Charles Stanley – Blessed With Less

 Psalm 81:6-16

Today’s passage paints a popular picture of the Lord’s blessing. We read that and assume, If I just listen and obey God, He will give me more and more. We tend to think of blessings as new benefits the Lord gives us to enjoy.

We might praise God for a salary increase. We may thank Him for a new relationship. In our minds, the term blessing has become synonymous with gift, hasn’t it?

Many believers may be surprised to hear that God often blesses us by taking things away. They think, What? How can God benefit me by giving me less of what I enjoy?

This way of thinking reveals a problem of pride. It’s easy to assume we know what’s best for ourselves. Our logical conclusion is, If I enjoy something, then it must be good and proper. As such, the Lord’s blessing should give me more of that, right?

Wrong. God brings things into our lives that He knows will bless us. Our shortsighted perspective keeps us from seeing the whole picture, but He sees all from beginning to end. He knows whether a particular relationship or more money would ultimately be a blessing or a curse. In some situations, the best thing He can “give” is to take something away.

The Lord isn’t a cosmic Santa Claus. Sometimes, in His wisdom, He chooses to “bless with less.” Can you remember a particular disappointment that caused you to question whether He was acting in your best interest? With time and perspective, can you now see God’s loving care for you in taking something away?

Our Daily Bread — The Mud Puddle

 

 

 

Read: Psalm 119:1-8
Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 13-14; Luke 10:1-24

 

Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart! —Psalm 119:2

My friend Ed was telling me a story about his little son. He was standing in a mud puddle, so Ed told him to get out. But instead, his son began running through the puddle. “No running through it either,” he said. So the boy began walking through the water. When Ed told him, “No walking!” the boy stood with just his toes in the water, looking defiantly at his dad. The child knew what his father wanted, but he didn’t want to do it.

Sometimes I’m like that stubborn little boy. I know that what I’m doing isn’t pleasing to the Lord, but I do it anyway. God told the children of Israel to “fully obey the Lord your God” (Deut. 28:1 niv), but they failed repeatedly. The psalmist acknowledged his struggle in Psalm 119, “Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees!” (v.5 niv).

Jealousy, hatred, rebellion—they occur all too often. But God provided for our redemption through the sacrifice of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit helps us when we are tempted (1 Cor. 10:13); and when we confess our wrongdoing, God promises to forgive us (1 John 1:9).

If you are like me and keep running back into the mud puddles of life, don’t give up. God will help you to resist temptation, and He will never stop loving you! —Dave Egner

Dear Lord, help me when I’m tempted. Bring the promises of the Bible to mind and strengthen me by Your Holy Spirit to say no to temptation. Let all my words and deeds bring honor to Your name.

To master temptation, let Christ master you.

INSIGHT: Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible with 176 verses. The entire psalm celebrates God’s Word and speaks of its priority and sufficiency in the daily life of the believer. The psalmist uses different words to describe God’s Word: the law of the Lord (v. 1), testimonies (v. 2), ways (v. 3), precepts (v. 4), statutes (v. 5), commandments (v. 6), righteous judgments (v. 7), and word (v. 9). Through the Bible, God communicates His standards for our lives, His guidance, and His ways.

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Easter in Academia

 

Lock atheist philosophers who do not specialize in religion in a room with theist philosophers who do specialize in religion (well, don’t really, but if you did), and if you listened to the ensuing debates, you “would have to conclude that the theists definitely had the upper hand in every single argument or debate.”(1)

Those are not my words but the words of an atheist. And not just any atheist, an atheist who is a respected professional philosopher with 12 books and over 140 articles to his name.

Despite his atheism, Quentin Smith draws the theism-friendly conclusion that “God is not ‘dead’ in academia; he returned to life in the late 1960s and is now alive and well in his last academic stronghold, philosophy departments.”(2)

God is alive. And not only in philosophy, but in sociology as well. Fifty years ago sociology was convinced that God was on the way out. The scholars had bought into secularization theory; you know the idea: The more modern and technological the world becomes, the more secular it becomes.

Peter Berger was one of the leading proponents of this theory. Today he has completely abandoned it.

