It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. Proverbs 25:2

Archive for July, 2016

Two Masters- God and Money

 

There is room for only one to sit on the throne of man’s heart. What we worship reveals who is enthroned as lord and master of our life. Jesus identified the two sources that will eventually become our master. What He said is true, no man can serve two masters, he will love one and hate the other, and we cannot serve God and money. No one can serve God and riches.

Matthew 6: 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.

In this life we have a choice of one or two masters, God or money. We will serve only one and disregard the other though we may engage them both. Sometime we can be pleasantly engaging with God and money. It is in a crisis situation that reveals in which one we place our trust. In one of these two things we will put our trust and our hope for the future.

When self is on the throne of our heart then we are motivated to do what it takes to indulge and please self. Our first inclination is to go with what we believe will help us with self- preservation and most times that is money. When self is on the throne, then money becomes our master, because it is money that allows us to satisfy all the appetites of self-indulgence. Money allows us to indulge self in all that it wants to rule and to reign in our world.

How we use money speaks to where our hope lies and what we value most in this life and will determine how we will spend eternity. If this is the only life we have hope for, let us eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die and if this life is the only thing we have hope in, we are all men most miserable.

1 Corinthians 15:19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

Many of us acknowledge God and want to accept Jesus as our Saviour because we do not want to go to hell, but we want to refuse Him as our Master and Lord. We want Jesus to save us but we do not want Him to be our Master and dictate how we should live our lives. We want self to sit on that throne so we can decide how we will live our lives, spend our time and money.

If we choose God then we must let the love of money go. Money can no longer be our motivation in this life. That is one of the most difficult things for man to accept because he has been taught that money is the most important thing.

For God to be on the throne of our lives, we must die to self. This is a hard concept for most people to understand and live out. We must have a renewed mind to His ways and let His word navigate us through life’s situations and our responses. The world will think our actions are strange and may even be offensive to them because they do not know God’s ways.

John 12:24-26                     Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.

1Peter 2:7-8               Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,”  and “A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.

God does not want us in poverty. He wants to give us exceedingly and abundantly more than we could ask or think. He wants us to be the example of His goodness in this world but He does not want us going after money and the riches of this world. God want us to choose Him over every situation and circumstance and it is a hard choice but it speaks to what or who has preeminence over our lives. The enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy people and then blame God for it.

John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

If we put our trust in money, it becomes our lord, and then it dictates our responses to problems and in crisis situations. We will do all we can to hold on to money or get money even if it means being dishonest, lying or stealing. Many people believe in Jesus but they do not put their trust in Jesus. They want Him to save them for all eternity but cannot trust Him to keep them and their families’ safe in this world. There are so many who are neither hot nor cold, they want to keep a foot in both camps; to live anyway they want right now. In the end they will cry Lord, Lord but He will not know them.

Revelation 3: 15-17   I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.

Each and every one of us was given life in this world for a God given purpose. We have an enemy who wants to prevent us from fulfilling those purposes. This world will miss out on the contributions God has placed in us, if we choose not to live the life God has purposed for us. Life sometimes gets so busy that we do not think about ultimate purpose. We sometimes lose sight of God’s plan and how we impact eternity for ourselves and others.

If we were on a battlefield and our enemy would have us so preoccupied with insignificant things such as putting up a tent or making a campfire, we would never have time to stop and plan or strategize on how to win the battle. So it is with life as we go through the motions of living without thinking, without planning and without understanding our purpose.

Revelation 3:17,20                  Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked-                                                                                               

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Some practices have been in place for so long we can barely recall a time in life when we were committed to principles and valued morals more than money. There was a time when we would not forsake our integrity for the lucrative business of making money at the cost of our integrity. We valued the honor of God more than the riches of this world.

People are going after, riches, success and the temporary things of this world. They lose sight of the eternal and everlasting things of God- the souls of men. What will it profit to gain the whole world for 60, 70, 80 or even 90 years and spend everlasting eternity in hell? That Sir is no bargain, when people perish because they choose money and pleasure of this world over God.

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Fear – The True Reason for Hate

Gandhi stated “The enemy is fear. We think it is hate, but it is fear.” People are naturally afraid of the unknown, what they know nothing about. It is what is different from our norm and possible change that create fear in us, things that may impact our lives, our family, and our income that causes us to be afraid. It is human nature for self to be the most important thing and those things that belong to us.

