Phil 4:6 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (KJV) “Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you.” (TPT)
The greek word for ‘cares’ means ‘fears.’
We are all born with a fear of falling and fear of loud noises. But, other fears are learned. They are caught by us as we grow. Being anxious and fearful are things that we all deal with.
Children need comfort at night time and storms and strange noises. As adults, we have overcome the ‘Boogie Man.’ But, we still get afraid of things. Your imagination can grip you and paralyze you with fear.
It’s like putting a puzzle together. You can imagine what it looks like. If you don’t have the picture on the box, you imagine what it looks like. Fear is like that. You imagine what the outcome with be, yet you find out later that you were anxious for nothing.
As you grow older, you no longer fear monsters in the closet, you fear friends talking about you behind your back. You imagine people are upset with you, but it’s not real. Anxiety comes in.
When you get older, you think your spouse doesn’t appreciate you or you fear other things.
Where is your focus? What are you looking at? Wherever your focus is determines your actions. If your focus is on the ‘wind and the waves,’ you will experience fear and anxiety. You will say and do things that are fear based.
You’ve got to cast down those imaginations. The disciples asked Him, ‘Don’t You care?’
Their focus was on their situation. We can focus on our job or our finances or whatever and end up in fear.
We want all things to work together for ‘my good,’ not just ‘good.’ ‘All things DO work together for good,’ but necessarily your personal good. God will use situations to reveal things that need to change in your life. Losing your job can cause you to be anxious or get closer to God.
When Pastor was a young college student, he went to Lincoln Park’s zoo. The lion roared there. It was open, but separated from the people by a deep ditch. To the side, there is a place where the lion is at the same level with people with a large piece of glass separating. There is also a sign that says, ‘Do not tap on the glass.’ You can look the lion face to face, right in the eyes. If you excite the lion, she will try to scratch through the glass.
He pounded on the glass trying to get the lion’s attention. The lion came up to the glass and stood up on its hind legs and scratched at the glass, roaring. Pastor’s focus went from the strength of the glass to the strength of the lion. He imagined he would be on the front page of the pager the next day, ‘Lion eats college student!’
Anxiety is the fruit, your focus is the root.
What is your focus on?
If you have taken your focus off of God, you are anxious for nothing. If you have taken your focus off of God’s promises and power and protection, you are anxious for nothing.
The Israelites, Caleb and Joshua saw the Promised Land and all its lush fruit. The ten other spies saw the big, scary soldiers. Joshua and Caleb focused on God’s power and remembered all that God had already done for them.
The theme for 2020 is perfect vision. Who could have predicted this COVID19 pandemic? Who could have predicted that our pastor would be preaching to a camera instead of his congregation?
It’s easy to get distracted by circumstances. It’s easy to say, ‘No, that won’t happen to me.’ Peter said, ‘I will never abandon You. No way!’ Jesus was like, ‘YHWH!’ When Jesus was arrested, Peter denied Him three times only a few hours later.
Jesus said to the soldiers, ‘Who are you looking for?’ The soldiers responded, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus responded, ‘I AM,’ (YHWH). The soldiers all fell back flat on their backs.
The Assyrian army was coming to get Elisha. There was a time when they wanted to arrest Elijah and he called down fire upon all the soldiers. This happened twice and over 100 soldiers died. The third time, a smarter soldier, said, ‘Please come with us, don’t kill us,’ and Elijah went with them.
When they came for Elisha, they brought a LOT of soldiers. Elisha’s servant was afraid. Elisha told him, ‘There are more with us than against us.’ The servant saw only the enemy. So, Elisha prayed that his servant’s eyes be opened. The servant was amazed and took his focus from the enemy and put it on the power of God.
Jesus was not afraid.
There is anxiety going on right now.
With the election coming, there are a lot of things happened. There are a lot of freedoms that will be lost following this pandemic. There are vaccines and microchips. This stuff is real, but keep your focus on Jesus and His Word. Don’t focus on the power of the enemy, but the power of God. Focus on the beauty and power of God.
In the time of Shadrach, Meeshak, and Abednego, the government commanded them to worship a false god. They said, ‘No!’
An average adult can have up to 70,000 thoughts per day. The mind is always active. You are storing information and categorizing things constantly. What you ingest and what you allow to come into your mind, can pile up and cause anxiety. About 90% of the information from the world is toxic and creates anxiety, depression, discouragement. This affects your faith and your love for the Lord. When you get anxious or concerned about the enemy, it’s easy to spread. This is why the bad report spread so quickly among Israel when they first checked out the Promised Land.
There is a remedy. There is a remedy that can carry us through anything.
Mothers can dream up all kinds of terrible things that can happen to their babies.
Fear can manifest as anger or offense. The enemy designed this to take our focus off of Jesus Christ.
Work, eight hours of stress, then coming home and watching angry, aggressive, violent movies or listening to angry music can add to your mind’s imaginations. Entertainment is not wrong, but entertainment will affect you for good or evil.
What is true? What is certain? What can we focus on? What can we talk about and spread? Let’s talk about things of God, beautiful things. 30 minutes of positive thinking can negate 4-6 hours of negative thinking. That’s why God said to pray three times a day.
God’s Spirit is like a river moving and flowing. 30 minutes in these waters will get your brain washed and clean and filled with love and peace and hope again.
Thoughts are the place where God will speak to you or Satan will speak to you. What does God’s voice sound like in prayer to you? What does He talk about? What happens to you when you hear His voice? When you hear Satan’s voice? Do you recognize the Lord? Do you recognize the voice of the enemy?
Satan tried to place thoughts in Jesus’ head during His temptation. Who are You, really?
‘Cast your anxiety on the Lord because He cares for you.’
Are you thankful that God cares for you? Cast your worries on Him. You go to sleep and let Him stay up all night. The hand of the Lord is close.
‘The Lord is near.’
Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God. Don’t have fear, don’t have anxiety. Humble yourself. Get rid of ‘I’ in you. Get your focus off yourself and onto Jesus. This is our day, our moment as a church. This is our moment to spread the gospel.
Don’t fear what man can do. All man can do is kill your body. God has power over your soul and He cares about you. Remember He’s got a good plan. Be anxious for nothing.
What are you fearing right now? Can you ‘cast it on the Lord’?
Cast all of your cares, not just the ones that you think you can’t handle, cast ALL of them on Him. Let go of your worries and trust Jesus. If you endure, there is a good end that Jesus promises you.
During the persecution of the early church, when they were scattered, the gospel spread throughout the world.
More Questions for Personal or Group Study:
- What was your biggest fear when you were little?
- What ‘rattles’ you now? How do you combat that fear? How has this sermon helped you?
- Read Psalm 23. What is your ‘the valley of the shadow of death’? How do these verses and the sermon help you? What is the new perspective on anxiety that Jesus wants you to have?
- How can you encourage yourself to adopt an ‘anxious for nothing’ mindset? How can you help others in this too?
Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.
For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.