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October 13, 2021

Praying Partners,

Thank you for praying today for our prodigals and for revival. When the needs of those we know and love become overwhelming, we pray. When our own hearts are breaking and hurting with a deepness we never before knew, we pray. When our minds are taken captive by anxiety and life becomes unimaginably unmanageable, we pray.

“Prayer is God’s plan to supply man’s great and continuous need with God’s great and continuous abundance” (E.M. Bounds).

In the Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus both comforted and challenged His disciples on the topic of worry:

That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing. Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don’t worry about these things, saying, “What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?” These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Our English word worry comes from an Old Anglo-Saxon word meaning to strangle, to choke. It was used to refer to the practice of wolves killing sheep by biting them around the neck, thus strangling their prey to death. There is nothing like worry to totally sap a person's energy and usefulness, hence the often used phrase, “I am worried to DEATH.” Worry and anxiety are closely linked.

We all face anxiety on some level. Jesus assumes this and deals with the subject in order to strengthen our faith and minimize the effect it has upon us. God does not want us wallowing in it and He doesn’t want us isolating ourselves and feeling desperate and alone. He is with us and He is for us. If you are feeling anxious, I hope these words will be a source of encouragement to you.

Worry often grips our hearts, and, according to Jesus, we need to reflect on the character of our God. Be reminded that He is our heavenly Father and He places great value upon us as His children.

He values and cares for the birds by providing for them on a consistent basis, and we, who are of much greater value in His eyes, are the recipients of His tender care. Creation around us is our teacher, instructing us that our Father is not negligent or neglectful. He cares for the least. He cares for each one.

The apostle Peter addressed this very point when writing to the haggard, persecuted believers of the first century. He said, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:7).

According to Wuest’s word studies, the word cast is the translation of a word that means "having deposited with." When we bring our cares, our concerns, our worries to God, we leave them with Him, so as not to carry them ourselves. We deposit our money into a bank account and are entrusting the bank to take good care of it. What worries do you need to deposit today for God to take care of?

Carey Nieuwof said, “Focus on what you know is true, not on what you feel is true.” You know that your heavenly Father cares deeply for you!

When worry divides and distracts our minds, we need to lean into God with our whole being. He is there with us in every struggle, supporting and helping us. Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). He wants us to turn our attention to Him and fully depend on Him.

One of the sources of worry is a wrong focus. Jesus started this talk on anxiety by saying, “That is why I tell you…” This opening phrase links back to what He just said about not being able to serve or pursue God and world things at the same time (Matthew 6:24). When our focus is on money, pleasure, personal comfort, and gain, the result will be worry. This is a call by Jesus to keep our eyes on Him and not on the world.

The word used here for worry is the Greek word, merimnao, which means to divide the mind. It is the word Jesus used when he said, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details” (Luke 10:41). Jesus was saying: Martha, your mind has been divided and distracted by the seemingly unfair circumstances; by the hurtful wrong actions of your sister; by the lies that say that God doesn’t know or care about what is happening to me. Her mind was in turmoil, and unrest. This is worry and it requires proper focus.

Worry has the potential to cripple our usefulness for God. We need to appropriate God’s strength for the present moment. In closing, Jesus said, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34).

“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today's strength—carrying two days at once. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength” (Corrie ten Boom).

Our strength is in our God alone and both He and His strength are available to us all today!

Love in Christ,

Bryan and Rachel


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