Money isn’t bad. The love of money is the root of all evil!

Good Steward - Multiplication

So do you know how to handle money? Do you know how to be a good steward? Do you think you own it? Do you consider it God’s money and try to be a good steward of it? Has God provided you with money so that you are able to be a funding source for His good works? How do you decide how much to save? to spend? to give? Do you always take away from consideration the tithe and give that 10% to God and then work within the 90%?

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. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

–from Timothy 6

Ever considered how many people who win the lottery end up back where they started or worth? If you don’t know how to handle money when you have a little will it change if you win a lot? If you don’t have the right perspective on money and your role as a steward then you won’t handle a large amount any better than a small amount. After asking the first question in this paragraph figured I would do a search and the first link called out that 70% of the people who win the lottery end up bankrupt. Ever realized how many people can’t handle the wealth and end up dying? Imagine the stress… Imagine the trust issues… Imagine the pressure of everyone who may start knocking on your door… Imagine your own desires and how responding to them could impact you… Some think that money will make them happy but the reality is we need to be able to be content in every situation! You’ve heard the song, Money can’t buy you love right? Money won’t buy you salvation because Jesus already paid it all! Without the wisdom to know how best to handle money and how to prioritize your management of it money will come and go and you won’t know where it went.

Why not take time now in whatever state you are in to learn how to be a good steward of your money in order to use ir properly? Why not turn to God’s Word and consider how you are doing when it comes to honoring Him and being obedient to Him? Obedience is better than offering! And it isn’t about the size of the offering but the heart behind it! Are you giving out of your excess or out of your need? Consider the widow’s mites and how it was valued higher than others!

So let’s turn to God to learn how we handle our money! God’s Word is filled with incredible wisdom! Jesus even speaks about money and finances! So why not go to the one who is the answer to everything else and give it up and hear from Him how to handle our money?

How to Handle Money — Day 360: Bible In One Year

Today’s devotional starts in proverbs on the topic of Prioritise relationships above money (Proverbs 31:10-20):

10Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is more precious than rubies.
11Her husband can trust her,
and she will greatly enrich his life.
12She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.

13She finds wool and flax
and busily spins it.
14She is like a merchant’s ship,
bringing her food from afar.
15She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.

16She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17She is energetic and strong,
a hard worker.
18She makes sure her dealings are profitable;
her lamp burns late into the night.

19Her hands are busy spinning thread,
her fingers twisting fiber.
20She extends a helping hand to the poor
and opens her arms to the needy.

–from Proverbs 31

With the 3 key points from our devotional:

As John Wesley said, ‘Earn all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can.’

‘Earn all you can’

She is hardworking and diligent in earning a living: ‘She gets up early and provides food for her family’ (vv.12–15a). She is a good steward. She invests her money wisely. She trades profitably (vv.16–18a).

‘Save all you can’

She enjoys her work and the good things of life (v.13). She saves some of her earnings. She puts money aside (v.16, MSG).

‘Give all you can’

She is generous. ‘She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy’ (v.20). Generous giving is the appropriate response to God’s generosity and to the needs of others. It is the way to break materialism.

–from Day 360: Bible In One Year 2018

Continues into Do not put your trust in money (Revelation 18:1-17)

1After all this I saw another angel come down from heaven with great authority, and the earth grew bright with his splendor. 2He gave a mighty shout:

“Babylon is fallen—that great city is fallen!
She has become a home for demons.
She is a hideout for every foul18:2a Greek unclean; also in each of the two following phrases. spirit,
a hideout for every foul vulture
and every foul and dreadful animal.18:2b Some manuscripts condense the last two lines to read a hideout for every foul [unclean] and dreadful vulture.
3For all the nations have fallen18:3 Some manuscripts read have drunk.
because of the wine of her passionate immorality.
The kings of the world
have committed adultery with her.
Because of her desires for extravagant luxury,
the merchants of the world have grown rich.”

4Then I heard another voice calling from heaven,

“Come away from her, my people.
Do not take part in her sins,
or you will be punished with her.
5For her sins are piled as high as heaven,
and God remembers her evil deeds.
6Do to her as she has done to others.
Double her penalty
She brewed a cup of terror for others,
so brew twice as much
7She glorified herself and lived in luxury,
so match it now with torment and sorrow.
She boasted in her heart,
‘I am queen on my throne.
I am no helpless widow,
and I have no reason to mourn.’
8Therefore, these plagues will overtake her in a single day—
death and mourning and famine.
She will be completely consumed by fire,
for the Lord God who judges her is mighty.”

9And the kings of the world who committed adultery with her and enjoyed her great luxury will mourn for her as they see the smoke rising from her charred remains. 10They will stand at a distance, terrified by her great torment. They will cry out,

“How terrible, how terrible for you,
O Babylon, you great city!
In a single moment
God’s judgment came on you.”

