Building A House

Upon what do you build a house? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

As Jesus finishes the Sermon on the Mount, He talks about how to build a house. He says if you hear His words and obey them, you build your foundation on the rock. If you hear and do not obey, you are building on sand.

Listeners would think of the temple.

The temple had that kind of strong foundation. Jesus is telling His listeners then about how to build a new temple. What will the new temple be founded on? The words of Jesus.

Take a moment to consider how Jesus is speaking. He doesn’t say “Thus sayeth the Lord” or anything similar. He speaks on His own behalf. We could understand if someone like Isaiah or Elijah gave this message and ended it with hearing the words from God. Jesus doesn’t do that. He says “My words.”

As discussed last time, either Jesus has a massive ego trip, or He’s severely deluded, or again, He is claiming to speak as God and He means it. God is the one responsible for the temple ultimately and Jesus is now claiming authority over a temple structure. This temple structure won’t be something physical. The language is metaphorical and the temple is built on His words instead.

This is why when the message ends, the people are amazed. Jesus speaks as one who has authority. The teachers of the law could teach, but they did not speak on their own behalf. They would reference numerous others to back their opinions and authority. Jesus didn’t do that, save for when He pointed to God Himself.

Just picture what you would think if a new nominee for pastor of your church got up and spoke the way Jesus did. It would be seen as super egotistical or severely deluded. Jesus did speak this way. Every thing He says and does leaves us with a reminder that we must question who He is at every point. What manner of man is this?

As we end the sermon and go on to see eschatology in the Gospels, that is the question we have to ask ourselves.

What manner of man is this?

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

I Never Knew You

How should we respond to this fearful announcement? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Towards the end of Matthew 7, Jesus tells the crowd that many on that day will point to many signs and wonders that were done in the name of Jesus and He will say to them, “I never knew you.” The only ones who go in will be the ones who do the will of the Father.

First off, before we get to the scary part, let’s consider something about this. How is it that Jesus gets up and speaks to a crowd as if He is the final judge that will tell people what their destiny is in the end? How is it that He speaks of people coming to Him and calling Him Lord? How is it that He speaks of people casting out demons in His name and doing miracles in His name and prophesy in His name?

Either Jesus is severely deluded in this passage, severely wicked, or He is rightfully in the place of God. It’s easy to point to explicit passages on the deity of Christ. I think a lot of these more subtle passages can be far more powerful.

So now let’s get to the concern. A lot of Christians get absolutely terrified. What if I am one of those on that day? What if Jesus tells me I never knew you?

So let’s ask a question.

Why does that scare you?

If your fear is never getting to be in Heaven because you won’t see your loved ones and you will be in Hell forever, then you have a wrong perspective. It doesn’t mean you won’t get in, but I have a fear that many of us want to see Heaven for so many reasons and throw in as an afterthought that God is there, or else we just want to avoid Hell.

If you say though because you want to be with Jesus, then I really don’t think you have to worry. In reality, most Christians I meet concerned about not being saved I have no doubt really are saved. The fact that they ask the question shows that they have a deep concern for Christian matters.

That being said, we should always examine ourselves to see if our behavior is being what it ought to be. Are we truly living a Christian life? Do we need to repent of anything? Are we loving one another as Christ loved us?

Note also that Jesus’s requirements are not seen in what we consider grand achievements. It’s seen in doing the will of the Father in Heaven. What is that will? Love your God and love your neighbor as yourself.

When people ask me what God’s will is for their lives, I always tell them the same thing, because it’s the same for everyone. “Conform you to the likeness of Christ.” “Yeah, but what about who I marry or where I work or what I study in school?” “Do what you will provided your goal is to be conformed to the likeness of Christ.”

Instead of worrying so much about if you are saved or not, which accomplishes nothing, live as Christ would have you live, which you should be doing anyway. When you fall down, repent and seek forgiveness and move on. There is a proper fear to have of God, but remember He prefers to show grace rather than judgment.

And if you think you have grace, show it. Even if you don’t think you have it and fear you don’t, show it anyway.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

The Pain of Suicide

Why does suicide hurt so much? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I knew Troy in Middle School. He was shy, like me, and seemed to be an outsider to most kids, like me, which is probably one reason I gravitated towards him. I knew what it felt like to be rejected after all. I remember him wanting to buy my Turtle Blimp from me, which I let him, and it was like Christmas for him. I knew he didn’t have much. We drifted apart in high school. Recently I thought of him. I wondered where he was in the world.

