Thursday, September 23, 2021

Anxious for Nothing - Session 9 - Remain C.A.L.M



The Christ Church Wednesday Bible Study Group is now going through and studying the book "Anxious for Nothing:  Finding Calm in a Chaotic World" by Max Lucado.  In this book Max reminds us that we can trust God in all things.  He is good, he does good, and he is working all things together for your good and His Glory.

The answer to being anxious for nothing is to remain C.A.L.M.  


Celebrate God’s Goodness
Ask God for Help
Leave Your Concerns with God
Meditate on Good Things

To get a copy of the book click this LINK or the image of the book at the end of the notes for the session

Philippians 4:6‭-‬7 NLT Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.


Rick Warren Devotion 


Jesus says in Luke 8:7, “Some other seeds fell where thornbushes grew up and choked the plants” (CEV).


In this story Jesus tells, seeds are planted and begin to grow—but the seeds are in weed-infested soil. So, as the plant grows, the weeds grow up around it. The weeds choke out the life of the plant, and it never bears fruit.


Here’s what Jesus says is the meaning of Luke 8:7: “The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature” (Luke 8:14 NIV).


Three things can choke spiritual growth in your life and keep you from hearing God:


Worry. Worries are weeds. When you’re preoccupied with the problems and pressures of daily living, it’s harder to hear God.


Riches. Are you so busy making a living that you don’t make a life? Working to pay bills for things you don’t need, to get out of unnecessary debt, or to make more money than you actually need can stunt your spiritual growth.


Pleasure. There’s nothing wrong with pleasure, but be careful that you don’t become so busy pursuing fun that you miss God and his plans for your life.


Do you know what’s always true of weeds? You don’t have to cultivate them. They grow automatically. In fact, weeds are a sign of neglect. If you see weeds in your yard or garden, it means you’re not tending it. 


It’s the same with your spiritual life. The weeds in your spiritual life show that you’re neglecting time with God. 


Spend time each day tending to your spiritual garden. Pluck out the weeds as soon as they appear so they don’t take over the good work God wants to do in you.


The answer to being anxious for nothing is to remain C.A.L.M.  


Celebrate God’s Goodness 

Ask God for Help 

Leave Your Concerns with God 

Meditate on Good Things


Being anxious does not mean you are not a Christian.


Christians battle anxiety. Jesus battled anxiety, for heaven’s sake! In the Garden of Gethsemane he prayed three times that he wouldn’t have to drink of the cup (Matt.26:36–44). His heart pumped with such ferocity that capillaries broke, and rivulets of crimson streaked down his face (Luke 22:44). He was anxious.


But he didn’t stay anxious. He entrusted his fears to his heavenly Father and completed his earthly mission with faith. 


What we need to do is confront the chaos around us, pandemic, injustice, homelessness, crime, etc., by choosing what Max calls the tranquili-tree, over the anxie-tree.





Celebrate God’s goodness. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4). Turn your attention away from the problem, and for a few minutes celebrate God. It does you no good to obsess yourself with your trouble. The more you stare at it, the bigger it grows. Yet the more you look to God, the quicker the problem is reduced to its proper size. This was the strategy of the psalmist.


Psalms 121:1‭-‬2 NLT I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!


Do not meditate on the mess. You gain nothing by setting your eyes on the problem. You gain everything by setting your eyes on the Lord.


Matthew 14:28‭-‬30 NLT Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.


As long as Peter focused on the face of Christ, he did the impossible. Yet when he shifted his gaze to the force of the storm, he sank like a stone. If you are sinking, it is because you are looking in the wrong As long as Peter focused on the face of Christ, he did the impossible. Yet when he shifted his gaze to the force of the storm, he sank like a stone. If you are sinking,

it is because you are looking in the wrong direction.

         

Is God sovereign over your circumstances? Is he mightier than your problem? Does he have answers to your questions? According to the Bible the answer is yes, yes, and yes! 

         

 If he sustains all and controls all, do you think he has authority over this situation you face?

