Monthly Archives: December 2014

Don’t Give Me Riches

“Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:7-9, ESV)

There are two things that the writer, Agur, is asking of God. He starts by showing that he wants truth, no more, no less. Then he asks God for something interesting: he wants neither riches nor poverty. We often hear people today speak of serving God with the expectation of physical prosperity. Yet, that is not what this writer desires. He asks God not to give him riches because he might forget God and deny him in his leisure. He also asks that he not be left with nothing lest he act and say things he shouldn’t as a servant of God. So today’s question is: are we content asking for enough? Not asking God for riches or great wealth, not asking for all of the financial problems of this world to magically disappear, but to ask God to see to our needs and we will be content. Paul said it best when he said: “But godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6)

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Paul’s Prayer for the Philippians

“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11, KJV)

Consider for a moment the four things Paul says he prays to God about the Philippians:
1) Love may abound in knowledge and discernment (Notice: just saying you have more love is not enough, it must grow out of knowledge of God and his word).
2) Approve things that are excellent (to put to the test things that differ to find the conclusion of what is right).
3) Be sincere and without offence (being sincere alone is not enough, that sincerity must be coupled with correct actions)
4) Filled with the fruits of righteousness (Which requires a removal/refusal of the fruits of darkness).

All four of these things are necessary for Christian growth and development. They are the things we should be wanting to see in our own lives and the lives of others. Are they found in yours?

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A thought about Holiness

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:13-16, KJV)

Consider what it takes to be holy as God is holy. Peter says it requires one to “gird up the loins of your mind;” literally, to prepare the mind for action. It also requires being obedient children to the commands of God. Therefore, holiness requires more than just a checklist of actions performed. It is a constant exercise of mind and body working each day to serve the Lord. Have you prepared yourself in mind and action to serve the Lord in holiness?

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A Question for Husbands and Wives regarding Submission

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” (Ephesians 5:22-24, ESV)

While we often read this passage and spend all of our time talking about what wives should be doing, consider two questions that aren’t often asked from this passage. Husbands, do you submit to Christ as you want your wife to submit to you? As a Christian, do you respect his authority and his place in your life to lead, direct, and have final say in the decisions for your family? Many husbands believe the buck stops with them, but such is not true. Husbands also have someone to whom they answer.

Wives, do you respect and honor the place of your husband the same way you do Christ? If Jesus said it, you would do it; but what if your husband says the exact same thing? Do you show him the same respect of authority in leading and directing your home that you give the Lord?

You see, if both the husbands and wives are submitting the way they should, the family will function as God intended.

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Remembering how God looks at Man

“Samuel did what the LORD commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?” And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is before him.” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.” Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.” And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen these.” Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.”” (1 Samuel 16:4-12, ESV)

Sometimes we get so caught up in looking at the outward appearance of people that we forget what God sees when he looks at us: the heart. It does not matter what perceived physical differences or short-comings you, or others, may believe you have; what is in your heart? Are you humble, gracious, loving, obedient, courageous and godly? For those are the attributes the Lord seeks above all.

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A short thought from Paul’s Speech at Mars’ Hill

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:22-31, KJV)

Paul, in his speech, delivers three points of focus for them to consider: one God, one blood (one people), and one day of judgment. In a day in which man continues to try to divide according to outward appearance or nationality, it must always be remembered that we are all equal before God. We all came from the same source, we all have access to the same love, grace, and mercy, and we will all be judged by the measure of our own actions, not the actions of those that came before us or those around us. We are one people, created by one God, and judged by one standard: let us live like it.

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