Monday, September 24, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: How to fight worry and win!

Don’t Worry
A devotional by Dana McNeely

Why do we worry? Do we not believe that God will take care of us?

If you worry, you're not alone. Bible characters worried too, even the best of them like God's prophet Elijah.

The Messenger of Doom

When Queen Jezebel heard all her prophets were dead, she flew into a rage. She sent this message (paraphrase mine) to the prophet Elijah, who had ordered them killed: “We’ll see about that! By this time tomorrow, your body will rot in the sun, just like theirs!”

Elijah fled the city, afraid of a woman.

He ran, as if he weren’t the servant of the living God, as if there were no proof of the Lord’s power. Think back. The previous day, at Elijah’s request, God dramatically sent fire and rain from heaven, ending a three-year drought. Such a victory! Had Elijah forgotten how God raised the widow’s son from the dead? Didn’t Elijah remember the never empty jars of oil and flour? Was being fed by ravens in the desert such a small miracle?

The queen was a formidable enemy, no doubt. Elijah was likely exhausted, mentally and physically from the events of the previous weeks. The messenger of doom made him forget, for a time, everything he’d been shown about the Lord’s powerful love.

Confession: The messenger of doom visits me more often than I like to admit. I struggle with worry, which falls into the general categories of family, friends, my job, my writing, things past, and things to come. I even worry about worrying, because a Christian shouldn’t worry, right?

Saturate Yourself With Truth

Whether I should or shouldn’t, I worry too often. I think the Bible includes stories of great believers who fell victim to worry to encourage us. Elijah’s ministry continued, God gave him a successor, and later he was taken to heaven in a fiery chariot.

We can tell the messenger, “Just because the thought exists doesn’t make it true. The Lord is the source of all truth.” He has said much to conquer our fears in his word. This month as I searched the scriptures, these verses spoke to me. I found it helped me to write the verses and the thoughts I had that day in a notebook.

The Foundation

John 3:16 (NKJV) says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

‘So’ is a big little word. I am so loved by God! You are so loved! This is a wonderful truth to dispel worry: we are so loved by God and we are offered the gift of everlasting life. I have believed in him and have everlasting life. Have you? I hope so!

Psalm 28:7 (NLT) says, “The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.”

This verse reminds me of the many times God has helped me. The time he healed a sick friend, protected me from a bad accident, and removed a problem at work. And music lifts my soul! I sing and sometimes I strum my ukulele.

Romans 12:12,13 (NLT) says, “Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.”

Prayer is the great elixir. As I read the rest of Romans 13, I found a long list of actions to take, actions that would take me outside of myself and keep me too busy to worry: Bless those who persecute you, rejoice with those who are happy, weep with those who weep, live in harmony with others, don’t be a know-it-all, live an honorable life.

The Big Picture

John 14:1, 27 (NLT) says, “Don’t let your heart be troubled. Trust in God and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am … I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

So many worries become insignificant when I meditate on the Shepherd’s words. I fix my heart on the big picture. The day will come when all earthly troubles will end and I’ll be with him forever. And for now, He offers peace of mind and heart.

It’s your turn:
Here in the comments, please share verses you turn to for help. I’d love to hear your thoughts and strategies to fight worry. I’ll be dropping by today and the rest of the week to chat.

Author Bio:

Inspired by the Bible story of Elijah and the widow’s son, Dana McNeely wondered why the prophet had come to stay with these two. Who were they? What was their life, before? And how did the boy change after dying, seeing the other world … and coming back? 

Dana began research for her novel, “Rain,” which tells the story of the three-and-a-half-year drought from the boy’s perspective.

No stranger to drought, Dana lives in an Arizona oasis with her hubby the constant gardener, two good dogs, an antisocial cat, and migrating butterflies. She writes biblical fiction, cozy mysteries, and has written for magazines and newspapers. Her short story “Death in the Butterfly Garden” appears in SoWest: Killer Nights (2017).

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