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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“Make It Your Ambition”

How we are to live

Does the expression “the quiet life” strike you as appealing or dull? Paul actually encourages us to pray for our rulers “that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:2).

In a different context Paul urges Christians “to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands . . .” (1 Thessalonians 4:11).

Addressing Christians who have too much time on their hands—lazy busybodies—Paul urged them “to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread” (2 Thessalonians 3:12).

Those who live this way

Aquila and Priscilla were not among those needing Paul’s reprimand. They supported themselves as tentmakers and hosted the church in their home in more than one city. They assisted Paul, helped Apollos, and no doubt aided many others as well.

This godly Christian couple have their counterparts today in members of local congregations who humbly go about their tasks, making no fuss or bother for anyone else. Such people are among society’s greatest assets, whether society recognizes that fact or not.

They help keep our nation from slipping further away from God. They may be largely unknown, but God sees what they do, and He will reward.

The advantages of the quiet life

And don’t we spare ourselves a lot of unnecessary tension when we can learn to live this way?

In the words of John Greenleaf Whittier’s hymn: “Drop thy still dews of quietness,/ Till all our strivings cease;/ Take from our souls the strain and stress,/ And let our ordered lives confess/ The beauty of thy peace.”

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

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“Do You Not Care?”

In the hour of crisis

As the waves spilled into their boat, the panicky disciples awakened Jesus, fast asleep in the stern. “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38).

On another occasion, Martha was getting super-frustrated as she prepared a meal for Jesus. While Mary was hanging on Jesus’ words, Martha interrupted, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone?” (Luke 10:40).

Have you ever felt like this? How easily our perceptions can be skewed by fear or frustration!

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A better perspective

As we read the rest of the story, we see how Jesus redirected their focus away from the crisis of the moment to a greater appreciation of the One who truly does care.

Is this a lesson we too need to learn?

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

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Stressed?

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“101 Ways to Relieve Stress” was the title of an attractive poster I saw once. Although it included many good pointers, it lacked a spiritual dimension. About as close as it came was the recommendation to forgive.

Here are two stress-relievers, direct from Scripture, guaranteed to work:

Seek Him!

Your heavenly Father values you above His lesser creatures. He takes care of them, doesn’t He? “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things [food and clothing] will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

Tell Him!

“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 . . . will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

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

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When the Pressure’s On

A cry for help!

In a large department store a harried employee hurried past me saying, “Lord, help me through the day!” Apparently she was having “one of those days.” Don’t we all?

What her relationship with God was I do not know. But her words are right on target. She knew where to turn. Tomorrow is another day. “Help me today!”

The best way to handle stress

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What a stress-reducer prayer is! (Philippians 4:6-7). At any time Christians can “draw near to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

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

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