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Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 5 Matthew 6: 24-34: e) Anxiety and neighbor love

Matthew 6: 24-34: e) Anxiety and neighbor love

|| Luke 12:22-31

MT6:24 “No one can slave for two masters,[1] for either he will hate one and love the other[2] or embrace[3] one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Riches![4] MT6:25 For this I tell you: Do not be overly concerned[5] about your soul[6] as to what you might eat or what you might drink,[7] nor about your body as to clothing.[8] MT6:26 Look well to the birds[9] in the sky, they do not sow or reap. Nor do they gather into storage barns.[10] Your heavenly Father feeds them.[11] Are you that much different?[12] MT6:27 But, who among you can add one minute to your life-span[13] by being overly concerned? MT6:28 And, why are you overly concerned about clothing? Learn something from how the flowers of the field[14] grow. They do not labor or spin.[15] MT6:29 But, I tell you: Solomon in all his glory[16] was not clothed as one of these. MT6:30 But, if The God clothes the fields of grass,[17] here today and tomorrow tossed in the oven, how much more you,[18] ones of little faith? MT6:31 So, do not be overly concerned,[19] saying, ‘What will we eat?’ Or, ‘What will we drink?’ Or, ‘What will we put on?’[20] MT6:32 For all these the Non-Jews overly seek.[21] Your heavenly Father knows you need all these.[22] MT6:33 But, you, seek first His Kingdom and righteousness[23] and all these will be added to you. MT6:34 So, do not be overly concerned about tomorrow.[24] For tomorrow will have its own concerns. The hardships of each day are enough![25]

[1] Two masters: Or, masters. 2 Timothy 2:4 expresses a similar idea by Paul.

[2] He will hate one and love the other: Various renderings are: TCNT: attach himself; BECK: be loyal to the one. Hate here means to love less of two, much as a man with two maidens to please. Woe to him if the other finds out. The disciple who slaves for Mammon, or sticks to riches by his conversation and agenda, though unknown to himself, despises his true Lord.

[3] Embrace: Or, “stick”. On the word “stick” see Deuteronomy 30:20 where it equals love and obedience. Rather than try to balance the two, God and Riches, the Friend of the Nazarene is better off sinning on the side of God and poverty than on the side of Riches and self. Better to die penniless with God as your Business Partner than end life wealthy with a lost soul as your only investment (Luke 12:20).

[4] God and Riches: It is not, “God or Riches,” but, “God and Riches.” The Nazarene says it cannot be done, though untold numbers of Christians have attempted it miserably (1 Timothy 6:7-10, 17-19). Various renderings are: KNX: you must serve God or money; you cannot serve both. This is an impossibility illustrated by the mental image of a poor servant running back and forth between the two demands of two different lords. He is obediently with the one when the other requires his service. Riches can easily become a taskmaster greater than God. Riches can become God itself.

In the modern Western capitalist world there are millions of Christians trying to do the very thing the Nazarene said cannot be done: serve God and Riches. There are those Prosperity Preachers who speak in the voice of Revelation 3:17 and who insist riches are proof of God’s blessing. They particularly encourage tithing and giving one’s money to them in promise of God’s blessing. The Nazarene Saint has only to look at the life-style of the Master and those early disciples to see what Jesus meant.

[5] Overly concerned: Various renderings are: KJ: take no thought for your life; WMS: stop worrying about your life; NEB: put away anxious thoughts. Stop! This is a negative command of the Nazarene, and based on John 15:14 and John 14:15, a failure to obey this directive proves one does not love him, nor is a friend of the Lord. To persist in anxiety and worry is a desertion of Christ. For those hapless and bedarkened souls who suffer physical and chemical ailments are captive to frightening insecurities and paranoia. Note Paul’s “secret” at Philippians 4:6, 12.

The affects of worry, anxiety, and being overly concerned about material matters, can have a strong influence on neighbor love, for one may be so occupied with these secular things as to ignore one’s neighbor.

[6] Soul: The Greek is PSYCHE and many translate this “life.” It is interesting that it is the “soul” linked to the functions of eating and drinking and then the “body” (SOMA) with clothing. In Hebrew and Greek the “soul” is the living, breathing creature itself and at death becomes “a dead soul.” (Leviticus 21:11; Numbers 6:6, 11: dead soul) To Paul the “soul” is the animal, physical, earthly, dusty, corruptible, mortal (1 Corinthians 15:42-49). See lexicons and dictionaries on “soul.”

