Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright. He wasn't worried. He wasn't talking about anything he was worried about. And Fred said, Joe, you've changed. What has happened?
You don't seem to be worrying at all. And Joe said, yep. He said, I've hired somebody to worry for me. That's Pastor Alan Wright. Welcome to another message of good news that will help you see your life in a whole new light. I'm Daniel Britt, excited for you to hear the teaching today in the series called Providence as presented at Rinaldo Church in North Carolina. If you're not able to stay with us throughout today's entire program, I want to make sure you know how to get our special resource right now. It can be yours for your donation this month to Alan Wright Ministries.
So as you listen to today's message, go deeper in your study as we send you today's special offer. Contact us at PastorAlan.org. That's PastorAlan.org. Or call 877-544-4860.
877-544-4860. More on that later in the program. But now, let's get started with today's teaching. Here is Alan Wright. My dear brothers and sisters, are you ready for some good news?
You don't have to worry anymore. We're talking about providence, which means God provides, He sees ahead of time, He's smarter than we, and He's all-powerful, and He's all-knowing. So He is able to work out circumstances in ways that you would never guess, use the hardest times, even use others' evil, and harness it all and weave it together for our good.
That's what we're talking about, providence. And today, we come to the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus is speaking about the relationship between trusting in the providence of God to provide for even the sparrows and the lilies, and how a deepening understanding and embrace of that can melt away our worries. In Matthew chapter 6, verse 25, Jesus says, Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you'll eat, or what you'll drink, nor about your body, or what you'll put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, they neither sow nor reap, nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not of more value than they? In which of you, by being anxious, can add a single hour to a 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 of 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? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or what shall we wear? For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow. Tomorrow will be anxious for itself.
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Once was a man named Joe, and he was a worrier, worried about his health, worried about the weather, worried about his family, worried about his job, worried about his finances, worried about everything. And his friend Fred was always telling him, Joe, you need not worry so much. But Joe just kept worrying until one day Fred saw Joe, and Joe suddenly looked like he had peace, the past understanding.
It was amazing. He wasn't worried. He wasn't talking about anything he was worried about. And Fred said, Joe, you've changed. What has happened?
You don't seem to be worrying at all. And Joe said, yep. He said, I've hired somebody to worry for me. Fred said, how much does that cost you? He said, it costs a thousand dollars a week. Fred said, well, how are you going to afford that?
And Joe said, I don't know. That's for him to worry about. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to let go of worry? What if you could let God handle your worries? When you look back on your life and you see how many things you worried about, you realize that most of them were needless worries. Mark Twain is the one that was attributed to as saying, I'm an old man and I've experienced very many terrible troubles, most of which never happened.
Because life is more of the rush of what's going on in our minds than it is often what's actually happening. And so Jesus comes to say, if you want to quit worrying, the answer is to start considering the lilies, to start thinking about the sparrows, to start from an argument of greater to lesser by looking at every little thing in this world and realizing how much God is involved in the care of all these things. And if that's the case over every little bird and every little wildflower, how much more so you. John Piper in his big amazing book on Providence says that Jesus has invited us into a God-entranced world.
I love that. A God-entranced world. He says, Jesus said to look at the birds because God feeds them and to consider the lilies because God clothes them. Jesus' aim was not aesthetic.
His aim was to free his people from anxiety. He really considered it, Piper writes, a valid argument that if our Heavenly Father feeds the birds and clothes the lilies, how much more surely will he feed and clothe his children. This is simply astonishing, Piper says. The argument is valid, he writes, only if God really is the one who sees to it that the birds find their worms. And the lilies wear their flowers. If birds and lilies are simply acting by natural laws with no divine hand, then Jesus is just playing with words. But Piper writes, he is not playing with words. That God is involved in every bird and every flower in a way of love, how much more so can he provide for you?
That's what Jesus is saying. Well, worry is a prevalent issue for most people. Researchers have discovered 7,000 human fears and what's interesting is we're only born with two. We're born with fear of loud noises, the startle reflex, and fear of heights so a baby won't crawl off a ledge. These are good things, loud noises and heights. You ought to be aware of those things.
