Posts Tagged anxiety

But . . ..

Psalm 13: 6               Tree of Life

But I trust in Your lovingkindness, my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing to Adonai, because He has been good to me.

How could I choose any verse other than this one after yesterday’s passage? The first part of the psalm details David’s fear, worry and sorrow but as is so often the case, he does not allow himself to languish in anxiety.

The most important word in today’s verse may well be “but.” David tells of all the trouble. He momentarily dwells in the angst, BUT, he says, there is something else which speaks in the darkness. A light which casts out even the darkest shadow. Despite the circumstances, despite the fear and emotional trauma, God is seated on His throne and is well and able to cast His saving radiance on even our deepest gloom.

David knew that God’s lovingkindness trumps all. It even trumps our unworthiness, poor prayers, lack of prayers, heathen attitudes and every other failure. David was able to trust the Lord because he understood love. David had an enviable revelation that love compels God. It will not let Him rest. The Lord’s salvation reaches into the darkness giving us every reason to rejoice. He saves us from every situation, every worry, every fear. David would not allow himself to meditate on the problems. He shifted gears into trust and rejoicing. This was a purposeful act, one which ultimately catapulted him into song. Yes, there are problems out there. Sure, challenges arise but shall we focus our attention on them or remind ourselves that God’s lovingkindness is trustworthy? Shall we fix our eyes on the circumstances or on Jesus? These are not rhetorical questions. We must, like David, make a definitive decision. How shall we color the fabric of our lives, with the music of praise or with despair? Lift up your eyes, my beloved. See the great and glorious there upon your own horizon. Love is beckoning even as it answers your most deep-seeded worries. Let your heart be light for you Father, your real Father, has healing, love and joy in His wings.

Anger, Worry Flee from Me

Psalm 37: 8

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret, it leads only to evildoing.

Here is the word of the Lord on worry and anger. It is pretty clear. It says don’t do it; don’t worry, don’t give in to anger. Now what part of that is difficult? Well, sometimes the hard part is in the execution of what God has directed us to do, rather than in the understanding. There is help in that though. First, God will never tell you to do something that He has not already empowered you to do. So, take some comfort there. Secondly, if He has told you to do it, then He will also help you. He never tells you something to do without making His resources available to you. You do not have to use will power to control your anger, you use His will power. Pray for His help and then let Him help you.

And as for worry, nothing good comes of it. Put worry away and don’t let it control your life any longer. Don’t waste your time and energy. Ask for help daily if need be and determine that you are not going to be a worrier. Anytime you feel yourself slipping, call on God to rescue you.

Lastly, God tells us that abiding in worry or anger leads to evil deeds. Worry and anger are ungodly thoughts and ungodly thoughts lead to ungodly acts. It is that simple. That is not to say that you will never feel anger nor be plagued by worry. It means that you must take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ Jesus. When those thoughts assail you counter them with the Word of God. You can hang them on this verse from today. You say, “Worry, I declare Psalm 37: 8 to you and command you to be gone in the name of Jesus.” The worry, anxiety, fear or anger must, and will, flee. Beware, though, for it can come back within moments. When it does, you just speak these words again. Say, “Worry, I told you to be gone. Psalm 37 tells me that I am not the prisoner of you. Now leave.” Just keep at it until the worry, fear or anger is convinced that you mean what you say. Those negative feelings and thoughts have to obey the Word of God. Be free of those chains of fear, anger and worry. Be free in Jesus’ name.

The Cure for Anxiety

Matthew 6: 33

But seek first His kingdom and his righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.

Many of us are familiar with Matthew 6: 33, but let us look back a little today. The New American Standard Bible has titles for many sections of scripture. This section is titled “The Cure for Anxiety.” I have verses highlighted in here as do many of you but today I wanted to attempt to look at it with new eyes. So I began reading right after the caption, which begins in verse 25. Of course, Jesus is speaking here so in my mind I translated that as, “Jesus is going to teach me how to be free of anxiety.” Alright, I will sign up for the class.

Jesus began to speak and for seven verses he attempts to reveal the Father’s mind and heart about our needs by showing us examples from nature. Jesus gives us picturesque examples so that in our minds eye we can visually follow what he is teaching in regards to anxiety. Then you hit verse 32. Allow me to quote it for you, “For all these things the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” I don’t know how many times I have read that verse but it stopped me in my tracks today. Without saying it aloud, Jesus declared that I was acting like the Gentiles. “Hey wait, I am not a Gentile. I am a child of the King. Why am I acting like them?” All of a sudden it felt like my worry and anxiety about the material things in my life was an insult to the goodness of God. What Jesus was actually saying is that we do not need to worry about the things the Gentiles worry about because we have a Father who loves us and who has taken on the role of provider.

When you look at a teaching, a speech or a book, you find that the author wishes to make a point at that conclusion is found at the end. However, it is supported by the evidence and examples which come before. Good writers and speakers give you a topical sentence in the first paragraph which is usually a restatement of their conclusion. Jesus absolutely lays out this entire topic in just such an organized fashion. I immediately began going to the end of the section to find out what his conclusion is but I like his opening. In verse 25 he tells us, “For this reason I say to you do not be anxious for your life.” He then uses the remaining verses to illustrate this reason. As we close in on the end of the passage we discover the reason we need not worry about our material needs is because “your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things” (Matthew 6: 34) Isn’t that good? Jesus goes on to teach the practical side of this message. He tells us to seek God, seek His kingdom and righteousness and all the things of life will be added to us. That is simply putting all of this in to practice. Don’t worry, instead – seek. That is the cure for anxiety, knowing that you have a heavenly Father who loves you and will care for you. Seek Him and let Him worry about all that “stuff.”

