Thursday, August 30, 2012

Jesus is My King

Last night, Tim and I watched just about all the speeches at the Republican National Convention.  I loved the governor of New Mexico and her comment about packing a .357 that weighed more than her.  Condoleeza Rice's speech was the most inspiring for me and made me glad I was an American.  Did you know she gave her speech just from notes, and not the teleprompter?  I think Paul Ryan would make a phenomenal Vice President.  It is rather mind-boggling, however, that come November, we will either have a president who claims to be a Christian, but supports abortion and same sex marriage, or, a man who believes Jesus and Satan are brothers.  America is spiraling downward because America is full of sinners who need the gospel.  Just because a man claims to know God, doesn't mean that man has a right standing before God and the nicest man on the planet will not gain a right standing before God, for his niceness.  It is what we believe about Jesus Christ and then bowing the knee to Him.  You and I need the gospel, the good news, that Jesus saves and changes sinners.  We need to be boldly proclaiming that good news.

Romans 13:1 tells us that "there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God." Yes, I will vote, and when all is said and done, God will put His man in the White House and I will be content with His decision, because He is in control, governing all things to His glory.  "For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.  To Him be the glory forever." Romans 11:36

I don't know about you, but I can't wait for the return and then rule and reign of Jesus...

(***But for the grace of God, I could still have blinders over my eyes as to who Jesus Christ is...)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Applying All Diligence

"Now for this very reason, 
applying all diligence
in your faith supply moral excellence,
 and in your moral excellence, knowledge,
and in your knowledge, self-control, 
and in your self-control, perseverance,
and in your perseverance, godliness,
and in your godliness, brotherly kindness,
and in your brotherly kindness, love."

2 Peter 1:5-7 

Our salvation was effortless - God did it all, from drawing us to Himself to raising us to life and then gifting us with faith.  We should never, however, be comfortable with where we are at in our spiritual growth - in our transformation into Christ-likeness.  Our walk is to be effort-full, applying all diligence, we are to be making maximum effort.  We are to go all out alongside of what God has done for us.  

Faith is at the core of our salvation.  The ability to believe and obey God, no matter how we feel.  To our gift of faith we are to supply moral excellence, or goodness.  With Jesus now living in us, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are to live lives of goodness, and we can, because sin's power and grip has been broken.  Perhaps we pursued goodness before Christ, but it would have been for the wrong motives.  Perhaps it was to make us look good, or to gain favor with God thinking this would allow us entrance into heaven.  After salvation, our motives completely change.  Now we are pursuing goodness for the honor and glory of Jesus Christ, because we love Him for paying the price for our sin, for rescuing us from the kingdom of Satan.

We are to supplement moral excellence with knowledge.  This requires spending time in the Word.  Without time in the Word, we will not gain an understanding of the truths of who God is and the truths of how we can live our lives in a way that glorifies Him.  It takes effort to be in the Word.  Maybe we need to find the off button on the cable remote.  Or perhaps Facebook or real time with friends has consumed us and we have been completely neglecting time with our very Best Friend.  Set aside some time for real, deep study and then really go at it.  Find out who God is, what His plans are, what He desires, what pleases Him.  Make your study time about gleaning relational truths as well as application truths.  The rewards and blessings are tremendous!

We supplement knowledge with self-control.  Before Christ, we lived by our passions and the flesh.  Now that Christ dwells in us, we are to reign our passions in.  We are to no longer allow ourselves to be controlled by them, and we can hold it in.  We've lavishly been supplied all things pertaining to life and godliness, including exercising self-control.  For me, eating with self-control is one of my battlegrounds.  Goodness, guided by knowledge (truth and insight from God's Word), disciplines desire and makes it the servant, not the master of one's life.  I am growing in the area of disciplined eating.  It is ok to enjoy a chocolate chip cookie every now and then.  Not just six at a time - at least for me!  What area do you need to grow in self-control?  Spend time in the Word studying it and memorizing it and find your self-control gaining traction.  

