Do Not Be Anxious…

“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?” (Matt 6:26, ESV)

Recently I read an article on Allan Halton’s blog, A Mending Feast, “Disciples of the Lily” [1] and wrote the following comment,

Thank you, Allan, for this enlightening post. As of late it seems that all or my senses have been assaulted on every front with things that seek to trouble me and take away the peace that is ours IN Christ. Your blog article was what I needed to read. As I read and contemplated Jesus’ words I looked out our front window and watched a pair of tiny birds pausing on our front porch hand rail as they took turns flying up into the eaves of our house and feeding their little brood in the humble nest they built. They fly away empty and return with a bug in their beaks without a care in the world, knowing that our Heavenly Father will provide for them and their family. They have no thoughts whatever about the rioting and shootings going on in our cities and live in the world that God has given them. As I joined them in my thoughts and Jesus’ words, I felt the peace of the Lord come into me once again. All His creation is there to teach us what a wonderful God we have and how we can trust in Him. Thanks so much for this timely reminder, my brother.

While teaching the disciples in what is called “The Sermon on the Mount” Jesus said,

“Do not be anxious…” The Lord knows how I needed to hear that message in my heart!

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Looting in Argentina

saying ‘What shall we eat…”

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Or, ‘What shall we drink…”

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or ‘What shall we wear.’

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For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. (Matt 6:31-32, ESV)

The lead picture in this article is of women in Argentina reacting to the rioting and looting in their own country. God knows that there has been a lot of anxiety all over this world with the Covid-19 virus pandemic, all the rioting, businesses burned to the ground, shootings, the loss of jobs as a result of these things, and the upheaval and widespread ethnic violence. Jesus called these events, “the beginning of birth-pains.” It seems that all these things are a precursor to His imminent return for His bride. The more we are attached to the things of the world, the more anxiety we are going to suffer, but as Christians we have a great hope because of what He went on to say.

“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?” (Matt 6:26-30, ESV)

Jesus didn’t preach this Sermon on the Mount with a walk-in closet full of Armani suits and a 21 cubic foot freezer full of food. He actually lived from day to day like the birds of the air, totally relying on His Father to meet His needs as He obeyed His voice moment by moment!

In times like these, with the birth pains coming ever closer together and increasing in intensity, our faith in God is surly being tested and proven, but even that has God’s purpose behind it. Peter wrote:

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1Pet 1:6-7, ESV)

Dear saints, as I was contemplating Jesus’ words in Matthew chapter six, I looked out our picture window and watched a pair of sparrows taking turns fetching bugs for their babies in a nest up under our front porch eaves. God used that to drive the point home and dispatch all my anxieties. Here is a picture I took of one of their babies in his nest patiently waiting for his next morsel of food:

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Photo by Michael Clark

Jesus went on to teach me about entering into His rest and casting all my cares upon Him. I went out on the front porch to check on the birds, only to discover one of our neighborhood deer lying on the grass less than twenty feet away and not bothered a bit by my announced presence.

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Photo by Michael Clark

One word seemed to sum up the lesson that our Father was trying teach me, PEACE.

Peace that comes from believing that,

“…for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom 8:28-32, ESV)

[1] https://amendingfeast.org/2018/01/27/disciples-of-the-lily/

17 comments on “Do Not Be Anxious…

  1. Carina says:

    Thank you, Michael. Argentina is crumbling before my eyes and watching the news has become too painful. And yet I am a citizen of another nation, the New Jerusalem. We can lift our eyes to the Holy Mountain knowing our help comes from the Lord. Heaven and earth will pass but His Word remains. His Truth is eternal. Jesus is King.
    The storm has raged furiously against our family. We are unemployed. We think God may ask us to move out of the city but don’t know when or where. And yet I am certain that He is our helper and our keeper. And He will guide us because He is our Shepherd.
    When all else fails, may we always be kept in the absolutely certainty we are loved and kept in Him.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Carina,
      I am sorry to hear that Argentina is falling as well and its failing economy is touching your family. I think that it is only a matter of time before the American dollar tanks and we become a “third world nation.” Jesus’ last words at His trial was, “My kingdom is not of this world.” He had already warned His disciples that Jerusalem would soon fall and told them when they saw it surrounded by armies to flee to the mountains. It was not long until Israel would no longer be their home any longer because of it total destruction. Though the heavens and the earth may pass away, His words in our hearts will never pass away.

      I know that I have to keep my eyes and heart fixed on the NEW Jerusalem, that city whose builder and maker is God which is founded on Jesus Christ as its Cornerstone. I will be praying for you and your family. Like Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many rooms and I go their to prepare a place for YOU.”

      God bless you with every spiritual blessing IN Christ Jesus, dear sister,
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

      • Carina says:

        Today I got an answer from our Heavenly Father regarding all of these heart-breaking and confusing situations.

