My cable company sent a postcard inviting me to check out its latest improvements in TV channels. The card indicated that I needed to contact the company to get the necessary new digital equipment and explained how to hook it up and activate it. After that, the ad said I was just to “sit back and enjoy the World of More.”
The card made me think of the “World of More” that Christians are privileged to live in. When God transports people from the darkness of sin “into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9), a whole new life opens up.
Romans 5 tells us some of the more that we have in Christ: We have been “reconciled to God through the death of His Son” (v.10) and therefore have “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (v.1). We have access to God and His grace (v.2). Rejoicing in trouble is now possible because we understand that it’s an opportunity to grow in our character through trusting Him (vv.3-4). Additionally, the Holy Spirit, who has been given to live in us, pours the love of God into our hearts (v.5). And sin no longer has the same hold on us (6:18).
As Christians, we have unlimited access to a real “World of More.” Wouldn’t it be selfish not to invite others to join us in that special world?
The world seeks fulfillment in The pleasures they adore; But those who follow Jesus Christ Are given so much more.
Today marks a strange and rare occurrence in America. The government is in a partial shutdown for the first time in nearly 18 years.
But you know this by now. At this point, there are few who don’t know that this is happening. However, many don’t fully understand what it means. Life has continued on for most as it always has. But life has come to a stand still for many of the 800,000 “non-essential” government workers who were told to go home or not come in today.
The bickering on Capitol Hill is disturbing despite which side your find yourself on for the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare” as it has become known. This is an embarrassment on a global scale. Even Syria, in the midst of a civil war, has continued to pay its bills. This is not a time of great pride in our great country.
We can respond in a way that shows this country, this world, the love of God.
Despite all of this, a unique opportunity has arisen for Christians everywhere. We can respond in a way that shows this country, this world, the love of God.
This time can activitate the giving heart of the Church. Many local Bodies are ahead of the curve in this, but others have no idea where to start. Many people are confused and unsure of what’s next, but the Church has an unfailing hope. We should always show it, but it’s in times like these where something beautiful can awaken in those who know Jesus and in those who do not know Jesus.
Here are 4 ways for us as Christians, as the Church, to respond to the shutdown:
Pray for the leaders of this country and the people who are hurt by this
This should be the no. 1 action on every Christian’s “list” right now. This should be continuous for us. We need to ask God to intervene in the lives of the men and women who will not agree. We need to ask God to intervene in the lives of the people who are hurt by that lack of agreement.
We all have opinions, and that is great. That is a wonderful part of humanity. What cannot happen, though, especially in the Church, is for the opinions to cause disunity among us and cause us to ignore what it seems is currently being ignored in Washington: People.
God loves people. We need to love people right now and ask God to intervene at this time.
Ask your local church if there is anything you can do for those in need
Giving is, at times, sacrificial. We cannot be so materialistic that we look at what we have and not want to give to the one who has none. Sometimes, God even asks us to give all we have to the one who has none. And at a time when people will be going to work without any guarantee of pay, there is an opportunity for some of us to offer help.
It is so important to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, because He tells us what makes sense to God, not us.
The leaders in your local church should have a solid grasp of the general needs of your community. If they don’t, find a local church that does have a good grasp of those needs and ask what you can give/do.
Being a pastor, I see that our local body often has more needs come to our attention than the provisions to meet those needs. This isn’t completely out of sheer number, it’s also because of the poverty mentality that so many of us possess. The concept of giving or helping is so foreign to so many. We have to open our eyes to the needs around us. The pleasure of helping others is something that we can ALL do.
You can give resources, pastors can put you to work, or you can be given tips and advice on how to help those around you. If the shutdown continues, those government employees on furlough may need financial assistance, and even if it doesn’t, they could probably use your encouragement and support.
Don’t wait for your local church or community organization to organize something
I know this kind of contradicts what is written above, but hear me out. Sometimes, we really embrace being sheep. Whether it is witnessing, social justice or even fun, we generally wait for someone else to organize something.
This isn’t completely terrible. Some people have no idea where to start. In that case, yes, contact these places to see what is happening. However, do not ignore the fact that the very best weapon against the injustices around you is you.
Some local churches will definitely have a good handle on the general needs of the community. But you also have a great handle on the needs around you. You have family, friends and neighbors that a local body doesn’t always know about.
Don’t wait to see what organizations are doing. Don’t say to yourself, “Someone should do something to help.” The Church is people, not a place. You are the Church. Go help the people around you.
What we can do is not simply rise to a national occasion of need, but always be available to meet needs.
Don’t let this be isolated
Needs will always be around. Jesus said that we’ll always have the poor with us. It’s the nature of being on this planet.
What we can do is not simply rise to a national occasion of need, but always be available to meet needs. In any time of uncertainty, the Church should be at the forefront of helping and offering hope. Not simply for publicity, but because it’s what we should have been doing all along.
