God Will Give This Every Time You Ask! | Biblical Greek Words for Wisdom, Ask, Generously | sophia, aiteo, haplos

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Have you ever noticed that when you ask God for insight, or for wisdom about a situation, that he often gives it to you fairly quickly? What are some problems or situations that you could use some of God’s insight to help resolve or manage?

In numerous situations,  I’ve found that insight or an answer from God has been given pretty quickly after asking Him for it – not always – but most of the time.  I learned something this week about the underlying Greek in a verse in James 1, which caused me to have some, “Yeah, that’s true!”  moments.

In James 1:5, it says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” Then the next part sounds difficult. It says, in James 1:6, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”

Now, today, we sometimes use the words wisdom and knowledge interchangeably; but in the Bible, there are two words -sophia for wisdom and gnosis for knowledge - and they were not interchangeable. Sophia, or wisdom, always meant having specific knowledge or insight for the purpose of good decision making.  So here, the verse is saying – “If anyone needs insight, or needs good advice or direction based on insight -  then let him ask of God.”

Now the phrase “ask of God,” is unique because there is more than one word in the Greek that can be translated as ask, and in this verse, the underlying word for ask is aiteo (eye-tah’-oe).   Aiteo is used when someone is asking for something that they know they are supposed to get because they need it, and the person they are asking has what is needed. For example, it is used when a subordinate asks their supervisor for something they need for the job, and they are aware that the supervisor has it and will give it.  For example, as an educator, if I know that I need a certain textbook but I don’t have it, and I know my principal has the books in the book closet; I know that if I ask my principal for the book, that the principal is going to give it to me. In this situation – I lack something I need; I know where to get it; I do have to ask for it, but I know that I will get what I ask for because - it’s just a given. It would make no sense that my principal wouldn’t give me the book I need in such a case.  That is the type of ask that aiteo is.  We don’t have any word like aiteo for ask in English.

What James is telling us is this: When we have any problem or situation in which we need insight from God in how to solve, how to navigate, or how to handle -  we are told to go to God, ask for it, and know that we will receive the insight we ask for.  God has all the wisdom, and he knows we need it, and yes – it’s a given that God will provide the needed insight or wisdom.  The verse in James then goes on to say that God will give “generously and without reproach.”  The underlying word for generously is the word haplos, and it means that God is ready and willing to give us the requested wisdom, or insight, without holding anything back. The word haplos, also can mean that God will give it readily, simply, or clearly.  Finally, “without reproach” means that God, of course, is not going to criticize us or find any fault with us or be exasperated with us for asking for His wisdom.

Isn’t that amazing and fantastic?  So understanding about that word aiteo helps us to understand the next sentence in which James says, “one must ask and not doubt. “ It’s not so hard to ask without doubt now, with the understanding that we are asking in an aiteo way, in a way where we know the insight we are asking for will be given readily, generously, and clearly.

So what problem or situation do you have right now, today, that you need wisdom or insight from God?   Ask Him! I mentioned before that one of the “ah-ha’s” that I had - when I was studying the underlying language in this passage - is that I know, based on my own experience, that all of this is true.  When I have gone to God in close prayer, and  asked God for wisdom, for insight, in a number of different situations, I have nearly always received  the insight I requested readily. It usually has not taken long for the answer or the insight to be given.

 Do any of you have similar experiences?  Some of the things I have asked for insight on include:

 What does a very difficult passage of scripture really mean?

 I’ve asked for insight on how to best get bills paid on those months when there is more going out than coming in.

I’ve asked for insight on relationships with others – including co-workers, acquaintances, and even extended family members.  Do you know how much heartache we might save ourselves if we ask God to give us insight into our relationships?  When you start making a new friend or maybe start dating someone new if you are single –  you can pray, and you should pray early on - for God to give you insight on to whether or not it is going to be a good and beneficial relationship or friendship for you.  If you are in a relationship with someone who is not right for you, or who is trying to take advantage of you – God will give you insight if you ask Him for it.  You do have to ask Him for it; just like I had to ask for the book I needed that I knew I was going to get.

And remember, when you ask for God's wisdom or insight, He will give it to you readily, generously, clearly, and simply. In other words, God is not going to respond with a cryptic or mysterious response that we have to figure out or decode what He gives us. 

