“Do not fret—it only causes harm.” – Psa. 37:8b
Doesn’t get any more direct than that.
“Do not fret—it only causes harm.” – Psa. 37:8b
Doesn’t get any more direct than that.
“Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
When you feel all alone.
“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” – Matt. 24:3-8
This day during Holy Week Jesus gives what is called, The Olivet Discourse.
In His masterful teaching, Jesus speaks about the signs of His coming and the end of the age. He foretells of wars, famines, and earthquakes. Jesus also mentions something all too familiar to us today: pestilence.
Jesus then gives these wonderfully comforting words: “See that you are not troubled.”
During this time of great pestilence, remember Christ‘s wise words: be not troubled. Trust in Him!
This day can be found at: Matthew 21:23–24:51, Mark 11:20–13:37, Luke 20:1–21:36, and John 12:20–38.
I would like to share a verse with you that has encouraged me & fed me on many difficult nights:
“For the eyes of the Lord run to & fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” – 2 Chronicles 16:9a
I know many of you are facing awful times. Difficulty & trial seem to be your only trusty companions. Life seems impossible. You feel like you are being crushed under the weight of it all. You can hardly even breathe.
The eyes of the Lord continuously search. He’s looking for just a chance to show how strong He is on the behalf of His children. Claim this promise! Write it over your heart. Repeat it to your dark night.
The Hebrew word for “run to and fro” (shuwt) also holds within it the word picture of a “mariner rowing the sea with oars.” That, to me, seems more appropriate. The storm is raging. The waves are roaring. Each row of the oar is met with strenuous resistance. The mariner puts his full body into moving the vessel into more tranquil waters.
He sees. He sees your tears. He is on your side. He will supply. His arm is not short. He will show Himself strong on your behalf!
It is true, we have a relentless enemy. It is true, he will not give up. He attacks and then attacks again. But what’s also true is that he’s already defeated.
Our Champion is even more relentless. Jesus will not give up. He pursues us and then He pursues us some more. Jesus is victorious.
Is your heart loyal to Him?
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We all have a Goliath in our life. See that! Goliath is so famous, I don’t even have to tell you who he was. You’re already imagining a rude, towering brute taunting God & God’s people. Today his very name is synonymous with a big problem.
You say, but – I don’t have just ONE giant, I have a WHOLE CLAN! I’m also up against Saph, Lahmi, & Ishbibenob! (2 Sam. 21:15-22, 1 Chr. 20:4-8)
I’m not just facing fear, but guilt & shame came with it. I’m not just battling porn, but also alcohol & pills. I’m not just wrestling with insecurity, but also anorexia & low self image came to join the party. I am being tag-teamed! I am being ganged-up on! I am outnumbered!
Ok, yes. You are in a sense… but, not really. Let me explain.
Here’s what you’ve been taught: Goliath represents your problem. David is you. If you face your problem with Jesus on your side, you can take that big bully down. Right? Sorry, but that is dead wrong. Goliath IS your problem, that much is correct. But you are not David. Where are you? You are the Israelite army quaking in your boots a mile away.
Jesus is David. He’s the giant-slayer, not you.
Jesus steps in and takes your giant down, not you. He takes your place. He fights your fight. You aren’t even there! You’re not in the Valley of Elah. You are in the background safely hiding behind the other chickens.
It might seem like you are being overtaken by giant problems and if you reject Jesus and try to take on Goliath all by yourself, that certainly could be your fate. However, if you accept Jesus and let Him fight that battle for you, then His victory will be your victory.
It doesn’t matter how many giants you have, Jesus bests them. It doesn’t matter how strong they seem, Jesus is stronger. The only thing that matters is that you make Him your Champion.
Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear. Whoever has Twitter to tweet, let them tweet.
We are straight-up addicted to our phones. I mean, seriously: this is going to be a real problem in the not-too-distant future. Think this just… sorta… happened? Google “Brain-Hacking on 60 Minutes.”
Dear children, keep yourselves from phones, errr, I mean – idols. – 1 John 5:21 [Sic]
Anything that takes the place of God is an idol. Have phones taken the place of God?