11The merchants of the world will weep and mourn for her, for there is no one left to buy their goods. 12She bought great quantities of gold, silver, jewels, and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk, and scarlet cloth; things made of fragrant thyine wood, ivory goods, and objects made of expensive wood; and bronze, iron, and marble. 13She also bought cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, olive oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle, sheep, horses, wagons, and bodies—that is, human slaves.

14“The fancy things you loved so much
are gone,” they cry.
“All your luxuries and splendor
are gone forever,
never to be yours again.”

15The merchants who became wealthy by selling her these things will stand at a distance, terrified by her great torment. They will weep and cry out,

16“How terrible, how terrible for that great city!
She was clothed in finest purple and scarlet linens,
decked out with gold and precious stones and pearls!
17In a single moment
all the wealth of the city is gone!”

–from Revelation 18

Take a look around at the world around us and what is taking place in it! Today’s devotional speaks to the truth of money this way…

In the Bible, there is no ban on making money, saving it and enjoying the good things of life. What is warned against is selfish accumulation, an unhealthy obsession with money, or putting your trust in riches. This leads to perpetual insecurity and takes you away from God.

Money is not a neutral, impersonal medium of exchange. Jesus said you cannot serve both God and mammon (Matthew 6:24). ‘Mammon’ was the god of wealth in Carthage. Money has all the characteristics of a god. It seems to offer security, freedom, power, influence, status and prestige. It is capable of inspiring devotion and single-minded preoccupation. Yet, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it, ‘Our hearts have room only for one all-embracing devotion, and we can only cleave to one Lord.’

In this passage, John is given a vision of an event that must have seemed inconceivable to his readers – the fall of ‘Babylon the Great’ (Revelation 18:2). In the immediate context, this is a prophecy of an event that will not take place for another 320 years – the overthrow of the Roman Empire in AD 410.

When John was writing, the empire seemed invulnerable. It was at the height of its power. It was enjoying peace and security. Yet, John sees that the characteristics of the city were the seeds of its own downfall.

‘Babylon’ here also represents any power that sets itself up apart from God. John highlights a series of fatal weaknesses that lie behind any society’s downfall:

Rampant evil

‘She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit’ (v.2).

Endemic promiscuity

‘All the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her’ (v.3a).

Excessive luxuries

‘The merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries’ (v.3b, see also v.7 and v.9). It is probably her great riches that led to arrogance (v.7b).

Human trafficking

‘And slaves – their terrible traffic in human lives’ (v.13, MSG). John appears to be pointing out that slaves are not mere carcasses to be bought and sold as property, but are human beings. In this emphatic position at the end of the list (vv.11–13), this is more than just a comment on the slave trade. It is a comment on the whole list of cargoes. It suggests the inhuman brutality, the contempt for human life, on which the whole empire’s prosperity and luxury rested. Today, the resurgence of slavery (it is estimated that there are about 30 million slaves in the world today) and human trafficking points to something desperately wrong with our society.

Riches, splendour and luxury are transient. They come and they go. John warns the people of God not to be contaminated by the sins of Babylon: ‘Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins’ (v.4). The glories of ancient Rome may have long passed, but this challenge and message are as relevant to us today as they were then.

–from Day 360: Bible In One Year 2018

We need to realize that others are looking at us and to us to see how we handle money. As our devotional today puts it, we need to  Set an example in handling money (Nehemiah 5:1-7:3).

