Tag Archives: wealth

Seek God – Find Life

Seek God – Find Life

The following quotation was read by Dr. Adrian Rogers and taken from an essay by a 17 year old boy.   This boy wrote an essay on the topic of “union with Jesus Christ” as part of his school work in a Christian school.  As you read this, at first it may sound like a terrific essay:

“If we examine the history of man’s nature as an individual, we constantly observe that spark of divinity in his breast. The enthusiasm for what is good. The struggle for wisdom. The longing for truth are being smothered by the flames of desire and greed. The zeal for virtue becomes deathened by the tempting voice of sin and turns into a mockery as soon as we feel the full impact of life. Our hearts reason, history the word of Christ all call out to us loudly and convincingly to tell us that union with Him is absolutely necessary and without Him we would be rejected of God. For He alone is able to deliver us. Once a man has obtained this virtue, this union with Christ, he will awake quietly and composedly, await quietly and composedly the blows of fate. He will bravely oppose the storms of passion. And endure undaunted the rage of the wicked. For who can crush him or rob him of his Redeemer?”

“What’s the problem with all of that? Not a thing in the world, so far as truth is concerned. But if he had been writing an essay on Geography or history he would have done just as good a job because he had a brilliant mind. He knew the answers but he doesn’t know Jesus. Founded atheistic Communism. Can you imagine, a person knowing all of that truth and yet not knowing the Lord?

The person who wrote it was Karl Marx. Karl Marx, the founder of godless, atheistic Communism. The one who wrote the diabolical book, Das Kapital. The one who has caused more misery, more bloodshed, more hatred, more violence, more division, I suppose, than any other man who ever lived. Karl Marx wrote this when he was a seventeen year old boy.”  – The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection

Jesus said in Luke 12:48 For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

Graduates, purpose to hold the following principles in your daily life going forward.  These principles are taken from Amos 5:4, 6, 8, 14.  For example: Amos 5:4 says, For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live:

In fact, each of the above references say much the same thing: Seek God – Find Life.

  • You are leaving High School, but you are not leaving God.
  • Some people walk all alone in life. Israel was walking away from God and Amos warns them that they were walking alone.  Can two walk together except they be agreed?  No! They were all alone because of their sin.
  • No matter what happens in life, we must keep seeking God.

Keep seeking God.

God’s people, to whom Amos was preaching had been worshipping false gods for a long time.  They had a lot of stuff and in many ways they worshipped their material things, possessions, and money.  Read the book of Amos for more details.  Greed, stealing, and coveting was all too prominent in everyday life.  If they were living in our day and age, they would have looked a lot like us; plenty of food, too much stuff, and lots of money.  Possessions and stuff was now controlling them – much like many of us today.  If they were alive today, they would have had the best cell phones, the fastest computers, and the best-looking cars.  They had everything that mattered materially in life because God had previously blessed their fathers and forefathers.  They had enough and more than enough, but they did not have God.

Think of it this way: We do not have much of a life if we live without God.

God’s people had left God.  They were walking through life all alone.  They had stuff, money, families, jobs, land, chariots, and things – but they had left the Lord. Please note the following and examine your heart…

  1. Success Can Blur Your Vision of God.
  2. Stuff Can Weaken Your Value on God.
  3. Situations Can Lessen Your Victory in God.

Current and old chapters of life end, new chapters begin – Keep Seeking God.  Seasons go, and seasons come – keep seeking God. Changes happen in life – keep seeking God.

Follow what Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

When we seek God first – that is when we really find living.

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I Missed the Conference

I Missed The Conference

Red face. Swollen brow. My left eye was nearly swollen shut.  It was somewhat difficult to breath. The headache was paralyzing.  “You look terrible.” My doctor said to me Monday morning.  I appreciate it when my medical doctors are straight up with me.  “Take this medicine and you will be better in 3-4 days.”  I would rather be “better” in 20 minutes, but I was grateful.

That night was our Mission Conference.  I fought through the pain the previous day or two, but after several nights of not sleeping well and with the eye still swollen and headache still pounding, I knew I was a “no go” for the conference.

