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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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A look at materialism

In our Belgian ecclesiae this fortnight we take a look at that what keeps so many busy these times. After the financial crisis it may look as if many people are not any-more so interested to get capital gain, but be not fooled, they still aim to enrich themselves, but much more with material things they can hold onto or dispose when not any more of use or not any more in fashion.

Lots of people are interested to get the most recent new gadgets. That this pursuit of pleasure can crowd out godly devotion we clearly can see in the many church denominations which all lost church members. Most people are not any more interested in God and His commands.

A typical narrow street in the Christian quarter

A typical narrow street in the Christian quarter in Tyre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We live in a world where many have fallen victim to greed and selfishness. Because of the prevailing commercial climate, much emphasis is placed on wealth. Hence, a Christian does well to examine himself to be sure that he is not falling into the same trap that ensnared the commercial city of Tyre. Does he spend so much of his time and energy in material pursuits that he is, in fact, a slave of riches? (Matthew 6:24) Is he envious of some who may have more or better possessions than he has? (Galatians 5:26) If he happens to be wealthy, does he proudly feel that he deserves more attention or privileges than others do? (Compare James 2:1-9.) If he is not rich, is he “determined to be rich,” whatever the cost? (1 Timothy 6:9) Is he so occupied with business matters that he leaves only a very small corner in his life for serving God? (2 Timothy 2:4) Does he become so consumed with the pursuit of wealth that he ignores Christian principles in his business practices?—1 Timothy 6:10.

Could it be that we need to make immediate adjustments in this regard? Granted, some benefits are derived from bodily training and recreation. Yet, such rewards are small compared with everlasting life. (1 John 2:25)
Today, many are “lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power,” and we need to turn away from such individuals. (2 Timothy 3:4, 5)

3 But know this, that in the last days+ critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having an appearance of godliness but proving false to its power;+ and from these turn away. From among these arise men who slyly work their way into households and captivate weak women loaded down with sins, led by various desires, always learning and yet never able to come to an accurate knowledge of truth. (2 Timothy 3:1-4, 5-7)

Those who place emphasis on godly devotion are

“safely treasuring up for themselves a fine foundation for the future, in order that they may get a firm hold on the real life.”—1 Timothy 6:19.

On From Guestwriters there are several articles placed which show how Materialism is a snare to many.

We may deceive even ourselves, “thinking that godly devotion is a means of [material] gain.” Thus, we could be emboldened to take improper advantage of the trust shown by fellow believers. (1 Timothy 6:5) We might even wrongly conclude that it is all right to press a prosperous Christian for a loan that we are unlikely to be able to repay. (Psalm 37:21) But it is godly devotion, not the acquisition of material things, that “holds promise of the life now and that which is to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8) Since ‘we brought nothing into the world and cannot carry anything out,’ let us more intently pursue “godly devotion along with self-sufficiency” and allow ourselves to be ‘content with sustenance and covering.’1 Timothy 6:6-11.

A lifetime of hard work in the pursuit of a secular career or material prosperity will not necessarily mean that one will “see good” if it is done to the exclusion of spiritual things. If we, in our prosperity, neglect religious instruction and authority it well can be we will miss the boat. Only seeing those things others have and wanting to have them oneself, might pull us in a black hole. The envy man has, brings him into the darkness of the world and blinds him to see the real true light.

Jesus described the consequences of misdirected effort in his illustration of the sower. Regarding the seed “sown among the thorns,” Jesus explained that “this is the one hearing the word, but the anxiety of this system of things and the deceptive power of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22) Paul also warned of the same trap and added that those who pursue a materialistic course “fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and hurtful desires, which plunge men into destruction and ruin.” What is the antidote for such a spiritually ruinous way of life?

constant disputes about minor matters by men who are corrupted in mind+ and deprived of the truth, thinking that godly devotion is a means of gain.+ To be sure, there is great gain in godly devotion+ along with contentment.* For we have brought nothing into the world, and neither can we carry anything out.+ So, having food* and clothing,* we will be content with these things.+

But those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare+ and many senseless and harmful desires that plunge men into destruction and ruin.+ 10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things, and by reaching out for this love some have been led astray from the faith and have stabbed themselves all over with many pains.+

11 However, you, O man of God, flee from these things. But pursue righteousness, godly devotion, faith, love, endurance, and mildness.+ 12 Fight the fine fight of the faith; get a firm hold on the everlasting life for which you were called and you offered the fine public declaration in front of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:5-6-11-12)

17 Instruct* those who are rich in the present system of things* not to be arrogant,* and to place their hope, not on uncertain riches,+ but on God, who richly provides us with all the things we enjoy.+ 18 Tell them to work at good, to be rich in fine works, to be generous,* ready to share,+ 19 safely treasuring up for themselves a fine foundation for the future,+ so that they may get a firm hold on the real life.+ (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

Remains of ancient columns at Al Mina excavati...

