Archive for June, 2021

The Blessings of Charity

JESUS SPEAKING

    And he said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses.”  Then he spoke a parable to them saying, “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.  And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’  So he said, ‘I will do this:  I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’  But God said to him, ‘Fool!  This night your soul will be required of you; then whose things will those things be which you have provided?’  So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God?” (Luke 12: 13-21)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

  Jesus warned his followers to avoid covetousness; covetousness is the “excessive desire for another person’s belongings; or the urge to acquire or possess more than one needs or deserves.”  Most human beings are unsatisfied with the bare necessities.  They, like the wealthy man in this parable, need things in abundance in order to feel secure. In this parable, when the rich man had fully filled his barns, he selfishly sought to keep the additional grain for himself. Unfortunately he never considered the needs of the less fortunate. The man’s plans for a comfortable future would be short lived; for death would visit him that same day.  As a result of selfishness and greed, the man lost his possessions, his life, and ultimately his eternal place with God.

   When I was a young child, my mother would often bake cookies.  When she had finished using most of the cookie dough, she would give the bowl and spoon to myself and my siblings.  We enjoyed scraping the bowl and licking the spoon clean. In the end, whatever hadn’t been consumed was wasted.  God as well is not fond of wastefulness.  Whenever we seek to possess more than we can use (see note), we engage in a worthless and futile endeavor.  The Lord is greatly pleased when His children utilize their wealth to bless those in need.  When asked how to prepare for the coming of the Messiah, John the Baptist said, “He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food let him do likewise.” (Luke 3: 11) [Note: This may not include things like saving for retirement or a child’s college fund; as this type of saving is simply storing up resources for someone’s future needs.]

    As Christians we are required to employ our abundant possessions to glorify God and to bless the needy.  If we are wealthy, we can put our money to work for the Lord.  If we own property and we are not using it, we can offer it to someone who can.  If our closets are overflowing, we can gather up the overflow and bring it to the thrift store.  If we have excess time, we shouldn’t waste it; instead we should use it to love those who are hurting.  If God has given us abilities and talents, we must exercise them constructively; using them to serve our fellows.  No one is guaranteed tomorrow; so we should put whatever we have been given in excess to work for God.  May His generosity fill our hearts; may the desire to serve and to provide for the needs of others become a newfound principle in our lives; and may we find comfort in knowing that our earthly charity will produce eternal riches.

   “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You and ask that You help us to be generous toward You and toward those who are in need.  Relieve our fears, so we can let go of greed and seek to use our abundance to bless others.  As we become more willing to give, may we procure eternal riches; riches without end; riches reserved for us in Your Heavenly Kingdom.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name; amen.”  God bless all of you!

Prophecy Proves the Scriptures Are Divine

JESUS SPEAKING

   Then he took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all  things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished.  For he will be delivered to the gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon.  They will scourge him and kill him.  And the third day he will rise again” (Luke 18: 31-33.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

   On numerous occasions Jesus foretold of his impending death upon the cross; his suffering and crucifixion had also been described in great detail hundreds of earlier.  Throughout the centuries, the old testament prophets (inspired by God) wrote about the arrival of God’s solution to sin; a sacrifice that would once and for all put an end to the iniquity that separated the divine creator from his fallen children (Jesus Christ was, and is that sacrifice.) 

   One major prophetic scripture comes from the book of Isaiah; a book that was written between 740 and 680 B.C.  Chapter 53 is particularly interesting because it describes the suffering of Jesus in stunning detail (hundreds of years before the crucifixion occurred.)  We read, “Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, Yet he opened not his mouth; he was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare his generation? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of my people he was stricken. And they made his grave with the wicked — but with the rich at his death, because he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief. When you make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see the labor of his soul and be satisfied. By his knowledge my righteous servant shall justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul unto death, and he was numbered with the transgressors, and he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

   Only God God can know the future; only the creator can foretell of events before they occur.  Accurate prophecy is a characteristic which is unique to the Holy Bible.  No other book or set of sacred writings have ever correctly predicted anything.  The scriptures are the Lord’s reliable revelation; and they can be trusted.  As you read the word, remember, you are not simply reading a book compiled by men, but a book authored by God Himself.  May it inspire you, may it lead you, and may it transform you.

   “Lord Heavenly Father, we praise You and we thank You for providing us with the Holy Bible.  As we read it, may we approach it with reverence and respect.  Speak to us through Your word; with every sentence read, and every page turned, may our hearts be transformed; may we become more like You and more like Your Son.  We love You Father, we praise you, and we thank you, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you!


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