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Friday, June 29, 2012

For the Love of Money

Those who love money will never have enough.
How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!


If you want true happiness, don't put all of your trust in money.  The Bible says so.

Do not trust in oppression, Nor vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, Do not set your heart on them. - Psalm 62:10 (NKJV)

He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like foliage. - Proverbs 11:28 (NKJV)

Rather than do things for the love of money, the Bible instructs us: Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17).

Other believers have said so, too.

"A preacher always loses out when he gets his mind on finances." - Smith Wigglesworth

"Economy is half the battle of life; it is not so hard to earn money as to spend it well."

"God has given us two hands -- one to receive with and the other to give with. We are not cisterns made for hoarding; we are channels made for giving."  -Billy Graham

"Every spending decision is a spiritual decision." - J.C. Ryle

Let us learn how to maintain a proper perspective on what God provides to us.  We must learn to do what we do for the love of the Lord, not for the love of money.
Happy is the man who finds wisdom. - Proverbs 3:13 (NKJV)





Thursday, June 21, 2012

Make Contact to Make Connections

. . . I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.  I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
- 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 (NIV)

"Let us long to be used in the conversion of sinners." - Charles H. Spurgeon

The people of God are called to make a difference in this world.  That's why the Lord called us salt and light.  We have a calling to make the world a different environment than a realm of sin and debauchery.  He desires us to have a positive impact upon others by serving Him through our daily interactions within this world.  We are to live in contact with the world, both believers and others.  The Lord does not leave us on earth to live in isolation like the Essenes of ancient times, hiding ourselves from others of this world in order to remain pure among ourselves.  We are to live in this world.  We are to be in close contact and proximity with the world around us, making a difference in the world before the very eyes of those who are full of doubt and unbelief.  We, as Christians in this society, must serve as the very salt and light necessary to purify what has become polluted and penetrate the darkness.
God wants us in contact with others.  God wants us actively making connections with the people who live in both doubt and darkness, the ones who live without hope.  Jesus said that we should let our light shine so brightly that others would see our good works and glorify the Father (Matthew 5:16).

In order to connect with them, we have to make contact with them.  We have to shop with them, play sports with them, and hang out with them.  We have to interact with them.  We have to hang out with and be around them.  We have to show them our light as the light of the world.

I know you have heard some interpret Paul's words of light having no fellowship with darkness as to mean that we should not have anything to do with so-called sinners, but that is an extreme interpretation of that biblical text.  How can we impact a dying world without ever interacting with it? The onus is on us.  We are to share the gospel with the hopeless and doubtful.  It is up to us to reach those who do not know the love of Christ with a message of hope and a ministry of reconciliation.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Enduring Faith


"I more fear what is within me than what comes from without."


Look at the history of Protestantism and you will find Martin Luther looming and lurking somewhere nearby.  See where he confronted the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church and faced the challenges of going forward in a faith movement as an enemy of the church.

Imagine the ridicule Martin Luther faced.  Think about the humiliation he suffered at the hands of other religious leaders.  He was considered a heretic.  He was made into an outcast.  Nevertheless, he held onto his faith.
Martin Luther was a man just like any other man.  Yet, he was a man of deep conviction.  He devoured the Scriptures and took them to heart.  He allowed the Word to guide him and direct him, even to the point where he abandoned tradition.

Look at what his enduring faith produced.  The entire Protestant realm of Christianity stems from Luther nailing those ninety-five theses to the doors of the church.  He founded what we call Lutheranism today.  He made history by holding firm to his convictions and not keeping with the status quo.  He made a major difference in religious history.

Let such a legacy influence your walk with Christ.  Live your life with such a degree of faith that you live without regrets.  Live a life full of enduring faith.  Let your faith speak and come to life by the way that you live for the Lord.

History will tell of Martin Luther's storied life.  It will reveal his shortcomings.  It will teach us about his attachment to parts of Catholicism that caused divisions among his own followers.  It will show him just as vulnerable as any other man or any other Christian believer.  It will also share how he made his mark on history by making history by having enduring faith.


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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Living by Saintly Standards

According to 2008 U.S. statistical data from the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS), 34,169 people claimed "no religion." That includes atheists and humanists.  That is almost 5,000 more people than in 2001.  In 2008, according to the same survey, over 173,000 people identified themselves as "Christian." That's over 13,000 more than in 2001.

Obviously, Christianity grew and expanded during this period.  That sounds good.  However, the adult population surveyed increased by approximately 20,000 during this period.  We gained 13,000 and the "no religion" folks gained 5,000.  That means 2,000 people became Muslims, Jews or some other religion.  Or, the same 2,000 just did not dare claim any religion at all.  Either that or it is some mix between the two of them.

The world has its own standard.  It may not be one that we, as Christians, desire to follow but it exists.  It is alive and well within the world.  That's suitable for those who do not know the Lord.  It works for those who live in the darkness of unbelief.

It doesn't work well for Christians.

For us, things are just a little different.  We answer to a higher calling in Christ Jesus, seeking to mature in Christ as we walk with Christ.  We are to live by a different standard than the world.

So what is this standard of living for Christians and where does it come from?

  • The Lord sets the standard.  He lays it out based upon His supreme reign over all things as the Creator, the Maker and Elohim.  He answers to no one.
  • The Lord shares the standard in the Scriptures.  Christians have the upper hand because we have been provided the play book.  We can read it.  We can reference it.  It is for our consumption.  The Lord gave it to us.
  • The Lord demonstrated the standard.  The Word became flesh.  He dwelt on earth and dealt with some serious troubles like being born to poor parents and living in a society where foreigners ruled over His people.  He showed us the standard and expects us to live up to the standard.
Live it up.  Live a life of influence that inspires others from interacting with you and your business.  Live up to Christ's standards as you work, as you play golf and as you go to and fro.  Handle your business and live up the Lord's standards.