Wealth Stored for the Righteous-Part 10

If there has been a common thread which continues to run throughout this series, it would be this statement from Hebrews 13:5: “Be content with what you have.”
God gives us a little to see how we handle it. How we handle it will determine if He gives us more. In other words, He gives us a little, so see what we would do if He gave us a lot.

Another common thread is the discussion of how important it is, how we “handle things.” Perhaps the most important characteristic we show to the world is “how we handle things.” Good things. Bad things. Honestly, I don’t know which circumstance reveals our character more: When we have less than we need … Or, when we have more than we need. When all is said and done … how people will remember us … will be largely based upon two things: How we “handled things,” and how we treated others. This is because both of these characteristics will be based upon how we mirror, or not-the image of Christ. How His influence … influenced us …. or, whether we allowed “others” (this can be both people and things) to influence us.

I guess it really is just a simple matter, this “influence,” of what you allow to control you. One of the great quotes I’ve ever heard is from my Pastor in Georgia:
“What you attach yourself to, you become a part of.”
It is, simply put, just a matter of control.
What we allow to influence us has the power … great power … to control us.

We try to write as much about how important it is how we act when things are going well, as when things are not going well. Especially, when true heartache is involved. Again, I can honestly say, from a Christian life standpoint, I’m not sure which is a harder test: Success or poverty. There are many quotes I could use, but the one from Dr. David Jeremiah I still love, how it is circumstances which reveal, not change, character. Or, from Dr. Martin Luther King, about how the true test of a man’s character is not when he is on the mountaintop, but when he is in the deep valley. Both valid. Both powerful. Both true.

I must say this: It is just a matter of control. Of who, or what, we allow to influence us. When we were kids, and boy this made us mad more often than not … our parents would always try to warn us about friends we had, people we were hanging out with … we hated that … and, let’s be honest, often we felt hate toward them (even though we didn’t really understand “hate” at the time) for trying to keep us away from who or what they thought would be a bad influence on us.
I wonder why that was?
Why did our parents, and sometimes our friends, and sometimes our teachers, try to warn us about what would happen if we continued to “hang out” with certain people? Or, try to stop us from doing certain things?
Why was that?

Has the principle behind such a warning changed? Have bad influences suddenly become ok for us to be around? Oh, yeah … I forgot … we are “all grown up now,” so we can’t be influenced by people or things anymore …

I just came in from outside, checking on a flower garden. We have been so busy this summer with work going on around the house, that, especially with equipment all around the house and yard, we haven’t mowed the grass in a month. I examined a new flower garden which I started earlier this summer, before the work began. If I don’t act right away … and yank those weeds out of the garden … get them out of there, away from the flowers … those weeds will take over the whole garden! Just the weeds being there, right now, have already hindered the growth of some really beautiful flowers … if I don’t act fast … and the bad weeds are already starting to influence the young, impressionable flowers … if I don’t act fast … if I don’t remove those weeds … if I don’t get them away from the flowers … if I don’t remove the weeds from the flowers … the weeds will take over … completely … the weeds will take over … will take complete control of the flowers … will take complete control of the garden … the flowers, with all their potential of being so beautiful … so beautiful, so lovely … will be destroyed … And, in so doing, the weeds will destroy the entire garden …

I “hate” to tell you this … but, I must: The weeds won’t mind a bit that the garden is destroyed. In fact … yes … even though God created the weeds, too … In fact … it seems that the entire reason for the existence of the weeds … is to “take over” …

Funny … as with so many things … we see it and warn our children … we see it and “yank out those weeds” in the garden … yet … now that we are “all grown up,” we can’t see it in our adult lives …

As a side note, some of the flowers in the “new garden” were transplanted, full grown, from an area which was overtaken by grass, trees, and weeds. They did well, even there, but I wanted them to have the opportunity to reach their full potential, so I “got them out of there” and put them in a special, newly cultivated area. They were even blooming at the time, and they never lost their blooms … they transplanted so well … what a great spot for them now! However … since I haven’t taken the time, in a while, to “weed” their new surroundings … even though they were strong, beautiful, full-grown flowers … if I don’t get those weeds away from them … as strong … as beautiful … as full-grown as they are … they won’t last much longer … not as long as those weeds are allowed to influence them … and, their environment.

