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My Middle Class Problem

January 17, 2010

James 5:1-6

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you. (New King James Version)

Wow!  Bam!! Between the eyes.  The world tells me that being rich is cool and to be yearned for. And that is a massive issue.  A recent survey of school students asked what they desired most in life, rather than world peace, good health or an amazing walk with Jesus, a vast majority answered, ‘to be rich and famous.’ My big massive challenge is working out what is inherited attitude from the world and then replacing it with God attitude.  As Romans 12: 2 states: Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

And money for me is a biggy.  As good middle class stock, deeply ingrained in me is the idea that I am to earn as much as I can towards being comfortable.  A nice house, car and savings are the basic requirements towards a comfortable life.  Comfort is the middle class expectation.  But is it biblical?  Is yearning after lots of possessions a God attitude?  Is seeking to be comfortable the right motivation in life?

What would happen if I set aside the idol of middle class comfort and looked at the world from a perspective where caring for the poor and destitute was more important, where serving those struggling became a priority?

My middle class comfort is like a shield against the poverty and pain around me, keeping me apathetic and mostly unaffected.  My possessions keep me separate from the sad state of life for so many in the world.

So what do I do?

I have to do a lot more than write a cheque, I think its time I actually experienced some of this poverty first hand.  Remove the comfort shield and allow the reality of poverty to hit home.  God will take care of the rest.

Lord change my heart, give me an experience that changes me, make this real. Lord I am willing and ready, show me your will Lord.  Amen.

God bless,

Rev Mark

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73 Comments
  1. Patsy Bond permalink

    BAM!!!! That is the best way to describe it, for me too! I think I whine to much also.

  2. Michael Cook permalink

    Wow Pastor Mark! Did you really have to go there. Okay I understand we are not to seek after riches but seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these other things will be added, but are you saying we need to experience physical poverty to really know Jesus? Help me out here. I don’t want to miss Jesus like the rich young ruler did, but can’t I do more for the kingdom is I have money to give? The gospel requires resources doesn’t it? Lot to pray on here. Lord I ask you to search my heart and reveal to me where my true love lies. I confess that I have loved the world and the things of the world way to much in my life. But I think my heart is for you Lord! And if that is not really the case, then Lord help me to make the change necessary to be worthy of you in all things. Amen!….Really I’m just saying Help me Jesus! I can’t get there on my own. I need you to help me be what you are calling me to be!

    Peace everybody!

    • Mike permalink

      Its not about being poor, rather being generous with the money that is given to us. I encourage people to give more money than you feel comfortable giving. God is a provider, and He loves taking care of us. Everybody needs to find the real sense of security, God.

  3. There are two competing ways of getting to the Solution of the “Middle Class Problem”, i.e., money to meet our basic requirements of comfortable life. The choice is between giving priority to the following:

    1) MONEY or
    2) The KINGDOM OF GOD, in terms of knowing firsthand who Jesus Christ is: possible as it is the great omission in Christianity (John 8: 21-28; 14: 15-21; 19: 30-37).

    The former is monocultural with high risks from moths, rust, and robbers. The latter is risk-free and multicultural with a miraculous guarantee for getting “all the other things” (Matt. 6: 5-34).

    The Scriptures are full of real-life case stories.

    • Sister Pam OP permalink

      I couldn’t agree more. Yet, when a suggestion is made within my church to give more to further the Kingdom, the response is to not do that because “we must be good stewards of our money.” That is the same as saying, go bury your money. I have not learned how to counter this mindset since scriptural references have no impact on those who bury the treasure given to them by God.

      • “We must be good stewards of our mony” is right! Our church and kingdom are misnomers anyway. Strictly during the time of the ministry of Jesus Christ, there was no need at all for money. Insatiable needs set in with corruption of the teaching to “another gospel”, “another Jesus”, the “apostate church” and a nominal “kingdom” with which many do not be part of. Do not blame them.

  4. janet permalink

    I understand where you are coming from but are you not judging also? what if all one can do at this present time is send a check?

    • Who is judging –me or …?

    • Sister Pam OP permalink

      Writing checks is good. Someone must support the mission or the great commission. We are each part of the Body of Christ. One supports the other. As for seeing the world around us, all we have to do is look, not turn aside. There are hurting people all around us.

