Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink
Every segment of our life is rationed and squeezed into a box. 8:00 (or whatever) means off to school or off to work. Arrive five minutes late and it could well mean loss of grade or job, and therefore a complete altering of one's lifestyle. Friday comes and the paycheck is not ready, and we panic. An increase in the cost of living (unless we work in the high echelons of government) causes us worry.
All of us, or should I say most of us, live on the edge day-by-day. Our time is chopped up into little pieces that must fit together precisely or it doesn't work. Like a jigsaw puzzle, all our time, our money, and our efforts must fit into its proper confines if it is going to function as it should. If one piece overlaps another, or comes short of fitting the piece adjoining it, it doesn't work. We know this is not the way we should live, yet we continue to create just such a pressure on ourselves. If extra money should come our way, money that could well relieve some of our financial pressure, rather than pay off a bill, invest it, or put into a savings account, we go on a spending spree. If we are fortunate enough to be given a few minutes in our daily routine, instead of investing that time in some constructive activity, we fill up that time with another routine that again places us back on our stressful treadmill.
This is the way we live our life. We know this isn't the best way to live, or the proper way to conduct ourselves, but we not only continue to live this way, but we instill this very same lack of congruency into our children. And we try to force God to comply with our disrupted lives.
Priorities is something we give little attention to in this day and age. In olden days, and even now with those who live off the land and on farms and the like, priorities was understood and followed. When the field was ripe for harvest, it had to be harvested at that moment and no later. Nor could it be harvested any earlier. Meals were a family event, around the table, and lives were shared at this time. Families gathered around the piano, or some other form of music, and sang together. Family Bible readings were another event that was commonplace. Saturday was bath day in preparation for church on Sunday. Life in those times was patterned as it is today, but the priorities of that pattern was topsy-turvy of what it is today. Where God and family and work was the priority of days gone by, entertainment and "do-your-own-thing" now reigns supreme.
In the above Scripture Jesus said to seek first righteousness and the Kingdom of Heaven and all the things we desire will be given to us. However we must take into account that Jesus here is not speaking of a wide screen TV or a new car every year:
Jesus is talking about our daily necessitates, not our daily lusts and self-serving desires. We count our lives successful according to the things we possess, the things we can "enjoy," and not according to who we are, or how we can serve others.
11Give us this day our daily bread. 12And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. (Mat 6:)
Topsy-turvy of what God wants from us, or what will truly make us happy and feel content with ourselves and our lives.
We seek peace, but peace on our own terms. We don't even want God to dictate the terms of our peace. God said to rest in Him, but we tell God we want Him to keep up with our hectic lives, fulfill all our desires, and thrust His peace upon us whether we do as He says, or if we are deserving of His peace or not. To us peace is a life without worries. But we will never have a life without worries because we create our own stress the moment we're given a stress-free moment. And if we should have peace in reality, we will find something about that peace to worry and murmur about.
The word "rest: in the verse above means "intermission, recreation." An intermission means a break in our routine. But as stated earlier, the moment we have an intermission, we fill up that time for rest with something that will cause us stress. And as for recreation, we think of recreation as a computer game or several hours of TV watching, then complain because there's nothing good on TV to watch. Recreation means to "Re-create." It's a time of refreshing so we can begin anew. Recreation was designed to give us a rest so we can return to work with a new vigor. God became very angry with the Jews for not taking one day a week to rest, and in so doing allow the animals, the servants, and the land (on the yearly Sabbaths) to rest as well. Today we do not look to work for work's sake. Work is only a means to providing for ourselves more selfish entertainment, possessions and toys. In bygone days work was the purpose of life, and there remained little time for anything else.
