The Danger of Light and Joy

Quote

Tell me, Legolas, why did I come on this Quest? Little did I know where the chief peril lay! True Elrond spoke, saying that we could not foresee what we might meet upon our road. Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me back. But I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy. Now I have taken my worst wound in this parting, even if I were to go this night straight to the Dark Lord.

– Gimli on leaving Galadriel in Lothlorien, in The Fellowhip of the Ring, J.R.R Tolkien, 1954

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The Hunger Games

Many, many people I know have read these books now so I thought it was about time I jumped on the bandwagon. I managed to read all three (they’re each about 450 pages long) in just five days – I’m not sure if that says more about the books or my vast amount of free time pre-semester – and am torn between loving them and writing them off as more Twlilight-esque drivel. Or maybe that’s the same thing?

*Spoiler Alert*

So the similarities with Twilight are pretty obvious. Teenage female central character who strops a lot. Weird love triangle where female central character can’t decide who she loves. Continuous build up of suspense to be thoroughly disappointed by lack of action (usually as female central character blacks out). I just hope Jennifer Lawrence can pull off moody female protagonist better than Kristen Stewart when the movie comes out in March.

But the books do point to something deeper. Set in a futuristic North America, where the majority of the human race has been wiped out through civil war, those in command in the Capitol keep their subjects in the outlying districts under control by forcing them to sacrifice two of their young people to the deadliest form reality TV has ever taken. The Hunger Games. Twenty-four teenagers must fight to the death for the entertainment of the Capitol citizens and to remind the districts that the Capitol is in control. Eventually, partly due to the actions of the main characters as they fight for their lives in the arena, a rebellion begins as the districts try to overthrow the corrupt regime.

An interesting comment on reality TV and the perverse ends such forms of “entertainment” might one day be used for, has become much more, I think, in light of the Arab Spring this past year. Suzanne Collins presents different reactions to such situations of oppression – do you subvert the system with acts of non-violent rebellion or resort to militarization and force? And does one necessarily lead to the next if there is to be true liberation? She also conveys the corrupting nature of power and the dangers of trying to establish a democracy, especially when a rebellion has a clear leader who wishes to step in to the power seat.

Though the books were clever and entertaining and just the break from reality that I needed before the craziness of semester begins, there were moments of disappointment. Such as the numerous times when the protagonist would black out or be injured just at the climax of an event and we would have to hear about it hurriedly through its retelling by another character. There were also moments, in the last few chapters of the third book in particular, where I actually laughed out loud at the stupidity of the characters or the predictability of the plot.

I’m still really looking forward to the movie though.

Room

The second of three books I bought in the middle of last semester (the first being One Day), Room by Emma Donaghue is the story of Jack and his Ma, who live in Room.

I bought this because of the blurb, which simply says:

Jack is five.
He lives in a single, locked room with his Ma.

And that was it!! I had to read it to find out about this poor wee boy, not caring or knowing what the plotline was. It turned out, however, that the story was as haunting as the blurb.

I don’t want to ruin it for you but I will say that I thought the way it was written from Jack’s perspective was very clever. It’s a fascinating exercise in understanding the mind of a child who accepts everything you tell them and cannot think beyond what you tell them. Then, to see the only world which they have ever known shattered and them have to rebuild their entire system of understanding is so interesting.
(I read a book written on a similar premise called Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli a number of years ago. It’s a child’s perspective on the Holocaust and another book I’d thoroughly recommend. )

I thought that it was well written and an engaging idea but it just lacked something. I guess I wanted more than Jack could give me. I wanted a grown-up perspective, to understand all the drama in the background. But I suppose that’s the point. This is Jack’s story and Jack is five years old so you see it as simply as he does.

I would definitely recommend it.

One Day – A Review

With three essays handed in and only two weeks left of the semester my workload was looking pretty light and suddenly had free time again. I didn’t want to just fill it with watching ridiculous things on iPlayer but every book on my shelf was non-fiction and couldn’t face reading any more theology! So, with book tokens and gift card in hand, I went to Waterstones and bought three novels. Actual fictional, reading for the sheer joy, novels. The first was One Day.