      • If the mission or the great commission needs our support, it is not Christ’s but ours. The terms of reference and the content have changed significantly. That’s for sure.

  5. Kathy permalink

    We have gone from rags to riches to rags again and I have found out that having to rely on God is more important because it gives you a chance to know a part of his character that I may have never known, any other way. He is my Jehovah Jeriah! My provider.

  6. Philip permalink

    Rev. Mark, I want you to know that I really enjoy every morning waking up & opening up my emails to find your daily writings that you send out on the internet. I read what you have to say, and let your thoughts sink deeply into my mind, and think seriously of what you have said, & I really appreciate every word. They inspire me a whole lot. You are such a wonderful person of God.
    Rev. Mark, I have a question. I am in a great need of some financial assistance;as I am possibly facing an upcoming eviction from my apartment. Is there possibly anyone in your ministry that would be willing to donate to me a monetary gift to assist me? I am very embarrassed to even ask, but I have exhausted all of my available possibilities where I live. Please get back to me on this. All I would need is $500.00. Thank you very much; & God bless you in your ministry.

  7. Shannon permalink

    Alot to make you think about, for sure. I do not think that we are all called to live in poverty, but rather to be good stewards of the provisions that God makes for us. I definitely do not need a big house, fancy car, and expensive clothes and trinkets, BUT I do need to make a living so I can raise my family. At present, my priorities lie in a Christian education for my 3 school-aged kids and also my husband is a full-time student in the special education field. I work full-time and make a good living. I am blessed by God and recognize that my abilities to do my job and the money I make comes from Him. My purposes in making money are for His glory and He occasionally awards me a little trinket. I do believe that it is all in attitude and understanding of where our “riches” come from, who they REALLY belong to, and are we “in touch” with WHO provides and WHAT He wants us to do with it for His purposes.

    I do not think that at this time in my life I have been called to live in poverty, but in humility and in service to the Lord. If and when He calls me there, I will follow. As Paul says in Phil 4:11 and 12, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances….know how to live in humble means and prosperity…” (paraphrase mine), so the key is to focus on the Lord and to hear His voice and follow His lead for your life.

  8. Reynolds Bond permalink

    The only thing that I have difficulty with in this reflection is the fact that I really want a family, meaning a husband and children. Does this passage request that I not seek to be able to provide for my children the best that I can? Can’t I have a viable relationship with God and still be able to live a life without hunger? I know the concept that riches lead to conceit and gold begins to take precedence over God, and that is the real issue, right? If you’re living a comfortable life FOR God and THROUGH God… does that work out the same way?

    • FOOD FOR THOUGHT

      “I am an old man now; I have lived a long time, but I have never seen a good man abandoned by the LORD or his children begging for food.” Ps. 37:25

    • Brian permalink

      NO. It doesn’t need to workout the same. remember “all things are possible with God!”
      YES , It is very hard for a rich person not to trust in riches but with an open heart for Jesus as Messiah, the right heart for God and His kingdom, God will get glory from the resources He blesses us with!

      • REBUTTAL

        Jesus as the Messiah (with a defining moment) requires a discerning heart but not an open (gullible) heart.

        Neither does the God of glory receive an iota from our resources!

    • Sister Pam OP permalink

      The passage is not about living destitute as a tribute to God. It is about the excess, the fat cats, those who put treasures first and God second. What most of us need is a simple life with family and friends reaching out to those less fortunate. That is a great way to raise children.

  9. Larry permalink

    Our God is a God of love. We are told to pick up our cross and Follow Jesus. He said to take His yoke upon you, the burden was easy. With the way society is people are often side tracked by things of this world. Jobs, recreation… you name it comes between us and seving God. We are told to seek the kingdom first then all these things would be added. It may not be added in this life… but is that how we treat God? That we would only do something to get a return? God has already given far and above anything we could even imagine to do ourself. Do we not desire to do things just to please him? He said if we do something for a child of His we are doing it for Him. Lord help me to keep focused on you. Keep me in your love. Let me do things that would please you. That you would look down on your child with a smile.

