Elevate 28 - A 28 Day Challenge to Intentionally Engage with God's Word
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and 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 added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
The Cause and Cure for Worry
An excerpt By Joyce Meyer
Worry, feeling uneasy or troubled, seems to plague multitudes of people in our world today. It's human nature to be concerned about the bad situations in our world and in our personal lives, but if we're not careful, the devil will cause us to worry beyond what's reasonable. Worry is like a rocking chair—it's always in motion but it never gets you anywhere. So why do we struggle with it? And what good does it do? Worry is the opposite of faith, and it steals our peace, physically wears us out, and can even make us sick. When we worry, we torment ourselves—we're doing the devil's job for him! Worry is caused by not trusting God to take care of the various situations in our lives. Too often we trust our own abilities, believing that we can figure out how to take care of our own problems. Yet sometimes, after all our worry and effort to go it alone, we come up short, unable to bring about suitable solutions. At a young age, I discovered firsthand that people hurt people, so I didn't trust others. I tried to take care of myself, deciding not to depend on anyone who would hurt or disappoint me. Too often our experiences in the world teach us this, and even after we become Christians, it takes a long time to overcome it. It's difficult to learn how to trust God, but we eventually must learn that trying to take care of everything ourselves is too big a task.
First Peter 5:6-7 says, Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you, casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. Since Jesus invites us to cast all of our care and worry onThe only way to have victory in our lives is to play by God's rules, and He says we must quit worrying if we want to have peace. So when things come our way “ Worry is like a rocking chair—it's always in motion but it never gets you anywhere.” Him, why do so many of us refuse to let go? Apparently, we're not yet fed up with being miserable. thatcause lists two important steps: 1) humble yourselves, and 2) cast your care on Him.First Peter 5:6-7 us to be concerned, we need God's help. How do we get it? That seems pretty clear and simple, yet some continue struggling because they're too bullheaded to ask for help. But the humble get the help. So if your way isn't working, why not try God's way? All of us would be better off if we'd learn to lean on God and ask for His help. But as long as we try to do everything ourselves, God will let us. He won't take care of our problems and worries—our cares—until we turn loose of them and give them to Him. Either we're going to do it or God's going to do it, but both of us aren't going to. Now, casting your care doesn't mean you can be irresponsible. God won't do for you what you can do yourself. You must do what you can do, and then trust God to do what you can't. When we humble ourselves and ask for His help, then He's able to release His power in our situations. It's only then that we can really enjoy life. So the cure for worry is humbling ourselves before God, casting our cares on Him, and trusting Him. Instead of making ourselves miserable trying to figure everything out on our own, God wants us to place our trust in Him and enter into His rest, totally abandoning ourselves to His care. I know that when we are able to believe and say, "God, I trust You," it will literally change our lives. Psalm 37:3 says, Trust…in the Lord and do good.... God didn't create us to worry about helping ourselves all the time. He wants us to sow good seed by reaching out to help others. When we simply trust God and get busy doing the good things we know to do, then He'll bring a harvest of blessings into our lives and meet our needs.
That sounds good, doesn't it? I've had enough heavy stuff in my life, and I want to be free. It's nice to know that we don't have to figure everything out. We need to get comfortable with saying, "I don't have a clue, but I'm not going to worry about it because God's in control. I'm going to live free and light!" When we're overloaded with the cares of this life—struggling, laboring and worrying—we need some help. Our minds need to rest from worrying about how to take care of problems, our emotions need to rest from being upset all the time.
Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus said, Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Jesus wants to ease our burdens and give us rest. The Message Bible says it this way: 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. 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. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly (Matthew 11:28) If our wills need a rest from stubbornness and rebellion. So we need to be humble enough to call out to God and say, "I need help!" Your beginning doesn't have to dictate your ending. Get God involved in every area of your life and allow Him to lead you into rest.
So stop worrying about everything, give it to God, and live in grace. Grace isn't just divine favor—it's power! Don't waste another day of your life worrying. Determine what your responsibility is and what it is not. Don't try to take on God's responsibility. When we do what we can do, God steps in and does what we can't. So give yourself and your worries to God and begin enjoying the abundant life He has planned for you.
Joyce Meyer is an American Charismatic Christian author and speaker and president of Joyce Meyer Ministries. Joyce and her husband Dave have four grown children, and live outside St. Louis, Missouri..
REFLECT & RESPOND
For all ages:
Make a Pick a Promise Jar for your kitchen island, table or counter
You will need:
· Jar with large mouth
· Pre-cut strips of paper
· Markers or Pens
· Self-Adhesive Label or Masking Tape
· Scriptures (see below)
This jar can be used for collecting scripture on any of God’s promises.
This activity will be for the promise:
“GOD TAKES CARE OF ME, SO I DON’T NEED TO WORRY OR FEAR.”
1.) Label you jar.
2.) Have each member of your family or group write one of the Bible verses below on a strip of paper.
3.) Every morning or at a designated time each day – the family and/or group will draw one strip from the Pick a Promise Jar and read it aloud.
4.) The family can discuss the verse and God’s promise.
Bible verses about God’s promise that He will take care of us, so we need not worry or fear: (find more verses using (www.openbible.info)
· “We can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?" Hebrews 13:6
· “Do not be anxious 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 surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
· “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4
· “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:5
· “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” Matthew 6:34
· “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
· “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:5-7
· “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
This activity was provided by the Teacher Love Project - a Why Not Charleston community education initiative. The Teacher Love Project aims to provide love and encouragement to teachers that will elevate their wellness and care and therefore, enhance student achievement. We must care for those who care for our children - we must love each other because God loved us first.
