The Chosen Ones
Bible Study Page


My Bio | Testimonials | Bible Study Page | This is a picture of my church | Guestbook | Message Forum | Chat Room | Calendar Of Events

Here is a daily devotion that you can take you can read here on my website!

Money: the Good, Bad & the Ugly - Part 1
Monday, July 14, 2003 Daily Devotional by

Luke 12:34 - For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
1 Timothy 6:6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. (NKJV)

Money. Prosperity. Wealth. Career. Lifestyle. Comfort. Luxury. Recreation. Status.

For most, no other issue consumes such a great portion of our time, thought, emotion, energy and life. It is one of the primary sources of stress, broken marriages, depression and frustration. Debt is suffocating most people and yet we still don't have enough. We live in a world consumed with wealth and lifestyle. Truth be known, most Christian have no more peace and contentment about money and material possessions than the rest of the world.

Throughout this series of lessons I will use several terms interchangeably: "wealth", "riches", "lifestyle", "money" and "things". Either term will refer to our material possessions and in general all the earthly riches that we have or pursue.

As we start the study, it good to understand "things" as God originally intended, then know what went wrong. God originally created man to enjoy direct fellowship with Him. There was a place in man's heart, the "throne" of his life, that only God was worthy to occupy. God enjoyed sole occupation of man's uncorrupted heart and "things" were kept in their proper perspective and place.

Everything external of man ("things") was created for man's use, man's enjoyment... as a blessing from God to His children. "Things" were subserviant to man and always external to his heart. Only God was allowed the adoration, love and desire that flowed from an innocent heart. Man had one thing inside: God - and countless things external, all under his dominion and there for his enjoyment... compliments of the Creator of the Universe. And then we decided to mess it up.

"Things" war to take God's rightful position in our life.

When sin entered God's creation, the natural order was thrown out of balance. Now all of sudden "things" entered into man's heart and to this day fight fiercely to keep God off the throne of every life. "Things" replace God. Money is such a big issue because it is the primary vehicle by which "things" are acquired.

Money and "things" dominate our lives in all but the poorest of societies - just in varying degrees. The desire for them, the pursuit of them; the maintenance, organization, protection and securing of them. In more affluent societies, we have a mentality that our lifestyles should be always increasing towards more comfort, more leisure and more luxury. One of the most common advertising phrases now is: "you deserve"... a nice house, a new car, the latest clothes, the softest bed and a longer vacation. You deserve it! Why? Well, that's never explained. But is suffices just to inform people they "deserve" prosperity because it appeals to the lowest common denominator of sinful hearts.

Let me preface our study with this clarification: this is not a "money bashing" series. Money and material possessions are not the issue. Our hearts are the issue. Our attitudes, motives and perspectives on "things" is the issue.

God decides who to bless materially for His own purposes. It is not our place to pronounce that wealth is wrong. It is always our place to learn what God has to say about wealth and change our lives accordingly.

Things aren't the problem, sinful hearts are.

Rich or poor, it makes no difference. The sinful heart of man can turn any circumstance in life into an opportunity to be sinful. These lessons will primarily address the issues of prosperity. It will be left to other lessons to deal with Scripture concerning poverty.

On the other hand, these lessons should not be mistaken to support the current popular "prosperity" teaching in the Church either. The teaching that "wealth equals faith", and that prosperity is equivalent to spiritual blessing is no more Biblical than someone who states "all rich people are unsaved". Contrary to some popular teaching, the New Testament does not promise material prosperity as a sign of faith or a blessing for obedience. Even the semi-serious Bible student will discover that material prosperity was the inferior blessing promised to Old Testament saints. New Testament saints are promised the SUPERIOR blessing of sacrifice, suffering and persecution. But that is another lesson altogether.

The rich or poor can be prideful, unsaved sinners. The rich or poor can be Godly, faithful Christians. God determines who prospers and who doesn't according to His plans. It is not for man to decide that all Christians should be either rich, or poor. Income has no innate bearing on holiness. Holiness is a condition of the heart and no amount of wealth, or the lack of it, determines holiness. There are dangers that come with being rich. There are dangers in being poor.

It is for man to learn ALL of God's Word and
apply it to life irrespective of income.

Are you rich (which is having more than you need for today according to the Bible)? Learn what God says about being rich and change accordingly. Are you poor? Learn what God has to say about poverty and change accordingly. God doesn't say to strive to be either, but rather be content with whichever you happen to be.

Okay, now that all the fine print, prefacing and explanations are out of the way, we can begin. Over the next few days, we will study three aspects about money and "things" each day; one good, one bad, one ugly.

Holy God, help us to see "things" as external only allow only You to indwell us internally. Whether rich or poor, we ask for your wisdom on how to be Godly and content. In Jesus Name, amen.