[7] Drink: Usually this does not mean water but wine or milk as both were staples.

[8] Clothing: In the world of the Nazarene the majority of people possessed a single set of clothes meant to last a life-time. Note Matthew 5:40; 9:16, 20, 21; 11:8; 24:18; Luke 22:36; John 19:25. The “naked” state mentioned in Matthew 25:36 can infer improperly clothed for the conditions.

[9] Birds: In Luke 12:23, 24 these “birds” are “ravens,” the bird which Noah released first (Genesis 8:7), and which fed Elijah (1 Kings 17:4, 6). The raven is considered the smartest of birds, mate for life, and is the most wide-ranging of all birds. It is found on Mount Everest, in the worst of deserts, and the Arctic. Job 38:41 is a foreview of the Nazarene’s words,

‘Who provides the ravens food when its young cry to God for help?’

[10] They do not sow or reap. Nor do they gather into storage barns: According to the Nazarene birds do not toil, but they survive. Jesus is encouraging the simple life in which toil is non-existent. For three and a half years Jesus did not toil, nor did his disciples until that day they lost faith and returned to their fishing businesses (John 21:1-19).

[11] Father feeds them: The Nazarene credits God for feeding the birds even as Job 38:41 states. If the Nazarene has this kind of conviction, how can one of his disciples not trust God to care.

[12] Different: Many translate DIAPHERETE as “worth” and this may be well, but one can see the English corruption “different” in the word. Regarding “worth” each person has a value or worth and in the Nazarene’s absurdum the disciples can see their true value in the eyes of the Creator of sparrows which sell for little in the market (Matthew 10:29).

[13] Add one minute to your life-span: Various renderings: GDSP: which of you with all his worry can add a single hour to his life span; TCNT: prolong his life a single moment; PHI: make himself an inch taller. Note Psalm 39:4, 5: life; Psalm 90:10: seventy or eighty years. Unknown then, but presumed by human reasoning, and now confirmed by medical studies, anxiety does not prolong life, but shortens it, in a painfully slow and a daily agonizing death.

[14] Flowers of the field: Some identify the flower with the lily. Compare Matthew 11:28 and Proverbs 23:4: toil. These beauties of the field neither toil nor sow and are an example for the Nazarene disciple (Matthew 6:26).

[15] They do not labor or spin: The bird does not gather or store, and the flower does not labor or spin, and the Nazarene infers this is an example for his disciples. The storage and labor here are of a material kind. No one could argue that the Nazarene or Paul did not labor and toil, but this they did in the Master’s harvest. Compare Paul’s arguments in 1 Corinthians 9:3-18.

[16] Solomon in all his glory: Note Solomon’s wealth at 1 Kings 10:5 and read of his endeavors in Ecclesiastes ch 2, where he admits the futility or vanity of what appears to be security in material things. Note his conclusions at Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14. The Queen of Sheba, so overcome at Solomon’s wealth, may have been unimpressed by the humble lifestyle of the Nazarene.

[17] The God clothes the fields of grass: The Nazarene credits God for the carpets of flowers.

[18] How much more you: See Luke 12:28. The standard clothing of the poor in the days of the Nazarene was three layers of covering, the outer of such a nature to serve also as a night blanket, or a tent in foul weather. This served a lifetime and was so well made and needful as to be a guarantee against a debt (Matthew 5:40). Such a pledge had to be returned before night. It is doubtful Jesus had a wardrobe that allowed a daily, weekly, or even monthly change of apparel. Note Matthew 11:8 where soft or fine garments are found in king’s castles and splendid, luxurious dress in royal houses (Luke 7:25). These fine clothes may be beautiful and carry a delicate feel to the skin, but useless for the night bivouac of a wandering troop of itinerant teachers spending the occasional evening under the stars with God as their blanket, their only entertainment the nocturnal crickets, frogs and owls. Who among those genuine disciples of the Nazarene would not give everything they possess to spend one such night under the open celestial darkness with Jesus. Then to listen to his restful breathing in that Innocent’s sleep, only to wonder of such divine dreams?

In the Western world much time is spent in shopping at luxurious malls, which would rival the pyramids in their architecture, and absorb untold hours of dressing and undressing, only to have clothes hang limp in the darkness of a closet.

[19] Not be overly concerned: See Luke 12:29: worry. Various renderings: PHI: do not worry. ‘Stop worrying!’ is a Nazarene command (John 14:15). To worry or be unduly anxious is a desertion of Christ. Better to die of starvation or thirst or nakedness than to give in to anxiety over transient things.

