VIDEO No Guarantee

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 1 Timothy 6:9

In the fine print of every prospectus for an investment product is found some version of these words: “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.” Everyone who reads that disclaimer knows what the warning actually means: Just because this investment made money in the past does not mean it will make money in the future.

Why are investment products required, by law, to issue that warning to investors? Because people want to make money, to get rich. We are ready and willing to invest in something that was profitable in the past hoping it will continue its profitability into the future. But we must remember Paul’s words: The desire to be rich is a temptation and a snare; the desire to be rich is a foolish and harmful lust. There’s nothing wrong with investing wisely to be a good steward. But if we invest impulsively to become rich, we are yielding to a dangerous temptation.

We can’t take wealth with us to heaven—unless we’ve invested in heaven. The fruit of kingdom investments will yield glory to God for eternity.

A man is just as rich as his investment in the bank of heaven. Vance Havner


1 Timothy 6:6-10, Content In Christ

The Testing

Some time later God tested Abraham. Genesis 22:1

The first time I took my sons to hike a Colorado Fourteener—a mountain with an elevation of a least 14,000 feet—they were nervous. Could they make it? Were they up to the challenge? My youngest stopped on the trail for extended breaks. “Dad, I can’t go any more,” he said repeatedly. But I believed this test would be good for them, and I wanted them to trust me. A mile from the peak, my son who’d insisted he could go no further caught his second wind and beat us to the summit. He was so glad he trusted me, even amid his fears.

I marvel at the trust Isaac had in his father as they climbed their mountain. Far more, I’m undone by the trust Abraham had in God as he raised his knife over his son (Genesis 22:10). Even with his confused and wrenching heart, Abraham obeyed. Mercifully, an angel stopped him. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” God’s messenger declared (v. 12). God never intended for Isaac to die.

As we draw parallels from this unique story to our own with caution, it’s crucial to note the opening line: “God tested Abraham” (v. 1). Through his test, Abraham learned how much he trusted God. He discovered His loving heart and profound provision.

In our confusion, darkness, and testing, we learn truths about ourselves and about God. And we may even find that our testing leads to a deeper trust in Him.

By:  Winn Collier

Reflect & Pray

How do you believe you’ve been tested by God? What was that experience like, and what did you take away from it?

God, I don’t know if what I’m experiencing is Your testing or not, but either way, I want to trust You. I give my future to You.

Living Triumphantly

Peter’s life was a triumphant example of devoted service to the Lord

Matthew 4:18-20

When studying Peter’s life, believers often focus on his mistakes—the doubt that nearly drowned him when he walked on water, and his rebuke and denial of Jesus. But Peter is also an example of triumphant living. 

An uneducated fisherman who likely had few other skills, Peter put down his nets and followed Jesus the instant he was asked. He was the first to acknowledge Christ as the Son of God (Matt. 16:16). And after the Lord’s resurrection, Peter leapt into the water and swam to shore when he noticed his Savior waiting there (John 21:7). The disciple’s devotion cannot be questioned. 

Peter is both an inspiration and a comfort for believers today. God does not choose servants who are solid rocks with no cracks or crevices. He looks for believers who are teachable, willing to repent, and prepared to surrender to God’s greater will—in spite of their weaknesses and failures. He looks for folks who are a lot like Peter. 

Too many Christians have already decided how much the Lord can do with them, based on their education, personality, or talent. But God isn’t interested in qualifications. He seeks willing followers who echo Isaiah’s call: “Here am I. Send me!” (Isa. 6:8). That’s triumphant living

Bringing Up Children

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)

This verse, together with the parallel passage in Colossians 3:21, is probably the key New Testament instruction specifically dealing with the training of children. “Nurture” is from the same Greek word that is translated “chastening” in Hebrews 12:5, 7, and “instruction” in 2 Timothy 3:16. It has particular reference to carrying out child training with both firmness and gentleness, as needed and appropriate in each particular case.

The term “admonition” is from a Greek word meaning “putting in mind.” Thus, the “admonition of the Lord” implies teaching the ways of the Lord by using the Word of the Lord. There is no substitute for implanting a knowledge of God’s Word in the minds of our children. Even if they should drift away for a while in later life, the Lord can use His Word in their hearts to bring them back.

Both types of training—through action and through verbal teaching—are said in this passage to be primarily the responsibility of the father. The first reference in the Bible to training children deals with Abraham’s responsibility to bring up his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (see Genesis 18:19). Mothers, of course, also have much responsibility and ability in this ministry (see Proverbs 1:8, and the example cited by Paul himself of how Timothy’s mother and grandmother had taught him—2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15). Fathers, too, sometimes delegate certain teaching responsibilities to tutors (Galatians 4:1-2), but the overall responsibilities are theirs.

