In heaven . . . while on earth

If you are saved today, you are sitting in a heavenly place. Or places. God has placed you in heavenly places for his own purposes. You might think, but I’m here- on earth. Well, that may be true, but it is also true that you have been placed (figuratively or somehow literally) in a heavenly place.

In Ephesians 2:6, we read, “And [God]  hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Whoa, so reread that a little. God raised us up, and put us in Christ. In Christ, we are seated in heavenly places. Here’s where it sorta comes together. In Hebrews 12:2 we find that Christ is “set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” That word for set, is the root word for the phrase “sit together” in Ephesians 2:6.

So, in a roundabout poet way, Ephesians 2:6 tells us that in an authoritative/positional way we are currently sitting at the right hand of the throne of God while we are in Christ Jesus. That is the second part of what Christ did on the cross. First he raised us up, but then he added an extra bonus by placing us “in Himself” so that we could enjoy all the rights and privileges that He receives and will receive from the Father.

Or, as the Scripture puts it – “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

Now that’s something to look forward to. Or is it? God has put us at the right hand of His throne right now. We receive His grace every day! Personally, I don’t think God put us in Christ in heaven right now, to enjoy His grace later. In fact, Hebrews 4:16 tells us to come boldly for grace right now!

So I challenge you, as a fellow Christian, realize who you are in Christ and all Christ has done for you. It is an encouraging thing to know all that God has done for us. As we live our lives in obedience to Christ, we live in heaven, in Christ, while on earth!

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Riches are not forever . . .

When God says something about the uncertainty of riches, He usually is reminding us of the eternality of spiritual things. This trend is repeated many times in His Word. But in Proverbs 27, God says something a little different.

In verse 23, God says, “For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?” The first word, “for” tips us off that this truth is a reason to do something. So, we have the reason for action- What’s the action? When we look to the previous verse- it says, “Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.”

Here in this verse, God does not seem to feel the need to remind us of spiritual things. He’s giving some simple advice on life. Since flocks and herds were the general measure of a man’s wealth in that day, we could say that God is saying: be diligent with your money. He repeats Himself by telling us to “look well” to our wealth. Those words “look well” literally mean: “put your heart into it.”

And why should we do this? Because money doesn’t last. And authority and ruler-ship does not always pass to the “rightful” person. God’s telling us that we have to be diligent with what we’re given or we could easily lose it.

But He’s not telling us to go out there and focus our life on money, either. We must use some discretion. God has said in other places, “Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.” – Prov 23:5

“Riches make themselves wings” – truly.

So my friends, be diligent to protect what God has given you. Whether it be riches, authority, or anything else. Don’t work only to be rich. Don’t spend your life chasing after the wind. Remember: God gives you to ability to get wealth. (Deut 8:17-18) When we are diligent with our money, we are for His sake- not our own. When we are diligent, God can give us more, and we can be used greater for Him. He doesn’t need servants that chase after riches. And he doesn’t need diligent servants in order for Him to get money.

He wants us simply to be obedient. And that means here and now, with whatever we’ve been allotted.

Let’s be diligent stewards with what we’ve been given!

What if God is waiting for you?

If you gave most people a chance to be rich, they would take you up on it. I mean, who doesn’t want money? Money gives you power, choices, and most likely a better level of comfort. Who doesn’t want respect or honor? Most people like to be respected. And almost everyone prefers life instead of death. The Bible gives us two things to incorporate into our lives to find riches, honor and life.

It’s quite simple, Proverbs 22:4 tells us, “By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.” That’s it. One verse, and if you’re not careful, it is easy to overlook. No more comment is made on the subject. Since we know that the Word of God is true and valuable, we can recognize the value of this one verse.

If you think about the world, they run after riches constantly. The constantly scramble on top of one another trying to get to the top so they can have  brief moment of fame and the idea of respect. Lastly, most worldly people are trying to find meaning in life, and trying to prolong it without every quite enjoying it as much as a servant of God can.

Sadly, many Christians join in on these pursuits without realizing that God has called them to a higher purpose. Yes, riches, honor, and life are all desirable things, but God has designed us to seek after more. We are not called to run after the things that the world clamors for. God wants us to run after Him. He tells us to take action. The action is in two parts, but those elements are related.

He wants us to humble ourselves, and fear Him. Those things aren’t difficult or complicated to do, they’re just not what humans usually want. Humans want glory and honor. But God calls us to honor Him. Humans desire that others be lowered, but God calls us to lower ourselves.

