Who Cares?

1 Peter 5: 7

Casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.

Whenever I ask our Father what message He wants to give to His people, His answer is always the same, “Tell My people I love them.” That is the Father’s heart and that is the message He is sending today through this devotional. If you read no further, just hear, “Your Father, Yahweh, loves you!” Today the message of His love comes in the form of His care for you. There are two things I want to discuss about this verse. First, it’s just about His love. Second, I want to discuss anxiety for a moment.

God cares for you. Indeed, He cares for every single person on this planet. It doesn’t matter if you are black, white, European or Chinese. He loves you. He grieves at every single loss of life. Think of it, He knows, personally, every single person who has died of covid-19. As of this moment, 165,188 people have died from this disease. Now think how you would feel if you knew every one of those people. The reality of how many people have died is overwhelming as it is, but it would be devastating to have that many of your loved ones die before their time.

God cares for you and He loves you like He loves Jesus. You are His joy and delight. He cares about how you may be feeling at this moment. He cares that your heart grieves or that you worry. He is with you as you experience feelings of anxiety and even cabin fever. You have not had a thought or an emotion that He has not shared with you. Moreover, He longs to comfort you.

That brings up this question, “Did God send the corona virus infection into the earth?” The answer is easy, and it is an unequivocal, “No!” How could He since He is the embodiment of love? Why would He? Why would He torment Himself with over 100,000 deaths of those whom He loves? We cannot even fathom how much He loves us. His love for us is deeper than the deepest ocean, higher than the highest mountain peak. It is broader than the entire expanse of space and more intense than the brightest sun. He feels all our pain as if it is His own, because it is. So, no, our beloved Father did not send this catastrophe into the earth. He isn’t judging the earth or the people in it. In fact, the more you read the Bible the more you appreciate not only His love for us but also that He took care of the judgment problem long ago. That is the entire reason He sent Jesus into the earth. He did not send a virus; He sent a savior. That is one of the strongest theological statements I, or anyone else, has ever made. It contains the essence of volumes upon volumes of theology. He is our God and Father. Jesus is our Lord and shepherd. Would it make any sense for our God to slaughter Jesus’ sheep, the sheep for which he is responsible?

Last, I said I wanted to discuss anxiety for a moment. While some folks are enjoying a vacation at home and working on household projects, there are others who are feeling stressed and anxious. As this situation wears on, it is having an emotional impact on many people. We are directed to “cast” our anxiety and stress over to our Father. My friends, Charity Kayembe and Ann Musico have collaborated on an article which will help us do that. In the article, they explain a simple, yet effective, technique which can be used to dissipate stress. It is so easy you can use it every day. Click here to go to the IveyMinistries.org home page where you will find this article on anxiety and stress relief. Click on the picture with the frayed, ready to snap rope.

If you have never forwarded a Word of the Day to anyone, may I suggest that today is the day to change that? The article by Ann and Charity can help in this time of great need, it can even, literally, save someone’s life.

Casting Lessons

Psalm 55: 22

Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

This is from yesterday’s psalm. The good news in this verse is too good to pass up. Undoubtedly it puts you in remembrance of 1 Peter 5: 7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you,” (NIV). I love finding these Old Testament passages which are the mirror reflection of New Testament verses which we hold so dear. It is easy to get lulled into the idea that the God of the Old Testament is very different from the New Testament God. We end up cherishing the New Testament as our Bible and all too often neglecting the Old Testament which is great error.

God always cared for us as His own. He always wanted us to give Him our cares and worries. His intent was always to carry our burdens and give us His peace. Remember this psalm was written by David. Here is how it reads in the Passion Translation, “So here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Leave all your cares and anxieties at the feet of the Lord, and measureless grace will strengthen you.” David learned how to give all his care, anxiety and worries to the Lord in exchange for the Lord’s measureless grace. Can you even contain that idea? It’s amazing really. I like that we receive this wisdom from David because he tested the Lord’s ability to save, rescue, and protect. Was anyone as persecuted as David. Even in the throne room he had spears hurled at him, but the Lord always delivered him. David had plenty of worries and lots of anxiety so if he was able to exchange that load and in return receive boundless grace which strengthens, then we ought to be able to do the same thing. We have worries and anxieties but at least we do not have actual spears being thrown at us. So, I feel like if God’s grace was sufficient for David, it should be enough for me too.

