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June 2017 Archives

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This month's theme:
A Quiet Life
As a small pebble sends silent ripples flowing out across a pond, a quiet life will create ripples of blessings across our lives and those of whom we come in contact with.

 
1Thessalonians 4:9-12
 
 But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing. 

We need to have a quiet soul in order to hear God speak. God never ceases to speak to us, but the noise of the world without and the tumult of our passions within bewilder us and prevent us from listening to Him. -Francois Fenelon

The purpose behind leading a quiet life, minding our own business, and working with our hands is to (1) walk properly towards those who are outside Christ and (2) so that we lack nothing. It's a simple way of life that we need to aspire to. There is no place for laziness or being concerned with matters which we have no business delving into. A quiet mind will have busy hands taking care of our needs, our family's needs, and others who have needs. It will give us the proper balance of brotherly love and minding our own business. This quiet attitude will prevent us from taking advantage of others and using them to promote ourselves, whether it be in physical desires or pride.

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PAGE 2: WORK WITH YOUR OWN HANDS

 
What Condition is Your House In? 

Last year Chuck and I decided to downsize and live a more simple life for financial reasons, as well as training our minds to not live for this world. We bought an 1100 square foot house that had been owned by an unmarried man. This young man didn't have much money to remodel this 1964 house, nor did he have the money to make repairs that were needed, so we were faced with some immediate problems to solve. And, evidently, he also had a lazy streak in him because those things that wouldn't cost money, like upkeep of the yard and cleaning out cobwebs around the house, weren't bothered with at all. He had not taken care of his house and it showed. He allowed weeds and poison ivy to take over, and due to negligence, the house was beginning to deteriorate.
 
Fortunately, the house has good "bones" and with some repair and remodeling, we are slowly bringing back life in this old house and yard. It will take some time, but with diligence, a bit of money, and some hard work, the house will eventually be more comfortable to live in.
 
As I work in the yard pulling up, seemingly, endless weeds and as I work on the kitchen cabinets, I often think of the analogies of cleaning up this house and cleaning up the spiritual man. They both take diligence and perseverance - a continual awareness of what needs repairing and keeping them in order.
  • Pulling out weeds and poison ivy, is like pulling the wicked thoughts and deeds out of my life.
  • Repairs to the plumbing and other parts of the house hidden from view, is the self-examination of my inward man and making needed repairs.
  • Cleaning and painting my kitchen cabinets is comparable to cleansing the outside of me in acting properly toward others and giving glory to Christ in my speech and actions.
 
The work of repairing and cleaning never ceases. While this all sounds tiring and all-consuming, at the same time there is joy. There is happiness in making this house and yard look fresh and clean. This is contentment in feeling comfortable in the environment as well as a sense of accomplishment in the good changes made. 
 
So it is with our spiritual house. There is joy in cleaning ourselves up and a feeling of rest and peace in knowing our diligence is to the glory of God. Our feeling of accomplishment and purpose in this life is fulfilled by knowing all our hard work will be rewarded in the end and rather then continual decay and perishing of our physical house, our spiritual house is being renewed day by day. (2 Cor. 4:13).
 

If we spend time doing our own work  instead of putting our nose in other people's work, we will get a lot more done. 

D

O

N'

Judge how much others work when you don't know. Not everyone brags about what they do.

Judge how little others work if you don't know their circumstances. Maybe what little they do is all they can do. 

Overspend. If you don't earn much, don't spend much. If you earn a lot, give to those in need and be careful about spending frivolously.

Be a wife that overspends and complains about what you don't have. Learn to be content.

Be embarrassed about your job or your husband's. If it is good, honest work, be thankful. 

         The Busy Man

If you want to get a favor done
by some obliging friend,
And want a promise, safe and sure,
on which you may depend,

Don't go to him who always has
much leisure time to plan,
If you want your favor done,
just ask the busy man.

The man with leisure never has
a moment he can spare,
He's always "putting off" until
his friends are in despair.

But he whose every waking hour
is crowded full of work
Forgets the art of wasting time,
he cannot stop to shirk.

So when you want a favor done,
and want it right away,
Go to the man who constantly
works twenty hours a day.

He'll find a moment somewhere,
that has no other use
And help you, while the idle man
is framing an excuse.

