VIDEO The Point of Being Alive – Be on Your Guard Against Greed

The Point of Being Alive

Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions. Luke 12:15

Lately, as I’ve been skimming financial advice books, I’ve noticed an interesting trend. While almost all such books have good advice, many imply that the primary reason to cut costs is to live like millionaires later. But one book offered a refreshingly different perspective, arguing that living simply is essential for a rich life. If you need more or fancier stuff to feel joy, the book suggested, “You’re missing the point of being alive.”

Those insightful words brought to mind Jesus’s response when a man asked Him to urge his brother to divide an inheritance with him. Instead of sympathizing, Jesus dismissed him abruptly before warning sternly about “all kinds of greed”—because “life does not consist in an abundance of possessions” (Luke 12:14–15). He then described a wealthy person’s plans to store his crops and enjoy a luxurious lifestyle—the first-century version of retirement planning—with a blistering conclusion. His wealth did him no good, since he died that night (vv. 16–20).

Our hearts should be focused on pursuing God’s kingdom. 

Although we are responsible to use our resources wisely, Jesus’s words remind us to check our motivation. Our hearts should be focused on pursuing God’s kingdom—knowing Him and serving others—not on securing our own futures (vv. 29–31). As we live for Him and freely share with others, we can fully enjoy a rich life with Him now—in the kingdom that gives meaning to all of life (vv. 32–34).

Lord, thank You for all You’ve so generously provided. Teach us how to enjoy what You’ve given and to share it with others. Help us to rest in You.

We don’t need to wait to enjoy a rich life in God’s kingdom.

By Monica Brands 

INSIGHT

God already lovingly rules. Yet in a fallen world, believers also pray for His kingdom to come (Matthew 6:10), for evil to be gone forever. How do we live in that tension?

Instead of living in fear of loss, Jesus taught His followers to live as if God’s kingdom was already here in full. Worrying is powerless, but courageously seeking Him leads to priceless, eternal riches (Luke 12:31–34).


John 7:17 Challenge DAY 69: WATCH OUT, Be on Your Guard Against Greed

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We Are Never Really Alone

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me. Psalm 23:4

For David, youngest of Jesse’s eight sons, the life of a shepherd could be lonely. When Samuel, the prophet, went to Jesse’s house in Bethlehem to anoint one of his sons as successor to King Saul, Samuel rejected the seven older sons. Jesse mentioned that there was one more, the youngest, who was “keeping the sheep” (1 Samuel 16:11). The implication was that David was away, in the hills with the sheep, tending the flock alone as he had to be sent for.

There are many references to David’s solitary life as a shepherd, during which he had time to contemplate God, creation, and his place in it (Psalm 8). Psalm 23 is the ultimate example—David puts God in the role of shepherd, his shepherd (Psalm 23:1). Though often alone, and sometimes in dangerous situations (1 Samuel 17:34-36), David fell back on one truth: “You are with me”—even in the “valley of the shadow of death.”

You may not be facing death today (all will one day), but wherever you are, whatever your circumstances, you are not alone. God is with you.

True peace comes not from the absence of trouble but from the presence of God.  Alexander MacLaren

God is truly Sovereign

Ephesians 1:11

Some people question whether the Lord is truly in control. They learn about tragedies in the world and wonder if perhaps God isn’t powerful enough to overcome all evil. Or they encounter what seems like an insurmountable obstacle in their own life and come to the conclusion, Maybe His power is limited.

My friend, we do not understand everything that happens in this life. But we know from Scripture that God has ultimate authority: “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all” (Psalm 103:19).

Consider the far-reaching implications of these words. The Lord has complete control in all the universe—He reigns over everything and everyone, and His power is greater than all other strength. The terms omnipotentomnipresent, and omniscient are frequently used to describe Him. In other words, our God is all-powerful, He exists everywhere, and He is all-knowing—which means there is nothing beyond His awareness or His ability to direct and manage.

And this limitless, unfathomable God, who is unhindered and fully in control, adopts us as His children. What an amazing thought! As we begin to grasp this truth, peace and rest will flood our soul.

If you believe the Lord is all-powerful, is that idea simply “head knowledge,” or does it affect the way you think and feel? When you realize that nothing happens apart from God’s awareness, direction, and loving purpose, it becomes possible to lay down worry and fear and truly experience His peace.

Teacher and His Words

“For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” (Matthew 12:37)

In many churches, teachers are in short supply. Evidently many who have the Spirit-given gift of teaching are not using it as they should. On the other hand, a Christian must never assume the role of teacher without clear leading from above. As the teacher of the early Jerusalem church wrote, “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation” (James 3:1). Christ taught in our text that by our words we shall be judged and either justified or condemned. Since for “every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36), how much more so will the words of a teacher be scrutinized, especially a teacher of the Word of God.

