11 / 05 / 11
(Revisited from 013010)
“Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?”
I have felt some of the pain that our Messiah must have felt. Jeremiah felt it those who followed the Messiah felt this pain, as well. I am going to paint you a picture so that you may better understand:
Imagine two people standing before you. Each of them has a message :
Man #1: Is well-dressed and very handsome. He is successful in all that he does and seems to have the world under his control. Everything he touches seemingly turns to gold.
Man #2: Is quite the opposite. He is not wealthy, and as far as looks, well, he is far from handsome. He has a small group of friends who all seem to be down on their luck, too. People walking by seem to ridicule him. In short, by the standards of this world he would not be considered successful.
Both of these men are preaching a spiritual message about how to live here on earth and about salvation. These two men have differing opinions about it, though, which man would you tend to be drawn to? Both man #1 and #2 claim to love and praise God sincerely, and they both claim to be blessed by God. They both have a message which one would you tend to believe is truly being blessed? If you haven’t already guessed, man #2 represents Yeshua (Jesus) and those who followed Him. Scripture tells us in Isaiah 53:2-4:
“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not we considered him stricken by God.“
We also know from Scripture that He had no place to lay His head (He was homeless but he had a message). We also know from Scripture that Satan controls the worldly wealth and used it to tempt our Messiah in the desert. In our society, though, the multitudes continue to flock to man #1 in their search to know God. The fact is, our flesh wants what the world has to offer. Only when the riches of the world are combined with a spiritual message, people suddenly desire spiritual things.
LET US SEE WHAT SCRIPTURE SAYS ABOUT WORLDLY WEALTH:
First of all, I want all my readers to know that I consider myself wealthy. Why do I think so? Because I have more than today’s food and clothing. THAT is all that He promises us. Anything beyond today’s food and clothing makes us wealthy according to God’s standards. The promise of many churches, though, is that we will be wealthy according to the world’s standards if we have enough faith. My point is, if the proof-test of being blessed by God is wealth, then why weren’t the disciples and all the followers of Yeshua we read about in the New Testament all wealthy according to the world’s standards? Some may have been at first, but once they began to follow the Messiah, they walked away from their businesses or gave up all they had. They were willing to give up everything to follow Him.
“What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus) my Lord, for whose sake I have LOST all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ .” (Philippians 3:8)
In fact, when we think about focusing on gaining worldly wealth in this life, the words of our Messiah come to mind:
“and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:38-39)
As well as what He told the rich man to do to inherit the government (kingdom) of God:
‘Yeshua (Jesus) said to him (the rich man), “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” ‘ (Matthew 19:21)
The truth is: when we focus on gaining spiritual wealth instead of earthly wealth, it is then that we lose THIS life so that we may gain Christ and find true life, eternally. Are you trying to hang on to both? Let us continue then
Here is a challenge for the wealthy (those with more than today’s food and clothing): Pray this prayer with me, “Father, if my wealth is keeping me from knowing you more, take away my abundance and leave me with only what you feel is necessary for me. I do not want to be rich if it is keeping me from truly knowing you more intimately. I trust in you to supply my daily food and clothing like your disciples did.”
Go ahead and try it. What did you say? Hey, I totally understand how hard it is to pray and think this way. We have an example of a prayer about finances in Proverbs which states:
“give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, “Who is YHVH?” Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:7-9)
Did you catch that? The writer of Proverbs considers having only today’s daily bread as being the middle ground between poverty and riches! What else does Scripture say about those who preach that faith will necessarily bring worldly wealth or that having riches is the proof that He is pleased with your faith?
” who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.” (1 Timothy 6:5-9)
- Read the physical description of His followers in 2 Corinthians: “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.” (vs 6:10)
‘Then Yeshua (Jesus) said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. (He did NOT say it is impossible, just hard. But, how hard is it? ) Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom (government) of God“. ‘ (Matthew 19:23)
Hmmmm that is hard. Do I want more money? Yes (I cannot lie), of course I do. But it is my flesh that desires it and does NOT want to have to trust God every time I get hungry (but that is my flesh and I am working on it). You can have a homeless man who is just as much of a sin as the most wealthy if he desires it more than God. The fact is, it is when we have nothing that we truly trust God for every meal and need. That could be why those He sent off to preach the truth were told to take NOTHING with them: ‘These were his (Yeshua’s) instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff–no bread, no bag, no money in your belts.” ‘ (Mark 6:8)
“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)
“Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver has corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.” (James 5:1-3 and 5)
Gulp so how rich do you want to be? Do you want tomorrow’s food too? Is that too much? I don’t know. But when we see the abject poverty in third world countries, nearly all of us as Americans would be considered rich and fall into the above descriptions. We truly must take this to heart and make some hard decisions about what the future holds and where our treasures should be. Many think their litmus test of true faith is: “I study the Word when I have time and I go to church. Obviously, God is pleased with me because I am wealthy and prosperous.” This message is the opposite of what He seems to actually say in Scripture. (Oh, I know, I know. Just like obedience, there are some Scriptures that we can twist to satisfy our flesh but many of those passages are referring to ’spiritual wealth’).