  10. pauline permalink

    i believe the lord has give me my health and strength to go and do an honest days work to provide for my family we don’t have a lot but the lord provides for us he also made it possible for me to do his work in Africa this is what opened my eye’s people who have nothing and praising god and thanking the lord for what little they have

  11. Michael permalink

    there is nothing wrong with being rich …idol is the key word

    • Sister Pam OP permalink

      That is true Michael, but as Jesus said it is very difficult for a rich man to get into heaven. I do not know many wealthy people, but the few I know are not kind, generous people. Greed is often a way that people become wealthy. The people who support the mission I participate in are the middle class, not those with great wealth.

  12. Mary permalink

    Michael you are right…there’s nothing wrong with being rich with money…it is how we use it…if we have and do not help others…or if we, like the rich young ruler, are not willing to give it all up for the Lord…

  13. Lucy permalink

    We live paycheck to paycheck, we always tithe, give donations when we can, and in the last 2 years, really learned to trust in the Lord. As I have stated before, “Through Christ, all things are possible.” He is the one that provides for us…

  14. It is only stuff,God does not mind us having stuff,but will draw the line to stuff having us.It is what we are willing to do with our stuff.Do we share?are we willing to part with any or all our stuff if called to do so ?God first and stuff second and that is a no brainer.Thank you Mark

  15. sue permalink

    I have always believed that it was not in God’s plan for me to be wealthy or i would never have come to know Him

  16. Stacy permalink

    And I would think in the midst of the horrific things going on in Haiti we should really be examining our lives!!!
    AMEN

    • Sister Pam OP permalink

      I agree Stacy. I challenge everyone who reads this blog to give in whatever way possible.

  17. aria wright permalink

    hi, im aria and im 13 i think that being rich isnt wrong. its wrong when things are more important than GOD or when u spend more time with things than GOD

  18. yea & amen—finally a great article that is truth & thought provoking—we cannot worship God & idols—over & over again i read in the Word how God rewards those who diligently seek Him—seek Him first & he will let us know how to give to all those in need—thank yu rev mark for sharing more insight for these difficult days we face in the Body—{08—<3

  19. Tirzah Marie permalink

    my God this is beautiful. in this process may you get your wife and children ready for the change because their hearts may not be as strong and eager as yours. so daily you remind and talk to them about what is to come or when it comes what is happening and why it is ok.

  20. Praise God! That is such a rich scripture today. I have found it necessary to volunteer my time with veterans that are homeless and in adddictions helping them to find a way out. I thank God for steering me in this direction for it is a passion of mine. Why? Because I barely escaped being homeless but found myself in an addiction that if not by the grace of God, it could have stolen my life.

    • marty permalink

      I would love to help veterans Amanda. I’m a veteran served in the Navy for 12 years. Thanks for what you do.

  21. Michele permalink

    I have always been poor. But the day I let the Lord into my heart, I became rich. This scripture is so fitting for today as my sister and I were just talking about the men in our lives and their need for more money, more possessions, etc. We need to lift them up in prayer in this. Praise God for saving me and guiding me into His light.

  22. marty permalink

    Thank-you Pastor Mark this came when I needed to hear it. With the way the economy is right now I have been afraid of not having enough. Then I hear of soooo many people losing their jobs and barely making it and I thank GOD for all that I have. I know in my heart I need to do so much more for others. Please show me how dear Lord.

    • Brian permalink

      Amen! This blog certainly has helped for this truth to hit home. It reminds me our life is hidden in Christ! That means our necessities for living too!
      We need to look to Him in all things, follow His heart to love all men and freely give as we freely receive. I think many of us know that we need to do more for others. God show us more ways we can give!

  23. Mark—this is a beautiful post. My husband and I have been discussing this so much lately as we prepare to adopt a Russian orphan with Down syndrome, how we just cannot cling to this “right” to acquire and hoarde when God’s people are suffering around the world. What right do I have to my upper-middle class comfort when every day, people are hungry and hurting?

    Thank you for this post, & blessings as God leads you!

