What is peer pressure? Peer pressure is a strong feeling of pressure being felt from someone, or a group of people of your own age group, that influences you, pushes you towards making decisions to do the same as others are doing, whether good or bad. When these pressures come, you feel a strong desire to make a choice to either follow or do the same as others or to say no and not follow what others are doing.
One type of peer pressure is known as spoken or direct pressure. This type of peer pressure happens when someone asks you, or suggests you do something in which you are forced to make a choice to either say yes or no. To do as others are doing, or to say no, and not follow and do as others are doing.
Here are a few examples of spoken peer pressure which happens often all around very often. Suppose for example someone asks you to break some windows at an abandoned warehouse just for fun. They might say something like; If you dont come with us, I wont be your friend anymore. Thats called rejection. Another example is called a Put Down. Or another way to put it is to insult someone, call them names, and make fun of them. This example causes the other person to feel bad if they dont go and do as the others are doing.
Another example of spoken pressure is when someone might give reasons why it is okay to do something. For example, they might say Here Mark, have a cigarette. Everyone else is smoking.
Another type of peer pressure is the unspoken or indirect pressure. This can happen when nothing is actually said. But by the way others are acting or looking at you, you feel pressurized to go and do the same things that others are doing, whether good or bad. You may feel the need to follow after them so you will be cool, so you will fit in with a group.
A good example of this is if your friends are buying a certain type of clothing, sports shoes, snow boards etc. There is nothing wrong with following this kind of example.
Of course there are very many kinds of bad unspoken pressure. Many of your school mates for example may be involved in smoking, drinking booze, taking drugs, shoplifting etc. You may feel the need to do these same bad things to feel cool, to feel like you are part of a group, to fit in.
Do you realize that friends can have a very strong influence on you?
Here is an object lesson to demonstrate that friends can have an influence on you, whether you realize it or not.
Draw out, or print out the word FRIENDS so that you can shade the letters with a graphite pencil. Now lick a finger and rub the word friend with your finger. You will see that your finger has turned black. The graphite stayed on your fingers. It rubbed off onto your fingers.
The friends you choose to hang out with can have an impact on the way you act out, the way you behave at home, at school, and at play. Friends whether you realize it or not, influence what type of clothes you wear, the type of music you listen to, and also to what you believe about God and Jesus. They also influence the way you treat others, and the list goes on and on. In other words, friends can rub off on you just like the word friends rubbed off on your fingers. As Christians, we need to be careful about whom we choose to hang out with and be friends with.
Have you ever heard the phrase, One bad apple can spoil the whole barrel?" If you have a box of apples and if only one is badly bruised or rotten, it will be like cancer, it will infect the whole box of apples and spoil them all. Likewise, if you hang out with bad kids, they will spoil you. You may think that you wont behave badly just because they do, but the truth is, they will influence you to behave badly as well.
READ MATTHEW 13:1-8, 18-23 (King James Version)
"1The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.
2And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
3And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
4And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
5Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
8But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold."
The disciples like the other people really did not understand this parable, this story. So they asked Him to explain it. And so He did. Read Matthew 13:18-23 (New King James Version):
18 Therefore hear the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
(Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.)
This story that Jesus told was talking about different kinds of people in the world. The seed He is talking about is the good news of the Bible, the gospel message. Some people will hear the message and happily accept it at first with joy. But, as soon as others start laughing at them and making fun of their faith, they deny everything Jesus stands for and start doing the bad things others do.
When trouble comes, many will quickly abandon the ways of Jesus because they are more worried about what people think about them than about what Jesus thinks they should do. Their hearts become like the rocky places where some of the sowers seeds fell in the story Jesus told. The Word of God is no longer important to them.
If you plant a tomato seed for example in shallow soil, it will begin to grow. But because the roots of the tomato plant need to go deeper into the soil, the tomato plant will soon die because the roots of the plant cannot go deep enough to get moisture and the roots will also not go deep enough to support the plant.
