Don’t Worry

“Are we there yet?” “Where are we?” “I want that now!” “What if?…..” “Don’t forget!….” We’ve all heard and asked these questions before, and usually get answers like, “Trust me.” “We get there when we get there.” “Stop worrying.” or simply, “no.” Why do we ask these questions? Because we want to know? Because we’re curious? Because we don’t trust? Because we worry? What is worry? What is trust?

Often times I find myself in a stage of life where I’m not sure who to turn to. Worry clouds my thought and judgment. I can’t think straight. I am driven by a single thought. “What if?” I find no comfort in friends, no comfort in family. My home feels like a prison and my life, hell. Worry is all around me like the storm on the Sea of Galilee, and I am Peter, sinking slowly.

Why didn’t Jesus save Peter then and there? Why did he even let him sink? He could have kept Peter walking solidly on water all the way out to Him, but instead He chose to let Peter see the tumult around him, to lose faith for a moment, and to sink. This is where I am right now. I am sinking. I am hopelessly drowning. I see the storm around me and I lose faith. I lose sight of my goal and my savior and focus on the world around me. But wait. Peter does not sink. The story is not over yet.

Peter cries out to Jesus to help him. This is very significant. Here he is, sinking in a massive storm, thinking that he is going to drown, and Jesus gives him a tiny bit of faith, enough faith to realize that he needs help. I need help. I must humble myself to understand that I indeed need help and I lift my hands to heaven, fall on my knees, and cry in a loud voice, “Father forgive me. Save me from this tumultuous storm. Lift me into your safe embrace. Keep me from falling.” Peter found faith, the faith that Jesus gave him, and cried for help.

And Jesus responds. The Savior reaches out his hand to rescue Peter and pulls him up out of the storm. He responds to Peter’s desperate cry for help, his small amount of faith. You see this is why we must never lose faith. Even the tiniest flicker of faith, the quietest prayer, the smallest plea for help, the Lord hears it and He will respond. Jesus denied Peter the ability to walk on water in order that he might save him. God does not say no in order to reject us, but to redirect us. He has everything in the palm of His hand, your life’s story, your falling and rising. He knows what is best, what you need the most, and He will always lead you to it. He will always respond to your cry of help. Put your full faith in Him, the creator of all. You will stumble and fall, but He will lift you up again. He will answer when you cry. He will lift you up.

Jared Vandyke

Fighting Fearfulness

Terrorists attack, politicians say outrageous things, and the world sells sex. Isn’t this world terrifying for a Christian? I mean that rhetorically, of course it is! God, speaking through Paul, in II Timothy 1:7 says “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and love, and of a sound mind.” I love this verse; it is one of my favorites. I often have used this verse to help me get by in trying and difficult circumstances. Today, I’d like to break down this verse and talk about how it can help combat the anxiety and fear that often plagues the Christian.

First off, I think it’s worth noting that this verse doesn’t say that we don’t have a spirit of fear. It doesn’t tell us that spirit of fear doesn’t exist in our hearts. What it tells us is that God hasn’t given us that spirit. I think it’s fair to say, then, that we do often experience fearfulness, but we must keep in mind that it is not given from God. Although God is the Author and Creator of our whole lives, He is not the one who feeds into our minds anxiety and worry. Instead He gives us spirits of power, love, and a sound mind in order to fight fear.

Power.  Power is something that everyone lusts after in one form or another. A businessman chases after power in the workplace, an athlete drives towards physical power, and a young woman desires power in her emotional life. We all want power. God gives the most important power to us, the power of doctrine and spirituality. It would not be possible to combat or overcome the spirit of fear if we were not given the spirit of power by God. With this spirit we have the strength to obtain victory over the fear that we often want to despair in. We have the power to resist the urge of sexual sins in our youth, young men are given the power to balance work and home life, and young women are given the power to raise children in this fallen world. All of these things can strike fear in our hearts if it weren’t for the power of God!

Love. Love also helps us fight fear. I don’t mean love in the sense that the world uses it. Love doesn’t mean that we sit back and let our friends and family do whatever they want, regardless of right or wrong. Love means that we care about one another enough to help them follow the laws of God, and to do our best to follow those laws ourselves as well. If we really understand love, it becomes clear why love drives out fear. If we love God first and foremost, and therefore love our brothers and sisters in Christ, we have nothing to fear! Our love for God teaches us that he holds us in His hand, and in His hand no fear can lay hold on us. With the spirit of love, we can also conquer fear.

