Category Archives: Diligent / Hard Worker

By Our Deeds We Distinguish Ourselves, Whether Righteous or Wicked

It is easy to claim that we serve and obey YHWH or Yeshua, but it is by our deeds rather than our words that we demonstrate to others whether we are wicked or righteous. To claim we follow Yeshua means little if our actions do not reflect obedience to His instructions. As you read through Proverbs 20, I invite you to identify at least one or two verses to walk away with that are particularly meaningful for you to apply and learn from in your life today. Pray humbly for the Holy Spirit to reveal to you which ones are most important for you to take action on to change your behavior and / or attitude and in what specific situations.

Proverbs 20

On Life and Conduct

1Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler,
And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise.

2The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion;
He who provokes him to anger forfeits his own life.

3Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man,
But any fool will quarrel.

4The sluggard does not plow after the autumn,
So he begs during the harvest and has nothing.

5A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water,
But a man of understanding draws it out.

6Many a man proclaims his own loyalty,
But who can find a trustworthy man?

7A righteous man who walks in his integrity—
How blessed are his sons after him.

8A king who sits on the throne of justice
Disperses all evil with his eyes.

9Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart,
I am pure from my sin”?

10Differing weights and differing measures,
Both of them are abominable to the LORD.

11It is by his deeds that a lad distinguishes himself
If his conduct is pure and right.

12The hearing ear and the seeing eye,
The LORD has made both of them.

13Do not love sleep, or you will become poor;
Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with food.

14“Bad, bad,” says the buyer,
But when he goes his way, then he boasts.

15There is gold, and an abundance of jewels;
But the lips of knowledge are a more precious thing.

16Take his garment when he becomes surety for a stranger;
And for foreigners, hold him in pledge.

17Bread obtained by falsehood is sweet to a man,
But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel.

18Prepare plans by consultation,
And make war by wise guidance.

19He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets,
Therefore do not associate with a gossip.

20He who curses his father or his mother,
His lamp will go out in time of darkness.

21An inheritance gained hurriedly at the beginning
Will not be blessed in the end.

22Do not say, “I will repay evil”;
Wait for the LORD, and He will save you.

23Differing weights are an abomination to the LORD,
And a false scale is not good.

24Man’s steps are ordained by the LORD,
How then can man understand his way?

25It is a trap for a man to say rashly, “It is holy!”
And after the vows to make inquiry.

26A wise king winnows the wicked,
And drives the threshing wheel over them.

27The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD,
Searching all the innermost parts of his being.

28Loyalty and truth preserve the king,
And he upholds his throne by righteousness.

29The glory of young men is their strength,
And the honor of old men is their gray hair.

30Stripes that wound scour away evil,
And strokes reach the innermost parts.

Each verse reveals deep truth. Be careful and patient as you read so as not to read so quickly that you miss considering how you should apply it in your life. We do well to come back to Proverbs often and read through the whole book over and over, perhaps one chapter every day. It is a wealth of wisdom for how we should relate to one another and how we should approach our own lives.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

A Gentle Answer Turns Away Wrath

Proverbs 15

Contrast the Upright and the Wicked

1A gentle answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.

      2The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable,
But the mouth of fools spouts folly.

      3The eyes of the LORD are in every place,
Watching the evil and the good.

      4A soothing tongue is a tree of life,
But perversion in it crushes the spirit.

      5A fool rejects his father’s discipline,
But he who regards reproof is sensible.

      6Great wealth is in the house of the righteous,
But trouble is in the income of the wicked.

      7The lips of the wise spread knowledge,
But the hearts of fools are not so.

      8The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,
But the prayer of the upright is His delight.

      9The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,
But He loves one who pursues righteousness.

      10Grievous punishment is for him who forsakes the way;
He who hates reproof will die.

      11Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the LORD,
How much more the hearts of men!

      12A scoffer does not love one who reproves him,
He will not go to the wise.

      13A joyful heart makes a cheerful face,
But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.

      14The mind of the intelligent seeks knowledge,
But the mouth of fools feeds on folly.

      15All the days of the afflicted are bad,
But a cheerful heart has a continual feast.