Note the austere sincerity of Peter’s haste to build a mountain bivouac from available boughs, for those august personages of Moses and Elijah, so they had some shelter from the lofty mountain’s night – a heart so sweet and swift in its goodness. Such an enthusiastic suggestion is unthinkable in the modern Western world where one would rather worry about the credit limit on a gold bankcard and where the nearest luxury hotel was, let alone have the knowledge to build such a temporary shelter (Matthew 17:1, 4).

[20] ‘What will we eat?’ Or, ‘What will we drink?’ Or, ‘What will we put on?’: These questions seem out of place to a Western reader where these are the least of one’s problems. In Third World Countries these are still timely questions of daily concern. In the West most are struggling with various weight programs, drink too much, and have closets filled with unused clothing. A woman dressing for the evening may go through a dozen changes before the mirror, try on several pairs of heels, select from drawers of jewelry and choose from dozens of perfumes.

However, the spirit of the Nazarene’s teachings ought to ring in the ears of the Saint living near the top of the social and economic pyramid: seek a life of simplicity with a generous eye toward the less fortunate. It is Paul who instructs the missionary Timothy to “give orders to the rich.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19) Who dare do that today? What Christian pastor has the courage to even read these words without rationalizing to his affluent congregation?

[21] Non-Jews overly seek: And the Nazarene would have to admit, and perhaps he avoids saying so, many Jews of his world sought the same. Various renderings: BECK: the people of the world run after all these things. These words were not lost on the Nazarene’s beloved when John writes

‘Do not love the world and its things… for all worldly things (fleshly desire, greedy eyes, and self-assuming materialism) are not of the Father.’ (1 John 2:15, 16)

Here “things” are merely food, drink and clothing and this is ludicrous in a modern Western society where payments for debts on autos, mobile phones, TV cable-hookups, electricity for refrigerators, and other modern conveniences make economic slaves of men, their wives and families. Jesus’ sermon would be meaningless to a modern audience in America or Europe accept for those unfortunate living on the street and who have fallen outside the sumptuous table of capitalist and social democratic orders.

[22] Father knows you need all these: The comforting thought that God knows our needs saturates the Psalms. If there is one group of peoples the Almighty pays close attention to, it is the poor (1 Timothy 6:8; Philippians 4:12). The word “poor” occurs 117, times with Psalms having the most occurrences (23 times). A comparison of a concordance on the words poor, poverty, affliction, or oppressed, will reveal God’s loving care for such multitudes.

[23] Seek first His Kingdom and righteousness: First the Kingdom, and then God’s righteousness, not some other standard (See Romans 14:17: kingdom). Various renderings are: PHI: set your heart on his kingdom; RIEU: pursue the kingdom; BECK: first be eager to have God as your King; GDSP: but you must make his kingdom and uprightness your greatest care. When the Nazarene here uses the word “kingdom” he first means that opportunity to gain entrance into the kingdom or realm of the Son which is the Church, the Nazarene Community of Christian Saints with its heavenly call (Matthew 13:41; Colossians 1:12; Hebrews 3:1). This “righteousness” is not that of the Law but those commandments of the Lord (John 14:15; 1John 3:23).

[24] Do not be overly concerned about tomorrow: Apparently he does not mean ‘give no thought of the morrow’ for the Nazarene himself prepares for the future day on occasion. The Greek MERIMNESETE may be rendered anxious or worry. It is often used in the context of “concern” and thus the use of “overly concerned.” Some reasonable concern is necessary as shown in Jesus’ instructions regarding the colt and the upper room. Compare Job 14:1 and Exodus 16:4, 19: depression. Various renderings are: MOF: so never be troubled; KNX: do not fret.

Note a practical commentary on this verse at Philippians 4:11-13. It takes a certain natural or developed bent of mind to trust in God to such an extent and the majority of Christians who ever lived were not of this caliber. Paul, after the Nazarene’s model, was such a person who took the Lord’s word at face value and lived his life accordingly. An unnamed scribe, overcome by the crowds, and the healing works of this wandering Rabbi, offered, ‘I will follow you anywhere.’ Jesus’ simple reply pointed the difficult way,

‘Foxes have dens, birds have roosts, but I have nowhere to sleep. Come, follow me!’ (Matthew 8:18-22)

Words and promises are big but deeds and examples are few. Today millions are spent on treatment for anxiety and depression. It is obvious the more things one has to care for or worry about, the more anxiety occupies and distracts, leading to those modern ills. In the end, even the most security conscious have no control over his finances, his life, his inheritance. For an example, a commentary on this verse, there is none better than Luke 12:13-34.