Remains of ancient columns at Al Mina excavation site – supposed palaestra (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Please do find to read:

  1. Luxury
  2. Summermonths and consumerism
  3. The business of this life
  4. Increasing wealth gap of immense proportions in the Capitalist World
  5. London an exaggerated microcosm of the UK at large
  6. Welfare state and Poverty in Flanders #6 Transport factor of immobilising financial growth
  7. Democratic downfall
  8. The Existence of Evil
  9. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  10. Being ‘broke’ a state of mind
  11. Less for more
  12. Less… is still enough
  13. Gender connections
  14. Looking at a conservative review of Shop Class As Soul Craft
  15. Looking on what is going on and not being of it
  16. Misleading world, stress, technique, superficiality, past, future and positivism
  17. Your position about materialistic desires having conquered the world
  18. Learning that stuff is just stuff
  19. Material wealth, Submission and Heaven on earth
  20. In a world which knows no peace sharing blessed hope
  21. How to Find the Meaning of Life and Reach a State of Peace
  22. Why “Selfishness” Doesn’t Properly Mean Being Shortsighted and Harmful to Others
  23. Hoarding Relationships and Things
  24. Forward ever backwards never!
  25. 30 things to start doing for yourself – #6 is vital.
  26. Watch out
  27. Stop and Think
  28. If we, in our prosperity, neglect religious instruction and authority
  29. Fragments from the Book of Job #5: chapters 32-37
  30. Fragments from the Book of Job #6: chapters 38-42
  31. A bird’s eye and reflecting from within
  32. We all have to have dreams
  33. Material gain to honour God
  34. Sow and harvests in the garden of your heart
  35. Missionary action paradigm for all endeavours of the church
  36. Bearing fruit
  37. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #2 Purity
  38. Jehovah steep rock and fortress, source of insight
  39. Believing in the send one and understanding that one does not live by bread alone

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Praying is surrendering in all circumstances

When you don't get what you askedPatience and self-control

It takes patience and self-control to trudge through difficult times, and it requires from us some faith in that what is promised to us in the very old days.

With praying we can ask but also say thank you and give praise. When everything goes right it is easy to forget God or it may also be easy to say thanks to God for times of health and prosperity. But when things go wrong or we do have a lot of problems it might be more difficult to say thanks to God. Though it is not so easy to thank God for our times of trials, storms, and adversity, we are called to give thanks in All circumstances.

Praying to God is also giving Him our heart and showing Him that we do have faith in His intentions and purpose.

Growing closer by surrendering

In our faith life we do have to grow closer to the Most High Elohim. We can do that by regular intensive study of His Word. In the Bible we can find lots of prayers which we can see as examples but which we also can use as prayers to Jehovah. In good but also in bad times we should decide to praise Him in the midst of happy moments, our bad moments, our pains and sorrows. We should not see it as a sacrifice of praise but as a gift of surrender to the One Who we do love and Who offered us the Grace of Salvation.

In this world where not many do love God it might well be that we do need some courage to show our gratitude and love for God. When we do surrender to the Divine Creator, The Elohim Hashem Jehovah this will give our heavenly Father much joy and probably cause the enemy much discomfort. Our relationship and our conversation with God will also serve as a quiet witness to those all around us.

“We ought to give thanks for all fortune:
if it is good, because it is good,
if bad, because it works in us patience,
humility and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.”
~C.S. Lewis        

When we surrender to Christ and to his heavenly Father the peace of Christ will always greet us if we lift up our needs in prayer, like Jesus did also to his heavenly Father. God loves us so much that he gave His only begotten son, who showed so much love for the world that he gave his body. Jesus restored the relationship between God and His creation so that we now all can come up to Him as His children. When we are prepared to give ourself in His Hands than peace that transcends all understanding shall be available for us as for every child of God. It is never withheld or out of reach. This peace comes when we surrender our challenges and submit to God’s plan, trusting Him to equip us for every obstacle.

Intimacy with God

When we pray we are prepared to want to experience intimacy with God. To be able to do that we do have to free our mind of our daily  ‘besognes” or worries. Our mind which is so often too preoccupied with all that is going on around us we do have to liberate from those problems and thoughts that haunt us.