And so it is with many people whom at first accept and believe the words in the Bible. But when their peers see what they are doing, they get scared that others will make fun of them, call them names etc. So like the shallow roots, they fall away and become of no use to God. They run away from God.
What is peer pressure again? It can be described as pressure to go along with a group of people your own age, and to act and behave like them, whether in a good way or a bad way.
To you young folks, especially those of you whom are Christians, peer pressure can really hurt. Why? Because when you are a Christian people will laugh at you, make fun of you, call you names and maybe even pick fights with you. Many will not want to be friends with you just because you are a Christian.
Should you care what others think about you? Should you walk away from your faith because others laugh at you and make fun of you? Certainly not!
What matters the most, what people think of you or what God wants you to do? What God wants us to do of course is far more important than what others think of us. Why? Because, if you are following others and doing bad things, God will judge you for it. He will punish you for sinning. If on the other hand you ignore what others do and follow the ways of God, what is your reward? Heaven and eternal life with God is you reward.
Should you live to please God or others?
Remember when Moses was born he was adopted by the daughter of Pharaoh and was raised in the kings palace. Moses was rich and was powerful, having great authority to rule over many others. But the time came when Moses realized that he was also Hebrew just like the people he had power over. He did not think it was right for him to be a bully to his own people just as the Egyptians were. So Moses ran away, not wanting to be like those who were bullies. He wanted to obey God rather than man.
Many today though would rather be like the Egyptians. They would prefer to be bullies, to do bad things. They would rather obey man rather than God. They think that to follow after God is no fun because there are just too many rules to follow. They think that if they become a Christian, they will longer have any fun.
However, the scriptures tell us a different story. Hebrews 11:25 tells us that Moses rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin, to join with his peers, chose rather to enjoy the persecution, take being laughed, made fun of etc. He chose to follow the ways of God rather than the ways of his fellow man.
However, you must remember, that sin is only fun for a little while. The prisons are full of people who chose to enjoy sin. They had fun for a while, but now they are suffering the consequences following their peers. What are the consequences of sin? Rom. 6:23 tells us: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (King James Version)
God ways are not our ways. If you follow Gods ways you will not fit in with the world. You will look like a fool to your peers. But, why would you want to be on the losing side? Your friends who are not following the ways of God are only looking at the here and now, they are not looking at eternity, or where they will spend eternity.
Whether you believe it or not, there is an eternity for every one ever born. You will either spend eternity with God, or in hell. Does is make any sense to enjoy the pleasures of sin which is only a temporary pleasure, so that you can spend an eternity in hell?
Mark 8:36 tells us: For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (King James Version) In other words what good will it do for you to enjoy following your peers and obeying they ways of Satan, when the end result is an eternity in hell.
You would be far better to do like Joshua in the Old Testament who said: as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:15 King James Version) No matter what others think about you, no matter what others do, it is far far better to be different and do what is right.
So always do what is right. Learn to say no. Do not do the bad things that your peers do. If you are made fun of and picked on, dont worry about it. Your reward in heaven will be great if you do the right things.
Children Fighting On The Way To Church
Has anybody ever treated you badly, just because maybe you are poor or sick?
Sure, that happens sometimes to all of us in one way or another.
For example, a guy wearing rich clothes one day is walking down the street and he sees someone up ahead who is sitting by the side of the road.
This poor man has no home, no money and has to sleep behind garbage bins at night.
And he has a hat on the ground, hoping that people would give him money so he could at least buy himself a bowl of soup and maybe get a cheap room for the night so he could sleep on a bed and get a bath.
The rich guy walks by and says; Hey, get a job, you stink, take a bath.
That would not be a very nice to do, would it?
What could this rich man have done instead?
Prov. 14:21 says; He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he. (King James Version)
To put it another way, God is saying; If you treat the poor really bad, you are a sinner.
God is angry with people who treat the poor badly, who treat them like trash.
But God says; He is happy with those who treat the poor well."
He is pleased when you give the poor money to help them buy food, and shelter and clothes.
Suppose now this poor guy at the end of the day finds a place behind a restaurant to lay down for the night.
