Tag Archives: What does the Bible say about worry?

It bears repeating … perhaps as many as 365 times!

Psalm 118: 6

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid, what can man do to me? NIV

On the night before I began this project, I went to my neighborhood Barnes & Noble, just before closing.   I had a coupon for 15 percent off the purchase of one book, and, I had it in my head to buy a new Bible to to take with me on this journey.  I wanted one that had both the NIV and Message translations.  I had been introduced to The Message a few years ago at a conference, but did not have a copy of my own.

So, there was only one copy of a parallel Bible with both of those translations, and I snatched it up.

I love this Bible … actually I love all new Bibles.  There is something so nice about opening the pages for the first time and finding your favorite verses.  I’m someone who writes in my Bible.  The one that I use regularly is underlined and the margins are full of notes from sermons and from insights that other people have given me.

But, this Bible, My Project Bible, is still very neat and pristine.  I only underline the verses that I find each morning, doing my best to make very straight lines.  I do this mostly so I can keep track of verses that I’ve already counted in my project tally, but, also so that at the end of the project, I will be able to return to these reminders.

So, this morning, when I read this verse, I was surprised that it was not already underlined.  I could have sworn that I already had found David’s reminder that I should not fear because God is with me and there is nothing that mortal man can do to me.  Turns out, David says this more than once.

I love that!

When something is meaningful to me, or if I discover something new, I find that I want to tell everyone I know about it.  Sometimes, I tell friends more than once, and they are always kind to listen, but, it is a bit of a joke among us that I am somewhat repetitive.

David repeats the same concept here that he noted in Psalm 56: 3-4.

And, it turns out that this Psalm has other echoes.  Verse 1 says, “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures forever.”  This is the same song that the people of Judah sang as they led Jehoshaphat to meet the three armies.  That sent me to the basement to find my chronological Bible.  Which came first?  This Psalm or the story of Jehoshaphat?

David came first!  The index in my Chronological Bible says that Psalm 118 was written between 539 and 500 BC, while II Chronicles was written between 499 and 400 BC.

That makes sense to me.  The people of Judah were able to sing out praises to God in their time of trouble and uncertainty because of the gift that David had given them of writing down his own struggles and his own response to God.

I am in awe of the impact that this man made.  He was, the Bible says, a man after God’s own heart, and yet it is clear that he struggled with the same uncertainties that plague mankind even today.  Verse 5 of this Psalm says, “In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered me by setting me free.” NIV

And, verse 7 says, “The Lord is with me;  he is my helper.  I will look in triumph on my enemies.” NIV

These things are true.  They bear repeating.  David repeated them, people throughout history have relied on them, and I am relying on them right now.  The Lord is with ME, I WILL NOT be afraid.

I will think about that today.

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Filed under Faith, Fear, Old Testament, Psalms

You can either feed it, or fight it.

Psalm 64: 10

Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him, let all the upright praise him! NIV

This verse closes a Psalm.  It opens with, “Listen and help, O  God I’m reduced to a whine and a whimper, obsessed with feelings of doomsday.” MSG  It saddens me to think what must have been going on at this time for David to be this upset about it.

But, by the end of the chapter, he has worked himself through to the solution: Rejoice in the Lord, take refuge in him, stand up and take your rightful place praising the one, true God.

Sometimes, it’s hard when you’re in the depths of a worry to find your way out of it.  At those times, as my mom would say, “you can either feed it, or fight it.”

David was a warrior, but, in this case, he chose to fight his fears by focusing on God’s provision.   He chose to rejoice in the refuge God provides instead of despairing in his own current situation; to praise God whose strength is unending, instead of focusing on his own weakness.

I will think about that today.

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Filed under Fear, Fret, Old Testament, Psalms, Strength

Some beauty will come from uncertainty … you just can’t see it yet

Psalm 52: 8-9

“But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God;  I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.  I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good.  I will praise you in the presence of your saints.” NIV

I stumbled onto these verses this morning as I was looking up the next verse from the “fear not” list in my concordance.  That verse will wait until tomorrow, as these immediately grabbed my attention.

I’ve never seen an olive tree.  And, I confess, I don’t really like olives.  There is (was) a little restaurant in the big city near where I live that served a delicious olive tapenade with some amazing bread, but, the restaurant burned down, and, it might really have been the bread, rather than the tapenade that appealed to me.

