“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
Congratulations! We made it to the finish line. For the past eight weeks, we’ve been concentrating on moving away from fear and moving closer to the Lord. Taking one day at a time, we listened to Him speak and invited Him to help us.
Jesus doesn’t want you to worry and live your life in a constant state of fear. He wants you to live life and live it abundantly! That is not possible as long as we refuse to let go. Jesus has already taken our worries to the Cross, yet we’re constantly trying to take them back. At this point, you probably realize there is a better way. That “way” involves accepting him as your Lord and savior and surrendering your life to him. We must accept that he’s the boss. Anything short of total surrender to the Lordship of Christ is not acceptable and will not bring peace.
So where do we go from here? Essentially, the goal is to keep doing the same thing every day for the rest of our lives – Let go and let God. The more you do it, the easier it gets and the more peace you will experience.
Thank you for all of your prayers, donations and kind words. I am extremely grateful that you allowed me to accompany you on the journey. If you enjoyed our time together, I invite you to continue traveling with me though my daily email reflection and podcast. I would also love to speak at your parish or conference (email me at Gary@FollowingTheTruth.com for details). Yes, this is technically the end of the program but it’s also the beginning of a life without worry. Together, with Jesus leading the way, we can make it happen.
For he who is mighty has done great things for me. (Luke 1:49)
Over the course of the past week, we focused on some of the good things that God has done in the past. I hope that you’ve been able to see some of His goodness – throughout history and in your own life.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3–4)
By now, you’re probably experiencing at least a taste of the comfort that comes from turning to God instead of worrying. And, while He technically assists us “free of charge”, He does expect something from us – He expects us to comfort others who are struggling.
There are other people in your life who need to hear about Jesus. If you don’t think you’re qualified to tell them about him, guess again! There are many worriers in the world who would never think to read a book on how the Lord can help them to experience peace. Some of those individuals are living under your roof. You are way ahead of the curve. Share Jesus with them . . . starting with this book!
It can be as simple as offering to pray for someone or sharing a spiritual book with them. It often begins by just letting them know that you’re here if they need anything. If Jesus helped you, don’t keep Him to yourself. As the old saying goes – You may be the only Jesus some people ever see.
They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:32)
Sometimes it’s easier to see how God has blessed us in the past than to recognize it in the present. The distractions and challenges we face on a daily basis have a way of causing us to lose our focus.
It’s important to acknowledge God’s goodness in the past without losing sight of the blessings of the present moment. This is especially true when facing challenging times (such as what we all faced during the COVID pandemic). As the pandemic progressed and I brought it to prayer, however, I realized that God was giving me a fresh opportunity to thank him for all those blessings I had taken for granted through the years, including those hot summer days so many years ago, when my biggest concern was whether I should occupy my day swimming, riding my bike, or playing Wiffle ball with my neighborhood friends. I found myself giving thanks for those post-Mass Sunday morning breakfasts with my parents, playing catch with my friend Bill, or driving to the Jersey shore in my 1970 Dodge Coronet with the windows down and the radio blasting. In that time of crisis, I had a new chance to thank God for blessing me with thousands of “little things” over the years.
All of this may be true, but it’s not good enough to just recognize what God has done in the past. We still need to find a way to see what He’s doing in the present. But what can we do?
I believe that it does start by looking back, as we’ve been doing all week. Then, we need to recognize the fact that God never changes. If He did it before, He will do it again. Keeping that in mind will help us to acknowledge His constant assistance, even if we can’t see it while it’s happening. Doing this will also help us to face the future without fear, knowing that the Lord will provide.
And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, nor about your body, what you shall put on.” (Luke 12:22)
When looked at in context, it’s apparent that Jesus is cautioning us against the danger of dwelling on material things. While we can’t pretend we don’t need “things”, focusing too much on them will definitely lead to anxiety.
How can we avoid getting caught up in the trap of materialism? Jesus doesn’t try to deny that we all have material needs. Rather, he urges us to trust that our heavenly Father will provide us with what we need. While there is certainly a need to do our share (such as looking for work and saving money), our main focus in life should be getting to heaven. Not only will that result in greater peace, but also it will put us on the road to eternal happiness.
As I mention in the book, the fact that you’re reading this serves as proof that God has provided for all of your needs from the moment you were first conceived. And, since He doesn’t change, why wouldn’t He supply your needs in the future?
He considered that God was able to raise men even from the dead. (Hebrews 11:19)
Abraham was in his 70’s when God promised him many descendants. After waiting for twenty-five years, Abraham’s wife gave birth to a son – Isaac. Things were beginning to fall into place, but then the Lord decided to shake things up a bit.
Several years later, Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice his only son, the source of the promised descendants. Although the Lord prevented him from carrying out the act, Abraham was willing to do it. Was he delusional or some sort of fanatic? Not at all. As this verse tells us, he did it because he trusted God. Abraham knew that the Lord was good for his word and would somehow work out the details. He was right.
Are you waiting on the Lord to answer a certain prayer right now? You have a great opportunity right before your eyes. Like Abraham, you have a chance to trust God. It might not seem like a big deal when compared to Abraham’s situation, but that’s how faith grows. Make the choice to pray, no matter how you feel.
Most of us can easily recall frightening incidents from the past. If we think about it long enough, we can even re-create the sick feeling that we experienced while dealing with these issues. Today I’d like you to look at something that is more pleasant, but easily overlooked. Concentrate on all the great things the Lord has done, throughout history and in your own life. Unless you do this, you’ll never have the confidence in God that is needed to stop worrying.
No matter what you’re facing right now, remind yourself that God can handle it. The mere fact that you’re still alive proves that you’ve survived every one of your past problems. Thanks be to God.
The Lord has done great things for us. (Psalm 126:3)
For the most part, looking back is not a good idea. Since the past can’t be changed, reliving past events can often lead to regrets and anxiety. Sometimes, however, looking back on the past can be a good thing.
There is at least one case, however, when looking back can be beneficial. When faced with an uncertain and frightening future (one of the biggest traps for those of us who tend to worry), it’s a great idea to look back and recall what God has done in the past. Whether we look at the Bible or our own lives, we can see countless examples of his providential care. Bringing these examples to mind can help us to face the future with confidence. If he came through in the past, why wouldn’t he come through again?
For the next several days, we’ll be examining some of the great things God has accomplished in the past. And since He never changes, looking at His accomplishments can fill us with hope for the future. Get ready. This is going to be a good week.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5–6)
For the past week, we’ve been focusing on surrendering control of our lives to God. It’s challenging, isn’t it?
Here’s what I wrote in Give Up Worry For Good…
Learning to trust in God requires time and effort, but it gets easier with time. The more we learn to surrender to his will, the more we will see him work in our lives. Furthermore, learning to do this on a regular basis will bring us a great deal of peace.
Don’t panic if you haven’t mastered surrendering to God. It’s something most of us will be working on for the rest of our lives. As I wrote in the book, it does get easier. Beginning tomorrow, we’ll focus on all the great things that God has done in the past. This will help us anticipate the great things that He can do in our future.
This verse is so powerful and so appropriate for our week dedicated to surrendering control of our lives to the Lord that I don’t want to be excessively wordy. Let me just say that I struggle with the idea of being still and “wasting time” with God. If it was up to me, I’d not only choose the way I pray and the words I use, but I would control God’s response as well.
At some point, I need to stop trying to control every area of my life, including the way I pray, and surrender to God. I am working on that today. It begins with being still and recognizing that God is God and I am not. I hope you’ll join me.