Reflections of Seneca

Seneca a Roman stoic philosopher, tutor and later advisor to emperor Nero has some keen insights into human nature that I believe would align with the teachings of Yeshua.  I cannot speak for the character and all saying of Seneca.   I am sharing some wisdom from a secular person that struck me.

All cruelty springs from weakness.

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.

The important thing about a problem is not its solution, but the strength we gain in finding the solution.

No one can lead a happy life, or even one that is bearable, without the pursuit of wisdom, and that the perfection of wisdom is what makes the happy life, although even the beginnings of wisdom make life bearable.  Yet this conviction, clear as it is, needs to be strengthened and given deeper roots through daily reflection; making noble resolutions is not as important as keeping the resolutions you have made already.

Drunkenness is nothing but voluntary madness.

It is the characteristic of a weak and diseased mind to fear the unfamiliar.

It is only luxury and avarice that make poverty grievous to us; for it is a very small matter that does our business, and when we have provided against cold, hunger, and thirst, all the rest is but vanity and excess. 

Eyes will not see when the heart wishes them to be blind. 

We become wiser by adversity; prosperity destroys our appreciation of the right.

 

Be not too hasty either with praise or blame; speak always as though you were giving evidence before the judgement-seat of the Gods. 

The primary sign of a well-ordered mind is a man’s ability to remain in one place and linger in his own company. 

He is most powerful who governs himself.

 

Be wary of the man who urges an action in which he himself incurs no risk.

Shall I tell you what the real evil?  To cringe to the things that are called evils, to surrender to them our freedom, in defiance of which we ought to face any suffering.

We are members of one great body.  Nature planted in us a mutual love, and fitted us for a social life.  We must consider that we were born for the good of the whole.

We are mad, not only individually, but nationally.  We check manslaughter and isolated murders; but what of war and the much vaunted crime of slaughtering whole peoples?

Begin at once to live, and count each day as a separate life.

The mind is never right but when it is at peace within itself.

To err is human.  To repeat error is of the Devil.

These individuals have riches just as we say that we ‘have a fever,’ when really the fever has us. 

There is nothing the wise man does reluctantly.

There is no evil that does not promise inducements.  Avarice promises money; luxury, a varied assortment of pleasures; ambition, a purple robe and applause.  Vices tempt you by the rewards they offer.

The Fates guide those who go willingly.  Those who do not, they drag.

The willing, destiny guides them; the unwilling, destiny drags them. 

It’s all in your head, you have the power to make things seem hard or easy or even amusing.  The choice is yours. 

What difference does it make how much you have?  What you do not have amounts to much more.  

What need is there to weep over parts of life?  The whole of it calls for tears.

We should every night call ourselves to an account: What infirmity have I mastered today? What passions opposed?  What temptation resisted? What virtue acquired? Our vices will abate of themselves if they be brought every day to the shrift. 

I will govern my life and thoughts as if the whole world were to see the one and read the other, for what does it signify to make anything a secret to my neighbor, when to God, who is the searcher of our hearts, all our privacies are open?

The best cure for anger is delay.

Never to wrong others takes one a long way towards peace of mind. 

Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart.

He who asks with timidity invites a refusal.  

Do the best you can. . . enjoy the present. . . rest satisfied with what you have.  

True friends are the whole world to one another; and he that is a friend to himself is also a friend to mankind.  Even in my studies the greatest delight I take is of imparting it to others; for there is no relish to me in the possessing of anything without a partner.

Money does all things for reward.  Some are pious and honest as long as they thrive upon it, but if the devil himself gives better wages, they soon change their party.  

Study rather to fill your mind than your coffers; knowing that gold and silver were originally mingles with dirt, until avarice or ambition parted them.  

In every good man a God doth dwell.

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.

When I think over what I have said, I envy dumb people.

The bad fortune of the good turn their faces  up to heaven; the good fortune of the bad bows their heads down to the earth.

Night brings our troubles to the light, rather than banishes them.

Everywhere is nowhere.  When a person spends all his time in foreign travel, he ends by having many acquaintances, but no friends.

He who is brave is free.

He who dreads hostility too much is unfit to rule.

Ignorant people see life as either existence or non-existence, but wise men see it beyond both existence and non-existence to something that transcends them both; this is an observation of  the Middle Way.

You want to live-but do you know how to live?  You are scared of dying-and, tell me, is the kind of life you lead really any different from being dead?