We should always be helping meet needs. Let this time of uncertainty be a wakeup call to understand that we are not to rise to the occasion like it’s some special thing. There is always an occasion. There are always needs. If you do something during this time, don’t let the next public crisis be the next time you do something.
We are the Church, and we should bring hope to the world. Whether that is salvation or meeting a need, don’t see it as simply “rising to the occasion” right now. Do what we should have been doing all along: Loving people.
FBI officials are claiming to have all but shut down hacker collective Anonymous, citing arrests of key players within the collective as a major deterrent.
Assistant Special Agent Austin P. Berglas works in the FBI’s cyber division and told Huffington Post on Wednesday that the arrests last year of five hackers belonging to splinter group Lulz Security had a “huge deterrent effect” on the collective.
“The movement is still there, and they’re still yacking on Twitter and posting things, but you don’t hear about these guys coming forward with those large breaches,” Berglas told the Post. “It’s just not happening, and that’s because of the dismantlement of the largest players.”
And yet on Thursday, Anonymous suggested—they just don’t claim responsibility like they used to—that they attempted to disrupt British government websites to protest treatment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The British say the group didn’t get far in its attempt, Reuters reported. Assange is holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London and British officials vow to arrest him if he emerges.
Experts say there’s no doubt the arrests had an effect, but Anonymous is still very active.
“They could easily emerge again as a force to contend with,” McGill University professor Gabriella Coleman told the Huffington Post.
LulzSec, as the group is known, made headlines when they claimed responsibility for hacking the web sites for PBS News Hour, the Fox reality show The X Factor, Sony Pictures and others.
The group posted a phony news story on the venerable Public Broadcasting Station’s news show’s site about famously dead rapper Tupac Shakur still being alive and living in New Zealand.
God is not to be mocked nor is He playing with the Stewarts of all this creation. Take a good look at what is taking place all around us with this groaning atmosphere and world.
From its source high in the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado River channels water south nearly 1,500 miles, over falls, through deserts and canyons, to the lush wetlands of a vast delta in Mexico and into the Gulf of California.
That is, it did so for six million years.
Then, beginning in the 1920s, Western states began divvying up the Colorado’s water, building dams and diverting the flow hundreds of miles, to Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and other fast-growing cities. The river now serves 30 million people in seven U.S. states and Mexico, with 70 percent or more of its water siphoned off to irrigate 3.5 million acres of cropland.
The damming and diverting of the Colorado, the nation’s seventh-longest river, may be seen by some as a triumph of engineering and by others as a crime against nature, but there are ominous new twists. The river has been running especially low for the past decade, as drought has gripped the Southwest. It still tumbles through the Grand Canyon, much to the delight of rafters and other visitors. And boaters still roar across Nevada and Arizona’s Lake Mead, 110 miles long and formed by the Hoover Dam. But at the lake’s edge they can see lines in the rock walls, distinct as bathtub rings, showing the water level far lower than it once was—some 130 feet lower, as it happens, since 2000. Water resource officials say some of the reservoirs fed by the river will never be full again.
Climate change will likely decrease the river’s flow by 5 to 20 percent in the next 40 years, says geoscientist Brad Udall, director of the University of Colorado Western Water Assessment. Less precipitation in the Rocky Mountains will yield less water to begin with. Droughts will last longer. Higher overall air temperatures will mean more water lost to evaporation. “You’re going to see earlier runoff and lower flows later in the year,” so water will be more scarce during the growing season, says Udall.
Other regions—the Mediterranean, southern Africa, parts of South America and Asia—also face fresh-water shortages, perhaps outright crises. In the Andes Mountains of South America, glaciers are melting so quickly that millions of people in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador are expected to lose a major source of fresh water by 2020. In southwestern Australia, which is in the midst of its worst drought in 750 years, fresh water is so scarce the city of Perth is building plants to remove the salt from seawater. More than one billion people around the world now live in water-stressed regions, according to the World Health Organization, a number that is expected to double by 2050, when an estimated nine billion people will inhabit the planet.
“There’s not enough fresh water to handle nine billion people at current consumption levels,” says Patricia Mulroy, a board member of the Colorado-based Water Research Foundation, which promotes the development of safe, affordable drinking water worldwide. People need a “fundamental, cultural attitude change about water supply in the Southwest,” she adds. “It’s not abundant, it’s not reliable, it’s not going to always be there.”
Mulroy is also general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, which serves two million people in greater Las Vegas. The city is one of the largest in the Colorado River basin, but its share of the river is relatively small; when officials allocated the Colorado’s water to different states in 1922, no one expected so many people to be living in the Nevada desert. So Nevadans have gotten used to coping with limitations. They can’t water their yards or wash their cars whenever they like; communities follow strict watering schedules. The water authority pays homeowners to replace water-gulping lawns with rocks and drought-tolerant plants. Golf courses adhere to water restrictions. Almost all wastewater is reused or returned to the Colorado River.