Nehemiah Defends the Oppressed

1About this time some of the men and their wives raised a cry of protest against their fellow Jews. 2They were saying, “We have such large families. We need more food to survive.”
3Others said, “We have mortgaged our fields, vineyards, and homes to get food during the famine.”
4And others said, “We have had to borrow money on our fields and vineyards to pay our taxes. 5We belong to the same family as those who are wealthy, and our children are just like theirs. Yet we must sell our children into slavery just to get enough money to live. We have already sold some of our daughters, and we are helpless to do anything about it, for our fields and vineyards are already mortgaged to others.”
6When I heard their complaints, I was very angry. 7After thinking it over, I spoke out against these nobles and officials. I told them, “You are hurting your own relatives by charging interest when they borrow money!” Then I called a public meeting to deal with the problem.
8At the meeting I said to them, “We are doing all we can to redeem our Jewish relatives who have had to sell themselves to pagan foreigners, but you are selling them back into slavery again. How often must we redeem them?” And they had nothing to say in their defense.
9Then I pressed further, “What you are doing is not right! Should you not walk in the fear of our God in order to avoid being mocked by enemy nations? 10I myself, as well as my brothers and my workers, have been lending the people money and grain, but now let us stop this business of charging interest. 11You must restore their fields, vineyards, olive groves, and homes to them this very day. And repay the interest you charged when you lent them money, grain, new wine, and olive oil.”
12They replied, “We will give back everything and demand nothing more from the people. We will do as you say.” Then I called the priests and made the nobles and officials swear to do what they had promised.
13I shook out the folds of my robe and said, “If you fail to keep your promise, may God shake you like this from your homes and from your property!”
The whole assembly responded, “Amen,” and they praised the Lord. And the people did as they had promised.
14For the entire twelve years that I was governor of Judah—from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of the reign of King Artaxerxes—neither I nor my officials drew on our official food allowance. 15The former governors, in contrast, had laid heavy burdens on the people, demanding a daily ration of food and wine, besides forty pieces of silver. Even their assistants took advantage of the people. But because I feared God, I did not act that way.
16I also devoted myself to working on the wall and refused to acquire any land. And I required all my servants to spend time working on the wall. 17I asked for nothing, even though I regularly fed 150 Jewish officials at my table, besides all the visitors from other lands! 18The provisions I paid for each day included one ox, six choice sheep or goats, and a large number of poultry. And every ten days we needed a large supply of all kinds of wine. Yet I refused to claim the governor’s food allowance because the people already carried a heavy burden.

19Remember, O my God, all that I have done for these people, and bless me for it.

–from Nehemiah 5

Continued Opposition to Rebuilding

1Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies found out that I had finished rebuilding the wall and that no gaps remained—though we had not yet set up the doors in the gates. 2So Sanballat and Geshem sent a message asking me to meet them at one of the villages in the plain of Ono.
But I realized they were plotting to harm me, 3so I replied by sending this message to them: “I am engaged in a great work, so I can’t come. Why should I stop working to come and meet with you?”
4Four times they sent the same message, and each time I gave the same reply. 5The fifth time, Sanballat’s servant came with an open letter in his hand, 6and this is what it said:

“There is a rumor among the surrounding nations, and Geshem tells me it is true, that you and the Jews are planning to rebel and that is why you are building the wall. According to his reports, you plan to be their king. 7He also reports that you have appointed prophets in Jerusalem to proclaim about you, ‘Look! There is a king in Judah!’
“You can be very sure that this report will get back to the king, so I suggest that you come and talk it over with me.”

8I replied, “There is no truth in any part of your story. You are making up the whole thing.”
9They were just trying to intimidate us, imagining that they could discourage us and stop the work. So I continued the work with even greater determination.
10Later I went to visit Shemaiah son of Delaiah and grandson of Mehetabel, who was confined to his home. He said, “Let us meet together inside the Temple of God and bolt the doors shut. Your enemies are coming to kill you tonight.”
11But I replied, “Should someone in my position run from danger? Should someone in my position enter the Temple to save his life? No, I won’t do it!” 12I realized that God had not spoken to him, but that he had uttered this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13They were hoping to intimidate me and make me sin. Then they would be able to accuse and discredit me.

14Remember, O my God, all the evil things that Tobiah and Sanballat have done. And remember Noadiah the prophet and all the prophets like her who have tried to intimidate me.

The Builders Complete the Wall

15So on October 2 the wall was finished—just fifty-two days after we had begun. 16When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God.
17During those fifty-two days, many letters went back and forth between Tobiah and the nobles of Judah. 18For many in Judah had sworn allegiance to him because his father-in-law was Shecaniah son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan was married to the daughter of Meshullam son of Berekiah. 19They kept telling me about Tobiah’s good deeds, and then they told him everything I said. And Tobiah kept sending threatening letters to intimidate me.

–from Nehemiah 6

1After the wall was finished and I had set up the doors in the gates, the gatekeepers, singers, and Levites were appointed. 2I gave the responsibility of governing Jerusalem to my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah, the commander of the fortress, for he was a faithful man who feared God more than most. 3I said to them, “Do not leave the gates open during the hottest part of the day. And even while the gatekeepers are on duty, have them shut and bar the doors. Appoint the residents of Jerusalem to act as guards, everyone on a regular watch. Some will serve at sentry posts and some in front of their own homes.”

–from Nehemiah 7

And the devotional calls out these key points…

Nehemiah was a leader who set a superb example in handling money. Sooner or later, most of us will go through times of financial difficulty and lack of resources, either in our personal lives or in our churches. What do you do in these situations?

Nehemiah was facing such a situation. Some of the people did not have enough food to stay alive (5:2). Others had to mortgage their fields and homes (v.3). Still others had to borrow money to pay their taxes (v.4). What can we learn from Nehemiah’s example?

First, he thought about it very carefully: ‘I pondered… in my mind’ (v.7a). When facing a financial crisis, it is not wise to rush into hasty solutions. It needs careful thought.

