“Worried about Tomorrow?”

What If - Worry

Matthew 6:34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will [a]care for itself. [b]Each day has enough trouble of its own.”           ( Further reading in Matthew 6:25-34″ )

Are you troubled about tomorrow? So many times we spend our days worrying about the very next day ahead. We may not realize it, but many times we try to play the predictor, or fortune-teller in our own minds about what will come to us the next day. This can be dangerous, and it certainly is not healthy for anyone to do.

As I reflect back on some of the times of worrying in my own life there are so many examples that come to mind. I remember one instance in which I was on my way from work to meet my wife ( Rachel ) to go birthday shopping for one of our children. My radiator on my truck went out in the middle of traffic that blazing hot afternoon. Money was already tight, and I already been stressing about how we were going to pay for the birthday presents. We got the truck into the shop, and I even told them they could take their time. That was my stall tactic in trying to figure out how in the world I was going to pay for this radiator. We had not really mentioned this to anyone that we could recall, but evidently someone knew about it. About four days later I was at work. Rachel called me and said, “You are never going to guess who just left our house.”. She was right I couldn’t guess. There was a family in our church that came over to visit. While they were there, they told Rachel how they had just gotten an income tax return back for the first time in a long time. God had put it on their heart to give us a certain amount of that money. I don’t remember what that amount was, but I remember that amount was five dollars and some change over what it cost to get my truck fixed. What a blessing! I was thankful for God providing, and for that family following God’s leading to give.

The Lord Jesus had just been talking with those around Him about a variety of issues like “treasure in Heaven” and “not worrying”. He even took the time in verse 34 here to say, “So do not worry about tomorrow”. However, before He gave us verse 34, it would be good to go back and look in your Bible from verse 25 all the way to verse 34 to get the full context of why Jesus is saying we do not have to worry about tomorrow. I think there are some important truths that God is showing cap stoned in verse 34.

First, do not worry about tomorrow. He shares in these verses that so many times, even His children, run around like the pagans of that day worrying about what they would eat, drink or even wear. Many of the things we worry about have no eternal value to them. ( Career, money, house, vehicle, pension, etc. ) That was exactly what Jesus was telling them here. Don’t worry about tomorrow, because we are not even guaranteed a tomorrow. If tomorrow comes, we can think on those things then, and only for then ( that day ). God is wanting us to focus on the day at hand. He wants to work through us, our situations, and our circumstances today. Focus on the day you do have, and not on the tomorrow that may never come.

Second, remember that God knows what you need. Matthew 6:32 says that God knows what we need. God knows if you need clothes, food, medicine or whatever need it may be. That does not mean that it will be given to you in over-abundance, or that life will be easy. It does mean that any genuine need you or I have, it does not escape the knowledge and understanding of Almighty God. We must remember that He is in Heaven working all things for His glory and our good. ( Romans 8:28 ).

Third, seek God first and foremost. This cannot be said enough, or screamed loud enough from the roof-tops. You should seek God first in everything you do in this life. Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” What are “these things”? These are all the things we labor, toil, and worry over that are genuine needs in our life. The simple truth is this. If we put God in the number one spot of our life, we will seek Him first. If we are seeking God first, we are less likely to experience the constant worry that many people experience today.

This thing we call “worry” is no new thing. It has been going on since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. In all reality we know we are going to experience worry. However, my question to you is, “Is your life consumed with worry?”. If so, that is a dangerous place to be. Worry adds unnecessary stress and anxiety to our lives. It is not healthy and may do physical damage to your body. It also reveals that you are not trusting God in the way a child of the King should be trusting in his/her Lord.

Do not worry about tomorrow. Rest in the fact that God knows what you need. Seek God first and foremost in everything. He loves you so much that He went to the cross and gave His life for you. If you know Jesus, then death has been defeated. Do not be robbed of the peace and joy that comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ because of worry. Trust in Him today!

Sincerely,

Bro. Bryan

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“Those Monday Morning Blues”

Monday Morning Blues

Colossians 3:23-24

“ Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,  since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

         Do you ever dread Monday mornings? For me to be as transparent as I can be, I must admit there are many times that I have dreaded “Monday morning”. The Bible gives us wise counsel as Christians here in Colossians 3 on how to view our days and work. Yes, this would include “Monday mornings”. Instead of dread for “Monday mornings” we can have genuine excitement and anticipation for each day that God gives to us.