         

What about his mercy? Is God’s grace great enough to cover your sin? Again, yes! “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1 NIV).

         

Rejoice in the Lord. 


This is the day that the Lord has made.

This is step one. Do not hurry past it. Face God before you face your problem. Then you will be ready to…


Ask God for help


This is the “A” in C.A.L.M.


“Let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6). Fear triggers either despair or prayer. Choose wisely.

         

God said, “Call on me in the day of trouble” (Ps. 50:15 NIV).

         

Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7). There is no uncertainty in that promise. No “might,” “perhaps,” or “possibly will.” Jesus states unflinchingly that when you ask, he listens.

         

 So ask! 


Engage in specific prayer. And engage in promise-based prayer. Stand on the firm foundation of God’s covenant. “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence” (Heb. 4:16 NIV).


Then Leave your concerns with God. The “L” in C.A.L.M.


Let him take charge. Let God do what he is so willing to do: 


“Guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7).


Leave it with him to fix it. Leave your problem with him. 


“I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Tim. 1:12).

         

God does not need our help, counsel, or assistance. When he is ready for us to reengage, he will let us know.

         

Until then, replace anxious thoughts with grateful ones. God takes thanksgiving seriously. Because gratitude keeps us focused on the present.

 

The Bible’s most common word for worry is the Greek term merimnate. The origin is merimnaƍ. This is a compound of a verb and a noun. The verb is divide. The noun is mind. To be anxious, then, is to divide the mind. 

         

We worry about the past. We worry about the future. Anxiety takes our attention from the right now and directs it “back then” or “out there.”


Meditate on good things. 


The “M”.


“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure,

whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Phil. 4:8). 

Don’t let anxious, negative thoughts take over your mind. You cannot control the circumstances, but you can always control what you think of them.


Page 152


Today, I will live today.

            

            Yesterday has passed.

            

            Tomorrow is not yet.

            

            I’m left with today.

            

            So, today, I will live today.

            

            Relive yesterday? No.

            

            I will learn from it.

            

            I will seek mercy for it.

            

            I will take joy in it.

            

            But I won’t live in it.


           The sun has set on yesterday.

            

            The sun has yet to rise on tomorrow.

            

            Worry about the future? To what gain?

            

            It deserves a glance, nothing more.

            

            I can’t change tomorrow until tomorrow.

            

            Today, I will live today.

            

            I will face today’s challenges with today’s strength.

            

            I will dance today’s waltz with today’s music.

            

            I will celebrate today’s opportunities with today’s hope.

            

            Today.

        

         

May I laugh, listen, learn, and love. And tomorrow, if it comes, may I do so again.

help.         


A new day awaits you, my friend. A new season in which you will worry less and trust more. A season with reduced fear and enhanced faith. Can you imagine a life in which you are anxious for nothing? God can. And, with his help, you will experience it.


Bible Study Audio

                

        


Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Anxious for Nothing Session 8 - Cling to Christ





The Christ Church Wednesday Bible Study Group is now going through and studying the book "Anxious for Nothing:  Finding Calm in a Chaotic World" by Max Lucado.  In this book Max reminds us that we can trust God in all things.  He is good, he does good, and he is working all things together for your good and His Glory.

When we cling to Christ we abide in Him, which means is to live, continue, or remain; so, to abide in Christ is to live in Him or remain in Him.  

The secret to being anxious for nothing is in bearing the fruit from abiding in the vine, in Jesus.  When you abide in Jesus you are at peace because you have also been given the fruit of the Spirit because you abide in the one that give that fruit, and part of that fruit is peace.

And the peace of God enables you to control your thinking so that you can.

Philippians 4:8 NIV 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

To get a copy of the book click this LINK or the image of the book at the end of the notes for the session

Philippians 4:6‭-‬7 NIV Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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.

The last two weeks we talked about gratitude or thanksgiving ushering in the Peace of God and His Peace is our peace.  That covered chapters 7 through 9.  Just a little review.