  24. Judy Young permalink

    I have just spent the weekend at an Anglican Benedictine Monastry…as a guest. I had a wonderful weekend, and I learned a lot about how they live.
    Once they join the Monastry, they give all their wealth and possessions to either their family or the Church. The day they enter they even give up their clothes and take on the habit. All weekend I examined them, watching how they lived.
    They had very little? or did they? They had no burdens, no worries with money, no worries with what they look like (clothes), no worries with what people thought of them (status). Hospitality, whenever someone comes to stay they share their home, their food and their love… giving hospitality as if it was Christ himself staying with them. By the end of the weekend, I felt they had the better life than me!!! What a wonderful life they life!!! I dont know if i could live like them, but it certainly made me think about my way of life compared to theirs. I am now praying and asking God to show me how to live a life that is more fulfilling.

    • Sister Pam OP permalink

      They are truly free for they are not owned by possessions.

  25. been rich and been poor… as you know, we are now living by faith and trusting in God to provide – and He does, sometimes we have to wait till the last minute, but He always does! Keep up ur great work, Mark… The Scriptures are there to make those who are comfortable, uncomfortable and those who are uncomfortable, comfortable…

    Be blessed and be holy, peeps!

  26. I will supply all your needs according to my riches in GLORY
    If you belong to him surly he will guide you, If you get out of line he will chastise you until you yield. Thank GOD for the things you have, That shows you know him. You will be with him throughout all etirnity. I think you are right where GOD
    wants you to be.

  27. This has been our ongoing prayer for the last year. We got married and left our more than comfortable 150k combined incomes and careers to answer our Lord’s call to ministry. Off we went to work in the restaurant business as servers to pave the way for ministry but the road has and will be much longer than we had planned as he refines us for his plans. The road has left us both jobless, homeless (living with the parents) and we sold most of our posessions, all the while fighting for our right for comfort. It is so hard to escape the wordly ideals even among Christians. Last night as I was awake most of the night thinking about what we would do about health insurance/savings/retirement if we are in the restaurant business for the next 10 years and with our first child due to arrive in June. I awoke to this blog posting this morning and found peace. I thought of all the missionary families living in third world conditions, how they have abandoned the middle class notion and the worldly values. Every day we must wake up and surrender to his will and be willing to live our lives as he calls us, what he calls us to. We deserve nothing, everything we have is his blessing, pure grace and mercy. So as crazy as it sounds, how strong the internal struggle is do we really need that 3rd bedroom for an office, that second car etc.?

  28. What is James talking about, The last days started at Pennicost, So lots of people have made their money GOD
    They have never called on GOD for anything in their life.
    Their trust is in SELF. I have read of people in life that were christians that were rich, They done big things for the cause of GOD, the more they done the richer they became. It’s
    how much can GOD trust you with.
    Oh GOD dont make me so poor that I might need to beg bread, Or so rich that I might Blaspheme the name of GOD.
    Give me the things that are convenant for me.
    That about all the things I have, He couldn’t trust me with more. May the LORD be blessed forever.

  29. I am in agreement with brother Robert above. Becoming poor is not the only way to bring “experience” to my understanding or to build my “wells of compassion” for the less than fortunate. Our lot in life is just as much a part of God’s design as is our understanding. Not everyone will be rich because it is not His will for all to be rich. Jesus said, ” the poor you will have with you always”. He did not say become one he said to “draw near”.

    Robert makes an important implied statement and that is “to whom much is given, much is required”. Tithing is not reserve for those who can. It is a part of the covenant promises of God that obedience aligns everyone to have the “windows of heaven opened to recieve more than we can contain”. This is more than philosophy…it is the Word of our God. Can God trust us? This is where relationship meets with expectation. To be rich is to be responsible and yet needy. Needing the power of God to do what is right and not abandon our responsibility to mankind not just to our “own kind”.

    Blessings always

  30. Lynn permalink

    i was asked if i woul like to be rich and i answered no because you see a lot of rich people who are sad and take their own lives. i want just what i need to get and to bless others. i was asked if i wanted to be sucessful and i answered yes.i was asked what sucess meant to me and i answered making a positive difference in anothers life. amen

  31. Thanks Rev Mark. I believe the word of God on this totally. My prayer is that God will grant us wisdom to manage this information from his word. We must not set our affection on materialism. Collossians 3:1-3. Nevertheless, we are not called to desire or cherish poverty, poverty is a mark of Godlessness if it persists. Deuteronomy 8:18 . Be blessed.