I think there is a lesson in there, somewhere!
Guess what I’ll be doing tomorrow? And … that goes for the older, well established garden, too!
I weeded it early … but, not often … and, even though it is an old, well-established, vibrant, “growing wildly” flower garden … making it through a few cold, snow-filled winters … if I don’t “yank those weeds” out of its environment, we all know what will happen to it, as well.

Please note that both of these gardens, both young and old … are facing this new “enemy,” well capable of their destruction … during the summer … during the days of sunshine, when the sun is at its brightest …

Which further confirms my question of whether it is more difficult during bleak times … or sunny times?

I guess it just depends on what or who (and if I don’t get out there, that will be me) is allowed to influence their environment …

Remember that, sometimes, the greatest action, the action which results in, causes, and influences the most action … is inaction.

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.”
(Mark 11:23-24).

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).

Richard. Vincent. Rose.


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).

Richard. Vincent. Rose.


Wealth Stored for the Righteous-Part 4

We continue the series meant to encourage you to hang in there, to keep the faith … during those times when “others” are getting blessed … and, it seems you are not …

I hope that a common thread, woven throughout, is that we should, first and foremost, be thankful for what we already have. To realize what we, right now, have, because of our relationship with God through Jesus. And, it goes much deeper than the fact that if we are living in the United States (or any country considered to be “prosperous”), we are already better off than a large percentage of people around the world.

We must say again, confirmed through the headlines we see every day, that money can’t buy happiness, it can’t buy joy, it can’t buy peace, it can’t buy contentment, it can’t buy trust, it can’t, on its own, give us a purpose for our lives, and the list goes on and on. We have been taught that money means success. That having money or wealth means we are “prosperous.” I think true success doesn’t have anything to do with money … we must possess the qualities which make us “successful” or “prosperous” before we ever realize the financial end of the picture. It is the qualities we possess beforehand which will ensure our “success” once the “money” begins to arrive. Otherwise … the old, old saying proves why it is an old saying: “A fool and his money are soon parted.”

Somewhere in here we should mention the Scriptural principle about God giving us a little … to see how we handle it … before He gives us a lot …

Allow me to share this true story:
A few years ago, I had applied for a particular job/position which would have meant a significant change in many areas … all of them “good” … It was an important position, and required additional college courses, specific state certification, “the works.” I had done all of the work, made all of the personal sacrifices to become qualified for the position … but, it was a job/position I had never held before … The position was such that there were many individuals who, on the surface, mainly relating to experience, were far more qualified than I. And, as a result, were certainly in a much better position to apply for such a job. Which, they had done.
What chance did I have?

The fact that I had applied for this position was “common knowledge,” so I would be asked about “how it was going” along the way. Please understand that it is how you handle your attitude/inner emotions during this “waiting period” (there’s that phrase again) that will feed your faith-or your discouragement … Remember that “It is what you do, while you are waiting, which will determine the results of your waiting.” Also please note this: Everyone you work with, everyone who knows you … and, yes, everyone who “knows about you” … even if it’s something they’ve only “heard” … will, at the least, at least feel confident that they know about your attitude … your attitude about yourself … and, most importantly, your attitude toward others … how you handle yourself, and others … day-by-day …

So, anyway, I was approached by someone I worked with, who had been with this particular company/entity for several years, and I had gotten to know her pretty well. So, she felt comfortable with asking me about “how it’s going” as far as the “new job” journey was going. By the way, any promotion is a journey … sometimes a long journey … there’s that “how I act while I’m waiting” again … It seemed clear to me that she was asking just to “feel me out,” and that she didn’t really think that I had a chance to get the job … I’m not being negative, but boy was she trying to get me to be negative right then! Let’s bring in again the fact of how important a personal relationship with Jesus is, that you know Him, and He knows you. That your whole day, from beginning to end, should be a constant “conversation of sorts” with Him, as you go along from event to event. That way, you’re always talking with Him, so it’s no big deal when you just mutter the word “Help!” in the middle of something. I know He’s always there … but .., it seems so much better when I don’t leave Him …

