Monthly Archives: February 2010

Matthew 6:27

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? NIV

I can’t.  The hours of my life are WAY beyond my control.

I actually like the way the Message, or even the King James version, translates this verse a little better.  King James asks, who, by worrying, “can add one cubit to his stature?”  I think that the point of this verse is that worry is pointless.  Some things — how tall I am — are clearly outside my realm of responsibility.  And yet, I find that I can worry about things that, just like my height, I cannot change.  So, why do it?

Rather than worrying, my time is much better spent getting to know God through prayer and studying His word; and in being His hands and His feet here on earth.  Worry is a distraction from those things.  And, it does absolutely no good.  Years ago, a good friend gave me a wonderful visual image.  She said that worry is like a rocking chair.  I can put a lot of effort into rocking back and forth, but, I don’t go anywhere or accomplish anything.

Today, I want to think about getting out of that chair.


Filed under Matthew, New Testament, Worry

Mark 13:9-11

You must be on your guard.  You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues.  On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them.  And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.  Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say.  Just say whatever is given you at the time.  For it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.  NIV

Wow.  That’s a heavy passage to start a Saturday morning.  This project is proving so interesting to me on so many levels.  I’ve read the Bible through, but, I did it in a year, which doesn’t afford a lot of time to ponder individual verses.  Searching it as I am for what it says about worry, I’m finding a lot of things that I didn’t realize were there.

Of course, I knew that the disciples had a pretty hard time after Christ was crucified.  Many of them were brutally murdered.  Here, I think, Jesus is preparing them for what they will face.  And, they were willing to face it!  I am so thankful that they did.  If they had not carried the word of God forward, I hesitate to think what my life would be like today.

He tells them not to worry “beforehand.”  In the Message, this passage is translated, “And watch out!  They’re going to drag you into court.  And then it will go from bad to worse, dog-eat-dog, everyone at your throat because you carry my name.  You’re placed there as sentinels to truth.  This message has to be preached all across the world.” The Message

Sentinels to truth.  I love that image.

You carry my name … I love that on many levels, too.  They are marked as sons of Jesus, and they also are charged with carrying his message out to the world.

It (The Message) goes on to say, “When they bring you, betrayed, into court, don’t worry about what you’ll say.  When the time comes, say what’s on your heart — the Holy Spirit will make his witness in and through you.”

Don’t worry beforehand.  Things are going to be bad, but, the Holy Spirit will go with you every step of the way.  These are timeless messages.  How blessed we are that our Holy Father has prepared us with them.

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Proverbs 12:25

An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.  NIV

The Message translates this, “Worry weighs us down; a cheerful word picks us up.” The Message

I think that this verse is very interesting.  My understanding is that Solomon, whom God gave the gift of wisdom, wrote much of Proverbs.  This verse makes good common sense … of course, if I am worried, I get cheered up by being around cheerful people.  But, as I think more about it, I can see that I am called to be that cheerful person for others who are worried.

I love that.  This is something that I have always felt was important, but, I didn’t realize that there was a verse about it.

What a nice discovery and a nice way to start the day.

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Psalm 23:4

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. NIV

My understanding is that David likely wrote this Psalm.  As a shepherd himself, he wrote from a unique perspective.  He knew what it meant to be a shepherd, and he also knew the delight of being a sheep under the care of his Holy Father.  David knew, that just as he was constantly on watch for predators that might pose a threat to his flock, especially as he was herding them through deep valleys or narrow passes, God would be on watch over David as he made his way through life.

Further, just as David had used his rod to kill wolves, or snakes, or whatever else might have attacked his sheep, he knew that God was prepared to defend him.  And, just as David had used his staff to keep his sheep going in the right direction, he knew that God would keep him on the right path, if he was willing to follow.

So many times this last year, I’ve heard it said that nothing can touch me that does not first pass through the hand of God which holds me.  Hear what I’m saying … bad things happen.  We are going to have trouble in this world (John 16:33), but, we don’t have to fear the evil.  God has overcome it, and he is prepared for it.  I don’t have to worry about what might befall me, I need only to trust in my shepherd.

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Filed under Fear, Old Testament, Psalms

Psalm 34:4

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. NIV

Prayer is so important.  The Message translates this verse, “God met more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears.” The Message

Prayer is a gift that God has given me.  I have the privilege of consulting Him directly at any time, and, if I will only go to Him in prayer when I am anxious or worried, He will meet me … more than halfway.

