As we consider this thought of dealing with the headlines of today I was wondering…. is it ok be worried? I mean why shouldn’t we worry? It seems like every time we turn on the TV, listen to the radio, or read an article there is another tragedy going on somewhere in the world where lives are threatened and even taken in a senseless fashion. Even today we are hearing about an 84 year old Priest who was brutally killed by a terrorist at his church in France. It continues to look like there is no place and no person immune to the possibility of exposure to this type of danger. We’ve seen it happen at all times of the day, in all types of places and to all types of people, so why shouldn’t we worry that it could happen to us tomorrow?
Here’s why…..God has told us not to, that’s why.
In Matthew 6:34 He tell us “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is it’s own trouble.”
So there it is, He tells us we shouldn’t worry about tomorrow because the truth of the matter is that we don’t belong to tomorrow, and we don’t belong to this world, we belong to Him. Let’s face it, no matter how much we worry or how hard we try, we are limited in our ability to protect ourselves and our families. We can’t add another day to our lives and we certainly can’t eliminate the threats of this world on our own.
So if we shouldn’t worry about tomorrow what should we as believers do?
He give us the answer to that in Philippians 4:6-7. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
The real truth is that our reliance is in Him and Him alone. The question that faces us each day is do we believe it? Do we trust Him or do we trust ourselves? Is it Thy will be done or my will be done?
According to His word, if we are willing to take it all to him in prayer and trust in Him – that is when we will find the “peace that passes all understanding” for today and tomorrow.
What do we do when the news that once horrified us now is common place? Even as I write this, the news outlet broadcast another Isis attack on a train in Germany. Nice, France, Germany, Paris, Orlando, Minneapolis, Baton Rouge, and Dallas are all locations of tragedies that blur in our mind in the last two months. We are no longer able to function by giving days of mourning for the latest mass killings. I have wondered if the American flag will ever be other than half-staffed. A danger with this new normal is our indifference. Elie Wiesel has written, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”
Life is wonderful, yet dark. There is so much love in this world, and hate. These incongruencies reveal the christian truth that our world society is inconsistent and contradictory because it has rejected God’s authority. When we see how dark this world can be it shows us how great the light of Christ is and will be in this world. Colossians 1:19-20 declares that “For in Him (Christ) all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him (Christ) to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”
So what does God do with this horror of our news? He gives his blood on the cross to make peace. He is not indifferent! He has given to us this message to declare and to demonstrated the kingdom of his beloved Son while we walk in a dark kingdom.
John 15:11 tells us “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full”.
Often times the words joy and happiness are used interchangeably in our world today. In fact, the dictionary defines joy as the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something good or satisfying. It defines happiness as being delighted, pleased or glad over a particular thing.
For us, here in modern day America, there are many things that promise to give us this worldly defined joy or happiness. Companies spend millions of dollars every year towards marketing and advertising with the goal of convincing us that their product or service will bring us this happiness. Since 2003 McDonalds has been using the catchy jingle “I’m Loving it”. Recently, Coca-Cola decided to change their 5 year-old “Open Happiness” slogan with the new and improved “Taste the Feeling”. As funny as it may seem to find happiness in a #2 combo or a cold 16 oz. bottle of soda, it works in convincing America to choose them. The marketing strategies of these two companies goes right along with all the other things in our culture today that promise to bring us happiness. Our culture tells us that if we work hard in our career we will make more money or get that promotion and be happier. If we gain lots of friends and are well liked or followed on Social Media, then we will be happier. If we discipline ourselves to healthy living and exercise, then we will be happier. Don’t forgot about being a fan of that winning sports team that always brings you happiness. Or maybe there is something else we do or strive for to find our happiness. If they were removed tomorrow or we became unsuccessful in our attempts would we still be happy? And is this happiness really the same thing as the joy that Jesus speaks of in John 15:11?
When Jesus says in John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full”. The meaning of joy here is much different than any happiness that the world can offer. Jesus speaks this passage as He teaches about being the vine, the Father being the vinedresser, and that we are the branches that are to bear much fruit. As we obey and follow Christ in our lives and seek Him in His Word daily we become filled with a joy that this world we live in cannot give. When we do His will in our lives it will produce a lasting and increasing joy that’s unexplainable on worldly terms. There is an overwhelming joy when we bear much fruit in the name of Christ and realize that this is something we could never produce in our own strength. It’s a joy we get as we live life and share the gospel with others that do not know Him. In this world there is nothing else that we can surrender to, follow, and obey that will give us this Joy that Jesus promises to give us. So today, follow Christ, surrender to Him, believe and trust in Him by seeking His Will, and allow Him to fill you with an everlasting Joy.
Recently, I have been thinking about the words we speak as believers, especially the 4-lettered variety. No not “love” or any 4-lettered words, but the more infamous variety. So what makes a bad word “bad”? It has to be more than just the sound of the letters , or even the object or action referred to by the words. Many of the antecedents of the words are references to theological concepts or primary to life. In fact, it is the twisting of a beautiful and /or sober idea or action into something derogatory or flippant that can make a word “bad.” However, the biggest determinant in making a word “bad” is the motive behind the usage. For example, if my goal is to belittle a person or express my disdain than whatever words, 4-lettered or not, have become “bad.”
So is there any place for salty language for the Christ-follower? It could be argued that Jesus, the psalmist, and Paul used some choice language to describe the work of sin and Satan in the lives of people. There is a place for hatred of sin among the Christ-pursuer and the language could reflect that emotion. However, even at the moment it should be a word that is specific to that emotion and not a word that references a beautiful act, which is a problem for the “F-bomb.”
Someone might argue that the culture no longer assigns original meaning to those words, and thus not “bad.” I am thinking specifically of the military culture in this case. Not being in the military, I find it difficult to weigh in on this subject. However I would note that when many veterans assimilate back into American culture, especially with children, the language often changes. There is something to the reason why that happens.
However, our language will reveal the most dominant culture in which we are exposed. Despite, being born and raised in North Carolina, my accent reveals more of the New England and Mid-west influence of the friends with whom I grew up. So to, though we live in this world, may our language reveal more of the influence of Christ’s Spirit by whom we grow up. “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him”. Colossians 3:17
Pastor Jarrod Scott