Not Worrying # Not Caring!

Those nights when you lie awake, restless and tossing and turning, your mind churning over a future that is uncertain and unknown. Those days when your heart is heavy and your spirit is sorrowful while you imagine what will befall you or that person you love. There isn’t a human being alive who doesn’t know the agony of worry. There isn’t a human being alive who hasn’t allowed legitimate concern to devolve into illegitimate anxiety. But just because worry is universal does not mean it is right or good. To the contrary, God warns us against it: “Be anxious for not h fting,” he says, and “do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.”

But it’s not so easy in the moment, is it? If God forbids worry, why do we still spend so much time doing it? If God warns us against anxiety, why we do we still find ourselves racked with fear as we consider what we’ve done and are doing and will do? Why do we waste days and squander nights in the joyless captivity of worry?

We think worrying is caring. We associate the issue or concern with the anxiety we feel for it. In fact, we may go so far as to sanctify our anxiety, to elevate it to the status of virtue. “I worry so much because I care so much.” And maybe we turn on people who don’t feel the same: “You don’t worry because you don’t care.” But worrying is not caring. Or, to turn it around, not worrying does not equal not caring. Our willingness to fret about something is not a necessary indication that we care deeply about it. Our unwillingness to fret about something is not a necessary indication that we are ambivalent about it. In those times we are fearful or uncertain, we can make ourselves believe that our worrying displays just how much we care, just how much our hearts are engaged. But it’s a false connection. The fact is, we can care deeply and never feel a single pang of worry.

We thinking worrying is effectual. “Effectual” is “producing or able to produce a desired effect.” We want our problem to be fixed and convince ourselves worrying will help. We think our worrying will accomplish something. Especially, we think our worrying may convince God just how much we care and cause him to respond to our pleas. But worry is not effectual. It does not accomplish anything—or anything good, at least. Worry is not the means through which God wants us to express our desperation to him. Worry is not the means through which God hears us or responds to our pleas. Worry is not a shortcut to the ear of God or the key to unlock his attention. To the contrary, it may be the very opposite. Our worry may cause God to allow our trial to continue until we have calmed our hearts and submitted them to his good purposes.

God does not mean for us to worry, but to pray. He does not mean for us to bear our own burden through anxiety, but to entrust it to him through prayer. It is not God’s will that we fret, that we feel deep anxiety, that we spend days and nights running over all the terrible possibilities in our minds. Rather, we are to “humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt us, casting all our anxieties on him, because he cares for us” (1 Peter 5:6-7). His care, not our anxiety, is our refuge. When we hand it all to him, we can truly be anxious for nothing. We can care deeply without worrying for as much as a moment.

Tim Challies

http://www.challies.com

http://www.ligonier.org

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Grace and Peace to You – A Supernatural Peace

 

 

Bible Text: 1 Peter 1:2-9, 25; John 14:25-27

 

If there is anything outstanding and important that one needs to know about the 1st Epistle of Peter then it is this; he is writing to scores of Christians who have been dispersed and scattered all through Asia Minor because of dire persecution and trials.

Trials, to state the obvious, are perennial and, therefore, there are trials that not only the Christians of 1 Peter had to face but also, it is equally applicable to you and I and also many other Christians across the world who are going through similar trials. Let me remind you of that with a Scripture.

1Peter 5:9

“…Remember that your brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.”

Again, trials are not limited only to Christians but, they are ubiquitous and affect even the non-Christian just as much as they affect Christians. However, you need to know that, concerning Christians, it seems to me that trials and even persecution come our way for one purpose and one purpose alone and that is to sanctify and purify us as God’s elect; those who belong to Jesus Christ and those Jesus Christ is committed to in bringing them through life in order to ensure that they will be with Him in heaven one day.

 

GRACE AND PEACE ARE INEXTRICABLE!

Just as a footnote, Peter uses Grace and Peace in the same sentence (verse 2). The reason for this is that they are inextricably combined. In other words, Grace is a favour and blessing from Christ – a favourable benefit – and Peace is just the same. Therefore, Grace cannot come without Peace and, conversely, Peace cannot come without Grace!

Remember, the context of 1 Peter is all about facing trials and even persecution. The problem for you and me is this: how in the world are we able to make sense of this, especially where we live in a world that seems completely devoid of Peace?

Even I, in this past week, had to constantly check my own heart all the time to prevent myself from acting out my old nature – as a non-Christian, a person who used to be full of hatred and lash out at situations any way I pleased. I tell you, family; it is becoming exceedingly difficult as a Christian these days to still maintain our Christianity, especially when we are commanded by Jesus to “LOVE OUR ENEMIES!” (Matthew 5:43-48; Luke 6:27-36)

AN UNDEFILED, UNFADING AND IMPERISHABLE INHERITANCE KEPT IN HEAVEN FOR US! (VERSE 4 )

What is an “Inheritance”? Well, in our culture and mindset, an inheritance is something that the children get when their parents have died and have hopefully left something for them afterwards. However, when it comes to the Jewish culture, an inheritance is received and experienced before the parents have died. In fact, the children benefit from the inheritance even while the parents are living. This is why Peter says that this inheritance is unfading and imperishable because it has been given to every single believer right now and is theirs forever.

