Series 29


Money, Money, Money

“Why don’t they teach this in school?” Rich said. “It’s so clear.”

We were talking about money. “Rich,” I said, “God knows more about money than anyone.” The Bible speaks volumes on the subject. Our discussion focused on three aspects.

  1. Deuteronomy 8:18, “You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” The Christian life includes a God who wants to guide our life in a direction for our financial benefit. Even to the point of being wealthy.
  2. There’s a warning side to this benefit. 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Money can be deceitful, leading to destruction. Never love money. Love the God who provides the money. And then wholeheartedly use your wealth to serve His Kingdom.
  3. Here’s the bottom line. Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not store up for yourself treasures on Earth, where moths and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moths and rust do not destroy and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

The condition of your heart towards money will reflect how much God can bless you. Your heart will either draw you into loving money, resulting in spiritual destruction. Or your heart will honor God in the way you view and use your money. And your heart will be either Earth bent or Heaven focused. 

What do you treasure? “…there your heart will be also.”


No Friend

I knew I didn’t have a friend like Pastor Randy was describing. A former Marine, he included in his sermon the story of a soldier risking his life for a friend. With no concern for his own life, he had dashed into the midst of a firefight and scooped up his wounded comrade, carrying him to safety.

Pastor Randy then talked about the deep, satisfying relationship he has with his own friend Guz. I thought to myself, “Why don’t I have any friends like that?” I glanced over at my wife, reflecting on what a true friend she is.  And consoled myself, reasoning that part of the cost of ministry includes forgoing some friendships.

Still it bothered me.

The next day a call came in. It was Mark from San Antonio. We had enjoyed lunch a couple of weeks ago when he was visiting my hometown. Our time together had stretched to two and a half hours. We had not seen or talked to each other in seven years. Even with the gulf of time, conversation flowed readily.

The reason for his phone call? He was inquiring about donating money to our ministry The Free Church.

The Bible say this: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friend.” Yes these are the words of Jesus. He’s alluding to His death on the cross. This makes Jesus the ultimate friend.

Yet when my friend Mark offers money to support a work which is a central focus of my life, he’s giving a part of his life to me. Actually laying down his life, allowing my life to go forward in what God has called me to do.

Thank You God for my friend. Thank You for showing me a true friend.


High-fiving the Blesser

“Were you high-fiving someone out there?” Jim asked. I didn’t realize Jim and his associate had been watching out their window as I slapped the air with my hand held high.

“Yeah, I was high-fiving God,” I responded. Jim laughed. His co-worker said, “It’s a good day.”

This was a great day! A day blessed by God.

Jim is my real estate agent. In an hour the final papers would be signed to sell my existing home and for the purchase of a new residence. Through it all God had blessed my wife and I. God had blessed us with a quick sale in a very slow real estate market. God had blessed the purchase of our new place. And God had blessed us with a way to be debt free by switching houses.

God says, “Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse.”

A curse? Yes a curse.

Too many house-dissatisfaction stories arose as acquaintances became aware of my pending move. My desire to simplify and to honor God, stirred significant words regarding their own inner turmoil. Many own large, beautiful homes. But the effort to maintain this lifestyle is like a clinging curse.

God goes on to say: “The blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God….”

My wife and I felt God was leading us, commanding us to move. Consequently we experienced God’s blessing.

And then God talks of the alternative. “And the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God…”

Now the blessing/curse is not based on house size or gauged by lifestyle simplicity. It’s all about being obedient to God’s commands. First to the His Biblical guidelines. And then to God’s personal leading.

Today a blessing and a curse is set before you. It’s your choice.



“What is that?” the man laughed, as he stared at her dog. “He’s a greyhound,” my wife Nancy replied. Our greyhound is lanky-tall, multicolored, and kind of goofy looking.

Nancy is frequently asked questions about our pet. “Did you adopt him?” “Can I pet him?” “Is he friendly?” She loves to walk for miles, using these questions as conversation starters.

These walks have also caused her to be asked many other questions. Frequently a driver looking at a scrap of paper asks her for directions. Some only have the name of a family they are looking for. Yet they will ask, “Do you know where the Millers live?”

Our rural area is dotted with lakes. Often a car with a boat trailer will stop; Nancy can guess the question. “Where’s the public boat launch for...?”

One day my wife came home with her own question. “Why will we ask a stranger for information we need at the moment but if we have a spiritual question, we rarely mention it?”  Just let it go with a shrug: “Oh well—there are spiritual things we just don’t understand.”

Now Jesus would be concerned about these unanswered questions. And Jesus offers a remedy: “Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find. Keep on knocking, reverently and the door will be opened to you.”

Don’t go through life without direction. Ask God. Don’t go around wondering about the meaning of Bible verses. Ask God. Ask a friend to study with you. Ask a pastor. Look to Bible dictionaries or commentaries. Use the internet.

Keep on. Ask.

It doesn’t matter where you start. Jesus promises that your destination will be reached: “For everyone who asks receives and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks the door will be opened.”


I’m Addicted

“I’m addicted to junk food,” Cyrus told me. His over-heaped plate of deserts at the church’s all-you-can-eat lunch was revealing.

Cyrus seemed to be asking me for advice when he informed me of his dilemma.

When I think of getting free of an addiction, Jesus’ mission statement in Luke 4:18 comes to mind. “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed…”

Twice in His statement Jesus used the word “liberty.” To be set free. Junk food addiction is real. Did Cyrus want freedom from its captivity and oppression?

Probing a little deeper, I asked Cyrus: “Do you want to quit eating junk food?” With a slight hesitation, he replied, “No.”

Now Jesus can definitely set a person free from a destructive addiction. I know from personal experience.

Listen to these words from Jesus. “There is nothing that enters a man from the outside which can defile him, but the things which come out of him; those are the things that defile a man.” This may seem contradictory to a junk food addiction. That’s not so. For Cyrus, it isn’t the junk food that keeps him bound; it’s what comes out of him.

The word, “No,” came out.

That one word reflects what is inside. A heart satisfied to remain addicted is revealed. A heart not wanting freedom through Jesus. A heart defiled.

Then there is another type of heart. A heart that says, “Yes.” A heart open to the power of Jesus. A heart seeking freedom.

Jesus will provide freedom from any addiction to a person with this kind of heart.