In 1922, conservationist Aldo Leopold paddled a canoe through the great delta at the mouth of the Colorado River. He wrote about a “wealth of fowl and fish” and “still waters…of a deep emerald hue.” In Leopold’s time, the delta stretched over nearly 3,000 square miles; today, it covers fewer than 250, and the only water flowing through it, except after heavy rains, is the runoff from alfalfa, lettuce and melon fields and pecan orchards.
The river has become a perfect symbol of what happens when we ask too much of a limited resource: it disappears. In fact, the Colorado no longer regularly reaches the sea.
Invasive plants, such as salt cedar and cattails, now dominate the delta, a landscape of seemingly endless mud flats where forests used to stand. And in the Gulf of California itself, shellfish, shrimp and waterfowl have declined dramatically as fresh water has dried up.
Peter McBride has spent two years photographing the great river, paddling a kayak through its headwaters, flying in small planes over cities and fields, rafting through the Grand Canyon and using his own two feet to traverse the delta. In his career, McBride, who lives near Basalt, Colorado, has taken pictures in 50 nations on six continents for magazines, books and films, but he relished the chance to turn his camera on the river that fed his childhood home, a Colorado cattle ranch. “I never knew much about where the river went and where it ended,” he says. In his work, McBride depicts not only the extraordinary scale of the human impact on the river but also the considerable beauty that remains.
McBride knew the delta was suffering, but he was surprised when he visited it for the first time. “I spent two weeks walking the most parched, barren earth you can imagine,” he recalls. “It’s sad to see the mighty Colorado River come to a dribble and end some 50 miles north of the sea.”
This past week’s release of China’s second quarter GDP growth number – at 7.6% – was viewed as an ominous sign of the future direction of the global economy by some pundits, while others see the Chinese government’s stimulus measures as a hopeful sign that its economic growth will be higher in the second half of the year. It is important to understand that the root cause of the decline in China’s economic growth this year is not the trouble in Europe or funk of the global economy, but rather the unsustainable economic bubbles that have been created by the government, and the collapsing demand that has accompanied it. The central bank’s latest tap dance won’t fix that.
Central banking maneuvering can at best serve to sustain the over-leveraged economy and avoid a systematic short-circuit of debt financing for now. There won’t be much liquidity invested in lending capacity or job creating projects, since there is insufficient demand, so the economic return on credit will deteriorate. If these structural deficiencies aren’t properly addressed by the central government – and soon – the longer term deterioration of the Chinese economy can only continue. The inevitable chain reaction will accelerate, and China will face its economic end game.
To gauge just how far the health of China’s economy has deteriorated, look no further than how aggressive China’s central bank – the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) – has been acting of late. On 5th July, the Bank cut benchmark interest rates for the second time in less than a month. In December 2011, the PBOC cut the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) by 50 basis points (bp), to 21%, followed by a further 50 bp cut in February and another 50 bp cut in May – to the current 20%. Apart from all the rate cuts, the PBOC also made its biggest injection of funds into the money markets in nearly six months, injecting a net 225 billion yuan (US$34.5 billion) through the reverse-repurchase operations (repo) last week, which followed a combined injection of 291 billion yuan in the previous four weeks.
How many of you still buy and read a daily newspaper?
Most of us keep up with the news one way or the other – either by listening to the radio or watching television news and in-depth reports. Also, increasing numbers of people access the news through the Internet.
It is a pity that it appears that it is bad news that sells newspapers. I wonder if anyone has ever measured the psychological impact of being bombarded with bad news stories from day to day at the expense of the good. How does it affect us and form our world view?
QUESTION How do you handle bad news?
Growing world population will cause a “perfect storm” of food, energy and water shortages by 2030, the UK government chief scientist is warning.
By 2030 the demand for resources will create a crisis with dire consequences, Prof John Beddington predicts.
Demand for food and energy will jump 50% by 2030 and for fresh water by 30%, as the population tops 8.3 billion, he is due to tell a conference in London.
Climate change will exacerbate matters in unpredictable ways, he will add.
“It’s a perfect storm,” Prof Beddington will tell the Sustainable Development UK 09 conference.
This ’Perfect storm’ poses a global threat, says Professor Beddington
“There’s not going to be a complete collapse, but things will start getting really worrying if we don’t tackle these problems.
This is something our resident scientist Paul Farrant was warning us about in an evening service a few months ago – but with a different timescale.
How do you respond to news like this?
• Some of us will be concerned for the welfare of our sons or daughters or grandchildren.
• Some of us will be concerned about ourselves and the security of our future.
