Excerpt from Anxiety: Knowing God’s Peace by Paul Tautges

Below is an excerpt taken from Anxiety: Knowing God’s Peace by Paul Tautges.


DAY 1

Anxiety Distracts Us

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matt. 6:25)

Anxiety is so much a part of our lives that it’s natural for us to talk about it frequently. However, defining it, and understanding how it works, sometimes seems like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall. Anxiety is an emotion—but it’s more than a feeling. It often includes a physical reaction—but it’s more than that, too. So what is anxiety, exactly?

The writers of the New Testament employ two different, but related, words to refer to the experience that we call anxiety. They combine the noun merimna, which is usually translated “care,” with the verb merizo, which means to draw in different directions or distract. To be anxious, then, means to have a distracting care—to have our minds and hearts torn between two worlds. We see this in Jesus’s warning about thorns choking out the Word of God, which is intended to produce faith. He identifies these thorns as “the cares of the world” (Mark 4:19) or “the cares and riches and pleasures of life” (Luke 8:14). Anxious cares are typically tied to our earthly lives and are most often temporal, not eternal.

These distracting cares divide our mental energy and cloud our spiritual vision; they keep us focused on the here-and-now instead of on the future-promised-but-not-yet. They form cataracts over our spiritual eyes and hinder us from keeping heavenly things in clear focus or from keeping diligent watch for the Lord’s return (see Luke 21:34).

Anxiety diverts us from what is most important. It causes our eyes to see only what is before us at that very moment. Our worries exert great effort to keep our vision fixed on the horizontal (the things of the world) instead of on the vertical (the things of God).

In today’s passage, Jesus commands us not to be anxious about our food or drink or clothing. He then immediately directs us to “look” somewhere else (Matt. 6:26). By looking at the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, we shift our focus to the heavenly Father who promises to provide even better care for us than he does for them.

Instead of allowing our minds to be distracted by the troubles of today, Jesus tells us to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). As we renew our minds and discipline our hearts to keep eternal matters as our central priority, we learn to rest in God, who has promised to meet all our needs. Therefore, even when our personal responsibilities require a certain amount of our attention, we can always look to the Lord with confidence rather than being fearful.


In the 31-Day Devotionals for Life series, biblical counselors and Bible teachers guide you through specific situations or struggles, applying God’s Word to your life in practical ways day after day. Deepak Reju is the series editor.

  • Addictive Habits: Changing for Good, by David R. Dunham
  • After an Affair: Pursuing Restoration, by Michael Scott Gembola
  • Anger: Calming Your Heart, by Robert D. Jones
  • Anxiety: Knowing God’s Peace, by Paul Tautges
  • Assurance: Resting in God’s Salvation, by William P. Smith
  • Chronic Illness: Walking by Faith by Esther Smith (COMING May 2020)
  • Contentment: Seeing God’s Goodness, by Megan Hill
  • Doubt: Trusting God’s Promises, by Elyse Fitzpatrick
  • Engagement: Preparing for Marriage by Mike McKinley (COMING May 2020)
  • Fearing Others: Putting God First, by Zach Schlegel
  • Grief: Walking with Jesus, by Bob Kellemen
  • Marriage Conflict: Talking as Teammates by Steve Hoppe (COMING May 2020)
  • Money: Seeking God’s Wisdom, by Jim Newheiser
  • Pornography: Fighting for Purity, by Deepak Reju

Great Thinkers

Series Introduction

Amid the rise and fall of nations and civilizations, the influence of a few great minds has been profound. Some of these remain relatively obscure, even as their thought shapes our world; others have become household names. As we engage our cultural and social contexts as ambassadors and witnesses for Christ, we must identify and test against the Word those thinkers who have so singularly formed the present age.

Each author was invited to meet a threefold goal, so that each Great Thinkers volume is, first, academically informed. The brevity of Great Thinkers volumes sets a premium on each author’s command of the subject matter and on the secondary discussions that have shaped each thinker’s influence. Our authors identify the most influential features of their thinkers’ work and address them with precision and insight. Second, the series maintains a high standard of biblical and theological faithfulness. Each volume stands on an epistemic commitment to “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), and is thereby equipped for fruitful critical engagement. Finally, Great Thinkers texts are accessible, not burdened with jargon or unnecessarily difficult vocabulary. The goal is to inform and equip the reader as effectively as possible through clear writing, relevant analysis, and incisive, constructive critique. My hope is that this series will distinguish itself by striking with biblical faithfulness and the riches of the Reformed tradition at the central nerves of culture, cultural history, and intellectual heritage.

