Money: a Biblical look at finances (Luke 16:1-11)

We are often so messed up over money because we don’t understand where it comes from. Ultimately, we are stewards over what God has given us. When God can trust us He will bless us.

Money is not the root of all evil, but the love of money. If you love people, you’ll use money to reach more people. If you love money, you will use people to get more money.

Jesus spoke more about financial accountability than most other topics.

There is a very strange story in Luke 16. In this context, Jesus develops a story about a rich man who employs a manager who mishandled his financial books. He was fired, and in the process did something completely unethical. And yet he is Biblically commended for it.

The word “account” used in verse 2 is the same as the verbal “account” we will someday give to God.

God does not give me more so I can increase my standard of living. He gives me more so I can increase my standard of giving and I can help more people.

Giving is not about getting rich, but about enriching the lives of others with what God gave us.

The rich man had trusted his accountant, and his accountant had failed him as a steward, so he was fired. The accountant then begins to plot what he should do. He was too lazy to work and too proud to beg.

And so he hatches a plan that is highly unethical. He plans to endear himself to his former boss’s debtors that they may receive him into their homes.

The former accountant, who had just been fired, calls on these debtors, who don’t yet know he has lost his job. He writes off a portion of their debts so they will be endeared to him. He gains their favor that he doesn’t deserve with people he does not know with resources that are not his.

So the debtors are no longer endeared to the boss, but to the man who used to work for the boss.

But the story gets even stranger. The boss discovers his former accountant’s scheme and commends this unjust steward. And he commends him because he had acted wisely (or shrewdly).

But the Lord doesn’t commend evil, so why is the unjust steward portrayed this way?

It’s not that the Lord was amazed by the unethical practice, but the thought process that led to the unethical practice.

And then Jesus turns it around this way: lost people understand the value of money more than God’s people understand the value of money. So if we aren’t careful, the world will beat the church in its understanding of financial resources.

Jesus commands that we make friends of the “mammon” of unrighteousness. “Mammon” is simply materialism and wealth. In other words, He tells us to use money to make friends. On Christian terms, we use money to reach lost people. And whose money are we to use? We are to use God’s money to reach people.

(We cannot outgive God.)

In verse 9, Jesus explains that we use God’s money to reach people so that when we fail (die), the boss’s debtors (i.e., the souls we win) may receive us into “everlasting habitations.”

We are simply to use money without the unethical angle. Those we reach with God’s money will wait for us when we reach heaven.

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This is why I no longer watch ESPN

I gave up watching ESPN a long time ago. And I am in my second year of boycotting the NFL. So when the NFL is on ESPN’s Monday Night Football, it earns a double-boycott. Thus, I didn’t find out about this until listening to yesterday’s Rush Limbaugh Show. ESPN has lost many viewers during the past couple or three years, owing, in large part, to its overt mixing of liberalism with its sports reporting. Yet ESPN responds by doubling-down on its liberalism. And this is what it looks like.

Quote du jour (groupthink)

From the Maha Rushie, Rush Limbaugh, during hour 1 of yesterday’s show:

We in the United States — and this is a recently evolved theory of mine — that we in the United States are actually living 1984, the novel by Orwell, in a number of ways. And what has taken over is the concept of groupthink.

I’ve made the point over the years, recent number of years, that when the media reports a story, they have this knack of making it appear that everybody thinks this. So if you’re an outlier or if you don’t think that, you’re in a tiny little minority, and then you become castigated and regarded as a kook or whatever. It’s nothing more than groupthink and consensus. And it exists because the people who believe in groupthink or consensus are simply people who [don’t] wish, cannot accept, cannot accept or cannot deal with a challenged worldview or an alternative idea about anything, because they have developed this little safety of a cocoon in which they live, and they congregate together. It doesn’t matter if it’s climate change or any other issue, if anybody comes along and doesn’t comport and doesn’t go along with it, that person has to be stigmatized, destroyed, and cast out. And what happens when everybody falls pray to groupthink or consensus, that’s the end of truth. That is the end of inquiry, it’s the end of curiosity, and it’s the end of suspicion.

