What? Me Worry? (guest post by Jim Sprott)

What? Me worry?

A strange magazine popular among young people in the early 1960’s emblazoned the picture of a toothless under-achiever named Alfred E. Newman asking this question: “What?  Me worry?”  While a far cry from any religious overtones, Mad Magazine’s hero’s lead question is one that should cross the mind of all of us who profess the name of Christ.  Am I to worry?  Am I to be afraid of the unseen future?  As Paul was apt to say in Romans, God forbid!

In fact, it was Paul who made it clear to his young friend, Timothy, that God did not give us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and a sound mind. (II Tim 1:7)  If God be with us, of whom, or what, shall we be afraid? And there is absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of God, which is Christ Jesus, our Lord.  (Rom. 8:38 – 39)

So what is it that causes us to fear? Often, it is criticism, what people think of us.  Sometimes, it is a crisis.  We cherish stability and don’t appreciate change.  Problems seem to result when we face the changes life on this earth naturally presents to us.  Sometimes, we fear catastrophes; we focus on bad things that might happen to us or to those we love.  Yes, it is people, problems and prospects that cause us to fear and worry.

And the effects of fear and worry are dramatic. Fear disrupts our souls; it takes away our ability to be ourselves, serving God.  It paralyzes us; God wants us to move forward and grow spiritually, but we are sometimes frozen with fear and worry.  Fear really dishonors God himself, because it ignores His sovereignty, control and promises.

So how shall we overcome fear and worry? First of all, remember whose you are.  If you are a believer, you are a child of the King, part of a Heavenly family who can call upon the very Creator of this universe!  You have a Heavenly Father who loves you, wants the very best for you and can always accomplish what is truly needed in your life.  Will our life always be pleasant and our path free of pain and problems?  Absolutely not!  This is a fallen world, Satan and his evil are all around us; sickness and death will come to us and, even worse, to those we love dearly.  But God is in control, and He loves even me!

David is often the best example of a man who lived in this fallen world and experienced the pain it causes through his experiences and failings, and yet he kept his reliance on God and God’s love for him. In Psalm 56:3 – 4, David wrote “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.  In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do to me.”  Notice he says “What time I fear,” meaning, “When I fear.”  In other words, fear will come, even as it did to this giant in the faith.  The question David faces when it comes, as we too face when it comes, is whether we will allow it to disrupt us or paralyze us and thus dishonor God.

Absolutely not, says David. Instead, he will praise His word.  In other words, David will get into God’s word.  He will dust off his copy of the scriptures and praise God through delving deeply into His word.  In God he will put his trust, and he will not fear what this world (flesh, in the verse) can do to him.  He will not fear the evil of sin; he will not fear the pain of the death of a son; he will not fear social and physical enemies all around him.  Like David, in times when fear and worry come, we must put our trust in the God who loves us, the God who promises never to leave us.

Not only should we remember whose we are, when facing fear, but we should remember how we are made. We are made in the likeness of God himself.  We have been given authority here on earth.  We should remember what we have been given; take the focus off whatever is causing us worry and fear and put our focus on the blessings we have been given by God.  The old gospel song “Count Your Blessings” is not just a ditty, it is a spiritual truth.  We can avoid worry and fear as we focus on the blessings we have been given, counting them “one by one.”

No, God has not given us a spirit to accept fear and worry, but one of power, love and discipline. The power to act boldly with the authority we are given to approach even the very throne of God himself.  If we have the authority to approach the very Creator of the universe, (and we do), what in this world can bother us?  We certainly will experience pain, such as the loss of someone we love, but we must not be worry about such prospects in the future.

Love itself casts out fear. If we focus, through love, on others instead of ourselves and the problem causing us worry, the problem will fade as we express love to others through our actions.  Is something worrying you?  Get up and go help someone less fortunate than you, consider their situation and act to remedy it.  Our problems will fade in comparison when we get outside ourselves and serve others.

We have the Spirit to become disciplined in our approach to this fallen world, a sound mind producing sober thoughts, an understanding of God’s will and purpose in this world, all leading to freedom from fear and worry.

