Devotion

The Times News has teamed up with area faith leaders to share "Words of Comfort" in our print edition and online at TimesNews.Net. Anyone who'd like to get involved can contact Carmen Musick at cmusick@timesnews.net.

Editor’s Note: With so many churches in our area having to suspend worship services during the coronavirus pandemic, we are asking local pastors to partner with us in bringing a daily message of hope and comfort to readers during this difficult time.

After the kind of year we’ve had in 2020, it would be awfully easy to play the “what if” game as we prepare to start a new year. What if this virus gets worse? What if this vaccine doesn’t work? What if I get sick? What if we never get back to some sort of normalcy?

Satan’s goal is to ensnare us with those two little words, “What if?” He wants you and me to worry all the time, to worry about things we have absolutely no control over.

It’s so important to never forget that God is still on the throne and is still in control. There is no place, no matter how alone we may feel, that God cannot be. He knows how afraid we are and how bad we feel.

We don’t know the future, but God does, and He knows our needs. Planning for tomorrow is good, but worrying about tomorrow is sin because God is the God of tomorrow just like He is the God of today. Lamentations 3:23 tells us God’s mercies “are new every morning.”

God gives you and me the glorious gift of life today. As Psalm 118:24 reminds us, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” God gives you and me strength one day at a time.

Few of us have endured the kind of problems encountered by the apostle Paul. Yet in spite of all the threats on his life, the beatings, and the imprisonments, he wrote to the Philippians: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;” (Philippians 4:6, NKJV).

To be anxious for nothing (to not worry), is one of the hardest commands to obey. It’s truly an amazing verse when you consider where Paul was when he wrote it — sitting in a prison waiting for the emperor to execute him.

Worry is something we learn to do. You must practice worry to get good at it. If it’s learned, it can also be unlearned. Jesus said in Matthew 6:34, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (NLT) Jesus gives us the ultimate antidote to worry: Live one day at a time, trusting God to take care of tomorrow.

Have a blessed and happy new year!

Rick Meade is pastor at Lynn Garden Baptist Church in Kingsport.

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Rick Meade is pastor at Lynn Garden Baptist Church in Kingsport.