Riches and Wealth

April 22, 2015

1 Timothy 6:17-19
17As for the rich in this world, charge them not to be proud and arrogant and contemptuous of others, nor to set their hopes on uncertain riches, but on God, Who richly and ceaselessly provides us with everything for [our] enjoyment.
18[Charge them] to do good, to be rich in good works, to be liberal and generous of heart, ready to share [with others],
19In this way laying up for themselves [the riches that endure forever as] a good foundation for the future, so that they may grasp that which is life indeed.

Riches and Wealth

A rich man can be poor because he is never satisfied,
He may never get past the poverty that he contains inside.
The poor man can be rich though he has little outward wealth,
He is rich in life, family, God, in love or in health.

Riches and poverty are not really found in what we outwardly possess,
They are found in the heart of man who has found God as His rest.
It is not in what we hold on too, but what we let go of that makes us blessed,
Giving of the riches of who you are, will make you richer, not less.

Consider how rich you are in the promises of God’s Word.
All things that pertain to life and godliness are in what you’ve heard.
Those in Christ truly possess the riches and wealth from above.
They possess the bountiful treasures of our great Father’s love.

Kent Stuck

Blessings,
#kent

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Colossians 2:1-3
I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. 2My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge

Proverbs 4:7 says, “Wisdom [is] the principal thing; [therefore] get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Proverbs 16:16 says, “How much better [is it] to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!” Proverbs 4:5 tells us, “Get wisdom, get understanding: forget [it] not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.” Psalms 119:104 teaches us, “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.”
The true treasures that God has for us are not riches of gold, silver and precious stones; they are the riches of wisdom, understanding and the knowledge of the Lord. That is why the Bible is the most precious and priceless book in the world for it contains these riches and the Holy Spirit is the guide that leads us into the depths of His treasure house. Unlike the riches of the world that promote greed, selfishness and lust, these treasures bring us into the character and knowledge of godliness, love and the fruit of the Spirit. What is even more amazing is that the fruit of following and finding these precepts of wisdom with understanding is what often produces the fruit of earthly prosperity and blessing as well. More importantly they teach us not to be looking at those things which are perishing, but rather those things which are eternal. Paul, in this passage from Colossians says the full riches are in the complete understanding, because understanding unlocks to us the full mystery of God, which is in Christ.
Who are you? “You are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). It is when we comprehend and fully process this truth of who we are in God that we begin to truly be hid in Him. It is our spiritual ignorance that continues to hold on to an identity that is outside of Christ.
Paul reveals this truth in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Most of us in the mind of our natural thinking have not really gone down into the grave of our earthly reasoning, mentality and natural awareness and so we have never risen in the resurrection of the riches of Christ in spiritual wisdom and the knowledge of who we are in Christ. We acknowledged it by faith spiritually, but have we truly embraced it in reality? When a woman marries a man, in most circumstances she gives up her name and she takes on his, but aren’t most of us like the woman who wants to take on all the benefits of his name, but she wants to keep her own name as well? We still want to be Mrs. Adam-Christ. Isn’t this why we see the carnality in our lives and the mixture of flesh and spirit within the church. God wants to educate us in who we are. He has given us the riches of all that He is in Christ Jesus and we are content with the husks that are fed to the hogs. As we will press into Christ and into depth of His Word we will find the riches that will bring us into the liberty of the Spirit. It has been said that, “knowledge is power.” When you begin to come into the full realization of who you are in Christ and what God has created you for, will that not bring you also into the power of God? God operates through vessels that are in union and in sync with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit leads us into all of the riches of God through His Word and then He begins to operate those riches through us in wisdom, knowledge and understanding. This is where we buy the gold of God, tried in the fire, because the truth of God’s word must become a reality in us and that can only be worked out through experience and the proving of God’s word in our daily lives. This is the oil that the foolish virgins asked of the wise in Matthew 25. It is not something that can just be given to you, it something that you must press into and lay hold of. It is a substance that is brought forth in your life through the trials and tribulations, because this is the place you must lose yourself and find who you are in Christ.
“Wisdom [is] the principal thing; [therefore] get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” All of it is found in the riches of Christ Jesus in whom are all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Blessings,
#kent

Chasing After the Wind

June 13, 2014

Chasing After the Wind

Ecclesiastes 2:11
But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless. It was like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.

