Posts Tagged ‘grumbling’


I like eating in the local diners in small towns. I like eating at Pat’s. I like eating at the Halfway Restaurant and Tire Shop. The local diner is where you can hear about all the small town gossip. In fact, at one little diner I ate at, there was even a note under the glass counter where you paid that said:

“Not much happens in a small town, but what you hear makes up for it.”

We love to talk, to communicate with each other. After all, we are made in the image of God, and God is a God of communication. He loves to talk with us. He loves to communicate His truth to us in His Word, in His creation, in the social orders that he places us. In fact, I am a firm believer in the truth that if you want to speak to God, if you want to find God, He will reveal Himself to you. But you must seek Him as God of your life, and not as god911 to call when you have an emergency. He is not a god you can go shopping for like a good luck charm, or a piece of jewelry you can wear. If you seek to know your creator God, and live your life in Him and for Him, He will communicate with you.

Communication is important to us. Lydia and I just spent a week with over 3000 people in a small environment. All we did was talk; make new friends; meet people from different countries, different accents. One thing that I saw was common, regardless of what country we were from, is a little verse in James:

“All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:7, 8)

Now most of the time our conversation was polite, friendly, and civil. But every so often you would hear an occasional grumble. It might be a waiter we had befriended, complaining about the politics among the wait staff. One time a very pleasant older man made a comment about the town we had docked at, and the condition of the stores and the impoverished people. One time it was about all the children begging for money. One time it was even me grumbling about the price of taxi rides. Other times it was a comment about an older man with a much, much younger woman. Our tongues are great for communicating, but sometimes that communication can be negative.

This has been a year of not saying can’t, of seeking God’s Will, of learning all the great things we have through the Cross of Christ, of purposely seeking to be peacemakers, of getting close enough to our neighbors so that we can open our hearts to their needs, so that we can begin to be the physical representative of Jesus Christ.

The next few weeks are our holiday time, a time of giving thanks, a time of reflecting upon the incarnation of God in human flesh, the Baby Jesus, the Savior of the World. As we look forward to the New Year, 2011, God has challenged me to see 2011 as the year of DOING! I am convinced God has some great things in mind for this body to do, to reach for, and to accomplish. As He challenges me, and as I in obedience challenge you, the real test will come in our communication with each other and to our neighbors around us. What are we going to communicate?

What are we as Pleasant Prairie Baptist Church going to be saying to the world around us?

Rev 3:19-20  Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.  Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

Jesus has a huge investment in our church. He stands at the door of our church, knocking, and one of two things can happen. We open the door, let Him in, and through our communication with Him and with each other we feast, we fellowship, we grow, we see our body increase and grow stronger. Or something else happens; our communication turns negative, as James mentions:

Jas 5:9  Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.

James is saying that when we start to grumble against each other, instead of Jesus coming in for fellowship, he comes in as our judge!

Now which Jesus do you want coming into our church?

This grumbling can be out-and-out grumbling, but it can also be more subtle, like a sigh, or a groan.

When you were in school it could be the sound all the students make when the teacher says Pop Quiz. Or the coach saying “ten laps” or the Pastor saying …well, anything.

It also pictures a person who is fretful or impatient. I don’t have to complain with words to my wife when we are shopping. All I have to do is fold my arms, tap my foot, look at my watch, or wander off. My impatience is grumbling! Wives, you don’t have to verbally complain about your husband, all you have to do is sigh, roll your eyes, slam the plate down.

If your toes are starting to hurt, don’t think I’m picking on anyone. In fact, it’s time for me to come out of the closet! I am a closet grumbler! Anyone else want to admit it?

When it comes to grumbling, 99% of us are guilty. It is almost American to grumble about something. It can be the weather, it can be taxes, it can be politics, it can be the preacher, it can be this or that. Face it, we grumble. All I want us to see is how devastating it can be to the faith-life of a church. Because the minute a spirit of grumbling enters a church, that church has taken its eyes off Jesus Christ!

So, in light of Thanksgiving, and in light of Doing in 2011, my word to each of you this morning is to:

  • Stop your moaning.
  • Cease from Groaning.
  • Zip your griping.
  • Lose your beef
  • Throw out your carp.
  • Kill the grouse
  • 86 the complaining.

