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Friday, February 16, 2018

Don't Worry About Anything!

By Dennis Edwards

I was thinking and praying about what I should share during a meeting that was coming up at which I needed to give a talk. I had talked to my son and he had suggested that I tell a story. He said, 

“Dad, everyone likes stories.” 

So here goes my story for you.

I remember the other night when I was not able to sleep because of the worries I had. I was going to bed. It had been my birthday. Someone had made a cake for me and my family had sung Happy Birthday. We had had a nice meal and fellowship together and yet, when I lay down to sleep, I was feeling worried about certain situations in my family, our finances, the future, my children, etc. Why do I not have that peace that passes all understanding which it speaks of in His word? 

I picked up my Bible to try to find the passage in the New Testament with those words. I flipped through the four small epistles of Paul, where I thought I should find it, but did not. As I lay my head back down on the pillow, the voice of conscience, God’s voice, said to me; 

“You need to commit all those things to me in prayer.” 

And so I did. I prayed with all my heart and threw my worries and concerned unto the Lord’s shoulders.

As soon as I had finished praying, His peace came upon me and I was able to rest in peace. The Lord had showed me the importance of bringing everything before Him in desperate prayer.

In the morning I used Google search and found the passage in Philippians: 

“Be careful for nothing,” or in other words, do not worry about anything, “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus our Lord.”1 

In order to find that peace that passes understanding, we need to bring all our requests to God in prayer. 
And in the next verse it says: 

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, and whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.” 

In other words, keep your mind on the positive. Keep fighting the good fight of faith in your mind, “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”2

Well, I had done that the other night and it had worked. I had prayed and had poured out my heart to the Lord. But why was I back in the same place again a few days later? Why was I having anxious thoughts again?

In the Psalms we read something similar. 


“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?”3 

“Disquieted” means to be uneasy or anxious.The psalmist is expressing the same  idea. "Why am I worried?"

That's when the Lord brought to my mind, the penultimate verse in Hebrews 11, the faith chapter, which talks of all the great heroes of faith in the Old Testament. It says, 

"And these all having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise.”4 

They did not receive the promise. Many of them went to their death for their faith and God did not save them. Sr. Thomas More, for example, would not confirm and sign the oath saying that he agreed that King Henry the 8th was legal head of the Church of England. He refused to sign because of conscience to God, and God did not save him. He lost his head.

Nevertheless, how was he able to have such conviction even in the face death? How was he able to place his head on the block and lift up his arms as a sign to the ax man to chop off his head? Well, we need to look back to the beginning of that passage in Hebrews to find the answer. We find, 

“Wherefore seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”5 

They had to keep looking unto Jesus. We need to keep looking unto Jesus.

How many times do you read in the Bible about crying unto the Lord with all our hearts? In the Psalm it says, 

“As the hart pants after the water brook, so pants my soul after thee oh God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God.”6
And it continues with, 

“When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me.”7 

Are you pouring out your soul to God? In Jeremiah we find,

“You shall seek me and find me when you shall search for me with all your heart.”8 

Jesus said, 

"Seek and ye shall find,”9 

and that those who 

“hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled.”10 

Are we really seeking the Lord with all our hearts? Or are we letting the cares and the riches of this life choke out our time with God so that we become unfruitful for His kingdom?11

In the book of Samuel, we see Hannah, the wife of Elkanah weeping bitterly before the Lord in the temple for a son, as she was barren. It says, 

"And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore.”12 

Eli, the high priest, sees her and thinking she is drunk, rebukes her. She responds, 

“No, my Lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord.”13 

He tells her, 

“Go in peace and the God of Israel grant you your petition.” “So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.”14 

 And so she returned with her husband to their home and the Bible says,

“And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her.”15

How many of us are pouring out our hearts to the Lord in desperate prayer? Let us just look at some of the Psalms. How many times do they speak of crying out to the Lord in prayer, seeking the Lord, calling upon the Lord? We will go through a few of them for you to meditate upon.

I sought the Lord and he heard me and delivered me from all my fears. This poor man cried and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.”16

“In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God. He heard my voice… and my cry came before him, even into his ears.”17

“I called unto the Lord in my distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place.”18

“I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my supplications. Because he has inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell got hold of me: I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the Lord; O Lord. I beseech you, deliver my soul.”19

“In my distress I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me.”20

“Unto you lift I up mine eyes, O you that dwells in the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that he have mercy upon us.”21

“Out of the depths have I cried unto you, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice: let your eyes be attentive to the voice of my supplications.”22

“As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon will I pray and cry aloud and he shall hear my voice.”23

I guess there must be something about crying out loud in an audible voice.

“Hear my cry, O God, attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto you, when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”24

“O God, you are my God; early will I seek you: my soul thirsts for you, my flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; … Because your loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise you. Thus will I bless you while I live: I will lift up my hands in your name. …When I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the middle of the night. Because you have been my help, therefore in the shadow of your wings will I rejoice. My soul follows hard after you.”25

How many of us are following hard after the Lord, with all are heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind? For the Lord has said,

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope in the end.”26

So remember when you are cast down and disquieted within you the words of the psalmist,

"Put your hope in God: for you will yet praise him for the help of his countenance, and your God.”27

We are going to close with a thought from James and then with a prayer. James tells us,

“Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he has committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, pray one for another that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”28

Let us pray and commit our problems, our worries, our finances, our families and our future into the Lord’s hands. He has promised to keep us, to be with us and give us that peace that passes all understanding, so that we can walk in faith without fear, without doubt and without worry. In Jesus name we pray!

Notes:

1 Philippians 4:6-7
2 Philippians 4:8
3 Psalm 42:11
4 Hebrews 11:39
5 Hebrews 12:1,2
6 Psalm 42:1,2
7 Psalm 42:4
8 Jeremiah 29:13
9 Matthew 7:7
10 Matthew 5:6
11 Matthew 13:22
12 1 Samuel 1:10
13 1 Samuel 1:15
14 1 Samuel 1:17,18
15 1 Samuel 1:19
16 Psalm 34:4,6
17 Psalm 18:6
18 Psalm 118:5
19 Psalm 116:1-4
20 Psalm 120:1
21 Psalm 123:1-2
22 Psalm 130: 1-2
23 Psalm 55: 16-17
24 Psalm 61:1-2
25 Psalm 63:1,3,4,6,7,8a.
26 Jeremiah 29:11
27 Psalm 42:11b
28 James 5:13-16

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