A faithful person will be richly blessed,
but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.
A characteristic of human nature is the uncontrollable desire to accumulate property and wealth. What seems to have begun as a simple but necessary self-preservation instinct, storing supplies for the days of scarcity, is uncontrollably unleashed in a compulsion for the accumulation of wealth, which goes beyond what we really need to live a comfortable and secure life. The prevailing economic style of our consumer society takes full advantage of this weakness of character and we get bombarded with advertising and promotion of lifestyles that only a few can achieve and maintain. Competitiveness, which has also been instilled from our earliest infancy is combined with this merciless advertisement attack to make us bend our knees before the despicable idol of money . Every way we look at it we lose because our own forces are nothing compared with the strength of the message that the world uses to control our lives.
The Lord Jesus warned us: “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” The apostle Paul complemented: “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” The times of shortage we have been given are not for us to endeavor to leave them but to learn “what it is to be in need, and to know what it is to have plenty. To learn the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” These things also happen to us so that Christ’s power is perfected in our weakness. Let us, then, be forever grateful for the circumstances we have to live, for God has everything under his perfect control and everything that happens to us is for our own good. Only to God be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged blessed, Christianity, eager, faithful, God, love, person, punishment, rich, riches, wisdom
Be sure you know the condition of your flocks,
give careful attention to your herds;
for riches do not endure forever,
and a crown is not secure for all generations.
Some children of God would like not to have to struggle to get their livelihood. They want to live an easy and comfortable life where everything is at hand and nothing is missing, yet without much effort. Some echo the character of a Dominican Republic merengue song known as Negrito del Batey who said that work was God’s punishment and based on this position of laziness and leisure he refused to even make the attempt to make a living by the sweat of his brow. It is true that sometimes that we need to take a long break to allow us to regain strength and enjoy a time without cares, free of activity, but this only temporarily. Then we could repeat after the Italian people: Dolce far niente. It is sweet to do nothing. The message that God sends us through His word in no way promotes leisure but rather exhorts us to dedicate ourselves with joy to the work God has given us, so through the usufruct of our labor we can satisfy our needs and maybe a few desires . Trusting in riches is characteristic of a fool because they can not bail us out or insure our happiness.
Moreover, we know that the love of money is the root of all evil and that many have died for not realizing the path of death they were following when looking for money at the expense of their lives and that of their loved ones. Let us run with patience the race that lies ahead and let us not worry about the riches but to fulfill the activities that will enable us to achieve them through honest and measured work . God always blesses him who is obedient. Let us obey his instructions and trust in his power and he will bestow all the blessings he has in store for us his children. There is great satisfaction in providing for one’s family in obedience to the commands of the Lord. As important as the “what” is the “how.” Do not neglect these biblical principles and you have the satisfaction of doing things that please God. Only to God be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged attention, Christianity, condition, crown, endure, flock, forever, generations, God, herds, riches, security
They are like sheep and are destined to die;
death will be their shepherd
The sheep mentioned in this psalm are not the same sheep that we usually remember from some well known passages of the Word of God. For example, referring to Jesus we are told that “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” And of the children of God the word says: “Yet for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” These would be the good sheep. But the sheep mentioned in Psalm 49 were destined for death because their heart was always ruled by pride and haughtiness. Today, these sheep accumulate wealth and possessions and they are convinced that money is going to protect them from death. They rely only on themselves and their wealth; they boast of their many possessions. They appear to be happy and they continually receive praise for their achievements but this will serve for nothing when death knocks on their door.
The word of God is very insistent that we should not depend on wealth and possessions. We brought nothing into the world and nothing we will take with us when we leave. Our strength is the Lord and not the number of digits on our bank account balance. Let’s not put our eyes on money or we will end up falling in love with it and we know that the love of money is the root of all evil. Let us seek to depend on God for everything, both in complex and in simple things. Relying on God will give us the peace and quiet we need. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged Christianity, death, destiny, God, justice, Psalms, riches, sheep, shepherd, wealth, wisdom
Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
How easy it is for the enemy of our souls and the world, which is also our enemy, to keep us distracted from what is truly important. Their favorite tools, which act as an attractive bait, are displayed before our eyes for us to lose sight of the goal of our life and the direction we need to maintain to reach our destination. Financial success, whether obtained by illegal or unethical means, is the accepted and recognized metric for progress and welfare and trying to achieve it makes us leeches that only live to demand more and more. We have been dazzled by the alleged happiness that results from having many goods and only having to rely on the riches that we have managed to accumulate. Money, now has become the savior of our lives and it makes us look away from our true Savior, Jesus Christ.
