Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 13 No. 11 November 2011
Page 11


Dean Kelly

Dean KellyI did it last night. I wasted time that I can never get back. I replaced rest with restlessness, and the sweet serenity of sleep with tumultuous tossing and turning. When I should have been folded into the comforting arms of pleasant slumber, I was instead wrestling a discomforting demon from within my own mind. “What if this happens tomorrow, what will I do?” “What if this doesn’t happen tomorrow, what will I do?” “Why can’t I just come up with a plan, why can’t I know what to do tomorrow, if…”

Questions of this sort slammed their way through the crevices of my mind. I tossed and turned and, I might as well say it, I worried. Worry overcame my thoughts, and drove the sleep far from me. Worry took the hours and twisted them from peaceful serenity to tortured agony. The saddest part is that, as is so often the case, I spent the night worrying about “what if” and “what if” never happened. Why would I ever let worry do that to me? I think I know.

  1. Worry makes you forget that there is One Who is higher than you. You are only thinking about “How can I solve this” and you forget to take those matters about which you worry to God.
  2. Worry makes your mind dwell on the negatives and the problems, not upon the wonderful blessings and joy that actually fills your life. More often than not, worry is over what might be, or could be and what actually never comes to be.
  3. Worry distorts the item about which you worry, and makes it rule your life, at least as long as worry does.
  4. Worry devours the peace that should actually reign in our hearts and minds.
  5. Worry keeps us from practicing what we should, those things that are given to us by Scripture to learn and to do. You know, I guess, the apostle Paul has already said all of this in Philippians 4:6-9.

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.

The old Jamaican song said, “Don’t worry, be happy!” With my apologies to the writer of that song, I must say for us as Christians it is “Don’t worry. Look to the Lord.” The answer for worry is really very simple, but way too often, oh so hard. Let us strive to make sure that we are not allowing our time to be wasted by this ungrateful bandit known as worry.

Contention Is Evil

Royce Pendergrass

Royce Pendergrass

As so often happens, an incident happened this week that I just could not get past for a while. The result of the unintentional incident was that one of the parties almost began to rail against the other. It was totally unnecessary and uncalled for. There was no basis for the “railer” to react in such a way. I realized that this person has a penchant for railing and causing contention and is one who takes exception to almost everything that is said or done. Do you know people like this? Probably so and it makes you realize that they do not understand anything about The Power of Positive Thinking, a book that was written by Norman Vincent Peale many years ago. Although Dr. Peale made some very good points in his book, all we need to do to eliminate the negative and accentuate the positive is to look to and obey God’s Word. The “wise man” said “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). So the way to do away with the negative, mean, hateful things is to fill our minds with positive, gentle, loving thoughts and attitudes. A person is capable of controlling his/her thoughts and actions. One cannot let outside influences make decisions for him about what and how he will think and act unless he is obeying God in those matters. If God is allowed to control your thoughts and actions, what does He say?

What He says is “Put off anger, wrath, malice, railing and filthy communication out of your mouth. Do not lie to each other… Put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humbleness, meekness and longsuffering; forbearing one another and forgiving each other if any man has a quarrel against another; even as Christ forgave you, so do you” (Colossians 3:8ff). Contentious is a synonym for quarrelsome, and Christ says the railing person has to quit doing Satan’s work (look at the catalog in the scripture above!) and begin doing the Lord’s work. A happy Christian will be compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and forgiving because Christ has demonstrated those very same characteristics in His life, and we must follow Him. Paul dealt with this same subject in Romans 2:8-10; “To those who are contentious and do not obey the truth but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish will come upon every soul of man who does evil.” In other words, you will reap what you sow! So the answer is still to replace evil actions and thoughts with positive things such as “patiently continuing in well doing, seeking for glory and honor, immortality and eternal life… glory, honor and peace to every man who works good” (Romans 2:7, 10).

Christians are not Christ-like when they go about causing trouble and being contentious. In fact, I submit to you that such a person is not a Christian because a faithful Christian will follow in Christ’s steps, and He never did those things but taught not to do them! Every one of us has a hard enough time just trying to be what we know we must be without putting negative actions into our lives, because the negatives always create problems. Do not jump down someone’s throat because you feel differently about things, but try to understand the other person’s point of view and be kind and gentle. You are the one who ends up looking bad to those around you when you are railing and angry.

“The servant of the Lord must not strive but be gentle to all men” (2 Timothy 2:24). David spoke words of wisdom when he said:

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord. Serve Him with gladness. Come before Him with singing. Know that the Lord is God and that it is He Who made us and not we ourselves. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His name for the Lord is good. His mercy is everlasting and His truth endures to all generations. (Psalm 100)

If you feel quarrelsome, just remember what God has done for you!

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