“Give Me Neither Poverty Nor Riches”

Someone has said, “if you ask the average person how much money they need, what will they say?” The answer? “Just a little bit more.”

Man seems to think that his problems would be solved with just a little more money. There is nothing wrong with money. There is nothing wrong with honestly making money. But, happiness doesn’t come from just having a little more money.

There is a scene from a movie starring Tom Cruise. Cruise played a sports agent. He had a client that wanted a new and larger contract. The client said to the character Cruise played, “Show me the money.”

“Show me the money…”. We have a tendency to think that, if someone just shows us the money we will be happy.

Proverbs 30:8 says, “…give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.” Think about that verse…”give me just enough to satisfy my needs.”

That is a very different approach from how most view money. That verse teaches us to be content with the basics of life. Does that mean it’s wrong to have more? No it doesn’t as long as it doesn’t consume us.

The verse is talking about contentment. The Christmas season is a perfect example of this. Years ago, when our kids were young, a day or two before Christmas I would often ask Holli, “Do you think we have enough for the kids?”

Think about that…it was and is a ridiculous statement…”do we have enough?” They had gifts…but did they have enough gifts?

Again, there is nothing wrong with nice things…if you can afford it. But this verse is teaching us to be content. The Lord promised to put food on our tables and clothes on our backs. He didn’t promise us ribeye steaks every night or enough clothes for a month.

Years ago, in a class at Mississippi College, our Professor taught us a healthy approach to material things. He suggested we “maintain not gain.” Instead of having an over-abundance, maintain what we have. If something wears out, replace it….but you don’t need more than 1 of that item…maintain not gain.

“…..give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.” Again, nothing wrong with some material possessions as long as they don’t consume us. We should learn to be content with our needs being met.

The apostle Paul wrote, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself in….” May we be able to do the same.

Do What Is Right – Love Mercy – Walk Humbly With Your Lord

I like summary statements. Micah 6:8 provides an excellent summary of what God expects from His people. The Lord speaks through Micah and says, “Now, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”

Think about that verse;

“Do what is right”; The Lord expects us to do what is right. If we made every decision based on these directions, the world would be a better place. God says to us, “Just do the right thing.”

“Love mercy”; God is love. Our loving Heavenly Father wants us to love mercy… He doesn’t say love judging others or love criticizing others… but love mercy. The world has far too much hate… we need more mercy.

“Walk humbly with your God”; In the Beatitudes, Jesus says “Blessed are the meek…” Jesus was referring to humility. In one of the Indiana Jones movies, as “Indy” (Harrison Ford) as trying to make his way to a certain place, he’s reading instructions from an old book. The instruction reads “Only the penitent man will pass.” At the last minute, Indy realizes “penitent” means to humble himself and he kneels, surviving a huge blade that would kill him. “Only the penitent man will pass…” Good advice for us… We are to be marked by humility.

So… Do what is right… love mercy… walk humbly… Three simple words that we should live by.

Today, in all that you do, do the right thing…

Today… love mercy… help someone.

Today… walk humbly with the Lord…

Jesus Gives Us Hope Of Better Days Ahead

Hope… A promise of better days ahead… Everyone needs hope. We all need something to cling to, something to work toward.

In the Old Testament, God gave Israel the same promise. The people of Israel had disobeyed God and now, they were being punished for it. But the prophet Micah told Israel that a day was coming when “The Lord will mediate between peoples and will settle disputes between strong nations far away.
They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore.”

Think about that verse… “… they will hammer their swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks… ” Micah is painting a picture of a time when there will be no more war. He is painting a picture of better days to come.

We are celebrating Christmas. The Christmas season is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Jesus birth gives all mankind hope. Before Jesus came into the world, man had no hope. Man lived and died. There was no hope beyond the grave.

But Jesus rose from the grave. Jesus gave hope to people who been lame since birth. He gave hope to people who were sinners. He forgave the woman at the well. He called Matthew and changed his life.

Christmas is about hope. Hope that is found in the person of Jesus. Today, Jesus wants to give all of us hope. That doesn’t mean that our lives will turn around over-night. It doesn’t mean that we will never sin again. But it means that Jesus loves us and will forgive us and will help us live the Christian life.

Jesus. gives us hope of better days ahead.

A Lesson From Jonah; God’s Plan Is Always Best

The Lord made us and loves us and. has a plan for our lives. So, if all this is true, and it is, doesn’t it stand to reason that God’s plan is best for us? Sure it does. But, in spite of this, we often run from God’s will.

In the book of Jonah, God tells Jonah to “Get up and go to Nineveh.” God’s direction was clear yet, in spite of following God’s will, the scripture says, “But Jonah..” In other words, Jonah did his own thing instead of following the Lord. So Jonah boarded a ship that was bound for Tarshish. Jonah thought he was running from God. That’s a good reminder for all of us… we can’t run from God… God always finds us.

God appointed a storm to develop at sea and the ship was about to capsize. But Jonah was thrown overboard to appease his God. God appointed a whale to swallow Jonah and he spent some time in the Holiday Inn of Whales. While there, Jonah began to rethink things. Jonah realized that doing God’s will would be better than living in the belly of a whale so he repented and asked God to get him out of the whale. The whale spit him up and Jonah obeyed the Lord.

It’s always best to follow the Lord’s will. It may be that God has spoken to you and given you clear directions but you think that you have a better idea. If you are running from God, stop running. Whatever God’s plan is for you, it’s better than what you have for yourself.

