Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Do You Serve Wealth?

Luke 16:13 (NASB) No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other You cannot serve God and wealth.

Yes, I serve wealth. I don't have any, but we can serve it just as much not having much of it as having lots of it. Many decisions I make are based on the financial situation. The following thoughts are common for me . . .

"I don't have enough money for my bills, can I really spare a couple of dollars for this person who doesn't have food?" "I could be making money doing things instead of resting even though I've worked 50 hours this week." "I don't have time to be in the Word this morning, bkz I have to get to work."

Who does the providing? Me or God? In case you missed those multiple passages of Scripture, God is the one who provides, not me. But again . . . I make it about me. If I don't do it, it won't get done. The pride surfaces in yet another unique way.

Look at the 3 quotations above. In the first one, it is more important for me to take care of me instead of taking care of the need that God has presented to me to love someone else. Interestingly enough, I have plenty of food, I could even afford to go without some food, but my bills are more important than this person's life. In the second one, it is about not taking care of my body and insisting that I am the one who should be making the money instead of God. In the third one, I'm prioritizing making money, or my priorities, over God and my relationship with Him.

He tells us that the greatest commandments are to love Him with all of our being & love our neighbor as ourselves. I see the exact opposite in those quotes.

So who are you really serving? God or money (or something else).

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Forgiveness of the Father

As I was reading the story of the Lost Son this morning in Luke 15, I was confronted again with how forgiving the father is. My initial judgmental thought was "this kid went out and squandered his inheritance, and the father actually ran out to meet him & hugged him." As soon as the father saw that the son was repentant, he ran to meet his son.

God reminded me that that is how much He loves and forgives me. Even though I keep falling back into my sin, He still comes running to take me back when I repent of that sin.

The key is my repentant spirit. Am I really sorry that I've sinned? I get comfort from my sin. No . . . comfort comes from God. Does my sin really disgust me as much as it disgusts God? Remember what He did for you, and it will help you be disgusted that your sin is the reason He died such a terrible death.

Preach the gospel to yourself today, and remember the sin, the payment, the forgiveness, the positional holiness.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Counting the Cost

This morning I was reading Luke 14. There are a number of familiar verses in this chapter to me, but I was intrigued about the placement of these particular verses:

"For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.'"(v.28-31)

I thought this was a good passage on being a good planner. Put some thought into things before you do them. And yes, we should put some thought into things, but this is in the context of the cost of discipleship. True discipleship is costly! Look at the previous verses:

"If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple." v.26-27. V. 33 continues, "So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions."

Jesus is telling us that we need to really think through if we are willing to pay the cost for being His disciple. Being His disciple isn't something you just do on the side or when you feel like it. It requires your life. You no longer matter in the grand scheme of things. Yes, He loves you, and you belong to Him. He has given you value, forgiveness, etc, but it is all about Him . . . not me. It is about Him who grants me those things, not about the receiver of those gifts.

Forgive me John MacArthur for this very loose quote, and I'm not even certain of the source, but I believe it is in The Gospel According to Jesus. He says something to the effect of: "We don't explain the gospel well enough to give people a chance to not choose it." We water down the gospel so much that people say, "Yes, I want to go to Heaven or have my sins forgiven or have joy, etc.", but they don't see that we need to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him.

Have you counted the cost, or are you trying to be a disciple half time (which isn't a disciple at all)?