And he climbs into the garbage bin looking for scraps of food to eat.
Suddenly the restaurant owner comes out and finds this poor guy scavenging for something to eat in the garbage bin.
And he yells at the guy; Get out of here, it is illegal for you to be stealing garbage out of my garbage bin. Get out of here before I call the police.
Suppose someone else comes along and though he has little money, he buys this poor guy some bread and offers him a place to sleep for a while.
Which one is a sinner, and which one is God well pleased with?
Jesus said in Matthew 25 that when we do something good to the poor and needy, we have also done it to Him.
Jesus is very happy with us when we treat strangers and the poor and needy well.
When we get to heaven, Jesus is going to tell us how happy He was with us when we did something nice to help a poor person.
Now, let me tell you of a real story that is in the Bible about a poor crippled man.
We do not know this mans real name, but we are going to call him; SICKLY SAM
In John Chapter 5: verses 1-14, we read the story about Sickly Sam.
His story is much like the story I just told you about the poor man who had to scramble into a garbage bin to get something to eat.
In the Bible we are told that Jesus found Sickly Sam laying on a mat beside the pool of Bethsada near the sheep gate. V:2
Everyday people would bring their blind, sick, paralyzed and crippled friends and family to the pool of Bethsada. V:4
Sickly Sam was a crippled man whom Jesus had found beside the pool of Bethesda laying on a mat.
Sickly Sams friends had been bringing him to the pool for 38 years.
It was believed that once a day an angel would come and stir the water in the pool.
It was also believed that anyone who entered the water when the water was stirred would be healed of whatever disease they may have.
But because Sickly Sam was crippled, he could not get into the pool when the water was stirred.
Always, someone else would go into the water before he could even crawl or drag himself into the water.
And no one would help him get into the water when the water was stirred.
So one day while Sickly Sam was laying by the pool of water, Jesus came and said:
Do you want to be healed?
Poor Sickly Sam!
He had no idea that the man talking to him was Jesus.
And he had no idea that because Jesus is God, He can do anything He wants.
So it is nothing for Jesus to be able to heal this man.
Sickly Sam answered and said; Oh, dear sir, I have no one to put me in the water when the water is stirred. And when I try to get into the water, someone else steps into the water before me.
Poor Sickly Sam !
He did not realize that Jesus did not want to help him get into the water, but that Jesus wanted to heal him completely.
To Sickly Sams surprise, Jesus said; Get up and take your mat and walk.
And to everyones surprise Sickly Sam did just that.
He stood up, and picked up his mat and walked.
Can you imagine the looks in all the peoples faces when they saw Sickly Sam get up and start walking?
Why, that cant be possible they would say to one another.
After all, Sickly Sam has been crippled for 38 years.
It wasnt long before the chief priest heard about this and he was angry, because according to the peoples laws, you cannot do any work on a, what we call a Sunday.
So the priest asked, how is it, and who was it that healed you on a Sunday.
Sickly Sam had no idea who it was that healed him.
All he knew is that earlier he could not walk, but now he could.
Was it wrong for Jesus to heal Sickly Sam just because it was a Sunday?
Of course not!
Jesus was showing the people that there is nothing wrong with helping the poor or helping someone in need, no matter what day it is.
Jesus was showing the people that sometimes mans laws are silly.
Just like it was silly for the restaurant owner to tell the poor man that he cant take scrap food out of the garbage bin.
So the next time you want to do something good or kind to someone, just do it no matter when or what day it is.
Jesus is happy when you good things to help others, especially for the poor no matter what day it is.
How Should the Church (Re-)Act When It Comes to Same-Sex Attractions?