To self-control, we are to add perseverance.  To persevere is to endure in doing what is right, under adversity.  It is to have staying power.  The Lord desires staying power in our self-control.  Do you see how these qualities build on each other?  Self-control of course is not the only area in which we are to persevere, or endure.  If I were to ask you where you needed staying power, I bet something very quickly would come to your mind.  We all have those areas.  Perhaps you are in a difficult marriage.  The Lord wants you to persevere in it and you can.  You can even flourish in a difficult marriage.  You can rejoice in the Lord, while in a difficult marriage.  When you have spent time in the Word, drinking in the worth and character and love of Jesus, you will persevere.  The Word is where we draw our persevering, enduring strength, in all things.  The more we are in the Word, the greater will be our perseverance, our staying power.

We are to supplement our perseverance with godliness.  The godly person is devoted to the glory of God.  The godly person desires God Himself.  The godly person manifests the character of Jesus. 

To godliness, we supply brotherly kindness.  This is to have a concern for others.  To care about others.  And finally, our concern for others, moves to full blown love, putting others before ourselves.    

All of these qualities are to be increasing (verse 8).  Moral excellence.  Knowledge.  Self-control.  Perseverance.  Godliness.  Brotherly kindness.  Love.  There is to be a growth in grace.  Goodness should flow from us more than it did five years ago - if we have been in Christ for five years.  We should know Jesus and the truths of His Word more.  Our self-control should be more consistent.  Our endurance should come in longer stretches.  Would someone say you are godly?  Are you more concerned about others than you were five years ago?  Are you better at dying to self now than you were five years ago?  

What do we do if we have gotten lazy?  Repent.  Confess the sin.  Get back to maximum effort.  Jesus hasn't stopped loving us when we become complacent, indifferent.  He never will.  He hasn't stopped thinking about us when we stop thinking about Him.  His thoughts are always on us.  His treasuring of us never ends.  Why do we obey God's Word, with all diligence?  For this very reason - because of the truths in verses 3 and 4.  I'll let you look them up.  We cannot be indifferent to what we've been given, to what God has done for us.  We must not be indifferent to out of what we have been rescued.  The Christian life does not honor God without effort and our maximum effort is because of the character and worth and blessings and promises of God.  We go all out because Jesus is worthy of it.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Clearly Changed - 5

Putting Off Selfishness
HBCSL Sermon Notes

Mark 14:26-72

(Our hands directly follow where our hearts are…)

The issue of selfishness is really an issue of allegiance.  Ask ourselves this question – where does our heart’s allegiance really lie?  Is it with Christ, or at the end of the day with ourselves?

Allegiance – this is where we are going to stand, no matter what.  Where we set our allegiance defines who we are.

Are we going to follow Christ, make Him first place, or are we going to live on the throne of our hearts?

In Mark 14, we see Peter asked the question of where is his allegiance, and we are going to see Peter fail miserably. 

Background to this passage – night of Jesus betrayal, just before He would go to the cross. Peter had been with Jesus for the last three years, seeing His power and miracles.  Jesus is celebrating Passover with His disciples.  He tells them He is about to die, for the forgiveness of sins.

Mark 14:26-31

Jesus, who is God, and who has a track record of telling the truth 100% of the time, tells His disciples they are going to fall away when He is taken away.

Peter’s response : “Even though they all fall away, I will not.”

The first step to failing Jesus is –

1)Selfish pride

Pride is lifting ourselves up before everyone else

Peter was so arrogantly confident, he didn’t even believe Jesus who said Peter would deny Him, and he threw his friends “under the bus.”  He was overflowing with pride and obsessed with his own strength.

Peter was calling Jesus out on being wrong…

vv. 32-42

Jesus grabs His closest support system, Peter, James, and John, He is really hurting, and in essence tells them He needs them to pray for Him. 

The disciples fall asleep…

The second step to failing Jesus is –

2)Self-assured laziness

When Jesus comes back from praying to the Father the first time, He tells His disciples to pray for themselves, that they won’t fall into temptation.

Peter had just been told by Jesus that he was going to fall away.  Our thoughts are that he should be praying for strength, asking that that won’t happen. 