When we purposely draw near to God with the hopes of Him drawing near to and speaking to us, we have to remember the primary way God speaks to us. He primarily speaks to us through His Word. That Word was brought to us by men of God, His prophets of which Jesus is the most important prophet and Master Teacher. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread…” He was not teaching them to pray for food or provision. He was teaching them to meditate on the scriptures — the Word of his heavenly Father, the Only One God, to Whom Jesus gave all honour, prayed and learned us to pray to.

Chose to associate with who

To be able to come closer to God we do have to be careful with whom we do want to associate. The people who surround us shall influence us. They also shall cause that we take on a certain attitude, therefore it is important which friends we choose. Avoiding bad people who can influence us in a bad way we can show our good sides to others and be an example for God to attract other lovers of God. Together we can unite to take time to talk about God and His Word and to praise Him in unity.
When you try to go on the right path to come in a good relationship with the Most High, try to clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Leaving the past

In case in the past we did do a lot of bad things we should regret them but not linger with them any more. Leave what happened in the past for what it was. Try to change for the good wherever you can, but that what not can be changed any more or turned back, have pity for it, but continue your way in the good sense. Try to put it away by talking with God about it and demanding pardon. For that what you regret god is willing to give forgiveness. It is not just running away from the past like nothing happened, but it is taking on the right attitude to take on, continue your way in a better direction.

Loving God you should make an end to your old life and build up a new life. By trying to set your self apart from the world, i.e. becoming a saint the first on the list of your concerns should be sharing the love Christ had for you with others. As love is patient you should show patience for yourself and for others, forgiving others for what they did wrong to you and praying for them, showing God you forgive them and you feel with them. when you take on the right attitude to others who wrong you, you shall be able to cure more sins than by wanting to bring condemnation. When you are angry or even mad at some one try to take a moment with God, asking Him for advice, giving Him the ability to help you to do the right thing. You may be angry but do not sin. Always remember that your struggles develop your strengths. We also should always remember that the words we use and the tone in which we use are going to define our but also other’s life. They will speak life or death to ourself but also to our children and their children. Therefore it is important that we balance our thoughts and choose our words rightly. Do not be afraid to ask help to God to find the right words to use. God can give us grace even when we are stressed and overwhelmed, that our children never take the below from our words.

Habits, attitude, action and reaction

Mary Magdalene, in a dramatic 19th-century pop...

Mary Magdalene, in a dramatic 19th-century popular image of penitence painted by Ary Scheffer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We should know that we as creatures of habit, we continually return to what we know. For lots of people the unknown frightens them. Though that we do know is not always the safe place. Sometimes, that is a place of discomfort or sadness or frustration. Sometimes, it is the easy place to be, or the one that keeps us financially stable or under the radar. Sometimes it is not that a situation can’t be changed; it is more that we lack the courage to make change happen. There is risk involved.

Often we can see what is happening but do not dare to react. Often we are afraid for reactions of others. As Christians we should know what is good and what is bad and should dare to speak for what is going wrong. But the way we are going to react is very important and for this we can counsel God first in prayer. Though perhaps there can be lots of things outside ourselves which we can not control, but our inner self, our own being we should be able to control and let it to be guided by God’s Wisdom.

Taking on Christ’s attitude

Always remember that the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands when everything goes all right and when you feel comfortable. It is when problems arise that mostly the character of a person comes into the light. In times of problems, challenge and controversy, you have to have self-control and be a worthy follower of Christ, willing to take on his attitude in such circumstances. If you feel you can not tackle it on your own, than is the time ripe to take up prayer. Inner conflict are often the termites of disobedience, so than it is high time to show obedience to God and show your love to His other creatures, not sowing bad things but good things of which you later shall have no regret.

Giving time to the Most Important One

Spending time with God is special whether if “feels” intimate or not and whether I get goosebumps or not. It’s simply great to spend time with the Most High Lord of the lord of lords! In your prayers God always should be your hope.

You can spend time with God with your actions as well with your words.

Switching off your autopilot you can be with your mind with God from the moment you are awake. When standing up, washing yourself, you can take a moment to stop in your mind for a second, while your autopilot does the daily actions, you let your spirit wander into the Hands of God. When you eat your meal, you can savour it, thinking about the taste, texture even temperature, and take time to enjoy that what God gives you daily. On your route to work/school you can look up at the sky, feel the sun, the wind on your face, take time as it were to smell the flowers (metaphorically or in reality if at all possible).

