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First Things @ First

Ministry Perspectives,

The Word of God addresses it. We see it being actively played out in our country and community. It is simple, what you and I really love in life, we live for!

For some, it's family and there is nothing wrong with that so long as it remains secondary to one's love for God, as a child of God. For others, it's the pursuit of profit or pleasure.

In his book, 'The Book of Signs', David Jeremiah says this about how our culture reflects the end of the beginning as we know it on earth. Jeremiah writes, "Materialism is the most powerful 'religion' of our day--an ample sign that we are nearing the last days Paul spoke of in his warning to Timothy, and that Daniel and Ezekiel predicted. The sign of moral decay is evident as well; the breakdown of family life; substance abuse, alcoholism and runaway addictive disorders; gambling and gaming; cheating and bullying; and high crime rates and prison populations."

I will only deal with materialism today. I heard a great definition of materialism many years ago that said, 'Materialism is the result of purchasing what you don't really need with money you don't have to impress people you don't like or don't like you.'

When you look at history, people have long pursued the material and temporal things of life as a substitute for the God who provides all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). How are we not short-changing ourselves every time we do that? And yet, most in America do this religiously. Most of our world is built on or around this, as well. And what is more tragic is the attitude that nothing will come between me and my happiness. That determination drives many into hyper-discontent and often further into debt.

Webster's dictionary defines materialism in this way--"a preoccupation with or stress upon material rather than intellectual or spiritual things."

David Jeremiah comments, 'That lifestyle involves hoarding money and increasing what's in the bank at every opportunity. Or it can manifest as accumulating possessions, adding more and more belongings whenever possible.' And then Jeremiah added this, 'It can also mean constantly upgrading possessions because of a desire for not just more, but better.' 

However, materialism has a consequence that most don't consider important. It robs the person of contentment and the peace of God that goes with it. And that describes more of us than you and I might admit. Would to God that we pause long enough in the maddening pursuit of 'more' and reflect on it. And then repent and walk away from what drains more than just your bank account.

Consider this. Instead of being conformed to the mindset that I can't give anything (time, resources, money, myself) to the Church or kingdom work because I don't have enough as it is. There is a better alternative available. It is constantly saying 'no' to our own wants and desires because what we have been given by God has already been designated for God's work. That is the biblical principle of giving the first-fruits of one's increase and not settling for and hoping that somehow God is satisfied with what is left. I can assure you He isn't because when materialism is your 'religion' there is never anything left!  The 'I' that fuels discontent will make certain of it!  However, as we choose His way over ours, the blessing of contentment is realized in saying 'no' to ourselves and 'yes' to His will. Consequently, His provisions continue to be poured into our lives as good stewards of His blessing.

I'll leave you with something that carries the potential to change your life and begin to experience God's best, if applied.

 A person may have money and love God. Many do. However, no one can love money and love God (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13). No one. Money is not the problem. Money is not immoral or moral. Money is amoral, neither good nor evil. It's what we do with it or what it does to us that matters (1 Timothy 6:10). Money can add meaning to someone's life or money can mess it up. That choice is each of ours to make every day.

Let us learn to be content with what we have (Hebrews 13:5) for godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6).

That is God's solution for the problem of materialism. His solution will not be any different a month from now or ten years from now. Question is, will we?

Blessings for this week!

Make it a good one in the Lord!

Pstr K

Psalm 27:1