Solomon, the wisest and richest of kings wrote this book of Ecclesiastes. He was a man who said that he had it all, tried it all and none of the things of earth or the pursuits of pleasure and accomplishment were really worthwhile. They were like, “chasing the wind.”
What are we chasing in our lives? We allow so many things to consume our lives, our time, our efforts and affections, but what eternal value do they possess? What will become of them when our lives are spent and we are gone? In Mark 10:21 Jesus says to the rich young ruler, “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.”
This man went away sad and unfulfilled because his possessions possessed him, he didn’t possess them. How many things in our lives possess us? Jesus offered the rich young ruler the one thing in life that would fulfill and complete him, but he couldn’t release the natural things for the spiritual. Jesus was letting him know and in so doing letting us know as well, if you want to pursue something more than the vanity of this life and all that it possesses there is only one way to store up treasure in heaven, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:19-21).” Jesus makes it plain to us that wherever our affections are, our values are placed, our importance lies, that’s where our hearts will be as well. Jesus is giving the same challenge to us as he gave to the rich young ruler, “take up your cross and follow me.” We process this with our minds, but not our hearts. We don’t want to, because it means we, like the rich young ruler, we have to deal with our issues, possessions and things we don’t want to let go of, even though they are robbing us of eternal treasure. That young man was no different than many of us. He was a good kid. He loved God and lived a righteous life and no doubt attended synagogue regularly. He thought he really wanted Jesus till he had to count the cost. It would cost him everything. While salvation is free, discipleship will cost you everything. The irony is that in losing everything this life has to offer you gain the riches of eternal heavenly treasure that has value long after your natural possessions have vanished. We don’t want to make the same mistake the rich young ruler did and become offended at the gospel.
Matthew 6:24 says, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” If we are really sold out to Christ then we are willing to surrender all our earthly goods, talents and treasures to follow Christ. That doesn’t mean we all literally go cash in, give it all away to the poor and take a vow of poverty, but we do need to have come to that place in our hearts. If the Lords says sell it all and give it away we are ready and willing. Often we can tell what things mean to us by how tightly we hold on to them. We need to embrace the cross and lightly hold the things of this life for even this is the wisdom of Solomon. At the end of Ecclesiastes Solomon says this of all that he has learned of life, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether [it be] good, or whether [it be] evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).”

Blessings,
#kent

Temporal or Eternal

December 5, 2013

 

Temporal or Eternal

 

Matthew 6:19-21

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 

 

This evening, I opened an email and one of my friends sent me something I had received a few years ago. It was sculptures made in the sand at a beach. One of the pictures was of Christ and his twelve disciples…another was Jesus on the cross and the last one was the face of Jesus. I found myself asking Jeannie, “Can you imagine spending all that time on making something that will just fade away or be destroyed by the next day?” I no more said those words when the thought came to me that’s precisely what we do everyday. We work hard in this world for money, to buy things that are temporal…those things that fade away and can be destroyed… instead of working for those things that are eternal. Why do we do this? Is it because this world has blinders on our eyes? It would have us going in every direction but on the straight and narrow road, which leads to life.  Jesus says in Matthew 16:26, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”  Why can’t we understand and keep in mind how temporal this life is? I heard a preacher say once, “Everything we are doing now, will make a difference in our position for all eternity.” I’m sure I didn’t quote it just right, but the meaning is there. And if this is true, then why do we waste so much time? Are we building our house on a firm foundation? Or are we building on sand; and when the winds of adversity blow, what we’ve been built on, will it sink and fade away? My prayer is that each one of us would take a long hard look at our lives and the way we live, and ask ourselves what exactly our lives are about. Are we living for Christ and His destiny for our lives? Or are we living apart from Him, doing our own thing and living our lives the way we please?

Blessings, 

Sharon

 

This is the One I’m looking for.

Isaiah 66:1-2
Thus saith the LORD, The heaven [is] my throne, and the earth [is] my footstool: where [is] the house that ye build unto me? and where [is] the place of my rest? For all those [things] hath mine hand made, and all those [things] have been, saith the LORD: but to this [man] will I look, [even] to [him that is] poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

‘Where is the place of my rest’, says the Lord. ‘I am the Lord of heaven and earth, what edifice or building could you possibly make that could even compare with what I have already?’ The Lord is not looking for what we can produce for Him out of the works of our hands; the dwelling place He desires and is looking for is a condition of the heart. “But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” Is that the condition of my heart and yours today? Are we what the Lord is looking for to be the place of His rest?
What is it to be poor? Does it mean you have to be homeless, destitute, without wealth or is it a condition of the heart wherein nothing is regarded of true value outside of God? The spiritually poor recognize that the world and all it’s riches are soon to pass away and that the only true treasures are those of heaven obtained through relationship and right standing with God. Often it is the people of low social and economic status that best grasp this concept.
Jesus teaches the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 and says, “Blessed [are] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed [are] they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed [are] they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed [are] the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed [are] the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” If we desire to be the blessed of the Lord here is where our heart needs to be. This is an expanded definition of Isaiah 66:2. These are the righteous who yearn and have a heart after God.
What does it mean to have a contrite heart? It is interesting in looking up the meaning of this word in the Hebrew it literally means, “dust”. It spiritually means that your heart is reduced to the base elements, there is no regard, no significance, nothing of value in your spirit outside of God and His working in you. You are as dust before Him and the heart of the contrite is that God would somehow look upon the dust of our nothingness and fashion it into a vessel pleasing to Him. Psalms 34:18 says, “The LORD [is] nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” Psalms 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Finally Isaiah 57:15 says, “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name [is] Holy; I dwell in the high and holy [place], with him also [that is] of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Do we see here the place of His Holy dwelling? Why do we weep and mourn in our spirits? It is because we have become cognizant of how utterly destitute we are without His holy presence and we cry out for Him to fill us and reveal His presence within us.
Lastly, God looks for those who “tremble at His Word”. This is simply the fear of the Lord. It is those who regard God and His Word with such holy respect and reverence that they in no way wish to offend the Holy Spirit in action, word or deed. It is an attitude that truly gives God His due honor and respect.
2 Chronicles 16:9 tells us what God is looking for, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of [them] whose heart [is] perfect toward him…” Are we what God is looking for?

Blessings,
kent

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