‘Tomorrow will have its own concerns.’ You can rely on this as much as death and taxes! One day at a time, as the AA phrase goes, is right out of the Nazarene’s teachings. Most anxieties are not worth the time and energy wasted on them, for those real fears do not materialize in most cases; and in those justified cases, the majority of time there is little that can be done about them. Each day’s badness, evil, or anxieties is sufficient, so why fret about those which have not yet appeared? Why add to it all by anxiety and those attitudes and actions which it creates?

[25] Hardships of each day are enough: There are those “hardships” which are beyond our control, like an earthquake, or the outbreak of war, or a wave of persecution, or sudden illness. There are those hardships which we bring upon ourselves by bad decisions, laziness, stupidity, or poor preparation.

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Preceding articles

Back from gone #2 Aim of godly people

Matthew 5:38-42 – 5. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 21:24

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 1 Charity and neighbour love

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 2 Prayer and neighbour love

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 3 Forgiveness and neighbour love

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 4 Treasures’ and neighbour love

Man enticed to long for more

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Additional reading

  1. 19° century Londoners, religion and heretical opinions
  2. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #2 Purity
  3. Contribution – Contributie, bijdrage
  4. Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God
  5. When discouraged facing opposition
  6. Fearing the right person
  7. Dealing with worries in our lives
  8. Give your worries to God
  9. Look for today
  10. Rejoicing in the day
  11. God Feeds The Birds
  12. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #1 Prosperity

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Further reading

  1. Today’s Scripture – September 26, 2016
  2. Sermon on Matthew 6.24-34 (Audio)
  3. Two Masters
  4. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: God or Mammon
  5. Seek First The Kingdom Of GOD: Two Masters – What is Mammon?
  6. FAact Food #673 The English word ‘mammon’ is a direct rip-off from Latin’s ‘mammona’ meaning ‘wealth’. In the New Testament of the Bible, the term ‘mammon’ is associated with greedy pursuit of profit through …
  7. Seek First The Kingdom Of God: Two Masters – You Can Serve Only One
  8. The Idols of the Nations
  9. Mammon: Word of the day for September 13, 2016
  10. Do You Know The Word Mammon?
  11. “Mammon : The desire for wealth personified as an evil spirit or a malign influence. Often mammon:…”
  12. Mammon
  13. Mammon 2
  14. Mammon 3
  15. Mammon, Mountains and Donations
  16. God or mammon?
  17. God and Mammon (Revisited)
  18. God or Money
  19. 24 October: Mammon, money, need and greed
  20. Duchies of Hell: Mammon
  21. Mighty Mammon vs. Almighty God
  22. Christians Side With Mammon. Mammon Sided with Barabbas
  23. The Betrayal of Jesus: Then and Now
  24. Should Christians Buy Stocks?
  25. Immanuel Kant Interlude – Compulsory Idleness
  26. Daily Mass: Whom do you serve, God or mammon? Catholic Inspiration
  27. 12 April, Relics X: Blood Money
  28. James on Justice (An Appeal for Classless Christianity) James 4:1-17
  29. Help Us Dear Lord Not To Call You A Liar – Part 3
  30. Money and Happiness
  31. The greatest world religion? – materialism!
  32. The Almighty Dollar
  33. Do You Love Money?
  34. Need
  35. God Almighty, or the god of money?
  36. God wants us to be free from bondage to greed
  37. You Cannot Serve Both God & Riches
  38. Christianity held hostage
  39. Propensity for Prosperity
  40. Oh Lord Won’t You Buy Me A Mercedes Benz?
  41. Christianity Targeted by Corrupt Government
  42. Worship only God
  43. Prosperity Preachers
  44. The False Doctrine of Prosperity Preachers
  45. I Wrestled With A Preacher In My Dreams

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Signs of the last days when difficult times will come

 

“The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, But the naive go on, and are punished for it.” (Proverbs 22:3 NAS)

“1  But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5 NAS)

“But evil men and impostors will proceed [from bad] to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:13 NAS)

“3  Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with [their] mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For [ever] since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”” (2 Peter 3:3-4 NAS)

“Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless,” (2 Peter 3:14 NAS)

“17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness, 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him [be] the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:17-18 NAS)

“And as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what [will be] the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”” (Matthew 24:3 NAS)

“”For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes.” (Matthew 24:7 NAS)