Jesus told us to take his yoke upon us because it is light. He will carry our burden, freeing us from anxiety and worry. In fact, it’s wrong of us to worry and fret and may I tell you the entire truth? It is sin. Jesus has himself said not to worry. The Holy Spirit through Peter told us to cast all our care upon the Lord so if we are not doing so, we are sinning. We need to think through these passages and understand this truth. Sometimes we think it is holy to worry or irresponsible not to worry. Both are wrong thoughts. Both are self-righteous exaltations of ourselves as our own Gods. We were never meant to carry the troubles on our shoulders. We have received a direct order from the King, “Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you.” To fail to cast your burden onto Him is to exalt yourself as your own God. This is serious business. Sometimes you just need to ask, “Who is my God? Is it me or Yahweh?” Our behaviors might portray a different answer than the one we wish to live by. Why are you worried? What has you upset? Do as the Passion Translation says for 1 Peter 5: 7, “Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you.” That’s the right way to live, the way God intended, the way He has commanded.

Take Care

Luke 10: 41              KJV

And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things.

The word “careful” has become iconic in the American lexicon. We have adopted expressions like “Take Care” and “Be Careful” as routine sayings, by which we mean to bestow good tidings to the recipient. However, this is one of those uses of language which we all too easily fall into, not really appreciating the actual conveyance of meaning. In other words, it has become a normative expression without regard to its literal meaning. These expressions which creep into the vernacular without due notice given to their true meaning may well be what Jesus referred to in Matthew 12: 36 when he said, “I can guarantee that on judgment day people will have to give an account of every careless word they say.”

I have written on this before but I find it so prevalent in our society that I feel I must remind myself and others of this pitfall. There are many truths wrapped around this topic the greatest of which is that it is a violation of scripture. We say these words, well-intentioned, intending to bless others, but no expression which violates scripture can ever be the source of blessing. In today’s verse, Jesus conveyed the exact opposite message to Martha. He told her, “Martha you are full of care.” That is what careful means, full of care. He went on to tell her that there was only one thing that was needful, only one thing with which she need concern herself. That, of course, was himself. Keeping our minds and hearts on Jesus is the prescription, rather than worrying or being full of care about the many incidents of life. Matthew 6: 34 is illustrative in this matter, “Be not careful therefore for the morrow,” Jesus said, “for the morrow shall be careful about itself. Sufficient to the day [is] its own evil” (Darby Translation). Even though each day has its share of issues, Jesus said not to be full of the care of them. Tomorrow will take care of tomorrow. What about today then? Today is the only day we need concern ourselves with. Is that the same as saying that today is the only day we need worry about? No, that is being full of care again. Jesus addressed this in Matthew 11: 28, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”

We are supposed to take all of our worries and cares and give them to Jesus. He will, in exchange, give us rest. He will release us from our burdens and carry them himself or if you wish to know the fullness of truth, he already carried those cares to the cross. Peter expressed it this way, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5: 7 KJV). We are supposed to cast all our care on him, not carry it. Therefore, taking care, being careful, or not fully casting our care upon the Lord is completely contrary to the teachings of the Lord Jesus. As such, it is a violation of Scripture and, if you have ears to hear, sin.

Whatsmore, this idea of taking care and being careful is born of and perpetuates fear. Today at the YMCA I heard a lady bestowing what I believe was meant to be good wishes to a couple who is leaving today for Maui. She said, “Be careful. Don’t go scuba diving.” Despite what may have been well-intentioned, what was conveyed was fear and fear polluted the environment. One need not be very sensitive or tuned in to have felt the immediate change in the atmosphere. All fear is of the devil. Our God is a God of faith. Fear comes right out of hell for there is no fear in heaven. There is only trust, faith and well-being in the Kingdom of God.

So, with fervent prayer and pastoral concern, I implore you to eliminate this language from your vocabulary. Tell people to have a great day, be blessed of the Lord, be faithful. Give them words of faith and encouragement rather than a caution rooted in fear. Further, don’t allow people to speak these unscriptural words into your life. Help them to find better expressions, expressions which will bless rather than hinder, words which comport with the message of Jesus instead of flying in the face of his teachings. All the world will be a better place as we do. Be blessed!

Casting

Psalm 55: 22

Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you.

Tuesday we looked at 1 Peter 5: 7 which reads, “casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” Seeing this same idea in the Old Testament brings three thoughts. The first thing which occurs to me is that God has not changed (Malachi 3: 6). The Old Testament God wants to care for us just like the New Testament God does. Secondly, it seems to me that Peter was increasing the understanding of Psalm 55 in his statement. Peter’s ministry was predominantly to Jews. Therefore, his audience would already know Psalm 55 and to cast their burdens onto the Lord.  They would also have known that this is the methodology for receiving God’s sustenance. Peter’s teaching explains why God gave them Psalm 55 in the first place. Peter explains that all of this is because God cares for us. 