                   -unknown 

"Never tire of doing even the smallest things for God, because He isn’t impressed so much with the dimensions of our work as with the love in which it is done."  -France Fénelon

Work with our own hands so we will live properly as an example to those outside of Christ.  1 Thess. 4:12  

Work so we won't lack anything we need. 1 Thess. 4:12  

Work to build, rather than destroy. Prov. 18:9

Work with wisdom, with a plan and purpose. Prov. 24:27

Work diligently while we can, but with understanding that this physical life is temporary. Eccl. 9:10

Work diligently but keeping in mind, the fruits of our work will eventually be left to someone else; we can't take it with us in the end - it's all temporary so we adjust our priorities.  Eccl. 2:18; 5:15; 9:10

Diligent work may allow us promotions and more success at our job (keeping in mind our priorities of course) . Prov. 12:24

Enjoy the fruits of our labor. Eccl. 3:12-13; Isa. 65:22 

We are not to be lazy, but work. Lazy people are not to be fed by others.  2 Thess. 3:10-11

There is profit in work. Prov. 14:23

Work in order to help others. Eph. 4:28

Work to take care of our family. 1 Tim. 5:8

Work, when we can, so we won't be a burden to others. 2 Thess. 3:8 

Work with honesty, sincerity, obedience, in respectful fear, as to God and not as men-pleasers, but pleasing God. Eph. 6:5-7 

We are not on earth to work for the food which will perish - that is not our goal. We are to work for "the food which endures to everlasting life."  Jn. 6:27

“Your mind is too much taken up with your circumstances, and this hinders you from understanding the mind of God....I think it is such a hindrance to the kind of quiet meditation in which God reveals Himself. You must learn to be humble and simple.... Be content with leading a simple life.”  -France Fénelon

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PAGE 3: MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS 

What is a Busybody?

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words

 A — 1: περιεργάζομαι 
(Strong's #4020 — Verb — periergazomai — per-ee-er-gad'-zom-ahee )

lit., "to be working round about, instead of at one's own business" (peri, "around," ergon, "work"), signifies to take more pains than enough about a thing, to waste one's labor, to be meddling with, or bustling about, other people's matters. This is found in 2 Thessalonians 3:11 , where, following the verb ergazomai, "to work," it forms a paronomasia. This may be produced in a free rendering: "some who are not busied in their own business, but are overbusied in that of others."

B — 1: περίεργος 
(Strong's #4021 — Adjective — periergos — per-ee'-er-gos )

akin to A, denoting "taken up with trifles," is used of magic arts in Acts 19:19 ; "busybodies" in 1 Timothy 5:13 , i.e., meddling in other persons' affairs.

C — 1: ἀλλοτριεπίσκοπος 
(Strong's #244 — Noun Masculine — allotrioepiskopos — al-lot-ree-ep-is'-kop-os )

from allotrios, "belonging to another person," and episkopos, "an overseer," translated "busybody" in the AV of 1 Peter 4:15 , "meddler," RV, was a legal term for a charge brought against Christians as being hostile to civilized society, their purpose being to make Gentiles conform to Christian standards. Some explain it as a pryer into others' affairs.

 

In The Body are you a busybody or a busy body? 

Why do busybodies intrude in other people's lives?
 
Pride - they believe they are all-wise and have all the answers.
  • They have made themselves the moral judge and they see themselves as the knowledgeable one, therefore it is their responsibility to straighten out everyone's lives (Rom 12:3). 
  • They may be idle. Even if they are diligent workers in their secular job and within their home, they may be idle in their spiritual lives. (1Ti 5:13; 1 Thess. 4:11; 2 Thess. 3:11-12).
  • They have a habit of looking at the faults of others instead of themselves. (Matt. 7:1-5)
  • They feel special that a friend or acquaintance confided in them so they now have a responsibility to hear everything they have to say and to give their advice, even though they are hearing only one side. (Phil. 2:3)
  • They feel they may get ahead in work if they listen and join in the gossip their boss is indulging in. (Phil. 2:3)
  • They believe family ties will be stronger if they join in with the gossip. (Phil. 2:3) 
  • They are afraid others (children, spouse) are going to make a mistake and no mistake is too small in their eyes.
  • They love control and that's all there is to it.
  • They enjoy hearing details about other's private lives (the more private the better) because they are like "tasty triffles".
  • They feel hurt if they are left out of private information, taking it personal.
 
