Would You Rather: Life With God Or Control And Certainty

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Would I Rather: Life With God Or Control And Certainty

Would I rather,

Be uncertain about what I’ll eat, drink, wear or even what I’ll be doing from moment to moment,

but have God?

-OR-

Have so much money that I am certain about the provision of my every material need and desire,

but be without God?

This question is repeatedly posed in the Bible in some form, I believe, because it is a question that we are repeatedly confronted with in our daily lives. Could it be THE question of this life? This question reveals so much about our perceptions (e.g. what is good, truth) and our priorities (e.g. what we really want).

If I be honest, I’ve pursued things so that I wouldn’t have to trust God anymore. And, I’ve gone in circles (not getting anywhere) in some respects in my life because I hadn’t made up my mind about this question and hadn’t made a decision about which master I would serve.

Yes, the question is purposefully asked in a binary choice format to pose a clear dilemma, but is it necessarily a false dichotomy?

Consider this:

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
— 1 John 2:15

“Jesus said to him, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’

But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.'”
— Matthew 19:21-24

“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
— Luke 16:13

I’m living in Psalm 73 right now,

“A Psalm of Asaph.

Truly God is good to Israel,
To such as are pure in heart.

But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;

My steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the boastful,
When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

For there are no pangs in their death,
But their strength is firm.

They are not in trouble as other men,
Nor are they plagued like other men.

Therefore pride serves as their necklace;
Violence covers them like a garment.

Their eyes bulge with abundance;
They have more than heart could wish.

They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression;
They speak loftily.

They set their mouth against the heavens,
And their tongue walks through the earth.

Therefore his people return here,
And waters of a full cup are drained by them.

And they say, “How does God know?
And is there knowledge in the Most High?”

Behold, these are the ungodly,
Who are always at ease;
They increase in riches.

Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain,
And washed my hands in innocence.

For all day long I have been plagued,
And chastened every morning.

If I had said, ‘I will speak thus,’
Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children.

When I thought how to understand this,
It was too painful for me— Until I went into the sanctuary of God;

Then I understood their end.

Surely You set them in slippery places;
You cast them down to destruction.
Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment!

They are utterly consumed with terrors.
As a dream when one awakes,
So, Lord, when You awake,
You shall despise their image.

Thus my heart was grieved,
And I was vexed in my mind.
I was so foolish and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.

Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You hold me by my right hand.
You will guide me with Your counsel,
And afterward receive me to glory.

Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.

My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish;
You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry.

But it is good for me to draw near to God;
I have put my trust in the Lord GOD,
That I may declare all Your works.”
— Psalm 73

I find it interesting that this Psalm begins with God is good to such that are “pure in heart” and the parallel to Matthew 5:8,
“Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.”

A dear brother, Tim Boden, once shared that “pure in heart” is about singularness of mind, undivided affections.

It brings to mind a verse God has burned on my heart for the past two years,

“Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?”
— Luke 16:11

I believe the “true riches” is God, true knowledge of Him that affords us the enjoyment of the things of God, including fellowship with those who belong to Him.

It brings to mind John 2:23-25,

“Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did.

But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men,

and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.”
— John 2:23-25

Could it be that I have not yet laid hold off the true riches because I still have harlotry in my heart, lusting for anything besides Him making it improper for Him to commit Himself to me?

The question before me is, “Would You Rather Have Life With God Or Control And Certainty?”

“Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.”
— Psalm 73:25

This is where I want to be. Help me, Lord Jesus.

Avoid Stuff

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Avoid Stuff

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”
—Hebrews 11:16

Every experienced traveler knows the key is to pack as lightly as possible.

It’s best to restrict yourself to the absolute essentials.

Every item beyond what is necessary is a burden. It makes travel that much more difficult.

And the further you have to go, the harder it makes it.

“But he who endures to the end will be saved.”
—Matthew 10:22

Every thing I acquire beyond what I need becomes a burden.

At the very least it becomes something I keep up with mentally: “Where is… ?”, “I thought I had…”

That sounds trivial but, at scale, with a house full of such things, it becomes a preoccupation: stuff to store, keep up with and protect.

And, you’ve never seen anyone travel with a house on their back.

“For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
—Luke 18:25

Stuff is a burden that keeps us stuck.