Second, he called a meeting (v.7b). Some meetings are at best a waste of time, and at worst counter-productive. However, some meetings are important and necessary. Nehemiah had the wisdom to know the difference between these two kinds of meetings. In chapter 6 he refused to meet with his opponents, despite being asked five times.

However, here Nehemiah calls a meeting. He tells the people that what they are doing is not right. They should not be charging interest. ‘Let the exacting of usury stop!’ (v.10). He orders them to give back the ‘fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses, and also the usury you are charging them’ (v.11).

The meeting was successful. ‘“We will give it back,” they said. “And we will not demand anything more from them. We will do as you say”’ (v.12). The people did as they promised (v.13).

Third, and most important, he set an example in his own life:

Personal integrity

Out of his reverence for God, Nehemiah did not act like the earlier governors who had placed heavy burdens of taxation on the people and allowed their assistants to lord it over them (v.15).

Modest lifestyle

‘Neither I nor my brothers ate the food allotted to the governor’ (v.14).

No personal gain

‘All my men were assembled there for the work; we did not acquire any land… I never demanded the food allotted to the governor, because the demands were heavy on these people’ (vv.16,18).

Generosity to others

‘Furthermore, a hundred and fifty Jews and officials ate at my table, as well as those who came to us from the surrounding nations’ (vv.17–18).

Single-minded hard work

‘I devoted myself to the work on this wall’ (v.16a). He refused to be put off by the threats of his opponents who were trying to frighten him. Instead he prayed, ‘Now strengthen my hands’ (6:9).

Nehemiah finished what he had started (v.15). Many people know how to start things. But often they lack what Pippa’s father used to call ‘carry-through’. Nehemiah had the stickability to complete what he had begun.

The success of the project was the perfect answer to the critics: ‘So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realised that this work had been done with the help of our God’ (vv.15–16).

–from Day 360: Bible In One Year 2018


Passion (Day #6)

Are you living above board? Are you living a life of integrity? Are you living a life of secrecy or a life of openness? Are you living in the shadows, lurking for your opportunity? Are you walking in the light where all can see? What is your intention? What is your purpose? What is your goal? What’s in your heart? It all comes down to it being a matter of the heart!! From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks! Will you live a life that leaves a legacy? Will you live a life that will proclaim the goodness of God? What motivates you? Is it all about money? If someone were to give you enough money would that be enough? If someone were going to try and get you to do something is there enough money in the world that could sway you? What would be the consequences of your actions? Could that money cover it up enough that you could live with yourself? Will you live a life of character or will you be swayed and live a life of betrayal?

Let’s take a look at today’s reading before I ask more questions that come from the last supper in Matthew 26

The Conspiracy Grows

1Now it happened that when Yeshua had finished all these words, He said to His disciples, 2“You know that Passover comes in two days, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be executed.” 3Then the ruling kohanim and elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the kohen gadol named Caiaphas. 4They plotted together in order that they might seize Yeshua by stealth and kill Him. 5“But not during the festival,” they were saying, “so there won’t be a riot among the people.”

A Woman Anoints Yeshua for Burial

6Now while Yeshua was in Bethany at the house of Simon ha-Metzora, 7a woman came up to Him with an alabaster jar of very expensive oil. And she poured it on His head as He was reclining at the table. 8But when the disciples saw this, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 9It could have been sold for a lot, and the money given to the poor!” 10But Yeshua, knowing this, said to them, “Why do you cause trouble for this woman? She’s done Me a mitzvah. 11You always have the poor with you, but you won’t always have Me. 12For when she poured this oil on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. 13Amen, I tell you, wherever this Good News is proclaimed in all the world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”

Betrayed and Sold for Silver

14Then one of the Twelve, the one called Judah of Kriot, went to the ruling kohanim 15and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand Him over to you?” And they weighed out thirty shekels of silver for him. 16From then on, Judah began looking for a chance to hand Him over. 17Now on the first day of matzah , the disciples came to Yeshua, saying, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?” 18He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and tell him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is near; at your house I am to keep the Passover with My disciples.”’” 19The disciples did as Yeshua had ordered them, and they prepared the Passover. 20Now when it was evening, Yeshua was reclining at the table with the Twelve. 21As they were eating, He said, “Amen, I tell you, one of you will betray Me.” 22And being very sorrowful, they began, each one, to say to Him, “I’m not the one, am I, Master?” 23And He replied, “The one who dipped his hand in the bowl with Me, he’s the one who will betray Me. 24The Son of Man indeed goes, just as it is written about Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born!” 25And Judah, the one betraying Him, replied, “I’m not the one, am I, Rabbi?” Yeshua said to him, “You’ve said it yourself.” 26Now while they were eating, Yeshua took matzah ; and after He offered the bracha, He broke and gave to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 27And He took a cup; and after giving thanks, He gave to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the removal of sins. 29But I say to you, I will never drink of this fruit of the vine from now on, until that day when I drink it anew with you in My Father’s kingdom.” 30After singing the Hallel, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 31Then Yeshua said to them, “This night you will all fall away because of Me; for it is written, ‘I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32But after I am raised up, I will go before you to the Galilee.” 33But Peter replied to Him, “Though all fall away because of You, I’ll never fall away.” 34Yeshua said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 35“Even if I must die with You,” Peter says to Him, “I’ll never deny You!” And so said all the disciples.

