THE 5 WHYS

In my line of work we have something called Root Cause Analysis. Whenever we’ve made a part or some parts wrong for a customer, we want to know why so it doesn’t happen again. To understand why we must undergo a Root Cause Analysis and the technique to get us to that root cause is called THE 5 WHYS. Now, the number of whys is not significant. The idea is to continue to ask why until you get to the root cause of the problem. Whether that is 3 whys or 103 whys doesn’t really matter but just keep asking until you get there, see? It goes kind of like this:

We had to reject 30 parts that we machined.

Why?

Because dimension “A” was out of tolerance.

Why?

Because the Blue Print was wrong.

Why?

Because no one checked the blueprint behind the draftsman that drew the blueprint, per procedure.

Why?

Cause Joe Bob, who usually checks prints, was out that day but the customer was in a hurry for the part so we ignored our procedure and let an unchecked and incorrect blueprint get to the shop floor.

And there it is! The ROOT CAUSE. THE ROOTY TOOTY FRESH AND FRUITY CAUSE!! And that root cause is that we allowed pressure from our customer to cause us to ignore the procedures that we follow so that this kind of thing will never happen.

Matthew 5:31-32-“It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’[a] 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

Divorce-Split-FamilyToday, Jesus is talking about divorce. As a child I was a victim of divorce and I’ve seen and experienced some of things that I am getting ready to talk about. I believe divorce becoming so common after World War 2 and especially during the late 60’s is an answer to one of the “5” whys that could be asked about something that is happening in our country today. I guess it could go something like this:

Our country has become so immoral and so ignorant that it doesn’t know what marriage is anymore. People of the same sex can actually get married now.

Why?

Because our country’s Supreme Court  said it was a CIVIL right

Why?

Because over the years more and more people believe it IS a civil right.

Why?

Because marriage and family values aren’t as important to people anymore?

Why?

Because divorce became so common after World War 2 and especially during the late 60’s that marriage didn’t have the same value for most folks anymore.

Why?

Because people quit caring for God’s plan for marriage and family as much as they used to.

Why?

Because people quit caring for God.

And there it is again. The Root Cause. Over the years, as people have quit caring for and fearing God in a respectful way, those things he’s instituted, like marriage, have begun to crumble. And since marriage is a building block of a healthy society, it’s no wonder that our society has begun to crumble as well, like a house with a crumbling foundation.

More tomorrow. WITH DRAWINGS!!

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IF LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS…THEY CAME FROM A LEMON TREE.

treeI was once talking to a tree. The tree asked me what kind of an animal I was. I told him I was a human animal. I then asked the tree a stupid question. It was stupid because I could see what kind of fruit was hanging from his limbs but in the interest of small talk, I asked him what kind of tree he was and he said he was an Orange tree. I said “WHHOOOOAAA, TREE!! I don’t see any Oranges. I only see Lemons. YOU’RE A LEMON TREE, DAWG!” The tree then proceeded to tell me how his parents were both Orange trees, he was born an Orange tree and he grew up an Orange tree and I believe that he sincerely believed that he was an Orange tree.

But he was a lemon tree.

Matthew 7:16- You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?

What are fruits?

Matthew 3:8- Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance;

What would be some fruit of repentance? Would some fruit immediately follow repentance?

Luke 6:43-44- For there is no good tree that produces bad fruit, nor a bad tree which produces good fruit. 44 For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush.

Acts 26:20-(Paul speaking)… I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.

What does that mean for the Christian? Will the Christian ever produce “bad Fruit”?

Galatians 5:19-23- Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

So then, Matthew 7:16 says “You will know them (false prophets) by their fruit.” What fruit would distinguish a false prophet from a true prophet? Those things that would embarrass Christians. David Koresh, Jim Jones, Jim and Tammy Faye, Jimmy Swaggert, and the congressional investigation of Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Creflo Dollar, and Bishop Eddie Long. And also Mark Driscoll, Steven Furtick, Rob Bell. All have claimed to be Christians and all have produced consistently bad fruit.  All Jesus is doing, in His great love for us, is being a Great Shepherd and showing us how to avoid being torn apart spiritually by these wolves.  Scripturally literate fruit inspectors should be able to identify these wolves by their fruit. We need to be pursuing Scriptural literacy every day.