At an academic conference in Miami in 2011, Berger said that he and almost everyone in the field changed their minds simply because that is what the evidence demanded. He said that if you look at the contemporary world,

“The real situation is that most of the world is as religious as it ever was. You have enormous explosions of religion in the world… In fact, you can say every major religious tradition has been going through a period of resurgence in the last 30, 40 years or so… anything but secularization.”(3)

Probably the most influential British philosopher of religion of the last half century is longtime Oxford professor Richard Swinburne. In 2003 he published a book entitled The Resurrection of God Incarnate, and in that book he concludes that on the available evidence today, it is 97% probable that Jesus truly—miraculously—rose from the dead, proving that he is the God he claimed to be.

Do all philosophers agree with Swinburne? Of course not. And even Swinburne recognizes that we can’t take the exact percentage too seriously. He likes to work with probability theory so he plugs in numbers at each point in the argument; they are only meant to provide a rough estimate.

Still though, the fact that someone of his intellectual credibility can make that claim in print, have it published by Oxford University Press, and then ably defend it at top academic conferences all around the world speaks to the fact that the intellectual case for the Christian faith is strong.

A number of popular authors have suggested otherwise in recent years. But these New Atheists are generally not engaged with current philosophical scholarship. In fact, much of the New Atheism at the popular level can be traced directly back to old scholarship at the academic level.

Richard Dawkins denies the existence of a God who can ground good and evil, right and wrong. But criticism without alternative is empty. What is his alternative?: a world in which the disturbing response to being asked whether the wrongness of rape is as arbitrary as the fact that we’ve evolved five fingers rather than six is, “You could say that, yeah.”(4)

Quentin Smith denies the existence of a God who can raise the dead. What is his alternative?:

“The fact of the matter is that the most reasonable belief is that we came from nothing, by nothing and for nothing… We should…acknowledge our foundation in nothingness and feel awe at the marvelous fact that we have a chance to participate briefly in this incredible sunburst that interrupts without reason the reign of non-being.”(5)

Is this any less extraordinary than a resurrection from the dead? On second thought, is this not itself a resurrection from the dead?

If we think it is our minds that keep us from God, we may not be dealing with the arguments at the highest level. My own story is one of reasoning that if God really made me, and if he made me with my mind, then he would ensure that a sincere intellectual search would point in his direction.(6)

To my surprise, that is just what I found. And when I was finally willing to open to God not only my mind but also my heart, I found so much more.

Vince Vitale is a member of the speaking team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Oxford, England.

(1) Quentin Smith, “The Metaphilosophy of Naturalism,” Philo. 4.2 (2001), 197.

(2) Ibid.

(3) Peter Berger, “Six Decades as a Worldwide Religion Watcher: Observations & Lessons Learned.” Ethics & Public Policy Center. n.p., n.d., accessed online on July 22, 2014 at http://eppc.org/publications/berger/.

(4) Richard Dawkins, Interview by Justin Brierley, “The John Lennox—Richard Dawkins Debate.” Bethinking.org, 2008. Web. 25 April 2014. http://www.bethinking.org/atheism/the-john-lennox-richard-dawkins-debate.

(5) Quentin Smith, “The Uncaused Beginning of the Universe,” in William Lane Craig and Quentin Smith, Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology (1993), 135. Emphasis added.

(6) Some of the ideas expressed in this Slice are also recorded in the following video: http://bit.ly/WC1rrg

Also see Why Suffering?: Finding Meaning and Comfort When Life Doesn’t Make Sense, co-authored with Ravi Zacharias. Vince Vitale wrote his PhD on the problem of suffering. He now teaches at Wycliffe Hall of Oxford University and is Senior Tutor at The Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics.

Charles Spurgeon – The jeer of sarcasm, and the retort of piety

 

“Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal… came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel today, who uncovered himself today in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself! And David said unto Michal, It was before the Lord, which chose… to appoint me ruler… over Israel: therefore will I play before the Lord. .” 2 Samuel 6:20-22

