RICH OR POOR
Mankind is struggling – to say the least or to put it mildly.
Those who are set on a course of money-making find solace if each deal is going well, or many are purchasing their product.
They are happy with the success that brings a monetary reward.
The Bible says (amongst many) – two things worth mentioning:
If riches increase,
Do not set your heart on them.
I Timothy 6/
17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share…
Notice the heart is set on riches, and therefore they are trusting in riches – this gives solace and a sense of ‘all is well’ drawn from their success, measured by monetary increase.
Struck down by a virus might shake their confidence.
A strange virus comes along – and things are not working out as lucratively for many reasons. Now that person or persons is suddenly programmed to be not doing so well.
We all live for various things that seem to make life and living worthwhile.
A lot of these things are good and wholesome and many are not.
I pulled riches out of the hat as only one example of what brings satisfaction to many.
We learn from scripture that it is not riches that can cause problems – it is the love of them.
I Timothy 6/
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Riches are uncertain in an uncertain world, and cannot provide ultimate contentment all the way to the grave, where they end.
…godliness with contentment is great gain.
So putting these points together we have – those who trust in money, set their hearts and minds on it above other things, and all their affection (love) is reserved for all things monetary.
Now it’s all very well to point out these ‘financial trespasses’ but if you do not know where your next meal is coming from, or you are about to be evicted from your home because of financial difficulties – suddenly money becomes a preoccupation.
It does not pre-occupy your heart and mind because you have plenty of it – but rather because you have next to none. Survival therefore becomes your priority, and no doubt that of your family.
So for entirely different reasons the heart is set on finance.
Don’t set your heart on riches or finance is justifiably an exhortation to those who are greedy and who will not lift a finger to help the less fortunate.
But what of those who have very little money?
Well, difficult, in such circumstances, as it may seem – setting our minds and hearts on The Living God in the Person of The Lord Jesus Christ – is an anchor for the soul.
So that regardless of what befalls us – we open the door to God’s deliverance as we trust in Him.
For the rich or poor – the call of God is the same –
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;
25 I have been young, and now am old;
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,
Nor his descendants begging bread.
26 He is ever merciful, and lends;
And his descendants are blessed.
God will not forsake those who trust in Him – even though it takes a lot to stay focussed during lean times.
But we are told that keeping our soul healthy before God through faith in Jesus the Saviour, will give God the opportunity to work in His own mysterious way, to prosper us according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus.
3 John 1-3
To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth:
2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.3 For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth.
19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
I Corinthians 16/
13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done with love.
To the unbeliever the words of this verse from the Bible may as well be in a foreign language.
They probably could make something of it. But within the confines of their own natural experience of life.
Firstly – all words in scripture are given by God – in that He is inspiring and influencing and empowering the person who is penning the Word(s) – and they are not describing natural experience(s) but spiritual.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
And if you have not had the spiritual experience of encountering The Living God – then the words can only be interpreted with the natural mind and in reference to common-to-man experiences.
For instance: ‘stand fast in…faith’ (leaving God out of the equation) could be wrongly interpreted as simply ‘don’t give up’.
Everyone knows they shouldn’t ‘give up – but rather – see-the-thing-through’. Whatever the ‘thing’, or exercise is, in which they are engaged.
That is natural ‘faith’, faith in yourself, stickability, natural empowerment and so on. Same with the other words, – brave, strong, love.
But it isn’t the faith spoken of here. It isn’t the strength spoken of here. It isn’t the courage spoken of here. And it isn’t the love spoken of here.
In simple terms it refers to faith in Christ Jesus. Kind of obvious right? When the whole bible is an exhortation to believe in God.
He, if we truly know Him, supplies the enablement necessary to maintain these attributes in our lives.
Of course we can all, (with self-effort), be strong, brave, have self-belief, and have loving feelings, Christian or non-Christian.
But the difference is – the existence of a relationship with God.
So the question is – What or who is the source of our strength? Is it natural or spiritual?
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Paul clearly knew the source of his strength, clearly stated in the above verse. And perhaps like no one else in the New Testament apart from The Saviour Himself, Paul needed that strength to see him through the hardships he suffered as an apostle.
Christ is the source and supply of all the Godly attributes we need in our lives, appropriated by faith and supplied by the supernatural enhancement of The Holy Spirit.
