Tag Archives: worry

June 6; One Wealthy Dude

Proverbs 31; I Kings 4:20-28, 10:14-29; 2 Chronicles 1:14-17, 9:13-28

I imagine Solomon’s wealth might rival that of Jeff Bezos in today’s market. You read about the king’s use of gold, his articles of silver, the robes, weapons, spices, horses, etc. and know the man was loaded.

Yet Jesus, in Matthew 6 says not even Solomon in all his splendor had anything on the wildflowers in the field.

Really?

We seem to place a lot of emphasis on the material, don’t we? People like the founder of Amazon.com, who is said to be worth 150 billion dollars, are looked up to, considered successful. On the other hand, we look at people in line at the unemployment office as losers. But are we looking at the wrong things?

So many times we lose sleep over unpaid bills, where our next meal is coming from, or with a closet full of clothes, we lie awake and wonder what we should wear to work in the morning. Jesus reminds us that non-Christians do that, too.

Then Jesus encourages us to look around at this amazing world He created. If God dots the fields with colorful flowers, if He causes a tree to burst forth with beautiful flowers before it produces luscious fruit, if birds sing, and stars twinkle, and the ocean pulls back at the shore, how much more thought and care is He going to take on the only part of His creation created in His image? How much more is He going to provide for those who accept what Jesus died to give them?

Our Lord tells us to seek Him first. Take our focus off the temporal and look toward the eternal, His kingdom, and all the things we need will be given us. That’s His promise. Even more than we ask or think.

Oh, our bills might still be overdue, and our place in the unemployment line might be way at the back. But even if we had the riches of Solomon as described in the verses we read today, it could not surpass the riches of knowing Jesus.

Are you God’s child through the blood of His Son? Do you trust Him? Then quit worrying and keep your eyes on Him. God is not unaware of your circumstances, and He has a solution that will knock your socks off.

My friend who knows Jesus as your Savior: YOU are one wealthy dude.

 

May 18 – Sleepless In Ohio

Psalms 26, 40, 58, 61-62, 64

I had trouble falling to sleep last night. So many thoughts were running through my head I couldn’t keep up. It was exhausting. I tossed and turned for what seemed like hours.

Here are a few of the thoughts that kept me awake: 1. President Trump or President Clinton – how has our nation come to this sad place in history? 2. Medicare supplements, life insurance – decisions I need to make, 3. financial martial law – this presidency is destroying us, 4. a man I’ve had contact with who is searching for peace – how would God use me to lead him to the Savior, 5. family stuff.

I tried to pray, but my racing thoughts distracted me. So it was with relief I read these psalms today. Many of these verses blessed me. Here are two:

On God my salvation and glory rest; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. Trust Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. (66:7&8)

I don’t know what tomorrow holds. But I will stand on my Rock, and trust God at all times, even in the dark of night when sleep doesn’t come.

God is still my refuge.

December 16

Philippians 3&4; I Timothy 1&2

Who has never been worried or anxious about something? I know I have spent more than one sleepless night fearful of what lay ahead. My mom’s cancer diagnosis, dad’s loneliness after her death, a loved one’s rebellion, a troubled student at my school. I changed school districts early in my career and fretted about that decision for weeks. 

Someone said, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” It’s true. I can honestly say not one minute I spent worrying about any of these things accomplished anything good.

Paul tells the believers in Philippi to “Rejoice in the Lord always.” (4:4) He reminds them the Lord is near, then says: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (4:6&7)

I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say worry is a sin. But it steals the peace and becomes a wedge between me and the God of peace. It is a symptom of my heart’s condition and a clue that I don’t really trust him like I say I do. 

So what do you do when the problems of life begin to mount up and you find yourself worrying about the future? Here is what Paul tells us:

1.  PRAY. And not just a prayer that asks God for something. Pray with THANKSGIVING. Never lose sight of all the things you have to be thankful for, even in the midst of trying times.