  32. Sue Weir permalink

    I know when my husband was living and both of us were working, we had most everything we wanted. Money in the bank, savings account, IRAs toward retirement, material possessions. However, most of my time was spent at work. It was only after we both got sick and had to claim disability, that we found a happier time. When that happened, we had nothing to fall back on, no extra money, just each other and God. We had more time for God. I have a much closer walk with God now that I did when we had more possessions. My husband has since died, but I must admit that I am glad that God saw fit to take me from my work environment because if He hadn’t, I would never have forgiven myself. I do believe that God works in mysterious ways and our ways are not always His ways. Praise God for opening my eyes. I have more now by having less!!!!

  33. Teresa Current permalink

    “I am an old man now; I have lived a long time, but I have never seen a good man abandoned by the LORD or his children begging for food.” Ps. 37:25
    What an awesome promise!!

    Nicely said Shannon.

  34. Ernie permalink

    Interesting posting that makes one reflect on how our God is an all powerful and sovereign God. I am not where I am because I chose to be here, but because God allowed it, being it middle or lower class.
    As I seek Gods’ wisdom in his word, I realize that James references to richness based on corruption may not apply to those who are called by him, ho reap what they saw in the Lord. The bible is filled with stories of men who God prospered so they would prosper others. Abraham was given much so he could give much, David, Joseph, Noah, etc. In Matthews 25, Jesus Himself, speaks of this law of sawing and reaping in one of the many ways in which the word of God presents it. God gives us all different talents so that we can plant them for his Kingdom. A man who seeks the Kingdom first will have all things added on to him, according to God’s plan and will, so that he can bless others, including his family. A man, who like in James, on the other hand, makes money his idol, as Jesus cautions in Matthew 6:24, may not know what the Kingdom is, and though may prosper in the world at the expense of others’ suffering, his richness will never be enough. God does not call us all to poverty, he call us to prosper, but in line with his plan for us.
    At the same time, a man who, like Abraham believes God and follows his plan for him, will be able to bless those who he employs, those whom he gives to, and those whom he work to help. Recently, with the Earthquake in Haiti, we are reminded that we have a role to play with whatever God has given us to help whether with, money, food, or talents, and most importantly with the word of God. For this live is temporary, but the live in Him who called us according to his will is eternal.

  35. Eufemia permalink

    Pastor Brown
    Thanks for this devotional.

  36. Almost three years ago, my husband and I separated from ministry in a denomination that provided housing, retirement, salary, and advancement because of spiritual differences. One day we had a four bedroom house with a two car garage to being homeless. It appeared to the world that we were fools for not staying and being quiet. But when we surrendered to God, He took over. A place was supplied for us to live and we had enough money to live through my husband’s last year of seminary. We opened a small ministry in a very dark community. We have continued to struggle and at times have wanted to quit, but God is so much more faithful than we. Our ministry building was closed this week due to extreme plumbing issues. So we went to a pastor friend’s church–guess what the message was–it all about God and me and together we are a majority. At the end of the service, the pastor asked to pray for us in our struggles. As he finished, I heard God say, “Pray for him.” As I did others gathered around and we lifted the roof with our voices and our praise to God. We agreed it sure is fun to make the devil squirm!

  37. ferdie permalink

    ..a reflection on james 5…the saying is true, for where your treasure is there will be your heart also…that’s why Jesus admonish us this, to guard our hearts, and in able to do this, as you said in Rom 12:2 …changing the way you think, meaning “repentance”. a person will never change unless he repents…i think there is no problem with riches coz it is really the will of God for us to be bless, and that we could be a channel of blessing to other people… but the problem is, if the love of money will dwell in our hearts, it is the root of all evil..(1 tim 6:10)…GODBLESS!!!

  38. Taylor permalink

    What I love about your reflections are that you are revealing to us the struggles you face. I, too, can get caught up in being comfortable. But a lot of the time, following God isn’t comfortable. You have things to give up. Sending a check can be so easy. But actually experiencing suffering, going into the midst of the hard stuff and actually ministering is a challenge. I believe that that is what God calls us to do.

    I don’t think that you’re being judgemental or anything. This is what God is showing to you. Be strong in the Lord and NEVER give up hope!!

