Tag Archives: health and wealth

Psalms 73-78; It’s Worth It

Have you ever watched an awards show on TV, or read the news about a million dollar athlete who beat his wife, or sat back and watched that dishonest coworker get all the promotions, while you struggle to make ends meet? You think, “They have it all, and they blatantly deny God. Why do I bother?”

The psalmist was thinking along those lines in Psalm 73. He admitted he almost lost his way, “For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (vs 3)

Then in verse 13 he adds, “Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.

Is he right? Are we who love and obey God foolishly living meaningless lives?

The psalmist says that was exactly what he was thinking “till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.” When the psalmist turned his eyes toward heaven, he recognized the truth; that this life is temporary. Another life is ahead.

Psalm 78 recounts the ways God worked in the lives of the children of Israel; how He blessed their obedience, punished their disobedience, and forgave them every time they repented.

He (God) remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return.” (78:39)

That describes your life, too. Life on Earth is just a passing breeze, and once it’s passed, there is no coming back. No do-overs. This is your moment to decide your eternity.

Is your neighbor’s bank account that important in light of eternity? I guarantee when you stand before God, He’s not going to ask you about your neighbor.

Many people seem to want the good life, with no health problems, to have without earning, or to get ahead at all cost. They measure their happiness or success according to the things they have. You know them, health and wealth are their goals.

I’ve heard the question asked: “What good is it to live the good life, to accumulate things, and die a peaceful death, if death ushers you into a painful eternity, void of any goodness, light, or hope?

I encourage you to read these psalms today and let them remind you that God is a just judge. Your impatience to see wicked people get what you think they deserve is God’s patience while He works in their hearts for eternity’s sake. It’s never about the things, or the success, or what you perceive as their happiness. It’s about a loving God who died for them and wants to call them His own.

Take your eyes off people. Quit telling God how You think He ought to be handling wicked people. Throw off jealousy. Those things are robbing you of the peace and joy that God wants to give you as His child. It’s robbing you of a right relationship with your Savior, with our loving God who is anxious to welcome you home to an eternity that is so much better than anything– ANYTHING — this world can offer.

Trust Him. It’s worth it.

July 18 – Worthless, Delightful Plants

Isaiah 13-17

I was reading about God’s prophecy concerning Damascus. That great city was set for destruction.

For you have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remembered the rock of your refuge. (17:10a)

But it’s what follows that verse that got my attention this morning:

Therefore you plant delightful plants and set them with vine slips of a strange god. In the day you plant it you carefully fence it in, and in the morning you bring your seed to blossom; but the harvest will be a heap in a day of sickliness and incurable pain. (17:10b-11)

I think about what is being preached from far too many pulpits. God is love. Love wins. God wants you to be healthy and rich. Don’t judge. Come to God on your terms. Everyone goes to heaven. Sin is relative.

Delightful plants! Feel good sermons. Love! Love! Love!

Delightful – and deadly. May God help us examine that which we plant by our words, our choices, our very lives. I can’t imagine anyone purposefully planting a garden of weeds. Let’s not do that in our lives, either.

The Bible Hurts My Feelings

God is speaking through Jeremiah concerning those prophets who claim to speak for God  – but don’t. (Jeremiah 23) These liars are preaching a health and wealth gospel at the same time Jeremiah is telling them how angry God is, and how God is going to punish them for their disobedience. 

The false prophets tell them they are ok: “Don’t worry! The Lord says you will have peace!… No harm will come your way.” (23:17)

The thing is, God’s Word is not a “feel good” book. In fact, in verse 29 of the same chapter, God asks, “Does not my word burn like fire?… Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashes a rock to pieces?”

I think that’s why there are so many different religions out there. I mean, who wants to worship a God who makes you feel bad about yourself? So let’s make up a theology that tells us how great we are, how worthy, how powerful we are in and of ourselves to become better and better. We want to believe we are ok just the way we are. If you listen, you’ll recognize those lies in some of the most popular churches spewed by some of the most famous preachers of our time. Maybe even in your home town, in tiny churches, that go unnoticed expect for the faithful few who attend.

But have you ever experienced that heavy blow that comes from the realization that you are wrong? Have you felt the convicting fire of the Holy Spirit over unconfessed sin? It’s not comfortable, is it? It might even hurt your feelings, big time.

When you are at that point, you have a choice. You can tell yourself you’re ok, you can repeat a mantra to make yourself feel better, you can self-medicate, or even learn to live with the discomfort. Or you can accept what Jesus died to give you.

Forgiveness.

Then you can know the spiritual health that comes from having a pure heart. You can enjoy the wealth of having the God of Creation living in you, the sure hope of eternity with him. No false theology can come close to it!

So I challenge you read the Bible for yourself. But get ready to have your feelings hurt. If you ask God to speak to you through his Word, he will. He will tell you you are lost without him. He will tell you you are a sinner. He will tell you you are wicked, self centered, unclean. But he will also tell you about his love and his grace. He will tell you about how he went to the cross to pay for your sins. And he will ask you to come to him, to say you’re sorry and mean it, to allow him to turn your life around…

And bless you beyond what you could ever ask or even think.

God, thank you for tearing down all my defenses, for making me look at myself the way you see me. I am a sinner. There is nothing good in me. And I have to tell you, that hurts my feelings a little. But, God, I also want to thank you for lifting me up, for forgiving me when I asked you to, for blessing me with yourself. Thank you for your Word that cuts… and heals. Thank you for you!