‘You say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.’ (Revelation 3:17-18)
What do you think: in this passage, is wealth a sign of being blessed by God? It seems that wealth is often what Satan uses to deceive people from truly turning to and knowing the God of Israel. Can you see it? “Hey, I claimed Jesus as my Savior, I go to church, I pray, and praise Him and I have all that my flesh desires. Why would I want to change anything about my faith?” Many people do not grow spiritually or seek to be further sanctified by God (they continue to break His Laws) because they are lulled into complacency due to the belief that the material blessings prove they are ‘holy enough’ to gain salvation and please God the way they are. This is verified by the following verses:
“The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22)
“Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him. Though while he lived he counted himself blessed ‘and MEN praise you when you prosper’ he will join the generation of his fathers, who will NEVER see the light of life.” (Psalm 49:16-19)
Did you catch that? The wealthy who were praising God considered themselves as being blessed, never realizing that their wealth was actually keeping them from knowing the truth and seeing the light. I have to be honest with you, it is when I am the neediest that I seem to grow the most in my faith; It is when I struggle to get paid from those I have worked for that I search the hardest for His face and truth and what pleases Him.
SO, WHAT ARE HIS CHILDREN TOLD TO DO WITH WEALTH (the amount we have after eating and dressing for the day)?
Let’s see how the early church handled wealth:
“At the present time your plenty will supply what THEY need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what YOU need. Then there will be equality.” (2 Corinthians 8:14)
“All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” (Acts 2:44-45)
“There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.” (Acts 4:34-35)
For all of us who have more than today’s food and clothing, we need to take a step back and examine how we are using the wealth that we have. In addition, we must also realize that wealth is not a litmus test to determine who has been given favor by God. I have seen many wealthy self-proclaimed ‘Christians’ whose children were disobedient, whose marriages were failing, and who had little sleep due to worry, fear, and depression. I have also seen the opposite-those low and middle income ‘Christians’ (still wealthy in God’s eyes) whose children were respectful, whose marriages were a joy and blessing, and who had peaceful sleep with lives of joy, spiritual growth, praise, and peace. The fact is, the less one has, the greater the faith seems to be. Me? I would go to man #2 for advice about life (only after examining His walk of obedience and faith).
Enjoy (i am only doing what my Master did … please realize that). for some of you, you enjoy confirming your walk with these studies, but for many, this is a pill that i pray will change your life to be like the Master. know that my love is deep - brother kyle
08 / 06 / 11
(Comments in parentheses and emphasis within Scriptures are mine.)
A common perception of life is: Ahhhh there is some money in the bank, my house is ample, I have a nice network of friends, and my family is healthy and beautiful therefore, God is happy with me and my spiritual life, and my salvation is secure.
Throughout history, there have been in each generation, people who hold to a similar such notion. However, God’s Word does NOT back up this perception. Take the following passage, for example. The nation had NOT been righteous or obedient to YHVH, yet they were seeking Him as if they had been. They were deceiving themselves, just as countless generations of people have been deceiving themselves:
“Yet they seek Me day by day and delight to know My ways, As a nation that has done righteousness And has not forsaken the ordinance of their God. They ask Me for just decisions, They delight in the nearness of God.” (Isaiah 58:2)
People today say, “Yes, we are sinners, but God sees only Jesus and His righteousness when He sees me. Anyway, Jesus did away with those Old Testament Laws.” Now, read the above passage again, which is addressed to people who disobey Him, and yet call out to Him as if He were pleased with their disobedient lifestyles.
Go ahead, I will wait.
“Yet they seek Me day by day (well, at least for an hour a week) and delight to know My ways (They buy book after book about ‘how to’, yet they do not study the Laws and the Prophets as Yeshua taught us to do), As a nation that has done righteousness (”Look at me, I am righteous through the blood of the Messiah’” Note: then why are they still sinning by repeatedly breaking the same Laws?) And has not forsaken the ordinance of their God (”We obey God we love everyone-so we have obeyed all God wants us to”). They ask Me for just decisions, They delight in the nearness of God (”We have such a good time at church with all the functions and we feel so close to God”).” (Isaiah 58:2)
Yet, God is silent in their lives. Oh, they pray, but how does He answer them? “Sometimes what I ask comes to pass sometimes it does not” (What, is prayer like Russian roulette?) God is clear about those who ‘act’ like and ’say’ they love Him, but do not because they do not obey His Laws:
“16 But to the wicked God says, ‘What right have you to tell of My statutes And to take My covenant in your mouth? 17 For you hate discipline, And you cast My words behind you. 21 These things you have done and I kept silence; You thought that I was just like you; I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes. 22 Now consider this, you who forget God, Or I will tear you in pieces, and there will be none to deliver.”" (Psalm 50:16-17, 21-22)
He is also clear about those who pray to Him while ignoring His Laws:
“He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, Even his prayer is an abomination.” (Proverbs 28:9)
Many people claim that they are part of the New Covenant, but claim though they may, their lives do not show that they are part of it. They tell of the stories of old, yet ignore His wrath, “Oh, that is not for me” they assume, as they continue to ignore His Laws they have forgotten that YHVH said that “they are your life“. Instead, they say, “Oh, our loving Master simply would not tell me to ‘go away’ and send me to damnation for not practicing His Father’s Laws. He must be talking to someone else.” Then, they continue to disobey and ignore His Sabbath, feasts, and eat what HE says is detestable. They are wrong; it is VERY clear (they just need to desire to know the truth at all cost). The Son (who could say NOTHING on His own, but only what His Father told Him to say) is talking to those who are claiming His covenant promises, yet are living without His Laws (Law-LESS-ness):
“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS (a life without the Law).‘” (Matthew 7:22-23)
Then the Master continues in vs 24 about those who hear His Words and practices them, thus are wise.
