Casting

castingThere are many times in the scripture where the word ‘cast’ is used. Webster’s New Dictionary defines ‘cast’ as an action verb meaning “to throw or fling, to hurl, to toss”. Usually the word ‘cast’ is used in the New Testament in connection with throwing or tossing a net to catch fish. “And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and his brother casting a net into the sea” (Mark 1:16).  “And He said unto them, ‘Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish” (John 21:6).  Most of us, when we hear the word ‘cast’, have a mental picture of a fisherman throwing a net out to encircle fish.

I want to consider a slightly different picture related to the word ‘cast’.  The one I want to focus on is found in 1 Peter 5:7: “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”  Recently, my daughter pointed this verse out to me. Our conversation centered on the fact that we are invited to ‘cast’ our cares on God.  We discussed the fact that we often take things to the Lord and then carry them away with us again.

There is a refrain in an old gospel song that says, “take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.”  That’s sound advice. We must have enough faith to believe that once we have given a burden to the Lord, He is going to take care of it. But, what particularly struck me about 1 Peter 5:7 is the phrase “casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.”  Casting is not a passive verb. It is an action verb. We are to throw burdens and cares onto the strong shoulders of the Lord.

When we cast our cares on Him, we must truly believe that He cares and that He will carry what we cast on Him. God’s word tells us in Isaiah 41:10: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.”

When the cares of life seem more than we can bear, we must not shrink intodepression and inactivity. It is time to take action. It is time to “cast all of our cares upon Him”.  Across 54 years of ministry, I have proven His care over and over again.

As I face tomorrow, I take great comfort in knowing the Lord’s promise, “And even to your old age I am He; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you” (Isa. 46:4).

~ Brother Roy

Smoke and Mirrors

smoke and mirrorsThe world that surrounds us is often more illusion than it is reality. Advertising is less about what a product can do and more about selling people an image. Photographs are airbrushed to hide blemishes. Claims about effectiveness are exaggerated and deceptive. Truth about politicians or merchandise is often relegated to the shadows, and a false impression created in its place. An idiomatic phrase is frequently employed to describe these deceptive practices. We say it’s all ‘smoke and mirrors’.

The ‘world’ that tries to sell us stuff would have us believe the way to happiness is alcohol consumption, flashy cars, and seductive clothing. The outer image is portrayed as reality, and the inner person is dismissed. Scripture gives a different picture. “…for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7b). 

Solomon, purported to be the wisest man who has ever lived, tried following the world’s illusions of the good life.  In his pursuit of happiness, he submerged himself in parties and laughter. He tried cheering himself with wine and consumed the finest food. He built palatial homes surrounded by gardens and flowers. He had multitudes of servants and amassed great quantities of silver, gold, and rare jewels. He pandered to his sexual appetites and indulged in all kinds of foolish behavior.  A person would be well-served to know how it all worked out for him. Solomon, in his own words said, “I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure.”  His conclusion was, “ Everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 2). 

Who knows better what will satisfy the longings people have than the One who created us? Accord me the privilege of sharing a few of God’s words from scripture:

Proverbs 27:20b –“the eyes of man are never satisfied.”

Matthew 13:22“… the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he (man) becometh unfruitful.”

Ephesians 4:14 – “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried  about with every wind of doctrine, by the slight of men, and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in weight to deceive.”

Proverbs 11:22 – “As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair women without discretion.”

1 Peter 3:3,4 (NIV)Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

It has been my observation across my lifetime that peace of heart and mind are far more important than all the “stuff” the world offers. What the world offers is mostly ‘smoke and mirrors’. Our eternal soul is the greatest possession we have.  Jesus said, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt 16:26).

~ Brother Roy

Morning Glories

morning gloryI am an early riser. If you ask my family they will surely testify to that fact. I love so many things about the first light of day. I love to watch the golden light of dawn chase the darkness away. The first song of the birds in the morning seems sweeter. One of my favorite flowers is the ‘Morning Glory’. This beautiful flower opens it’s delicate blossom to the early rays of the sun. It greets the dawn and gloriously displays God’s design and artistry. It closes as the heat of noonday approaches. If you want to see this intricate part of God’s creation, you need get up early.

There is a humorous saying describing how people approach the morning. Some joyfully say, “Good morning, Lord”, while others begrudgingly say, “Good Lord, it’s morning !”  I greet the Lord and the morning with delight. I revel in the following ‘Morning Glories’:

Glory of Morning Light – At the dawn of creation, “darkness was on the face of the deep. And God said, Let there be light and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness” (Genesis 1:2-4).The words of a contemporary song resonate with me each morning: “He wraps Himself in light, and darkness tries to hide and trembles at His voice, trembles at His voice. How great is our God!”

Glory of Creation – “The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament sheweth His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1).

Glory of His Presence – I rejoice each morning in knowing He is with me. “… for He hath said, ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee’” (Hebrews 13:5). He also said, “…and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20b).

Glory of Redemption“In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace;” (Ephesians 1:7).

Glory of a Fresh New Day – “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:23,24).

My heart sings in the morning to the glory of God:

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love.
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away.
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee, earth and heaven reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee, center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea,
Chanting bird and flowing fountain, call us to rejoice in Thee.

~ Brother Roy

Just for Today…

todayJust for today, let us live our best as Christ enables us. Just for today, let us live as we know we ought to live, as in our hearts we really want to live. Surely, a person can do anything for just one day. Jesus gives us advice on how to do this in Matthew 6:34: “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things comes up when the time comes” (Message Translation).

  • Just for today, let us live without fear of either life or death. Let us enjoy the moments of time we have right now.
  • Just for today, let us live this one day only. Let us forget problems from yesterday and not worry about problems that might arise tomorrow.
  • Just for today, let us count our blessing and focus on what we have and not on what we wish we had.
  • Just for today, let us be agreeable, cheerful, charitable, gracious; let us walk softly, praise people for what they do, not criticize them for what they cannot do, and if we find fault, forgive it and forget it.
  • Just for today, let us abandon all the grudges we have against people and life because we did not get what we think we ought to have.
  • Just for today, let us study something useful, which requires focus and concentration, and let us do a bit of real thinking. (The Bible is a good place to start.)
  • Just for today, let us find or make a little quiet time – to relax, to be still and know that God ‘is’ and that He loves us.
  • Just for today, let us walk in ‘the beauty of Holiness’, and in the words of an old hymn, let us “live above the world and sin, with hearts made pure and garments white and Christ enthroned within.”

The burden of mistakes in the past and the worry about things to come can overwhelm us. If we try to solve all of life’s problems at once, they will crush us. But, just for today, this one day, let us live victoriously.  And then when we do, we will know we can live one more day and one more day and one more day, until we realize we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens us” (Phil. 4:13).

~ Brother Roy