Hope and Joy instead of Doubt and Despair

After over sixty years as a child of God, I continue to plunge into doubt and despair instead of living in hope and joy. I despair when I harbor the same sinful attitudes I struggled with in my twenties. I still become frustrated and overwhelmed when it feels like I’ve lost control. I often ask God to help me overcome temptations. But when I pray and nothing much changes, I struggle to maintain my faith. I am tempted to doubt both God’s love and his power to do what I have requested. I don’t think I’m the only one.

Revelation of God's glory in this photo of a double rainbow in Canyonlands National Park
Hope and joy in the Storms of Life
Photo by David Menne

David Felt Fear

It turns out that even some Bible heroes struggled with temptation and sin. David did, and he wrote songs about it. Psalm 18 is an example. According to the title, David wrote this Psalm after one of his narrow escapes from one of King Saul’s attempts to kill him.

David was human, just like us. Sure, he killed the giant Goliath. But he also feared for his life several times. He expressed those fears in verses 4 and 5 of the psalm. “The cords of death encompassed me, the torrents of destruction assailed me, the cords of Sheol (death and the grave) entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.” David felt like an animal caught in the cords of a snare that twists tighter and tighter as he struggles to get away. Bottom line: He feared for his life.

God Loved and Protected David

David had experienced God’s help in lots of scary situations. So, instead of giving in to his fear, he chose to

cry out to God for help (Verse 6). One time, David was hiding from King Saul in a cave. Unfortunately, the king needed to use the bathroom and sought privacy in David’s hiding place. Saul was so close to him that David was able to cut off a corner of his robe (1 Samuel 24:1-4). The only reason David escaped with his life was because God made him invisible in the darkness of the cave.

When David felt trapped and helpless, he first focused God’s power. In Psalm 18:7-15, David uses vivid images to describe the Lord’s infinite power and love toward those who find their faith wavering. He mentions how God made the mountains shake and blew away the water of the sea to expose the foundations of the earth. His words remind us that God did those very things for the Israelites when they escaped from Egypt. We can also discover what God can do for any of his children by remembering stories from Scripture. And we can use David’s writing to give us words to pray when life is overwhelming.

Pray Scripture to Renew Hope and Joy

This is how I apply this Psalm when I am distressed. “He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters” (Verse 15). This reminds me of how God grabbed hold of my heart as a child. He saved me and protected me as I grew up.  For instance, I could have drowned in an ocean of anger, selfishness, and rebellion as a teenager. Even now, God draws me out of the pits I fall into because of sins of pride, self-centeredness, and negativity.

In Christ, you can have hope and joy in the middle of a storm.
Storms of Life

“He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me” (Verse 17). God absolutely rescued me from the clutches of Satan. Now he saves me when I become overwhelmed when my computer becomes my enemy. If I remember to cry out to God in that situation, the difficulty shrinks to a manageable state. My heartbeat slows down, and I remember that I’m married to tech-savvy man who is willing to help. In this way, the enemy does not defeat me just because I hit the ‘delete’ key instead of “return”.

David continues, “They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my support” (Verse 18). My enemies don’t carry guns or swords. It’s schedule interruptions, bodily weaknesses, and machines that get me down and frustrate me. When I realize I am descending into spiral of negativity, I need to stop, breathe, and pray. That’s how I lean on God’s strength instead of my own. He always supports me because he loves me and is bigger than all my various enemies.

Hope and Joy will Defeat Doubt and Despair

Because I am God’s child, he frees me from all sorts of dangers. A rotten, selfish attitude or sickness may hold me captive. I may despair over a burned casserole or a broken egg on the kitchen floor. I could also grieve with a loved one or become irate after hearing about severe domestic violence. Any of these situations and more can rob me of hope and joy. But no matter what causes my despair, God will do for me what he did for David. He tells us the results of God’s rescue plan in Psalm 18:19. “He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.”

At any moment in any stress-filled or weary day, children of God can choose to live in the broad place God has provided. We can stop living in fear and depression because God loves us. In fact, he delights in us. And, he has the power to release us from anyone or anything that threatens us. He moved heaven and earth to help the Israelites and mad David invisible. He’ll do the same for us. So, let’s stop doubting and start trusting our loving and powerful God. If we will do that, we can walk through the trials and traumas of life with hope and joy instead of doubt and despair. After all, we are children of the Creator and Ruler of everything that exists.

Note: Daniel is another Bible hero who experienced God’s deliverance. Read a story in Daniel 6.

Faith, it all Starts with God

By Stan Johnson, pastor emeritus, Flagstaff Christian Fellowship


Yosemite National Park
Photo by David F Menne

Theme: Faith, it all Starts with God

Scripture: Hebrews 11:3
Scripture Reading:
“By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.”


