Today’s reading is Luke 12:22-40 Today we are given three really good pieces of advice by Jesus: do not worry, do not be afraid, be ready. First, we see Jesus telling us do not worry about the things of this world, … Continue reading
One of the things I love most about Paul is that he knew what was important, and when he understood that, he lived it out so fully. What mattered the most to him, what really defined his life was his … Continue reading
I am by my nature a very anxious person. Very anxious. I worry, a lot. I worry about everything I worry about me. My church. My family. My children. Everything. I sometimes in my mind invent things to worry about, … Continue reading
One of the ways that fear gets to us is that it makes us take our eyes off of what really matters. Fear has a way of making us look down, not look up. When we look down, we are … Continue reading
I’m a worrier. It’s just in my nature. My mom was a worrier, most of my family are worriers. I often joke, I know that my worrying works, though, because 90% of the things I worry about never happen. Imagine … Continue reading
I’m not a huge Beach Boys fan, but there are a couple of their songs that I really just love. For some reason, I really like their song “Don’t Worry Baby.” I wasn’t really sure what it was about, in fact I had to Google the lyrics just now to find out. Apparently it’s about a guy getting a car race and his girlfriend is telling him not worry about what happens because she loves him. Who knew?
The reason I liked that song is I just loved the chorus. Just a reminder everything will be ok – don’t worry baby.
Man, that’s a good reminder. In this song, his girlfriend tells him she loves him, and she shouldn’t worry. Well, you and I today potentially face something more worrisome that. What about Greece? What about our economy? What about the world? Everything. Everything is spinning out of control. Everything is awful. What do we do?
Don’t worry, baby.
Not because of the lyrics of this song, but because of what we read in Matthew 17: 1-7:
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3 Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.”
He is King of Kings. He is Lord of Lords. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning nad the End, the First and Last.
In other words, it’s ok. Really, it is. He’s got this.
He is glorious, He is powerful, and nothing happens that He is not aware of and not in the midst of.
I’m not saying that there are not things that are scary. What I’m saying is this. Jesus is bigger. Never forget that.
So, don’t worry baby. Jesus is bigger. He’s got this. You can trust in Him, no matter how afraid you may be.
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You ever feel like you are fighting a losing battle? Ever feel like you’ve got a task that you just can’t get done, dealing with something that you just can’t get right, working with something that you just can’t change?
We’ve all been there at some point in our lives. We’ve all been in a battle that we just can’t feel like we can win. We’ve all felt that frustration, that anger, that doubt, that pressure, that worry. One of my favorite characters in Greek mythology is Sisyphus. If you’re not familiar with his story, basically he was punished for all eternity by having to push a boulder up a mountain, only to have it roll back down up on him. And he had to do that for all eternity.
Sometimes we feel like that, don’t we? Sometimes we just feel like things won’t change and we can’t win. Listen to what happens to Ezekiel today in Ezekiel 2: 4-7:
4 The descendants are impudent and stubborn. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, “Thus says the Lord God.” 5 Whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house), they shall know that there has been a prophet among them. 6 And you, O mortal, do not be afraid of them, and do not be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns surround you and you live among scorpions; do not be afraid of their words, and do not be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. 7 You shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear; for they are a rebellious house.
God sends Ezekiel to preach to the Israelites. And He says this. They may not listen. They are rebellious. They are hard-headed. They may not listen to a word you say.
But you say it anyway. Because your job is not to change them. Your job is to preach that word.
What a word for us today! Your job is not to win that battle. It’s not. Your job is to be faithful. That’s your job today. It’s God’s call if the battle is won or lost. You can’t in the end control that. You can’t control them. You can’t control the situation. You can’t control any of that.
All you can control is yourself. That’s it.
So, our job is not to worry about the things that we can’t control. Our job is to worry about what we can control. That’s ourselves. That’s our response. That’s our faithfulness. That’s our effort. That’s us. That’s all we can do.
So, today, be faithful. Even if it’s a battle that you don’t think you can win. Be faithful. The battle is Lord’s. He will take care of what happens in the end. Today, though, for you and for me, let’s be faithful. Let’s be obedient. Let’s do what God wants us to do.
And the rest is up to Him. Don’t worry. Don’t fear. Don’t doubt. Be faithful. That’s our main duty!
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One of the things that we see so often in scripture is this. As Christians, we are called to be different from the world. Not perfect in all things, but different. There’s got to be something different about us from the world; from the culture; from where we are live.
