Max Lucado’s book, Anxious for Nothing – Week 4
Lets take a moment to review last week’s lesson with a little exercise. Have you ever started a sentence with the phrase if only?
- If only I could drive a new car instead of this old clunker!
- If only I could be married, then I wouldn’t feel lonely!
- If only I had more money, then I would be happy!
The antitode to the if only syndrome is gratitude. Why? Because gratitude forces you to recognize what God has ALREADY given to you.
What are the if onlys in your life today? Write each if only in the left column below.
If onlys Alreadys
After listing your if onlys, list your already. How does noting these things change your perspective about your first list?
Time to share: Have you ever endured a perfect storm of bad events? What happened? How did you spiritually and emotionally face the storm?
Read aloud 2 Chronicles 20:1-12. After this, the Moabites and the Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to wage war against Jehoshaphat.
Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. I is already in Hazezon Tamar. Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.
Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard and said:
“Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, “If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.”
“But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
What was Jehoshaphat’s response to the perfect storm of armies that were preparing to attack? When the perfect storm of anxiety is looming in your own life, how can you respond like Jehoshaphat?
- Read John 14:27 aloud. What is the difference between the “peace” the world gives and the peace God gives?
- God never promises we will live a storm-free existence. The Bible is full of stories about storm and how to face them. Take a moment to read Matthew 8:23-27. How does Matthew describe the ferocity of this storm in verse 24? What is Jesus doing during the storm? What is Jesus’ response to the disciples’ fear (verse 26)?
- Read Psalm 119:75 and Hebrews 12:6, 11. Many times, the “winds and waves” in our storm are caused by our own poor decisions. And the Lord, just as he rebuked the winds and waves in Galilee, rebukes us for disobeying his word. According to the verses you just read, why does God discipline us? How can God’s rebuke bring calm to our storm?
- 4. In Acts 27:23, Paul tells his fellow shipmates, “Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me.” There are three promises we can gain from these words:
- God will send his angels to help during life’s storms.
- You belong to God
- God has a mission for your life
What specific anxieties are weighing on you today? Write down any worry on your heart. Be as specific as you can be.
In this session, we have been studying how the Lord promises to guard our hearts and minds in Jesus. Picture him in military uniform, marching around your heart and mind, protecting you from the enemy’s schemes and the worries of this world. He builds a fortress of peace around those he loves. When you leave your requests with God, you are, in a sense, handing over the enemy to the Commander.
In the space below, draw a square. Inside the square, draw a heart. Now, take the worry you listed above and write them down on the outside of the square.