Thursday, February 13, 2014

When I'm chained by worry...things get worse

Philippians 4:19 “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”
I have found such encouragement in the last chapter of Philippians. Each time I read it, I am reminded not to let the worries of this world get me down because God is near. He hasn’t left my side (v. 5). When I feel overwhelmed, I know I should pray about everything (v.6) and offer thanks, then the peace that surpasses all understanding will guard my heart. I know that I know this, but sometimes the journey from what I know to what I do, takes on a life of its own. Have you ever been there?
When I don’t pray, I stew. When I stew, things get worse and I keep the bitterness and anger held inside. I tend to worry more and there is no peace, in fact, I tend to be more negative in those times thinking things will NEVER change. But, what am I thinking about? I'm focusing too much on my circumstances.
Look at Paul, he has every right to be miserable in his circumstances, he’s in prison. Yet, he’s not bitter or angry. He is full of joy and completely content in the midst of his circumstances. The difference between me and Paul is he turned his worries into prayers. He prayed more and worried less. I, on the other hand, tend to be just the opposite. I am famous for worrying more and praying way less than I should. Sometimes the most I can muster is “God help me, and help them too!”
Are you content with your life? Do you feel like you have tried to give your worries to God a thousand times only to take them back and worry about them more and more? I know I have? Thousands of times I’ve said “Starting today, I resolve to give ALL worries to you Lord.” I’ve felt confident walking ways knowing that I had laid everything down at the cross of Jesus. Then, something happens and I the worrying process begins all over again just as if I had never laid anything down at all. It’s awful tiring if you actually sit back and think about it, isn’t it?
Praise God that He is the God of second, third, fourth…thousandth chances right? I know it gets easier. It’s just making the conscience effort to keep laying worries down at the foot of the cross every time I feel myself picking them back up again. So, until I feel a peace about whatever it is I’m worrying about…my mantra will be “Jesus I know I can do (endure) all things through you because you will give me strength.” (v. 13 – paraphrase mine)
What if you’re not worried about anything, you just feel like you’re not loved, or cared for, or your needs aren’t being met? Paul assures us in verse 19 that “the same God who takes care of me (Paul) will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” See! We can trust Christ to meet all of our needs.
Feel like no one cares? God cares for you! 1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because he cares for you.”
Don’t feel like you have the strength to make it through another day? Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
Are you afraid? 1 John 17 – 18 “God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we're free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ's. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.
Are you lonely? Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Don’t be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you for forsake you.
Feel unloved? John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believed in him would not perish but have eternal life.”
Whatever it is you are struggling with, God can handle it…cast your cares on Him. His burden is easy and his yoke is light.
Are you depressed? Isaiah 40:31 “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
He is enough and can handle your greatest pain. Lay it down at his feet and watch him bring wholeness and joy back to the broken pieces of your life.
(originally written February 2, 2010)

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