Striving to be Successful

Isaiah 48.15 I have spoken – yes, I have summoned him; I lead him and he will succeed.

Everyone wants to be successful. It comes from our being created in the image of God, Who described His pleasure in making the universe and all it contains as being very good. After every thing God made He would step back and say to Himself, ‘that is good.’ When He made humanity He was even more pleased, stating, ‘this is very good.’

Please follow and like us:

Making America Great Again

Numbers 24.13 records the prophet saying, If Balak would give me his palace full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the commandment of the LORD to do either good or evil of my own will, but whatever the LORD tells me I must speak’?

While the prophet in this story turns bad his attitude at this point in the story is one current Christians desperately need. Culture is a reflection of the attitudes and desires of the people. Culture reflects the thinking, the doing and the wanting of the people within its boundaries. What kind of people is our current culture reflecting?

Please follow and like us:

What Concerns God Should Concern Us

Luke 16.15 warns, Jesus said to them, you are the ones who justify yourselves in men’s eyes, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly prized among men is utterly detestable in God’s sight.

This statement by God, warning us that what we value He despises, should terrorize us. Now certainly this cant be true in everything.

Please follow and like us:

What Really Keeps Us From Serving God.

Luke 16.13 observes, no one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.image

The Bible has many warnings against the pursuit and accumulation of wealth. It is interesting that God observes that our greatest competitor to Him will not be some strange idol from a weird man-made religion but a desire to be wealthy. Why do we want wealth?

Please follow and like us:

Why the World is in Chaos

Luke 8.14 explains the seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their imageway they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.

Not too many Christians are happy with the current state of world affairs. Too much violence, too many corrupt people in high places, not enough economic growth and opportunities; unrest seems to be the norm.

What are the issues? The same ones that have plagued humanity from our beginning: selfishness, greed, power.

Please follow and like us:

Building Heavenly Treasure Part 2

1 Timothy 6.19 promises, in this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for imagesthe coming age. God encourages us to create and store treasure for ourselves in heaven. Think of it as the ultimate retirement savings account.

To earn heavenly treasure we have to think in the economics of heaven. We also have to choose which priority we will live for: short term this life existence or long term eternal life existence.

God warns us we cannot love money and God: we will focus on accumulating either the treasure of this world or the treasure of the world to come. In the passage today God lists additional means for us to accumulate heavenly treasure besides working at reconciling people to Jesus as Savior of the world.

Please follow and like us:

Pursuing Treasure

Matthew 6:19 commands ‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.’images

When God lived among us He said, ‘do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth.’ We need to read that again slowly, thinking carefully about His words. God said, ‘do not store up treasures on earth.’

Yet most of us ignore Him. We are like the Israelites we read about in the Bible who constantly ignore God’s commands so we find ourselves shaking our heads at their disobedience and subsequent negative consequences.

Please follow and like us:

Proving Your Love for God

2 Corinthians 8:8 states this is one way to prove that your love is real, that it goes beyond mere words.images

How do you prove your love for God and His Church?

Many might say by how they feel about God and His Church, after all, God knows what’s in their heart. The Apostle James likened these people to those whose faith was dead, they would say to people in need, ‘I hope things get better’ but would do nothing to alleviate the situation.

Jesus didn’t love the world by feeling good toward it, He loved the world by giving His life to save it. God the Father didn’t love the world by feeling positively about it, He loved the world by bankrupting heaven with the blood of His Son in order to purchase rebels so He could transform them into children.

Love is never described as a feeling in the famous love chapter of the Bible, (1 Corinthians 13) but rather it is described as action.

In today’s reading Paul says giving financially to help others in the Church is one way to prove our faith. As a whole giving is down in the Church. The under 40 crowd gives the least to the work of God while the over 60 crowd gives the most. While few Christians attend a church that doesn’t promote tithing only about 3% of all Christians adhere to this teaching.

Many young Christians wait until they can afford to give which is the opposite of the woman who was commended by the Lord Jesus as the greatest giver of all for she gave everything she had to live on which was only a few pennies.

Where we spend our money is indicative of where our priorities lay. God said it this way, where our treasure is there our hearts will be also. Too many Christians place their comfort and their pleasure above the work of God and the needs of His people. Few indeed are those who sacrifice material benefit in this world in order to accumulate spiritual benefit in the next.

