Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Reflection - Jonah gets angry, God disciples - Serve the Lord

Source (book): "God in Pursuit", Chapter 8, Question 3, Page 115.
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012



Is it possible to serve the Lord without reflecting His character?
PHOTO: Is it possible to serve the Lord without reflecting His character?
Jonah may have been willing to be recruited into God's army of prophets, but his heart was not fully committed to what God was doing. He may have been willing to work for God in delivering the prophecy against Nineveh, but he was unwilling to be compassionate and merciful like God. He may have known what God was like and even experienced it personally, but he was not willing to respond to others in the same way that God responded to him.

Is it possible to serve the Lord without reflecting His character? The story of Jonah showed that it is possible. Jonah was willing to proclaim God's message to a wicked nation like Nineveh, but harboured in his heart an unwilling spirit or a half-hearted commitment. Unlike God, Jonah was a reluctant prophet who struggles to accept the consequences of his vocation, without reflecting God's compassionate and merciful character.


Can you think of examples in others and in yourself?
Cinderella serving her selfish stepmother and stepsisters
The story of Cinderella pictures a young girl in a tattered dress and worn shoes, carrying out the commands of her selfish stepmother and stepsisters. Perhaps her hair is tied back but some strands have come loose as she worked to serve them. Her services are performed out of duty. The actions are there, but her motivation does not come from the heart. Cinderella does not worship or love her masters. She serves them only because it is her duty.

For those who follow Jesus, serving God is not like Cinderella at all. It is not intended to be a duty we must fulfill in order to maintain our position or to move up in status. Christians endeavour to make themselves servants of God to honour and glorify him because of what they believe he has done for all people. In the Bible, 1 Samuel 12:24 says, “But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.When we focus on all that God has done for us, our service can flow from a heart of gratitude, reflecting His character, not from a feeling of obligation or duty.

My service makes me look good
I should become less concerned about my service making me look good, to earn the acceptance or approval of others, or being recognised about accomplishing something good for my fellow man. The focus of my service will be on putting God in the spotlight, on pointing other people to God by demonstrating his marvellous love.

Our service cannot add to what God does; it can only magnify who he is, spread his love to those around us, and express our gratitude for what he has done. The more I recognize how greatly flawed I am and how deeply God loves me in spite of this, the more I will take on the right mind-set about service, and reflecting His character. And serving the Lord for personal pride is not reflecting the character of Jesus.

Donate Torn Clothing and Other Expired Goods
All throughout the world there are places to donate our unused clothing, shoes, dishes, blankets/quilts, toys, furniture, books, and other items. Generously giving of these items to help others is an easy way to serve God and declutter our home at the same time. Stores that resell donated items usually offer much-needed jobs to the less fortunate which is another excellent form of service.

However, when preparing those things we are going to donate it is always appreciated if we only give those items that are clean and in working order. Donating dirty, broken, or useless items (example expired food) is less effective and takes precious time from volunteers and other workers as they sort and organize the items to be distributed or sold to others. Doing this type of donation is not serving the Lord and reflecting His character, but treating the charitable organisation as a dumping ground for our rubbish.

Left our first love, Revelation 2:4 (KJV)
Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:37-40). "Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love." (Revelation 2:4).

There's something special about our first love. Usually it's a person, but it can be almost anything; a car, a sport, a place we always find ourselves returning to, or a hobby. It holds a special place in our heart. Does the Lord hold that special place? It's easy for us to say "yes", without really thinking this through.

The Church at Ephesus was founded by Paul, and had many great preachers there, including the Apostle John himself. In the letter God inspired John to write to it, there were a lot of things to commend the church. They weren't afraid of hard work. They were very patient, and yet also uncompromising when faced with false teachers. These were all very good things, but the Lord had one thing against them, and it was so significant it threatened to undo all the good. They had left their first love, and, if they didn't repent quickly, God Himself would remove His presence from the church.

Notice that they hadn't 'lost' their first love. They knew where it was, and what it was. They had just left it. Other things had slowly taken away its pre-eminence in their lives. They were full of good works, and they had much sound doctrine, but the love of God had just got crowded out. It happens slowly. It happens insidiously (gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effects). We think we need to attend all those church meetings, and we need to spend lots of time preparing sermons and Bible studies. So, we find ourselves busy with 'doing' the works of God, when He would rather we spent time with Him, just 'being' like a little child talking to Him, and listening to Him.

The question is, where is our first love? Is Jesus first, last, or somewhere in the middle? Today, let's begin that journey of returning to our first love. He hasn't moved. He hasn't deserted us. He isn't angry. He's where He's always been, where we left Him, and He's waiting patiently for us. Let's hurry back today.


Why is it important to recognise that God's purpose for us is to become like His Son (Romans 8:29)?
It is an admirable thing to serve the Lord and be busy for Him. But God is interested not only in His work through us, but also in His work in us. We must also remember that we are to resemble Him by becoming like Christ, His Son. It is for this reason that God has chosen and saved us - "to be conformed to the image of his Son" (Romans 8:29). If we forget this, we will miss the essence of Christian discipleship. Simply running around for God in busy activism will not bring us nearer to the kingdom of God. That is why Jesus, when talking about the final judgement, warned that many will realise that they have been travelling on the wrong road. "Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" (Matthew 7:22-23).

It is important to recognise that God's purpose for us is to become like His Son. Why? Because recognising God's purpose for us necessitate us to know how to become a child of God.

How to Become a Child of God
From the beginning God’s purpose in creating human beings was to welcome them into His family (2 Corinthians 6:18). This is why God said He created them “in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). The Bible reveals that God’s ultimate objective is to expand His own family, by creating human beings with the awesome potential to become members of His family—His children, like His Son, Jesus Christ! (
Romans 8:29).

God wants to welcome us into His family. However, God will not give this awesome gift to just anyone. In order to receive such an inheritance, we must meet God’s criteria. God has to be sure of us—sure of our love for Him, sure that we will obey Him and be faithful to Him through thick and thin. (Matthew 22:37-38).

God created everyone with free moral agency, the ability to choose. He wants us to choose the way that brings benefits to us and those around us—the way that develops His righteous character. He does not want us to choose the way that makes us and those around us miserable. (Matthew 22:39-40) So God will not accept anyone into His family who may decide he or she no longer needs to obey God, and who may choose to go his or her own way.

Trust plays an enormous part in this process. Before giving us eternal life on the God-plane level of life, God must know that He can eternally trust us 100 percent. To God, the well-being of His creation (us) is of paramount importance. God’s priorities are serving and helping; He is never selfish. But selfishness is the way of the world: "For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, … unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, … brutal, despisers of good" (2 Timothy 3:2-4). However, God is righteous. God is holy. His character consists of justice, fairness and mercy.

God wants to see us seeking His perfect, holy and righteous character in order to be in His family. Righteous character is the ability to recognize and differentiate between right and wrong, and the conscious decision to do the right. To grow in God’s character, we need to surrender our lives to God, unconditionally and completely, and adopt His way in everything.