Contemplation: We will learn that in Ecclesiastes we find the man who is so caught up in pursuing a lifestyle, he never even stops and asks "why?" Have you asked "why?" when it comes to your work, your income and your lifestyle? Have "things" fought to replace God's rightful place on the throne of your life? How much of your time, emotion and effort is related to money and lifestyle?

Application: Christians are not immune to the suffocating effects of "lifestyle" and prosperity. With the ever increasing popularity of "prosperity" teaching, more and more Christians find themselves not only consumed with the issue, but add to it a level of spiritual frustration that makes things even worse. Money is blessing to be enjoyed, a gift from God. But when it replaces God, in part or whole, the problems begin. Do you know God's true perspective on "things"?


Money: the Good, Bad & the Ugly - Part 2
 Tuesday, July 15, 2003 Daily Devotional

Luke 12:34 - For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
1 Timothy 6:6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. (NKJV)

Money, and the "things" God has provided for us were always meant to be gifts or tools for man's enjoyment and use. When man was created, only God was worthy of a place in man's heart. When sin entered into man's heart, the fight was on for throne of our heart.

The very "things" that God gave us as gifts,
now threaten to become more important to us than the Giver.

And this indeed has occurred in the majority of people's hearts. Christians are not immune so it benefits us to learn what God has to say about material possessions and know the hidden dangers of prosperity.

The Ugly:
No amount of money will ever make an unhappy person happy; or a discontented person content.

Ecclesiastes 2.10-11 Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, For my heart rejoiced in all my labor; And this was my reward from all my labor. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done And on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.

If you are discontent right this moment, you are a discontented person, period. Whatever "if only" you have in your mind is a lie.

  • If only I had a bigger house; if only I had a better job; if only I had more money
  • If only I had different relationship; if only I could have more fun

In Ecclesiastes, King Solomon takes away all our "if only's". He was rich beyond our wildest imagination. He set out to have/do/experience everything life offered with no limits. When done, he declared that it is all a waste of time without God.

If you cannot learn to be contented and happy with what you have right now, at this very moment, you will never be happy with any amount of money or "things". You can believe God's Word and save yourself some heartache, or you can learn it at the School of Hard Knocks.

The Bad:
Prosperity causes you to need what you never needed before.

Hebrews 13:5 - Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you. (NKJV)

As money and material possessions increase, so does our desire for them. The older you are, the more you should be able to see this. Think of all the things you have now. Ten, twenty, thirty years ago... would you have dreamed you would have them, or need them?

Societies as a whole experience this too. A hundred years ago, food, water and shelter were considered necessities. Fifty years ago we added plumbing, electricity and transportation to the list. Thirty years ago, we added appliances, TV and air conditioning.

Today the list of "necessities" is embarrassing. They include numerous electronic items, microwaves, VCR's, fashionable clothes, a NICE car, makeup, sports equipment and on and on. Don't believe me? Do an informal survey of the younger generations. Better yet, how uncomfortable would you be reducing your life to basic food, clothing and shelter?

Increased prosperity causes us to "need" things we never needed before, whether individually or as a society.

The Good:
Ask God for just the right amount not too much, not too little

With each "bad and ugly" truth we want to balance it by giving a Godly perspective on money so that we can replace sinful attitudes with righteous ones when it comes to "things".

Proverbs 30:7-9 - Two things I request of You (Deprive me not before I die): Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches Feed me with the food allotted to me; Lest I be full and deny You, And say, Who is the Lord? Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God. (NKJV)

The Biblical definition of "poor" is to not have enough food or resources to get through TODAY. To be "prosperous" meant to have enough for today and not have to worry about whether or not your needs would be fulfilled. To be "rich" meant to have more than you need for today.

By those definitions, only the poorest of the poor today are "Biblically poor". The majority of people are rich in God's eyes. It doesn't matter if we change the definitions or not, God's truth is still the truth. We change the definition of "poor" based on lifestyle, not based on true necessity.

When it comes to material possessions, the writer of Proverbs instructs us to pray for "prosperity" but it's God's definition, not ours. "Lord, don't make me so poor that I have to steal and bring shame to your Name. But don't give me so much 'stuff' that I don't need You anymore and forgot that I depend on You".

Or in other words, "Lord, give me just the right amount of money to live a Godly life and do Your will; but not so much that material possessions hinder my need and love for You".

Gracious God, You give us so many wonderful blessings, and yet we are in danger of allowing those blessings to become our greatest love, instead of You. Help us to be content and to see money as the gift and tool You meant for it to be. In Jesus Name, amen.