        “Let all the Earth fear the Lord. Let all the people of the world revere Him. For He spoke and it came to be; He commanded and it stood firm. The Lord foils the plans of the nations. He thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever; the purposes of His heart through all generations.” Psalm 33: 8-11

        We do not know the outcome of these events but we do know God can stop the most raging storm in a second with a single word. So if He allows these storms to continue, we know there is a plan for them and, as true believers, we will be shaken from false confidence in the flesh as chastisement but not from true faith!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Thank you, Carina, for your faith-filled comment and for sharing Psalm 33 with us. What we are seeing at this time is everything that can be shaken is being shaken. “On Christ the solid Rock we stand; all other ground is sinking sand.” God will not let the pride of man go on unchecked, but the Lord who watches over us neither slumbers nor sleeps.

        Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” ​Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. (Ps 115:1-3, ESV)

        Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed… (Ps 2:1-2, ESV)

        My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:27-28, ESV)

        You and your family remain in my prayers,
        Michael

        Like

    • dimple says:

      Thanks, Carina, for the verses from Psalm 33. I was strengthened and encouraged when I read them, and I will share them with others.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Allan Halton says:

    Thanks, Michael, I’m glad my blog encouraged you. It’s a post from a while back, and it re-encouraged me as I read it over again.

    Just now Jesus’ concluding words have been refreshed to my heart. After exhorting His hearers to be not anxious about the things that “the Gentiles” seek for their security, He said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” He is saying that there is a security in the kingdom of God– His righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit– that no other source can provide us, and which nothing and no one can take away from us.

    We cry for your grace, dear Lord, that we seek this security from You alone, and from no other source!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Amen to that, Allan. The more we see this world collapsing around us, the more we are encouraged to seek a city whose builder and maker is God which has a REAL and UNMOVABLE Foundation, Jesus Christ. May we who are His living stones all be found fixed to THAT foundation alone, for there we will not soon be shaken as this world and its kingdoms fall apart.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Stacey Amolsch-Roy says:

    Amen And Thank You Michael for this wonderful post. Some days I am anxious and other days I am at total peace. 2020 sure has proven to be a real eye opener. I pray to be found worthy. Amen. To stand upon the Rock of Salvation alone when the World around us falls apart and He takes us to the Everlasting Home. I love the pictures as it shows so much. God Bless you Michael.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It is not, I think, unnatural for us to grieve as we watch the world collapsing around us. But Christ alone is our rock. Most of us can make do w/ much less than we once thought “essential”.

    Thank you for sharing your insights, Michael.

    With love,

    A. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Anna, here in America what we call “necessary” and what they call necessary in the third world are two different standards. This stark difference reminds me of the movie, “You’ve God Mail.” In one scene Tom Hanks and his blond high society girlfriend are stuck between floors in an elevator for a couple hours with about four other people. She starts fussing and making it worse for everyone else and finally digs in her purse and abruptly closes it and cries out, “WHERE ARE MY TICTAC’S?!!!” After that ordeal was over Tom Hanks moved out of the apartment they shared. He had had enough.

      While in the Navy I visited Hong Kong and while there I bought an English worsted wool suit. While in the tailor shop waiting to be fitted for the suit I looked out the second floor window of the shop and across the street was what looked to be an apartment building, except there were no windows, just concrete cubicles with a rectangular hole where glass should have been and a door in the back of each room that went out into a central hallway. I asked the owner of the shop what I was looking at. He told me that buildings like that are apartment buildings constructed by the English government where the occupants lived with their families for eight hours a day and then were turned on the streets to make a living any way they could while the next family came in for the next eight hour shift. Three families in all shared each of these stark apartments. He told me that there was a common bathroom down the hall on each floor that every one used and that when they were turned out after their eight hours was over they had to take all their meagre possessions with them.

      That was not all, on the roof of these tenement buildings there were cardboard shacks where the real poor people lived and the Navy told us that the “roof tops” as they were called were “off limits” to us. That was where a lot of the prostitution took place in Hong Kong. The city was overrun with refugees who had escaped from China and these poor people spent most of the day selling anything they could to just make ends meet, including their bodies.

      What a contrast! After that I concluded that most Americans don’t have a clue what real poverty is. Yes, Anna, most of us can make do with far less than what we think is “necessary.” When Jesus was asked, “Where do you live?” He replied, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Paul wrote,

      “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” (2Cor 8:9, ESV)

      “And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.'” (Luke 6:20, ESV)

      What an example He provided for us to live by that we, like Him, might be poor by this world’s standards, but rich in spirit.

      Thanks, Anna, for your comments. They always inspire me. In His love for you too,

      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Great blog, Michael! 👍🏼

    Also, I love the peaceful pictures you took of the deer and the sparrows. 😍 It even seems to me that there are at least two if not three sparrows in this pic. There is another beak on the left side of the waiting sparrow and a shadow of sorts behind him… 🤔🐤🐥🐣😇

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      You are right about the second sparrow, Susanne. Right after I snapped that picture the two of them exploded out of there and flew about 30 meters each and haven’t come back. They must have been camera shy. 🙂 Another one of them flew away about an hour earlier after I saw him on the ground below the nest, so I guess they were ready to head out on their own. The deer was not bothered by me at all, though. She hung around and watched while I helped my friend Craig with a battery problem on his car in our driveway. :-p I am glad you liked the blog and the pics, dear sister.

      Liked by 1 person

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