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Give Up Worry for Good Week 4, Day 1

Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. (John 2:7)

This may sound a little odd, but giving up worry is a joint effort between you and God. He could fix your problems and eliminate your worries by Himself, but He chooses not to. Even though He doesn’t need our help, He still wants us to be involved in the process.

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

Even though he doesn’t need to do so, God chooses to let us play a role in dealing with our daily problems. While he could easily handle things on his own, he has made the decision to involve us in the process. As can be seen at the wedding in Cana, however, there is an important catch. The Lord is the boss. He is in charge of the operation. You are not. As long as you keep that in mind, everything will work out. At the wedding, Mary didn’t try to tell Jesus what to do and neither did the servants. Rather, they followed his directions.

So how do we know what we’re supposed to do and what God is supposed to do? When is it time to “let go and let God”? As a general rule, I recommend that you do what you can. If there’s something you can do to fix your problem, do it. More often than not, it’s something very little. That’s okay. Just like He did at Cana, the Lord can work with you and produce a miracle.

Give Up Worry for Good Week 3, Day 7

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:11)

All this week we’ve been focusing on the importance of asking God to help us with our problems. It’s an important lesson and one we must learn if we want to be at peace. Before moving on, I encourage you to spend some time today looking at this week’s meditations. 

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

Jesus told us to ask our Father for what we need. Yet so much of our anxiety stems from failing to follow his instructions. As you ponder this week’s reflections, I invite you to consider all the benefits that result from asking God for help. The evidence is clear. If you ask, you will receive. Are you willing to give it a try?

While it’s true that God does wants us to ask for help with our daily struggles, He still wants us to do what we can. Beginning tomorrow we’ll spend a week looking at the role we play in addressing our problems. As someone who likes to be in control, that idea sounds good to me. I think you’ll enjoy it too.

Let not your heart be troubled!

~Gary

Give Up Worry for Good Week 3, Day 6

So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. (Matthew 26:44)

Yesterday, we looked at the advice of St. Paul who instructed us to offer our concerns to God instead of worrying about them. Sounds simple, but what should we do when our prayer doesn’t get answered right away?

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

You may wonder when it’s time to stop praying for a particular intention. Jesus prayed three times using the same words. St. Paul also asked the Lord three times (see 2 Corinthians 12:8) to take away his thorn in the flesh. Is three the magic number? While these are definitely two great examples for us to imitate, there is something they have in common that has nothing to do with the number. Both Jesus and Paul prayed until they got an answer. Paul received a “no” and the promise of grace, while Jesus was sent an angel (see Luke 22:43) to strengthen him. Unless the Holy Spirit tells us otherwise (we realize that what we’re praying for isn’t good for us), we should continue to pray until the Lord responds with a definitive yes or no.

Don’t allow yourself to become discouraged when your prayers aren’t answered right away. Keep praying. God has a plan and will answer in the best way at the right time.

Let not your heart be troubled!

~Gary

Give Up Worry for Good Week 3, Day 5

Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6–7) 

This is some of the best advice you will ever encounter. Essentially, Paul is instructing us to respond to the struggles of life by praying instead of worrying. Doing so, he writes, will bring us the peace we seek. 

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

Paul wrote these words while chained to a Roman guard, under house arrest. The fact that he could be at peace under those circumstances should give you hope. If he could be peaceful, so can you. The peace offered by Christ isn’t dependent on the absence of conflict. To be honest, great suffering often intensifies the peace offered by the Lord. I know it sounds like a paradox, but it is true. I’ve been there, and I know that Paul’s advice works. As the old adage goes, “You’ll never know until you try.” Do it today. The only thing you have to lose is your anxiety.

This concept of praying instead of worrying may be simple to understand, but not always easy to put into practice. That’s why we’re working on it every day for eight weeks. I can tell you from personal experience that the more you do it, the easier it gets. If you’re worried about something today, give it a try. We’ll talk more about it tomorrow. 

Give Up Worry for Good Week 3, Day 4

Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. (James 4:8)

It can’t be that simple, can it? The good news, which I have learned from experience, is that it is!

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

If you make the effort to grow close to the Lord, he will definitely respond. The best part is that he will not be outdone in generosity. Every minute spent in prayer will yield tremendous blessings. You may not be able to see the grace that you receive, but it is undoubtedly there. Time spent in prayer is never wasted. If you make the effort to draw close to the Lord, he will draw even closer to you.

In order to stop worrying, spending time with Jesus is a must. What should you say? I recommend you start by telling Him all those things that are stressing you out right now. Not only does He love to listen, but He can actually help you.

Give Up Worry for Good Week 3, Day 3

Thy words were found, and I ate them, and thy words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart. (Jeremiah 15:16)

For the past two weeks we have been letting the Lord speak to us every day through the Bible. And, judging from the emails I’ve been receiving, it is already starting to bear some fruit. Know what else is really cool? Even though I wrote the book and chose the Bible verses for each day, I’m benefiting from our retreat too!