Philippians 4:7 NIV And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

This peace is a constant in our lives if we pray with gratitude as we walk through decisions, relationships, or daily tasks. But how many times do we stop to accept it?

He bestows upon us the peace of God. Remember,  and this is important, this is not a peace from God, it is Our Father gives the very peace of God.The peace of God transcends all logic, scheming, and efforts to explain it. We should be worried, but we aren’t. We should be upset, but we are comforted. 

Sometimes we have situations where it seems that every bad thing happens at once.  We get sick or a loved one gets sick, and at the same time something unexpected happens, our car breaks down, we get laid off, we have a relationship problem of some kind, a friend or relative has a need, all happening at once, and this causes some anxiety.  

Max calls it the “perfect storm”  like the time that Paul was being taken to Rome to appear before Ceasor and the ship he was on rain into a perfect storm where all the weather patterns converge.  The whole thing in Acts 27.  The storm caused great anxiety to those on the ship so much so that they didn’t eat for many days, the scripture says at 

Acts 27:20 NIV 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.

There are three promises that can give us peace in the middle of a perfect storm that come out of this experience as recorded in Acts 27.

Acts 27:21‭-‬26 NIV After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”

We talked about them last week.

Heaven has helpers to help you. 

Acts 27:23 NIV Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me

In this instance the help came as an angel.

 So continue praying and continue trusting in God and His promises.

Isaiah 40:30‭-‬31 NIV Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

God said that He would not forsake us so He will send the appropriate help at the appropriate time.  It may be an angel, it may be a relative or friend, or it may be a stranger, but help is on the way.

Heaven has a place for you. 

Acts 27:23 NIV Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me

Your place even during the perfect storm is with God as one of His children.  Your place is with God because you belong to Him. 

Galatians 4:7 NIV So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

You can have peace in the midst of the storm because you are not alone, you belong to God, and the third promise,

You are in the Lord’s service.

Acts 27:23 NIV Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me

We all have an assignment, a purpose. 

If God has work for you to do, he will keep you alive to do it.

Psalms 139:16 NIV Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

 No life is too short or too long. You will live your prescribed number of days. You might change the quality of your days but not the quantity.

 Philippians 1:6 “I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” -

Do you ever feel like you are just so far off course that you will never reach your goal?

The journey of your life was predetermined long before you were born. Your Father knew that you would venture off the path. He knew you’d mess up. He knew you’d slip up. He knew you’d falter. And He certainly knew you’d delay. But the Word says that He never stops carrying out the work He started in you, praise His name! He never gives up on you. He will ensure that His plan is carried on to completion. No matter what you do or how badly you attempt to derail His plan, He will continue to carry on His good work until completion.

This is as true today as it was when Paul wrote it to the church in Philippi. Paul made sure to add in this verse, the key phrase “until the day of Christ Jesus.”

 Until Jesus comes back to Earth, our Father will continue to see that His plans are carried out. He will continue to ensure that His plans are completed. He knew we would mess up and delay and attempt to derail; but the good news is, He accounted for our humanity when He called us in the first place. There is nothing we can do to “screw it up.” So long as we believe in His son Jesus and the sacrifice that was made on our behalf, our Father will diligently and lovingly continue to redirect our course to ensure we are on the path towards His predetermined destination.

There will be days in which you are tempted to worry or become anxious.  I’m not saying you will have no more problems in your future. Quite the contrary.  God has never promised a life with no storms. But he has promised to be there when we face them.

John 16:33 NIV “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

When you are faced with the perfect storm meaning every terrible thing you can think of comes at one time do what king Jehoshaphat did. 

The entire account is in 2 Chronicles chapter 20.

Here’s the background of his anxiety.

2 Chronicles 20:1‭-‬2 NIV 1 After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to wage war against Jehoshaphat. 2 Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi).

He went to God in prayer and praise and his prayer can be an example of how we can pray when facing our perfect storm.

First, remind yourself of God's greatness. 

2 Chronicles 20:3‭-‬6 NIV Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him. Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard and said: “Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.

Next, remind yourself of God’s unlimited power.

