VIDEO The Blessed In-Between, Gospel Lifestyle

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. 1 Timothy 6:17

One of the most sensible prayers in the Bible is Proverbs 30:8-9: “Give me neither poverty nor riches—feed me with the food allotted to 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.”

God does bestow wealth on some of His servants, and their generosity has financed many of the great ministries that have changed the world. God also allows some of His people to live in humility, and their selflessness has also changed the lives of many people. Prosperity is no indication of righteousness, and poverty is not necessarily a virtue. The important thing is maintaining the absolute Lordship of Christ over all our life, including our money and possessions. The Bible warns, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare…For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:9-10).

Whether rich or poor—or somewhere in the blessed in-between—let Christ be Lord of all.

Having, First, gained all you can, and, Secondly saved all you can, Then give all you can.  John Wesley


Sermon: “Gospel Lifestyle” from 1 Timothy 6:3-10; 17-21 | Contentment in the Bible

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Life Changes

Put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  Ephesians 4:24

Stephen grew up in a rough part of East London and fell into crime by the age of ten. He said, “If everyone’s selling drugs and doing robberies and fraud, then you’re going to get involved. It’s just a way of life.” But when he was twenty, he had a dream that changed him: “I heard God saying, Stephen, you’re going to prison for murder.” This vivid dream served as a warning, and he turned to God and received Jesus as his Savior—and the Holy Spirit transformed his life.

Stephen set up an organization that teaches inner-city kids discipline, morality, and respect through sports. He credits God with the success he has seen as he prays with and trains the kids. “Rebuilding misguided dreams,” he says.

In pursuing God and leaving behind our past, we—like Stephen—follow Paul’s charge to the Ephesians to embrace a new way of life. Although our old self is “corrupted by its deceitful desires,” we can daily seek to “put on the new self” that’s created to be like God (Ephesians 4:22, 24). All believers embrace this continual process as we ask God through His Holy Spirit to make us more like Him.

Stephen said, “Faith was a crucial foundation for me changing my life around.” How has this been true for you?

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

When you look back over your life, what comes to mind as key moments that prompted change? What long-lasting change resulted?

Jesus, You’re alive and working in the world and in my life. Help me become more like You day by day as I leave the old self behind.

The Self-Directed Man

Luke 12:16-21

Surely you’ve heard the old stereotype about men never wanting to stop and ask for directions. That’s probably truer than we’d like to admit, but when it comes to asking for help, it isn’t just males who are guilty. There are many men and women—all driving full steam ahead—who don’t want to stop or slow down to ask for guidance.

If you were to look at this through spiritual lenses, you’d see a world of lost, hopeless souls trying to save themselves. They think they can somehow earn their way to heaven through good deeds and hard work. They assume it’s possible to accomplish this on their own. But they’re wrong.

As you read through Luke 12:16-21 today, count the number of times the “rich fool,” as he is known, says the words “I” and “my.” This parable is a picture of the self-directed man trying to make his own way and secure his own future without help from anyone—including God.

The Father does not mince words with this man. Entering the scene in verse 20, God immediately calls him a fool! Don’t miss the severity in the condemnation. By relying solely on his self-focused shortsightedness and pride, this man left nothing behind at the end of his life—except for a pile of crops.

The message for us today is that, when we strike off on our own and initiate actions with no thought of God, we behave like fools. The Lord has a plan for your life. He knows where you’ll succeed and where you’ll fail. Trust Him to provide the direction you need.

Rock of Offense

“Give glory to the LORD your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.” (Jeremiah 13:16)

The figurative representations of Christ as the foundation rock of the great spiritual house of God (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:6) and also as the water-yielding rock of sustenance in the wilderness (1 Corinthians 10:4) are two of the great symbols of the Bible.

But for those who reject Him, He becomes “a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense. . . . And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken” (Isaiah 8:14-15).

Not only will the stone cause such a one to stumble, but Jesus said, “And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder” (Matthew 21:44). This figure is taken from the fall of the great image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. “Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet . . . and brake them to pieces” (Daniel 2:34). All the kingdoms of the world were represented in the image, but “the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:35).

“Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient” (1 Peter 2:7-8).

Thus, the stone of stumbling, which is Christ, is also the Word, and it is deadly dangerous to stumble over the holy Scriptures. One should give glory to God before darkness falls and he stumbles upon the dark mountain in the shadow of death. HMM

Longing after Eternity

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart.

—Ecclesiastes 3:11

We take it for granted and we are not surprised at all about the eternal nature of God but the greater wonder is that God has seen fit to put His own everlastingness within the hearts of men and women….

I believe that this is the truth about our troubles and our problems: We are disturbed because God has put everlastingness in our hearts. He has put something within men and women that demands God and heaven—and yet we are too blind and sinful to find Him or even to look for Him!…

Men and women need to be told plainly, and again and again, why they are disturbed and why they are upset. They need to be told why they are lost and that if they will not repent they will certainly perish. Doctors and counselors will tell troubled men and women that their problems are psychological, but it is something deeper within the human being that troubles and upsets—it is the longing after eternity!   CES052-054

Lord, we long for eternity, but there is so much commotion, activity and noise in our world that that longing is too often drowned out. Help me to break through that madness with the message of Christ today. Amen.

 

Inasmuch as Christ has suffered for us

Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind.—1 Peter 4:1.

 

Take thy whole portion with thy Master’s mind—

Toil, hindrance, hardness, with His virtue take—

And think how short a time thy heart may find

To labor or to suffer for His sake.

Anna L. Waring.

 

Your portion is to love, to be silent, to suffer, to sacrifice your inclinations, in order to fulfill the will of God, by molding yourself to that of others. Happy indeed you are thus to bear a cross laid on you by God’s own hands, in the order of His Providence, The discipline which we choose for ourselves does not destroy our self-love like that which God assigns us Himself each day. All we have to do is to give ourselves up to God day by day, without looking further. He carries us in His arms as a loving carries her child. In every need let us look with love and trust to our Heavenly Father.

Francois De La Mothe Fénelon.

The loving heart which seeks to offer all, even disappointments and vexations which touch the tenderest places, to God, will be more likely to grow in generosity of spirit than one who bears grudgingly what cannot be averted.

H.L. Sidney Lear.

 

Wrath is to God’s Glory

“Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.” Ps. 76:10

Wicked men will be wrathful. Their anger we must endure as the badge of our calling, the token of our separation from them: if we were of the world, the world would love its own. Our comfort is that the wrath of man shall be made to redound to the glory of God. When in their wrath the wicked crucified the Son of God they were unwittingly fulfilling the divine purpose, and in a thousand cases the willfulness of the ungodly is doing the same. They think themselves free, but like convicts in chains they are unconsciously working out the decrees of the Almighty.

The devices of the wicked are overruled for their defeat. They act in a suicidal way, and baffle their own plottings. Nothing will come of their wrath which can do us real harm. When they burned the martyrs, the smoke which blew from the stake sickened men of Popery more than anything else.

Meanwhile, the Lord has a muzzle and a chain for bears. He restrains the more furious wrath of the enemy. He is like a miller who holds back the mass of the water in the stream, and what he does allow to flow he uses for the turning of his wheel. Let us not sigh, but sing. All is well, however hard the wind blows.