Book Review: A Bountiful Eye

A Bountiful Eye (cover)I recently had the chance to sit down and read A Bountiful Eye: Insights from Proverbs on Wealth and Riches by John Allan. As the subtitle indicates, the book examines what the wise man had to say in the book of Proverbs pertaining to wealth. This may be a topic that some Christians are uncomfortable talking about, yet it is one that the Scriptures address for us.Continue Reading

Social Issues (Part 13): Materialism

Social Issues

Materialism is about valuing physical things over spiritual things. This could be in the form of money or possessions. It is often associated with those who are rich, yet those who are poor can also be guilty of being materialistic.

Those who fall into the trap of materialism will find themselves in one of two categories: (1) they do not believe in God and, therefore, do not value the spiritual blessings and rewards He offers; or (2) they believe in God but do not recognize the danger posed by material things and how they can distract us from focusing on spiritual things. Regardless of the category in which one may be, the result is the same – a disregard of spiritual things in favor of physical things.Continue Reading

Turning Blessings into Curses

Honey

Have you found honey? Eat only what you need, that you not have it in excess and vomit it” (Proverbs 25:16).

In the Bible, honey is often used to symbolize God’s great blessings for man. When God told Moses of His plan to bring the Israelites out of Egypt and to the promised land of Canaan, He emphasized the goodness of the land by describing it as “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8). Yet as the wise man pointed out in the verse above, that same blessing can be turned into something with a negative impact on us.

It is possible to take the good things with which God blesses us and turn them into something bad for us. This can be done by misuse, abuse, or excess. In this article, I would like to notice a few examples of how this can be done with certain blessings.Continue Reading

Regular Christians (Part 2): Philemon

Regular Christians

Philemon was one who used his possessions to help others. We can read about this man in the short letter written to him by the apostle Paul.

Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our beloved brother and fellow worker…and to the church in your house” (Philemon 1-2).

At the same time also prepare me a lodging, for I hope that through your prayers I will be given to you” (Philemon 22).

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Through Many Tribulations (Part 3): Sacrifices

Through Many Tribulations

When we first read of Paul in the New Testament – then referred to as Saul – he was looking on with approval as Stephen was stoned to death (Acts 7:58-8:1). Following that event, he began a zealous campaign against the church that took him to Damascus in order to find “any belonging to the Way” and “bring them bound to Jerusalem” (Acts 9:2). While on the road to Damascus, the Lord appeared to him and told him to go to the city where he would be told “what [he] must do” (Acts 9:6). The Lord then instructed Ananias to go to Saul to deliver His message to him (Acts 9:10-12; 22:12-16).

Paul was “a chosen instrument” of the Lord’s (Acts 9:15). Specifically, this meant that he was “called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God” (1 Corinthians 1:1). However, this did not mean that the Lord was going to see to it that Paul had an easy and comfortable life as he served Him. Instead, He told Ananias, “For I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:16). When we think of the sufferings of Paul, we typically think of the persecutions he endured [we will discuss these in the next lesson]. Yet there were other sacrifices that Paul made that would be included in the things he was going to “suffer.Continue Reading

Through Many Tribulations (Part 2): Hardships

Through Many Tribulations

When Paul explained God’s choice of Jacob over his brother, he quoted from the prophet Malachi: “Just as it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated’” (Romans 9:13; cf. Malachi 1:2-3). Jacob was chosen for prominence over his brother and for the blessings that came from being part of God’s promise (Romans 9:6-12). The Lord appeared to Jacob and said to him, “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (Genesis 28:13-15).

However, despite the fact that God chose Jacob and promised to bless him, he faced great hardships throughout his life. When he stood before Pharaoh, he said, “The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life” (Genesis 47:9). Notice some of the hardships that Jacob experienced:Continue Reading

The Real Pharisees (Part 11): The Pharisees Were Lovers of Money

The Real Pharisees

Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him” (Luke 16:14).

Luke identified the Pharisees as ones who were “lovers of money” as he described them “scoffing” at the things Jesus was teaching. These were not two unrelated facts about the Pharisees. Being lovers of money and scoffing at Jesus’ message were intrinsically connected to one another.
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