I have enjoyed reading and slowly memorizing Hebrews 11, emphasis slowly. I find that scripture memory is a great Bible Study tool, not to just memorize the words. Therefore, memorize by understanding and putting phrases together as a clear thought. So, with Hebrews 11, I want to understand: what is faith, how do I live by faith and why is it important to God, “for without faith it is impossible to please God.” (11:6)


By Faith We Understand

Near the beginning of Hebrews 11, verse 3 reads:  “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God.” Faith begins by believing that God, by His word, made all of creation. So, this is consistent with Genesis 1:1 where we read “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” John 1:1-3 reads “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

Here, “Word” refers to Christ who shows us God just as a particular word  pictures an object to us in our minds. Christ who is God, shows us God and He by His word created the world around us. So, this is where faith begins, and believing this pleases God. Subsequently, the author of Hebrews continues his point about faith in verse 6, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

Give credit to God

We honor God and show our faith in Him when we give credit to God for creating our beautiful world. Do you thank and praise Him for the complexity of our biological systems that work so well together? In Psalm 19, David helps me recognize God’s handiwork all around me. “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” In Psalm 8, David helps me give God honor and credit in His creation. “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth, who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens. When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; what is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for Him?” (8:1,3)

Bryce Canyon National Park
Photo by David F Menne

All of creation

All of creation points to a beautiful, loving and wise creator.  Let us heed Paul’s warning in Romans 1:25 to worship the creator and not His creation. “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”

It is a significant phrase to say “thank God.” But, do we give God credit and honor due Him in our conversations with others? Do we take away from giving God credit and honor by not thanking Him out loud when we need to? So, there is significance in our living by faith to not only believe that God created our world, but that we recognize this before others. Give testimony to this and then thank God for His amazing creation.

My wife gave me an illustration of how to naturally bring God into our daily conversation. She was working as a nurse at our local hospita. Looking out of a third story window toward the San Francisco Peaks, she commented to her patient, “Isn’t God’s creation beautiful?” And from a hospital bed, no one ever disputed it.


In short, how might you recognize God as creator by thanking Him in your conversations. Or cause curiosity about God as creator with a timely question?
Lord, thank you for creating the world we live in. Help me recognize you as creator in my conversations this week.   (7/8/2021)

God Saves His People

God saves his people today just as he saved the Jews from destruction 2500 years ago.   This is recorded in the book of Esther (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purim). Jewish people still celebrate God’s providential actions. God’s name is never mentioned in that Old Testament book, but his control of people and events cannot be denied. The story is set in ancient Persia in about 480 B.C. during the reign of Xerxes. The king replaced his wife when she refused to parade her beauty in front of Xerxes’ gluttonous and drunken party guests. He chose a young Jewish woman named Esther after she won a nationwide beauty contest.  Through Esther, God saved his people who were living in the Persian Empire at the time.

God’s Behind-the-Scenes Providence

Soon after Esther was crowned queen, Esther’s uncle Mordecai publicly insulted Haman, Xerxes second in command. So, he tricked the king into making a decree that all the Jews in the kingdom were to be killed on a certain day. But genocide wasn’t enough for Haman. He also decided to build a gallows in his front yard so he could humiliate and murder Mordecai. 

But God was in control. He made it possible for Mordecai to overhear a conversation in which some members of king’s court were planning to kill Xerxes. He reported the plot to the palace officials. They promptly executed the would-be assassins. And the incident became part of the official court records.

Xerxes decided to read those records in an attempt to ease his insomnia. In God’s providence, he just happened to read how Mordecai’s intervention had saved his life. The next day, Xerxes commanded Haman to dress Mordecai in the king’s clothes and lead him through the streets on the king’s horse. He was to proclaim, “This is a man the king desires to honor.” You can imagine how Haman’s anger and hatred boiled after that. He was more determined than ever to get rid of Mordecai and all his people.

Esther was aware of the honor paid her uncle, and she knew that Haman had gotten Xerxes to decree the death of all the Jews. She planned to remedy both situations by schmoozing the king and baiting Haman into a trap. She invited her husband and Haman to dinner and served as the perfect hostess for two nights. Haman basked in the attention and felt sure it was a sign that things were finally going his way. 

God Saves His People

On the third night of dining with the queen, Xerxes asked Esther how he could honor her. She requested that he stop the planned slaughter of her and her people. And, she revealed that Haman was the one who had plotted their destruction. The king left the room in a rage at how Haman had used him. While he was gone, Haman groveled at Esther’s feet pleading for mercy. 

In the Book of Esther, we read an ironic story about a man who was hanged on the gallows he built to take vengeance on a Jew who refused to worship him.
Twist of fate

Xerxes saw Haman in the compromising position and assumed he was making advances on the queen. In an ironic twist of fate, the king sentenced Haman to be hanged on the gallows he had built to get rid or Mordecai. Xerxes allowed Esther and her uncle to warn all the Jews in the kingdom about the coming attack. As a result, the Israelites armed themselves and defeated the king’s men who attacked them. Then, in one final stroke of irony, Xerxes named Mordecai to replace Haman as his closest advisor.

I can see how God saved his people through the actions of a beautiful queen and a pagan king in this incident. Haman had planned to have all the Jewish people living in the Persian empire killed. But God worked through the actions of Esther, Mordecai, and King Xerxes to save his people. This is so important to the Jews today that they celebrate it in the annual Feast of Purim. Furthermore, the story illustrates the truth of Proverbs 21:1. “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.” 


