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Thursday, June 2, 2022

Friendly horses
We passed these friendly horses this morning on Donegal Springs Road.
It seems fences do make good neighbors!

"The Deceitfulness Of Wealth"

Message summary: Wealth can consume one’s thoughts and energies, and in the process, the important things in life may be exchanged for that which brings only temporal ease or pleasure.

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“And others are the ones sown with seed among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of wealth, and the desires for other things enter and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Mark 4:18,19).

Yesterday I spoke at a prayer meeting and used the topic of worry to prompt prayer requests using this verse:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6,7).

I asked the people in attendance what troublesome situations might cause them to worry and then offered that we, as a group, could pray about those matters. Various topics were mentioned such as the abortion issue, sex trafficking, the world our high school graduates are entering into, increased violence, and on and on the list goes.

One of the sources of worry expressed is the state of our economy and inflation. Among so many other issues we wonder what the future holds in this regard. I want today's lesson to speak to my heart in that regard and pray that it does yours as well.

In the parable of the sower Jesus listed three examples of choking thorns (weeds) which render the Word from being fruitful in our lives. The first is "the worries of the world". These worries, when left unchecked, will choke the viable seed that is intended to bear fruit in our lives. The fertile soil (our lives) become unproductive because the endless worries have sucked out the very oxygen and space needed for plant life to extend its roots and become firmly grounded. What should have been healthy fruit instead gets entangled in the tentacles of worthless, common weeds.  We must be on our guard and learn to trust instead of worry.

Today we consider the second choking weed that our Lord reveals as an impediment to spiritual growth from God’s Word planted in our lives, "the deceitfulness of wealth".

Let us consider wealth not in the sense of those that have a lot more than we do and thus the tendency to see ourselves as not wealthy. After all when Jesus taught this many of His hearers had far fewer resources than us and yet He still warned of the deceitfulness of wealth. Rather let us consider our wealth in the sense of the resources God has provided us with. We and most reading this are relatively wealthy in comparison to so much of the world's population but not in comparison to Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos!

In what ways is wealth deceitful?

1) Wealth is deceitful, because it appears to offer that which will satisfy our deepest needs. However, the one who aspires for riches so often merely creates for himself an insatiable appetite for more. John D. Rockefeller, one of the richest men who ever lived, was asked “How much money is enough? He replied “Just a little bit more.” It’s like eating honey or chocolate (or in my case Doritos chips) – the more you eat, the more you want! Paul warns that those who have an appetite for money can easily be seduced from the faith and experience many sorrows, “Some people, in their eagerness to get rich, have wandered away from the faith and caused themselves a lot of pain” (1 Timothy 6:10b).

2) Wealth is deceitful, for though it may appear to serve one’s needs, in reality, it often becomes one’s master. Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:24).

3) Wealth is deceitful because we think it will bring security, when in fact riches are a great insecurity. Consider the current economic climate and the unexpected losses many are experiencing as a result of our troubled economy and inflation (also greed). Paul commands “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” (1 Timothy 6:17). We do well to heed these warnings.

A focus and pursuit of wealth can deter, destroy, disillusion and bitterly disappoint. Bible teacher F.B Meyer, who lived from 1847-1929 wrote an interesting perspective regarding the indecisiveness of managing our resources:

"Oh, the endless figurings in the brain—how to keep, or invest, or increase."

Indeed wealth can consume one’s thoughts and energies, and in the process, the important things in life may be exchanged for that which brings only temporal ease or pleasure.

As we pursue the Father above everything else He aligns our desires with His. That's what Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:33, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."

We close with the mission statement of Crown Financial Ministries that reflects the Biblical approach toward the resources God entrusts to us while journeying here below: "Equipping people worldwide to learn, apply, and teach God’s financial principles so they may know Christ more intimately, be free to serve Him, and help fund the Great Commission."

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, for the blessing of another day we are thankful. The greatest riches in this world cannot be bought with money, but are provided through Your abundant goodness to us and Your faithfulness such as the early hour sunrise or the evening sunset; the birds awakening us with their melodic chants, the fragrant flowers that bring vibrant color to our landscape, the love of a parent, spouse or a child, the loyalty of a friend, the dedication of a worker, the stirring passion of a soul winner. All of these are blessings that come from you; they cannot be purchased but can be greatly appreciated. And we do so through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Forbes magazine has an article "The Richest in 2022" You can see if your name is on it!

I came across this quote and it's a stimulus for a future message: "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." (Jiddu Krishnamurti)

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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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