Are You Different?

One of the strongest hindrances to the Christian life is peer pressure. No one wants to be different than those around us.  Teens have to wear a certain brand of clothes. Why? Because “everyone” at school wears that brand. People will ask when invited to a party/dinner what is “everyone” wearing? Why? We don’t want to stand out in the crowd. Peer pressure sometimes causes people to do things that go against their beliefs or values; just to be accepted. 

Even people in Old Testament times faced the ‘herd mentality.’ The nation of Israel didn’t want to be different, so they asked Samuel to give them a leader. … Now we want a king to be our leader, just like all the other nations. (Emphasis added.) God warned them they were about to make a big mistake but they insisted. The Bible repeatedly gives us scripture warning us not to give into peer pressure.

  • Romans 12:2 (NLT) Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world…”
  • Psalm 1:1 “… do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners or join in with mockers.
  • 2 Chronicles 13:7 Then a whole gang of scoundrels joined him, defying Solomon’s son Rehoboam when he was young and inexperienced and could not stand up to them
  • Galatians 2:13 As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.

Jesus didn’t call us to blend in, but to stand out—just like He did.

Seven Spiritual Truths on Wealth

We live in a world that is obsessed with money.  As a whole:   wealth
People love money
People live for money
People believe that money will solve at least most of their problems.
It would not be an over-statement that people worship money. They love to make it, have it and spend it on themselves. On the other hand, God expects His followers to understand and reflect His view of money.
Here are seven spiritual truths every Christ follower should follow:
1. God owns everything and man manages His property
The concept of God’s ownership is introduced in the very first verse of the Bible. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…

2. God is the source of all wealth
Since God owns everything, everything we see comes from the hand of God. The tendency is to think otherwise. Deut. 8:17                 

  3. You cannot serve both God and wealth God expects us to have money without becoming addicted to it. God expects us to have money without becoming addicted to it. Luke 18:18-22                     

 4. The love of money is a root cause of many problems
The love of money will rob you of contentment.  Eccl. 5:1                                                         The love of money hurts your relationship with God 1 Timothy 6:9-10

5. God blesses the person who honors God with his wealth.
God teaches us to invest our money in His Kingdom 2 Cor. 9:6-7 

6. Earthly riches are temporal. Treasures in heaven are eternal Mt. 6:19

7. When God has your money; He has your heart. Mark 12:41-44

What To Do?


Yesterday, Image result for honestyI was shopping at Lowes Home Improvement store [One of my favorite stores.] I dutifully had my list of items I needed to purchase but when I came across the clearance rack, I found my favorite plant, Lantana. Clearance price?  $1.00! So, I quickly took advantage of my good fortune!  

While loading my items in my car, I discovered I had seven plants but had only paid for six. I had miscounted. [I never was good at Math.] So, I what do I do? After all, it was just a mistake; I was not attempting to steal anything and  Lowes wouldn’t go bankrupt if I didn’t return it. I started to rationalize:

  • It was a long walk back to the store and I was tired.
  • I could return it later the next time at the store.
  • It was only a dollar item! No big deal!
  • People deliberately shoplift; so Lowes expects to lose a certain amount of product.

All those reasons made sense to me but the reality was still the same. I had something in my possession that did not belong to me and my conscious wouldn’t  let me keep it. When I returned the plant and explained my the situation; the Lowes associate looked like they had just seen a green, one-eyed Martian!  

I share this story, not to post on my own piety but to show us that honesty and integrity have become as extinct as the Do-Do bird. I want to be a person of integrity and I hope this is your goal. 

Disclaimer: This story is what I felt that God required of me; you may have responded differently and I do not judge you. Allow the peace of God rule in your hearts. Colossians 3:15

 

Cops. Friend or Foe?

160213-baton-rouge-shooting-417p_a6b509fbf582470cce1495f37de464ae.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000.jpg (1659×1000)To be honest, I cannot get my mind around the senseless killing of our law enforcement officers. I do understand that those who committed these crimes have a totally different world view than most of the world. They have been taught from childhood to hate and distrust anything that even hints of authority.

Most people do not realize that God instituted authority for our good and those who have authority are God’s “agents.” Listen to Romans 13:1-5 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities,for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

I realized that there are a FEW people who will misuse their authority but we cannot paint ALL police officers with the same wide brush. We need to respect those in authority and pray for them daily.

Let’s Make A Deal!

Everyone wants a great deal. We go through the newspaper looking for the best price on food, clothing, and automobile tires. Have you ever went to a yard sale or flea market and discover an item that is vastly under-priced? You know that the person selling the item obviously does not know its true worth. Do you try to talk them into selling it at ever a lower price?

As a Christ-follower, do you…
a) Praise God for this wonderful opportunity, buy the object without letting the owner know its true value? And then brag to your friends what a shrewd dealer you are?
b) Inform the owner of the real value and offer him a reasonable price?

Treat others in the same way that you would want them to treat you. Luke 6:31

Would love to hear your comments.

All I Got Is This Lousy T-Shirt

Tourists and travelers buy souvenirs from the places they visit. Souvenirs connect us to a place and an experience that become hooks for our memories. They prove that we’ve been to a specific place. Souvenirs can be just about anything: My wife likes seashells. I like collecting baseball caps. Some buy jewelry while others may collect postcards.

shirt

In the Old Testament there is a story of souvenir collecting. The Philistines grab a priceless Israelite treasure – The Ark of the Covenant. 1 Samuel 6:19 . About the same time, the nation of Israel began collecting Canaanite items. In both cases their “souvenirs” brought calamity to the owners.

When Israel began conquering Canaan, they were supposed to destroy all the idols they found. Instead, many people collected the idols, brought them home and eventually worshipped them. Exodus 20:4 Today’s idols don’t look like the ancient gods of wood or stone but they endanger us just as much. Whatever holds first place in a person’s life is in fact their idol. Money, success, pride or anything else can be an idol if it takes God’s place. If we have “foreign gods,” we need to dethrone them, giving the true God His rightful place.

The Itch No One Can Scratch

itchWe have all had an itch that we cannot scratch. It is usually located somewhere on your back that your arm is too short to reach. So, you reach into your desk for a ruler but you cannot get enough pressure. Next, you get up, walk from your desk and rub your back against the door frame. No good! After several other attempts, you give up and try just to ignore the itch you cannot scratch.

Maybe no one was better at scratching than Solomon. The book of Ecclesiastes is devoted to his search for The Next Thing. He had wealth, power and ability. The phrase “I devoted myself to…” keeps coming up in his book.

  • Solomon threw lavish parties that we today cannot comprehend the cost
  • He surrounded himself with gardens, parks, and houses
  • He constructed a palace that took 150,000 workers thirteen years to build.
  • He accumulated 1,000 wives and concubines
  • He indulged in every appetite. “I denied my self nothing my eyes desired.” 

You can walk down the same road but you find, as Solomon did, nothing brought lasting soul satisfaction.  We are called to contentment. Contentment does not come when we acquire enough. It is a product of the way we think.  The goal of advertising is to get you to think how dissatisfied you are with your current it. 

A spiritual leader went to spend a few days in a monastery to reflect. The monk who showed him to his simple cell said, “If you need anything let us know and we’ll teach you how to live without it.”

“He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance with increase. This also is vanity.” Ecclesiastes 5:10