Category Archives: SUCCESS: NOTES, QUOTES, & FOLKS

Stories, quotes, writing, and inspiration from a variety of sources, meant to encourage, bless, and inspire.

Video: The Love of God: Do the Math!

Success:
Hard work.
Knowledge.
Attitude.

Yet, how does this compare to God’s love for us?
We write much about success, and about how much
of it depends upon our realization of what God has already given us, what we already have, which makes us successful.

Now, here’s a great video … sent to me by a High School Principal … which “measures” hard work, knowledge, and attitude …
vs. The Love of God …

He wrote me “this is the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time …”

Please stay with it … to see how the numbers stack up …

 

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Wealth Stored for the Righteous-Part 9

While our eternal reward/wealth is currently being stored for us in the Heavenly realm, there is absolutely no reason we can’t enjoy God’s favor and blessing-in everything we do-right now, today. I love to read about Joseph, and how those around him, who, if you think about it … weren’t believers … yet, they recognized the fact that God was with him, and it was God who allowed all Joseph did to prosper …

We are all in the middle of “something,” be it job, financial, or personal related. And, to be successful, we need-we must have- God’s favor. I think of Daniel. Simply put, here is the reason for Daniel’s great success: “Now God had brought Daniel into favor” (Daniel 1:9). We all know Daniel prayed, and read the Scriptures … there’s that “pray and read your Bible” example again … But, what about those around him? Were they aware of Daniel’s devotion to God? Remember that it would be Daniel’s faithfulness to prayer which his enemies would use to trap him … which led Daniel to be thrown into the den of lions … Another reminder that if you are the “real deal,” those around you will know it. Period. Yes, they may use it against you, but what kind of “Christian ammunition” are you giving those around you?

So … can you be in government … and be a Christian? Can you be in government and allow those around you to know of your faith? This may appear to be a tough question (which is unfortunate), or even a “trick question.” Yet, think of the two men we have mentioned, in this writing, from history: Joseph and Daniel. Joseph became second-in-command-next to the Pharaoh himself, of the most powerful nation on earth. What about Daniel? After Daniel had interpreted the dream of the great King Nebuchadnezzar (which Daniel had volunteered to do), here’s what the King had to say to Daniel:
“The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldst reveal this secret. Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon …”

It is interesting that in both cases (Joseph and Daniel), it was the interpretation of dreams which God used to have these men promoted. And, both men served governments in a foreign land. What was constant in both men’s lives is that regardless of the fact that they lived in what would be considered “godless” times, serving under what would be considered “godless” governments, serving what would be considered a “godless” overall population, both serving in the most difficult of national circumstance … those in power and authority recognized their faith … and recognized from Whom each received their wisdom and knowledge from …

So, if you are the “real deal” … or not … those around you will know.
Period.
One of the greatest statements I’ve ever heard is from Pastor David Jeremiah:
“Circumstances don’t change character. They reveal character.”

So, let’s talk about promotion.
It’s true: If you will just work hard, be honest, show up every day, and not cause trouble, you can’t hide. “They” will notice you. I often say this about work: Isn’t it true that, when you are brand new at a job, it only takes a couple of days to figure out who works and who doesn’t. Who you can trust and who you can’t. Who is committed and who is not. Etc.

Make no mistake about it: Your talents and abilities come directly from the Lord. And, so do your promotions. Psalms 75:6-7 says it best: “For promotion (exaltation) cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up (exalts) another.” Yes, I do have that written on a card!

Here’s what Paul said about work, in Colossians 3: 23-24: “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”

Two words, then four:
Trust God. He can be trusted.

Pray for wisdom. Read the Bible.
Done.

Read God’s promises. And … believe them … because they are true. Lay hold on the hope which you have because of God’s promises … which can not, and will not, fail.
God’s Word is His counsel. Believe, and trust in, His counsel:
“Wherein God, willing (determining) more abundantly to show the heirs of promise the immutability (unchangeableness) of his counsel … That by two immutable (unchangeable) things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation … to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast …”

Yes, life can be so tough … but, it didn’t just start being tough. It’s always been difficult, and yes, sometimes it seems, things appear to get worse the more we try to live by faith … Consider, however, that we weren’t as “open for attack” before we became a Christian. I used to say this about someone bragging about not ever being bothered:
“Satan never bothers me!”
My response: “Maybe that’s because you never bother him!”