Matthew 7:17-20- So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.20 So then, you will know them by their fruits.

 

ACHTUNG BABY!!

For Jesus, it seems that the greatest sin was misrepresenting God to the people. There are many verses like these to the local religious leaders. Jesus stayed on their fake fannies pretty good:

Matthew 23:29, 33- “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?

adolfJesus didn’t go after Rome or the local version of the IRS even though Rome and the Tax collectors were evil. Why is that? Were the religious leaders really that dangerous and worth so much of Jesus’ attention? Well, think about it like this. Who would you say is the face of evil in the 20th century and why was he the face of evil? Adolf Hitler was responsible for probably 10 to 25 million deaths but he only led their bodies to death (the first death), he didn’t lead their soul to Hell and destruction (the second death). That’s what false prophets do. They lead millions upon millions to that horrid 2nd death, many with hands raised and shouting “Lord Lord…” the whole way. Which death is worse? Who then is more dangerous? Who then is more evil? The evil monster leading millions to the first death or the smiling false prophet leading millions to the second?

Matthew 10:28- Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

JoelOsteen_FINAL_COLOR_ongreyIs it the fault of the thousands that go and listen to and support the false prophet or the false prophet Him or Herself?

2 Timothy 4:2-4- preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

People generally listen to and follow those that say what they WANT to hear not what they NEED to hear. What do we NEED to hear?

1 John 4:1- Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

How do we test every spirit? 2 easy ways:

  1. Deuteronomy 18:21-22- “But you may wonder, ‘How will we know whether or not a prophecy is from the Lord?’ 22 If the prophet speaks in the Lord’s name but his prediction does not happen or come true, you will know that the Lord did not give that message. That prophet has spoken without my authority and need not be feared (paid attention to).
  2. From Henry Blackaby– When the Royal Canadian Mounted police (Canadian FBI) train their people in anti-counterfeiting work, the trainees don’t focus on counterfeit bills. It is impossible to know all the ways to make fake money. However, only one genuine type of ten dollar bills exists. So, they thoroughly study the legitimate bill. That way, anything which doesn’t measure up can be readily identified as counterfeit. The more intimately aware you are of a genuine article (Holy Bible), the easier it is to recognize a fake (false prophet or teaching).

Luke 6:39-And He also spoke a parable to them: “A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit?

ZIGS AND ZAGS

FLOOR PLAN8We are buying some new machinery at Temco. Temco is where I work. We’ve been trying to decide where is the best place to put the new equipment. Work flow is very important in my line of work. By work flow, I mean from the time materials come in one end of the building to the time they’ve been processed, checked, packaged and shipped out of the other end of the building, you want the material to have as few “touches” as possible. By touches, I mean how many times did the material have to be moved to accomplish a process, usually a machining process. If you were to plot the line that the material traveled from one end of the shop floor to the other, that line should be fairly straight. It should flow. You would not want a line with a lot of zigs and zags and circles and back and forths as it traveled from one machining process to another. That type of line would show way too many moves and each and every move adds costs to the final product. That’s bad work flow.

FLOOR BLANKOne of the reasons that shop floors can develop a bad work flow over the years is because every time a new piece of equipment is purchased and the manager types begin to think about where to put it, they look at the current floor plan that looks kind of like that first sketch  and look for a place to “squeeze” in the new machinery without disrupting “current” work flow. But all of this machinery that is already on the floor causes people to have a blind spot. They can’t see what would truly be the best work flow but those folks who truly believe that the best work flow pattern is always the most cost effective way to plan a floor, never look at a floor plan that looks like the first one above when it comes to positioning a new piece of machinery, with all of it’s obvious obstacles. They look at a floor plan like this one that is blank.

GOD'S PLANTo have a good plan for your floor you must look at the floor as if there are no obstacles. Only what is the best plan for workflow. Act like the obstacles (machines) aren’t there. We’ll move them ALL if it makes sense. Only, what is the best plan.

Christians should also be like that when they are trying to know God’s plan for their life. Many Christian folks talk about giving their life to God or wanting to know God’s plan for their life but when they present their life to God, their life looks like this “GOD’S PLAN” sketch.