In one sense it is already received and in another sense, the full inheritance will only be realised in Heaven. The word “Kept” (τετηρημένην) means that this inheritance has been secured and is reserved by God for His people. In other words, this inheritance is being guarded by God, Himself, for His people. Therefore, you need to know that, for the true believer; as we journey through this life, our inheritance is being experienced now in part and will be fully realised when we see God face to face and receive the fullness of what He has secured for us.

BEING GUARDED BY GOD’S POWER FOR A SALVATION READY TO BE REVEALED! (Verse 5)

This is why verse 5 tells us that we are “Being Guarded by God’s Power for a Salvation ready to be Revealed”. The idea behind this is that God is guarding (φρουρουμένους) this Salvation, keeping it in His custody for us, just in the same manner as a military guard would guard and display whatever offensive or defensive means are needed in order to fulfil his duty.

Once again, I am mentioning all of this because I want to get to a very crucial point this morning. One may rightly ask the question: “Well, if I am being guarded by God, then why has there been no peace in my life at this moment or even in this last week or last month etc.?” “Why does it seem that there is trouble around me and also in my own life every other day?”

IN THIS YOU REJOICE…! (Verse 6)

Furthermore, and one final point that I want to make, and which I want to pose as a question before we move on to the Book of John Chapter 14 is this; “How in heavens name is one meant to rejoice when bad things happen, especially to Christians; to good people?” “Where is all the so-called peace in the midst of these bad situations and circumstances?”

 

I confess that this can only be done if we continually and persistently cling to our Saviour, Jesus Christ, and be filled with His Holy Spirit on a daily basis. There is no other way that we can walk through this life as Christians unless we are filled daily with His power and His Holy Spirit.

 

John 14:25-27

 

WITHOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT, EVERYTHING ELSE IS MEANINGLESS!

You need to know that, without Jesus promising and giving His Holy Spirit, everything else after verse 16 will be completely meaningless for us! As a born-again Christian, it is not just a promise from Jesus to send His Holy Spirit just because He is feeling benevolent or happy, but He is sending His Holy Spirit in order to lead us in all righteousness [and truth]!

The statement in verse 16 about the giving of the Holy Spirit is not just there so that we can be “Good Christians” or “Super-Righteous Christians” because, if that is the be all and end all of it then that would not even make sense to us in the context of verse 27.

Let’s face it; there are ungodly, unsaved, and un-regenerate people who happen to also act in righteous ways, many times even putting many Christians to shame. Many times, we find so-called born-again Christians who act in such unrighteous ways that it brings disdain and disrepute to the name of God and also to Christianity as a whole.

Everything that is being said about the Holy Spirit from verse 15-26 is building up to verse 27. It is more than just the dispensation of the Holy Spirit to God’s people but, rather, the end result and the main point that is of utmost importance of John 14:27 is that of “PEACE”!

PEACE – A POPULAR WORD; BUT AN ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE REALITY!

Let’s face it; peace is a constant pursuit by the whole world, both by the unregenerate and also so-called Christians alike. They are forever chasing after it but never seem to find it, at least, the true Peace that Jesus speaks of in verse 27.

John MacArthur says; “Peace for the world is the absence of what troubles them”. In other words, the peace that the world seeks is not the peace according to what God has in mind and, therefore, it is not that true peace that they actually receive. It is said that when there is a war and both sides stop to reload, there is a moment of peace. That is not peace!

Peace is not toleration; peace is not toleration or any other vile social behaviour or a “Peaceful” governmental proposal, which by the way, is generally disproportionate and one-sided. The pursuit of peace has been hard to find and, in fact, it seems to be hidden and seems that the world has been unable to find it as yet and, neither will they ever find it.

THE WRONG PURSUIT OF PEACE!

People pursue peace in various forms: shopping, recreation, drugs, spending money and the list goes on and on. Many people say that peace will only come when there is social change or economic change. For instance, in our own country, certain people are being led to believe that peace will only come when all the farms are taken away and handed over to their rightful owners – the previously deprived owners. That in itself is a lie because even if that were to happen, peace will still not be attainable at all because, “… The heart of man is desperately wicked and who can understand it”. (Jeremiah 17:9).

Mark 7:21-23

21For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

Hate will continue, lust will continue, envy and jealousy will continue, pride will continue, and so will all those evil things that are inherent and natural to all people continue. People will never find peace, nor shall there ever be genuine peace between human beings. Neither will there ever be peace between man and God especially when the peace that man seeks and accepts is the peace that the world offers on a platter that is plated with fool’s gold.

By trying to fix the external things, peace will never be found or established. It may be momentary or temporary but, it will quickly fade away in a blink of an eye. If I can paraphrase 1 Peter 1:24 then it will sound something like this:

1 Peter 1:24 (Paraphrased).

“All flesh is like grass and all its glory is like the flower of grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, and just, in the same manner, is it with the peace that man seeks after – it may seem glorious for the moment but in the end, it will fall and come to nothing.”