The reason it is so important to “live out” your faith is because you never know who is watching you … but, rest assured … they are. In fact, it is safe to say, especially when you get hit with trouble or difficult circumstances or a tragedy … that it’s “all eyes on you!” Everyone will be waiting … watching … to see how you handle it! Maybe many of them (even unbelievers who recognize what you have) have come to you for advice … now … they will be watching to see what you do … how you act … how you react …
To “witness” if you are the “real deal,” after all.
Or not.
These are the times you can be the greatest witness of all.

Yeah … but do I have to let other people-especially at work (!!!) know that I am a Christian?
The best way I can answer that is this:
They’ll know.
Whether you are.
Or, whether you are not.

The two examples, Joseph and Daniel, were the same … at work, or not.
And, everyone knew it.
Period.

Paul put it this way:
“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor (fragrance) of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savor of (the fragrance of) Christ, in (among) them that are saved, and in (among) them that perish”
(2 Corinthians 2:14-15).

That settles it! Everywhere we go, through Christ, we will triumph, as well as show forth the reason why … Everywhere we go … among those who are saved, and those who aren’t …

Blessings,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

Wealth Stored for the Righteous-Part 8

We continue to meditate on the wealth that is being stored up for us, and continue to meditate on the blessings which God has graciously bestowed upon us, which we are enjoying, right now.

I can’t help but think, and this is being totally “human,” about taking the time and effort to do something for someone, or give someone something to bless them … and, they don’t appear to be grateful. Maybe they don’t even say “Thank you.” How does that make us feel?
Another note of strong honestly to add: When we give someone something, and they don’t even acknowledge it, don’t even tell us thanks … How exited are we to do anything else for them? I think you get the idea. I know … I know … when we do something for Jesus’ sake, even if it is to just give a drink of water to someone in His name … we are not doing it for the person receiving the gift, but we are doing it to honor Jesus …
And, our reward doesn’t come from the person we are blessing … it comes from Jesus …

However … let us always be grateful for what Jesus has already done for us … what we already have, which He has given us … and … please … let Him know we are grateful! Last chapter, I mentioned that I had the verses on prayer from Mark 11:23-24 taped up directly in front of me on my desk. Just to the left of that paper, I have this hand-written on a post-it note:
“The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.”
Psalm 126:3

I am glad … I want Him to know it, too, and I don’t mean this selfishly, but yes, I do want Him to continue to bless me … And, you, too.

I also try to read all I can about the promises of God contained in the Bible. About how He has blessed others, knowing that He is still capable of blessing one more person!!! Or … a whole group of people!!! Of course, I will always encourage you to read the Psalms, but don’t stop there! I just studied that there are over 1,000 prophecies in the Bible. The study was to show that a “prophesy” means a promise which God made about something that would happen in the future. Over 1,000 promises! It was written that the chances of just 17 of those promises coming to pass is one out of 450 billion x 1 billion x 1 trillion! That’s way over my head, math-wise, but I do know this: Not a single one of God’s promises has failed! Not a one! So … won’t you trust His promises today?

I’m always concerned about what we “fill our head” with, and about who we “hang with,” basically what or who we allow to influence our thinking. Remember that if something influences our mind … it influences our life … and, it influences our future … and, the future of those around us … those in our lives whom we have influence with …

Why not fill our minds … meaning fill our lives … with the promises of God? I write and I write about how it is ok to remind God of His promises … He wants you to remind Him! Remember … it’s not so that He won’t forget … He doesn’t want you to forget!

Let’s see … if you want to be successful … just find out what successful people did, and “do what they do/did, think like they do/did” … Even people who don’t know much about the Bible know that Solomon is considered the wisest man who ever lived.