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Peter 3:1-7

It is a happy thing when we are enabled to rejoice together in our family relationships; when husband and wife help each other on the path to heaven. There can be no happier position than that of the Christian man who finds, in every holy wish he has for God, a helper; who finds that often she outstrips him; that when he would do something, she suggests something more; when he would serve his Master there is a hint given that more yet might be done, and no obstacle put in the way, but every assistance rendered. Happy is that man and blessed is he. He has received a treasure from God, the like of which could not be bought for diamonds. That man is blessed of the Most High; he is heaven’s favourite, and he may rejoice in the special favour of his God. But when it is the other way, and I know it is the case with some of you, then it is a sore trial indeed. Perhaps, though a careful, cautious, prudent, and excellent worldly woman, she cannot see with you in the things which you love in the kingdom of God, and when you have done something which in the excess of your zeal seems to be but little, she thinks it inordinate and extravagant. “Oh,” says she, “do you go and mix with these people? Does King David go and wear a linen ephod like a peasant? Do you go and sit down with that rabble? You? You can stand up for your dignity—put ‘esquire’ after your name, and yet walk in the street with any beggar that likes to call himself a Christian. You,” says she, “you that are so cautious in everything else, you seem to have lost your head when you think about your religion.”

For meditation: Those close to the Lord Jesus Christ, his friends and family, could not understand him (Mark 3:21; John 7:5) but God worked in their lives (Acts 1:14; 1 Corinthians 9:5). Don’t despair of your loved ones who seem so far from God (1 Corinthians 7:16).

Sermon no. 321
9 April (Preached 8 April 1860)

John MacArthur – Inheriting the Earth

 

“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5).

Someday God will reverse the curse and return the earth to His people.

God said to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen. 1:28). But their sin cost them their sovereignty and brought a curse upon the earth (Gen. 3:17-18).

The apostle Paul said, “The anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God . . . in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption” (Rom. 8:19-21). Someday that curse will be reversed and God’s people will once again inherit the earth.

The Greek word translated “inherit” (Matt. 5:5) means “to receive an allotted portion.” The earth is the allotted portion of believers, who will reign with the Lord when He comes in His kingdom (Rev. 20:6). That’s an emphatic promise in Matthew 5:5, which literally reads, “Blessed are the gentle, for only they shall inherit the earth.”

Many Jewish people of Christ’s day thought the kingdom belonged to the strong, proud, and defiant. But Jesus said the earth will belong to the gentle, meek, and humble. Proud, self-righteous people don’t qualify (cf. Luke 1:46- 53). Jesus said, “Unless you are converted and become [humble and submissive] like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3).

As a recipient of God’s promises, you should be thrilled knowing that you will inherit the earth and reign with Christ in His earthly kingdom. Be encouraged to know that even when evil people and godless nations seem to prosper, God is in complete control and will someday establish His righteous kingdom on earth.

Rejoice in that assurance, and seek to be all He wants you to be until that great day.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God that all of creation will someday be freed from sin’s corrupting influences.
  • Praise Him for His mighty power, which will bring it all to pass.

For Further Study

Read 1 Corinthians 6:1-8.

  • What issue did Paul address?
  • How does the future reign of Christians apply to that issue?

 

Joyce Meyer – Positive Belief

 

[For Abraham, human reason for] hope being gone, hoped in faith that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been promised, so [numberless] shall your descendants be. He did not weaken in faith when he considered the [utter] impotence of his own body, which was as good as dead because he was about a hundred years old, or [when he considered] the barrenness of Sarah [deadened] womb. No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God, fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised. Romans 4:18-21

The story of Abraham amazes me no matter how many times I read it. It’s not just the birth of a son when he was a hundred years old. That’s a miracle. But just as amazing is the information that he waited twenty-five years for the fulfillment of the promise. He was seventy-five when God promised him a son.

I wonder how many of us would believe God and live in expectation for twenty-five years. Most of us probably would have said, “I didn’t really hear from God.” “Oh, I guess maybe God didn’t really mean that.” Or, “I need to go somewhere else to get a fresh word from the Lord.”

Sarah and Abraham did have problems holding on to that promise. As a means of attempting to get what they wanted, they had Sarah’s handmaiden, Hagar, bear him a son, but God let him know that wasn’t the way it was going to be. I believe their actions delayed the arrival of God’s promised child.

In our impatience, we often take matters into our own hands. I say we get “bright ideas” plans of our own, which we hope God will bless. These plans open the door for confusion and chaos. Then their results must be dealt with, which often delays our miracle.