When it comes to same-sex attractions, churches tend to (re-)act in completely different and mostly opposing ways:
1) There are churches who completely affirm all kind of same-sex behavior and relationships (usually referred to as “gay marriage”). Their theology goes somewhat like this: God gave those people same-sex attractions and this is why it also is alright with Him to live that way. Besides, Jesus is all about love and when people (no matter what sex they belong to) love one another, then this is fine with Him. Love can’t be wrong. Basically, those folks ground their theology on their personal experiences and emotions and interpret the Bible from that standpoint – instead of studying the Bible and living our lives according to the written and the living Word of God. God knew how deceitful our hearts and emotions can be and this is why He left us His written Word and also the Holy Spirit to guide His Church in order to give us something to hold on and to live by. Love as God sees it is not just a fuzzy feeling, but a life-giving, life-long, heterosexual & monogamous covenant where people give themselves (as opposed to a contract where people exchange property). A covenant that reflects the covenant of Christ with His Church.
2) Then you have churches that just don’t deal with same-sex attractions at all. Their view goes somewhat like this: We don’t have “that problem” and so we don’t need to talk about it. Also we don’t want to shy away people from our church services. The problem with that: First, every church that has a certain size is very likely to have “that problem”. Second, the church is not a hotel for saints, but a hospital for sinners. Obviously, it has greatly missed her job & vocation – else there wouldn’t be a need for ex-gay and purity ministries. Finally: Not talking about “the problem” does not make it go away. It does not help those concerned and also you will be very surprised when gay activists come breaking into your church doors someday, forcing you by law to hold same-sex “wedding ceremonies”.
3) Thirdly there are churches that seem have all the truth, but no grace at all. “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!”, “We love the sinner, but hate the sin!”, “It’s wrong because the Bible says so!” and statements like that might characterize those churches. The problem here: We cannot start reaching out to people in need by telling them what not to do, even more so when this is done from a standpoint that makes the person who issues those statements look like he or she does not belong to that group of “poor little sinners”, that just need to be told they are wrong and just need to “say no”. That has little to nothing to do with the Christian faith the way Jesus taught it. First, we need to understand about God’s love and grace at first place –and if we do we can – and should! – pass it on to others the way Jesus did. Everything else flows out of this. Remember the prostitute that Jesus saved from being stoned? He did not tell her, “Haven’t you read the Thora? What you are doing is wrong! Beat it!”. No, Jesus saved her from certain death before she could even say beep. Only then did He tell her to go and sin no more. Love comes before everything else – a love without any conditions (“I love you, but…”).
4) Finally, you have the churches that do not only welcome people with open arms and a loving heart, but also go out to look for those in need before they even think about knocking on church doors. They do not only re-act, but act. They love those that others look down upon and they do this because Jesus loved us first.
The Servant King
Mat 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (King James Version)
Matthew 20:25-28; John 13:1-17
(Song to listen to: The Servant King by Graham Kendrick. Copyright © 1983 Thankyou Music/PRS (adm. worldwide by worshiptogether.com Songs except for the UK and Europe, which is adm. by Kingsway Music).
Before class starts, go in and dump trash around the room, upturn tables and chairs.
When the kids come in, comment on the mess.
Lets clean up this mess before we begin our lesson for today.
Watch for their attitudes, verbally and bodily.
Do you think that a prime Minister, a president or a King would do what you and I have just done?
No, they would think that they are too important to stoop down and do the work of a cleaner.
They would call someone in who is either a slave or someone who earns maybe little money to come in and clean up the mess wouldnt they.
In their way of thinking, they would be too important to stoop down and get their hands dirty.
In the days of Jesus we know that there were no cars, and maybe only a few horses to get around.
Some perhaps if they were wealthy might have a donkey to move belongings around, or if you were really rich you might own a camel to be able to carry more things.
So to get around from one town to another most everyone walked.
And the roads and trails people walked around was very dusty and often you would have to try to step over and around animal droppings.
So it is safe to say that your feet got very dirty, because no one was wearing boots, or Nike running shoes.
What were the people wearing? Sandals of course?
Now, if you were perhaps a guest, especially an important person stopping in on someone, the owner of the house would have his slave to literally wash the peoples feet when the guest entered the home.
Do you think that God would wash someones feet? Why should He wash someone elses feet, after all He is the most powerful being in the entire world is He not?
Why should He lower Himself to the same status as a slave, a servant?