So, back to the story: This person was really asking me what I thought qualified me for the position, in light of so many other people who had applied. Here’s what God gave me to say:
“Abraham Lincoln is considered, by many, to be the greatest President who ever lived. But, when Abraham Lincoln became President of the United States, he had never been President before. It was the qualities he had, the qualities he already possessed before he became President, which enabled him to be a great President.”
It just came out … and, the fact that I was speaking to a history teacher never entered into my mind …

That’s the point: The qualities you already possess qualify you for the job, and ensure that you’ll be able to do the job. I hope this helps. I know so many people who are “out looking” right now, and I felt led to share this story. It is what you already have, as a child of God, which should pave the way for your future. Time? Of course, God will provide you with ample “training opportunities” for the job He wants you to have for the future. Remember, what you are going through right now is a training ground for where He wants you to “end up.” So, don’t get discouraged! Remember, yes, “It is what you do, while you are waiting, which will determine the results of your waiting.”

Read the story of Joseph, from Genesis.
Read the story of Joseph, from Genesis.
Read the story of Joseph, from Genesis.


Outside of the story of Jesus, and I love the story of Paul, my favorite story in all the Bible is the story of Joseph, and it is the one story that has meant the most, personally, to me. A constant theme of my writing is that “The thing I thought was the worst thing to ever happen to me turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me.”

So much of that has to do with what you do “while you are waiting.”

Please read the story of Joseph from Genesis. Here’s just a couple of verses that go with this lesson. That people are always looking. Always noticing what you do. What you say. Whether they are a believer or not … they will know if you are … or, if you are not. If God is with you, they will know. This includes times of great gladness or great sorrow … they will know.
Here’s a glimpse from Genesis 39:2-3:
“And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous (successful) man … And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand” (Genesis 39:2-3).

By the way, “his master” means that Joseph’s boss, his employer, also knew that God was with Joseph. Oh No!!!! Oh No!!! Oh No!!! Does this mean that I have to tell my boss that I’m a Christian? Let me put it this way: If you are, or if you’re not … your boss will already know. And, so will those you come in contact with every day. Especially those people you work with. And, especially those people you work the most closely with.

By the way … Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers, was in prison when this was written, after being wrongly accused of a crime by his bosses’ wife …

Please read the story of Joseph, from Genesis.

Richard. Vincent. Rose.


Wealth Stored for the Righteous-Part 3

We’re writing to encourage you to hang in there, to have faith … during those times when “others” are getting blessed … and, it seems you are not …

When you see someone else succeed, be thankful that, yes, God is still in the “blessing” business. That your time will come. Be careful of how you react to someone else’s success: Don’t you want others to be happy for you, when you prosper? Think about that. In our relationship with other people (which the world is always watching), it is important how we respond to others during times of sadness, grief, or tough times (both ours and theirs). We would all agree with that. We are thankful when people come to us when they are going through trials and troubles. But … isn’t it also important how we respond to others after they win? After they’ve had a great victory or success?

When you see someone else succeed, be glad for them, and let them know it! Inside, see their present success as your future success.

Always remember that what we are going through right now is meant to shape us, prepare us, for what God has planned for our future. And, especially, if it seems like it is taking a long time to come to pass, God is using this time to build our faith … our patience … our perseverance. While you are waiting, try to find specific Scriptures which will build your faith and perseverance. I know from personal experience that holding on to these precious promises from God makes all the difference in getting through the toughest of times.

Allow me to share with you a couple of verses that I’ve clung to, in the past, while I was going through a tough, tough, time of waiting:
Perhaps my favorite is this one, from Hebrews. This verse has meant so much to me that it is this verse we have printed on our personal mailing labels. It is also, along with Genesis 12:3, the one we write on personal signings the most: “And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise” (Hebrews 6:15). In my personal study Bible, this verse begins on one page, and continues on the next page. I have written, underneath the beginning of the verse, “It’s time to turn the page!” It is true: Through faith and patience, we inherit the promises of God. We must not give up! Trust in the power which patience and perseverance brings.