I happen to have answers and I happen to explain them, and I happen to do it effectively, and so I am a target, because I don’t go with the groupthink — and many of you don’t. That’s why Donald Trump’s elected. Donald Trump is elected by people who refuse to go along with the consensus, with the groupthink, with ‘the’ way of thinking.

Link

Hurricane politics

It has dawned on me that there are progressives who believe hurricanes are purely the result of climate change and are only recent phenomena.

That’s the impression I get as the U.S. mainland has been slammed with back-to-back major hurricanes — the first since Hurricane Katrina 12 years ago. It has been 12 years, and yet progressives will tell you that storms today are worse than ever, and will only get worse unless we “do something” to combat climate change.

For example, Chris Cuomo on CNN back on August 30 offered the following:

Imagine if we could find way to reduce the number of these storms. Imagine if we could figure out why a hundred-year storm seems to happen every other year. We have all these scientists saying climate change is part of the equation.

But storms are not getting worse, and there’s no way to empirically prove that they are. Seriously, if you were tasked with producing research proving that storms today are worse today than some time in the past, then how you would you go about gathering such proof scientifically?

And even if it could be proven that storms today are worse than before, how would we go about making them less so?

You see, the left has largely succeeded in having its political agenda codified as science, so that if you oppose them politically, you are also said to be “anti-science.” You can make the most sagatious, tenable, science-based ratiocination exposing the fallacy of man-made climate change, and you will still be called “anti-science” if you disagree with a liberal.

Like everything else the left accuses its political opponents of, this is projection. The theory of man-made climate change makes for terrible science, unprovable, unfounded, and so fallacious that its proponents must rig the data; alas, it is pure sophistry. So when they accuse “deniers” of being “anti-science,” they are really just describing themselves.

Leftists are so anti-science that they deny the existence of major hurricanes prior to the combustible engine, even though the evidence is obvious and undeniable. Some of them seem to even believe that hurricanes are a recent phenomenon, purely the product of increased carbon dioxide, and that if we curb our carbon footprint then the storms will accordingly go away, or at least lessen in intensity.

If you recall, after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, we were told to get accustomed to storms of that nature, that they would only grow worse and more frequent. We subsequently enjoyed several years of below-average tropical storm activity in the Atlantic, and it would be 12 years until another major hurricane would strike the U.S. — Hurricane Harvey just a couple of weeks ago, in fact.

The left will continue to politicize each hurricane strike and each cataclysmic weather event (including earthquakes and wildfires). They do this even as they lecture us “deniers” that you can’t use a single, anomalous meteorological occurrence as proof against man-made climate change. But they will use a single hurricane as proof that man-made climate change is occurring and that storms are getting worse. (They even had to change “global warming” to “climate change” because the warming they promised never materialized.)

Keep in mind that there is no evidence — even after 30+ years of dire warnings of plenary warming and resulting cataclysms — of man-made climate change becoming manifest. The only “proof” are computer models that forecast warming 10, 20, 50, 100 years from now. And even the most rational scientist will tell you that no one can predict the weather or climate anywhere near that far in advance.

Sunday musings

Democrats are accusing President Trump of stealing the election because it’s what they do. Progressives do not understand those who don’t operate the way they do.

I am convinced there is a large number of leftists in the Democrat Party and #fakenews media who want Irma to inflict maximum damage on Florida and its people in order to advance their political agenda of climate change, to give them ammunition against President Trump, and to punish Floridians for voting for Trump.

From “Nixon Volume III” by Stephen E. Ambrose: “The Democrats, justifiably outraged by the actions of Richard Nixon and his friends, made unjustified comparisons of Nixon with Hitler, talked darkly about the coming of fascism to America.” This was in 1973. Indeed, some things never change.

“I think it is time in this country to quit making national heroes out of those who steal secrets and publish them in the newspapers.” — Richard M. Nixon in 1973

Planned Parenthood is like your worst hacker film. It’s always the same plot. Two go in but only one comes out.