8And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed...... 15And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. (Gen 3:)
23Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. (Gen 3:23)
23The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me. (Lev 25:)
21And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins.......34Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies' land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. 35As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it. (Lev 26:)
34Their Redeemer is strong; the LORD of hosts is his name: he shall thoroughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon. (Jer 50:)
18And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. (Rev 11:)
If you have indeed read and considered the verses above, then read again John 3:16 and realize that the word used for world is "Cosmos." Then look up cosmos in the dictionary. I think you may well find a new perspective on life, unless you're doggedly clinging to your established dogmas. Jesus said "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27). We, being self-centered tend to get everything backwards. We're told in Revelation "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." (Rev 4:11). Everything was created for God's pleasure, not for our pleasure.
19In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. (Gen 3:)
4How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? 5Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. 6How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm? (Job 25:)
6But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. (Psalm 22:)
16They shall be ashamed, and also confounded, all of them: they shall go to confusion together that are makers of idols. 17But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end. 18For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:)
We see everything backwards, from bottom to top. Unless we're willing to dismiss our own concepts and see things through God's eyes, that is, through the Holy Spirit, we will continue to ask "Why," and never receive the truth that is right at our fingertips.
Our treasure is the things we value most. Where our treasure is, is where we will spend most of our time, and where we place most of our concern. Our treasure might be our garden, or our music, or our knick-knack collection. Or it might be our family or our church. But whatever is dearest to us is where our heart is, and where we store our treasure.
Jesus said we are to store for ourselves treasure in Heaven and not here on earth. How might we store up treasure in Heaven?
We are to love God, and to love our neighbor. These two things are not requests, but as stated here, they are commandments. Do we have any problem understanding what a commandment is? I believe we do because we're told there are no more commandments to follow. But if you really want to know what a commandment is, think of a parent telling a child what is expected of him or her. Or consider your boss when he or she says you must perform a certain task "or else." Multiply the answer you come up with by about a million, and we might have some idea of what Jesus meant by a commandment.
Love they neighbor as ourself. How do we do that? Do we prove our love for our hungry neighbor by purchasing a new wide screen TV or by adding to our video game collection?
Jesus gives us two examples of what treasure in Heaven is. One example is that we should do just the opposite of what we're doing, just the opposite of what we want to do. We are to be unselfish. That's a hard pill to swallow. But just how unselfish are we supposed to be?
"And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
We are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. The pill just got bigger. That might very well be taken to mean we should buy a new TV for all our neighbors if we buy one for ourself. How many neighbors do you have? But then again, if we look back at the previous Scripture we see that Jesus said we're not to concern ourselves with TV and things, or even our food or clothes. How do you think that fits into this equation?
If the second commandment, the way to build treasure in Heaven is tough how about the first? We are to love God with all our heart and soul. How do we do that? Just what did Jesus mean?
We are expected to surrender everything to God, including our own life. If we want the peace that Jesus offers, if we want to build up our reserve of treasure in Heaven, or even make it to Heaven, then we must think of ourselves last, and to place God first. Remember Jesus said:
Also we have:
15By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. (Heb 13:)
16Rejoice evermore. 17Pray without ceasing. 18In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19Quench not the Spirit. (1Thes 5:)
15Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2Tim 2:)
1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Col 3:)
And David said:
2But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (Psalm 1:)
The Bible sets some very high standards by which a Christian should live. In fact, it seems to me that the standards are so high they are unattainable by those of us who live in modern society. And perhaps it's for this reason the churches have lowered the standards so low that even the most worldly of person can feel at home in church. Consider, the lowering of the bar came about in the 60's and the 70's when some churches began dropping (actually eliminating) dress codes, conduct in church, and the fear of God: and they began preaching "Love and peace," which was the cry of the flower children of the day. Welcome mats and posters read: "Come as you are, and stay as you are." And so they did, there being no reason given for the altering their lives. Bands replaced choirs, music became Rock, and fire & brimstone was replaced with the love of Jesus. In fact, some churches went so far as to offer drugs and alcohol so the attendees could "Get high on the spirit." The bar was lowered to the ground at this time, and since then the bar has been completely eliminated altogether. Something to think about.
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