Don’t Be Anxious

Ok, so ice skating down a 6% grade with an eighty thousand pound truck doesn’t scare me, but the thought of going under anesthesia terrifies me. Go figure. Yesterday morning I went to the dentist to have a couple teeth pulled while I was under. The dentist ended up pulling 2 molars and 2 wisdom teeth.

Now I know that millions of people every year undergo anesthesia… but not me. It’s been near fifty years for me.

So why did I fear? Is it lack of confidence in the dentist? No. Is it the pain I was sure I would feel? No.

I just don’t like not having control.

But that’s exactly the point. We don’t have control. At best we have an illusion of control. The Bible tells us that God is in control.

Does  that mean we will always get what we want our that we will never have pain? No. It means that whatever happens, even the bad and painful stuff, God is allowing. Doesn’t it mean that God causes the pain? NO! God is good and will never cause pain. But He allows it.

Sometimes it’s a consequence of our bad choices (like my teeth being bad because I neglected dental help for so long).

Sometimes it’s a result of other’s bad choices (like a DUI accident that takes a life).

Sometimes it’s a result of the broken, fallen nature of the universe (like disease or so-called natural disaster).

So if I’m not in control and God allows bad things in my life, what should be my response?

Worry? Anxiety? Desperation? Resignation?

Nope. Both Jesus and Paul taught what to do when life throws us curveballs…

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Matthew 6:25-34

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

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:3-9

The Best Christmas Ever

It’s Christmas time again. The time of love and joy and peace. Yet my heart is breaking.

We celebrate the baby in the manger, but ignore the sacrifice on the cross. We sing about wise men bringing Him gifts, but are not wise enough to give Him the gift of ourselves. We love the picture of the shepherds in the fields, but refuse to acknowledge Him as our shepherd.

My heart breaks when I see the multitude of people living lives of quiet desperation, not realizing (or accepting) that the ruts they’re in leads to an eternity in hell apart from God. My Facebook feed is filled with posts by people living their lives apart from the Christ that we celebrate this season. That baby in the manger grew up to say He was “the way, the truth, and the life”, and that “no one can see God without Him”.

I know we live in a multicultural and pluralistic world. The highest virtue is to ‘do your own thing and believe your own truth. God says “there is a way that seems right to a man, but that way leads to destruction’. The greatest sin in our culture is telling another person they are wrong. Jesus, according to most people, is the greatest sinner, for He demands that He is the only one that is right and expects obedience.

My heart breaks when I realize that God has said that one day every knee will bow to Him, some in love and reverence, most in fear and revulsion. The ones who love him and choose Him in this life will be welcomed into His presence to life eternal. The rest will be sent away from Him, in pain and suffering, the second death.

It’s been 2000 years since Jesus was born, lived, and taught, then was crucified to save us from sin, rose again from death, and returned to heaven. But He said He’d return to set all things right. He patiently waits through all the sins, and pain, and evil, hoping that some will answer His call.

But He will not wait forever. The day of reckoning is coming. Certainly YOUR day of reckoning is coming. For each one of us that reckoning comes at our passing from this life. And that could happen any day.

So make this a Christmas to remember. If you’ve never investigated the claims of Jesus or never believed Him to be true I beg you for your sake to do so. Send me a message, let’s talk.

Make this the Christmas you celebrate His birth and your rebirth.

If you’re a believer, but have let the cares of this world and the pleasures and pressure of this life pull you away; If you look at your life and can’t see any difference from an unbeliever, you know what to do.

Come back to Him, He’s waiting.

Make this the best Christmas ever

The Visit

He plopped down on the counselors sofa and said, “I don’t know what to do to fix this, Doc,”

‘What’s going on?’

“As you know I’m a trucker and I’m gone for weeks at a time. When I’m home things are great between us,  I really feel like her number one priority. But when I’m gone, actually the longer I’m gone, the less I feel like a priority in her life. I call or text and get increasingly short responses, or none. Communication from her side drops to a trickle.”

‘It sounds like talking is important to you?’

“It sure is. We did this Love Language assessment a while back and Words of Affirmation are far and away my preferred language.”

‘So what is hers?’

“Acts of Service, hands down. She would rather me do the dishes for her than sit on the couch and talk.”

‘What’s that tell you?’

The light was beginning to dawn on him. Being alone on the truck is hard, yes, but it’s bearable when he can talk to her and pour out silly things about the day, and just hear her voice.

But for her it is different. Her love tank dries up every time he goes out because he’s not doing all those little things that speak love to her. Add to that she has to put out all the little fires of daily life by herself. The maintenence of the house. The preparing for events.

She has to give without getting back what she needs. As her tank dries up, she has less to give to him. And less desire to also. And as communication dries up he has less to give and resentment sets in.

After mulling this over for a bit he said, “so what’s the answer, Doc?”

‘Well, it seems you’ve crossed the first hurdle: acknowledging there’s a problem. The next step is to come up with a plan to meet her needs while you’re out on the road and stop just relying on home time to fill up her tank enough to get her through.’

“Doc, this is going to take a lot of work!”

‘Love always does, son. Always will.’