His Eye is on the Sparrow

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
(Matthew 6:25-34 ESV)

For years, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have counseled members to have a year’s supply of food and other essentials stored for emergency preparedness and independence. Joseph Smith, the first prophet and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints taught that “The Church and its members are commanded by the Lord to be self-reliant and independent” (Doctrine and Covenants 78:13-14). I have always called this “Squirrel Syndrome”.

In this day and age martial law seems to be imminent, we have a president (Barack Obama) who appears to be ineligible for office and cares nothing about the rule of law, natural disasters seem to be striking more frequently, the entire world is experiencing economic depression and war seems to be likely between many countries. Given these conditions, I believe it is indeed prudent to plan ahead a few days.

Storing a years’s worth of food and essentials is overkill. It is expensive, unnecessary and shows a lack of faith in God’s Providence for His creation.

If a person makes the right choices in this life there is no reason that one should be anxious. Yeshua provided two fortiori arguments in Matthew 6:25-34, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” and “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” These fortiori arguments show that since God cares even for the birds and the lilies, how much more will He care for His own. To be anxious demonstrates a lack of faith in God, who promises that he will graciously care for all these things.

Yeshua said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33 ESV). In his epistle to the Romans the Apostle Paul wrote, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32 ESV). In their epistle to the Philippians the Apostle Paul and the Apostle Timothy wrote, “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:5-6 ESV).

Human beings are of more value than animals because only humans are created “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27), because God gave the human race dominion over all the earth and all its creatures (Genesis 1:28), and because God loves mankind so much that He sent His only begotten Son to pay the ultimate price for our sins (John 3:16).

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.
(Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”
(Matthew 10:28-33 ESV)

It is not food, clothing, shelter, cars, and other personal possessions that we need to be concerned with in this life, that is materialism. God has promised to provide our needs already, and God always keeps His promises (Joshua 1:1-6; Numbers 23:19). We need to concentrate our efforts to walk as Messiah Yeshua walked. Tomorrow will worry about itself and today is more than enough trouble already.

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You Cannot Serve Two Masters

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
(Luke 16:10-13 ESV)

The love of money leads to all kinds of problems in this world and in our lives. Greed, materialism, selfishness, worry and dishonesty are among these problems. The love of money has another consequence, it always replaces our love of God.

HarperCollins Publishers is the parent company of both Thomas Nelson Publishing and Zondervan. They are the world’s largest Christian publisher of books, audio recordings, video recordings and Bibles. Interestingly, they also publish The Satanic Bible by Anton Szandor LaVey. HarperCollins Publishers is owned by News Corporation. Keith Rupert Murdoch is the founder, Chairman and CEO of News Corporation, the world’s second-largest media conglomerate. Keith Rupert Murdoch publishes pornography (film and print), yet claims to be a Born-again Christian.  Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church is  Keith Rupert Murdoch’s pastor. Coincidentally, Zondervan is also Rick Warren’s publisher.

Profit is the goal of all corporations. What are the practical implications of a alleged Christian publisher serving God and Satan, albeit under different subsidiary company names?

The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.”
(John 2:13-16 ESV)

Keep in mind that the money changers and those selling sacrificial animals in the Holy Temple were doing so to enable worshipers to serve God during the Passover Feast. They had setup a type of convenience store in the courtyard of the Holy Temple, selling livestock for sacrificial offerings and money changers, who changed the standard Greek and Roman money for Jewish and Tyrian money. However, none of this was enough to justify their actions before Messiah Yeshua. This is the only account of Yeshua using physical force in any of the Gospels.

An Old Testament comparison can be found in an incident that took place in the Holy Temple can be found in the time of Nehemiah, when Nehemiah overturned the furniture of Tobiah the Ammonite who had, with the cooperation of Eliashib the High Priest, leased the storerooms of the temple, depriving the Levites of their rations from the offerings, and drove out Eliashib’s grandson who had married the daughter of Sanballat the Horonite (Nehemiah 13).

The Bible says that God is a jealous God. The Bible says that you cannot serve God and money. The Bible says that God is Lord over all. Clearly, God wants all or nothing.

“So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
(Revelation 3:16-22 ESV)