Take "No" Thought

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And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take away sickness from the midst of thee. There shall nothing cast their young, or be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfill. Exodus 23:25-26
 
Loosely (but accurately) paraphrased, Exodus 23:25-26 says, when we serve the Lord (key-word "serve"), we will not be hungry, thirsty, sick, unhealthy or die before our time.

Today's "On Track" Reading
Matthew 4:23-7:29
Butch and I read the chapters aloud this morning

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Take No Thought
Matthew 6:24-34
 
Jesus' record got stuck on this thought  (take no thought) found repeatedly within the last 9 verses of Matthew chapter 6.
 
He actually began this discourse in verse 24 with the statement, "No man can serve two masters--he will either hate the one and love the other: or else he will either hold to the one and despise the other."
 
Isn't it interesting that he made no effort whatsoever to qualify that statement? 
 
He could have said, "if a man has two masters, he won't give either one 100%, so it's better to have just one...."
 
But he didn't.
 
He stated the much overlooked fact that it is impossible to have two masters.
 
It Simply Cannot be done...
 
For We Are Completly Owned By Our Master
 
So... who really owns us?
 
God or Mammon?
 
"Mammon" is an interesting word. It encompasses a range of meanings that no word in modern English can even come close to.
 
It means:
  • Confidence in wealth
  • Avarice (inordinate desire for wealth--implying both miserliness and greed).
  • That would definitely include the "love of money."
  • Jesus even connected "mammon" with worrying about our most basic physical needs in connection with money.
 
At this point, I have to insert a plug for the King James Translation of the Bible (see Bible Versions for details of our position).
 
Most modern English translations (all claiming to the best, most accurate ever) translate "mammon" as simply  "money."
 
This is not accurate.
 
When "mammon" is looked up in the originalStrong's Exhaustive Concordance (not the "Strongest Strong's" or the Updated Strong's both of which give credence to the classical Greek of Egyptian Minority Texts -Vs- the everyday Greek of the Received Text),  the word means much more that the oversimplified rendering of money.
 
When reading Matthew 6:24-34. there is a definite connection between Jesus' statement about serving two masters in verse 24 and his immediate admonition, in verse 25, to "take no thought" (then he repeats it often throughout the remaining eight verses of the chapter).
 
In fact, verses 24 and 25 are connected by a "therefore," which means: because of this....
 
Because of what?
 
Jesus says it is because we cannot serve two masters that we should take no thought...."
 
If we take thought (worry) about  even such basic things as food and clothing--we are shifting allegiance from our good master (the good shepherd) to a cruel task master (mammon)--which in turn will cause us to dispise the one and love the other.
 
As much as we would like there to be, there is no middle ground.
 
Remember, both love and hate are verbs which are action words.
 
God judges love and hate by actions--not feelings, and his children need to learn the difference between the two.
 
 
Most Christians scoff at the idea of having such a complete disregard for providing for our most basic needs, that all of our time, talents, money and energy should be invested in seeking the Kingdom of God and his righteousnes (Matthew 6:33-34), but that is exactly what Jesus says to do.
 
Does that mean we don't work a job or in any way seek to provide income and provision for ourselves and our families?
 
No. Work is a biblical concept.  It simply means that we consistently seek God's will on how these things should  be accomplished (remember, we must also rightly divide the Word of God which says if a man doesn't provide for his family, he is worse than an infidel).
 
The  Word of God makes no provision for lazy people who want to use "the ministry" as an excuse for self-centered, self-serving  laziness, and too many "full time" ministers are guilty of this.
 
On the other hand, when we refuse to trust that our Heavenly Father will provide for our most basic needs, when we refuse to spend all of our time, talents, money and energy (that includes on our jobs) solely in the cause of seeking the righteousness, peace and joy, which can be found only, in the Holy Spirit (which is what the "Kingdom of God" consists of--Romans 14:17-18 )...
 
  Jesus says we are despising having him as our master, and we are completely giving over our love and allegiance to...  "Mammon."
 
Jesus said, "Take no thought..."
 
What Part Of "No" Don't We Understand?

Next
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God Surprised Us
 
Butch and I are still a bit overwhelmed at the goodness of God.
 
Close to a year and 1/2 ago, I quit my job at the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
 
The timing made no sense whatsoever.
 
I was working for a company which owned a chain of weight control centers (both corporatly owned and licensed dealerships).  
 
I had just been given a promotion in my job from training licensed dealerships to directing the corporatly owned centers in Orlando, Florida. 
 
We had only just moved to central Florida because of my job (we had been here less than a week).
 
Butch had given up his job with a concrete company in the Florida Pan Handle in order to relocate for my job, and he had not even found emplyment down here yet, but he was in agreement with my quitting--in fact, the Holy Spirit spoke to him first about it, and he urged me to be obedient.
 
I was willing but felt I needed to wait until Butch was employed, so we could give up my income with less stress.
 
God had other ideas. The call was for "right now", and the Lord made that abundantly clear.
 
We both knew we had heard from God, so, in obedience to the Holy Spirit's direction, I quit my job immediately.
 
Butch was hired fairly quickly after that, driving for a local concrete company, but it was a given that we would need to give up the, rather large expensive, house we were leasing and find something more affordable.
 
In fact, our entire lifestyle required a good downsizing.
 
We found a tiny mobile home in a quiet "snowbird" park located on a beautiful lake (snowbirds are northern retirees who come south every winter), and we spent a year learning how to live on one income (with a huge chunk of it automatically deducted from each paycheck for child support to Butch's children from a previous marriage).
 
Things were tight financially, and the mobile home was the oldest, least kept up home in the park, but we knew we were exactly where God wanted us, so the year was a predominantly happy time while we waited for further instructions from the Holy Spirit.
 
There were many times I had to repent of murmuring and being ungratful for God's provision.
 
The home had been owned by an elderly woman who had allowed it to become somewhat run-down, and in addition to that, it had sustained some hurricane damage the same year we moved in. 
 
The owner considered the home to old to invest money into for renovations or extensive repairs and told us that before we moved in--thus the low, affordable rent.
 
But I confess, I did grow very weary of dealing with attitudes that people just couldn't seem to hide about what they thought of our choice to remain in the tiny, somewhat dilapidated place, but again, we knew we were in the center of God's will for us and we were committed to staying put until we were 100% positive of God's direction.
 
Our home wasn't all bad.
 
It was located in a quiet little park situated on a beautiful lake. We couldn't have asked for a better location. We had lots of neighbors in the winter and practically the entire park to ourselves all summer. 
 
Our driveway was no more than 30 feet from the lake, and we enjoyed the birds, ducks and wild life (the gators and foxes thankfully kept their distance).
 
The little place really had a beautiful setting, which we enjoyed immensly.
 
The end of this story is this:
 
I was chatting with one of our neighbors, who has repeated mentioned how much they enjoy having us live in the park, and I mentioned that Butch and I were fairly certain we were going to be looking for a more permanent home soon after the first of the year.
 
The offer was made immediately to sell us one of the mobile homes in the park (they own several, and this is one of the few parks in central Florida where the property the mobile home sits on is sold with it).
 
The asking price was more than fair along with an offer to give us long term easy financing.
 
The bottom line is ths, within 48 hours, we moved into a bigger, nicer, mobile home than the one we have been in for more than a year, and owned the property it sat on as well.
 
We are paying $100 per month less for a place of our own than we were paying for the dilapidated place we were previously in, and it will be paid off in only 10 years!
 
Isn't God good?
 
And all that never would have come to pass if we had stuck our noses up at God's provision last year when we first laid eyes on the little place we have now moved out of!

Be careful what you eat...

               ... to the hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet

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