But most of all:

Quit Your Bellyaching!

The last sign I want to see over the door of PPBC is: “Not much happens in a small church, but what you hear makes up for it.”

I heard David Ring preach back in 1985. David Ring has Cerebral Palsy. He jerks his head and arms, has difficulty walking, talks with a jerky stutter. He is the last preacher you would want to listen to. But when he preached that morning, my heart was touched.

You think your life is tough? You think you have a reason to complain? How would you like to depend upon someone else to go the the bathroom? How would you like to depend on someone else to get out of bed in the morning? How would you like to take ten minutes to order a Big Mac?

He said over and over QUIT YOUR BELLYACHING!

I like to use bellyaching instead of grumbling, because the root of most complaining is pride, and the Bible uses the belly as a picture of pride:

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Php 3:17-21)

Satan rebelled from God because of his own pride. He appealed to Adam and Eve on the basis of their pride. “Isn’t that fruit beautiful? God doesn’t want you to eat it because He wants to keep you ignorant. You have a right to eat it. You have a right to know as much as God.”

So God said, “You think pride is such a good thing? Well, I’ll show you-since your belly is your god, try crawling on it the rest of eternity!”

So the next time you start bellyaching, just ask yourself: Is my belly my god? Is my pride my god?

  • “I paid a lot for this cruise; I shouldn’t have to put up with this.”
  • “I am an excellent waiter; they have no right to treat me like this.”
  • “That person shouldn’t do that, I know better how they should act.”
  • “I know how best to run this or that…”

Here is Life Advice from God’s Word:

Heb 13:5-6  Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

Bellyaching closes our eyes to God and His presence, God and His power!

God wants us to see Him in every situation we face. He wants us to depend upon Him in every circumstance, every hardship, every difficulty. Even when you want to bellyache about someone else in the church or at work, God wants you to look to Him. Jesus is entering the door of your heart and saying, “quit your bellyaching!” You are making your belly your God, and not me! Your contentment in not in me! You are minding earthly things! Stop it, because you are a citizen of heaven! He wants you to say the Lord is my helper! The Lord is in control! Don’t you believe that I AM your helper, I AM with you!

Remember when you were little, mom would say quit your crying or I’ll give you something to cry about! James is saying the exact same thing!

  • Quit Your Bellyaching! Or the judge will enter your life and give you a real bellyache!

If you are a closet bellyacher, this is hard to do!

Every day we are bombarded with situations, with news, with difficulties that just seem to bring out the bellyaching. Once a few people start, it just starts gathering more people, and soon it is an unstoppable boulder of bellyachers rolling down the hill.

One day there was a loud commotion coming from a children’s Sunday School room. Several adults hurried to the room to see what was going on. The door opened and a second grade boy came out saying: “We’re being bad, and we don’t know how to stop.”

Sometimes we adults don’t know how to stop either. We go on doing things the way we’ve always done them. We go on being critical of every new thing that comes our way. We go on running down our spouse or our church with our tongue and bellyaching without it even occurring to us that it takes a foul bird to (crap in) besmirch its own nest.

Isaiah paints a beautiful picture of heaven in Isaiah 65:

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress. No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain or bear children for calamity, for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the LORD, and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.(Isa 65:17-24)

In Heaven there is no remembrance of the past. The past destroys the beauty of God!

Paul knew that looking forward is the best way to stop bellyaching:

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

Memory does become a blindfold that keeps us groping in the darkness. Isaiah, by pointing the people to what God is going to do was the only way to get the people to open up the power of God and to stop them from bellyaching.

When we keep focusing on the past, or the things we don’t like about the present, we will never stop bellyaching. We’ll be like those second graders, “We’re being bad and we don’t know how to stop.”

What has the power to stop our bellyaching and get us to focus on God’s presence His power, and His future for us?

How do we stop our bellyaching?

We allow the Gospel of Christ into our daily lives. Not just on Sunday, but everyday!

When someone does something you think is wrong, remember, Jesus Christ loved that person enough to die for them. Whenever you are inconvenienced a bit, or have to sacrifice your precious time, remember what Jesus experienced for you. Remember what He sacrificed for you! Is it too hot? Jesus felt hell for you! Is it too cold? Jesus experienced the cold rejection of God for you. Is it too rainy? Jesus cried eternal tears for your salvation. No money to go out to eat-Jesus fasted 40 days for you. Complaining about a sickness or disease-Jesus became cursed and sin-sick for you. Down in your back? Jesus gave his back to the Cross. Your blood pressure a bit high? Jesus sweat drops of blood for you!

