Wealth and Christ

Matthew 8:28-34 tells a story of two demon possessed men and of their freedom from that possession and the towns reaction.  This version of the story comes from The Voice Bible which is written in such a way as to tell it as a story.

28Eventually Jesus came to the other side of sea, to the region of the Gadarenes.  There, two men who lived near the tombs and were possessed by demons came out to the seaside and met Jesus.  They were flailing about, so violent that they obstructed the path of anyone who came their way.

Demons (screaming at Jesus): 29Why are You here? Have you come to torture us even before the judgment day, O Son of God?

30A ways off, though still visible, was a large herd of pigs.

Demons: 31If You cast us out of the bodies of these two men, do send us into that heard of pigs!

Jesus: 32Very well then, go!

And the demons flew out of the bodies of the two flailing men, they set upon the pigs, and every last pig rushed over a steep bank into the sea and drowned. 33The pig herders (totally undone, as you can imagine) took off; they headed straight for town, where they told everyone what they’d just seen – even about the demon-possessed men.  34And so the whole town came out to see Jesus for themselves.  And when they saw Him, they begged Him to leave their area.

When confronted with Christ and the miracle He had done for the demon-possessed men, they didn’t welcome Him they did the exact opposite.

The herd of pigs signified wealth.  Often we are asked by God what are we going to do with our finances.  For some this can be a difficult thing.  Possibly you have come about difficult times financially, still setting some aside for the work of God is Biblical.  How much is between your heart and God, the Holy Spirit.  Maybe God has blessed you despite these difficult times and you find it easy to give, praise the Lord.

Perhaps you have great wealth and have been sensing that it was time to share that wealth with others but it has been difficult for you to let go of it.  May I encourage you that there are greater treasures in heaven than you could ever amount for yourself here on earth.  Please listen to that voice prodding you to be generous with what you have.

God has blessed you with the amount of income that He has chosen.  Yes you may be an entrepreneur but it is God who has blessed your business as He has seen fit.  And it is God who will either continue to bless that income or take it away.  His ways are not our ways nor His thoughts our thoughts.  So whether rich or poor be grateful for what you have because God promises to supply all your needs if you seek Him.

Unfortunately this town never got to learn that blessed promise and wonderful joy.  Because when they were faced with the face of the Savior they chose wealth over salvation.  How sad that a whole town could be more concerned with their wealth and all that encompasses than learning about the man that can free men from demon-possession.  One would hope such a miracle would have people asking for more miracles of healing in their lives rather than looking at their pocketbooks and being fearful of what more money this Man might take from them.

This town is the perfect example of how it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.

This town is also a reminder to us who follow Christ to keep our priorities in order.  It is just as easy for us to allow wealth to cause an area of a hardened heart and that gives the enemy a foothold in our life that we don’t want to happen.  We must listen to the Holy Spirit and obey it’s voice when It calls us to action in our giving.

We must only have one Master at all times.  So check yourself and ask God if you are in line with His will in this area.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Who Is Your Identity?

Who are you?  Are you identifying yourself by your profession?  Perhaps you are identifying yourself as a husband or wife and putting everything you have into that relationship.  Perhaps your a mom and you are identifying yourself as a mom or in how your children behave or have matured and grown up?  Are you a student and identify yourself as such? Do you allow your grades to speak for who you are?  If you are identifying yourself in any of these ways or any other way other than in respect to Christ that is not your true identity.

I have mistakenly looked for my identity in nearly all of these except for mom, since God never blessed me with children.  When I was put on disability and lost my identity of a professional and it was very difficult when asked what I do to answer the question.  You see here I was (if I remember correctly) in my early 30’s and out of the workforce.  What was to be my identity?

I have had and continue to have the identity of daughter and sister but that never seemed enough.

When I went into early retirement as was suggested to call it by some, I became a student and although I love learning and am fairly good at it.  This too was not enough.

Actually being put on disability was a blessing because I had been so busy with work that I hadn’t realized how empty I was.  It was sometime after that and not without heartache and dealing with my pride that I came to realize that my identity comes from Christ and being in Christ.

Galatians 3:26-29 says this about our identity;

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you all are one in Christ Jesus.  If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.

If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior your identity belongs to Christ.  As you can see in Galatians 3:26-29 we who have been baptized into Christ have clothed ourselves with Christ.  It is Christ in us that the world must see and who we must identify ourselves with.

As the scripture says there is no distinguishing among us. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you all are one in Christ Jesus.”  In today’s terms: Their is neither Baptist nor Methodist nor Lutheran nor Evangelical nor Charismatic nor Catholic, poor nor rich, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  There also isn’t doctor nor plumber, teacher nor homemaker, wife nor aunt, student nor retired.  There are followers of Christ which have clothed themselves in Christ Jesus.

The above list of denominations and non-denominational churches is incomplete I just listed what came to mind and am sure given time I could think of a number of other to add to this list.  Most importantly, instead of the different denominations and non-demominationals waring of non-fundamentals of the faith, let us do as the Bible teaches us and find our common ground and be united in that.  We are letting these insignificant things (in comparison to the fundamentals of our faith) to be used by the enemy to pull the Church (followers of Jesus) apart rather than being unified.  This is exactly what he wants because it destroys our witness to the world.  Church wake up!  It is time we take back what the enemy has cunningly got us to let go of.  There should be unity in love of the Church this is what will attract unbelievers to us.

When you find your true identity – either a follower of Christ or not.  One of three things will happen.