• All of us will to some degree be concerned for the poor who will be effected most by the coming storm and respond appropriately.
• At some time in the future a crisis of one form or another will certainly take place. What kind of a crisis and when and how it will take place remains to be seen.
How would God have us respond to news like this?
READING Matthew 6:19-34
Don’t worry. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. All these things will be yours as well.
THESIS God’s word to us is this:
FOCUS YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE KINGDOM RATHER THAN THE CALAMITY
It’s amazing counsel. Philosophers, personal trainers, therapists and gurus could not come with anything better.
Nor could they offer anything better. Because all they could offer is a coping strategy – Jesus reveals to us a right way of living that has the backing and substance of truth and spiritual reality behind it.
Thanks be to God – The Bible offers us a story with a happy ending. The drama of Scripture moves towards an ending in which all things are made new and sin and evil is finally defeated. What is more, the good news is that none need perish in the process – all who put their trust in Jesus as Saviour and Lord will be saved.
What does it mean to seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness?
It is simply WHAT WE FOCUS OUR LIVES UPON
Liz has a digital camera that focuses automatically on the object she want to photograph. But one day it went faulty and the automatic focus mechanism began to drift every time, leaving everything in a blur.
Our Christian lives can be like this. GOD DIRECTS US TO FOCUS ON THE KINGDOM. But we all too easily drift from focusing on God’s kingdom in our lives, and when we do so everything turns into a blur.
We will always have the tendency to drift. But we CAN ALWAYS REFOCUS and fix the direction of our lives on the kingdom of God and his righteousness.
HOW DO WE DO THIS?
1. THE KINGDOM
John Stott in his commentary on Matthew states that to seek is first to desire = to desire more than anything else to see in everything the Kingdom rule of Christ.
The Kingdom of God is a description of the God’s rule – partially in this present, earthly life, and fully in the future.
• It is to desire justice for the poor – whether the nations or the poor, powerless and marginalized in society.
• It is to seek to make Jesus Christ known to those who might receive him as Saviour and Lord in a personal response of faith.
• It is to seek each day to ‘take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ’
• It is desire, and to make our goal, the fulfillment of what we pray for: ‘your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’.
• What is the focus of your life this morning?
• Is your concern for your personal well-being greater than our concern for the Kingdom?
• What is first in our list of priorities? The Kingdom or our personal need?
The better we know ourselves the more aware we may be that our concerns for our wellbeing are often greater than our concerns for the Kingdom.
We may even decide to seek first God’s Kingdom and righteousness because our main concern is for our own personal security, well-being and freedom from worry!
• Are we more concerned with what the Lord might do for us? Or with what we might do for the Lord?
Seeking first the kingdom means to do so with pure motive.
2. HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS
Again, John Stott says:
To seek his righteousness refers to our social responsibilities because God hates injustice.
Let’s not forget the plural; that there is a community dimension to what Jesus is saying.
Jesus addressed the people as a community = a group of disciples.
They were expected to share not only with one another but also with the poor. The early church put this into practice.
Jesus was explicit. He gave a list of do’s and don’ts.
19-21 DON’T store up treasure on earth,
DO store up treasure in heaven
22-23 DON’T focus on the things that worry you;
DO focus on God’s priorities instead
24 DON’T be controlled by a drive to be wealthy
DO focus your life on pleasing God first
25-34 DON’T focus on your fears, doubts and issues of
DO seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness
APPLICATION: Faith states that God will take care of his own interests, and if we make God’s interests our interests then God will take care of us too. But only as we seek to take care of others.
Some committed Christians might today be asking the question, ‘Why is it that we still have material needs that are not being met when we have made it our priority to seek first the Kingdom of God?’
Sometimes it is an issue of faith
George Muller, by the end of his life, built five large orphan houses and cared for 10,024 orphans. The entire
time, he depended on God’s response to his prayer of faith to supply the needs of the orphans in his care. Through faith he raised thousands of pounds to meet their needs.
He described faith in these terms: Faith is the assurance that the thing which God has said in His Word is true, and that God will act according to what He has said in His Word. This assurance, this reliance on God’s Word, this confidence is FAITH.
ii. There is a place for sharing our resources.
In the early church there were widows in need. Their needs were provided by the church. Also, churches that could assisted other churches in times of famine.
God promises to meet our NEED as God sees it and we understand it.
The statement ‘My God shall supply all your need’ Phil 4:19 is in the context of Paul telling his readers of how he had learned to be content, whatever his financial circumstances – much of which depended on generous or otherwise his fellow-Christians were to him.
There were times when he had suffered financial hardship and gone hungry. But his needs had always been met.
