1 Peter 5 :: Cast

For the last month or more, 1 Peter 5 has been a theme in my life.  And last week I began to write about five words that really stood out in this passage, focusing on verses 6-11.  These five words are the action words for us, things we are to do or give to God.  The five words we’re going to explore are humble, cast, watchful, resist and suffer.  Last week we worked through a little bit on the humble piece.  Today, we focus on cast. 

When I first got hit with 1 Peter 5, it was really this part that Holy Spirit was challenging me with.  “…casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (ESV).  A worry had crept up, slowly and stealthily, into my life.  I was being short with my husband and children, walking around with an ever growing scowl on my face.  After a full week, it was a slow rolling boil.  But I wasn’t even certain how to stop it!  I felt helpless and stuck, frozen. 

The truth is that I had put pressure upon myself.  It wasn’t put there by anyone else, not God or my husband or friends or leaders.  The truth is that it was all me.  And, I allowed it to take control of my life for a solid two weeks.  But a Devine intervention was put into motion months in advance, an opportunity to push the reset button and step into the classroom as a willing and well prepared student.   

IMG_0024Well prepared, because I had been gripped with anxiety for two solid weeks.  Willing, because I didn’t want to be anxious but didn’t know exactly what to do with it.   Enter classroom, and 1 Peter 5:7. 

“…casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (ESV).

Our call to action word is cast.  However if I’m going to cast something, I’d like to know what I’m casting and where.  I don’t want to cast blindly.  Here, the word cast means to throw. It’s pretty simple, but easier said than done sometimes.  And the what we are to cast, in 1 Peter 5:7, is anxiety.  This is the beginning of where it hits home for me.  Depending on which translation of the bible you use, it may say anxiety, care, worry, or concern. 

I love the definition Brené Brown offers for anxiety; anxiety is uncertainty, overwhelming fear, competing demands on our time, or social discomfort.  This definition hit every possible aspect of what I experience when anxiety creeps into my life.  She goes to explain that there are two patterned ways of dealing with it.  Over-Functioning and under-functioning.  (Her book Rising Strong is a great read, I would highly recommend digging in to it!) 

I tend to under-function, but in a slightly different way than she describes.  My under-functioning because of anxiety looks like being frozen, withdrawn, or dividing myself from others, pulling away. 

Take a moment and think about what you tend to do when you experience anxiety.

But what does the Bible say about the word anxiety here?  The word anxiety here, in the Greek, is merimna (mer´-im-nah) and means care (through the idea of distraction).  And it comes from the word meros, which means to get as a section or allotment, divide, give part, share, disunite. 

I don’t know about you but when experiencing anxiety, I’m a little divided and distracted; especially from God.

When we experience anxiety and worry, we are to cast it upon the Lord.  Not bounce it over to him, to be caught and thrown back, or for us to pick back up.  Not like a tether ball, that spins around on a cord and comes flying back in your face.  And, we aren’t fishing; throwing the line out and reeling it back in with bigger and better anxiety on the hook.  Cast it, throw it completely to God.

This word, merimna, is used six times in the New Testament.  A variation of this word is used many times, but this particular word comes up six times.  Three times it is used in the explanation of the parable of sower, in three of the gospels.  Take a look at Luke 8:11-15, paying close attention to the word “care” in verse 14.   In this set of 3 occurrences of the word merimna it is used with idea of the cares of this world, the “riches and pleasures”. 

Our cares, anxiety and concerns are things in this world that divide us from His word, things that we share our time and attention with, things that distract us from Him or the work He has prepared before us.  Is this hitting home for you, like it does for me?  It felt like a gentle punch to the gut when I began to understood what this anxiety was doing within my relationship with others and with God.  Because like in Luke 8:14, their fruit never matures.  I want to mature in Christ, not lying on the side of the road withering away from anxiety! 

The other three occurrences of this word are found in our 1 Peter 5, 2 Corinthians 11:28 and then in Luke 21:34.   The common factor in these three ares is that it takes the position of being watchful with the cares and anxieties we experience in this world.  We’ll dig more into that part when we dig into our next word, watchful.  But for the time being, just keep that in mind. 

Several translations use the word ‘care’ so that 1 Peter 5:7 reads like this; “cast your cares upon Him, because He cares for you.”  See that?  There are two ‘cares’, but in the Greek they are two different words with two completely different meanings.   You see, while our care is from a place of being distracted and divided; God’s care is from a place of action, a true interest and concern for His children.  That makes me smile and feel cared for. 