Contemplation: Which "thing" is the one thing that is keeping you one step away from being content? More money? Getting out of debt? A bigger house? A vacation? What do you "need" today that you didn't need 5 or 10 years ago? What do you "need" that your parents and grandparents didn't need? What is your prayer to God concerning money? Is it always "more"?

Application: The issues of money and possessions consume a large part of our time and emotions. So it is profitable spiritually for us to learn God's perspective and His mindset when it comes to money. The gift should only point us to the Giver, not draw us from Him.

Money: the Good, Bad & the Ugly - Part 3
         Wednesday, July 16, 2003 Daily Devotional

Luke 12:34 - For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
1 Timothy 6:6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. (NKJV)

In God's original, perfect creation, the Lord had sole access to the heart of mankind. External to man were countless gifts and "things" for his enjoyment and use. But they were always external. Only the Lord God deserved man's love, adoration and pursuit. Sin threw all that out of balance.

The very "things" that God gave us as gifts,
now threaten to become more important to us than the Giver.

And to this day, man fights the daily, bloody war over who sits on the throne in his life: God... or something God created. "Things" are dangerous without God, and a blessing when viewed in the proper Godly perspective.

The Ugly:
The pursuit of money never brings satisfaction and can consume your life

Ecclesiastes 4:8 There is one alone, without companion: He has neither son nor brother. Yet there is no end to all his labors, Nor is his eye satisfied with riches. But he never asks, For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good? This also is vanity and a grave misfortune. (NKJV)

The unbridled pursuit of material possessions, success or achievement in this world will lead to loss of relationships. Loneliness is the reward for the covetous and the workaholic. And yet, this person will never have enough, earn enough or find any sort of lasting satisfaction.

In fact, a person can become so consumed with "things" that they never even stop to ask "why?". He deprives himself for money. He works endlessly for newer things, nicer things and more things. And yet he doesn't even know why. He just does it.

The writer of Ecclesiastes declares this to be a waste of time and a very sad tragedy.

The Bad:
Prosperity causes us to believe that what we have we deserve.

Deuteronomy 8:18 - And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. (NKJV)

Job 41:11 - Who has preceded Me, that I should pay him? Everything under heaven is Mine. (NKJV)

One of the most common advertising slogans now is "you deserve". Get the "loan you deserve", the new car "you deserve", the lawyer "you deserve" who will sue someone for the "money you deserve"; and the employer who will give you the "job you deserve" and the "benefits you deserve".

This idea of "you deserve" appeals to the lowest
common denominator of man: pride and greed;
which explains why it is such a successful marketing tool.

We don't deserve anything. Everything we have is God's, and not only that, the very ability to earn wealth in the first place is a gift from God. We don't "deserve" anything good on own merit. We only get "good" because God is merciful, loving and kind. We should spend our time humbly thanking God that He sees fit to give us anything at all instead of whining about what we don't have that "we deserve".

Who is man that we deserve anything from God? Which of us were here before God? Which of us created anything? Which of us has merited the slightest bit of deserving anything from God by our own righteousness? God blesses out of his love and tender mercy. As Christians we are most blessed because God sees us as righteous through the blood of Jesus. And yet Christians are just as guilty of "I deserve" as the world. We just mask it in the form of "why me God? What did I do to deserve this?".

"Why me?" is "I deserve" phrased in the negative.

Everything good you have, you didn't deserve. And if you never receive another good thing, you have already gotten more than you truly deserved to begin with. It's time to be thankful, not complaining and discontented.

The Good:
Material blessings are a gift from God to be enjoyed as long as God remains on the Throne of our lives

Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 - I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his laborit is the gift of God. (NKJV)

There is nothing wrong with having money or having "things". It's when "things" have you that the problems begin. God gives us success and prosperity because He loves us and wants us to enjoy His creation.

When "things" threaten to banish Him from our hearts, the most loving reaction from God is the swift and sure removal of whatever is threatening His Kingship in our life. So enjoy what you have. Rejoice in the material possessions that God has given you as the fruit of honest labor and hard work.

But never forget the Giver, and never allow the gifts to recieve the adoration, desire and love that belongs only to God.

Giver of Good Gifts, help us to always see the Giver instead of the gifts. Help us to always remember that "things" never satisfy, nor do we deserve them. Only You truly deserve anything good. In Jesus Name, amen.

Contemplation: Has any of your material possession or money ever brought anything more than short-term satisfaction? How long did it last before you moved on to the next thing you wanted? What do you have that you deserved? What don't you have that you feel you deserve? Do you have a right to comfort, money, security and a comfortable lifestyle? Do you enjoy what God has given you because it's "yours" or because God gave it to you?

Application: A proper perspective on money and possessions brings true satisfaction and enjoyment. The only real enjoyment is guilt-free enjoyment. Guilt is only removed when we do things God's way