Don’t Worry…Be Happy

Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e] 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Don’t worry…be happy!  Ha!  That song is going to be stuck in your head now–rolling around and around all day–isn’t it? 🙂  I hope that makes you smile. I love to make people smile.

However, I have to admit that I’m not always smiling.  Which, as a Believer, is hard for me to admit since our Joy should come from the Lord; always springing up from within us.  I know though that I worry too much, and allow that worry to squelch that Joy inside me. 

But…worry is not what Christ wants from us. In fact, it is not what He commanded of us.  Take a look at our reference scripture above, from the book of Matthew.  Those words, in the Bible, are written in red. “So what?” you say.  Well, words written in red were spoken by Christ.  Our Saviour told us (not asked or suggested) not to worry in verse 34.

Yet, we worry anyway.  Have you ever thought about this as being disobedient to our Lord?  I hadn’t until recently.  When I think about how I’ve grieved the Holy Spirit in my disobedience–simply by worrying (of all things)–well it breaks my heart and I have to stop and apologize to my Lord.

I must also admit that I struggle with truly repenting of worry.  See, repentance is not just admitting your sin & asking forgiveness for it.  It is actually recognizing that sin and consciously turning way from it, never to return again.  My struggle comes in the “never to return again” portion.  The least little fall in my budget or possibly the wrong word spoken…those little things can send me into a worrying tailspin.  But…I’ve noticed that as long as my prayer life is strong, and my Bible study is dedicated–basically when I’m in communion with Christ–I don’t worry very much.  It becomes much easier for me to take one day at a time and allow the Holy Spirit to guide me.

But…when I step (even a 1/2 step)  outside of that communion; outside of His Will, I’m in a state of worry and fear.  Whether it’s over bills, lack of money, my job, relationships, health, whatever…I can start to freak out over some of the smallest things in my life.

So, what can we learn from all that I’ve been rambling about here?

Well–first, worry is a form of fear–a fear that something’s going to go wrong or not the way we think it should, etc.   And what have we previously determined that fear is?  Fear is a lack of faith. Now, I’ve written about that being a lack of faith in skills, experience, abilities, other people. But…in the instance of worry (at least for myself anyway), I see it as a lack of faith in our Lord. 

He is:  Jehovah Jireh–the Lord of Provision;  Jehovah Rapha–the Lord of Healing; Jehovah Shalom–the Lord of Peace; Jehovah Sabaoth–the Lord of Deliverance; Jehovah Shamma–The Omnipresent Lord; Jehovah Nissi–the Lord of Victory….and many, many more.

Jehovah is the highest, most Holy name with which the Jewish people refer(red) to God. I’ve read that, they revere it so much that the names of Jehovah God are not spelled out completely because of their complete Holiness and Power.   This means He is absolute.  LORD, RULER, and CREATOR of all.  So…being LORD of All, shouldn’t we trust that as children of God, He will provide great things for us?  (Matthew 7: 9-11– 9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!)

Secondly, as absolute Creator, He created us not with a spirit of fear  but with power and love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).  So if we are created (born) without fear–why do we worry so?  I think fear is a learned behavior (and that will be discussed further on another day); but things come into our lives that shatter the trust with which we are born.  Whether it’s an event that someone else forced on us or whether it’s a bad choice we’ve made on our own, those negative things can tear down the confidence (trust, faith) we have in ourselves or in others.  When that is gone, fear (or worry) starts to make our consciousness its home.

However, if we read more of Matthew, Chapter 6, we see that our Father has adorned the lilies in the field in their finery; and the birds of the air He says do not toil for their food.  He loves us even more and the Word says, “will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?”   We have to trust that He will…and He says He will…”But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ”

I admit that there are days when the world caves in on me so hard that I have trouble trusting that Provision. But I am His child and He has never  failed to provide what I or my family needed.  We might not have what we want but we have food, shelter, clothing, transportation, water, electricity and work.  It is in the moments when I realize that, despite my doubting, my Lord has delivered me anyway…well, that’s when my faith grows a little stronger and the worrying becomes a little weaker.

I am making a conscious effort to trust Him more everyday to take my worry away.  I hope you will take this walk with me.

Heavenly Father, help us to trust you more…to focus on You and Your Wil rather than worry over the little things in this life.  After all, You already have all those things under control anyway.  We may not understand the hows and the whys of your Control and Provision–but helps us to trust it anyway in order to live life to the fullest, inside Your Will. 

In the Holy Name of Jesus I pray…Amen.


Fear isn’t always about being afraid…

Okay…the following doesn’t really go with my blog message today…not directly at least…but I feel led to post some lyrics from a song by Christian Artist, Carmen:

Fear not my child; I am with you always. I know every pain and every tear you’ve cried.

Fear not my child; I am with you always. I know how to care for what belongs to me.

I believe someone needed to hear that this morning.

Now…fear isn’t always being afraid…

As I was driving home last night, thinking over what I had written about fear, God reminded me that fear isn’t always about being afraid.  It isn’t always a lack of faith. Sometimes fear is the fullness of faith.

Wait a minute ChrissyLu…you’re contradicting yourself. 

I suppose it seems that way on the surface, but let’s dig a little deeper.

Another way to describe fear is “to revere in awe, respect, give honor.” With that being the case, we can fear something (revere, respect, honor it) without being afraid of it.

For example, I fear God–but I am not afraid of him.  In other words, I stand and look at Him in awe, revere His Holiness, honor His ultimate power; but I am not afraid of Him. I am not afraid to go to Him in prayer, or in the midst of my helplessness, or in the middle of my sin. In His awesomeness, He still meets me wherever I am, and lovingly wraps His arms around me, just as any good father would do and He deserves reverent fear from us.