God intends His family to be made up of children who think and act as He does. To many human beings, becoming like God seems out of reach, completely impossible! Yet that is what God wants and expects. We must strive to reflect God’s character in every way: in spirit, approach, nature, attitude and love. To those who follow God’s instructions, He has promised to give the gift of the Holy Spirit, allowing God and Christ to dwell within us. Therein lies the key: Developing God’s character is only possible with the help of God Himself! God has given us a mammoth task, but He has made it possible for us to work toward becoming like Him by asking for His aid through the Holy Spirit. That’s how we can fulfill God’s purpose for our lives and become a child of God.

When God gives us His Spirit, we receive the spiritual strength we need in order to replace our old wrong habits of selfish living with the righteous and godly way of living exemplified by the life of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:22-24; John 1:4; 1 John 2:5-6). In short, to become like His Son.

Therefore it is important to recognise that God's purpose for us is to become like His Son (Romans 8:29). Why? Because recognising God's purpose for us necessitate us to know how to become a child of God.


When can busy service become a hindrance to spiritual formation?
The Busy and Hurried Soul
To many people, spiritual formation or spiritual growth is incompatible with being on the run or movement. To many, spiritual formation will only occurs when we are still and silent, like on a retreat in the mountains in the middle of nowhere. Maybe this idea comes from Chinese kungfu movies where the grandmaster or sifu only attain enlightenment (usually implied a higher level of martial skills) by meditation while sealed in a cave on top of some misty mountain. This is reinforced by the Christian division of hyperactive Martha who was busy being hospitable to her guests, and her quiet contemplative sister Mary who was sitting and listening to Jesus.

(Luke 10:38–42)
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

Martha is associated with the active life while Mary with the contemplative one. Jesus seems to praise Mary’s choice as the correct one. If this is the only lesson from the passage, then Martha should come and sit at Jesus’ feet and everyone will go hungry without supper!

The houses in New Testament times are rather small so even when preparing food, both the ladies will be able to hear Jesus. The passage seems to imply that initially both Mary and Martha were involved in the food preparation. Then suddenly Mary left the preparation to sit at Jesus’ feet to focus fully on what Jesus was saying. Martha’s ire was that her sister was not helping her in the food preparation. Martha was busy and in a hurry. Maybe she wanted to produce an exception meal for her special guest. In her hurriedness, she was distracted and was not listening to Jesus. Jesus was speaking to everyone in the house, not just Mary. Jesus’ rebuke to Martha may be because she was not listening to him. This was because she was so distracted by her busyness. Martha should be preparing the food and listening to him at the same time as women are wonderful at multi-tasking. I am sure Jesus wanted to eat too. Jesus did not say, “Martha, stop what you are doing, sit down and listen to me!

We all live very busy lives. From the moment we are rudely awakened by our alarm clocks to the time we fall asleep, we have to perform many tasks. Our ‘to-do’ list often runs to two or three pages. If being busy means that we have not chosen ‘the good part’ that most of us are in trouble. Not many of us have the opportunity to take time away to be in a retreat, to just sit and listen. There are bills to pay, houses to clean and kids to bring up.

There is a difference between being busy and being hurried. We can be busy without being in a hurry. Busy is an external condition where we have many tasks to complete. Hurry is an inner state where we are distracted because of the external busyness. This inner state of distraction means that our soul is confused, fragmented and disconnected with our minds, hearts and spirits. What is more significant is that the hurried or distracted person cannot hear the voice of God. What Jesus was trying to teach Martha (and us) is that it is not wrong for us to be busy (for which one of us is not busy) but not to be hurried and distracted.

This is because when we are hurried and distracted, we cannot hear him. When our busy service are hurried and distracting, they become a hindrance to our spiritual formation.

This means that Christian spiritual formation and transformation may occurs in a busy life. However the process may be difficult in a busy and hurried life. Dallas Willard notes, "Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life." Is it possible to live a busy but unhurried life? Gregory the Great was the first monk to become a pope. He became Pope Gregory 1 from 590 to 604 AD. Gregory was a Doctor of the Church and a Latin Father. He contributed a lot to church services and is known as the father of Christian worship. In his busy schedule, Gregory was able to maintain a powerful devotional life. John Calvin mentioned Gregory in his Institutes and praised his contribution to the church.
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Is it possible to serve the Lord without reflecting His character? Can you think of examples in others and in yourself? Why is it important to recognise that God's purpose for us is to become like His Son (Romans 8:29)? When can busy service become a hindrance to spiritual formation?

Is it possible to serve the Lord without reflecting His character?

A Lesson for Jonah [1]
The scene in Jonah 4:5 opens with a bitter Jonah camping outside the repentant city of Nineveh. The 40 days were not over yet, and he was probably hoping that God would somehow change His mind again and wipe out the city. Perhaps he was still dreaming of returning to Israel with the news that Nineveh had been destroyed. What a hero's welcome he would receive! What a reputation he would earn! Poet Thomas John Carlisle described the prophet's state of mind succinctly in his poem, "You Jonah": [35]

And Jonah stalked
to his shaded seat
and waited for God
to come around
to his way of thinking.
And God is still waiting for a host of Jonahs
in their comfortable houses
to come around
to His way of loving.



YOU! JONAH! Paperback – 1968. by Thomas John Carlisle ...
PHOTO: YOU! JONAH! Paperback – 1968. by Thomas John Carlisle ...
"The generousity of God displeased Jonah exceedingly and he slashed with angry prayer at the graciousness of the Almighty. 'I told You so,' he screamed. 'I knew what You would do, You dirty Forgiver. You bless Your enemies and show kindness to those who despitefully use You. I would rather die than live in a world with a God like You. And don't try to forgave me either.'"
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For the second time, Jonah prayed to the Lord. Unlike his first prayer, however, it was full of bitter complaints. Instead of giving thanks or celebrating the repentance of the Ninevites, Jonah expressed disappointment and anger that God had not acted rightly. "He prayed to the Lord, 'Isn't this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity'" (Jonah 4:2).

Note that there was no prayer for the Ninevites, no rejoicing, and no sense of worshipping God. Jonah prayed only when he was in serious trouble and when he was angry with God. Now, he even gave an excuse for running away from God earlier - the reason was God's wonderful character!



For the second time, Jonah prayed to the Lord.
PHOTO: For the second time, Jonah prayed to the Lord. Unlike his first prayer, however, it was full of bitter complaints. Instead of giving thanks or celebrating the repentance of the Ninevites, Jonah expressed disappointment and anger that God had not acted rightly.
There was no prayer for the Ninevites, no rejoicing, and no sense of worshipping God. Jonah prayed only when he was in serious trouble and when he was angry with God.
Picture posted by CarolineLaplante, Digital Art / Drawings & Paintings / People / Fantasy, ©2010-2019 - The Prophet, a churlish (rude) brute, but good at heart...

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And now, perhaps embarrassed or fearing how he would be received back home, the man who had earlier pleaded with God to be saved from the fish's belly was telling God that it would be better for him to die (Jonah 4:3). Clearly, he had forgotten whom he was dealing with. How could Jonah get angry? God was the one who should have been angry with His ungrateful, ungracious prophet.

