Category Archives: Concern

Philipians 4:11-13

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength. NIV

Paul has found peace and freedom from worry. He is content.

With Christ, our present, earthly circumstances matter little. We can focus on the truth, that He is the source of our joy and our contentment. He is truly the Way, the Truth and the Life.

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Jonah 4:9-11

But God said to Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?”

“I do,” he said.  “I am angry enough to die.”

But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow.  It sprang up overnight and died overnight.  But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well.  Should I not be concerned about that great city?” NIV

I love the story of Jonah.  God has a plan, and he uses Jonah to achieve it.

Jonah is an unwilling participant in the whole thing … downright rebellious.

I love that this story shows the dominion of our Holy Father.  In the book of Jonah, He commands the weather, a big fish, a vine and a worm to do things that will achieve His purposes.  The weather, the fish, the vine and the worm all do exactly what they are supposed to do, presumably without argument.

But Jonah first runs away from God, and then, after he does what God sends him to do, and is successful, he pitches two horrendous fits, one at God for saving the Ninevites and then one over a vine.

Then, instead of completely giving up on Jonah, God takes the time to reason with him … “do you have a right to be angry?” God asks.

And Jonah says he does!  Yet, Jonah knows that God made the earth and everything in it.  Back in chapter one, verse nine, Jonah tells the sailors, “I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.”

Jonah knows that the God of creation has all things on this earth under His dominion.  Jonah knows that only God can save him, as we see when he cries out from the belly of the whale in chapter two.  Jonah knows that God is good.  He prays, “I knew this was going to happen!  That’s why I ran off to Tarshis!  I knew you were sheer grace and mercy, not easily angered, rich in love, and ready at the drop of a hat to turn your plans of punishment into a program of forgiveness!” Jonah 4:2 The Message

And yet, knowing God as he does, intimately enough to argue his point to his Holy Father, Jonah still gets distracted and worried over a vine.  He gets the big picture … he understands God’s plan, but, he is not on board.  Still, God made Jonah key to achieving His plan.

I will think about all of that today.

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Genesis 21:11-12

The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your maidservant.” NIV

Isn’t this just like us? We want something, we believe we deserve it, we don’t trust God and His perfect timing, we take matters into our own hands, and then we are distressed about the results.

I love what God says here, “don’t be so distressed.” He goes on to explain that His plan is going to all work out, and that, as a bonus, He will bless Abraham’s efforts, too.

God is bigger than my biggest mess. He is more powerful than I can fathom, and yet, He cares about what worries me, even if it is a mess of my own making. I can bring ALL of my worries to Him, and He will make my paths straight.

I am so thankful for that!

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Psalm 131:1

I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. NIV

I love this verse. I love where David goes with this whole Psalm. Verses 2 & 3 say, “I’ve kept my feet on the ground, I’ve cultivated a quiet heart. Like a baby content in its mothers arms, my soul is a baby content. Wait, Israel, for God. Wait with hope. Hope now, hope always!” The Message

God is God. I am a mere human.

God can handle all of the big stuff. I will rest in Him, with a quiet, unworried heart. He is the source of my contentment, and, importantly, my hope!

Now, and always.

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Filed under Concern, Old Testament, Psalms

I Corinthians 7:32

I would like you to be free from concern.  NIV

Well, how straightforward is that?

Paul is writing to the church at Corinth.  My father gave me such an interesting perspective on Paul the other day.  He said that Paul did not get to go everywhere he wanted to go.  Instead, he had to be content with writing letters to the churches that he was really wanting to visit.  How blessed we are that this is the case!  If he had visited, we would not have his wonderful letters and all of the wisdom that is contained in them.  God had a plan.

If I go back a bit, starting in verse 29, he says, “I do want to point out, friends, that time is of the essence.  There is no time to waste; so don’t complicate your lives unnecessarily.  Keep it simple — in marriage, grief, joy, whatever.  Even in ordinary things — your daily routines of shopping, and so on.  Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you.  This world as you see it is on its way out.  I want you to live as free of complications as possible.”  The Message

I find it so interesting that Paul believed that Christ’s return was imminent.  His words, to me, are as fresh today as they must have seemed to the Corinthians, centuries ago.  When I look around my world, I, too, believe that time is of the essence.

I also love the phrase, “deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts upon you.”  This is a wonderful tool to use when working to avoid worries.  If I can see the annoyances in my path for what they are — things the world has thrust upon me — it is easy to visualize stepping around them, dealing with them sparingly, and moving on to the important work of my Heavenly Father.

I will think about that today.

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