As the mother’s womb holds us for ten months, making us ready, not for the womb itself, but for life, just so, though our lives, we are making ourselves ready for another birth…Therefore look forward without fear to that appointed hour- the last hour of the body, but not of the soul…That day, which you fear as being the end of all things, is the birthday of your eternity.

 

 

 

7 Key Points From the Story of the Centurion and Widow

 

Step #1: We need to take our burdens to God with humility.  There are some struggles we cannot overcome on our own no matter how hard we try.  The sooner we realize this fact, the quicker we will turn to God to help us.

Let’s look at the heart of the Centurion requesting help from Yeshua to heal his elderly servant who was dear to him, sick, near death and ready to to die–Luke 7:2.  A Roman army unit of 100 back in the time of Yeshua was led by a Roman officer known as a Centurion–“centurion” in Latin means 100. The Centurion’s officer’s humility and desperation really struck me.  When Jesus approached his house, he sent friends out to Jesus to say the following:

Luke 7:6-7 “…Lord, trouble not yourself: for I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof:  Where neither thought I myself worthy to come unto you: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.”

Luke 7:10 And they that were sent, returned to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.

He was so humble he didn’t even think he was worthy enough to come to God.  Well God wants us to cry out to Him so He can help us overcome sin and death that binds us.  He wants to free us from the penalty of sin and death that we deserve and that causes us to suffer.  When we like the Centurion exhibit sincere and heartfelt humility, faith and cry out for Yeshua to help us, we like the Centurion will see miracles too!  

 

Step #2: Faith in God is essential.

The Centurion’s faith amazed Yeshua because he didn’t need to see or touch Yeshua to believe.  He knew Yeshua’s power. Do you know Yeshua’s power?  Yeshua praised and marveled at the faith of the Centurion.  He said to the people around Him in Luke 7:9 the following:

I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no not in Israel.

God can speak life back into both dying and dead individuals!  What state are you in? The three states are the following:

1)Dying

2) Dead

3) Alive in Christ by the power of God’s Holy Spirit living in you

 

Step #3) God sees our tears and loves us.

God does not want to see us weep.  He is here for us to help us overcome our struggles.  Like any parent, God wants the best for His children.  Luke 7:12-13 states,

Now when he came near to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. 

And When the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said unto her, Weep not.

Then in Luke 7:14 Yeshua speaks life into her dead son.  [*A bier a movable frame on which a coffin or a corpse is placed before burial or cremation or on which it is carried to the grave.]

And he came and touched the bier*: and they that bare him stood still.  And he said, Young man, I say unto you, Arise.  And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak.  And he delivered him to his mother.

The truth is that God does not want to see us suffer.  Our bad choices caused us suffering.  He is waiting upon us to humble ourselves and cry out to Him.  He wants us to repent and say that we are sorry that we sinned against Him.  He is waiting for us to ask Him to break us free from sin and suffering and tell Him that we want to live a life free from sin with His help.  Then, He will intervene in our suffering and stop our weeping once we discover the true cost of sin. 

 

Step #4: God shows us compassion and sets us free from bondage to sin.

Yeshua saw the widow’s tears, struggles and showed compassion.  The widow represents us.  We are alone with our problem.  Only God can stop our weeping and suffering and bring life back to us.  

 

Step #5 Yeshua calls us to arise from our dead state.  

The widows son came back to life when Yeshua touched him and called him back to life.  God likewise calls us to emerge from darkness and enter back into life with Him.  We possess an opportunity to arise from our old life of death and sin and to walk in newness and righteousness.   Yeshua’s Holy Spirit gives us life and empowers us from within.  

 

Step #6: An Encounter With God. 

Yeshua heals blind eyes, deaf ears, lame legs, lepers and dead people.  He brings real life and real hope of eternal life to us.  We no longer need to walk in darkness, sin and death.  We can walk in newness of life with God.

Have You Had This Life Changing Encounter With Yeshua?

 

Step 7: God visits His People.  

We know God and God knows us.  We have a friend in God.  God’s name does not offend us; therefore, we become blessed.  We sought God out and discovered that He is with us.  When we follow the six steps to Yeshua, we discover the wonderful truth: God’s word is true and God is real.  He is who He says that He is; He can do what He says He can do.  We discover what the phrase means: the joy of the Lord. As a result, we can recognize Yeshua has stopped by to see us.  We can share this story of God’s visit with us and testify of God’s goodness.