Corrie Ten Boom knew about worries.She put her life on the line every day while helping Jews escape during WW II.In her book Each New Day she told of something a friend taught her."When I worry I go to the mirror and say to myself, ‘This tremendous thing which is worrying me is beyond a solution. It is especially too hard for Jesus Christ to handle.' After I have said that, I smile.”She used to say, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows; it empties today of its strength.”
According to Harper’s Index, the average American is in a bad mood 110 days out of the year. About 30% of the time we are in a bad mood because of worry, stress, anger, or depression.We worry about lots of things:am I eating enough, do I eat too little, am I going to live, when am I going to die?
Once upon a time, Death was walking toward a city. A man who met Death asked him what he was going to do. “I’m going to kill 10 people,” Death replied. “That’s terrible,” said the man. “I know,” said Death, “But that’s what I do.”The next day the same man met Death coming away from the city, and he protested, “You said you were going to kill 10 people, but 100 died.”
“I only killed 10,” said Death. “Worry and fear killed the rest.”
We laugh at this story, but the truth of it hits close to home.
We know we shouldn’t worry; we know that it’s wrong and even sinful to do it; we know that it doesn’t do any good, yet we do it anyway.
Matthew 6:25-34 (New Living Translation) teaches five arguments against worry and two ways to defeat it.How well do you live up to Jesus’ way to deal with worry?
Five arguments against worry –
·If God gave us life, surely we can trust Him with the small things. (v. 25)
·Like the birds of the air, our security isn’t found in storing up things for the future. (v. 26)
·Worry is pointless; it won’t make us taller or cause us to live longer. (v. 27)
·If God gives breath-taking beauty to a short-lived flower, how much more will He care for you? (vv. 28-30)
·God is your Father; to worry shows distrust in Him.(v. 32)
Two ways to defeat worry –
·Focus on doing the will of God, and love God above everyone and everything else.
Beloved, worry quenches the work of God’s grace in your life because it’s a sinful replacement for trust and confidence in His promises.Trust and worry cannot live in the same heart; they are mutually exclusive.
GospeLines Prayer: Father, I don’t want to be like the man on his deathbed who said, “I have had a lot of trouble in my life, most of which never happened.”Instead, help me to live and die worry free.Amen and amen.
Has anyone ever accused you of wrongfully judging a person’s actions?Maybe they followed up by using this verse as a way to throw you into a guilt trip, “Judge not lest you be judged.”If you have ever been warned about judging others you will want to see what I discovered this week fromstudyingMatthew 7:1-5 in the Sermon on the Mount.Let’s start by noticing that Jesus gives us both a REBUKE and a RESPONSIBILITY in this passage.
This was not a new idea for the Jews, for the Rabbis taught how wrong it was to judge your neighbor.But because the hypocritical Pharisees determined how the rules were to be practiced and whether or not they were being carried out properly, there were huge holes in the daily application of their theology.Jesus couldn’t have made His rebuke clearer than this.Do not judge or criticize another, because if you do you will be judged and criticized just as harshly.And Jesus didn’t stop there, He went on to explain why we shouldn’t judge each other by giving us a humorous but vivid illustration.
You can’t criticize the faults of someone else until you remove the log out of your own eye.Unless you do that first, it’s impossible to see the speck in your neighbor’s eye.In other words take care of your own sins before criticizing the sins of another.We live in a fallen world where no man is good enough to place himself above another human being.Deal with your own sinfulness and confess it to God before contemplating theproblems of anyone else.Calling yourself a Christian does not give you the right to sit as a self-righteous judge who feels like his calling in life is to be a full-time critic of everyone he knows and even those he does not.
So we’ve got that part down, right?We are never to judge anyone; we should just take care of confessing our own sins to the Father, go sit in a corner and not worry about anyone else.WRONG!We have a responsibility which comes after we have dealt with our own sins and been properly restored to relationship with the Father.Here it is:“…first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye” (v. 5).After dealing with our spiritual condition, we MUST continue to do two things:first, confront sin among our fellow Christians, and second, discriminate against sin whenever and wherever we see it in the world.If we allow our brother to continue in sin without rebuke it is to hate him as inLeviticus 19:17.And to refuse to fight sin in the world is to give in to it, which is tantamount to denying the message of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV ).