How is our prayer life?  Is it just at meals or for a few minutes as we are falling asleep at night?  Do we take prayer seriously?  Do we live a life style of prayer?

Are we praying over every aspect of our day, that the Lord will give us wisdom and strength and power to live for Him?

We can approach the God of the universe!

How often are we on our knees, pleading with God to save those who we know in our lives who are unbelievers?

Eternity is for everyone.  Everyone will spend eternity somewhere.  Do we feel the weight of that?  We cannot love people without sharing the love of Jesus Christ.

vv. 43-50

Judas comes, with a crowd of people, kisses Jesus.  The crowd lays hands on Jesus to seize Him, and Peter draws his sword and cuts off the ear of the servant of the high priest.

This was a bad decision on Peter’s part, because Jesus wasn’t asking him to do this.  Jesus had been telling His disciples that He needed to die, that He would be arrested, that He would be taken to the cross, so He could pay for the sins of mankind.

All Peter could think about was that he didn’t want that to happen.  He makes a rash decision.

Peter was not in tune with what Jesus had been telling Him…

The third step to failing Jesus is –

3)Self-obsessed choices

Peter wasn’t in tune with the Holy Spirit and with what Christ wanted, or His plan…

Peter was making decisions based on what he felt like was best at the time.

How are we doing with that?  In the amount of decisions we make each day, how often do we think of what Jesus would have for us?  Of how we can be used to love and serve others?  Compared to what do I want?  How can I be appreciated?  How can I be loved?

Self-obsessed choices are what lead us into sin.  Our culture applauds this.  “Just follow your heart.”  Living by our feelings…not submitting our hearts to Christ.

Jeremiah 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked…”

Our hearts lie to us all the time.

We need to submit ourselves to the Word of God.

vv. 66-72

The night does not end well for Peter.  Before the rooster crows twice, he denies Jesus three times. 

The fourth step to failing Jesus is –

4)Self-devastating hypocrisy

Hypocrisy devastates in two ways -
·      Our testimony
o   When our lives don’t match up to what we say we believe as followers of Jesus, our testimony is destroyed.
o   When we are hypocrites we are saying Jesus has no power in our lives, to change us.
·      Our security
o   How we feel, whether we believe or not that God loves us (not our eternal security)

Christ has no desire to be second place in our lives.  Christ is not interested in second place.

Hosea 6:6-7 – “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.  But like Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with Me.”

God desires our steadfast love and He wants us to know Him.

Colossians 1:15-18 – “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things were created through Him and for Him.  And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  And He is the head of the body, the church.  He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent.”

Preeminent – above all, first place

We don’t get to decide whether on not this is true in our hearts. 

This is a question of allegiance.   Who will live on the throne of our heart?

Peter’s allegiance was tested, and it failed.

How do we pick up the pieces when our lives look like Peter’s?

The story does not end this night.  While Peter was being faithless, Christ was being faithful.  While Peter was denying Jesus, Jesus was heading for the cross, to pay for Peter’s faithlessness and selfishness, and ours too. 

Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit, our Power, to live righteously before God, to love with Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Our only hope:  Jesus

In Jesus there is hope, victory, and always grace, but Jesus demands first place in our hearts, above all others, other things, and our own lives.  (Take up your cross, and follow Me.)

Peter was not defined by his failure, because Jesus paid for it on the cross.  Peter was restored and went on to pastor the first church.  He loved Jesus fully and enjoyed Him with everything in his being, because of what Jesus did on the cross.  That is what defines us.

To put off selfishness, we need to put on humility.

Philippians 2:5-11

Humility practically is Christ having first place in all things!

If Christ has first place in our hearts, others will plainly see that it is Jesus Who specifically has our heart.

Fleshing this out at work (and in our neighborhoods) – its not just being honest, working hard, and giving our best at work, because unbelievers can be honest, work hard, and give their best at work.  Are we offering ourselves to those around us at work, to pray for those who are struggling?  Are we talking about our love for Jesus and how He is changing our hearts?  Are we sharing our faith?