Some other areas I’ve asked for God for insight include how to best feed myself or exercise when I have needed to lose a lot of weight for health reasons. There were so many options and diets and exercise plans – and asking Him for insight made a difference. In fact, my first book published was about my experience with asking God for help with my health and my weight.  The book is still available at Amazon and can still be read for free with Kindle Unlimited. It’s simply titled Weight Loss for Christians, and I’m the author, Sherry Elaine Evans.  

When you understand more fully James 1:5; then James 1:6 also falls into place. Here it saysthat we need to ask without doubting, otherwise we are like are just being thrown around by waves. And this is understandable now, that if we are asking in an aiteo way, there is no doubt, because we understand our position with God, and we understand his nature and promise in that He will always give us His wisdom or insight when we need it and ask Him for it.

So what is something you need God's wisdom or insight in on now, today? I encourage you to go pray about it. Go to him in prayer, to your room, or to wherever you go to be alone with God. Ask him to give you insight, direction - to give you His good advice on the situation. I do believe as the Scripture says in James that He is ready and willing and will give that to you without holding back and without criticizing you. He will give you His wisdom. 

What Does the Word Prayer Mean to You? -Greek Word for Prayer | What Is Prayer Teaching | How to Pray Sermon

What Does the Word Prayer Mean to You?  Greek Word for What Is Prayer - How to Pray Teaching and Sermon  

Transcript:

How would you define the word prayer? Most of us would say prayer is simply having a conversation with God, or talking with God. To that I would respond – it’s deeper than that.  Saying that prayer is merely talking or conversing to God is true, but I think that it is a dumbed down definition of prayer. If conversation is all prayer is, then we wouldn’t even need the word prayer. We could just say, I’m  going to  talk to God, or I’m going to speak with God, or I am going to speak my wants and desires to the air.  


The Greek word underlying the word prayer, is proseuche (proe-soo-hey’). In this teaching, we will be focusing on three Greek words related to prayer with God: 1)  pros,  2) euchomai, and 3) thelema 

The Greek word underlying prayer is proseuche, and the word proseuche comes from the words pros and the word euchomai. Now the first part, pros is a preposition. It's a tiny little word, but it is a very specific little preposition. In nearly all cases when it is used in the New Testament, it it used to mean “to move or to go towards” a person, and it implies going towards to be close to the person. This is specific, and it is not used in the Greek when the someone is going or traveling to a place. See in English, we say, "I am going to my sister, or to see my sister;" or "I am going to the post office." It’s the same little preposition “to.”  In Greek, there are two prepositional words for moving to or moving towards:  pros – which implies going to a person to be with that person.

For example, when Jesus says,  "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." The word pros is used. When Jesus went to John to be baptized,  he went pros John.  When Jesus taught, the crowds went pros him.  They were coming to him, closely, so he had to go out into the boat and push out to teach from the middle of the lake in order to put some distance between himself and the crowds. When the sick came to be healed, they came pros Jesus.  It’s a different Greek preposition when someone is going to a place. 

 So do you now see why I am getting so excited about this little preposition?! The first syllable in proseuche means to go as one person goes to see or meet with to another person. It doesn’t mean to go to God as you go to a library. It doesn't even mean to go to God like you would go to church.  It’s come to God as one person to another person, implying coming close to God.  Remember, when Jesus says come to me all you who are weary and heavy burdened, it is this word pros, and when we come pros, Jesus will give us rest.

Now – the second part of proseuche, of prayer comes from the Greek root word euchomai, and in the religious sense we translate it as pray. However in the regular, non-religious Greek word, euchomai meant "wishes" It meant wish in the sense of having a wish, or having  a want or a desire for something. So now we see that prayer, proseuche, in the Greek literally means -  you as a person are bringing your wishes to God, and this implies closeness, like sitting side by side or speaking face to face.

Now, I could stop here, but I want to share one more perspective. It relates to the third word,  thelema. Thelema is the Greek word underlying the word will, like how we use it in the will of God, or God’s will. But there is one other way that thelema is translated in other places in the New Testament – it is also translated "wishes!'

Are you still on this road with me? Jesus, in the Lord’s Prayer and in His own prayer at Gethsemane, modeled what proseuche within the thelema of God is.  Jesus goes to God, as one person goes to another, to talk closely with him, sharing His wishes while also releasing His wishes, wants, and desires to be in line with God’s wishes.  That is prayer.

When we begin treating this way – when we 

1)take time to go to God as one person goes to visit or sit down with and give our focus to another person; and when we 

2) share our honest wishes to God; and then, most importantly,  when we end that time that we are spending with God with 

3) an honest statement of acceptance that we want to exchange our wishes for God’s wishes for us….that is the powerful prayer that accomplishes much.