Application:It can be the most difficult of learning curves to be content with less that we are used to and less than we had hoped for. And at some time in the future it is a learning curve many will go through. But ‘godliness with contentment is GREAT GAIN’, and as we focus first on the Kingdom of God, not only shall we enjoy greater contentment but be satisfied with the way God meets our needs.
3. SEEK FIRST
i. It is PERSONAL – Repent and Believe
To seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness involves personal repentance and faith in Christ.
John the Baptist announced ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’.
Seeking first the kingdom means first of all surrendering our lives to the King – to Jesus as Saviour and Lord
Application:To seek first the kingdom means to get right with God
ii. It is GLOBAL – Remember the Poor
When we pray ‘ Your kingdom come’ we follow up with the parallel statement ‘Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’.
To seek first God’s kingdom is to embrace our Lord’s mandate found in Luke 4
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Application:To seek first the kingdom means to remember the poor.
It DOES include the implications of climate change and growing world population and the strains on the earth’s resources and its impact on the poor both now and on into the future.
iii. It is EVANGELISTIC – Be Witnesses
Reading Jesus’ words in Mark 16:15-16 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Application:There is a mandate on us to preach the gospel to others. Seeking first the kingdom means that we are not going to be complacent about this, but that we will make it our priority to be witnesses for Jesus.
iv. It is FUTURISTIC – Be Prepared
It is astonishing to read the bold statements of Jesus and of Scripture spoken over 2000 years ago in which we find predicted wars, earthquakes, famines, the increase of knowledge, the increase of wickedness, the rise of antichrists, false prophets and imposters claiming to be Christ and the statement:
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Jesus followed up by saying:
So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
To seek first the Kingdom means to be ready for his coming.
In a world where it pays newspaper companies to focus on the bad news;
In a world where, even as Christians, our focus will always tend to drift to the issues that cause us anxiety;
We have God’s word today directing us to focus our thoughts elsewhere and to keep them there:
When someone has every material gain the world has to offer, when you are somewhat happy in the pursuit of happiness associated with life. If you are successful in establishing yourself to share a future of comfort. Why do you leave out the need for Christ in the equation?
3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth,
The greatest power that Satan possesses is the power of deception. He is the great deceiver.
Deceive – To cause to believe what is not true;
If Satan can make you believe something that is not true, then he can control you.
I am afraid that today many of us govern our lives through the deception of evil people in high places who are under the control of Satan, and the deceptions are so subtle that we are not even aware of them.
As I have said before, we come to conclusions and form our beliefs based on what we are fed.
Other than the Word of God I don’t know what is true anymore.
I talk to people who say that you don’t have to go to church, I can worship God at home.
I believe I’m going to heaven because I don’t cuss, or drink, or run around on my spouse. I am a pretty good person.
What Satan does not tell you is that salvation is not based on how good you are, but on what Jesus did on the cross and you placing your faith and trust in Him as your savior and Lord.
2 Cor 11:3
3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:
12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
30 thy son hath devoured thy living with harlots,
14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
Imagine living in an environment where fear controlled your life, constantly insecure, what you ate was determined by what you could scrounge up, clothed with what you could find that was thrown out by someone else, where hate and selfishness filled your environment, where joy and happiness is only a distant memory.
But also imagine living in an environment where there was no reason to fear, and there was always plenty to eat, clothes to wear, always a loving and caring environment and a happy atmosphere.
Why would this boy make such a terrible choice?
What was he thinking?
14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
He was deceived in thinking that the grass was greener somewhere else.
Deception causes people to throw their lives away.
David and Bath-sheba (2 Sam 11:2)
What was he thinking? I am king and answer to no one, no one will know, just one little fling, that’s all,
Now he finds out that she is expecting. Bring home her husband to sleep with her. He wouldn’t, so cleverly have him killed. He marries her.
What was the deception? I can do this and not get caught.
Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1)
What were they thinking? We want to look as religious as all the other givers.
What was the deception? We can do this, look good, and have money to blow.
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
It was deception that he used and is still very successful at it today.
Today, abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, and divorce are become a norm in our society and are accepted in many religious organizations.
You have got to recognize the voice speaking to you.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
If you commit any sin, it was because of a deception.
Every sin is the fruit of a deception.
1. I won’t get caught. (no one will know about this, or see me)
2. This will gratify me. (Temporary gratification is not worth the pain)
3. This will make me happy.
4. This will make me rich.
5. I can be my on boss.
6. I don’t have to obey. (rebellion)
If we can believe that we can provide sustenance, better health, a better lifestyle, better entertainment, than God can provide, feel that we have no spiritual need, we have been deceived.
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
1 John 1:7
walk in the light, (Truth, know your Bible and you won’t be deceived)
“Better safe than sorry.”
We use this cliché often when dealing with worldly issues when buying or not buying things, taking medicines, but how about in matters that involve eternal choices? We try to make careful choices in the area of health, safety, finances, etc: because we would rather be safe than sorry, but do we become careless in decisions that matter most?