"We love because he first loved us."
1 John 4:19
”Do Not Worry”
by Taraea L. Griffith
Lord today I cast my cares on you and you promised to sustain me, I am the righteousness of God but Christ Jesus and you will not let me fall. I will not be afraid nor suffer shame, I will not fear disgrace nor be humiliated I will not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. I will forget the shame of my youth and remember no more my reproach for the Lord Almighty the Holy One of Israel is my Redeemer.
Taraea L. Griffith lives in Charleston with her husband, children, and grandchildren. She is a poet and writer, and making an offering of her special gifts and talents as a Why Not Charleston 2020 contributor.
THRU THE LENS - FINDING YOURSELF IN GOD'S WORD
A blog by regular men and women about finding themselves in God's word
Letting Go of Worry and Fear
By: Melanie Jager
The following is an excerpt from The Parent Course – a teaching series that I have had the privilege to write with my friend and collaborator, Kathy Lewis. As we’ve been developing this self-exploration workshop for parents – it has required me to reflect upon my own understanding of the Gospel, be confident in my knowledge and approach as I write, and confirmed by God’s expectations qualified only through scripture.
The focus of today’s Elevate28 devotion is, “I do not have a spirit of worry or fear”.
God is telling us in Matthew 6:25 - 34 that we are the most important and precious thing to him – more so than the birds – because if He is going to “feed them” then why would we think He would not fulfill our needs or the needs of our children?
The excerpt from the Parent Course is about preparing to recieve new information and learn – which includes letting go of worry and fear – something as parents, we can deeply experience and cling to. However, without releasing ourselves we can be unable to receive God’s word – understand His promises – and learn how to realize a Gospel Rich Life for ourselves and our children.
The italicized portion speaks specifically to overcoming worry and fear.
From The Parent Course:
“GET READY – GET SET – GO!”
The heart and the mind work hand in hand – yielding either positive energy (power?) or negative energy. This type of energy creates emotional and spiritual conditions within a person that affect their thinking, values, behavior, and results. Therefore, positive energy is needed to create conditions within that are conducive to all things positive. That is why the heart and mind must be properly aligned going into this course, producing positive energy, because positive energy is what is needed to be ready for hearing and learning best - what this course offers.
What energy you are yeilding? This is the first of many self-reflections you will be asked to consider. It is possibly one of the most important as it will prepare your heart and mind to begin. How well you start something usually defines how well you finish. Finishing this course strong should be one of your goals.
So, back to the reflection question. Is the energy you are yielding conducive to success? It is positive or negative?
To answer this question, you will have to analyze yourself and identify things that affect you - ask yourself what is influencing your heart and mind?
Here are a few factors to consider:
School and Activities
Considering asking yourself the following regarding the above factors:
How are you coping with the demands of each factor?
Are you able to adequately time manage home life and other factors?
Do you feel overwhelmed by circumstances surrounding any factors?
Are you frustrated over things you cannot improve for yourself?
Are you fixing the things you can improve for yourself?
What can you say is already right about each factor above?
How you rank these issues in order of greatest influence to least will vary by person – as we all don’t weigh things according to importance the same.
For the sake of example, consider one that we all have in common - your world. It’s not an easy place. The times we live in are filled with danger – leaders are disappointing and disoriented – our national and global climate is not a peaceful one. As a result, collectively speaking, you are a generation of parents dealing with fear.
Fear and doubt wreak havoc on the heart and mind. We fearfully clinch control of our children because we don’t want anything bad to happen to them. Fear in the heart can provoke anxiety and stress which clouds the mind and paralyzes our best abilities. This is no condition for yielding a positive force. Remember - you must possess a positive force to be ready.
Therefore, you have no other choice than to overcome the realities of your world for the sake of your children. You must replace fear with love and faith. You do this by being of God – not being of the world. Leave the world behind – you can’t control the world – the world is uncertain. Believe firmly and without doubt that God has your children safely in His hands – and so there is nothing to fear.
Your obedience, to grow and learn as a parent, will further ensure a great hedge of protection around your children. Letting go of control and leaving fear behind are the first steps.
God wants you to breathe easy and be filled with hope and confidence, so you can fiercely pursue the wisdom of this course courageously.
Release any pride or pain you feel over mistakes that have been made – by you or someone else. Know the past is the past – and there is no going back to change what has been. Rather, repent and forgive to be released from pain and pride immediately. Move forward ready to be restored and renewed. Don’t hold yourself back.
When you are ready for this message – then you can become the solution.
Be open to learning new things, doing new things, saying new things, seeing new things.
For your heart and mind to be aligned correctly – your heart must be led by love and faith alone and your mind must be open and focused. When this happens, you will be ready – courageous in your heart with an unapologetic mental position. In this condition – you will be a positive force that is beautiful, vulnerably transparent, and perfectly primed for the message.
Remember – you are made for this – you can do this - your children deserve nothing less. You are their only solution so get ready.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your heart and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
Melanie Jager lives in Charleston, SC with her husband, Sean. The couple have two teenaged sons, Michael and Gabriel. Melanie has been a career educator for nearly 25 years. She has also worked on numerous community development projects since 2010 - from education to business to non-profit. She has served as a project/concept developer and systems implementer for Why Not Charleston since 2015 and currently oversees and manages operations for the organization. Melanie enjoys blogging about her family life and the Gospel-Rich experience that she and Sean are seeking to create in their home for themselves and their boys.