Another reason one should be slow to don the cloak of a teacher is that even a teacher finds it hard to live up to his own teachings. “For in many things we offend all [better, ‘we all stumble’]. If any man [stumble] not in word, the same is a perfect man” (James 3:2). Speaking of the Jewish teachers, Jesus instructed His listeners to do what their teachers said, not what they did (Matthew 23:3), and then He condemned hypocritical teachers with seven stinging “woes” (vv. 13-33).

The proper use of the teaching gift perhaps yields greater honor than most but also greater condemnation if error or hurt creeps in. The church does need all the gifts and should not neglect any genuinely Spirit-given gifts of its members.

Nevertheless, one might contemplate the aggressive, anti-creationist stance taken by many professors at evangelical churches, colleges, and seminaries today, teaching theistic evolution, the day age theory, framework hypothesis, etc., and wonder if Christ’s reference to the “millstone” around the neck might apply (Luke 17:2). JDM

Glory to God in the highest

Luke 2:1-20

Let us read with great joy of the birth of Jesus, the incarnate God.

Luke 2:2

The census was taken by Augustus, but the actual collecting of the tax was not carried out till the time of Cyrenius.

Luke 2:3-6

The decree of Cæsar was made to fulfil the decree of Jehovah, that Jesus should be born in Bethlehem.

Luke 2:7

Little love had the world for the Redeemer. It could find no room for him, no, not even in the place where the meanest traveller had free accommodation.

“No peaceful home upon his cradle smiled, Guests rudely went and came where slept the royal child.”

Luke 2:8

To simple minds, humbly doing their duty, the good news first came.

Luke 2:9-12

The heavenly messenger had scarcely concluded his announcement before he was joined by others who had hastened after him to swell the glory of the proclamation of the newborn king.

Luke 2:15

They believed the news, were interested in it, and went to see. If we believe the gospel, let us show our faith practically.

Luke 2:16-20

Here were three ways of treating the news concerning Jesus. Some wondered, and there the matter ended, as, it is to be feared, it ends with many who hear it in these days. Mary weighed all these things in her heart; to her they would be a perpetual source of blessing. The shepherds showed their piety in another manner, for they glorified God by telling the glad tidings to others. Have we not good cause to follow their example?

 

Hark, the herald angels sing,

Glory to the newborn King,

“Peace on earth and mercy mild;

God and sinners reconciled.”

 

Veil’d in flesh the Godhead see;

Hail the incarnate Deity!

Pleased as man with men to appear,

Jesus our Immanuel here.

 

Mild he lays his glory by;

Born, that men no more might die;

Born, to raise the sons of earth;

Born, to give them second birth.

 

You Must Break with This World

Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord. (2 Corinthians 6:17)

I dare to say that Christians who have genuinely come to love and trust Jesus Christ have also renounced this world and have chosen a new model after which to pattern their lives.

Further, we should say that this is the aspect of the Christian life that most people do not like. They want comfort. They want blessing. They want peace. But they recoil from this radical, revolutionary break with the world.

To follow Christ in this rough and thorough-going way is too much for them!

Actually, the true Christian dissents from the world because he knows that it cannot make good on its promises. As Christ’s believing disciple, he is not left without a “norm” to which he seeks to be adjusted. The Lord Jesus Christ is Himself the norm, the ideally perfect model, and the worshiping soul yearns to be like Him. Indeed, the whole drive behind the Christian life is the longing to be conformed to the image of Christ!

 

The Care of the Poor

“The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing.” Ps. 41:3

Remember that this is a promise to the man who considers the poor. Are you one of these? Then take home the text.

See how in the hour of sickness the God of the poor will bless the man who cares for the poor! The everlasting arms shall stay up his soul as friendly hands and downy pillows stay up the body of the sick. How tender and sympathizing is this image; how near it brings our God to our infirmities and sicknesses! Whoever heard this of the old heathen Jove, or of the gods of India, or China? This is language peculiar to the God of Israel; He it is who deigns to become nurse and attendant upon good men. If He smites with one hand, He sustains with the other. Oh, it is blessed fainting when one falls upon the Lord’s own bosom, and is borne thereon! Grace is the best of restoratives; divine love is the safest stimulant for a languishing patient; it makes the soul strong as a giant, even when the bones are breaking through the skin. No physician like the Lord, no tonic like His promise, no wine like His love.

If the reader has failed in his duty to the poor, let him see what he is losing, and at once become their friend and helper.

 

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