God, however, responded with grace, compassion, and patience. Jonah had built a shelter for himself because it was hot, but he was probably not much of a carpenter, because it did not help much. So God "provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant" (Jonah 4:6, emphasis added). Jonah's anger appeared to have soothed somewhat by the comfortable shade; perhaps he thought he was getting the best seat to watch God's wrath at work after all. But God had other plans.



God 'provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant'.
PHOTO: God "provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant". Jonah's anger appeared to have soothed somewhat by the comfortable shade; perhaps he thought he was getting the best seat to watch God's wrath at work after all. But God had other plans.
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The next morning, God "provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered" (Jonah 4:7). Jonah's comfortable cover was gone; now he was left with the rickety shelter he had built himself. Then, God sent "a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah's head so that he grew faint" (Jonah 4:8). This prompted Jonah to restate his desire to die.

Earlier, Jonah had expressed anger that his enemies were being spared. Now, he was angry about the destruction of the plant, the source of his comfort. Both times, God asked him whether he had the right to be angry (Jonah 4:4, 9), then made it clear that the prophet did not, because he had made neither the Ninevites nor the plant (Jonah 4:10-11).

The best lessons are not learned in comfort; God had thus arranged for Jonah to feel discomfort as He employed several instruments to teach the prophet something about himself - a simple plant, a humble worm, the great sun, a scorching wind. He showed the prophet that He could use the highest power as well as the humblest object to achieve His eternal purposes. Whether it was a huge fish or a little worm, the turbulent sea or the blazing sun, God used them all to save His people. In this case, God had gone to great lengths to save one man: Jonah. He had not given up on His prophet, even though this prophet wasn't like his God.



What lesson did God want to teach Jonah in the story of the gourd and the worm?
PHOTO: What lesson did God want to teach Jonah in the story of the gourd and the worm?
The Lords states that Jonah mourns the loss of the Gourd which came up in a day and was lost in a day–a nothing and trivial thing.  Yet the city of Nineveh had sixscore thousand people who didn’t know any better and Jonah thinks their preservation is a bad thing?  By so doing, the Lord is showing Jonah that his priorities are more then a bit messed up.
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Jonah may have been willing to be recruited into God's army of prophets, but his heart was not fully committed to what God was doing. He may have been willing to work for God in delivering the prophecy against Nineveh, but he was unwilling to be compassionate and merciful like God. He may have known what God was like and even experienced it personally, but he was not willing to respond to others in the same way that God responded to him.



Jonah may have been willing to be recruited into God's army of prophets, but his heart was not fully committed to what God was doing.
PHOTO: Jonah may have been willing to be recruited into God's army of prophets, but his heart was not fully committed to what God was doing. He may have been willing to work for God in delivering the prophecy against Nineveh, but he was unwilling to be compassionate and merciful like God. He may have known what God was like and even experienced it personally, but he was not willing to respond to others in the same way that God responded to him.
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Is it possible to serve the Lord without reflecting His character? The story of Jonah showed that it is possible. Jonah was willing to proclaim God's message to a wicked nation like Nineveh, but harboured in his heart an unwilling spirit or a half-hearted commitment. Unlike God, Jonah was a reluctant prophet who struggles to accept the consequences of his vocation, without reflecting God's compassionate and merciful character.

The question is: Do we behave like Jonah? We understand our mission to this world. Do we choose to run away from our divine calling, or we choose to engage in it, no matter whether the work is hard or easy?



Is it possible to serve the Lord without reflecting His character?

PHOTO: Is it possible to serve the Lord without reflecting His character? The story of Jonah showed that it is possible. Jonah was willing to proclaim God's message to a wicked nation like Nineveh, but harboured in his heart an unwilling spirit or a half-hearted commitment. Unlike God, Jonah was a reluctant prophet who struggles to accept the consequences of his vocation, without reflecting God's compassionate and merciful character.
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Can you think of examples in others and in yourself (serve the Lord without reflecting His character)?
Cinderella serving her selfish stepmother and stepsisters [2]
The story of Cinderella pictures a young girl in a tattered dress and worn shoes, carrying out the commands of her selfish stepmother and stepsisters. Perhaps her hair is tied back but some strands have come loose as she worked to serve them. Her services are performed out of duty. The actions are there, but her motivation does not come from the heart. Cinderella does not worship or love her masters.She serves them only because it is her duty.



The story of Cinderella pictures a young girl in a tattered dress and worn shoes, carrying out the commands of her selfish stepmother and stepsisters.
PHOTO: The story of Cinderella pictures a young girl in a tattered dress and worn shoes, carrying out the commands of her selfish stepmother and stepsisters. Her services are performed out of duty. The actions are there, but her motivation does not come from the heart. Cinderella does not worship or love her “masters.” She serves them only because it is her duty.
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For those who follow Jesus, serving God is not like Cinderella at all. It is not intended to be a duty we must fulfill in order to maintain our position or to move up in status. Christians endeavour to make themselves servants of God to honour and glorify him because of what they believe he has done for all people. In the Bible, 1 Samuel 12:24 says, “But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.When we focus on all that God has done for us, our service can flow from a heart of gratitude, reflecting His character, not from a feeling of obligation or duty.



For those who follow Jesus, serving God is not like Cinderella at all.
PHOTO: For those who follow Jesus, serving God is not like Cinderella at all. It is not intended to be a duty we must fulfill in order to maintain our position or to move up in status. When we focus on all that God has done for us, our service can flow from a heart of gratitude, reflecting His character, not from a feeling of obligation or duty.
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My service makes me look good [2]
I should become less concerned about my service making me look good, to earn the acceptance or approval of others, or being recognised about accomplishing something good for my fellow man. The focus of my service will be on putting God in the spotlight, on pointing other people to God by demonstrating his marvellous love.

Our service cannot add to what God does; it can only magnify who he is, spread his love to those around us, and express our gratitude for what he has done. The more I recognize how greatly flawed I am and how deeply God loves me in spite of this, the more I will take on the right mind-set about service, and reflecting His character. And serving the Lord for personal pride is not reflecting the character of Jesus.



My service makes me look good
PHOTO: My service makes me look good
I should become less concerned about my service making me look good, to earn the acceptance or approval of others, or being recognised about accomplishing something good for my fellow man.
Serving the Lord for personal pride is not reflecting the character of Jesus.

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http://www.sclance.com/clipart/haughty-clipart/view-page-1.htm



Donate Torn Clothing and Other Expired Goods [2A]
All throughout the world there are places to donate our unused clothing, shoes, dishes, blankets/quilts, toys, furniture, books, and other items. Generously giving of these items to help others is an easy way to serve God and declutter our home at the same time. Stores that resell donated items usually offer much-needed jobs to the less fortunate which is another excellent form of service.