We tend to dislike the Church’s talk about money unless its about how God wants our best material life now because we know in our heart of hearts that we cannot serve God and money but we really love money. The cure to greed and selfishness is generosity.

No doubt you can easily find a place to give to God’s work if you desire, beginning within your own church.

Please follow and like us:

Handling Money Properly

Luke 16.11 observes if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of imagesheaven?

What does it mean to be untrustworthy with worldly wealth? Does it mean stealing money from others? There is already a command against stealing. Does it mean accumulating financial debt? There are already warnings about debtors being servants to lenders.

In the context of the teaching it appears to mean loving money more than God. It means trusting in money for our security more than trusting in God Who controls all things.

Jesus told the story of a man who was a thief and was fired after being caught. To help him survive without a job the thief further stole from his boss by changing his boss’ accounts so that people owed him instead of the boss. Jesus said this guy was shrewd or smart and resourceful at taking care of himself. Yet he was a man on a mission to miss the kingdom of God.

Jesus warns us that if we too are so engaged in trying to ensure our future by focusing on the accumulation of money we risk missing the kingdom of God.

We do have a propensity to worry more about mortgage payments and retirement funds than we do with the number of people who are going to heaven. Eternity is a long time. We all live forever we just don’t all live together in the same place.

Those who love God most and seek first His kingdom will live with Him forever but those who love money most and seek first their own welfare will live forever in torment and suffering.

The person who forgets to make God first is like the person who spends all they have today without putting any money into some form of retirement program. When that person gets to age 70 they will have nothing to live on and are most likely unable to provide for themselves (think no social security).

So too will that person be who places all their emphasis on wealth and security without making the building of God’s kingdom their first and highest priority. When this person stands before God and He assess their life based upon His ROI they will have nothing to offer and so will be cast away like the man who returned his talent to the king without so much as a bit of interest to show for it.

God certainly loves us but let us not think we are unaccountable for how we live in obedience to His commands. What kind of God would He be if He didn’t care at all how we lived? He certainly cared about how He lived among us as Jesus being careful to obey everything His Father commanded lest He disqualify Himself as Savior of the world.

God cares so much about disobedience He crucified His Son for ours, He didn’t just forgive everyone’s sin, He sacrificed His Son over our sin. How much more will He do to those who refuse to take up their cross and follow Jesus?

Please follow and like us:

Counting the Cost

Luke 14:28 warns don’t begin until you count the cost.image

I continue to be amazed at God’s attitude toward saving the world while He lived among us. Certainly His sacrifice had and has world-wide significance and impact because God loves the world since He Himself is both Creator and Sustainer of all life in the world.

However, when He had the opportunity to say to the world that He loved everyone and everyone would be welcome into His eternal heaven He chose not to make such a statement. God instead chose to communicate that few would make it into heaven, that the road was difficult and that we should count the cost before claiming to be His followers.

God encouraged us to consider all the things we had and all the people we love then when comparing them to our love for Him, live as though we hated those things.

The problem with God is He believes He is God and as God demands our love and loyalty above all things.

Many who claim to be His followers in the world are suffering greatly right now, their cost is very high in possessions and relationships. The middle east is on fire being set ablaze by Muslims who are using Christians for their fuel. Throughout history the physical cost to follow Jesus has been enormously high among a few. None of us wish to suffer but we all must count the cost of placing Jesus first and foremost in our lives.

So what does that look like for the vast majority of us who are not being persecuted for claiming to be adherents of Jesus and His teachings?

Loving God more than family means leading our family to love God. The cost we must pay is death to our selfish ends, death to ignorance of God and instead apply our self with the utmost diligence to know God and to pass this information along to our children through word and deed.

Loving God more than our treasure means choosing to build relationally with our family so that we can influence them toward Christ rather than working extra hours so we can provide nicer things and a more comfortable life. It means giving as much as we can to the building of God’s kingdom while keeping as little as possible for meeting our own needs.

Loving God more than ourselves means placing the needs of others above our own beginning with everyone’s fundamental need for reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ. We must sacrifice our comfort and objectives in order to place God’s objective of global salvation at the forefront of our prayers, efforts and goals – beginning right where we are in our homes and communities.

It costs to be God’s disciple, what price are we paying?

Please follow and like us: