Get Rich Scheme

What would you do to get rich? You’ve probably heard about various schemes, saving and investing, starting businesses or real estate. Many people I know have gotten into many of these means and found success, but strangely that’s not what Solomon recommends. I would be curious to know what Solomon would say about the others.

But Solomom does recommend starting with is both humility and the fear of the Lord. The rewards he mentions are riches, honor, and then long life. That is quite a promise. All three speak to the quality of life in this world. Or so we think. For a life given to humility and fear of the Lord is a life following Christ in our dispensation. It is a life that recognizes it’s own sinfulness before a holy God and is humble, giving fear, honor and respect the Lord of the Universe.

Such a one will receive glorious riches, family and friends that he never knew when he participates in fellowship. His riches will not be measured in dollars, but in spiritual wealth. He will find contentment. He will find family that he loves and love him in return.

He will fins honor as a true child of God, regaining his former honor as God’s image and now as redeemed and justified in His sight.

He will experience long life, even eternal life in the presence of God, no matter how long his days on earth are. Eternity is presented to each one bat accepts Jesus Christ today, humbling themselves in the fear of the Lord.

There is only one part to lasting riches in this world. This world is passing away with it’s wealth, but the word of the Lord stands forever. Long will he stand is one who stands with God.

Make today count. God bless you today!

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Impurity Kills the Soul

2 Cor 7_1.jpg
So then, dear friends, since we have these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from every impurity of the flesh and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
When Christianity was still new, an idea emerged among some that our bodies and our souls are distinct and separate. The new idea was not actually new, but integrated into Christian thought, and basically taught that whatever you do with your body doesn’t matter. Your body is evil and will eventually die. What really matters is what you believe, and how you culture your soul with God’s word (and how well you learn a host of secret passphrases to advance through the levels of spirit beings, kind of like a Mario game for the afterlife. This system was called Gnosticism and became prevalent in the early church as the early apostles were sliding off into eternity.
You would think such would not be the case, as the Scriptures clearly teach, as here, that moral impurity affects your eternity. Can you tell the difference between an impurity that defiles your flesh and an impurity that defiles your spirit? I would argue that they overlap. For an impurity of the spirit, such a wrong belief, will lead to wrong action. For example, if you believe that your spirit is good and cannot be affected by what you do with your body, like fornication or drugs, then you will practice those things without fear of eternal consequences. But when you practice fornication on a regular basis, you feel more and more unworthy to enter God’s presence, and your spirit suffers, just as the body does. Wrong beliefs can make wrong actions. Let me give you another example.
You have heard it said that God will not give you more than you can handle. It is a loose translation of 1 Cor 10:13, where the Scripture says that God will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to endure, but will always provide a way of escape from the temptation. Those are actually two different things. Temptation is the thought of doing a certain thing that you know is sin. God says He will not allow such thoughts to overwhelm, or give you more of such than you are able to bear. In addition, God will also offer a way out of these thoughts, which could be a Scripture, or a diversion, or something else that will allow you to resist temptation.
What people often apply this to are situations which have already happened, not thoughts about what you might do. People apply this to crises, or events that have overcome them. They cling to this false promise that they will be able to bear this, because God thinks they are strong enough, otherwise they wouldn’t have to endure it. What happens is that they second-guess God, believing that God either has too much faith in them, or God doesn’t know them, and they buckle under the pressure. Because they cling to a false promise (and thus a false god), they have no resource for hard times. What we might rather do is claim another of God’s promises, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” No matter what life throws at us, God will never leave our side. We know that even in hard times, God is always present, and we know that in His strength, we can bear all things for, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” That verse is often also misapplied, but I will leave it for now.
If you believe that God will not give you more than you can handle, then when He does give you more than you can handle (without Him), then you will lose your faith in Him and fall away. False belief will lead to faithless action. A spirit defiled will lead to flesh defiled. Such a person will walk away, go their own path, and fall into destruction if they are not corrected. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to who have left the church for this very reason.
Rather, we believe that both actions of our flesh and of our spirit have consequences for eternity. We cannot isolate one from the other. We must be Christian in our faith and in our behavior. We cannot take one or the other in isolation. So if you think you can go to Church on Sunday and act like a pagan on Monday, then you don’t understand what this Christianity thing is all about. Time to go back to the Word.
Well, I hope this helps you on your journey. God bless and never stray far from His leading hand.