I encourage you to read King Solomon’s prayer from 1 Kings, chapter 8.
Solomon was the son of King David, and, from his deathbed, here is part of King David’s charge (command) to Solomon, written in 1 Kings, chapter 2. David’s first command was for Solomon to “be thou strong therefore, and show thyself a man” (verse 2). Kids today … grownups today … “everyone” today seems to have an idea of how to “show themselves a man.” This seems to be such a big issue at a time when “he disrespected me!” is such a huge call to violence …
Let’s see … David is considered to be the greatest King ever in history … the young man he is speaking with, on his deathbed, giving instructions on how to “be a man,” would become the wisest man who ever lived … Looking for “secrets of success?” Fathers out there wanting to know how explain to their sons how to “show themselves a man?”

Here it is … in big, bold letters, men: “… keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies … that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest … That the Lord may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee a man on the throne of Israel” (verses 3-4).
I’ll say it: There were men that would come, who would “sit on the throne of Israel.” What happened? When these men stopped “showing themselves as men” as in the example given by King David to Solomon … the blessings of God, simply put, stopped … and God was forced into performing His Word … the promises of what would happen if these men kept His commands … and, what would happen if they didn’t.
Period.

Man repeatedly rejected the promises of God … not realizing-even that their unbelief-would also “kick in” the fulfillment of the promises of God. And, when the nation of Israel rejected Jesus … a direct descendent of King David, who had done more than anyone who ever lived to “show himself a man,” when He was rejected … Sadly, it set the stage for even more promises to be fulfilled …

Let’s repeat: “If you want to be successful … just find out what successful people did, and do what they do/did, think like they do/did” … Got it!

Not only was Solomon considered the wisest man who ever lived … he is also regarded as the richest man who ever lived … Got it!

So, when King Solomon dedicated the Temple … here is part of what he prayed: “Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the congregation of Israel … And he said, Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart … so that (only if) thy children take heed to their way … have respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication … to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee today … Blessed be the Lord … there hath not failed one word of all his good promise … The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers …That all the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God, and there is none else … On the eighth day he sent the people away: and they blessed (thanked) the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had done …”

So, now we know what a successful son must do … a successful leader must do … a successful nation must do … in order for a son to continue to be successful … in order for a leader to continue to be successful … and, in order for a nation to continue to be successful …

Got it!

Blessings,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

Wealth Stored for the Righteous-Part 7

As we’ve seen, the Bible is clear that “the wealth of the sinner is laid up (stored) for the just (righteous)” (Proverbs 13:22). We’ve written much that this may not happen “overnight,” that it is so important how we act-and react-along the way … while we are waiting …

One of the greatest, and most important lessons which God wants to teach us along the way is patience. Keep in mind that when the New Testament writers were alive, they all thought that the return of Jesus was imminent … was going to happen very soon, and certainly in their lifetimes. The church was also under heavy persecution. Think about it: Both of these statements are so true today. As we look around, seeing what’s happening in the world-yes, even in “our world,” can the return of Jesus be too far away? And, let’s face the truth: The church, worldwide, is under more persecution and attack than ever in history. Ever.

So, it stands to reason that the words of the New Testament writers are just as pertinent today. I know that is an “of course” statement, but must be said. That’s why so much was written about having patience … that “it’s not over yet” … that so much was written about how to act-and react while we are “waiting” for our reward. James put it this way:
“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh” (James 5:7-8). Think about this: So much of what is written in the New Testament, after the Gospels and book of Acts, is about how we should act … while we are waiting … just like the farmer which James mentions here … How important are the actions of this farmer, how he acts-and reacts between the “early” rain and the “latter” rain? Wouldn’t his “harvest” depend upon what he does “in-between?”

I am reminded, as I think about the farmer, about our last chapter. About how important “what we already have” is. So often, God asks first about what we already have. Don’t worry, just as with Jesus and the loaves, God already knows what we have. He just wants to make sure we know what we already have! This farmer had already received (he already had) the first, early rain. It is now what he does while the time elapses before the latter rain which will determine how much he benefits from this latter rain. Wow! Just like us. Today! Our rain is coming, our harvest is coming … but, the size of that harvest will determine upon what we do while we are “waiting.”

