When Anxiety Overwhelms

Lord, the world seems to be falling apart. Covid spreading with fear spreading faster. Life as we knew it has changed perhaps forever? People afraid to meet in groups or get to close to each other. Kindergartners have to be told to move away from each other. Middle schoolers to stop socializing so much.

Governments in chaos. There is anger and hatred all around. There are so many lies and deceits we aren’t sure who to believe. There are false prophets, those who are sincere but  misled, and those whose intent is to deceive.

A spirit of anxiety covers our world. There is uncertainty.

In the midst of all this, people struggle with sickness of loved ones, afflictions, death, disappointment, addictions, violence, hurt, and betrayal.

Where can we go? Where is the help?

Only in You Lord! You are greater than all our fears. You are more powerful than any human leader. You’re the One who allows leaders to rise and fall. You could say the word and disease would disappear.

But You remind us this world is not our home. Peace here is not the ultimate goal. Being prepared for eternity is the goal. Being ready so when this short life is over we will be with You forever.

Jesus made that possible by dying for us and conquering death. Please, Father, use all that’s happening in the world to turn our eyes to You. Use all this pain to turn hearts to Jesus.

To know this is all temporary and  an eternity beyond our wildest imagination waits for us.

Open our eyes Lord.

Please give us the strength to endure our trials. The grace to forgive our enemies. The power to love as You have loved us. The hope that looks beyond what is seen. The wisdom to discern truth. Help us trust You no matter what happens tomorrow knowing “a better country—a heavenly one” waits for us. Please bring many—bring us all to faith in You.

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The Answer in Troubled Times

When the world seems to be falling apart,

Jesus says, “Take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

And, “In Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17

When fear crouches at the door,

Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.John 14:27

When it seems like there’s no way out,

Jesus tells us, “I am the Door.John 10:9

When we’re spiritually empty,

Jesus offers, “I am the Bread of Life.” John 6:35

When we feel dry and lifeless,

Jesus is willing to give us living water. John 4:10-13

When we’re filled with anxiety,

Jesus promises, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.John 14:27

When we’re lost,

Jesus speaks, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” John 14:6

When we are trapped in darkness,

Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.” John 8:12

When we feel utterly alone,

Jesus reminds us, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

When we fear death,

Jesus calls, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.John 11:25

Jesus is my strength, hope, and help in troubled times. He will answer if you ask Him. Reach out in faith. He’s the rock that can’t be shaken.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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Like a Tree

Psalm 1

Father, help me remember I will be blessed and happy if I don’t follow the counsel of the ungodly and when I don’t stand with those actively doing evil or join those who are scornful and mocking. Help me not to follow the negative patterns and influences around me.

Instead, please guide me to find delight in Your word and meditate on Your truth day and night. Thank You that when I fill my mind and heart with Your words, You promise to make me like a tree planted by a river. My roots will go down deep and I will be fruitful at the right time and I will not dry up. Thank You that You bless me in all I do when I walk with You.

Image by Bianca Mentil from Pixabay

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Reasons We Don’t Need to Worry

Worry imagines the worst.

Toilet paper flew off the shelves when we heard “pandemic.” Basic items became scarce, causing many to selfishly hoard. When we’re afraid, self-preservation kicks in and anxiety rules. Feeling powerless, many of us experience sleepless nights. I’ve worried about my family, the pandemic, division, hatred, increasing violence, and the upcoming election. I find fear robs me of peace.

Worry comes naturally. Why resist? Jesus gives us the answer, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest” (Luke 12:25-26).

Jesus says we have nothing to worry about. When we grasp the truth of who God is and trust His plan, we find freedom from anxiety.

Here are 10 reasons why you have nothing to worry about:

1. God Reigns Supreme

Our all-knowing God controls the universe. He spoke to the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, “I am God, and there is no other… there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning… I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please… What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do” (Isaiah 46:9-11).

God’s desires will prevail. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul wrote, “In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will” (Ephesians 1:11).

While we have freedom to choose, God will use all events to fulfill His aim to glorify His name.  God’s intentions for the universe can’t be hindered.

2. Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s Love

Believers in Jesus are secure forever. Writing to encourage early Roman believers, Paul wrote, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?… I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35, 38-39).

Jesus taught, “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:27-28). We’re guaranteed His love for eternity.

Jesus taught, “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:27-28). We’re guaranteed His love for eternity.