Then today I got a text from my Dad. Troy had killed himself Sunday.

In the midst of messages back and forth about it, my Dad told me one of his friends from church had also died. Now I didn’t know this friend so well, and that really got lost in the background. With my Dad’s friend, I thought he was older and it was probably his time.

Not with Troy.

With Troy, I found myself wondering, “What if I had stayed in touch in high school and college? What if I had been a friend all those years? What if I had never lost touch with him?”

Yes. Rethinking about 20-25 years of living based on one truth that had been revealed. That’s what makes suicide so different. When it happens, most people who knew the person involved always think “Could I have done something to help?”

It’s survivor’s guilt. It’s pointless to think such things. Even if you could think of something you could do, you can’t hop in the time machine and go back and do them. If you come up with something, you’ll just feel guilty for not having done it.

Yet we do that. Why? Because we have a permanent pain now because of the loss. I have met a number of people who have lost someone close to them to suicide and the pain doesn’t go away. Oh it gets more manageable, but it does become something they deal with everyday. I have heard of a man in his senior years whose father committed suicide. The suicide happened while the boy was five years old and years later he still asks why his Dad didn’t want him.

You see, it never truly takes the pain away. It passes it to everyone else. It is what is seen as a preventable death. If only we could have helped them. If only. If only we had been there. If only we knew. Did we miss the warning signs?

My wife had a friend who went out of her mind and wound up killing herself a few years ago and for quite awhile, she kept wondering if she should have seen the signs. She wasn’t there in person though, so there’s no way she could have known really. We have no way of knowing how everyone else sees it though who was even closer.

In many other cases, when the person is still around, we can talk to them always and see if we can work on things. However, when it’s suicide, it’s permanent. That’s it. We lose them in our earthly lives forever.

Now if we’re Christians, we can anticipate the hope that we will see them someday, but Scripture doesn’t say that death becomes automatically less painful because we’re Christians. We still mourn. We don’t mourn like those who have no hope, but we mourn. Suicide just brings an extra level to that mourning since it is such a violent action that is always seen as preventable.

While I was out, I was spending so much time processing the news and that was for someone I hadn’t interacted with in a couple of decades. How much more is it for those who know someone much closer? Suicide has that effect and it’s an awful one.

If you’re struggling, please get help. Please. Reach out. People do care regardless of whether you feel like they do or not. Call the National Suicide Hotline. Get someone who will talk to you. Please.

If not for yourself, do it for someone you care about. If you suspect someone is suicidal, please don’t take a chance. Take action.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

By Their Fruits

Who will we recognize? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My interpretation of this passage is really different from many others. This is the one that says you will know people by their fruits. Many of us apply that to regular Christians that we meet everyday, but I wonder if since the next section talks about those claiming to speak in Jesus’s name if Jesus has more in mind prophets claiming to speak for Him and that those you will know by their fruits.

In other words, look at the kind of lifestyles leaders will hold as those would also be seen as prophets in the sense of teachers who speak with authority. While Christian leaders should often lead the best lives, too often we seem to live the worst lives. Naturally, the media loves it whenever a scandal breaks out involving a Christian leader.

If a person is a Christian leader truly, their lives will reflect their devotion to Christ. This doesn’t mean perfection. None of us have that and it’s ridiculous to demand it. It means overall that that person produces far more in character with Christ than the other way around.

This would also I think include the reliability of their statements, especially along the lines of when someone claims to hear from God. My advice to you is when someone tells you God told them something or the Spirit is showing them something, be on guard. I wouldn’t believe it unless they tell you something specific, not vague, that they couldn’t have known any other way.

I would also include the more subtle ideas of this. I see no basis for the idea that the Spirit leads us through our feelings, but many Christians will say that regularly. I remember in an old church I used to attend that the associate pastor at the time of offering used to say “Give as you feel led” and I was tempted to go up so many times and very publicly put in a penny and say “That’s what I feel led to give.” Who could argue against me?

Jesus’s warning is a serious one. At the next entry, we’ll see that not everyone who claims to speak for God really is speaking for God. Look at the character of the person you encounter and the way they claim to speak. Do they line up? Many people have been damaged by people claiming to speak for God.

