Friday, August 22, 2014

Worry Is Wrong

Chuckle: "To keep your marriage brimming with love in the loving cup, Whenever you're wrong, admit it. Whenever you are right, shut up." --Ogden Nash
Good Quote: “Blessed is the person who is too busy to worry in the daytime and too sleepy to worry at night.” –Unknown source
   "Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear" (Matthew 6:25 NIV). "Seek first his (God's) kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matthew 6:33-34 NIV). "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" (Matthew 6:27 NIV).
From his discourse to his followers in the "Sermon on the Mount," Jesus gives us instructions in the practical aspects of Christian living.  He deals with a subject here that is very real to many of us, worry.  I must admit I've done some major league worrying myself at times.  Some worry about everything as if their worrying will somehow make the dreaded situation more pleasant and acceptable.  In reality, worrying about something will not change it one iota. "Worry is like a rocking chair; it will give you something to do, but it won't get you anywhere."
Jesus is well aware of the human tendency to worry and chose to address it in a direct and straight forward way.  He says, "Do not worry." He says we are to focus our attention on Him, His kingdom, and His righteousness; then He will provide to us all the needs (not wants) of life.  If you are worrying, you are trusting in yourself rather than God.  Most of the time, worrying comes from a feeling of inadequacy and our inability to control a situation or solve problems in our lives rather than trusting them to God.  When you worry, you are placing all the pressure of the future upon yourself.
It is not only useless to worry, it is an act of infidelity toward God.  When He tells us not to worry but we do it anyway, we are being disobedient and untrusting.  We are saying to God, "I don't believe your promise to look after the practical needs of my life, so I must do it myself."  That's an arrogant attitude toward God, don't you think?
God says the cares of this world will choke His words out of us.  Usually, it is the little cares and worries that make us so uncomfortable.  Most of the things we worry about either don't materialize or are not nearly as bad as we imagined.  If we are worrying, we are not trusting God to deal with the future we cannot see.  The only cure for this lack of trust is obedience to His words. "Now faith (trust) is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see . . . Without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:1, 6 NIV).
The operative concept here is to abandon yourself into God's hands and trust him completely.  But, does this mean we just sit on our hands and do nothing while trusting God to take care of us and grant each little desire of our hearts?  Of course not.  He gave us our minds and abilities and we are to use them, for his glory, in providing for our families and ourselves.  However, while we are doing our best with talents God has given us, we should not worry.  We trust the outcome to God.  This allows us to live in peace and contentment rather than anxiety and worry.

Love, Jerry & Dotse 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Love as Jesus Loves You

Chuckle: "One way to improve your memory is to lend people money!"
Quote: "To love as Jesus loves; that is not only the Lord's precept, it is our vocation. When all is said and done it is the one thing we have to learn, for it is perfection." --Rene` Voillaume
    "Don't just pretend that you love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other" (Romans 12 9-10 NLT).
I read about a church meeting where emotions were running high because of differing opinions about something.  A bystander, watching and listening, could not miss the rancor, hurtful words, bitterness, pride and a lack of Christian love being shown.  After the tumultuous meeting, the same members went outside and found a young pregnant mother in the parking lot with a baby in her arms and holding a second child by the hand.  She desperately need help.  The same church members who were fighting just a few minutes before now joined together to show love and support for someone they didn't even know.  Does this seem strange to you?
When Jesus was about to go to the cross, he said to His disciples, "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove that you are my disciples" (John 13:34-35 NLT).
When you take our two passages together, a beautiful picture is revealed about how we should love our Christian brothers and sisters -- brotherly love for those closest to us.  Jesus knew His followers would need a special kind of love for each other if they were to come through the crisis of His crucifixion and later to carry out the Great Commission to evangelize the world (Matthew 28:19-20.
Previously, Jesus had taught that the standard for loving others was to "love your neighbor as you love yourself."  But He knew this kind of neighborly love, would be inadequate for His followers in loving each other.  Here Jesus sets a new standard of brotherly love for believers.  Now we are to love other Christians not as we love ourselves but as Jesus has loved us.  This is the unconditional sacrificial "agape" love like that with which Jesus has loved us as He gave Himself for us on the cross.  This kind of love will motivate us to love both believers, our neighbors and all others as Jesus has loved us.
Have you noticed that we often tend to treat total strangers with greater kindness than those closest to us -- in our biological families as well as our spiritual/church families.  This was the case of the young woman in the parking lot.  You see, it is our love for each other that proves to the world that we belong to and are followers of Christ. 
Jesus assumes that people will see our acts of love for each other.  If they don’t see our acts of love for each other, how will they know we belong to Christ.  We cannot limit our expressions of love to the four walls of the church.  Rather we show our love in our homes, our work places, our classrooms, and everywhere we go each day.  let's examine our hearts and see if we genuinely love one another as Jesus has loved us or if we are pretending.  It's easy to say we love someone, but the genuineness of our words is proven by our actions.

Love, Jerry & Dotse