God or mammon, a daily choice

GOD versus Mammon

Matthew (AMPC)

19 Do not gather and heap up and store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust and worm consume and destroy, and where thieves break through and steal.

20 But gather and heap up and store for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust nor worm consume and destroy, and where thieves do not break through and steal;

21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

22 The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is sound, your entire body will be full of light.

23 But if your eye is unsound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the very light in you [your conscience] is darkened, how dense is that darkness!

24 No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise and be against the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (deceitful riches, money, possessions, or whatever is trusted in). (NOTE: you serve 1 of 2 spirits: 1. GOD (spirit of more than enough) 2.mammon (demon spirit of Bablyon; confusion, wants to control life, satan in disguise.)

25 Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; or about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life greater [in quality] than food, and the body [far above and more excellent] than clothing?

26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they?

27 And who of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measure (cubit) to his stature or to the span of his life? [Ps. 39:5-7.]

28 And why should you be anxious about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field and learn thoroughly how they grow; they neither toil nor spin.

29 Yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his magnificence (excellence, dignity, and grace) was not arrayed like one of these. [I Kings 10:4-7.]

30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and green and tomorrow is tossed into the furnace, will He not much more surely clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 Therefore do not worry and be anxious, saying, What are we going to have to eat? or, What are we going to have to drink? or, What are we going to have to wear?

32 For the Gentiles (heathen) wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows well that you need them all.

33 But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.

34 So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.

 

Ecclesiastes 5:10 (ESV)

10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.

 

1 Timothy 6 (AMPC)
9 But those who crave to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and into many foolish (useless, godless) and hurtful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction and miserable perishing.

10 For the love of money is a root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have been led astray and have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves through with many acute [mental] pangs.

17 As for the rich in this world, charge them not to be proud and arrogant and contemptuous of others, nor to set their hopes on uncertain riches, but on God, Who richly and ceaselessly provides us with everything for [our] enjoyment.

 

Hebews 13:5 (AMPC)
5 Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] [Josh. 1:5.]

Mark 10
And as He was setting out on His journey, a man ran up and knelt before Him and asked Him, Teacher, [You are essentially and perfectly morally] good, what must I do to inherit eternal life [that is, to partake of eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom]?

18 And Jesus said to him, Why do you call Me [essentially and perfectly morally] good? There is no one [essentially and perfectly morally] good–except God alone. (NOTE: this rich man did not believe Jesus to be the Son of God, he called Him “Teacher”. He didn’t believe in Jesus)

19 You know the commandments: Do not kill, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not defraud, honor your father and mother. [Exod. 20:12-16; Deut. 5:16-20.]

20 And he replied to Him, Teacher, I have carefully guarded and observed all these and taken care not to violate them from my boyhood. (NOTE: Jesus knew that this rich man did not keep the full Law, the man was deceiving himself that he kept the Law, because no one could- except Jesus)

21 And Jesus, looking upon him, loved him, and He said to him, You lack one thing; go and sell all you have and give [the money] to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come [and] accompany Me [walking the same road that I walk]. (NOTE: Jesus wasn’t asking him for money, He was actually asking the man to trust him. He knew that the man not only had money, but money “had” the man…all his trust was in money, not God)

22 At that saying the man’s countenance fell and was gloomy, and he went away grieved and sorrowing, for he was holding great possessions.

23 And Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, With what difficulty will those who possess wealth and keep on holding it enter the kingdom of God!

24 And the disciples were amazed and bewildered and perplexed at His words. But Jesus said to them again, Children, how hard it is for those who trust (place their confidence, their sense of safety) in riches to enter the kingdom of God!

25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

26 And they were shocked and exceedingly astonished, and said to Him and to one another, Then who can be saved? (NOTE: ALL of the disciples were rich men, so they freaked out when Jesus told them rich men would not inherit the Kingdom of God. Jesus was not talking about money, but the love of it, and trusting riches over Him)

27 Jesus glanced around at them and said, With men [it is] impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.

 

Malachi 3:10
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. pour…: Heb. empty out
(NOTE: under the New Covenant of Grace, we don’t HAVE to tithe in order for God to bless us, but it benefits us…and benefits others who have less)

Acts 20:35
In everything I have pointed out to you [by example] that, by working diligently in this manner, we ought to assist the weak, being mindful of the words of the Lord Jesus, how He Himself said, It is more blessed (makes one happier and more to be envied) to give than to receive.