2.  THINK. Or maybe, change what you are thinking. As human beings we have the ability to control our minds. Use it. When I worry, my thoughts are consumed by the problem. I turn it over and over in my mind. I consider all the bad things that could happen. I toss and turn because I imagine all the possibilities. But Paul tells us to think about the following instead:

whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, things that are excellent or praiseworthy. THIINK ABOUT SUCH THINGS. (taken from 4:8)

When worry starts to creep into your thoughts, give it to God, pray and thank him for your blessings, then change your thoughts to things that glorify God. The result, according to Philippians 4:7, is that God will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. He will protect us from worry! Then in 4:9b, “And the God of peace will be with you”.

No worry there.

Dear God of Peace, thank you for wanting us to know your peace. Forgive us when we take hold of the reigns and worry about the future. May your children learn to pray about it all, thank you for your blessings, then change our thinking to things that encourage us and bring glory to you. Help us, Lord, to trust you. Really trust you with every detail of our lives. We praise you for peace in the midst of the storm.

February 6

Exodus 13-15

As we read together the account of Israel’s time in the desert we will see times of great victories and times of great disobedience. Remember Israel was chosen by God… not because He loved them better than He loved other people. He didn’t choose them to bless them for their sakes. He chose them to reveal Himself to the world. 13:4 is one of the many times God explains why He is working through Israel. “I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know I am the Lord.”

So the Jews walked across a dry Red Sea but the same waters drowned the Egyptians. Not a Jew was lost and not an Egyptian survived. And God could not be denied.

After that amazing rescue the Israelites had no trouble believing God was who he said he was. 14:31 says they feared the Lord and put their trust in Moses. They believed God was on their side and would get them to the Promised Land.

Three days later… seventy-two short hours later those same Israelites are grumbling against Moses because they were thirsty. They couldn’t find any drinking water in the desert. Were they really that fickle that one day they trust God and the next they don’t?

Sometimes it’s easier to trust God with the big picture than it is to trust Him with the details. As Christians we trust Him with our eternal home, we believe He is faithful to the end.

Yet we find ourselves worrying about the every day things. Not enough money to pay bills. A frightening medical diagnosis. A struggling relationship. A project at work or school.

We trust God with our future but can we trust Him with the day… or the minute? God provided water for the Israelites that day in the desert. And He promises to supply us with all our needs according to His riches.

There’s a song I like that says… when you come to the place where I’m all you have, You’ll find I’m all you need.

So can God be trusted with what you are going through today? Absolutely. He wants you to know He can be trusted. Remember, a sparrow doesn’t fall to the ground without God seeing it happen. And you are so much more precious to him than a sparrow.

Father, thank you for supplying water for the Israelites in the desert and showing us your great care for your people. Help us to give you what is worrying us right now, this minute. Help us to trust you with today.

January 25

Genesis 31 & 32

What is it about guys and wrestling? When I was in high school I loved going to wrestling meets. I sat at the scorer’s table and kept stats. I eventually learned the moves and strategies of this exciting sport. But I never once was tempted to join the team.

I have two grown nephews who think their mother’s living room rug is a wrestling mat. The older even broke the nose of the younger a while back and they still wrestle when they are together.

I know some people disagree when I say there is a fundamental difference between men and women. Oh, women like to establish our superiority, too. But we tend to use less physical means to do so.

That’s why reading that Jacob wrestled all night with God isn’t something I can relate to. I’d have thrown in the towel after the first period bell.

So is there a spiritual lesson to be learned here? I’m glad you asked!

When I am convicted of a sin, God will use guilt, worry, and a host of other negative emotions to bring me to my knees. I can toss and turn all night with the weight of my sin. As God’s child, He wants me to repent so He can bless me. At those times, it’s like I’m in a wrestling match that I cannot and should not win if it means holding on to that sin.

At other times, when I am facing a life changing decision or am so burdened for a loved one I can’t sleep, I may feel in the morning as though I have wrestled all night. It’s not that God is my opponent. In fact God is on my team!  He is more like my coach on the sideline, seeing my battle from a different angle, and shouting instructions and encouragement.

In both cases, God wants me to come out a winner. He wants to help me defeat sin in my life and he wants to bless me. I just need to learn when to quit wrestling with Him! Because when He wins, I do too!