I do not recall ever missing one of our church missions conference.  Never. Ever.  Even as a young person, it was a priority in our home to be at every church service and every church event.  Our parents were faithful to see us be involved in church.

Missions conference holds many special memories in my mind as a young person.  The kid’s conferences, meeting the missionaries from around the world, and seeing the pastor call “all those willing to serve as missionaries” to come to the front so we could have a word of prayer.

As I have been reflecting on the message I heard Dr. Scott Caudill deliver on Tuesday night (I was well enough to attend) I began thinking of a verse he referenced, Matthew 6:21, For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  Of course, the context of what Jesus is speaking is dealing with money and stuff.  It applies to our time and talent as well.

Because my parents placed their treasure in the things of God; church, missions conference, youth group, etc. they made sure that their sons were at these events and services.  Ball games, piano practice, art class, overtime at work, and other stuff (even school) were not more important than the church stuff.  This made a difference in my life.  Their “Treasure” eventually was where their heart (and where my heart also) ended up – invested in the things of God.

Check out this verse again, “Where your treasure is…”  Before the heart is moved, the treasure is already in it’s place.  The heart catches up to where the treasure is.  It does not say “Love God with your heart and then your treasure will be at the right place.”

No, Jesus is saying, “Put your treasure in the right place and then your heart will be in the right place.”  There is a big difference in this approach.

Where is your treasure today?  I can’t believe I missed a mission conference service!  I feel like the sickness “Providentially Hindered” me from attending on Monday.  That said, most of the time, when my treasure is not in the right place it is my personal choices and my own decisions that hinder me.  Believe me, I know we can’t be at everything the church offers, but shouldn’t I make an attempt?  At least for the Mission of the Gospel?  We have no reason for living were it not for the Gospel.  I don’t expect everyone to be at everything.  But what about your treasure?  Where is it today?  When you find your treasure – you will find where your heart truly is.

Be encouraged today to put your treasure in the right place.  Only then will your heart be in the right place.

 

 

 

 

The “Success Sequence”

The “Success Sequence”

Prophecy News Watch is a website that keeps readers aware of current events of Biblical nature.  I enjoy their weekly emails.

One recent article suggested there is a “Success Sequence” for major life choices that impact whether person avoids poverty or lives in poverty.

The article in part said: “The Brookings Institute ‘demonstrated way back in the early nineties that Americans only need to do three things to avoid living in poverty: graduate from high school, marry before having a child, and have that child after age 20… Sociologists today say that this ‘success sequence’ still works. One study of millennials found that 97 percent of those who earn at least a high-school diploma, work, and get marred before having kids will not be poor as they enter their 30s.”

97 percent of those who followed this “Success Sequence” are not living in poverty today! It is hard to argue with those numbers.  With all the “Do what you want to do” teachings and instant gratification kids are taught; coupled along with homes that have very little discipline or moral expectations – no wonder poverty in America seems to be increasing.  Case in point:

  • 2-3 families living in under the same roof.
  • Cohabitating with several people, not related, is heard of more.
  • Young adults past college age still living at home.
  • Living pay check to pay check with no plan to pay off credit cards.
  • Kids with little education and no aspirations constantly playing on cell phones.
  • A major uptick in drug addictions, marijuana smokers, and the recent opioid epidemic.
  • An increase in screen addictions. Parents who allow cell phones and tablets risk not only the addictions to the pornography industry, but also the distorted development of a mind that is relying on a tablet or cellphone for information.
  • Personal debt is at an all time high.
  • There is an increase in people renting instead of buying homes.

Years ago Solomon taught in Proverbs 24:27 “Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.”

It could be stated that in different terms, the report is saying the same thing that Solomon said.

  1. Finish High School. Vocational and college training is also a consideration here.  (Prepare)
  2. Have a career and then get married. (Make Fit for Thyself in the Field)
  3. Have children following marriage. (Afterwards Build Thine House)

Perhaps one word to describe this “Success Sequence” is very simply – “Stable.”  Stability ensures you will avoid poverty.

One more warning on those little screens and social media: Couples who maintain separate social accounts many times have a more distant relationship with each other resulting in possible unhealthy choices, conflict, and perhaps even divorce.  This could contribute to a reversal of the “Success Sequence.”  When divorce occurs, no matter the wealth previously accumulated, cycles of decline begin, an estate is divided resulting in wasteful spending patterns and eventual poverty.

