You might have riches but don’t trust in them

“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” (1 Tim 6:17)

Don’t read the above and think of those in Hollywood or Silicon Valley. We, most Americans, are rich according to the worldly standards. According to Market Watch “the median net worth of the average U.S. household is $97,300.” That is the middle point. Half of US households earn more and half earn less. I understand poverty is an issue. I don’t want to make light of it. But when we compare ourselves to the world population by and large Americans are considered rich. So when you read “rich” in the above verse, don’t think someone else, think yourself.

Wealth, however, is not something in which we should put our trust. Many of us have lived through a recession. We have felt the sting of the stock market dropping. We are living through a pandemic. All of these events affect wealth / riches. What is here today can be gone tomorrow.

Instead of trusting in our riches, which are uncertain, we should trust in the Lord. He is our provider. The One who gives us all we have. You have the opportunities, position, intellect, abilities, and riches because of the Lord. We must, then, recognize God is the One who provides all. In turn, we must put our hope and trust in Him instead of the uncertainty of riches.

Instead of trusting in a new year, trust in the Lord.

“Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!” (Psalm 4:1)

Today marks the beginning of 2021. For many of us, we are hoping it is a better year than 2020. A vaccine promises relief from the Corona Virus, a return to work, activity, and visiting with family and friends. A new year marks a new beginning, new resolutions, and new goals.

While 2021 offers us a new start, we must not put our hope in the turn of a calendar page. Though it is January 1, 2021, a new year, it is just another day. Another day with its own successes and problems. Distress, anxiety, and all our problems haven’t disappeared because the date turned over.

Instead of trusting in a new year for relief, trust in the One who can and does provide relief. Place your trust in the Lord. The God of the universe. The One who pours His immeasurable grace out on us and who answers our prayers.

Instead of trusting in a new year, trust in the Lord.

Should we submit to the government?

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” (Rom 13:1)

Among all the the things we have experienced in 2020, we can add a season of political turmoil. A season that doesn’t want to end. Come January though changes will happen. Some of you may be glad for those changes while others will disagree.

Whether we agree or disagree, we are to heed the instruction found in God’s Word. We are to be subject to the governing authorities. Whether they represent our political party or not, we can be subject to them because every authority has been instituted by God. Paul even goes so far as to call them God’s servants for our good and the avenger who carries out God’s wrath (Rom 13:4).

Given some authorities bent towards immorality it is hard to believe they are put in place by God, considered His servants, and are to carry out His wrath. But God’s Word reveals that is their position. It is how the sovereign Lord uses them. Since they are appointed and used by God, we are to respect their position. We are to pray for them. Where we can, in good conscience, we are to follow their direction and the laws of the land. To be sure, God is our first ruler. Where His law would be transgressed, we are to resist, but by and large we are to respect and honor our rulers.

While we may believe that to be a radical request, Paul, the author of Romans, is writing these words while living under Roman rule. Rule that was ruthless and, at times, antithetical to and persecutor of Christianity. As Christians in the USA we experience much more freedom than those in Roman society. While many would like to erode those freedoms, we are still to trust the Lord, His wisdom, and His Word. We are to be subject to the ruling authorities for they have been instituted by God.

God showers blessings on those who align with His will

“Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways!” (Psalm 128:1)

Blessed means that God looks favorably on you. You experience divine favor. The psalm highlights God’s blessings. You are able to enjoy the fruit of your labor. Life goes well. You wife is fruitful and your children are like olive shoots. In other words, your family is growing and operating well. You experience prosperity and long life. Those who follow the Lord, who live aligned with His will experience peace and a good life as God showers His divine favor on you.

Aligning yourself with God’s will, then, not only pleases and glorifies God but we also experience benefits from God’s pleasure and glorification. These benefits are not earned per se. God is not in our debt because we align ourselves with His will. He instead willingly pours out blessings on our life at His pleasure and for our benefit.

Our God is a loving Heavenly Father who desires to give good gifts to His children. Those who desire Him live in a loving relationship with a generous and caring Heavenly Father, experiencing His blessings on their life.

In a time of political and national upheaval, turn to the Lord!

“My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” (Ps 121:2)

In a time of political and national upheaval, the Psalmist’s reminder this morning is appropriate. Our help is from the Lord. Politicians and leaders come and go. They promise one plan of action and do another. They let us down routinely either in action or character.

The Lord, however, is not another politician or leader. The Lord is the One who fashioned the heavens and the earth. He keeps His promises and has the power to bring about that which He wills.

Instead of turning to man, we should turn to the Lord as our help. He does not sleep or slumber (vs 3-4). He is always alert. He knows everything that happens. He is our protector, promising to watch over and keep us on a daily basis, keeping us from evil and destruction (vs 5-8).

We can and should put our life in the Lord’s hands. We can and should trust He will always do what is right. We can and should rest in His ability to accomplish His perfect will.

In a time of political and national upheaval, turn to the Lord!

Psalm

Pour out your heart to the Lord

I’m reading through the Bible using the Bible Project’s reading schedule with my church. It has been great. We are at the end of Zechariah and beginning Malachi. As I read today, I was struck by Zechariah 14 and the accompanying Psalm, which is Psalm 62.

Combined with our recent reading in Zechariah 14 regarding the day of the Lord, we find that we can place our trust in the Lord. Zechariah prophesies in verse 9 “And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one.” – (Zechariah 14:9).

Do you trust in the Lord? Is He your refuge in times of trouble? Do you pour your heart out to Him? Or do you seek comfort, refuge, protection, purpose in someone, or something else?

Do not seek comfort from the world’s false idols. They can’t and they won’t provide you the comfort you seek. Put your card back in your wallet, the snacks back on the shelf, the ice cream back in the freezer, let the selfie remain in your camera roll, and your posts about your performance go unposted.

Instead, drop to your knees and seek the Lord in prayer. Pour out your heart to Him and trust Him to act. He is the King over the whole earth now and forevermore.