Worried?

 

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I admit I’ve done my share of worrying through the years. You too? But where has it got us?

If worry doesn’t help, what does?

“Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Who said this?

These words are from the apostle Paul, addressed to Christians at Philippi in Macedonia.

But these are not simply the words of a man.

Paul preached and wrote by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 2:12-13; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 3:15-16).

Therefore it is actually God speaking through His servant Paul.

Since God made us, shouldn’t He know what we need most?

What it says

The passage quoted above prescribes the most effective antidote for worry: prayer.

Instead of fretting, pray. Instead of tossing and turning all night, tell the Father.

But there’s more. Paul says our prayer is to be accompanied “with thanksgiving.”

Gratitude gets the focus off our fears and onto the Source of all our blessings.

This passage tells us:

1) What to avoid (worry).

2) What to do instead (pray with thanksgiving).

3) What God promises (peace instead of anxiety).

This promise is for those who belong to Christ.

Guaranteed to work.

 

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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“For My Sake”

Three of Jesus’ promises

>>Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven . . . (Matthew 5:11-12 KJV).

>>He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it (Matthew 10:39).

>>There is no one that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, but he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life (Mark 10:29-30).

Weighing hardships against His promises

In each case Jesus speaks of suffering for His sake, but in each case He also guarantees abundant compensation. For the reviling, reward. For the losing, finding. For the leaving, receiving.

His faithful promises more than outweigh the pain (Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18). Doesn’t this make the suffering for His sake well worth it?

By remembering Jesus’ assurance we can endure losses for His sake because we know He will take note and bless.

Of course, it really takes faith to believe this.

But He promised, didn’t He?

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The God of Happy Endings

What God can do

Jacob thought his son Joseph was dead, but 22 years later they were happily reunited (Genesis 37:31-35; 46:28-30).

With Egyptian chariots in hot pursuit and the Red Sea in front of them, Israel panicked. But God opened an escape route through the sea—then brought the walls of water crashing down on their pursuers (Exodus 14-15).

After losing her husband and sons, Naomi thought God was against her—until she realized He had been working out His wonderful plan all along (Book of Ruth).

On Friday Jesus’ enemies had Him nailed to the cross. But on Sunday His tomb was empty! (Luke 23-24)

And He’s still doing it!

God’s promises to those who suffer for His sake may seem too good to be true (1 Peter 1:3-9).

But just wait!

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“Not One Word”

Trustworthy then

Just how reliable is God? Can He be trusted?

What percentage of His promises does He keep? 50%?  75%?  99.99%?

Looking back more than 400 years, Joshua told Israel, “. . . you know in all your hearts . . . that not one word of all the good words which the LORD your God spoke concerning you has failed; all have been fulfilled for you, not one of them has failed!” (Joshua 23:14, emphasis added).

Fast forward several hundred more years. Solomon says, “. . . not one word has failed of all His good promises, which He promised through Moses His servant . . .” (1 Kings 8:56).

Still trustworthy?

Has God failed to keep any of His promises to date?

Considering His “track record,” should we have any doubt that He will keep His promises yet to be fulfilled?

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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That’s a Promise!

What He promises

Since the Bible is replete with God’s promises, Herbert Lockyer had no problem finding material for his book, All the Promises of the Bible.

God’s promises fall into three categories: 1) those already fulfilled (e. g., Joshua 23:14), 2) those now being fulfilled (e.g., Matthew 6:33), and 3) those yet to be fulfilled (e.g., Acts 1:11).

God’s promises are guaranteed for three reasons: 1) God never lies, 2) He has the power to fulfill His promises, and 3) He is faithful to do what He says He will do.

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No wonder Peter can speak of “His precious and magnificent promises” (1 Peter 1:4).

Have you found that to be true in your own life?

How we respond

God’s promises are for those who respond to His grace with obedient faith.

Do we qualify?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Which Direction?

Fatal attraction

She looked back (Genesis 19:17, 26). Apparently, instead of thinking about God’s mercy in sparing her and her family from certain destruction, Lot’s wife looked back to the city where her home was. For her backward glance, she forfeited her life.

Israel forgot the slavery they endured and remembering the food they enjoyed there, “in their hearts [they] turned back to Egypt” (Acts 7:39 NASB). They too paid dearly for looking back.

“No one after putting his hand to the plow and looking back,” Jesus said, “is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). 

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Well worth it!

Unlike the Rich Young Ruler who chose wealth over eternal life, Peter and his fellow disciples left all for Jesus (Matthew 4:18-22; 19:27). Jesus assured them they would be amply compensated (Mark 10:28-30). And the promise applies to us as well!

“Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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