Every good work – Hebrews 13:20-21

Amos Johnson and C of E crew who were on the call last night, I came across this prayer in my Bible reading this morning and want to share as I believe it sums up our discussion so succinctly:

Hebrews 13:20-21
Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

My Take: I see His peace, His power, His will…when we are IN and ABOUT that we are in Romans 8:28 territory, that of love and fulfilling our calling for His purpose. That is the ZONE.

No Worries

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34

LIVE IN THE PRESENT, DO NOT WORRY ABOUT TOMORROW

SUPPORTING SCRIPTURE

Matthew 6:25
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

Matthew 6:27
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his lifespan?

Luke 10:41
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord replied, “you are worried and upset about many things.
Luke 12:22
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear.

Philippians 4:6
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

SELECT COMMENTARY

Pulpit Commentary
Verse 34. – Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew only. Luke’s conclusion to this section (“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom”) is perhaps more closely connected with the preceding verse, and also grander as dwelling upon God’s side; but Matthew’s is more practical, dealing with the subject from man’s side. Christ says, “Because all needful things shall be added, do not have one anxious thought for the future, even for what is coming on the very next day.” Such anxiety shows a want of common sense, for each day brings its own burden of anxiety for itself. Christ here seems to allow anxiety for each day as it comes round. “But,” he says, “put off your to-morrow’s anxiety until to-morrow.” If this be done, the greater part of all our anxiety is put aside at once, and, for the rest of it, the principle will apply to each hour as well as to each day (cf. Bengel). The Christian will ever try to follow the inspired advice of St. Paul (Philippians 4:6) and St. Peter (1 Peter 5:7). The morrow shall take thought for; “be anxious” as supra. The things of itself; for itself (Revised Version); αὑτῆς. The unique construction of the genitive after μεριμνάω led to the insertion of τὰ by the copyists (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:32-34). Sufficient unto the day, etc.; Tyndale, “For the day present hath ever enough of his own trouble.” Sufficient (Matthew 10:25, note).

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
Take therefore no thought for the morrow,…. Reference is had to Proverbs 27:1. “Boast not of thyself tomorrow”: a man cannot promise or assure himself, that he shall have a morrow, and therefore it is great weakness and folly to be anxiously thoughtful about it. This is expressed in the Talmud (s), nearer the sense of Christ’s words, after this manner:

, “do not distress thyself with tomorrow’s affliction, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth”; perhaps tomorrow may not be, and thou wilt be found distressing thyself, for the time which is nothing to thee.”

And should it come, it is unnecessary to be thoughtful of it in a distressing manner before hand;

for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. The morrow is here introduced by a “prosopopeia”, as if it was a person sufficiently thoughtful and careful for the necessaries of it: every day brings along with it fresh care and thought, being attended with fresh wants and troubles; and therefore, it is very unadvisable, to bring the cares and troubles of two days upon one; as he does, who is anxiously concerned today, for the things of tomorrow;

sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. This proverb is thus expressed in the Talmud (t), , “sufficient for distress”, or “vexation, is the present time”; which the gloss explains thus,

“sufficient for the vexation it is, that men should grieve for it, at the time that it comes upon them.”

It is very wrong to anticipate trouble, or meet it before hand; if it was for no other reason but this, that every day’s trouble is enough, and should not be needlessly added to, by an over concern what shall be done for tomorrow; or how shall the necessities of it be answered, or the trials of it be endured.

(s) T. Bab. Sanhedrim, fol. 100. 2.((t) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 9. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

  1. Take therefore no thought—anxious care.

for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself—(or, according to other authorities, “for itself”)—shall have its own causes of anxiety.

Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof—An admirable practical maxim, and better rendered in our version than in almost any other, not excepting the preceding English ones. Every day brings its own cares; and to anticipate is only to double them.
Matthew Henry Commentary
6:25-34 There is scarcely any sin against which our Lord Jesus more warns his disciples, than disquieting, distracting, distrustful cares about the things of this life. This often insnares the poor as much as the love of wealth does the rich. But there is a carefulness about temporal things which is a duty, though we must not carry these lawful cares too far. Take no thought for your life. Not about the length of it; but refer it to God to lengthen or shorten it as he pleases; our times are in his hand, and they are in a good hand. Not about the comforts of this life; but leave it to God to make it bitter or sweet as he pleases. Food and raiment God has promised, therefore we may expect them. Take no thought for the morrow, for the time to come. Be not anxious for the future, how you shall live next year, or when you are old, or what you shall leave behind you. As we must not boast of tomorrow, so we must not care for to-morrow, or the events of it. God has given us life, and has given us the body. And what can he not do for us, who did that? If we take care about our souls and for eternity, which are more than the body and its life, we may leave it to God to provide for us food and raiment, which are less. Improve this as an encouragement to trust in God. We must reconcile ourselves to our worldly estate, as we do to our stature. We cannot alter the disposals of Providence, therefore we must submit and resign ourselves to them. Thoughtfulness for our souls is the best cure of thoughtfulness for the world. Seek first the kingdom of God, and make religion your business: say not that this is the way to starve; no, it is the way to be well provided for, even in this world. The conclusion of the whole matter is, that it is the will and command of the Lord Jesus, that by daily prayers we may get strength to bear us up under our daily troubles, and to arm us against the temptations that attend them, and then let none of these things move us. Happy are those who take the Lord for their God, and make full proof of it by trusting themselves wholly to his wise disposal. Let thy Spirit convince us of sin in the want of this disposition, and take away the worldliness of our hearts.

KIRK’S COMMENTARY

The past is gone, the future is an unfulfilled promise, today is a present. We are wise to make the most of today. There is no time like now. Time is like a stream of flowing water; a river connected the clouds and the oceans. We are in its midst. Carpe diem. If it’s to be, it’s up to me (and my team and most importantly my God). All I can do is all I can do but all I can do is enough, Lord willing.

This verse appears to be a prerequisite to the previous one due to its position and the ‘therefore’ as v34 begins. Here is v33: But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.

James tells us not to boast what we care going to do tomorrow and in the future. This verse is like the antithesis. That we should not fret over it. We shouldn’t be over or under confident in ourselves but trust in our mighty God and do our best. He is more than sufficient.

God cares for everyone for He is love yet the principles of life are congruent and work for those who heed his ways and in particular seek to serve Him. Like any healthy relationship, it is reciprocal.

KIRK’S PRAYER

Good God, you know me better than I know myself. You know my needs. Help me to serve you first and watch you work it all out. Your Scriptures are robust in deeds. I trust in You first and foremost.

Slow to anger, quick to praise

Pondering Proverbs 19:11
“Good sense makes one slow to anger,
and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”

My take: Man oh man is this a hard one. There is so much wrong in this half fallen world, yet so much good at the same time. Paradox everywhere. It causes me to think of the Scripture, ‘be at peace with others as possible’ or better yet, ‘do unto others as you wish to be done unto ‘ – the pure golden rule. But yet inspired Solomon does not say we should not get angry but rather be ‘slow to anger’, not to be hasty. I love what Stephen Covey teaches in the ‘8th habit’ book where he implores us to be cognisent and prepared to effectively handle the space between an action and our reaction. That middle ground is so critical. That’s were wisdom should rule. That’s what seperates a wise man from a fool and enlightened humans from the animals.

My prayer: Holy Spirit I need your guidance and the wisdom of God’s Word to guide me in this tumultuous world. Help me to see things from your perspective. Your ways are much higher than mine but help me to rise to at least kite height. Help me to be slow to anger and quick to overlook. Help me to major on the major things, not the minors.

Steadfast

Remaining Steadfast

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
James 1:12 ESV

Relevant Scriptures

Genesis 22:1
Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”

Exodus 20:6
but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Psalm 11:5
The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves violence His soul hates

1 Corinthians 8:3
But the one who loves God is known by God.

1 Corinthians 9:25
Everyone who competes in the games trains with strict discipline. They do it for a crown that is perishable, but we do it for a crown that is imperishable.

