Getting Free of Anxiety

From Warren Mueller

Do you often deal with anxiety? Are you consumed with worry? You can learn to manage these emotions by understanding what the Bible says about them. In this excerpt from his book, “Truth Seeker – Straight Talk From The Bible”, Warren Mueller studies the keys in God’s Word to overcoming your struggles with anxiety and worry.

Anxiety (Worry)

Life is full of many concerns stemming from the absence of certainty and control over our future. While we can never be completely free from worry, the Bible shows us how to minimize worry and anxiety in our lives. Philippians 4:6-7 says do not worry about anything, but with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving make your requests known to God and then the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Pray About Life’s Worries

Believers are commanded to pray about life’s worries. These prayers are to be more than requests for favorable answers. They are to include thanksgiving and praise along with the needs. Praying in this way reminds us of the many blessings God continually gives us whether we ask or not. This reminds us of God’s great love for us and that He knows and does what is best for us.

A Sense of Security in Jesus

Worry is proportional to our sense of security. When life is going as planned and we feel safe in our life routines, then worries subside. Likewise, worry increases when we feel threatened, insecure or are overly focused on and committed to some result. 1 Peter 5:7 says cast your cares upon Jesus because He cares for you. The practice of believers is to take our worries to Jesus in prayer and leave them with Him. This reinforces our dependence on, and faith in Jesus.

Recognize a Wrong Focus

Worries increase when we become focused on the things of this world. Jesus said the treasures of this world are subject to decay and can be taken away but heavenly treasures are secure (Matthew 6:19). Therefore, set your priorities on God and not on money (Matthew 6:24). Man worries about such things as having food and clothes but is given life by God. God provides life, without which the concerns of life are meaningless.

Worry can cause ulcers and mental problems that can have destructive health effects that shorten life. No amount of worry will add even one hour to one’s life (Matthew 6:27). Therefore, why worry? The Bible teaches that we should deal with each day’s problems when they occur and not be obsessed with future concerns that may not happen (Matthew 6:34).

Focus on Jesus

In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus visits the house of the sisters Martha and Mary. Martha was busy with many details regarding making Jesus and his disciples comfortable. Mary, on the other hand, was sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to what he said. Martha complained to Jesus that Mary should be busy helping but Jesus told Martha that “…you are worried and anxious about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)

What is this one thing that freed Mary from the business and worries experienced by her sister? Mary chose to focus on Jesus, listen to Him and ignore the immediate demands of hospitality. I do not believe that Mary was being irresponsible, rather she wanted to experience and learn from Jesus first and later, when He was done speaking, she would fulfill her duties. Mary had her priorities straight. Put God first and He will free us from worries and take care of the rest of our concerns.

From an article posted at about.com by Warren Mueller

http://christianity.about.com/od/topicalbiblestudies/a/anxiety.htm

His bio at: http://christianity.about.com/od/topicalbiblestudies/p/biowarrenmuelle.htm

A Prayer of St. Anselm

A prayer of St. Anselm

Lord Jesus Christ; Let me seek you by desiring you,
and let me desire you by seeking you;
let me find you by loving you,
and love you in finding you.

I confess, Lord, with thanksgiving,
that you have made me in your image,
so that I can remember you, think of you, and love you.

But that image is so worn and blotted out by faults,
and darkened by the smoke of sin,
that it cannot do that for which it was made,
unless you renew and refashion it.

Lord, I am not trying to make my way to your height,
for my understanding is in no way equal to that,
but I do desire to understand a little of your truth
which my heart already believes and loves.

I do not seek to understand so that I can believe,
but I believe so that I may understand;
and what is more,
I believe that unless I do believe, I shall not understand.

Source: The Oxford Book of Prayer, George Appleton (gen. ed.), 1985, 2002.

Thoughts on the Mercy of God

A Liturgical Christian’s Understanding of Mercy

Bryan’s note: As I travel the internet I occasionally find something out of the ordinary.  Something that stands out and blesses me.  The following text is a wonderfully precise definition and application of God’s mercy.  I hope it blesses you the way it blessed me.

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Many people remember the Russian couple, the Rosenbergs, who were tried in court for treason against the United States. The trial was a long and bitter one. As the final sentence was pronounced, the lawyer for the Rosenbergs cried out, “Your Honor, what my clients ask for is justice!”

Judge Kaufman replied, “What the court has given them is what they ask,  justice! What they really want is mercy. But mercy is something this court has no right to give them.”

The One who has the right to give mercy is God.

The Theme of God’s Mercy

This is brought out in the Gospel reading of the Pharisee and the Publican. “God, be merciful to me the sinner,” prayed the Publican. His only plea was for mercy, Kyrie Eleison!  Without this prayer Christianity would be a philosophy, a history, a code but not a religion that saves.

The same theme of God’s mercy is expressed again in the Gospel lesson of the Prodigal Son. Listen to the words of the following hymn from the vesper service of the Prodigal Son:

“As the Prodigal Son I come to you, merciful God. I have wasted my whole life in a foreign land; I have scattered the wealth which You gave me, O Father.

“Receive me in repentance, O God, and have mercy upon me.”

One of the most beautiful examples of God’s mercy is the prodigal son, who leaves home, wastes all his father’s resources in sin, ends up living with pigs, remembers his father, repents, and returns home where he is embraced by the waiting father, who declares a feast to celebrate his return. That is God’s mercy.

The same theme of mercy is emphasized again in the Gospel reading which deals with the second coming of Christ. Listen to the words of the following hymn from the Orthros:

“Have mercy, O Lord, have mercy upon me. I cry to you, when you come with your angels to give to every person due return for his/her deeds.”

From the Matins’ Services of Lent
 After the Gospel reading at matins on each Sunday during Lent, we hear the following beautiful hymns of repentance:

“Open to me the doors of repentance, O Life-Giver …But in your compassion purify me by the loving kindness of your mercy.

“When I think of the many evil things I have done, wretch that I am, I tremble at the fearful day of judgment, but trusting in Your loving-kindness, like David I cry out to You. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your great mercy.”

These hymns are preceded by the reading of Psalm 51, one of the most used psalms in Orthodox worship services. In this Psalm, David asks God’s mercy for his sins and proclaims that God’s steadfast love and mercy are greater than the sins of His creatures:

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy steadfast love. According to Thy abundant mercy, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin” (Ps. 51.1-2) .

From the Penitential Canon of St. Andrew of Crete
 Another place where the call to God for mercy is heard during the first week of Lent is in the penitential canon of St. Andrew of Crete sung each evening during compline. Listen to some of the hymns:

“I have sinned, Lord, I have sinned against you.
Be merciful to me though there is no one whose sins I have not surpassed.
I cry to You, O Lord: Have mercy, have mercy on me!
When You come with Your angels to give due reward to each person for his deeds.

“I have sinned as no other person before,
I have transgressed more than any other, O Lord.
Before the Day of Judgment comes be merciful to me, O Lover of Man.

“Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me!”

David once showed us the image of true repentance in a psalm he wrote exposing all that he had done:

“Be merciful to me and cleanse me!” he wrote,

“For against You only have I sinned, the God of our fathers.
Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me!
I have distorted Your image, O Savior, and broken Your commandments.
The beauty of my soul has been spoiled, and its light extinguished by my sins.”
in David’s words, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation.”

“But have pity on me and,”

“Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me!
Return! Return! Uncover what is hidden!”

“Say to God who knows all things:
‘You are my only Savior and know my terrible secrets.’
Yet in David’s words I cry to You:
‘Be merciful to me, O God, according to Your steadfast love.'”

“Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me!”

http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7124