Please don’t misunderstand the intent of this writing: Let’s not forget where our blessings come from. Yes, we must work, but our reward comes directly from God, as Paul would write:
“I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6-7). Our actions are important to this harvest. God wants to provide for us now, but He is most of all interested in our eternal destination, our souls, and, while we “waiting,” of our being conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus, in whose Righteousness we now stand. Paul put it this way, in continuing to use a farmer as an example: “Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness” (2 Corinthians 9:10). That’s the harvest God is interested in! He wants to take care of you now, and for all of eternity! That’s a harvest! And, one worth “waiting” for!

But, how do we gain “patience?” Don’t worry, as a child of God, this is one attribute of the Christian life which I can assure you that God will help you with. If there is one area of faith I think we all have the most difficulty with, it is this act of faith known as “patience.” I don’t think I’ve ever met a Pastor who has not had one of these two character traits before God saved them, and changed them: Having a bad, quick temper, and being impatient. The fact that when you think of your Pastor, and words like “kind” and “patient” are among the first two words you think of, just proves how important these traits are, and how “patient, kind, and forgiving” God is with us, as He continues to bring us into circumstances which will build our patience, and by so doing, increase and build our faith. So much of this “waiting time” is put there-on purpose-in order to build our faith by building-first-our patience.

So, how do we gain patience? Jesus said it best (that’s another one of those “of course” statements), and most simply, in Mark 11:22: “Have faith in God.”
The hard part is that it is not one of those “just snap your fingers” and it happens things. Yes, God can act that quickly, and often does. We’ve all seen God make something happen immediately when called upon in faith. Yet, there’s that word “faith” again. How can we have faith without patience? I think it’s a fair statement to say that the more patience we have … the more faith we have … and, we can turn that around. The more faith we have … the more patience we have. And, will have. That’s the whole idea, mostly, behind this “waiting.” If we could just snap our fingers and make something happen … how would that build our faith? It wouldn’t … because that wouldn’t build our patience.

I’d like to close by sharing with you what immediately follows Jesus’ words of “Have faith in God” in the 11th chapter of Mark. I just happen to have these words printed on papers all over the house, where I can see them, and, in fact, I am looking at these words now, taped on my desk shelf here in the office. And, yes, I also have a copy of these words on my visor out in the truck:
“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.
For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
Jesus
(Mark 11:23-24).

Blessings,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

 

 

Wealth Stored for the Righteous-Part 6

I just can’t get away from Paul’s advice to “be content with such things as ye have” (Hebrews 13:5). I think what God is trying to convey to us is that this is the way we should live our lives, by looking at what He has blessed us with already … and not what He has blessed someone else with. And … to be grateful for what we have … not angry or envious at what someone else has.

Even in what we consider to be difficult times,” we must not lose this focus of first looking at what we already have “in our storehouse.” When the poor widow cried out to Elisha, his first response, his first question was, “What hast thou in the house?” (2 Kings 4:2). Sometimes, we are so overcome by our circumstances that we look elsewhere for a solution first … then, if that doesn’t pan out, we look somewhere else, and, well, you get the idea. It’s the same with prayer: Prayer shouldn’t be our last resort, it should always be first on the list. When you adopt this prayerful attitude about everything, you will begin to look around and realize what you already have. If you do this, I promise your first response will be one of thanksgiving for what you already have “in the house.” The only thing this poor widow apparently had in her house was a small amount of oil. How did that work out?

By the way, even in spite of her great need … she was still willing to give … in faith … of what she already had …

Remember, we already have the greatest gift: The gift of salvation, and Jesus living inside of us!
And, the Holy Spirit, inside of us, standing by, waiting, just waiting for us to realize we have His help too! The world teaches us, and I will admit that one of my all-time favorite quotes is from Henry David Thoreau: “What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Wow! I still love that quote! Years ago, I used to have a bracelet which had those very words inscribed. Mr. Thoreau’s quote is so true, yes Christian or not, and the world certainly uses this quote to inspire. Yet … think about this … As Christians, we have the very Spirit of God living inside of us! Living inside of us! And … just waiting … waiting … waiting … for you to ask for His help. If the world’s system can be furthered by statements such as this … how much more, yes “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37) … should we be … If we have the very Spirit of God “within us?”