NOTE: Everything in God’s Kingdom is a result of reaping and sowing, planting and harvest. We reap more than what we sow. In other words, the law of sowing and reaping is related to the law of multiplication. Jesus spoke of seed that brought forth “a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown” (Mark 4:20-24, Matthew 13:23)

Matthew 13, Mark 4, Luke 8 are all versions of the same parable: The Parable of the Sower by which, Jesus says, you must understand in order to understand all other parables. It’s a spiritual Law. If you trust money over God, you are idolizing money, giving focus to and worship to mammon (demon god of “never enough”, confusion, no peace)

God says: sow & reap, love, you are blessed to be a blessing in others’ lives and this will come back to you, trust in God and He will bless you (Philippians 4:19 (AMPC) And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus) (NOTE: God owns ALL of it, if you trust that He will supply you from HIS RICHES, you are being richly rewarded from an infinite supply)
Mammon says: get& keep, stingy, selfish, work to hold onto what you have, trust in it over God, you can do it yourself, you don’t need God, the end of which is sickness and death (Romans 6:21 “But then what benefit (return) did you get from the things of which you are now ashamed? [None] for the end of those things is death/Romans 6:23 “For the wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord” )

NOTE: you can either see giving as a loss, grief (Mark 10, the rich man who refused to give his possessions (trust of God)) OR giving as a farmer sows a seed and reaps a harvest

Galatians 6:7 (ESV)
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap

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A breakthrough tale of faith, bitterness and practicing shutting up

I was reluctant to write this post, Dear Reader, lest you think it a “how to” for wealth creation.
It is not.
It is a tale (a testimony, really) of the power of God, His faithfulness when mine lacks, the war raging between my 2 ears, how easily the enemy places thoughts contrary to God’s Word and the eventual breakthrough that came when I just shut my mouth, and steadfastly remained in the Word.

Let’s get to it.
Recently, the company my husband works for was sold. We knew it was coming. We also knew that my husband was going to get some monetary incentives from the sale. We had figured that we would get enough to buy a new car and maybe, pay a few bills. When the day came for the sale, my husband received a heads up on what he would be getting, once the sale went through.
It was A LOT more than what he anticipated.
I was ecstatic for him. After all, he gets up at the butt crack of dawn every day, drives to the other side of the planet, hustles all day, yet manages to make every lacrosse game, every dinnertime/bedtime and sometimes has conference calls in the evening or early morning.
He deserved this. I was happy for him.
Then my fickle feelings took over and I allowed negative thoughts to turn it all to crap.

One night, he asked me how much debt I owed. He wanted to pay all of our debt off and move forward, debt free. For a brief moment, I had so much hope…hope that we could finally get out from under, maybe save a little…start living like grown ups. Finally!
Immediately a voice in my head began screaming: “Don’t trust him! He’ll Lord it over you!”
I didn’t want to tell him the number, yet I still held out hope.
About a week later, still feeling full of hope, I told him the number.
He got quiet.
Very quiet.
He allowed me to blather on and on, full of hopeful futures where we could do this and that.
I noticed at dinner he wouldn’t even look me in the eye. He was angry at the number. You see, Dear Reader, about a decade prior, I had filed bankruptcy after a failed business attempt. And here I was again. In debt, and full of excuses.
Why should he believe me?

Days went by, us not speaking…stonewalling, avoiding each other.
I started to get angry.
Very angry.
I had asked him how much debt HE owed and he told me (very smugly)…a number far less than my number. I knew that the number sounded off, so I started looking through his bills, collecting “evidence” for when we met again. What he told me he owed was 1/3 of what he actually owed…and I was going to prove it to him. Show him the proof. Throw it in his face! I would be vindicated!
All of this wasn’t actually about the money. It was about trust. And I felt a deep betrayal.
The hope I had felt turned to anger, then to bitterness…then a deep, seething rage. Scripture says that hope deferred makes the heart sick. (Proverbs 13:12) And what festers in the heart, flows into your life. (Proverbs 4:23)
I watched my husband on his ipad, up all night, worry and languish over the amount of money he was going to receive…and what to do with it. He was thinking about cars, boats…stuff…while I was struggling to pay my debts.
None of this was fair.