Anyone who places their faith in Jesus for salvation becomes a child of God.  From that point on, God takes responsibility for our welfare.  He protects and provides for us just as he did for the Jews living in Persia.

Other Resources

You might want to watch a fun Animated presentation of the story of Esther

My book addresses the topic of this blog in two chapters: If Only I Hadn’t Been Abused and If Only the Pain Would go Away

Course Correction Required

Straight Rows Produce More

Every now and then, it is good to check to see if we need a course correction in our walk with God. If we aren’t careful, we can start to veer away from the straight and narrow way (Matthew 7:13-14). We might take a short excursion into the world to fulfill a longing, or to “have a little excitement in our lives.” Unfortunately, we enter into enemy territory whenever we compromise our convictions or become spiritual lazy. Our apathy and moral lapses can lead us farther and farther away from a walk of faith that pleases God. When that happens, we need to adjust our focus and correct our course.

A Lesson in Steering a Straight Course
This photo illustrates how straight the crop rows in a field need to be.  The image demonstrates how important it is to stay on course.
Straight crop rows in a location that looks like Idaho, USA

I learned the value of keeping on course from my dad when I was still in elementary school. One day, I rode on the tractor with him in the field where he was planting potatoes. As proceed through the field, Daddy told me to look at how straight his rows were. Then he asked if I could guess how he kept going in such a straight line. Of course, I couldn’t guess, so he told me. Daddy pointed to a cluster of trees about half a mile away. He explained that he made the first row straight by keeping his eyes on those trees. After that, he just lined up the wheels of the tractor next to the previous row to make each furrow parallel with the last one.

His straight rows insured that irrigation water would get to all the potato plants. My dad expected to reap a good harvest because he kept his eyes on the trees in the distance while he planted the first row. (See more on the lessons I learned in potato fields in my blog “My Life as a Farmer’s Daughter”)

It’s Easy to Stray off Course

Life is a lot like planting potatoes. Every day, we make decisions that result in either staying on course or planting crooked rows. Will we compromise our standards in order to fit in with friends? Are we tempted to stretch the truth to impress someone? Or, does living a “good Christian life” seem too demanding? It is hard to do all the right things all the time—in fact, it’s impossible.

The writers of the psalms understood the difficulty of staying on course. They often cried out for help because they were in trouble. In some cases, the psalmist’s family was giving him fits. Or, he may have veered off the path by sinning. An enemy attack may have distracted him. King David describes a dangerous distraction in Psalm 124. He writes, “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side when people rose up against us, they would have swallowed us up alive” (verses 2-3). In the next two verses, he describes his troubles as raging flood waters that threaten to overwhelm him. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been there right next to David.

How to Make a Course Correction

We can wander off course because of our own actions or when we’re under attack by enemies. From experience we know how easy we can start wandering away from the straight and narrow. We fail in our self-improvement plans and break our resolutions almost as quickly as we make them. At that point, we have to change our focus. We have to steer toward God, the only reliable point of reference. 

David Shows us How 

In Scripture, King David provides a good example of course correction. Whenever he found himself veering away from his faith, he would cry out to God. Then, he began to focus on God. That brought him back into alignment and made it possible for him return to his walk of obedience to God. We see one of his course corrections in Psalm 124.  In this passage, David vividly described his fear during an attack by angry enemies. He felt they would drown him and swallow him. 

But David didn’t give up. We can see his course correction beginning in verse 6. He takes his focus off the enemies and puts them on God.  He begins to praise God for enabling him to escape from the trap his enemies had laid for him. And in verse eight, he declares, “Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth. “

We can Sow Straight Rows

When we feel like our life is off course, we need to focus on God like David did. If we keep our eyes focused on the him, we will walk right down the middle of the straight and narrow way. God promises to guide us when we cry out to him. He guards us against temptations that could draw us away from our faith. And, he empowers us to obey him when we are tempted to stray. He even rescues us when we fail and then gives us the opportunity to repent and get back on course again.  

Because of our sin nature, it’s easy to get off course. Any moment can bring about a dangerous distraction. But we can always make a course correction. By putting our focus back on God. As we continue to practice getting back on track, we will begin to sow straight rows that will result in a bountiful harvest of spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).


7 Things That Cause Us to Drift Spiritually:

Course corrections are vital in space travel: http://www.qrg.northwestern.edu/projects/vss/docs/Navigation/1-do-small-errors-matter.html

Fight Fear Biblically

In February of 2020, national news broadcasters began to warn Americans of a possible pandemic. By April, the Corona virus had spread from one city in China to nearly every country in the world. After only a few weeks, the deaths in New York City surpassed the number killed in the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Schools, businesses, and even churches closed their doors. So, we had to stay at home, venturing out only when our food supply required it. As followers of Christ, we needed to learn how to fight fear biblically.