That's all we're born with. So on the path to adulthood, we learned 6,998 other fears. And during pandemic, researchers have learned that anxiety, reports of anxiety, is up 270%. And across the world, 300 million people with an anxiety disorder. This is prevalent.
This is significant. There are different levels of worriers. You've got your beginning worrier. The beginning worrier is not very skilled.
If you're just a beginner at this, it's just probably situational because you haven't really developed the skills for it. It's like years ago when I was in Durham and I was getting ready to turn left in my Toyota Corolla, turn left into the church parking lot. Somebody was in front of me.
Cars were coming the other direction. There's a ditch to the right and I saw in my rearview mirror a car was approaching me too quickly. And I noticed how quick it was and I knew I was going to get hit. I saw it coming and then I was hit.
And thankfully I was okay but a little whiplash but it kind of jars you, right? So it was very difficult in coming weeks and months to not, every time I'm at a stop sign or someplace like that, to be immediately looking in the rearview mirror because you're just sort of worried that it'll happen again because it just happened to you. So some worries are just, you know, you've had some stuff happen and it's just situational but you're just a beginning worrier.
You hadn't developed much skill at all. But then you got your intermediate level of worrier. And the intermediate worrier, they are much better at actually thinking about potential negative scenarios. This is where you can activate your imagination and come up with something negative that could happen and think about it.
I had this parishioner in Durham who was, she was a wonderful lady, I loved her so much but she was such a worrier. She just could think up the negative scenarios and her husband one day, he loved her tenderly, but he came to me one day he said, you know, my wife, she worries so much, he said, I just wonder if there's not some government job, you know, where they pay somebody to sit around and think up the worst case scenarios. He said, my wife would be great at that.
You know, he said, do you think there's a job like that? So that's where you start developing the skill as you know, you practice this and you can come up with those scenarios. That's Alan Wright, and we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. Unlock the power of blessing your life. Discover God's grace-filled vision for your life by signing up for Alan Wright's free daily blessing. If you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement, get Alan Wright's daily blessing.
It's free and just a click away at PastorAlan.org. God's love. You've heard about it with your ears.
You've believed it in your mind. Now experience it in your heart with Alan Wright's beloved book, Lover of My Soul. The Bible is a love story from beginning to end. You are the spiritual bride of Christ, the perfect bridegroom. The Bible tells about a God who has gone to unimaginable lengths to woo you, to win you, and to walk with you hand in hand. For any man who has fallen in love with a woman, you've tasted the sweetness of what God's love for you is like. For any woman who has searched for true love, what you long for can only be found fully in God. Gary Chapman, renowned author of the five love languages says, the incredible reality that God pursues us in love comes to life and lover of my soul. Ancient biblical accounts explode in the heart. Accept Christ's proposal, enjoy his embrace, revel in his love.
After all, it's a match made in heaven. It's Lover of My Soul by Alan Wright. The gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support.
When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860. That's 877-544-4860.
Or come to our website, PastorAlan.org. Today's teaching now continues. Here once again is Alan Wright. There's another level, I call it the advanced warrior.
And the advanced warrior is highly proficient. Maybe a great example of this was Ann's uncle Max. So Ann, you hear me talk about this wonderful family that her mother was the youngest of all these Bennets. It was eight siblings. And Max was married to my mother's mother-in-law's oldest sister. And they lived in Spruce Pine and also her uncle Charlie and Ann's uncle Stanley lived in Spruce Pine.
Uncle Max was a warrior. He managed the department store in Spruce Pine. Every night he would lock up and then he'd check the lock, check it again, check the door, check the lock, check it again. Then he'd step away a few feet and he'd turn back around, he'd come check it again, check it again. And then he walked to his car and then turn around and come back to the door and check it again, check it again. And then he'd get in his car and drive halfway home and turn back around and come back and check it again. That was Uncle Max.