Some know of this. Many don’t. Comprehending or accepting what I speak of – is not the result of philosophical argument-winning or convincing, but rather is the result of encountering God.
I Corinthians 2/
…5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
Notice the apostle – the one writing, under the revelation of The Holy Spirit, tells us that it is not so much a message he is preaching but a person.
Him we preach….
Some other religions give some kind of respect to Jesus Christ – but do not acknowledge Him as Lord, King of kings, Lord of lords, God manifest in a human body, The Only Begotten Son of God…
They don’t preach Him.
It’s important that Christians stop, every now and again and remind themselves that we should be careful not to become ‘doctrinally distracted’ – and lose our first love.
The Holy Spirit will always witness to the paramount focus we must maintain:
16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED.”
The Father God, loves The Son
35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. 36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
I believe that Jesus Christ is The Son of The Living God.
‘Lord help me to love you more.’
NOT GETTING THROUGH
Now there ain’t much extra I can say
Cause I’ve been talking since the beginning of May
You’re a mystery and I can’t catch the full picture anyway
At least that’s – what I now feel to say
The other full picture is far far away beyond the clouds
The clouds of more than night and day
And as I mystically stand to pray
You are out the door – hurriedly on your way
And when we meet up again you don’t engage
When I speak – you say:
“I don’t wish to know that – kindly leave the stage”
I’m – taken aback by your coldness – I feel under siege
You want to say destructive things
While a posy of peace is what I bring
You don’t hear a word of my attempt to assuage
The anger you are dishing out like some kind of plague
Your human heart is seized-up and bound
All packed together and hard as the dusty ground
To disentangle the fishing line – best to start in your prime
All confused and fussed-up and breaking down
Try to get some help as you let out another yelp
And I dash for your shoulders to keep you on your feet
I knew there was a purpose in my words as we meet
Eventually you have to listen –
you think my spoken words are deep
At least we have become half-friends
We might never meet again
I give you a piece of paper with some kind of message
Plus my address – email – telephone –
but still you won’t let me – meet your need
I put my arm around you one more time
Look you in the eye and see everything’s still not fine
You half heard all I had to say
There’s love waiting when you get back
I hope you find peace and get on the right spiritual track
6 But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.
7 Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.
8 And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger.
(also Mark 6)
As I continue my clear-out/re-appraisal of all things on paper.😎
I came across a sermon of mine entitled – DESIRE.
I have not looked at what I have written.
Desire – have you any thoughts on the subject?
Desire – common to humankind.
The King James uses the word ‘lust’. The dictionary defines this as:-
noun [mass noun]
strong sexual desire: he knew that his lust for her had returned.
• [in singular] a passionate desire for something: a lust for power.
- (usually lusts) mainly Theology a sensuous appetite regarded as sinful: lusts of the flesh.
So even the dictionary in directing us to the term, includes theology.
But I’m guessing most folks in the 21st century reserve the word ‘lust’ for strong sexual desire.
So let’s stick to the word desire, good or bad.
We think of King’s sitting triumphantly on their thrones, with their ‘subjects’ doing obeisance.
Perhaps the king waves his hand for all to be silent. And he offers the pleasing servant whatever he/she (the servant) – desires.
I’m sure this has happened quite a few times in history, with various monarchs.
In Herod’s case – “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom.” [see Mark 6]
Offered to a young lady who had pleased his other desires with her dance.
She in turn – lays aside her own desires in her desire to please her mother. (After all – a murder ‘prize’ instead of half the kingdom?!!)
Outcome of these whimsical desires? – A godly upright man is beheaded.
As any man would – John must have wondered if God would deliver him from his imprisonment? Instead of deliverance he was left with a returned greeting from Christ.
Luke 7:21-23 New King James Version (NKJV)
21 And that very hour He (Jesus) cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight.
22 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. 23 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
Many wonder at the loss of the lives of stalwarts, self-denying front-line workers in this pandemic. Laying their lives down in service to others.
I wonder too. God help them all.
The tragedy of lost lives in a Pandemic – into the thousands.
See also below – The tragedy of lost lives at the hand of another sinful tyrant called Herod…
At the time of Christ’s birth, Herod, insecure in his position of authority, commanded that all the male children, under a certain age, be put to death:
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:
“A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted,
Because they are no more.”
For many this Pandemic has brought great loss and great pain.
