Careful—But Not Careful! #8

Saturday, April 4, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

Prayer is the means whereby we express to Almighty God our understanding of His Word to us. However, when we listen to people pray, it is abundantly clear they have little to no understanding of the rightly-divided Scriptures. They are fervent in wanting to talk to God, and they want Him to give an ear to their words, but they have not been diligent in looking in the Bible and listening to what He has already said to them.

But, why would God care to hear us repeat to Him what He already told us? Does He not already know His own words to us? Indeed, He does. But, do we know His words to us? Prayer is not for God’s benefit but ours. We are giving the indwelling Holy Spirit opportunity to reinforce in our minds what we have read in Scripture earlier (after all, we did read it, yes?). Here is how prayer should work, how it was designed to work—but often does not function like that because we are too busy talking when we should have been listening to the Scriptures first.

The God of the Bible is not stingy or apathetic. He already knows what we need, and He is willing to provide it. When today’s Scripture says, “in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God,” it means we should pray in all circumstances (not just trials). “Prayer” is the general term for speaking to God in light of His words to us. “Supplications” (Latin, “supplicare”—“plead humbly”) are our asking Him to work concerning a particular matter. “Thanksgiving” is critical: He may not give us what we want but we can be absolutely sure He will furnish us with what we truly need. “Requests” are general, we asking Him to do what we need Him to do. Again, this is not for His benefit but our own….

Careful—But Not Careful! #7

Friday, April 3, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

Anxiety is the feeling of being overwhelmed with apprehension, worry, distress, or fear. It can also be called “inner turmoil,” an inward reflection of an outward issue. Looking at our grim situations and circumstances, we start to consider all the awful contingencies and dread the future. Uncertainty building, it eats away at our soul and spirit. We never know what trouble to expect next. Here is such a miserable existence!

When today’s Scripture exhorts us to “be careful for nothing,” it means we should not be “full of care.” Rather than that aforementioned all-consuming sensation of fear controlling us, we let the Holy Spirit dominate us. Instead of falling into the above emotional and mental trap, the Bible says we are to “in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let [our] requests be made known unto God.” Friend, draw your attention to the preposition “in.” While we are “in” the dire situation, “in” the dreary circumstance, we are to especially “pray” because we are vulnerable to the effects of Satan’s policy of evil.

Now, before the difficulties arose, before all those vicissitudes (changes) in life pummeled us, we should have already been reading the Scriptures. As soon as we came to Jesus Christ by faith in His death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4), we should have been familiarizing ourselves with the Bible. Unfortunately, new Christians usually neglect this. Lacking spiritual grounding, even the slightest distressing time will easily disorient them and destroy their life. Furthermore, if they ever are reading any Scripture, they are likely not understanding it dispensationally. This is most disastrous too, as they are unaware of what God is doing in the present-day (and how He can aid them in those troubles). Looking at their tribulations, they have likely concluded He is “doing nothing,” “on vacation,” “asleep,” “unconcerned.”

Once again, Pauline prayer is key to “be careful for nothing….”

Careful—But Not Careful! #6

Thursday, April 2, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

In Luke chapter 10, we read about sisters Mary and Martha. (According to John chapters 11 and 12, they are actually Lazarus’ sisters.) The Bible says Martha hosted the Lord Jesus in her home. Mary “sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word” (verse 39). Yet, Martha “was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me” (verse 40). That Greek word rendered “cumbered” means “drawn around, distracted, driven about mentally, over-occupied, too busy.” Martha was hypervigilant, fretting about serving (likely food to her “honored Guest?”).

The Lord calmed her with a gentle rebuke: “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (verses 41,42). “Careful” here is the Greek word identical to the one rendered “careful” in today’s Scripture: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Martha’s problem was anxiety: her circumstances distressed her and diverted her attention away from listening to Jesus’ words. On the other hand, her sister Mary had left her, and was now sitting at His feet and listening to Him teach spiritual truth. Mary would not be distracted like her sister, for she knew the Lord’s teaching was of greater value than her own efforts. Similarly, as Philippians chapter 4 says, instead of allowing our circumstances to sidetrack us, we simply pray the Pauline way. Prayer is the means whereby we reinforce in our minds what the Lord already said about those conditions. Therein is spiritual stability during such situations….

Careful—But Not Careful! #5

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

Indeed, we should be cautious concerning contracting the coronavirus. Health risks are definitely nothing to take lightly—especially if we already have a compromised or weakened immune system! We should practice good hygiene such as frequently washing our hands with soap and water, keeping 6 feet (1.8 meters) from each other, and coughing and sneezing into tissues or our arms instead of our hands. Hugs and handshakes should be avoided, but (at the very least) we can still bump elbows or wave to greet each other. Trying not to touch our eyes, ears, or mouth is still taking some getting used to as well, right?

