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Give Up Worry for Good Week 5, Day 4

One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?” (John 6:8–9)

I can’t do it. This is too much for me. Why bother? These are common reactions to the challenges we face every day. Responding this way, however, totally ignores the power of Jesus and His desire to help us with our daily struggles.

Here’s what I wrote in Give Up Worry For Good

When the disciples were faced with the dilemma of how to feed five thousand hungry people, Jesus tested Philip by posing the question, “How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” (Jn 6:5). The apostle responded by stating that they didn’t have enough money to buy the needed food. Andrew acknowledged that they had some food (five loaves and two fish) but concluded it was not enough to feed such a crowd.

Had they forgotten what had happened at the wedding in Cana, when Jesus turned water into wine? For some reason, it never even occurred to them to ask for the Lord’s assistance. Then, as if to remind them, Jesus multiplied the loaves and fish so that all could eat.

I’m not trying to downplay the difficulties we face every day, but we have Someone on our side who specializes in doing the impossible. Jesus never asks us to do more than we can. He asks us to do what we can. You may not be able to perform any miracles, but you know Someone who can. Jesus is waiting for you to invite Him into your problem. He has a history of making the impossible possible. Give Him a chance.

 

Give Up Worry for Good Week 5, Day 3

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” (Matthew 14:30) 

At the invitation of Jesus, Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water. All was going smoothly until he took his eyes off on Jesus and focused on the storm. He became afraid and began to sink. What should he have done differently? 

Here’s what I wrote in Give Up Worry For Good… 

Sometimes we believe that being afraid is the same thing as worrying. That is completely untrue. Fear is an emotion and worry is an action. One we can control, and the other we can’t. The goal of this book is to help you stop worrying, not to keep you from being afraid. Before we dig into this Bible verse, let’s take a closer look at fear and worry.

We may not be able to control our fear, but we can control how we respond to it. It took him a little while, but Peter eventually did the right thing and turned to Jesus for help. His cry for help wasn’t elaborate – “Lord, save me”! It’s one of my favorite prayers. 

 

Give Up Worry for Good Week 5, Day 2

Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

As we continue our quest to give up worrying and trust God with our lives, there is someone who wants us to fail. He will do whatever he can to ensure that we give in to worry.

Here’s what I wrote in Give Up Worry For Good

Satan often tempts those of us who are anxious in the same way—by playing into our fears. He wants us to worry. Why? Because whenever we worry, we are moving away from God and focusing on ourselves. That makes the evil one very happy. We’ll get into the difference between fear and worry in the days to come, but just be aware that they are two different things. Fear is an emotion and is morally neutral. Worry is an action and can be controlled.

The good news is that Satan has no power over you. He can lie and threaten you, but he can’t force you to do anything. God loves you and is bigger than any problem you can ever face. If anyone, (including Satan) tries to tell you otherwise, it is a total lie. Don’t fall for it!

 

Give Up Worry for Good Week 5, Day 1

“I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) 

Like it or not, Jesus always tells it like it is. His words here provide a great example. In this life we will have problems, BUT… 

Here’s what I wrote in Give Up Worry For Good… 

The key to understanding this message can be found in the last five words. Bad things will happen in the world. People will suffer and die. And yet, there is a bigger picture that must be grasped if we are ever to find peace. Our time on earth is temporary and is only a small part of our life. It will come to an end in a relatively short period of time. We were created for so much more than simply living in this world. When Jesus died on the Cross and rose from the dead, he opened the gates of heaven and made the next phase of our life possible.

This week, we’ll focus on the fact that we will have problems in this life. Surrendering your life to Jesus will not necessarily make them go away. What it will do, however, is give you the strength and composure you need to deal with them. A relationship with Jesus will also give you peace, even in midst of the most serious storm. 

 

Give Up Worry for Good Week 4, Day 7

“Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5)

Jesus wants to help us with our problems, but He still expects us to do what we can. The servers at the wedding in Cana followed the instructions of the Blessed Mother (above) and obeyed Jesus when He asked them to fill up the jugs with water. As a result, they got to participate in the miraculous transformation of water into wine.

Here’s what I wrote in Give Up Worry For Good

God wants to help us with our daily struggles, but he also expects us to do what we can. While it’s true that he provides for the birds, they still have to look for the food. We should follow their example. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: do your best and let God do the rest.

Beginning tomorrow, we’ll spend a week focusing on the fact that following Jesus won’t make us immune from trials and difficulties. What it will do, however, is give us strength to withstand any storm that comes our way.

Let not your heart be troubled!