If Christ is first place, we will live to serve Christ, and others will know this.  It’s more than just being a good person.  It’s being a follower and passionate lover of Jesus. 

Christ will not settle for anything less than first place, because He is God.  He is worthy, and He is holy, and He is above everything.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Clearly Changed - 4

Putting Off Criticism

Notes from the message at Harvest Bible Chapel Spring Lake on August 19, 2012

Scripture: Numbers 12

Critical attitudes, if left unaddressed, unadmonished, will act as a contagious disease that is harmful to the body of Christ and to the mission of God in glorifying Himself.

We benefit from constructive criticism, or analysis.

Criticism (destructive) – dwelling upon the perceived faults of another with no view to their good.

Constructive criticism is with a view to another’s good.  It is sought after with the purpose of finding a solution.

Perceived faults – how quick are we to assume things about others that are simply not true!  Why destructive criticism can be so harmful…

1) Put off a critical attitude

Why do we put off a critical attitude?  Because at...
·      its root is pride

Numbers 12:1 – Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against (critized) Moses…

No one is exempt from this sin.  Miriam and Aaron had a long history of honoring the Lord.

The problem was jealousy of Moses – for getting all the credit.  V. 2 – Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses?  Has He not spoken through us as well?

When we don’t get the respect or credit we deserve, we’ll have something to say about it.  Call it what is is – pride!  When we are criticizing it is because we are mad that we don’t have something that the other has or we feel entitled to do something better than the other person ever could.

Pride is me before you and is at the root of our criticism.

·      Proverbs 11:2 – When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble comes wisdom.
·      Proverbs 16:18 – Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Secondly, we need to put off criticism because…
·      Its offense is serious

v. 2 – And the LORD heard it.  God hears our criticisms!  That should make us quake!  (And we don’t even have to be saying it out loud…)

God points out to Miriam and Aaron the authority of Moses – he is a prophet among prophets.  He is the prophet above prophets, and a man of humility, the most humble man on the earth.  vv. 3, 6-8  Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant, against Moses?

We should be fearful of criticizing because…
1.     when we criticize we are tearing down someone who is made in the image of God.
2.     the believers that we criticize are being molded, daily, into the likeness of Jesus Christ.

So when we criticize, we are tearing down what the Lord is trying to build up.

Criticism angers the Lord.  v. 9

Thirdly, we need to put off criticism because…
·      Its result is humiliation

The judgment on Miriam was instant.  God humiliated her with leprosy.  Aaron repented right away.  v. 11  Then Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord, I beg you, do not account this sin to us, in which we have acted foolishly and in which we have sinned.”

If we are dishing out criticism left and right, we should expect to be humbled.

We need to follow the example of Aaron and repent immediately when our critical attitude is pointed out to us.

(Notice Moses, the one criticized against.  He did not retaliate, but interceded on behalf of Miriam.  Another example to follow…)


2.  Put on an attitude of Love

·      1 Corinthians 13:1-8
·      All truth and no love is brutality.
-All love and no truth is hypocrisy.

Jesus Christ is the perfect balance of the two – John 1:14 – “…full of grace and truth.”

Grace is the greatest expression of love that the world has ever seen.

·      Agape love is a self-less love: “You before me”   (Remember, pride is “me before you”)

Is it possible to critique or analyze someone in a loving way?  Yes.

Critiquing turns into agape love when we step up and are willing to help the person grow in the area that can be made better, or when we step up to fill the gap that is lacking in our churches, instead of just being critical about what is lacking.  The purpose is so that glory can go to God.

What about a major issue?  A sin issue?  A doctrinal issue?  When is it appropriate to call someone out on a perceived fault?   How should we approach in love?

·      On the majors – take Action    Love does not rejoice in iniquity – 1 Cor. 6

When do we come alongside and tell someone, “This isn’t right.  Can I help you refocus your life on Christ again?  How do we know we are the person?

Three criteria that are helpful to know if you should step in…

Ask these questions – Is it a critical path? 

If our failure to take action will sacrifice a major doctrinal issue, we need to take action.