I loved it.

I have been up until the small hours of every morning this week devouring it. I haven’t read 80 pages in an hour and half  of anything for months but this had me gripped from the beginning. I’ve brought it up in just about every conversation I’ve had this week (I know my friends are getting sick of it). Basically, YOU HAVE TO READ IT!

It’s about one life in the day of these two people, every day for 20 years. And it’s so cleverly written because even though you’re only really getting one day you know exactly how they got there from the day you just read about a year ago. (I’m not certain I’m explaining this very well).

The weirdest thing for me was that it starts in 1988 on the night of the graduation from Edinburgh University. Creepy! You essentially get to grow up with them and go through all their highs and lows. The characters captivate your heart from the beginning so that when they triumph you’re elated and when they do something stupid you feel like slapping them across the back of the head.

I loved his cultural references. Even I, born three years after the book starts could pick up on and relate to things. I think my favourite was “talk to the hand” – do you remember that?! Or the “Rachel” haircut. Good times.

It’s funny, heart breaking, easy to read and brilliant.

You’re gorgeous, you old hag and if I cold give you just one gift ever for the rest of your life it would be this. Confidence. It would be the gift of confidence. Either that or a scented candle.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged . . .

. . . that a single man in possession of a good fortune,must be in want of a wife.”

I watched a lot of period dramas over the Christmas period.

Cranford, Upstairs Downstairs, Downton Abbey, Pride & Prejudice (BBC 6 hour version) (twice), Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey.

It was amazing.

I’m not sure why these types of programme are so much more appealing than dramas set in the modern day, or even the future. I think their humour is a lot darker, which suits me just fine, and, of course, the costumes are always stunning. But I think what is most enchanting about them is that life appears simpler: there are rules of etiquette, an accepted social order, and a general appearance of everything being nice.  Obviously, there wouldn’t be much “drama” if these boundaries weren’t pushed; nevertheless, we know that nothing can go too far wrong!

And, at the centre of them all, is that lovely romance which we become fascinated with and obsessed by. Will she? Won’t she? Does he? Could he? Sly walks through the garden. Whispered words during a dance. Glances across the room. He just happened to be passing by and she, entirely coincidentally, dropped her hanker chief.

Sigh

Simpler times indeed. (If you were suitably rich . . . But let’s not spoil the magic)

I tend to think that beautiful programmes such as these present a better morality than modern romances all about who can get who into bed first. And even, perhaps, a more realistic depiction of the work it takes to maintain a relationship. However, I’m beginning to think that they’ve done just as much damage to my psyche as the all the romcoms and chickflicks!

I’m not expecting love at first sight like in Romeo and Juliet, or The Notebook, or WALL-E (that’s right, it happens there too!). I’m not expecting to be swept of my feet. I’m not looking for “the-one”. All that romantic nonsense has been cast out from my mind by the likes of Elizabeth and Darcy, Emma and Knightley, Mary and Matthew, Fanny and Edmund. For whom, I think it is fair to say, love is . . . stumbled upon. (Or, you know, you see the size of his batchelor pad and the mist suddenly lifts . . .) Time, friendship,  respect and eventually something clicks.

Sigh

I think that maybe it’s time I stopped watching any of them . . .

Common Prayer

One of the wonderful gifts I was given for Christmas (amongst many pairs of socks and thermal under-layers) was Common Prayer:

Written by Shane Claiborne (who I’m sure you remember I am a bit of a fan of), Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (quite like him too) and Enuma Okoro ( who I’m afraid I’d never heard of  but who I’m sure I would like) it’s pretty much what it says on the cover there: “A liturgy for ordinary radicals”.

Instead of following the standard 3 year plan of the traditional Book of Common Prayer this follows a one year cycle with prayers for morning, noon and night. They’ve used prayers and songs from all kinds of traditions and included saints days for all kinds of heroes of the faith. And at the end of every month there’s a little “Becoming the Answer to our Prayers” idea box.