FLOOR BLANKBut that plan isn’t really giving our lives to God. It’s only giving part of our lives to God and not the best part. That’s telling God to work in our lives but he’ll have to work around the obstacles. We talked about work flow and if we really want God’s work to flow through our lives we have to present our lives like this blank sketch. That’s presenting him with our whole lives. He can arrange the “obstacles” in our lives as HE sees fit. Until we come to God with a blank slate, giving Him our obstacles, we won’t see Him accomplish much work through us. That doesn’t mean to get rid of everything but it DOES mean that you are WILLING to get rid of everything.

 

 

LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE!

What is a false prophet? What is a prophet? What is false?

Matthew 7:15- “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

wolfAs a shepherd, and we are all shepherds at some time or another, is it good enough to just say “beware of false prophets” and false teachings and leave it at that or does it include naming the false prophet? If an actual shepherd could speak to actual sheep he would tell them to stay away from wolves in general but especially old Two Socks over there. He is particularly deadly. For a human example, if we start studying the Prosperity Gospel together, everyone here is going to be in agreement about THAT being a WOLFISH doctrine. BUT if I then say to you that the greatest Prosperity Gospel teachers are Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer and John Hagee; your reaction might be shock or even anger: “NOOO!! Not Joel! He’s just very positive! He wouldn’t hurt a soul. He’s as meek as a LAMB!!” That would be your opportunity to understand Matt. 7:15- “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

False prophet- Greek is one word- pseudoprophētēs- Means one who, acting the part of a divinely inspired prophet, utters falsehoods. Pseudo (Pseudes) = lying, deceitful, untrue, erroneous, deceitful, wicked (false). Prophētēs= one who, moved by the Spirit of God declares to men what he has received by inspiration. In the religious assemblies of the Christians, they were moved by the Holy Spirit to speak, having power to instruct, encourage, and rebuke. (Teachers)

Ephesians 4:14-…we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness and deceitful scheming..

1 Timothy 4:1- Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,

2 Peter 2:1-2- But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2 Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned;

Maligned– Greek word is blasphēmeō (blasphemy)- Means to speak evil of. Shame. Revile. Blaspheme.

What is “the way of truth”? How is the “way of truth” maligned by the “false Prophets”? Benny Hinn, Jimmy Swaggert, Jim and Tammy Faye, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar. Are you comfortable being associated with these folks (and you are) because you both identify as Christians? Or a little closer to home; Perry Noble, from time to time, brings embarrassment and shame to “the way of truth” by some of his false teachings and activities. His infamous teaching on the 10 commandments, for example, was a “destructive heresy”. How do you feel about that? Does the good outweigh the bad or is a false teacher a false teacher and should always be avoided if possible?

John MacArthur- “All false teachers, all purveyors of false religion, are the enemies of Christ, and the enemies of truth, and the enemies of the GOSPEL, and the enemies of souls.”

Jeremiah 5:30-31-30 -“An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule on their own authority; And My people love it so! (Crowds?)

Matthew 24:24 (Jesus speaking of END TIMES)- For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.

Would a great sign or wonder that would mislead people, include attracting thousands and thousands of people? Many folks do see that as a sign that God is up to some very big things and wouldn’t have you question that a giant crowd could be anything BUT a move of God.  What do you think? How could that be confusing?

AM I EVIL?

Jesus logic. He lays it on thick today.

Matthew 7:9-11- Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

Jesus Logic. He causes us to think and when we do actually think, sometimes we feel silly. He says we have a Father in Heaven and He’s a God. In fact, not A God but the one and only GOD. God almighty. We call him Father all the time, I’ve heard us do it. We evil folks do good for our kids how much more would a perfect, HOLY Father do good for His? Makes me feel dumb for doubting him. But be careful, any gift you receive from this FATHER is going to be the right gift, the wisest gift and that may not always seem very extravagant or overly loving. It might not even seem like a gift at all to our worldly, pleasure loving, stuff idolizing, sin cursed selves. It will be a “good and perfect” gift.

In verse 11, there is a cornerstone idea for the Christian that almost seems like a throwaway but if a person understands it correctly it opens ALL of the teaching of Jesus to us and it is the 5 words:

If you then, being evil.

Evil– ponēros (Greek)- bad, of a bad nature or condition. Actively wicked. In a physical sense: diseased or blind. In an ethical sense: evil, wicked, bad.