  39. Taylor permalink

    PS:

  40. LuAnn Joseph permalink

    I didn’t find a Yahwah yarn today. Did I miss something?

  41. Lydia Reyes permalink

    Thank you, God for all that you are. I am nothing without you. I can give because you are the giver of all that I have. All that I am, All that I have belongs to you. Help me always to follow you. There is nothing I desire that compares with you. I pray for the country of Haiti. For healing, comfort , restoration. May all those there feel your presence in thier lives and know that you are the true God to serve. May your people come to thier aid with thier Time, Talent and Treasures. Prepare our hearts to doing your will. All things are possible with your guilding light upon us. I ask this in the name of your precious son, JESUS

  42. elodie M. permalink

    There is nothing wrong about being”honestly rich”,the problem is “WHAT DO POSSESSIONS REALLY MEAN TO YOU”.Are u willing to give money for the advancement of God’s kingdom?(do u tithe?) Does money raise ur pride? Do u share with the needy?Are u obssessed by the idea of getting rich(to have money at all costs)?Do u really understand that what u possess is a gift from God and do u also understand what are God’s plans for ur money?Can money controll u?Are u psychologically ready to abandon ur riches once God will call you back to Heavens? Money itself is not bad, but its up to the possessor to make it something beautiful before God by using it wisely as a blessing

  43. josi permalink

    God bless you MARK. I have being brought in very poor condition, but it has taught me to fully trust in GOD. Since GOD is going to bless me with much, am going to do more to the poor than myself. I thank God for the many who are ready to help the needy in our society. its anoble calling.

  44. Just want to say all that you have was given to you by God and His wish for you as stated in 3rd John vs 2 is to Prosper and be in health.

    God does not frown at being rich as we can see in the entire bible,from Abraham through to Christ cos the bible said a dice had to be casted for Christ coat,to show its worth and value.

    What God frowns at, is refusal to use the wealth he has given you to fulfill His will and using it to oppress the poor rather than using it for the furtherance of the gosple and meeting the needs of those who look up to you for help.

    Besides if you are in poverty,you will wonder if God is there and cares for you.

  45. Speaking as a pastor that is in the middle class and reading your comments and what the Bible says, I can’t help but think that would it really be good for us to be poor? To be a part of the issue? I am not sure that the scripture is telling us that God wants everyone to be poor finacially. Maybe spiritually? Even if we keep it worldly, how would that be a light to the world? I do think we are to take care of the poor, there is no doubt about that, but how do we do that when we are? Again, I believe that what God’s Word is refering to is a spiritual poorness. The spiritual poor need God always. The spiritual middle class on need God when things get a little rough, and those who think they are Spritaully rich never need God. They just buy what they think they need to fill that empty spot within them. Love the post, keep up the good work, or what I really mean is keep up the God work. God bless.

  46. michael crider permalink

    I must agree, this one hit home. Before returning to the Lord my priorities were money and my own satisfaction and comfort. Now! after resurrendering after 30 years of a life of destruction and self seeking for anyway to get ahead in this world to make life better for just me and my family I have changed. By the leading of the Spirit, digging in deep to the word, and many sincere prayers to our Father, I have a brand new set of priorities! I now yearn to be more Like Christ, which is a whole new character and people do notice this change. Since I gave up my old self and took on the new self through Jesus the blessings have poured in. Strange miracles have happened. Most important to me is that I no longer worry about what I have or will have, because I always have exactly what I need. Our Father is faithful to us and provides for us. I thank you for your blog and pray that you are blessed abundantly.

  47. Connie permalink

    James warns us not to be self-centered in our wealth. This is a lifetime battle I have been facing. For the last few years I have been asking God to help me overcome this evil. Now, instead of striving for wealth, I strive to help others. God is constantly helping me overcome selfishness day to day. I have a long way to go. It is a consistent battle between my will to be wealthy (middle class) and Satin encouraging me to do so. Nothing is too powerful for God, and He seed to it that my needs are met. I am beginning to except this more and more each day. You see, I am on a fixed income. The blessing to getting closer to God is that just in time, God sees to it that all of my bills and needs are met.
    I love your prayer Mark: Lord change my heart, give me an experience that changes me, and make this real. Lord I am willing and ready, show me your will Lord. Amen.
    I will use it on a daily basis. 