Beloved, that’s what this passage is about.We cannot restore our brother in Christ or lead an unbeliever away from his sinful lifestyle until we are right with God ourselves.And that can’t happen if we are self-righteous and critical.Once we have dealt with our own problems, then and only then are we able to live up to our responsibilities to everyone else.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, when you remove the log from my eye, at the same time soften my heart with compassion; when I am tempted to criticize someone, let me pray for them first.Before judgment spews from my lips, make sure it’s preceded by words of blessing for my victim.But never allow my kindness toward the sinner to be confused with tolerance for sin; and do not permit my desire to discipline my hypocritical tongue become an excuse for silence toward a wicked and perverse nation...never, never, never!Amen and amen.
≈ Devotional for Friday, April 30, 2010
“Don’t let them Trample the Gospel”
“Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine” Matthew 7:6 NASB
This verse comes like an unexpected thunderbolt!At first it may seem that it doesn’t fit with intolerance of sin and practicing a non-hypocritical attitude toward others in the previous verses (Matthew 7:1-5 NASB ), but it really does.The message speaks about our basic Christian mission to evangelize the world, to share our faith with our neighbors, family members and those we work with each day.But more than any other place in the Bible the Christian is instructed to discriminate in giving spiritual information to certain people.What an intriguing doctrine…let’s take a look at it for a moment.
The dogs and hogs were not the domesticated kind we know about.They were wild beasts which lived around the city and scavenged in the garbage dumps.After the priest offers the burnt offering in the temple, you don’t throw the leftover sacrifice to the dogs to be eaten.The bones, maybe, but not the meat left from the altar which is considered the “holy thing.”And who would throw pearls out for wild hogs to eat?To own a pearl from the Indian Ocean or the PersianSea a man would have to spend a vast amount of his fortune.No one would throw out pearls to wild pigs because they wouldn’t appreciate them.They couldn’t eat them so they would just trample them underfoot, and then probably turn on you in their anger because you didn’t give them something good to eat.You really don’t want a bunch of wild pigs mad at you.
I believe the holy thing and the pearls represent the Word of God.And there comes a time when we must discriminate, using our godly judgment when we share it with certain unbelievers.In Matthew 10, Jesus told the disciples that if you go to a place and they will not hear the message, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.Don’t waste your breath when people do not listen.
This is a very hard lesson for us.What about those people who refuse to give a listening ear to the salvation message of God?After we have presented the Word we must leave the rest to God.We cannot share everything with everybody because they will trample on it and then use our words against us.There are precious pearls of wisdom in the Bible which some will mock, despise and deride.I will not give them the opportunity to smear the Truth and use it against the very mission to which I am called.Their vile mockery may in no small way interfere with someone who hears it, who would otherwise be open to hearing the gospel.So how do we win them over if not with our words?Do we abandon them?Is the message simply to be withdrawn from them?
William Barclay tells of a group of young people sitting around a campfire, discussing ways of telling people about Christ.They turned to a girl from Africa.“What about it, Maria?What do you do in your country?”“Oh,” she said, “we don’t have missions or give out pamphlets.We just send one or two Christian families to live and work in a village, and when people see what Christians are like, they want to be Christians, too.”
It’s impossible to talk to some people about Christ.Maybe they are too cynical, too insensitive, or maybe they are filled with intellectual pride and your pearls of wisdom would be wasted.When you are unable to use your voice to talk about Him, you can always show the world who Christ is by the way you live among them.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, thank you for teaching us to be discriminating in our words.But in so doing, You have revealed to us that the weakness of the Church is not the lack of Christian arguments against sin, but the lack of Christian lives.O God, help us to measure up to the desperate need in our world today for Christians who are conspicuous by their godliness.Amen and amen.