A Man of Integrity (1/11)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from Job 29-31.

I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin? (Job 31:1).”

As Job defended his integrity, he stated that his purity in heart was such that he would not even look at  a woman. While many in our culture argue that there is nothing wrong with just looking, Job made a covenant — a conscious decision and commitment — that he would not look with lust at one of the opposite sex.
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“Give Me Neither Poverty Nor Riches”

Homeless

If we were able to make two requests that would help to improve our lives here on the earth, what would those requests be? Agur, the wise man to whom Proverbs 30 is attributed, told us what his two requests were:

Two things I asked of You, do not refuse me before I die: Keep deception and lies far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, that I not be full and deny You and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or that I not be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God” (Proverbs 30:7-9).

The second request – the desire for “neither poverty nor riches” – is what we will focus on in this article.
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Finding Reasons to Praise God in the Midst of an Economic Crisis

Our struggling economy took another hit when the United States’ credit rating was downgraded for the first time in history. This sent the stock market tumbling and made many people even more anxious about the future. Whether this is just a bump in the road or the trigger to the economic downfall of the United States remains to be seen. But even during uncertain times like these, we should be reminded of some important reasons why we ought to praise God.
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Sins of the Rich Man

Jesus’ story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) is fairly well-known to most Bible students. One man lived a life of luxury but found himself in torments after he died. The other was a poor beggar in this life yet was comforted after death in a place of paradise.

Once in torments, the rich man appealed to Abraham to allow Lazarus to go to his brothers and warn them of the punishment that awaited them (Luke 16:27-28). Since the rich man ended up in this undesirable place, it would be good for us to notice this man’s sins that Jesus mentioned in this passage. These are a few of the things we need to avoid if we want to escape the terrible fate that belonged to this man.
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Putting Our Trust in Gold

Golden Coins

When the economy is weak and the future is uncertain, gold is a wise investment. You have probably heard something to this effect in advertisements from companies trying to sell you gold. We have seen the price of gold skyrocket over the past few years. With conditions the way they are, that trend may very well continue. If so, then one buying gold could simply be acting as a good steward of the blessings he has received. But we must be careful that we do not cross the line between stewardship and trusting in gold or anything else. Notice what Job said about this:

If I have put my confidence in gold, and called fine gold my trust, if I have gloated because my wealth was great, and because my hand had secured so much; if I have looked at the sun when it shone or the moon going in splendor, and my heart became secretly enticed, and my hand threw a kiss from my mouth, that too would have been an iniquity calling for judgment, for I would have denied God above” (Job 31:24-28).

The question of whether or not gold is a wise investment is better answered elsewhere and by someone who is more qualified than I am to give financial advice. But I do know what the Scriptures teach about gold, riches, and wealth and how we are to perceive them.
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Failing to See God’s Love

Depressed

It seems almost unfathomable for the people of God to question His love for man, but this is what we see the people of Israel doing at the beginning of the book of Malachi. God told the people, “I have loved you.” Yet the people questioned God: “How have You loved us?” (Malachi 1:2). Let us notice a few ways in which we can fail to see the love of God so that we do not make the same mistake as the Israelites of Malachi’s day.
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Reminders from the Tragedy in Japan

An elderly man looks for his house through the rubble in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, northern Japan.It is truly sad to read news reports and see pictures and videos of the devastating effects of the earthquake and tsunami that occurred in northern Japan. While our hearts go out to the victims and our prayers are for all those affected, it is also important to remember some important lessons that this tragedy teaches us.

Riches are uncertain — Paul told Timothy, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us will all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). The material possessions we currently have are not guaranteed to remain in the future. While we may use and enjoy the things of this life, we must remember that they are not of lasting significance. Jesus said, “not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). Therefore, He says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
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