As school has now officially started for everyone, for many of you that comes with anxiety – anxiety about your performance, your social position, relational drama, and so on. With anxiety comes uncertainty and worry. The truth is that God will not remove many of the circumstances that we fear; He will, however, be with us and help us walk through them.
Here’s a short article to help ground you with the right thoughts and perspectives as you head back into the new year. If you prayerfully and humbly work on putting them into practice, things may just turn out better than you thought. Enjoy. – Arthur
In 1 Peter 5:6–7, the Apostle Peter wrote to the Christians spread across the Roman Empire who were suffering persecution from the unbelieving Jews and gentiles: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” In this passage, Peter shows in what way his readers were to face the anxiety they were feeling in this situation: they were to cast their anxiety upon God. By doing so, they would recognize their own powerlessness and weakness, as well as God’s power to take care of them.
“All your anxieties” is a reference Peter makes to the anguish the Christians felt due to the hostility and persecution of the pagans. It included fear of death, fear of suffering, preoccupation with family and friends, and other similar fears. The word translated “anxiety” comes from a Greek word that means “part,” “piece,” or “division.” The anxious heart is divided, pulled in all directions, and in constant affliction.
Christians must “cast on him” all these anxieties; that is, they should put all their preoccupations and fears into the powerful hands of God and rest their afflicted hearts. That is done, in practice, through prayer and petition, in which we confess to God our weaknesses, tell Him of our anguishes and needs, beg for His favor and grace, and rest confident that He has listened to us. It is implicit, although not said, that remaining with these anxieties would be a form of exaltation and pride.
Thomas Schreiner writes:
Worry is a form of pride because when believers are filled with anxiety, they are convinced that they must solve all the problems in their lives in their own strength. The only god they trust in is themselves. When believers throw their worries upon God, they express their trust in His mighty hand, acknowledging that He is Lord and Sovereign over all of life.
Peter encourages his readers to cast their cares on God “because he cares for you.” Even though it didn’t seem like it, God was taking care of them in the midst of their suffering, not necessarily ridding them of pain, but not permitting it to go beyond their limitations and giving them grace to endure and remain faithful. God was not insensitive to their suffering. God’s care for them may also be a reference to what He has prepared for them at the coming of Christ (1:3–7).
This exhortation by Peter reflects the teaching of many psalms that encourage the faithful to unload their burdens on God (Ps. 22:10; 37:5; 55:22), as well as the teachings of the Lord Jesus against anxiety (Matt. 6:25–34). Christians are encouraged to trust in God and rest in Him in the midst of the most terrible of sufferings, confident that the all-powerful God is taking care of them, even though this care is not always perceptible.
Dr. Augustus Nicodemus Lopes is senior pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Goiânia, Brazil, vice president of the Presbyterian Church of Brazil, and author of The Supremacy and Sufficiency of Christ.
All year, we’ve been offering opportunities for you to love God by loving your neighbors, especially those close to God’s heart – the orphans and widows. Not many of you have made the effort to take advantage of the opportunity to bless God’s heart in this way, but you can this Saturday by befriending and hanging out with some wonderful elderly friends. It’ll be a feel-good time of encouragement, doing what’s right, perspective, and fun. The residents at the Care Center are so special and rich in heart, you’re sure to be blessed.
We’ll also be visiting our friends at the orphanage and will be playing games and making crafts with them. God’s heart is especially for the widowed and the fatherless; we have a chance to visit both this Saturday!
For the Care Center, meet at the Hsiehs’ at 9:30 a.m.
For the orphanage, meet at the Hsiehs’ at 12:30 p.m.
Let your small group leader know if you can make it!
The summer is almost officially over (summer break, that is) 😦
Come finish what has been a fun summer at TD with … what else? … fun! We’ll have fun together playing games, munching on snacks, and hearing some insightful sharing from some of our team that served orphans with disabilities in China this summer.
It’s going to be a great night of fun, faith, and fellowship … a great way to end the summer.
As we end summer and start a new school year, demands on our schedule will force us to prioritize and make good use of our time. I always tell my clients that the greatest commodity we all have is time. Every moment spent is gone forever; we never get any of it back.
The following article from Gabe Fluhrer in Tabletalk Magazine (by Ligonier Ministries) is a good read that will help you steward you your time with the right perspective and understanding. Enjoy! – Arthur
One of the supreme ironies of modern life is that we are worn out from leisure. The end of summer illustrates this phenomenon. So many of us finish up summer vacation thinking, “I need a break!” When we’re worn out from what should refresh us, the gospel offers hope for burned-out disciples like us.
A WEDDING ON SCHEDULE
Not long ago, our pastor preached a marvelous sermon on the wedding at Cana (John 2). He pointed out a feature of Jesus’ first miracle that I had never noticed. The very fact that Jesus was at a wedding turning water into wine can, and should, and has inspired both adoration and dissertations. But he focused our attention on one particular part of the text. Jesus says to His mother: “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come” (v. 4). Now, to dispel any fears that Jesus was a misogynist, He was not using the term “woman” in a derisive sense. Instead, it was a term of respect. In any case, John wants us to focus not on what Jesus calls His mother but on what He says to her.
He says, “My hour has not yet come.” Later in the gospel, He will tell us His time has come (17:1). In other words, Jesus kept a schedule. He was never in a rush to be on someone else’s clock. He knew His mission, and He did not deviate from it for passing demands, no matter how pressing they seemed to those around Him. Jesus labored to the point of exhaustion (Mark 4:38), yet He never seemed burned out. What can we learn from our Savior when it comes to our hectic lives?
THE SAVIOR OF SCHEDULES
Here’s a simple, if overlooked, truth: the Savior who kept a schedule is also the Savior of our schedules. As such, we need to commit and recommit our time to Jesus. Details can overwhelm us, and the demands of a busy life can diminish our faith. We are distracted by that device in our pockets that is constantly alerting us, buzzing, beeping, and reminding us that someone always wants some of our time.
But Jesus meets us where we are. His schedule reminds us that the most urgent appointment we have each day doesn’t come with a “remind me fifteen minutes before” option on a drop-down menu. That’s because our days don’t belong to us, ultimately. They belong to God. Therefore, the most important part of our day is every second of it, communing with God instead of being overwhelmed with a crazy busy life.
So this week, let’s “give” our schedules to Jesus (they belong to Him already). Let’s be reminded that He knows everything that will derail our best-laid plans. But instead of stressing about these inevitable failures, let’s rest—what we all need more of—in the knowledge that a divine wisdom, mingled with the greatest love imaginable, keeps watch over every second of our schedules.
Dr. Gabriel N.E. Fluhrer is associate minister of discipleship at the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, S.C. He is editor of Atonement and Solid Ground.
We’ll be joining our church at the Missions Celebration this Friday. We’ll be hearing what God is doing in the world and in our people as they share from their experiences on the mission field this summer.
The celebration is at 7:30 p.m. in the Main Sanctuary. Make plans to listen well and have God plant seeds in your heart. See you Friday!
Hey guys! Summer is a time for watermelon, ice cream, and democratic caucuses! Come join us tonight for delicious desserts (savory included), debates, and discussions about hot topics you may have been thinking (or getting heated) about! Hope to see you there!