Welcome to my blog! I hope to be a resource to help you in your walk with God. Now more than ever we need to get back to the basic fundamentals of moral living and take a stand for what is right and truthful with God as our ultimate authority. His Word is reliable and preserved and can be trusted, so that is the basis for my advice and teaching. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or topics you would like me to cover. I look forward to sharing what God has placed on my heart. See my website at https://www.lovinggodministry.com/ for books and music I have written that will enrich your life!

Ezekiel 22:30: "And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none." Let's stand in the gap together!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

What’s the Secret to Defeating Anxiety?

We had a Sunday school lesson this past Sunday on anxiety, and there was a theme I noticed that rang throughout the entire lesson: FOCUS. If I were to think about the answer to anxiety, focus would not have been my first thought. I probably would have thought, “stop worrying.” Or I would have thought “trust in the Lord.” Perhaps “think positive things” would have been my answer. Other thoughts: “don’t fret.” “Have good friends to talk to.” And if nothing else was helping, perhaps a good anti-anxiety pill! LOL! These can all be helpful, and are part of the solution, but I like the simple word “Focus.”

When you think about what anxiety really is, it is fear. This fear can become irrational if we dwell on it. It can change our outlook and shade everything we look at in a negative way. It’s like putting on sunglasses and changing our what? Our focus. Our clarity.

What is it that we should focus on? Or shall I say, “Who?” The object of our faith and trust is the key, because if we are relying on something that can let us down, then fear has some rational place. Placing our faith, trust and focus on Jesus Christ is a reliable place because He is incapable of error, He loves each and every one of us, and He has the power to either change our circumstances, or change us.

There is a song my family is working on singing together that says, “Sometimes He calms the storm, other times He calms His child.” Isn’t that true? Sometimes we have to go through the storms of life, but God can calm us and empower us to deal with what we have to deal with, and that makes all the difference. Free will of individuals around us sometimes causes us pain that is inavoidable. The best thing we can do for ourselves, and even teach to our children, is to have the tools to endure suffering. A key is how to stay focused…on Christ, on the goal, on our purpose, on our mission in life, on the rewards that come from living a faithful life for Christ.

I loved the example our teacher gave from Daniel 3:15-18:
Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”
Do you see the resolve these young men had? They never lost focus on God. The king challenged the ability of God to save them, but whether He chose to save them or not, they were fully persuaded in their minds to do what was right, and to not do what they knew was wrong. And I’m happy to report that while they had to be thrown into the fiery furnace, they didn’t die, they didn’t get burned, and their clothes didn’t even smell like smoke! If you think maybe the fire wasn’t that hot, the men who threw them in died from being so close to the flame!
Another set of verses out of our lesson that stood out to me was Hebrews 2:9-13:
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.”
My husband and I have determined to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. One way we can do this is by setting the example of how we trust in Him through our trials. Trials give us opportunity to let the glory of the Lord shine upon us. We know the end if we’re saved! We are made perfect, or mature, through suffering. We should protect our children the best we can from suffering, but when it does ultimately come in some way, which is inevitable in our world, we need to teach them to use it for gaining knowledge and wisdom to strengthen their resolve and determination to do what is right no matter the cost.
This is a good argument against strong drink or drugs. If our minds cannot focus, then we have lost our ability to fight anxiety. Some people drink to dull their senses so they can relax, but dulling their ability to think clearly can get them into trouble and cause them to lose focus on Christ and doing what is right. They can make choices they will regret, and not even remember what they said to someone to damage a relationship. We should stay away from any substance that will envelope our minds, even TV or video games or electronic devices if it becomes an addiction, which can cause chaos in our minds rather than keeping sound minds that can think clearly through troubles.
Think about how damaging the words of our mouths can be, with sometimes irreversible damage. James 3:5-6: “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” Powerful analogy!
We are not immune to trouble. Job 14:1: “Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.” How will we deal with trouble? God puts people in our lives to talk to and we shouldn’t be ashamed of needing to talk to some godly people who can give us wisdom and feedback. I am convinced that some of our friends and people we meet through life are meant to be in certain chapters of our lives to help us through those stages. Are you sensitive to help those around you? You may be that person God is going to use to help a coworker through a dark valley they are in right now. Peter lost his focus on the Lord while walking on water, and as soon as he looked at the waves and the storm, he began to sink. He looked to the Lord for help, and that outstretched hand saved him. Yes, he messed up by taking his focus off Christ, but he redirected it back on Him and didn’t allow pride to cause him to drown.
It’s interesting how Noah preached for 120 years, and only 8 people on the entire planet made it on the ark, and those were members of Noah’s family. Just because an idea is popular doesn’t mean it isn’t a bad idea. Noah was in the minority but he had the answer for the survival of mankind. The people mocked him. It seemed strange for him to build an ark for a massive storm that was coming when it had never rained. We can get discouraged when people do not accept the Gospel, especially when we see the state of our world and the reprobate minds that have developed. The Lord has to show people the error of their ways. It is best for us not to flip flop, but to know what we believe in and why so we can not only be fully persuaded and focused, but so we can give a reason to others for the hope that is in us.
We will lose focus if we look around at the mockers, and feel ashamed for our conduct in Christ. Romans 10:11: “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” We will lose focus if we allow our minds to be affected by trying times. Look to godly brothers and sisters in Christ for encouragement and examples, but remember we are all human and all fail. Jesus is the only One who will never let us down. Show others we have a different spirit from the world. Keep the chains off your mind! Be fundamentally grounded in what you believe, and you will find peace in the midst of your storms. Pray and be honest with God with your feelings, fears, and anxieties, and keep the big picture in mind. The world needs a Saviour, His return is imminent, and He loves each and every one of us, and yes, that includes YOU personally. Take comfort in that. Read His word and pray, and stay clear and focused on what He wants you to do and the kind of person He wants you to be.