Kick the Worrying Habit, Live Longer, Find God

By Dianne Neal Matthews:

 “Can any of you add a single hour to your life by worrying?”

Matthew 6:25-34
peace like a river

Remember the old hymn, “When Peace Like a River”?

If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s worrying. I worry about everything from the noise that my washing machine makes to global terrorism.

I worry when I watch news reports about crime and when I read articles about cancer rates.

I worry about how I handled things in the past and what might happen in the future.

And I worry about how all this worrying affects me.

Jesus pointed out that God knows exactly what we need. He promises to provide for us as long as we focus on loving Him and doing His will. If He feeds the birds, how can we doubt that He will take care of us?

Although this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be concerned or plan for the future, it does remind us that a child of God has no reason to be eaten up by worry when we know that a loving God is in control.

According to current research linking stress and anxiety to many diseases, worrying is in this list: “Top Ten Best Ways to Shorten Your Life”.

God understands our tendency to worry and shares the antidote in Philippians 4:6-7. He wants us to talk to Him about everything that concerns us—not with wimpy, hurried, or memorized prayers that we sometimes shoot up, but with an ongoing, honest heart-to-heart conversation.

What a comfort to know that God desires to hear about everything that worries me. What security to know that He promises to meet all my needs if I give Him first priority. When I’m spending my time in Philippians 4:6 prayer, then I won’t have time to worry about things that I can’t control anyway. And I just may live longer if I kick the worry habit.

Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks.  Philippians 4:6

Ask yourself: Do I spend more time worrying or praying?

Enjoy this upbeat version of the classic hymn, “When Peace Like a River” (lyrics included–sing along gustily!)

© Dianne Neal Matthews. Dianne is a freelance writer and the author of four daily devotional books ( This material is adapted from Drawing Closer to God: 365 Daily Meditations on Questions from Scripture (Baker Books).





Finding God in Airport Luggage

By Carol Barnier:

While others were finding their relatives or finding their shuttle connections, I was finding God in my airport luggage.


Damaged Suitcase

It’s unlikely that the TSA agent who searched my airport luggage had intended to give me a religious experience, right there in the airport. But later, when I saw the little sticker he had slapped onto my suitcase, that’s exactly what happened.

You need the back story. My poor luggage was on its last leg, not just metaphorically; it was actually missing one of its two legs. It listed hard to starboard, as though it had spent too long at the airport pub. The front zippered pocket had lost its zipperyness (that’s my word and I’m sticking to it) and would flap and flail to the wind, were it not for the lovely adornment of duct tape that kept it amply in check. I knew I needed to get another, but Frugal-maven that I am, I kept hoping I could squeeze just one more trip out of it.

So there I was after my flight, staring at the black rubbery flaps that separate us from the great machine that would soon belch our bags into the room, waiting for the telltale starter signal: BEEP-BEEP-BEEP. Here they come. And soon. . .there it was.

My sad little piece of luggage had clearly experience a wardrobe malfunction. The duct tape had failed and so had, apparently, the main zipper, because a piece of my clothing was doing its best to creep out and wave at the smirking crowd.

I grabbed the case by its one remaining handle, uprighted it, and suddenly saw the sticker stuck on the top.

Damaged When Received.

I laughed out loud on the spot. Clearly Delta Airlines feared that I would go running to the you-damaged-my-luggage desk and demand a pristine and expensive replacement. I didn’t laugh because I would never do such a thing. But rather, because I knew exactly how that luggage felt. That little slapped-on sticker was a metaphor for my life.

I had been an atheist for many long years before finding God. And when I began taking communion, I was sure that at any moment, someone was going to tap me on the shoulder and say, “Oh no. This isn’t for you, not with your past. You just wait over there and we’ll let you know when we’re done.”

That’s what I expected. That’s what I deserved.

But I soon realized that that was just not God’s way. He takes the damaged, just as we are, just as we’ve arrived, and claims us, right there, in front of everyone. He calls us His own. By the time I’d had my experience of finding God in my airport luggage, I already knew about His ridiculous grace, and not just for me. Turns out, everyone in that communion line was damaged. They all had an invisible sticker–Damaged when received. But the key was in that last part—received.

