Archive for the ‘selfishness’ Category

We’ve all seen a few wives who have huge diamonds on their wedding rings.

We’ve looked at those multi-karat rings and admired the beauty of the crystalline sparkles.

What we haven’t admired are the empty marriages that some of those wives have had.

Yes, big diamonds are impressive.

But empty marriages are not.

Actually, they are depressing.

To live.

And even to observe.

Would that wife exchange the costly rock on her finger for a tiny chip of a diamond if it meant having a marriage filled with kindness, trust, forgiveness, diligence and, yes, romance?

What do you think?

Borrowing from Jesus’ teaching, what does it profit a wife if she gains the whole world of apparrel/accessories wealth and yet she is stuck with an empty marriage?

The principle applies to carnal-minded husbands, as well, except the showpiece in his mind is not the diamond on his finger but instead the 24k trophy wife on his arm.

We humans are sometimes crazy in how we mis-value things.

There’s a much better, much simpler indicator of a good life.

King Solomon, a man who was brilliant and unfathomably rich, wrote these words toward the end of his life when his observations finally gained more of a voice than did his younger-life passions.

“Better a dry crust eaten in peace than a house filled with feasting—and conflict.” (Proverbs 17:1)

I pray that we’ll all resist karat-chasing.

A microwaved, day-old pizza shared with a smiling spouse is SO much tastier than prime rib amidst diamond-studded scowls.

As always, I love you

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I suppose we’ve all spoken the hypocritical words “I’m doing this for you” when in reality we were doing “this” with a selfish motive.

It’s called having a contract mentality.

It’s the idea of doing something for another because we want something from them.

Whatever we give up at such moments is not a sacrifice but instead an investment, an expenditure in pursuit of something better for ourselves.

We give up time for a cause because we want more business networking contacts and more opportunities for sales.

We help a boss in the parking lot when his or her car won’t start, not because we’re incredibly nice but instead because we want them to remember our efforts when our annual review comes up in a few weeks.

We go out of our way to say nice things — affirming things — to a member of the opposite sex because we know his or her marriage is on the rocks and we want to be in a position later to perhaps say romantic things. That’s presuming, of course, that we’re single.

Listen, it’s ungodly to depict ourselves as sacrificing for another if we’re actually, intentionally investing in something for ourselves.

Single people shouldn’t make a church attendance choice based on where they think they’re most likely to find a cute, godly spouse.

Business owners shouldn’t make a church attendance choice based on where there are more prospective customers.

Pastors should not make resume-submission choices to churches based on how selection to that ministry might pave the way for a bigger, more notable ministry at another church in a few years.

We’ve all fallen when it comes to impure motives and the work of the Kingdom.

We’ve all tried to lump selfish and sacrifice together.

Let’s embrace more consistently the teaching of King David given in 2 Samuel 24:24 after his major sin of finding peace in the number of his soldiers rather than in the power of God.

Stirred to buy a place for a plague-ending sacrifice (read
the full story here)
, David sought to pay for a plot of land to set up an altar.

The owner wanted to donate it, but David refused.

“No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the Lord my God that have cost me nothing.”

Show your faith, my friend.

Sow your seed.

Not for your garden, but for the Lord’s.

It’s the right thing to do.

As always, I love you

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I imagine we’ve all had those moments when the Lord was stirring our hearts to help a co-worker or neighbor with words of encouragement or with actual hands-on efforts such as a move across town, a household repair or with babysitting at a last-minute notice.

But for some reason that doesn’t equate with faithfulness, we didn’t do what our consciences wanted us to do.

We can do better.

When His voice is calling us to be His people to others who would be blessed by our help, let’s get at it.

If we have to lay aside our agendas for a brief time, then that is an offering of humble faith.

God will be pleased and our co-worker or neighbor will be both helped and instructed as to the goodness of Christianity.

Here is Solomon’s take on the importance of helping others.

“If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, ‘Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.’” (Proverbs 3:28)

The Holy Spirit doesn’t waste His spiritual breath speaking to us for no good reason.

Whenever you hear His voice directing you to help somebody, then please get to it.

If we’re not hearing His voice calling us to help others, then we have a big problem.