Above all, watch yourself. How is your life? It’s easy to complain about the rest of the church, but that just takes our eyes off of ourselves, the one person we can do something about directly.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

How Many Will Be Saved?

How many are going to make it? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

42.

Hey. We all knew the answer to the question had to be 42. Right? That’s the answer to every question.

But now to be serious. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us to make sure to enter through the narrow gate that leads to life instead of the wide gate that leads to destruction and few will find it. This relates to eschatology since some people think a more postmillennial idea of Revelation is untenable since who would say the world is going to get better and better. Have you seen the news?

Yes. I have. I also know the news only emphasizes the bad news. In a hypothetical situation, 100 planes take off in America in one day. One crashes. Nothing is said about the 99 safe flights. Only something is said about the one that crashed.

Of course, many of us would not watch the news if it was bland and boring. “Tonight, we report that there were no murders or rapes in our city.” Hardly breaking news. Bad news just sells.

But here we have Jesus. Is Jesus saying that most people aren’t going to make it? Not necessarily. I think it’s quite likely Jesus is speaking to His immediate audience. That would fit since few embraced Him as Messiah in His time. It’s also in line with what we see in Revelation, that a great multitude from all over the world is in front of the throne and the Lamb enjoying the presence of God.

That being said, many people are sharing a story about a problem in the church where 30% of evangelicals don’t think Jesus is God. That would actually be false. If they don’t think that, they don’t qualify as evangelicals. Let’s keep in mind though that this is in the Western Church. Go to the East where people actually have to be willing to die for their faith and they take it a bit more seriously.

When we get to Matthew 13, we’ll look a bit more at the idea that things will get better for the Kingdom based on the parables there, but for now, we need to comment on this. Jesus is speaking to a group of people at one time and there’s no indication that He means all people for all times. Of course, all people should seek and strive to enter into the Kingdom. Keep in mind also that when Jesus is asked in Luke how many will be saved, He refuses to answer. (Even though the answer would be 42)

Jesus is not interested in a numeric account, although we can easily say the number of people who replied positively to His immediate message were few. Still, even in Acts we see the number growing. Luke before too long describes the number as multiplying. In the end when Paul reaches Rome, there are already Christians there waiting for Him.

There are several cultish groups out there that want to have you think that only a few select people are going to make it. (Consider Darwin Fish as an example. Yes. That’s not a joke. That’s the actual name of the man.) There are plenty of discernment ministries out there convinced everyone is a heretic except the person running them.

However, I believe God’s grace is greater than we think. I am not advocating anything like universalism or something like that. I am saying though that God would rather save than condemn and would rather show mercy than to judge. This should give us all hope. This could extend to some who never hear the gospel at all through no fault of their own.

Yet as I have said many times, we have no guarantees and we are not given details. Matthew ends with the Great Commission. Those are the marching orders. God never gives a Plan B. He never tells us what happens if we fail at the Great Commission. He just assumes that we do it.

So let’s do it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: So Far

What do I think of Kelsey Grammer’s autobiography published by Dutton? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This one is definitely not a work on apologetics or Christianity, but when my wife and I moved into the new apartment, we cut the cord and got Hulu and Amazon Prime Video instead. I saw that Hulu had Cheers, a show that my Dad and I had watched when we were growing up. I watched through the whole series in order calling my Dad regularly to tell him about the episodes and we would remember them together.

In looking up information about the show, I saw that Kelsey Grammer had written an autobiography which did have some more in it about being on Cheers. My wife and I had decided to watch Frasier next and he had always been a character I liked on the show so I decided to order it. It recently came in at the library and it’s fairly short, so much so that I finished it in two days.

Grammer’s tale is one that really grips so much so that I found it hard to put it down. He spoke of his faith early on in the book, though for those of us who are Christian, it is Christian scientist of the Mary Baker Eddy variety. He doesn’t hold to all the tenets of it though, as he does believe in doctors and medicine.

It also reminded me that despite the impression often given, people in the world of Hollywood can have their lives marred just as much as anyone else can. Grammer has had two people in his life murdered. I do not want to say who for those who might be interested in reading his book.

