Summary: A sermon to encourage us to trust and stand firm on God's promises.

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Isaiah 43:1-7

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. 3 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. 4 Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. 5 Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; 6 I will say to the north, “Give them up,” and to the south, “Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth — 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

How many times have you been told, “Don’t worry about it?” We are often admonished or encouraged with these words. We know, perhaps instinctively, that worry and faith don’t belong together. Nevertheless, Homiletics magazine in the discussion for today’s passage which is our text, says, “These four words – ‘Don’t worry about it’ – are, in combination with each other, possibly the most useless words in the English language.”

That is a startling statement to make, particularly in a magazine that purports to help preachers with material to prepare sermons! But the magazine contends that this advice is useless because it “is routinely ignored.”

We all have our personal list of things we worry about. Lord knows if you watch the news and listen to people talk you will soon be convinced that there is danger lurking around every corner and you are just one short but inevitable step away from catastrophe. Think about the news we heard just this week: another foiled terror attack; contaminated water in Flint, Michigan; and the Dow Jones and S&P 500 posted the worst first four trading days of the year EVER. No wonder one of the leading presidential candidates is now making great headway in his quest for the White House by stoking fears all the while promising to “make America great again.” I guess if you want to get people’s attention, give them something to worry about.

But fortunately for us, the only news we have or hear is not news from the media. The news we get on or through the media largely often serves the purpose of making us anxious. I never liked being anxious, but once I found out the root of the word, I never want to be anxious again. Did you know that the etymology of the word “anxious” is from a Latin word that means, “to strangle”? Yes, that’s right; if you are anxious or worried, it will choke the life out of you.

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