      16Better is a little with the fear of the LORD
Than great treasure and turmoil with it.

      17Better is a dish of vegetables where love is
Than a fattened ox served with hatred.

      18A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,
But the slow to anger calms a dispute.

      19The way of the lazy is as a hedge of thorns,
But the path of the upright is a highway.

      20A wise son makes a father glad,
But a foolish man despises his mother.

      21Folly is joy to him who lacks sense,
But a man of understanding walks straight.

      22Without consultation, plans are frustrated,
But with many counselors they succeed.

      23A man has joy in an apt answer,
And how delightful is a timely word!

      24The path of life leads upward for the wise
That he may keep away from Sheol below.

      25The LORD will tear down the house of the proud,
But He will establish the boundary of the widow.

      26Evil plans are an abomination to the LORD,
But pleasant words are pure.

      27He who profits illicitly troubles his own house,
But he who hates bribes will live.

      28The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,
But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.

      29The LORD is far from the wicked,
But He hears the prayer of the righteous.

      30Bright eyes gladden the heart;
Good news puts fat on the bones.

      31He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof
Will dwell among the wise.

      32He who neglects discipline despises himself,
But he who listens to reproof acquires understanding.

      33The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom,
And before honor comes humility.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Timeless Wisdom

Proverbs contains timeless wisdom we should still be teaching our children. Do not become financially responsible for someone else’s debts. Do not be lazy. Plan ahead for your future. Even the ants do that. Do not speak with perverse mouth or speak wicked things. Do not devise evil or stir up strife. In particular, there is much emphasis on avoiding adultery.

Proverbs 6

     Parental Counsel

     1My son, if you have become surety for your neighbor,
Have given a pledge for a stranger,

2If you have been snared with the words of your mouth,
Have been caught with the words of your mouth,

3Do this then, my son, and deliver yourself;
Since you have come into the hand of your neighbor,
Go, humble yourself, and importune your neighbor.

4Give no sleep to your eyes,
Nor slumber to your eyelids;

5Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hunter’s hand
And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.

6Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,

7Which, having no chief,
Officer or ruler,

8Prepares her food in the summer
And gathers her provision in the harvest.

9How long will you lie down, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?

10“A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest”—

11Your poverty will come in like a vagabond
And your need like an armed man.

12A worthless person, a wicked man,
Is the one who walks with a perverse mouth,

13Who winks with his eyes, who signals with his feet,
Who points with his fingers;

14Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil,
Who spreads strife.

15Therefore his calamity will come suddenly;
Instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing.

16There are six things which the LORD hates,
Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:

17Haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
And hands that shed innocent blood,

18A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that run rapidly to evil,

19A false witness who utters lies,
And one who spreads strife among brothers.

20My son, observe the commandment of your father
And do not forsake the teaching of your mother;

21Bind them continually on your heart;
Tie them around your neck.

22When you walk about, they will guide you;
When you sleep, they will watch over you;
And when you awake, they will talk to you.

23For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light;
And reproofs for discipline are the way of life

24To keep you from the evil woman,
From the smooth tongue of the adulteress.

25Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
Nor let her capture you with her eyelids.

26For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread,
And an adulteress hunts for the precious life.

27Can a man take fire in his bosom
And his clothes not be burned?

28Or can a man walk on hot coals
And his feet not be scorched?

29So is the one who goes in to his neighbor’s wife;
Whoever touches her will not go unpunished.

30Men do not despise a thief if he steals
To satisfy himself when he is hungry;

31But when he is found, he must repay sevenfold;
He must give all the substance of his house.

32The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense;
He who would destroy himself does it.

33Wounds and disgrace he will find,
And his reproach will not be blotted out.

34For jealousy enrages a man,
And he will not spare in the day of vengeance.

35He will not accept any ransom,
Nor will he be satisfied though you give many gifts.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Do We Compete To Win For Christ?

As the Super Bowl draws near and the national championship for college football has recently completed, it is an interesting time to reflect on what effort and dedication it takes to compete in such a way as to win. Beyond this, it is also a good time to reflect on what we choose to prepare and compete for.

Throughout the world, people enter competitions of all kinds.. sports, crafts, baking, writing… even hot-dog-eating contests. Yes, really. People enthusiastically compete to eat the most hot dogs in a few minutes. No matter what the contest is, those who win had to work hard and dedicate themselves to the competition in order to compete well and win.

Much glory is given to those who win and win consistently. Athletes in particular are raised up by society as having accomplished something meaningful when they compete at a high level of ability. Inevitably, those who reach the highest levels have devoted much of their time and effort to preparation and training. For example, NFL Super Bowl champions did not sit around watching TV on the couch all year, eating whatever junk food they feel like and practicing once in awhile maybe an hour a week. They were working hard to prepare their minds and bodies all year long. Their pursuit of greatness in a particular field becomes a huge part of their personal identity.

It is much the same way for us to succeed in a life spent truly serving God. I do not mean one in which we just go to church once a week, or occasionally open the Bible or help someone. We must train as the athletes do… train to win! Study consistently the word of God in the Bible, pray daily, apply the word of God to our own lives by changing our wrong behaviors and attitudes… even when others might say we are “good enough”. Those who accept man’s definition of “good enough” will never achieve greatness. We must use the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ and the scriptures in the Bible as the standard for what is good enough. We must work hard and dedicate ourselves to keep moving toward that holy example. Do not settle for being “better than most” because “most” fall far short of the standard God calls us to work toward.

Ask how many champions in this world, at any event, attribute their success to a dedication to “sort of work at something when they have time” and a satisfaction with being “better than most”. I tell you none with this attitude have achieved greatness.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

  24Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

Perhaps you should also consider that if you spent more time, energy, and focus pursuing a great Super Bowl party than you have in seeking God over the same period of time… you may want to reconsider your priorities.

Do not get complacent.  Continue to know, love and serve God forever. Obey His commands. Fear Him instead of man. It is a journey where we never reach the final destination in this life, but it transforms us along the way to become more like Jesus Christ and less like our own selfish nature.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Follow Through To Complete The Victory

Judges 8 is an action packed chapter. It follows the victory of Gideon that is so well known in which with trumpets, pitchers, and torches  and only 300 men (and YHWH of course) Israel routes Midian. The action does not stop, much like what we experience in life in general. There are some periods where things move quickly and can get complicated. We need to deal with them as they come and in some cases follow up later to get proper closure. We see also the importance of Gideon following through on the initial wins to complete the full victory. He does not leave loose ends that may come back to unravel the victory later. Sometimes finishing is very challenging and we are tempted to stop and call it “good enough”. We should take care to follow through to the end.

Gideon has just routed the Midianites and of course everyone cheers him, right? Nope. The men of Ephraim are angry with him. He must deal with them. No worries, right? Now they will get lots of support to finish the battle against Midian? Nope. The men of Succoth and Penuel refuse to help for fear Gideon does not complete the victory and they suffer at the hands of Midian again.

Even those who suffer at the hands of the wicked will not always rise up to help you defeat it. We must rely on YHWH rather than men. I suppose there is room for robust discussion on Gideon’s response to the people of Succoth and Penuel. Whether or not you agree with his approach, there is not rebuke in scripture for what actions he took, as there is clearly called out not very long after in verse 27. It is reasonable to conclude that if his treatment of the people was wrong here in the same chapter it might likewise be called out. This is likely a difficult chain of thought for most of us given the mindset of our vastly different culture some thousands of years later.

Gideon experiences a high point in refusing to become ruler over Israel like a king. He insists that YHWH remain ruler over them. This is awesome. Then, just as he wraps up all this difficulty and is about to enter into peace for 40 years, he stumbles. He takes gold and makes it into an ephod which then becomes a snare to Israel, Gideon, and his household. It is almost as if he let his guard down. We do not learn his motives in doing so. Perhaps he intended it for good. None the less, perhaps we need learn to be vigilant even as YHWH delivers victory that we not step into or create snares for ourselves and our families or people. Sometimes it is in the embracing of victory in which we fall into sin.

