VIDEO Horrors!

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:34

Recently a website offered tips to help people calm down if a horror movie triggers their anxiety. Horror movies are designed to elicit emotions like fear and stress, which can cause panic attacks. Moviemakers use a technique called “jump scare” to shock viewers and make them jump. The scenes can result in nightmares and generate anxiety.

Most of us would say there’s an easy answer to that—don’t watch horror movies!

But life itself can do the same thing—elicit emotions of fear and stress, cause panic attacks, shock and scare us, give us nightmares, and generate anxiety. And we can’t very easily avoid life!

But we can minimize anxiety. One of the greatest techniques of peaceful people is learning to go about today’s business while leaving tomorrow in God’s hands. As you focus on what God has placed in front of you today, the giant of worry about the future will fade! God will take care of today and tomorrow.

Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength—carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength. Corrie ten Boom

Wealth And Worry: Matthew 6:25-34

The Good Shepherd

As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock . . . , so will I look after my sheep. Ezekiel 34:12

When Pastor Warren heard that a man in his church had deserted his wife and family, he asked God to help him meet the man as if by accident so they could chat. And He did! When Warren walked into a restaurant, he spotted the gentleman in a nearby booth. “Got some room for another hungry man?” he asked, and soon they were sharing deeply and praying together.

As a pastor, Warren was acting as a shepherd for those in his church community, even as God through the prophet Ezekiel said He would tend His flock. God promised to look after His scattered sheep, rescuing them and gathering them together (Ezekiel 34:12–13). He would “tend them in a good pasture” and “search for the lost and bring back the strays”; He would “bind up the injured and strengthen the weak” (vv. 14–16). God’s love for His people reverberates through each of these images. Though Ezekiel’s words anticipate God’s future actions, they reflect the eternal heart of the God and Shepherd who would one day reveal Himself in Jesus.

No matter our situation, God reaches out to each of us, seeking to rescue us and sheltering us in a rich pasture. He longs for us to follow the Good Shepherd, He who lays down His life for His sheep (see John 10:14–15).

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

How does Jesus, the Good Shepherd, care for you? How could you offer Him any wounds that need tending or weakness you’d like strengthened?

Dear God, You love me even when I go astray and wander. Help me to stay always in Your sheepfold, that I might receive Your love and care.

Abraham’s Lesson on Patience

Seasons of waiting produce spiritual fruit Genesis 16:1-16

Abraham is someone from whom we can learn valuable lessons. Over the course of his life, his faith grew. He came to understand how important trusting God is—and how costly impatience can be. 

Abraham learned the hard way that manipulating circumstances can bring heartache. When he and his wife tried to help God out, the immediate result was jealousy, anger, and family strife. There was also a long-term consequence: a bloody conflict that still rages today between the descendants of Hagar’s son Ishmael and Sarah’s son Isaac.

The Lord promised Abraham and Sarah a baby, but they ended up waiting for the fulfillment until childbearing was humanly impossible. When Isaac was finally conceived and born, all the glory went to God.     

Have you considered that delays in your life can also glorify God? Or are you trying to help Him out in an attempt to get what you want more quickly? Waiting is difficult, but it’s the only way we learn patience, which is precious to the Lord. When you experience a delay, use it as an opportunity to build your trust in God and your confidence in His wisdom and perfect plan.

The Book

“The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” (Matthew 1:1)

This verse about the book begins the New Testament. This book and Scripture from Genesis to Revelation contain not the words of mere men but of God Himself. Every word was written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It’s appropriate to thank God daily for giving us His Book and the life-encompassing trove of wisdom it contains that we need for salvation and daily living.

The famous 19th-century preacher J. C. Ryle said, “The poorest Englishman who understands his Bible knows more about religion than the wisest philosophers of Greece and Rome.” How we approach this book is no light matter. We must read and study the Scriptures diligently, having a sound determination to believe and practice all we find in them, praying for the instruction and power of the Holy Spirit in all of it.

After this introductory statement to Matthew’s gospel are 16 verses tracing the lineage from Abraham to David to Christ’s family. We shouldn’t think that these verses are useless or less inspired than the others. From these we learn that the sovereign God always keeps His word and promises. The almighty God promised that in Abraham’s seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed and that He would raise up a Savior of the line of David (Genesis 12:3Isaiah 9:7).