Grammer also talked about the hard work that goes into being an actor and the tough living he had at times trying to make ends meet. He ended up not finishing school at Juilliard, but he still never gave up on acting. He accepted bit piece by bit piece until Cheers came along where he got established.

And along the way, there was trouble in the area of love. He had a number of marriages that failed. At the end of his book, at least the edition that I read, he talked about dating a girl named Tammi who would be his wife one day and he knew he was ready for her. Looking ahead later on on IMDB, he wasn’t ready. He never married her and while he’s remarried now, there was one more marriage that ended in divorce before this current one.

Grammer also emphasized the importance of reading. One of the greatest compliments he says he received was after doing a show once someone came up to him and said after seeing him in a Shakespearean play, they started reading Shakespeare. Grammer also talks about reading the works of Auden in the book, though I am sure there are many others he reads.

One particularly sad story he told about was a friend who had a rough go in life and then started turning it around and met a beautiful girl and married her. Two days after the wedding, she died in an accident. Just a few days later, her husband had died, probably a suicidal accident. It’s hard to imagine that a large group of people could gather together to celebrate a lifelong love and then in a week the bride and groom are both dead.

Grammer also says he wrote a theme for his life early on and years later found it in Auden’s writings. That theme was to stagger onward rejoicing. That could be a good theme for most of our own lives as well.

We often look at celebrities on the screen and think they don’t have a clue about the real world. In many ways, maybe some don’t. However, reading about Grammer’s life in his own words, I found someone I could understand to a great degree and also understood how he wanted to be accepted as a person apart from his celebrity status.

Not only that, he’s candid about his own problems. Grammer says in the book regularly that he had to undergo therapy. He talked about having to overcome a cocaine addiction when he was on Cheers. I appreciated both of these statements. Being in Hollywood doesn’t mean you’re necessarily insulated.

I found Grammer to be someone I thought I could talk to about intellectual subjects in literature as well as politics seeing as we are both conservatives. Also though, I got a reminder that those people we see on the screen and sometimes we actually look down on in some ways, they need Jesus just as much. Perhaps while we are busy condemning so many things in Hollywood, we should be praying for the salvation of the people there.

If you’re a fan of Cheers or Frasier, you could probably enjoy this work. The chapters are short enough that you could read one quite easily. The writing is more of a stream of consciousness style that I think works well. It left me thinking perhaps I need to read more biographies.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Seeking Truth

What do I think of Timm Todd’s book published by TT Publishing? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This was one of those rare occurrences for me when I was given the book by someone I knew in person. He mailed it to me, but we met beforehand and he didn’t have a copy then. It’s always intriguing to read something by someone who isn’t as well-known in the field and is willing to step out and take a step in that direction.

So Todd’s book is arguing mainly for intelligent design as showing that there is a creator. On this, I must say I cannot really comment. I do not really go for scientific arguments for theism and that includes intelligent design. I cannot really speak then to the arguments for ID at the start of the book. They could be great or they could be terrible. A scientist would need to evaluate them.

From there though, we get into more philosophical arguments that I prefer like the moral argument. Readers of my work know that my problem with the moral argument is that it’s fine insofar as it goes, but it needs to go further. I don’t just want morality explained. I want goodness itself explained. That includes morality, but it is not limited to it.

Todd also gives some interesting anecdotes from his personal experience of things that has happened in his life that he thinks are moments of God working in his life. They could be, but I always get skeptical of such stories. I am not skeptical in the sense that I think they’re made up or anything like that, but I have seen stories where people are convinced God is telling them something and it’s bunk. Still, I do know some people will find this convincing and if it leads them to Jesus, well and good.

I appreciated the part on the reliability of Scripture some, but not entirely. I do think a scientific look at Genesis 1 can be interesting, but I find John Walton’s proposal for Genesis much more convincing where the account is a functional account of a cosmic temple being created. The archaeological backing of the Bible is certainly something I agree with, but when we get to prophecy, I again demur from Todd’s approach. I really don’t think a futurist approach to prophecy is tenable.

I definitely appreciated the sections on Jesus as Todd tries to show the intelligent designer is Jesus. From there, Todd goes on a much more pastoral approach and here is where I truly think Todd’s strength lies. Todd’s writing is really down-to-earth and simple to understand and not in your face at the same time. It is very evangelistic without being simplistic. It is not a recycled approach either. Todd hasn’t copied the Romans Road or the four spiritual laws. He’s his own person.