Romans 7:24- Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

Isaiah 64:6- For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;

This Isaiah 64:6 verse means a used menstrual cloth. Sorry. If our good works are considered filthy, how bad is our sin? That grossed out or maybe embarrassed feeling you have on the inside right now, that’s the way God wants you to feel about your sin. That’s why God says disgusting things like this and things like pulling your eye out and cutting your right hand off. Sin is horrific. Sin is disgusting. Sin is evil. And WE are evil.

What does Jesus mean when he calls us evil? Are you evil? Is the new you evil? Read some of Romans 7.

If you then, being evil. The poor in spirit can accept this. Understanding that we are evil (and that it matters) helps us get to a place where we are “poor in spirit”, a place that Jesus finds desirable in us. Knowing that Jesus considers us naturally evil, helps us “mourn” properly and deeply. Knowing that we are evil helps us to “hunger and thirst after righteousness”, the opposite of evil. An understanding that we are evil helps us appreciate the depth and meaning and the tender mercy of God’s love for us.

THE REST OF THE STORY

Today’s verses are about prayer-The Biblical doctrine of prayer is one of the best opportunities to explore this very important idea of the  whole counsel of God which is kind of related to another important idea when it comes to scripture and that is that the BEST commentary on the Bible, IS the Bible.

Matthew 7:7-8- “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives & he who seeks finds and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Matthew 7:7-8 is no where near everything God has to say on prayer. In fact, if you don’t dig a little more you won’t have a very good understanding of prayer as God would have us understand it.

Matthew 21:22- And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

Luke 18:1-8- And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’ 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 Will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

1 John 3:22- and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.

1 John 5:14-15– This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

James 4:2-3- You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

John 15:16- You did not choose me, I chose you & appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you.

Lots of prayer promises here begs the question; how’s your prayer life? Are you seeing the prayer promises of Matt. 7:7-8 in your prayer life?

Here’s a mistake we make a lot and it’s subtle but deadly; we let our human experience trump the Bible. We don’t think we are experiencing prayer the way the Bible says we should so we figure the Bible is wrong, or too hard to understand or things aren’t like that anymore. But we will discuss this idea of “shifting sand” next week:

ROCK(Jesus speaking) in Matthew 7:24-27: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

This is another one of those cornerstone (foundational, fundamental) ideas. When we don’t see the things Jesus promises in our prayer life, we sometimes react to those promises as if they are wrong for today. But believing that Jesus’ teaching on ANYTHING is wrong for today would be what is described here as a belief that sits on top of shifting sand. As Christians (Christ followers), we can’t just brush away the fact that our prayer life STINKS and nothing IS happening. Instead, we must believe “these words of mine (Jesus’) and act on them” like the wise man who “built his house on the rock”.

If the words of scripture and Jesus mean more to me than my experience, I will dig deeper for the “whole counsel of God” and examine myself more thoroughly. And more of the “whole counsel of God” on prayer are found in the highlighted verses above. There we will find that we need to have “faith” to receive in prayer, and we need to keep “coming to him” in prayer, and we need to “keep his commandments and do what pleases him” for prayers to be answered, and we need to pray “according to his will”, and we should not “ask wrongly, to spend it on our passions”, and we should “go and bear fruit”. We miss so much when we rely on our experience and what we think we know and not on scripture and Jesus.

Our experience=shifting sand

Jesus’ teaching = immovable Rock.

DON’T JUDGE ME, BRO!

Matthew 7:1- “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.”

To be clear, the Greek word here is Krino and it means to pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong. Does Jesus want us to judge others?

Let’s let David Guzik explain-

Among those who seem to know nothing of the Bible, this is the verse that seems to be the most popular. Yet most people who quote this verse don’t understand what Jesus said. They seem to think (or hope) that Jesus commanded a universal acceptance of any lifestyle or teaching. Just a little later in this same sermon, Jesus commanded us to know ourselves and others by the fruit of their life, and some sort of judgement is necessary for that. The Christian is called to show unconditional love. But the Christian is not called to unconditional approval.

There is a condemning judgment that belongs exclusively to God. We are not to judge in that way. But there are some very important ways that God DOES want us to judge. We are asked to inspect fruit. We are asked to watch out for those who cause divisions among us. We are actually sternly told by Paul to judge those inside the church:

1 Corinthians 5:1-3, 6-7, 11-13- It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife. 2 You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst.3 For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. 6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? 7 Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. 11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 Do you not judge those who are within the church? 13 But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.