“10 “And at that time many will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another. 11 “And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many. 12 “And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 13 “But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved. 14 “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come. 15 “Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains;” (Matthew 24:10-16 NAS)

“for then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall.” (Matthew 24:21 NAS)

“30 and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. 31 “And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.” (Matthew 24:30-31 NAS)

“33 even so you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, [right] at the door. 34 “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” (Matthew 24:33-34 NAS)

“37 “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. 38 “For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 “Then there shall be two men in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. 41 “Two women [will be] grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left.” (Matthew 24:37-41 NAS)

“45 “Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 “Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. 47 “Truly I say to you, that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 “But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’ 49 and shall begin to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards; 50 the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect [him] and at an hour which he does not know, 51 and shall cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; weeping shall be there and the gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 24:45-51 NAS)

“31  “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 “And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;” (Matthew 25:31-32 NAS)

“3 And as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things be, and what [will be] the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?”” (Mark 13:3-4 NAS)

“”For nation will arise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will [also] be famines. These things are [merely] the beginning of birth pangs.” (Mark 13:8 NAS)

“”And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.” (Mark 13:10 NAS)

“21 “And then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ’; or, ‘Behold, [He is] there’; do not believe [him;] 22 for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order, if possible, to lead the elect astray.” (Mark 13:21-22 NAS)

“”Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” (Mark 13:30 NAS)

“32 “But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father [alone.] 33 “Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the [appointed] time is.” (Mark 13:32-33 NAS)

“5  And while some were talking about the temple, that it was adorned with beautiful stones and votive gifts, He said, 6 “[As for] these things which you are looking at, the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down.” 7 And they questioned Him, saying, “Teacher, when therefore will these things be? And what [will be] the sign when these things are about to take place?”” (Luke 21:5-7 NAS)

“11 and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. 12 “But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake. 13 “It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony. 14 “So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; 15 for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute. 16 “But you will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put [some] of you to death, 17 and you will be hated by all on account of My name.” (Luke 21:11-17 NAS)

“”But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is at hand.” (Luke 21:20 NAS)

“”And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves,” (Luke 21:25 NAS)

“31 “Even so you, too, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. 32 “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place. 33 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. 34 “Be on guard, that your hearts may not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day come on you suddenly like a trap; 35 for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth. 36 “But keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”” (Luke 21:31-36 NAS)

“He established the earth upon its foundations, So that it will not totter forever and ever.” (Psalms 104:5 NAS)

“A generation goes and a generation comes, But the earth remains forever.” (Ecclesiastes 1:4 NAS)

“teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”” (Matthew 28:20 NAS)

“The righteous will inherit the land, And dwell in it forever.” (Psalms 37:29 NAS)

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 NAS)

“29 Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, 30 but that he shall receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30 NAS)

“3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to [obtain] an inheritance [which is] imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5 NAS)

“The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober [spirit] for the purpose of prayer.” (1 Peter 4:7 NAS)

“so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.” (1 Thessalonians 5:6 NAS)

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File:54 Mark’s Gospel R. predictions and warnings image 2 of 2. predictions of the end-time. Borcht.png

Predictions of the end-time. Borcht. In the Bowyer Bible in Bolton Museum, England. Print 3900. From “An Illustrated Commentary on the Gospel of Mark” by Phillip Medhurst. Section R. predictions and warnings. Mark 13:1-37.

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As Christ’s slaves doing the Will of God in gratitude

When we seem to receive everything why are we not much more showing gratitude to that One Who provides?

Not many people today are seeing that it is the Great God Who gives us everything we need for life. Not much seems to have changed by the years. Like we can find godliness in His Book of books, though it may be a Best-seller, not many people are following all the advice which is given in it.

In that ancient writing we are given words which should be precious and should be burned in the hearts of many.

Our hearts should be be comforted (+) and all that say they love Jesus should be harmoniously joined together in love (+). We that call ourselves Christians should be true followers of Christ Jesus, accepting that what he, Jeshua, Jesus from Nazareth says, but also should accept what his heavenly Father, the God of Jesus, says, Who is also the God of Abraham. In our faith in Jesus accepting him to be the son of God, and not making him a god son, we may have all the riches that result from the full assurance of our understanding, in order to gain an accurate knowledge of the sacred secret of God, namely, Christ.(+)

It is true that for many it still may not be clear and that even a lot of Christians do not believe a man could keep to God’s commandments. Though all that call themselves Christians should know that carefully concealed in this Nazarene man, Jesus, are all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge. (+)

