Does Jesus Care? (1 Peter 5:7)

Guincho Beach in Portugal (Photo by Mark J. Booth)
Guincho Beach in Portugal (Photo by Mark J. Booth)

Does Jesus care about what is happening in my life? Does He care about me personally? Many believers to whom Peter wrote had these same questions, because they were facing a period of great persecution for their faith. Their safety and well-being were in peril.  Peter understood persecution.  He had endured imprisonment, and misunderstanding. Jesus had clearly prophesied that one day Peter would die a violent for His sake.

Peter encouraged these beleaguered believers with a letter of a great hope in Jesus Christ. Peter reminded the believers that Jesus does know and care about what is happening in their lives.  The words: “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) brought great comfort to the readers of Peter’s letter. Today, these same words bring comfort, encouragement and hope to each one of us.

What does it mean “to cast our care upon Jesus”. First of all the word “care” has the idea of a burden, worry, or an anxious thought. There are many causes of “care” in our lives.

  1. We have the “care” for things that are outside of ourselves.  These include natural catastrophes, rejection by others, and political conflict in our nation.  Our news media has a great knack of creating anxiety upon those who are watching or listening to what they have to say. We feel helpless in the midst of a world that seems to be spinning out of control.
  2. We have the “care” for our loved ones. Many a parent lives a life filled with worry because of their children. We worry about their safety, their future, and their health. Perhaps, we have loved ones who have turned aside from the Lord. This also creates anxiety.
  3. We have the “care” concerning our own lives. We have anxiety over our future, our finances, our failures, our sins, and our health.  As we grow older we become anxious about death and leaving our loved ones behind. If a person doesn’t have the assurance of their salvation, there is the worry about life after death.

Peter admits that we have “cares” but he also tells us what to do with these cares.  Our cares are to be “cast” upon Jesus. The word “cast” has the idea of throwing a weight and placing it upon an object that can bear the weight. Perhaps, the idea can be seen by throwing a bale of hay on a wagon. Why carry the bale of hay when the wagon can do the work?

Why do we carry our “cares” with us when Jesus can carry any load that we place upon Him. He wants us to “cast our all of our cares” upon Him because He cares about what happens in our life. He died for us when we were his enemies. Will He not take care of us, now that we belong to Him?

What keeps us from casting all of our cares upon Jesus?  Could it be pride?  Could it be stubbornness? Could it be a lack of faith? Jesus’ arms are open. He is saying: “Give me that “care” that has you feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and discouraged. I can handle anything you give me. Will you not trust me today?”

Three Truths to Start the Day

Sunrise-Photo by Jonathan Snow (By Permission)

How we start the day often dictates how the rest of our day will go.  When we start our day with anxiety, worry and fear, these emotions likely will continue to affect us during the rest of the day.  David faced many trials and obstacles; yet he could be encouraged by focusing upon His Lord in the morning.  Starting our day with a focus upon God enables us to walk with confidence, peace, and joy.  Our life will not be dictated by the events of the day, but by our faith and confidence in our living God.

David shares his faith and confidence in God by writing Psalm 31:3:  “For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.” (Psalm 31:3) David  didn’t start his day alone.  He was aware of God’s presence throughout the day.   Here are three truths about God that gave David peace, joy, strength and direction each day

1. “My Rock”-David understands that God brings stability to his life.  We don’t know the future.  There are many dangers and pitfalls that we face each day.  We are tempted to worry.  We feel unable to handle what is happening.  We feel like we are drowning; however, we can find stability in the midst of the instabilities of life.  God is our rock!  He is there to steady us. He is there to enable us to withstand any storm.  Like Peter, when you feel like you are drowning allow the Lord to take your hand and place you on the Solid Rock.

2. “My Fortress”-David understands that God brings security to his life.  Worry, fear and anxiety can control our days because of our insecurity.  We feel insecure about our relationships, our finances, our health, our future, and our reputation.  We can say “goodbye” to these insecurities when we flee to our Fortress, the Living God.  He can protect us from whatever “enemies” or destructive thoughts that may be attacking us.

3. “Lead me and guide me”-David understands that God brings direction to his life.  Each day presents its challenges.  Often, we face situations which confuse us.  We don’t know what to do.  God is our Shepherd.  He desires to lead us each day.  As we start each day, God will guide us as we seek Him in His Word and in prayer.  James shared with his readers: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5)

“Lord, every day has new challenges, problems and unexpected trials.  Thank you for bringing stability, security and direction in my life.  Help me to begin each day focusing upon you as my Rock, my Fortress and my Guide.  Thank you for taking a special interest in me and what happens in my life throughout each day.  Amen”

 

Breaking the Chokehold of Worry and Anxiety

Worry and Anxiety: A Life Being Pulled in Different Directions
Photo by: Karla Da Silva (Used by Permission)

Have you ever felt pulled in several directions at once?  You know you should have faith in God, and yet worry and anxiety have a chokehold upon your whole life.  The future seems dim. Your life is at a standstill.  Sleep escapes you.  God seems very distant. Despair is ruling your life.  What can you do?

The word “worry” comes from the West Germanic word, “wrygen” which means “to strangle” or “to choke”.   Worry not only chokes our spiritual life, but also our emotional, social, and physical life. God knows the power that worry and anxiety  have upon us.  He tells us in Philippians 4:6-7: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

How do we break this chokehold that worry and anxiety have upon us?  God gives us several ways to break this chokehold.

1. Understand the consequences that worry and anxiety have upon our lives.   The words “be careful for nothing”  have the idea of “stop being pulled in different directions”.  Worry is sin because it keeps us from giving glory to God.  It also keeps us from serving God and others to our full capacity.  Worry causes us to doubt the goodness of God.  This creates confusion in our lives.  For these reasons and many others, God commands us to stop worrying.

2. Focus upon God and not upon our circumstances.  The above passage says, “Let your request be made known unto God.”  God is the source of peace.  When our eyes turn from our trials and are focused upon  God, we will see the greatness of God’s power, wisdom, love and sovereignty.  We know that we can trust Him regardless of what comes our way.  God is greater than any circumstance in our lives.

3. Talk to God about the source of our worry and anxiety.  The passage says: “but in everything by prayer and supplication”.  God, our loving Father, wants us to take every hurt, misunderstanding, health issue, family issue, financial problem, doubt, and personal issue unto Him. He alone can carry that burden.  “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) Worry and anxiety say I will carry my burden.  Faith says I will take that burden to the Lord and leave it there.

4. Learn to give thanks to God in everything.  Many problems and heartaches that choke us can be turned into blessings when we learn to give God thanks in everything that happens. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Th 5:18)  This doesn’t mean we thank God for everything.  When we thank Him in everything, we are saying to God: “I commit this circumstance, person or problem that is choking my life unto you.  I thank you that you are fulfilling your great purpose in my life even in the midst of this great trial or burden.”

5. Enjoy God’s promise of His Peace.  God tells us that His peace “passeth all understanding”.  God’s presence and peace shine forth in those who face their deepest trials with faith in Him.  I have been beside many people who are facing death and yet they had a peace that passes all human wisdom.  God’s peace doesn’t make sense to people around us because His peace isn’t based upon circumstances. It is based upon the enjoyment of His presence.

God doesn’t want any of us to be continually pulled in two directions.  He wants us to turn our faces directly towards Him.  The songwriter wrote: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, and look full in his wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His Glory and Grace.”  God will break the chokehold of anxiety and worry in our lives.  Will we trust Him to do so?  “The truth shall make you free.”

-Mark J. Booth-