A constant state of fear speaks to what we truly believe, trust and have hope in. Our reaction to the things that are making us fearful says volumes about what or whom we hold in high esteem. If we are more afraid of losing our friends, our job or our income more than our desire to honor God, then we will compromise our values, our morals our character. It is the fear of not knowing and the fear of our loss that causes panic.

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

The differences, in people who place their hope in the world and the people who place their hope in God, are their perspective and response to problems. Those who are without God in this world focus on themselves, their lack and their inability to change their circumstances. They are without hope and all they know is fear and hate to move towards destruction because they do not know any other way. We see fear produce hate that causes people to attack or destroy other people, communities, even nations, just to take what think they need to live. The end justifies their means and their survival is the ultimate end, so by any means necessary they will obtain it. The people of God trust Him to provide, protect and direct their lives. Their hope is in their Creator and Almighty God Who can and will meet all their needs.

This spirit of hopelessness leaves people in a state of despair. They have no reason to try because they believe things will never get better. All they see is lack, hurt, loss and pain. When people are without hope they start looking for anything that can get them out of that bad situation. They will walk away from a hard job or difficult relationships because all they see is the bleakness of the situation and they have no hope of it getting any better. People without hope will try and do strange things even check out on life whether it is physical or mental.

1 Peter 1:21 Who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

Those who trust God can look at a crisis and know they will do well because the God they serve has promised to be with them in their storm. There are a lot of people who say they believe in God but it is another story to say they trust God. This is where perspective and response differ. Those who know their God will do well in crisis because they will say what God says about the matter. We learn how to be still in darkness because God has promised day will come after night, He will turn our mourning into joy.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls—Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God[c] is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills. NKJV

Those who trust God will wait on the Lord to see how He will settle the matter rather than respond in fear. We esteem pleasing our King and Sovereign Lord more important than the praises or curses of men. Kingdom people will seek the Favour of their Lord and King more than riches or the threats of this world.

Daniel 11:32 Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.

Fear is the weapon the enemy uses against those created in the very image of God to get them to destroy themselves. It is fear of deficiency that makes people hate those who threaten their ability to get ahead and live successfully. Hate is only the result of self-centeredness, self- reliance and self-preservation. The natural man will operate out of his fallen nature to kill, steal and destroy anything and everything that hinders his lifestyle or progress. But those that know God’s word and trust in Him can be patient, longsuffering and persevere through difficult times because we know in whom we believe and know He is able to keep us in these difficult times.

2Timothy1:12  For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.

We all have been dealt a hand that appears to most, life is stacked against us. But God is there, no matter what the challenge, problem or hindrance, because Jesus has provided for us a way to win with the hand we have been dealt. Life becomes the sum of our choices and what we allow to direct our decisions and choices will dictate our outcome. Everyone must choose where they will put their trust. Everyone has the option to choose life or death. But most people make life choices out of habit, family tradition and social customs. They choose out of ignorance and lack of knowledge of God’s word. Not understanding they have an adversary who is like a lion seeking to see whom he may destroy. This is his tactic, fear and hate opens the door and gives him permission to devour homes, families, communities, even nations.

Deuteronomy 30:19- 20

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

1Peter5:8 Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walketh about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

A Life in Crisis

A major crisis or catastrophic situation will only reveal character. It does not develop bad character or force us to do hideous and gruesome acts; crisis only exposes what is already in us.

A crisis is a period, point or phase in a process or a sequence of events, which impacts our general course or direction of future events for better or worse; it is a turning point. We live in a world of continuous crisis and our lives are in a state of endless and constant change.

A crisis is about change; it is about revealing what is weak or strong in a particular situation. A crisis can be a catalyst for a new beginnings or new life phases. A crisis may lead us to a different end than we had originally anticipated. We call a crisis a problem but in the Asian language they call it an opportunity for change.

How we respond in a crisis is vital to the outcome of our success or failure in life and ultimately in the fulfilling of our purpose. A crisis is only change. It is only an opportunity for God to use the sequences of events to uproot the dead and destructive things that are in our lives. This will give space for those things that need to grow and to have time for them to develop and mature. God can use a crisis as a method of operation, to make change. He will use the crisis in our lives as an opportunity to grow us and bless us, it depends on our response. When a crisis comes it is usually for one person but it could influence whole families, communities even a nation. It can be the vehicle God uses to make change, to bless and even move people and nations forward.

