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From The Heart

Publish date: 11/12/2006

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."' 14 "And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, 'These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing' -- and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked -- 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.  20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.  Revelation 3:13-20 NKJV

The Lord had to rebuke and chasten the Laodiceans because they were over-confident because of self-deception. They called themselves Christians, but they were only lukewarm. They were not totally cold, but they were definitely not hot. They believed that they were on fire for God and they believed that they had everything they needed. They said, "We are wealthy and rich and we don't need a thing!" but God said to them, "You are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked!" Their trust was in themselves and their own abilities, but God warned them to open their eyes to realize how they needed Him and to repent and turn to Him again, trusting only in Him.

People who trust in money and things as their security are full of fear when they don't have it and over-confident and arrogant when they do have it. People who trust in God are humble people. They appreciate everything God does for them and they pass the blessing along.

I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want. 13 I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency].  Philippians 4:12-13 AMP

Paul tells us that he found the secret of facing every situation – being content no matter what. Paul made a decision to control his feelings and emotions and to keep his eyes on Jesus at all times. When your happiness is based on your circumstances, you will always be an "up and down" Christian, but when your total confidence is in God, and you are not moved by your circumstances, you are able to be joyful ALL the time, no matter what your actual condition. If your total confidence has been in yourself and you now realize this, then you need to repent for your lack of faith and trust in God alone and start to meditate on the scriptures that confirm that Jesus is your ONLY Lord, Provider, and protector.

Come now, you rich [people], weep aloud and lament over the miseries (the woes) that are surely coming upon you. 2 Your abundant wealth has rotted and is ruined, and your [many] garments have become moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver are completely rusted through, and their rust will be testimony against you and it will devour your flesh as if it were fire. You have heaped together treasure for the last days. 4[But] look! [Here are] the wages that you have withheld by fraud from the laborers who have reaped your fields, crying out [for vengeance]; and the cries of the harvesters have come to the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5[Here] on earth you have abandoned yourselves to soft (prodigal) living and to [the pleasures of] self-indulgence and self-gratification. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and have murdered the righteous (innocent man), [while] he offers no resistance to you.  James 5:1-6 AMP

These rich people are also very selfish people. They have not treated their neighbor with the respect that is due them. All through the Bible, the Lord emphasizes our responsibilities toward one another. We are to love God AND love our neighbor – they go hand in hand. These people were not using what they were blessed with to help others – they weren't even paying them what they owed them for their labor! They are confident in their wealth and position, thinking that they can do whatever they want and get away with it. Some people arrogantly think that their wealth is a sign of favor with God, and therefore they do not need to straighten out their attitude. God says that there will be a day of judgment and accountability that no amount of money can avert. It is not a sin to be wealthy, but it is a sin to be arrogant and self-confident!

What should our attitude be? 1 Timothy 6:17-19 AMP tells us, "As for the rich in this world, charge them not to be proud and arrogant and contemptuous of others, nor to set their hopes on uncertain riches, but on God, Who richly and ceaselessly provides us with everything for [our] enjoyment. [Charge them] to do good, to be rich in good works, to be liberal and generous of heart, ready to share [with others], In this way laying up for themselves [the riches that endure forever as] a good foundation for the future, so that they may grasp that which is life indeed."