Baptism at Singles Retreat - 147 Baptized!!!

*******************Baptism at Singles Retreat 147 Baptized!!! ***********************

* Sharing times in the Word and looking for growth. Let's Commune Together!

Friday, March 23, 2012

It’s never the tree – it’s always the root that is the problem

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 6:9 But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Application: Paul continues his warning about riches in this section, and brings the focus onto the real issue. Money is never the really the issue, it is just the excuse we use for many of our struggles and problems. Paul points out it is our approach to money that opens the door to all kinds of evils. He connects two thoughts that illustrate the tension that leads to wandering from the faith. He tells us that φιλαργυρία philarguría - a lover of money has the root that leads to evil. This word is also tied to the word for covetousness. When we tie this statement to the next statement that describes the mind set we can see where the problem lies. Paul states that this individual longs for money.. 

The Greek word is ὀρέγω orégō; Literally, to stretch out especially with the hands, to snatch. In the NT to stretch oneself, reach after something, and hence metaphorically meaning to covet, long after, desire, try to gain[1]

The intensity is clear, this person is driven to gain money, it controls his focus and his heart. This is why the word root is used, another way to put this is that the desire for money is the origin of all kind of evils. We would do well to heed the warning here because we all use money and even like money, but must guard from stepping over that line into craving and stretching after it. The scripture is blunt here, this hunger will not lead to just one problem in our life, but will lead to all sorts of evil. The deeper we get pulled into this hunger the greater the chance is that we will leave the faith. Once that happens we place ourselves in the path of both the Fathers chastening hand and worse, the enemies schemes. We should never take lightly how we handle money, it can always work its way into our flesh. It brings so much temporal comfort and pleasure, not to mention empowerment, that it can lull our spirit asleep. Before we know it we might be serving it instead of it serving us. When that happens we have a golden idol in our life that tries to take the throne of our God. Father, give us wisdom in how we handle money and help us to always see it as a tool and a slave to be used for Your glory. Thank You for the money You give us, make us worthy stewards of it.

Meditation Questions: How much time do you spend thinking about money? What makes up those thoughts: worry, plans, goals, craving? When you think of money what is the first thought you have? If God made you rich what do you think you would do? What are you doing with your money right now? Are you thanking God for where He has you economically right now? How much of your prayer life is thanking God for Who He is versus asking for things?

[1] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The quicksand of riches.

Scripture Read:  1 Timothy 6:9  But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.

Application: Contentment is what we say we want, but sadly too many place the concept of contentment into the financial plateau exclusively. Obvious money is needed to survive in this world unless you are supernaturally supplied for, which God has done and continues to do at times. However, for the most part God uses the things of this world to meet our needs and one of those is money. The mistake takes place when we over emphasize what money can do for us. No doubt creature comforts are supplied by an amble supply of money, but contentment is not tied to creature comforts at it’s heart. True contentment comes from inside as we discussed from the earlier verses. The dilemma we find ourselves in is that as we consider how to be content in life, money will usually be a part of that equation, the key is balance. That is the “rub” as it is often put, which is why God moved Paul to deal with this issue in such a direct way. Paul is not talking about worldly people that do not care about God, but only want the riches of this world. He is warning all of us as children of God that if we are not careful we can find ourselves trapped by this issue. To begin he uses a word in the original that communicates a normal feeling that anyone could have. The word “want” is:
βούλομαι boúlomai; To will, be willing, wish, desire. Boúlomai expresses also the inward predisposition and bent from which active volition proceeds; hence it is never used of evil people.

Notice, this is not some evil desire, it’s just a desire. That’s what can make it so dangerous! There is nothing wrong with desiring to have enough money to not worry about supplying your needs again. The conflict arises from what that desire, if left unchecked can bring. First, we need to ask ourselves that if God made all His children rich, would we all not be walking by sight when it comes to seeing our daily needs met? Is that what we are called to do? No. So the desire itself is not the problem, but the warning is challenging us to consider what happens to the person that becomes obsessed with becoming rich, instead of leaving that detail to God. This person could “fall” which is from:

ἐμπίπτω empíptō; from en, in, into, and píptō, to fall. To fall in. Metaphorically, to fall into any state or condition, to come into, followed by eis, into (1 Tim. 3:6, 7; 6:9)