Also at work you can take moments of meditation or prayer. At your desk, take a few deep breaths, then try and notice a few (e.g.five) things you can hear, see and touch and five body sensations you are experiencing. This is one perfect way to de-stress.

Moments for you and God

Several times in the day you should take a moment for yourself and to stretch in a quite space, taking note on how it makes your body feel, where the tension is in your body which you can focus on and breathe into.

Perhaps you think you will loose a lot of precious time that way. But it isn’t. You shall be able to recharge. These moments of meditation and prayer aren’t meant to last a long time,

30 seconds can sometimes be all it takes. Of course if you want to spend a bit longer doing it, by all means do so! {6 Ways to be More Mindful}

You shall not always be able to succeed to have a good meditation or a good chat with the Higher Being. Taking time for yourself and in that time daring to put yourself away from the busy world is not easy. when you feel not happy with your previous meditation session or prayer time, do not find an excuse than to have further delays. Take it as

when you have blown your planned diet or abandoned your exercise routine; when you have ventured down a path that feels like a waste of your time, energy, and talents; when you feel you have betrayed yourself in some way by not following through on your higher intentions; whenever you veer off course or are derailed by some setback, rather than mercilessly beat yourself up about it, rather than bludgeon yourself with self-criticism that only leaves you depressed and demoralized, you can recognize the fact that you’ve wandered from your desired path, identify what happened (and what you might do differently the next time, if it’s yours to do), and then take the opportunity to gently and lovingly collect yourself, redirect yourself, and…

Begin again. {Begin Again}

°°°

serenity-prayer

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Preceding articles:

  1. Our openness to being approachable
  2. Natural inclinations and Praying and asking
  3. Always rejoicing Praying constantly Giving thanks for everything
  4. Psalm 66 HRV
  5. Psalm 66 OJB
  6. Praying and acts of meditation without ceasing

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Additional reading:

  1. The business of this life
  2. People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations
  3. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  4. God should be your hope
  5. God is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him
  6. Looking for True Spirituality 8 Measuring Up
  7. Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality
  8. Fragments from the Book of Job #6: chapters 38-42
  9. Getting fate in your change to positiveness
  10. A Story of the Soldier and a Spider
  11. Running away from the past
  12. Walking alone?
  13. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  14. Control your destiny or somebody else will
  15. Malefactors becoming your master
  16. Control and change
  17. Know Who goes with us and don’t try to control life
  18. Wednesday Talk: Favorite Scripture: Rejoice always
  19. Tapping into God’s Strength by Waiting on Him
  20. God is the strength of my heart
  21. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  22. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  23. A man who cannot forgive others
  24. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands
  25. Patience is the ability to count down before blasting off
  26. Your struggles develop your strengths
  27. Be ye angry and sin not
  28. He who smiles rather than rages is always the stronger
  29. Unconditional love
  30. Love will cure more sins than condemnation
  31. Careful what you sow, it might grow
  32. Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness
  33. Angry but not sinning
  34. Kindness
  35. Be kinder than necessary
  36. A treasure which can give me everything I need
  37. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #1 Kings Faith
  38. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #2 Calling upon the Name of God
  39. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #6 Words to feed and communicate
  40. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #9 Prayer #7 Reason to pray
  41. God is my refuge and my fortress in Him I will trust

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Find also to read:

  1. Serenity. Courage. Wisdom.
  2. Do you want your direction to be more clear?
  3. 6 Ways to be More Mindful
  4. Benefits of Meditation ☮
  5. In Search of the Winter Sun
  6. Work with Thoughts
  7. It Sounds Very Simple!
  8. Begin Again
  9. Inside My Head
  10. The Understanding of Dee and Meditation
  11. The Spiritual Treatment of Anxiety
  12. A Prayer for Starting Over
  13. A Prayer for New Beginnings
  14. Self Discipline