In any case, I’ve never seen an olive tree, but, I have seen things made of olive wood, and, I was struck by the variegations in the grain.  They were beautiful.  But, I think, to have that much variety in its grain, that tree must have had a pretty uncertain existence.  It didn’t seem to me that it grew with one consistent little ring covering another year after year, as the trees in my hometown grew.  It rains frequently in my hometown, and when you cut a tree there, you can see ring, ring, ring, ring — all pretty much the same size.

In these verses, David compares himself to an olive tree “flourishing in the house of God.”  The message says, “growing green in God’s house.”  For a tree to put out new, green growth, conditions must be favorable.  David says, “I trust in God’s unfailing love … I will praise your forever … I will hope, for your name is good.”

David is trusting God.  His life has not been easy.  Like an olive tree, he’s had seasons of plenty and seasons of want.  But, at this point in his life and in his writings, he is acknowledging that God is the source of his sustenance, it is his hope in God that sustains him, more than sustains him, permits him to flourish, even in uncertain circumstances.

As I face the uncertainties that today is sure to hold, I will think about that piece of olive wood, and how the uncertainties of its former life contributed to its beauty.

That’s a lot to think about today.


Filed under Hope, Old Testament, Psalms, Trust

Not even the Joneses can really keep up …

Psalm 49: 5-9; 15

Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers surround me — those who trust in their wealth and boast of their great riches?  No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him — the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough — that he should live on forever and not see decay.  But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself.  NIV

There is a movie coming out sometime this summer that I hope to see.  It stars Demi Moore and, according to the previews, she plays the mom of an almost perfect family.  But, when you get behind the scenes in her house, it turns out that she is managing a four-person team of gorilla marketers.  She and her “husband” and their “two perfect kids,” make it their job to become the envy of the neighborhood, so that everyone else will want to buy what they buy and have what they have.

Isn’t that just like us in America?  We say to ourselves, “The new iPhone is coming … my old one must not be any good anymore … I must get on the waiting list for that new one.”  Or, “that color is so last year, I simply can’t wear that outfit to this party.”

But, this verse points out that the only true power is held by our Heavenly Father.  Only He can grant me freedom from the ultimate worry.  Only He can offer me eternal life.  There is no one and not one thing on this earth that should worry me.

I will think about that today.

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Filed under Fear, Old Testament, Psalms

Don’t worry — He gets it …

Psalm 46: 1-3

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. NIV


Just yesterday, I was thinking, “What are we going to do?  If all of this oil causes irreparable damage to the Gulf, what will be the effect?  And, what about all of these tornadoes in Oklahoma and Texas?  And, what about that pesky volcano in Iceland that keeps interrupting air travel, and upsetting my family?”  I’ve been talking to God about that a little bit, and then, this morning, this is the next verse on the “fear not” list in my concordance.

God gets it.  He knows what is worrying me, even before I take it to Him.

And, I love that the Bible is an endless source of wisdom on whatever issue it is that I am dealing with.  It is proof that our Lord truly is the Alpha and the Omega … He has seen it all, He knows it all, He is big enough to handle it all, and He isn’t worried about it.

God is MY refuge and MY strength.

I will think about that today.


Filed under Fear, Old Testament, Psalms

His hands are big enough to hold these times of ours

Psalm 31:14-16

But I trust in you, O Lord;  I say, “You are my God.”  My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me.  Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.  NIV

I love the fact that God gifts his children in many different ways.

I have a sister who is an unbelievable communicator, especially when she is writing.  It is clear to me that God gave her this gift and this passion.  And, she chose to use it.  When she was a kid, if something upset her, she wrote about it.  If something made her happy, she wrote about it.  It seemed to me that she wrote, and wrote, and wrote — the whole time that we were growing up.

Now that we are older, I stand in awe of how God is using her gifts for communication, and how he prepared her — without us being aware of it — for this age when so much of our communication as a society is through the internet and the written word.

It strikes me that David was likely the same sort of person as my sister.  I can easily see him going to the equivalent of his room in his time, taking out the equivalent of a ball point pen and pouring out his heart on the equivalent of our modern day paper.

And, how God has used that!

I am so thankful that David’s writings were preserved, especially his Psalms.

In this one, David is extremely upset. In verse 13 he says, “there is terror on every side.”

But, David trusts God.  And writing that out is, no doubt, helpful to him.

His words are helpful to me too.  In these times when oil is pouring into the Gulf, and things are so unsteady in many parts of the world, I, too, can say, “my times are in your hands.”

God’s hands are big enough to hold them.

I will think about that today.