When Moses came down from Sinai after having received the Ten Commandments from God, He saw the wickedness of the Israelites who had become impatient in waiting. In anger, he broke the tablets on which God had written the commands. Although we can understand Moses’ anger, we must remember that it was not initiated by God. Therefore, Moses had to ascend Mount Sinai again and once more go through the process of obtaining the Ten Commandments. Moses may have enjoyed a momentary emotional release, but it cost him a lot of extra work. This is a good lesson for all of us. We must pray first and agree with God’s plan, not plan and pray that our plan will work.

It’s often difficult to believe God and hold on year after year after year. Sometimes after my meetings, people come to me and tell me many sad stories. I encourage them to become positive and upbeat. Some people will listen to every word I say; nod, maybe even smile, and then they say the most negative word of all: “But …” With that single word, they are negating everything I’ve said. That’s not the spirit of Abraham.

The Bible gives us promises, hope, and encouragement. God promises good to those ofus who serve Him. Despite the adversity of our circumstances and some people have absolutely terrible situations God still promises good. Our sense of goodness, however, may not be the same as God’s. Getting what we want immediately may not be best for us. Sometimes waiting is the best thing because it helps develop the character of God in us.

The Lord chooses to do good to us and to make us happy; the devil chooses to do wrong and to make us miserable. We can remain patient and keep believing God’s promises, or we can allow the evil one’s whisper to fill our ears and lead us astray.

Too many of us have ignored the fact that God is the originator of miracles. He specializes in doing the impossible: He provided a son to barren Sarah; He opened the Red Sea for the Israelites to walk across on dry land; He destroyed Goliath with a single stone from a slingshot. Those are miracles. That’s the Holy Spirit at work, defying the laws of nature (He made the laws, so He can break them).

Hebrews 11 is a chapter about faith and the people of God who dared to believe the promises. But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out] (v. 6).

As I consider that verse, I can see how the devil creeps in. He says to us, “Yes, that’s true. Those were special people. You are nobody. God won’t do anything special for you. Why should He?”

That is a satanic lie and one that too many easily accept. God loves each of us, and the Bible says Hes our Father. Any good father loves to do good things for his children. God wants to do good things for you and for me. Expect a miracle in your life. Expect many miracles.

Positive belief in God’s promises yields good results because the Good One sends them to us. Refuse to give up, and you will see the result of your positive belief.

Dear Father in heaven, forgive my lack of belief. Forgive me for allowing Satan to deceive me or make me think I’m worthless or unworthy of Your miracles. I am worthy because You made me worthy. You are the God of the impossible, and I ask You to help me wait on You and never give up. In the name of Jesus Christ my Lord, I pray. Amen.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Examples of His Love 

 

“Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions” (1 John 3:18).

The story is told about two farmers. Every day, one of them would haul pails of water up the steep slope to his terraced field and irrigate his meager crop.

The second farmer tilled the terrace just below, and he would poke a hole in the dyke and let the other farmer’s water run down into his field.

The first farmer was upset. Being a Christian, he went to his pastor and asked for advice. The pastor told him to keep on watering as before and to say nothing. So, the farmer returned to his fields and the watering of his crop, but the farmer below him continued to drain off his water. Nothing had changed.

After a few days, the first farmer went to his pastor again. The pastor told him to go a step further – to water his neighbor’s crop! So the next day, the farmer brought water to his neighbor’s field and watered the crops. After that, he watered his own field.

This went on for three days, and not a word was exchanged between the two farmers. But after the third day, the second farmer came to the first farmer.

“How do I become a Christian?” he asked.

There is a saying, ‘Love your friends and hate your enemies.’ But I say: Love your enemies!…If you are friendly only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even the heathens do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:43-48).

Bible Reading: I John 3:14-17

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I will make every effort to demonstrate the love of Christ by the way I act toward others.

Presidential Prayer Team; J.R. – Astonishing Abandonment

 

The Romans were known for their brutality to those they conquered, but they also imposed harsh penalties upon miscreants in their own ranks. Topping the list was “fustuarium,” a particular method of capital punishment reserved for soldiers who deserted their units. This was administered by the deserter’s own legion; they would fall upon the man and beat him to death with a cudgel.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ.

