Just a sampling of notable passages from today’s ending to the “Spider” surah.

Keep up the prayer: prayer restrains outrageous and unacceptable behavior.  Remembering God is greater. (29:45)

I really like the way this is all put together here.  Keep praying.  “Pray continually,” is the way my Bible says it (1 Thessalonians 5:17).  Why?  Because prayer does two things.  Prayer moves you towards God.  God becomes more of a reality in our lives as we pray.  There is no greater action than to remember God.  As that happens, the second benefit of prayer comes: we are moved away from behavior that works against our devotion to God.  It is just hard to act inappropriately when you are praying.  Keep praying!  Good advice.

[Believers], argue only in the best way with the People of the Book [Jews and Christians]. (29:46)

I must say that the Muslims who have discovered this blog and entered into the conversation I am hoping to have here (though I am finding it harder each day just to post let alone respond to really good comments, sorry; keep them up as they are very helpful) exemplify this ayah very well.  Thank you!

This present life is merely an amusement and a diverson; the true life is in the Hereafter, if only they knew. (29:64)

This passage is an excellent statement of a God-centered worldview.  This world is not real life, at least not as life is meant to be.  True life is coming.  True life is life with God.  True life is what comes when God’s kingdom comes into this world.  Of course, that is hard to believe because we have only lived this life and we sense this world most acutely.  But intentional thought and action can help us remember that we were made for more than this.  So if this world is not “home,” any time we throw ourselves into the luxuries of this world that ultimately pass away or cannot fulfill we are actually diverting our minds and souls from reality.  So well stated!  This ayah made me think of this great quote from Peter Kreeft, a Christian scholar and apologist, from his book on Heaven:

Otherworldliness is escapism only if there is no other world.  If there is, it is worldliness that is escapism.