Stability will ensure that you do not live in poverty.  Better yet – Biblical stability will ensure you live a “successful life.”   Parents, teach your kids this plan.  The future of their lives and the future of your possible grandchildren depend on knowing this Bible truth.

 

 

 

 

The Politics Do Not Matter

The Politics Do Not Matter

Kneeling during the Anthem, drinking Gatorade in the locker room during the unfurling of the flag, and protesting on team time is a growing trend among many American athletes today.

When it comes to the interaction of the citizen and the government leaders of a country, respect must be the underlying principle.  As our country becomes increasingly sinful, some have suggested that the Constitution is out of date or is no longer useful.  Quite the contrary; the Constitution is not broken, the people are.  Our nation, like every other nation in history is following a path to destruction because we have, as a whole, denied the truth.  Human nature is full of sin, rebellion, and selfishness.  The main reason things are the way they are is because we are… people.  Whenever a group of people no longer fear God, read the Bible, or have respect for Biblical values, there will be an increase in troubles.

Back to the flag, kneeling, and protesting on team (company) time.  The Bible says that Christians are to respect the government and governmental leaders.  Subjection, while unnatural to a man full of pride, should be the goal of the Christian filled with the Spirit of God.

Notice what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Roman Christians about their relationships towards their government:

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.  Romans 13:1-4

It is apparent that the Lord wants to save the lost leaders from their sin just as much as He saved the Christian from his sins.  The Lord can even use the believers response and attitude of respect to challenge, encourage, and convict a leader of his need for Jesus.

Our respecting of leaders is demanded and has nothing to do with policy.  Our submission has nothing to do with policies or political party.  Our attitude towards leaders is not to be impacted by the leader’s personality, brashness, or decisions.

Do you know the cultural and societal insanities that were being projected upon the people when Paul wrote to the Roman Christians?

  • Criminals were many times tortured to death in the coliseum.
  • Christians were fed to the lions.
  • Some Christians were burned alive for their faith.
  • The shedding of blood was a popular sport that people would flock to see in the coliseum.
  • Some Roman Emperors even demanded people to worship them as a deity.

No matter how bad some suggest living in America is – we are still living in the most just, least prejudiced, and most advantageous (to personal success) country in the world.  We still have a very relaxed legal system compared to most other countries today.  It is even harder for an American to enter and try to live in other countries of the world.  Proof of work and a verification that you are not taking jobs away from another countries citizen is a general requirement.  Things are relatively easy in America.

Those who complain about poverty are probably more-wealthy than most people in many places of the world.

Work ethic, respect for others, personal discipline, and a peaceful existence lends itself to a more productive life than protesting, walking around streets late at night, inciting riots, and sitting around complaining on the internet.

I encourage you to pray for our leaders. Respect those the Lord has placed over us.  Participate in government with a good attitude.  Work at loving your neighbor.

The political party nor the particular person does not diminish the Lord’s command to be subject to and show honor to our leaders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Real Fools of April

The Real Fools of April

He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.  Proverbs 28:26

Playing a joke on someone or being a good sport when a joke is played on you is one thing; living a life that is based on a joke is another.  The tragedy of many living today is that they have bought into the lies Satan propagates through this world.  Walking in our own, worldly wisdom is a foolish thing to do.

Several years ago, a wonderful Christian couple gave my wife and I a Chevy Impala.  At the time, it was the best vehicle we ever had.  We were blessed and are still thankful for it.  Hundreds of homes have been visited in that vehicle in the course of pastoral ministry.

Recently as I was driving down the interstate in my over decade old Impala, a beautiful, brand new Chevy Corvette sped buy.  I had been watching it in the rearview mirror for a while, and it was a terrific looking car.  The retail value on a brand new Corvette is over $80,000.  Some of us reading this article live in houses that are valued less than that!  The car I was driving is possibly valued at $2,400 and it works just fine.