Galatians 1:6

This savagery was no doubt on the mind of the apostle Paul when he wrote with astonishment that the Galatian Christians were blithely deserting the faith for false gospels. Unlike the Romans, whose justice was meted out with unwavering ruthlessness, Christ offered grace and mercy to all. But Paul cautioned that forsaking the true gospel was no small matter, and that those who preached deceit would be cursed.

Today in America, “false gospels” are epidemic – and producing great clouds of confusion and tumult. But today, pray that you may be an example and testimony to the love of the One, the Only, Jesus to those who need to trust Him as Lord. This is your duty as a soldier of Christ!

Recommended Reading: Galatians 1:6-17

 

Greg Laurie – You Are Being Watched

 

They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.—Acts 2:46–47

There is a direct connection between a Christian’s worship and a Christian’s witness. Believers are being watched both inside and outside of the church.

When you go to church every week and things are going your way, when you have the perfect little family, a great job, a nice home, and your health is good, people will look at you and say, “Well yeah, you are not living in reality. Of course you are happy.”

But then one day maybe tragedy befalls you. You lose that job or one of your children or your health. When something difficult happens and you are still praising God, that is a testimony to a lost and watching world.

Your worship is a witness to people at church as well. When nonbelievers go to church, they are checking everything out. They are taking it all in. What kind of witness are you to the people sitting near you? They may be Christians, or they may not be. They may be there for the first time—and maybe for the last time. They will form an evaluation on what they believe about God and Christianity largely based on what they see.

You might say, “Well, that is a lot of pressure, Greg.” All I am saying is that you are being watched. And I think it’s a powerful testimony when you are worshiping the Lord and a nonbeliever is standing there next to you thinking, What is this all about?

It was watching Christians worship the Lord on my high school campus that opened my heart to listen to the gospel. And then when someone shared from God’s Word, I wanted to hear it, and I ended up believing that day. My heart was opened by watching Christians worship with sincerity.

Worship is a witness.

Max Lucado – Your Heart, His Home

 

The crowning attribute of Christ was this: his heart was spiritual. His thoughts reflected his intimate relationship with the Father. Our hearts seem so far from his. He is pure; we’re greedy. He is peaceful; we’re hassled. He is purposeful; we’re distracted. He is pleasant; we’re cranky. The distance between our hearts and his seems so immense! How could we ever hope to have the heart of Jesus?

Ready for a surprise? You already do. One of the supreme yet unrealized promises of God is simply this: if you’ve given your life to Jesus, Jesus has given himself to you. He has made your heart his home. It would be hard to say it any more succinctly than Paul does in Galatians 2:20, “Christ lives in me.”

God is willing to change us into the likeness of the Savior. Shall we accept his offer?

 

From Just Like Jesus

Encouragement for Today – The Moment that Saved My Marriage   LYSA TERKEURST

 

“Let your gentleness be evident to all.” Philippians 4:5a (NIV)

We all have them. Weak places. Places inside us that make us wonder if we’ll ever get it together like the together people. Places that make us feel “less than” the next girl.

One of those weak places for me has always been my tendency to let my emotions boss me around, especially in conflict.

My deepest desire is to let my “gentleness be evident to all” like our key verse says … but the truth is my reactions haven’t always reflected my desire for gentleness. I really think I was born with firecrackers in my blood.

But when my relationships began to suffer due to my emotionally driven tirades, I found myself crying out to the Lord for help. He prompted my heart to pause and let the Holy Spirit intervene on my behalf when my emotions rallied to be right.

Honestly, I wasn’t totally convinced that this whole “giving it over to God” thing really worked. Until one day I saw the beginnings of my imperfect progress.

A few years ago, my husband Art and I hit a rough place financially. Some investments we’d made went bad and we lost nearly our entire life savings. I was knee deep in caring for three small children at the time and hadn’t a clue that financial danger was looming on the horizon.

That is, until Art came home and the look on his face spoke of utter defeat. How could we have lost so much? He’d been wise with our finances. He’d done his research. He was a faithful saver. I stood stunned in our foyer that day, as Art told me the news.

There were many different directions my reaction could have gone in the minutes that followed. I was upset. When Art first talked of making these particular investments, I shared with him that I didn’t have a good feeling about it. But, in the end, I let him make the final decision.