I WILL GIVE YOU JUST A FEW PASSAGES TO MEDIATE ON (Many people throughout history thought the same thing, “As long as we are worshiping and sacrificing to Him, our obedience to His laws doesn’t really matter”.)
“It shall be when he hears the words of this curse, that he will boast, saying, ‘I have peace though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart’.” (Deuteronomy 29:19)
“But you have behaved more wickedly than your fathers. See how each of you is following the stubbornness of his evil heart instead of obeying me.” (Jeremiah 16:12)
“But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.” (Romans 2:5)
Being repentant means to be sorry and to turn from that sin and set up your life to be in obedience, instead. Have you come to the place where you are truly repentant for transgressing His Laws?
“YHVH (The Lord) says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.‘ (Isaiah 29:13)
I write because I love each of you (NOT to boast, nor to mock, but to pull people from the raging fire who think their salvation is secure despite their lack of obedience). Unfortunately, many people honor YHVH by celebrating and worshiping Him on Sunday (a rule taught by man ; not in Scripture), yet disregard His command to honor the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath. They also worship Him on different man-made feast days (celebrations taught by man, but are not in Scripture) and they praise Him, yet do not celebrate and honor Him on the days He commands us to. They don’t even know His name OR the name of His Son (LORD and Jesus are NOT the names of the Father and Son; they are names given by man- NOT in the original Scriptures). All the while, they are also eating what HE calls detestable (but man teaches that it is clean and good to eat) yet they come near with their mouths to honor Him, HE says.
Many people justify their disregard for His laws by saying, “Oh, He knows my heart and that I love Him“. This is half right He DOES know each of our hearts, but as far as loving Him, He has been clear in the Torah, as well as the Apostolic writings about what loving Him looks like:
In the Torah:
“I command you today to love YHVH your God, (’what does loving YHVH look like?‘) to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that YHVH your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. 17 But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today that you shall surely perish (Never enter the Kingdom that is coming).” (Deuteronomy 30:16-18)
I would list more, but many feel that the Old Testament is done away with and not for us Gentiles. This is sad and could not be farther away from the truth. So, let us look at the New Testament and what it says loving God looks like (Remember: the NT must line up with the OT, or else it would be a false teaching)!
In the New Testament:
“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15)
We know that Yeshua (Jesus) NEVER taught that the Law was done away with or not to be obeyed (Many use Paul’s misunderstood and hard to understand writings OVER those of the Master). We know that Yeshua could ONLY speak what the Father told Him to speak. We know that whatever is the Father’s is the Son’s It is obvious that the Son commanded obedience to the Father.
“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” (2 John 1:6)
“This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,” (1 John 5:2-3)
This was not something new “For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you,” (Deuteronomy 30:11)
IS YOUR DESIRE TO BE A PRIEST IN THE KINGDOM (GOVERNMENT) OF GOD?
(Then which priest do YOU think He will be coming for?):
“Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.” (Ezekiel 22:26)
This is referring to Israel’s priests of old, yet many of the pastors and priests of today would fit this description very easily.
“Moreover, they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. 24 In a dispute they shall take their stand to judge; they shall judge it according to My ordinances. They shall also keep My laws and My statutes in all My appointed feasts and sanctify My sabbaths.” (Ezekiel 44:23-24)
This is referring to those who have the Spirit of Truth and are rising up and acknowledging the Laws and practicing them getting ready for His return! These devotions are teaching the difference between the holy and the profane.
It all has to do with our flesh. I am doing nothing more than what my Savior did, “Repent, less you perish in your sins” (Yeshua: “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:5))
Not many listened to His warning, either (back then, or even today). Satan convinced Adam to sin, he convinced Israel to sin, he convinced the priests of Israel to sin, he did the same to the multitudes today did he convince YOU too? Oh, they all were still worshiping YHVH, yet it is all in vain.