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Prepare

In his sermon Jesus pushes his disciples with hard questions about priorities. This section offers a crescendo of sorts with God’s providence at the forefront.


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Bible passage Matthew 6:25–34


Do Not Worry
 25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

 28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


Audio Bible passage


The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


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Struck by a sermon
Let me tell part of my own story here. As a teenage boy, aged 16, I was ready to leave the church. Yet as a parting act I picked up a Bible and read this sermon. Parts were hard to read – I didn’t really trust the Father and I was the hypocrite. Jesus was saying, clearly, ‘Enough – stop it!’

Two themes struck home in this reading. The first was ‘don’t worry’ – used six times. And I was, indeed, anxious. A friend had died a few months earlier; my family was moving to a distant city; and I struggled with insecurity.

Invited by God
The second was tied to the first: God’s providence is evident, consistent, and breathtaking. So trust him.

Earlier in the sermon we’ve read a number of sections that left us dangling – facing problems of flawed faith or hypocrisy, yet without a clear solution. This reading is the solution: we’re invited to God’s kingdom and righteousness as our sole focus in life. And then allow him to start applying his providence in our lives.


Respond


Jesus is both realistic and caring. He knows how hard life can be, and he points to God’s obvious care for nature and asks, ‘Will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith?’ (v 30). It’s a compelling call.

Ron Frost


Deeper Bible study


Lord, teach me to seek first your kingdom and your righteousness.

In her book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing (Hay House, 2012), Bronnie Ware describes her experience as a palliative caregiver. She asked her patients about any regrets they had and anything they would do differently. Compiling all the responses, she puts together five top common themes. One of them is, ‘I wish I hadn’t worked so hard’. Many expressed regret at spending so much of their lives trying to earn as much as possible. Ware suggests that if we could adopt the discipline of simplicity and make conscious choices by creating more space in our lives, we could become happier and would probably need fewer material possessions.

Jesus deals with our material security in today’s reading. We worry about our life, what we need, what we want and what our future looks like. The world of advertising is effective at making us want more than we need in our life and at selling the lifestyle, status and security that we crave.

Jesus draws us back to the discipline of simplicity. To seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness does not mean that we do not plan for our future. It means that we order the space within us so that we make room for God and for others. It means that we seek change and transformation in the world we live in. It means that we care for the elderly neighbour who needs extra help. It means that we extend help to the single mothers and the poor in our community. It means that we make positive changes in our world. Jesus promises that if we do this we shall find joy, contentment and purpose for living life in the kingdom of heaven. God will surely not abandon us, but will provide for our needs.

Kar Yong Lim


Bible in a year


Read the Bible in a year.

Genesis 20,21

Matthew 8
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Don’t worry!


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It’s easy to say ‘Don’t worry about it!’, but not quite as easy to actually do! Use this animation of the passage as a space for prayer, to bring your worries to God and leave them with him.

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Audio


‘Search me oh God’
Peformed by : Vicky Beeching
Written by: Vicky Beeching
Copyright: © 1997 Thankyou MusicYou can buy this and other great worship songs at www.integritymusic.com

Awesome God (Your Voice)
Vicky Beeching
Copyright© 2001 Vineyard Songs (UK/Eire)
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.vineyardrecords.co.uk




Comments
  • Frieda Wilson | Wednesday, 10 January 2018

    Many years ago, when I was a child, my mum made up the bird mobile printed on the back of a cereal packet for me, but over the manufacturer's name on the centrepiece, she pasted a piece of paper and wrote verse 26 - it has stayed with me ever since and is one of my favourite verses of scripture.

  • Angela Munday | Wednesday, 10 January 2018

    What a simple, beautiful and precious gift your mum gave you, Frieda. God knows just how easy it is to become a habitual worrier and Jesus tells us how we show little faith in God when we do not trust in Him for our simple, daily needs; God cares for all of His creation....."Thank you Holy Father that you show us a better way to live when we remain within your loving Kingdom; you have made this day for our enjoyment. May we rejoice and be glad in it." Amen.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Wednesday, 10 January 2018

    v31 The way we take or receive anxious thoughts is by speaking them. Doubtful thoughts will come, but it is not sin until we entertain them. According to this verse, speaking forth these thoughts is one way of entertaining them. Life or death are in the tongue. We have what we say. I have read the following Proverbs in many bible versions and thank God for their wisdom. (Provo 6:2, 13:3, 18:20-21)

  • Jack Russell | Wednesday, 10 January 2018

    Yes and with the anxious thoughts, weighing them up and seeing what the reality is, are they helpful or is there another way of considering things in the here and now and acting accordingly. The ego and fear sometimes being our friend and being necessary for survival and sometimes our enemy. But always with perfect love being more powerful and overwhelming that fear. Doubt not being the opposite of faith for without doubt there is no need for faith. The opposite of faith is certainty. We have the freedom to choose what thoughts to entertain - except when there is a brain chemistry problem. So this comforting passage about not worrying but using reason and confidence in provision - seeking the kingdom, of seeing you being created in the image of God and seeing the good in me as God saw it was good when he created humanity and all my needs and your needs being provided for. Sounds a better deal than worrying about tings hey?

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Wednesday, 10 January 2018

    The biblical opposite of faith according to Jesus is unbelief.

  • Merlin Sheppard | Wednesday, 10 January 2018

    I learned this as a young Christian a long time ago !! 1 Seek ye first the kingdom of God And His righteousness; And all these things shall be added unto you. Hallelu, Hallelujah! 2 Ask, and it shall be given unto you; Seek, and you shall find. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Hallelu, Hallelujah! 3 Man shall not live by bread alone, But by every word That proceeds out from the mouth of God. Hallelu, Hallelujah!

  • Jack Russell | Wednesday, 10 January 2018

    With both unbelief and certainty, faith is absent.

  • Hannah Watson | Wednesday, 10 January 2018

    Mike's blog for today ☺ https://bttb365.wordpress.com/2018/01/10/10-01-2018-get-rich-quick/

  • David Forbes | Friday, 12 January 2018

    heb 11.1 Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].

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