Commentary

From Elliot: (12) Blessed is the man that endureth temptation.–Surely the Apostle links such blessedness with the nine Beatitudes, heard in the happy days gone by upon the Mount with Christ (Matthew 5:3-11). The words he uses in the original are the same as those which are expressed above, in our second, third, and fourth verses, by “patience” and “trials,” and mean a firm endurance, steadfastness, tenacity of purpose, and quenchless enthusiasm

From Henry: It is not every man who suffers, that is blessed; but he who with patience and constancy goes through all difficulties in the way of duty. Afflictions cannot make us miserable, if it be not our own fault. The tried Christian shall be a crowned one. The crown of life is promised to all who have the love of God reigning in their hearts.

My Pondering: We clearly see here God tests us. Yet we also see He doesn’t tempt via evil. What are we to make if that? I personally don’t believe God chooses to control every circumstance in life. Oh, He is omniscient but He wants us to love Him through trials not just because He blesses us. He wants us to love Him for who He exclusively or primarily because of what He gives us. There may not be a reason for every challenge and obstacle that is in our way but I am convinced there is a purpose.

Yes, faith, hope and love rule! Faith to know God has got us covered in spite of our temporary circumstance. Hope to know by His works we can conquer and surpass all. Love. Loving God, the greatest commandment. This is why we exist and why there are tests. To prove our love for God requires this first and foremost our Jesus and the inspired writers would not have said so.

For when we persevere and abide in Christ, our crown of bliss, of eternal life is assured because of love. For John 3:16 sums it up so eloquently: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

My prayers: Lord, help this poor soul stand strong and remain steadfast on Your love.

Blessing and Receiving

Pondering Proverbs 11:24 — 25
“One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;
another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
and one who waters will himself be watered.”

My take : Some sage, supernatural advice here. Often is contrary to my nature, how about yours? But it confirms that givers gain. It like the difference between the Sea of Gallilee and the Dead Sea. The one that only receives is the dead. The one that receives and gives is alive and flourishing. As the late great Zig Ziglar was found of saying, ‘You can have everything in life you want if you help enough others get what they want’. Time to get to work.

Believers are Receivers

Therefore, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, established in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness…” COL 2:6-7

Relevant Scriptures Selected:

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” John 13:20

“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. Matthew 10:40

From Gill we gather: As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord,…. Receiving Christ is believing in him: faith is the eye of the soul, that sees the beauty, glory, fulness, and suitableness of Christ; the foot that goes to him, and the hand that takes hold on him, and the arm that receives and embraces him; so that this is not a receiving him into the head by notion, but into the heart by faith; and not in part only, but in whole: faith receives a whole Christ, his person as God and man; him in all his offices, as prophet, priest, and King; particularly as a Saviour and Redeemer,

Henry writes: All Christians have, in profession at least, received Jesus Christ the Lord, consented to him, and taken him for theirs. We cannot be built up in Christ, or grow in him, unless we are first rooted in him, or founded upon him. Being established in the faith, we must abound therein, and improve in it more and more. God justly withdraws this benefit from those who do not receive it with thanksgiving; and gratitude for his mercies is justly required by God.

My pondering: It is football season again. One analogy I see is playing catch; being a receiver. When the Gospel ball is passed our way, the receiver’s primary job is to catch it. By keeping his eye on the ball and squeezing it at the proper time a reception is complete.

Once the reception is complete, the next step is to run to glory, God’s glory, without fumbling. That’s a great feat.

The next step is to become a quarterback back and make the next critical pass. Be assured coach Jesus is pulling for us, the Owner wants us to score and we have all star Spirit on the field doing the impossible. Yes, our opponent is formidable but greater is He that is own our side than the other. Thanks be to our great leader, we win because of His greatness.

The question is what team are you on and are you even out on the field?

My prayer: Jesus, thanks for all You have, are and shall do to ensure we receivers are winners. Without You impossible, with…all possible!

Righteous Rebuke – Pslams 141:45

Pondering Psalms 141:5
“Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness;
let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head;
let my head not refuse it.”