We want our salvation safe and secure. Safe is good, sorry is bad.
We sense a place of safety in all the promises of God if all the conditions are met.
8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.
10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.
26 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;
27 A blessing(safe and secure), if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day:
28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God,
choose you this day whom ye will serve; (make the right choice).
7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
1 Cor 15:30
30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?
TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES
2 Cor 1:22
22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Despite these advancements, we still have a ways to go. Until we attain a fair, sustainable food system for all, eating according to your values can cost a pretty penny. Organic produce, for example, tends to cost more than its pesticide-doused counterpart. The good news is, thanks to organizations like the Environmental Working Group (EWG), we know that some non-organic fruits and veggies are safer than others to eat. If purchasing organic food is too expensive for your family, go for these fruits and veggies next time you hit up the produce aisle.
This powerful film changed the way millions of Americans eat. Find out why.
The Food Label That Has Kraft, Nestle, And Coca-Cola Shaking In Their Boots
Unfortunately, this label is not about to happen, but it should. Why? Because right now food manufacturers can put whatever mutant food they want in your grocery stores — without labeling. There’s no indication if the food in that can of soup is, you know, actually real food. I want a label like this to exist so I can avoid living in a dystopian future where I don’t know what goes in my face-hole.
Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas was an attorney at Monsanto from 1976 to 1979. After his appointment to the Supreme Court, Justice Thomas wrote the majority opinion in a case that helped Monsanto enforce its seed patents.
The SB63 Consumer Right to Know measure, requiring all food derived from cloned animals to be labeled as such, passed the California state legislature before being vetoed in 2007 by Governor Schwarzenegger, who said that he couldn’t sign a bill that pre-empted federal law.
Food, Inc. revealed powerful truths about the American food supply, from the inhumane treatment of factory farmed animals to the dangers of GMOs. Been a while since you’ve seen the film? We’ve compiled some of the most shocking facts from the movie. Read them to remind yourself why choosing sustainable, ethical food is so important—then share the info with those you love. Click through the gallery to see 18 truths you’ll never forget.
I am confident of the fact that we all know that we are a church contained within our own selves. The building with the steeple and mortar and clay is not your primary church in as much as your fleshly dwelling. Materialisim and fleshly living are Babylonian practices we as stewards of “The Living God” need to beware of. I recently wrote about being slave to the lender and surprisingly I got no response pertaining to its content. We never feel good about our darkness being spoken of, but in-order to render ourselves stewards of healing we need the word spoken. The scripture says faith comes by hearing and how can the people hear without a preacher.
New King James Version (NKJV)
6 “Will not all these take up a proverb against him,
And a taunting riddle against him, and say,
‘Woe to him who increases
What is not his—how long?
And to him who loads himself with many pledges’?[a]
7 Will not your creditors[b] rise up suddenly?
Will they not awaken who oppress you?
And you will become their booty.
8 Because you have plundered many nations,
All the remnant of the people shall plunder you,
Because of men’s blood
And the violence of the land and the city,
And of all who dwell in it.
9 “Woe to him who covets evil gain for his house,
That he may set his nest on high,
That he may be delivered from the power of disaster!
10 You give shameful counsel to your house,
Cutting off many peoples,
And sin against your soul.
11 For the stone will cry out from the wall,
And the beam from the timbers will answer it.
12 “Woe to him who builds a town with bloodshed,
Who establishes a city by iniquity!
13 Behold, is it not of the Lord of hosts
That the peoples labor to feed the fire,[c]
And nations weary themselves in vain?
14 For the earth will be filled
With the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,
As the waters cover the sea.
20 “But the Lord is in His holy temple.
Let all the earth keep silence before Him.”
The sentence of judgement against Babylon for their character of pride and their action of all-consuming greed (implicit in 2:4-5 and 1:5-7) is clearly and absolutely stated in verses six through 20. Here we have God giving voice to all the victims of injustices in a taunt song against their oppressors. All those nations conquered and plundered by the Babylonians would in due time witness the fall of their conqueror and join in this song of derision and denunciation. The announcement is captured in five stanzas of three verses each all beginning with the denouncement woe. These five woes are not only pronounced against the Babylonians but against the Israelites and all peoples who practice such evils.
I. Greedy Pawnbrokers, 6-8.
II. Secure Extortioners, 9-11.
III. Ruthless Enslavers, 12-14.
IV. Perverse Disgracers, 15-17.
V. Senseless Idol Worshippers, 18-20.
The suffering righteous receive alleviation if they discern the consequences for wicked living. The woes against the vicious wicked begin in verse 6. “Will not all of these take up a taunt-song against him, even mockery and insinuations against him, and say, ’Woe to him who increases what is not his–for how long–and makes himself rich with loans?”