Well, riddle me this: How many times do YOU touch your phone a day?
(In fact, you are probably reading this from your phone right now.) Are you ready for this:
“The typical cellphone user touches his or her phone 2,617 time every day, according to a study by research firm Dscout. But that’s just the average user: The study found that extreme cellphone users — meaning the top 10% — touch their phones more than 5,400 times daily (July 13, 2016).”
I know I am a tiny minnow swimming up a mightily roaring RIVER here, but: How many times do you touch your Bible a day?
I dare you to compare those numbers. Write them down next to each other: are you crying?
I know this is something we cannot solve right this minute, I know that you know that I am just as guilty as the next person, and of course I know phones can be used for good too, but it is something we should not be ignoring.
What do we do about this?
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Phones make us break the first two commandments:
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. – Exd. 20:3-6
Phones also repeatedly make us break the 3rd commandment: OMG, anyone?
That’s 3/10 right off the bat. And of course, if you break just one, you’ve broken them all (James 2:10).
David Koresh led a cult in Waco, Texas wherein more than 70 men, women, & children died in 1993. Taylor Kitsch will be portraying him in a new 6-part miniseries.
Ted Bundy was a serial killer, rapist, & necrophiliac who murdered numerous young women and girls during the 1970s. Zac Efron is set to star in a new movie about him.
Tonya Harding was a two-time Olympian and Skate America Champion who was stripped of her title and medals when she allegedly conspired to have her competition assaulted in 1994. Margot Robbie is playing her in a new movie.
These are the monsters, people – not the heroes! These are the villains, not the victims!
This culture shift of presenting the bad guys as the good guys is very dangerous, particularly for our children.
Sadly, this is nothing new. Remember Angelina Jolie’s Maleficent (Disney, 2014)? In the original Sleeping Beauty she was a fairy who cursed a newborn to die. In our Post Christian society, she is the misunderstood hero!
There is even a show called Lucifer where the devil is bored of Hell and wants to help humanity by solving crimes. I know that sounds like a joke, but it’s not. Lucifer was nominated in 2016 & 2017 for “Choice TV: Breakout Star, Breakout Show, & Favorite TV Crime Drama” for the Teen Choice Awards. (Teen choice! TEENS are choosing this show!) Lucifer is currently filming its fourth season.
20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! – Isa. 5:20
Here’s why this is dangerous:
Yes, there are good and bad qualities in us all. Each is capable of good and bad. In this sense, we have all at one time been a villain as well as a hero. That much is true. I understand writing more interesting, multi-dimensional, and rounded characters in a story. I understand the concept of an anti-hero (someone who is not the traditional hero and may do bad things for a good purpose, like Batman). I understand offering a more realistic mixture to the stale dichotomy of the Good vs Evil tropes in movies and television.
However, the same cannot be said of our enemy, the devil. He is not multi-dimensional and rounded. He is boringly flat. He is a one-trick pony. He is not an interesting character with many layers. He’s never been the good guy and never will be the good guy.
If a child grows up seeing movies or reading stories where the bad guys are actually kinda good, then it is not too far of a leap for that child to think the same thing about the devil. Maybe he’s not all completely evil like the Bible says. Maybe he’s actually a good guy that’s just misunderstood. Maybe he got a bad rep. Maybe he’s not so bad after all!
We should never, ever have (like the Rolling Stones song) Sympathy for the devil. If you give him so much as an inch, he will take everything from you (Eph. 4:27)!
He is not the anti-hero. He is the anti-Christ!
There is never a day the devil isn’t trying to get you to doubt God. There is never an instant where he wouldn’t set you up and then pounce on you. The devil doesn’t go on holiday. He doesn’t ever “take it easy” on you. He is always, always, always, monstrously evil.
We know (and he knows) that Satan is going down (Rev 20:7-10). So he’s trying to take as many down with him that he can.
He is trying to convince our youth that bad guys are actually good. Don’t let him.
He’s a sly, sly devil. But his time is almost up.