Tag Archives: do not be anxious

Do not fear

Do not fear.

We are told this 365 times in the Bible, once for every day of the year. Why do you suppose that is? God always reveals to us what is important for us and what is essential for living vital and abundant lives. We can presume this phrase is used so frequently because it’s an attitude of our heart and our mind that prevails over our lives. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like fear. It seems more like anxiety or stress or worry or a certain preoccupation. It manifests itself When we become impatient with others, ourselves, or even God. But what it really is, if we take off the final mask, is fear. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of feeling inadequate and useless. Fear that God’s promises aren’t really true, fear of being alone.

Whatever it is, God’s response is always, “Do not fear.” Do not fear, I am with you. Do not fear, I will never leave you. Do not fear, my grace is sufficient for all your needs. Do not fear, all things do work out for good  for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.

“Do not fear” always  requires trust. We can trust ourselves, someone else, in accomplishments or in things and accumulations. But ultimately “do not fear” means trusting God for what he says is true, for what he has done, for what he is doing now that we cannot see, and for how he will ultimately prevail over every circumstance in our lives. Consider Isaiah 43:1–3:

” but now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel:

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

Maybe you’re one who finds it easy to memorize entire passages like this one.  Often, for me, I need to break this down into smaller bits that I can grasp.  I connect these like train cars, connected together to the Power of the engine that can pull the true weight of the message I need  to carry from my head to my heart.  The “cars” in this passage are found in the operative words “I have redeemed you,” “I have summoned you by name. These are connected with “you are mine,” and “I will be with you.” The “engine” in this analogy is of course, God’s faithfulness, unending love, and amazing grace.  So I repeat these phrases over and over in my mind and on my lips:

I have redeemed you,

I have summoned you by name,

You are mine.

I will be with you.

Repeat this several times out loud. Shut out the rest of the world for even a minute or two. Let truth replace lies. As you keep meditating on these fundamental truths, can you sense the power, not of repeated chants, but the power of the one who first spoke them into being when he created you?  We can perseverate on problems or meditate on the solutions to our cares. It’s a choice we make hundreds of times a day,  to focus on our problems or to turn our eyes upon Jesus.

What ever the problems that beset us we can say to ourselves “do not fear” because we who believe in Jesus belong to the king of kings, to the lord God Almighty.

How should we pray? (Maybe not like this)


There are no ‘magic’ words or secret codes prayer phrases; we should pray from our hearts. But let’s invite God to search and cleanse our hearts before we make our requests. Our prayers get mixed up when our minds overrule the message of our heart. For example:


The detailed informant:
“Oh Lord who sees and knows all things, please watch over Judith, the one in our flock who lives at 457 Main Street, the two-story house with the blue shutters. She’s having gall bladder surgery 8:30 a.m. Central Time Friday at Our Blessed Hope Hospital on South Street. Give Dr. John Walter Bernard II a good night sleep and his favorite breakfast so he will be strong and concentrate on the medical procedures he was taught at John Hopkins University back in 1985.”


The name dropper:
“Lord, I just ask you, Lord, to, Lord, be with those, Lord, who, need you, Lord.” (You wouldn’t talk this way to your friend Betty; why talk to God this way?)


The Gossiper:
“Lord, change the heart of sinner Sam Jones who I heard is having an adulterous affair with Suzy Mae.”


The King James prayer:
“I beseech Thee, in The Holiest Of Holies, O Lord. Heareth the prayer of Thy lowliest worm, and forgiveth mine gravest iniquities…” (This might be okay if you talk that way in real life.)


The self-seeker:
“God, watch over my red sports car. Protect it from scratches and dents so it can shine for your glory.”


The vengeance-seeker:
“Lord go after the person who dinged my new car in the parking lot today. Pursue them until the end of their days. Punish them with your mighty right hand so that I, your righteous one, will be avenged and lifted up.”


The ‘just’ prayer:
“Lord I JUST ask that you will do JUST (do this) and JUST (do that) in my life. . . And JUST these other things on my 12 page prayer list, JUST like I want.”