President Trump’s approval number — even the lowball number typically cited by #fakenews — is higher than that for Congress and the news media combined.

Donald J. Trump is one of the world’s great men before whom criticism can make but feeble show.

Today begins my second year of #boycottNFL. I honestly have not missed it. I have many interests that have rushed in to fill the void.

Liberals: “You can’t use one weather event to say climate change isn’t occurring.”
Also liberals: “See, this one hurricane is proof of climate change.”

The “dreamers” the left is wringing its hands over were unaccompanied minors imported from Central America. Thus, Obama was the one who broke up families. Also, President Obama was the one who built a sunset provision into his DACA order. But opponents of DACA are still called racist and accused of wanting to break up families.

Beware of wolves (2 Peter 2:17-19)

We continue this week discussing false teachers. And our Scripture passage has some rather harsh language directed toward them. These verses also describe what is happening in our country, and in our churches, and in the lives of some churchgoers.

Why do people “fall away?”

1. Those who reject truth are empty, easily moved, and in constant confusion. It’s not only what false teachers preach that is wrong but also what they refuse to preach. False teachers, and those who fall under their prey, are always looking for something that is outside the power of God. They are “wells without water.” They are empty and uselsss. They are clouds without substance that are easily blown away.

People are easily swayed to wickedness, blown about by every wind of doctrine. That’s where we are in America. Unfortunately, some false teachers proclaim that if you follow Jesus, then your life will be without trials. But even Christ said that following Him would not be so easy.

Those who are not grounded in truth live in constant confusion. If you do things against the will of god then you will get results that are against the will of God.  And if you die rejecting the gospel, then you will spend eternity in darkness apart from God.

Just because someone can speak well doesn’t mean he is telling you the truth.

False teachers also allure through lust of the flesh.

2. Believers are led astray when they choose shallow teaching over sound doctrine. If your continually subject yourself to shallow teaching then it will result in shallow living. Sound doctrine will cause you to grow uneasy about some of the things in your life. The gospel is not about us and not about making us comfortable with ourselves. The gospel is a about Jesus and the grace of God. The gospel is not a license to live wickedly.

Shallow teaching will fill up a building but it will not fill up your life. Motivational pop psychology might make a person feel good but is also filled with corruption.

3. If your preaching isn’t backed up by your practice, you’re powerless. False teachers promise you liberty, but they are masters of corruption. They don’t know what true liberty is like because they are in bondage to their own wickedness.

Real liberty is living with a clear conscience. When your preaching and your practice line up, your ministry is powerful.

4. The God you really serve is the one you keep submitting to. Whatever you cannot give up controls your life. Either Jesus is Lord of all, or not Lord at all. Whatever you will not give to God is your god.

Freedom has limitations. Those who want to live free from God’s constraints are really living in bondage. You have to be willing to walk away from all of it because your love for Jesus Christ should cause your love for anything else to pale in comparison. Either you will serve the Lord or serve yourself, for no one can serve two masters.

Friday’s quick hits

Do not cast your pearls before swine, lest they be trampled on. And if you stumble upon someone else’s pearls, don’t be a swine and trample on theirs. If the best you can do is say nothing, then say nothing.

I am less beholden to the GOP at this moment than ever before. I am an American and a Trumpist.

People are complex and most everyone has a hidden story. That’s why stereotypes are such cheap caricatures.

Unfortunately, we’re going to have to clear out some useless Republicans and elect a new Congress next year before the Trump agenda can really get rolling. The swamp is deep and wide and not easily moved.

Hurricane Irma will be at worst a tropical depression by the time it reaches Middle Tennessee. There will be no evacuations. Please don’t buy up all the milk and bread. And try to stay clear of #fakenews.

Congressional Republicans have the ball 1st-and-goal on the 1-yard-line. And they’re taking a knee after every snap.

The older I get, the more I realize how few are the things that require my intervention. This is actually quite liberating.

Liberals seem to confuse responsible behavior as heartless and cruel. There’s nothing generous about giving away money you have to borrow from future generations of taxpayers.

