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We hope you are better able to tackle fear in your life as we are Moving the Chains toward Gratitude. A cousin to fear is anxiety. They are very similar but they are not the same. Fear is often focused and tangible, but anxiety is not. While fear may not be running rampant in our hearts, anxiety may be building amid the stress, uncertainty, and circumstances that we encounter. Our worry may not be one thing but an accumulation of a lot of smaller things. Jesus reminds us not to worry, but this is difficult in our lives. We may even wonder if it is even possible for us not to worry! Our sermon this week is Blocking Anxiety. We may never be “worry free” but we can get better at dealing with the difficulty of anxiety. Our scripture for this journey is 1 Peter 5:4-12. The Apostle Peter is writing to the early believers who are encountering a season of persecution. Many are struggling under the burden of constant threat and anxiety. Some of these believers have heard about the persecution in other communities and they worry, if and when, it will come to them. Peter, through the power of the Holy Spirit, is writing to encourage and strengthen them. While he tells them to “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you,” (1 Peter 1:7, NIV) this is hard to fully understand. God’s intent through these words was to give us more than one sentence of help to face all of our worries! If we look closer, God uses this Apostle to share with us, an arsenal of strength and strategy to build our ability to overwhelm the worry in our lives! Our most earnest prayer is that you will sense the peace that is beyond your understanding as God’s Word lifts the burden of anxiety!

 1 Peter 5:4-12: And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. 5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. 12 With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it. (NIV)