However, when preparing those things we are going to donate it is always appreciated if we only give those items that are clean and in working order. Donating dirty, broken, or useless items (example expired food) is less effective and takes precious time from volunteers and other workers as they sort and organize the items to be distributed or sold to others. Doing this type of donation is not serving the Lord and reflecting His character, but treating the charitable organisation as a dumping ground for our rubbish.



Donate Torn Clothing and Other Expired Goods
PHOTO: Donate Torn Clothing and Other Expired Goods
All throughout the world there are places to donate our unused clothing, shoes, dishes, blankets/quilts, toys, furniture, books, and other items. Generously giving of these items to help others is an easy way to serve God and declutter our home at the same time. But donating dirty, broken, or useless items (example expired food) is less effective and takes precious time from volunteers and other workers as they sort and organize the items to be distributed or sold to others.
Picture posted by Blur730, DeviantArt Related / deviantID©2010-2019 Blur730 - Super Girl

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-59W8_MT5sLY/XQeVm3FZusI/AAAAAAAAuQQ/frlkWqH6fV8t5TVF5lRPeI47yCTpQoeCACLcBGAs/s1600/d2tabth-89be017c-c5c2-4ae5-80f4-429e15ffe957_1.png
https://images-wixmp-ed30a86b8c4ca887773594c2.wixmp.com/f/d335d10e-7b71-4ddd-9351-00b64dfcf9eb/d2tabth-89be017c-c5c2-4ae5-80f4-429e15ffe957.jpg?token=eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJzdWIiOiJ1cm46YXBwOjdlMGQxODg5ODIyNjQzNzNhNWYwZDQxNWVhMGQyNmUwIiwiaXNzIjoidXJuOmFwcDo3ZTBkMTg4OTgyMjY0MzczYTVmMGQ0MTVlYTBkMjZlMCIsIm9iaiI6W1t7InBhdGgiOiJcL2ZcL2QzMzVkMTBlLTdiNzEtNGRkZC05MzUxLTAwYjY0ZGZjZjllYlwvZDJ0YWJ0aC04OWJlMDE3Yy1jNWMyLTRhZTUtODBmNC00MjllMTVmZmU5NTcuanBnIn1dXSwiYXVkIjpbInVybjpzZXJ2aWNlOmZpbGUuZG93bmxvYWQiXX0.rGSfyURCs4LztYr3KgTm0VlnJCBBc03mAYKx5BmYqCI
https://www.deviantart.com/blur730/art/Super-Girl-170123093



Left our first love, Revelation 2:4 (KJV) [2B]
Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:37-40). "Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love." (Revelation 2:4).


Our First Love
PHOTO: Our First Love
Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:37-40). God's commandment remains unchange. It is we who change.
Picture posted by Ellel Ministries - Faithful One So Unchanging

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-YvgUb0cizP8/XMBgYDrFh4I/AAAAAAAAtnk/qaQibkXSqMM56wT0ow2ZugkISVrVEMM1wCLcBGAs/s1600/loveneighbour.jpg
https://colwynbenefice.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/loveneighbour.jpg
https://colwynbenefice.wordpress.com/reflection/
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2019/04/reflection-god-repents-god-is-unchanging.html



There's something special about our first love. Usually it's a person, but it can be almost anything; a car, a sport, a place we always find ourselves returning to, or a hobby. It holds a special place in our heart. Does the Lord hold that special place? It's easy for us to say "yes", without really thinking this through.


Our first love is usually a person, but it can be almost anything; a car, a sport, a place we always find ourselves returning to, or a hobby.
PHOTO: Our first love is usually a person, but it can be almost anything; a car, a sport, a place we always find ourselves returning to, or a hobby. It holds a special place in our heart. Does the Lord hold that special place?
Picture posted by Bob Skiles, State of Texas (retired) on 06 June 2017 - The Denial of Saint Peter (Caravaggio, 1610)

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-D4GrQmQMY64/XMBgXAWMMcI/AAAAAAAAtnc/p1lUhbVzXHEIkUf1nji6D-oqCzVzBQDIQCLcBGAs/s1600/The_Denial_of_Saint_Peter-Caravaggio_1610_1.png
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bob_Skiles/post/Why_were_the_Disciples_armed/attachment/59d651c379197b80779aa330/AS%3A508907504271360%401498344412725/image/The_Denial_of_Saint_Peter-Caravaggio_%281610%29.jpg
https://www.researchgate.net/post/Why_were_the_Disciples_armed
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2019/04/reflection-god-repents-god-is-unchanging.html



The Church at Ephesus was founded by Paul, and had many great preachers there, including the Apostle John himself. In the letter God inspired John to write to it, there were a lot of things to commend the church. They weren't afraid of hard work. They were very patient, and yet also uncompromising when faced with false teachers. These were all very good things, but the Lord had one thing against them, and it was so significant it threatened to undo all the good. They had left their first love, and, if they didn't repent quickly, God Himself would remove His presence from the church.


The Church at Ephesus was founded by Paul, and had many great preachers there, including the Apostle John himself.
PHOTO: The Church at Ephesus was founded by Paul, and had many great preachers there, including the Apostle John himself. In the letter God inspired John to write to it, there were a lot of things to commend the church. They weren't afraid of hard work. But the Lord had one thing against them. They had left their first love, and, if they didn't repent quickly, God Himself would remove His presence from the church.
Picture posted by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania - Paul and Barnabas would not let the people worship them

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-mgYpIU1lYqg/XMBgVGFex1I/AAAAAAAAtnA/SxDy79sf2DUceIoLz0YhLFAW05ya3t8fQCLcBGAs/s1600/304_1.jpg
https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/mp/r1/lp-e/lr/2003/304 - (304_1.jpg)
https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1102003047
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2019/04/reflection-god-repents-god-is-unchanging.html



Notice that they hadn't 'lost' their first love. They knew where it was, and what it was. They had just left it. Other things had slowly taken away its pre-eminence in their lives. They were full of good works, and they had much sound doctrine, but the love of God had just got crowded out. It happens slowly. It happens insidiously (gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effects). We think we need to attend all those church meetings, and we need to spend lots of time preparing sermons and Bible studies. So, we find ourselves busy with 'doing' the works of God, when He would rather we spent time with Him, just 'being' like a little child talking to Him, and listening to Him.