My take: David would know after the prophet Nathan so adroitly confronted David regarding his grievous iniquity with Bathsheba and her honorable husband. There is a lot to learn how Nathan handled that with a relevant story. Jesus often used stories or parables to drive home points. The bottom line is David owned up to his sin. Many people are too prideful and arrogant to do such. David sets an example here on how to respond and God used Nathan to appropriately rebuke David.

Nathan came to David. David listened and responded. It sure is easy and natural to avoid having Nathan’s around but is it wise and healthy?
No.

If we are mature, we should intentionally surround ourselves with the likes of Nathans, good godly men and women.

In the passage we read the 1st qualification is to be ‘righteous’. Righteous. (of a person or conduct) morally right or justifiable; virtuous. “he is a good, righteous man, I am sure” synonyms: good, virtuous, upright, upstanding, and decent. And though it is ‘strike’ it is indeed kindness. A rebuke is like oil for a dry skin and hair we read. Of course no one other than God is totally righteous but is the person’s intent good? Are they someone God might be using?

David does some smart self talk and says, ‘let my head not refuse it’. Like how a dirty boy might want to refuse taking a bath when he desperately needs it. Rather let’s do the tough things and we will no doubt be rewarded in the long run.

My prayer: Oh LORD, there is nothing hidden from You. Let me not try to fool You and in turn be a bigger fool. Help me to be honest with myself and be open to sincere and righteous critique and correction. I know my flesh and pride recoil at this. Aid me!

Absolutes, convictions, and preferences

Romans 14:14-21

The Law of Love
“I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.
Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.

In regard to our worldview and that of Christianty or any tenat, at the core there are Absolutes; foundational principles that are required to be included in the group, basic essentials.

Then there are Convictions; strongly held beliefs. Lastly there are Preferences; our opinions and likes about certain aspects of the subject.

Misguided liberty takes Absolutes and acting as if they are Preferences. Legalism is the opposite, making Preferences to be Absolutes. Wisdom is knowing the difference while applying these concepts accurately.

This is a great quote by a theologian, “In essentials; unity, in non-essentials; grace, and in all things; charity.”

Open mindedness is appropriate in preferences but not in absolutes, unless the absolutes we hold are flawed and unfounded.

Beyond Measure

Pondering Psalms 147:4 — 5
“He determines the number of the stars;
He gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
His understanding is beyond measure.”

My take: Yes God. Yes the Lord knows His creation from each and every sparrow way out to every star. Isn’t it amazing that He needs no telescope to number and name them? Do men and women search space to know God better or make futile attempts to debunk Him?

Mission truly impossible is to fully grasp, obtain and understand God’s power and knowledge. It could be life’s greatest challenge or greatest waste of time. It all swings on the pendulum of intent.

My prayer: Lord, help to know, pursue and love You more throughout the rest of eternity. Thank You for Your Word, world and wonderful Spirit and Son.

Faith Rewards

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 ESV

Matthew 5:12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: …

Other version insert these descriptors: Sincerely, Diligently, Earnestly
Those who____ seek Him.

From Gill’s exposition I share: “God is a rewarder, in a way of grace; with himself, who is their exceeding great reward; and with his Son, and all things with him; with more grace; and, at last, with eternal glory, the reward of the inheritance.”

M Henry writes: “We cannot come to God, unless we believe that he is what he has revealed himself to be in the Scripture. Those who would find God, must seek him with all their heart. Noah’s faith influenced his practice; it moved him to prepare an ark.

My pondering: Wow, impossible is impossible. We must exercise faith. Faith is essential in pleasing God.

No ifs, ands, or buts but there is a for; ‘for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.’ We must believe two things we read herein 1) that God exists and 2) He rewards those who seek Him.

Yes indeed; He exists and is more than able & He rewards His seekers.

He exists, He rewards.

God is much more than a rewarder but He certainly is that. What an awesome: Creator, Father, & Provider.

My prayer: LORD, You are good….for the Bible tells me so. For my heart tells me so. For my soul tells me so. For my brethren and Pastor tell me so. For musicians tell me so. For the birds tell me so. For the sky tells me so. Knowing and living for and by You is all the reward one needs. You exist and reward, this I know.