Today is it true to say – society mourns that bit more for the loss of children than adults? I think so.
Usually because they (children) have their whole lives before them. Herod’s desire was power and pre-eminence.
Amidst this pandemic, we desire all tragedy to end. Many desire their loved-ones to recover.
Amongst God’s desires, is the desire, that mankind would listen to Him.
And that we would return to Him and turn from sin that produces the actions of a man like Herod – to mention only one aspect of the manifestation of rebellion against God and His ways.
What do we desire?
We desire this pandemic to go away. And I pray to that end.
We desire comfort for the loved ones who have lost relatives – for this we pray.
We desire a better world.
But what else does God desire?
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
GOD LOVES YOU
God loves you!
What more needs to be said?
Paul Simon sings: “Who’s gonna love you when your looks are gone…?” And replying to his own question: he sings: “God will…”
Well – God is not really interested in our looks – even though He has our cosmetic count when it comes to hair –
Luke 12:6-8 (NKJV)
6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
He has an easier job with me – as my hair grew out completely to make room for my brains.
… For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
So God who looks into the heart – loves you!
That’s good news – the only problem is – do you/we love Him?
Now let’s be real: How can we love someone we have never seen, or heard?
Telling me a friend of yours ‘loves me’, isn’t going to make much of a difference to me. It might be nice to know, but that’s about it.
I would need to meet this person and get to know them, before this information meant much.
When we were young, on odd occasions the word would be passed to us, perhaps through an acquaintance or friend, that a particular young lady ‘fancied us’.
Admiration from afar. The message meant they would be open to the possibility of getting to know us more.
Young ladies used to scream and cry over their pop idols.
As someone once said this is ‘puppy love’ – but nonetheless ‘real’ to the puppy.
God loves you – it ain’t no puppy love.
So for me or any Christian to communicate to you that ‘God Loves you’, might be limited in it’s impact?
Limited only because as yet it is only a fact. A piece of information. A conversation starter.
Because unless you explore this possibility for yourself, you will remain at the nodding acquaintance stage.
A nodding acquaintance with a truth some Christian wants you to grasp.
Great as that truth is to hear, it needs to be acted upon, in order that you and the person who loves you can get to know each other.
Having entered into a relationship with the Person of Jesus Christ, through the enablement of The Holy Spirit of God in 1970, I am still ‘married’ to Him in the sense that I am part of His church – referred to in scripture as His Bride.
I have experienced His Love in a powerful way. Specifically and tangibly on a number of occasions in an extra-dimensional spiritual way. This is described biblically in the following words:
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
This is a literal, tangible, spiritually-discernible experience, overwhelming in it’s import and unmistakable in its impact.
Regardless of how much I think I fail to be all Christ wants me to be – His love for me is undeniable.
Firstly because the message He confirmed to mankind – He confirmed to me personally, by allowing me to experience His Agape love. A spiritual experience – as we say – more ‘felt’ than ‘telt’.
But also because He has responded to me, as I to Him, I can now believe in His love. Even if there are times when I may think I am not experiencing it.
You may not have experienced it – but here you are being reminded of it.
Seek to know personally this saviour I speak of. And if you already know Him – I want to remind you too, that He loves you. Seek for a fresh reminder as you pray. I will too 🙂.
Christians all differ, of course, in their personalities, and you will find they often emphasize some aspect of biblical truth that kind of reflects their personality. A truth or truths they warm to, more often than others.
But this is how God tempers the body of Christ (the church members) together. Using our personalities to express differing aspects of the Life of Christ within.
But the greatest demonstration of God’s personality is His love.
Demonstrated at the cross of calvary.
Ask God to take you there and to open your eyes to His love poured out in demonstration on the cross and later poured out on the day of Pentecost.
Ask Him to manifest His love to you in forgiveness and acceptance.
Is love on the way out?
A progressive thing might be
For me to love you and you to love me
But oh – what does this all mean?
For love goes up or down the graph of
Whether agape or eros or phileo or storge
Loving seems best in every way
While you reach out a hand
Or you are willing to understand
Love triumphs and conquers
Will love leave the earth?
Is it on it’s way?