             I think back to when I was a kid growing up. Summer-time was my favorite time because, as a kid, I could do whatever I wanted to do. Summer was also the time that “Monday mornings” were no trouble for me because I could sleep as long as I wanted.

             However, when it came to the school-year the story was totally different for me. When Sunday night rolled around I would begin to get depressed because Monday morning was coming. That meant I had to get up and go to school. It meant waking up early, being extremely tired, and having to go do school work that I did not like. It was DREADFUL to me.

             As I read God’s word I don’t believe He ever intended for His children to live life this way. It seems to me that His word shows us in so many places that God makes life exciting and worth living. Why would He want us to dread the days, even “Monday mornings”? He doesn’t! In fact, we ( as His children ) should see each day He grants us as an exciting day to get to live for Him, because when we live for Him, we are the one’s who actually benefit from this life.

             I would like to share FOUR quick principles from this Scripture today, Colossians 3:23-24 as Paul was talking about Christian living.

             First, We should be diligent in our work. No matter what we are doing, we should work hard at it. We should work at our task with all of our heart. This simply means we should not be slothful in working whether it be our career, school, housework, homework, ministry or any other task that God allows us to be involved with.

             Second, We should be cheerful as we work. It is easy to get bogged down and bored with the every day mandatory tasks that we have to do. This can become a struggle for anyone who has to do the same things day in and day out. You probably experience this at work, school and even home. Paul shares that we are to work, “as unto the Lord”. This is simply saying we are to have a cheerful attitude about the tasks at hand. Think about something that you do everyday which you would consider ordinary. An example might be making a sales call to a customer. Look at that sales call as an opportunity to show genuine care about the person you are calling on rather than just any ordinary call. Christians are able to look at the mundane and be cheerful because of Who we have inside of us.

             Third, We should work for Jesus. Again, Paul says, “as working for the Lord, not human masters.”. Yes, we may actually be hired by a man or woman from a company to do a particular job. Yes, the student is doing what the teacher has asked him/her to do. However, we are to work, study, and participate as if Jesus were the one giving the commands and the orders. We are to work with the motive of pleasing Jesus, and not a human master. When we ( Christians ) work like this, we will please Jesus. To work like this will in turn please those that God has put in authority over us. Remember, Jesus is our King and our primary purpose is to please Him.

             Fourth, Remember the benefit. When we line ourselves up with God’s holy word and work like the Scripture describes there will be a benefit. Serve your authority ( boss, teacher etc ) like you are serving Christ with all diligence and cheerfulness and you will greatly benefit. Notice two things in these verses. You are serving as unto the Lord, and not a human master. Also, it says that there will be an inheritance from the Lord. An inheritance is from someone in your family, and not from a master. In other words, you will receive a pay check from your boss or a good grade from your teacher. From Jesus, you will receive an inheritance that will be a far greater reward than anything possible on this earth.

             Mornings are tough. Monday mornings are even tougher! It’s easy to lose perspective, even as a Christian, in this world we live in. God is the Giver of each new day we have. Let US ( me included ) not waste it by dreading the next morning, but by sweet anticipation of what God can do with and through us with each new day!

Sincerely,

Bro. Bryan

 

“Ordinary People – No Ordinary Day”

Fishermen

Matthew 4:18-20   18 Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 And He *said to them,[a]Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”20 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.

I can reflect back on many wonderful memories of spending time with my dad. He was a very busy man who has worked hard all of his life, but he never failed to spend time with me growing up. I am very thankful to have had a dad that saw the value in investing time with his son. He is still that way today, and that is a legacy that I want to pass down in the same manner to my own son.

             Some of the most treasured times I have with my dad are the times he took me fishing. However, I can recall on one particular occasion that was really special. My dad took off early from work on a Friday afternoon. He came and checked me out of school to my surprise. I did not know he was coming and certainly did not have a clue. It was a wonderful surprise! What kid does not want to get out of school early, and especially on a Friday? That wasn’t all of the surprise. Getting into the truck he told me he wanted us to go fishing for the afternoon in one of our favorite fishing spots. We called it, “The Old Man’s Lake” because it was owned by an old man. I was excited to get to go, but my dad had one more surprise for me. He had gone by the store on the way to pick me up and had bought me a new fishing pole because the one I had was in pretty bad shape. In just a moment of time my dad had completely changed my day for the better.

             In our verses today we see that Jesus changed the lives of some ordinary men in just a moment of time. Here in Matthew 4 we are getting a look at the time of Jesus starting up His earthly ministry. Verses 18-22 show us where Jesus called His first disciples out for His ministry. I believe there are 4 QUICK facts that should encourage the child of God today.