True Christians should acknowledge this lesson and take comfort that their Father in heaven “which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6) and that “God is not a man, that he should lie” (Numbers 23:19). JPT

“As a Little Child”

Matthew 18:1-4

THREE Gospels (Matt. 18:1-4; Mark 9:33-50; Luke 9:46-50) record the touching incident of our Lord and the little children. The disciples had been disputing as to who should be greatest in His kingdom. Our Lord upsets all prevailing standards by putting a child in the midst. We adults, who like to act as though wisdom would die with us, might have found it more comfortable to our pride if Christ had used a rabbi, a scholar, some “successful” man for His model, but He commands us to be converted and childlike.

Most of us are like children, but, like the other group our Lord described in Matthew 11:16-19, we are childish rather than childlike. He would have us be simple in faith, in life, in spirit, in service—nothing affected or forced. And woe unto him who offends a child or a young believer! Notice what a stern term our Lord used: “Better that a millstone be hanged around his neck and he be cast into the sea.”

He commands us to cut off hand or foot if they offend us—anything that cripples our Christian experience, however precious. He tells us that the children have their guardian angels in the presence of God just as all saints have ministering spirits (Heb. 1:14). And He came to seek and to save the lost, going as a good shepherd after the sheep that is lost.

In speaking of hell, the Lord uses most awful terms: “… where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched.” Some who want to hear love preached all the time and who cannot reconcile hell with the meek and lowly Jesus should remember that He had more to say about hell than anyone else in the Bible. Here He has in mind the valley of Hinnon, where the worm worked in the putrefaction of decaying bodies and where the smoke continually ascended. The worm does not die in hell because the putrefaction never ceases.

The disciples also complain in this passage about someone who was casting out demons in Christ’s name but who was not associated with them. Our Lord’s rebuke, “Forbid him not, for he that is not against us is for us,” ought to govern us more today than it does. We censure other disciples who are not of us, but if they do the work and carry it out in His name we should esteem them as brothers and not as competitors. It is deplorable that the ranks of true Christians, few enough at most, should be divided by rank jealousies and petty criticisms.

So here is a double warning—against offending weak Christians and children on the one hand, and against censuring others who work in His name on the other. Rather, we are to have salt in ourselves and have peace one with another. Too many of us are “fresh” Christians; we must be seasoned and salted so that our speech may be seasoned with salt—and often that takes fiery trial and suffering. It is not easy for the childish to become childlike.

“The Lord shall guide thee continually.”

Genesis 24:1-4, 10-31

Genesis 24:1

This is the summing-up of his life. Yet the former chapters record many and painful afflictions; and, doubtless, the Lord had made these also to be blessings.

Genesis 24:2-4

The godly seed must be kept separate. It is not fit for believers to be joined in marriage with the unregenerate.

Genesis 24:10-4

That business will be sure to speed which is carried on in the spirit of prayer. All matters concerning marriage should especially be prayed over.

Genesis 24:15

Here was the hand of Providence. Observe it in your own lives also.

Genesis 24:27

Answered prayer should be thankfully acknowledged unto God.

Genesis 24:31

All difficulties vanished, everything was as he could wish it. It may not be thus with us; but if any course of conduct can make it so, it is that which begins and ends with prayer.

A Compromise: “The Church Must Change”

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine… and they shall turn away their ears from the truth.2 Timothy 4:3, 4

Any evangelism which by appeal to common interests and chatter about current events seeks to establish a common ground where the sinner can feel at home is as false as the altars of Baal ever were.

Every effort to smooth out the road for men and to take away the guilt and the embarrassment is worse than wasted: it is evil and dangerous to the souls of men!

One of the most popular of current errors, and the one out of which springs most of the noisy, blustering religious activity in evangelical circles, is the notion that as times change the church must change with them. Christians must adapt their methods by the demands of the people. If they want ten-minute sermons, give them ten-minute sermons! If they want truth in capsule form, give it to them! If they want pictures, give them plenty of pictures! If they like stories, tell them stories!

Meanwhile, the advocates of compromise insist that “The message is the same, only the method changes.”

“Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad,” the old Greeks said, and they were wiser than they knew. That mentality which mistakes Sodom for Jerusalem and Hollywood for the Holy City is too gravely astray to be explained otherwise than as a judicial madness visited upon professed Christians for affronts committed against the Spirit of God!