Fight Fear Biblically by Knowing God’s Promises
Corona Virus Anxiety

Even without a pandemic fear, anxiety, and panic can overwhelm a person’s mind and heart at any time. A policeman rings the doorbell and says there has been an accident. The doctor calls with the diagnosis of cancer. A spouse announces he/she wants a divorce. The boss tells an employee he has to let her go. When we face crises like these, our hearts skip a beat, and a sense of desperation invades our minds. We find it hard just to process what is going on, let alone deal with it.

Fear and Anxiety Robs Us

When we face a crisis, fear and anxiety robs us of peace and security. It leaves us feeling empty, vulnerable, and weak. But we do not have to remain fearful because God is our Father. When we prayed to ask Jesus to save us, God adopted us into his family. He made himself responsible to love and care for us. So, when a life situation terrorizes us, we should ask for his help. And, God will act in response to our prayers, just as any good father would. We can fight fear Biblically by trusting God to care for us because he has promised to and he never fails to keep his word (Numbers 23:19).

Fight Fear by Knowing God

God Cares for His Children

Crises can trigger fear and panic because they prove how little control we have over our lives. They make us realize we need help from someone much stronger and wiser than we are. In fact, we yearn for someone like God. In order to gain any comfort from him, though, we have to know why God would concern himself with our problems. We find the answer to that question in 1 Peter 5:7. “Give all your cares to God, for he cares about you” (NLT). He cares so much he gave his Son to die for us (John 3:16). As our Father, God will give us the comfort and peace we need because he loves us more than we can possibly imagine.

God is Powerful

So, God loves us, but is he strong enough to take on pandemics, financial disasters, and broken relationships? Scripture says “yes.” For instance, in Isaiah 40,the prophet describes how God created and sustains the universe. For example, in verse 20, he says, “Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He [God] brings them out like an army, one after another. . . Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing” (NLT). Just consider how much power our sun has. Then, multiply that billions of times over. God created all the fuel burning in all stars in the universe, and he controls all of it. Taking care of our current crisis will not tax his abilities a bit. 

God is Loving

However, God isn’t just powerful. He also loves his children infinitely. His compassion motivates him to use his power to meet our deepest needs. Paul stated that “Nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8:39). God loved us enough to sacrifice his son Jesus for our sins, even though we were sinners in open rebellion against him (Romans 5:6-10). Nothing can touch a child of God without his permission. And, he will answer our distress calls because he loves us. To us, our trials seem overwhelming. But God turns them into tools to shape us into the image of Jesus. So, the insurmountable obstacles that make us afraid become eternal blessings from the hands of our loving Father.

Any Believer Can Fight Fear Biblically
Fighting Fear Biblically

Fight Fear Biblically by Knowing God’s Promises

God’s Promises Provide Hope

Knowing God cares for us and has infinite power gives us hope in a crisis. We can also fight fear by using his promises. Scripture contains hundreds of God’s promises. They are like treasures in a chest that we can draw from any time we are in a crisis. Jesus’ disciples learned this fact by experience. On the night he was betrayed, Jesus told them, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Just a few hours later, Jesus was arrested, tried, and sentenced to die on the cross. At that point, the disciples’ found themselves fighting fear, big time. In fact, they all ran and hid so the Jewish authorities couldn’t arrest them as well (John 20:19).

Only when Jesus appeared to the disciples after his resurrection did their peace of mind return. Once they saw him alive, they realized that he had kept his promise. He had overcome both the powers of Rome and the Jewish religious leaders. Even more importantly, he had conquered death. Their firsthand experience of Jesus’ overcoming power made the disciples bold and fearless witnesses for the rest of their lives.

God’s Promises Sustain and Comfort Us

As followers of Christ, we should be encouraged by the example of Jesus’ first disciples.  When we encounter fearsome situations and threats, we can cling to the promise of Romans 8:28. “For those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” God may choose to sustain and comfort us in the midst of a fearful situation. Or, he may remove it altogether. In any case, we can trust that he is always in control and is acting for our best interests. God’s promises give us hope that our pain is not in vain.

God Keeps his Promises

From Scripture, we learn that God loves us and has the power and wisdom to protect us from harm. Whether God removes the source of our fear or not, our faith grows. And, we become more like Jesus. This is what the apostle James says: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4). God promises that the crises we encounter in life mature our faith to the point that we lack nothing. Promises like this can give us confidence and hope in difficult situations.

Another passage outlines our plan of attack when we need to fight fear. in Philippians 4:6-7, Paul writes, “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.” This passage instructs us to pray and thank God, even when our situation remains difficult. Then, it promises that God will give us victory and peace at the end of our battle against anxiety and worry. Since God always keeps his promises, knowing them becomes vital to our spiritual wellbeing.

Any Believer can Fight Fear Biblically
Fight Fear Biblically

Fight Fear Biblically by Using God’s Promises

Collect God’s Promises

We know that Scripture provides us with facts about God and records his many promises. But how do we put what we know into action? One thing you can do when anxiety strikes is to find Scripture that relates to the issue causing your fear. You can fight fear Biblically by writing verses and stories that relate to that issue on notecards. Whenever you become fearful, read the verses over and over again, until you feel God’s peace. Increase your stack of notecards every time you become anxious. Always Keep them on hand to use as spiritual ammunition to help you fight fear. This is what Paul had in mind when he called Scripture “The Sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17).

