It’s a Great Time Not To Worry

It’s a Great Time Not to Worry
Rev. Tony Cooke

As I’ve traveled all over, it’s been interesting to see how people are handling the pressures and tensions in life. Just recently, an individual from the east coast told me, “People around here are on edge all the time.”

Mickey Rivers, a one-time outfielder for the Texas Rangers (baseball team), said the following about his philosophy of life: "Ain’t no sense worrying about things you got control over, because if you got control over them, ain’t no sense worrying. And there ain’t no sense worrying about things you got no control over either, because if you got no control over them, ain’t no sense worrying."

We need to keep in mind that our God is a God of Peace, and that Jesus is the Prince of Peace! No doubt, we’ll have opportunities to be distracted and dismayed, but by following God’s Word, we can stay strong in God’s peace.

Take a moment and meditate on the following Scriptures:

Isaiah 32:17-18 (NKJV)
17 The work of righteousness will be peace, And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.
18 My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, In secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.

Isaiah 26:3 (Amplified)
3 You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.

John 16:33 (NKJV)
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message Version)
28 Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. 29 Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. 30 Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

Philippians 4:6-7 (Amplified)
6 Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.
7 And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Did you know that it’s typically easier to preach the Word than it is to live it. Paul told the Philippians, “Be anxious for nothing…” but he acknowledged to the Corinthians that there was a pressure he had to deal with daily, “the care of all the churches.” The word “care” that Paul used in 2 Corinthians 11:28 is the same word that Peter used when he said, “Casting all your care upon Him.”

Paul also admonished Timothy that “God has not given us a spirit of fear,” but he acknowledged in 2 Corinthians 7:5 that when he was in Macedonia, “We were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears.”

I’m not sharing this so that we’ll have a cop-out for not acting on and applying the Word of God in our own lives, but to emphasize the reality that we are all still growing. God did not call us based on our perfection. If He had, He couldn’t use any of us. Paul said that God, “…has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began” (2 Timothy 1:9).

The devil loves to point out all the ways we fall short of the ideal, and try to bring discouragement and condemnation into our lives. After all, he’s still the accuser of the brethren.

As for the continuing process of growth, we can all say with Paul, “I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize…” (Philippians 3:13-14, NLT)

Paul made another excellent statement to the Philippians, and this is our sentiment toward you as well: “There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears” (Philippians 1:6, The Message).

One individual wrote a checklist of the “Symptoms of Inner Peace.” Based on this checklist, how are you doing in the area of peace?

* A tendency to think and act spontaneously, rather than on fears based on past experiences
* An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment
* A loss of interest in judging other people
* A loss of interest in condemning yourself
* A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others
* A loss of the ability to worry
* Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation
* Contented feelings of connectedness with others and with God’s creation
* Frequent attacks of smiling
* An increased susceptibility to love—to freely receive the love extended by others, as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it

Our prayer for you is that your heart will be strong and fully established in God’s wonderful peace!