I often get accused of being all about “mixing it up” in worship and getting away from tradition – in Aberdeen at least, the folks in Edinburgh probably think I’m pretty conservative! – so when I mentioned this to friends they were a little shocked that I’d be enthusiastic about something that is so structured. Yes, I love the idea of worship taking many forms and being a little spontaneous but I also think there is something incredible about a rhythm of prayer and breathing life into prayers spoken centuries ago and joining with brothers and sisters around the world in a common prayer. Liturgy is an amazing heritage which, in the Church of Scotland and many other congregations, we have forgotten about but it is most definitely one of the powerful forms that worship can take.

I’ve used it a little already and I’m really looking forward to using it once life resumes some kind of order again.

 

 

From Head to Foot

My bloggy friend Annie wrote and published a book: From Head to Foot.

As the subtitle says, it’s about “All of you living for all of Him” and Annie considers how we use various body parts to glorify and serve God.

The reading is easy, the subject is not. Annie gets straight to the heart of issues that I think many young women face as they attempt to live out their faith. However, Annie’s personal examples, conversational style and use of biblical examples encourages you to not only read through and brush over these issues but pause to think and apply.

You should buy the book, primarily because it’s brilliant and secondly because Annie self-published. You’ll note the sentence on the “self-publishing” wikipedia page that says “It is generally done entirely at the expense of the author”. Yup. You read it right. God gave Annie a dream, she wrote it down and then took a huge risk in getting it into our hands. This makes her one of my heroes. And makes me think, maybe, one day, I’ll do something similar.

So, buy her book or, ask me for my copy (which is signed by the way . . . just putting that out there . . . )

God on Campus

I have managed to read a whole one non-uni book this semester.

(Oops. Nope. Wait. I read Harry Potter 7 when I went home for the weekend)

Okay, so I’ve read, beginning to end, two non-uni books in the past 3 months. Solid.

The non-Harry-Potter, non-uni, non-fiction book which I read is called God on Campus.

 

Great read.

Trent heads up this thing in the States called Campus America. A part of 24-7 Prayer, they are all about getting University Campuses across the USA to pray. I’m presuming you can see why I bought it?

The book is so clever. Trent re-tells the stories of historical academic institutions and international student mission movements and how each was completely transformed or originally started by a small but committed and passionate prayer meeting. To read story after story of how the prayers of a handful of people were heard by God, who used them in revivals that spanned the globe is inspiring and challenging.

And it never took massive organisation or even formality. It certainly wasn’t in the hands of church leadership. These were ordinary folks who simply wanted to seek God’s will for their lives, campus and country. People who have been used by God to literally change the world often come out of these little meetings of prayer.

It’s easy to read and to dip in and out of. There are application questions at the end of each chapter too. If you want a read, email/comment me and I’ll give/post you my copy. ‘Cause it’s nice to share.

Worship (2)

I’ve just started reading Curating Worship by Jonny Baker.

It’s a very interesting look at a different way of leading and doing worship. Continuing on from the previous conversation we had here about worship, in a way, I wanted to share a short quote with you.

In many church circles the only gifts that are valued for worship are musical ones (and even then of a small range of music) or the ability to speak well (preferably in a  good English accent). This attitude needs shattering, and opening up so that poets, photographers, ideas people, geeks, theologians, liturgists, designers, writers, cooks, politicians, architects, movie-makers, storytellers, parents, campaigners, children, bloggers, DJs, VJs, craft-makers, or just anybody who comes and is willing to bounce ideas around, can get involved.

So, who’s planning and partaking in you worship this Sunday? How does your worship reflect that?

I’ll let you know more when I finish the book.