So many times in my marriage, I’ve chosen the wrong words — words that were tainted with bitterness, words that were emotionally toxic. But I’m so thankful the Lord had been working on preparing my heart for this moment, and instead of reacting immediately with what would have been a disastrous response, I paused. I allowed the Holy Spirit a few seconds to interrupt my natural flesh feelings.

Then, because of God’s Spirit working in me, I was able to wrap my arms around my husband and speak life-giving words into his weary heart: “I love you, Art. I loved you yesterday when we had everything. I love you today when we have nothing. I love you for who you are, not what you have.”

Now please understand … I was only able to have this response by God’s grace working in me. I still did quite a bit of wrestling to let my feelings catch up to the gentle words I felt led to speak out loud.

But a few years later, I saw incredible fruit from this one good reaction. Art and I were interviewed on a radio program. On the show Art was asked, “I know you and Lysa had a rough start to your marriage. But what happened that made you know you’d stick by her forever, no matter what?”

Without hesitation, Art recounted my reaction over the lost investments.

I cried. I couldn’t help but think this could have been the moment that saved my marriage.

Had I been left to my own flesh reaction that day, it could have set us on the road to marital disaster. But, because of God’s response being stored up in me, this situation wound up bringing us closer together than we’d ever been.

And I realized how crucial it is to always be aware of God’s preparation in our lives.

One way to be more discerning of this is to commit to exchange whispers with God before shouts with the world every day. Before you check your cell phone or scroll through social media, spend time with Him. Listen for Him. And then go look for rich evidence of Him at work in your life.

Because God stands in our yesterday, today and tomorrow, He sees all. And He knows the perfect way to prepare our hearts for every situation.

When we embrace His preparations, even a girl with firecrackers in her blood like me can have reactions that honor God and breathe life into relationships.

Dear Lord, I’m choosing to let You take control of my reactions. Help me to always exchange whispers with You before shouts with the world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Proverbs 29:11, “A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back.” (NKJV)

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What situation have you been in recently where you could have paused to let the Holy Spirit work on your behalf?

If you didn’t have a good reaction, don’t give up! The beauty of imperfect progress isn’t having it all together right away. It’s allowing the Lord to take you by the hand and lead you through slow steps of progress wrapped in grace.

Night Light for Couples – Let’s Make a Deal

 

“People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap.” 1 Timothy 6:9

Some of you are old enough to remember Monty Hall and the game show Let’s Make a Deal—the one where contestants could keep what they had already won or risk trading it in for the mystery prize behind “door number one, door number two, or door number three.” Believe it or not, I once convinced Jim to go with me to one of the shows.

There we were: I had toy birds fastened everywhere on my head and blouse, and Jim (reluctantly) held a sign that said, “My wife is for the birds.” Our getup was enough to earn us seats in the contestants’ row, and before we knew it, we were in front of the cameras trying to name the correct price of four items to win a brand‐new Camaro. And believe me, we needed that car! Jim had just graduated from USC, and we had invested every available dollar in his tuition and expenses.

We guessed the first three items within the three‐dollar margin of error, but we missed on the last one—a Hoover vacuum cleaner. So we didn’t win the Camaro. Yet we walked away from that show with a new vacuum cleaner and another, much more valuable prize: a greater appreciation for how easily greed could overcome us.

Since that time we have observed that Satan appears to offer whatever a person hungers for in exchange for a spiritual compromise. In our case, a new automobile was the perfect enticement to unleash our greed. If illicit sex is your desire, it will eventually be made available. If your passion is for fame or power, the object of that lust will be promised (even if never delivered). Likewise, if you thirst for great wealth—beware! People who care passionately about money are often suckers for wild‐eyed schemes and shady deals. They are always on the verge of a bonanza that seems to slip through their fingers. Instead of getting rich, they get taken.

This is the threat posed by greed. Material comforts or money in the bank can become our first love—our greatest treasure and passion. And when that happens, God becomes almost irrelevant. But the Lord will not settle for second place (“You shall have no other gods before me”— Exodus 20:3). We encourage you to say, “Let’s make a deal” right now. Agree now that you’ll always keep money in its place and the Lord as the first love of your life.

– Shirley M Dobson

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson

C.S. Lewis Daily – Today’s Reading

 

On happiness

What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could “be like gods”—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.

God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.

From Mere Christianity
Compiled in Words to Live By