How many of us have (and are) seeking the things, worrying about the things we need: clothes, food, drink, tuition, car etc.? I know I think of those things but Jesus is telling us point blank that is how the Gentiles act, and, hence, not how we should behave. We have a heavenly father. We need to learn how to seek His kingdom and allow Him to be “Father.”

Maybe we can all think about that today as we go through our day. How do I seek God’s kingdom? How do I seek His righteousness? Meditate on that as you have that morning cup of coffee or as you drive to work. The revelations could change your life.

Lastly, let me share with you Jesus’ final thought on the matter, his wrap up conclusion, if you will. “Therefore, do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” You know when you see the word “therefore” that someone is making a conclusion. In other words, because of everything he said in verses 25 through 33, you should not be anxious. Stay in this moment with Jesus rather than casting your concerns forward. Stay ever present and connected with him and with the Father and you will have no need to ever be anxious. That’s good news!

Foundation Stone

Isaiah 41: 10 -12

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored; those who contend with you will be as nothing, and will perish. You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them, those who war with you will be as nothing, and non-existent.

This is one of the scriptures that everyone should highlight in their Bibles because if you don’t need it right now, you will. It is, to me, a foundation scripture. By that I mean that it is one of the scriptures that you can build your foundation upon. Don’t you feel God’s strong right hand when you read this passage? He is with you through thick and thin and He absolutely will uphold you. You are never down and out when you have God. You may feel down. You may feel trod upon. But, you will be sustained by His strength and His love. Look to Him and focus your attention on His righteousness. As the scripture says, do not anxiously look all around you. Just look at Him and trust Him to deliver you. Keep your focus on Him and let those problems melt away under His scrutiny. He is your God. He is your strength. He is your father.

Are You There God?

Psalm 31: 22

As for me, I said in my alarm, “I am cut off from before Thine eyes”; nevertheless Thou didst hear the voice of my supplications when I cried to Thee.

Here is a song of David which reflects a time of panic in his life. David said that it was a time of alarm. He was enduring a stressful and anxious period. His distress was so complete that he felt blocked off from anyone who could help him, even God. He did not even think that his prayers could get through to God because he felt so completely cut off. None the less, God heard all of his prayers and answered all of his petitions. God heard every tearful word. How did David know that God heard every supplication? It is because God answered David in this time of need.

God’s presence is much closer than you think. When we are really stressed and over wrought it becomes very difficult for us to feel God’s presence around us. He is there with us none the less. We cannot always go by our feelings because feelings are fickle. We have to know and say that our God is with us all of the time. Even when we cannot feel you, Lord, you are with us for you will never leave us nor forsake us.

Inbox

1 Peter 5: 7

Casting all your care upon Him for He cares for you.

This is the instruction the Lord gives for all the worry and care that plague you. Give it to Him. Roll all of the care of your problems and concerns over onto Him. Take the problem and mentally see yourself putting it in God’s “In box”. Write it on a piece of paper and make an “In” box if you need to but get that junk out of your mind and out of your Spirit. Put it in to the hands of He who is well able to resolve all of the problems. All that junk just hampers your creativity and takes your mind off of your relationship with your Father. Turn off that stuff and turn your thoughts on to the God of creation. Hand the problem to Him in prayer and then move on. He is waiting to take on every single problem in your life. Give Him a job.

Increase of Favor

Proverb 11: 27

He who diligently seeks good seeks favor, but he who searches after evil, it will come to him.

Here is another way to gain favor. Seek and go after those things which are good. If you look for evil, it will find you. If you look for the good things, the righteous things, then favor is going to follow you.

This is about a condition of our heart as well as a decision of our will. When we set our eyes and our hearts on God we end up seeking His righteousness. When we seek His righteousness, then all that we need will be added to us (Matthew 6: 33). Our Lord taught us that this is a clear way to relieve ourselves of anxiety. Pursue those things which are good. “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude” (1 Timothy 4: 4). Seeking God necessarily means searching for goodness and kindness. The other proverb which speaks so clearly of favor is Proverb 3: 3 – 4 which tells us to bind ourselves to kindness and truth. When we seek good, truth or kindness we are in fact seeking God and His ways. Therefore, unmerited favor finds us.

If on the other hand we toy around with the things which are not of God’s kingdom, then evil will find us. And that is a clearer characterization of what happens because most of us don’t go out seeking after evil but rather we tolerate things that we ought not and we sort of play around with things that we know would not please God. When you play with fire, eventually you will get burned and this has happened to so many of us. We listen to a little music that we probably wouldn’t play if our pastor was in the room. We give in to some movies that we certainly wouldn’t want God to watch with us. A little of this and a little of that and we have paved the way for the things that we don’t want in our lives to come to us. We have all but sent an engraved invitation and then we act all surprised when things happen. 

We are little magnets and we are going to attract that which we set our eyes upon. That is exactly what Solomon was trying to get across to us. If we seek good we shall attract good into our lives but if we look over in the devil’s backyard he is going to make sure that we get what we are seeking. Seek goodness, truth and kindness, bind them around your neck and the favor of God and a good reputation with God and man shall be your prize.