2 Chronicles 20:7 NIV Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?

When you realize that God has all the power in the world, you can just trust him. As you pray, think of all the ways God has helped you, other people, and people in the Bible.

Hebrews 13:6 NIV So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

Then, remind God of his promises.

2 Chronicles 20:9 NIV ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’

Jehoshaphat reminded God he promised Israel that the land would be theirs forever. The reminder is not for God it is for us.  God has made promises to you too. In fact, there are thousands of promises for you in the Bible. When your kids remind you of the promises you’ve made to them, it can be frustrating. But God loves to have his Word quoted back to him.

Finally, ask God for a breakthrough.

2 Chronicles 20:12 NIV Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

Don't just ask God to bless your life. Focus on him and then tell him the specific thing you need for your breakthrough. 

Then think about what you think about.

Philippians 4:8‭-‬9 NIV Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

You have no control over most things but the one thing that you do control is what or where you place your thoughts.  You choose what to think about.  People can try to influence your thinking but the choice of what to think about is yours.

When we make the choice to do what it says in 

Philippians 4:6‭-‬7 NIV Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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.

And Jesus said before His crucifixion that He would live us with His peace. 

John 14:27‭-‬29 NIV Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.



All of this lead up to the fact that in order to overcome anxiety we should Cling to Christ which just happens to be the title of chapter 10.

When we cling to Christ, we can channel our thoughts to those things we just read that will give us peace even at and during those times that we are anxious, during our perfect storms.

When we cling to Christ we abide in Him, which means is to live, continue, or remain; so, to abide in Christ is to live in Him or remain in Him. When a person is saved, he or she is described as being “in Christ”

Romans 8:1 NIV 1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

We are secure in a permanent relationship.

John 10:28‭-‬29 NIV 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

So, abiding in Christ is not a special level of Christian experience, available only to a few; rather, it is the position of all true believers.

John 15:4‭-‬10 NIV 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

So I say again when we abide in Christ we are able to think clearly about what to think about 

Philippians 4:8 NIV 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Like Max says, Is he not true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise?

Let’s look at Jesus’ metaphor of the vine and branches.  The vine is the root and trunk of the plant. It is what takes nutrients from the soil to the branches. If anything, good comes into our lives, he is the conduit for that good.

The secret to being anxious for nothing is in bearing the fruit from abiding in the vine, in Jesus.  When you abide in Jesus you are at peace because you have also been given the fruit of the Spirit because you abide in the one that give that fruit, and part of that fruit is peace

Galatians 5:22‭-‬23 NIV 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

And the peace of God enables you to control your thinking so that you can.

Philippians 4:8 NIV 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Our aim our only aim is to abide in Christ which is where we get all our strength to deal with anxiety.  As I said before to abide is to live with to be at home with.  

To be at home is to feel safe. The residence is a place of refuge and security.           

To be at home is to be comfortable. You can pad around wearing slippers and a robe.            

To be at home is to be familiar.  You know where everything is you don’t have to figure is out.

Look at page 136 in our book and read    

Our aim—our only aim—is to be at home in Christ. He is not a roadside park or hotel room. He is our permanent mailing address. Christ is our home. He is our place of refuge and security. 

Psalms 46:1‭-‬3 NIV 1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

We are comfortable in his presence, free to be our authentic selves. We know our way around in him. We know his heart and his ways.

We rest in him, find our nourishment in him. His roof of grace protects us from storms of guilt. His walls of providence secure us from destructive winds. His fireplace warms us during the lonely winters of life. We linger in the abode of Christ and never leave.       

The branch never releases the vine. Ever! Does a branch show up on Sundays for itsonce-a-week meal? Only at the risk of death. The healthy branch never releases the vine, because there it receives nutrients twenty-four hours a day.

Our goal is not to know every detail of the future. Our goal is to abide in the vine the One who does and never, ever let go.

How do we disarm anxiety? Stockpile our minds with God thoughts.  Philippians 4:8-9

Draw the logical implication: if birds and flowers fall under the category of God’s care, won’t he care for us as well? 

