Tag Archive | blessing

Is This Preventing Your Blessing? Luke 16:10

Stripes of Shadows.wp

Buddy is a little dog–about 19 pounds–but he has a big personality and casts a big shadow in a room. You definitely know when he is around.

Jesus talked about the importance of the little things that we do.

“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is also unrighteous also in much.”–Luke 16:10

God doesn’t just notice the big brave acts or mighty deeds of so-called important Christians: He is omniscient and omnipresent, meaning He sees everything we say, do and think. He is called El Roi–“The God Who Sees’–by Hagar, Abraham’s concubine, after God hears her pleas for help in the desert wilderness after she fled from his wife Sarah’s wrath. (Her son was mocking Isaac, the son born to Sarah and Abraham when they were elderly.) See Genesis 16:13

God cannot trust someone with big responsibilities if they cannot be faithful in the little things, when the stakes to act with integrity are much lower.

I think most people pretty much agree with the Eighth Commandment that God handed down to Moses as a basic guideline to the Jewish nation on how to live godly:

“Thou shall not steal.”–Exodus 20:15

Would you agree that God would not want to bless theft? And, therefore, He might withhold prospering someone financially to get their attention in an area where they might be stealing from another person and not be aware of it? He jealously guards His reputation and wants His people to act with integrity, so that nonbelievers will not slander His church.

Nowadays, these following forms of theft occur far too frequently: Downloading copyrighted music or copying music CDs that should be paid for and aren’t; copying photos or drawings and reselling them in some form, say a book cover or article, without permission to use them or haven’t purchased the rights; copying software loaned from a friend instead of purchasing the original software–this is theft of someone’s copyright.

Creatives depend upon the honesty and integrity of others for their financial support. Sometimes it can mean the difference between making a living or getting discouraged and giving up.

Just because the Internet makes theft easier, doesn’t make it right.

And it doesn’t matter if it’s a large corporation selling the material or an individual creative. Stealing isn’t right, regardless of who is being ripped off. Today I just read an article in the Seattle Times about how thieves are copying people’s books and reselling them online. It’s eating into smaller companies’ and self-publishers’ profits. (See the article by David Streitfeld sourced from The New York Times titled, “Sellers in Amazon’s bookstore feel beaten up by counterfeit Wild West” for the details.)

For example:

Let’s say, Joe obtains a CD from the library. He really enjoyed it, so he copies it to his computer.

That’s theft. Joe should purchase a copy of it.

Alice finds a great cartoon drawing online. She downloads a copy, prints off T-shirts with her own caption and logo, and sells them.

That’s theft. Don’t assume that, just because something is on Google Images or anywhere else on the Internet, that it’s fair game to copy and use it however you’d like.

So if you’re one of the persons who is wondering why you’re tithing and being financially responsible to the best of your ability, working hard and are not lazy, are not coveting or trying to sabotage someone else’s success, encourage and help others to succeed, yet God is not answering your prayers for prosperity, maybe it’s because you’re being unfaithful in a very little thing: stealing someone’s copyrighted material.

And some creative believer might be praying to God to protect their copyrighted material–and praying against you.

Because your little act(s) of theft are having a big consequence on their bottom line.

***

Sorry, but tonight I thought I’d share my pet peeve. I always strive to honor other people’s copyrights because I want my copyrighted material to be respected by others ie, The Golden Rule. It was actually a coincidence that I read the article in the Seattle Times today (6/24/19) at dinnertime as I had already decided to blog on this topic when driving home from work. I think that multiple coincidences in a short period of time can sometimes confirm it’s an issue God wants to highlight. However, please don’t put too much stock in coincidences because, sometimes, that’s just what they are: coincidences and not divine signposts.

And if I hit a sore spot tonight, please remember that if you confess your sin and repent, you’re forgiven. Christians live under an umbrella of forgiveness, bought by the blood of Christ. All our sins are covered by Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. We cannot earn God’s forgiveness. It’s an important distinction: It’s not that God won’t forgive or that He’s mean, but He cannot bless what breaks His rules and, thereby, encourage wrong behavior. He wants us to “walk in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3).

Trust God to provide your desires in a manner that glorifies Him and protects your reputation for integrity.

 

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Self-Righteousness, Jonah 3:10-4:1

Cute.Bud.WP.8.27.17

I love Buddy, not because he’s always a good boy, but because he’s my pal and my responsibility. I enjoy his company and am concerned for his welfare.