A sound mind. Fears of this life often cause us to feel anxious or even depressed. When we focus on God, we receive from Him soundness of mind; a peace that quiets our souls and drives worries from our hearts. If you or someone you know has struggled with anxiety or depression, you probably understand what an unsettled mind looks like, and the fear that plagues it. With our focus on things heavenly, our minds become clear or sound. Often anxiety and depression causes us to ask the whys: “Why me,” “Why now,” “Why this?” But a sound mind throws fearfulness to the curb and looks with an uplifted face saying “God has not given me this spirit of fear! He has instead given me a sound mind!” And that is an incredible and beautiful feeling.

In the context surrounding this verse, Paul encourages Timothy not to be ashamed of the Gospel, since that is what fear does to us- it makes us ashamed to be children of God. With the power, love and soundness of mind that God gives us to fight the spirit of fear, we can boldly and bravely face this terrifying world in all its danger, immorality and impurity. With this power, love and soundness of mind we walk through this life without fear, but with courage to be Christians living lives of antithesis to the world around us.

Suzie Kuiper

“The Multitude of My Thoughts” – An Anxious Spirit

When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.

–Psalm 94:18,19

 

Hank can’t stop thinking about his business. He hopes his recent account will hurry up and pay their bills. How will he meet his budget for the month?

Sue hasn’t run in a week. She’s feeling out of shape, but just doesn’t have the time due to other obligations. She’s left feeling anxious about it all. What will happen to her fitness if she can’t run again soon?

Megan is starting graduate school. The workload will be her hardest yet, and she feels obligated to do well, because good ethic and good class standing demand it. The prospect of this upcoming semester seems horribly daunting.

Ben just lost his brother. He feels so overwhelmed. Between emotions, and carrying on with life, and worrying about everyone else, he just feels drained.

 

How many of us do not struggle with anxiety at some point or another? It manifests itself uniquely and in varying degrees in each of us. Our “feet slip” and we are lost in the multitude of the thoughts within us: in worry, stress, fear, restlessness, and a troubled spirit.

Anxiety is a crippling fear that stems from a lack of trust in God. When we worry, we have more belief in our problems than in God’s promises! Lydia Brownback asks in Trust, “What is your rock–not the one you say is your rock, but the one you actually lean on? What circumstances are you facing today, or might have to face tomorrow that overwhelm you with faith-quenching anxiety? On whom or what do you depend to get you through the day? “Whatever assumes in our lives a practical importance that is greater than God will become god to us.” We are instructed in Philippians 4:6 to “Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” When our feet slip, He, not those things that we are trying to control, will hold us up.

Anxiety comes from an over-attachment to the things of this earth. We Christians are to live for one reason alone. As Calvin put it, “we are consecrated and dedicated to God, and, therefore, should not henceforth think, speak, meditate, or act, without a view to His glory.” All of our life is a part of God’s plan for His Church, with the goal of our eternal salvation. We are to live for God and what He has promised us. And if this is truly what we are living for, then popularity, good looks, wealth, name, fitness, education, and any such like have little sway, for our true goal does not depend on them. Those only affect our temporary life here below.

Anxiety comes, thirdly, from the desire for control in life. We want life to go according to our plan. But the truth is, such control is elusive. We will always have troubles and unfulfilled longings on this side of heaven (Romans 8:22,23). God alone controls our lives, and it is His perfect plan, not our own plans that come to pass.

We, as the Church of Christ, are built on the solid Rock of our saving God, rather than on the shifting sands of earth-centered cares. God is the one true reason we are here–why you, reading this, here in this moment, are alive on this earth–and if we expect to cling to anything else in this world, we will find discontentment and frustration. Everything of this world is in itself vanity and shall in time pass away as dust in the wind. We can only find peaceful joy and solace when we live for our One sure Foundation, and Him alone (Matthew 6:24,25).

 

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. –Romans 8:18

 

       So what about the anxieties that we are burdened with? We have responsibilities in this life and as good stewards ought indeed care about how we live our lives. So what do we do with these worries? We remove ourselves of them. We cast them on the One in control–the One who alone can truly bear them.

When we cast our cares and worries on God, they no longer drag us down. The One who has the strength alone to carry them lifts them onto His own shoulders. He is the One Who delights our soul with comfort (Ps 94:19). What a relief! What a burden is lifted! The moments, the days, the years that are laid before us are no longer our worry. We simply have to live day by day to the glory of God, to the best of our ability, and leave what happens in God’s hand. Though we prepare for the future, we don’t have to worry about what may or may not happen, what people may or may not think, or what expectations of our own we may or may not meet. We don’t have to live for our desires, our image, our careers and plans. We live each and every day for our Father and His pleasure. All that we do flows out of our love for God and His love for His people. Seek ye first the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33,34). Let go of anxiety! All is in God’s hand! And nothing is more important for our true well-being than Him!

 

And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.

 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.

 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?

 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?

 If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?

Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?

And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.

 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.

 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.

 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Luke 12:22-32

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