“Money for Money’s Sake” August 28

 

Money for Money's Sake - Money without peace, contentment, and someone to share it, money for money's sake, is futility. And if we take it for granted or live like there is no tomorrow, we may find we are working only to give it away or wake up and find it all gone.Money without peace, contentment, and someone to share it, money for money’s sake, is futility. And if we take it for granted or live like there is no tomorrow, we may find we are working only to give it away or wake up and find it all gone.

 

Today’s Readings:
Ecclesiastes 4-6
Psalm 102.18-28
Proverbs 24.5-6
1 Corinthians 9.1-27

 

Money for Money’s Sake

 

Ecclesiastes 4-6:

Money without Peace & Contentment

 

In this part of Ecclesiastes, Solomon begins talking about the futility of money for money’s sake.

Better a handful with quietness. Than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind (4.6).

What good is an abundance of money with no peace or contentment?

There is one alone, without companion:
He has neither son nor brother.
Yet there is no end to all his labors,
Nor is his eye satisfied with riches.
But he never asks,
“For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?”
This also is vanity and a grave misfortune (4.8).

What good is much success and no one to share it with?

woman with hand over mouthChapter 5 warns us to be careful with our words.

“Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands?” (5.6).

How easy it is to let our mouths get us in trouble!

There is also a warning against discontent and greed. Look at verse 10 in the New Living Translation:

Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness! (5.10).

And chapter 6 warns against taking the blessings of God for granted.

2 A man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor, so that he lacks nothing for himself of all he desires; yet God does not give him power to eat of it, but a foreigner consumes it. This is vanity, and it is an evil affliction (6.2)

We might say it this way: it’s better to find peace and contentment with a modest income than to be constantly working to pay a huge mortgage and trying to keep our heads above water, while appearing to “have it all.” Continue reading

“Family Feuds, Sissies & Spiritual Ditches” June 13

 

Family Feuds, Sissies & Spiritual Ditches - Fighting and disagreements within a family can be some of the most difficult to settle, but God places a high priority on unity and peace within our biological families and within the family of God. Sadly, very few have the strength of character to do what is required in the midst of family feuds, spiritual or biological.Fighting and disagreements within a family can be some of the most difficult to settle, but God places a high priority on unity and peace within our biological families and within the family of God. Sadly, very few have the strength of character to do what is required in the midst of family feuds, spiritual or biological.


Today’s Readings:
2 Kings 14
Psalm 73.10-20
Proverbs 18.18-19
John 20.1-31

 

Family Feuds, Sissies & Spiritual Ditches

 

Family Feuds

Proverbs 18.18-19:

 

Verse 19, “A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a castle.”

If you have ever seen or been a part of a family feud, you know they can last for years, partly because of the intensity of the emotional ties. So we must seek to avoid unnecessary conflict within our families.

Family feuds are often over money, favoritism, or failure to take responsibilities seriously.

Favoritism can be real or imagined, but the sovereignty of God must always be kept in mind. If God has allowed some mistreatment or lack of favor, what character quality (Gal. 5.22-23) might He be developing in your life and how does God want you to respond?

When it comes to responsibility, whether it’s children taking responsibility for themselves or siblings taking responsibility to care for aging parents, we are accountable for ourselves regardless of what someone else does or doesn’t do. Remember God rewards those who do right with the right heart attitude.

And when it comes to money, Jesus makes it clear how Christians should respond:

 

Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! (1 Cor. 6).

When we feel we are being cheated (not repaid for a debt or not given what we are due), God says to forgive and let it go. How we respond when it comes to money reveals a lot about our attitude toward God. Matthew 6:

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money].

Verses 14-15 warn us to forgive those who wrong us:

14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matt. 6).

For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matt. 16.26).