We just have to be different. Different in action, different in thought, different in purpose.
We see it in the Old Testament with the Levitical laws. We see in the Prophets with the call to treat others fairly. We see it in Paul’s works with the call to live not by the law, but by grace. And we see it in the Gospel with Jesus’ command to follow Him.
Listen to what He tells us today in Luke 12: 29-31:
And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.
He’s not saying that these things are bad. He’s saying this – the Father knows you need food and drink and clothing. He knows this. And He will take care of you. He will.
The Father will meet your needs. He will. This is why we don’t worry.
Listen. The Father will take care of you. He will. Don’t worry about those things. God will provide.
And here’s what happens when we don’t worry about that. We can focus on what really matters. God’s kingdom. His will. His plan. His purpose. His love.
When we don’t worry about those things (that God will provide) we can focus on the one thing that really matters. God.
So, today, don’t worry about those things. God knows that you need them. He will provide. Focus on Him and His kingdom. And all will be well.
That’s why we don’t worry.
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Holly always tells me that when I get busy, I get grumpy. And she’s pretty right. And unfortunately my natural condition is stay busy. Which means, in time, I’ll get grumpy.
I’ve been grumpy recently. When I get like this, I only see the things that are wrong. The things I’m doing right, the things that Asbury isn’t doing right, the ways that we are missing the mark. Things that other pastors are doing. Things that other church are doing. Things that I’m not doing, that we are not doing. And I think man! I’m terrible at this!
Did you know that a pastor could feel that way? Maybe I’m the only one, but I do sometimes. I compare. I fret. I worry. Especially when I’m in the grumpy mood.
When I’m in that mood, you could show me 100 things right, I’ll see the 1 wrong. I am thankful that this is not my natural condition. But, when I get too busy, I get tired, and when I get tired, I get grumpy.
So, today, I’ve just been discontented. We’ve been away for a couple of days as a family, and a chance for me to catch my breath before starting Camp Meeting this Sunday. And I’ve just been thinking and praying and worrying and fretting. Tonight, though as I sat here, a thought hit me. Now, I know this thought is from God, because it’s smarter than anything I’d think of.
Andy – you worry. You fret. You get aggravated You get annoyed. You look at other churches, other pastors, other people and other things and see how you dont’ measure up.
You don’t pray. Not like you need to. Not as you ought. Not as I need you to.
You don’t pray.
And so, that’s where I am. I need to pray. I need to stop being grumpy, stop fretting, and start praying.
Maybe you’re in the same place. Maybe instead of comparing yourself or worrying about everything you need to pray. I know that I need to.
So, let’s pray. Let’s give it to God. And let’s be faithful, in that, and in all things.
Sorry these posts have been so irregular recently. Summer has been helter skelter for me. I will post tomorrow and then I will attempt to post next week as well. I’ll be preaching Camp Meeting at Shiloh in Rankin County starting Sunday and will be preaching through the next Sunday. If I have internet access I will up date each day. If not, I may not be back into the routine until the first Monday in August. We’ll see!
Romans 12:1-2 is one of my favorite passages of scripture. It’s one of those neat passages that has so much to see and look at when you first see it, but the deeper you look, the more that you can see.
Listen to what it says:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
We could spend a lot of time talking about not conforming to the world and how our lives, our thoughts, our dreams, who we are, they should be different from the world all around us.
We are called to be holy. To be holy is not be perfect, it’s to be different. We start being different by having our mind in the right place – on Jesus.
But, look above it. There’s that great verse about being a living sacrifice. And I love that image of us, as a living sacrifice, laying our entire lives down upon the altar of God. I love that image, I love that though, I love thinking about.
Our entire life, it is a sacrificial offering to God. Everything we do. Every moment of our lives, everything. It’s a sacrifice to God!
And that’s awesome. Except for this one thing. A living sacrifice can get up off the altar and walk away. So, today, we lay our burdens down upon the altar. We lay our worries down upon the altar. We lay our fears down upon the altar. We lay our sins down upon the altar.
And, because we are living, we walk away. We pick them back up, and we walk away. Because we can.
It’s not a one time laying these things down – fear, worry, sin, etc – it’s a daily laying them down. Every day. Because as a living sacrifice, we can crawl off the altar, and take our stuff with us.
So, today, lay it before Jesus. And tomorrow. And the day after. And the day after. And the day after. Lay it there. Give it to Him. Daily.
Every day. Lay it down.
And in doing that, we will that peace, hope, and life that we are seeking. May we do it, daily.
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