“Did he just say that this is true “Christian or not?” Yes, I did. We must remember that the world’s guiding principles were first originated by and through God’s Word. It doesn’t matter if you are talking about Military maneuvers, social hierarchy, work force delegation, money management, rules for success, it’s all there in the Bible. The world just takes a Biblical principle, and shapes it into “its own.” For instance, how about “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” from Galatians 6:7? This is a Biblical principle, God set it in place, and it applies regardless of lifestyle.

How about this one, Wall Street?: “He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6). The list goes on and on. Yes, this means that even “ungodly” people … are still, in a very real sense, living a life, and being rewarded for their actions … according to Biblical principles. They just don’t know the Source! Here’s one that, sadly perhaps, I have used for example purposes: “I have good news and I have bad news: Jesus is coming back.” Same thing applies to this statement: The fact that Jesus is returning is good news … in fact, great news. What should get us off of our “whatever it is that’s stopping us” is that this will be bad news to millions. Millions who will be lost, without Jesus, when that day comes. Remember that Paul used his description of the “end,” and the return of Jesus (2 Thessalonians) to encourage the church … and, to also make them realize there are so many who need Jesus, who, simply put, won’t be ready, and never, ever will be ready … unless someone tells them about Jesus, and about salvation … which is available only through Him. Period.

The wicked are storing up wealth for the righteous. What are we doing to share “the wealth” of what we have “within us?” Wealth that the world doesn’t understand … nor, will they understand … until it’s too late. Unless … unless someone intervenes in their lives … and explains to them what is, right now, available to them … just like it was made available to you.

When Jesus fed the 5,000, and then, in a separate miracle, He fed the 4,000, when the question arose among His disciples about how they could possibly feed so great a multitude, Jesus’ very first question was, in effect, “What do you have right now? What do you already have in your possession?” The miracle of feeding the 5,000 is found in Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9, and John 6. The situation seemed hopeless. Thousands of people, and no food. What to do? Again, the first response Jesus gave, when questioned, “How …?” was this, and we quote from the feeding of the 4,000: “How many loaves have ye?” (Matthew 15:34; Mark 8:5). The secret to success? Bring what you already have to Him … and, He is more than capable of taking care of the rest. In fact, He wants to take care of the rest, but I think that first of all, we must realize what we already have. Allow Him to use that, especially allow Him to use that to bless others. If you will do that, just like with the “leftovers” from each of these miracles, there will be more than enough “left over” to take care of whatever need you may have.

He knows what you need. And, He knows what you already have. Are you ready to trust Him with what you already have in your storehouse? Or … is the real question, “Do you realize what you already have?” If so, then you will be able “in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).
And, only then will “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (verse 7).

Blessings,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

Always Be Grateful for What you Have: “My Shoes”

We are in the middle of a series entitled, “Wealth Stored for the Righteous.” A lot of what we have learned is about how important it is to just be thankful for what we already have … to be grateful for the things that God has already blessed us with … to spend more time looking at what we already have, than looking at what others may have …

Then … I came across this video … which in a quiet, but most powerful, powerful way, brings that point home. A little boy, grieving over the condition of his shoes … sees another little boy with brand new shoes … and wishes “He could be like him.”

Please view the video … and, always, always be grateful for what you have right now …
The video is entitled, “My Shoes,” and please view the credits at the end:

Wealth Stored for the Righteous-Part 5

We continue the series to encourage us to look ahead to our glorious future, yet to not overlook what we already have … what we have, in Christ, right now. Yes, we should always keep our “eye on the prize” of eternal life, but also remember that it is what we do during our journey to “get there” that establishes what reward we may receive once we arrive. To a certain degree, we are all “waiting” to go to Heaven, to spend eternity with Jesus, in the very presence of God forever. Yet, God has given us all certain tasks to accomplish along the way, while we are “waiting.” And … just as in Paul’s day … some of those tasks may not be “pleasant,” the road may not be as smooth as we’d like, others will disappoint and hurt us (and we’ll disappoint others, too!), and we may not be what the world considers as “successful.” God has promised that He will meet all of our needs, and there will be times of “great need” along the way.