While you’re waiting, don’t be lazy! Keep praying, keep reading, keep believing … and, keep thinking about those in Scripture-and, those around you now-which have seen God’s promises come to pass. Hebrews 6: 12 puts it this way: “That ye be not slothful (sluggish), but followers (imitators) of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
Staying in Hebrews, how about this, from Hebrews 10:23: “Let us hold fast the profession (confession) of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised).” Amen!

Later in the chapter, we read this: “For ye have need of patience (endurance), that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:36). The first question this verse raises is, “Am I, right now, following God’s will for my life?” When you can answer that question with a “Yes,” I promise that things will begin to change. God loves it when you show Him that you believe Him, that you believe His Word. And, He loves it when you “pray the Word.” He loves it when He hears the fact that you take Him at His Word. That you do have faith in Him. You must have faith! And, keep it! For, after all, “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

I encourage you to read Deuteronomy, chapter 28. In fact, I encourage you to read the entire book. I always say that I believe the book of Deuteronomy is the most “underrated” book in the Bible, if I may say that in proper context. It is just so full, so rich, so full of promises. Just read chapter 28. Remember that part about doing God’s will? And, diligently seeking Him? In Deuteronomy, we read much about the subject of chapter 28: The blessings of obedience, and the consequences of disobedience. We all want God to “do His part,” but we are unwilling to do “our part” to make it happen. The bottom line is, that “all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God” (Deuteronomy 28:2).

Here goes: It is what you do, while you are waiting, which will determine the results of your waiting.

While you are waiting, keep doing the things you know you should do. Maybe even more! Remember that part about being obedient to God’s Word? You can’t do this unless you know what God’s Word says! You must read your Bible every day, pray every day … This way … every day … you hear from God … and, God hears from you! Jesus said this in Matthew 7:24: “Therefore whosoever (that’s us!) heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them (faith is an action word!), I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a (the) rock.” We know the story of what happens next. This wise man’s house, when the storms came, “fell not: for it was founded upon a rock” (Matthew 7:25). What about the man who “heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not” (verse 26)? Plain and simple: “it fell: and great was the fall of it” (verse 27). I can’t help but think that these two men, one considered wise, and one foolish: I imagine they were doing different things during the time of waiting (for the storm), weren’t they? So, while you are waiting … keep doing things you know to do, which will determine what happens when the waiting is over!

So, while you are waiting, be thankful for what you already have:
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth … who healeth … who redeemeth thy life … who crowneth thee …” (Psalm 103:2-4). You have God’s Word, you have His promises, and you have His Spirit!

Richard. Vincent. Rose.



Wealth Stored for the Righteous-Part 2

Last time, we spoke of those who, while living ungodly lives, seem to be “rewarded” by everything they do. All they do seems to prosper … while here we are, born-again Christians, serving God, doing His will … yet, we just can’t seem to “make ends meet.”

My first response to that thinking is, yet again, worry about your relationship with God, not someone else’s. It’s just not “your time” yet. Will “your time” ever come? Yes … it will. God is using every circumstance in your life (both good and bad) to further your training … to conform you into His image … not your neighbors’ image. Please allow me to be completely honest:
Would you rather receive your reward now … or later?
Is the “underlying” (there’s that phrase again) question really about your faith? Do you really believe that God will help you … that He can help you … Do you really believe that God will “get you out of this?” I know, I know … you do believe that God can … but … do you believe that He will? Do you really believe that God will work this out, and things will be better-especially you will get better?

The rewards of a Christian life far, far, far outweigh the rewards of a non-Christian life. It’s just that we really don’t get our reward until later. Sometimes, much later. Look where we end up … and look where they end up. I’m not being mean or unloving by saying this, but, let’s face the facts: Would you rather receive your “reward” now, on earth … or receive your reward … personally, from Jesus … in Heaven? I know that there are people who must know that they aren’t going to Heaven … so they grab all they can, while they can … That may seem a terrible thing to say, but we know it’s true. I can remember when the standard answer to this question, “Hey! Where ‘ya going?” was, “To Hell if I don’t change my ways …” I know people toss phrases like this around, just like they toss the name of Jesus around, in a joking way, but I think people who talk like that are just giving evidence of what they lack … or just don’t want. Yes, we must pray, pray, pray for these people, just like someone (or a lot of someones) prayed for us when we talked and acted that way …