             First, Jesus can change your life situation in the blink of an eye. Think about these guys for just a moment. Peter and Andrew were just two ordinary guys doing their ordinary work. They were fishermen, and they were casting their net into the sea trying to catch fish. In the blink of a moment’s eye Jesus walks by and calls out to them to follow Him. You may be going through your ordinary routine today and God may call you to do something out of the ordinary.

             Second, Jesus can use anyone He wants to do His work. It does not matter how ordinary you think you are. In fact, we read in God’s word “that God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise.” ( 1 Corinthians 1:27 ). Peter and Andrew were about as ordinary as you could get up to this point. They were regular guys who went to work every day casting their nets to earn a days wage.

             Third, we must be ready to make our move when Jesus calls us to do something. Jesus told these guys that day to, “follow Him”. He did not say, “I would like you to follow me”, or “If you feel like it follow me”. He gave them a command to “Follow Me”. Even though this was a command, they still had the choice to make. Were they going to follow Him, or were they going to keep on fishing. They made the right choice by putting their net down and following Jesus. Be ready to obey Jesus when you are going through your normal daily routine and He calls you to do something different.

             And fourth, be ready for great things when you obey Jesus. He told Peter and Andrew that He would do something for and with them when they followed Him. He said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men”. Wow! These guys started out the day looking for fish; however, at the end of the day they were fishing for men. God totally changed their direction, focus and purpose in one single moment. Of course, this would take time and development, but in one moment these guys were moved 180 degrees for Jesus. God changed these guys and did a HUGE work in their lives that day. Be ready for great things when you choose and obey Jesus.

             Are you busy today running around multitasking? Maybe your at the office with a phone on your ear while typing on the computer. Maybe you’re a stay-at-home mom cleaning up behind the kids and trying to get dinner made at the same time. You might even be trying to read this devotional between stop lights in traffic! Be careful! No matter what you are doing, be aware that Jesus may want to interrupt your normal routine and give you a life changing moment TODAY! If He does, keep in mind that obeying Him will be for His glory, but also for YOUR good.

 Sincerely,

Bro. Bryan

“Only One Will Last”

Slab foundationSandy Foundation

Psalm 127:1-2, “ Unless the Lord builds the house,They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city,The watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early,To sit up late, To eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep. “

 

I remember the year 1995 so well because that was the year I gave my life to Christ and He changed everything forever in my life. I met a lot of new people, and one of the things that my new friends introduced me to was something I had never heard of before. It was called Christian music. I know you are probably laughing by now, but I had never heard any contemporary Christian music before in my life. I had been exposed to church hymns, Gospel music, bluegrass etc, but never contemporary Christian music.

A couple of good friends who introduced me to CCM ( contemporary Christian music ) gave me a CD from a band called Big Tent Revival. It quickly became a favorite of mine. I still love their music, but there is one song that really stuck out to me then, and it shines out as I read these verses today in Psalm 127:1-2.

The song is called, “Two Sets of Jones”. Look at the lyrics to this song:

This here’s a song about two sets of Jones’
Rothchild, Evelyn, Rueben, and Sue
And just for discussion through random selection
We’ve chosen two couples who haven’t a clue
Rothchild was lucky to marry so wealthy,
Evelyn bought him a house on the beach.
Rueben and Sue, they had nothing but Jesus
And at night they would pray that he would care for them each
Chorus:
And the rain, came down,
And it blew the forewalls down
And the clouds they rolled away
And one set of Jones’, was standing that day
Evelyn’s daddy was proud of young Rothchild,
He worked the late hours to be number one
Just newly weds and their marriage got rocky,
He’s flying to Dallas, she’s having a son.
Rueben was holding, a Giddeon’s Bible,
And he screamed “it’s a boy” so that everyone heard
And the guys at the factory took a collection,
And again God provided for bills he incured
(Chorus)
So what is the point of this story,
What am I trying to say
Well is your life built on the rock of Christ Jesus
Or a sandy foundation you’ve managed to lay
Well needless to say Evelyn left her husband
N’ sued him for every penny he had
But I truly wish that those two would find Jesus
Before things get worse than they already have
(Chorus)
And the rain, came down,
And it blew the forewalls down
And the clouds they rolled away
There’s two sets of jones’
Which ones will you be?