If God gave us everything we want … when we wanted it … where would the need for faith be? By the way, there is a big difference between what we want … and, what we need. Remember that in Philippians 4:19, God “shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” That does not promise that He will give you everything you want. God, as a loving Father, knows more about what we need than we do!

We should look more at what we have … than look at what other people have … that we wish we had … Hebrews 13:5 sums up this matter of jealousy this way: “Let your conversation (conduct) be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have …” As you know, the word “covetousness” is a form of “covetous,” which means “feeling or showing a very strong desire for something that you do not have and especially for something that belongs to someone else; marked by inordinate desire for wealth or possessions or for another’s possessions.” That’s a pretty good description of what our life’s goals shouldn’t be.

I think a pretty good description of a “happy, successful life” would be one that is characterized by an attitude of contentment. Plainly put, to be content with what we have. This means to be content with what we already have … not driving ourselves crazy trying to obtain what we don’t have. And (God knows better than us), chasing after things we shouldn’t have. I have heard many testimonies to the effect that “if God had given me what I was asking for, what I was begging for, what I was pleading for … it would have ruined me.”

So, let’s begin by just being content with what we already have. What God has allowed us to have, thus far. One of my favorite verses is Philippians 4:11: “For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” This is one of my favorite Bible verses to write in a card, or inside the front of a Bible, to give to someone who is moving away. I have signed this verse with “state” endings, following up the “state I am” with something like, “… even Florida.” I just recently signed a copy of my book with this verse as part of the inscription, using “even the state of retirement.” Please, very carefully note that Paul wrote that “I have learned.” This means that he didn’t learn this lesson from school, or a book … but, this lesson had been learned over time, through many, many circumstances of life.

I’m thinking, “What advice would Paul give us, or give his children, if he were here right now?” Then, I stop and think how ridiculous a question that is … because Paul left us letter after letter after letter to instruct us. In fact, Biblical instruction was the whole idea and reason for the letters to begin with! And, not just to “run the church,” but to run our daily lives, every aspect of our thoughts and actions. Many scholars believe that Paul may have had a son, perhaps even a wife, at some point before his conversion to Christ. When I think of Paul’s “children,” the first person who comes to mind is Paul’s “son in the faith,” Timothy. I’ll pull just two passages from one of two letters addressed to Timothy: “And having food and raiment (clothing) let us be therewith content. But they that will be (desire to be) rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful (harmful) lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition (ruin and destruction). For the love of money is the root of all (all kinds of) evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called …” (1 Timothy 6:8-12).

Wow! That sums up exactly the points which I believe God wanted me to share to begin this installment. I had no idea I would include the whole passage, but it fits so well into what we are trying to convey. Note that it is not “money” as the focus of “evil” here … it is the ambition to be rich … to covet riches above all else in life. We are to “flee” from this mind-set, and we must … if we want to be truly, deeply content. And, if we want to escape the “evils” of such covetous ambition. It really doesn’t seem to be “about the money,” but what we will expose ourselves to, in the pursuit of it.

What a rich, rich chapter this 1 Timothy, chapter 6 is! (Did you notice we used the word “rich” in a good way?) The remarkable thing is that these verses only scratch the surface of the instruction Paul gives to his young charge … and, to us. In fact, this passage really begins in verse 5, with Paul warning of the dangers of exposing one’s sound mind to men with “corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness.” In other words, Paul is warning Timothy, and us, to beware of those who equate “riches or wealth” with Godliness. That we shouldn’t take the fact that someone has been blessed with wealth or riches as proof of a Godly lifestyle. Paul’s instruction on how we should deal with these types of men? That we shouldn’t deal with them at all! “From such withdraw thyself” (verse 5). Wow! Remember how we began this whole series with the fact that God has stored up our wealth, to give us at a later time? Well … who do you think has this wealth in their possession now??? We’ll touch more on this later …

I can’t add anything to these words to Timothy, and to us. So, I’ll close with this verse, in the middle of this passage: “But godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6).

Blessings,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.