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Worry Is A Waste

May 17th, 2017

Worry is a waste of time and energy

 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.” Philippians 4:6 NLT

My thoughts and comments today are that, worry is a waste.”

Years earlier, I learned a helpful prayer, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things that I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Accept, or change. Worry is the destroyer of serenity, and never a viable option.

Apprehension is the implied belief that God either doesn’t care or is unable. Worry adds nothing of value and depletes so much that is helpful and healthful. Admittedly, there are plenty of things that cause worry. Anxious thoughts are the product of majoring on matters you do not control and cannot change. God is in control and He can be trusted to care for the things that concern you. Until and unless you come to peace with that knowledge, you will remain vulnerable to worry and the anxiety that results. Let me suggest some practical things about worry.

Worry is unhelpful. Worry does not work. Here is the unpleasant reality, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always gotten.” Worry is wearying to body, soul, and spirit, producing feelings of mental, emotional, and spiritual futility. Worry never solves a problem nor changes a circumstance. It neither changes the past nor controls the future. Logically, if worry doesn’t work, why waste time and energy worrying?

Worry is unrealistic. Worry exaggerates any problem. Worry is never in proportion to reality. It takes a minor, but real, concern and makes it major. Worry magnifies a problem, distorts reality, exaggerates emotions, while achieving nothing productive. Worrying about something you cannot change is futile. Worrying about something you can change is stupid; just change it. Either way, don’t worry! Valuable, emotional energy is better expended elsewhere?

Worry is unhealthy. Worry distresses you physically. Worry causes ulcers, tension headaches, stomach distress, and insomnia while you continually worry without relief. It makes you both unhappy and unhealthy. The root of the word is, “to strangle, to choke.” That well describes what results. Life and its joy are seriously diminished by anxiety. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.” Philippians 4:6-9 NLT.

Worry is unnecessary. Your Heavenly Father cares for you. “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NKJV. God does more than care about you; He provides ample care for you. Consider Jesus’ words about His Father’s care for you. “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. But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Read Matthew 6:25-34 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to choose for your days to be carefree, fruitful, and fulfilling.                    

Christian Communications 2017

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Clocks and Calendars

August 24th, 2016

Worry and hurry suggest the urgency of a wrong agenda.

“The Lord will work out His plans for my life.” Psalm 138:8 NLT.

My thoughts and comments today are about “clocks and calendars.”

So much of our daily lives and activities seem to be governed by clocks and calendars. God operates within His plans that are timeless and eternal. Timing is everything. The right thing at the wrong time is no better than the wrong thing at the right time. Sometimes, I am off schedule, earlier than was necessary or later than is useful. However, God is always exactly on time – His time. Maybe you are in a circumstance where you think that God is late, that He should have done what you asked much sooner. Be assured; “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8-9 NIV.

Lazarus, a dear friend of Jesus, was seriously ill. Martha, his sister, asked Jesus to come, but for reasons known only to Jesus, He delayed several days before coming to Bethany. Read John 11:1-45 NIV. Understandably, Martha was distraught. In her view, Jesus had done the wrong thing. While Jesus delayed, Lazarus died. Martha was heartbroken. The situation seemed irreparable. By her view of events, Jesus was too late. Is God ever too late?

You have probably had similar emotions when God hasn’t worked when you expected or in the way you anticipated. Disappointed, hopeless, and upset, Martha saw an opportunity missed. Jesus saw an opportunity whose time had finally come. “Lazarus’ sickness . . is for the glory of God.” John 11:4 NKJV. The glory of God is rarely achieved in the manner you anticipate or on the schedule you had hoped.

There is never a wrong time for God to do what is His will to do. God’s timing is flawless. Jesus’ schedule is completely aligned with His Father, always and completely. “The Son can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son does also.” Read John 5:19-21 NIV. That should be your goal as well. At God’s time, in God’s way, and for God’s purpose, God’s will is best accomplished.

Your dilemma is not a project for God to complete but rather a process for your faith, trust, and obedience to develop and strengthen. “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36 NIV. You may not prefer His process, but His process is best. God is more concerned with doing right what He plans for your life, than He is about getting it done how and when you think it ought to be. His vision and purpose will be fulfilled.

 Worry and hurry usually suggest the urgency of a wrong agenda – your agenda instead of His. Persuading God to accept your clock or calendar will be futile and frustrating. Be assured as was David, “The Lord will work out His plans for my life.” Psalm 138:8 NLT. Beware of your insistence and impatience. Grow your confidence and expectation as you welcome God’s timing on every occasion. “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to trust God for the calendar and moments of your life.

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Christian Communications 2016

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The Practice of Peace

July 29th, 2015

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.” Philippians 4:6 NLT.

The practice of peace begins with prayer.

My thoughts and comments today are about “the practice of peace.”

Every day, disputes and differences polarize our lives and relationships. An unfriendly gap widens between religious and secular beliefs. Economic inequality divides communities, nations and our world. Political and international conflicts threaten our personal well-being and global safety on every continent. In today’s world, peace seems elusive. I observe that the less real peace we have in our hearts and homes, the more conflict we cause in every other realm. The God of Peace and the Prince of Peace are the only source of peace.

Incorrectly, people assume that peace is the absence of troubling circumstances. If that were true, there could be no peace at all, because problems are a fact of life. Jesus was clear, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV. Problems threaten your peace of heart and mind; perspective is at the heart of peace. Your evaluation influences your expectation.

Here is the Apostle Paul’s practical advice: “Don’t worry about anything – INSTEAD – pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all He has done.” Philippians 4:6 NLT. You can worry, but praying and giving thanks is healthier. Worry and prayer are mutually exclusive. Worry is natural. Prayer and thankfulness are optional, but wiser choices to make. Often, the last things a person tries are the only things that effectively work. The practice of peace begins with prayer. Prayer opens your heart, settles your fears, and provides solutions.