It happens slowly. It happens insidiously (gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effects).
PHOTO:  It happens slowly. It happens insidiously (gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effects). We think we need to attend all those church meetings, and we need to spend lots of time preparing sermons and Bible studies. So, we find ourselves busy with 'doing' the works of God, when He would rather we spent time with Him, just 'being' like a little child talking to Him, and listening to Him.
Picture posted by God's Minute Station Network

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-R3qb5FrOL0I/WgQPC66x50I/AAAAAAAAofs/eDLGUOqvYU8-wWYx_Ru8z1NFQMpWolZBwCLcBGAs/s1600/ninos-jesus.jpg
http://minutodedios.fm/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/ninos-jesus.jpg
http://minutodedios.fm/una-imagen-vale-mas-mil-palabras-142/
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2017/11/reflection-challenges-and-hopes-in.html
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2018/03/reflection-solution-to-worn-out-lives_26.html
http://veryfatoldman.blogspot.sg/2018/01/reflection-making-sure-you-go-to-jesus.html
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2018/01/reflection-making-sure-you-go-to-jesus.html
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2018/09/reflection-letting-christ-live-in-us_22.html
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2018/09/people-not-saving-enough-for-retirement.html
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2019/04/reflection-god-repents-god-is-unchanging.html



The question is, where is our first love? Is Jesus first, last, or somewhere in the middle? Today, let's begin that journey of returning to our first love. He hasn't moved. He hasn't deserted us. He isn't angry. He's where He's always been, where we left Him, and He's waiting patiently for us. Let's hurry back today. [2B]


Today, let's begin that journey of returning to our first love.
PHOTO: Today, let's begin that journey of returning to our first love. He hasn't moved. He hasn't deserted us. He isn't angry. He's where He's always been, where we left Him, and He's waiting patiently for us. Let's hurry back today.
Picture posted by reddit

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-jRh2I4uxbIs/XMBgVAue2xI/AAAAAAAAtm8/ZOiYqE3Pmw4clJXvREzDwi0mrv6UJx3KgCLcBGAs/s1600/39689329_1.png
 
https://pics.me.me/go-ahead-reject-me-my-love-for-you-is-still-39689329.png - (39689329_1.png)
https://me.me/i/go-ahead-reject-me-my-love-for-you-is-still-fd71003ca09e44a8b96dc5ade5941dac
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2019/04/reflection-god-repents-god-is-unchanging.html



Why is it important to recognise that God's purpose for us is to become like His Son (Romans 8:29)?
It is an admirable thing to serve the Lord and be busy for Him. But God is interested not only in His work through us, but also in His work in us. We must also remember that we are to resemble Him by becoming like Christ, His Son. It is for this reason that God has chosen and saved us - "to be conformed to the image of his Son" (Romans 8:29). If we forget this, we will miss the essence of Christian discipleship. Simply running around for God in busy activism will not bring us nearer to the kingdom of God. That is why Jesus, when talking about the final judgement, warned that many will realise that they have been travelling on the wrong road. "Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" (Matthew 7:22-23).


We must remember that we are to resemble Him by becoming like Christ, His Son.
PHOTO: We must remember that we are to resemble Him by becoming like Christ, His Son. It is for this reason that God has chosen and saved us - "to be conformed to the image of his Son" (Romans 8:29).
Picture posted by Neels Labuschagne on 20 June 2017

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https://cmsphoto.ww-cdn.com/superstatic/1106694/art/grande/14868570-20488775.jpg?v=1497888836
https://app.christinme-international.com/bv00009-march-april-2017/c/0/i/14868570/sons-god
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2019/05/reflection-jonah-gets-angry-god_31.html



It is important to recognise that God's purpose for us is to become like His Son. Why? Because recognising God's purpose for us necessitate us to know how to become a child of God.

How to Become a Child of God [3]
From the beginning God’s purpose in creating human beings was to welcome them into His family (2 Corinthians 6:18). This is why God said He created them “in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). The Bible reveals that God’s ultimate objective is to expand His own family, by creating human beings with the awesome potential to become members of His family—His children, like His Son, Jesus Christ! (
Romans 8:29).

God wants to welcome us into His family. However, God will not give this awesome gift to just anyone. In order to receive such an inheritance, we must meet God’s criteria. God has to be sure of us—sure of our love for Him, sure that we will obey Him and be faithful to Him through thick and thin. (Matthew 22:37-38).



God wants to welcome us into His family.

PHOTO: God wants to welcome us into His family. However, God will not give this awesome gift to just anyone. In order to receive such an inheritance, we must meet God’s criteria.God has to be sure of us—sure of our love for Him, sure that we will obey Him and be faithful to Him through thick and thin. (Matthew 22:37-38).
Picture posted by bible.com

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https://imageproxy-cdn.youversionapi.com/1280x1280/https://s3.amazonaws.com/static-youversionapi-com/images/base/427/1280x1280.jpg
https://www.bible.com/verse-of-the-day/MAT.22.37-38/427?version=114
https://www.bible.com/bible/114/mat.22.37-38.nkjv



God created everyone with free moral agency, the ability to choose. He wants us to choose the way that brings benefits to us and those around us—the way that develops His righteous character. He does not want us to choose the way that makes us and those around us miserable. (Matthew 22:39-40) So God will not accept anyone into His family who may decide he or she no longer needs to obey God, and who may choose to go his or her own way.

Trust plays an enormous part in this process. Before giving us eternal life on the God-plane level of life, God must know that He can eternally trust us 100 percent. To God, the well-being of His creation (us) is of paramount importance. God’s priorities are serving and helping; He is never selfish. But selfishness is the way of the world: "For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, … unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, … brutal, despisers of good" (2 Timothy 3:2-4). However, God is righteous. God is holy. His character consists of justice, fairness and mercy.



Trust plays an enormous part in this process.

PHOTO: Trust plays an enormous part in this process. Before giving us eternal life on the God-plane level of life, God must know that He can eternally trust us 100 percent.
Picture posted by Tammy Lang Jensen, AbidingTV on 28 February 2019 at 08:17

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https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-d5DHwIWBkYM/XHgJR8vV8sI/AAAAAAAAhxQ/TKB1Yn-lYNsoH3nr7xt5_RVkB2awwu1nwCLcBGAs/s1600/The%2BPower%2Bof%2BJesus%2BChrist%2Bby%2BTammy%2BLang%2BJensen.JPG
https://www.abidingtv.com/2019/02/the-power-of-jesus-christ-by-tammy-lang.html



God wants to see us seeking His perfect, holy and righteous character in order to be in His family. Righteous character is the ability to recognize and differentiate between right and wrong, and the conscious decision to do the right. To grow in God’s character, we need to surrender our lives to God, unconditionally and completely, and adopt His way in everything.



God wants to see us seeking His perfect, holy and righteous character in order to be in His family.
God wants to see us seeking His perfect, holy and righteous character in order to be in His family.


PHOTO: God wants to see us seeking His perfect, holy and righteous character in order to be in His family. To grow in God’s character, we need to surrender our lives to God, unconditionally and completely, and adopt His way in everything.
Picture posted by Sharon Spence, Silver Moon Sisterhood - Soana Beach, South Australia.
gif file generated by Animated Images Effects Generator at
http://www.webestools.com/animated-images-effect-generator-effects-gif-images-picture-blog-gif-fx-images-animated-effect.html
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https://i.pinimg.com/originals/96/01/83/9601836a682a5ebfdf0fe3a99de119a4.jpg
https://www.sharon-spence.com/so/bL-9WQwL#/main
https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/462815299199823387/?lp=true



God intends His family to be made up of children who think and act as He does. To many human beings, becoming like God seems out of reach, completely impossible! Yet that is what God wants and expects. We must strive to reflect God’s character in every way: in spirit, approach, nature, attitude and love. To those who follow God’s instructions, He has promised to give the gift of the Holy Spirit, allowing God and Christ to dwell within us. Therein lies the key: Developing God’s character is only possible with the help of God Himself! God has given us a mammoth task, but He has made it possible for us to work toward becoming like Him by asking for His aid through the Holy Spirit. That’s how we can fulfill God’s purpose for our lives and become a child of God.