~Gary

Give Up Worry for Good Week 4, Day 6

But [Jesus] withdrew to the wilderness and prayed. (Luke 5:16)

While it’s true that prayer can involve requesting what we need from God, it’s so much more. Jesus spent time in prayer because He loved His Father and wanted to communicate with Him and spend time in His presence. That’s what personal relationships are all about.

Here’s what I wrote in Give Up Worry For Good

The fact that Jesus withdrew implies that it was a conscious decision. His desire to pray was not accidental. Just like each of us, the Lord had to make a choice—to pray or to do something else. How many times do you struggle to fit prayer into your busy life? After all, there are just so many hours in the day. It took me many years to get to this point, but now I wouldn’t think of letting a day go by without praying. It’s how I begin each day, whether I feel like it or not. Jesus knew that prayer was not so much an action but a relationship.

Let not your heart be troubled!

~Gary

Give Up Worry for Good Week 4, Day 5

Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Romans 12:12)

Rejoice? Be patient? For someone like me, who loves comfort and wants to be in control, it’s easier said than done. Fortunately, for me and anyone like me, Paul ends this verse with some very good news. 

Here’s what I wrote in Give Up Worry For Good

So what’s the secret to becoming more joyful and patient? The key that unlocks this entire verse is found at the end of the sentence: don’t stop praying! If you want become more joyful and patient, it’s extremely difficult to do on your own. Why not ask God for help? While any kind of prayer will bring you closer to the Lord, praying to overcome a specific weakness is a great idea.

As I mention in the book, joy and patience are fruits of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, asking the Spirit to come alive and produce more good fruit would be a very good idea. I plan to do that today. Will you join me?

 

Give Up Worry for Good Week 4, Day 4

I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. (Philippians 4:11)

There are definitely times when we shouldn’t be content. For example, none of us should be content to live as worriers. God doesn’t want that and neither should we. On the other hand, learning to be content with the unavoidable inconveniences of life is a must if we want to live at peace.

Here’s what I wrote in Give Up Worry For Good

I don’t like fasting, especially from food. The mere mention of the word makes me shudder. Unfortunately, there’s no getting around this traditional Catholic spiritual discipline. Without practicing some form of fasting, our spiritual growth will be limited. We may not realize it, but material comfort often keeps us from growing closer to Jesus. Choosing to forego some of these earthly pleasures and focus on our relationship with the Lord will enable us to understand what St. Paul means when he speaks of contentment.

A careful reading of Paul’s words reveals that his ability to be content wasn’t automatic, but something he had to learn. How can we learn to be content? It begins with being grateful for what we have. For that reason, I make it a habit to start my prayers by thanking God for what He has given me – a new day, hot and cold running water, electricity, my relationship with Him, etc. I had to force myself to do this in the beginning, but it’s gotten easier and my list of blessings has grown longer.

If you’re up for a challenge, you also might want to try fasting from something. It doesn’t have to be anything large or painful. Skipping the cream in your coffee or trading some Internet time for prayer will go a long way. In addition to giving us an opportunity to offer up our suffering, fasting from material things allows us to tell the Lord that He is enough for us. And, as Paul understood better than most, that’s the main reason for being content at all times.

Give Up Worry for Good Week 4, Day 3

Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in. (Psalm 24:7)

Even though Jesus is infinitely powerful, He will never force you to act against your will. As a result, the decision to let Him help you with your problems rests with you. Amazing, isn’t it?

Here’s what I wrote in Give Up Worry For Good

The decision to open the door is one that only you can make. Although he wants to be a part of your life, Jesus will not force open the door. Make no mistake about it, however: he will knock and knock again. Before you wonder why he never seems to knock on your door, let me pass along one other piece of information. It is especially important if you’re a worrier. Every time you are afraid, Jesus is knocking on your door.

What is frightening you today? That is Jesus knocking on your door. Will you let Him in?

 

Give Up Worry for Good Week 4, Day 2

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

If you want to give up worrying, the best thing you can do is accept Jesus’ offer and come to Him. It sounds so simple, but it can be extremely difficult. Why? Mainly because you can’t see Him as clearly as you can see the world around you. Furthermore, you can’t feel Him as much as you can feel the fear caused by your problem. In short, Jesus just doesn’t seem real enough.

Here’s what I wrote in Give Up Worry For Good

Jesus wants to get involved in your life, but you need to do something first. Read and reread his invitation. There are no caveats or qualifications, but you still have to do something: come to him. If you do that, you will find rest. Period. Are you willing to give it a try?

How do we get past the fact that we can’t see or feel Jesus? The best advice I have is to ignore your feelings, approach Him (glancing at an image of Him may help) and tell Him what’s on your mind. Let Him know what’s bothering you. The more you do it, the more real He will become and you’ll begin to experience the peace that only He can give.