The pharisee (praying loudly):
“Oh God, you know my righteous ways, how I always praise you and seek only to be blameless in your sight. Surely, you’ve noticed how blameless I already am! And thankful you for giving me such an extremely humble heart.”


The comfort seeker:
“Lord I want to know you and be just like you. Only protect me from all pain and sorrow and suffering. Let my life be an example of worldly success so others will know that you are my God.”


The babbler (when asked to say a simple grace at meal time):
“O Lord, I want to lift up to you all the believers of the world, the plagues in Africa, the wars in the middle east, the infidelity of … (that other political party). Thank you Lord for watching over me all my days, for watching over the day I was born and all the days of my childhood and…” (Praying without ceasing is intended to be a condition of our heart, not a litany of endless words.)


The intent here isn’t to be judgmental of others but to ask God to guard our own hearts. Don’t worry over your prayer words. Just come to Him with thanksgiving in your heart and let your requests be known.


“Lord, teach us to pray as John taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1)


“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)



Having a bad day?


Are you having a bad day?
A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day?


Someone recently commented on Facebook that they were ‘fed up’. One of their ‘friends’ replied, “Mondays are like that.”  We do get fed up, don’t we? What makes you sometimes ‘fed up’? Sometimes I get ‘fed up’ when I constantly forget things or make mistakes I have to correct.  Oh, I could probably make a long list and so could you. But let’s not, okay? Let’s hit the fast forward button to whatever situation bugs us today and see beyond it to another reality:


Are your kids complaining driving you crazy? It won’t be long before there is complete silence in the house and you’ll long for their presence.


Don’t like what you have to eat? Millions would love to have anything to feed their family!


Do your legs hurt? There is someone out there who would love to have legs! (I was convicted of this once as I was whining to myself about my thrombosis and came upon a man stumbling down the sidewalk with one leg and a crutch.)


Depressed about your retirement savings? Many people in the world have to work their entire life with little hope of rest.


You know, my mom used to say things like this. Probably yours did too. But it turns out mom was right! Of course, there are sometimes much more serious problems that make for a bad day or continuously bad years!

But regardless of the depth of our pain and sorrows we all have to ‘choose this day’ how we’re going to get through it. We can either curse the darkness or light a candle. One such light for not letting bad days defeat you is to find a reason to be thankful. You might be having a bad day, but at least you are having a day! Believe it or not, some would love to have your day. It might not be the day you wanted it to be, but it is your day to live. How this was confirmed in my journey through leukemia. You probably have seen people persist through severe pain and grief because they chose thankfulness and hope over resentment and despair.


The way we live out our bad days will either steal our joy and crush our spirit or it will strengthen us and encourage us with a reminder of what is good. It will either drive us to despair or help us to hope. And the way we live out our bad days affects others too. Grumpiness and thankfulness are both contagious. Don’t let your circumstances make it a bad day. Talk to God about it and choose a thankful alternative.


“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” – Philippians 4:6



Do What Jesus Said: Do Not Be Anxious About Your Life

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:24-27, 33-34

I admit, this passage is sometimes difficult for me. There have been a number of times in this journey through Leukemia that I have been anxious about my condition, my pain, and sometimes my future. And yet each day, God would bring me back to His promises, His protection, and His provision for me. And never has He abandoned me.

It’s hard to bring light to the world if we are anxious about things like money, clothing, food, etc. And it is not just that worry is useless (it changes nothing except causing us stress). The other, larger problem is that these worrisome things tend to rule our lives. Jesus says they become our master. We can’t at the same time live by faith and trust in God and also worry about things. It is one or the other.

Christians, what positive impact do we have on the world if we worry and fret and are in fact ruled by the same things as those who don’t know Jesus? If our lives are preoccupied with fulfilling our own pleasures we end up looking a lot like the world, entrapped in darkness. And where is the hope in that? It is not a matter of what we possess, but rather what possesses us. Let’s let Jesus who is The Light of the World shine in and through us. Let’s do what Jesus said: Do not be anxious about your life. What worry owns you? Why not give it up and seek first (and always) the kingdom of God. You’ll be better for it and so will those around you.