To those who follow God’s instructions, He has promised to give the gift of the Holy Spirit, allowing God and Christ to dwell within us.

PHOTO: To those who follow God’s instructions, He has promised to give the gift of the Holy Spirit, allowing God and Christ to dwell within us.
Picture posted by jeff@fromtheabbey.com

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-_EA-pcd3S_o/XQeVjwH92eI/AAAAAAAAuP0/FDVKAQcrYgoZ_SeltjOhlRaq3yl4TvXwwCLcBGAs/s1600/Gifts-of-the-Holy-Spirit.png
https://www.fromtheabbey.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Gifts-of-the-Holy-Spirit.png
https://www.fromtheabbey.com/keys-chapel-christian-prayer/gifts-of-the-holy-spirit-piety/



When God gives us His Spirit, we receive the spiritual strength we need in order to replace our old wrong habits of selfish living with the righteous and godly way of living exemplified by the life of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:22-24; John 1:4; 1 John 2:5-6). In short, to become like His Son.

Therefore it is important to recognise that God's purpose for us is to become like His Son (Romans 8:29). Why? Because recognising God's purpose for us necessitate us to know how to become a child of God - by asking for His aid through the Holy Spirit.



When God gives us His Spirit, we receive the spiritual strength we need in order to replace our old wrong habits of selfish living with the righteous and godly way of living exemplified by the life of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:22-24; John 1:4; 1 John 2:5-6).

PHOTO: When God gives us His Spirit, we receive the spiritual strength we need in order to replace our old wrong habits of selfish living with the righteous and godly way of living exemplified by the life of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:22-24; John 1:4; 1 John 2:5-6). In short, to become like His Son.
Painting by Fray Juan Bautista Maíno, c. 1615-20. Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain - Pentecost
Picture posted by Karina Tabone

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-A2eah-hYM0I/XQeVkX7KvPI/AAAAAAAAuP8/y87kLzAl9xQ_2tKjvfzWEn1cNRhjhSCagCLcBGAs/s1600/Maino_Pentecost%25C3%25A9s_1620-1625._Museo_del_Prado.jpg
https://i0.wp.com/illustratedprayer.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Maino_Pentecost%C3%A9s_1620-1625._Museo_del_Prado.jpg?fit=2500%2C3289&ssl=1
https://illustratedprayer.com/2018/05/19/come-holy-spirit/



Therefore it is important to recognise that God's purpose for us is to become like His Son (Romans 8:29).

PHOTO: Therefore it is important to recognise that God's purpose for us is to become like His Son (Romans 8:29).
Because recognising God's purpose for us necessitate us to know how to become a child of God - by asking for His aid through the Holy Spirit.
Painting by Fray Juan Bautista Maíno (1581-1649) - Pentecostés. Museo del Prado (Pentecost, National Museum of the Prado)

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-XFi96Ijjyys/XQeVhz_gVEI/AAAAAAAAuPg/vQRpnfp7JysMrM52C0MEY46mc4onkDKuACLcBGAs/s1600/3ce8ac.png
3ce8ac.png
http://marymagdalen.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Bull_2018_05_20.pdf



Therein lies the key: Developing God’s character is only possible with the help of God Himself!

PHOTO: Therein lies the key: Developing God’s character is only possible with the help of God Himself! God has given us a mammoth task, but He has made it possible for us to work toward becoming like Him by asking for His aid through the Holy Spirit. That’s how we can fulfill God’s purpose for our lives and become a child of God.
Picture posted by JN on Monday, 26 May 2014 at 4:48 PM - Study for the Pentecost, 2012

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http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-d1gu7ePQU84/U4PPkQxgN9I/AAAAAAAAAlY/YGXMF67Ky0A/s1600/Pentecost.jpg
http://johnnavastudio.blogspot.com/2014/05/projects-for-churches-at-cathedral-of.html



When can busy service become a hindrance to spiritual formation?
The Busy and Hurried Soul [4]
To many people, spiritual formation or spiritual growth is incompatible with being on the run or movement. To many, spiritual formation will only occurs when we are still and silent, like on a retreat in the mountains in the middle of nowhere. Maybe this idea comes from Chinese kungfu movies where the grandmaster or sifu only attain enlightenment (usually implied a higher level of martial skills) by meditation while sealed in a cave on top of some misty mountain. This is reinforced by the Christian division of hyperactive Martha who was busy being hospitable to her guests, and her quiet contemplative sister Mary who was sitting and listening to Jesus.


When Jesus visited the house of the sisters Mary and Martha and their brother Lazarus in the village of Bethany, He was welcomed warmly (Luke 10:38-42).
PHOTO: PHOTO: When Jesus visited the house of the sisters Mary and Martha and their brother Lazarus in the village of Bethany, He was welcomed warmly (Luke 10:38-42). The respond of the two sisters to the Lord's arrival was markedly different. While Martha, ever the efficient and house-proud hostess, Mary sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.
Painting by Del Parson - Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38–42)
Picture posted by World Mission Magazine

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Bi6DCSKaq44/W7bbjpeoZFI/AAAAAAAArkg/_kvRUWIxiBYOHJxvpe8UdyGbJ0vf7Yw4ACLcBGAs/s1600/b9a6be69b8f143579a99dfe486ab6dd5.jpg
https://worldmissionmagazine.com/application/files/cache/b9a6be69b8f143579a99dfe486ab6dd5.jpg
https://worldmissionmagazine.com/archives/february-2016/everyday-vocation
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2018/10/reflection-epilogue-response-to-jesus.html



(Luke 10:38–42)
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."


Martha is associated with the active life while Mary with the contemplative one. Jesus seems to praise Mary’s choice as the correct one. If this is the only lesson from the passage, then Martha should come and sit at Jesus’ feet and everyone will go hungry without supper!


Martha is associated with the active life while Mary with the contemplative one.
PHOTO: Martha is associated with the active life while Mary with the contemplative one. Jesus seems to praise Mary’s choice as the correct one.
Picture saved from Glory5fm

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ZbA4IhSUQM4/W7bbju4m8-I/AAAAAAAArkk/cmyytqaPl10g2Sv-lP6XgtJR1JIyUK4WgCLcBGAs/s1600/fd76def7f92226b25f09c533a67d6178.jpg
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/fd/76/de/fd76def7f92226b25f09c533a67d6178.jpg
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/746401338216861991/?lp=true
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2018/10/reflection-epilogue-response-to-jesus.html



The houses in New Testament times are rather small so even when preparing food, both the ladies will be able to hear Jesus. The passage seems to imply that initially both Mary and Martha were involved in the food preparation. Then suddenly Mary left the preparation to sit at Jesus’ feet to focus fully on what Jesus was saying. Martha’s ire was that her sister was not helping her in the food preparation. Martha was busy and in a hurry. Maybe she wanted to produce an exception meal for her special guest. In her hurriedness, she was distracted and was not listening to Jesus. Jesus was speaking to everyone in the house, not just Mary. Jesus’ rebuke to Martha may be because she was not listening to him. This was because she was so distracted by her busyness. Martha should be preparing the food and listening to him at the same time as women are wonderful at multi-tasking. I am sure Jesus wanted to eat too. Jesus did not say, “Martha, stop what you are doing, sit down and listen to me!