In these days Phileo decreases
But The Son responds to our invitation
Over and above and beyond
Anything I have ever seen
I hear her again saying:
About – above – according to
Below – beneath – betwixt
My dear mother of
19th April 1919
She stood in-between tall and small
She rested and dozed and smiled
I’m falling asleep
Gasping for breath
Her breathing routine
Deep breathes to inhaler press
Gaining her equilibrium
Hanging clothes on the clothes line
Mangled-through with dexterity
Dinner for the man
On the table
Gulped down by same
Everton mints on a Saturday night
As they took in – on the black and white
Another shirt ironed
On the treadmill of being a wife
A gentle spirit all my life
We all experience different emotions in an average day. Christians experience also varying degrees of spiritual discernment.
For example, we can sense that God is grieved by our, or other peoples actions.
It’s true also that Christians or non-Christians can be repulsed by various acts of evil, that they find out, have taken place.
We can feel sorry and aggrieved that certain things have happened to friends or loved ones.
Being aggrieved by the actions of others and affronted by their awful behaviour, is both an intellectual and emotional experience.
Intellectually we become aware of the awful facts and process them with the accompanying emotions.
It is true also that we become accustomed to awful news and can become indifferent to it. Usually out of a sense that there is seemingly nothing we can do about the situation – and our sense of human powerlessness can have a numbing effect.
When bad stuff is up close and personal – of course this creates an even more difficult scenario to deal with.
And we have to handle the personal hurt we feel.
Again this is different for the true Christian because there is a spiritual sensing involved that adds to the intellectual and emotional negative experience we may be having.
Paul the apostle tells us of his personal heartfelt – intellectual/emotional/spiritual experience when he says:
Romans 9:1-3 New King James Version (NKJV)
Israel’s Rejection of Christ
9 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,
This was not just being sorrowful over someones situation, condition or experience, but he was also sharing God’s burden. Entering in to sharing God’s heart.
Jesus reveals His burden to us, as the Son of God, when He gives us insight into His heart of love and concern for His people. On this occasion regarding the Jews blindness to the Messiah:
Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem
41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
He was also speaking prophetically as one who knew the future and their future.
So this was not just the heart of the human Jesus breaking, but the heart of The Son of God also.
That which is coming upon the earth – is increasing the spiritual heaviness, and the spiritual dearth, and Christians are conscious of this, sometimes more than others.
As a response to these negative and spiritually heavy times, we can only set ourselves to endure. Set ourselves to remain faithful to seek our solace in Christ through prayer and worship and fellowship, searching out true believers, and real genuine friends.
Regardless of how many times we are disappointed by the behaviour of others, Christian and non-Christian alike, we must set ourselves to seek first the kingdom of God. Take strength from the many great biblical examples of true men and women of God – the cloud of witnesses who have endured and gone before us into the eternal presence of God.
Hebrews 12:1-3 New King James Version (NKJV)
12 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The ‘saying’ – Much Ado About Nothing, I somewhat erroneously thought meant making a fuss over nothing.
It is of course a title to a Shakespearian play. And is something to do with the word ‘nothing’ really meaning ‘noting’.
Anyway I remain ignorant – not exactly motivated to find out about this play that is a mere vague schoolday’s memory.
For some Christmas and it’s true meaning is about ‘too much fuss over nothing’.
And indeed it may well be the case concerning the commercialisation of this time of year.
A child is born. The story is told.
The world is spiritually deaf dumb and blind. This child is no ordinary child.
9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
He came into the world to give light to every man (to all humankind).
As humans are born into the world – so He too, took upon himself the form of a man, and came into the world.
Amidst the display of lights at this time of year, perhaps we could all pause to consider what true spiritual enlightenment really is.
Considering also it’s only source: Jesus Christ, whose entrance into this scene of time in the body of a child, meant that the message that brings the true light amidst the darkness of sin, could be proclaimed and received by all who are willing to worship Him.
“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Love and Peace
As a young dad – comparatively so
I grabbed my girls and lifted them high
They enjoyed that – and so did I
Fun and games we three had
I handed them back to mummy’s grasp
I did it – so quickly – she let out a gasp
“You can’t get out – you can’t get out!”
Was a favourite game – as I held them in armlock
Very gently – you understand – in pretence deadlock
They loved to escape and stand triumphant
As I continued with “you can’t get out!”
They laughed at dad because they had won the bout
In this age where natural affection for our kids
Is slipping away as parents fall-out
Join me in loving them to bits
Leave them without a shadow of a doubt