Barclay Viewforth Church congregation on Blackford Hill

Displacing our worries

Pastoral Letter – October 2019

Dear Friends,

I spoke at a morning service recently on the first half of Acts 12 – where Peter is imprisoned, facing execution the next day and yet was still able to sleep soundly whilst changed to 2 soldiers. One of the key verses was verse 5:

Acts 12:5 NIV

“So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.”

For Peter, there was an expectation that God would do something to help his situation… and he did. The Power of Prayer is so wonderful even we can’t begin to imagine how God is able to act.. what I have learned over the years is that when we pray – things happen. God shows up and lives are transformed. God hears our prayers. Now he may not answer them in the way that we might hope for. Some of our prayers will be answered with a “Yes”; some with a definite “no” and still others with “wait” or “not yet”.

We just have to trust and keep on praying knowing that God wants the best for us.

I finished that sermon with the words of Philippians 4:6-7 from The Message Version of the Bible:

6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life.

The last line is particularly relevant in relation to the Afternoon Fellowship outing last month. The group enjoyed a bus trip to the Falkirk Wheel, even though it was dreich, and a trip on a barge as it passed through this magnificent piece of engineering. The commentary about the process of moving a boat between 2 levels referenced Archimedes  principle whereby the weight of a barge and the people in it displaces the water in the ‘gondola’ by an equal weight of water, so that the opposing gondolas are of equal weight, thereby allowing the Wheel to turn. It sounds a bit complicated but does make sense. And it works! 

That also means that that the same principle can be applied to Jesus and our heart. The worry which weighs our hearts down can be displaced (or shoved out) by the amount of love we have for Jesus. The more we love and trust Jesus, the less room there will be in our hearts for all the worries because Jesus is in charge. 

So how do we go about displacing the worries and anxieties that take hold of our lives?

  • We can pray earnestly and expectantly. 
  • We can work on the relationship we have with God by reading an loving out Jesus lives. 
  • We can commit our fears and anxieties to God – once we’ve handed them over they are no longer ours to bear alone. 
  • We can pray for release from the chains which hold us in bondage so that our prayers and our testimonies to answered prayer might be a witness to others. 

There are many other ways in which Jesus can displace the worries in our hearts… we only need to ask. 

May your prayers in the month ahead be earnest and expectant as Christ fills your heart with His love. 

Love and blessings 

Elaine

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