3. Jesus Won the Victory on the Cross

Moments before Jesus Christ’s death, He said, “It is finished (John 19:30). By dying in our place and taking our punishment for sin, He fulfilled His purpose set before the creation of the world to redeem mankind. There’s no other price to be paid. We can rejoice knowing Jesus has won the victory over sin and death.

4. God Turns Our Weaknesses into Strengths

The Apostle Paul, a man with great faith who’d seen many prayers answered, suffered from an unknown aliment. He begged God three times to take it away. Instead, God told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul then declared, “Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). If God can turn Paul’s weakness into strength, then He’ll do the same for you.

5. God Gives Us All We Need for Life and Godliness

Joni Eareckson Tada is a great example of relying on God’s strength. When interviewed by the Christian Post, Joni said, “My weakness, that is, my quadriplegia, is my greatest asset because it forces me into the arms of Christ every single morning when I get up.”  If God allows persistent struggles, we can trust His grace will be sufficient.

We can face anything knowing He provides what we need to get through it. Peter, one of Jesus’s closest friends, wrote, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life” (2 Peter 1:3a).

God gave us the Holy Spirit who empowers us, His inspired written word in Scripture for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (1 Timothy 3:16), and the privilege to “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:12).

6. Our Suffering Will Be Overshadowed by the Glory to Be Revealed

To reassure early believers in Rome who faced continual persecution, Paul wrote, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). Paul endured torture and imprisonment for his faith. Yet, instead of being apprehensive, he focused on heaven. He continued to obey God, trusting the future to Him.

God gave these encouraging words to the prophet, Isaiah, “See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind” (Isaiah 65:17). When we enter His glory for eternity, earthly sorrows will fade.

7. We Have the Most Powerful Resource Available: Prayer

Anxiety attacks our minds. Taking back our thoughts with prayer loosens worry’s grip.

Paul exhorted, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). Turn your concerns into prayers knowing God answers with what is best. Leave the results in His hands, and He’ll provide peace.

8. We Walk by Faith Not by Sight

In Hebrews we learn about the faithful lives of early believers. “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth… they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:13, 16).

Christians throughout history have remained faithful in the midst of wars, persecutions, poverty, and tragedy. They looked forward to their true home in heaven.

We can’t walk in faith and worry simultaneously. Worry wants to see. Faith trusts in the unseen.

9. We’re Never Alone

Pain, trouble, and sorrow are part of life in this fallen world. But in the beloved 23rd Psalm, King David wrote, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Psalm 23:4). In His last instructions, Jesus gave this encouragement, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

Jesus’s disciples learned about trusting Him while on a lake during a furious storm. Fearing for their lives while Jesus slept, “The disciples went and woke Him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’ He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm” (Matthew 8:25-26). When unexpected storms rage, He’s right beside us.

10. Jesus Destroyed Our Enemies

Great stories often end with an epic battle between good and evil. Evil seems to be winning–until good prevails. These all reflect the true battle, except in reality there’s no contest. Teaching how Jesus defeated Satan, our enemy, Paul wrote, “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:15).

Some worry about the rise of the Anti-Christ yet Paul recorded, “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of His mouth and destroy by the splendor of His coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8).

Final Thoughts

These 10 truths can help you deal with anxiety. You’ll still be concerned about the problems you’re facing, but by steadily applying these simple truths you can begin today to worry less and trust God more.

I’ve too often lived in fear, wasting time worrying about potential trouble. In 67 years, most of my worries never happened. Corrie Ten Boom who lived a life of peace until her fifties, when she suffered atrocities in a Nazi concentration camp, wrote in her book Clippings from my Notebook, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, it empties today of its strength.”

Instead of plotting how to avoid pain, try serving Him in freedom taking whatever comes with grace and peace. You’re His beloved child. He knows what you need and will take care of you.  “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

Published at iBelieve

Please share any prayer requests in the comments. I will pray for you.

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No Secrets From God

Father, You know  me completely. I can’t try and convince You of something about me or my motives—You know me better than I know myself. There’s nothing hidden from You. My heart lays bare before You. There are no secrets. No misunderstandings. No possibility of pretending or hiding. Your Spirit in me discerns my soul in ways I can’t even comprehend. You know every thought I’ve ever had and know the true motive of every word and action. You know everything that’s ever happened to me—all that I’ve forgotten or didn’t even know about. You saw me the moment I was conceived. With You there’s no “putting my best face on” no polishing. I’m exposed before You. You know the absolute truth about me and yet—You love me. You called me by name. You sent Jesus to die a horrible death for me.

Jesus, You were willing to come knowing the truth.You accepted me knowing the unfiltered, raw sin in my heart. You have blessed me in countless ways in spite of all that. 