The idea is of falling, not jumping! The person was not rebelling, but not careful in their life. The sad point is that either way the outcome is deadly. Whether we deliberately jump into sin or trip into it, once we are in it, the consequences can take control. Paul employs two words that communicate this sad state. A normal desire left unchecked brings forth other desires that are not neutral. First come “foolish” desires. The original is: 

ἀνόητος anóētos; from the priv. a, without, and noéō, to comprehend. Lacking intelligence, foolish; one who does not govern his lusts

We lose our common sense and understanding about what temporal things can really provide. Once you lose your bearings concerning the fleeting importance of temporal riches, you move to “harmful” desires. The original communicates just that: 

βλαβερός blaberós; to injure, hurt, hurtful

Here is where the original really helps paint the desperate picture that this path leads to. These desires now “plunge” the person toward destruction. Notice what this word communicates in the Greek:

βυθίζω buthízō;  To sink in the deep or to cause to sink. Used in the pass. meaning to sink (Luke 5:7), metaphorically (1 Tim. 6:9) followed by eis, unto, ólethron, ruin, destruction, and apṓleian, ruin or loss. These two words do not mean annihilation or cessation of existence, but change of constitutional existence.[1]

The picture painted here is very graphic and we need to heed its warning! It is one thing to trip and fall, but once you start sinking the consequences are grave! Notice, the meaning does not lead to the concept of hell, instead an affect on the person and what their life accomplishes. We find the child of God described in 1 Cor 3 that took the salvation God provided, loss focus of it and pursued worldly riches, only to throw away their eternal investment, sinking ever more into the controlling pit of worldly riches. Let’s focus on our God and allow Him to focus on what economic level He desires for us!

Meditation Questions: Do you feel you are missing out on life because you don’t have enough money to do all you desire to do? What problems would money fix in your life? How does that problem effect you? Have you considered what problems might occur if you did become rich? If you became rich right now, how would your life change? Why? If every material need was met for you, how much worry would leave your life? What does your answer show you? Why do you think a God that owns everything does not make you rich? What does your answer show you about how you view God? What does your answer show you about how you view yourself? What does your answer show you about how you view money? 

[1] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Contentment is not a feeling, it is a decision.

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 6:7-8 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.

Application: After facing the truth that we leave this earth the way we came in, only possessing our self, Paul brings a challenge we all should evaluate and assess where we are on the contentment scale. The state of contentment is when we feel completely at peace where we are at. It does not mean that we cannot desire things to change or hope to see certain circumstances in our life to improve. What it does mean is that there is a calm in our life and no urgent change needs to happen. We accept where we are in life and can remain there if that is what the Lord desires. What is so shocking to most individuals is how simplistic the Scripture makes the contentment scale. I know that  before I knew the Lord my scale would have had numerous points on it, ranging from career, position, wealth just to name a few. The more points a person has the more frustrated they will walk through this life and the chances of ever sensing true contentment is not very likely. The Lord boils all this stuff down to two simple needs -  food and shelter. When God supplies these two things in our life, we should sense a calm in life. Does this mean we cannot desire a better roof, or more exquisite food? Are we not right to seek a career we find fulfilling and that makes life more comfortable? Nowhere in Scripture does it state that we are wrong to desire such things. 

Instead, the Scriptures challenge two aspects of those desires. What intensity do we carry these desires at? Are we consumed with getting to where we want? That opens the second door of concern, at what cost are we willing to pay to get what we want? Integrity? Our family? The Truth? I have met businessmen in India, who will not allow their testimony as a Christian to be known because it would cost their family certain “perks” with the government. It is worth it? Only they can answer that, and only they WILL answer for that. I have found a tremendous principle in Scripture that I hope will help. When we are content where we are, if we desire more, then and only then does God open the door for that. This will not happen through emotions, it is a matter of the will. When we decide to thank God for where we are, no matter what our emotions are saying, in time our emotions catch up to where our will has taken a stand.  Many times our attitude about our present circumstances hinders what God would like to give us, because He sees that our heart is not ready to move to “more” because we are not even handling the “little” properly. Father, leads us to contentment where we are at!

Meditation Questions: How much time do you spend wishing things were not the way they are? How much time do you spend thanking God for where you are right now? What does your answer show you? What does God have to change to make you content? Why? Do you think it is possible that God has allowed all the circumstances in your life, even the ones you don’t like? How should your answer impact the way you look at your life? If you desire change in your life, what do you think you should do? What if you started by just thanking God for where you are right now? Do you have to feel thankful to be thankful? What does your answer show you?