I cried out to God and asked him: “Why?” I’M the one who tithes faithfully….HE tithes a FRACTION of what I do…and he makes more money! When will MY breakthrough come? (I’m chuckling at the point of writing this because Joyce Meyer does a fabulous “Robot- “What about me?” and “Why God why?” “When God, when?”)
At one point in my self righteous rantings at God, a small voice came through the noise and said to me: “Because you are not trustworthy.”
Ouch.
Truth hurts.
You see, my husband and I are opposites on the spectrum. He is very cheap. Stingy even, and that is not a Godly principle (2 Corinthians 9:6)
I, on the other hand, give things away willy nilly, without care or thought. Wantonly. Also, not a Godly principle (Galatians 6:7-8) God had shown me that the two of us offset each other, balance each other, like 2 columns that would collapse, one without the other.

For about a month, the war in my head went from Scriptures bubbling up out of me, to empathy for my husband, to a raging hatred of him. This whole time, I knew that I had to avoid him, keep my mouth shut, for if I allowed the anger/betrayal/bitterness a voice, there would be no taking back the hate filled speech. “For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34)
Basically, what you focus on, comes bubbling up out of you. Garbage in, garbage out.
I needed to change my thinking.
The days were occupied by work, and the war raging on in my head. I’d have full on outbursts of anger, screaming at the air, then crying uncontrollably….then the scene would devolve into getting a divorce. (Was I really prepared to throw away a covenant relationship between God, my husband and me over…what exactly? Money? Hurt feelings?)
Scripture says that within a marriage, the 2 become one flesh (Mark 10:8) Basically, I was hating myself by hating him.
Yet, my emotions asked: How could I live with a cheapskate hypocrite and liar? (By the way, spending money I didn’t have like it was water was also lying..I just didn’t want to admit my own faults)
I felt like I was going crazy.
Nighttime was spent avoiding my husband…and reading the Word.
I HAD to continue reading the Word of God, it was the only thing holding me together at that point.
I finally got to the point, worn out, where I prayed to the Lord to shut me up. Like Daniel in the den of lions…shut my mouth like the lions. I prayed for help (that was my prayer: “Help me Jesus. I can’t do this alone.”) I spent a considerable length of time preparing a sheet of  biblical scriptures to show my husband, regarding money, idolatry and the Babylonian demon god of mammon. I had a whole speech prepared. I rehearsed for days in my head. (FYI-if you would like to see my notes on this sheet click: here)

Finally, the day came to confront my husband about the debts. I prayed for the Lord to give me the Wisdom, to shut my mouth when necessary, and to give me empathy for the man that I married.
We sat at the dining room table and I point blank asked him if he was going to pay the debt, like he said he would. The whole conversation took 20 minutes.
No screaming.
No bible sheet full of scriptures proving my self righteousness.
No confrontation.
No divorce.
We both had empathy, one to another.
The Holy Spirit was there, at the table, with us.

My prayer going forward is for the Holy Spirit to continue to lead and guide me in Wisdom.
Sometimes, though, when you don’t know what to pray, just pray the simplest prayer: “Help!”
“Help me Jesus. I can’t do this alone” for Scripture says that He will never leave or forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:8, Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5)

Takeaway lessons:

1. Tithing WILL reap reward, it’s the spiritual law of reaping ans sowing. Under the New Covenant, we don’t HAVE to tithe, we aren’t under the Mosaic Law; however, tithing is good for us, and good for the community that we sow into. Understanding Mark 4, Matthew 13 and Luke 8, the Parable of the Sower, is the key to understanding all other parables, according to Jesus. (Mark 4:13) Giving is always an issue of trust. It’s not about the money.
2. God is good. He blesses us because HE is good, not because we deserve it. And He can bless anyone, it’s not performance based.
3. God will never do anything to harm us. He will not bless us with things that we can’t handle. He will add things into our lives when we are equipped to deal with them. And, He may give them to those that will handle them correctly.
4. God wants to be first in our lives, He doesn’t want other things placed before Him. Seek Him first. (Matthew 6:33)
5. Forget circumstances. No matter how bad it looks, no matter how much noise your emotions want to generate, focus on God’s Word. Many people do not receive their breakthrough because they don’t leave their faith out there long enough to manifest. They let their emotions derail their faith and move them off of what God has promised in His Word. Faith is like fishing. Cast your line, and leave it there, focusing on God’s Word, until you catch a blessing. God is faithful.