Personalize God’s Promises and Attributes

You can also personalize promises as prayers to God. For example, whenever you find yourself worrying or in a panic, pray something like this: “God, your Word says I should seek you and your kingdom instead of worrying about food and clothing (Matthew 6:25-33). I love and honor you as my perfect Father. Will you meet my need. Because I believe you love me and want the best for me, I submit to your wisdom in how you choose to provide for me. And I thank you in advance for what you are going to do (Philippians 4:6-7).

In addition to changing God’s promises into prayers, you will benefit by thinking about his attributes. The psalms have lots of vivid descriptions of God’s character as well as practical promises. For instance, Psalm 23 affirms God’s goodness and his concern for your welfare. It promises that he will give you what you need in this life and keep you safe. It even addresses death, the greatest fear of all. God promises each of his children a place in the “house of God forever.” When you get the truths of this one short psalm into your heart, you can weather anything. Even if the Corona virus takes your life, you will be with God for eternity because you have believed in Jesus his Son.

Any Believer Can Fight Fear Biblically

The Corona virus pandemic has made many people fearful and anxious. And, who knows what new crisis will appear next month or next year? Whatever happens, knowing the greatness of God’s love and power will help us fight fear. We can also use the promises of Scripture as weapons in the battle. And both a little child and an elderly grandparent can learn about God and recite his promises when they are afraid. Any child of God can find comfort and peace in the midst of trials and testing circumstances, because God loves us and has the power to help us. Whatever the cause of our anxiety or worry, we can fight fear biblically by trusting in our all-powerful God who loves us infinitely.

John Piper has written an encouraging book called Corona Virus and Christ.

Check out You Don’t Have to Worry.

You Don’t Have to Worry

Worry. We all do it. We all hate it. And, it seems impossible to stop. But you don’t have to worry.  God commands us not to worry or be anxious. For example, Jesus said, “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” (Matthew 6:25). This is a command of Scripture and must be obeyed. So, what has God given us to make it possible to stop worrying? How can we stop being anxious and rest in God instead?

This is a mother who might be tempted to worry about her sick chile.
You Don’t have to Worry

Knowing what God is Like Stops Worry

In order to stop worrying, we have to know God. We have to embrace his sovereignty, goodness, and love. God created and controls everything. He is in charge of both atoms and stars. God directs the farmer in the field and the general on the battlefront. God can do anything he wants to do, and nothing can stop him (Daniel 4:35). That kind of power would be scary if God were not holy as well. His goodness prevents him from doing or allowing anything that could harm his children. God loves us (1 John 4:8) so he will only expose us to those things that will turn out to be good for us (Hebrews 12:11). God’s power, goodness, and love should assure us that nothing can happen in our lives that is outside his control.

A Child of God Never Needs to Worry

Children of a strong, and loving father would have no cause for worry. The fact is that anyone who belongs to God has that kind of Father. According John 1:12, a person who believes in the name of Jesus becomes a child of God. And, our perfect, loving, and powerful Father has made himself responsible for our care. He met our greatest need when he sent Jesus to die for our sins. And if God gave his Son to die for us, it seems reasonable to assume that he will supply whatever else we need (Romans 8:32). Since God is our Father, we can be as calm as a weaned child with its mother (Psalm 131:2).

God Gives His Children Anti-Worry Remedies

But we do worry, fret, and become anxious about all sorts of things. God knows all about our weakness, though. He has provided some spiritual remedies to mend our hearts and remove worry by its roots.

The Remedy of Prayer

Philippians 4:7 says we can have peace that we can’t even begin to understand. Because we are God’s children in Christ, we can ask him for anything. He can supply us with a friend or a job, food or finances, healing or endurance. God will answer our prayers according to what he considers to be best for us.

Good fathers know what will meet the most important needs of their children.

A good father protects and provides for his children
A good father protects and provides for his children

And they are not afraid to say “no” to what would ultimately hurt them. Godly fathers take great joy in giving good gifts to their kids. God knows us intimately and tailors his training for each one of us. He uses infinite wisdom in what to give or withhold. And every one of  his decisions is based in his lavish love for us.

That’s why we don’t need to worry, even if God doesn’t answer right away or in the way we had in mind. That’s why we can obey Philippians 4:6. We can lift our needs to God in prayer and thank him for his wise and loving answers. If we understand what God is like and that he is our perfect father, anxiety will replace worry in time. Even if the situation remains the same, God will use delays or denials to build our faith.

The Remedy of Scripture

We must ask for God’s intervention in a worrisome situation to begin on our journey toward peace. Our request places our burden into his all-powerful hands. But we must also engage in a battle against Worry and its twin brother, Distrust. In Ephesians 6:12-18, Paul describes the Holy Spirit-empowered armor every child of God possesses. We have enough protective gear to cover our mind and heart. And we have a sword, which is the Word of God.

By using the truths and promises of the Bible, we can fight and win the battle against worry.