At the end, I was also skeptical of the idea that all the apostles were willing to die for their faith. They could have been, but as Sean McDowell has shown, we don’t have the best historical data for all of them. Still, many of Todd’s arguments are the kind that can put a rock in someone’s shoe to borrow Greg Koukl’s term.

One area that did puzzle me going through the book some was seeing God referred to as a force. I could understand this at the start if you are trying to show an intelligent designer and you don’t know much about Him, well you can certainly use impersonal pronouns or say a force, but I kept hoping we would move past that terminology eventually.

Still, when you read the book you see someone passionate about their Christian faith and we need more of that. This could be a good work for someone open to scientific arguments, though I don’t think it would be the best for someone academically inclined. Give it to someone who wants a more popular-leveled approach to coming to Jesus and it could very well shine for them. I certainly am thankful that people like Timm Todd are out there wanting to do something more for the kingdom and we need more of that.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

9/11 and the Past

How do we deal with grief? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

9/11 has come upon us again. It’s hard to realize that next year it will be twenty years since that day. We need to ask why is it that that day surprised us so much?

We remember Pearl Harbor, but not the same way. Perhaps because that was an attack on a military area. That was thoroughly understandable. It also happened in a time when a lot of the world was at war. It makes sense that when war is going on, nations will be attacked.

9/11 was different. There wasn’t a major war going on. These weren’t military targets either. These were ordinary civilians living their lives everyday and this was a prominent attack on a major landmark in our country. The second Spider-Man movie was even going to show a scene with a giant spider web between the World Trade Center towers capturing the bad guys. That had to be scrapped.

Yet as I thought about it, there can be a danger here. We should acknowledge what happened every year on the anniversary, but we need to remember that we do not stay there. Israel was to commemorate the Passover every year and their escape from slavery, but they didn’t do it every day. They were to remember and live like they were a free people.

There is an interesting story in Lewis’s The Great Divorce about a grieving mother who longs to see her boy again on the other side. The one she talks to says she can see him when she is ready. She is willing to do anything, but that is the problem precisely. She has become so laser-focused on her son, Michael, that she is forgetting everyone else. Her husband and her daughter were both forgotten.

The one the mother, Pam, talks to tells her that she needs to show love of God first, but Pam is starting for the wrong reason. She is loving God as a means to get to Michael. If you love someone as a means for another reason, you do not really love that person. It doesn’t matter if it’s a relative, a spouse, a friend, or God. Love for the other is an end in itself.

That includes if you love that person as a means just for your own fulfillment and not theirs. If a husband loves his wife and does it solely for the purpose of getting sex, he doesn’t really love her. He loves what she does for him. If a parent loves their child so their child can succeed and the parent can live vicariously through them, they don’t really love the child. They love what the child does for them.

Pam is told that her husband and daughter loved and grieved the death of Michael, but she had held them hostage by refusing to ever move or by refusing to change his room at all. They were all continuous victims of Pam’s grief. They were neglected while Pam focused all her attention on Michael, the dead one, instead of celebrating the living ones she had there with her.

In the end, she screams to the messenger speaking to her that Michael is hers and not even God will keep him from her and to tell that to his face. In her own words,

“…Give me my boy. Do you hear? I don’t care about all your rules and regulations. I don’t believe in a God who keeps mother and son apart. I believe in a God of Love. No one has a right to come between me and my son. Not even God. Tell Him that to His face. I want my boy, and I mean to have him. He is mine, do you understand? Mine, mine, mine, for ever and ever.”

As can be seen, Pam’s focus is on herself. She’s not even thinking about the welfare of Michael. If she loved Michael, she would be asking about his happiness and well-being, but she is not. She is self-focused entirely.

This is not to say that families should not grieve loved ones today. They should. There is a proper grief though and we do not want to be held hostage by our grief. This is especially so if we are Christians. We mourn, but not like those who have no hope. We remember the promise of resurrection. We remember that we will see them, that specific person, again, provided we are all Christians.

And if that person is not a Christian and we thus do not know how God will judge them, we remember we have God. What does it say of us if we think we will be in the presence of God in Heaven and yet think we will mourn because one person is not there. Is the presence of God lesser than the presence of any other person?

