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Tuesday, November 30, 2010
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"For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God" (Ephesians 5:5). "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances" (Philippians 4:11).
"Tis the season to be … greedy, la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la" (whoops, I don't think that's quite the way the song plays out in the stores this season, does it)! Perhaps the word, "greed" is not in the heart of a Christmas song but yet the world's system turns up the volume on greed this time of year. Colorful Ad fliers comprise more than half the newspaper, and that's not including the ads that fill the regular pages. Many of us who make purchases online and use our email address find an increasing amount of email in our inboxes with "can't miss" sales.
The season we consider the most giving act in history (that God gave His only begotten Son) has become an excuse for greed, although many of you may be irritated that I would use such a word. After all we (well most of us) deal with some form of greediness and we would really rather not be reminded in an "encouragement" email!
I certainly fight greed in my life and the above Scripture portion has long challenged me. I like things and there's always something new to like and want. It's an ongoing battle. The ads look so appealing and promise so much.
For many years now I've had a hankering for one of those "Bose" wave radio/CD players. They just sound so good in the stores. But I really don't need one and the set I have now has been working for several years. I'm sure more than a few of you can identify with what I call the tyranny of the new, whether it's a Blu-ray, HDTV, SUV or scores of other "must have" products.
The daily text is blunt: "For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." "Pleonektes", the underlying Greek word for "greed" means to "desire more". What stuns me about the verse is the statement that follows, "such a man is an idolater." In another place Paul writes of "greed, which is idolatry." Materialistic greed is the major form of idolatry in our time that we have to contend with just as the ancient people of God dealt with the various images we now identify as idols.
From the beginning Satan has tormented the human race with this resounding lie, "What God has provided is not enough." At the very heart of Satan's first lie and temptation to Adam and Eve was that the outstanding beauty and bountiful provision in the Garden of Eden was not enough. They fell for it and our fallen race has been living under the echo and effects of this lie ever since.
All believers do well to take to heart the Apostle Paul's confident assurance expressed in our second daily verse. "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." He wrote this from prison and yet he exudes a deep abiding peace and assurance so lacking in our world today, even among many professed believers who have more than enough. Today I want the contentment Paul had. What about you? Through Christ we can have it! "Enough for me that Jesus saves, this ends my fear and doubt." (Lidie H. Edmunds)
As I said, it's a battle I continue to fight and will as long as we live in this time of prosperity. I just want to take God's Word seriously. I want to embrace the attitude of Jacob when he said, "God has been gracious to me and I have all I need" (Genesis 33:11).
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, You are a gracious and generous Father who bestows on us bountiful gifts and sufficient supplies to meet our every need. When we get our eyes off that which we have and set our heart's affections on material things that we don't have we can easily struggle with envy, discontentment, and jealousy which leads to an ungrateful attitude. Thank you for the extras that we enjoy in life, but we especially thank You for the essentials that we experience such as salvation, eternal life and endless hope through Jesus Christ our Lord. Keep our focus on the hallowed manger scene instead of the hollow mall setting as we celebrate another Christmas this year. It is in the name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.
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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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