Those who do not truly know God in this wicked world will never ever have true peace. Again, let me remind you, peace in the world can be defined as “The lull in the battle when everybody stops to reload”.

 

THE BIBLICAL DEFINITION OF PEACE!

“Only God and God’s through His word [is able to] authoritatively point to real peace.” (John MacArthur).

Opposite to this; the only peace that the world can try to offer, and by the way, it will always miserably fail in this, are things like; freedom from trouble, prosperity and wealth and riches, to be free from conflict, to have no stress, absence of hostility and unrest. Peace for the world is “having no trouble” and being free from things like; being fearful, stress, anxiety, depression, cancer, AIDS, and any other thing that causes unrest in the human heart and soul may cause damage to the human body.

This, by the way, is an insufficient and incomplete definition of peace (MacArthur). It is the only peace that the world can offer, you need to know this. This type of peace is superficial and always temporal.

Now, according to God, the most excellent and reliable definition of peace is that which we have just read in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you…”

 

HAVING PEACE WHEN HELL IS BREAKING LOOSE!

You have got to know that, when Jesus spoke these to His Disciples words in John 14:27, He was facing the most dramatic, disturbing, and distressing moment in His life and that was shortly to happen – His Crucifixion. The tumultuous ordeal he is about to face is horrendous but, yet, He speaks these almost unbelievable words to His disciples knowing full well that He is soon to be viciously assaulted and gruesomely crucified on a Roman cross. Further to this, Jesus knows that He will be separated from His father and punished for all of the sins of the world; for all the sins of the people throughout history and also for all the sins of the people that Jesus knows will in future come to believe in Him and trust in Him.

Jesus knows this all too well so that in John 14:28 He says “… I am going away…” because He knows what is lying ahead and looming over Him.

However, verse 27 tells us that Jesus says to them (His disciples) “… Let not your hearts be troubled.” And so, Jesus is going to give to them – his disciples – a kind of peace; a unique piece that will be very different to what the world can ever offer. It is a peace that will put an end to their troubled hearts!

  • A SUPERNATURAL PEACE – ONLY FOR THOSE WHO BELONG TO CHRIST!

This peace is a supernatural peace that not only can come from God but, also is a piece that is uniquely and specifically for only those who belong to Christ.

  • THE NATURE OF THIS SUPERNATURAL PEACE!

Now, I want to take a look at the nature of this peace and, therefore want to break it down into two logical parts; A) Objective Peace and B) Subjective Peace.

  • OBJECTIVE PEACE!

Objective peace is that type of peace that is outside of you. It is not experienced by you nor can it truly be created by you, although it may seem that way in many instances. As Christians, however, you need to know that this Peace is created by God and is harnessed by the Christian and utilised by the Christian to bring peace to circumstances and situations that are outside of us and most of the time out of our control.

 

  • SUBJECTIVE PEACE – John 14:27!

Subjective peace is that type of peace that is inside of you and is experiential. In other words, it is a peace that is experienced by you as an individual and when it comes, you as a Christian will know for certain that it was never created by you or conjured up by you. In fact, it is a peace that is not from you but independent of you. Furthermore, it is important to know that this type of peace is specifically placed there to guard your heart and your mind and your Christian life in Christ and keep you rooted in Christ.

Philippians 4:4-7.

4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5Let your reasonableness [or gentleness] be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Therefore, this subjective peace is actually based on the supernatural peace that Jesus was speaking about in John 14:27.

 

NO GOD, NO PEACE – KNOW GOD, KNOW PEACE!

Again, I need to reiterate this and emphasise that this peace which is given by Jesus is not for any other person or persons but only for those who belong to Him. NO GOD, NO PEACE – KNOW GOD, KNOW PEACE! In other words, there will never be any peace in the world because God is not known by the world. This peace is for those who are reborn, justified and sanctified by His Holy Spirit. It is for the genuine Christian – the Christ follower; the one who has no other god before him or her. This peace is for those who know God and are known by God! (Romans 4:24-25; 5:1)

 

Rev. S.C Bryant (OMIN CLC) BDiv Cum Laude, MI

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Are You Running With Endurance?

1 Peter 1:3-21
3)Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4)to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5)who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6)In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7)so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8)Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9)obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
10)Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully 11)inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12)It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. 13)Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14)As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15)but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16)since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17)And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18)knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19)but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20)He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21)who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

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Hebrews 12:1-3

A marathon is a taxing race. The runner must overcome muscle cramps, blisters, and the urge to quit. But each step reaffirms his commitment to keep going until he triumphantly crosses the finish line.

In many ways, this is what the Christian life is like. It’s not a fast sprint to heaven but a long, obedient marathon. There are obstacles that could cause us to stumble and burdens we need to lay aside so we can run unencumbered.

The one word that summarizes our earthly race is endurance. This term implies going through something difficult without quitting. It includes the concept of abiding under hardship with patient, sustaining perseverance. Christ hasn’t promised us an easy life. In fact, He told His disciples, “In the world you have tribulation” (John 16:33).

How can we keep going? The answer is to fix our eyes on Jesus, not on the…

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