BOARDBack to sermon on mount-Matthew 7:2-5- For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

So does Jesus want us to judge others? He wants us to judge ourselves first (first take the log out of your own eye) with a view towards helping others with similar problems in the future (then you will see clearly to take the speck out of yours brother’s eye).

2 Corinthians 13:5- Examine (test) yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you– unless indeed you fail the test?

So God wants us to be a people that have matured enough to judge others but our judgments should come from a heart that is “poor in spirit” and that “mourns” for its own sin and the sin of others” and one that “hungers and thirst after righteousness”. Judging in this way is hard work and one must be willing (but not wanting) to be persecuted for righteousness because you WILL be persecuted even when you “judge correctly. Anyone experienced this? Are you willing to be persecuted? I sometimes think we would be more willing to have our back ripped to shreds with a whip than to have people not like us or misunderstand us for a brief period.

The church needs more of this kind of judging, not less and it needs it from you and me. If the Church would judge itself more, as individuals and as a body, it would have much more of the power of Christ at its disposal. Do you suppose that we might need that now?

 

EYE OF A NEEDLE

“The true god of your heart is what your thoughts effortlessly go to when there is nothing else demanding your attention. What do you enjoy daydreaming about? What occupies your mind when you have nothing else to think about?”-Tim Keller

Matthew 6:24- “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

christ-and-rich-young-man-with-hot-carThis love of money and possessions is best explained via the story of the Rich Young Ruler:

Mark 10:17-27- As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” 21 Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22 But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.23 And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus *answered again and *said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 They were even more astonished and said to Him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Looking at them, Jesus *said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.

There is a fundamental idea here that if we remember it we will better understand LOVE from God’s point of you, which by the way, is the only way to understand LOVE. And that is verse 21 above. Jesus looked at him and loved him. I wonder what Jesus face looked like. He loved him and knew that what he was going to tell him would absolutely crush him but He told him anyway. Do you allow God to love you this way? Do you allow him to look at you…to love you and to crush you in this way? Can he put his finger on the thing you want let go of? Or the thing you won’t change?

Do you love others this way? Paul did it. Peter did it. Think of the “Christians” in your life. It’s uncomfortable. But do you love them? Do you really?

Revelation 3:19– Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent

So one last question before we move on from money; is money a danger to your relationship with Jesus?

SECURE FUTURE?

So, remembering yesterday’s idea that we need to let Jesus be Jesus even when it comes to His teaching on difficult things, let’s go forward shall we:

Matthew 6:19-21- “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

RETIREMENTRemembering Proverbs 3:5, what does this mean as far as retirement savings are concerned? With an understanding that Bible commentaries don’t hold the same weight as scripture, they can still help us to look at some difficult truths:

Quote from Believer’s Bible Commentary about these verses and retirement:

Jesus here contradicts all human advice to provide for a financially secure future. When he says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth.” He is indicating that there is no security in material things. Jesus says that the only investments not subject to loss are “treasures in heaven.” This radical financial policy is based on the underlying principle that where your heart is, their heart will be also. If your money is in a safe deposit box, then your heart and desire are in a safe deposit box also. If your treasures are in heaven, your interests will be centered there. This teaching, ‘do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth”, forces us to decide whether Jesus meant what he said. If he did, then we face the question, “What are we going to do with our earthly treasures?” If he didn’t mean what He said, then we face the question, “What are we going to do with our Bibles?”

 

Luke 12:16-21- And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. 17 And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ 18 Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ 21 So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

And this from John Piper: “I will tell you what a tragedy is. I will show you how to waste your life. Consider a story from the February 1998 edition of Reader’s Digest, which tells about a couple who “took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30 foot trawler, play softball and collect shells.” At first, when I read it I thought it might be a joke. A spoof on the American Dream. But it wasn’t. Tragically, this was the dream: Come to the end of your life—your one and only precious, God-given life—and let the last great work of your life, before you give an account to your Creator, be this: playing softball and collecting shells. Picture them before Christ at the great Day of Judgment: ‘Look, Lord. See my shells.’ That is a tragedy. And people today are spending billions of dollars to persuade you to embrace that tragic dream. Over against that, I put my protest: Don’t buy it. Don’t waste your life.”

So what’s the answer about money and “storing it up” here on earth?