If our failure to take action could result in a moral failure by the person of concern, we need to take action.

If failure to take action could result in physical harm to that person or their family, we need to take action.

Second question – Is it a chronic problem?

Is this over an issue that happened once, a long time ago, that you haven’t been able to forgive?  Or, is it a recurring sin that never seems to go away?  Is the issue habitual?  Is the issue of an additive nature?  Is it in time, destructive to the person’s emotional, physical, or spiritual health?  If our failure to take action will result in the person being trapped into sin, we need to take action.

Third question – Is it in close proximity to you?

This is a must, before we step in.

Is this person in your realm of influence?  Would you be considered an authority figure in this person’s life?  Would I be ok if that person approached me on something?  If failure to take action will result in a break in fellowship or familial ties, we should take action.

There is a difference between judging someone, and a loving confrontation - seeing someone who is stumbling and falling and we lovingly confront them, for their betterment.  Taking them to God’s Word on the subject, focusing together our lives on Christ…

Love is not brutal.  Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own way; it does not insist on its own way… 

There is no place for a boisterous or obnoxious confrontation.  If we can’t approach someone without exploding, we need to work on our heart first.  The wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

If the issue meets those three criteria, the need to speak truth comes secondary to the need to help and love.

What about minor things such as a personal preference?  A cultural difference?  A personality difference?

·      On the minors – Acceptance.

Be patient.

1 Peter 4:8 – “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”

If you don’t know what to do in the moment, let love cover it.

-Love is patient
-Love is not jealous
·      I will accept you, even when you are more successful than me
-Love is not proud
·      I will accept you, even when you aren’t as successful as me
-Love believes all things
·      Love will believe the best of others  (I am not willing to have ears for what others have said about you…)

Agape love endures all things; it never fails.  You stick with that person, through it all, to the very end.

The reason love never fails is that the root of love is the gospel.

There is no greater expression of love than from our Lord Jesus Christ.

He had every right to criticize and condemn us!  Yet, He went to His death, taking our sins, all the reasons we ought to be criticized, and He poured out His favor and grace on us.

Agape love, the love of dying to self, self-sacrifice, you-before-me love, is the fruit of the Spirit.  We don’t bear fruit unless we have the Spirit.  Love is an expression of the fruit of the Spirit.  We don’t have the capacity to agape love, apart from Jesus Christ as our Savior.  Agape love is a supernatural love that is only spawned out of a transformed life by the Word of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ.  If we do not believe that it was our sin that put Jesus on the cross, if we do not know that Jesus came and suffered death He didn’t deserve, because of us, if we do not know that He defeated death, sin, and the power of sin, by rising and coming back to life, we do not have the capacity to love.

We all need a Savior because we are all sinners.  To criticize is to say that someone needs a Savior more than we do.   The people we criticize need Jesus as much, not more, than we do.  The only goodness in us, is Jesus in us.  The church is the laughing stock to the world when we devour each other with criticism.  Love is what will draw people to Christ.  If we bite and consume each other, we lose our mission.  We stand together in shame, and not to the glory of God.  Let us come before the throne of grace and repent of our criticism.  Cling to Jesus who is full of agape love, grace, and truth.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


"Sing to God, 
  sing praises to His name;
Lift up a song for Him who rides in the deserts,
  Whose name is the LORD, and exult before Him."

Psalm 68:4

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Glory of Creation is Shouting...

"Day to day pours out speech, 
and night to night reveals knowledge."

The glory of creation is shouting, 
"There's a God, 
there's a God,
there's a God who made it all!"
Our lives are about discovering that truth
and finding the infinite satisfaction that can be found
only living in a community that is reveling in glory
and reaching others with it.
That is why we are here, 
to discover God who made us,
to live for His glory,
and to show off how awesome He really is
so others see the glory too.

James MacDonald
Vertical Church

And a bit more from the same chapter...

God's glory is the purpose of the ages-
the reason that everything exists
and the only reason we get to draw another breath this moment.
God desires that in every action
we display the glorious reality of the God who made us.