Matthew 6:25‭-‬34 NIV 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Saturate your heart with the goodness of God.

James 1:17 NIV17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:2).         

How might you do this?

Is there a block of time you can claim for God?





Friday, September 10, 2021

Anxious for Nothing - Session 7 - God's Peace Your Peace




The Christ Church Wednesday Bible Study Group is now going through and studying the book "Anxious for Nothing:  Finding Calm in a Chaotic World" by Max Lucado.  In this book Max reminds us that we can trust God in all things.  He is good, he does good, and he is working all things together for your good and His Glory.

Today, in session 7 
we are going to talk more about the peace of God that we get when we make our request known to Him with thanksgiving.

Our Father gives us the very peace of God. He downloads the tranquility of the throne room into our world, resulting in an inexplicable calm. We should be worried, but we aren’t. We should be upset, but we are comforted. The peace of God transcends all logic, scheming, and efforts to explain it.

To get a copy of the book click this LINK or the image of the book at the end of the notes for the session


Philippians 4:6‭-‬7 NIV Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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.


Why Worry Is Worthless

By Rick Warren


“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Philippians 4:6-7 (The Message)


“Don’t worry” may be the most difficult command in the Bible to keep. Every one of us has broken that commandment. We break that commandment all the time, because it's in our nature to worry.


Jesus said it like this: “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34 NIV). The reason why you mess up today is because you spend most of your emotional energy regretting the past and worrying about the future.


But worry has never changed anything. Worry is worthless! It can't change the past. It can't control the future. Worry can only make you unhappy today. Every moment of your life you spend worrying is wasted.


Worry is focusing on your fears instead of trusting God. It’s practical atheism. When you worry, you're acting like an orphan. You're acting like you don't have a heavenly Father who's promised to care for your needs. You’re thinking it's up to you to take care of your problems. That's not in the Bible—that's in self-help books. And it's just not true.


If you're going to break that habit of worry in your life, you're going to have to learn how to focus on something else. Fasting—where you abstain from something for a certain amount of time and let your need draw you closer to God—can help you do that, and so can prayer.


The Bible says in Romans 8:6, “If people’s thinking is controlled by the sinful self, there is death. But if their thinking is controlled by the Spirit, there is life and peace” (NCV).


You have to choose your focus. If you’re going to think your way, you’re going to get worried, fearful, and anxious. You going to have anxiety because you’re controlled by your sinful nature. When you’re focused on God, and you have God's Spirit in you, you don't worry. That leads to life and peace.


The key to overcoming worry is not to say, “I'm not going to worry.” That’s never going to work, because you're focused on what you don't want.


The key is to change the channel. Don't resist it. Refocus. Put your focus on God, and trust in his love and promises for you.


The Greek word for ‘peace’ takes on the meaning of the Hebrew word ‘shalom’. It means far more than an absence of hostility. It means ‘completeness’, ‘soundness’, ‘well-being’, ‘every kind of blessing and good’. It means harmony and concord between people. It means spiritual well-being, living under the favor of God.


The good news is that you have peace with God through Jesus Christ. Jesus’ death on the cross reconciled you to God. He made peace and you have received that peace as a gift.


You too should be a peacemaker as you seek to lead others to peace with God and as you bring peace into your home, place of work, community and nation.


God’s Word Gives You More Rest and Less Stress

By Rick Warren


“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8 (NLT)


It’s increasingly difficult to stay focused on true things. The Bible says, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8 NLT).


This requires a mental shift. It means you’re going to have to build new, better habits. 


Your mind is bombarded with lies every single day. Advertisements and social media tell you that if you don't think, dress, or act a certain way, you don't matter. When you're growing up, you’re told that if you're not good at academics or athletics, you don't matter. This world is full of lies, and you’ve believed many of them. But they're just not true. 


The only way to counter those lies is to fill your mind with the truth. The truth is that you are a child of God. You matter to him. Jesus said that when you know the truth, it will set you free.


To be set free means to have a breakthrough. I want you to have a breakthrough. But the only way you can do that is to be in God’s Word, the Bible, every day, even if it's just for a few minutes. 