And all of this training should be done in love. “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged” (Colossians 3:21). Then we trust the Lord and pray. HMM

The Splendor Of The Holy City

I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Our feet are standing within your gates, Jerusalem—Jerusalem, built as a city [should be], solidly joined together, where the tribes, the tribes of the Lord, go up to give thanks to the name of the Lord. (This is an ordinance for Israel.) There, thrones for judgment are placed, thrones of the house of David (Psalm 122 vv. 1-5).

Do we drag our heels on Sunday morning or look forward to worship services? Do we expect to meet God there, or do we fail to find him in our empty ritual and meaningless form?

David has an entirely different attitude as he approaches the gates of Jerusalem. His heart is filled with joy and expectancy. “I rejoiced with those who said to me,‘Let us go to the house of the Lord’” (v. 1). He loves the capital city and looks forward to participating in one of the great festivals of worship there.

Located within the walls are the royal palace, administrative buildings, and sturdy homes of prominent citizens. The entire complex is solidly and compactly constructed. The psalmist also praises it as a civic and spiritual center, where justice is administered and the tribes congregate to praise the name of the Lord.

Jerusalem, teeming with people and activities of all kinds, was an exciting place to visit. One day the new Jerusalem will be the gathering place of peoples of all nations, and the Lord will be glorified forever! For a look at the new Jerusalem, turn to Revelation 21 and read about the Holy City “coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband” (v. 2).

Personal Prayer

Lord, make your house an exciting place for me to visit. May our worship together become an enriching, exhilarating experience.

The First Thing to Do

I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument.—1 Timothy 2:8

Although doubt can be turned destructively against error, it is also possible for it to be turned destructively against truth. How do we deal with the darker side of doubt? The first thing we must do is to bring every doubt into the open and examine it. Most Christians fail to do this; they do nothing with their doubts and just hope they will go away.

But the way people react to their doubts is an indication of their attitude to doubt itself. Many feel ashamed when they experience doubt and thus push it below the surface of their minds and refuse to recognize it. Some even regard doubt as the unpardonable sin. Others treat it as an unmentionable subject and never refer to any doubts they have for fear they are letting the team down. I myself sometimes struggle with doubt—even after more than fifty years in the Christian life.

In the months following my conversion, I had doubts about the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible until I decided to accept it by faith. When I did, all my doubts concerning it were immediately dissolved, and from that day to this I have never had one doubt about the reliability of Scripture. But I have doubted other things—particularly in the area of personal guidance. I have learned, however, not to let doubts threaten or intimidate me, and when they come I simply look them in the face and say: “I am going to put you in harness and make you work to bring me closer to God.”

Now my doubts get fewer and fewer.

Prayer

Father, how can I sufficiently thank You for showing me how to take the negative things of life and turn them into positives? Nothing need work against me when I have You within. I am so thankful. Amen.

Further Study

1Jn 2:1-20; 3:24; 1Co 13:12

What did Paul admit to?

What did John affirm?

Freedom From Fear?

Psalm 27:1

Fear is in the saddle. Individuals and nations—none have escaped its onslaughts or its subtle influence. The threat of nuclear war hangs over our heads. Economic pressures, terrorism and violence have led one analyst to indicate that many people today are “living scared.”

The greatest saints have had their halos tarnished as they experienced negative fears. Abraham fled to Egypt when he faced famine. Moses tried to cop-out from God’s call by claiming inability to communicate. David, the killer of Goliath, knew something of fear. Elijah towered among the prophets, yet when his life was threatened by Jezebel, he fled. Repeatedly we read of the strongly expressed fear of the disciples, in spite of having walked and talked with Jesus and having witnessed His many miracles.

Someone has said that fear prepares you for three Fs—flight, fight, or freeze. The negative type of fear disrupts the normal process of living to the extent that it can eventually destroy the individual.

It is never the intention or plan of God for His born-again children to move about with a fearful heart. From Genesis to Revelation God’s message has been “Fear not!” From Paul comes the statement: “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

In Psalm 27, the palmist is bold to testify of his trust in the Lord and his power to deliver: “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” (v. 1). What a difference when fear assails if we have a strong sense of security, an assurance that we don’t stand alone; that we have resources which are superior to our own and, more important, to our antagonist the devil. God is in control.

The force of David’s confidence of freedom from fear is underscored by his use of the name Lord, the name that is written in many translations with all capital letters. This name of God, Jehovah, was so awesome among the children of Israel that for centuries they were forbidden to use it. David, in Psalm 27, uses this name 13 times. David knew wherein his strength and power and deliverance, even from fear, lay.

With David, we can confidently ask the rhetorical question, “Whom shall I fear? Of whom shall I be afraid?” The implied answer comes thundering back,

“No one! Absolutely no one! He is in control.”

Edward Deratany, The War Cry