Faithful Promise

Heb 10_23.jpg
Hebrews 10:23
“He who promised is faithful.” What a contrast to the half-hearted promises we are used to receiving. I hate making promises myself because they become commitments I have to abide by. I try to be a man of my word, even if the consequences are inconsequential. If I say I am going to do something, I want to be known as one who will keep his word. It seems like a funny thing anymore. And becomes one of the more frustrating things when I hold that same standard to others.
This is especially important to my kids, who ask me to do or buy things for them all the time. Sometimes its little things like, “Look at this new video game I want to get” or “I really want to go to this birthday party.” If I say yes, I obligate myself to them to fulfill it because I want them to be able to trust me when I say I will. When my wife asks me to sweep the living room (because of excessive dog hair) then I agree to do it, I do it. And I don’t dare disagree with her. 🙂
But by the same token, I ask the kids to clean up their room or work on dishes or something else around the house. Sometimes they surprise me and actually do as they promised. Other times, even though they said they would get to it, it never gets done. That frustrates me because I end up having to it myself because its bedtime or the kids have another obligation they need to meet. A well-oiled machine we are not.
That’s why when God makes a promise, I believe He is faithful to keep it.
I am reminded of an individual last week I talked to said who said church attendance used to be a part of life, but have since ceased, because God doesn’t answer prayer. This individual had many reasons to be disappointed with God, including a family who had abandoned this person and a government assistance program that had cast this person aside. This person had said prayer had been faithful and often, but to no avail. This person felt God had abandoned them.
I speak with many people who suffer from a debilitating illness, but whose faith has not wavered. I speak with others whose faith is wavering now and need a reminder that God has helped them through many trials in the past. If God helped you through a terrible trial when you were 20 (like a car accident) and 29 (a family member’s suicide),  would God suddenly abandon you now at 45 with pancreatic cancer?
Something else we need to consider. God’s ways of help are not always what we expect. If you are thinking that God is going to give you exactly the kind of help you demand, you will be disappointed. We need to be reminded that we are not in charge. God does what He wants and God is supremely good. This life is only preparation for eternity, a proving ground if you will of who we are to be. Bad things do happen. But they only happen in this life. We have an eternity to enjoy the fruits of our labor. There will come a time when we are sitting by the Throne and we will reminisce about those days on earth when we thought all hope was lost. We will remind ourselves how foolish we were to ignore the ever-present God, how our sins dimmed our eyes. And then we will have a good laugh at our own expense because the pain of that day will vanish like a mist.
I wonder at that. We have so much more to live for than paychecks and fine homes, fancy cars and good jobs. All of this will be so dross when we find what has real value: faith, hope, and love. God has bigger goals for us than stock portfolios and advanced degrees. He calls us to higher things, a hopeful expectation of His presence. He is our greatest possession, for He is our God. There is nothing on this earth that has value compared to Him. And equal in value is our salvation, paid for by the very blood and body that God chose in His Son, who willingly endured the cross for our shame.
Christian friend, in this world you will have trouble. Don’t be surprised when suffering comes your way. But do not be deceived. This world is not all there is. There is still hope.
May God bless you today and all days as you walk with Him.