God does not create the crisis; it usually comes as a result of our everyday decisions or acts that lead to a consequence that provokes a crisis. Crisis can bring change and change is a natural sequence of events that happen, everything changes, nothing remains the same. We see it in nature and we see it in life. God can use these crises as a method of displaying His wisdom and Almighty power to the world. We have often seen crisis turn situations upside down. People from high and haughty positions are sometimes humbled while others from low and obscure birth are put in places of distinction. If we understand God’s ways, we will be able to stand firm in times of our crisis and adversity.

Genesis39: 1-2 Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there. 2 The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.

 

Joseph was shown that one day he would rule a nation and all the people would bow down to him. Then his life went into what we would call a major crisis. He was sold to a caravan that took him to Egypt, where he learned the customs and language of the Egyptians. He was brought as a slave to work for an officer, the captain of the guard, where he learned how lead the army and military in Egypt.

Genesis 39: 20-23 Then Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were confined. And he was there in the prison. But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority, because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper.

Joseph was thrown into prison for something he did not do but it is where he learned the operation of the palace and the country. There he met the man that would introduce him to Pharaoh the king over all Egypt and the one who would ultimately set him free. All of these situations were major crises in Joseph’s life. He could have chosen to be angry with God for allowing those things to happen to him but he did not. Joseph worked in integrity with character and represented His God well in adverse situations and under horrible circumstances. In all these problems, God used these crises to prepare Joseph for his future, to save a nation and his family. It was during these crises Joseph learned the language, culture, political and economic systems of Egypt and to become a ruler in the country.

Genesis 41: 39-41 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.”  And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”

Joseph did not let his circumstances change him or provoke him to act in a way that was unlike himself or his God. The jailer did not concern himself with the running of the jail because Joseph had proven himself faithful in the small things, a man of integrity and he could be trusted with more responsibilities.

A crisis is a time that reveals character and one’s true beliefs; it reveals who we are and what we trust and if we really believe God is able to do what He said He would. When the world is in a crisis people stop giving, they are no longer charitable, they begin to hoard what they have because they think there is a shortage in their supply. Their source of comfort, their job, their bank, their relationships are no longer able to sustain them. Their trusts are in the things of this world and not God.

Matthew 25:23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

When worldly people are in a crisis, they begin to compromise their values, morals and commitments to their character. Self-preservation is the first instinct of a fallen man who does not trust in God. It is in a crisis where we see people lie, kill, steal and destroy, in order to save self. Their main thought is for self, and how to survive no matter the cost.

Those whose hope is in the Lord and believe His word, they know God will provide and protect them. God has promised to never leave us or forsake us and if we believe, have faith and hope in Him we can go through the crisis knowing He who promised is able.

Above all, those who hope is in God are willing to die to self that God may be glorified. This is the true test of faith the willingness to lay down our pride, our interest, our preference for the ultimate good of others. Jesus was our example He showed us and taught that we should not love our lives more than God. We are to be willing to lay down our rights for God. This is a hard statement and it only comes when we have total trust in God and His faithfulness to protect and provide for us. It is when we are ready to surrender our rights and our partialities for God; we are ready to live for Him. Only when a grain of wheat dies will it produce a harvest, if not, it will remain the same and stand-alone.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.  For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.

John 16: 33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will[d] have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Matthew 28:20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen

Hope For The Future!

     Hope is fear in reverse. To hope is to look forward to something with desire and confidence, to believe in a person with whom our expectations are centered. Fear is the dread of the unknown and we panic and become fearful when we do not know what will happen in the future. To those who have trusted in the finished work of Christ, God has told us how the story ends, we will win! We have hope for the future in this life and eternity. We do not have to faint at adversity because we are blessed and favored of God; we can persevere and go through whatever life gives because we know we will succeed in the end.

Our faith gives us hope for our future and this hope causes us to make plans with confidence to face our present situation, no matter how dire it may appear. We know we will succeed because of God’s word that assures us and gives us hope of a better future. This hope is what gives us confidence to face our future. Jesus endured the cross while despising the shame, He had confidence and joy in knowing how it would end. Although He despised the shame and agony of the crucifixion, He knew it was temporary; Jesus was able to have joy knowing He would bring many into the family of God.

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. NKJV

 

When we know and have a relationship with the true and living God, we can go through the temporary setbacks and attacks that life throws at us. No matter how bad the circumstances may look, and though all odds and facts may appear to be against us, we know God is steadfast and faithful to His word.