Something I’m becoming keenly aware of, is that anxiety is an opportunity to trust God even more; handing over the worry in exchange for His peace and contentment, knowing that He cares about me.  For now, I’m faced with the task of being watchful and casting any cares, concerns or anxiety onto the Lord. No longer am I to feel helpless and stuck when anxiety creeps in.  It’s not mine to carry, it’s mine to throw away.  


1 Peter 5 :: Humble

For the past month, 1 Peter 5 has been the main focus of my study. It’s really where God has me, the topic of anxiety has been heavy.  I think it’s because there are some hidden anxieties that are holding me back.  Holding me back from going deeper with God and my trust of him; holding me back from living life boldly, bravely and courageously.  The more I study this passage of scripture, the more it is all tying together and I absolutely love it.  I’m excited to see where He leads me as these scriptures are studied out. 

Digging through 1 Peter 5, there are five different things that really stand out to me as things that we are to do or give to God.  My intent is to go through each one, dissecting it and looking at how it applies to the scripture as a whole.  This entire passage in 1 Peter 5 is about shepherding the flock.  So in examining these words, it’s important to apply it to ourselves and and also see how it corresponds in our relation to others.  The five words I’m going to explore are :: Humble, Cast, Watchful, Resist, and Suffer.

I know, thrilling words!  Trust me, it’s pretty cool.  And it’s all part of the process of being drawn closer to Jesus and others if we allow it.  So, onward! 

“Humble yourself, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that the proper time he may exalt you,….” 1 Peter 5:6

Humble.  What do you think of when you hear the word humble, or when you are told to humble yourself?  Are you aware of when you are being humble (or not humble)?

(I invite you to take a moment to write down your initials thoughts to these two questions, or at least think through them.)

For me, I think of humbling in two different ways.  And perhaps I experience one or the other depending on my mood, or who is involved!  I have both a “negative” and a “positive” connotation.  On one hand, to humble myself is kind of like being pinned down.  Unable to move.  Cowering almost, as a position of lesser than and unworthy.  On the other hand, there is a sense of respect and mutual understand, a reverence to humble myself under the authority of others.  It’s welcomed and provides comfort.  It feels appropriate and natural. 

Scripture has a lot to say about being humble.  Luke 14:11 tells us, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  When we are not humble before God, it’s like we are placing ourselves higher than He.  One of the sayings I’ve heard many times is “Humble or be humbled.”  It’s God’s economy. 

Well, if you’re human I’m guessing that you have had some “humbling” experiences.  It can keep us from being a know-it-all, or get to thinking your a little too cool.  If you have kids, they are really good at keeping you in a place of humility at times.   

In the Greek, this word humble is tapeinoó (tap-i-nó-o).  It means to bring low, depressed (like a pressing, not an emotional depression), physically lowered position.  And here in 1 Peter 5, the idea of humility or humble is expressed three times. So it’s important! 

So we are to lower ourselves.  Take a look at 1 Peter 5:6.  What are we supposed to lower ourselves under? 

So if I’m going to lower myself under the mighty hand of God, I would really love to know what that hand of God looks like, feels like, how to recognize it.  Being familiar with this can potentially give clues as to when I’m being humble or humbled.  And our first clue is right there in the scripture of 1 Peter 5:6.   

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 9.06.54 AM

God’s hand is….. MIGHTY  (1 Peter 5:6)

God’s hand has ….worked SALVATION for me (Psalm 93:1)

God’s right hand is …. filled with RIGHTEOUSNESS (Psalm 48:10)

God’s right hand is …. glorious in POWER (Exodus 15:6)

God’s right hand …. SHATTERS the Enemy (Exodus 15:6)

God’s right hand …. SUPPORTS me (Psalm 18:5)

God’s hand has …. SAVING MIGHT (Psalm 20:6)

God’s right hand …. UPHOLDS me (Psalm 63:8)

God’s hand is …. AGAINST Enemies & DELIVERS (Psalm 138:7-8)

God’s hand …. CREATED the Foundation of the earth (Isaiah 48:13)

If we are to humble ourselves under the hand of God, knowing that His hand has worked salvation for me, shatters my enemy, created me and the foundation of of the earth, and supports me.  This gives me an entirely different picture of who I am humbling myself to.  Any negative connotation of humbling is dissolved and replaced with a sense of protection and love.

