Coveting

How is it that in the richest nation on the planet, there is so much coveting?  Do we in America not have enough stuff?

Politicians today routinely tempt – no, actually incite – the citizenry to vote for schemes that will take money from one group of people and give it to another.  These politicians speak as if it’s only the wealthiest among us who are capable of greed – all while appealing to the greediness of everyone else.

Instead of giving heed to such rhetoric, let us pay attention to the Scripture’s admonitions to be content with what we have, and to avoid all forms of greed:

Some soldiers were questioning [John the Baptist], saying, “And what about us, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.”
–  Luke 3:14

Then [Jesus] said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”
–  Luke 12:15

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”
–  Mark 8:36

But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.  For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.  If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.  But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
–  1 Timothy 6:6-10

Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said,
“I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU,
NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,”
so that we confidently say,
“THE LORD IS MY HELPER,
I WILL NOT BE AFRAID.
WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?”
–  Hebrews 13:5-6

You can be tempted to covet what others have no matter how much…or how little…you currently have.

Therefore, let this be our attitude:  “O Lord Jesus, we do not covet what we don’t have; rather, we are thankful for what we do have.”

(And do not think for a minute that God will be stingy with those who happily embrace the contentment He counsels.)

We March to a Different Drummer

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
–  Henry David Thoreau

Fair enough, Mr. Thoreau.  Our drummer is Jesus and He has spoken to us thusly:

“Oh that My people would listen to Me,
That Israel would walk in My ways!”
–  Psalm 81:13

Therefore, we will keep step with His commandments today.

Do not be surprised, O world, that we do not march in step with you.  You are headed off a cliff.  We choose to keep our feet on solid ground.

We walk in the steps of Noah, who the world considered to be a fool until…

Would You Rather Have Peace or Would You Rather Have Your Way?

We usually want our way in life because we think this will bring us peace.  But through Christ we can have peace without having our way.  In fact, He often gives us peace because, for love’s sake, we are willing to give up our way.

If people lose their peace in trying to get their way, how can seeking to get their way be such a good thing?

Walk with your Lord Christ who gives His peace to you irrespective of whether or not you get your way with others.

Remember: Jesus did not even fight to save His own life – and received as His reward from God indestructible resurrection life – a kind of life that could never be taken away.

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.

Podcast – SC120

How Christ Gave Us a Universal and Timeless Commandment

Jesus Christ gave us a universal and timeless commandment to love one another as He loved us.  How did He do this?  By living His life according to a law – or set of laws – that were not universal or timeless at all.

Jesus lived according to the Law of Moses.  This was a long and complex legal code that structured ancient Israelite society and prescribed how its citizens should behave and how this society should interact with other nations of the Ancient Near East.  It applied only to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  An example of one of its strictures was that an Israelite was not to intermarry with a Moabite.  Another was that a kid should not be boiled in its mother’s milk.  Yet another had to do with how to reap a harvest when it came to the corners of one’s field.  Obviously, these sorts of laws aren’t suited for a modern, urban society – nor a Gentile society of any age.

There were, however, some overarching principles in the Law of Moses that found their way into Jesus’ ethic for us:  to love God with all one’s being and to love one’s neighbor as oneself. Thus Jesus fulfilled the Law of Moses as an observant Jew, and kept as the law He would give to us for all the ages to come…love.

Therefore, when you read the Law of Moses recognize that you are not reading something that on its face universally and timelessly applies to all humanity – but you are reading the raw material of what is universal and timeless for all humanity.

Therefore, let us love one another, for this is the universal and timeless commandment.

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.

Podcast – SC100

The Dead Don’t Need You – the Living Do!

The dead are doing fine.  They don’t need any help from you.  If you’re in doubt about this, read Everyone Is Going to Heaven.

It’s the living who could use your assistance.  Therefore, love them as Jesus has taught us to do.

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.

Podcast SC078

An Adequate Outer Life, a Superior Inner Life

Because a believer in Jesus and His kingdom has an entirely different perspective on this world than an unbeliever, the believer is led to a superior quality of inner life.  He is thinking godly thoughts – thoughts of kindness and good will toward others, even his enemies.  Because of this, his soul enjoys the blessing of God – glory, honor, and peace.

His outward life is always adequate and he is content.  He is not greedy for worldly gain nor is he worried that his provision will run out.  He works hard and knows that God will always provide for his needs.  Therefore, he may not be rich according to worldly standards.  And he is certainly not likely to be considered cool, hip, or popular.  He is seeking the approval of God and not man, and so any perceived lack of prestige in this world is of no concern to him.

The unbeliever, by contrast, works mainly on his outer life and appearance…in the vain hope that it will make him feel better on the inside.  And such inner improvement will always be short-lived.  It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh profits nothing.

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.

Podcast SC034

What Peter Learned About Fear

(In this post I’m going to talk about Peter’s failings.  Before anyone gets the wrong idea, I do not even consider myself worthy to untie the sandals of whoever unties the sandals of Peter.  That said, we should learn from Peter what he’s given us to learn from his life.)

The Scriptures reveal three great failings of Peter…and all of them were driven by fear.  Not the fear of God, but the fear of things other than God.

First, Peter walked on water.  Walked on water!  But then sank when he became frightened.  See Matthew 14:28-31.

Second, Peter denied the Lord in that dark night between Gethsemane and Calvary because of what might happen to him.  See Matthew 26:69-75.

Third, years later Peter was eating with the Gentiles in Antioch but withdrew when Jewish believers came on the scene because he feared their disapproval.  See Galatians 2:11-14.

Given that the Lord thought so highly of Peter, including him in some of the most critical moments of His earthly ministry, it is all the more tragic to see him fail at times.  And to see just how much good fear can unravel.

Therefore, let us note carefully what Peter says in 1 Peter 5:6, 7.  That is, “cast all your anxiety on Him” [the italics are mine].  Peter knew firsthand what retaining any of that anxiety could cost.  And also take particular note of Peter’s exhortation earlier in that letter (1 Peter 3:5, 6) where he says to “do what is right without being frightened by any fear” [the italics are mine].  If a great man like Peter can be undone by fears, how much more you and I are susceptible.

The fear of the Lord is the only fear we should harbor.  All other fear corrupts the blessings of God in our lives.  Peter learned the hard way.  He wants you and I to benefit from his experience.  Do not fear!  Your Lord loves you.

Let Psalm 56:3 be your watchword.

Giving Up Our Way to Pursue His Way

Our ways don’t work.  Your ways don’t work.  No one’s way’s work…but His.

This is a broken world.  Only the love of God can navigate it.

It’s past time to forsake our ways.  Let’s take up His ways.  Let’s live as He lived.

His way is love – first, foremost, and always.  Now, how can you go about loving His way today?

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.

Let All That You Do Be Done in Love

Jesus Christ shows that it is possible for love to be the motivation for everything that we do in life.

What are you planning to do today that is motivated by your love for God or others?  By contrast, what might you be planning today that has some other motivation?

We should purge from our lives those things that have some motivation other than godly love.

Disciples of Jesus live for the sake of love – just as He did.

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.

Let No One Seek His Own Good, but That of His Neighbor

It is natural for a human being to seek his own good.  It is godly for a human being to put the needs of others above his own.

Jesus Christ came to make us godly.

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.