The Gospel of Jesus means that there is nothing to bellyache about! We have so much, we should be rejoicing all the time!

Hebrews 10 paints another picture of a True follower of Jesus:

For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. (Heb 10:36-39)

  • Bellyaching is the enemy of endurance.
  • Bellyachers shrink back and are destroyed.
  • Bellyachers lack faith
  • Bellyaching  is a sign of a weak soul.

Let’s read on and see how this works

And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets– who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated– of whom the world was not worthy–wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. (Heb 11:32-40)

Imagine if you will what would have happened to this great cloud of witnesses if they had been bellyachers…

  • Abraham…Come on Sarah, this desert is too harsh. These tents leak, it smells like wet goat after every rain. Let’s go back to Ur where we had a really nice home.
  • Joseph…you really made me suffer God. I had to eat rats in prison. No matter what good I did I got in trouble. I’m going to start worshipping one of these Egyptian gods. And by the way, brothers, you are going to prison for a very long time, so you will know exactly what I went through.
  • Moses…You want me to do what? God back to Egypt? No way God. You left me out here with these stupid stinking sheep for 40 years. That was no way to treat someone like me. I’m going to stay here enjoying my simple uncomplicated life. Those jews rejected me once, so they can just stay in Egypt and rot!
  • Joshua…fought a battle with trumpets
  • Gideon…faced a mighty army with 300 soldiers
  • Samson…eyes were put out
  • Barak…served under Deborah
  • Ezekiel…. laid on his left side for 390 days. Then his right side for 40

4 “Then lie on your left side, and place the punishment of the house of Israel upon it. For the number of the days that you lie on it, you shall bear their punishment. 5 For I assign to you a number of days, 390 days, equal to the number of the years of their punishment. So long shall you bear the punishment of the house of Israel. 6 And when you have completed these, you shall lie down a second time, but on your right side, and bear the punishment of the house of Judah. Forty days I assign you, a day for each year. 7 And you shall set your face toward the siege of Jerusalem, with your arm bared, and you shall prophesy against the city. 8 And behold, I will place cords upon you, so that you cannot turn from one side to the other, till you have completed the days of your siege. Ezekiel 4:4-8

  • John the Baptist…imprisoned

Everyone of the great men of the Bible had ample reasons to bellyache. Nothing we have gone through even compares with what they experienced. Instead of focusing on what they had, what their circumstances were, what had happened in the past…They looked forward to the PROMISES of GOD!

Thanksgiving should not be a time at just looking at the past…Thanksgiving should be a time of looking to the future!

Today these mighty witnesses are assembled over our church, cheering us on. They are saying quit your bellyaching! God is so powerful, so amazing! Trust in Him. Open your eyes to Him!

Remember the servant of Elisha? He had to have his eyes opened to see the forces of God! We should ask the same thing!

13 And he said, “Go and see where he is, that I may send and seize him.” It was told him, “Behold, he is in Dothan.” 14 So he sent there horses and chariots and a great army, and they came by night and surrounded the city. 15 When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” 16 He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6:13-17

Don’t look at what you don’t have! Don’t look at all the enemies, the hardships, the ‘impossibilities!

Get your eyes off your bellies and Look to Jesus!

Christians live the Gospel by their response to the Cross! If you think being a Christian means you are entitled, you are worshipping a Jesus that you have dreamed up. You might as well dress your Jesus up in a Santa Claus suit, because that is what He is to you. But that is not the Jesus Christ who walked this earth. That is not the Jesus Christ who one day will return as judge and King!

Your must make a choice-love your own life, or love Jesus Christ. Shrink from the cross, or carry your cross.

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Revelation 12:11

John Paton is not a well-known name in church history. He pastored a growing church in Scotland for 10 years in the 1800’s. God burdened his heart for New Hebrides, a group of islands in the Pacific. The natives were cannibals and had no gospel witness.