Yet, the Bible would not want us “careful” as in anxious or worrisome (cf. today’s Scripture). That Greek word is rendered “take no thought” to comfort the destitute believing Jews whom God will feed out in the wilderness in the future (Matthew 6:25,27,28,31,34; Luke 12:22,25,26) and to remind them His Holy Spirit will furnish them with the words to answer their persecutors (Matthew 10:19; Luke 12:11).

We should not be overwhelmed, panicking like poor Martha in Luke chapter 10: “[38] Now it came to pass, as they went, that he [Christ] entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. [39] And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. [40] But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. [41] And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful [worrisome, distressed!] and troubled about many things: [42] But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Martha needed to relax, and listen to the Lord speak….

Bible Q&As #709 and #710: “Is ‘corn’ a mistake in the King James Bible?” and “Why does the Bible say, ‘Have no other gods before Me?’

Careful—But Not Careful! #4

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

The coronavirus pandemic has brought many drastic changes to our daily life. We are social beings, so confinement to our houses is difficult. It is particularly vexing for children, for many cannot play outside and/or go to an actual school building. While all the transformations are inconvenient, some are actually beneficial. For example, today’s society is spoiled—especially we in America. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with having possessions, taking trips or vacations, eating out at restaurants, or seeking various forms of entertainment, it can be (and usually is) overdone. If our lives are so bound up in these, how traumatic is their absence! Coronavirus precautions and restrictions have eliminated or reduced these experiences.

With such distractions removed, and added stress due to medical and economic concerns, the world’s people are actually more receptive to spiritual truth than ever. They have come to realize what the Scriptures laid out 2,000 years ago: “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). Material possessions are “uncertain.” While we will certainly lose them (due to theft, economic downturn, death, et cetera), the timing of their forfeiture is unknown.

Another reality they are learning firsthand is James 4:14: “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” Living for the “here-and-now”—as if this life is the only one, as if there is no afterlife—has its limits. Life on Earth is ever so fragile, as any small threat (illness or accident) can immediately end it. Is it prudent to enjoy this life at the expense of the next one? No! At this time, people are contemplating their own mortality, and they had better keep heading toward the Scriptures….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Feeding the 4,000 and feeding the 5,000—same or different?

Careful—But Not Careful! #3

Monday, March 30, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

As our world undergoes the coronavirus pandemic, and people adjust to this new way of living to limit its spread, they have become quite basic. They can begin to glimpse what life without materialism is really like. Considering the economic decline—unemployment, less work hours, and so on—people cannot live extravagantly like they did before. With restaurants, concerts, theaters, casinos, and sporting events closed for business, they cannot be frequented anymore for “entertainment.” Money cannot be loved if it cannot be acquired!

First Timothy chapter 6, while referring to finances and ministry, is also the proper way to view personal money matters: “[3] If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; [4] He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, [5] Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. [6] But godliness with contentment is great gain. [7] For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. [8] And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. [9] But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. [10] For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

Please understand, there is nothing sinful about money per se. The love of money” is the problem (be careful not to misquote it like it often is). “Godliness with contentment is great gain…. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” In this “new world,” “food and raiment [clothing]” can be cherished now more than ever….

Careful—But Not Careful! #2

Sunday, March 29, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

There are over a dozen references to “joy” and “rejoicing” in the Apostle Paul’s epistle to the Philippians (1:4,18,25; 2:2,16-18; 2:28; 3:1,3; 4:1,4,10). The most famous is: “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (4:4). When the Holy Spirit moved the Apostle Paul to write to Philippi, Paul was not reclining in an air-conditioned palace, flying on a private jet, or dining at his favorite restaurant. Where was he?

When the Book of Acts closed, the Holy Spirit reports: “And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him” (Acts 28:30,31). Paul, for preaching the Gospel of Grace, was under house arrest for two years (his legal problems began back in chapter 21). Yea, Philippians was written from a prison! On four occasions within the document itself, Paul refers to “bonds” (1:7,13,14,16)—literal, physical shackles. At least one Roman soldier was always present with him, likely chained to him at the hand (see Acts 28:16,20; cf. Acts 21:33). Here was where serving Jesus Christ got him!

Read today’s Scripture within context: “[4] Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. [5] Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. [6] Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. [7] And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. [8] Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Indeed, a prisoner wrote today’s Scripture….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Was Jesus’ last name ‘Christ?’