When Christians become self-righteous, it’s not usually because they’re bad people but because they don’t understand what salvation is. We don’t become born-again because our works are so wonderful that we’re worthy of Heaven: we are saved despite our flaws.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”–Romans 3:23

Our works are pleasing to God when we’re in a right relationship with Him (born-again), not vice versa. No one deserves to go to Heaven. We are so wicked, compared to God’s perfect holiness and love, that no one can boast about their goodness and earn Heaven. It’s His mercy and great love for us that causes Him to convict us of our sin and bring us back into fellowship with Him.

What’s this got to do with Jonah?

Jonah hated the ancient Ninevites for good reason: They were a very warlike, cruel and vicious race of people. Everyone was afraid of them. Yet, God loved them and wanted to bring them into relationship with Himself. He chose to send the Jewish prophet Jonah to Nineveh to preach to them to repent. But Jonah hated the Ninevites and didn’t want them to repent–he wanted God to judge and punish them.

You cannot thwart God. Jonah took a ship “to flee to Tarshish” (Jonah 1:3) but God stirred up a mighty storm. The boat crew realized that a god was responsible for their troubles and discovered that Jonah was the source. Though they were pagans, they didn’t want to harm Jonah but eventually were forced to toss him overboard, at Jonah’s suggestion, to calm the stormy waters.

Jonah would rather die than go preach to people he hated and see them be blessed by God. He forgot that he didn’t deserve to be loved by a holy God either.

Everyone has heard the story of how Jonah was swallowed by a whale, and when Jonah had finally given in to God’s will to go to Nineveh to preach the gospel of repentance, the whale vomited him up on shore.

Deliberately disobeying God is never pleasant. Not only that, God hates pride and self-righteousness. “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6) I cannot emphasize this enough: NO ONE is good enough to go to Heaven.

Half-heartedly Jonah walked among the Ninevites, preaching the lamest sermon ever. But since a changed heart depends upon God’s power and not our greatness, a mighty revival broke out and the city repented of their sins.

“When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes.” (Jonah 3:6) The king declared that everyone, even the beasts and flocks of birds, were to fast and be covered with sackcloth, signifying repentance. “Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw his burning anger so that we will not perish.”

“When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it. But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry.”–Jonah 3:10-4:1

God was not pleased by Jonah’s self-righteous, hard-heartedness.

Jonah didn’t have a right to be angry. He had forgotten that he was also a sinner in comparison to a holy God. Maybe he didn’t sacrifice his children to demonic gods or cut off hands and noses or spread people’s skins, but compared to a kind and loving and merciful God, he fell far short.

God loves everyone. People every day spit in His face, deny His existence, curse His name, and deliberately ignore his pleas for them to do good, yet He gives them life, wealth, children, food, pets, vacations, lovely sunrises and many pleasing and wonderful gifts. Jesus was spit upon, beaten, and flogged by the Romans before He was crucified, yet He never cursed them or zapped them, although, as God In The Flesh (Immanuel–Matthew 1:23), He had the power to do so.

I’m certainly not perfect in this area. I have to remind myself continually to “bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you…love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return…for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.” (Luke 6:28, 35)

God’s mercy is available to anyone who wants to forsake their pride and repent of their sin and enter into a love relationship with Him. “If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”–Luke 11:13

You have to ask to receive. God bless you.

Impatience With God: Psalm 40:1-3

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The other day Buddy was fussing at me because I was making him wait for the meat I was cutting up for him. He could smell the delicious aroma of the beef from below the dining room table. I was making him wait, not to be mean, but because the steak wasn’t properly prepared yet. I wanted to cut it into Silky terrier-sized bites and mix in some little bits of cheese. If I’d given it to him when he wanted it, the chunks would’ve been too large to swallow easily and he wouldn’t have gotten the cheese.

“I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me and heard my cry.”–Psalm 40:1

Often we get impatient with God. Because we’re hurting, we want Him to solve our problem RIGHT NOW! Often God tells us to wait for the answer to our prayers. He hears us but He’s often working silently in the background, getting people and events properly in place to bless us. God, I’ve found, usually works within the natural processes of the world He’s created. He’s not making us wait because He’s mean and enjoys watching us suffer. During the wait we learn to trust Him; our faith is being built up. And the next time we have to wait, we’re a little more patient because we’ve learned something good is being prepared for us.

“He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.”–Psalm 40:2-3a

I believe God’s New Year’s Resolution for me is to learn to be more patient. I can sometimes sound a little harsh or irritable with people or be frustrated with negative situations. I know I can improve. When people see me remaining calm in a tight, stressful or hurtful situation, I can point them to the reason why: trust in Jesus Christ’s love and care for me.

“Many will see and fear And will trust in the Lord.”–Psalm 40:3b

Buddy and I wish you a great week.