In fact, let’s look at Fathers (and Mothers).  We learn to have a certain amount of respect for our parents just because they are our parents. When they are good at being parents, we inately know that, and our respect and honor grows.  We start to “fear” or revere them when we realize they know more than we do; they love us enough to sacrifice for and protect us.  That kind of love deserves a reverent fear for our parents.  Do you see how this can be the same kind of relationship we can have with our Heavenly Father?

On the flip side of that, I realize that  there are parents out there that create fear–actually being afraid–in their children.  That kind of fear can do all kinds of damage in a child…and I believe that, ultimately, that is a tool of the enemy to tear our families apart.   But, the fact remains that there is still our Heavenly Father to whom we can turn, and He will and can parent us when or if our earthly parents fail.  We just have to learn to trust Him (see previous blog “Fear? What Fear??”). 

So you see, fear doesn’t have to be bad; its all in what we are talking about. I can have a reverent fear of heights even.  I can look at a beautiful, tall structure and see it for its usefulness. I can see the beauty in the architecture, and I can even revere it in its awesomeness to be grander than, say, a doghouse.  I can respect the fact that if I stood at the top of the structure, I could probably see wondrous sights of the landscape before me.  However, I also respect the fact that could fall off the top and die.

So…there’s fear…and then there’s FEAR. 😉

I suppose that what I’m getting at is that, some fears are okay–you know your boundaries (i.e., not going to the very top of a tall structure). However, sometimes its good to push past those boundaries (or walls we’ve built) and find our faith….faith in something or rather someONE…who is bigger and great and more deserving to be reverently feard than we could have ever imagined.

That’s where this journey is taking me. I hope to see you at the end of the ride too.

Psalm 111:10
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.

Fear? What Fear??

Fear.  What is fear?  Well, my dear friend and pseudo-mom, Brenda, has told me (too many times to count), that fear is a lack of faith. Wow. That’s simple. Yes, it is…and to quote a line from a movie I saw recently, “Its simple…but its hard.”

Now you can probably surmise from the previous paragraph, that I’ve had some fear in my life. I mean, “Fear is a lack of faith” has become a mantra in my head (and its ALWAYS Mama Brenda’s voice. LOL!)  Fear is something I work on daily to overcome.  It isn’t always big fears. In fact, its usually little things like: “Did I say the wrong thing to that person?” or “Am I doing a good job?” and “Could I really write a devotional?

Of course, a lot of people who know me, will think that I’m writing about faith and fear from a purely spiritual aspect. I will admit that, for the most part, it will be.  But faith isn’t just about God, Jesus Christ or the Holy Ghost.

I’m also talking about faith in one’s self, other people, abilities, dreams, etc.  Remember, fear is a lack of faith. If you are afraid of driving a car, your lack of faith might be in your ability to handle the car or in the ability of others to watch out for you…or even a lack of faith in their driving skills. My fear of large bodies of water and/or swimming comes from my lack of faith that the water will buoy me, and my lack of faith in my ability to actually swim.

So…the question do we overcome fear??

This is something I’m still learning daily but I believe its quite simple.

1) We gain faith to over come that which we fear.

2) We trust that God is purposeful and omnipotent in His creation of us, so why should we fear?

So we gain faith…well how in the world do we do that ChrissyLu?  Well, we learn more about that which we fear. Take my aqua-phobia for instance.  I should learn more about the properties of water and how it would carry my body.  I could take swimming lessons to help me learn how to manipulate the water and my body to make me float or to give me the ability to swim.  Then I put those things into action. When I “test the waters” so-to-speak, I will learn to trust what I know, thereby increasing my faith in that thing.

Well, “what about trusting God?” you might ask.  Again, its simple…but its hard…because it takes some discipline.  It goes back to learning more about your subject matter.  Its hard to trust God if you don’t know Him.  He gives us a wonderful book called The Bible which reveals his character and nature to us. It shows us His promises and His love for us. By learning more about Him, and how He can live in us, we learn to trust Him…and His creation of us…and the fact that He gives us what we need on a daily basis.

Both of these things, I’m putting into practice right now.  You see, I’ve had a fear of writing this devotional series, even though God has been telling me to do it for a couple of years now.  My fears have been: “What if no one likes it?”  “What if I write something that makes someone else angry?”  “I’m not as far along in my Christian walk as other writers…what if I say something wrong.”

But God says those things are not for me to worry about…or to fear.  You see, writing this is part of MY journey in dealing with fear and worry (yes..the two go together). But if someone else benefits from this, then all the better.  I have to trust that God knows what He’s doing in planting this idea in me. I have to trust Him to bring it to fruition…not myself. 

I plan to take a look at scriptures that pertain to fear–mainly ones where God tells us not to faear.  Of course, ultimately, I plan to follow wherever He leads me. So, here I go.  You can come along for the ride if you want. There’s plenty of room!

Isaiah 41: 8-13

8 “But you, Israel, my servant,
   Jacob, whom I have chosen,
   you descendants of Abraham my friend,
9 I took you from the ends of the earth,
   from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
   I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
   do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
   I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 11 “All who rage against you
   will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you
   will be as nothing and perish.
12 Though you search for your enemies,
   you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you
   will be as nothing at all.
13 For I am the LORD your God
   who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
   I will help you.

Starting to blog….

Well friends…here I go. I’m branching out into the world of blogging. This is one area of the internet that I thought I might shy away from. However, God has a plan for me and I see blogging as one of the tools He intends for me to use to work that plan.

So, with that being said, I hope you’ll take a few minutes, when I start posting, to take a break and read the blogs. Share your thoughts…just be gentle. I’ll be honest in saying that I don’t take harsh criticism well. LOL.

Hope to see you all on the blog-side!