“Your Will Be Done”

36Then Yeshua comes with them to a place called Gethsemane, and He tells the disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37And He took along Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, and He began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38Then He tells them, “My soul is deeply grieved, even to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me.” 39Going a little farther, He fell face down and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me! Yet not as I will, but as You will.” 40Then He comes to the disciples and finds them sleeping; and He tells Peter, “So couldn’t you keep watch with Me for one hour? 41Keep watching and praying, so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42Again for a second time He went away and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, let Your will be done.” 43And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44So He left them again and prayed a third time, saying the same words once more. 45Then He comes to the disciples and says to them, “Still sleeping? Taking your rest? Look, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being delivered into the hands of sinners. 46Get up, let’s go! Look, My betrayer is near.”

Taken into Custody

47While Yeshua was still speaking, here came Judah, one of the Twelve, and with him a big crowd with swords and clubs, from the ruling kohanim and elders of the people. 48Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘The One I kiss, He’s the One—seize Him!’ 49And immediately Judah drew near to Yeshua and said, “Shalom, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. 50“Friend,” Yeshua said to him, “do what you’ve come to do.” Then they came up and threw their hands on Yeshua and seized Him. 51And suddenly, one of those with Yeshua stretched out his hand and drew his sword, and he struck the kohen gadol ’s servant and cut off his ear. 52Then Yeshua said to him, “Put your sword back in its place! For all who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. 53Or do you suppose that I cannot call on My Father, and at once He will place at My side twelve legions of angels? 54How then would the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” 55At that hour Yeshua said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs, to capture Me as you would a revolutionary? Every day I sat teaching in the Temple, and you didn’t seize Me. 56But all this has happened so that the writings of the prophets would be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples fled, abandoning Him. 57Now those who had seized Yeshua led Him away to Caiaphas, the kohen gadol , where the Torah scholars and elders had gathered. 58Peter was following Him from a distance as far as the courtyard of the kohen gadol . And after going inside, he was sitting with the guards, to see the outcome.

Yeshua’s Trial Begins

59Now the ruling kohanim and all the Sanhedrin kept trying to get false testimony against Yeshua so they could put Him to death. 60But they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward 61and said, “This fellow said, ‘I’m able to destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days!’” 62The kohen gadol stood up and said to Yeshua, “Have You no answer? What’s this they’re testifying against You?” 63But Yeshua kept silent. The kohen gadol said to Him, “I charge You under oath by the living God, tell us if You are Mashiach Ben-Elohim!” 64“As you have said,” replied Yeshua. “Besides that, I tell you, soon after you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65Then the kohen gadol tore his clothes and said, “Blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, you’ve heard the blasphemy. 66What’s your verdict?” “Guilty,” they answered. “He deserves death!” 67Then they spat in His face and pounded Him with their fists. Others slapped Him and demanded, 68“Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Which one hit You?”

Peter Denies Yeshua

69Meanwhile, Peter was sitting in the courtyard. A servant girl came over to him and said, “You also were with Yeshua of the Galilee.” 70But he denied it before everyone, saying, “I don’t know what you’re talking about!” 71When he went onto the porch, another servant girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This man was with Yeshua ha-Natzrati.” 72Again he denied it with an oath: “I don’t know the Man!” 73A little while later, some of the bystanders approached Peter and said to him, “Surely you’re one of them, too—your accent gives you away.” 74Then he began to curse and to swear an oath: “I do not know the Man!” Right then, a rooster crowed. 75Then Peter reminded himself of the word Yeshua had said: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” And he went away and wept bitterly.
–from Matthew 26

Jesus knew the time and the day! Jesus knew what had to happen! Jesus didn’t complain or worry about it, rather He went with the attitude that he gets to do it! He gave it up into God the Father’s hands because it was thy way to bring reconciliation to the world! And so He lead by example providing us with the example of communion by the breaking of bread and the sharing of wine. His body that was broken for us and His blood that was shed. The perfect innocent lamb sacrificed so that we could have a path to reconciliation with God! We get the opportunity to choose! We get the opportunity to decide! We get to ask Him into our hearts and lives! We get to call on the name of Jesus and be saved!