Today, let us remember those we have lost, but let us not stay there in the past. Just as Israel had their Passover, so have we. We have resurrection to look forward to. We have the promise of God. Breaking free from foreign chains is a great accomplishment. Breaking free from the chains of sin and death is greater still.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Jesus and Judging

What does it mean to judge not? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It used to be the most quoted Bible verse of all time was John 3:16, so much so that we had the story of the guy in the rainbow wig who went to major sporting events and held up a sign that said John 3:16. That no longer is the case. The most quoted verse today is probably just part of one verse and that’s Matthew 7:1 and “Judge not.”

Many people think this is a blanket condemnation of all judging. He’s not. Jesus later tells us about not giving dogs what is sacred and throwing pearls to pigs. Apparently, we have to judge what is sacred and what are pearls and who are dogs and who are pigs. The latter two are quite personal judgments.

Years ago my former roommate before I got married went to be a live-in assistant to a boy in a wheelchair who had had a stroke. This was in a fancy apartment complex. I went to visit him once and a nurse to the man was coming by and we talked a bit.

Somehow, it got to the topic of judging and she said she was a Christian but she was sure she wasn’t supposed to judge anyone. So I just asked a couple of simple questions. First, is her car in the parking garage? She said it was. I next asked if the doors were locked or not. That’s when the light turned on for her. If you lock your doors at night or to your car when you’re away, you are making a judgment.

We all do it and we all have to. Jesus tells us in John 7:24 to stop judging by mere appearances and make a right judgment. That tells us that Jesus is not condemning all judgment and the passage itself tells us about pigs and dogs, so what is Jesus condemning? He is condemning something.

Jesus is condemning how we judge people. He uses a joke to get this across. In the Jewish world of Jesus, hyperbole was the way of making a joke. He pictures a guy walking around with a big plank sticking out of his eye and trying to help other people get a speck of dust out of their eye. Such would have been a very humorous picture to His audience and would have got the point across.

This is also a danger to us as it is easy to spend so much time looking at the sins of our neighbor instead of examining ourselves. This is not to say you should not care about your neighbor’s sins and warn them when they are on the wrong path, but the only one you can do anything directly about is yourself. If you focus so much on how other people treat you instead of how you treat others, you’re going to be caught all in yourself.

Thus, before you go after your neighbor, do everything you can to be aware of your own sins in a situation. When you judge, don’t be a hypocrite with your judging. Be aware of your own sinfulness and actually, more aware. You too have to stand before God one day. You don’t have to give a defense of your neighbor. You give one of yourself.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Don’t Worry. Be Happy.

Why is worrying wrong? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Jesus tells us next not to worry. He points to how flowers and birds are provided for. Your Heavenly Father knows what you need and is willing to provide it and you are worth more than many sparrows.

Of course, this is a general principle. God is not obligated to provide everything for everyone and it wouldn’t happen forever as aside from Elijah and Enoch, the death rate has still been consistent.

Jesus’s words are also given to people who were more often day-wage earners. They had to work every day to make sure they had food every day. They couldn’t just go to a supermarket and buy something. There weren’t department stores around where they could buy clothes. Not even water was always easy to come by.

So why does Jesus tell us not to worry? Worry is a way of saying you have to look out for yourself because no one else is, including God. It is doubting the goodness of God. It doesn’t mean you be lazy, of course. Jesus is not telling people to avoid working for food or clothing and sit back and have God do everything for them. Jesus is telling people that they need to trust God as Father to provide for them.

Worry is acting like there is no God to look out for you or else that God is evil and doesn’t really care. If you say God is good, but you think you have to look out for yourself, then you are calling God into question. God cares about you more than the flowers and the birds.

Jesus ends on a note telling us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. If God is #1 in our lives, truly everything else will somehow fall into place. It doesn’t mean life will be perfect. God was #1 for Jesus and yet He still went to the cross.

Yet even still, Jesus was provided for. He was raised from the dead and we are promised the same. We are promised that everything will work out for us in the end if we are seeking the Kingdom of God first and His righteousness. That needs to be our priority.

There was someone who once said that when we experience the joys of being with God, the worst day here will seem at most like one night in a bad hotel. Everything will be made up for. There will be joy for all who have sought the Kingdom of God and strove to be righteous.

Be one of those people.

Don’t worry.

Be happy.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)