It’s called selfishness and perhaps it has gotten so bad that God has given up on us as vessels of kindness.

Let’s be sensitive to His voice. Others will find our faith to be much more evident and relevant.

And that can only lead to good things for us.

As always, I love you

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One of the fastest ways to destroy a Christian testimony is to cheat people.

Nobody likes being exploited, whether it is realized at the moment of offense or later when facts make themselves known.

Any claim of being like Christ in putting others first is blown to bits by such displays of selfishness.

We’ve got to be very careful to manage that balance of protecting the interests of others while also protecting our own interests.

That challenge is to make sure that our interests are not placed ahead of the interests of others.

We almost always handle this well because of the Holy Spirit’s voice that guides us away from path of self-importance that often whispers deceptive lies.

A verse in today’s Bible reading spoke to this matter:

“All who cheat with dishonest weights and measures are detestable to the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 25:16)

Listen, such behavior in our financial dealings not only is detestable to God but to other people as well.

Let’s be truthful in all of our transactions. The cost is too high to think otherwise.

As always, I love you

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Just about everybody knows a retiree who is worried about the money running out before he or she dies.

I received a call the other day from a 98-year-old Christian friend who was concerned about her cost of living increasing faster than her Social Security check increases.

She said she doesn’t know what she will do, other than pray and trust God to provide for her.

So when I read the words before from Proverbs 21:20 this morning, I was reminded of how important it is to live frugally since we don’t know how long we’re going to live.

“The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.”

An Internet magazine article the other day reported that far too many retirees spend far too much money in the first five years after they quit their jobs and start collecting pension income. It seems the pent-up demand fuels the desire for a “fun fix” that has been the stuff of dreams for decades.

Problem is that those fun fixes tend to be too expensive.

Then, for millions of retirees, the years of anxiety begin with fears of having to choose between proper health care or a decent diet or perhaps between a tank of gas to go see the grandkids or a trip to see the podiatrist.

We all have choices to make with our finances. Frugality now leads to more good choices later. Splurging now leads to more tough choices later.

Listen, if I were a popcorn farmer, it would be insanity for me to use all my popcorn seed for a month-long moviethon with countless guests who ate popcorn through flick after flick.

It would be much smarter to set aside more than enough popcorn seed to plant all my fields for the next year and perhaps have some to share with another who doesn’t have enough. With future planting needs provided for, then I could rent a couple of movies and feed popcorn to all who responded to my invitations.

Please try your best to store up financial blessings now, even if they’re coming only in small bites.

It’s never good to gulp down the blessings of God with no thought of their purpose for our future preservation or our call to help others in need.

As always, I love you

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One of the greatest temptations faced by Christians is stealing from God.

None of us likes to hear this, even if we are giving to God with the amount and attitude that He expects.

You see, we’d much rather hear about His goodness, His grace, His majesty and how He is empowering His people.

But God is sovereign over all and that includes believers’ attitudes toward offerings.

I was reminded of this fact this morning while reading from Malachi 1:6-14. The Spirit of God, speaking through the prophet Malachi, chastized the Jerusalem priests because of their decision to offer lame, blind, diseased or otherwise imperfect animal sacrifices to God instead of the flawless animals required by the Law.

God’s clear message was this — the priests kept the best for their own stomachs or for the market, and gave the unwanted animals to God.

Simply put, they put themselves first and stuck God with the leftovers.

To make matters worse, God said, the priests complained about the burden of sacrificing defective animals to God.

Here’s how God responded to those complaints.

Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord” (verse 14).

Wow. That’s strong language.

But God was facing a strong spirit of rebellion that overflowed from a deep root of selfishness.

The priests needed a serious wake-up call.

What about you?

Are you giving generously to God as called for in His Old Testament AND New Testament Word?

Are you tithing with a smile of appreciation for all His blessings of infinitely greater value than what you provide to Him?

Please don’t give God your leftover dollars.

It SO wounds His heart.

Make sure that His expected offering from you is item #1 on your weekly payments list.

To give Him anything less is hypocrisy on our part.

God gave His perfect Son as a sacrifice needed for you and me to have eternal life.

Let’s not cheat God of the tithes and offerings that show our appreciation for who He is and for what He did — and does — for us.

As always, I love you

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