  1. Knowing your identity in Christ as a believer and follower that place in your heart that you were trying to fill with other identities will find peace and wholeness.
  2. If you are not a believer or follower of Christ but you heed the tugging in your heart that this could be the answer to that whole you feel – pray this simple prayer: Lord I see myself as the sinner I am and ask You to forgive me of all my sins.  I accept what Jesus did on the cross as a sacrifice for me so that I might have forgiveness of my sins and fellowship with you.  Lord help me to live the new life that I’ve just begun and bring believers around me to help me grow in You. Amen!
  3. If you are not a believer nor follower of Christ and you choose not to say the above pray and let Christ into your life, you can look through every profession, toy, relationship, or book other than the Bible and you will never fill that God shaped whole you feel.  You know the emptiness that nothing seems to fill.  It’s there for a reason.  God put it there so you would choose Him.  He also gave you free choice so you can run from Him all you want, He’s a gentleman He won’t force Himself on you.  But let me worn you the longer you run the harder your heart becomes.  The harder your heart becomes the less likely you are to turn to Him.  The reason I mention this is that hell is a very real place and if you don’t like things here on earth you have no idea what awaits you separated eternally from a loving and holy God.  It scares me to think that anyone I know would be sent to such a horrible place.  So please reconsider God’s gracious gift of forgiveness.  We’ve all sinned and fallen short of what God in His righteousness requires which is perfection.  Only one man ever walked the earth and did not sin, and that man is our Lord and Savior  Jesus Christ.

So let’s stop looking in all the wrong places and seek out Christ in the Bible and learn about Him so that we have a better understanding of our true identity.

Joy – A Fellow  Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

The Bottom Line

I can’t say it any better than Jesus puts it so I’ll just leave Matthew 6:25-34 to Him.

Here is the bottom line: do not worry about your life. Don’t worry about your life.  Don’t worry about what you will eat or what yo will drink.  Don’t worry about how you clothe your body.  Living is about more than merely eating, and the body is about more than dressing up.  Look at the birds in the sky.

They do not store food for winter.  They don’t plant gardens.  They do not sow or reap – and yet, they are always fed because your heavenly Father feeds them.  And you are even more precious to Him than a beautiful bird.

If He looks after the them, of course He will look after you.  Worrying does not do any good;  who here can claim to add even an hour to his life by worrying?

Nor should you worry about your clothes.  Consider the lilies of the field and how they grow.

They do not work or weave or sew, and yet their garments are stunning.

 Even King Solomon, dressed in his most regal garb, was not as lovely as these lilies.  And think about the grassy fields – the grasses are here now, but they will be dead by winter.

An yet God adorns them so radiantly.  How much more will He clothe you, you of little faith, you who have no trust?

So do not consume yourselves with questions:  What will we eat?  What will we drink?  What will we wear?  Outsiders make themselves frantic over such questions; they don’t realize that your heavenly Father knows exactly what you need.  Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you too.  So don’t worry about tomorrow.  Let tomorrow worry about itself.  Living faithfully is a large enough task for today.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Who Do You Serve?

We have a choice in life and we make this choice everyday.  Actually we get the chance to make this choice of who we are going to serve multiple times during the day.  That new car that you want so much, when yours is perfectly fine and God has been tugging at your heart that that money needs to go to something or someone else.

For me it’s those candy bars that call out to me, when as a diabetic I know I shouldn’t eat them and they only take up precious money that could be spent on healthy items.

Or is it the newest style that has you caught in its grip when your closet is full of clothes already?

Or is it saving up for the newest toy when you could be sponsoring and child and making a difference in a life.

Whatever it is if it’s not God it’s not good!  To be more exact Matthew 6:24 says, (Jesus talking) “No one can serve two masters.  If you try, you will wind up loving the first master and hating the second, or vice versa.  People try to serve both God and money – but you can’t.  You must choose one or the other.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Help! I’m Bi-polar!

I struggle with Bi-polar disorder and the past two plus weeks I’ve been struggling with severe depression.  When this happens it is easy to believe God has deserted you.  Now I am fully aware that that is not Biblically sound doctrine.  It’s just when your deep in the pit of despair it’s easy to go by feelings rather than faith of the truth of God’s Word.  But this is what God’s Word has to say on the matter:

What a blessed promise.  When I’m isolating in my apartment, I’m never truly alone.  God is with me.  He promises this and He is faithful, He never breaks His Word.

When I keep the discipline of staying in His Word I find these jewels that help me to hold on one more day in hopes of the depression leaving soon and life looking full of possibilities for the future.

I love this version of this particular verse because instead of translating the word to prosper which most people equate with money, something God has never seen fit to lavish upon me, it translates it as peace and that I’d much prefer.

There is another verse that I have found helpful in changing the thoughts that don’t help with the depression that I am fighting.

Filling my mind with positive thoughts rather than negative thoughts literally changed my life that and the decision that suicide was no longer an option.  But there is more than just the positive thoughts Philippians 4:9 goes on to say, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.”  Now that’s a wonderful promise! But notice the promise comes with action on our part.

For any of you that are struggling with Bi-polar disorder please don’t get me wrong in no way am I saying that it is easy to deal with.  I struggle with wanting to isolate, sleep my life away, gorge myself into oblivion so I don’t have to feel and I have even done less healthy things in an attempt to cope. What I am saying is it is a fight we mustn’t stop, and in that fight use any tool available to you.  Take your meds religiously.  See your doctors and therapists regularly and be open and honest with them.  Make sure you have a support network.  If you don’t work occupy yourself so you have a set schedule. Get plenty of rest and have a consistent bedtime.  Eat healthy even when you don’t want to.  Get exercise and get 20 minutes of morning sun.  All of these will help you live a better life.

Joy – Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!