Of course, avoiding conflict must be balanced with other biblical truths. We cannot use obeying God in one area to excuse our sin in another. We can’t use peace with our parents, for instance, as an excuse for a lack of submission to our husbands. We can’t allow what our family will think or whether they will be offended, to excuse drunkenness, gossip or any other sin. Romans 12.2 tells us:

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” And 12.18 says, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”

“If it is possible …” At times, even though we refrain from arguing, being self-righteous or unnecessarily contentious, there are those who do not want to be at peace with us, even in our own families. We are to be salt and light. Salt sometimes stings and light always exposes darkness. And sometimes that brings anger and rejection from others.

hands reconciliationBut while family feuds can be challenging and emotions can run high, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do all we can to reconcile those relationships. Jesus said in Matthew 5.23-24:

23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

God puts a high priority on unity and reconciliation and we should do all we can to be at peace within our biological families and within the family of God.

Is doesn’t matter who is more in the right. “The one who knows goes!”

James 4.17, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

 

God puts a high priority on unity and reconciliation and we should do all we can to be at peace within our biological families and within the family of God.

 

Family Feuds & Sissies - Fighting and disagreements within a family can be some of the most difficult to settle, but God places a high priority on unity and peace within our biological families and within the family of God. Sadly, very few have the strength of character to do what is required in the midst of family feuds, spiritual or biological.“But you don’t know what they did to me!” No, maybe not, but Jesus does. Matthew 5:  Continue reading

“Lessons from a Fish’s Belly” December 18

 

Important Lessons from a Fish's BellyYou may think you know the story of Jonah, but there is so much more for us to learn from his book. There is the fact that disobedience and running from God can land us in some pretty nasty circumstances. But there is, also, a great lesson in God’s mercy and willingness to forgive in the rest of the story.

Our New Testament reading is from Revelation 8 with the beginning of the seven trumpet judgments. The first four are horrible enough, but before the fifth one sounds an angel cries, “Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet …”

 

Today’s Readings:
Jonah 1-4
Psalm 144.1-8
Proverbs 30.6-9
Revelation 8.1-13

 

Lessons from a Fish’s Belly

 

Jonah 1-4:

The Real Lesson from Jonah

 

Most of us grew up hearing the story of Jonah in Sunday school or at least had some vague idea of what it was all about. But there is so much more to be learned from this little book.

Jonah received a call from God to go to the capital of Assyria, the city of Nineveh. The Assyrians were the enemies of Israel and Judah. Instead of obeying God he got on a ship going in the opposite direction only to have God bring a fierce storm against the ship. He ended up being thrown overboard, though reluctantly, by the crew when they realized that it was the only way to save the ship and themselves. Jonah 1:

13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them. 14 Therefore they cried out to the LORD and said, “We pray, O LORD, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O LORD, have done as it pleased You.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the LORD and took vows.

They recognized God’s hand in what was happening, and the text says they feared Him and offered sacrifices to Him. Even God’s judgment can cause people to turn to Him.

Back to Jonah himself. Don’t you wonder what it was like to be inside that fish’s belly for three days and three nights? God knows just how to get our attention. We don’t know everything that went through his mind, but chapter 2 gives us some insight:

1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish’s belly. 2 And he said.
“I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction,
And He answered me.

Even though he had been disobedient and was running from God, he turned back to Him in his time of trouble.

He knew God was faithful:

4 Then I said, ‘I have been cast out of Your sight;
Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’

7 “ When my soul fainted within me,
I remembered the LORD;
And my prayer went up to You,
Into Your holy temple.
8 “Those who regard worthless idols
Forsake their own Mercy.
9 But I will sacrifice to You
With the voice of thanksgiving;
I will pay what I have vowed.
Salvation is of the LORD.”
10 So the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

Chapter 3:

1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.”

Notice, God did not say, Continue reading

Are you a wise woman or a foolish one? Part 3: Money & Stuff

 

Are you a wise woman or a foolish one? Part 3: Money & Stuff - It's not wrong to have nice things, money in the bank, or a good paying job. But we need to remember that everything we have, we have because of God and that, ultimately, it all belongs to Him. We need to ask God to help us keep money and material goods in their rightful place in our hearts and seek to be content wherever and with whatever He has blessed us.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

 

woman of God

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.

 

wise woman

Our foundational Scripture is Proverbs 14.1 which says:

The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.

 

wisdom

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.

  1. Money is the root of all evil and those who have it are somehow unspiritual. Or …
  2. 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