Week of May 19th

“Don’t worry about anything ….”  Phil 4:6

Right!  That’s a little like telling a fish not to swim or a bird not to fly.  Isn’t it in our DNA to worry?  Perhaps, but fixing our concentration on worry can have devastating effects on our health and on our relationships.  Here are some passages about worry!

Prayer:  Gracious and Generous God, you offer your gift of perfect peace through the power and presence of your Holy Spirit.  Wrap your arms of perfect peace around me today so I may bring hope and help to others in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Monday - Philippians 4:1-8

“Don’t worry about anything….”  Sure, Paul.  That’s easy for you to say.  But wait.  Scholars believe that this is the last letter Paul wrote that we still have today.  And scholars also believe that Paul wrote this while he was in prison.  We also know Paul was beheaded by Roman authorities for his faith in Jesus Christ.  How can Paul tell us not to worry?  Where does Paul tell us to turn our focus?  What do we do while we are turning our focus away from our worries?

Tuesday -  Isaiah 26:1-6

It would be easy to live in Old Testament days, wouldn’t it?No worries?No fears?Wait, while Isaiah was prophet the northern kingdom was destroyed by the Assyrians, and later the Babylonians would destroy the southern kingdom including the holy city of Jerusalem.Many of the people would be captured and forced into slavery in the empire.How does Isaiah draw this picture of peace in the midst of war and destruction?Check out vss 3-4.How might Isaiah teach us to not worry in our day and age?

Wednesday – 1 Kings 19:9-19

Queen Jezebel vowed to have his head … literally.  Elijah was afraid.  He ran.  He had just won a tremendous victory on Mt. Carmel against Jezebel’s favorite prophets, and she had vowed revenge.  God finds him in this hidden cave far from Jezebel.  He is hiding.  How would you describe his emotions?  Is he … anxious?  Yet, God reveals to him that there is much more going on than he has had the opportunity to observe.  It takes the wider vision of faith.  And when Elijah turns his face away from the Queen and towards God, what does he learn?  How does that teach us about anxiety and worry in our day?  Any Queens vowing to have your head?  Where is your hope?

Thursday – Colossians 3:12-17

The Colossians had not likely gone to Sunday School when they were children.  They were new converts to the faith.  They may have worshiped other Greek and Roman gods, and knew how superstitious they were.  It is a fearful thing to have to constantly appease some divine force so nothing bad happens to us.  But the Christian faith Paul taught was different.  This was a God who became human in Jesus to express grace and love for the world; not fear and tyranny.  What does Paul teach in this passage?  Where should our focus be?

Friday – Matthew 6:25-34

How can we study anxiety and peace without reading these words of Jesus?  What are his examples of security in God’s loving attention?  How does God look at us compared to these examples?  Where does Jesus teach us to turn our focus?  How would doing this affect your day today?  Your relationships today?  Your attitude today?

Saturday – John 14:1-6; 15-18; 27-31

It was the night before Jesus’ own death. Did he worry? Did he wonder if anyone would get what he was trying to teach? Did he ponder what it would be like to suffer what he was facing? We know it was part of his prayers in the garden before his arrest. Yet, he is teaching his disciples (and us) about real peace. Where does it come from? How do you get it? If Jesus could experience peace in these tense moments in his life, what kind of peace could he give us?