Carol Barnier is an author, speaker, humorist & regular commentator on Focus on the Family’s weekend radio program. Visit Carol at or on Facebook, and find out why her business cards read: Delightful Speaker, Entertaining Author, Adequate Wife, Pitiful Housekeeper.

Here’s an interesting skit on carrying baggage from our past, from the Skit Guys. (Be sure to watch to the end.)  Is it time for you to let go of any?

Follow the Skit Guys  on Twitter at @skitguys or visit their website at


Max Lucado on Finding God in the Miracle of Wholeness

By Linda Evans Shepherd:

In my interview with Max Lucado, we discussed his wonderful book Grace, More Than We DeserveGreater Than We Imagine and the miracle of wholeness.


Max LucadoRecently I spoke on the phone with pastor and author Max Lucado, to interview him about his new book for our blog. (See our other post: Finding Grace with Max Lucado.)

In the course of our conversation, I asked him how someone could find the miracle of wholeness.

Max explained:

“I think that one of the underutilized disciplines of faith is confession. After thirty years as a pastor, I believe most people carry around unresolved guilt—a regret, a stumble, a failure—and they’ve never talked to God about it. Satan uses this guilt because the commodity of Satan is condemnation. Satan wakes up every day wanting to figure out a way to make us feel guilty. The Bible calls him the accuser, and his goal is to condemn us and to create within us a feeling of condemnation.”

“How do we apply the solution?” I asked

“If we could learn to quickly confess, ‘Lord, I’m sorry for what I did. I accept your grace,’ then we would live in a state of confession, not in a state of guilt. To live in a state of receiving this forgiveness from God, all you have to say is, ‘Lord, I’m sorry; please forgive me.’ Then confess specifically what you did. ‘I looked at a woman in the wrong way,’ or ‘I spoke out of turn.’”

Max explained, “On the days I really apply this, I find myself practicing dozens of confessions an hour. But it’s not a sense in which I’m just beating myself up. It’s a nonstop conversation that takes place in the back of my mind between God and me, and it’s so liberating!

“Then there’s the issue of deep-seated bad choices,” Max continued, “choices we made years ago that have never been dealt with. Many people need to go back and have a good talk with God about them—about the night in the backseat of a car, or the drugs, or the abortion—some of the major issues we’ve never really let God forgive.”

Max’s insights are right on, and I think I would also add that in addition to seeking God’s forgiveness, we may also need to forgive a few others, including ourselves, other people, and perhaps even God.  (Not that God sinned but that we need to let go of our judgments against God for when we’ve blamed him for our difficulties.)

The best way to accomplish these tasks is through prayer(s) like:

 Dear Lord,

I have been carrying around a lot of guilt for my sin, choices, and regrets.  I come to you now, through the power of Christ, and confess these wrong sins, choices and requests of __________ (confess here) before you now and ask for your forgiveness.  I exchange my shame for your peace.

In addition Lord, I ask that you would help me forgive myself for my choices, regrets and failings, including __________ (list here), not through my power, but through the power of Christ.

I also ask that you help me release the judgments of blame I have placed on you Lord for my difficult circumstances of __________(name difficulties you have judged God for).  Forgive me Lord!  Teach me to trust you as you turn my difficulties into good.

Now, because I don’t want to leave any stone unturned, I also ask that you, Lord, would, through the power of Christ, release my judgments, anger toward others, including __________  (name people) for __________ (name deeds).

Now, Lord, I ask that you exchange all of my pain, judgments, guilt, anxiety, bitterness and regret, for your peace; not in my power, but the power of Christ, the Prince of Peace, who died for my sins on the cross.  In fact, I accept your forgiveness and peace so that I can walk with you, Oh, God.  I give my life to you and yield to your peace.

In Jesus’s name,



To find out more about living for God, go to:

Watch as Max Lucado talks about why your best days are ahead of you:

To see the book trailer for Max’s recent book on grace, click  HERE  (


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