Does knowing this, change your view of being humble?  Does it change how you might relate to humbling yourself before God? 

Can you picture humbling yourself under the Delivering, Righteous, Glorious, Powerful, Saving, Upholding, Supportive, Creative hand of God?  I can.  And honestly, it sounds like a beautiful place to be. Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 9.08.58 AM

If we finish out this verse in 1 Peter 5:6 it says “so that at the proper time He may exalt you”.  He will lift you up with that same loving hand that we are to humble ourselves under.  Held; safe  and secure.

This changes things for me.  How about or you?  I want to be humble, and a good example to others. We are to lead by example, and a humbleness towards God is to depress myself under His hand.  Not being high minded and closed, but remaining open to what and where God is leading and who He is connecting me with. It’s a good place to be. 

From Abundance Came Abundance

Our family has a small farm where we grow berries, blueberries and blackberries.  We open it up for u-pick and sell at farmers’ markets.  Summer is a busy time of year, and it stretches our schedules, energy and patience.   Our farm has a story all it’s own.  It is a lot of work, with rewards in the faces of little ones who arrive clean and leave with juicy purple cheeks and smiles.  I love that part. 

During harvest, the blueberries get us started and then blackberries.  It’s all balanced for a couple of weeks, we keep up with picking everything.  Then the blackberries really begin to ripen, the Tipping Point.  There are more blackberries than we have customers for, and we can’t possibly freeze it all!  The ripe fruit begins to fall to the ground.  It can be hard to watch, and know that it’s going to waste. 

Last week, I had the blessing of a sweet friend and her daughter stop by the farm for the first time.  It had been a while since we last saw each other, I teared up when I saw her get out of the car!  She has been witness to this farm since the early first steps, and to share it with those who knew it from a dream is special.  There are so many who have prayed and bore witness to this farm’s creation; supporting, praying and offering of themselves and time.  What a blessing! 

As the three of us stood in the field, sharing and catching up a bit, my friend asked if she could pray for me.  And I think I will forever remember something she prayed for.  The timing was perfect, God knew that I would need to hear and remember it.  She prayed, thanking Him for the abundance of our farm, “And let fall to the ground what you would have fall.”  Yes. 

We have reached the tipping point.  Ripe berries are falling to the ground.  But Lord, let fall to the ground what you would have fall to the ground.  Does it seem wasteful?  Perhaps.  But I am choosing to see abundance.  I’m am choosing to trust.  I am choosing to thank him for the provision of so much fruit and the right people to pick it.  I am choosing to cast that anxiety upon Him, because He cares about every little detail.   

This weekend we experienced 6.5” of much needed rain.  But as we stayed (for the most part) warm and dry inside, I knew the berries were being knocked off in the rain.  “And let fall to the ground what you would have fall.”   I am choosing to be thankful for the quiet rest and abundance of rain. 

As I picked blackberries in the rain on Sunday for another dear friend, the story of Ruth and Boaz came to mind.  Boaz allowed Ruth to come behind his young men who were harvesting barley, gleaning from what had been dropped to the ground.  Then Boaz instructed his men to leave extra for Ruth, and to keep an eye of safety upon her.  What a kind and gentle man. 

Reaching out to pick one ripe, rain soaked berry on Sunday led to three falling to the ground. “And let fall to the ground what you would have fall.”  It was hard to be upset about the falling fruit, because I was surrounded by abundance!  And just as Ruth gleaned abundance from the ground, I could have done the same at that moment in time. 

The Holy Spirit has been leading me over and over to 1 Peter 5:6-7 over the past few weeks, and I’m grateful.  “Humble yourself, therefore, under the mighty had of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he care for you.” 

I’m casting the anxiety, thanking Him for the abundance and letting fall to the ground what He would have fall to the ground.  

photo (2)Are we planning to pick loads of blackberries this week?  Yes, and we will work and praise Him for the provisions.  We will trust and keep moving forward.  In fact after posting this, I am on my way to the field because the phone just rang from a restaurant who would like a lovely sized order.  Today

Growing up, I’ve heard this many times from my Dad, “From abundance, came abundance, and yet abundance remained.”  We are bearing witness to this in our fields right now.  Thank you Lord, for abundance, peace and provision.