doubt we're living in some of the most difficult times of our
generation. If experts are correct it's been 2 ½ years since
this recession officially began, and many workers have already
exhausted their jobless benefits.
But others are just now being laid off and according to
projections another million families will lose their homes in
the coming months, so its not over yet. It's a sobering thought,
but the Bible offers some sure fire advice on living in hard
take a look.
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you
will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is
not life more important than food, and the body more important
So do not worry, saying, 'What
shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we
wear?' For the pagans run after all
these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
But seek first his kingdom and his
righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as
well.” (Matt. 6:25, 31-33)
Right from the start let's be
sure we understand that the opposite of this promise is also
true. If you're not
seeking His kingdom and His righteousness you shouldn't expect
Here's what Paul said about believers still following the ways
of the world.
But now I am writing
you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a
brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a
slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even
eat.(1 Cor. 5:11).
verses surrounding this one Paul made it clear he wasn't talking
about unbelievers here. He said it wasn't any of his business to
judge those outside the Church. God will see to them.
Neither did he say anything about these brothers losing
their salvation because of their behavior.
His point was their unconfessed sins have put them out of
fellowship with God which has deprived them of His blessings,
one of which is the support that comes from associating with
So, how do
we make sure we're seeking His Kingdom and His Righteousness so
we be confident of His blessing? Let's find out.
First Seek His Kingdom
Do not conform any longer to the
pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of
your mind. (Romans
and Paul's words prove that we have a choice when it comes to
our behavior, but how do we exercise our choice?
You were taught, with regard to
your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is
being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
and to put on the new self, created
to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore each of you must put
off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are
all members of one body. "In your
anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are
still angry, and do not give the
devil a foothold. He who has been
stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something
useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share
with those in need.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come
out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others
up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who
listen. And do not grieve the Holy
Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of
redemption. Get rid of all
bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with
every form of malice. Be kind and
compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in
Christ God forgave you.(Ephesians
you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger,
rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do
not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self
with its practices and have put on
the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image
of its Creator. (Colossians
We seek the
Lord's Kingdom by choosing to put off the ways of the world and
allowing ourselves to be conformed to His likeness.
This is not working to earn our salvation, or to keep it.
It's following the Holy Spirit's guidance, letting Him
renew us to be more like Jesus, in gratitude for the salvation
he's given us.
Remember, these verses were written to believers, admonishing us
to modify our behavior so we act like the new creations we
already are (2 Cor. 5:17), members of God's royal family.
Holy Spirit, who's been sealed within us and therefore has to
endure first hand exposure to all our tawdry behavior.
It's bad enough that we grieve Him by accident.
Let's not do it on purpose.
And His Righteousness
Now we know that
whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law,
so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held
accountable to God. Therefore no one
will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law;
rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
But now a righteousness from God,
apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the
Prophets testify. This righteousness
from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
There is no difference, for all have
sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
and are justified freely by his grace
through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.(Romans
If you start
thinking you're better than others just because you behave
better than they do, you're not seeking God's righteousness,
you're seeking your own.
God's righteousness can come only through faith in His
Son, and makes us humble, not proud. Your behavior is for the
purpose of pleasing the One who has done so much for you, not
elevating your self in your own sight.
And All These Things Will Be
How does He
provide all our needs?
Usually He doesn't pour them down on us directly.
But He does provide opportunities for us to receive them
through the work we do.
How do we know? Because He had Paul say this.
does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his
immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an
unbeliever. (1 Tim
And in 2
Thes. 3:10 Paul said, "If a man will not work, he shall
Notice it says
“will not work” not “can not work.” If you can't work because
you're disabled, the Church should help.
If you're a widow with a small baby, the Church should
help. But if you're just waiting for something to happen when
you could be spending your time productively, or wasting your
money on beer and cigarettes instead of buying food for your
family, that's a different story.
the Lord gave the people Manna (bread from heaven) in the
LORD said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you.
The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that
day. (Exodus 16:4)
He could have
put it directly into their mouths, like feeding a baby.
Instead he made them go out and gather it for themselves.
If you can work, the Lord will provide an opportunity for
you to do so, as long as you're seeking His kingdom and His
I Already Am Working
If you are
working you should help those who aren't.
Give what you can to those in need, and the Lord will
give you more. It's the best way to make sure you'll always have
it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken
together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For
with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.(Luke
counter intuitive to us, but generosity is the cause of
prosperity, not the effect of it.
this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and
whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all
things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound
in every good work. (2
God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in
Christ Jesus (Phil.
evidence of our faith.
It shows we know God has abundant resources and we trust
Him to share them with us according to our needs . Hoarding is a
sign we don't trust Him to give us more, so we hold on to
everything we get.
(By the way, putting aside any extra we have for the purpose of
helping others as the need arises is not hoarding, it's giving.)
Suppose a brother or sister is
without clothes and daily food. If
one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well
fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is
it? In the same way, faith by itself,
if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
Or, as one
of my earliest mentors used to tell me, “If what you believe
doesn't result in action, it's doubtful you really believe it.”
A Final Thought
remember that it doesn't matter what things look like.
Don't be discouraged by what you see.
by faith not by sight
(2 Cor. 5:7) So we fix our
eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is
seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Cor
We can't see
what's coming, but the Lord knows how things will work out and
He's promised to take care of all our needs as long as we remain
faithful to Him.
What we see today is just temporary, but the promises of God are
Rejoice in the Lord
always. I will say it again: Rejoice!Let your gentleness be
evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about
anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with
thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of
God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts
and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:4 -7) Amen. 07-17-10