Saturday, August 06, 2011

August 7, 2011 … Loving Money: Its Effects

Passage of the Day: 1st Timothy 6: 6 – 9 [see bold text below] … 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.

My Journal for Today:
In this last week (see my entries for 8/3 and 8/6) inspired by Paul’s instruction to Timothy, I’ve been reviewing ways to avoid the traps of worldly/fleshly materialism and/or “sensualism.” You may not find the latter word in your dictionary; but “sensualism” is the pursuit of those things which feed our senses and become self-destructive sin patterns, deterring us from a deep and abiding relationship with Christ. This is very personal concept for me because habitual sexual sin choices for many years in my life almost kept me from Christ and came very close to the ruination of my marriage, family, and career. Now, having been delivered into a walk of freedom and sobriety from sexual sin patterns, I now struggle with the sensual sin stronghold of gluttony in my life. So, I know very personally how Satan and my own heart can collaborate in sensualism to separate me from my fellowship with Christ. In fact, as I write this, I’m on a cruise in the Mediterranean; and I’ve been quite convicted of my gluttonous tendencies, having so many opportunities to graze on the very tempting food courts which are “free” and part of our cruise charges.

In today’s highlight verse we read of Paul’s warning of the outcomes of such pursuits as Paul speaks of those who “… fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men (and of course, women) into ruin and destruction.” And we see such destruction occurring all around us with State after State sanctioning gambling, which is taking millions into financial ruin. We have an epidemic of obesity in our culture, caused by the pursuit of sensual over-eating. Our children are being plunged into the obsessive-compulsive drive to find sexual images on the TV, in movies, on the Internet, being brought to them on little boxes (called “smart” phones) which they carry around in their pockets/purses, leading to a pandemic of obsessive pornography in our world. It’s like the world, and even the Christian world, is totally ignoring the warnings of God’s word (as in today’s verse).

By our choices we are in disobedience to God’s warnings, all the way from the Old Testament (see Deuteronomy 7: 25 and Zephaniah 1: 18).

Deut. 7: 25The images of their gods you are to burn in the fire. Do not covet the silver and gold on them, and do not take it for yourselves, or you will be ensnared by it, for it is detestable to the LORD your God.

Zeph. 1: 18 … [God through Zephaniah] “Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the LORD's wrath. In the fire of his jealousy the whole world will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live in the earth."

Those are pretty clear warnings from God’s word; don’t you think? And reading from the pages of Scripture, the Bible is replete with stories of lives destroyed because of the pursuit of materialism or sensual pleasures.

There was the case of Achan (see Joshua 7: 1 – 26), who hid his wealth, causing his family to lose their lives and Israel to lose in warfare. And in the NT, there were Ananias and Sapphira, who were both struck dead because, in greed, they held back the Lord’s proceeds (see Acts 5: 1 – 11). And finally there was the most tragic example of all with Judas betraying Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, which ultimately led to his ignominious suicide (read Matt. 27: 3 – 5).

So, will we ever get the picture and recognize the importance of obedience to God’s word, which clearly lays out the consequences of refusing to surrender our desires to God’s will and trusting His providence completely for our needs (again read and memorize Matt. 6: 33 and Phil. 4: 19)?

My Prayer Today: I do, Lord! I get it! I am Yours! Amen

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