Bible Reading Challenge wk of 1/26-2/1/09

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Sorry this wasn’t up yesterday!  I was out of town, and forgot to schedule this post!  Anyway, without further ado…..:

Mon:  Exo 13-14    Matt 18:1-20

Tues:  Exo 15-16    Matt 18:21-35

Wed:  Exo 17-18    Matt 19

Thurs:  Exo 19-20     Matt 20:1-16

Fri:  Exo 21-22    Matt 20:17-34

Sat:  Exo 23-24    Matt  21:1-22

Sun:  Exo 25-27    Matt 21:23-46

Bible Reading Challenge wk of 1/19-25/09

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Here’s your weekly reading schedule:

Mon:  Gen 45-46        Matt 13:1-36

Tues:  Gen 47-48        Matt 13:37-58

Wed:  Gen 49-50        Matt 14

Thurs:   Exodus 1-3        Matt 15:1-20

Fri:  Exodus 4-6        Matt 15:21-39

Sat:  Exodus 7-9        Matt 16

Sun:  Exodus 10-12        Matt 17

Ok, gang….we’ve read through Genesis….what’d you think?  It is SO hard to pick a favorite story!  One of mine is when the Lord told Abraham that Sarah would have a child and Sarah laughed…lol.  I like what happened next!

What about you?

Who’s first: God or my job?

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I had a third and final interview today for a part-time position I was trying to get.  I wanted to work on the weekends to help pay off some bills, and get a few other things accomplished.  Having LOTS of retail experience, including management, I didn’t think I would have a problem getting hired.  My only request was that on Sundays, I not be scheduled prior to 1:30pm – I didn’t want to miss church on Sundays.  I knew it was possible, and knew from the sign out front that they needed help.

After speaking with the manager today, and he was very pleasant, I spoke again with the HR manager who said we would start the process…you know the routine:  background check, drug screen, etc.  I asked her, just to double-check, what the manager had said about my scheduling request.  She spoke with him to be sure, and said they would be unable to guarantee those accommodations every week.  So, reluctantly, I turned down the job.  In their defense, they did say they would do their best, but just couldn’t guarantee it.

Some would say I acted irrationally by not taking the offer of employment.  Some would even go so far as to say it is irresponsible.  And, perhaps to some it does appear to be just that.  But, I have a different viewpoint.

Exodus 20:3 – the First of the Ten Commandments says:  Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.

You see, to me, accepting that job knowing that there would come a time when I would be either forced to work or face disciplinary action due to my religious (read: Christian) convictions, and that is not something I am willing to do.  I knew that, if ever scheduled to work on Sunday morning, I would not be there.  And, as such, eventually, I would be fired.  Yes, in doing so I would have been standing up for God and showing the world my faith, but haven’t I done just that in not accepting such a position to begin with?

We live in a world that all too often places more value on material possessions than on heavenly things.

Matthew 6:19-21 (Jesus’ words) Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do no break through nor steal:  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 

Jesus knew that and that’s why He warned us about it. 

I didn’t write this post to say, “Hey look at me and look at what I’ve done.”  Instead, I wrote it to show that we ALL have the chance to make a stand for our beliefs and for Christ.  And, what’s even more important, I have no doubt whatsoever that the Lord will provide for those who do. 

Sure, I wish I could have gotten the job today.  But, there was a price tag attached to it that I just wasn’t willing to pay.  I would have been placing my trust and priorities on a job and the financial gain provided by such instead of placing that trust in the Divine Provider.  I asked God to close doors without question if He didn’t want me there, and to open them wide if He did.  Since the beginning, He has been faithful to answer that prayer.

Thank You, Lord, for answering the prayer of this humble servant.  I know You will continue to provide for the needs of our family, and I trust You implicitly for everything.  Thank You that You are in control ~ not me.  We all know what a mess I would make of things.

This week I challenge you to take a look at your priorities…where are you laying up treasures?  Are your treasures here, on earth – where they can be destroyed in an instant?  Hurricanes, tornadoes, drastic loss of income, theft, any number of things can take it all away in a split second….

Or are you laying up heavenly treasures:  eternal life, love of Christ, servant hood, faith, patience, diligence, self-control, etc.  These treasures have eternal value…and they can’t be destroyed or lost! 

If your treasures are material and earthly, is God calling you to give those back to Him in some way?  I’m not saying He expects you to give it all away, but perhaps you have placed more focus on accumulating and hanging on to wealth and “stuff.”  If you have, you may not even recognize it….here’s a sure fire way:

Ask God to show you.

Yep – ask the Lord of Heaven to show you where your heart is.  And, He will.  It may be hard…

Remember the young rich man?  He went to Jesus asking what must he do to be saved…Jesus walked him through several commandments…to which he replied that he had, indeed, kept those commandments from his youth – what did he lack?

Do you remember what Jesus said?  Matthew 19:21 says:

Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go an sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven:  and come and follow me.

Jesus told him that to be complete in his salvation, to go and sell it all.  Everything.  Why?  The man had broken the First Commandment – he had placed money and wealth above God.  And, in doing so, he had also violated the Second Commandment – he had made images and idols, if only in his mind, of what to worship.  Did he bow down and pray to his possessions?  Probably not – certainly he didn’t.  But, our allegiances are shown by our priorities, and this man’s priorities were not in the right order.

What was the man’s response?  Did he run to his house to gather his things to sell, so that he could simply follow the Savior?  No. 

The next verse in Matthew 19 says:  “But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful:  for he had great possessions.

That’s a hard pill to swallow, for sure.  Go and sell everything and follow me.  Jesus didn’t even have a place to lay His head at night.  It was a choice He made.  He doesn’t call everyone to give up everything they have, but some of us are not called to be wealthy.  And, while it may be hard for some, for others, they wouldn’t have it any other way. 

The Bible doesn’t say that wealth is wrong.  And, it DOES NOT say that money is the root of all evil….it says the LOVE of money is the root of all evil.  There is a difference.

What the Bible does say, is that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to be saved and enter heaven.  But why?

I think one reason is because when we are wealthy we tend to think we have it all under control.  WE are in charge.  WE make things happen.  When there is a problem, OUR money can fix it.  We learn to rely on ourselves for our provision instead of the One who allowed us to have the blessing of riches.  Too often, I’ve seen people with money ignore God because they could buy their way out of a problem.  And, even when God allows the problem to become worse, in an effort to draw them to Him, they will keep throwing money at it hoping it will go away.  So, as much as money can be a blessing, it can also be a curse.  Where there is no money to buy a solution, one must learn to trust God to provide. 

But, the Bible also says that…well, I’ll let Jesus speak for Himself:

But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible;  but with God all things are possible.  Matthew 19:26

So, again, I challenge you to look at your priorities and see where you stand….What is God calling you to do with it?