Worry is a big deal – everyone has struggled w worry to varying degrees. If you are presently in a good frame of mind, its easy to say, “don’t worry, just have faith.” However, if you’re having any struggles w life issues, then it doesn’t seem to be quite so simple, at least not for me. Something that I’ve found helpful is in Matthew 6:25-32 when Jesus talks about not worrying. In these verses, Jesus singles out worrying about clothing, food, drink & time – but I think that His main thought in these verses deals with us not worrying. When Jesus tells us not to worry, He points our focus to God’s creation (birds & lillies) – thereby taking our attention off of the thing(s) we worry about. But even better, in verse 33, He tells us to focus our attention on God.
Personally, I find this to be really helpful when there are worry issues that try to plague me. While I think its really important to not bury my head in the sand & ignore problems, I also know that if various problems make me worry, this isn’t good either. It is very important that my thoughts are surrendered to Jesus’ Lordship – 2 Cor 10:5. So if you’re struggling w sorry, consider memorizing Philip 4:6-8 to help immunize you against the worry disease. 🙂
Today, these are some of the things I worried about:
- Isabell having a sore throat
- David’s bday party this weekend
- my message on worry that i’ve been working on (now that’s funny!)
- work & people issues
- getting my schedule mixed up (i was trying to remember what day of the week it was at 530pm – that’s sad)
- the baked chicken being raw (long story)
Most of us have our list of “concerns”, worries, uncertainties, etc. Here’s something interesting to consider, of the things that we worry about:
40% — are things that will never happen
30% — are things about the past that can’t be changed
12% — are things about criticism by others, mostly untrue
10% — are about health, which gets worse with stress
8% — are about real problems that will be faced
There are many places in the Bible where we’re told not to worry but to trust God. So with this directive, what are some things that you’ve found helpful in learning not to worry? I understand that we’re all growing & not so many of us have achieved “worry-free” living – but if you could share some of your ideas, they could probably help others who read this blog – just leave a comment above. Thanks!! 🙂
Everyday, we get the chance to practice forgiveness in both quantity (lots of “small things”) & quantity (some really hefty, weighty & serious interactions). Here’s the black & white truth: all relationships remain shallow without forgiveness. The deeper the relationship, often times, the greater the need for forgiveness. Forgiveness, for me, is most important because I want my relationship with God to be deep, genuine & transformational. I find that when I’m bent out of shape with someone, it affects my walk w God. Consequently, if I’m going to nurture, guard & be part of growing my walk with Him, I need to continually practice forgiving, even if the person doesn’t apologize for their actions or is unaware of how they hurt you. Forgiveness isn’t based on what the other person does or doesn’t do – it comes from your heart & most of all from receiving forgiveness from your heavenly Father so you can let it flow through you.
Something helpful I’ve found in the forgiveness adventure is to forgive quickly – the longer I wait the harder it becomes to forgive. What helps you to be forgiving???
Ever find yourself asking God for more time, or more money, or more energy, or more wisdom, or more abilities, . . . . . ? At some point in all of our lives, I think we’ve all asked God for at least one of these things.
In my Lord’s Prayer experiment, I’ve found these kinds of requests interesting in light of Jesus’ instructions to ask our Father for “daily bread” – sustenance, essentials necessary for this day, etc. Here’s some of my thinking: if Jesus teaches us to make this request in praying to our Father, then because of God’s character of goodness & provider, He supplies our needs. To me, this means that He gives us what we need for each day, when we bring this request to Him.
As such, I’ve concluded that my heavenly Father does give me what I need for each day: enough time, enough provision, enough money, enough patience, enough talent . . . . In Ps 84:11 it says,”For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly. NKJV
So given this understanding, when I ask our heavenly Father to give me my daily bread, I can trust Him to give me exactly what I need for this day.
Do you ever have trouble trusting our heavenly Father to provide what you need? What helps you trust Him?
Ok, maybe not heart burn like you might initially think – I’ve got something different in mind.
I really like Jesus – I like thinking about Him, praying to Him, writing about Him, singing about Him, reading about Him, being w Him, talking about Him – especially. What really gets to me is to sit w a friend & have an indepth conversation about Jesus, what’s He’s saying, how He’s leading, what He’s challenging us with, experiences w Him . . . . . There’s something that goes off in me when i get to talk in depth w someone i trust about Jesus & what He’s doing in my heart. There’s something that quickens in my heart when I get to listen to someone deeply share about what He is dealing w them about. I love getting to hear & be part of what He’s doing on a massive & micro scale – I just like Jesus.
Recently, I felt like He explained why I get so amped when I get to have a deep conversation about Him: in Luke 24:13-32, Jesus is walking w 2 of His followers, after His resurrection, on a road leading to a city called Emmaus. They had what appears to be a long & indepth conversation w Him where He talked & explained things to them while they walked. When they stopped for a meal, Jesus broke the bread & immediately disappeared & the followers suddenly recognized Jesus & said in vs 32, “did not our hearts burn within us as He talked w us along the road. . . . ?” I find my heart burns in my chest when I get to talk deeply about Jesus w some trusted friends. Maybe this is partly what Jesus meant in Matt 18:20 when He says that when two or three are gathered in His name, that He’s hear with us.
Get some heart burn – talk deeply w a friend about Jesus.
The word, “father” evokes lots of feelings, emotions, thoughts & responses. Unfortunately, because we’re finite & don’t have unlimited understanding, we take our experiences & project them onto other things & relationships – be that good or bad. This can be a problem when you consider that when Jesus teaches us how to pray, He tells us to address God as our Father. Notice that Jesus did not say to address the 1st person of the Trinity as: boss / employer, best friend, roommate, master, slave driver, etc. Jesus tells us to address the person we pray to as our Father in heaven.
Furthermore, I believe that there are a few reasons why our relationship with our heavenly Father can get dysfunctional based on the parable of the prodigal’s son. Consider that both sons didn’t have a very healthy relationship with their father. The prodigal’s relationship with his father lacked intimacy because the son was selfish. The older son’s relationship with his father was dysfunctional because he didn’t even see his father as his dad – consider how he describes his interaction with his dad in Luke 15:29; this doesn’t sound alot like a father / son relationship.
So when you address your heavenly Father, is there some dysfunction you could possibly be projecting onto your relationship with Him? What might this be & could God be wanting to help you make some healthy adjustments so that your interaction with Him is more authentic? Feel free to leave comments / thoughts. 🙂
Ok, before you decide to skip this because you’ve got this prayer well memorized – let me interject some thoughts to interrupt the rote, mundane familiarity. Consider:
- This prayer starts with “our Father in heaven”: wholly other to us, but Jesus uses the “Father” metaphor to give us some kind of familiar context to latch onto, a beginning point (don’t let it trip you up if the father you grew up with fell way short of a “good dad” or if he was simply absent in your life)
- the next 3 “requests” have everything to do with emphasizing God in our lives through: reverence to His Name, obedience to His Kingship and surrender to His will. How often is our prayer life initiated with these 3 priorities? Hmmmmmmm
- the next 4 “requests” ask for God’s participation in our daily living: give me what I need for today, help me to be forgiving in my relationships, keep me away from temptation & protect me from the evil one.
Could I impose upon you to try an experiment for a week? Would you consider making the 1st three God requests every morning when you wake up? After this, on the way to work or school, would you then submit to God the 4 petitions that are more self focused?
I’ve been trying this & have been pleasantly suprised – at present, I can’t find more words to bring more clarity to the experience. its just been good!!