Our hope is in the power of God, His ability and His promises for our success in life. We are no longer dependent on what we can or cannot do; our trust is no longer in ourselves. We now have hope for our future in God and He is able, and He will perform His word. The Love God has for us was displayed when His Son Jesus laid His life down for us while we were still sinners. There is no greater love that a man may have than to lay his life down for a friend. Jesus did that for us and we now have confidence and hope for our future in this life. This is not just a hope in the sweet by and by, when we all go to heaven, it is a promise for such a time as this. Sometimes we need help right now and God’s word is our help, strength, our strong tower where we can run and be safe.

Psalm 27:3 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

 

Jesus is our example and Abraham is called the father of faith. Abraham did not hesitate but believed totally in the promise of God. Though he was a man who missed the mark on several occasions, he did not focus on his past failures. Nor did he dwell on the decay of his present situation, his age or the age of Sarah. Circumstances did not cause him to falter or quiver at God’s promise. This is our hope, not in what we have or have not done, but hope is in the God who promised us victory. God is faithful to His word and in that we are strengthened in faith to give glory to God for He is able to perform all He has promised.

Romans 4:20-25 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification. NKJV

 

When we really know the word and love of God then we are able to serve and believe in His word. We then have the confidence and are convinced He is able to do what He has promised. No one or nothing life throws at us can persuade us to think differently. Our hope for tomorrow, for our life, for our children for our future is God! His word is sure so we may pursue with confidence those things which we were called and to fulfill our purpose. God wants to be the most important person in our lives and He promises to be a rewarder to those who diligently seek Him. We will have situations that will give us opportunity to display our faith in God and His promises or to give in to doubt and not see it through. The choice is ours to stand in faith or fall in unbelief.

Hebrew 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

 

It is the knowledge of God’s word that gives us confidence and the hope to be successful in this life. Hope gives us something to consider and to believe. Once we know the word and believe the word of God is truth we will learn He is faithful to His word. We will express this belief with our spoken words, our confession and our actions. We will say the same words God says, with excitement and expectation, giving thanks to God even before the promise has manifested itself in our natural circumstances. We will thank and praise God just as Abraham did, with confidence and great joy, when he was given the promise of Isaac long before he was conceived or born.

2 Timothy 1:8a, 12     Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord…

For this reason, I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day NKJV

 

Many people are living without hope of a decent future, without hope of how they will live. Many wonder how they will survive their destructive families, communities and their own personal life style. So many young people are taking their lives and the lives of others because they believe they have nothing to live for or they have no hope of things ever getting better. People are living without true hope, the hope that comes from the word of God. So many young people are giving up on life at an increasingly high rate and at a very alarmingly young age only because no one has given them hope for their future.

Proverbs 13: 12          Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.  

 

We must give people hope for today, that hope is in the true and living God who will help right now, and not when they have died and gone to heaven. God says He knows the thoughts He has toward us; thoughts of peace, hope and a good future. We can have hope in our future and have strength to continue because we believe in the word of God. This is not based on our own actions, works or our families place in society. God tells us to talk to Him, He will listen and if we seek after Him, we will find Him. He is a God who loves us so much that He sent us help, His Son Jesus, who came to do what we could not do for ourselves.

Jeremiah 29: 11-14a for I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord… NKJV

 

The world would tell us we cannot make it, we are not from the right school, the right part of town, right social or economic community or that we are of the wrong race, ethnic group, and gender. The world will look at our past and will try to hold us back from being successful. The world will try to tell us God has forsaken us and we have no hope of making it in life. God says those who appear to be weak are the ones He has chosen to do great things. It is the thief that plants seeds of doubt to steal our hope, kill our dreams and destroy our future. However, he can only do it if we allow him. Jesus rescued us from a life of devastation and saved us from eternal destruction. He paid our sin bill and purchased for us an abundant life.

 

1 Corinthians 1:27     but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are.

 

John 10:10    The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. NKJV

 

Our lives come down to the choices we make regarding who we allow to influence our lives. We may choose to believe the thief, who is good at beguiling, lying, and planting seeds of doubt so we will blame God for all the wrong things that happen in our lives. We have another choice, to trust in God’s word and believe in the hope He has set before us. He has given us the victory; we will win in this life if we do not faint. We may have the abundant life now where we are but we must choose it. We must choose love, peace and forgiveness.

Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit NKJV

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