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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Irises at Donegal Springs Presbyterian Church
Irises at Donegal Springs Presbyterian Church and Cemetery

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"Dealing With Worry"

"So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them" (Matthew 6:31,32).

"Worry is the darkroom where negatives are developed."

Worry is the result of failing to practice active faith in God's constant care over us.  Our faith must be active and constant, for when there's a lapse worry can wrap its tentacles around our heart.  And we know that can lead to negativity and fear.

The source of worry for our Lord's initial hearers in the Sermon on the Mount are objects familiar to us: food, drink, and clothing.  However the issue was not "What shall we eat or drink or wear?" in the sense of choosing between a variety of abundant food choices or what style of clothing to wear from many choices in a large wardrobe.

No, much of the world has no idea of what it's like to have a large wardrobe or an abundant food pantry.  Jesus is speaking of basic necessities, not luxuries.  Thus He is speaking of legitimate concerns His initial hearers had.  But much of our anxiety is prompted from the desire that things should happen as we wish and for our pleasure and comfort rather than fundamentally as God wills for our growth and maturity.

Worry leads to fear and doubt, but trust leads to peace and confidence. "Worry" translates a Greek word (merimnao) that has the sense of turning over and over in the mind, or being divided.  It seems to me that the division in our minds that precedes worry is fundamentally this:  "Will God take care of my needs or will He be negligent in His promises?"

But Jesus said that our heavenly Father knows what we need and the Apostle Paul wrote: "And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).  Is that true or not?

Is God ever exasperated?  Does He ever throw up His hands at a situation and proclaim: "O my, what am I going to do now?"  Of course not!  He's always in complete control even though we, in our finite understanding, are not always able to comprehend His ways or timing. When I read of events such as the huge earthquake in China and the scores of deaths and suffering souls I pray and really wonder how it all works out.

But faith ultimately requires that we trust God and wait to see how it will all work out for good.  And we just may not understand until we get to heaven. 

What are you worried about today?  What is robbing you of "the peace that passeth all understanding"?  Oswald Chambers wrote: "Worry is an indication that we think God cannot look after us."  Today, let us rest in the assurance that it's His nature to love and care for His own, ultimately expressed in His provision of salvation. "The LORD is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made" (Psalm 145:13).

"So why should I worry?  Why should I fret?
'Cause I've got a Mansion Builder
Who ain't through with me yet." *

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, You are the Great Provider who meets all our needs.  We turn to worry when we consider ourselves to be the source of our provisions rather than Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth.  There is nothing we lack when we commit our ways to You and ask You to provide for our needs.  You know what we have need of before we ask it, but You are pleased that we acknowledge You to be our Heavenly Benefactor who provides all our natural, physical, and spiritual resources.  When our hearts are secure in You, we have no fear and, in the end, we will look in triumph on our foes.  That's because we serve a caring and generous God who faithfully watches over us especially during times of testing.  Amen.

* "Mansion Builder" Anne Herring This song was sung by a group called "The Second Chapter of Acts" and takes us back to our early days in the faith!

Personal note: Yesterday we were unable to send out a daily encouragement message. I took Brooksyne to an early doctor's appointment in Hershey concerning her ankle. While there we received a call concerning a ministry need and the rest of the morning shared (mostly Brooksyne) with a distressed soul.  We didn't get home until the afternoon and since it takes a minimum of several hours to prepare a message we decided not to do so yesterday.

Brooksyne will have day surgery on Friday to insert a plate in her broken ankle. Due to her pulled ligaments the plate is needed to stabilize the broken bone.  She is extremely limited but is starting to adjust to her new lifestyle.  

Today's Suggested Music  and Supplemental Resources

"Does Jesus Care?"  Video   I have always enjoyed these two old time singers and the emotion they convey as they sing!

"His Eye Is On The Sparrow"  Video  A classic version by Mahalia Jackson.  The setting and recording are quite dated, but Mahalia's gift for singing and her transparent soul makes it worthy of listening.

"He Leadeth Me"  Lifespring Hymnstory with song   Song only

"He Looked Beyond My Fault"  Video  This last Sunday Dottie Rambo, a gospel singer and writer, was killed in a bus accident along I-44 in Southern Missouri near the town (Mount Vernon) where I preached my first sermon in a state lung hospital nearly 35 years ago. Here is a song she wrote that I have always been blessed by.

"No More Night"  Video  What a powerful perspective!

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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