The way the apostle Paul explains it is striking: «Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.» What is in plain view can not be denied. Many are now under the yoke of mismanaged finances for having been blinded by the false appeal of the prosperity of the wicked. Let us return our gaze to the Provider of all good and all blessings, our beloved Lord Jesus Christ. If we stay focused on the way he presents in front of us, we will stay out of all grief related to the mismanagement of our finances. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged arrogant, Christianity, envy, faith, hope, humility, Jesus, love, peace, prosperity, Psalms, riches, righteousness, spirituality, wealth, wicked, wisdom
»Two things I ask of you, LORD;
do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.
Little has been written about the identity of the oracle called Agur, son of Jakeh. As far as I’m concerned, it is King Solomon himself under a pseudonym, communicating more of the wisdom that God gave him. In any case, the important thing is that this portion is also part of the word of God and as such is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” I draw much attention to the analogy or parallelism used here between the falsehood and lies and the two ends of a financial situation. As in all things, the extremes have always been inconvenient, dangerous and bad counselors. Not only financially but in everything we should strive for equilibrium or balance, mainly because balance seeks to harness and combine the best of the two ends to find a “win-win” solution, whereas in extremism one end strengthens its position at the expense of the other end and there is always someone who wins and someone who loses.
The consequences of finding ourselves on either end are catastrophic. Extreme poverty creates the risk of us putting aside our faith in God and becoming wrongdoers because of despair. At the other end, wealth increases the chances that we ignore God and put our hope in riches, something that we have been warned against. As we can see, both sides threaten and undermine our relationship with God, which is unacceptable. Let us always seek to carry out the will of God and not ours. In the case of personal finances, the balance is that we have only our daily bread and not wealth or poverty. Is not this what our Lord Jesus taught us when He gave us the model prayer par excellence, the Lord’s Prayer? Only to God be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged Christianity, dishonor, faith, falsehood, God, hope, Jesus, lies, LORD, love, poverty, riches, spirituality, wisdom
The poor will see and be glad—
you who seek God, may your hearts live!
The LORD hears the needy
and does not despise his captive people.
Many people desperately seek wealth but are unaware that riches may generate more harm than good. The risk is evident; when one has much it is more likely to depend entirely on what we have at hand and to forget who made sure that such riches were at our disposal. There can be many reasons why God has not endowed us with money to spare. The first thing that comes to mind is that it’s very possible that we are not spiritually prepared to avoid becoming slaves to money. Wealth, like fame and power are the weapons used by the world against our souls. Through them, the world controls humanity.
When a child of God is entrusted with the task of managing the money that belongs to God, he/she becomes a commando. A commando is a soldier that integrates a special operations unit and is trained for operations behind enemy lines. These commandos are selected from among the most able soldiers and they receive special training that allows them to successfully fulfill their mission to infiltrate enemy territory. Not just anyone can serve as a commando. So is wealth, not everyone can act as good stewards of them.
Another reason why God has not given us a lot of money is because he will use us as witnesses. God wants children to depend on him and only on him. God wants us to be examples to the world that we can live without being affected the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Let us learn to live content with what we have because he who has been faithful with little, God will give him much. Many soldiers of God shall carry out this testimony. Chances are that you and I are part of this regular group. Whether we perform as elite commandos or as regular soldiers, we must always rely on God and not on wealth because riches are vain and elusive. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged captive, Christianity, despise, glad, God, heart, hope, humility, Jesus, life, love, needy, people, poor, riches, spirituality, wisdom
People who have wealth but lack understanding
are like the beasts that perish.
It seems that today there is nothing more representative of personal success than the abundance of money and possessions. Those who manage to accumulate large sums in their bank accounts are admired as very important people “You are worth what you have” confirms popular culture, echoing the generalized opinion. Even some children of God have made prosperity (or lack thereof) as a measure of the believer’s faith and therefore as an indicator of spiritual progress (or stagnation). “If you do not have money is because you are living in sin or because your faith is very little” say these apostles of super faith and prosperity. The big lie of Satan has penetrated large sections of Christianity and has caused numerous cases of painful frustration and confusion. Even many who do not share the prosperity doctrines feel dejected and defeated because they can not get out of debt or because they do not reach the level of affluence they see others obtain with relative ease. Larry Burkett, renowned and prolific Christian author, an expert in financial counseling coined the term “financial slavery” to describe this situation.