Harm done by busybodies:
 
  • Saying things they shouldn't. (1 Tim. 5:13; Prov. 11:13) 
  • Satan will take advantage and destroy the home, the church, the workplace, the friendships. (2 Cor. 2:11) 
 
 How do busybodies suffer? But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. (1Pe 4:15)
 
  • Lose children's respect and will separate themselves whenever they can.
  • Lose friends because of either bad advice you gave them or their spouse/friend/child/co-worker was upset when they learned you now know their private business and gave bad advice without knowing the two sides. 
  • Lose family or friends because they have learned you can't keep your mouth shut and shared information that should have been kept private.
  • Lose respect because you helped divide the church due to hearing and sharing gossip. 

A Focus on Specific Instances of Busybodyness 

In Chronic Illness: Please don't be a busybody with people who have chronic illness. Some feel they have all the answers for those who are ill. Believe me,  the one who has been living with chronic illness is more experienced and knowledgeable. They have researched all they can and they know what they can do and what they can't. They know what helps and what doesn't. If you become a busybody in their lives, rather than a caring sister, you may be a cause for loneliness in them as they will not come to you for help.

In diet: Please don't be a busybody with other people's eating habits. Is the food more important than the friendship? If you are a meat-eater, coffee drinker, Twinky enjoyer don't make fun of those who don't share your taste. If you are a vegan, a vitamin/herb lover, an "organic" food eater, don't knock those who aren't and feel it's your duty to straighten them out. Good relationships are more important than food.

Parenting: Oh, if we could only control our kid's lives! If they would always listen to our wisdom in their marriage and raising their kids! Moms and mother-in-laws, we gotta let go and zip our mouth. Why? Believe it or not, we're not always right. It's not our business. Couples need to grow on their own. And, just like us, mistakes will be made at times, and other times, the right decisions will be made. If we close our mouths, our children will be more apt to come to us for advice, if they need it.

Our children's spouse should be their first priority – not us, the parents.  They should be faithful – first – to their spouse. If their spouse is influencing them to sin and turn against God, of course we need to help them remain strong in the Lord, but do so with wisdom and patience as the priority is to try and save both souls and their marriage.

And job hunting, I can't believe there are parents who actually get involved in their children's job hunting where they will go to the interview! I recently read this: "Phil Gardner, head of the Collegiate Employment Research Institute. He’d read enough media reports about parental over-involvement in post-university job hunting that he decided to do some research of his own, tossing questions into CERI’s annual survey about just how frequently companies saw their applicants’ moms and dads. Nearly a quarter of his sample, or 725 employers, “reported seeing parents ‘sometimes’ to ‘very often’ when hiring a college senior,” she writes. (And this was when the economy was still booming, in 2006 and 2007.) Among the things parents did: negotiate salaries; complain if their child wasn’t hired; arrange the interview; attend the interview itself. They have even showed up at their chilren's job interviews to be an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). How would you like to call 911 and have a youngster come out who needed (or didn't need) his mom at his/her job interview? Kinda takes the confidence out.  

 

While we are to work quietly and mind our own business, let's not confuse being a "busy-body" with true, genunine care for one another. These are two completely different characteristics of an individual. A busy body sticks his nose in where it doesn't belong, not for the sake of concern, but due to laziness and self-interest. A caring individual is concerned about his brother and sister's pain and wants to make herself available to help and strengthen the weak and fallen. 

Don't Mind Your Own Business!
by Amanda Wells 

We’re all aware of the fact that we’re at war against the ruler of this world and all his forces. But do we ever consider the possibility that no small number of our fellow soldiers have gangrenous shrapnel wounds festering under that shiny armor of God we like to polish and don every Sunday morning? I’ve never been in the US Army, but from what I hear, it seems like they grant a lot of honor to their wounded.  That’s not the case in our Holy Army, is it? Satan’s a genius - here we are, expecting our fellow soldiers to be functioning at full capacity, when they’re actually maimed and no one wants to really look around too closely!  Sure, no one wants to be labeled a sinner, but even more so…no one wants to be labeled a meddler! So we have the injured and maimed, with no hope of healing because they fear they’ll be ostracized if discovered. We have fellow soldiers fighting along-side the wounded completely unaware of their comrades’debilitated state, and we have no one daring to take a look around at the true state of their “unit” for fear of being labeled a busy-body!

None of the above is as God intended Christ’s body to work. The devil, who’s so adept at butchering scripture to fit his agenda, has stirred up all of this fear within the body, and as fear so often does, it spreads like wild fire.  I would argue, tackling just one of these notions ought to be enough to “stop the bleeding.”  Let’s look at the misguided idea that we ought to mind our own business. 