  48. Thats so true, many do not know the life of those living in poverty. It’s experiencing it that counts, and actually seeing it. Many have trouble with knowing what the world brings them other than money and riches. This was yet another inspirational one Rev. Mark. Thank you.

  49. Anne permalink

    I loved your prayer at the end of this post… i have prayed like that myself at times… and found it to be a very so-called dangerous prayer. Dangerous in that God took me up on it. And it was a much rougher ride than i would ever have embraced… yet… it was as wonderful a result for my walk as i could have asked for. I thank God that He doesn’t give us more than we can handle, with Him.

    I once heard someone preach about homeless families, and how we as beleivers should get outside of our comfort zones and invite some of these people into our homes. About how we should not be so caught up in our views, our fears, and that we should welcome these people in. the preacher went on for some time about this… i just listened. Living with another family is a difficult thing, and in many ways, that isn’t really the blessing from God the family in need needs. Sure, it would give them a roof, a place to stay. But staying with another family always feels temporary, and one is constantly reminded that it is not ones own home, etc, no matter how hard the host family tries. It’s just the nature of it- everytime you look around you see other people’s stuff, etc. I found myself critical of this preacher, because although his idea was right, he was still very limited in his own thinking. If he really wanted to get outside of the box, he should purchase a home for them, pay the mortgage, and let them live there rent free. Now that would meet the families needs. Now that is the kind of giving from the heart that really corrects the heart, that really cuts out ones pride. That really challenges us to be cheerful givers- when the taxes come due, when there is major maintenance… when your own life changes and you groan under the weight of that mortgage plus your own, and all your other bills… now that breeds character! Now that’s taking care of the poor and needy…

    It makes me think of the scripture about it being easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. How does one pare down the camel, so that it can fit? Well… i think this might just be one way…

  50. Becki permalink

    Wow thats quite a request! Be careful what you pray for. You are a very brave man. I once prayed that the Lord would show me what hell was really like so that I would be so horrified that I would pray for everyone not to go there. I’m glad He has not answered it! (I think)

  51. mick permalink

    Rev, I have been thinking of attending seminary school, and after reading your blog I wonder if it will answer the questions that I have, as you are still asking those same questions yourself…

    Nearly all the values that make us successful and popular in our society are in complete opposition to the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. I have said this before, in the west we are among the richest 15% of people on this earth, even when we have no money, we still have access to education, healthcare, work etc. our society will offer a safety net to meet our short term needs when things go bad.

    Along with that our society in the west puts so much value on real estate that it becomes a life long struggle for most of us to earn enough money to pay the mortgage so that our families have somewhere to live, then when we get old we need to sell our homes to support us in the residential care home because our families cannot care for us because they are are too busy earning money to pay their own mortgage.

    Real estate should not be a commodity that is traded and speculated on, it is the land that grows our food and the land where our homes are built. As it stands the cost and value of our homes become so precious that acquiring it and maintaining it becomes an obsession. This makes giving the homeless affordable housing a massive task and the conservatives among us might not agree with such a christian idea.

    The scene is set, in this culture, it is nigh on impossible to realise how rich we are without coveting material possessions. It is indeed difficult to dispense with them too as they were so hard to come by, and when we do, we are totally free but also totally unprotected from the slings and arrows of modern living. We just don’t fit in.

    Our materialistc culture is actually killing people on the other side of the globe, thousands of families are being turned out of their homes in Cambodia to make way for plantations and mines, 40% of the land mass has been sold to multinational corporations, people who resist giving up their homes are beaten and sometimes murdered. It is being done for us so we can spend and buy and feel good about ourselves. We all have blood on our hands.

    I am still trying to avoid getting trapped in the western materialistic culture, but it is hugely contagious when I ride my bicycle through the city in the rain and snow, I get passed by the people who have “made it” in their nice cars. I must pray to God for courage, that I do not want to buy the house and the car and be owned or defined by what I have. Its easy to feel worthless when we choose to go against the flow, for otherwise, who are we if we have nothing?

    • Only the truly “live in the Lord” have what it takes to keep purposefully going against the flow of the world. PTL!

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