Nathan D. Shannon, Series Editor


Praise for the Great Thinkers Series

“After a long eclipse, intellectual history is back. We are becoming aware, once again, that ideas have consequences. The importance of P&R Publishing’s leadership in this trend cannot be overstated. The series Great Thinkers: Critical Studies of Minds That Shape Us is a tool that I wish I had possessed when I was in college and early in my ministry. The scholars examined in this well-chosen group have shaped our minds and habits more than we know. Though succinct, each volume is rich, and displays a balance between what Christians ought to value and what they ought to reject. This is one of the happiest publishing events in a long time.”

—William Edgar, Professor of Apologetics, Westminster Theological Seminary

“When I was beginning my studies of theology and philosophy during the 1950s and ’60s, I profited enormously from P&R’s Modern Thinkers Series. Here were relatively short books on important philosophers and theologians such as Nietzsche, Dewey, Van Til, Barth, and Bultmann, by scholars of Reformed conviction such as Clark, Van Riessen, Ridderbos, Polman, and Zuidema. These books did not merely summarize the work of these thinkers; they were serious critical interactions. Today, P&R is resuming and updating the series, now called Great Thinkers. The new books, on people such as Aquinas, Hume, Nietzsche, Derrida, and Foucault, are written by scholars who are experts on these writers. As before, these books are short—around 100 pages. They set forth accurately the views of the thinkers under consideration, and they enter into constructive dialogue, governed by biblical and Reformed convictions. I look forward to the release of all the books being planned and to the good influence they will have on the next generation of philosophers and theologians.”

—John M. Frame, Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy Emeritus, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando


On sale now from WTSbooks.com

Available in the Great Thinkers Series

Forthcoming

  • Karl Barth, by Lane G. Tipton 
  • Gilles Deleuze, by Christopher Watkin (releasing November 2020)
  • Immanuel Kant, by Shao Kai Tseng (releasing November 2020)
  • Friedrich Nietzsche, by Carl R. Trueman 
  • Adam Smith, by Jan van Vliet

The Hunger for Significance: Seeing the Image of God in Man by R.C. Sproul

Here is the preface to the new edition of The Hunger for Significance: Seeing the Image of God in Man by R.C. Sproul, which is releasing March 4th.

PREFACE

A search can be fun—from hide-and-seek to hunting Easter eggs on the White House lawn; from looking for a hot spot where the fish are biting to the scavenger hunt at a Halloween party.

A search can be futile—from the ancient Diogenes examining the darkest corners of Athens with his lantern, looking in vain for an honest man, to the medieval knight pursuing the Holy Grail; from the quest for the Lost Dutchman mine to the lure of discovering Shangri-La.

A search can be tedious, yielding its reward after countless hours and lingering years of failure—Thomas Edison experimenting with a thousand substances before finding one suitable for use as a glowing filament; Jonas Salk peering through a thousand microscopes before finding a vaccine for polio.

A search can be quixotic—the alchemist seeking a formula to turn lead into gold; Ponce De León tracking down the Fountain of Youth. It is searching for gold at the end of the rainbow and chasing the will-o’-the-wisp with a butterfly net.

A search can be maniacal—Captain Ahab sailing his troubled soul into uncharted waters, risking his crew and his mission to gain revenge on his loathsome nemesis, the great white whale Moby Dick. It is the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk shouting, “Fee fi fo fum” while frantically chasing after his golden harp.

Man is by nature a hunter. He longs to discover the new frontier, the lost horizon, the magic formula, and the ultimate trophy. From Nimrod stalking the primordial lion to Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal’s relentless pursuit of Adolf Eichmann and Dr. Josef Mengele, the hunt is fierce. It is Columbus seeking a new world, Galileo a new moon around Jupiter, and Christian Dior a new flair for fashion.

