Money: 1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:10 NIV A verse often altered 3-ways: first, money is framed as the cause of all evil. Certainly evil and money are often yolked together for reasons of power, greed, and control. But money, a system of exchange for goods, knowledge, or services, is a tool to manage trade — and is not the foundation of all evil. Secondly, the covetous nature of loving money is simply overlooked, omitted, passed over. Loving money, or rather “craving” money becomes a means without God’s eternal plan in mind, placing money above allegiance to and fondness for God. Also, the trailing sentence is left out, imperceptibly, negating its ability to change people who need to grasp its warning. God wants us to be conscious of, in communication with, and dependent upon Him at all times. Beloved, I combine 1 Timothy 6:10 with Chapter 6 of Matthew, especially verses 31-33. You are cared for! -Jeff
Judging . . . Anyone Mark 4:24 Dear Ones – I note no end to the amount of judging happening in today’s world. Mark 4:24 declares to us the danger of how we, or ‘I’ process information. How we receive news, then act upon it will, in turn, give us our, — or give me -my’ — reward. What if I listen to one side of a story, then another tells their side and the two sides round out the issues quite a bit. If I act on one opinion only, my reward may not be what I am expecting since I am ignoring qualified opinions pertaining to the issues. Never forget there is a God who is a God of Justice and Truth. A God who gives right decisions and teaches us how to do the same. James, in verse 20 of chapter 1, says righteousness does not show in the works of human origins — we need to learn God’s thoughts. This follows verse 19 — be eager to listen, then measure your words and your anger. God knows we will judge issues — but we want to act in His manner. In Him, Jeff Consider Matt. 7:1-5, John 7:24 and Luke 6:36-37
Jesus makes reference on how important it is to live your life the way God wants us to live. In this instance some people followed Him after He journeyed overnight to another location. Jesus perceived their wanting another meal, after all, who would not like a second meal if the first was pleasing and, quite frankly, a bit of a miracle? He uses the situation as a springboard to highlight the importance of listening to God in our daily life. Eating is important — we can’t live too well without it. It’s just that living in the Kingdom is also necessary and healthy for us.
Paul correlates eating and the Kingdom of God in Romans 14:17. The Holy Spirit’s entanglement with righteousness, joy, and peace in his comparison means more than the eating of food.
Take time to truly nourish your soul: build some time with Jesus, set apart some time to pray, listen. Chew the cud on God’s Word. Consider Luke 16:13 (and surrounding verses). You either serve God, or you are tied to the tethers of this world.
Jude is tucked away at the close of the New Testament, just in front of Revelation. When perusing through the Bible don’t blink or you’ll miss it. It is 1 chapter in length, sincerely compelling us to “contend for our Faith”. But the word “contend” is used in many translations. It is defined as an ongoing effort, a struggle — I think upwards or uphill against gravity like climbing a mountain, with thorn bushes and obstacles along the path — towards a goal. This goal is knowable, defined and is obtainable, reachable.
Jude’s unction for writing is to preserve a genuine Faith, the True Faith. Giving examples of how God rewards the faithful he then begins a laundry list of worldly ideas. Sometimes to know what it is we a talking about we take a look at what it is not. I wish we could do without this but to know the True Faith it is sometimes good to remind ourselves what to stay away from. This litany seems to drag on but verse 17 turns a corner.
In verse 20 you look to yourself and in prayer in the Holy Spirit you “strengthen” yourself. Do not turn aside but keep the goal in mind. Continue to tread towards the summit.
To carry this Faith you must know what the task is. And use the Faith you already possess. Could it be you are honing your Faith? Like a pilot of an airplane flying to a destination making course changes along the way. At takeoff the heading is established but nudges are needs to stay on course. The Faith is summed up pretty well in Matthew 5.
Another practical application in these Covid 19 times is to watch yourself and stay healthy. Watch how often you expose yourself to catching this disease or spread it to others. I live in New York State and Gov. Cuomo has become the herald for lowering the transmission of Covid. I applaud this attitude, others do not, which is their right to choose. But for you: you take responsibility for your health and the health of people around you.
“The true contemplative is not one who prepares his mind for a particular message. . .” Thomas Merton
Thomas Merton is portrayed as owning a great joy. In Dialogues With Silence, a book of Merton’s writings and drawings, Jonathan Montaldo, editor, embodies Merton’s thoughts. And captures the “joy” surrounding Merton with Merton’s own words:
The Jesus – God relationship is what our relationship (you and me) is to reflect.
Also Philippians 2:3
John 17, verses 11 and 22
Submission: one of the more difficult areas of Faith. Submit to a group, organization, individual person, God alone. What is God’s will? How is it qualified, quantified? Confusion and competition when so many people and organizations want our attention, obedience.
I foster the personal side of our relationship with God; where God communicates with us (substitute the word “me” for “us”) directly, unencumbered, open, raw — a relationship available for believers and non-believers, on an individual level. (Admittedly, it would be hard for an unbeliever to have this personal thing going on while not believing).
I consider this relationship:
higher – it lives in Heaven above Earthly standards more important – directly influencing deeper – the most meaningful our story – what we were meant for further – wears better, like some old tattered jeans more encompassing – a relationship without bounds beyond – not held by Earthly bonds
Example: As a Christian Musician, an ability not mentioned very much in this blog, I run across songs and instrumentals, or let’s say, ‘some melodies with words attached’ and ‘melodies without words’. I am inspired by both! and I know both would be inspiring to Christians in the context of worship. Yet when meeting with church musicians and pastors, I usually discover a much different view of which piece of music is “inspiring”, with the vast majority are “melodies with words attached”. It causes me to wonder if we are losing the art of instrumental music in our worship services?
Do I listen to what I deem an “urging”, the call of the “Spirit within”, or not?