So let’s consider the same question posed decades ago by Alfred E. Newman and Mad Magazine: “What?  Me worry?”  With our loving God’s help, we believers can give a resounding “NO” to that question.

SOUL to SOUL with Andrea Lennon

So much wisdom and truth in this segment of SOUL to SOUL with Andrea!  “KNOW the Truth, LIVE the Truth and SHARE the Truth.”  For more information on Andrea, her Bible studies and speaking schedule, visit her website: andrealennon.net

One of a Kind

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While at Wal-Mart one day I picked up some small striped pumpkins, mainly because I thought they looked really neat and would add to my fall décor.  When I took them out of the bag at home, I noticed how vastly different each one was even though they were the same type of pumpkins.  I immediately thought of how different each of us are; how different God makes each of us.  We are all human, we are all made in His image (Genesis 1:27), yet we individually have certain character traits and physical features that set us apart from one another, just like these pumpkins.

Not only did these little pumpkins remind me of God’s creativeness in fearfully (meaning with reverence and awe) and wonderfully designing each and every person that ever was, is and will be, it makes me feel very special and loved to know that I was thought of and known even before my conception- even before the world began we were thought of by our God! It’s so amazing!

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…” Jeremiah 1:5a

“Long before He laid down the earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love…” Ephesians 1:4a

We were made by God and for God.  Ephesians 2:10 states that we are His handiwork, designed for good works He has already determined for us, when we walk in them.  Basically, God has a unique plan for each and every one of us!  When we walk in the way of Him and His design for us according to His Word, He does a mighty work in and through us.  By faith and in our obedience, His artistic process of making us into His image continues.  It’s beautiful, isn’t it!?

You, like these cute pumpkins, are one of a kind; there is no one else like you nor will there be anyone else like you.  Memorize these truths for yourself and let them sink into your being so you never doubt your (or other’s!) beautiful design, uniqueness, purpose or the plan God has for you (or them!)!

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An activity for children:

-Gather two or more pumpkins (other items could work great too- fruits, vegetables, plants, flowers, rocks, clouds), have them take note of the differences in each one…if you have older children, they could write them down, maybe making it a fun game of finding ten things that are different between the pumpkins, you could also circle any obvious differences on the pumpkins.

-Talk to your child about how just as God created these pumpkins one of a kind, he made each person one of a kind.  Let them know they were created in their Creator’s image, they are His workmanship, His work of art and that they were thought of by God way before they were even in your belly!  Talk about how awesomely and wonderfully God made them; how unique, beautiful, loved and wanted they are by God and you!

-List the ways they are unique and beautiful.  If they have siblings, celebrate their differences.  Let them know they are one of a kind and there’s no need to try and be like anyone else.  Often we want to compare our children (or ourselves!) to others…this, too, takes away from God’s unique design of your child, try not to do it.

-Grab a Bible and look up the verses together, they are woven all throughout the Bible–you could make this a Bible drill type of game or just use it as an opportunity to get into the Bible together and find the verses together.

  • Genesis 1:27
  • Psalm 139:14
  • Jeremiah 1:5
  • Ephesians 1:4
  • Ephesians 2:10

-For younger children, the verses can be broken down:

  •     (child’s name)    , you were created in God’s own image (Genesis 1:27)
  • You are so awesomely and wonderfully made! (Psalm 139:14)
  • God thought of you long before you were in mommy’s belly, even before He created the world! And He even knew you then! (Jeremiah 1:5, Ephesians 1:4)
  • You are God’s work of art! (Ephesians 2:10)

-If your children can read, write the verses (or fragments) out and have them read them aloud.  Have them practice memorizing the verses in their entirety.

-Remind them that just as they are God’s handiwork, so are others; they should not only treat themselves as such, but others as well.

-Talk about God’s special plan and purpose He has specifically laid out just for them.  Include what God has already done in their life, or any way God has used your child to grow your faith.

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I want my children to know these truths and understand how vastly important and unique they both are.  I couldn’t wait to sit down with them, observe the differences in these sweet pumpkins and discuss the creativeness of our God in each of them…my little pumpkins. 🙂