We are the seekers. We hunt for animals and precious gems; for a cure for cancer and a way to solve the national debt. We look for jobs, for dates, for bargains, and for thrills. The pursuit of happiness is our inalienable right. We are like Dorothy, off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Ours is a new world, fraught with the peril of nuclear annihilation, torn by the violence of international terrorism, embittered by our failure to build the great society. The rigorous pursuit of our day is the search for dignity and personal worth. It is a mighty quest fueled by the flames of passion that burn in the souls of people who refuse to surrender to the voices that declare we are nothing.

The search for dignity is a titanic struggle, an epic adventure, prodded by a pain that will not go away. Modern man has an aching void. The emptiness we feel cannot be relieved by one more gourmet meal or another snort of cocaine. We carry water in a sieve when we try to fill the empty space with a better job or a bigger house.

Dignity is never found in plastic. We must search further and probe deeper if the haunting cries of indignity are to be silenced. Ours must be a transcendent quest—going beyond the trivial to the ultimate questions of our worth as human beings.

It was Saint Augustine who declared that within each of us is a vacuum that must be filled if the scourge of insignificance is to miss us in its vicious attack. We must seek our roots, our origin, and our destiny if we are to know our present value.

This book is written by a Christian for Christians and for anyone else who shares in the search. It explores the human cry for dignity, the deep desire for significance, the hallowed longing for love and respect. It touches the aching void in the home, the school, the hospital, the prison, the church, and the workplace. Wherever people come together, hunters meet in common cause—the discovery of worth, the assurance of our dignity.

At times the book is autobiographical—not as if I alone have felt the aching void but that I may speak from the most intimate chamber of my quest, my own heart. Some will identify and others will not. My pain is not always your pain. And my delight may leave you bored.

But my earnest hope is that at some point our kindred spirits will meet, and whatever else our differences, we will be cemented together in a renewed commitment to preserve and protect the dignity of the men, women, and children who surround us every day.

My gratitude must be expressed to Bob and Lillian Love for providing me with a place to work, far from the intrusions of ringing phones and administrative pressures, and to Leo and Todge Collins for helping me with support material. Special thanks go to Mrs. Lillian Rowe for allowing the tender moments of her husband’s death to be included in the book.

Thanks also to Karen Snellback for typing the manuscript, to Tim Couch and Dave Fox for running the ship of Ligonier Ministries in my absence, to my son R.C. Sproul Jr. for editorial assistance, and to my friends at Regal Books: William Greig, David Malme, and my patient editor Donald Pugh for prodding me to write the book, and for all their encouragement and assistance.

Finally, my heartfelt thanks to my wife, Vesta, without whose help this book would be far more abstract and far less readable.

R.C. Sproul

Altamonte Springs, Florida

July 1991


Introduction to This Is Love: Tracing The Love of God throughout the Biblical Story by Neil Tolsma

Here is the Introduction to This Is Love: Tracing The Love of God throughout the Biblical Story by Neil Tolsma.

“Interacts satisfyingly with how God’s love is expressed throughout Scripture—even on the most difficult subjects.” —John M. Frame

DO YOU KNOW WHAT LOVE IS? We all know what love is—or so we think. I thought I did too. After all, our world has much to say about love. The biologist might suggest that it is a chemical reaction. A love spot in the brain needs to be satisfied—like the hunger spot. Feed me, feed me. Love me, love me.

Then there is the psychologist, who sees love as a form of manipulation, a self-centered thing: “You need to earn my love.” The divorcing spouse complains, “I don’t love him anymore. He doesn’t do anything for me.”

The TV sitcoms have reduced the idea of love to sexual passion: “Let’s make love.” Has Freud triumphed? When I mentioned that I was writing a book about love in the Bible, there were those who automatically assumed that I was writing about sex.

Are we left with the plaintive cry, “It’s love’s illusions I recall. I really don’t know love at all”?1

It is not in some dictionary definition of love that we will learn what true love is all about. Rather, true love is found in the unfolding history of God’s ways with mankind. Our lives have to be understood against the background of the history of redemption. That history has been characterized by significant expressions of divine love that define true love. God is love, and the best definition of love is found in him. This book develops an understanding of love as it has come alive in what our Lord has said and done.

Are you looking for true love? We will begin our journey of discovery in the eternal house of God. There the three persons of the Trinity dwell in complete harmony. Within the Godhead, the shape and scope of perfect love can be found, and from this fountainhead it coursed through human history, from creation, through the fall into sin, to the triumph of salvation in the person of the Son of God. It will climax in eternity, when the redeemed will swim in an ocean of God’s love (as Jonathan Edwards put it).

