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Archive for the ‘worry’ Category

“Out of the Ordinary” is offers solid theology building solid women.  One of the contributors speaks of her struggle with worry and how it  begins with forgetting about God’s sovereignty:

Worry is one of my besetting sins. It can cover a wide range of subjects – immediate family concerns, the election in less than 2 weeks, or what’s really happening in Tehran. I begin to worry because I don’t like unknowns, and I don’t like feeling out of control. To compensate, I often try to keep tabs on all the possible variables that could affect the outcome, deluding flattering myself into thinking that I can at least be mentally prepared for what could occur. But this is cold comfort. There are too many factors beyond my scope, and as I consider what is outside of my control, the needle on the worry meter goes up.

I have a less-than-robust background in the absolute sovereignty of God, so I could use that as an excuse. But even wholeheartedly embracing that doctrine, my thoughts of God are often “too human”, as if He is equally perplexed, sitting in the heavens, laughing nervously, and wringing His hands in confusion.

If I dig deeper, there’s a showdown taking a place. . . .

Read more about this showdown here.

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I’m so grateful for the writings of David Powlison and Ed Welch. They offer such sound biblical counsel on many issues of the heart. Here’s a few posts I would recommend to those fellow brothers and sisters who are battling the unbelief of worry, fear, or anxiety.

Ed Welch on “The Secret for dealing with Fear and Anxiety”

David Powlison’s four part article on “What Good is “Don’t Worry’ in These Times?”

Part one, part two, part three, part four!

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This beautiful testimony will be an encouragement to those who struggle with anxiety and panic in their lives.

 

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Perhaps you need this today.  I know I need to battle anxiety.  So here’s a prayer that fortifies us in the fight against the unbelief of anxiety:

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

Dear heavenly Father, once again, your Word has come to me like a fountain of sweet tea in the desert… like a 60 degree 25% humidity morning after a month of oppressively hot days… like a fresh churn of homemade peach ice-cream after working in a sweltering attic all day. How refreshing… how soothing… how timely.

I praise you for commanding me not to be anxious about anything, because anytime you command something you also resource the doing of your will. You are the God who works  in us to will and to act according to your good purpose (Philippians 2:13). Because of the gospel, your commands don’t come as a condemning burden, but as “the perfect law which gives freedom” (James 1:25).

Father, the truth is, I am somewhat anxious today. Here’s a list of things I don’t particularly enjoy—things which tend to fuel and flame anxiety within me. I dread disruptive change… messy relationships… not knowing what “it’s” going to be like six months from now… having to trust you for other people’s sadness and unanswerable questions… having no control over rumor mills and wagging tongues. Alas, my list could go on.

As I look at my list, I realize just how much I want to walk by sight and not by faith… how much I want to be god, rather than trust God… how much more I want to be at ease in Zion rather than at rest in Christ. I repent, Father. The transcendent peace you promise isn’t merely after the storm, but right in the middle of the storm. You are the God who is always working in all things for the good of those who love you. We love you because you first and fully loved us… and continue to love us in Jesus.

My request, my prayers, my petitions? First and foremost, bring glory to yourself, Father. There’s nothing more important, there’s nothing more to be desired. Secondly, give me great joy and confidence in trusting you for others—your sons and daughters whom you cherish. Thirdly, continue to free me to know what faith expressing itself in love looks like—when it’s easy and when it’s not.

With thanksgiving, I offer my prayers. With cofidence, I anticipate your guarding my heart and mind in Jesus. So very Amen, I pray, in Jesus’ tender and triumphant name.

–Scotty Smith

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What are you worried about?

What’s worrying you?  How can you achieve victory over anxiety?  Here are some biblical arguments and specific verses that Justin Taylor posted to help us fight and conquer anxiety in our life

1. God is near me to help me.

Philippians 4:5-6: “The Lord is at hand; [therefore] do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

2. God cares for me.

1 Peter 5:7: “. . . casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

3. My Father in heaven  knows all my needs and will supply all my needs.

Matthew 6:31-33: “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

4. God values me more than birds and grass, which he richly provides for and adorns; how much more will he provide for all my needs!

Matthew 6:26-30: “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? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”

5. What can man do to me?

Matthew 6:25: “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?” [I.e., you still have eternal life even if you have no food; you will still have a resurrection body even if you are physically deprived.]

Luke 12:4: “Do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.”

Luke 21:1618: “Some of you they will put to death. . . . But not a hair of your head will perish.”