20 years earlier two missionaries had gone to the island and were promptly killed and eaten by the natives. Paton wrote that among the many who tried to talk him out of going was an elderly Christian who always ended his arguments with “The cannibals! You will be eaten by Cannibals!’

John Patton replied; “Sir, you are advanced in age and you own prospect is to lie in a grave and be eaten by worms. I confess to you, that if I can live and die serving and honoring the Lord Jesus, it will make no difference to me whether I am eaten by Cannibals or by worms. In the great resurrection day my body will arise just as fair as yours in the likeness of our Redeemer!”

At the age of 33 (1858) John Paton travelled to the New Hebrides with his wife. The journey was difficult. His wife and new-born son dies within four months of arriving. He was all alone, digging their graves with his bare hands. He faced threat after threat on his life. But in the years to come, countless cannibals across the Hebrides came to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. Churches across Australia, Scotland and the Western world were challenged by his example to send forth more missionaries to people who before that time were considered impossible to reach.

Bellyachers Make Excuses and Miss God’s Power!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted and start bellyaching! (Heb 12:1-3)

Are you a Christian? Do you know Jesus Christ? Have you been born again? Does Jesus rule your life or is he just your good luck charm?

Luke 9:62, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

  • There is no dead weight in God’s Kingdom.
  • Service is not an option.
  • A true christian realizes it costs something to follow Jesus
  • A true Christian realizes there is no room for bellyachers

The Hard is What Makes It Good

A League of Their Own, starring Tom Hanks and Geena Davis. Near the end of the film, the team coached by Tom Hanks is about play in the Girls’ Baseball World Series during World War II. Geena Davis, the star catcher, has decided to go home because her husband has returned from the war. Hanks confronts her by reminding her of how much she loves the game. “I don’t love it,” she says, “Not like you.” “Oh yes you do,” Hanks replies. “It’s in your blood.” “I can’t do it,” she says. “It’s too hard.”

At that moment Tom Hanks turns slightly, grabs his face, grimaces, and then says, “You’re right. It is hard. It’s supposed to be hard. The hard is what makes it good.” With that he joins the rest of the team on the bus while Geena Davis leaves with her husband. Later she returns in time for the seventh and deciding game of the series.

“It’s supposed to be hard. The hard is what makes it good.”

That’s not just true about baseball. That’s the truth about the Christian life.

It is hard. It’s supposed to be hard. The hard is what makes it good. And it will get rough. It always does. There will be hard days, bad days, sad days, discouraging days, confusing days, angry days, frustrating days, boring days, upsetting days, discombobulating days, and then there will be some really bad days.

The hard is what makes it good. Stop your complaining. Stop your bellyaching. Stop your moaning. Don’t be afraid of the Cross of Christ! Carry it with you, relish in the splinters, cherish the weight, the time will come when there will be no more memories of the troubles of the past! Only the JOY of His presence!

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I love this verse from Stuart Townend’s song “How Deep the Father’s Love for us”

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

If you have been a Christian for many years, it is easy to forget what a wretch you were. If you continue to walk close to the Lord, you will be mindful of that wretchedness. It is the walk of a wretched man saved by Jesus that is best suited to being a “Good Samaritan”. If you think you are something for God; if you walk around thinking that God is sure glad He got you, you will not be a Good Samaritan. Oh, sure, you love yourself, but you love yourself too much to ever reach out to the wretches living around you. The love you have for yourself is blinding you from seeing the needs of other wretches around you.

A Good Samaritan has no “walls” when it comes to the needs of his neighbors. A good samaritan is not afraid to get close to other “wretches” to see what their needs are. He sees no color, no race, no status, no religion. He sees the forsaken, the diseased, the impoverished, the disabled, the alone, the abandoned, the damaged. He not only looks close, but he does what he can to meet the needs of the “wretched”. Everything he has is Gods, and he holds nothing back from God or his neighbors.

The Good Samaritan does not go around boasting of what he does. You see, he is simply one wretch helping another wretch.

A person who is a living, walking, Good Samaritan reveals what is in his heart.

The Heart of a Good Samaritan reveals two things:

1. Our love for God and His Son Jesus Christ

2. Our love for people, the people that Jesus died on the cross to redeem the other “wretches”

  • These people were ugly, hateful, sinful, vile, sin-sick, hopeless, rebellious
  • But Jesus loved them, died for them
  • These people were you and me.