Obsessed

Yesterday we looked at Francis’ profile of a lukewarm believer. Today we move on to someone who is unequivocally obsessed and completely in love with Jesus. Someone who:

  • Gives freely, loving those who hate them and who can never love them back
    • He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” (Luke 14:12-14 ESV)
  • Isn’t consumed with their safety and comfort. They care more about the Kingdom than being free from pain or distress.
  • Lives a life that connects with the poor
    • Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
      (Matthew 25:40 ESV)
  • Is more concerned with obeying God than doing what is expected. Their actions don’t always “make sense”.
    • “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matthew 7:13-14 ESV)
  • Knows that the sin of pride is always a battle
    • But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14 ESV)
  • Does not consider service to be a burden but takes joy in loving God by loving his people.
    • “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:12-13 ESV)
  • Is known as a giver, not a taker.
  • Thinks about heaven frequently, orientating their life around eternity.
    • 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. (Philippians 3:20-21 ESV)
  • Is characterised by a committed, settled, passionate, love for God.
    • “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deuteronomy 6:4-7 ESV)
  • Is raw with God, they don’t attempt to mask their sin and failings.
  • Has an intimate relationship with Him, they love God’s word and are nourished by it all day.
  • Is more concerned with their character than comfort, knowing that joy is something to be cultivated and a gift from God.
    • Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4 ESV)

  • “A person who is obsessed with Jesus knows that the best thing he can do it  be faithful to his Saviour in every aspect of his life, continually saying “thank you!” to God. An obsessed person knows there can never be intimacy if he is trying to pay back God or work hard enough to be worthy. He revels in this role as child and friend of God.
    • “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:35-36 ESV)

You might say that this isn’t realistic, and no-one can really live like that but many do and the rest of Jesus’ disciples are expected to.

You might say your aren’t called to serve the poor. No, you’re commanded to.

If we love God as we should, giving Him everything and doing all of the above will be a joy and not a chore.

Francis asks a question that challenged me, perhaps more than any of the above:

What are you doing right now that requires faith?

What am I doing in my life that requires me to step out of my comfort zone, look the unknown in the eye and trust that God is entirely in control?

Most days the answer is not a lot. And that scares me.

Lukewarm

As I said yesterday I’m reading Francis Chan’s Crazy Love. Well, actually, I’ve now read Francis Chan’s Crazy Love. Loved it.

Powerful, convicting, full of what I’ve ranted about on here and been discussing with friends recently. He has an infectious passion and an optimism that you don’t always get in these kinds of books. He believes that things are going to change.

One of the things he speaks about, and which friends and I have discussed a lot over the past couple of months, is being lukewarm:

“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
(Revelation 3:15-16 ESV)
Chan has a really powerful sermon called Lukewarm and Loving It that you should watch.
In the book he gives a profile of someone who is lukewarm. They:
  • Attend church like a good Christian should
    • this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men” (Isaiah 29:13 ESV)
  • Give money, so long as it doesn’t impinge on their standard of living.
    • But King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” (1 Chronicles 21:24 ESV)
    • For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:4 ESV)
  • Choose what is popular over what is right.
    • Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets. (Luke 6:26 ESV
    • They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. (Matthew 23:5-7 ESV)
  • Are moved by stories of radicalness but do not act.
    • Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (James 1:27 ESV)
    • So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. (James 4:17 ESV)
  • Rarely share their faith.
    • So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33 ESV)
  • Gauge their goodness by secular standards.
    • The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ (Luke 18:11-12 ESV)
  • Have Jesus in their lives but He’s not in control.
    • Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62 ESV)
  • Love God. A little bit.
    • You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37 ESV)
  • Love others but not as much as themselves and only when it’s easy or they are loved in return.
    • Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. . . For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? (Matthew 5:44-46 ESV)
  • Will serve, but have limits to how far they will go.
    • When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22 ESV)
  • Think about life on earth more than eternity in heaven.
    • our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, (Philippians 3:20 ESV)
    • Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2 ESV)
  • Are thankful for their comforts and luxuries but rarely consider giving as much as possible to the poor.
    • Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? (Isaiah 58:6-7 ESV)
  • Do whatever is necessary to keep themselves from feeling guilty, the bare minimum.
    • “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Matthew 13:44 ESV)
  • Are always concerned with playing it safe. They are slaves to control, making no sacrifices and taking no risks
    • As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. (1 Timothy 6:17 ESV)
    • And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28 ESV)
  • Feel safe/saved in their church or “Christian” nation.
    • “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21 ESV)
  • Do not live by faith but rely on themselves. If they stopped believing, their lives wouldn’t change.
    • And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21 ESV)
  • Aren’t that different from the typical unbeliever.
    • “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (Matthew 23:27-28 ESV)

Anyone else feel thoroughly convicted?!

