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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sunflower 7/11/14
Brooksyne took this sunflower photo.
These sun-filtered petals should brighten anyone's day and the round center will surely bring to mind the "Happy Face".

"The Antidote To Worry"

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"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33).

Matthew 6:33 (Kember print)

Early this morning in checking my email I found a blessing. Someone had sent me the above photo of a Kember Scripture print. We have periodically referenced these simple prints, one man's way of spreading God's Word. In fact today I compiled a single web page of prints I have acquired over the years as readers send me photos. So I am going to take this as a prompt to share a message from Matthew 6:33!

I was speaking to a friend of mine who is dealing with some severe challenges in his business. I could tell he had a matter heavy on his heart. We both have faith in the Lord and he said to me, "We're not supposed to worry are we?" He knew the answer to that but I believe was looking to me for some Scriptural encouragement.  Sometimes deep in our hearts we know something but need the reminder and perspective others have to offer.

One of the great kingdom principles is stated in this familiar verse. Jesus is preaching what we call the "Sermon on the Mount" and is summing up the portion dealing with worry (Matthew 6:25-34). Jesus addressed a condition so common to people of all generations. Though some worry more than others I've never met anyone who has never worried at some point in their lifetime! But Jesus emphatically states, "Do not be worried about your life" (Matthew 6:25).

Many years ago I read a short booklet by Jay Adams titled "What to Do About Worry". He defines worry as "concern about something that one can do nothing about, and that he cannot even be sure about."

I recognize that when I worry about a matter I am simply not trusting in God. At any given moment I could list a number of very specific issues in my life that are matters of worry to me. The underlying Greek word for worry is "merimnao", which can have the sense "to turn over and over in the mind." That's just what I do, considering various courses and outcomes, turning the worrisome situation over and over in my mind.

Christ's prescription for worry is very clear. "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness." His promise is equally clear, "all these things shall be added unto you." "These things" refer to the basic essentials of life such as food and clothing. Another promise states, "My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).

Today let us indeed seek first God's Kingdom and His righteousness. He ever remains a "rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6). Finally let me share a portion that I committed to memory many years ago that so powerfully addresses this situation: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6,7).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:
Jesus, You know my tendency to worry and fret about circumstances and people dear to my heart.  Thank You for giving me Scriptural wisdom in how to deal with this ongoing weakness that robs me of Your joy and peace.  As I seek first Your kingdom I will look to Your Word rather than the unending problems that lead me to a worrisome state of mind.  As I read Scripture over and over that pertains to my needs, it replaces the time spent worrying over and over about the problems at hand.  Meditation on Your Word is similar to worry in that I turn Scriptural promises over and over in my mind.  You replace my worried thoughts with divine wisdom and peaceful reassurance as my heart is open to You when looking for answers to my problems.  Help me to seek You above all else and trust Your overflowing provision for all that concerns me today. It is in Your name that I pray. Amen.

Blueberry cobbler prepared for our church picnic
Blueberry Cobbler Brooksyne prepared for Sunday's Church Picnic

A somewhat humorous blueberry story:  Last Thursday we briefly mentioned a shopping experience we had at a local store that was selling Jersey berries.
Although we bought blueberries in New Jersey at a roadside stand the day before Brooksyne wanted even more since she plans to make several batches of blueberry jams and pie filling.  She'll also freeze several bags for later usage. We were at Aldi's, a discount grocery store, where they had fresh Jersey blueberries for only $1.00 a pint. We were very pleased at the low price and also the sign that said, "One case per customer". So we bought a case which was ten pints and headed to the check out.

While we were paying for our items a lady who spoke very broken English (obviously, a second language for her) was next in line with two pints of blueberries, and that's where things got interesting. Apparently, after we picked up our case of berries, management decided to place a limit (due to the truck not delivering until the next day). The manager had removed the "One case per customer" sign and posted in its place, "2 pint limit". The cashier told us of the limit but when we explained the timing she was somewhat understanding and proceeded with the sale. During our transaction the lady next in line very forthrightly pointed at our case and demanded, "He get case, I get case." When questioned if she'd seen the first sign as well, she quickly came back with, "Not matter about sign. He get case. I get case!"

She was so persistent the cashier called in the manager (who still had the original sign in her hand). Now it seems to us that the manager should have made an exception for her since she was right behind us and no one else seemed to have blueberries in the growing line. However the manager decided to enforce the 2 pint limit for the lady, who only became more belligerent. "Come back tomorrow when the truck will make another delivery" the manager told her. "I here today. I want berries today!" was her quick reply.

Then she probably broke every rule of managerial decorum by asking the shopper, "What are you going to do with a case of berries anyway?".  The lady stared blankly, and then she pointed to us and asked, "Why do they need a case?" Turning in my direction the manager then asked me, "Why do you need a case?" Thinking it strange that we would be grilled about a legitimate purchase I defensively answered, "Because we can" (meaning "canning" in the sense of preserving jams and jellies). The shopper
who probably had no idea what we meant by "can" gleefully stated, "He can! I can!". In great frustration the manager marched off to pick up another case of berries for the persistent shopper.

She laid the case of berries on the conveyor belt, picked up the two packages the lady originally selected and in anger callously laid them down behind the register. Making sure she had the last word the shopper said coolly to the manager, "You mark 'Damaged?'". The manager, no longer trying to control her emotions, came back with, "What? There's nothing wrong with these berries!" The lady responded with a smirk, "You just slammed them on the counter, and they're fragile!" To say the least it made for an interesting shopping trip and an arrow prayer for the manager who commented to the cashier, "It's only 10:00 in the morning. What a day this is going to be!"

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Seek Ye First"  Video  
Maranatha Singers  This was one of the first Scripture verses set to music we learned as young Christians. We suppose many of you know this song and thus have actually memorized the Scripture!

"Why Should I Worry"  Video   Karen Peck & New River

"I'm Not Gonna Worry"  Video  GVB

Jay Adams lesson on worry is available as a pdf. (It's just over 4 pages)

Compilation of Kember Scripture prints I have and others sent me. (Webpage)

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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