The houses in New Testament times are rather small so even when preparing food, both the ladies will be able to hear Jesus.

PHOTO: The houses in New Testament times are rather small so even when preparing food, both the ladies will be able to hear Jesus. Martha was busy and in a hurry. Maybe she wanted to produce an exception meal for her special guest. In her hurriedness, she was distracted and was not listening to Jesus. Jesus was speaking to everyone in the house, not just Mary. Martha was so distracted by her busyness.
Painting by Harold Copping (1863-1932) - Jesus at the home of Martha and Mary (of Bethany)

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https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/97/Harold_Copping_Jesus_at_the_home_of_Martha_and_Mary_400.jpg/880px-Harold_Copping_Jesus_at_the_home_of_Martha_and_Mary_400.jpg - (Martha_and_Mary_400.jpg)
https://thereaderwiki.com/en/New_Testament_people_named_Mary
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2018/10/reflection-epilogue-response-to-jesus.html



We all live very busy lives. From the moment we are rudely awakened by our alarm clocks to the time we fall asleep, we have to perform many tasks. Our ‘to-do’ list often runs to two or three pages. If being busy means that we have not chosen ‘the good part’ that most of us are in trouble. Not many of us have the opportunity to take time away to be in a retreat, to just sit and listen. There are bills to pay, houses to clean and kids to bring up.

There is a difference between being busy and being hurried. We can be busy without being in a hurry. Busy is an external condition where we have many tasks to complete. Hurry is an inner state where we are distracted because of the external busyness. This inner state of distraction means that our soul is confused, fragmented and disconnected with our minds, hearts and spirits. What is more significant is that the hurried or distracted person cannot hear the voice of God. What Jesus was trying to teach Martha (and us) is that it is not wrong for us to be busy (for which one of us is not busy) but not to be hurried and distracted.



There is a difference between being busy and being hurried.

PHOTO: There is a difference between being busy and being hurried. We can be busy without being in a hurry. What is more significant is that the hurried or distracted person cannot hear the voice of God. What Jesus was trying to teach Martha (and us) is that it is not wrong for us to be busy (for which one of us is not busy) but not to be hurried and distracted.
Picture posted by Beautiful things (Oldschool)

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https://i.mycdn.me/i?r=AyH4iRPQ2q0otWIFepML2LxRVOgJJPN7iAb8ieSQJbekJQ - (i.jpg)
https://ok.ru/tizen/topic/64813572358372



This is because when we are hurried and distracted, we cannot hear him. When our busy service are hurried and distracting, they become a hindrance to our spiritual formation.

This means that Christian spiritual formation and transformation may occurs in a busy life. However the process may be difficult in a busy and hurried life. Dallas Willard notes, "Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life." Is it possible to live a busy but unhurried life? Gregory the Great was the first monk to become a pope. He became Pope Gregory 1 from 590 to 604 AD. Gregory was a Doctor of the Church and a Latin Father. He contributed a lot to church services and is known as the father of Christian worship. In his busy schedule, Gregory was able to maintain a powerful devotional life. John Calvin mentioned Gregory in his Institutes and praised his contribution to the church.



Pope Saint Gregory the Great

PHOTO: Pope Saint Gregory the Great
Dallas Willard notes, "Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life." In his busy schedule, Gregory was able to maintain a powerful devotional life. John Calvin mentioned Gregory in his Institutes and praised his contribution to the church.
Picture posted by Catholic Online

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https://www.catholic.org/saints/ff_images/73.jpg
https://www.catholic.org/saints/fun_facts_arch.php?saint=54



 How do we become unhurried in our busy life? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Do not be a perfectionism
Martha may not be so distracted if she was not in such a hurry to prepare a gourmet meal for his visitors. Perhaps a simpler meal may allow her to slow down and listen to Jesus as she worked. Our home need not be so clean and tidy to be featured in Ideal Home magazine. We do not need to have that complete set of Minions from McDonald Kiddy Meals. Being less of a perfectionist may remove the strain of being a hurry.



Do not be a perfectionism

PHOTO: Do not be a perfectionism
Being less of a perfectionist may remove the strain of being a hurry.
Picture posted by Elizabeth Scott, MS on 05 April 2019

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https://www.verywellmind.com/thmb/qQ9Bf1klDQP5zA6-NwjXQ9S2G1g=/1500x0/filters:no_upscale():max_bytes(150000):strip_icc()/signs-you-may-be-a-perfectionist-3145233-4b439fdaab36470a930ba2eef8d29fc2.png - (d29fc2.png)
https://www.verywellmind.com/signs-you-may-be-a-perfectionist-3145233



2. Prioritize your to-do list
Not all of the things on our to-do list needs to be completed. The world will not come to an end if we do not complete it. If Christ comes again then we do not need to complete it. Prioritize and do the most essential things first. Be realistic in assigning the amount of time to complete each task. Group similar tasks together. A bit of forward planning can help to eliminate hurry from our schedule.



Prioritize your to-do list

PHOTO: Prioritize your to-do list
Not all of the things on our to-do list needs to be completed. The world will not come to an end if we do not complete it. If Christ comes again then we do not need to complete it. A bit of forward planning can help to eliminate hurry from our schedule.
Picture posted by Mandi, theplantedpoppy.com on 12 June 2017

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http://theplantedpoppy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Decision-Matrix.png
http://theplantedpoppy.com/2017/06/12/how-to-prioritize-your-to-do-list/
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/137782069833400758/?lp=true



3. Take ‘minute’ retreats
A ‘minute’ retreat is to take a minute of your time during a busy period, close your eyes and calm your mind, slow your breathing and take deep breaths. Visualize a quiet room within your heart where you can meet with Jesus and say hello. This will break the vicious cycle of stress caused by your business. Stress tend to induce hurry in our inner life. You can close your eyes and do a minute retreat at any time and in any place. Except maybe when you are driving or skydiving.



Take ‘minute’ retreats

PHOTO: Take ‘minute’ retreats
 Visualize a quiet place within your heart where you can meet with Jesus and say hello. This will break the vicious cycle of stress caused by your business. Stress tend to induce hurry in our inner life.

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-5UfcNNo-TRs/XQeVjjeZF0I/AAAAAAAAuPw/T2MvziR7DPgNQh8JZ41Asso1Y7X2rlXPQCLcBGAs/s1600/Forest_20.png
Forest_20.png



4. Keep things in perspective
In a particular busy period, ask yourself will what you are doing matters in five years’ time? Will it matters in a year’s time? Next month? Often answering this questions bring things into perspective. Having things in perspective helps to eliminate hurry. One of my favourite quotes from Facebook is a paraphrase of the Serenity Prayer: “Lord, give me coffee to change the things I can change and wine to accept the things I cannot, and chocolate while I figure out the difference!” Not taking ourselves too seriously and having a sense of humour helps us to slow down and not to hurry.