Today, if God is calling you, I encourage you to listen. God loves us and wants the best for us. Follow the Lord; it’s always best.

Where Is Your Hope?

In the TV mini-series Lonesome Dove, one of the Rangers is named Jake Spoon. Jake tells Woodrow Call about Montana and w beautiful it is. This leads Woodrow to put together a herd of cattle and drive them to Montana. He’s counting on Jake to show them the way.

But Jake begins to waffle leading Woodrow to ask Gus if he thinks Jake is going?

Gus says, “I think Jake is far too leaky a vessel to put much hope in.”

Who is your hope in? Psalms 131:3 says, “O Israel, put your hope in the Lord—now and always.”

If your hope is in a person, you will be let down. Jesus is our only sure source of hope.

“Let Justice Roll Down Like Waters”

What does God want from His people? Does He want a religious show? Does He want His people to go through the ritual of religion but be cruel and unrighteous toward his fellow man? Certainly not!

In the book of Amos, God speaks to His people. The Lord tells them He is tired of their religious festivals. He is tired of their religion being nothing but a show. Then God tells them what He expects. He says; “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24). God wants His people to live righteously. He wants them to live justly. But what does that mean?

It means being kind to other people. It means helping others. It means doing the right thing. It means being kind to others. Our Lord wants His people to be righteous…not to appear righteous…not to put on a religious show…but to be righteous…and for justice to fill our land.

What is justice? It’s doing the right thing. It means being kind to others.

“Let justice roll down waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

Think Before Opening Your Mouth

Have you ever stuck your foot in your mouth? I have and I’m guessing you have as well. It can be referred to as “foot-in-the-mouth” disease.

In the New Testament, Peter had a good dose of it. He often opened his mouth without thinking.

Proverbs 29:20 says, “There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking.”

Most of us have spoken at times when we shouldn’t have but this verse talks about someone doing it regularly. Why does a person do this? At times, it’s for attention. Someone likes attention and they get it by speaking out of turn. Someone may get attention by constantly cutting down other people. It’s wrong to do that. How would you like it if someone did that to you? Jesus said we are to live by the golden rule; do unto others as we would have them do unto us.”

So, do you want someone constantly using you as the butt if their jokes?

I heard of a man once who did this often. The man could be funny. I was talking with his son once and he mentioned that his Dad loves to laugh and make others laugh. Then he added, “it was often at the expense of others.”

If you are constantly cutting others down…I encourage you to stop. Someone may say, “Oh, I don’t mean anything by it.” Ok, if that’s the case, it should be easy to stop.

Look at our verse again…”There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking.”

So, think about what you are about to say. Does it need to be said? If not, then don’t say it. There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking.

Why We Worship Jesus

The Christmas season is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. But, some may ask, “why do you worship Jesus?” As Christians, we know why but, a non-Christian may not know.

We celebrate the birth of Jesus because He is the Savior of the world. He is the divine Son of God. Revelation 1:8 says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.”

Jesus is the beginning and end. Think about that; He was at the beginning when the world was created and will be there at the end. Jesus is Lord over time. He performed miracles….he healed leprosy…He caused the blind to see.

He is the Lord of all.

Someone has said;

“Nineteen centuries have come and gone

And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race And the leader of mankind’s progress

All the armies that have ever marched

All the navies that have ever sailed

All the parliaments that have ever sat

All the kings that ever reigned put together

Have not affected the life of mankind on earth

As powerfully as that one solitary life.”

The Power Of God’s Grace

I am an unapologetic “grace” man. I believe STRONGLY in grace. But, does Grace give us a license to sin? No it doesn’t.

In the book of Jude, the scripture says that some ungodly people had gotten into the church and were saying that “…God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives.” Why did these people believe that God’s Grace allows you to live an immoral life?

They believed that because God forgives us, you could do whatever you wanted and God would forgive. God’s grace is real but it doesn’t mean we can do whatever we like. In fact it’s just the opposite; because God’s grace is real that grace should lead us to want to glorify God and not sin.

Other world religions require those who follow their faiths to do works.. essentially to earn their salvation. Christianity is different; we can’t work our way into heaven. Instead we serve the Lord because God loves us.

God’s grace is real and it’s power should lead us to live God and discourage us from immoral living.

Beware of Deception

We are in the midst of a political campaign in Georgia and we are being bombarded with political ads. Many of these ads can be misleading. You find yourself asking, “Is that true or false?” This post is not a political statement but I’m using political ads to illustrate a point.

Misleading and deception are similar. People can be deceived or misled.

It happened in the early church. There were teachers who were deceiving people. They were denying the incarnation of Christ and John warned the people not to be deceived. John said, “I say this because many deceivers have gone out into the world.”

We have to do the same. We need to do this in listening to messages. There are preachers who preach a false gospel. We have to be discerning when listening to them. We have to be discerning when listened to political ads.

So, how can we be discerning? If something doesn’t sound right, that may be because it isn’t. Or if you hear a message that contradicts scripture, it’s wrong. Now…be careful with that lost point. There are different ways to interpret scripture and in some cases, we won’t know until we get to heaven.

We all should ask the Lord for discernment. Someone may say, “The Lord put it on my heart that you should do such & such.” Be discerning. You should reply that when the Lord puts it on your heart too, then you will do it.

So we all need to beware. Jesus referred to false teachers as “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” Be sensitive…be discerning…and ask the Lord for discernment.