“But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”
—Matthew 19:22

And many of us are enslaved to jobs just to keep stuff as it’s keeping us in the same place, all while being told that “success” is acquiring more stuff that really just results in us being more stuck.

“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.”
—1 Timothy 6:10

So, I’m seeking to lay aside this weight and I’m praying, asking God for wisdom, “How should I approach material goods? How can I avoid the peril you warn against in Mark 4:19?”

“and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”
—Mark 4:19

What I have so far is to regard everything I have as belonging to Christ and thinking how I can use it for His profit.

“Sell what you have and give to the poor; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
—Luke 12:33-34

And, to approach any consideration of a new possession with the thought,

“Does Jesus need another…?”,

“Is this useful to Jesus?”,

“Does it help me be more useful to Jesus?”

“Is this something Jesus has given me to enjoy that I can enjoy without attachment?”

Because God does give us things to enjoy,

“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

But everything we think is good does not necessarily come from God.

Satan gives gifts too.

The key distinction is everything God gives results in us being closer to Him with greater knowledge of Him. Everything else is stuff that seduces us and lures our heart away from God.

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
—1 John 2:15

In short: avoid stuff.

It slows me down and keeps me from the true riches.(Luke 16:11)

Helping vs Helping At People

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Helping Versus Helping At People

Something we Christians do a lot, is we “help at” people which is not the same as helping people.

We give food baskets to the blind man and buy glasses for the lame, when that’s not their primary issue.

We want to do what we want to do, just to say we’ve done something rather than what they need done.

Jesus is Immanuel, “God with us”.

To help someone, we have to start with where they are and what they’re doing. We have to be with them. We have to expose ourselves long enough to SEE THEM, to see who they’d be, what they’d have and what they could do if the kingdom were to come to their life.

Then, we could come alongside them to help them walk in that reality.

We help people by first elevating our view, elevating their view and then elevating their circumstances to match that as it is in heaven.

We should be satisfied with nothing less.

That’s help.

#help #service #ministry

The One With The Most Fails

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - The One With The Most Fails

Imagine if God gave to us with the intent that we give to others, to the extent that when He comes to judge our work that is counted as a failure if we have anything still in our account!

I believe Jesus drops a truth bomb here:

Consider the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)

The Master gave varying amounts to three servants.

The only servant that failed was the one who still had what the Master had given.

But what about the two that succeeded?

They understood that they never owned what they were given. It was always the Master’s and they used it for His profit, not their own.

I repent!

My goal is to succeed and do likewise: to own nothing and use everything the Master gives me for His profit. And at His coming, my goal is for my account to be empty but for His house to be bursting at the seams.

The reward I seek is, “Well done good and faithful servant. Well done.”

#lookagain

The False Doctrine Of ‘I Earned It’

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Evil Eye

We feel justified living in luxury while people around us languish because “I earned it”.

We have made it a doctrine and enshrined it in our self-made American Judeo-Christian religion.

But, Jesus does not share our American ideals of capitalism.

If we belong to Christ we do not “work for money” or ourselves. We serve the Lord, so we regard money and prosperity differently.

The goal of gaining more is not to eat more.

The goal of gaining more is so that everybody eats.

Consider Matthew 20:10-15:

“But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius.

“And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, “saying,

‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.’

“But he answered one of them and said,‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?

‘Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.

‘Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’
— Matthew 20:10-15

Note that the landowner didn’t just go find workers, he sought people who didn’t have work.

This is in keeping with the point that Jesus is making about the Kingdom of Heaven: we all were without means of earning a living (eternal life) but I choose you and gave you that opportunity, and My heart was that everybody could live (good eye) while your heart was to have more than others (evil eye).

Being born again includes being given a new heart that looks at everything, including money with new eyes.

It is errant to save up treasure for yourself. See Luke 12:19-21

Because I’ve worked for it does not mean I can do with it whatever I please. I am the Lord’s.

Our approach to money and the power He’s given us to get wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18) should be seen as resources made available to take care of our Lord’s house and our fellow servants. See Matthew 25:44-51

Repent, with me.

This is an excerpt from one of three areas (identity, treasure, purpose) where the Lord is challenging lies I’ve embraced that hinder my receiving the “true riches”, and where He’s imparting to me the “things that make for my peace”.

#trueriches #money #thethingsthatmakeformypeace

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.