He doesn't need us or our glorifying,
but we need it desperately to displace our pride.
Glory will not fall where human pride reigns,
so God promotes humility in us
to make room for the experience of His glory.


When a church can get those who attend
to let go of what makes us miserable
and embrace what God created us to long for-
to recognize and relish His glory-
that church has begun to fulfill its purpose.

"Not to us, 
 not to us
but to your name give glory."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

On the way to Annie's this morning...

On the way to Annie's this morning to pick up Daniel, the Lord brought these parts of these two verses to mind...

1 Peter 1:8 - "...and though you do not see Him now...'
Isaiah 6:3 - "The whole earth is full of His glory." 

First of all, let me say, we can get ourselves into trouble by mixing and matching parts of verses.  You've probably heard about the person who read about Judas hanging himself and then came across the verse that said to go thou and do likewise.  We can't be pulling verses out of thin air and then apply them nilly willy.  But in the case of the two parts of the verses above, I think you can see these truths fit together beautifully - though we can't see Jesus, evidence of His existence and wonderfulness is everywhere.

I saw it in the variegated pink gladiola bloom next to Annie's front porch.  It's in the strong sun on its course across the sky, to give us its light and warmth for the day.  It's in a tiny baby forming in the Lord's knitting room.  It's in a song of praise that goes out on Christian radio as one of God's children is listening while they drive to work.  It's even in road kill.  I drove past a dead raccoon.  I bet if I'd stopped and got up close to it, I would have found tiny creatures munching away at the carcass - Jesus' incredible way of cleaning up His creatures that fall!  And, it's in a sinner that will repent today, finding Jesus to be their Highest Treasure, because they discovered how much He treasured them, even though a sinner.

The glory of the Lord is all around us, even though we don't see Him...make sure you take some time today to soak it in, and praise Him for His splendor that is splashed all over His creation.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Clearly Changed - 3

Putting On Contentment

Notes from the message at Harvest Bible Chapel Spring Lake on August 12, 2012

Scripture:  Numbers 11:4-35 (The Israelites are on their way to the promised land and on the cusp of receiving the promise)

"We (the church and our country) are drowning in a sea of covetousness (craving)."

The US debt is approaching sixteen trillion dollars
The US budget this year has income of 2.37 trillion
The US spending is 3.6 trillion, adding to our debt 1.27 trillion

Put into context - if you had a job with income of $25k per year and spending of $37k per year and you went to a financial counselor, what do you think they'd tell you?

Each citizen of the US is in debt $50,700. (National debt.)
Personal debt is almost exactly equal to that.
School loans and credit cards (without mortgage debt) add up to $5,500 per citizen, averaged out.

From Numbers 11, God hates covetousness/craving.

The problem is yielding to craving.

Numbers 11:4-6, the Israelites were craving the foods they had back in Egypt.

When we yield to craving, it becomes sin.  God hates it. v.10..."The anger of the Lord blazed hotly."

Craving in and of itself is not sin.  We are wired to crave things.  There is a universal longing within each heart that says, there has got to be more, there has got to be a better way.  There is more to this life than what I know and what I am experiencing.  This is a universal craving.  It's not wrong.

It becomes sin, when we look to satisfy it in the wrong places.

In this account in Numbers 11, what is striking is what is going on when the Israelites yield to craving.  God is leading and providing for them and they take their eyes off of God and crave for what they had in Egypt.

Covetousness, craving, becomes sin, when we yield.

Problems that occur when we submit to craving and when we yield:

  1. dwelling on the desire inflates the pleasure.
  2. reduces our capacity to enjoy God's provision

When does wanting something become the sin of craving something?

When you set your mind on it.  You have to have it.  When that desire eclipses your desire for God.

Romans 8:5,6 - "For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.  For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace."

The sin happens not when we commit the deed, but prior to that, when we set our minds on the thing that we desire, whether or not we commit the deed.

Problem 3, others are listening.

Your craving for things other than God is not without consequence.  It affects the people around you and destroys your testimony.  In the case of the Israelites, it affected Moses, demoralizing him - see verse 11.