Please Father, knowing me as You do, please let Your will be done in and through me. In spite of me. Please somehow shine Your light in my life. Help me repent of any wrong way. Purify my heart. Holy Spirit, help me grow up. Help me trust You more. Forgive me for so often trying to run my own life. For wanting to be in charge. I’m not in charge and I have no wisdom apart from You. I accept what You have given me. I yield to You Lord. Help me let go of all my own stubbornness and wanting my way. 

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Goal for 2021:

Balance: Spiritually, physically, mentally, in action and deed. 

I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but I will not be mastered by anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12

To only teach what His Spirit gives me:

This is what we speak, not in words taught by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.” 1 Corinthians 2:13

Dear Spirit of God, teach me. Let the words I share with others be those taught to me by You. Please keep me from human wisdom and lead me to depend on You.

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The Good in 2020

A new year! Wow! They come so fast. In spite of the challenges, 2020 seemed to go especially fast. Many can’t wait to see it end and want to erase it or crush it. But there were good things that happened. Positive changes in my own life. 

I was made of aware of how many things I take for granted and how blessed I am: being free to go where I want, eat at restaurants, go to movies and concerts, go to church, have family gatherings, see people’s faces and interact, and so many other daily activities I took for granted. I’m now so thankful for all these! I see that they are gifts and not guaranteed or deserved. I hope I never take all these freedoms for granted again.

Because of early shut down of schools last spring and the forced isolation I began a new journey writing articles for iBelieve and in 2020 I wrote 11! I’m not sure I would have begun if I had been working full-time when it was suggested. All that time alone got me started.

I’m a substitute teacher and I have to keep my teaching license current. It was set to expire in 2021. So during the shut-down, I also took 6 hours of college classes online and renewed my certificate! Again, I had plenty of time to work on it.

I’m thankful for time to reflect, pray, and study. Time to learn and grow. (Full disclosure: I also watched plenty of tv and read multiple novels). 

2020 challenged me to grow in faith and trust God in spite of circumstances. I was reminded of what’s most important: God and people—relationships

2020 expanded and improved new ways of connecting: zoom meetings and similar technology, online learning, online church, live-streaming concerts. It brought us together as a world while we shared in experiencing the same crises. 

Yes, many suffered in ways I didn’t: loss of business income with some even losing their business, sickness, loss of life, deep pain and sorrow, but hopefully faith was strengthened and new doors opened. 

Above all, as a believer in Jesus Christ, I hope we were reminded that this world is not our home.  Jesus never said this life would be easy. In fact, He said in this world we will have trouble. But, He did promise He is preparing a place for us that is beyond anything we can imagine! This year also continually reminded me that God is sovereign  and in control. He’s the one I look to for help. Not any politician or human leader. My life is in His hands and I trust Him to get me through until He calls me home. I’m also reminded that all those I love are in His hands. I don’t control anything and I can’t guarantee anything. I look to Him and trust Him to lead us through the valley of the shadow of death.

Whatever happens in 2021, God will still be God and Jesus has already overcome the world. He is still the way, the truth and the life. I know He will give me what I need to face whatever comes.

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Oh, Lord!

My Grace, my Life and my Hope. You love me with a love so strong nothing can shake it. Nothing can move it. 

You love is stronger than my worst enemy.

Greater than my deepest fear.

And covers my ugliest sin.

How can You love me like that? It overwhelms my soul. I’m unworthy. Underserving. Helpless. Incapable of being pure and good. Bent to selfishness on my best day. And You still love me!

Jesus, You took my place and paid for all this selfishness, pride, arrogance, and stubborn, willful, rebellion. You give me Your righteousness. You enable me to love.

Thank You Jesus! Keep my heart open to You. 

 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:8

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Where is the Hope for 2021?

The world has faced some hard things in 2020. War, famine, plague, discord, and trouble of all kinds. Many if not most people in the world are struggling to survive each day. And these troubles won’t disappear on January 1st. Where is the light in this darkness? How do we find hope? The hope came at Christmas when Jesus Christ was born. Because He lived and died for us rising again to defeat death forever, we can say with Paul, one of His early followers:

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerers through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39 (emphasis mine)

Nor anything else: Neither COVID nor plague, neither racial unrest or prejudice, neither politics or government, neither hatred nor evil: NOTHING can separate us from His love.

Praise to His holy name!!

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Merry Christmas!

Lord, please bless all those reading this today and may they know that Jesus is the light of the world!

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