Keep things in perspective

PHOTO: Keep things in perspective
In a particular busy period, ask yourself will what you are doing matters in five years’ time? Will it matters in a year’s time? Next month? Often answering this questions bring things into perspective. Not taking ourselves too seriously and having a sense of humour helps us to slow down and not to hurry.
Photograph by @dennisstever on Instagram
Picture posted by TwistedSifter on 14 November 2016

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https://twistedsifter.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/desert-sun-moon-by-dennis-stever-8.jpg?w=640&h=640
https://twistedsifter.com/2016/11/desert-sun-moon-by-dennis-stever/



5. Let go and let God
The need to be in control and a busy life is a guaranteed recipe for a hurried life. Most of us are control freaks. We need to learn to let go and let God take control of our life and of our schedule. Learning to let go means learning to say no. Letting go means focusing on things that has eternal value rather than chasing after things that offer temporary satisfactions. This also helps us to be more patient with events and people.



 Let go and let God

PHOTO:  Let go and let God
The need to be in control and a busy life is a guaranteed recipe for a hurried life. Letting go means focusing on things that has eternal value rather than chasing after things that offer temporary satisfactions. This also helps us to be more patient with events and people.
Picture posted by St. Anthony of Padua Church on 24 January 2019 - A Morning of Reflection

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https://stanthonyffld.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/light.jpg
https://stanthonyffld.org/women-of-the-parish-2/



A hurried life is a distracted life. We can be hurried even when we are not busy. Even during our vacations we are hurried and busy. A distracted life is an unhealthy life. It harms our bodies leading to hypertension, diabetes, obesity and heart problems. Our souls are also being harmed. We are restless. We feel disconnected and lost. There is lacking a sense of being anchored or grounded. We became swayed by every events that come our way. We are irritable and short fused. And we cannot hear the voice of God. Listening and hearing to the voice of God is what Jesus said as ‘only one thing [is] necessary’. So, take a deep breath and stop being in a hurry to finish reading this post! [4]



A hurried life is a distracted life.

PHOTO: A hurried life is a distracted life. We can be hurried even when we are not busy. Even during our vacations we are hurried and busy. A distracted life is an unhealthy life. It harms our bodies leading to hypertension, diabetes, obesity and heart problems. Our souls are also being harmed. And we cannot hear the voice of God. Listening and hearing to the voice of God is what Jesus said as ‘only one thing [is] necessary’.
Picture posted by Rachel, Hands Free Mama

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https://handsfreemama-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/DSC_0003-e1373725701476.jpg
https://www.handsfreemama.com/2013/07/16/the-day-i-stopped-saying-hurry-up/



Dear Lord, like Jonah, it is possible to serve the Lord without reflecting His character.
Dear Lord, like Jonah, it is possible to serve the Lord without reflecting His character.


PHOTO: "Dear Lord, like Jonah, it is possible to serve the Lord without reflecting His character. Please help us to respond to others in the same way that God responded, compassionate and merciful. Help us to serve not only from feeling of obligation or duty, but also with motivation that comes from our heart.

We need help to become less concerned about our service making us look good, to earn the acceptance or approval of others, or being recognised about accomplishing something good for our fellow man. Help us to serve the Lord not for personal pride but reflecting the character of Jesus.

Help us to donate those items that are clean and in working order and not to treat the recipient as a dumping place for our unwanted rubbish. Donating dirty, broken, or useless items is less effective and takes precious time from volunteers and other workers as they sort and organize the items to be distributed or sold to others.

We want to be like The Church at Ephesus founded by Paul, which had full of good works, and had much sound doctrine, but not when the love of God had got crowded out. We think we need to attend all those church meetings, and we need to spend lots of time preparing sermons and Bible studies. So, we find ourselves busy with 'doing' the works of God, when He would rather we spent time with Him, just 'being' like a little child talking to Him, and listening to Him.

Help us to remember that God is interested not only in His work through us, but also in His work in us. And we are to resemble Him by becoming like Christ, His Son. Please send your Holy Spirit so that we can receive the spiritual strength we need in order to replace our old wrong habits of selfish living with the righteous and godly way of living exemplified by the life of Jesus Christ.

Please help us to be more like Mary, and less like Martha who could not hear the Lord because of her being hurried and distracted by matters of the world. When our busy service are hurried and distracting, they become a hindrance to our spiritual formation. We need your help to become unhurried in our busy life, so that we can hear you while being busy to complete our tasks.

We want to hear from you because we learn from Psalm 119:165 that 'great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.'


Through Lord Jesus Christ we pray. Amen!

Picture saved by Melanie Zurcher-McChesney to Adrianna's pins - Athena _ Greek. Virgin goddess of war and wisdom, patroness of goldsmithing, she gave fire to humanity.
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Reflection - Jonah Gets a Second Chance - Second Chance
Question from source (book): "God in Pursuit", Chapter 8, Question 3, Page 115.
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012






Also from the same author, Robert M. Solomon

"Faithful to the end", A Preacher's Exposition of 2 Timothy, @ 2014 by Robert M. Solomon

'Faithful to the end', A Preacher's Exposition of 2 Timothy, @ 2014 by Robert M. Solomon<br>
Reflection - Faithful to the end (Links)
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2017/06/reflection-faithful-to-end-links.html



"Finding rest for the soul" Responding to Jesus' Invitation in Matthew 11:28-29, © 2016 by Robert M. Solomon

Reflection - Finding rest for the soul (Links)
Reflection - Finding rest for the soul (Links)
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2018/10/reflection-finding-rest-for-soul-links.html




Reference
[1] From "God in Pursuit" Lessons from the Book of Jonah, Copyright © 2017 by Robert M. Solomon, ISBN 978-1-62707-801-6, Part IV: Jonah 4:1-11, Chapter 8 "Jonah gets angry, God disciples", Page 106-110.

[2] Kristin Postlethwait, How Can I Serve God?, https://www.exploregod.com/how-can-i-serve-god
[2A] Rachel Bruner, 15 Ways to Serve God Through Serving Others, posted on 06 January 2018, https://www.learnreligions.com/serve-god-through-serving-others-2159239

[2B] Philip Asselin, the associate ministry and teaching teams with Glyndley Manor, Our First Love, https://colwynbenefice.wordpress.com/reflection/

[3] Larry Murray, a member of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association in South Africa, How to Become a Child of God, https://lifehopeandtruth.com/god/who-is-god/how-to-become-a-child-of-god/

[4] Alex Tang, The Busy and Hurried Soul, posted on 19 June 2015,  https://www.kairos2.com/busy_and_hurried_soul.htm

[35] Thomas John Carlisle, You! Jonah!: Poems (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1968).


New International Version (NIV), Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


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2 Timothy 3:2-4 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Timothy+3%3A2-4&version=NIV

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