The Mumble and Grumble of Whinersville

grouchI had to get my atlas out last night to make sure I wasn’t lost.  It seemed like whether I was listening to my radio, watching TV, or reading the newspaper, people were whining:  “I deserve this,” or “I didn’t deserve that!”  I thought I had been mysteriously transported to Whinersville.

Whining, mumbling, and grumbling is a worldwide problem of epidemic proportions.  Europe, South America, Asia, Canada, and the good old USA are afflicted with this debilitating attitude.

This must be a centuries old problem because both Peter and Paul said  people should be careful about the expression of their attitude:

  • Peter said we should, “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling (I Peter 4:9).”
  • Paul said to, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation (Philippians 2:14-15).”

Before you complain to God, and say:  “This is something I don’t deserve.” Think about it.  Do you really want Him to serve you a plateful of what you deserve? When God fills my plate, I’m like a child:  I want a tiny portion of the Brussel sprouts of His judgment and heaping-helpings of His mercy-filled dips of mashed taters and cream gravy.  I never want what I deserve—the wilting heat of His anger.  I’d much rather bask in the Son-shine of His forgiveness.

Like David, we can find comfort in the loving nature of God and shout: “Lord, You are good and ready to forgive; and, Your abundant loyal love flows generously over all who cry out to You . . . guide me along Your path, so that I will live in Your truth (Psalm 86:10-11).”  Even whiners grow mute and their grumbles are silenced when they turn their thoughts to God’s “abundant loyal love.”

Your Piece of the World

03world-puzzleWhether you live in the USA, England, Europe, Africa, or Asia, there is one thing you hold in common.  You and the rest of humanity want peace in your piece of the world–certainly, this is the case in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio this morning.

I know I’ve grown weary of all the protests, murders, shootings, and rapes that I see on the screen of my TV.  The headlines of the newspaper are depressing with stories of theft, scandals, and abused children.

Here is what I am going to do in my piece of the world today. Instead of being, “overcome by evil, I’m going to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).”  I am going to try my best to, “pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another (Romans 14:19).”  J.B. Philipps translated this same verse in these words:  “Let us concentrate on the things which make for harmony, and on the growth of one another’s character.”

Will you join me and make this your goal for today:

  • I will pursue and concentrate on bringing peace to my piece of the world.
  • When confronted with the off-key and unkind remarks of others, I will try to bring harmony to the situation.
  • I will do my best to be a positive presence in the life of those I encounter.

So what in the world are you going to do today?  I encourage you to bring peace to your piece of the world.

A Good Shepherd and a Roaring Lion

Look at the noun and the adjective. God describes himself as more than a shepherd. He added the descriptive tag “good” to His chosen name of shepherd. He is the Good Shepherd.

If you live the nomadic life and sheep and goats are a part of your daily existence, you know much more about shepherds than most people. Central Asia, West Africa, the Middle East and Israel are regions of the world that know the importance of a good shepherd.

And that’s an important point. God could have said: “I’m the Shepherd,” but He didn’t. He also did not describe Himself as being a so-so shepherd or a little above average shepherd. He said He is the Good Shepherd, and He means GOOD is every sense of the word.

Notice the use of the analogy in Scripture:
• The Lord is my Shepherd (Psalm 23:10)
• We are your people, the sheep of your flock (Psalm 79:13).
• We are His people and the sheep of His pasture (Psalm 100:3).
• I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep (John 10:11).

The people to whom Jesus spoke were people who knew the job description of a shepherd: It is the job of the shepherd to:
• Find a sheep when it is lost.
• Carry a sheep when it has fallen and is injured.
• Rescue a sheep that is about to drown because its wet wool is dragging him down like an anchor.
• Doctor a sheep when it is sick.

The prophet Isaiah (53:6) explains why sheep need a shepherd: “All we like sheep have gone astray.” Any time you stray from the way of the Shepherd, there is the potential of danger. Peter said you need to, “Be clearheaded. Keep alert. Your accuser, the devil, is on the prowl like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (I Peter 5:8).”

I’ll close with Paul’s benediction to the Hebrews (13:20-21): “Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus—the great Shepherd of the sheep—with the blood of the everlasting covenant, equip you with all that is good to do His will, working in us what is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ. Glory belongs to Him forever and ever. Amen.”