Romans 8:31-323538-39: “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? . . . Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? . . . For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

6. Anxiety is pointless.

Matthew 6:27: “Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” [Answer: no one.]

7. Anxiety is worldly.

Matthew 6:31-32: “Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things. . . .”

James 4:4: “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

8. Tomorrow doesn’t need my anxiety.

Matthew 6:34: “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Lamentations 3:23: “[God’s mercies] are new every morning.”

In my opinion, the most biblically practical of all of John Piper’s books may be one of his least known: Battling Unbelief: Defeating Sin with Superior Pleasure.

He defines “anxiety” as “the loss of confident security in God owing to feelings of uneasiness or foreboding that something harmful is going to happen.”

Here’s an outline of verses that can be used as weapons to combat the lies and false promises of the Evil One in contrast to believing the great promises of God:

Battling Anxiety in General

Lamentations 3:22-231 Corinthians 10:13Deuteronomy 33:25Psalm 56:31 Peter 5:7Philippians 4:6-7

Battling Anxiety About Being Useless

1 Corinthians 15:58Isaiah 55:9-11

Battling Anxiety about Feeling Weak

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Battling Anxiety about Difficult Decisions

Psalm 32:8Psalm 25:8-9

Battling Anxiety about Opponents

Romans 8:31

Battling Anxiety about Afflictions

Psalm 34:19Romans 5:3-5

Battling Anxiety about Aging

Isaiah 46:3-4

Battling Anxiety about Not Persevering to the End in Faith

Philippians 1:6Hebrews 7:25Jeremiah 32:40

Battling Anxiety about Death

Romans 14:7-9

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“When we see that our chief end is to glorify God then we will discover what it means to enjoy Him forever.”–Sinclair Ferguson

“Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”–T. S. Eliot

“Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future, I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now.”–Elisabeth Eliot

“Read the Bible daily. Make it part of every day’s business to read and meditate on some portion of God’s Word. Gather your manna fresh every morning. Choose your own seasons and hours. Do not scramble over and hurry your reading. Give your Bible the best, and not the worst, part of your time. But whatever plan you pursue, let it be a rule of your life to visit the throne of grace and the Bible every day.”–J.C. Ryle

“Men entertain thoughts in private, and say words in private, and do acts in private, which they would be ashamed and blush to have exposed before the world. There is an all-seeing Witness with us wherever we go. Lock the door, draw down the blind, shut the shutters, put out the candle; it matters not, it makes no difference; God is everywhere, you cannot shut Him out or prevent His seeing.”-J.C. Ryle

“It’s no wonder that self-help books top the charts in Christian publishing and that counseling offices are overwhelmed. Our pride and our neglect of the gospel force us to run from seminar to seminar, book to book, counselor to counselor, always seeking but never finding some secret to holy living.

Most of us have never really understood that Christianity is not a self-help religion meant to enable moral people to become more moral. We don’t need a self-help book; we need a Savior. We don’t need to get our collective act together; we need death and resurrection and the life-transforming truths of the gospel. And we don’t need them just once, at the beginning of our Christian life; we need them every moment of every day.”–Elyse Fitzpatrick and Dennis Johnson

“There is nothing in us or done by us, at any stage of our earthly development, because of which we are acceptable to God. We must always be accepted for Christ’s sake, or we cannot ever be accepted at all. . . . This is not true of us only when we believe. It is just as true after we have believed. It will continue to be true as long as we live. Our need of Christ doesn’t cease with our believing; nor does the nature of our relation to Him or to God through Him ever alter, no matter what our attainments in Christian graces or our achievements in behavior may be. It is always on His ‘blood and righteousness’ alone that we can rest.”–B. B. Warfield, quoted by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Dennis Johnson in Counsel from the Cross.

” A marriage seminar in a phrase: “Be kind to one another” (Eph 4:32)–Jim Eliff

(HT:  Ryle, First Importance, Words of Grace)

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Attacking anxiety

“The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of faith is the end of anxiety.”–George Muller

I found this quote as I was reading my teaching of Psalm 77.  How well that quote dovetails with what I have been learning in Philippians 4:6-9.  This passage deals head-on with the issue of anxiety and it speaks twice of peace:  “the peace of God” and “the God of peace.”

These four simple verses give a proven strategy for defeating anxiety in our lives.  It makes so simple what we make so complicated.  To defeat anxiety, simply:

  1. Pray right (verse 6-7)
  2. Think right (verse 8)
  3. Do right (verse 9)

Attack anxiety today by these three active strategies in the power of the Holy Spirit!

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