 Proseuche and Thelema. Going towards God to be with Him and bring him our wishes; and thelema – allowing and even desiring to exchange our wishes with His wishes. That is the full picture of prayer.

The word  prayer is not just talking, not just conversing.  It's not just speaking our wishes out to impersonal forces. It is proseuche - taking your wishes close to God as one person to another, and then releasing your wishes and exchanging your wishes for God’s thelema, for God’s wishes.

Friends, that's all I have for this teaching. I want to close again with a recommendation. If you have not already read it, my book Closer to God: SimpleMethods, Starting Today.  In that book I share how my  mindset changed and how my daily practices changed in order to find closeness with God. It’s a short and simple read. It’s a little bit of a “why to,” but it more appropriately is a practical “how to.” It is available on Amazon,  and you can even read it for free if you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription.

For the next two to three months, I will be sharing more of these “gems” from the biblical Greek. So subscribe wherever you watch or listen, either to the podcast or the Youtube channel, both are titled and can be found through a google search for Gospel Life Learning with Sherry Elaine. You can also enter your email in the form below to get a monthly email letting you know of any new epsiodes released during the month.

Goodbye for now, and spend some time in proseuche within God's thelema today, tomorrow, the next day, and going forward. 

- Sherry 

What is the Greek Word for Joy in the New Testament? The Pursuit of Happiness and the Bible | John 15:11

What is the Greek Word for Joy

Fourth of July | Pursuit of Happiness

The 4th of July, Independence Day, is the day the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, agreeing that we are all given inalienable rights by the Creator to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

As a Christian, I wondered, “What does Jesus teach us about the pursuit of happiness?”

The Bible doesn’t really use a word that is equal to the way we typically use the word “happiness” today.  Instead, the Bible relies on the Greek word “chara,” which is usually translated as “joy.”  Now the word “chara” comes from the word “charis,” which is translated as “grace” in English.  This word chara, as it is used in the New Testament, is not a feeling we can create within ourselves.  I believe that chara may be best explained as a state of “soul-satisfaction” that is given to us by and through God’s grace. 

This word chara is used many times in the New Testament, but for the sake of time, I want to focus in on John 15, because here, Jesus teaches us how to gain chara, how to gain this joy.  In this chapter, Jesus encourages us to “abide” in him –  which means to be with him throughout life. Jesus said that he will abide with us; and we are encouraged to abide with him. Jesus knew that he was physically going away soon at the time that he explained this to his disciples. There is no doubt that Jesus was speaking, not of a physical, tangible way of being together. He was speaking of a spiritual way of being together.

Why did Jesus encourage his followers to abide in him? He gives the answer in John 15:11. Jesus basically says, I am encouraging you to abide in me so that “my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”  Let’s look at that again, remembering that the word chara is the word that underlies the word joy; and chara is a sense of a deep, soul-satisfaction that is profoundly deep and transformative. Let’s look at it again,  Jesus encouraged us to abide in Him, to spend plenty of time with Him. Why did he encourage this? Because when we spend ample time with Jesus, that is how we receive His chara in us, and how our chara becomes complete.

Over 10 years ago, I challenged myself to take on a new endeavor. I decided I wanted to o attempt to spend as much time with Jesus as I could, while also still having to manage all the things we all have to do – working full time, running errands, doing chores, parenting, paying bills, and more. I learned that we can do all those everyday things and still keep our minds on Jesus. I share my story and the strategies that I implemented to be able to do this in my short book titled Closer to God: Simple Methods,Starting Today. You can find the book on Amazon, and you can even read it for free if you are a member of Kindle Unlimited.

 

 

 

3 Strategies to Practice Giving Your Anxieties and Worries to God | 1 Peter 5:7 | Ephesians 6:18-20

 How do I give my anxiety to God? How Can God Help Me with My Anxiety?




Transcript:

Today, I'm going to share three strategies that anyone can use to help control and regulate their anxiety from day to day. This is part of the "Emotions Series" on this blog, blogcast, and on the Gospel Life Learning YouTube channel. 

We all know that Philippians 4 says,  "Don't worry about anything...Pray about everything." And scripture also tells us to cast all our anxieties, cast all our fears to the Lord - because he cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7). For many people, those are two of our favorite verses. It is so comforting to know that is what God wants for us,  and that is one way the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ wants to help us. 