In effect, being a Good Samaritan unites us with the heart of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the ultimate Good Samaritan. He gave his all for our sake, the wounded, the captured, the bruised, the broken, the forsaken.

Satan and Sin had us in an eternal death grip, but Jesus Christ came to our side and freed us from the death grip of sin. He was our personal Good Samaritan.

The question I want to answer today: How do we continue our comittment to being Good Samaritans?

Now, I know that you do not normally think of yourself as being selfish, uncaring and unconcerned. Certainly the lawyer who asked Jesus the question “Who is my neighbor?” did not see himself as that way. He thought he was a model Jew, the best of the best. However, Jesus cut to the very depth of his soul by revealing his bias toward the Samaritans. He challenged him to see everyone, regardless of his or her religion or culture as his neighbor, worthy of his love.

Face it; it is easy to overlook certain people. It is easy to judge, condemn, and even isolate ourselves from certain people. However, Jesus challenges us to know that there is not one person on this earth that is not worthy of our love. Jesus wants us to know that He died for everyone, no matter how vile they are, or regardless of their religion or culture. We are not special. We are not better than anyone else is. They are our neighbor and needing our love because such were we! What is more, because of our busy and isolated lives, we lose sight of the needs of people who don’t live by us, or who are in neighborhoods we do not go to.

Practical Advice about Trip Hazards

Before we look at Scripture and see what can trip us up, I want to offer some practical advice for any Good Samaritan.

One problem facing many of us Baby Boomers in the troubled times we are in, is caring for our elderly parents, caring for a son or daughter out of work, caring for a spouse with a debilitating medical condition. Many find themselves in a Caregiver Role. To be a Caregiver is to provide financial, relational, physical, spiritual, or emotional support to someone who is unable to live independently like:

  • newborns or small children
  • those recovering from an injury or illness
  • aging loved ones
  • anyone facing a terminal illness
  • those who are disabled in some way (physically, mentally, emotionally)

This just about covers parents and people from all lifestyles and all ages, so it probably affects you or someone you care about. There are dangers involved in being a Caregiver or a ‘good Samaritan.’ One of those dangers is in the form of overwhelming stress or an overwhelming sense of helplessness.

There are CARETAKERS and there are CAREGIVERS.

A caretaker provides a level of compassionate service for someone in need. It is not usually overwhelming enough to create compassion fatigue or massive distress because there are clear boundaries, defined duties, and reasonable expectations, as well as defined hours of service.

Caregivers do the same work, but often with greater intensity, since they often aren’t compensated in some way and just work out of the goodness of their hearts to show compassion to the person in need. They often give and give expecting nothing in return, yet that is often why they run out of energy and burnout. They do not have defined hours, schedules, or budgets. It can get very stressful, very fast because they cannot do everything for everyone all the time without it leading to caregiver stress.

The Caregiver Stress Checklist

  • Am I easily agitated with those I love?
  • Am I becoming more critical of others?
  • Am I having difficulty laughing or having fun?
  • Am I turning down most invitations to be with others?
  • Am I feeling depressed about my situation?
  • Am I feeling hurt when my efforts go unnoticed?
  • Am I resentful when other family members are not helping?
  • Am I feeling trapped by all the responsibilities?
  • Am I being manipulated?
  • Am I missing sleep and regular exercise?
  • Am I too busy for quiet time with God?
  • Am I feeling guilty when I take time for myself?

Warning Signs of Caregiver Stress:

  • Physically – exhausted and worn out
  • Emotionally – resentful, stressed, bitter
  • Relationally – feeling used or unappreciated
  • Financially – overwhelmed or depleted

It is right to care for people in need. It is healthy to show compassion. Those are good things and make us feel better for having made a difference in the lives of others. You can show care in many ways and should. Caring is important, but there are some hidden dangers if you do not realize a simple truth.

TEAM GOOD SAMARITAN

The Parable of the Good Samaritan is a timeless story of being a compassionate caregiver.

We should not miss the truth of how to protect the Good Samaritan from compassion fatigue.