Lets read Read John 13:1-17 and see what God did one day just before Jesus was about to go to the cross.
1Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.
2And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him;
3Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;
4He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
5After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
6Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?
7Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
8Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
9Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.
10Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.
11For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.
12So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
13Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
14If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
15For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
16Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
17If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
(King James Version)
Now, we have talked about this before, is Jesus God? Yes He is. We can prove it in the Bible.
So we see from this account of what Jesus did that God does indeed stoop down and wash other peoples feet.
He showed that just because you are someone important, you also should humble yourself and not be scared to get your hands dirty to do dirty work or to serve, help others.
If were to turn back and read Matthew 25:31 -46, you will see what Jesus thinks of people who will not stoop down, humble themselves and serve and help others, and what He thinks of those who do.
31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
(King James Version)
And what is the punishment to those who will not humble themselves before their fellow man and ultimately to God Himself? Hell is their destination and punishment.
But to those who get down, get dirty and serve their fellow man in any way, their reward is what? Heaven and eternity with Jesus.
One last question, should you wait to be asked to do something when you can obviously see that someone needs help in some manner?
No of course not. If you see something needs to be done to help someone, whether they are rich or poor you should jump in and do it.
For example if you are at someones home and you see that perhaps the dishes need to be done after you have just had supper with them, you should begin immediately to help clean the table at least and offer to do the dishes, and or just start doing them.
So let this verse be a reminder to you to always be prepared to do your best to help others, whether they are rich or poor, whether powerful or slaves.
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:40 King James Version)
And remember also one other thing, Jesus served us in the most ultimate way, by coming to earth, and serving us by giving of Himself whole heartedly and dying on the cross for you, that you may have eternal life.
Php 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (King James Version)
What a better picture of humility and service is this, that we may follow after Him and do likewise and gladly serve others without grumbling about it and do whatever we can for others, knowing that in doing so, we are also pleasing and serving our God.
Trusting God Today, Tomorrow, and in the Future Matthew. 6: 25-34; 24; 1 Pet.5:7
What is a Phobia? A Phobia is the extreme fear of something. For just about anything you can imagine, there are people who are afraid of it. For example some of the more common phobias are:
Claustrophobia: which is the fear of being in tight quarters, like a closet or an elevator.
Arachnophobia: is the fear of spiders.
Aerophobia: is the fear of heights.
There are very many other phobias, some of which are very strange.
For example: Barophobia is the fear of gravity, Chromophobia is the fear of colours.
And here is a real strange one. Genuphobia, is the fear of knees.
And how about this one, optophobia. This is very common among many of us, especially teens. It is the fear of opening one's eyes, especially in the morning. Mom, I don't want to get out of bed!
What fears do you have?
Another very common phobia is anxiety. Anxiety, or being anxious is the fear, or worry about things that may or not happen.
For example many are afraid often of going on a trip because of the many possible unknowns like; What if I get sick, what if we are involved in an accident, what if the plane is late arriving or leaving etc.
In Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus gives us a picture of a few things that some may be anxious about.
Let's read these verses and see what He says about it and what to do about it.
"25 Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28 So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 Therefore do not worry, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or What shall we wear? 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (NKJV)
In these verses Jesus is talking about another common phobia called anxiety.
Anxiety is the fear or shall we say, being worried about things which may or may not happen, of things of which we have no control of.
What are the things that Jesus said that some people are anxious about, worried about.?
In verse 25 He says "do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on." (NKJV).
What does Jesus use to compare you to as to what God takes care of? Answer the birds.
What does Jesus say that God, the Father does for the birds? Answer- Feed them. V:26, and God of course has built within them the knowledge of how and where to build their nests.
And what does Jesus say about them as compared to you? He asks a rhetorical question and the answer is that you are more valuable than the birds to God the Father. A rhetorical question is a question asked to illustrate something that does not need and answer, because the answer is already known by the person it is asked of.
Jesus then gives a strange statement by asking you basically, can you add to your height by worrying about how tall you are?
He is in essence saying it is foolish to worry about things which you have no control of.
