Saturday, June 30, 2012

Don't Worry

How much good has ever been accomplished by worry?

Think about it: did worrying about the economy get you a raise? Did worrying about that odd noise under the hood of your car make it go away? Did worrying about final exam help you get a passing grade?

Of course not. Worry has never helped us; in fact, it only hurts us.

Worry adds stress, which leads to ulcers, panic attacks, nervous breakdowns, and loss of sleep. But the worst part about worry is that it conveys to God that we don’t trust Him.

The God who takes care of the birds and flowers will also take care of us, but when we choose to worry and fret we are acting as if God is not capable of sorting out our problems.

Luke 12:25 poses this rhetorical question for believers: “And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

Whether it is a person in a hospital bed who fears the end is in sight, or if it is a young child who fears death, we cannot lengthen our lives by worrying about it. Instead of wasting time worrying, why not make the most of what time we have, namely the present?

And when you feel tempted to worry, remember that God has taken that responsibility away from us. Just trust Him to do what is right. But above all, don’t worry.

Pulling More Weeds

I recently wrote about pulling weeds in my garden. I talked about how pulling weeds is one of my least favorite past times, but that it is essential to keeping a garden or flower bed looking its best.

Now, after battling another round of weeds, there is something else that I realized: the more weeds I pull, the more weeds I see.

If I were a conspiracy theorist I would guess that the weeds were put there by the government, part of a scheme to keep me weak and sore from all the pulling. Think about it, after all that weed pulling, how could I possibly have missed any?

When I am clearing out an area that is initially covered in weeds, I make so much progress that a weed or two here or there is hardly noticeable. After all, there aren’t nearly as many weeds as there once were. But when I step back I notice weeds that are still there. So those new weeds I am seeing are not new at all, but the weeds that I missed.

The first time I wrote about pulling weeds I compared those weeds to sin in our lives; we should not be satisfied with just removing some of it. With that same idea in mind, think of those missed weeds as part of the believer’s path of sanctification. When you are removing the big weeds, the smaller, almost unnoticeable weeds will begin to stand out. The “little” sins like pride and jealousy can get lost among the fornication and road rage. But once the “bigger” sins have been removed, that envy will stand out like a sore, green thumb.

As Christians, let’s keep looking to remove any sin that the Holy Spirit convicts us of, no matter how big or small.

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.
Ephesians 5:3

Twinkling of an Eye

Do you really think God can change people in “the twinkling of an eye?” 

That question has been asked by more than one skeptic, and I have to admit that the idea does sound a little hard to believe. The question is referring to the verse in I Corinthians 15:52 which says, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

This verse is referring to an event known as the rapture, which is a time in the future when Jesus will descend into the clouds and call His children to be with Him. At this time every living Christian will go to heaven, and the bodies of the believers that have died will be resurrected and glorified. The Christians who are alive will also receive a glorified body that will be theirs for all eternity.

So to go back to the skeptic’s question, do I really believe that God can change all these people in the twinkling of an eye? Of course I do.

I know this because He already changed me once. The very second I chose to put my faith and trust in Jesus I became a new creation; the old has passed away. There are some parts that change over time, and this is a process called sanctification, but there was a part of me that changed instantly.

Ray Comfort compares this change to a man that promises to give you $100 million when he returns, and just so that you will believe him, he gives you a million dollars up front. Is the $100 million hard to believe? Yes, but it is easier to believe that he will keep his promise when he gives you a million dollars.

God has promised to do something incredible by changing us in the twinkling of an eye ($100 million), but He has already given us a glimpse of the change He can produce (1 million dollars). But not everyone will receive this promise.

Do you want to be changed in the twinkling of an eye? If you want to have that glorified body in heaven one day you have to first be changed by God on earth. Put your faith in Jesus and let His Holy Spirit change you. 


Little children understand the concept of ownership better than adults do. If a child colors a picture, that is his picture; if he buys a toy with his allowance money, that is his toy; if he is given a birthday present, that is his present.

Adults understand this to a degree, but we forget that it also applies to God. We will “amen!” the notion of God being our Creator, but we easily forget that He must also be our owner. Listen to how missionary John R. Cross describes his time in Papua New Guinea:

“Every item I asked about—‘Whose paddle is this?’ ‘Whose canoe is that?’—elicited a response that designated an owner. When I inquired how they knew who the owner was, they looked at me in disbelief. Apparently I had asked a foolish question. To them it was obvious. The owner was the one who made it![1]

If God is the one who made us, which the Bible emphatically teaches, then He is every bit our owner. And as such God has every right to lay out the “thou shalt’s” and the “thou shalt not’s” that govern our lives.

For the record, God’s rules are not in place to make us miserable, but for our benefit, but that’s another message for another day.

Romans 14:8 concludes with “…whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.” Christian, acknowledge the fact that you belong to God, and your life must be lived in accordance with that concept.

(Read Part 2)

[1] Cross, John R., By This Name, GOODSEED International, p. 35

Chosen People Part 2

Last week we looked at how the nation of Israel was God’s chosen people, and how some people think that God is unfair for having a chosen people. In case you missed it, we concluded that God chose Israel for the benefit of the rest of the world and not to the exclusion of them.

But this week let’s focus on another concept: that as Christians we are all a part of God’s chosen people. Even as Gentiles, which I assume the majority of readers to be, we have the same standing as that of the Old Testament Jews.

In I Peter 2:9 Peter wrote to the church and told them that they were are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

Theologians today refer to the church as “spiritual Israel,” because, even though most of us were not born in Israel, we have been grafted into the family through adoption by God. The sad part is that many in Israel have rejected Jesus as the prophesied Messiah.

Just as last week we saw how God chose Israel in order to display His salvation among the lost world, this week we see that God uses us as “a holy nation” in order to “proclaim the excellencies of Him” to the lost world today.

No matter where you were born, or what family you were born into, you can be a part of God’s chosen race by putting your faith in Jesus alone as the Anointed One from God who came to save us.

If you have put your faith in Him, whether Jew or Gentile, we are all part of the family.

Chosen People

If you are like me then you have probably wondered at some point how God could have a chosen people. We know that the nation of Israel (the Jews) is God’s chosen people, so how is that fair? 
How could God have a chosen people to the exclusion of all other people groups?

Perhaps Psalm 67 can shine some light on this concept:

“May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make His face to shine upon us,
that your way may be known on earth,
 your saving power among all nations (verses 1-2).” 

That chapter only has 7 verses, and I would recommend reading the rest of it, but focus for just a minute on those first two verses.

“May God be gracious to us,” says the psalmist. This is a Jew, a member of that chosen race. He is asking for God’s goodness and blessing to be in his life and among the Jewish nation. But his motives are not selfish; look what will happen if the Lord is in fact gracious.

“That your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.” God called Israel out of slavery, made a covenant with them, gave them their promised land, promised them a Deliverer, fulfilled that promise through Jesus, and redeems all who put their faith in Him. This was obviously good for Israel, but the benefits are not limited to just Israel.

Instead of thinking that God had a chosen nation to the exclusion of every other nation, we should realize that God had a chosen nation for the good of every other nation. God chose Israel as a means to demonstrate His love and goodness to all who call Him Lord.

Even in the Old Testament Gentiles could be saved. Consider Moses’ wife and father in law, as well as Rahab and Ruth. Each of them was saved as a direct result of the Israelites, whom the Lord has been gracious to.

Let us give thanks to God for the goodness and mercy He extends to all who call on Him!

(Read Part 2)