But is anyone else wondering, "How? How do I do that?"  I'm going to give you three strategies, and two of the strategies you can do quickly almost anywhere. The third strategy -  you could probably also do almost anywhere but it takes a little bit more structure. In the context of what I teach, I teach these strategies (without the spiritual aspect) to the people that I work with—my students, my teens, their parents—but here,  I am able to teach these anxiety management strategies that I've learned through my training in psychology.  I can also combine them with the spiritual part,  because when we use these techniques together with our spiritual helper, the Holy Spirit, it just takes an even deeper root. 

The first strategy is probably one that you've heard: visualization. Often times we're told, when we're stressed or even in pain, to visualize one of your favorite places, your relaxing vacation place, and just visualize that you are there. Now what I do, what I recommend relates back to the verse to  "cast your anxieties to him."  What I do is - I actually visualize all of my worries (in a large bag). I visualize all the little things going on in my head - what might happen later this afternoon, all the things that I need to get done and I don't think I have enough time to do it, waiting for someone to get a report back from the doctor—all of these things. I visualize that they are in a big laundry sack, and that is my laundry sack of my worries and anxieties, and it' has become heavy. When I visualize, I actually visualize that Jesus is standing right there, like four to five feet away from me, and I just toss it. I toss that bag to him, and he catches it, and he smiles and says thank you, I'll carry this load from here. 

That is the first strategy. When I am going through a really stressful week or a stressful time, I will actually do that each morning before I leave the home. I will do that visualization exercise where I'm tossing my anxieties; and it does make a huge difference for me. So go ahead and try that! 

The second strategy is through praying in the Spirit , or sitting still with God and just asking God to send his Spirit to pray on our behalf. In prayer, say, "I'm having a lot going on in my mind, I'm having a hard time even focusing on this prayer. I just ask that you bring to my mind the power of the Holy Spirit and that the Holy Spirit will intercede for me." I've only been doing this for about the past year, and it's been pretty tremendous. It's a way to worship and to have the Spirit intercede for us. Sometimes I can sit there for as long as seven or eight minutes, allowing him to evaluate what's going on, to take care of it, and to take my worries. Praying in the Spirit is basically sitting still with God, thinking about things of God, and allowing the Spirit to intercede for you while you are requesting for it to pray on your behalf. That's the second strategy. 

The third strategy is to have a time and a place to worry and to have a worry journal for that time to worry. Now, some of you are saying, "Wait a minute, we're not supposed to worry. We're supposed to reduce worrying, and now you're telling us to purposefully worry?" Yes! What this does is it actually puts worry into its place. It puts worry into a box, into the notebook. So as you're going through your day, when you become aware that you're starting to get into an anxious spin, you can say, "Oh, I'm going to write that down at 8:00 and I'm going to stress as much as I can about it at 8:00."  Then you sit down each day at 8:00 p.m. or whatever time you've set, and you just set that timer for 10 minutes and you just scribble it out—all your worries, all your concerns, everything that's got you going - you put it down on that paper. 

In a regular counseling session without the spiritual component, that's all you would do, and that would be pretty effective in helping to keep you from being worried all day long. But once again, with the spiritual aspect, you take that journal, you close it, and set it maybe even on top of your Bible. Then you do the visualization task again, and you can visualize that you hand the notebook of worries off to God, saying, "Thank you, God, I'm handing this off to you." It becomes even a more powerful strategy.

 Now regardless of whether you do the spiritual handing it off to God or not, which I hope that you do, the strategy is effective because as you go through your day, you will have times when you aware that you're starting to spiral a little bit. When you realize it, you can say, "Oh, I'm going to write that down at 8 o'clock, and I'm going to spend as much time as I can, up to 10 minutes, worrying about that at my worry time at 8:00." Eventually, what happens is - you get to 8:00 or whatever time you've set, and you don't need a full 10 minutes. Maybe you only need 8 minutes, then maybe you only need four minutes, and eventually you get to that worry time and you realize, "I don't even really need to worry." At that point, you can turn your worry journal into a prayer and thanksgiving journal, and you can still hand those thoughts of gratitude off to the Lord.

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How can we pray without ceasing? Is this instruction from the Bible just rhetoric? Should we even try? To learn simple strategies to grow closer to God in our daily routines and rhythms, read Closer to God: Simple Methods, Starting Today by Sherry Elaine


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