I believe we all have had seasons of life when we feel overwhelmed by the complexities and difficulties we encounter daily. We feel we barely have enough energy to make it through any given day. In addition to all of the normal, everyday chores, routines and responsibilities we have, we are oftentimes broadsided by the unexpected. Then, anxiously in the midst of the current day, we worry about what tomorrow will bring. This one-two punch sends us into a tailspin that can threaten to paralyze us. Does this sound remotely familiar? In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus encourages us to not worry. Of course this is easier said than done. Nevertheless, Jesus offers compelling reasons to not worry. Since God so faithfully feeds the birds of the air and clothes the lilies of the field with such splendor, how much more will he care for his faithful children? Jesus then concludes with these words: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:33-34) Do these words resonate with you? They do with me. A pastor friend of mine has articulated it this way, “When I wake up in the morning, I petition God for his strength to see me through the day. In the evening, I am answerable to him for how I have conducted myself over the course of the day. God asks nothing more or nothing less from us.” Whatever your circumstances, I want to encourage you to not borrow trouble. Live in the moment with the awareness that the Lord is continually with us, maintaining an open-ended dialogue with him over the course of the day.
Keep the Faith,
If someone were to ask you, “Who are you,” how would you answer? I might answer, “My name is Tony Winterowd. I am a pastor, father, husband, American, tennis player and USC football fan.” But, do these descriptions define who I am or simply roles I play and preferences I may have? If we define ourselves in these terms, we will be disappointed…if not sooner than later. Why? It is because disappointment is inevitable in the roles we play. For example, if my identity is found in being a parent, what happens to my self-worth if my kids are disobedient or make poor choices? If my identity is defined by what I do for a living, what happens to my self-worth if I am laid off? We can take this a step further. If I perceive myself to be a sinner (though I may believe in Christ), how will this impact the way I behave? The answer, of course, is that my life will be characterized by sin. I will live like a sinner. Scripture is abundantly clear regarding our identity. John 1:12 reminds us, “Yet to all who receive him [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he [God] gave the right to become children of God.” 1 John 3:1 tells us, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.” Furthermore, Scripture is also abundantly clear in calling believers in Christ Saints. In fact, nowhere in the New Testament are believers referred to as sinners. In light of these Scriptural truths, we can ask ourselves, “Does what we do define who we are? Or, does who we are define what we do?” Defining ourselves as children of God will drive and impact what we do and how we live. Now, lest our heads swell regarding our standing before God as his children, let us remember that it is only by his grace that he receives us as his children; not anything we have done. Thus, we each can say, “I am not the great I AM. But, by the grace of God, I am what I am.” Dear Christian, you are a child of God – a saint who occasionally sins. Embrace this truth, and, by the strength and power of the Holy Spirit, live accordingly. Recommended reading: “Victory Over the Darkness” and “The Bondage Breaker” by Neil T. Anderson Keep the faith, Pastor Tony
Originally from Huntington Beach, CA, Tony received his Bachelor's degree in religion from USC and his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Talbot School of Theology. Tony loves spending time with his wife, Sheri, and their two sons and daughter (Bryce, Braden, and Brooke); cheering for the USC Trojan football team; and playing tennis.