The apostle Paul said this already some two thousand years ago so that no one may delude the first nor the later Christians with persuasive arguments. Having accepted Christ Jesus the Lord, we should go on walking in union with him, being rooted and built up in him (+) and being stabilized in the faith, (+ ) just as you were taught, and overflowing with thanksgiving. (+)

It is in Jesus that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily. (+) and by means of him we have acquired a fullness and can receive so many more blessings already in this life. Though we should know that our baptism is not a stop in our way to search. We continuously have to go on seeking the things above, where the Christ is seated at the right hand of God. (+) Though there may be many things to get our minds from Scripture and to distract us from the real Truth, we have to keep your minds fixed on the things above, (+) the more important things than worldly gain.

We see that the majority of this world is most interested to enlarge their gain and to provide themselves with a name so that others can look up to them. But we should not be bounded to this earth and to the gains of the earth. not on the things on the earth.

File:Diversity and Unity.jpg

Black and white student clasping hands – Unity – Photo Frerieke

Several Christians do see in the union of Christ a proof for their three headed god, but forget that God as well as Jesus do ask us to become in the same union. Our life has should not be one of being on our own but be one of being in union with Christ like Jesus was and is in union with God. Being united with Jesus like he is united with God, does not make us Jesus nor will it make us God, but it will give us divine force of being stronger than the world.  When the Christ, our life, is made manifest, then we also will be made manifest with Jesus in glory.

3 If, however, You were raised up+ with the Christ, go on seeking the things above,+ where the Christ is seated at the right hand of God.+Keep Your minds fixed on the things above,+ not on the things upon the earth.+For You died,+ and Your life+ has been hidden with the Christ in union+ with God. When the Christ, our life,+ is made manifest, then You also will be made manifest+ with him in glory.+ (Colossians 3: 1-4)

The apostle Paul in his letter to the Colossians, highlights the superiority and supremacy of Christ in the first two chapters. Then, he teaches the believers how to live in Christ. He sums up a lot of things we do have to do. though in certain faith groups the believers do think we do not have to do anything any more because we are saved, Paul assures them they are mistaken and confirms what James said that faith without works is dead, and we should be alive in Christ doing the works of Christ.

12 Accordingly, as God’s chosen ones,+ holy and loved, clothe yourselves with the tender affections of compassion,+ kindness, lowliness of mind,*+ mildness,+ and long-suffering.+ 13 Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely+ if anyone has a cause for complaint+ against another. Even as Jehovah* freely forgave You,+ so do You also. 14 But, besides all these things, [clothe yourselves with] love,+ for it is a perfect bond+ of union.*

15 Also, let the peace+ of the Christ* control in Your hearts,+ for You were, in fact, called to it in one* body.+ And show yourselves thankful. 16 Let the word of the Christ* reside in You richly in all wisdom.+ Keep on teaching+ and admonishing one another with psalms,+ praises to God,* spiritual songs+ with graciousness, singing in Your hearts to Jehovah.*+17 And whatever it is that You do in word or in work,+ do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,+ thanking+ God the Father through him. (Colossians 3: 12-17)

We should have the words of Christ dwell in us richly. We should accept what Jesus tells about himself and about his heavenly Father and should not fabricate other ideas to confirm with the worldly thinking of the many gods and idols. We should honour the words of Christ and be willing to accept what he tells about his Father and what the Father tells about him.

Not keeping to human traditions and not adhering to human doctrines we should follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and whatever we do, in word or deed, we have to do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. With these words of Christ we should let others know those words and show them the way Jesus showed to his disciples. By the servant of the heavenly Father we are liberated from the chains of this world. As we were slaves of the world enjoying all the temptations we now should know better and look further than our nose and look for a better future. Though we should know that we can not do differently than living in this world at the moment, we should make the best out of it, but by keeping to God’s commandments, doing Jesus and doing God His Will, like Jesus did not his will but the Will of God.

Being a good Christian we should, like Jesus asked, give the Caesar what the Caesar wants, being obedient in everything to those who are your human fleshly masters, (+) not only when they are watching, just to please men, but with sincerity of heart, with fear of Jehovah. We as Christ’s slaves should be doing the will of God whole-souled, loving Jehovah our Only One God with our whole heart and with our whole soul (*) and with our whole strength and with our whole mind. (Ephesians 6:5, 6)

* 23 Whatever you are doing, work at it whole-souled* as for Jehovah,*+ and not for men, 24 for you know that it is from Jehovah* you will receive the inheritance as a reward.+ Slave for the Master, Christ. 25 Certainly the one who does wrong will be repaid for the wrong he has done,+ and there is no partiality.+ (Colossians 3: 23-25)

At all moments we should be thankful for what Jesus has done for mankind and praise God in His sanctuary, in the firmament of His power, showing our gratitude for Him willing to accept the ransom Jesus offered Him.