We see how in Gethsemane He wanted His disciples to watch and experience what He was going through. We see the weight of the world’s sins being put upon Him! We see the pressure and stress that it caused as He started to sweat blood! And as He gives it all up to the Father, the betrayer shows up.

Ever heard the saying “the kiss of death”? Ever wondered where that got its roots?

Jesus knew the time. Jesus didn’t want anyone to get hurt in and through it, which is why He went with them. He also wanted to make sure people knew what they were doing and give them an out. He even healed the ear of one of the centurions who was coming to take Him away. He knew that His purpose was to complete and fulfill the scriptures! Fear strikes hard! It scatters the group! Dreams dashed — or at least it would appear (except that we know the rest of the story)

Don’t someone who just makes up accusations that are true or real. There are people who are just out there trying to trip you up! Don’t be one of them!

There is forgiveness! There is hope! No matter what you said or did! But you need to turn back to God! You need to ask Jesus into your heart and your life! And then the process will begin! Jesus paid it all! When He gave His life on the cross, it means no more sacrifice of blood is needed! He was good enough for all of eternity so that all can turn to Him and be saved! Once for all! So no matter what you have done, it’s not too late to ask Him in and be forgiven! Why not today before the sun goes down decide to ask Him into your life! Why not go to an Easter service and celebrate the resurrection power of Jesus on Sunday?

Is today your day?

What’s your thoughts on making money?

Some have been challenged when it comes to evaluating if making money or having a calling that puts you in the workplace to make money is wrong. If it were wrong, wouldn’t that create an issue for everyone including the church since the financing of things wouldn’t have the fund? If it were wrong, wouldn’t that create an issue in being able to be a conduit of blessing to others? If money were bad, don’t you think the Bible would make that clear? If it were wrong to make money, how would people buy food or clothe, or a place to live or get around or … God’s Word says: For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” in 1 Timothy 5 and in the Old Testament we read: “You shall give him his wages on the same day, before the sun sets (for he is poor and counts on it), lest he cry against you to the LORD, and you be guilty of sin.” from Deuteronomy 24.

We can find in the Bible that money isn’t a problem, but the love of money is. It says it this way: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” from 1 Timothy 6

Today’s devotional is on the subject of “Is It Ok to Work to Make Money?” from day 3 of Ambition & Your Work!

Today’s reading starts with:

10For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.

-from 2 Thessalonians 3

So working for your money is a good thing and helps us build up self-worth as well a the reward of getting paid so that we can provide not only for ourselves, but also our family, our community, our church, …

Today’s reading continues speaking to how lives can be turned around from what was evil to good, from being a thief to being a productive member of society when it says:

28Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.

–from Ephesians 4

So where are you at? Are you laboring so that you can get paid in order to share with others in need? Are you one of those special people who are able to make money and hire others to help them provide for their family and the needs of those of they can support?  Is it a trickle down effect where the blessing is being multiplied by the fact that we realize everything is God’s and so we are just vessels or conduits of blessing to others? I remember posting a while back about the difference between being opened handed versus close fisted and how it closes the flow not only from the blessings going out from you, but also prevents any more to get into your hand. (WP changed how they do links so had to use search engines and google gave results on my keywords, but bing did not, so used the google link and you will find the resulting posts on the subject from the link above)

Today’s readings speaks to the importance of working for your wages as well as getting paid so that you can pass along the blessings to others in need! So let’s not be slackers! Let’s use our gifts and talents providby God to be able to provide not only for ourselves, but also for others in need that God will bring into our lives.

Today’s devotional shares some additional thoughts from J.B. Wood and some of what he went through in this very arena on this very subject…

Is It Ok to Work to Make Money?

Today’s reading is from blogger J.B. Wood, a business executive who writes about the challenges of integrating his professional life and his spiritual life. Here, he explores whether making money in business can be a way of serving God.

“The problem I encountered as a young Christian was that I often detected a quiet disapproval coming from the church when it came to having an interest in pursuing a “secular” career. I felt a gnawing sense that any desire to earn a solid income was somehow the antithesis of spirituality, associated instead with selfishness, materialism and worldliness.

Growing up, the…church taught me that the only ambition God was truly pleased with was the passion for making disciples, missions, or leading others to Christ. So if you had a sincere spiritual desire to seek out God’s plan for your life, then by default your primary vocation was going to be a disciple-maker. Just like Jesus (the missionary Jesus, not the working-for-the-family-business carpenter Jesus).

But what if I am not “called” to that? What if my gifts, talents and personality are better suited for business pursuits? I struggled with this for years as I developed a career in management consulting.

Thankfully, scripture makes it clear that God applauds (not just allows) working to earn.