It’s astonishing the number of things that compete for one’s attention. I’ve turned off as many of life’s “notifications” as possible, and am always looking for more.

Just because I don’t get my hackles up doesn’t mean I don’t care.

“In short, the media don’t have to be convinced. They have to be outfoxed, outflanked and outperformed.” — Richard M. Nixon, January, 1989

Also this: “[T]he former POWs were anxious to tell the country how much they admired Nixon and appreciated what he had done. So much so that reporters began expressing some skepticism, even charging that the ex-POWs had been told what to say. ‘Ridiculous,’ responded a Pentagon spokesman, who added that ‘it insults the POWs’ intelligence to say that they could have been brainwashed during a 3-hour lay-over in Clark Field when the North Vietnamese couldn’t do it in seven years.’” (Excerpt from: Stephen E. Ambrose. “Nixon Volume III.”)

Words

muzzy (adj.) — unable to think clearly; confused

lanthorn (n.) — lantern

lozenge (n.) — a rhombus or diamond shape

undercroft (n.) — the crypt of a church

leonine (adj.) — of or resembling a lion or lions

navvy (n.) — a laborer employed in the excavation and construction of a road, railroad, or canal

grimalkin (n.) — a spiteful old woman

usurer (n.) — a person who lends money at unreasonably high rates of interest

souse (v.) — soak in or drench with liquid

burthen (n.) — archaic form of burden

flambeaux (n.) — a flaming torch, especially one made of several thick wicks dipped in wax

pallid (adj.) — (of a person’s face) pale, typically because of poor health

mawkish (adj.) — sentimental in a feeble or sickly way

Discussion on Isaiah 40:28-31

Isaiah is one of the most powerful books in the entire Bible, and also one of the most misunderstood. The first 39 books of Isaiah correlate perfectly with the 39 books of the Old Testament. The last 27 deal with Biblical prophecy.

Israel was a long time in Babylonian captivity. That’s where we get Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego. But their hearts began to yearn for home, and chapter 40 is that cry from the hearts of the people.

No matter what cataclysms we face here on earth, the Bible is still the word of God and so we keep trusting God no matter what. God has it under control. Yet as children of God, we often grow weary. When we are weak, He is strong.

Isaiah had the most power from God when he had the most pressure from other people. You can study your whole life and never understand God.

1. Captivity creates a hunger for freedom. God let them see what it was like to live in bondage. When you are in bondage, you tend to feel trapped. God allows this because of the hunger for freedom that results. You appreciate freedom much greater than before.

2. God grants power to the weakest among us. He gives power to the faint. He gives strength to those who are not mighty. He uses the base things to confuse those who are sophisticated. He gives us what we do not have. He gives to those who are hungry. Likewise, the strong will be weary and fall.

3. Everyone has a breaking point. At some point, the load gets bigger than we can bear. It is then that we wait upon the Lord to renew our strength. It is human nature that we do not like to wait. But waiting isn’t always boring.

4. We wait in expectancy, but not in inactivity. The Hebrew word for wait is used in terms of a pregnant woman. God has something in store for us even though we don’t know the details. Being still doesn’t necessarily mean being boring.

Jesus performed miracles where there was a problem. He never performed a miracle where there wasn’t first a need.

5. Faithfulness is the ultimate goal. Life will slow you down, but it doesn’t have to stop you. The goal is not to outrun everyone else but just to be faithful to God. Faithfulness is the ultimate goal. We cannot judge ourselves by comparing ourselves to others, but to run the race that is set before us as individuals. Run your own race.

Go ahead and take them down

I’ve been doing some more thinking about the Confederate statue meme, and have become ambivalent about the whole issue. If civil rights activists want to taken them down, then go ahead and take them down. It has become entertainment for me. You see, when they remove the monuments and ultimately realize that no one’s life has gotten any better, I want to see who/what they blame for their woes and go after next. The problems facing the black community today will still be there once they get done stomping on the graves of dead Confederates.