The Deceitfulness Of Riches

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com The Deceitfulness Of Riches

For weeks, I’ve intended to:
visit a loved one,
sit with a dear brother,
put in quality family time,
write that note,
make that call,
share that word.

Why haven’t I?

Because I’m occupied with what I have to do to make the money to keep what I’ve got.

And, I’m preoccupied with what I have to do to get more.

“what I have to do…”

I’ve been in bondage.

The world says I can attain the good life if I somehow manage to get the right combination of things. But, Jesus teaches that the things that make for my peace are in knowing the Father and following Him, forsaking all else.

I know the truth, but at some point I again embraced the lie.

This deception offered me fool’s gold, robbing me of what matters most: precious time loving people who are dear to me and dear to God, in exchange for the worthless: a nirvana I might experience some day if I manage to get and do all the right things. (Spoiler alert: It’s a lie. Fulfillment never happens this way.)

Working for more stuff and living more life are in opposite directions. And, I’ve been going the wrong way!

My focus should not be on how to keep what I have or how to get more. My heart should be set upon attending to my Father’s house rather than seeking my own interests and pleasure. When I have the same heart as the Father (as demonstrated by Jesus, His only begotten Son), then my pleasure comes from seeing His house provided for and prospering.

So, I pray “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit with in me!”.

I’m on a journey now
to lay aside that which ensares me,
to divest myself of what weighs me down,
to sell what I have to share with those who lack,
to live with less so I have more to give:
to follow Jesus.

I repent.

Fine Without God

Only Light In The Darkness

 

I reject God believing “I am fine without God”. At the heart of that thinking is a belief that the light I’m walking in is my own.
 
Whatever your proximity to God, all light you enjoy -any semblance of love, justice or truth comes from Him. These are not concepts of human invention or products of our effort. They are characteristics of God that emanate from Him and shine through His vessels.
 
But there is coming a terrible day, after God’s offer of Himself and plea to choose life has gone out to every creature under heaven, that God will withdraw Himself completely from those who reject Him,
 
“For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light; The sun will be darkened in its going forth, And the moon will not cause its light to shine.” Isaiah 13:10, Mark 13:24
 
God will allow them their desire -utter darkness because “they loved darkness rather than light” John 3:19. In His withdrawal, He will also take His people. Not one who bares His Light will remain. Mankind will be completely left to languish in their own corruption and cruelty, being devoid of understanding, with no hope of any good. There will be no love, truth, justice nor anything of the sort -no light.
 
This is why Jesus proclaims, “I must work while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.” John 9:4
 
I remember my ignorance of the harm I was doing and how I was being harmed, until finally I was forced to acknowledge my sin because it was piled up to heaven and I was being crushed under the weight of it. I was not fine without God. And, neither are you.
 
Be not deceived, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:17
 
I am so thankful that while I was in darkness, hope remained for me and there shone a great light. Isaiah 9:2, Matthew 4:16
 
And, there remains hope for you! The love of God compels me, “Believe Jesus, be freed from darkness and receive the Light of the world!” John 8:12
 
How can you test what I’m saying? How can you know it is true? The closer you walk with God through faith in Christ, the greater your light will shine.

What The Storm Taught Me About Jesus

Stormy Sea

“Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”

These words of Jesus recorded in Mark 4:40 always perplexed me. What do you mean, “Why am I so fearful?!” We’re in the middle of a deadly storm! (Mark 4:37) Don’t you feel the ship being tossed violently about? Don’t you see that the ship is filling with water and that we’re about to sink?! What does faith have to do with anything? This is not a matter of attitude or perspective. This threat is not spiritual. The danger is real! So, what do you mean, “Why am I so fearful?!”

The questions seemed absurd. That is, until I had to face a storm of my own.

Like the storm in Mark 4:37, mine came upon me suddenly, unexpectedly and violently. In one great swell the waters crashed on my life, threatening to tear everything apart. After barely surviving its impact, I was then hammered with wave, after wave, after wave. I lived in constant fear of the blow that would finally end it all. This went on for years.

But, Jesus was in the boat the whole time.

I was so focused on the storm, I lost sight of who He was. And, I didn’t realize the effect that Jesus was having just being there. While He seemed to me to be “sleeping”, He was the reason I had not perished. It was His presence, and not all the things I was clinging to, that was preserving me and providing for my need. What I see now, that I didn’t see then, is that He had angels encamped all around us -real people, who ministered to my real needs. As I reflect on those years, I clearly see people God sent that provided precisely what I needed both spiritually and materially in their due seasons. Why? Not because of what I had done, but because of who I was with. I was with Jesus –Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God who was sent according to the love of God for this very purpose: that those who believe in Him would not perish but have life everlasting.

That last part –Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God.

This view of Jesus as God incarnate is what I believed or at least conceptually understood at some point, but lost sight of. And this is why, I believe, that Jesus asks, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” Because, if I am with Christ in the boat, do I really believe the Christ will perish? Do I really believe that He will fail to do what He came to do? Do I really believe that any promise made concerning Him will go unfulfilled? Oh Father, grant me the faith of Abraham who believed so steadfastly on your Promise because he believed God to be so faithful that He’d never go back on His word and believed God to be so powerful, that He could raise the son of Promise from the dead. (Genesis 22:1-14; Hebrews 11:19) Lord, help me to see You and to allow the reality of who You are to loom larger than the reality that I’m wrestling with!

When I believe Jesus, my hope and expectation is in the furtherance of His purposes: reconciling creation to Himself and the full coming of His kingdom. This, by faith, becomes the desire of my heart that I can be fully assured that God will give to me. (Psalm 37:4) Furthermore, if He can command even the storm, I can have confidence that nothing concerning me is beyond His control. If I live, He is in control. He has work for me and as I walk in it, no storm, no circumstance, no power in Hell -nothing can prevent it. If I die, He is in control. I can depart knowing that He is faithful to finish the work He began and that nothing that I have committed to Him will be in vain. So, whether in life or death, He is in control, His purposes will prevail, He will be glorified and my desire in Him will not fail.

As I look back from the other side of the storm, I see that the whole time I spent being anxious, frantically flailing about, I could have been resting confidently with Jesus.