Archive for August, 2009

3 reasons not to worry

Here are some quotes from a message I listened to last week from John MacArthur on “Jesus, Worry, and You.” (Matthew 6:25-34)

Why we don’t need to worry:

First, “It is unnecessary because of Your Father.”  Two, “It is uncharacteristic because of your faith.”  Three, “It is unwise because of your future.”  This is an incredibly dramatic and astute presentation by Our Lord.  Because of Your Father, and because of your faith, and because of your future, it is foolish to worry.

What are the effects of worry physically?

One doctor said, “Worry affects the circulation, the heart, the glands, the entire nervous system.  I have never known a man to die of overwork, but many who died of worry.”  A person may literally worry himself to death…worry himself into bad health.  But never will you worry yourself into a longer life.

How powerful is worry?

Worry is a tremendous force.  It can warp your personality, it can steal your joy, it can rob your peace, it can foul up your relationships, it can cripple your faith, it can harm your usefulness, and it can wreck your Christian testimony.  Worry is a powerful force.  It’s not a trivial sin; it is a significant sin.  It creates havoc in your heart and the hearts of those who are watching your life.  I mean if Satan can get us to worry, and get us burdened and anxious and stressed and defeated and fearful, what kind of Christian testimony do we have?  What kind of benediction and blessing are we to the people around us?  What kind of usefulness do we have?  And how in the world can that honor God?  I mean there are some people who are so devoted to the sin of worry, that when they have nothing in the present to worry about, they look for something in the future.  And the Lord forbids it; he says, “What are you doing worrying about tomorrow?”

What about fear and worry?

Fear, by the way, is a liar…fear is a liar.  Fear tells you tomorrow is something to be afraid of.  Fear tells you you’re not going to have what you need tomorrow.  Fear tells you you’re not going to be up to it.  Fear tells you if certain things happen, you’re never going to be able to survive it.  Fear tells you that there’s terrible pain out there.  Fear is a liar for the Christian because there is no thing that you’re ever going to go through, no trial, no temptation, that God will not provide sufficient grace to sustain you in.

Is worry really that serious of a sin?

Worry refuses to know God.  It refuses to trust God.  It refuses to love God.  And worry is a serious sin.  There may be greater sins, you know, in people’s eyes.  But think about this:  is there any greater sin than to distrust God’s promised love for His own?  Is there a greater sin than that?  Is there a greater sin than the sin that assaults the character of God?  Is there a greater sin than the sin that assaults the promise of God?  Is there a greater sin than the sin that assaults the attributes of God, namely His faithfulness?  I don’t think so.  It’s a serious, serious sin.  So don’t worry.

So what should we do positively to stop worrying negatively?

Seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness, and then He’ll take care of the physical.

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william bordenRead this bio of William Borden and read Randy Alcorn’s contrast between Borden’s life and King Tut’s life.

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One of Paul’s favorite metaphors for the Christian life was that of a sporting event, especially a foot-race or marathon.  Here are a few such passages Paul wrote:

“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24).

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. .  . .So I do not run aimlessly;  ” (1 Corinthians 9:24, 26 ESV).

“I went up [to the apostles in Jerusalem] in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain.” (Galatians 2:2).

“You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” (Galatians 5:7).

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Tim. 4:7).

” Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14).

So how’s your running (spiritual speaking) currently?  Are you running well?  hard? flat out?  for the glory of God? Is y0ur focus in the right place?  Are you determined as Paul to gain more and more Christlikeness?

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Let these pictures stir us to pray for the spread of the gospel among those who are observing Ramadan this year.  Pray for the conversion of hosts.  Lord, bring men and women out of darkness into your wondrous light!

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That was random #17

“There are no closed doors to the gospel – provided that, once you get inside, you don’t care if you ever come out.”– Brother Andrew

“As long as Americans are comfortable with debt, we will elect officials/politicians who are too.”–Dave Ramsay

“We can choose to do either good or evil, but we have no vote in establishing whether something is good or evil.”–Randy Alcorn

Many men owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous difficulties. ~Charles Spurgeon

God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with him. ~Jim Elliot

An idol of the mind is as offensive to God as an idol of the hand. ~A. W. Tozer

Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm. ~Abraham Lincoln

Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned. ~Peter Marshall

I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach. John Henry Jowett

Never bear more than one trouble at a time. Some people bear three – all they have had, have now, and expect to have. Edward Everett Hale

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Here are five very practical areas to be on guard against–according to Owen.

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Phil Johnson answers the question: Does Scripture allow us to regard any truth as “secondary?

Kevin De Young helps Christians who think it is there job to change the whole world all at once:  a long but good article on the gospel and busyness.  Maybe just reading this conclusion will be jarring enough to get you to read the whole article:

I’m not for a minute advocating a cheap grace or an easy-believeism. But the yoke still is easy, right? And the burden still is light, is it not? The danger–and it’s a danger I’ve fallen foul of in my own preaching–is that in all our efforts to be prophetic, radical, and missional, we end up getting the story of Pilgrim’s Progress exactly backwards. “Come to the cross, Pilgrim, see the sacrifice for your sins. Isn’t that wonderful? Now bend over and let me load this burden on your back. There’s a lot of work we have to do, me and you.” A cross, yes. Jesus said we would have to carry one of those. But a cross that kills our sins, smashes our idols, and teaches us the folly of self-reliance. Not a burden to do the impossible. Not a burden to always do more for Jesus. Not a burden of bad news that never lets up and obedience that is always out reach.

No doubt some Christians need to be shaken out of their lethargy. I try to do that every Sunday morning and evening. But there are also a whole bunch of Christians who need to be set free from their performance-minded, law-keeping, world-changing, participate-with-God-in-recreating-the-cosmos shackles. I promise you, some of the best people in your churches are getting tired. They don’t need another rah-rah pep talk. They don’t need to hear more statistics and more stories Sunday after Sunday about how bad everything is in the world. They need to hear about Christ’s death and resurrection. They need to hear how we are justified by faith apart from works of the law. They need to hear the old, old story once more. Because the secret of the gospel is that we actually do more when we hear less about all we need to do for God and hear more about all that God has already done for us.

Finally, Chris Brauns answers “Should I forgive another person automatically?”

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Revive our Hearts offers several options for a challenge to your spiritual life.  Why not take one of the challenges starting next week. New month, new challenge.

Options include 30 days worth of challenge in the following areas:

  • Encouraging your husband
  • Praying for your husband
  • True-woman makeover
  • Praying for your pastor
  • Praying for your pastor’s wife
  • TV Free Challenge

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Family Worship Guide

This looks like a great resource for dads (or moms in the absence of a dad in the home) who want to lead their family in worship. The site explains:

To many people in the twenty-first century (including Christians!), family worship may be a puzzling concept. But it doesn’t have to be. Most of us are familiar with the concept of “going to church” where we attend a “worship service.” Family worship is just like that congregational worship service but in the context of a family’s home. Many of the same aspects that we find in corporate worship services exist in times of family worship: the reading of scripture, prayer, and singing (here at the FamilyWorshipGuide.net, we’ve added a fourth element of memorization). Patrick Kavanaugh, author of Raising Children to Adore God, equates family worship to family meal time; just as we come together to eat a meal, we should also come together to worship the Lord.

(HT: Challies)

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Here’s what Scripture says we should be pursuing.  How hard are you pursuing these things?

“Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” (Romans 12:13, ESV).

“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” (Romans 14:19, ESV).

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14, ESV).

Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” (1 Corinthians 14:1, ESV).

“See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15, ESV).

” But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.” (1 Timothy 6:11, ESV).

“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22, ESV).

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