Yes, he jumped in to help a stranger, and, yes, he showed great love for another human being, but he did not do it alone! The Good Samaritan started a healing process in the life of a wounded man and allowed others, like the innkeeper, to be part of the team to make a positive difference in helping a man rebuild and recover. When you are part of a team helping someone going through a crisis, you are less likely to burnout. And that’s a good thing for everyone so you can have a lot more energy to help others for years to come.[1]

If we are to love our neighbors, and not suffer from burnout, or compassion fatigue, we must be part of a team. We must discover that there is help from a higher power!

For the heartsick, bleeding soul out there today who is desperate for a word of encouragement, let me assure you that you can trust this Lord of heaven and earth. There is security and rest in the wisdom of the eternal Scriptures. I believe the Lord can be trusted, even when He cannot be tracked. Of this you can be certain: Jehovah, King of kings and Lord of lords, is not pacing the corridors of heaven in confusion over the problems in your life!  He hung the worlds in space. He can handle the burdens that have weighed you down, and He cares about you deeply. He says to you, “Be still, and know that I am God”. Psalms 46:10   — James Dobson, Ph.D.[2]

GO TO THE THRONE

To be a Good Samaritan means that you memorize and take to heart Hebrews 4:14-16

14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16

We often think this verse applies to when we are being tempted. And that is a strong part of it, but the truth is that the weaknesses spoken about refers to illness, physical exhaustion, lack of strength, any condition of weakness that could lead us to lose heart, give up, have a breakdown, get hard hearted, get calloused, disillusioned. In other words, Jesus sympathizes with those conditions that could lead us to give up being a Good Samaritan, to give up following Him, to give up loving our neighbor.

We need to be a part of His team, we need to come boldly to the throne of grace, not only for help and strength for us, but for the ones we are caring for.

Mother’s, when you don’t think you can take care of an aging mom any more, when you have had your heart broken by a wayward son or daughter, when you are about to give up caring, go to the throne, go to the one who has been there, and realize His strength is yours, His grace and mercy are overflowing for those in need, exactly at the time you need it most!

What Will Trip Us Up?

What Keeps us from the throne? What will cause us to stumble and stop being a Good Samaritan?

There are four major reasons that we may stumble and fall, which will keep us from the throne of Grace.

These are found in verses preceding of Hebrews 4:14

1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2 For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’ ” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” 5 And again in this passage he said, “They shall not enter my rest.” 6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. 9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. 11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:1-13

FOUR TRIP HAZARDS

  1. Faith Connection (Weak or non-existent)
  2. Disobedience (Idolatry, Iniquity and Immorality)
  3. Bitterness (Hard Heart leading to no ability to sympathize)
  4. Grumbling- (Temporal Focus because of a messed up heart!)

1.  Faith Connection

  • Verse 2: For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.

Even though they had witnessed miraculous acts, God was still invisible to the wandering Jews. Whatever their thinking about who this invisible “I AM” was, it did not settle into their heart.

If you are going to continue to be a Good Samaritan, you have to have a daily faith connection to this awesome God, “the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. 1 Timothy 6:15

For anyone who desires to please God must believe that He is. Not only on Sunday, but you need a faith connection every day of the week.

Faith is a solid, substantiating force that sustains us during good times, bad times, and difficult times. Satan delights in getting you to doubt God, to ignore God, to resent God. Satan tries to sever your faith connection every day!

You faith connection will allow you to see God in the midst of the storm, in the midst of your exhaustion, in the midst of your struggles, in the midst of your frustrations.

This Christian walk is by faith and not sight, and as soon as you lose faith, or weaken in faith, you will stumble from being a Good Samaritan.

Genuine Love for you hurting and weak neighbors comes from your faith in our Loving God!

2.  Disobedience (Idolatry, Iniquity and Immorality)

  • Verse 6: “and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience”
  • 1 Cor 10:7-8 – Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.

The Wilderness Jews had a problem with idolatry. They put other things before God. Their broken faith connection did not allow them to see God in their everyday lives. So when Moses was gone for 40 days, they got nervous and afraid, and made their own god to worship. They disobeyed keeping the law, they disobeyed Moses, they lusted after things rather than desiring God.

Their disobedience grew from having a small god and large appetites for themselves. They put themselves before God.

It is good to do a heart check every so often. What are you desiring, what are you obsessing over?