We worry because we believe we must take care of the problem. We assume that God either doesn’t care about our need, or he can’t come to our rescue. Both of those opinions are sinful lies. But, “if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from al unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). God will forgive us. And, did you notice that he will also purge our hearts and minds of the sins of worry and distrust.

The Remedy of Divine Power

The process of driving worry out of our hearts involves spiritual battles. But God has provided us with divine power with which to fight the lies we believe. With him, we can destroy the castle walls we run into when we try to solve our problems. God’s wisdom tears down our lofty opinion of our ability to solve the problems we face. God gives us all we need to reject the lies we believe. And, he enables us to trust him to provide for and protect us. He helps us retrain our mind so we stop trusting in our own puny resources and start trusting his power, holiness, and love. Check out 2 Corinthians 10:3-5if don’t believe me.

We Don’t Have to Worry!

We worry because we can’t solve problems. We don’t worry about knowing how to tie our shoes, but we do worry about having enough money to pay for a new pair. We don’t worry about the walls of our house crumbling in a summer rainstorm. But we do worry having enough money to pay the mortgage.

This is why God’s Word says, we should humble ourselves enough to ask for help instead of worrying. He would love for us to place all our fears and worries into his hands because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:6-7). God hears and answers our prayers for help in overcoming worry because it is basically sinful. Plus, the penalty for the sin of worry has been paid in full by Jesus’ death. In addition to telling us about God’s lavish love, the Bible also records the amazing promises he has made to us, his children. Because we are God’s children, we have his power, goodness, and love with which to fight and win the battle against worry, anxiety, and fear. God has done everything necessary to make it so we don’t have to worry.

Are you worried? As a Christ follower, you have everything you need to quit!

Nancy Leigh DeMoss has written a very helpful book on this topic:  Lies Women Believe: And the Truth that Sets them Free

My Life as a Farmer’s Daughter

This image illustrates the feelings, joy, and my life as a farmer’s daughter. This is a photo of a young girl running across a field towards some nearby barns. Her long hair is blowing in the wind.
Young Farm Girl

I spent most of my childhood on an 80-acre farm in southern Idaho in the 1950s. My life as a farmer’s daughter featured both good and bad times. While my parents allowed my sisters and me to explore, we also had to weed the garden. I rejoiced in new life as I held baby chicks in my hand. But I also experienced sorrow when my dad was unable to resuscitate a stillborn calf. This mixture of adversity and joy provided me with a strong foundation for life. I now realize that my childhood on the farm allowed to explore and enjoy my world. But it also provided opportunities to experience the satisfaction of hard work. And because my childhood included both joy and adversity, it gave me a solid foundation for life.

The Freedom and Fun of My Life as a Farmer’s Daughter

On summer days, my sisters and I (My brother wasn’t born yet.) roamed freely over more than an acre of land which included a huge lawn by our house, an orchard, and the barnyard. We climbed trees, swam in irrigation ditches, and played hide and seek. The orchard featured a thicket of Potawatomi plum trees, which grow more like vines than trees. Their intertwined branches formed rooms and caves. It took only a little imagination to turn them into mansions, robber hideouts, and hospitals for sick and wounded dolls. Any cavity could change identity at a whim and let us exercise our imaginations to the max.  

As the oldest child, I was given a fair amount of responsibility early on. My next younger sister and I entertained and kept my other three sisters safe—usually. Once we got into pretty big trouble because we were using broken glass jars as bowls to mix mud pies in. They were good pies, too, since we had stolen the eggs from a few robins’ nests. What a surprise that my mom took exception to our younger sisters playing with broken glass!

Learning the Value of Hard Work

On a farm, everyone has to contribute, especially in a large family. Each of us started doing chores almost as soon as we could walk. Mom taught me to wash dishes using a bucket sitting on a tree stump in the yard. Even with a stool, I couldn’t have reached into the sink. As we grew, we took on all manner of jobs to contribute to keep things running smoothly. The most odious of all was cleaning the chicken coop in the winter. It was smelly, dusty, gross work. We loved the eggs but despised those chickens for pooping so much. Actually, that chore was more a curse than a blessing I experienced in my life as a farmer’s daughter.

Picking Potatoes

Southern Idaho is potato country. Every October school would let out, and most of the students would spend two weeks helping in the potato harvest. The farmer would drive a tractor with a digger attached along the rows of potatoes. The front of the digger plowed underneath the potatoes and directed them onto a conveyor belt made of interlocked iron rods. This shook off the dirt and carried the potatoes out the back end where they dropped on top of the row. Working as a team, my sister and I would pick up the potatoes and put them into two baskets about the size of a five-gallon bucket. Then, we would dump the fifteen to twenty pounds of potatoes from the baskets into a burlap bag. We placed the filled bag alongside the row where it would be gathered onto a truck and taken to a cellar. (Here’s a video  of how potatoes were harvested in the 1950s and another video showing how potatoes are harvested today.)

When we first started this job, I was about ten and my sister would have been eight years old. Together we earned seven cents per bag. If we didn’t play too much, we could pick about one hundred bags in a day, earning $3.50 each. It seemed like a fortune to us! As teenagers, we were able to pick two hundred bags in a day. Twelve days at $7.00 a day netted me eighty-four dollars for two weeks’ work. I had to buy some clothes with my earnings. But I also bought a yearbook from seventh grade on and my senior class ring. 