Judges 8:1-27

Zebah and Zalmunna Routed

      1Then the men of Ephraim said to him, “What is this thing you have done to us, not calling us when you went to fight against Midian?” And they contended with him vigorously. 2But he said to them, “What have I done now in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer? 3“God has given the leaders of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb into your hands; and what was I able to do in comparison with you?” Then their anger toward him subsided when he said that.

      4Then Gideon and the 300 men who were with him came to the Jordan and crossed over, weary yet pursuing. 5He said to the men of Succoth, “Please give loaves of bread to the people who are following me, for they are weary, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.” 6The leaders of Succoth said, “Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hands, that we should give bread to your army?” 7Gideon said, “All right, when the LORD has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, then I will thrash your bodies with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.” 8He went up from there to Penuel and spoke similarly to them; and the men of Penuel answered him just as the men of Succoth had answered. 9So he spoke also to the men of Penuel, saying, “When I return safely, I will tear down this tower.”

      10Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their armies with them, about 15,000 men, all who were left of the entire army of the sons of the east; for the fallen were 120,000 swordsmen. 11Gideon went up by the way of those who lived in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and attacked the camp when the camp was unsuspecting. 12When Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued them and captured the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and routed the whole army.

      13Then Gideon the son of Joash returned from the battle by the ascent of Heres. 14And he captured a youth from Succoth and questioned him. Then the youth wrote down for him the princes of Succoth and its elders, seventy-seven men. 15He came to the men of Succoth and said, “Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, concerning whom you taunted me, saying, ‘Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand, that we should give bread to your men who are weary?’” 16He took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and he disciplined the men of Succoth with them. 17He tore down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city.

      18Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “What kind of men were they whom you killed at Tabor?” And they said, “They were like you, each one resembling the son of a king.” 19He said, “They were my brothers, the sons of my mother. As the LORD lives, if only you had let them live, I would not kill you.” 20So he said to Jether his firstborn, “Rise, kill them.” But the youth did not draw his sword, for he was afraid, because he was still a youth. 21Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Rise up yourself, and fall on us; for as the man, so is his strength.” So Gideon arose and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescent ornaments which were on their camels’ necks.

      22Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your son, also your son’s son, for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.” 23But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the LORD shall rule over you.” 24Yet Gideon said to them, “I would request of you, that each of you give me an earring from his spoil.” (For they had gold earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) 25They said, “We will surely give them.” So they spread out a garment, and every one of them threw an earring there from his spoil. 26The weight of the gold earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments and the pendants and the purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and besides the neck bands that were on their camels’ necks. 27Gideon made it into an ephod, and placed it in his city, Ophrah, and all Israel played the harlot with it there, so that it became a snare to Gideon and his household.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Prosperity and Blessing Come From The Lord

Let us remain focused on our heavenly father and provider and be both joyful and thankful as we seek him.

Psalm 127

A Song of Ascents, of Solomon.

    1Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman keeps awake in vain.

      2It is vain for you to rise up early,
To retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.

      3Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.

      4Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.

      5How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Guidance and Encouragement for the Church

There is actually quite a lot packed into a fairly short chapter in 2 Thessalonians 3. Read through it and meet me on the other side to unpack it.

2 Thessalonians 3

Exhortation

     1Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you; 2and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith. 3But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 4We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command. 5May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.

      6Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us. 7For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, 8nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; 9not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example. 10For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. 11For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. 12Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. 13But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.

      14If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. 15Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

      16Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!

      17I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand, and this is a distinguishing mark in every letter; this is the way I write. 18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

There is a lot we should take note of and apply in our own lives today.

