LebBlog

LebBlog

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Do we have riches? Or do they have us?

Why did the Rich Ruler leave Jesus’ presence so despondent? Was it the riches?

He stated to Jesus that he had kept all the commandments and yet he was still looking for approval from the Lord, the way of Salvation.

Do we have riches? Or do they have us?

When an orb-weaver spider creates its web, it’s a very clever design. Scientists marvel at their creativity even while not fully understanding the depths of this creation. “Spiders can spin different kinds of silk, and not all of their silk is sticky. In fact, in a spider web only the silk used for the intricate catching spirals are dotted with glue, so spiders know which threads to avoid.(https://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/spiderweb.html)

The Lord replied to the rich ruler, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22)

It’s easy to judge this man. But what happens when the Holy Spirit tells us to give something up? Perhaps money, time or just our French fries? What is our reaction? I’d dare say that if we quickly think of an excuse, then this thing has us! Pride reveals its ugly head and gives us permission to protect what is “ours.” We are caught in a web spun by our enemy.

We can learn a thing or two from the spider’s web designs. It knows how to create the web and not get stuck in its own trap. She makes herself a way of escape so that she herself will not end up being consumed.

The Rich Ruler’s response.: “When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.” (v23)

Riches are a blessing from the Lord. We are entrusted with them but must be willing to release them at the Master’s request.

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

Let’s take a look at all we have, or better yet all that God has put on loan to us. Lord, may we use all you’ve entrusted to us to share the Good News and advance your Kingdom.

Go ahead and build a web of resources and dispense at the Lord’s request.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40)

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:8-10)

Do we have riches? Or do they have us?

God bless you!~Liz

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Will you follow? At what cost?

While reading Luke 9 today I can see a condition of the heart that at times can describe me and perhaps you as well. Surely it spoke to the disciples while they walked with Jesus himself.

Here are men who have been called by Jesus; invited to be in his inner circle. A front seat with the Master. He gave them authority to drive out all demons and cure diseases. (v.1-2) He reminded them that He himself would be their provision. Take nothing with you as you minister the Good News. (v.3)

The disciples are still students and we are about to embark on an object lesson. The multitudes have gathered, and they are hungry. What is the response from the students? “We only have 5 loaves and 2 fish.” (v.13) How quickly we forget that God himself is our provision.

FORGETFULNESS

It’s getting personal now. There is an inquiry, "who Jesus is?"
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” (v.20) Peter acknowledges that Jesus is the Christ.

Now that we have established authority, Jesus tells his students, “don’t tell anyone.” (v.21) He further explains that he must be killed and that he will rise again on the third day. “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (v.24-26)

Liz do you still want to follow? You must deny yourself, take up your cross. (v.23)

DENY YOURSELF

As the Father commends his son from glory, what are we doing? Are we sleeping? Stay alert!
“This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” (v.35)

LISTEN

The teacher once again shows his authority as he sets free a boy tormented by an evil spirit. The request came from a father, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child.”. With just one look the authority is established! “Jesus rebuked the impure spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father.” (v.42)

What was the trouble here? Jesus lets us know. “You unbelieving and perverse generation.” (v.41)

The students have a lot more to learn. Jesus reminds them again, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.” (v.44)

Still want to follow? Where is my trust & faith? Did Jesus say, unbelieving?

DOUBT

He is leaving soon. But he promises to send His Spirit.

I’ll follow you Jesus, but can you let everyone know that I am the best? I would like that important seat next to you. Really, you know I’m your right-hand man or women! Well we know the scriptures does not say it like that, but it might as well. (v.46-48)

Humility, where is it?

PRIDE

Jealously arises and Jesus speaks.

“Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”

The interesting thing here is that they were just chastised for not being able to deliver the little boy from and evil spirit. Now they are jealous that someone else did. Lord help us!

Their hearts still need change. When the Samaritans would not welcome Jesus, they asked the Lord if they should call fire on them. “But Jesus turned and rebuked them.” (v55)

JEALOUSLY

So much to learn as a student of the Lord. We don’t always have God’s intentions, because we often act and speak out of our own desires.

Scripture reads that pride is the downfall of man. Humility is a reliance on God and not our own flesh. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)

I’ll put it like this: Humility is freedom from arrogance and pride. Those who operate in humility are able to achieve excellence by using their God-given gifts and talents without having to self-promote themselves. This perspective allows us to see the strengths of others. Humility does not mean that we lower our standards or that leadership is less effective. Humility speaks volumes. It allows us to excel in relationships and we are often noted as peace-makers. Leaders who motivate and promote others to achieve their best, to use their gifts and talents and overall improve in their area of influence are practicing a freedom from pride.

We have a lot to learn. I’m thankful that God is able to get to the root of my heart and it still pleases him to use me.

Still want to follow Jesus? Yes, Lord I am your servant, your student and ready to listen.

I have some much to learn, a transformation that only the Spirit of God can do.

OBJECT LESSON: So, I just finished writing on humility. I get a call from my husband and  here I go. The Spirit of the Lord gave me an opportunity to practice humility. My words, my conversation should have been gentler.  I should have been quick to listen and slow to speak. So what do I do.  I call him back an apologize for my rudeness. Ouch, object lessons hurt but they also refine.

Back to the classroom! I'm a perpetual student.


"He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.” (Luke 9:20)