect of our lives.

We can’t let worry and fear run our lives.  My challenge here is to seek God everyday just has Jesus tells us.  Don’t worry about the petty things and don’t let us get so caught up in worry that it runs our lives.  God will never fail us or abandon us.  I believe this with my whole heart.  Dallas Willard says in his book ‘Hearing God,’ “God is able to penetrate and intertwine himself with the fibers of the human self in such a way that those who are enveloped in His loving companionship will never be alone.” We must choose to surrender though and let Him in.  If we choose to do so, there’s nothing, and I mean nothing in this world that we need to worry about.  Jesus took on more than we can ever imagine and He did it for us because the Father loves us enough to take all of that away, if we will choose to surrender and put our faith and trust in him fully.

God wants to help us through the struggles of our lives and does not want us to worry.  He knows we will have them in this life.  Jesus told us this in John 16:33.  But we have to choose to surrender and so that we can overcome through Him.  As Watchman Nee said,“He can only keep those who have handed themselves over to Him.”

When you feel yourself beginning to worry, try to stop and seek God.  When you start your day, seek God first.  This will definitely help set the pace for the day and help you cover yourself with the Armor of God to take on all the enemy has in store.  Let God lead you.  Let His will envelop your heart in a way to where the fear and worry gets overshadowed by His mere presence.  There is no one higher and nothing greater than our God.