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Archive for the ‘greed’ Category

We see a photo like that of the tollway cheat pictured below and we wonder how anybody could display such foolishness in order to cheat the government for a pittance of money.

This picture accompanied a newspaper article last week that reported on the rampant efforts of drivers to avoid paying tolls and the high-tech efforts of tollway officials to punish offenders once caught.

When I saw this photo, my first thought was, “That guy is crazy, risking his life over a 50-cent or $1 toll charge.”

My second thought, though, was of how this is how we all must look to God when we sin and then try to cover it up.

When King David called Uriah back from the front lines of battle and tried to get him drunk so that the loyal soldier would sleep with his adulterous wife, David was hoping that Bathsheba’s just-discovered pregnancy would be attributed to Uriah.

It was so stupid and cruel and foolish.

That might as well have been King David hanging out the back of a racing car while trying to hide the driver’s identity.

But you know what? We’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

We’ve all — in effect — hung out the back of a racing car in hopes of getting away with something.

You know your life. You know your bad moments. Your foolish moments. Your try-to-hide-what-I’m-doing moments.

It’s so much better just to do what’s right.

Be a law-abiding citizen.

Be a biblical-values abiding Christian.

Don’t try to get away with things, thinking that the Eye in the Sky won’t know who you are.

I’ll try to do the same.

Practice this and you’ll be successful.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (I Cor. 10:31).

As always, I love you
Martin

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It’s a trap every Christian must avoid, even though Satan is so skilled at disguising it.

I’m talking about the trap of seeking personal advantage after God’s mercy is poured through us into another person’s life.

Someone in our circle of influence might turn to us for prayer support and for layperson ministry intercession in some way and God subsequently sends blessing into that person’s life.

Satan will invariably whisper that we should not miss the opportunity to exploit this grace event.

Typically, we ignore his schemes in this respect.

Sometimes, though, our personal circumstances and fears prompt us to ask the blessed person to “help” us with a financial gift or with pulling some strings regarding a job for us or selling us something at a below-market price.

It’s about exploiting the blessed person’s appreciation for God’s grace in a way that boosts our finances or our social standing, or both.

Some of you have not done this. Praise the Lord!

Some of you have done this and perhaps didn’t even discern it. I might fall into this catergory.

Whether intentional or not, whether obvious or subtle, it is still wrong.

We need to be ultra-careful that we don’t behave in any way similar to that described in today’s One-Year Bible reading. Elisha’s servant Gehazi REALLY messed up in this respect. You can read about it in 2 Kings 5.

We should never think “What’s in it for me?” when we see God’s hand pouring mercy into somebody else’s life, in part because of our involvement.

Pastors need to remember this and sometimes they don’t.

Of course, the same can be said for many interceding Christians who are tempted to seek tangible signs of thanks that rightly belong to God.

Please join me in striving to do gracious things for people — trusting the intervening power of God — only because they need it and not because it is a good way to gain a financial or social advantage.

Gehazi paid a very steep price for his selfish greed. God sent leprosy upon him and upon his descendants forever. Wow.

When God moves in the life of another after you’ve interceded with prayer and actual efforts, make sure that the credit and blessing flows into the Kingdom, not into your pocket or into your popularity.

The cost of the forbidden gift is just too high.

As always, I love you
Martin

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It’s never fun to lose.

It’s even more disappointing to lose because we messed up.

It’s true in sports. It’s true in board or card games. It’s true in the pursuit of dating relationships.

And it’s particularly true when the erosion of God’s blessings is the result of our eroding obedience to Him.

To some extent, we’ve alll experienced each of the above.

I pray that you’re not in a season of eroding blessings.

If you are, then the verse below can give you some valuable guidance toward a status with God that will likely lead to renewed blessing.

The context of today’s devotion is this: In Joshua 7, the children of Israel had just suffered an embarrassing defeat by a small army from the city of Ai. Though only 36 Israelites had died from among many thousands of Hebrew soldiers, Joshua and other soldiers acted as if the defeat were the end of the world.

They thought God had let them down.

God quickly told Joshua that sin was the reason for the defeat.

An Israelite named Achan had directly defied God’s order that all precious metals found in the defeated Jericho should go into the Lord’s treasury. Achan hid some of it in his tent before the attack on Ai and God saw what was going on.

If God didn’t deal with this early-stage rebellion in a blunt fashion, He knew that bigger problems would follow.

And that’s why God told Joshua and the Israelites to stop whining and stop sinning.

For if they didn’t, they would continue to be fighting enemies without His help.

That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.” Joshua 7:12

This verse sounds ominous, but it actually inspires a great deal of optimism for me.

Why? Because I choose to flip the the emphasis in the second sentence.

If I make sure to rid my life of sinful things, behaviors and attitudes that God wants destroyed, then He WILL be with me in the efforts to overcome ministry obstacles, everyday life obstacles, physical health obstacles, etc..

I know from experience that I’m not good enough on my own to vanquish all that comes against me.

I need His help.

And so, I need to live the way God commands and give the way God commands.

I hope that you’ll do the same.

Lose the secret sins, my friend. Life is SO much better with the blessings and victories that come with God’s presence and power.

As always, I love you
Martin

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