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

For many years, I ignored God’s voice in sacred scripture. I thought it was too difficult to understand and that it wouldn’t make a big difference in my life. I was wrong. Like Jeremiah, I now understand that God’s words in the Bible bring me great joy. When I’m having a bad day and feel the temptation to worry, opening his book brings me comfort. It may take some time and a little practice, but his words will comfort you too—yet only if you read them. Open it up, and feast upon his Word. Let him speak to you today.

We still have over five weeks to go in our Give Up Worry For Good retreat. And I am totally confident that hearing God’s voice every day through Sacred Scripture is going to have a positive effect on each of us. With the Lord’s help, we really will be able to give up worry for good.

Give Up Worry for Good Week 3, Day 2

When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”(John 2:3)

Everything was going great at the wedding in Cana until the wine ran out. The only person who can fix the immediate problem is Jesus, and Mary knows it. As a result, she brings the problem to his attention. She doesn’t tell him what to do or how to do it. All she does is let him know of the need: that there is no more wine. Jesus responds by turning water into wine, thus sparing the bride and groom from potential embarrassment.

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

You have an advantage over the guests at the wedding in Cana. Jesus had not yet performed any miracles so nobody (besides Mary) thought to turn to him for help. The idea of appealing to Mary would have been even more farfetched. The fact that this incident is documented in the Bible is a game changer. Mary’s intercessory power is evident.

This week is all about learning to ask for supernatural help with our problems. Mary is a good person to include on your list of intercessors. Why? Because as can be seen at Cana, she’ll take your problem right to Jesus.He has a hard time saying “no” to His Mom.

Give Up Worry for Good Week 3, Day 1

Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you. (1 Peter 5:7)

Now that we’ve spent a week focusing on God’s ability to handle our problems, we’re about to spend the next week concentrating on the next logical step – asking Him for help.

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

This week’s theme focuses on sound advice from St. Peter as he reminds us to turn our cares over to a caring God. This very popular and oft-cited Bible verse is a great reminder and “call to action,” but it’s also somewhat incomplete. In several Bible translations, this verse is the second part of a longer sentence. Looking at the complete message provides insight as to why we sometimes fail to turn our problems over to the Lord: ‘Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you’ (1 Pt 5:6–7, NKJV).

Because I am a proud control-freak, turning to God for help can be difficult for me. I’ve learned, however, that it’s something I must do. For the next seven days, we’ll learn to fight the urge to take control and discover how to ask God for help. It might be difficult at first, but it will get easier. Once you stop trying to fix everything yourself and start “casting your cares” on him, you’ll realize just how great God really is.

Give Up Worry for Good Week 2, Day 7

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18)

Some Bible translations use the word “power” and others (as indicated above) use the word “authority”, but a common theme emerges from this verse – Jesus is able to back up His words. Therefore, we should listen when He tells us to not worry. We should listen when He tells us to trust our Heavenly Father to provide for our needs. And, as we learned this week, we should listen when He tells us that nothing is impossible for God.

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

This week, we have focused on the power of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As he prepared to ascend into heaven, Jesus assured his followers that he did indeed have power over heaven and earth. My prayer is that his words will give you confidence as you continue your journey.

The Lord can easily handle whatever problem you’re dealing with, but He typically waits for you to ask Him for help. That will be our focus next week. I look forward to continuing our journey tomorrow. Keep up the good work.

Let not your heart be troubled!

~Gary

Give Up Worry for Good Week 2, Day 6

And he awoke and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. (Mark 4:39)

No doubt about it, there will be times in life when you feel that Jesus has abandoned you. More often than not, this feeling occurs when you’re going through some kind of crisis. The Apostles understood what this felt like as they were overcome by a large storm. Even though many of them were experienced fishermen, however, they somehow knew that the sleeping carpenter’s son could help them. So they woke him up.

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

Feelings aren’t facts. You may feel Jesus has abandoned you, but he hasn’t. He might be sleeping, but he is still with you. Go ahead and wake him up. Tell him exactly how you feel. Be honest and don’t hold back. Above all, ask him to help you with the storm that’s swamping your boat. Jesus might be able to sleep through a storm, but he can’t sleep through the cries of his beloved disciples. Oh, and by the way, about that “not caring” accusation . . . looks as if he really did care about them after all. That’s why he saved them from the storm.

You may feel that your problem is unsolvable, but that isn’t true. Jesus can still the storm in your life, but you may have to wake Him up. Do it! Pretending to be asleep is one of the ways He helps us to grow in faith. When Jesus woke up and stilled the storm, the men in the boat were “filled with awe, and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?'” (Mark 4:41) They learned a lesson about His power that day. We can learn the same lesson if we give Him a chance to still our storms too.

Let not your heart be troubled!

~Gary