Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

A number of years ago a very popular saying started showing up on tee shirts, coffee mugs, social media, and in conversations. “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff,” quickly became the new “buzz” phrase.

However, what does this ACTUALLY mean? The Bible says in Philippians 4: 6-8,

 Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Also, in Matthew 6: 25-34 it states,

25 Therefore I say unto you, Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment? 26 Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto [a]the measure of his life? 28 And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

As a Christian, not sweating the small stuff means that I need to look at life thru a completely different lens. It means that I have an advocate when life’s challenges come. Not only does God NOT want me to not sweat the small stuff, but God also doesn’t want us to sweat ANY stuff!

God tells me to cast the WHOLE of my care on Him, because He cares for me! I Peter 5:7 Allow God to take all of your burdens. He is very capable of handling it all!

This is Leslie Eaddy Brooks, Think about It.

Forgetting the Weightier Matters!

This morning I awoke with the words in my title on my mind. I immediately went to the scriptures to get the complete context of this phrase. Matthews 23:1-36 states,

 “Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. 4 For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5 But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. 6 They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, 7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ 8 But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. 11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore, you will receive greater condemnation.

15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of [h]hell as yourselves.

16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’ 17 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that [i]sanctifies the gold? 18 And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.’ 19 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20 Therefore he who [j]swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. 21 He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who [k]dwells in it. 22 And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint, anise, and cumin and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and [l]self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and [m]adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’

31 “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. 33 Serpents, brood[n] of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? 34 Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, 35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

Let us make sure we are not doing outward acts and forgetting the weightier matters of the law LIKE justice, mercy, and faith!

This is Leslie Eaddy Brooks, Think About It.

Eat The ENTIRE Meal!

I like green salads. I like the varieties of ingredients that go into making a salad. Most green salads contain loads of healthy ingredients that are good for the body. The great thing about salads is that you can be as creative with them as you want.

I remember watching videos of babies tasting various types of vegetables from salads and the faces they would make because the taste of those vegetables was not necessarily what they expected, or they didn’t like it!

I’ve also seen where babies were given an ingredient in a salad, like a slice of apple, and their little faces would light up with excitement as they motioned with their little hands that they wanted more!

Using this analogy of green salads, how many of us want to pick and choose the aspects of God’s word that suits our fancy but discard the parts that cause us growing pains.

Growing pains are very real and they don’t “feel” good.

King David wrote in Psalms 119:71, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.”

Also, in Romans 5:1-5, it says, Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Finally, in Acts 20:27, Paul in his farewell to the Ephesians states, “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.”

It is important that we desire and seek to know ALL of God’s counsel and not be just satisfied with the parts that feel good or speak of only the parts we want to hear. We must equally be willing to endure the not-so-enjoyable parts that stretch us and cause us discomfort. It is in that stretching process where God is working on our spiritual muscles and positioning us to be victorious in every situation.

“Wisdom is the principal thing; THEREFORE, get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7

This is Leslie Eaddy Brooks, Think About It.

Nice vs Good

I am sure we have heard it a thousand times that someone is “nice,” or that they do “nice things.” My husband and I were having a conversation centered around the word and in all my reading of the Bible, I don’t ever recall the adjective “nice” being used to describe Jesus.

This made me curious about the definition of this word. Merriam-Webster defines nice as “polite, kind; pleasing, agreeable; appropriate, fitting; socially acceptable, well-bred; virtuous, respectable.”

Some of the words we do see in the Bible to describe the Godhead is found in scriptures such as:

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

I John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

Hebrews 12:6-11 For whom the Lord loves He chastens and scourges every son whom He receives.” 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

John 16:13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”

Just because someone is “nice” to you doesn’t mean they “love” you or it is goodness on display. There could be underlying resentment or anger in their hearts toward you. You see, being nice is only an outward display but love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance are the fruit or evidence of the spirit. Galatians 5:22-23

By the same token, there is no disputing that God loves me. However, His Lovingkindness and goodness does not always feel “nice.” We see earlier that those whom the Lord loves he corrects and chastens. Does this mean He isn’t “good” to us? No, on the contrary, God is being good to us even in times of correction. Good parents are not always “nice” to their children, but what they teach them is for their good!

I encourage us to allow God to develop His character traits in us so that when people say we are “nice,” our hearts truly line up with our actions!

This is Leslie Eaddy Brooks, Think About It.

Testing Comes After The Instruction

Throughout the New Testament, we see many parables. The parables were simple stories Jesus used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson in the Gospels. Their purpose is for us to focus on God and his kingdom. These stories reveal the character of God: what He is like, how He works, and what He expects from his followers. (Zavada, 2020)

In addition to the parables, there are so many other lessons God teaches us in His word. The Bible states in 2 Timothy 3:16-17,

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

God’s ultimate goal is to grow us up in Him. This growth process includes lessons as well as testing. Much like students in a classroom, a teacher will first teach a lesson and then test us on that lesson to see if we were truly paying attention and learning what we were being taught. If the majority of the class passes the test, but a few students fail the test, with all other things being equal, the teacher can only deduce that the student was not paying attention when the lesson or principle was being taught. In the same way, God also allows us to experience challenges or testing to see if we have allowed His word to become real to us in order to mature us and strengthen our spiritual muscles.

We don’t get to forgo the test just because we may choose not to listen to the lesson when it is being taught.

As we saw in the scripture earlier, all scripture is the inspiration of God and is profitable for instruction in righteousness.

Beloved, I encourage you to focus your eyes, tune your ears, and open your hearts to really pay attention to the lessons God is teaching us. You will surely have a testing period and if you have been learning the lessons, you will begin to see success when testing time comes!

This is Leslie Eaddy Brooks, Think About It.

Zavada, Jack, (2020, August 28)  

(What Is a Parable? https://www.learnreligions.com/what-is-a-parable-700744)