Times are getting tougher. The economy is in terrible shape and things may only get worse. These are most certainly unsure times.

So, I have to ask, how strong is your faith right now?

How many novels have you read the last twelve months? Newspapers? On-line articles? Instructions on assembling an exercise bike? How many recipes have you looked at and considered? What about decorating magazines? Sports Illustrated? Fishing and Hunting News?

How much time have you spent watching TV? Listening to music? Playing cards? Going to restaurants and dining out? Visiting with your neighbors? E-mailing friends and family? Shopping on-line?

We can spend a lot of leisure time for many enjoyable activities. So…how much time do you spend each day reading your Bible and praying?

Again I have to ask, how strong is your faith right now? I can say that your faith is probably proportionate to the amount of time you spend in God’s word and praying. I am not talking about church going, although this is a positive. I am referring to the time you spend alone with God. Spending time alone with God and His Word is how your learn about Him and how you apply the truths to your life.

If you are not reading your Bible how can you know what God’s promises are? How can God speak to you through the Reader’s Digest?

Here are some of God’s Promises

Here is a promise to Moses when he worried about going to Pharaoh on behalf of the Israelites.

Exodus 3:12a “And God said, “I will be with you..”

When I was afraid to speak on a radio program the Lord showed me this verse.

Jeremiah 1:7 “But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.

Matthew records Jesus as saying much that directly relates to worry.

Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear….”

Matthew 6 :26 “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them…”

Matthew 6:27 “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

Matthew 6:30 “If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”

Matthew 6:31 “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?'”

Matthew 6:32 “For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow…..”

Jesus is telling over and over not to worry because He knows what our needs are. If we talk to God in prayer He hears us, so we are to trust Him to provide. Worrying about our basic needs is a lack of faith in God. So this is sin. But indeed we must first seek the kingdom of God and the righteousness of Christ. Worry is not righteousness but unbelief.

Paul is pretty clear in Philippians 4:6-7 about worry and freedom from anxiety.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present you requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

One of the most amazing woman I have ever met is Jean who was formerly a leader in our Bible study. She told our group this story.

“As our house was burning to the ground I was filled with this incredible sense of peace. There we were standing outside helplessly watching the flames take everything we owned. But the Lord was with me. Later friends and family came to us supplying us with every little need. I remember looking for a kitchen utensil and someone came to my door with the very thing was I needing. The Lord supplied all that had been lost. But I knew this would be so ..that very day that all was consumed by the fire.”

As she told the story you could see the peace and tranquility on her face and I could imagine that is what she looked like on the very day her house burned to the ground.

What is your attitude? Are you anxious? Knowing God’s character helps calm our fears and knowing His ways give us confidence for the future. Are you trusting the Lord with your future? Are you trusting God to provide for you? How can you change your thinking so that He comes first? Put Him first and then trust for His provision.

What is God trying to burn away in your life right now? What gives Him glory in your life? Our greatest purpose in life is to give God glory. How can you do this if you don’t know Him? That is why a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ is our greatest strength.

We must have faith to please God. So how strong is your faith this very moment? Are you rejoicing in your suffering as Paul did? Are you opening your Bible and leaning on the Lord and His Word? If not….will you?