Pastor Brady Boyd walked over to an old radio he had set up as a prop for his message. After turning on the battery-powered machine he slowly moved the knob in search of stations within range. The point he was making is that often we seek God’s voice but all we hear is static. And so he asked a rhetorical question: What keeps us from hearing God?
While I was a cadet at West Point, my two friends Dave and Brian and I had a saying we frequently recited to remind us that we needed to focus on what was eternal. “It’s all going to burn.” Little did we realize how significant that phrase would become. Dave and his wife Melody lost their home in the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs. It was a traumatic event for the Meads—they lost almost everything they owned. Now as they look back, they would say that they are better for their loss.
Matthew 6:33—But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.
I would imagine if you quoted Jesus’ advice above to a secular financial advisor he might laugh you out of his office after you explained that “all these things” referred to food, drink and clothing (6:25,31). “Are you crazy! Don’t put your trust in some ancient religious leader. After all, God helps those who help themselves. If you want to live the good life and be secure, you better make lots of money.”
Proverbs 3:9—Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest.
I had a novel thought this morning concerning Proverbs 3:9. One of the ways that I honor God with my possessions (beyond tithing) is giving them away! As Kathleen and I pack up our belongings for our move to Colorado Springs, we are realizing that we don’t need to take a lot of stuff.
While I was in college my uncle had a massive heart attack and died. His death was far more tragic then necessary. Norm was a very wealthy man. Because he failed to write a will, when his heart collapsed, he left his wife and two daughters with no plan and protection. Because he did not train his sons-in-law how to run his business, they badly floundered. Soon a shyster appeared and proceeded to horrifically swindle my aunt and her family. Later, one of the sons-in-law died. He failed to write a will. The financial and emotional suffering caused by two men unwilling to prepare for death extends to this day.
It was a bittersweet day. Although I earned my Expert Infantryman Badge (EIB) at Fort Benning, Georgia as a Second Lieutenant, I lost my West Point ring in the process. I have always thought it would be great to rent a metal detector and go searching for that lost treasure. The problem is, many decades later, I have no idea even what area to search!
When asked what she wanted for Christmas the little girl responded, “I want an I Phone and everything that starts with I.” You have to love the simple honesty of a child. How many adults would admit to the same self-gratification?
Luke 14:26, 27, 33—If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, and even his own life—he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. In the same way, therefore, every one of you who does not say good-bye to all his possessions cannot be My disciple.
As the Apostle Peter neared the end of his life he wrote powerful words of instruction to those who were leaders of God’s people. Coming alongside special men, Peter urged them to shepherd God’s flock. Then he carefully defined what their motives and attitudes should look like. Those same penetrating words of truth ring applicable to us today.
Luke 16:10-12—Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and whoever is unrighteous in very little is also unrighteous in much. So if you have not been faithful with the unrighteous money, who will trust you with what is genuine? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to someone else, who will give you what is your own?
Once upon a time a man and woman lived off Dutch Canyon Road in Scappoose. They had six children all of whom were in their 20’s. The father was a wealthy man, well beloved in his community, but terminally-ill with cancer. One day while reason still lingered, he asked his beloved wife to invite their children for dinner and an important announcement. Curious and concerned they all came.
Matthew 5:3--The poor in spirit are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
2 Corinthians 8:9-- For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: Though He was rich, for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich.
Rather incredible isn’t it? The Lord of the universe willingly disrobed of the heavenly splendor that was His.
The beginning of the year is a time when people in our society reflect. For many, new resolutions and goals are forged on the gold-embossed pages of a new journal. Yet as the past is closed for the door of tomorrow a timeless God is not concerned with another year. His word makes His question clear—are we loyal to Him?
Luke 12:15--He then told them, “Watch out and be on guard against all greed because one’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions.
Matthew 6:34—Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Why is our civilization morally crumbling? Why is our country trapped in the quicksand of evil? Why is our society torn by the passions of selfishness? Why is our culture enamored with what is wicked? Could it be that we are adorned in the clothing of excuses to mask our responsibility for sin? Paul Harvey, the famous radio commentator shared a prayer, Pastor Joe Wright of the Wichita Central Christian Church gave at an invocation for the Kansas state legislature. Joe’s prayer was immediately denounced by the governor of Kansas and several legislators stormed out in anger. This prayer has much to say. I hope it will stir your heart as it stirred mine.