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How We Can Overcome Worry During This Stressful Season

Dear Corpus Christi Family,

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I encourage you, when you have a moment, to read and reflect on Matthew 6:25-34.  It has been a frequent go to passage throughout my faith journey, and especially during these days, because it’s about complete dependence on God.

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There are three verses in this brief passage that resonate with me.  The first:

“Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life span” (v27)?

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The answer to Jesus’ question is, “no”.

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Worry is taking its toll on the world today.  A poll taken by the American Psychiatric Association noted that nearly half of Americans were anxious about getting COVID-19.  Close to two-thirds were concerned about a family member catching it.  Two-thirds of people also feared the long-lasting implications for the economy.

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Proverbs 12:25 says, “Worry weighs down the heart.”

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So how can you overcome worry during this stressful season?  A few thoughts.

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Give God at least 1% (approximately 15 minutes) of your day in prayer.

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I know, I know, I know. I’ve repeatedly said this. It’s important, because prayer refuels our weary soul.   Prayer is our lifeline.  We need to let Jesus shepherd us.  “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.  Your rod and your staff comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).

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The second verse from Matthew 6:25-34 that resonates with me is, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides” (v33).

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Prayer is seeking first the kingdom of God.

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A remedy to worry is prayer.  The difference between worry and prayer is what we focus on.  Is our focus on what we can’t control, or is our focus on who is in control?

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Prayer begins with stepping back for a moment, catching our breath, and focusing on who holds the future.

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Give Jesus control over every area of your life.

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Worry is really a control issue.  Worry is a warning light that there’s an area of our lives that we haven’t fully given over to God.  When God isn’t number one, we’ll worry in that area.

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When we love something more than God, it becomes a source of stress and anxiety in life.  Jesus makes it clear that we can’t serve two masters, “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other” (Matthew 6:24).

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Even good things-like our marriages, our children, our careers-can become sources of worry if we give them first place in our lives  When anything or anyone becomes an idol in our lives, it creates insecurity and worry.  The best thing that we can do for our loved ones is to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind.

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The mark of a disciple is cross-bearing, “whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27). Cross-bearing is doing whatever it takes to give Jesus Christ first place in my life!  Honestly, a life’s journey taken one step at a time.

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Scripture is very clear that God is a jealous God.  What does scripture mean by that? In Exodus 20, God revealed the Ten Commandments to the people of Israel.  He commanded allegiance and worship to Him alone.  He would not tolerate the worship of other gods.  God was “jealous” in the sense that he expected full devotion, not merely a partial, lukewarm commitment.  Worship belongs to God, and he is right to be “jealous” of it.

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What it means for us, is that God wants every part of our lives all the time.  No easy task, and one that we can’t do alone without His grace and His family the Church.

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In prayer I count and write down my worries so that I have a clear idea of what they are, and once written down I can hand them over to God.  Peter says, “Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you” (1Peter 5:7).

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Hang in there!  I’m almost done.

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There are areas in our lives that we can control and there are areas that we can’t control.  So, control what’s controllable and trust God for the rest.  So, what do I mean? We can control our home environment, nutrition, exercise, prayer, sleep, what we watch on T.V., listen to and read, and so on.  We can’t control the economy, the spread of this virus, and the future.  We take care of what we’re able to and leave the rest to God.

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Finally.

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Trust God for one day at a time.

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There is much wisdom to living one day at a day.  Sometimes one day at a time is the next 5 minutes. We have enough on our plates.  The third verse from Matthew 6:25-34 that resonate with me is, “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself” (v 34).

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This unique period of history is one of the biggest test we’ll ever face when it comes to trusting God.  We do it by living one day at a time.  Remember, He holds the future.  Will we trust him?

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My blessing is being your pastor now, and for many years to come.

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Father Tim

P.S. Have I told you lately that I love you?

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I recommend all of Matthew Chapter 6.  Below is Matthew 6:25-34.

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Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear.  I not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are not you more important then they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about cloths? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.

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