When we take our eyes and our hearts off the desires of God, and put them on what we want or what we think we need, then we will stumble from being a Good Samaritan. We will take our eyes and our hearts off our neighbors.

Are you having conflicts in your marriage, in your relationships? Do a heart check! Perhaps you are putting your desires ahead of the other person. You may think you are right, but try humbling yourself before God, and then seeking Him until His desires become your desires in that situation.

Too many times conflict is caused and sustained by our selfishness and by putting things before our relationships.

3.  Bitterness (Hard Heart leading to inability to sympathize)

  • Verse 7: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts”.
  • 1 Cor 10:9 – We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents,

When we lose our faith connection, when we start putting our desires before God, it will not be too long before something happens in your life that causes you great hurt, great resentment, great anger. The Jews were upset over the desert, the food, the leader. They were angry, upset, and bitter. This bitterness led to hearts that were hard and insensitive to God.

You may have experienced this yourself.

You lost something/someone very dear to you, a son, a daughter, a wife. Or it could be an important job, a friendship. Children get bitter when they are forced to move, when divorce splits the home. Sickness, disease, an accident…anything that happens that directly affects our comfort, our life, our control. When life seems out of control, when our heart is broken, when we get angry, when we question what is going on…there is a temptation to lash out, get resentful, and the bitterness grows.

We must not put Christ to the test

Sinners are said to tempt God (Matt. 4:7; Luke 4:12; 10:25; Acts 5:9, peirázō; 1 Cor. 10:9), putting Him to the test, refusing to believe Him or His Word until He has manifested His power (Sept.: Deut. 6:16; 8:16; Ps. 78:18). When God is said to try (peirazō) man (Heb. 11:17 [cf. Gen. 22:1; Ex. 15:25]), in no other sense can He do this (James 1:13) but to train in order to elevate a person as a result of the self-knowledge which may be won through these testings (peirasmoí <G3986>). Thus, man may emerge from his testings holier, humbler, stronger than when he entered in (James 1:2, 12). [3]

I have known people who were so excited about serving God, who were so in love with Jesus, and because of some tragedy or some loss, have lost that love, that enthusiasm. They test Christ by saying, “if you love me, then you will make this right!” They believe that Jesus owes them and they get upset with Him when things don’t work out the way they think they should. What joy it is to know mature saints who have grown sweeter with the years, who have faced sorrows and heartaches yet their heart is still tender to God, still tender to the needs of those around them

We have a great friend of the family in Swann Bates. She is in he eighties now, and I had not seen her since my mom died in 1996. I had always admired her love for Jesus, her love for the word. She was one of those ‘refreshing’ saints that lifted everyone she met. I knew they had had some financial setbacks late in life, and i wondered how she would be when I went over to her place last Christmas. She was exactly as I remembered her, bubbly, in love with Jesus, refreshing, concerned about me and my family. She had grown sweeter with the years. A couple months ago she lost her daughter, Donna, to breast cancer. I called her up and left a message of consolation. She called me later, and instead of being down, expressed to me her praise for the Lord, her praise for the love of Christ. I could sense the tears, but her love for Jesus came through strong and loud.

I want to be a Mrs. Bates if I make it into my eighties! Don’t you? Praise God for the power of Jesus to make us sweeter through all this life brings us!

If you hear of someone’s need, or see someone hurting, and the Holy Spirit can’t tug at your heart, perhaps there is some bitterness that is spoiling your love.

Bitterness can ruin relationships, especially between a husband and wife, can ruin friendships, and can ruin your enthusiasm for worship, for serving in your church. It will harden your heart to the point where your love for your neighbor is gone, and all that is left is a huge fence.

It is hard putting your heart out there for anyone to step on it. It is hard serving people who are not grateful, who don’t seem to do anything for themselves, or who just seem to be milking the system. It is easy to say it does not do any good, but remember, Jesus Christ died for that person. Jesus Christ died for you. He put His heart out there for everyone to spit upon to beat to mock, and yet He still loved us, still suffered that horrible experience of the wrath of God being poured out on Him.

How is your heart? Is it as tender as when you were in school? Do you still care about the needs of those around you? Or is your heart crusted over, hardened by bitterness and unfulfilled expectations, hurts and losses. Any hurt, any loss pales in comparison with what Jesus Christ experienced for you.