Jesus says, in Luke 14:33, “Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple”.

Chan argues that the Lukewarm are not saved. Not because we have to earn salvation by overcoming everything in the list above, but because those with true faith will not fall into the above categories. We are still sinful and will still, at times, do all these things, but the difference, Chan says, is that a true believer has a “posture of obedience and surrender, where they continually move towards Christ”. Jesus would only spit us out if we were not already His.

Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 John 2:4-6 ESV)

Awe Factor

I’m reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan at the moment. Over the past couple of months he’s become one of my favourite preachers. He exudes passion and love for God. His teaching is always biblical and challenging. He is living the risky, adventurous, sacrificial faith he preaches. Like so many others, God has used him to speak powerfully into my life.

Crazy Love is about loving God with a crazy, all-consuming, self-sacrificing love. Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength. It’s about how love like that has to be shown, expressed, acted upon. It’s about the lives of discipleship God calls us to. It’s about the crazy things we do when we fully comprehend who God is, how much he loves us, and allow ourselves to love him back.

Watch this video. It might change your life. It’ll certainly change your day.

I have never felt more alive or at peace. Never been so in awe of my Father in Heaven, nor loved him so much.

Isn’t he amazing?

Perks of Studentdom

There are a few.

Two in particular apply today, however.

The first is more a perk of living in Edinburgh: Murrayfield. Twenty minutes or so on the bus and I can be at the Scottish rugby ground. Even better are the student tickets for just five pounds! Today my friend and I went to see Edinburgh play Ulster. Somehow we swapped allegiances and I ended up supporting Ulster, while he was supporting Edinburgh, despite being Irish. It was a great game, even closer than I expected with some good (and some not so good) rugby played. There are also a bunch of us going to the Scotland Fiji game in a few weeks time.

The second perk from today, and generally, is being able to buy books for “educational” purposes. I’ve now found an excuse to buy two books I’ve wanted for a while which, despite not being required reading, have appeared on reading lists or been recommended to us for our courses. Second hand bookshops are my new best friends and one day, in many weeks, when all the reading required for my million essays has been done, I’ll get round to reading these others too.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox

Very excited (thanks to Tom) to hear that one of my favourite Roald Dahl books is going to hit the big screen before the end of the year: The Fantastic Mr. Fox.

We used to have it on audio cassette and I remember listening to it in the car again and again and again . . .

It was up there with Esio Trot, The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me and George’s Marvellous Medicine.

What was your favourite Roald Dahl book?

Just Do Something

I’ve just read this great book by Kevin DeYoung, Just Do Something, all about finding God’s will for your life.

He rightly says that we are obsessed with “the will of God” and “finding our calling”, we want to know God’ plan for our lives and we want it to be set out like Google Map instructions, step-by-step with a little diagram to make it really clear. We’re prone to looking for “God’s will” in everything – from breakfast cereal to career moves, holidays to marriage proposals.

DeYoung says this is not how it’s meant to go. Of course, God will get His own way and what He wants will happen; God does have a desire for His creation, revealed in His commands; and God does have a specific plan for our lives that in retrospect we will be able to see how He has worked it out. However, He does not burden us with having to figure out precisely what that plan is. God “is a good God who gives us brains, shows us the way of obedience, and invites us to take risks for Him”.

He says we need to “stop pleading with God to show us the future, and start living and obeying like we are confident that He holds the future”. Jesus said, in Matthew 6:24-35,

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.Are you not of more value than they? 27And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

The big idea here is pretty obvious – Jesus doesn’t want us to worry about the future, God knows exactly what we need and will take care of it. Our job is to “seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness”.

That’s pretty much DeYoung’s message (and, as he shows, the message of scripture) – “Live for God. Obey the Sciprtures. Think of others before yourself. Be holy. Love Jesus.”

Or as Micah puts it “act justly . . .  love mercy and . . . walk humbly with your God“.