Verses 11-17, God helps Moses by having him set up elders (70) to bear the burden of the people with Moses.

God's solution to the craving - a gift you don't want.

In the case of the Israelites, because they craved meat more than God, because they rejected God, He tells them He will give them so much meat, it will come out of their nostrils.  v. 20

Beware of begging God for non-essentials.

What are you chasing God for?  It may or may not be wrong, but you've elevated its importance above God.

Craving for something more than God is like trying to scale a mountain, thinking when we get to the top, we'll be happy.  It is a miserable way to live life.  What's worse is when God gives you the desire and you find that you are still lacking...

What does the craver look like?

It's the college student who only is there to find someone to marry.  They want to get married.  That is all they desire - they want to get married, they want that person.  They find someone, take them home, and others see that it is the wrong person, but the craver is blind to it.  They can't see beyond the craving that has become their consuming passion.  They marry and end up in a train wreck.

It's the person who all they want is success or riches in life.

Psalm 106:13-15 

"They quickly forgot His works; 
They did not wait for His counsel, 
But craved intensely in the wilderness,
And tempted God in the desert.
So He gave them their request,
But sent a wasting disease among them."

The problem - yielding to craving.
God's solution is a gift you don't want.
The conclusion to craving - emptiness.


If you don't deal with this wilderness attitude, you will spend the rest of your life in the wilderness.  People's lives who are ear-marked by craving will spend a life time in the wilderness.

The ATTITUDE to put off is craving.  The Old Testament passage tells us what we need to put off - craving.  A New Testament passage tells us what to put on in its place...

1 Timothy 6:6-10  

v.6 "But godliness is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.  "


Contentment is being satisfied with God's provision.

Contentment is not laziness.  A lack of craving is not a sign of spiritual maturity.

Contentment has a partner - godliness.


Godliness + contentment = great gain  (Having God and being content, we gain greatly.)

 It's a universal truth.  It is always true.

False equations:

Godliness + prosperity = great gain  (If I had God and I was rich, then I'd have it all together.)
Godliness + poverty = great gain  (Having God and divesting myself of all my stuff, then I'd have it all together.)

The issue is not stuff but does your stuff have you.

Our things have been given to us and we are stewards over it.  Things have been entrusted to us, to accomplish God's purposes.  View it this way.  We are stewards.

More false equations:

Godliness + family harmony = great gain  (If I have God and the perfect family, I will be happy.)  Reality check - we will never have the perfect family.  Our children will make sure of it.  We subtly can move from godliness being the priority to having the perfect family being the priority.

Godliness + success = great gain


Godliness + contentment = great gain

Great gain is to take godliness and put that first, put God first in your life, be content with what He's provided - that opens the door to great gain.


v. 7  "For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of the world."

1.  Look to eternity -

  • create an eternal focus
  • thoughts about eternity promote contentment on earth
v. 8  "If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content."

Money and possessions are like sea water.  The more you drink, the more thirsty you get.

If we are not content with what we have, we will not be satisfied if it were doubled.

2.  Let enough be enough -
  • learn to say we have enough
  • don't let your income determine your lifestyle
  • let your lifestyle be determined by what God is calling you to do
  • let the income on the too much side, go...
3.  Be warned -

v. 9-10  "But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."

  • The love of money is a root of all sorts of evil
  • Riches can grab our hearts and squeeze out the capacity to desire God
  • We shoot ourselves by chasing after that which is not God
  • Possessions are usually diminished by possession
  • With money comes amplified temptation
Henry Ford said he was happier as a boy working in a mechanics shop...

Ask these questions... 
  • Am I a content person?
  • If I am honest with myself, do I spend more time thinking about people to impact or things to get?
  • Have I convinced myself that a little more will make me happy?
  • Do I think more relationship(s) will make me happy?
  • Do I think more sex will make me happy?
  • Do I think more friends will make me happy?
  • As I look to my future, am I focused on the things I will get, the things I get to do, the places I get to go, or people that I can influence?
The call is to repent...confess the sin...put off the craving...put on contentment...

The source of true joy is relationship with Jesus Christ.