Ezekiel 33:30-33 (31)
Covetousness might be called “the sin that is most ignored.” The tenth commandment is the one that is normally skipped. Charles Haddon Spurgeon said of the thousands he had seen saved he never heard someone say they were saved from the sin of covetousness. LaSalle was a famous priest of the middle ages and he said this sin was never confessed to him.
The old Jewish saying that we are born into this world with hands grasping after everything we can obtain, but when we die our hands are wide open, with nothing in them understood the problem correctly.
A story is told of a peasant who murmured to a giant landholder of the unfairness of it all. Knowing the nature of men, the landholder promised to give the peasant all the land he could walk around in a whole day. The peasant, greedily trying to take in all the area possible, overexerted himself and dropped with a heart attack and died. He ended up with nothing.
Covetousness is a Debasing sin—it’ll turn you into someone else. (1 Timothy 6:9-10) It is a Deceiving Sin—usually the covetous person doesn’t recognize their problem. (1 Thessalonians 2:5) It is a Damning Sin—one to take seriously! (Ephesians 5:5)
By Dr. Gayle Woods
Luke 12:22-28 (24)
There are times when it feels like we are in a pressure cooker situation. The lid is sealed. Life’s situation is heating up. The pressure is becoming unbearable.
The Word of God reminds us repeatedly that God will never leave us or forsake us. He is with us in our times of stress. Psalm 46:1 says it all. ”God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” The Hebrew word for “trouble” in this verse means “pressed in.” We might say that the Psalmist was “between a rock & a hard place.” “He was up a creek without a paddle.”
When Martin Luther was surrounded by enemies he read this Psalm and then wrote the great hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” He saw the tremendous power of God as “a bulwark never failing.”
Elvis Presley, a man who seemed to have it all, once said, “I would give a million dollars for one week of peace.” He recorded a song that probably described his life;”All Shook Up.” “I am all shook up,” he sang.
Our world is in the blender of sin. Nations are in an uproar. We face economic crisis. We pillow our heads at night with memories of the news of hatred, division and strife. But is spite of this we can stand under the shelter of the Almighty. Regardless of what happens in the world there is still the strength, power and might of God. We can always look confidently to Him to supply our need.
By Dr. Gayle Woods
John 5:19-23 (21)
In the last days of the Civil War, the Confederate capital, Richmond, Virginia, fell to the Union army. Abraham Lincoln insisted on visiting the city. Even though no one knew he was coming, slaves recognized him immediately and thronged around him. He had liberated them by the Emancipation Proclamation, and now Lincoln’s army had set them free. According to Admiral David Porter, an eyewitness, Lincoln spoke to the crowd which had gather around him: “My poor friends, you are free—free as air. You can cast off the name of slave and trample upon it … . Liberty is your birthright.”
But Lincoln also warned them not to abuse their freedom. “Let the world see that you merit [your freedom],” Lincoln said, “Don’t let your joy carry you into excesses. Learn the laws and obey them.” (“Bloody Times: The Funeral of Abraham Lincoln and the Manhunt for Jefferson Davis,” by James L. Swanson, p24.)
In like manner, when Jesus forgives us for our sins He strikes off the manacles of sin’s slavery. We are free, yes, free indeed! We are brought from death to life in Him. The paradox of freedom, however, is that it can open up the possibility of re-enslavement. Freedom in Christ doesn’t give us license to sin. It is not freedom to disobey. It is freedom to learn, love, and live for Him.
by Dr. Gayle Woods