Part 3 — What Now?

3 — What Now?

Hard times are coming.  But they can also be times of immense blessing and miracles if we turn to God now and give up living our own way.

We’ve all had our easy life. We are all rich, always having the basics needed for life. But the Bible only has warnings for the rich, not blessings.[1] God in His goodness is going to take away the money from the world, from those who are relying on it instead of on God.  Depression is coming.  In Revelation it talks about needing a day’s wages just to buy bread.[2] There are many people around the world who have lived this way their whole lives.  But the Bible says, “Blessed are the poor.”[3]

In fact it also says that the poor were chosen to be full of faith and “heirs of the kingdom.”[4] So be thankful and rejoice when the money disappears.  Don’t let it be an opportunity for fear. Let it be an opportunity where you can learn to rely on God instead of yourself to meet your needs.

We have a Bible promise that He will meet our needs.[5] God has miraculously put money in our bank and cold milk in our fridge.  He put needed diapers in a friend’s cupboard and apples outside her front door at just the needful time. He fed the Israelites with manna for forty years[6] and He has plenty of everything to go around.

The disciples followed Jesus around for three and a half years.  They didn’t pack for the trip.[7] They didn’t work to earn money.  But they had all they needed (and enough to feed thousands beside.)[8] Their families at home were provided for.

God may be providing for your family through a job, but remember it’s the Lord providing. Then, if the job ever goes away, you can know that your provision hasn’t disappeared. 

Paul was always provided for.  Sometimes it came from other believers.  He thanks the church in Philippi for sending him gifts, but he basically says the profit in it is theirs.[9] The Bible says, It is more blessed to give than to receive.[10] In God’s economy you have more when you give and less when you hold onto your money and things. God provides for us as we provide for others.  Give and it will be given back to you.[11] And we are to ask our Father for what we need and He will give us good gifts.[12] And we are to not worry about what we will eat or wear because He knows we need these things.[13]

God wants to get rid of our love of money.  Money does not make the world go round.  But the love of money is the root of so much evil.[14] He wants to get rid of our self-indulgence.  You may feel you are giving to God, but when you give money to your church in order to pay for heating and cooling and comfy seats and fancy light fixtures and entertainment for yourselves and your children, you are just giving to yourself without realizing it.

If you live in such a way that you don’t rely on money, but on God, then it doesn’t matter if you have money or not. Now is the time to decide that your money belongs to God to do with what He will, all of it. If you don’t consider it yours, then you won’t be trying to hold onto it. Then you will give generously and can even have excitement if the money dries up, instead of being afraid. Become a disciple of Jesus Christ.  Jesus said, “No one can be my disciple except that he give up all of his possessions.”[17] He wasn’t lying, though it’s really about giving it up in your heart, be ready and willing to leave anything behind for Christ’s sake. 

Ask God for the faith to trust Him to provide all your needs.  We need not fear.   Many calamities are coming, but they are not going to harm the righteous, those that love God.[18]

If you love God, then you obey His commandments.[19] Are you obedient?  Are you righteous?  Are you dwelling in the secret place?  When we are saved, the Holy Spirit dwells in us with the goal of producing the life of Christ in us.  The righteousness of Christ is supposed to be seen in our lives.  We’re supposed to become more and more like Him every day.[20]

There is a narrow path that leads to salvation—eternity with the Father.[21] Jesus leads us on the path.  We have to follow Him.  “He leads me on the path of righteousness.”[22] He leads us into righteousness.  We must walk in righteousness if we want the end of that Scripture to be true: “…and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”[23]

We can’t do what’s right, or live righteously, by our own sheer will power.  But we must choose righteousness.  We make the right choice.  We start to take the first step, but it’s the Spirit in us that makes it possible.[24]

We have to decide to live in obedience — to live for the Father and not for ourselves.  We have to die to self.[25] It is the opposite of what much of the church has been teaching.  We are often told God wants us to be rich and to have our “best life now.”  No, God wants us dead!  We can’t have true life until our old life is gone.  Dying to self is the only way to live for God.  We have to make the choice a hundred times a day to choose what God wants instead of what we want.[26]

What does that mean?  Turn off the television; read your Bible.  Get out of bed; pray.  Don’t buy that coffee/chocolate/snacks…; buy dinner for someone in need. These are just examples. You and the Lord can work in your heart to see where self is getting in the way of selfless love. And ultimately, be ready to refuse the mark and give up your life and die physically in order to live for Him.

Don’t be fooled.  It does not matter how many little salvation prayers you have prayed.  You cannot take the mark and live in heaven.[27] You cannot deny Christ and be accepted by the Father.[28] Read the Scriptures with your eyes open and see the truth.  Choose today whom you will serve.

Continue to Part 4 – Saved

[1] Luke 6:24-25  “But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full.  Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.”

Luke 18:25  “For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Revelation 3:17  “Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,”

[2] Revelation 6:6  And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”

[3] Luke 6:20-21  And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.  “Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

[4] James 2:5  Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

[5] Philippians 4:19  And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

[6] Psalms 78:24  He rained down manna upon them to eat and gave them food from heaven.

[7] Matthew 4:20  Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.

Luke 9:3  And He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece.

[8] Mark 6:41-44  And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food and broke the loaves and He kept giving them to the disciples to set before them; and He divided up the two fish among them all.  They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up twelve full baskets of the broken pieces, and also of the fish.  There were five thousand men who ate the loaves.

[9] Philippians 4:16-17  for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs.  Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.

[10] Act 20:35  “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”

[11] Luke 6:38  “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure–pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”

[12] Matthew 7:11  “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”

[13] Matthew 6:31-34  “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’  For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

[14] 1Timothy 6:10  For the love of money is a root of all evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

[15] Isaiah 58:6-7  “Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke?  Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?”

[16] Mark 10:21  Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

[17] Luke 14:33  “So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.”

[18] Psalms 91:1-16  He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!”  For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper And from the deadly pestilence.  He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.  You will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day; Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.  A thousand may fall at your side And ten thousand at your right hand, But it shall not approach you.  You will only look on with your eyes And see the recompense of the wicked.  For you have made the LORD, my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place.  No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent.   For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways.  They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone.  You will tread upon the lion and cobra, The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.  “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.  He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.  With a long life I will satisfy him And let him see My salvation.”

[19] John 14:15  “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

[20] 2Corinthians 3:18  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

[21] Matthew 7:14  “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

[22] Psalms 23:3  He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

[23] Psalms 23:6  Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

[24] Romans 8:4  so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

[25] Matthew 16:25  “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

[26] Matthew 16:24  Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”

[27] Revelation 14:11  “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”

Revelation 20:4  Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

[28] Matthew 10:33  “But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.”