             I think the two pillars of these verses are the 1st part of verse one, and the last part of verse 2. Pillar Number One is stated as, “Unless the Lord builds the house.” The big question for anyone who claims to be a child of God is this, “What foundation is your house built on?”. Now the Scripture here is referring to house in two ways. The first part of this Psalm the word house is used to describe an actual residential building, or an actual house. Later in Psalm 127 the Psalmist uses the word house again referring to the family. ( Your spouse, children, etc. ). Just like God’s word says here that if you set out to build something that God is not behind there is no point in building it in the first place. You are building it in vain. This has a major spiritual emphasis for Christian families. Are you and your spouse building your physical family on a spiritual foundation rooted in the love and guidance of Jehovah God, or are you building your family on something else?

You see, we really only have two options on the foundation to which we build our family. We can build and raise our family on the admonition, love, care, instruction, and guidance of Jesus Christ, or we can chose anything else. Anything else may be a foundation of; money, sports, career, college, status, prestige, or any number of things. Jesus Christ is the Rock. To build your family and household upon Jesus is to have your family built upon a solid Rock foundation. To not build your family and household on Jesus Christ is to build your house on a sandy foundation.

The family and household built upon the Rock foundation is the household that will be left after the storms have blown in, the walls have been torn apart, and everything around looks grim. Look at what the Scripture says here. If you build the house without God being the master carpenter then your work is in vain. In other words, it is no good.

The Second Pillar we see in this Scripture is at the end of verse 2. “For so He gives His beloved sleep.”. What a comfort this is to the child of God who is in close fellowship with God.  How many times have you worried about something concerning your household? How many times have you worried about someone in your household? Yes, that can be a natural thing for a mom and dad to do, but some can certainly take it to extreme. The Lord says here that, “Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.”. This tells us something here. We should want our household to be on the Rock foundation of Jesus Christ. When He is the foundation of our family/household He is the Guard of our fortress. We do not have to stay awake all night long worrying about what could happen. He is our Guard. He is our Protector. The fact is, if we are not trusting Him to guard us and protect us we are trusting in ourselves. If we are trusting in ourselves we are living in vanity anyway.

For the child of God it is vanity for him/her to “rise up early, sit up late, and eat the bread of sorrows”. It is meaningless and wrong for the Christian to live in a state of worry and anxiety. Notice, I said, “in a state” meaning this is a habitual part of your life. This is not to say you are not going to have times of worry and anxiety, but they should not be the overwhelming characteristics of your life. To live like that is to not live in the joy, freedom and peace that your Savior Jesus Christ has given to you as His child. The Bible assures the child of God that He gives His children sleep and pure rest, “For so He gives His beloved sleep.”.

So, I ask the question just as the lyrics of the above song do. Is your family and household built on the rock of Christ Jesus, or a sandy foundation you’ve managed to lay? Imagine the house on sand. It cannot stay built up because wind and water will soon move the sand out from under the house. Imagine the house built on the rock. It is firm, and will not be moved. One is built in vain, the other built to last. Which one will you be?

Sincerely,

Bro. Bryan

“Alone, but not Unnoticed”

Alone

Luke 8:43-48

43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. 45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. 48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.

             Have you ever felt alone in this life? Over the years I have talked with so many people that have something in common. They feel alone in this life. Maybe you feel that way today. It might be that you don’t feel that way today, but there have been times in your life that you could identify with someone that does feel lonely in this world.

I can reflect back through some of my own experiences in life and remember some times of feeling lonely. The day I started my first job as a teenager was one of those times. I was going into my place of employment feeling extremely lonely. I did not know anyone, and the place was unfamiliar to me. The day I started college was another lonely time for me. Sure, I knew people that were going to the same college, but that did not mean I had any classes with them or would even see those people. I found myself in another unfamiliar territory in which I felt lonely. Another time of loneliness I recall was after I first gave my heart to Jesus Christ. I began a brand new adventure on my new life with Jesus, and that adventure started at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, TN. The funny thing was that starting out at Bellevue, I was surrounded by thousands of people; however, I knew no one there. The first few months after I came to know Christ were very much times of loneliness because so many things changed in my life. There was a change within my heart that brought changes in the things I wanted to do etc. I still wanted to be friends with my friends that I had for years, but I soon found that my interests were different now that I knew Jesus personally. It was a very lonely time until I began to make new friends at Bellevue and the BSU at school.

These things remind make me think about the loneliness that this woman mentioned in Scripture must have felt in her life. If we look back at verse 43 we see the Bible describing her as having a blood disease for twelve years. In other words, she was a bleeder. This was huge for her in those days. Her disease made her an outcast and she would have considered ceremonially unclean. This woman was not accepted socially in that time. To get down to the simple fact, she was alone!