Habakkuk said that all those nations (v. 5b) that Babylon has ruthlessly conquered and plundered will one day take up a taunt-song (mãŝãl) against them. This song of ridicule or mockery sung by their survivors is a poetic composition that has parallelism as its principle form of construction. This song is a type of object lesson for those who overstep God’s boundaries.
Woe is an exclamation of disaster because of certain sins (Isa. 3:11, 5:11, 10:5). It was frequently used by the prophets (22 times by Isaiah, 10 by Jeremiah and 7 by Ezekiel and 14 times in the minor prophets, and often by Jesus). The first is directed towards those puff-up proud who acquire goods dishonestly. They became wealthy by extortion. This woe compares the Babylonians to unscrupulous pawnbrokers who lend at exorbitant interest. They sought to heap up for themselves property that was not theirs. It was of course brazen theft. The valuables taken were not the property of the invaders. How long did they think they could continue doing this with impunity? How long would God let them keep It? Since it was not theirs, God sees it as loaned out to them. We will find out it was loaned to them at very high interest rates.
God’s responses to Habakkuk’s question as to the outcome of the conquering wicked continues in verse 7. “Will not your creditors rise up suddenly, and those who collect from you awaken? Indeed, you will become plunder for them.”
The question in verse 6 about how long they would be rich with the loans of others is answered by two other questions. The first is, will not your debtors suddenly arise? The word debtor/creditor is literally biter. They will bite back and get hold of what is theirs. The word collect is literally shake violently. It is a strong word like the violent shaking of loose leaves and branches by a force five hurricane. Babylon would become plunder or the victim. The plundered will not only get a lockjaw hold on their goods but shake (collect) their oppressor violently to get even more from them. Babylon would now herself be attacked and extorted.
Ambition can be a good thing (Rom. 15:20; 2 Cor. 5:9) or it can be a motivation for greed, selfishness, and abuse. The Babylonians were consumed by selfish ambition and they stopped at nothing to acquire wealth and power. They had hoards of stolen goods plundered from weaker people. God warned them that the owners of this wealth would one day rise up to collect what was due them. The Babylonians then would become the victims.
Some of their crimes are describe more fully in verse 8. “Because you have looted many nations, all the remainder of the peoples will loot you–because of human bloodshed and violence done to the land, to the town and all its inhabitants.”
The punishment fits the crime. The looter would be looted for the plundered would rise up suddenly to plunder. There was going to be a boomerang effect and their action would come back to strike them full force. Babylon’s intimidation and inhumanity would recoil on their own heads. They would reap what they had sown (Prov. 22:8; Gal. 6:7).
This reversal of roles would come about because they had ruthlessly shed man’s blood and had recklessly ravaged both lands and cities. Babylon had shed rivers of blood and so her blood would be shed. The nations will plunder the plunderer. The people will do violence to the violent.
II. SECURE EXTORTIONERS, 9-11. The second woe is pronounce on the violent extortioners who think they have made their life secure in verse 9. “Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house to put his nest on high to be delivered from the hand of calamity!”
Not only were the Babylonians guilty of unjust gain (vv. 6-8) but they also used that plunder for self-exaltation. A man is motivated to try and build a family and accumulate as much as he can by more or less honest means. Then a vulture swoops in and takes it away because he desires to enlarge his portfolio. He does what ever it takes to place himself beyond the possibility of ruin. Like these banks taking people homes in America right now.
The imagery is that these greedy men wanted to build a fortune, elevate themselves to invulnerable financial security depicted by an eagles nest on high. They sought to build for themselves a secure heritage, inaccessible and impregnable from the attack of others (Num. 24:21, Job 39:27; Jer. 49:16 and Ob. 4). They wanted sufficient enough wealth to deliver themselves from all forms of calamity. But this goal wasn’t just for an individual but for a towering world empire that they built with plunder and covetousness.
The conclusion of the proud way is shame and realizing you have wasted your life. Verse 10 continues the second woe. “You have devised a shameful thing for your house by cutting off (killing) many peoples, so you are sinning against yourself.” (10)
In trying to elevate and protect his house and strengthen his rule by robbery and plunder so that his family might live in security he has done a shameful thing. The result of his heaping up evil gain brings shame and not security to his house.
Instead of lasting glory will come shame and ruin. An estate raised by iniquity is always a scandal to a family. But that is not the worst of it. They also sin against (hata) their own soul for he has brought the retribution of God against his own house (Eccl. 8:8) because he ruined many people. The sentence balances the crime, shame for self-exaltation.
Verse 11 indicates that even the items purchased with plunder would cry out against them. “Surely the stone will cry out from the wall, and the rafter will answer it from the framework.”