We will study the great epochs of salvation history that lead us forward in our knowledge and understanding of this glorious concept. And not only lead us forward but also reveal with growing insight how wide and long and high and deep is the love of God in finally taking us to Christ, who loves to the ultimate. To open the Bible is to enter a world of love: Adam communes with the Creator, who loves him; Noah finds grace in the eyes of the Lord; Abraham meets with his divine Friend; Moses proclaims the law of the love of God; Israel is the beloved bride of the heavenly King; Christians are brought to eternal life through the love of the One who laid down his life for them; and believers are enabled to love others with the same sacred love. Having explored these manifestations of love, we ought to be able to say, “This is love.”

While I emphasize certain aspects of God’s love in each chapter, this does not mean the specific characteristic of God’s love I selected for each chapter is isolated to one time or event. Each aspect was there from the beginning. For instance, the Lord’s condescending love did not begin with his covenant with Abraham; God stooped to engage with his creation from day one. Further, his mercy and grace shaped his relationship with man from earliest times, and his love is marked by faithfulness throughout all generations.

Each chapter ends with questions to help prompt discussion and personal reflection. Use them as they are helpful to you. I trust you will come up with some of your own. While I find myself in hearty agreement with most of the authors I quote, there are some I refer to, especially in the discussion questions, with whom I do not agree.

In his day, Paul repeatedly prayed that the churches of Christ might abound in love more and more. May the Lord be gracious and use this book to cause love to grow in the hearts of many Christians and their churches in our day.

I pray that this book will enrich your understanding of the love of the triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I pray that you will be fired up to read your Bible and read it with a new appreciation. After all, there you will find the best account of what true love is all about. And I pray that the love of Christ will be reproduced in your own life. Jesus loved us to the uttermost and calls on us to love one another as he has loved us. If you are a stranger to the grace and glory of the love of God, I pray that, by means of this book, God will open your heart to receive that love, so that you too may come to love him, and your neighbor, as Jesus loves you.


1. Joni Mitchell, “Both Sides Now” (Siquomb Publishing, 1967).



4 New Releases Today!

We are excited to release 4 new titles today!

  1. Jazz, Blues, and Spirituals: The Origins and Spirituality of Black Music in the United States, New Edition
  2. Respect the Image: Reflecting Human Worth in How We Listen and Talk
  3. Same Lake, Different Boat: Coming Alongside People Touched by Disability, Revised and Updated
  4. The Song of Songs


Jazz, Blues, and Spirituals: The Origins and Spirituality of Black Music in the United States, New Edition by Hans Rookmaaker

248 pages | $19.99 | SAMPLE CHAPTER | Mobi: $9.99 | ePub: $9.99

About

At a time when many white Europeans and Americans dismissed the artistry of African-American music, Dutch art professor Hans Rookmaaker wrote in praise of its merits. This musical history explores the development of jazz, blues, spirituals, and gospel music from its earliest days until the 1950s—describing, as Dr. Rookmaaker understood them, the origins, rationale, and interplay of diverse new genres.

This new edition features a preface by William Edgar, an accomplished jazz pianist and a professor at Westminster Seminary.

Endorsements

“The fundamental admiration of African American creativity shining through oppression is Rookmaaker’s view woven through every paragraph of this research. Though written in 1960, this is an example that the twenty-first-century educated musician should follow.”

—James Ward, Recording Artist, Singer-Songwriter

“A robust and diverse contribution to the world of music comes out of the Black experience in America. . . . Hans Rookmaaker gives us this American story through the lens of God’s work among a people. We are brought into the beauty that springs out of joy and sorrow intimately tied to a hope rooted in God.”

—Irwyn L. Ince, Director, GraceDC Institute for Cross-Cultural Mission

“Hans Rookmaker is a fascinating man who played an important role in the development of a neo-Calvinist vision of the arts. Now that it is available once again, may this volume remind a generation of Christians that no musical form is neutral or without meaning. May it stimulate further work across a variety of musical genres.”

—Mark P. Ryan, Director of the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute, Adjunct Professor of Religion and Culture, Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis


Respect the Image: Reflecting Human Worth in How We Listen and Talk by Timothy M. Shorey

208 pages | $15.99 | SAMPLE CHAPTER | Mobi: $9.99 | ePub: $9.99

About

We humans talk a lot, so you’d think we’d be good at communicating with one another. But . . . well, we’re not. And the result is hurt, misunderstandings, frustration, division, and sometimes all-out war.