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Filed under Fear, Old Testament, Psalms, Trust

Rejoice in the tasks that are completed instead of worrying over those that aren’t

Philippians 2:25-28

But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs.  For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill.  Indeed he was ill, and almost died.  But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow.  Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again, you may be glad and I may have less anxiety.  NIV

This morning, I woke up a little anxious.  It occurred to me that I should look up “anxious” in my concordance to see what verses there might apply to my project or my situation.  There are not a ton of verses in the NIV that deal with “anxious” or “anxiety.”  Many of those verses, I already have covered over the last few months.  And, looking at those entries in this blog, which I treat as my own prayer journal, was very helpful to me.

But, this verse is one that I had not yet looked at.

While this verse has nothing to do with my current situation, it is a beautiful reminder of one of the ways to alleviate worry … complete a task.

So often, when something is hanging over my head, it causes me to stress over it.  If I will just turn in and complete it, then I am blessed with the relief that Paul mentions in this verse.  The Message translates verse 28, “So you can see why I’m so delighted to send him on to you.  When you see him again, hale and hearty, how you’ll rejoice and how relieved I’ll be.” MSG

I don’t know that much about Epaphroditus, except that it appears to me that he was a member of the church at Phillipi whom the Phillipians had sent to help Paul.  The man served faithfully, and almost lost his life in the process.  But now, his task has been completed, his health has been restored, and he is ready to go home to his friends and family.  It appears to me that Paul has been very worried about the young man, and he will be relieved when Epaphroditus makes it back home safe and sound.

It is, if you will, “tying a big red bow” around the task that Epaphroditus set out to accomplish.

Today, I will focus on being thankful for the tasks that are completed.   I will rejoice in the relief that comes from a job well done, instead of obsessing over all of the tasks that are before me.

That is a good thing to think about today!

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Filed under Anxious, New Testament, Philippians

Be confident in God

Psalm 27:3

Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.  NIV

David wrote this Psalm.  Earlier in the project, I looked at the first verse of this chapter.  But now, as I continue working through the “fear not” listings in my King James concordance, I’ve found myself back in this beautiful passage.

As I think about this verse in the context of the story of Jehoshaphat, it is truly a message of comfort.

I don’t expect that my little suburban existence will entail an army of flesh-and-blood soldiers besieging me, but sometimes it feels as though the worries that I face are like armies at war against me.

At those times, I will focus on the message of this verse, and I will be confident in God.

That’s what  I will think about today.

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Filed under Fear, Old Testament, Psalms

Take your worries straight to God

II Chronicles 20:20

Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa.  As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem!  Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” NIV

This verse also comes from the story of Jehoshaphat that I began looking at yesterday.  Jehoshaphat and all of the people have prayed about the coming battle, because they knew that three mighty armies are coming to attack them.  In the face of this threat, some of the people have begun to praise God, “with a very loud voice.” (v.19)

As the people start out, Jehoshaphat appoints men to go ahead of them to sing to the Lord.  Verse 21 says that they sang, “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.”  There is a praise song with these words that I just love to sing, but, I did not know its history until I read this chapter yesterday.

I just absolutely love what happens next.  God sets an ambush for the three armies, and, in the confusion, they turn against one another and fight until all of them are dead.  When the people of Judah arrive on the scene, “they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground.” (v. 24)  There was so much plunder, that it took the people three full days to collect it all!

Jehoshaphat knew that his problem was far too large to solve on his own.  He doesn’t even try to solve it.  He takes it to God as an earnest and urgent request, and, even before the problem is solved, he and the people begin praising and thanking God.

This is powerful.  I am wondering, how much different (read better) would my life be if I consistently followed this formula?

There is a lot here for me to think about today.

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Filed under Faith, II Chronicles, Old Testament

When you don’t know what to do, keep your eyes on God

2 Chronicles 20:17

“You will not have to fight this battle.  Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” NIV

This is a great story.  At this point, Jehoshaphat is leading the people of Israel.  He receives a report that three groups of people have joined forces and are on their way to make war on Jehoshaphat.  He calls all of the people to a nationwide fast.  And, all of the people of Judah came together in one place to pray to God.

Jehoshaphat tells God, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” (v.12)

In response, God speaks through Jahaziel, and then ultimately solves the problem.

I love the example of faith here.  All of the people came together in one place.  Jehoshaphat did not go about arming them with the latest battle gear, or strategizing on how to beat down the armies that were on their way.  Instead, he went straight to God.

Verse 12 is my favorite of this chapter.  So often, I find myself not knowing what to do.

Today, as I earnestly seek His will for my life, I will keep my eyes on God.

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Filed under Faith, II Chronicles, Old Testament