  • Paul begins this chapter by asking for prayer not only for him to be protected from wicked men, but also for the word of God to spread quickly and be glorified.
  • Paul expresses faith and confidence in the Lord not only for his situation but for that of the believers in Thessalonica. He has confidence in God’s protection from Satan as well as the need to ask God to help direct our hearts to love Him and be steadfast in Christ.
  • Paul takes time to encourage other Christians.
  • Contrary to what many would teach today, we are not to befriend and be close to unruly, undisciplined people just because they may claim to follow Christ. Their behaviors and attitudes bely the fact that they are not truly submitted to Christ.
  • Paul makes special emphasis of saying they should not grow weary of doing good.
  • Right before saying this, Paul comments quite a bit on how they set an example by working for and paying for what they needed to survive. He makes two points, both of which seem at odds with what is normal in our culture today.  We should take note as our culture may be out of calibration with the early church. First, that even though he could expect the people to provide for him while he ministers to them about Christ, he thought it important to support himself as an example. Second, those that refuse to work “shall eat their own bread”. He clearly states that those who are unwilling to work (not talking here about unable to work), should not be subsidized in their laziness or stubbornness by others but rather encouraged by even their own hunger to work and be productive.
  • Paul also makes a point to instruct the church to discipline and admonish  members who refuse to live according to the proper instruction in these matters. Too often today churches do not admonish anyone effectively, if at all. All are invited to sit in church regardless of their outward sin and rebellion. Pastors rationalize that “at least they will hear the word”, but individuals take home the message that living in sin as they are is just fine and they are “saved”. Those outside the church can no longer see that the church is any different than they are.  People in the church behave the same way that people outside the church do. Effective rebuke is desperately in need, even though it should be done with respect and love. Pastors are too concerned someone may get mad and leave, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. There is no trophy for having the biggest crowd sit in church and not follow God. Quite the opposite. Leaders will be judged based on how they accepted sin and offended God instead of man.

Pray and reflect on this message from Paul to Thessalonica. It is still relevant today. Ask God to show you what changes you should make in your life.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

 

A Lesson We Can Learn From The Worldy

Luke 16 documents a teaching from Yeshua which on the surface may be confusing to some… appearing as if Yeshua Praising The Unrighteousness Of A Servant To His Master. This is certainly not the case. It becomes obvious when studied in the broader context of scripture, however let’s look at the specific passage in Luke. However, there is a lesson for us as believers to pay attention to in this passage of scripture. Let’s be careful not to miss it.

Luke 16:1-9

The Unrighteous Steward

     1Now He was also saying to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and this manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions. 2“And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ 3“The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig; I am ashamed to beg. 4‘I know what I shall do, so that when I am removed from the management people will welcome me into their homes.’ 5“And he summoned each one of his master’s debtors, and he began saying to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6“And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 7“Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 8“And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light. 9“And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.

 The master praised the unrighteous steward only in his cleverness, not in his dishonest actions. Often the worldly, hungry for selfish gain, demonstrate great cleverness in their selfish pursuits.  They have a passion and are driven to accomplish their goals no matter what the barrier or setback. Followers of Christ, on the other hand, may often be susceptible to complacency and fail to pursue their relationship with Him as passionately and with as much drive as the unrighteous pursue their goals.

Further, we all have temporary access to resources in this life. We have different amounts we steward, but none of it is ours. It all belongs to our master, the Lord. Will we use it wisely and store up treasure in heaven for when we no longer have the opportunity to use it? or will we squander the opportunity just wasting it on ourselves and have nothing to show for it at the end of our lives? There is no one but God in whom we can invest that can help us in eternity.

Let us focus on the right object to pursue, the Father through Yeshua, but then also pursue Him with passion, drive, cleverness, even desperation greater than the unrighteous pursue their selfish gain. Settle not into complacency and “comfort zone”, but ambitiously pursue God and our relationship with Him. In this way we will live a fulfilling life pleasing to Him and store up treasure in heaven.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Continue Until The Mission Is Complete

Let us take care we do not only follow God long enough to take care of ourselves and receive our own blessings. Rather, let us remain in full obedience to Him, avoiding complacency and focus on self, continuing until all He has called us to accomplish is done.

Numbers 32

Reuben and Gad Settle in Gilead

     1Now the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad had an exceedingly large number of livestock. So when they saw the land of Jazer and the land of Gilead, that it was indeed a place suitable for livestock, 2the sons of Gad and the sons of Reuben came and spoke to Moses and to Eleazar the priest and to the leaders of the congregation, saying, 3“Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo and Beon, 4the land which the LORD conquered before the congregation of Israel, is a land for livestock, and your servants have livestock.” 5They said, “If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants as a possession; do not take us across the Jordan.”