To praise God we can use the many Psalms God has provide us by his servant King David. God His other servant, Jeshjua, Jesus Christ showed us the way to his Father in heaven. Jesus also prayed to this God of Abraham in Whom he had put his faith and in Whom we also should put our faith. Jesus was fully penetrated by the Words of God and we should come one with God like Jesus is one with God.

21 so that they may all be one,+ just as you, Father, are in union with me and I am in union with you,+ that they also may be in union with us, so that the world may believe that you sent me. (John 17:21)

Everything what Jesus has done, was in accordance not to Jesus his will but along the lines and wishes of his heavenly Father, The Only One True God Who is One. For Jesus the Words of his Father sounded like music in his ears. All the words God said, should also resound as music in our ears.

As writes:

God has given us the whole Scriptures for our aid. But, God created the human heart to respond in special ways to his word set to music. In song, the word of God penetrates the soul. In song, we experience union with Christ. In the throes of life – the crisis moments – it is words set to music that first come to mind. In those moments, we can’t always run to the desktop, but we should have the smartphone of soul embedded in our hearts.

Apple used to use that catchy phrase “there’s an app for that.” Need to send flowers to mom? there’s an app for that. Need to know the name of the constellation of stars in the sky overhead? There’s an app for that. Need supper? There’s an app for that.

Well, whatever your circumstance of life, there’s a Psalm for that:

  • Contemplating origins? Think Psalm 33.
  • Considering the consummation of the age? Think Psalm 149.
  • Rising from bed? Think Psalm 5.
  • Going to bed? Think Psalm 4.
  • Awake at night? Think Psalm 63.
  • Ready to eat? Think Psalm 145.
  • Thirsty? Think Psalm 42.
  • Going to work? Think Psalm 104.
  • Celebrating the Lord’s Day? Think Psalm 122.
  • Checking your genealogy? Think Psalm 16.
  • Your beginning? Think Psalm 139.
  • Your birth? Think Psalm 71.
  • Celebrating a birthday? Think Psalm 104.
  • Enjoying childhood? Think Psalm 34.
  • Need motivation to study well? Think Psalm 111.
  • Gazing at the stars? Think Psalm 19.
  • Maturing as a youth? Think Psalm 119.
  • Ready to pop the question? Think Psalm 45.
  • Bringing children into the world? Think Psalm 128.
  • Questions about parenting? Think Psalm 103.
  • Playing with your grandchildren? Think Psalm 71.
  • Harvest time here? Think Psalm 65.
  • Seasons changing around you? Think Psalm 147.
  • Traveling? Think Psalm 121.
  • On the water? Think Psalm 107.
  • Remembering history? Think Psalm 78.
  • Talking with your financial planner? Think Psalm 49.
  • Tempted by the world? Think Psalm 73.
  • Disappointed by life? Think Psalm 77.
  • Weeping over your sins? Think Psalm 51.
  • Engaged in evangelism? Think Psalm 96.
  • Overcome by fear? Think Psalm 91.
  • Angered by the wickedness of men? Think Psalm 94.
  • Disappointed by civic elections? Think Psalm 2.
  • Rejoicing in the incarnation? Think Psalm 113.
  • Prone to worry? Think Psalm 130.
  • Growing old? Think Psalm 92.
  • Butchering or preparing meat? Think Psalm 8.
  • Going to war? Think Psalm 18.
  • In the process of dying? Think Psalm 6.
  • Mourning the death of a loved one? Think Psalm 116.
  • Anticipating eternity? Think Psalm 73.

Of course, you can add other life experiences to the list. Why is the Psalter the smartphone of the soul? Rowland Prothero notes:

“The Book of Psalms contains the whole music of the heart of man, swept by the hand of his Maker. In it are gathered the lyrical burst of his tenderness, the moan of his penance, the pathos of his sorrow, the triumph of his victory, the despair of his defeat, the firmness of his confidence, the rapture of his assured hope. In it is presented the anatomy of all parts of the human soul. In it, as Heine says, are collected ‘sunrise and sunset, birth and death, promise and fulfillment – the whole drama of humanity.’”