The Bible teaches about using money:

  1. To meet your own personal need for support.
  2. To care for the needs of your family.
  3. To have enough to share with those in need and help meet the needs of the world.

Greed can be dangerous, but as High Calling blogger Larry Peabody has put it, ‘So can hammers, horses, and hot plates. Any of them can be properly used—or misused. The Bible warns us that wanting to get rich sets us up for a tumble into a snare. And it calls loving money “the root of all kinds of evil.” But with sound teaching and right hearts, believers can live by faith even as they earn their incomes and use the money in God-approved ways.’”

So let’s be good steward of everything God has given us! Be it our gifts and talents and calling! Be it the finances to be able to provide and be a blessing! Allow yourself to be open handed so that you can be a conduit of God’s blessing today!

Don’t allow pride to get in the way of the purpose and plan!

Someone else is doing it? Does it help the cause? If it doesn’t don’t worry about it! Are you supposed to become less and allow them to become more? Do you understand your roles and responsibilities around this? Don’t be boastful! Don’t be prideful! Be a humble servant and allow God’s purpose and God’s plan to be worked in and through your life!

Today’s reading continues in John 3…

Jesus and John

22After this, Jesus and his disciples went to the province of Judea, where he spent some time with them and baptized. 23John also was baptizing in Aenon, not far from Salim, because there was plenty of water in that place. People were going to him, and he was baptizing them. (24This was before John had been put in prison.) 25Some of John’s disciples began arguing with a Jew about the matter of ritual washing. 26So they went to John and told him, “Teacher, you remember the man who was with you on the east side of the Jordan, the one you spoke about? Well, he is baptizing now, and everyone is going to him!” 27John answered, “No one can have anything unless God gives it. 28You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.’ 29The bridegroom is the one to whom the bride belongs; but the bridegroom’s friend, who stands by and listens, is glad when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. This is how my own happiness is made complete. 30He must become more important while I become less important.” –from John 3

God has a plan and purpose for each of us. God’s plan is good so we can have and live a life that gives us a hope and a future! Let’s live life so that we are complete, lacking nothing. Yes we will face challenges, but it’s a process that will allow us to become complete lacking nothing!

What is it that you are chasing after? What is it that you worship? Is it money? Money isn’t evil, but the love of money is the root of all evil! Consider the desires of your heart for that is where the overflow comes from and will be spoken and acted out. It’s important to get your priorities set straight! Put first things first! We read in Matthew how we are to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and everything else will be taken care of!

Today’s reading continues into James with a message to the rich…

Warning to the Rich

1And now, you rich people, listen to me! Weep and wail over the miseries that are coming upon you! 2Your riches have rotted away, and your clothes have been eaten by moths. 3Your gold and silver are covered with rust, and this rust will be a witness against you and will eat up your flesh like fire. You have piled up riches in these last days. 4You have not paid any wages to those who work in your fields. Listen to their complaints! The cries of those who gather in your crops have reached the ears of God, the Lord Almighty. 5Your life here on earth has been full of luxury and pleasure. You have made yourselves fat for the day of slaughter. 6You have condemned and murdered innocent people, and they do not resist you. –from James 5

So where are you at today? What are you chasing after? What is it going TO TAKE BEFORE YOU MAKE A CHANGE? Have you started the pursuit and the transformation? Will you look to God and allow Him to help lead and guide you before it is too late? What may seem impossible to men is possible with God! There is a scripture that speaks to how hard it is for a rich man to get through the eye of a needle, but Jesus is clear, nothing is impossible for God!

Impossible is just an excuse not to try!

All of us have made mistakes! That is why we al need Jesus! He is the only way for us to be made right with God! We see as we continue today’s reading the wisdom spoken and the importance of godly wisdom for our lives…

15My life has been useless, but in it I have seen everything. Some good people may die while others live on, even though they are evil. 16So don’t be too good or too wise—why kill yourself 17But don’t be too wicked or too foolish, either—why die before you have to? 18Avoid both extremes. If you have reverence for God, you will be successful anyway.
19Wisdom does more for a person than ten rulers can do for a city.
20There is no one on earth who does what is right all the time and never makes a mistake.
21Don’t pay attention to everything people say—you may hear your servant insulting you, 22and you know yourself that you have insulted other people many times.
23I used my wisdom to test all of this. I was determined to be wise, but it was beyond me. 24How can anyone discover what life means? It is too deep for us, too hard to understand. 25But I devoted myself to knowledge and study; I was determined to find wisdom and the answers to my questions, and to learn how wicked and foolish stupidity is.
26I found something more bitter than death—the woman who is like a trap. The love she offers you will catch you like a net, and her arms around you will hold you like a chain. A man who pleases God can get away, but she will catch the sinner. 27Yes, said the Philosopher, I found this out little by little while I was looking for answers. 28I have looked for other answers but have found none. I found one man in a thousand that I could respect, but not one woman. 29This is all that I have learned: God made us plain and simple, but we have made ourselves very complicated.