If you think you can’t do that, just consider how many hours you’re spending on social media or TV or reading the news. How are you going to have a healthy mind if you're filling your mind with lies instead of the truth?


Not everything you hear is true. Not everything you tell yourself is true. You've got to get into the Bible every day, because God will always speak truth. You can trust what he says about you and the promises he’s made for you in his Word because he always keeps his promises.


What happens when you keep your mind on the right things? 


“If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7 TLB).


Wouldn't you like to have your heart and your mind at rest? That's a breakthrough everyone needs: less stress and more rest. Get started on your breakthrough today by getting into God’s Word


Chapter 8, God’s Peace, Your Peace


Today we are going to talk more about the peace of God that we get when we make our request known to Him with thanksgiving.


Our Father gives us the very peace of God. He downloads the tranquility of the throne room into our world, resulting in an inexplicable calm. We should be worried, but we aren’t. We should be upset, but we are comforted. The peace of God transcends all logic, scheming, and efforts to explain it.


The term "perfect storm" is synonymous with "worst-case scenario"


You may be facing the perfect storm, but Jesus offers the perfect peace.


Philippians 4:7 NIV And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


This peace is a constant invitation in our lives as we walk through the doors of decisions, of relationships, of daily tasks. But how many times do we stop to accept it?


He bestows upon us the peace of God. Note, this is not a peace from God. Our Father gives us the very peace of God. He downloads the tranquility of the throne room into our world, resulting in an inexplicable calm. We should be worried, but we aren’t. We should be upset, but we are comforted. The peace of God transcends all logic, scheming, and efforts to explain it.


John 14:27‭-‬29 NIV Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.


Sometimes things that cause us to be anxious are things that we bring on ourselves.  They are not always things out of our control.  Getting into a financial crisis because we lose a job may be  beyond our control.  Getting into financial crises because we spent beyond our means is within our control.  Getting injured because of a drunk drive is beyond our control, being drunk and having an accident is within our control.  


Max uses the experience of Paul when he was being taken to Rome to appear before Caesar as an example of a perfect storm that and how the presence and obedience of God can cause us to weather the perfect storm of circumstances and come out of the storm intact.  We may be battered and bruised but we will survive the storm.   The incident Max uses is Acts 27.  


Paul tried to convince the captain of the ship and the Roman official not to set sail, but they did it anyway and they ran into the perfect storm, and they were in that storm for 14 days.


The sailors lost all appetite for food. They lost all reason for hope. They gave up. But Paul had not. 


Acts 27:21‭-‬26 NIV After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”


From this passage there are three promises that can give us peace in the middle of a perfect storm.





Heaven has helpers to help you. 


Acts 27:23 NIV Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me


In this instance the help came as an angel.


Daniel is someone else who got help from an angel when he was confused about a vision he had seen. This vision had cause him some anxiety.  


Daniel 10:1‭-‬6‭, ‬12‭-‬14 NIV In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision. At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over. On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude. Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”


The point is don’t give up continue praying continue trusting in God and His promises.

 

Isaiah 40:30‭-‬31 NIV Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.



God said that He would not forsake us so He will send the appropriate help at the appropriate time.  It may be an angel, it may be a relative or friend, or it may be a stranger, but help is on the way.


Heaven has a place for you. 


Acts 27:23 NIV Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me


You place even during the perfect storm is with God as one of His children.  Your place is with God because you belong to Him.  You were bought at with the price of Jesus blood.  


1 Corinthians 6:19‭-‬20 NIV Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.


Galatians 4:7 NIV So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.


You can have peace in the midst of the storm because you are not alone, you belong to God, and the third promise,


You are in the Lord’s service.


Acts 27:23 NIV Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me


We all have an assignment, a purpose.  Many of us spend our entire lives trying to find that purpose of assignment and some may never discover it but as I said in one of my recent sermons every single believer has a ministry of some kind and God has uniquely equipped you for it.  It is your task to identity it and then do it.  