Thus, we carry the Psalms in our mental pockets daily. Our minds race here to check for truths, to hear from God, and see our decisions and emotions governed when we cannot access the rest of Scripture. This has been my experience of life…from birthdays, to emergency room visits, to maternity wards, to the graveside, and beyond.

Smartphones are great, but they only go so far. They may reveal where you are in a building, but they cannot reveal what is in your building. They may map the stars in the sky, but they cannot unite you to the maker of the stars. They may point you to bread on earth, but they cannot feed you bread from heaven. The Psalms do all of these things and more. Phone programs fail, contracts expire, and phones are dropped in toilets. The Psalms hidden in the heart will never fail you. They will cause the peace of Christ to rule in your heart. They will order your life. But the Psalms only function this way in the hearts of those who own them. {The Psalter: Smartphone of the Soul (revisited)}

We shall praise God for His creation and all the wonder-works He did but also to show our thankfulness for accepting the ransom offer Jesus brought for us all. We shall bring praise to God because He has verified His promise to bless all those who wait upon Him in faith and sincerity. Even we do know that we or those who come behind us shall have to face an other terrible war, we can see the signs of the end coming near.

Bringing praise to God let us step in the footsteps of Jesus Christ and let us share our blessings with others by taking to as many
as possible who are truth hungry the “sincere milk of the Word,” and the “meat in due season” from His storehouse.

Praise God from whom all bless is honour to his beloved Son!

+

Preceding articles:

Be vigilant with a view to prayers

Psalm 150 Praise Jah, You people!

Psalm 150 Praise Jah! Praise God

+++

  • Culture Change by the Apostle Paul (bpardekooper.wordpress.com)
    The Apostle Paul was a dynamic leader as a founder of Christianity and the church of Jesus Christ. As a Jew, Paul was keenly aware of the culture of the Jewish people and their customs, but recognized growth was necessary for his people to follow Jesus the Christ. Paul’s central message throughout his ministry focused on a simple concept: to become like Jesus Christ and live a life in accordance with his teachings and example. (I Co. 11:1, Ep. 5:1, 4:22-24, Ga. 3.27, Ro. 8:29) In establishing Christianity, Paul was on a journey to change the culture of the Jewish people to embrace a new reality given to them by Jesus.
  • A New Past, Present and Future in Jesus (revolutionarypaideia.com)
    We enter into this blood-bought Grace Covenant with Jesus when we receive the Salvation He has made available to everyone.
    +
    Jesus expects for you to no longer live a life where you’re sin-conscious: “For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins” (Hebrews 10:2). When you’re constantly worried about sin threatening your position of righteousness in Christ Jesus, this sin-consciousness causes you to receive bondage and fear—this bondage and fear is not a part of your reborn spirit in Christ Jesus,
  • Real Truth Will Set You Free (mylordmyfriend.com)
    Teaching that takes away from Christ teachings or demotes Christ Jesus from His central place place with The Father, is dangerous to the Christian message.
  • Hugh’s News & Views (Preaching Jesus) (fellowshiproom.org)
    Jesus was always available to those who were in need and that He is still accessible today [Hebrews 4:15-16]).
    +
    Jesus instructed the apostles to teach those they baptized “to observe all things whatever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). The early church “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42). If I likewise instruct people to observe all that Christ commanded and to continue faithfully in the doctrine of Christ’s apostles, am I not, in reality, preaching Jesus?
  • 2015 Fasting Devotion, Day Twenty-One (stacylynnallen.com)
    In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever.
  • Attitude is Everything (faithandfootsteps.wordpress.com)
    We carry around with us the knowledge of this great gospel of Jesus Christ, so we should respond to life’s circumstances as he would.  Sounds pretty hard to do considering that Jesus responded perfectly to all that life threw at him.
  • Accidental Discipleship (defendingcontending.com)
    It’s what the flesh wants and it’s a shortcut that will lead to disappointment or destruction. Knowing Jesus is the correct goal. In Him we are complete (Colossians 2:10). Whatever change is truly needed in our lives will be wrought by the Spirit of God if we abandon our plans for self-justification and pursue Christ. Not improvement, not change for the better, not relief from our pain; just Jesus.
  • Sunday, 22 February 2015 : First Sunday of Lent, Feast of the Chair of St. Peter the Apostle (Second Reading) (petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com)
    baptism is not a matter of physical cleansing but of asking God to reconcile us through the resurrection of Christ Jesus.

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