The Blessings of My Life as a Farmer’s Daughter

Potato picking was hard, dirty work, and very cold if it happened to snow. In order to make our two hundred bag goal, my sister and I had to keep our heads down and our hands busy all day long. I loved stopping to stretch my aching back at the end of each long row. I would count the bags and consider what kind of fabric to buy for a new dress.  And, it was so gratifying to line up with all the other harvest workers at the end of the week. As my dad or an uncle counted out my earnings, I knew for sure that I had accomplished something significant. I had gotten dirty and lifted baskets nearly half my weight, but the wages made it totally worthwhile.

I’ve had numerous jobs since my potato picking days, all of them involving hard work and a paycheck. When I taught junior high, I hoped I was helping some of my students appreciate the value of hard work and the satisfaction of a job well done. But as I look back, even that was not as gratifying as my annual school vacations spent in the potato field. I could easily see the results of my work in rows of well-filled bags of potatoes. It was much harder to recognize any influences I might have had on an unmotivated student in seventh grade English class.

The Farm Helped Prepare me for Life

I’m glad I grew up on a farm. The freedom to roam, the outlets for my imagination, and the opportunity to learn the value of hard work prepared me for life. I contributed to our family and learned to work for what I need and want. My parents cared for me and often sacrificed to give me more than they could really afford. In those ways, they modeled the kindness and grace of God. They taught me that he made the potatoes grow and multiply into bags of blessing that helped feed our family through the winter. God provided my sisters and me with many hours of joy in the playground formed in the thicket of Potawatomi plum trees. Both the joys and the hardships of farm life proved to be blessings. I praise God for all the valuable lessons I learned in my life as a farmer’s daughter. 

Other Resources

In a Crisis Will God Help You?

This is an image of a grieving woman in a crisis. She is in a church like setting near a casket.

Within hours of the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City, political leaders from both parties gathered on the steps of the capital building. In a crisis they reacted to the chaos of that day by encouraging American citizens to pray. The leaders of our government recommended what all of us knew: We needed a supreme being to take control of an impossible situation. 

A crisis makes us look for a Savior

A call to prayer in the face of a national crisis seemed entirely appropriate. In times of personal crisis, we almost always call out for God to take control. But for some, questions arise even as they call to God for help. Does God even exist? Which one of all the gods we have heard about is real? Will God listen to us? Could he fail us, or could things get worse?  If he is powerful enough to address the need?

We ask questions like these because we tend to attach human limitations to our concept of God. It’s obvious that piles of money, the most proficient doctors, and the best government leaders have limited effects in a serious crisis. That’s why we yearn for someone with supernatural abilities and resources to come to our rescue. When we find ourselves helpless to address a terrifying situation, we might question whether God will even notice what we’re going through. If he is busy elsewhere, will he notice and care about what’s going on?

Jesus revealed God’s compassion and power 

Consider this incident in which Jesus demonstrated both His desire and his ability to help a person in great need. 

 Luke 7:11-15

 [Jesus] went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him.  As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said. “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother (ESV).

It would have been easy for Jesus to step aside for the funeral procession and continue on his way. He was very busy with his disciples and a large crowd of followers. But he noticed this woman in crisis. In addition to the unspeakable sorrow caused by her son’s death, she may have just become homeless. Her husband was dead, and now her son. Without a male family member to care for her, she may have lost her home and source of income. Unspeakable sorrow and fear would have consumed her as she walked behind those carrying her son’s body.  

Love, Compassion and Power 

But Jesus not only saw her, he acted. His love and compassion prompted him to speak words of comfort to this widow who had lost everything, including her son. Then, he stopped the funeral and commanded the dead man to get up. By issuing that order Jesus demonstrated the extent of his power. He could not only heal blind men and feed thousands. But He could also raise the dead. So, in obedience to the Creator of life, the widow’s dead son sat up and started talking. In the blink of an eye, Jesus had turned a woman’s weeping into songs of joy.

You can trust God to help you 

This incident in the life of Jesus shows that any child of God can trust him in a crisis. That widow was not a relative or a neighbor. She was a stranger to Jesus. But he felt empathy for her. In the same way, when we face unspeakable sorrow and loss, he is our loving and compassionate Savior. When Jesus raised that young man from the dead, he demonstrated his power. If he can raise the dead, he can handle any crisis we face in our lives. Observing what Jesus did for this widow helps us trust him when everything is out of control in our lives. Jesus still cares for his people, and he will comfort us and meet our needs. He will express his compassion and exert his power to bring order out of our chaos, just as he did for the widow of Nain. 

Other Resources

Which Religion is True?

True or False Religion
Which Religion is True?

These days people identify themselves as “spiritual” because of a very wide range of beliefs. Some work at getting in touch with the spirit who lives inside them. Others embrace elements of native American religion or practice Buddhism. With so many options, it seems reasonable to adopt the popular idea that any religion will eventually get you into heaven after you die. But is that assumption true? Is one religion better than all the others? How can a person know which religion is true? Is it possible to know God? 