Unmistakable

Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your radiance.
Isaiah 60:3 HCSB

https://bible.com/bible/72/isa.60.3.HCSB

Can you tell who God is? Would you be ab!e to point Him out in a crowd? Does He stand out from among the other gods? The God’s of the nations fail them, and yet continually ask for appeasement. Sacrifice to us, they say, and we will give you blessings. But God doesn’t ask to be appeased. God has already paid the price for sin. What He asks for is your heart, your faith, and your devotion . With the other gods, all they wanted was a sheep or an ox, or even occasionally a young virgin. But doesn’t want something you give Him. He doesn’t want your money. He wants your heart. and believe me when I say it is so much easier to give Him money.

For the brightness and light that attracts us to Him are the very things that intimidate us, His holiness for one. His purity for another. With God there is no winking at sin, no “That’s ok, everybody does it” mentality. God demands absolute purity from us. His light freelancer dark corner in our lives and sin will not be tolerated. But as moths we are drawn to this beauty in Him while at the same time our sins cause us revulsion. We are both drawn and desire to run away and hide. As Paul once remarked, “I wretched man that I am, who will save me from this body of death?”

 But God, knowing our wretched condition, sent His Son to.l ive as one of us, to die a human death for each of us, to pay in blood the sacrifice necessary to save us from our sins. And He did. And so you can believe in Him and gain forgiveness. He extends freely His grace which covers our sins completely. So that instead of shrinking away from Him, we may with boldness enter the throne room of grace.This God is so much better than any other, because He doesn’t want your stuff. He wants you.

Would today be the day you put down your guard, your cloak of shame and sin, and welcome the love and grace He has to share with you today? He doesn’t invite you tomorrow, or even yesterday. He invited you now, this moment, to embrace His free gift of grace through your belief in Jesus Christ, His Son. Won’t you come? 

Rock God

www.bible.com/1713/isa.26.4.csb

Our God is an everlasting rock. Hmmm. A rock? Really? Of all the things that Isaiah could have chosen, it was a rock. Ok. He is not saying God is a rock, but that God is like a rock, in it’s endurance and in it’s durability.

It might seem suitable to compare God to the sun, or to some other heavenly object. But those things are too far away. Like a rock, God can be easily found. You don’t have to look far to find a rock. This isn’t to say that God is common, just everywhere you look.

But what this text focuses on is the durability of rock. People carve stone because stone lasts. Marble can last generations if you take care of it, so that even sculpture from the Greeks and Romans can still be seen and appreciated. God is not a rock made with hands, but He too is everlasting. His visage cannot be marred with the passage of time. And that’s a good thing. The same God that your great parents prayed to is the same one you can have a relationship with today. And God is equally “I am” to both. Bend your mind around that one.

In essence, God’s presence is trusted and reliable. Ok? Now go read a good book. God bless you today.

It’s How We Walk


For we walk by faith, not by sight,
2 Corinthians 5:7 HCSB

https://bible.com/bible/72/2co.5.7.HCSB

Fascinated with the phrase, “it’s how I roll”, I’ve wondered what that means. I’m pretty sure it means, “that’s my sense of style” or “that’s the kind of the person I am.” I feel that applies to our Christian wall as well. They didn’t “roll” back in James’ day, but they did they walk. If you didn’t ride a horse or a wagon, you walked. Jesus walked everywhere he went. James probably did too. 

James puts forth here that though we walk, we walk by faith and not by sight. He isn’t talking about closing your eyes when you walk here. That would be silly. He is talking about how we walk through life, making decisions day to day and the wisdom by which we make those decisions. We make those decisions based on eternal priorities. How will benefit or even hurt my witness for the kingdom? Will this help me grow as a Christian?

But we also need to remember walking by faith also means trusting God at His word. When God promised to protect you as you follow in His footsteps, you can feel confident in waking into places that are dangerous, but necessary for the kingdom. I walk into some patient rooms that seem pretty intimidating, with families surrounding a bed-ridden patient that look right out of Sons of Anarchy, but with cheerful expression and a bit of “help me God!” I engage them in conversation. Your calling may have different danger zones, but we walk by faith, in the confidence of God’s promises, and not by what our eyes can see.

 May God bless you in your walk today.