Here’s what Jesus said:
“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” (Matthew 6:19-20).
Later in the book of Matthew, Jesus would say this about worldly treasure: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field” (Matthew 13:44).
Sadly … many of us just are willing to give up “our stuff” in order to “buy that field.”
One of my favorite verses about this fact that our reward will come, howbeit later, is this:
“But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first” (Matthew 19:30; also found in Mark 10:31).

Funny, when our children want something (birthday, Christmas, etc.), we have no problem at all extolling (praising, glorifying) the virtues of having to wait … to wait until “the time” … with a strong finish of “good things come to those who wait” (another phrase I’ll have to look into) or another saying we so strongly agree with … yet … when we have to wait for God … when we have to wait … it’s quite a different story, isn’t it?

It strikes me now, how so many of us save, invest “for our future,” for our retirement, save all we can, now, to have more later … yet … we don’t understand this concept of “laying up/storing up treasures in Heaven.”

At some point, I must mention that God knows what He is doing, and if He gave us everything we wanted … especially something that someone else already has … it would ruin us … certainly ruin our testimony, and, probably our lives.

I promised I wouldn’t look at the current or recent news headlines to make the point that money can’t buy happiness and fulfillment … regardless of how rich, or famous, you may be … so, I won’t. Why not? Because I need to spend more time looking at me and what I am doing with my money, or stuff, or things, rather than looking at someone else’s. One thing for certain: Money, or fame, can’t buy happiness. Or, love. Or, forgiveness. I do know this: People who have more seem to always want more. And, they seem to live in fear that they’ll lose what they have.

I only need to look at the story we are all familiar with. How the wealthy young man came to Jesus, asking what he needed to do to gain eternal life. He even called Jesus, “Master.” Here’s what Jesus told him, and his resulting answer: “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions” (Matthew 19:21-22). This same story is also told in Mark, chapter 20.

I am reminded of a bumper sticker I once saw: “Let go. Let God.”

We’ll close with highlights from this parable, found in Luke 12:16-32:
“The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully … But God said unto him, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on … your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things … But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

Richard. Vincent. Rose.


Wealth Stored for the Righteous-Part One

I was recently doing a Bible study, and the fact that “God is storing up wealth for the righteous” came up. This got me to thinking … and thinking … that I should look into this fact, and to discover what God wanted me to learn about it. And then, to write about it. So … here goes …

Remember that, as a hearer of the Word, we have a responsibility. Yes, to respond to it, no doubt. But, we should, as diligent students of God’s Word, “find out for ourselves” if what we have heard is true … if the Bible does, in fact, “really say that.” Please note that I am not discounting in any way the God-inspired preaching of God’s Word … it’s just that you can’t “cover it all” in a sermon … the sermon or Bible study should do what it is meant to do: Make you want to go home … open the Bible for yourself … and, “see for yourself.” Oh … by the way … this only works when you take notes during the preaching or Bible study … which you should do … so that you can then go home and study further into the Word!!! If the preacher is being led by God, then God will give the preacher exactly what is needed for the congregation that particular day … and this also means a visiting preacher.

So … this idea that wealth is being stored up for the righteous …
First of all … where does it say that?
Proverbs 13:22: “… the wealth of the sinner is laid up (stored up) for the just (righteous).”
The Bible says it.
I believe it. Because it’s true.
The book of Proverbs … what a wonderful, profound, instructional book! By the way, just before this verse, it says, “Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be returned” (verse 21).

Let’s face it. We are all human, and, whether we want to or not … we act and feel human sometimes. What I am getting at here is something that came up during the Bible study, and I think we may all feel this way sometimes: Here we are, living Godly lives as best we can, yet struggling to make ends meet (I’ll have to find out where that phrase came from), really having a hard time. But, we are living Christian lives, centered on Christ and what He wants for us, doing all we can to follow Him. We see others, whether friends, associates, or family, not living Godly lives, yet they seem to “have everything,” no financial or other worries, everything they touch seems to turn to gold. If we are not careful, we can become discouraged. Which is exactly the reason I think God wants me to write about this. To encourage you, and us. 

Be careful not to fall into this trap! It is a great weapon of the enemy to get us to look at others … and, not ourselves. The old statement is so true: If we spent half the time looking at ourselves, examining ourselves, worrying about ourselves, that we spend looking at, examining, worrying about others, our lives would be much better-and, happier. Ouch! It is so important to pray and study God’s Word. The most important relationship in your life-and the most “rewarding”-will always be your relationship with Jesus. We’ll say it again: How can you have a relationship with someone you don’t know? And, how can you know someone unless you spend time with them?
I know I am writing this on a “social network” platform … but … here goes … if we spent half the time in prayer and Bible study that we spend on “social networks” … Ouch!

If things aren’t going well … what a great opportunity … to “seek God!” I mentioned in the last paragraph that the most “rewarding” relationship you will ever have is with Jesus. Remember that God is a “Rewarder!” Hebrews 11: 6 says that God “is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Make no mistake: It does take effort to live a Christian life. Here in Hebrews, we see the key words “diligently” and “seek.” Both are action words! Let me say that again: It takes effort … diligent effort … If we look at the definition of “diligent,” it means, “characterized by steady, earnest, and energetic effort; painstaking effort.” If we look at the word “seek,” we find this to mean “to search for (someone or something); to try to find (someone or something); to ask for (help, advice, etc.).” Haven’t we all known people whom we can say about, or to, “I hope you find what you are looking for” or “You seem to be looking for something you haven’t found.” I think we just discovered what all are looking for … they just don’t know it: They are seeking to find what God placed inside of them … a genuine desire to know Him … someone just hasn’t led them to “what they are seeking.” Peace, success, happiness, it all resides, dwells within a close relationship to God. That’s what everyone, really deep-down inside, is looking for. And … let’s face it … until they find what God has placed inside of them to find … desires for them to find … they will never, ever be happy.

By the way, Hebrews 11:6 … the first part of that verse is “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believer that he is …” and then, the part about God being a rewarder comes in … So, to please God, we must, first, have faith in Him … I find that I want to please God, to be pleasing to Him … this is so important to me … yet, I find myself letting Him down so often … Yet, He never leaves me … because I always get back up, and seek Him again.

By the way … “faith” is an action word, too! Here’s another action word: “Walk.” Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5: 7 that “we walk by faith, not by sight.” I like the definition of “sight,” which means “to move with; to go with (someone).” I like to say that “When I act on faith, I’m not acting.” It’s because I have seen, experienced God do so many wonderful things in my life, and in the lives of others.  

We must be careful to not become discouraged, as this may actually underlie (that’s another interesting word) a lack of faith in God … thinking that God has forgotten or forsaken you … that He doesn’t care … Nothing could be farther from the truth! God loves you, and there is nothing He wants more than to have a close, personal relationship with you. Jesus said, simply, in Mark 11:22, “Have faith in God.” Think about this, from Romans 8:32: “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” That’s right, it’s not over yet. We’ll talk about patience along the way. But, let’s not forget what we already have … what God has already given us.

There are just so many Scriptures which detail what we already have, what God has already blessed us with … As if He, Himself, actually living inside of us isn’t enough, coupled with eternal life … There are so many things God has given us, which He wants us to be thankful for … like this: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). That’s a lot!

It seems like, underneath (between the lines), I am really saying that it should be God we are trying to please … not our neighbors … it is Jesus we should be trying to copy … not that person in the newspapers or magazines at checkout … I’m serious when I say that I saw this first written on a shower curtain somewhere: “When a man is right, his world will be right.” 

An amazing thought about having to write this today: As I searched my favorite online source for word definitions, which is, I see that here is the “Word of the Day.”
And, I’m not making this up:
The Word of the Day is
“having unlimited authority or influence” 

That’s Who we have living inside of us!

I think God wants us to get to know Him more … and to be thankful for what we already have.

Richard. Vincent. Rose.