He just did that every night. He quadrupled checked everything. One time Uncle Max had to take his car to the shop. Well, it's just some routine maintenance on it, I think, but he was concerned if he was driving his car to the shop what would happen if it conked out on him and he would be stranded. So he called his brother-in-law, Uncle Charlie, our Uncle Charlie, and said, Charlie, I've got to take my car to the shop. Would you be willing to follow me in the event that my car has trouble on the way to the shop? Would you be willing to follow me?
And then he would be there as a backup. And Charlie said, Max, your car's going to be fine. It's just down here.
I mean, how big? Spruce Mountain anyway. And he said, but I'll follow you. I'll follow you. So Charlie was lined up. And then, you can't make this stuff up, Uncle Max called our Uncle Stanley, who also lived in Spruce Pine, and said, Stanley, I've got to take my car to the shop. Charlie has agreed to follow me in the event that something happens to my car. He said, but I need somebody to follow Charlie in case something happens to his car after something's happened to my car. Stanley said, no, I'm not doing, I know I'm not going to be the double backup for the hypothetical car. That's your advanced worrier there.
But there's one more category, and I would call it the ambassador. And this is where people recruit you into their hypothetical worries. This is a really tough thing, you know?
And there are people like this all around you. Years ago, I was getting ready to experience a bucket list item for me, something I've always wanted to do. I was in the Bahamas, and I had found a brochure, and I told Ann, I really want to do this, swim with the dolphins. I said, I want to do this one time in my life, I want to swim with the dolphins. She said, okay.
Bennett was old enough, he was going to do it with me. And so, I was sitting on the dock of the bay, and waiting for the boat to take us out to swim with dolphins, the most lovable creatures on earth, right? This is an incredible moment in my life, I'm going to swim around with dolphins.
And this man, a stranger, comes up beside me and says, where are you headed, what are you going to do? I said, I'm so excited, I'm going to go swim with the dolphins. He said, oh, I don't know about that. I said, what? He said, it's a little known fact, but dolphins bite. I said, dolphins bite?
He said, yeah. And they'll ram you, too. He said, people think they're friendly, but they're not. They will ram you, they'll bite you.
I don't know about that. And I'm just sitting there, I'm falling for it. And then, and I'm just finally, I said, no, no, no, no. I'm like, get behind me, Satan. I said, no. And I just physically had to get up and leave. I said, I'm going to swim in with dolphins. And I'm not going to sit here and worry about something that I'm paying a lot of money to go do.
And they didn't bite, and they didn't ram, and it really was fun. So there are many levels of this kind of worry, but all of us, at some level, struggle, don't we? It's a thief. Worry is, it robs you.
It robs you. That's why you ought to get in a battle against worry, because it's a thief. And like the man who's complained to his farmer neighbor, and he said, so I can't get any sleep. He said, because you're rooster crowing all night long. And the farmer said, but my rooster only crows two or at most three times a night. And the neighbor said, I know, but I just lie there awake waiting for the next crowing.
You know what he's talking about? Like you got an important something the next day that you're sort of anxious about, set two or three alarms, and then just lie there all night waiting for it. Knowing it's not adding anything to it, but it's hard to keep yourself from it. And it's not just a thief of our time. Science is discovering more and more the damaging effects of the stress of worry on the immune system.
It's making us sick. This is why Jesus said, verse 27, which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to a span of life? He's saying, you're doing the opposite. Interestingly, in the apocryphal book of Ecclesiasticus, or it's called Sirach, it is not in our Bible, the Protestant Bible. It is in the, it's included in the Catholic Bible, this little book of wisdom.
But this verse is really telling jealousy and anger shorten life, and anxiety brings on old age too soon. We're learning that's true. In fact, we're learning more about the brain, fascinated by this. The neuroplasticity of the brain, the capacity of our brain to continue to adapt and change and even grow. Learn a new language, learn a musical instrument, or learn how to juggle, and it'll have a positive effect on your brain matter and neural pathways. And it's just so fascinating to me that it's just so fascinating, isn't it? The way God made our brain, that the things that you do a lot and you do it over and over and over, your brain goes, oh we need to be good at that.