But by illustration of the following verse about who looks after the flowers and trees, He is showing us that we are also of more value to God than the flowers and the trees. And who looks after the flowers and the trees to make sure that they grow as they should, to make sure that they get the right amount of moisture and nutrients in the ground for them to grow? God does of course.
Jesus continues to tell us, that rather than worrying about the things of the world that He knows you need, we should instead be considering and spending more time with Him in reading His Word, the Bible, praying, and talking to others about Him.
(Matt 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." NKJV)
In conclusion to this lesson Jesus tells us we should not worry about the things which He knows we need or about things of the future. He is God and is in control of all things.
God is able and wants to take care of the needs in our lives.
By worrying, we are not giving Him the honour, the credit of being God.
By worrying it denies that God loves us.
By worrying it shows that we do not think that He is able to take care of us.
If we stop worrying, and let Him be God, and instead focus our attention on the things of God, He promises us that he will take care of everything we need now and in the future in every area of our life.
So why worry, why bother being anxious.
Or as I am fond of saying, why worry? If you worry you are going to die, if you don't worry you are still going to die, so why worry!
Let God be God. Let Him take care of the needs of your life. Leave all your worries, your problems, your anxieties to Him.
When God led His people through the wilderness after rescuing them from the bondage of Egypt, He took care of all their needs along the way. Did you notice that their clothing did not wear to the point where they did not need to keep looking for new clothes. God took care of that. Were they in need of food, or water, God took care of that. But sadly even though all their needs were being provided for, the people still not trust God to look after them. We too are like that all the time. We worry about tomorrow, we worry about two minutes from now. Why?
Does not God look after the birds of the air, the flowers and the trees? Does He not love you more than these?
So why worry, why allow yourself to be anxious and get yourself all tied up in knots, fretting about things that you have no control of to begin with. Being anxious causes sickness in your body. So why worry? Let God be God and let Him take care of all your needs and let Him be your God, doing what He loves to do, being your God and taking care of your daily needs. Let Him, will ya!
(Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.)
Mary Had a Little Pig
And the story is told of a grandfather reading the familiar poem of Mary had a little Lamb to his grandchildren around the kitchen table with a twist to it. The twist you see has a change of characters in it, or should I say the poem has an added animal to the familiar story, as well as a spiritual dimension to it. Read along and you will see what I mean.
Mary had a little pig and he was white as snow.
Thats after he had a bath, as of course you might know.
Now Mary had an awful time to keep that piggy clean.
For he was just the dirtiest pig that you have ever seen.
Shed wash and scrub him till he was squeaky clean.
As if he wanted her to know it wasnt a very good deal.
And then out in his backyard he would play from morning to night,
Unless he happened to sneak out and lose himself out of sight.
And when he got back he would be as black as before.
And Maryd get the soap again and scrub the pig some more.
Now Mary thought and wondered what could she ever do?
Until she figured out a plan, and this she carried through.
She took him to the doctor and put the pig to sleep.
And then they took his heart right out but not of course to keep.
And then they took a little lamb, and took out his heart too.
And put it in the little pig, before the piggy knew.
When the little piggy woke up, he had no more desires
to play in the mud or wallow in the muck.
And he thought and thought as hard as he could,
though he never understood
How such a pig as he once was, could ever be that good.
Now the grandfather said to the kids; So, we to are just like that little pig, we also need a new heart, that needs to be changed from the inside. His thinking was as obvious as can be, that we can be compared to this little piggy. We are born into this world as sinners, and that unless we have a change of heart, we shall always be as the little pig, just dirty little sinners.
Now, his youngest granddaughter was sitting at the kitchen counter playing with crayons and a coloring book. To his surprise she spoke up and said; But grandpa, what about the little lamb? What happened to him?
You see, grandpa forgot an important part of the story. The little lamb you see gave its heart so that the little pig could live. It would seem that the little girl remembered the Bible stories she heard about Jesus from Sunday School who was the lamb that gave His heart, His life that we also might live.
We also need to remember, it is not about us, the gospel story, it is about what He did!