Paul promised that prayer with thanksgiving is the sure path to experience God’s peace – “Shalom” – the peace of God in every circumstance. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 NLT. The apprehension you feel when things are unsettled, or the mounting irritation from relational conflict, or the perplexity of spirit are dissipated in the simple, sincere practice of talking with God with thankfulness, reverence, and expectation. “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” Romans 14:19 NIV.

The prophet Isaiah wrote, “The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.” Isaiah 32:17-18 NIV. You experience peace around you when you welcome the peace of God within you – peaceful dwellings, secure homes, undisturbed rest.

Today, I pray for you that the peace of God within you surrounds and keeps you.

Christian Communications

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Worry and Fear

September 11th, 2014

“Casting all your cares upon Him for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NKJV.

Unattended, worries and cares ultimately become anxieties and fears.

My thoughts and comments today are about “worry and fear.”

This date seems to have permanently marked our national consciousness. With the horrific and sobering terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the American assumption of safety and invincibility was sorely shaken. The national psyche was greatly changed and this date has become a metaphor for anxieties and fears. Daily life has been forever altered; borders are seen as vulnerabilities. We feel less safe in our cities or homes. Those insecurities added worries and cares where we previously gave little thought. Yet today, no one enters an airport without some measure of anxiety, if only from the added security procedures necessitated. Again, our world finds itself dealing with extreme religious and ideological differences that threaten our safety.

Whatever the calendar date or international tensions, everyday life holds uncertainties. Worries and cares are not reserved for major events. “Do not worry about your life . . who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Read Matthew 6:25-34 NIV. Worry is an exercise in futility.In the classic children’s book, Winnie the Pooh, by A.A. Milne, there is a character, Eeyore, who is generally characterized as pessimistic, gloomy, and depressed. Eeyore always expected the worse, assuming to foresee anything that could go wrong. Learn from Eeyore; that is a sad and unhappy way to live, for you and others around you. Unattended, worries and cares ultimately become anxieties and fears.

I am not certain how much difference, if any, there is between worries and cares. Both obviously refer to concerns that are unsettling to one’s thoughts and emotions, and they could and would share a common origin. For my purposes, I differentiate this way. Cares are worries that refuse to be resolved or released.

Whether it is worry at the moment or cares that become more rooted with each day, both are disquieting to your spirit and destructive to peace of mind. No one is completely free from them, but there is something you can do about them, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all comprehension shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NAS.

What will you do with your worries and cares? For either or both, God’s answer is simple, “Casting all your every care upon Him for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7. It really is that easy. Give it away. Your heart doesn’t need it; your friends don’t want it. God will take it. In Paul’s classic discussion of God’s love, he wrote, “I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from His love . . Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away.” Romans 8:38 NLT.

Today, my prayer for you is to know that God cares for you and everything you care about.

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Distractions and Diversions

May 28th, 2014

“Anyone who starts to plow, then keeps looking back is of no use . .” Luke 9:62 TEV.

The devil is the master of distraction and deception.

My thoughts and comments today are about “distractions and diversions.”

Distractions happen. Distractions waste more of a person’s time than we realize when they occur. Ironically, while writing this, I became distracted. That happens easily to any of us. Interruptions occur; misdirection results. Here’s the problem. Typically, you are not interrupted by more important matters. Usually, lesser things crowd into your life and crowd out of your life things you cannot afford to procrastinate. Your success results from setting priorities, maintaining focus, and avoiding distraction.

A distraction can be a brief, pleasant diversion. However, any diversion has potential for a misdirection you may not intend. That can be costly if not noticed and corrected. Unfortunately, distractions come in all shapes and descriptions, some in the pretense of responsibilities or others disguised as opportunities. The devil is the master of distraction and deception, using love of the world, desires, worry, regret, greed, anger, offences, or temptations to dissuade you from being the person Christ means you to be.

Jesus spoke of the danger of spiritual distraction, “Anyone who starts to plow and then keeps looking back is of no use for the Kingdom of God.” Read Luke 9:57-62 TEV. See John 6:66-69 NIV. Jesus’ clearest teaching on distraction is found in a parable He told. Read Matthew 13:3-8 NIV. The same seed – with incalculable potential for good – had differing results, according to the reception of its truth. Jesus was not talking about farmers and fields, nor seed and soils. In His story, Jesus was describing people into whose hearts and lives the Word of God was sown, inefficiently in some but effectively in others. Read Matthew 13:18-23 NIV. Whatever diminishes your obedience to God’s Word, His will, and His ways is a distraction you cannot afford.

Beware; distractions preempt attention from what God is saying and doing in your life. “The evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.” Vs 19. Your spiritual life requires priority and focus. Distractions dull God’s calling in your heart and diminish His dreams for you before their time of harvest.

Be careful; distractions prevent the Word of God from becoming rooted in your heart. “Since he has no root, he lasts only for a short time. When trouble comes . . he quickly falls away.” Vs 20-21. Avoid shallow convictions and superficial faith. See Colossians 2:6-7 NKJV.

Be watchful; distractions preoccupy your mind with worries and fears instead of God’s Word. “The worries of this life choke [the Word], making it unfruitful.” Vs 22. Worry ignores God’s Word while consuming thoughts and emotions with fear, suffocating hope, and destroying expectation. See Philippians 4:6-8 NLT/2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV.

Jesus’ conclusion is, “. . the man who hears the Word of God and understands it. He produces a crop yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.” Vs 23. Paul was neither distracted nor dissuaded, “None of these things move me, nor do I count my life dear to myself . . one thing I do, forgetting . . reaching . . I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Acts 20:22-24/Philippians 3:13-14 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you be steadfast, immovable, and always abounding.

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