While I generally prefer the Chevy Camaro from any decade, this Corvette was very nice to see zooming past.  I have driven by the Corvette Museum in Kentucky and have driven Corvettes on several occasions.  One time, my wife and I were late to an appointment while driving one.  I am not sure how we could be late in a car that fast!   Corvettes are nice.  I like them.  The owner and driver of this Corvette liked his Corvette too.

The license plate was special ordered to say: “LUVINIT.”  This driver was proud to show others his crazy fast car and let them know that he had “arrived” and that he was “loving it.”  While we may enjoy, like, and even love our rides, we are instructed to not love the material things of this life.  1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Perhaps all of us have had this sort of “love” at one time or another.  After all, we need “stuff” in order to stay alive.  However, when we choose to “love stuff,” then our desires and dreams will be impacted by that love.  Our love for God is then squeezed out of the top position of our life.  Stuff is nice for a while, but even restored cars will rot away given enough time and neglect.

Easier said than done is a life of contentment.  Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:8 “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”  Contentment can only be realized in the Christian who actively loves God first, others second, and who decides to not love stuff.  “Some people love stuff and use people, but we are to use stuff to love people.”

Below are 3 wise truths about loving money and stuff…

Prosperity Does Not Equal Peace.  Rich men still have relationship problems.  Wealthy people may have a lot of stuff, but many times that stuff controls them.  Have you read this before: “The more stuff you have, the more your stuff controls you.”  How many well intentioned people have bought a new house far from church and eventually stop coming to church?  How many get that shiny boat or golf course membership only to justify doing those things and are no longer investing in spiritual things such as prayer meeting?

The next big ticket item for the rich man, or the next cigarette or checkout counter candy for the poor person results in the same thing – temporary satisfaction.  Worldly things may give an impression of no more needs, but there is more to life than the tangible things.

Peace with self has nothing to do with financial status.  Once a person “arrives” to a 6 or 7 figure salary their income does not result in real happiness.  Perhaps a false sense of security is found, but money has never lasted for anyone, and we can’t take it with us.

Peace with others is not something that riches ensure.  Sometimes the husband and wife individually devoted to the next personal paycheck end up fighting over finances and purchases.

Peace with God is not something wealth can buy.  Wealth does not mean a person is right with God.  Peace with God is something enjoyed by faith when trusting Jesus alone for salvation.  Jesus can make peace with God the Father for you.  Sin is what makes us at odds with God, not our financial status.

Money Cannot Buy Real Love.  “Will you love me if I buy you a gift?”  “When I give you this box of chocolate, or purchase a diamond studded ring for you, will you love me?”  Many couples are falsely committing love to another when in reality; they love the things that the other can buy.  “As long as you give me a big house, new car, and vacations – then I will love you.”  True love, motivated by selfless giving, not taking, is something that cannot be bought.

When a person is hired for a job, they do not need to love the job, the boss, or the position, to complete the job.  All they have to do is fulfill the expectations and then they receive their pay check.  Money- that is the result of the work is what most people love.  This is a poor way to live in relationships.  God loves us – even though we could never give Him anything.  This is the model our love to others should demonstrate.  Love is real when it is about what I can do for the other person, not what the other person can do for me.

Riches Are Unable to Bring About Eternal Life.   There is no real estate for sale in Heaven.  ReMax, Century 21, or Keller Williams have no offices or agents in Heaven.  The parcels of land, mansions, streets, fields, rivers, places in Heaven have already been purchased.  Nothing there is for sale.  Jesus paid the only price that God the Father would accept – the blood of His perfect Son, Jesus.

Notice how I Peter 1:18-19 says it:  “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold…But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 

Rich men still get sick, grow old, and die.  All of us have an appointment with death.  It may not be a pleasant thought to you, but if you have Jesus in your heart, He has already bought and paid for your place in Heaven.  He is the only One Who can give to you enteral life.  You can’t buy it.  Trust the Gospel of Jesus for eternal life today.

The real fools of April.  Who are they?  It is not the people that have the best jokes played on them.  The real fools of April are the people who continue to reject Bible truth and remain trusting in their worldly wisdom instead of trusting in Jesus.

I may or may never own a sports car; either way, my life as a Christian is not about accumulating more stuff.  Loving and living for things are a foolish way to live.