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  • Growing Closer to Christ Through Our Afflictions (faithinspires.wordpress.com)
    Afflictions don’t just attack our belief and faith in God. They are also meant ti distract us from God’s way, and his work. This is true even if our “work” for God is as simple as our example to those around us. Consider these words from noted Christian Author Joyce Meyers, ” The only way to repay the devil for hurt and devastation in our personal lives is to aggressively and vehemently do the works of Jesus.” In this short quote Meyers points out again that the source of our afflictions is the Devil. There’s an old saying “ Success is the best revenge. “ This is also what she is saying. The best way to combat the afflictions in our lives, is to succeed in our walk with Christ. Now I’m am not saying this will necessarily be easy. In fact the value in what I am saying lies in the fact that it will likely be hard and require significant effort !So when afflictions and struggles wage against you, first of all pray ! The more it hurts the harder you should pray. Seek the support of other like minded Christians. Do something for Christ no matter how small it may seem. Fight back with Christ and God himself as allies.
  • When Prayer Comes Hard (rosemccormickbrandon.wordpress.com)
    Often when a Christian expresses a need that deeply troubles them, another believer will say something like, “Just prayer about,” or “Just trust God.” It happens too when a person has been violated, lied about or hurt by the actions of another person. Someone will pipe up with this solution: “Just forgive and let it go.”To pray is always right. The same is true about trusting God and forgiving others. The problem is that prayer comes hard sometimes. And trust is not always the issue – a person may trust God completely but be weighed down with the turbulence of a life-altering event. As for forgiveness, it doesn’t roll out of the heart as easily as it rolls off the tongue.
  • A Prayer Of Faith (christianmotivations.weebly.com)
    This statement of faith cannot be argued away: every prayer of faith will be answered by God. It is very important to learn to apply the Word of God when you pray, because the Word is spirit and life. God’s Word is the truth and will never fail. God watches over His Word to ensure that His promises come to pass. When you pray according to the Word of God, your prayers are in line with the will of God.
  • Prayer Part 4 – Our Personal Intercessor (pastortyrus.com)
    Did you know we carry a personal intercessor with us everywhere we go? We have a helper that “helpeth our infirmities” The message bible version of the same verse says, “Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.” Well how about that?!?!
  • 8 Things Jesus Never said (bryanpattersonfaithworks.wordpress.com)
    Jesus said a lot of things throughout the Bible, but there are also a lot of things he didn’t. Here are eight things Jesus never said (From chururchleaders.com).
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    Jesus never promises fame or fortune, yet these are also not things he opposes if used for his glory. If your reasoning for seeking a relationship with God is materially focused, you may want to evaluate what god you’re really yearning for.
  • Praying for our worldwide family (csmonitor.com)
    In order to pray, we need to first let go of any feelings of hopelessness, which lead thought away from the understanding that God is omnipresent divine Love, and that we are all God’s offspring, created spiritually in His likeness. When we turn away from the sense that God is anything other than a loving protector, we are open to understanding that God is powerful enough to provide for the needs of His creation! Praying this way – by choosing to keep our thoughts centered on the understanding of God’s omnipotence, omnipresence, and goodness – we are able to meet challenges both near and far.
  • Listen: The Attributes of God: Is God a “He”? (The Reasons to Believe #91 with Daniel Whyte III) (blackchristiannews.com)
    God has been under attack in the world almost since the beginning of time, but He and those who believe in Him are under attack more now than ever before. Atheism is increasing and atheists are becoming more vocal. This podcast is an ongoing debate response to such people as Richard Dawkins, Bill Maher and others who don’t believe in God and who preach atheism to the world. This podcast is also designed to equip Christians to do what the Holy Scriptures command, and that is to, “earnestly contend for the faith” and to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh us a reason of the hope that is in us”. But more importantly, this broadcast/podcast is designed to give you a reason to believe in God and His Son Jesus Christ.
  • DAY 18 Power to Heal and Deliver (cutpaste.typepad.com)
    As much as I want God to heal, it’s not up to me. God is the healer. My job is to give him the opportunity to heal by offering to pray for every sick person I come in contact with.  What I will be held accountable for is not how many were healed but how many I was obedient to pray for.
  • Banking on God’s Promises (witnesswell.net)
    “Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for not being like a busy parent who says, “Don’t ask – don’t knock – I’m too busy to be bothered!” Today I pray for those who don’t know Jesus – I pray they will begin to ask, search, and knock.  Use Christian friends to introduce them to the truths of Your Word – may their eyes be open. Draw them into a sincere faith in the real You and may they find and experience the wonders of You through Your Word. LORD, I’m banking on Your promise to open the door when they knock. Thanks you! I come before You in Jesus’ name”
  • I Sing Praises, Because There is a Name I Can Call On….Regardless of My Need (brandinicolejm.wordpress.com)
    Just like we have first names, God’s first name is Yahweh or Jehovah. The Hebrew word means “I Am” and comes from the verb which means “to be” or “to exist.” As we speak to one another on a first name basis, we should have a desire to be on a first name basis with God. It is when we seek Him out (regardless of our flaws, weaknesses and shortcomings) with a level of transparency and honesty that God shares with us His last name.

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