So you play the guitar hours a day, every day, and your fingers get really good at playing a guitar. And if you worry hours a day, over and over, every day, your brain gets really good at worrying. It's like, this is what we're supposed to do. Think of the negative scenario. And I think what we do sometimes as Christians, I think we try to treat it too lightly. You know, our worries and our fears don't get solved by some bumper sticker cliche or some slogan we got posted on Facebook. It's got something deeper than that, it's got to happen. Something of the discovery of Providence, of a real apprehension of God's care for every detail of our lives and of this world.
It's got to, this has got to happen. When Abby was little, three years old, we were in the backyard on a balmy February afternoon. Every now and then in February we'll catch a balmy afternoon, and this was one of those, so we were in the back having some playtime, and we were in her favorite spot in the Pawleys Island rope hammock just swinging and goofing off. And all of a sudden she said, hold me real tight, Daddy. I said, okay sweetheart, what, what, what? She said, the dog. And I listened and there was a dog barking in the distance, could have been two blocks away maybe, and she was scared.
We didn't have a dog yet in our family and I was surprised by this. I was like, Abby, there's nothing to be scared of. And she said, I want to go inside, crying. I took her inside and Ann was in the kitchen scurrying around and she looked, she said, what are you two doing in here?
Such a beautiful afternoon. And I walked over to her and whispered in her ear and said, Abby heard a dog barking in the distance and she's scared and she wanted to come inside. And I heard my wife mutter under her breath while she was moving a dish or something. She said, it's ridiculous. I said, a little girl's got to be able to enjoy playing in her own backyard. And then she gave me a look.
You get married long enough, you know what every look means. Alan Wright, our good news message, no worries. It's from the series Providence. Stick with us, Pastor Alan is back in just a moment with a parting good news thought for the day. Unlock the power of blessing your life. Discover God's grace-filled vision for your life by signing up for Alan Wright's free daily blessing. If you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement, get Alan Wright's daily blessing.
It's free and just a click away at pastoralan.org. God's love. You've heard about it with your ears.
You've believed it in your mind. Now experience it in your heart with Alan Wright's beloved book, Lover of My Soul. The Bible is a love story from beginning to end. You are the spiritual bride of Christ, the perfect bridegroom. The Bible tells about a God who has gone to unimaginable lengths to woo you, to win you and to walk with you hand in hand. For any man who has fallen in love with a woman, you've tasted the sweetness of what God's love for you is like. For any woman who has searched for true love, what you long for can only be found fully in God. Gary Chapman, renowned author of the five love languages, says the incredible reality that God pursues us in love comes to life in Lover of My Soul. Ancient biblical accounts explode in the heart. Accept Christ's proposal, enjoy his embrace, revel in his love.
After all, it's a match made in heaven. It's Lover of My Soul by Alan Wright. The gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support.
When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, PastorAlan.org. Back here now with Pastor Alan and our parting good news thought for the day as we dive into this teaching of no worries and the conclusion to this wonderful story of you and your daughter, Abby. I'll never forget that day.
It was like, you need to fix this little girl, because if you're out here at this age worrying about a dog market, well, carry it through life and you realize it's what we all need. We need some way that instead of living a life of ongoing worry and concern, that we find the freedom and the peace that's ours. And that is, I think, really, Daniel, only available through the contemplation and the revelation of the providence of God. Providence of God sets us free from worries. The picture in the scripture is altogether relational and life-giving and organic. And so, though we speak of a mystery, the scripture speaks of human life as being granted free will, so that every choice that you make matters.
And yet, God is mystically and marvelously involved in the details of our lives, so that He works in and through. 544-4860. If you only caught part of today's teaching, not only can you listen again online, but also get a daily email devotional that matches today's teaching, delivered right to your email inbox, free. Find out more about these and other resources at pastorallen.org. That's pastorallen.org. Today's good news message is a listener supported production of Allen Wright Ministries.
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