Because of Him

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Mark 13:13 – “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – There are a lot of reasons that people may hate us, but being hated because of our relationship to Christ is nothing to be ashamed of or to fear. Rather we should stand firm in the face of such opposition and not compromise to gain favor.

My Advice – Do not try too hard to gain the world’s favor. It is likely that you will be subjected to a certain degree of dislike or ridicule because you profess to know Christ. Do not be ashamed of this. Be proud of it.

More Out of Less

Mark 12:43 – “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – God’s economy measures things a lot differently than man’s economy. Man measures by the value of what is given over. God measures by the cost of what is given up.

My Advice – As you gain in success in your career, your financial resources as well as your talents are likely to increase. So too should your ability to give both to God. Always remember that God weighs your giving by your ability to give. To whom much is given, much is required. You’ve already been given much. Respond to God in gratitude.

 

A Bit of the Boy in the Heart of the Man

Mark 10:15 – “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – The faith of children is amazing. They have not yet allowed their faith to be polluted and diluted by the so-called ‘wisdom” of this world, which God calls foolishness.

My Advice – Never allow yourself to lose the childlike faith that you began your life in Christ with. Intellectual attacks against the simplicity of the Gospel are common and sometimes compelling (at least on the surface). But in the end it comes down to faith.

 

Setting Aside

Mark 7:9And He said to them, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Sometimes, we are much more diligent in observing man-made traditions than we are in observing the Word of God.

My Advice – Do not set aside God’s Word for anything, whether it is religious traditions or prevailing social mores. Anything that is inconsistent with the Word, is wrong, even if it is highly regarded or widely believed.

A Rigor Mortis Faith

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Or possibly the work of a Cereal killer?

James 2:14 -24What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. (NIV 1984)

My Musings – Early in his post-reformation ministry, Martin Luther referred to the Epistle of James as Continue reading “A Rigor Mortis Faith”

Laments Over Babylon’s Fall

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LAMENT OF THE KINGS, MERCHANTS & SEA CAPTAINS – “When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry: “‘Woe! Woe, O great city, O Babylon, city of power! In one hour your doom has come!’ “The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes any more—cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble; cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and bodies and souls of men. “They will say, ‘The fruit you longed for is gone from you. All your riches and splendor have vanished, never to be recovered.’ The merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her will stand far off, terrified at her torment. They will weep and mourn and cry out: “‘Woe! Woe, O great city, dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet, and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls! In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!’ “Every sea captain, and all who travel by ship, the sailors, and all who earn their living from the sea, will stand far off. When they see the smoke of her burning, they will exclaim, ‘Was there ever a city like this great city?’ They will throw dust on their heads, and with weeping and mourning cry out: “‘Woe! Woe, O great city, where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth! In one hour she has been brought to ruin! (Revelation 18:9-19)

Who Mourned – The mourners are those who had been bewitched by Babylon’s spiritual fornication, who had shared in her sensual pleasures, and who had gained from her wealth and trade.

Kings of the Earth – They were the kings of the earth, whom she had seduced into idolatry and who had shared in her tyranny.

Merchants and Sea Captains – They were the merchants and sea captains who got rich by selling and transporting her goods.(1)

The imagery here is Continue reading “Laments Over Babylon’s Fall”

Sown Among Thorns

Mark 4:18, 19 – “Still others, like seed sown among the thorns, hear the Word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke out the Word, making it unfruitful.” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Today’s world is so fast-paced, and the demands so burdensome, that this can easily happen. So we must be on guard, carefully choosing what is important versus what may be urgent, but not that important.

My Advice – Watch out for “thorns” in your life (career, social life, etc…), that they do not choke out God from your life. You have to be on guard. It can creep up on you so that you don’t readily realize it, then it can become a habit that is hard to break.