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February 25, 2021

I still remember a conversation I heard in a restaurant years ago.  The women were sitting right behind me and one said (in a fairly loud voice) to the other: “You have got to stop worrying!  Anxiety is a sin!  Get rid of it!”  Anxiety is not a sin, but it can control us, and it can lead to sin.  Many people are anxious right now and that is understandable, but we must turn it over to God.  Trust.  Yes, it is hard to do.  Do you remember?  C.A.L.M.
“Why?  What is the cause of our anxiety?  Change, for one thing.  Researchers speculate that the Western world’s ‘environment and social order have changed more in the last thirty years than they have in the previous three hundred’!  Think what has changed.  Technology.  The existence of the Internet.  Increased warnings about global warming, nuclear war, terrorist attacks and, most recently, pandemics.  And what about the onslaught of personal challenges?  You or someone you know is facing foreclosure, fighting cancer, slugging through a divorce or battling addiction.
One would think Christians would be exempt from worry.  But we are not.  We have been taught that the Christian life is a life of peace, and when we don’t have peace, we assume the problem lies within us. Not only do we feel anxious, but we also feel guilty about our anxiety!  The result is a downward spiral of worry, guilt, worry, guilt.  It’s enough to cause a person to get anxious.  It’s enough to make us wonder if the apostle Paul was out of touch with reality when he wrote, ‘Be anxious for nothing’ (Philippians 4:6).  The presence of anxiety is unavoidable, but the prison of anxiety is optional.
Anxiety is not a sin; it is an emotion.  (So, don’t be anxious about feeling anxious.)  Anxiety can, however, lead to sinful behavior.  Jesus gave this word: ‘Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with… the anxieties of life’ (Luke 21:34) Is your heart weighed down with worry?  Celebrate God’s goodness.  This doesn’t mean ignore your circumstances or sugarcoat them.  Rejoice in the Lord.  Celebrate who he is and what he has done in your life, and celebrate his goodness, faithfulness, and forgiveness.  These characteristics of God remain true no matter what you are going through.  Ask God for help.  Paul was saying because of the Lord’s nearness, we can ask him for what we need.  His presence makes way for our prayers.  Leave your concerns with God.  Don’t ignore your concerns.  Don’t pretend they aren’t there.  State them, be honest about them, and then leave them in the hands of the Father.  Meditate on good things.  Our minds are powerful.  They can either be fixated on fear or fixated on good. Which one do you think will ease your anxiety?  Paul was tapping into what doctors and therapists would discover centuries later – that we can transform our minds with conscious meditation on the good.  Celebrate.  Ask.  Leave. Meditate.  C.A.L.M.
Could you use some calm?  If so, you aren’t alone.  The Bible is Kindle’s most highlighted book.  And Philippians 4:6 is the most highlighted passage.  Apparently, we all could use a word of comfort.  God is ready to give it.”  (Max Lucado, God Will Help You)

God, I confess to you that I often feel anxious about things I cannot control.  Sometimes I doubt your strength and I wonder if you care.  I know what your Word says.  I can be anxious for nothing and give all my concerns to you, but I need your help to do this.  Help me surrender, help me believe, help me know you are good despite my circumstances.  Strengthen my faith even when I am anxious.  Allow this struggle to deepen our relationship.  Thank you for your faithfulness.  Remind me of the moments you were faithful in the past so I can cling to them as I walk through difficult seasons of anxiety.  In Jesus’ name, amen. (Max Lucado)
May you find help for your anxiety and worries through help from God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  God bless and God’s got this!

About Rev. Bud Budzinski

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