If God has work for you to do, he will keep you alive to do it.


Psalms 139:16 NIV Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.


 No life is too short or too long. You will live your prescribed number of days. You might change the quality of your days but not the quantity.


There will be days in which you are tempted to worry or become anxious.  I’m not saying you will have no more problems in your future. Quite the contrary.  God has never promised a life with no storms. But he has promised to be there when we face them.


John 16:33 NIV “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”


            

 

When you are faced with the perfect storm meaning every terrible thing you can think of comes at one time do what king Jehoshaphat did. The entire account is in 2 Chronicles chapter 20.


He went to God in prayer and praise and his prayer can be an example of how we can pray when facing our perfect storm.


First, remind yourself of God's greatness. 


2 Chronicles 20:3‭-‬6 NIV Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him. Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard and said: “Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.



When you're praying for something, you can’t control, don't focus on the problem. Focus on God's greatness. The bigger God gets in your mind, the smaller the problem becomes. 


Next, remind yourself of God’s unlimited power.


2 Chronicles 20:7 NIV Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?


When you realize that God has all the power in the world, you can just trust him. As you pray, think of all the ways God has helped you, other people, and people in the Bible.


Hebrews 13:6 NIV So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”


Think about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the fiery furnace.  Think about Daniel in the lion’s den.  Think about Peter when he was in prison.


Acts 12:5‭-‬9 NIV So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision.


Paul and Silas in prison in Philippi 


Acts 16:25‭-‬28 NIV About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”


Then, remind God of his promises.


2 Chronicles 20:9 NIV ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’


Jehoshaphat reminded God he promised Israel that the land would be theirs forever. The reminder is not for God it is for us.  God has made promises to you too. In fact, there are thousands of promises for you in the Bible. When your kids remind you of the promises you’ve made to them, it can be frustrating. But God loves to have his Word quoted back to him.


Finally, ask God for a breakthrough.


2 Chronicles 20:12 NIV Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”


Don't just ask God to bless your life. Focus on him and then tell him the specific thing you need for your breakthrough. 



Philippians 4:6‭-‬7 NIV Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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.



God promises to guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. When we bring our requests before Christ, entrusting our cares into his hands, he serves as a strong wall of protection around our thoughts and our emotions. He gives us a peace we can’t comprehend, no matter how big the storm.


Meditate on These Things - Chapter 9 Think about what You Think About.


Satan loves to fill our minds with comparisons. He wants to fill our heads with a swarm of anxious and negative thoughts. But the good news is that while there are many things in life over which we have no control; we get to choose what we think about. We get to select our own thought patterns. MAX LUCADO


Your problem is really your problem it’s the way that you see it that’s the problem


You have no control over most things but the one thing that you do control is what or where you place your thoughts.  You choose what to think about.  People can try to influence your thinking but the choice of what to think about is yours.


Philippians 4:8‭-‬9 NIV Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.


I like the way that Christyn, the lady Max writes about, breaks that scripture down to deliberately focus on things that will bring the peace of God that is promised in both verse 7 and verse 9.


Philippians 4:7‭, ‬NIV And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 9  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.


She took each phrase and named a blessing or blessing for each one and that took her mind off the problem and caused her to not think about it but about the blessings of God.  So she managed her thinking the bible tells us that we can do that because of the Holy Spirit in us.  


2 Corinthians 10:4‭-‬5 AMPC For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One),


You can be the air traffic controller of your mental airport. You occupy the control tower and can direct the mental traffic of your world.


Thoughts have consequences.  I’m not talking about the power of positive thinking I’m talking about thinking about what God has promised and has done for you in the past.


Here is the NLT translation of 


Philippians 4:8 NLT And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.


The transliteration of the Greek word, here rendered as fix, is logizomai, from which we get our English word logic. Paul’s point is simple: anxiety is best faced with clearheaded, logical thinking.

Think about what you think about!  Focus on the facts, nothing more.


No problem is unsolvable. No life is irredeemable. No one’s fate is sealed. No one is unloved

or unlovable.



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