In 1 Thess 4:11, Paul wrote,  “…but we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.”   On its own, this makes minding our own business work fantastically, but let’s see what he says in 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12. “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.  For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.”  He’s explaining the context for the commands given in 1 Thess 4:11.  They’d had some lazy, disorderly, and gossipy brethren in their midst, who were not working to support themselves and thus shaming the body of Christ.  This passage is all about how we present Christ, ”that you may walk properly toward those who are outside.”  And not each other.

The greatest rebuttal to that misguided notion of minding our own business when it comes to our brethren is found in Romans 12:5, “so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” If I belong to you, my problems ARE your business.  Plain and simple.  And vice versa.  Not only because in my weakened state am I a liability to the health of the rest of the body, but because we are called to truly take an interest in each others’ lives in love and unity (Ephesians 4:1-3 Philippians 2:3-5).  What kind of care does Christ expect of us towards those outside the body when He illustrates for us the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)?  So how much more care do you think He expects of us towards one another in the household of faith?  There is simply no way “minding our own business” applies when it comes to those within the body. 

We can be “all that you can be,”  but only if we’re functioning in the way God purposed for His church. Sin-sickness isn’t just about your brother; suffering isn’t just about your sister, for these are meant to be casualties of war by our enemy.  The question is, will we let them fall by the wayside? ♦

 
 
Consider the story of good Samaritan. What if he had said the injured man was none of his business?

 

 
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (Php 2:3-4)
 

 
The trap of being a busybody. Satan causes busybodies to focus on what they can not change in order for them to ignore what they can change. He tempts us to believe we are better than others and that we have all the answers.

 
Being better than so and so is not the standard for eternal life. 

 How I Learned to Mind My Own Business

I was walking past a fence the other day and I heard people on the other side keep shouting, "13, 13, 13"! The fence was too high to see over, so I peaked through a hole in the fence to see what was going on. Immediately I was poked in the eye with a stick and then they all started shouting, "14, 14, 14!"

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PAGE 4: WALK PROPERLY


But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing. 1Thessalonians 4:9-12

 
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. (Col 4:5)
 
What if our non-believer friend saw us being too lazy to work?
What if our non-believer friend saw us meddling in his business and trying to tell him what to do with his life when we aren't taking care of our own?
What if our non-believer friend saw us over-spending and not paying our bills?
What if our non-believer friend saw us take care of our own needs and not care about anyone else's need.
 
 

      

          A Changed Life 

Let me be a little kinder,
Let me be a little blinder
To the faults of those about me;
Let me praise a little more.

Let me be when I am weary
Just a little bit more cheery,
Let me serve a little better
Those that I am striving for.

Let me be a little braver
When temptation bids me waver;
Let me strive a little harder
To be all that I should be.

Let me be a little meeker
With the brother who is weaker,
Let me think more of my neighbor
And a little less of me.

Let me be a little sweeter,
Make my life a bit completer,
Keep me faithful to my duty
Every minute of the day.

Let me toil without complaining,
Not a humble task disdaining;
Let me face the summons calmly
When death beckons me away.

 

Let us pray God that He would root out of our hearts everything of our own planting, and set out there, with His own hands the tree of life, bearing all manner of fruits.
-Francois Fenelon

BRIGHTEN YOUR CORNER

We cannot all be famous
or be listed in "Who's Who",
But every person, great or small,
has important work to do.

For seldom do we realize
the importance of small deeds,
Or to what degree of greatness
unnoticed kindness leads.

For it's not the big celebrity
in a world of fame and praise,
But it's doing unpretentiously
in an undistinguished way.

The work that God assigned to us,
unimportant as it seems,
That makes our task outstanding,
and brings reality to dreams.

So do not sit and idly wish
for wider, new dimensions
where you can put into practice,
your many good intentions.

But at the spot God placed you
begin at once to do,
Little things to brighten up
the lives surrounding you.

If everybody brightened up
the spot where their standing,
By being more considerate,
and a little less demanding.

This dark old world would very soon
eclipse the evening star,
If everybody brightened up
the corner where they are!

By Helen Steiner Rice

 

Saving only ourselves or helping save others also? 

Are we helping to save others by our example of diligent work and living a quiet life? 

http://ourhopeonline.com

August 2017