Wealth produces a false sense of stability and security that automatically makes it an idol. It’s something so personal that what a person receives as income is considered a taboo subject. The word of God tells us much about finances, says that riches are uncertain and therefore we should not put our hope in them but on the author of wealth. Wealth belongs to God and no matter how hard we try we can not achieve it unless God has so decided. Let us not lose, then, our time chasing treasures. Remember what the apostle Paul told the Corinthians: “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” Only to God be the glory!
May grain abound throughout the land;
on the tops of the hills may it sway.
May the crops flourish like Lebanon
and thrive like the grass of the field.
Although throughout history some nations have experienced good times ─nothing permanent, never there has been general and thorough prosperity in every corner of the globe. Always the financial health of any nation or empire has been achieved by exercising control and mastery of the riches of other nations or empires, which obviously end up in an economically disadvantaged position because of having to meet the demands and needs of the dominant power. Empires and powerful nations that yesterday dominated today are not as powerful as they were and other nations now take their place. A balance where everyone benefits equally from the riches of the planet has never been achieved. And despite all the lofty speeches heard in economic summits, no country is seeking the general welfare of the world but their own.
God has promised that in the future, hopefully very soon, the earth will experience a general well-being as it never has been known, where all nations will prosper, without distinction of climate, latitude, land, races, industrial capacity, agricultural and mineral resources, transport routes, availability of water or access to sources of energy. To participate in this bonanza it will be imperative that all nations subject themselves to the dominion and government of He who will come as conquering King to impose order, justice and prosperity on all of the earth. With great hope we await that moment in which all nations shall bless each other, every knee shall bow before the King of kings and all of us will consider ourselves blessed. We wait with much optimism for the return of our beloved Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms, Uncategorized
Tagged bonanza, dominion, God, good times, government, King of kings, life, love, nations, prosperity, Psalms, riches, well being
Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are pleasant ways,
and all her paths are peace.
If all the riches of the world were to be distributed among all people of the earth, there would not be enough money to make everybody a millionaire. In fact, everybody would be poor. Not so if what were to be distributed was wisdom. The source of wisdom is inexhaustible; there is much more than enough to go around. To gain wisdom is something relatively easy to accomplish, in fact, too simple. However, very few are wise despite the abundance of wisdom that is available for all. We have said it before: fear of the Lord is the key to wisdom. We have also said that to have fear of the Lord does not mean that we need to be afraid of Him but that we must show reverential respect and obedience towards Him. To understand what the fear of the Lord is, we need to be able to communicate with him. To be able to communicate with Him, we need to know Him and to have a relationship with Him. Only one thing stands in our way to prevent the above mentioned steps to happen: sin, which blocks all possibility of communication with God because it separates us from Him. In Jesus we can find the solution to this quandary, because He took upon Himself all the sins of the world so every obstacle preventing us from having access to the Father would be removed and we could have a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. How easy and yet how difficult it is for man to understand these things!
Now we, who have had the privilege of knowing God, let our lives be full of the fear of the Lord so we may receive wisdom from above and so we may partake of all the benefits it entrails. Then, we will live long lives full of honor and riches, walking along pleasant ways, enjoying peace and all other benefits that come along with it. Let us share with others what Jesus has done for us so they may also have access to the blessing of being made children of God and the privilege of walking down peaceful and joyful paths. There is more than plenty of wisdom from above for all who come to Jesus! Only to God be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged fear of the Lord, God, honor, Jesus, life, LORD, love, obedience, peace, Proverbs 3, respect, reverence, riches, wisdom
One who is full loathes honey from the comb,
but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet.
Much has been made of the short attention span of dogs and this is something that always amazes us. However, in these postmodern times, the attention span of human beings has shortened so much that it has approached that of our canine friends. It is very common to see in movies, television programs, commercials and any other audiovisual material that we are exposed to, language and images of violence, or at least too fast paced, made thus for the sole purpose of maintaining our attention captive. Contemporary life has become a washer in spin cycle. Everything revolves at high speed and little time is left for us to devote to really important things such as our relationship with God. Everything around us becomes a constant distraction and our minds are programmed to not be satisfied with what is necessary but to always want to have more and more. Greed is an integral part of our sinful nature. The more we have, the more we crave. The word “enough” cannot be found in the dictionary of human behavior. King Solomon, author of the today’s quotation, wrote in another of his books: “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.This too is meaningless.” Even if repeated ad nauseam, this great truth will not make people understand. The immediate has taken control of our lives and has displaced all the important things from our daily agenda.
The apostle John wrote, “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.” Let us not, therefore, allow the world to overwhelm and conquer us because the world is our enemy and to yield to it is to lose the battle. Trust in the power of God who has given us the victory that overcomes the world: our faith. To God alone be the glory!