Biblical Christianity is Exclusive

If you look at the foundational beliefs of the most prevalent religions in the world today, you will find that there are two basic groups: Most religions require a person to be a certain way or do certain things in order to please a supreme being. There are guidelines and rules one must adhere to in order to be accepted. In most of these belief systems you are encouraged to be a good, kind, sociable person. You should not be cruel, greedy, or dishonest. Ironically, these various religions teach that the only “sin” is to be intolerant of the beliefs of others.

But, one religion firmly proclaims that all other religious systems are false and it is true. Biblical Christianity says there is only one God. It also states that you can only relate to him through his Son Jesus Christ. Jesus answered the question, “Which religion is true?” He said, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:10). No other religion is this demanding or exclusive. 

The Resurrection Proves Biblical Christianity is True

In his exclusivity, the God of the Bible draws a line in the sand that separates him from all other gods. He proved his deity through the life, death, and resurrection of his Son, Jesus. Although He was born as a human being, He lived a perfect life. He performed miracles and fulfilled numerous Old Testament prophecies. But while he was still a young man, the religious leaders of the time had him crucified. 

If Jesus’ death was the end of the story, we would have no real hope. This religion would be just like all the others that were begun by great men. We might as well be a Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, or animist. But Jesus came back to life without anyone else saying or doing anything.  Among the many people who saw Jesus after his resurrection were his disciples Matthew, Mark, and John. They wrote eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. So we know that Jesus is the only “holy man” in the history of the world who didn’t stay dead.

Jesus is not a counterfeit god. A counterfeit $20 bill can fool lots of people. But eventually it will be recognized by a person who notices the absence of the security stripe. Jesus’ resurrection serves as the security stripe for the person seeking to know which religion is true. It marks Christianity as authentic and proves that the Bible is true. Jesus died to pay the penalty we owe God because of our sins. He rose from the grave to prove he is God. When a person believes in Jesus for salvation, we become God’s beloved children. And we have total confidence that we will live eternally with him, starting now and continuing in heaven forever.

Other Resources

Who Can I Trust?

Who can I trust? This is an image of a distrustful looking man.  The image displays the words: "Well, aren't we distrustful?"
The Damaging Consequences of Distrust

Who can I trust? Your father abused you. Someone spread a nasty rumor about you at work. Your marriage just ended in divorce. After an angry quarrel, you fear your sister will never speak to you again. These and many other traumatic events make a person wonder: ‘Can I trust anyone ever again?” 

The Damaging Consequences of Distrust

Flawed human beings may have abused you, abandoned you, or betrayed you. We recognize that as part of life, but it always hurts. The emotional pain of a broken relationship made you afraid to trust others. You wonder if your next relationship will be a dismal failure like all the rest have been. You hate being alone but the idea of giving anyone else access to your heart terrifies you. You can only recover from this kind of emotional damage by beginning to trust someone. In order to do that you will need to find an extremely trustworthy person. You need a friend who will never abandon you or betray you. 

The Perfect Trustworthiness of Jesus

No one is more trustworthy than Jesus, the perfect Son of God. He promised to never leave or forsake those who believe in him for salvation (Mark 16:7). Consider how faithful he was to his less-than-outstanding disciples. The twelve disciples were walking with Jesus on the way to Jerusalem—and the cross. But James and John wanted to advance their positions in Jesus’ kingdom. On the sly, they asked Jesus to let them be on his right and left when he became king. They even got their mother involved (Mark 10:37, 40; Matthew 20:20). Jesus didn’t kick them out for being so selfish. He didn’t even tell them to go to the end of the line as they walked along the road. He simply stated that he wasn’t in charge of the seating chart in heaven. His father was.

Jesus also refused to tell Peter to get lost after his dismal failure on the night before the crucifixion. At that time, Peter denied he knew Jesus because he feared—get this—a servant girl. But after he rose from the grave, Jesus sent an angel to invite the disciples, including Peter, to meet with him Galilee (Mark 16:7). While there, the Jesus engaged Peter in a conversation designed to make Peter realize he truly loved him (John 21:15-19). After Jesus forgave Peter, he entrusted him with the task of caring for Jesus’ followers. Peter rose to the challenge, as we see throughout the first half of the book of Acts.

Take God at His Word

Jesus could have scolded Peter, James, and John. He could have replaced them with others who would be braver and less selfish. But he didn’t because he is a trustworthy person who is loving and faithful by nature. He could not cast them out without betraying their trust and that of his Father. 

Jesus will be just as gracious to you as he was to his disciples, even though they acted like jerks. Because he is absolutely trustworthy, the Son of God who died for you will never break your heart. He will not abandon you or abuse you. Jesus’ lavish grace and compassion make it possible for you to answer the question “Can I trust anyone ever again?” You can say without hesitation, “Yes, I can trust Jesus. He won’t let me down.” 

Other Resources

Group Publishing and Christian Endeavor have used my writings for their Youth Bible Studies. Check another of my blog articles: Which Religion is True