God had chosen the nation of Israel to be the people through whom He brought the promised Messiah. But He also wanted them to be a nation of priests and prophets who pointed others to the one true God. They were to be His missionary nation.
They not only failed to be His light to the world but instead followed the pagan nations around them into darkness. Now they were faced with His judgment.
Now it’s us, the church, who is to be salt and light. It won’t always be easy. Salt sometimes stings and darkness doesn’t like the light, but both are desperately needed. Will we be children of light or be swallowed up by the darkness? Continue reading →
Verses 24-25, “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”
Biblical hope is not the “wishing and hoping” kind of hope, as if something might happen.
Although it has not yet happened, biblical hope is a sure thing, because it is based on God’s promises.
Paul gives us some of the greatest examples of biblical hope in the remainder of this chapter! Verses 28-30:
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
In verse 28 He promises to work all things for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Notice it said all things! Is that thing you are going through part of the all things? Yes! (Notice, Paul didn’t say all things are good, but that God would use them for good.)
In verse 29 He says that God has predestined us to be like Christ. If we are truly saved, God is working in our lives to make us more like His Son, and sometimes, He uses tests and trials and difficult people to do that. Instead, of murmuring and complaining we need to see it as God’s hand molding and shaping us.
But God’s promises in this chapter don’t end there.
Then he says, “whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (vs. 30). We won’t be glorified until we get to heaven. That means if He called us and justified us (made us right with Him), He will glorify us. We will not lose our salvation somewhere along the line! What a great promise of our eternal security!
Greed can raise its ugly head in any area of life: in politics, in business, even in the family. Just as ugly is worthless religion. What does God value in the way of Christian service and religious activity? Are you relying on things that are worthless to God?
Nehemiah and the people continued to rebuild the wall, but not without opposition. Nehemiah’s response was the same one we should have when we encounter problems. Chapter 4, verses 8-9:
“… and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion. Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night.”
Nehemiah and the people prayed, did what they believed God wanted them to, and left the rest in the hands of God!
Chapter 5 changes focus and talks about problems among the people themselves. Some of the Jews had taken advantage of the hard economic times and had charged high rates of interest and even taken some of the other Jews as slaves to repay their debts. This was forbidden by the law. God takes a very serious view of this kind of behavior and Nehemiah dealt with it accordingly. Verses 11-13: Continue reading →
The Bible has a great deal to say about wisdom and its flip side, foolishness. In this series we’re looking at what it means to be wise and, by comparison, what it means to be foolish and how to recognize the difference.
Are you a wise woman or a foolish one? Part 3
Money & Stuff
As I said in the first post (read it here), while I’m specifically addressing this to us as women, these truths are for everyone: young and old, men, women, and children.
Our foundational Scripture is Proverbs 14.1 which says:
The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.
Our working definition of wisdom is, “wisdom is the right application of truth.” It’s not only knowing the truth, but applying it to the everyday situations of our lives!
Money & Stuff
In the last post I talked about the tongue and the ears. God has a great deal to say about the words we speak and how well we listen.
In this post we’ll take a look at what God says about about our attitudes toward money and possessions.
If you mention money in a Christian context, often, one of two thoughts will come to mind.
Money is the root of all evil and those who have it are somehow unspiritual. Or …
God is just waiting to make me rich. He wants me to have the desires of my heart.
In reality, both are distortions of what God has to say about money. And He has a LOT to say about money.
Not the Root of All Evil
The Bible doesn’t say that money is the root of all evil. 1 Timothy 6.10 actually says:
For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
Sin is the root of all evil (Matt. 15.19; Rom. 5.12; Jas. 1.15) and the love of money is sin. Sinful attitudes toward money will get us into all kinds of trouble.
Money itself is neither good or evil, but it can be used for both. It can be used to help us care for our families as God instructed us to do (1 Tim. 5.8), it can allow us to help others (Prov. 22.9, 28.27), and can be used to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ (Phil. 4.15-17). But it can also be used for all kinds of evil.
Money can be something we control or something that controls us. We control it by using it wisely and allowing God to bless others through us. Or we can demand it, hoard it, and be miserable when we don’t have it. You don’t have to have money to be controlled by it.
The love of money causes some to pervert justice in the civil realm (Prov. 17.23) and use unfair business practices in the marketplace (Prov. 11.1, 13.11). It has led people to lie, cheat, steal, extort, even gamble away everything they have. Continue reading →