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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Autumn arrangement

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"Life That Is Truly Life"

"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life" (1 Timothy 6:17-19).

Considering the present state of the economy and the impact it has on so many lives, most especially those whose jobs have been downsized or eliminated, today's message may seem inappropriate or even insensitive. However we believe a consideration of this part of God's sacred Word is greatly needed as a means of maintaining a godly perspective in the ups and downs of our earthly journey.

"He who dies with the most toys, wins."Perhaps you've seen this motto.  I've usually seen it as a bumper sticker on huge, four-wheel drive pickup trucks! However adult toys vary and, admittedly, we all have some if we are honest. Many live their lives as if this slogan were really true; as if life is a contest to see who lives and dies with the most toys. But earlier in this very same chapter Scripture declares that which we can easily observe upon one's birth and death, "We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it" (1 Timothy 6:7).

Most toys, still dies
Arlin is a friend who wears a T-shirt with this thoughtful counter statement, "He who dies with the most toys, still dies."

The truths in today's Scripture portion are appropriate to virtually all of our readers. Earlier in the chapter Paul wrote a warning to those who "want to get rich" (v.9) which is also appropriate counsel for many of us.

Being rich can vary in meaning according to where we live and the resources available to us. In our materialistic society we often compare ourselves with those who have much more than we do, and fail to recognize how incredibly rich we really are compared to the majority of the world's population and also to the vast percentage of those who have lived before us.

Paul's description in today's text, "this present world" is not accidental.  He reminds his readers of the very temporariness of life in this world in contrast with "the eternal life" referred to in verse 19.

Today we often hear about "financial security".  Millions aspire to this financial security  and view it as being set for life. Although planning for our temporal future is prudent, most give very little attention to their eternal future.

Notice especially the phrase, "wealth, which is so uncertain." Today's generation desperately needs to hear this and recent events in the economy remind us of this truth. The world's wealth will always be uncertain as is proven in historical records and in our own lifetime. Nevertheless so many focus their life on bigger homes, latest cars, more toys, bank accounts and retirement savings.  But ultimately there is no "financial security."  Jesus spoke of a man who thought he had it when he kept building bigger barns, but God called him a fool (Luke 12:13-21).

Today let us put our hope in God and thankfully rejoice in all which He has richly provided for our enjoyment. We must realize that our ultimate security is in God alone!  Let us exclaim with the Psalmist David, "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him" (Psalm 62:5).

We are commanded "to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share."

The daily Scripture portion ends with a wonderful promise: "In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life." Let us ever keep before us the acknowledgment of the life that is truly life!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, help me not to strive for worldly riches that would cause me to place my hope in material wealth that is only temporal.  I know that money cannot buy love, joy, peace, forgiveness or lasting security. I cannot expect my riches to fulfill my greatest need since money cannot solve matters of the heart, but You do. For the riches You have entrusted to me I  want to be wise, accountable, and generous toward those who have less, all the while laying up treasures in heaven that await me when I get to my final and lasting home.  Amen.

Here's another rather obscure verse that speaks to today's topic: "For we are sojourners before You, and tenants, as all our fathers were; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope" (1 Chronicles 29:15). Of course there is no hope apart from God!

Happy face tree stump
Yesterday afternoon I passed this tree stump near Lancaster.
It reminds me of a happy barn in rural northern Lancaster County!

Here's an article by Randy Alcorn from his Eternal Perspectives blog concerning the life of Missionary William Borden. A powerful, brief read.

Here is a book recommended for those who would like to explore today's topic in greater detail:

Rich in Every Way: Everything God Says About Money and PossessionsRich in Every Way: Everything God Says About Money and Possessions  By Gene Getz / Howard Publishing
Topics concerning our relationship to our possessions are timely for today's blessed Christians . . . and often neglected. Author Gene Getz tells readers that the Bible says more about the things we own than any other subject except the Godhead. His thorough exploration of biblical history reveals overarching "supraprinciples" of ownership that apply to all people everywhere, then and now. Getz shows how Christians can resist the deadly tendency towards selfishness inherent in today's culture and how to use their possessions as effective tools for witness and spiritual growth. Avoiding both the extreme of "selling all and giving to the poor" and the greed-centered "prosperity gospel," he explains the biblical attitude toward possessions: a releasing of "this is mine" view of our possessions and allowing God's gifts to flow through our hands to meet human needs, demonstrating His love to an unbelieving world.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"I'd Rather Have Jesus"  Video  George Beverly Shea (this recorded in 1957.) He is now 100 years old!  Up to the last several years he has still been singing and here's a recording as an older man, although I don't know how old. I am so blessed by the faithfulness of men like this!

"God And God Alone"  Video  Steve Green

"You Are God Alone"  Video  Phillips, Craig and Dean

"My Hope Is In The Lord"  Video
 Tommy Coomes Band

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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