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Nolan

Would It Help?

Would It Help?

Have you seen the movie Bridge of Spies? I absolutely loved that movie and, though this isn’t an important part of the movie whatsoever, I think that there is one line repeated 8 times throughout the movie that just blew my mind. If you saw the movie you will definitely understand most of the context, but in the movie there is one character who is a captured Russian spy and he is being returned to Russia in exchange for several captured American citizens during the cold war. Many of the situations that he and the character played by Tom Hanks go through are not only stressful and dangerous, but many of them seem to come with the promise of death and persecution. Several times in the movie this Russian spy is asked, “Aren’t you worried?!” Or “You don’t seem alarmed?!” And the spy calmly and quite amusingly responds by saying “Would it help?” 

 

I think this question of “Would it help?” reveals the silly-ness of our tendency to worry. I believe this character is saying “What good does worry do?” This is a great question and I think it is a question that Christians should be asking and I believe that Jesus asks the same question in the bible. 

 

 Jesus speaks directly to the issue of worry in a part of his sermon on the mount in Matthew 6. 

 

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

 

Again, verse 27 says “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life.” Jesus is essentially asking “Would it help?” “does worry actually do any good?” Jesus seems to claim that no, worry does absolutely nothing to help. Rather, worry only presses us on to further stress and adds to the difficulty we may face.  He is saying that God takes care of all creation, but above all, God cares most about human beings, You and Me. It is because of this immense love for us that God provides for you and I and wants for us to trust him with our worries. But how? How do we trust God and what does this look like?

 

In moments when we are pushed to worry and stressed about what is in front of us Jesus encourages us to pray. In fact, only 20 verses before this Jesus gives us an example prayer to God. The rough outline goes something like this. 

 

God you are a good and perfect father. 

I want to worship you for all my life

And for your way and plans to happen here on earth.

Today I trust you with my needs,

And I trust you with my life.

Please forgive me of what I have done wrong, 

And help me to forgive others for what they have done wrong to me.

Help me to love you And follow you well,

Amen

 

Jesus knows that we struggle to trust God and that we face worry because there are many times in our life where we lack control over the outcome. This prayer reminds us that especially in these moments where we lack control, we worship God most by letting go of our worries and placing our trust in him. This is not easy and in fact can be really difficult at times, but in the end it opens my ears to hear God say, “don’t worry about it, Ill take care of that.”

Worry does nothing to fix the situation at hand and in many cases only makes it worse. Worry overtakes and weasels its way in to all of the parts of your life. But placing trust in God and letting go of some of your worries frees you to worship God. 

- Nolan Henslick

HSM Staff:  Erin Vinzon

HSM Staff: Erin Vinzon

When Slavery Means Freedom

When Slavery Means Freedom

As you begin to read this week’s devotional check out this song by All Sons & Daughters. It’s a song that we sing in HSM occasionally and the chorus is straight from scripture. 

“I am set free oh oh oh oh

I am Set free oh oh oh oh

It is for freedom that I am set free” 

It is for freedom that I am set free—practically a direct quote from Galatians 5:1 where Paul told the church in Galatia, it is “for freedom that Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” I don’t know about you but this can kind of sound redundant…maybe you find yourself thinking ”well ya, freedom sets me free, seems pretty self-explanatory.” What’s important to recognize in this verse is that God has set us free and with this freedom we have some serious choices to make: What will we do with our freedom? 

We as believers in Jesus Christ have been set free from the punishment of sin and death, but we still live like slaves. It might be helpful to quickly define what I mean by “slave.” 2 Peter 2:19 describes slavery as anything that overcomes or rules over a person.  Anything that guides your actions, anything that you choose to submit to becomes your master and you its slave. 

We become slaves when we submit to the opinion of others

when we compare ourselves to others

when we always need the latest and greatest

 when we choose sin

 when we make faith a list full of rules. 

All the time we use our freedom in Christ to choose to be a slave to something else. No matter what you do, your actions and decisions begin with submitting to something. The choice you have to make is who (or what) will I submit to? God wants us to use our freedom to choose him, to be a slave to him.

Woah woah woah! Stop right there! A SLAVE to GOD?? WHAT!?

Romans 6:16 says, “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you…, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.”

When we choose Jesus, we are no longer a slave to sin but a slave to righteousness. In other words, we are motivated by the life of Jesus and submitted to how he calls us to live. As a slave to Jesus we are called to use our freedom to love and serve one another. The fullness of freedom in Jesus is to love God and love others. 

Be encouraged by this verse and spurred on to live in Freedom!

Galatians 5:13-14 says, “It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom.”

- Nolan Henslick

HSM Staff:  Nolan Henslick

HSM Staff: Nolan Henslick

This May Be The Greatest Decision You Ever Make

This May Be The Greatest Decision You Ever Make

So I don’t know about you, but I absolutely hate the idea of climbing up a rope solely for the sake of reaching the top. I can understand climbing a rock wall, a ladder, or even a tree, but climbing a rope just seems miserable. For example…in every movie where a wimpy kid is in gym class there is a scene where they have to climb a long rope that leads to the top of the gymnasium and most of the time they utterly fail.  In fact, one time I tried to climb one of these ropes and I realized just how terrible it was. With every pull I made with my arms, my hands seemed to slip just as far down. So after 3 minutes of trying, I quickly gave up and decided I would leave climbing ropes to the pro…David Beavis. 

Now you might be wondering…what does this have to do at all with the bible, Jesus, God, or anything that remotely has to do with being a Christian. Well, let me tell you. 

The message version of Matthew 5:3 says “Blessed are you when you are at the end of your rope, with less of you there is more of God and his rule.” To me, this verse was incredibly eye opening and telling of how I was struggling to deepen my relationship with Christ. For so long I held so tightly to the rope of control over my life. In fact, I felt like the higher up the rope I climbed the more comfortable and safe I became, when in fact the feeling of control and security that I thought I was receiving came with stress, exhaustion, and business. 

What this verse showed and revealed to me was that I lacked a trust in God and that the difficulty I faced in deepening my relationship with Christ came from my need to be in control. Once I began making a conscious decision to release control I began to place confidence and trust in God. As I placed trust in God and began to give him credit for the peace and safety I felt, my relationship with him deepened like never before. My successes became works of his hands and my failures became opportunities for perseverance and growing trust. With less of me, there became a greater opportunity for God’s glory and power to shine through. 

So ask yourself: What am I holding on to that I shouldn’t be? Do I trust God with both the big and small parts of my life? Do I give God credit for my successes and turn to him in my failures? What does it look like for me to begin to climb down the rope and to eventually even release control of the rope over to God?

God desperately wants for us to trust him; open your hands, hand him the rope, and allow for him to be your safe place, your rock, and in whom you trust. It may just be the greatest decision you make. 

- Nolan Henslick

HSM Staff:  Nolan Henslick

HSM Staff: Nolan Henslick