balance

Never use God’s Sovereignty as an excuse

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

–Revelation 20: 12-13

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Integrity doesn’t just slip…

Integrity is more than just avoiding the various pitfalls of obvious sin, though it is difficult to overstate the need for a holy life. Some of us are good at avoiding the more flagrant kinds of sin, but still allow room for seemingly minor (and yet often no less problematic) lapses of conduct, conscience and composure to occur. In Solomon’s case, the slide into flagrant disobedience began immediately after he used deception to take revenge on Shimei in 1 Kings 2. David had promised not to kill Shimei for cursing him years ago, and he instructed Solomon:

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A word on Thrift…

Go to the ant, sluggard; consider her ways and be wise; who having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provides her food in the summer and gathers her food in the harvest. (Proverbs 6:6-8)

Financial tip of the day:

It’s good to remember that ants don’t just plan for their provision, but they are also not wasteful or irresponsible with their resources.

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The new depravity…

“And constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.”
-1 Timothy 6:5-8

God can and does bless people, but we are not to see a relationship with him as a means of acquiring wealth. In this passage we are told that those who do so are _depraved_ and deprived of truth. Once our perspective is skewed to believe that the gospel is about ‘prosperity’ or ‘power to get wealth,’ we have twisted our very perception of God. Our thoughts determine who we are (Proverbs 23:7), and so, a corrupted perception of God will inevitably contaminate everything that we do. Consider that much of church leadership today preaches endlessly about prosperity but remains entirely silent on some of the glaring signs of the times. The pursuit of financial status has become the main focus of the gospel, with some self-help philosophy thrown in, making for a gospel which is self-serving and self-centered, one that does not resemble the gospel of self-denial that Christ Himself preached…

This in turn has led to an exodus of the truth from the ministry of the Word. It is now standard practice in mainstream ministry to avoid expository preaching and teaching in favor of topical preaching, so that subjects which may offend people can be sidestepped. Sin, morality, a deeper work of the cross in the life of the believer, holiness, consecration, and the relational protocols of scripture which require us to never condone or tolerate habitual sin among the saints are truths of which congregations are now largely deprived. thus sin rus rampant in the churches, and the emerging generations are rising without an absolute sense of ethics, morality, or of separation from the world and its carnality.

Even on the subject of prosperity very little is said that is not entirely defined and pursued in the world’s terms and exclusively within its system. God’s people are told to go after wealth and buy the poorly-built stick frame houses that have a useful lifespan of 40 years and will require extensive maintenance, instead of seeking out, or even creating alternative housing which is much more durable, sustainable, and affordable. Alternatives is exist in abundance, and in many cases these alternative are so much more affordable that families could own their home outright with no debt within a few years, or even build them with no debt at all. Consider this, and then take some time to think of every mode of ‘prosperity’ of which we commonly speak, and examine these ‘blessings’ in terms of whether they are conducive to a dependency on the world system. If there is a good deal of that dependency, then we must consider the possibility that these may not be the avenues we are to pursue if we are to be as free from the world’s systems as much as is possible.

The challenge: recommit to Biblical perspectives, pursue godliness, and think outside the box of how the world defines prosperity and how we ought to embrace it.