We know this was a concern and burden on her because the Scripture says that she spent everything she had on seeing doctors for the sake of trying to be healed. Her condition had to be a huge weight on her physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. Keep in mind there was nothing she could do, or even any doctor could do to provide the help she needed. Loneliness brought about a sense of hopelessness as is does in many people’s lives today.

So we have seen the burden of being alone in her life, but we cannot escape the faith that this woman demonstrated when she heard about Jesus. Think about what was going on during this time. Jesus had just been healing others and casting out demons. Then, Jesus was on His way to heal a little girl at the request of her father. As Jesus was on His journey to the little girl the crowds began to get around Him. This woman ( the bleeder ) reaches out to touch His garment in faith of being healed.

Think about the faith this woman demonstrated towards Jesus. She believed what she had heard about Jesus. This woman must have realized after exhausting every other means in her life to be healed Jesus was the real answer to her sickness. She demonstrated that faith by going after Him to be able to just touch His garment. Not only did she believe what Jesus had already done for others before her, but it was key that she believed He could heal her too. However, the biggest thing about her faith was the fact that she acted on her faith. This dear woman put what she believed into action. Many times we say we believe, but we never act on those very things. Faith is simply taking what we believe and acting upon it.

Think about was Scripture tells us here. Jesus was extremely busy during His time of ministry. He had been healing, casting out demons and ministering all over the place. On His way to healing a little girl He is touched by this dear woman. No one else noticed her that day, but Jesus knew the very moment she touched His garment. He then asks the question, “Who touched me?”. Jesus asked the question. Everyone denied that it had been them, and even Peter begins to move the subject to the fact that the crowds are pushing in against Him as to say it was not that big of a deal. However, it was a big deal to Jesus because He understood the faith of the woman who touched Him. In fact, Jesus said that He felt power move from Him to the woman at the moment she touched Him. Wow! You can’t deny how awesome that really is! If you do, it doesn’t change the fact that it is awesome.

At last the woman realizing that she could not go unnoticed by Jesus came to Him trembling and fell down sharing with Him that it was her who had touched Him. She probably had no idea what to expect in the next few moments that would go by. Maybe she was scared, afraid,  or just nervous. It would seem so since the Bible describes her as trembling, but even in front of everyone she shared how she touched Him, why she touched Him, and how she was healed in the very moment she put her hand on Him.

Think about the results of what just happened in the life of this woman. The result of her faith in Christ shows three remarkable key points here. First, she was healed. Jesus did for her what doctors, money, or anything else in this world could not do for her. He healed her at just one touch. Second, He called her, “Daughter”. She now belongs to Him. She is now of Him, and not of this world. And third, He gave her peace. Jesus instructed her that her faith has healed her and, “to go in peace”. This was the peace of being healed physically and spiritually that only Jesus could do for her.

With all of this said about this woman in Luke chapter 8 we have merely scratched the surface of this text. However, it makes me realize that there are so many people we come in contact with each and every day that for some reason or another are lonely. Someone once said, “Some of the loneliest people can be found in the midst of a crowd.” Source unknown. I would like to finish by thinking about a few things that Jesus shows us here. First, Jesus was attentive to those around Him. We should be aware of those around us, and that means we should pay attention to the opportunities we have to minister to others. Second, Jesus did not let her disease keep Him away from her. Sometimes we shy away from people with handicaps and those with noticeable differences than what we are comfortable with. We should get out of our comfort zones and minister to people no matter who they are, their issues, or even where they came from. Third, Jesus took time with this lady. Everyone is so busy today. We, as Christians are just as guilty as the rest of the world to let our schedules get in the way of opportunities to minister to others. Don’t let your busy schedule become your biggest enemy. And fourth, Jesus cared about this lady. Where everyone else either did not notice her, or counted her as an unclean outcast, Jesus stopped what He was doing and showed genuine compassion, love, and grace to this lady. This changed her life for all eternity.

This lady was alone, but she did not go unnoticed. Jesus saw her as someone He loved and cared for even in her condition. For those of us that know Jesus personally, may we be challenged today to go to those who may go unnoticed and be the hands and feet of Jesus to them. If today you would say that you have never come to the point of knowing Jesus personally, I challenge you to seek Him for the Bible says you will find Him. Jeremiah 29:13, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”

Sincerely,

Bro. Bryan