Even inanimate things like the buildings he has erected to his own glory and for the satisfaction of his own pride will cry out because of the injustices perpetrated first to obtain them and then to use them. Even if all other witnesses were killed the stones of the walls and the beams of the woodwork will testify against them (Gen. 4:10, LK 19:40, Ps. 29:9).
Picture a nobleman in the Babylonian army. He wants to rise to a high position and enjoy its rewards–to have an opulent house and to be secure in it. So he cuts down a forest that belongs to somebody else and from the trees of that forest makes great beams for his home. Then he destroys someone else’s home and takes the beautiful stone blocks it was made of for himself. When he finishes he has a beautiful house, a “nest on high” (v.9). But everyone who looks at it knows where the stones and beams came from, and his pride and joy become a cause for shame. When the opportunity arises they will see that the nobleman is treated as he treated others. The exalted nest would be knocked off its lofty perch and the lavish palaces would become a mausoleum, or an above ground tomb. Saddam Hussein’s palaces are a good examples.
III. RUTHLESS ENSLAVERS, 12-14.
Violent injustice is condemned again in verse 12. “Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and founds a town with violence!”
For the tyrannical oppression of captured peoples, a third woe is called down on the Chaldean conquerors. Here is a nation that has gone from greed, to injustice and now to violence. Not content with what their injustices can procure for themselves they now add crimes of violence to their vices, so great is their lust to have things.
Their cities were built with bloodshed. First the wealth by which the king of Babylon built his magnificent buildings was gain by bloody warfare. Second, capture labor was uncaringly sacrificed to build the structures of the empire. Oppression, murder and tyranny built the nation. Yes, great effort & strength they conquered the world & built an empire, but it was all for naught .
God says that human labor is fuel for the fire for those who build by bloodshed in verse 13. “Is it not indeed from the LORD of Hosts that peoples toil for fire, and nations grow weary for nothing?”
The dirge now turns to the LORD of Hosts and His assessment of the violent scene. The outcome of their crimes against humanity are also crimes against God’s way. Contrary to the proud intentions of the Babylonians the Lord would determine the final outcome of all this toil. All their exhausting work for self-exaltation would be for nothing. Their work would all be consumed in the fire that would bring the Chaldean Empire to an end. God causes the plans and peoples who opposed His way to fail and their eveil life becomes fuel for the eternal fire.
Calamity in the earth is not God’s last word. Verse 14 is the center piece of these five woes. It declares God’s intent to fill the earth with the knowledge of His glory. “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”
In times of old Nimrod had set up a kingdom in Babylon to usurp the power and glory of the Most High God (Gen. 10:10, 11:14). But it passed away. Babylon conquered the known world, but it too passed away. One day again “Babylon” will set up its kingdom (Rev. 17-18) but it will be replaced by the kingdom of God (Rev. 11:15). The Babylonian kingdoms of this world must give way to the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. In order for the earth to be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea, the kingdom of this world that leads peoples away from the knowledge of the Lord God must be conquered, judged and cleansed. The purpose of God in creating the earth was that it might reflect His glory, (Num. 14:21, Isa. 11:9) and in that day it will!
When the Messiah rules in His earthly kingdom, the knowledge of the Lord will be worldwide. Everyone will know of Him (Jer. 31:34). So extensive and abundant will be that knowledge that it will be like water covering the sea. The jagged rocks of injustice and the entangling seaweed of sin will be covered with the deep peace of God’s righteousness.
In 1861, during the US Civil War, author Julia Ward Howe visited Washington, DC. One day she saw a large number of soldiers marching. Early the next morning she awoke with words for a song in her mind.
In the midst of all the ugliness of war her faith led her to write: “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” She grasped that in spite of and even through the ugliness, God was “marching on” toward the day when He will right the wrongs of the ages.
[The prophet Habakkuk came to a similar conclusion. Chapter 1 of his book tells us how troubled he was when he learned that God was going to punish the people of Judah by letting them be conquered by the wicked Babylonians. In chapter 2, God assured His servant that-]
In spite of and even through all the ugliness and wrongs of history–He is “marching on” toward the day when He who rules the universe from “His holy temple” (v. 20) will fill “the earth with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD”.
In contrast to the shame and infamy of short-lived Babylon, God promised that one day His glory would cover the earth. The gloom of the preceding and following woes is broken by a ray of light shining in the midst of the darkness of man’s self-seeking. One day God’s presence will fill the earth (Num. 14:21; Isa. 6:3) permeating every place like water. Theoretical knowledge is insufficient. Each person needs an intimate personal encounter with God.
Have you had one?-an intimate personal encounter with God? Does your ambitions and business practices demonstrate that you have? How has your wealth been accumulated? Let your ambitions be of God and find your contentment in knowing Him. Encounter the unlimited God and you will not greedily grasp limited realm of earth.