Lastly, we can enter this verse through the back door and really wrap Psalm 55 and 1 Peter 5: 7 up in a pretty bow. The backdoor is that God wishes to sustain us. Therefore, He teaches us to cast our care upon Him. In other words, if you want God to sustain you then He has shown us that the way to receive that sustenance is to give Him all of our cares and burdens. Begin with the result and work your way backward to find out what you must do in order to receive that result. Do not stop there, though. The conclusion is that God provides our sustenance and the methodology for receiving it because He cares for us. We get to see His motivation for ever speaking Psalm 55.

For thousands of years now God has been calling us to go to Him to receive our daily bread and every other need met as well. He calls to us because He loves us and wants to take care of us. That is why it is almost sinful for us to “take care”. That is the role God has appointed for Himself. He is the ultimate caregiver, so roll all of your cares over on Him and receive the sustaining grace of His love.

Faithful Fear

Job 3:25

For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.

It is a spiritual law that those things which we greatly fear, we will attract to us. Why? We meditate on it. We roll it around and around in our minds until it takes on a life of its own. As we think on that thing of which we are afraid, we experience many of the same emotions and almost to the same intensity level as if they really happened. In our imagination they are real and they have life. The next thing you know we start spitting that unbelief and fear out of our mouths. Language is how God created all that is. Our words have tremendous power in our lives. So when we harbor fear and dread in our hearts we continually give it life until we finally give birth to that which we have most feared.

But take heart! Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4: 18) and God is love (1 John 4: 8). God is that perfect love which has been shed abroad in our hearts (Romans 5: 5). Cast all of your care upon him; cast all that you fear into his hands because he cares for you (1 Peter 5: 7). You now have no reason to fear. He has taken all of the fear unto himself and given you his perfect love in its place. Meditate on the depth of God’s love for you and you will be so full that there will be no place for that fear any longer. Bless God!

Inbox

1 Peter 5: 7

Casting all your care upon Him for He cares for you.

This is the instruction the Lord gives for all the worry and care that plague you. Give it to Him. Roll all of the care of your problems and concerns over onto Him. Take the problem and mentally see yourself putting it in God’s “In box”. Write it on a piece of paper and make an “In” box if you need to but get that junk out of your mind and out of your Spirit. Put it in to the hands of He who is well able to resolve all of the problems. All that junk just hampers your creativity and takes your mind off of your relationship with your Father. Turn off that stuff and turn your thoughts on to the God of creation. Hand the problem to Him in prayer and then move on. He is waiting to take on every single problem in your life. Give Him a job.

Care Giver

Psalm 55: 22

Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

Jesus made us the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5: 21). That means we need not ever be shaken. That is good news, yes? But there is another aspect of this right standing with God that we need to appreciate. Peter wrote about it in 1 Peter 5: 7, “casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” The King James Version says to cast all your care upon Him. The promise of God is that He will sustain us but we must first cast our care upon Him. How can He sustain us if we are carrying the burden? We have to give Him our cares if we want Him to carry them.

 It may sound like a small thing but I really do cringe when I hear Christians telling each other to “take care.” I have said that for so many years myself and now I try to arrest myself and even correct that expression when I hear it coming out of my mouth. It is unscriptural, unbiblical and it kinda bugs me because while it may seem like a small thing it still is undermining the operation of the Kingdom of God. There are properties of the Kingdom of God just like there are the properties of physics. If you try to defy the laws of physics you will get a revelation in a hurry. When we violate the Kingdom principles we will experience the ramifications of those choices as well. Then many of us end up saying, “This faith stuff doesn’t work” or “God didn’t come through for me.” That is like saying God threw me down on the pavement when you jumped out of the third story window. Hello! The laws always work. Gravity doesn’t turn off just because we pray. The Kingdom laws are the same way. We cannot concurrently take care and give our care to the Lord. It is one or the other. And the Lord cannot sustain us if we don’t give Him the care of things. Do you see how the package all fits together? Really it is about our relationship with Him and trust. We are encouraged to cast all of our burdens on the Lord and let Him take care of them. Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Implied in there is that you are supposed to give him the weight of those heavy burdens. It is all consistent. God wants to be our care taker. He wants to sustain us and carry our heavy burdens but we must first release them to Him. Then we will not be shaken because He is the keeper of our souls, the bearer of our burdens and the sustainer of our lives.