–from Ecclesiastes 7

If it’s worth something to you should you give something to get it?

What does it mean to you? What is it worth? How important is it to you to know that it is yours? So put a price on it so that you can get it. Be it an offering to God! Be it a place to build something! If it’s worth something do something to about it!

We see examples of this type of a situation with Abraham when he is looking for a place to bury Sarah:

3He left the place where his wife’s body was lying, went to the Hittites, and said, 4“I am a foreigner living here among you; sell me some land, so that I can bury my wife.” 5They answered, 6“Listen to us, sir. We look upon you as a mighty leader; bury your wife in the best grave that we have. Any of us would be glad to give you a grave, so that you can bury her.” 7Then Abraham bowed before them 8and said, “If you are willing to let me bury my wife here, please ask Ephron son of Zohar 9to sell me Machpelah Cave, which is near the edge of his field. Ask him to sell it to me for its full price, here in your presence, so that I can own it as a burial ground.” 10Ephron himself was sitting with the other Hittites at the meeting place at the city gate; he answered in the hearing of everyone there, 11“Listen, sir; I will give you the whole field and the cave that is in it. Here in the presence of my own people, I will give it to you, so that you can bury your wife.” 12But Abraham bowed before the Hittites 13and said to Ephron, so that everyone could hear, “May I ask you, please, to listen. I will buy the whole field. Accept my payment, and I will bury my wife there.” 14Ephron answered, 15“Sir, land worth only four hundred pieces of silver—what is that between us? Bury your wife in it.” 16Abraham agreed and weighed out the amount that Ephron had mentioned in the hearing of the people—four hundred pieces of silver, according to the standard weights used by the merchants. 17That is how the property which had belonged to Ephron at Machpelah east of Mamre, became Abraham’s. It included the field, the cave which was in it, and all the trees in the field up to the edge of the property. 18It was recognized as Abraham’s property by all the Hittites who were there at the meeting. 19Then Abraham buried his wife Sarah in that cave in the land of Canaan. 20So the field which had belonged to the Hittites, and the cave in it, became the property of Abraham for a burial ground.

— from Genesis 23 —

We see it with David…

17David saw the angel who was killing the people, and said to the Lord, “I am the guilty one. I am the one who did wrong. What have these poor people done? You should punish me and my family.” 18That same day Gad went to David and said to him, “Go up to Araunah’s threshing place and build an altar to the Lord.” 19David obeyed the Lord’s command and went as Gad had told him to. 20Araunah looked down and saw the king and his officials coming up to him. He threw himself on the ground in front of David 21and asked, “Your Majesty, why are you here?”David answered, “To buy your threshing place and build an altar for the Lord, in order to stop the epidemic.” 22“Take it, Your Majesty,” Araunah said, “and offer to the Lord whatever you wish. Here are these oxen to burn as an offering on the altar; here are their yokes and the threshing boards to use as fuel.” 23Araunah gave it all to the king and said to him, “May the Lord your God accept your offering.” 24But the king answered, “No, I will pay you for it. I will not offer to the Lord my God sacrifices that have cost me nothing.” And he bought the threshing place and the oxen for fifty pieces of silver. 25Then he built an altar to the Lord and offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. The Lord answered his prayer, and the epidemic in Israel was stopped.

— from 2 Samuel 24 —

So what are you wanting today? Is it something to glorify God? Are you willing to pay for it? Are you wanting to do it the right way? What’s keeping you from getting it done? What’s holding you back from completing what you need and want to do? Make sure that it is worth it though! Don’t be just throwing your money around frivolously! Don’t waste it! Consider what Isaiah prophesied…

1 “Hey, all who are thirsty, come to the water!You who have no money, come! Buy and eat!Come! Buy wine and milkwithout money and without cost! 2 Why pay money for something that will not nourish you? Why spend your hard-earned money on something that will not satisfy?Listen carefully to me and eat what is nourishing! Enjoy fine food! 3 Pay attention and come to me!Listen, so you can live! Then I will make an unconditional covenantal promise to you,just like the reliable covenantal promises I made to David.
 — from Isaiah 55 —

We will be put into situations every day where things are wanting from us. What we do about it is important. Remember how we started this? If its worth something to you then pay for it! And as we end, we have one more piece of information to hold onto: Don’t waste your money if it’s not worth it! Check your heart and make sure that it is really worth it! How much do you want to be a part of it! What will the impact be not only on you, but those that this may help? Are you giving to get? Are you giving to honor? Are you giving because it matters? Are you giving because you want to sacrifice? Check your heart!