      6But Moses said to the sons of Gad and to the sons of Reuben, “Shall your brothers go to war while you yourselves sit here? 7“Now why are you discouraging the sons of Israel from crossing over into the land which the LORD has given them? 8“This is what your fathers did when I sent them from Kadesh-barnea to see the land. 9“For when they went up to the valley of Eshcol and saw the land, they discouraged the sons of Israel so that they did not go into the land which the LORD had given them. 10“So the LORD’S anger burned in that day, and He swore, saying, 11‘None of the men who came up from Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob; for they did not follow Me fully, 12except Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have followed the LORD fully.’ 13“So the LORD’S anger burned against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until the entire generation of those who had done evil in the sight of the LORD was destroyed. 14“Now behold, you have risen up in your fathers’ place, a brood of sinful men, to add still more to the burning anger of the LORD against Israel. 15“For if you turn away from following Him, He will once more abandon them in the wilderness, and you will destroy all these people.”

      16Then they came near to him and said, “We will build here sheepfolds for our livestock and cities for our little ones; 17but we ourselves will be armed ready to go before the sons of Israel, until we have brought them to their place, while our little ones live in the fortified cities because of the inhabitants of the land. 18“We will not return to our homes until every one of the sons of Israel has possessed his inheritance. 19“For we will not have an inheritance with them on the other side of the Jordan and beyond, because our inheritance has fallen to us on this side of the Jordan toward the east.”

      20So Moses said to them, “If you will do this, if you will arm yourselves before the LORD for the war, 21and all of you armed men cross over the Jordan before the LORD until He has driven His enemies out from before Him, 22and the land is subdued before the LORD, then afterward you shall return and be free of obligation toward the LORD and toward Israel, and this land shall be yours for a possession before the LORD. 23“But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out. 24“Build yourselves cities for your little ones, and sheepfolds for your sheep, and do what you have promised.”

      25The sons of Gad and the sons of Reuben spoke to Moses, saying, “Your servants will do just as my lord commands. 26“Our little ones, our wives, our livestock and all our cattle shall remain there in the cities of Gilead; 27while your servants, everyone who is armed for war, will cross over in the presence of the LORD to battle, just as my lord says.”

      28So Moses gave command concerning them to Eleazar the priest, and to Joshua the son of Nun, and to the heads of the fathers’ households of the tribes of the sons of Israel. 29Moses said to them, “If the sons of Gad and the sons of Reuben, everyone who is armed for battle, will cross with you over the Jordan in the presence of the LORD, and the land is subdued before you, then you shall give them the land of Gilead for a possession; 30but if they will not cross over with you armed, they shall have possessions among you in the land of Canaan.” 31The sons of Gad and the sons of Reuben answered, saying, “As the LORD has said to your servants, so we will do. 32“We ourselves will cross over armed in the presence of the LORD into the land of Canaan, and the possession of our inheritance shall remain with us across the Jordan.”

      33So Moses gave to them, to the sons of Gad and to the sons of Reuben and to the half-tribe of Joseph’s son Manasseh, the kingdom of Sihon, king of the Amorites and the kingdom of Og, the king of Bashan, the land with its cities with their territories, the cities of the surrounding land. 34The sons of Gad built Dibon and Ataroth and Aroer, 35and Atroth-shophan and Jazer and Jogbehah, 36and Beth-nimrah and Beth-haran as fortified cities, and sheepfolds for sheep. 37The sons of Reuben built Heshbon and Elealeh and Kiriathaim, 38and Nebo and Baal-meon—their names being changed—and Sibmah, and they gave other names to the cities which they built. 39The sons of Machir the son of Manasseh went to Gilead and took it, and dispossessed the Amorites who were in it. 40So Moses gave Gilead to Machir the son of Manasseh, and he lived in it. 41Jair the son of Manasseh went and took its towns, and called them Havvoth-jair. 42Nobah went and took Kenath and its villages, and called it Nobah after his own name.

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