When we decide to willingly surrender our “honor,” and recognize God’s power, and conform our life, then God tells us that He will reward us with honor, and money [power], and life.

There are some that claim that it is not God’s will for every Christian to be rich. Well, I’m sure it is possible, but you cannot deny that God has rewarded many of His servants with riches.  And whether or not the previous claim is true, I honestly believe that a there is a large amount of Christians who do not have riches, honor, and life because they have failed to humble themselves and fear the Lord.

Can you not see our God, ready to bless His servants with abundance, but holding back because He knows that their heart is not right, and such a blessing would turn them away from Him. Or He waits because He knows that such a person would not glorify Him with the riches He would give, but would only attempt to satisfy their own lusts.

What if God is waiting for you? What if His heart is breaking because He desires a deeper relationship with you, but you are holding back? What if He longs to bless you materially as wells as spiritually so that others might see His goodness and glorify Him with you, but He holds back because you have not obeyed.

We may never know what God might have given us if we had obeyed sooner, but we can decide to obey now. We can choose to humble ourselves and fear the Lord. Such a choice will not only bring a deeper and more meaningful relationship with God, but will also bring His blessings of riches, honor, and life.

Then one day, it could be said of us, as it was said of David: And ______  “died in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honour”

But the verse doesn’t end there-

It continues with: “and Solomon his son reigned in his stead.”- 1 Chronicles 29:28

David feared the Lord, and was rewarded. But David left a legacy. Solomon, his son, took the throne after him. And Solomon followed his father’s footsteps in fearing the Lord. The Lord rewarded Solomon with greater— well, I’m sure you know the story.

“Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.” – 1 Chronicles 29:12

Cease from thine own wisdom

We humans think we are so smart. We view our surroundings as if they are so important. Most of us spend our lives looking at the things of this world as if they hold some great importance. It so happens that usually the things that are unseen are vastly more important than what we see.

Proverbs 23:4 says, “Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.” The world ‘labour’ is the kind of work that makes you truly weary. God tells us that we shouldn’t tire ourselves out trying to be rich. He tells us instead to abandon our own wisdom. The reason is in the next verse, “Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.”

Let’s rephrase that into our everyday language, “Will you spend your life focused on nothing?” That’s right, God refers to money as something that doesn’t exist. In the context of eternity, money is nothing. Riches fall from our grasp like water falls through sieve. To quote the Bible, they “make themselves wings” and “fly away as an eagle.”

God tells us to cease from our own wisdom. Riches are not worth becoming weary for. Yes, God expects us to be good stewards and save our money, but He doesn’t want us to spend the majority of our energies on making money. Money is not what lasts. It doesn’t even last long in this life.

So I challenge you, if you are wearing yourself out trying to make money, stop. God wants you to live an abundant life seeking after what is truly important. You cannot succeed following your own wisdom and devices. Cease from your own wisdom. God tells us very clearly,

“It is he[God] that giveth thee power to get wealth,” – Deuteronomy 8:18

God doesn’t want you to be too weary and exhausted to live a full life. Seek the Lord on how to obtain the money you need. He promises he will always provide for you. Sometimes the harder way is not the best way.

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:29

“The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out.” Proverbs 28:11

Worth your weight, in gold?

Diligence.
It is not a common trait among people today. Our society demands that everything that we do must be fun. People lack the quality of doing hard things for the sake of accomplishing something other than their own gratification. God promises special privileges and rewards for those who are willing to apply themselves to be diligent.

Proverbs 10:4 says, “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.”
Proverbs 21:5 says, “The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.”
Proverbs 12:24 says, “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.”

These verses make it very clear that those who live a diligent life will find both wealth, prosperity, and authority in the world. Diligence isn’t the norm. It’s not something that is often found. It’s hard to find a role model who is attentive to his work. However, if you look hard, you can find them. Study the lives of the most successful people history has ever known, and you will find the history of diligence.

I enjoy looking at the original languages of the Bible. Normally I don’t share, but this time I couldn’t help it. The Hebrew word for diligent means sharp. As if the writers were saying that these people were like a sharp axe when compared to a dull one. When diligent people go to work, they get much more done than when lazy people go to work. When the Hebrew scholars used this word in poetry, it metaphorically meant “gold.” So in a way, diligent people are worth their weight in gold.

If you want to truly succeed in any realm of life, you must be diligent. Yes, your talent may take you far, but only so far. Will you commit yourself to a life of diligence? God promises, wealth, prosperity, honor, and authority to those who will commit themselves to diligence and hard work. Will you be diligent In His service?

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.” – Proverbs 22:29