Bridges begins the chapter with the story of Jesus healing the 10 lepers and how only one leper returned to thank Him for his healing. Bridges states, "Christ's giving us spiritual life is a far greater miracle, and its benefits are infinitely greater than healing from leprosy. Yet how often do we give thanks for our salvation?" Bridges points out from scripture that every breath we take and every material thing we have is a blessing from God and therefore our whole lives should be ones of continual thanksgiving. One of our "acceptable" sins is failing to continually give thanks to God. In Romans 1:18-32, Paul explains how God allowed the people of that day to downwardly spiral in their morality and gave them up to their own natural inclinations "because they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him." The people became more and more morally perverse and this is evidenced in our day as well. Paul also tells us in Thessalonians to give thanks in all circumstances, even those we don't necessarily feel thankful for. We need to thank God for the good He is working out in us, because God directs all circumstances for our good, even ones that don't feel comfortable to us. This means giving thanks with our hearts, not just our lips. Give thanks by faith in the promises of God. Bridges suggests memorizing the following verses to help us in giving thanks to God:
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Seriously, what do you do with people like this? He's sent to prison, but that's definitely not helping his kids. Even one of the mother's says at the end of the article, "Now my taxes will go to support him in prison."
-arises from longterm, on-going circumstances that we can do nothing about (ex. physical disability)
We have conditioned ourselves to respond to difficulties with anxiety, frustration, and discontentment and we feel these reactions are normal (they are-for sinful man!) So we need to consider these reactions as what they really are, sin, and that we are responding no differently than unbelievers when we react with anxiousness, frustration, or discontentment.
Piper's first plan of attack against sin is always to refer to applicable scripture. For example, for those with physical disability, remember Ps 139:13: "You formed my inward parts."
Piper also points out that only in acceptance do we find peace with our circumstances. This is different than resignation, which often leaves smoldering discontentment in its wake. Acceptance allows us to find ways to glorify God even through circumstances we find difficult because we realize that His plan is perfect.
Piper's theme in these last two chapters "is the importance of the firm belief in the sovereignty, wisdom, and goodness of God in all the circumstances of our lives." God has allowed these circumstances for His glory and our ultimate good.
This chapter deals with our expressions of anxiety and frustration in ordinary life.
*Anxiety is sin.
1. Anxiety is distrust in God. It is in essence believing that God does not care about me or the circumstances that cause my anxiety.
2. Anxiety is a lack of acceptance of God's providence in our lives. We tend to look at the little picture, the immediate causes of our anxiety, rather than God's bigger plan for our lives.
If all things are in his hand, if the very hairs of our head are numbered; if every event, great and small, is under the direction of his providence and purpose; and if he has a wise, holy, and gracious end in view, to which everything that happens is subordinate and subservient;--- then we have nothing to do, but with patience and humility to follow as he leads, and cheerfully t expect a happy issue. ~John Newton
It is appropriate to pray over the circumstances that lead to our anxiety, but always with an attitude of acceptance to whatever the outcome God provides.
Worry is often linked to more longterm and painful circumstances to which there seems to be no solution.
In regards to worry, we need to remember the promises of God (such as when Jesus says God does not forget a single sparrow) and pray for help with our unbelief.
Frustration involves being upset or even angry with things that disrupt our plans.
To help deal with frustration, Piper advises believers to meditate on applicable scripture (Ps 139:16) and to depend on the Holy Spirit through prayer, always remembering that the events of our lives are part of His plan for us.
Pictured is a young physician by the name of Dr. Roger Starner Jones. His short two-paragraph letter to the White House accurately puts the blame on a "Culture Crisis" instead of a "Health Care Crisis"..
It's worth a quick read:
Dear Mr. President: During my shift in the Emergency Room last night, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient whose smile revealed an expensive shiny gold tooth, whose body was adorned with a wide assortment of elaborate and costly tattoos, who wore a very expensive brand of tennis shoes and who chatted on a new cellular telephone equipped with a popular R&B ringtone.
While glancing over her patient chart, I happened to notice that her payer status was listed as "Medicaid"! During my examination of her, the patient informed me that she smokes more than one pack of cigarettes every day, eats only at fast-food take-outs, and somehow still has money to buy pretzels and beer. And, you and our Congress expect me to pay for this woman's health care? I contend that our nation's "health care crisis" is not the result of a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. Rather, it is the result of a "crisis of culture" a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on luxuries and vices while refusing to take care of one's self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance. It is a culture based in the irresponsible credo that "I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me". Once you fix this "culture crisis" that rewards irresponsibility and dependency, you'll be amazed at how quickly our nation's health care difficulties will disappear.
Respectfully, ROGER STARNER JONES, MD If you agree...pass it on.