4.  Grumbling- (Temporal Focus because of a messed up heart!)

  • Verse 13: And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account
  • 1 Cor 10: 10 “nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer”.
  • And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, and when the Lord heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp. Numbers 11:1
  • Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves.   John 6:43

When we lose our faith connection, when we lose our desire for God, when our heart becomes hard, it isn’t long before our attitude is affected. You can always tell when someone has a problem with God when they start grumbling.

It can be a little thing, but in my experience, grumblers never stop with little things (like the weather). Grumbling reveals that some things are not right in your heart. In addition, if your heart is not right, the grumbling will come out louder and with greater intensity.

I am not saying that all grumbling is bad. However, I am saying that God hates grumblers, because grumblers are not being thankful for Him!

“How long shall this wicked congregation grumble against me? I have heard the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against me. Numbers 14:27

DOES THIS SONG DESCRIBE ANYONE YOU KNOW?

The Grumble Song by Thoro Harris

In country, town, or city
Some people can be found
Who spend their lives in grumbling
At everything around
Oh yes, they always grumble
No matter what we say
For these are chronic grumblers
And they grumble night and day.
Chorus:
Oh, they grumble on Monday,
Tuesday, Wednesday,
Grumble on Thursday, too
Grumble on Friday, Saturday, Sunday,
Grumble the whole week through.
They grumble in the city
They grumble on the farm
They grumble at their neighbors
They think it is no harm;
They grumble at their husbands,
They grumble at their wives
They grumble at their children
But the grumbler never thrives.
They grumble when it’s raining
They grumble when it’s dry
And if the crops are failing
They grumble and they sigh
They grumble at low prices
And grumble when they’re high
They grumble all the year round
And they grumble till they die.
They grumble at the preacher
They grumble at his prayer
They grumble at his preaching
They grumble everywhere;
They grumble at God’s people
And say ’tis all display
But holy folks don’t grumble
They have only time to pray.
If you don’t quit your grumbling
And stop it now and here
You’ll never get to heaven
No grumblers enter there;
Repent and be converted
Be saved from all your sin
You know that grumbling Christians
Find it hard a crown to win.

Being a Good Samaritan can be difficult. Never do it on your own. Realize it is TEAM GOOD SAMARITAN THAT WILL ENDURE.

Come daily to the throne of grace, there you will find a loving Savior who sympathizes with everything you are trying to do, with everything you are going through. He wants to join His heart and strength with yours in meeting the needs of your neighbors. He offers His grace and strength at just the right time.

  • We need to give Him our hearts daily
  • We need to follow Him daily
  • We need to rejoice and be thankful daily

JESUS is our example. He is our Good Samaritan.

If we lose our faith connection, if we start going our own way, if our hearts get hard through bitterness, if we start to grumble because we have taken our eyes off Jesus and started looking at circumstances instead of Him, then we will give up being a good Samaritan, we will lose our love for our neighbors, we will build walls around our lives, and we will become a grumbler.

And like the Jews in the wilderness, we will lose our way and be overcome in the wilderness.

Do you love Jesus?

Do you love Jesus?

Do you Love Jesus?

Then feed HIS lambs! Jesus says, “Feed My lambs.” Jesus wants us to take care of HIS lambs. And for us to do that, we must be connected to Him by love. His heart must be our heart!

The Lord would answer, “Ah, Peter, and I love you”; but He did not say so, and yet He did say so. Perhaps Peter did not see His meaning; but we can see it, for our minds are not confused as Peter’s was on that memorable morning. Jesus did in effect say, “I love you so that I trust you with that which I purchased with My heart’s blood. The dearest thing I have in all the world is My flock: see, Simon, I have such confidence in you, I so wholly rely on your integrity as being a sincere lover of Me, that I make you a shepherd to My sheep. These are all I have on earth, I gave everything for them, even My life; and now, Simon, son of Jonas, take care of them for Me.” Oh, it was “kindly spoken.” It was the great heart of Christ saying, “Poor Peter, come right in and share My dearest cares.”[4]


[2] Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group, http://www.LifeWorksGroup.org eNews (Copyright, 2004-2008, by the LifeWorks Group in Florida. 407-647-7005).

[3] Complete Word Study Dictionary, The New Testament.