Yet whether we’re trying to repair a relationship, interact on social media, or understand someone whose beliefs differ from our own, there is hope! The people around us bear God’s image. As we learn to treat them accordingly, our communication will become a powerful means of showing God’s love to them.

Laying out eleven key principles for loving conversation, Pastor Tim Shorey guides us to a memorable, scriptural approach to communication that can transform our relationships.

Endorsements

“A focused and helpful plea for greater listening and learning in all our relationships.”

—Ruth Naomi Floyd, Vocalist; Lecturer on African-American Spirituals and Resident Artist, Temple University

“Expertly crafted, this rich biblical treatment of relational and racial unity is a blessing and an encouragement.”

—Diane Hunt, Counselor; Editor and Coauthor, Crossing the Jordan

“Helps us all precisely because Tim aims to make every truth transformative and every story connect to the truth.”

—Jeffrey S. Black, Professor and Chair of the Department of Counseling and Psychology, Cairn University


Same Lake, Different Boat: Coming Alongside People Touched by Disability, Revised and Updated by Stephanie O. Hubach

272 pages | $16.99 | SAMPLE CHAPTER | Mobi: $9.99 | ePub: $9.99

About

In a fallen world, we all experience brokenness. In our humanity, we all experience limited ability. We’re in the same lake, sharing a common story—but because our experiences differ from person to person, we’re not in the same boat.

When it comes to people with disability, however, we often act like we’re in different lakes. Disability can seem frightening, abnormal—or even irrelevant to those who do not experience it. But Stephanie Hubach argues that there is a better way to think of disability, a better way to understand the challenges facing those touched by disability, and a better way to understand the role of the church in the lives of people with differing abilities. She pinpoints what is true about disability, in contrast to common secular views, and what we need to rethink and relearn in order to support one another and make God’s kingdom truly accessible to all.

This revised and updated edition includes new chapters on growing in grace and journeying into maturity.

Endorsements

“Whether you are someone who is navigating the challenges of dealing with disability in your own family or someone who can’t imagine . . . the difficulties faced by families touched by disability, this book is for you.”

—Nancy Guthrie, Author, Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow

“Steph Hubach is an exceptional Christian leader whose honest, wise, and hope-filled book has helped Christians worldwide. . . . It remains the first resource I recommend to anyone who wishes to demonstrate the love of Christ in response to human disability.”

—Philip Graham Ryken, President, Wheaton College

“Delightfully engaging. Personal and poignant. Same Lake, Different Boat is a must-read for anyone who wants to make the church as God has designed it to be . . . beautiful.”

—Emily Colson, Author, Dancing with Max

“Hubach reminds us of God’s clear call to become communities of belonging for individuals with disabilities and their families. And she equips us with the perspectives and practices needed to move in this direction.”

—Erik Carter, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Special Education, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

“Stephanie Hubach’s book shines the light of biblical truth on many of the disability-related conversations and current words and trends to give us a well-articulated place where Christians can plant their feet.”

—Barbara J. Newman, Director of Church Services, All Belong


The Song of Songs by G.I. Williamson

112 pages | $9.99 | SAMPLE CHAPTER | Mobi: $6.99 | ePub: $6.99

About

These eight sermons became a landmark in Rev. Williamson’s preaching ministry to his congregation and are presented here as a source of blessing to others.

“In my early ministry, I said one time that the whole Bible is the Word of God, and we should not be afraid to preach on any part of it, and I’m willing to do it. And what do you think happened then? Right away somebody said, ‘Okay, preach on the Song of Solomon.’ I can understand why preachers tend to shy away from it—because it’s not easy to preach on a book about sex and marriage. It’s especially difficult when you face a whole congregation of people of different ages. But I had to keep my word, and I’m glad I did!

In my half-century of experience in the ministry I still look back on that series of sermons as unique. Through the entire series the eyes of the people were riveted on their preacher. You could hear a pin drop in the auditorium. And everyone—from eight to eighty—was there to hear these sermons. I cannot adequately express the sense of wonder that I felt in preaching these messages.” — G. I. Williamson