But, how often do I carry a worry on my own?  Or attempt to absolve my fears by sharing them with others?  If I will only remember to lift them in up in prayer and deposit them at His feet, I will no longer have to carry them.  I will be freed from my anxious fears.

Beth Moore, who I think is just amazing, says that the Bible is very consistent on the subject of captivity.  She teaches that God does not want His children to be held captive by anything that keeps us from the abundant and spirit-filled life that God has planned for us.  She also says that prayerlessness is a barrier to freeing yourself from the thing that holds you captive.  I think that this verse is a great example of that concept.

I can be free of worry through prayer.  That is something that I will think about today.

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Filed under Anxious, Fear, Old Testament, Psalms

Matthew 6:25-26

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 important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  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? NIV

I thought that this passage was pretty interesting.  When I looked it up in The Message, which puts the Bible in more contemporary terms, that translation seemed to urge the reader not to be concerned with fashion or with the kind of food he or she is eating.

Maybe some people worry about fashion.  In fact, I’m sure they do.  Fashion is not really a big worry for me.

I think that, for me, this passage is actually getting at something more basic.  When I look closely, I see that it may address some of my basic needs … food and clothing.  And it may also be getting at my notion that if I can just work hard enough, or make enough money, or save enough money, things will all be ok.  Understand me, working hard and saving money are important, but they are not the most important things to do while we are here on earth.

We were created for relationship with God.  I think He is saying, “look, even birds get this, can’t you see it?”

When I think about it, birds actually have a pretty tenuous existence.  They are easy prey for cats, or bigger birds, they are subject to disease, they have to forage for food, they have to relocate multiple times a year to avoid life-threatening shifts in temperature.  Birds don’t have jobs or savings accounts … they are dependent upon God providing them what they need.  And,  He does.  They can fly, for goodness sake … and, haven’t I read that some of them have incredible navigation capabilities to guide them in their migrations?

God has equipped birds with what they need for life.  He will provide for me, too.  In fact, the passage notes that I am more valuable to Him than a bird, “much more,” it says.  Today, I will think about trusting in that.  I will think about replacing worry with praise and angst with peace.

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Filed under Matthew, New Testament, Worry

John 16:33

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.  NIV

I also looked at another translation, which says, “I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakeable and assured, deeply at peace.”  The Message

Peace is the exact opposite of worry.  The real key to peace is in trusting Jesus.  He has overcome the world … what more is there to say?  In Him, I can be unshakeable and assured.  I am so thankful for that.  What a gift!  God promises that in exchange for my trust, I will have deep and abiding peace.

I’m starting to believe that there may actually be 365 reminders not to worry.  So far, I’ve taken suggestions on which verses to find, and that’s been really helpful.  They’ve all been easy to look up using the concordance at the back of my Bible.  But, I suspect that the concordance is not exhaustive, so, I’ve ordered one that claims to be.

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Filed under John, Peace, Trouble

Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. NIV

This verse says it all.  When I was a kid, my mom modeled this one for me often.  There were times when I would go to her, full of angst and stress about some issue, and she would say, “Let’s pray about it.”  At those times, we would bow our heads together, and she would always say, “Father, we have this situation, and we want to give it to you.  It is a big, sticky, ball of wax, but, you have the ability to take it from us, and make everything all right.”  I don’t mean to trivialize this … her prayers were often much longer and more involved, but, this theme of the ball of wax that we don’t have to carry or deal with ran through many of them.  Today, as an adult, I still find myself with balls of wax sometimes.

As I think more about this verse, I also love that it says “but in everything … with thanksgiving …”  That’s one I really need to ponder.  It is challenging to be thankful when you’re worried.  I’m wondering if that is a piece of the puzzle.  If I must stop and be thankful, then I am reminded that the one that I am thanking is all powerful and all knowing … how can I worry when I have the privilege of discussing my problems and worries with an all-knowing God?  When I can deposit my worries at His feet and exchange them for His peace?  I will ponder that today.

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Filed under Anxious, Peace, Philippians

Matthew 6:28-30

And, why do you worry about clothes?  See how the lilies of the field grow.  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  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, O you of little faith? NIV

I picked these verses to start with, because I knew where to find them.  I love this passage.  I love that He specifically notes that flowers “don’t toil or spin.”  I spend a lot of time toiling and spinning.  And, for what?  God doesn’t care for me because I work hard, He cares for me because He delights in His creations, especially His children.  I don’t want to be one “of little faith,” working and worrying.  I want to be one who rests in the peace of my Holy Father.

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Filed under Matthew, New Testament, Worry