A Fool and His Money

A FOOL AND HIS MONEY WAS SOON PARTED!
(Luke 12:15-21)

Misers are miserable. The greedy are the real spiritually needy. (Think about Mr. Scrooge at Christmastime.) Think also about the man in this parable that Jesus told. Notice:

I. HIS PROSPERITY (v. 15-17) “The ground of a certain rich man…”

1. His bondage to covetousness (v. 15)
2. His bountiful crops (v. 16)
3. His boastful comments (v. 17)

II. HIS PLANS (v. 18, 19) “I will”

1. I will pull down my barns.
2. I will build greater barns.
3. I will store up produce.
4. I will have many goods saved up for many years.
5. I will eat, drink, and be merry.
Man’s prosperity is sometimes the major cause of his adversity.

III. HIS PUNISHMENT (v. 20) “but God said unto him ‘This night your soul will be required then’…”

1. The position of a fool.
2. The pain of sudden death.
3. The plight of losing it all.
4. The place of divine judgment.

This is the example Jesus gave of how a “fool” and his money was “soon parted.” It was a case of “Sudden Death.” Actually God said, “Tonight’s the night.” “Turn out the lights…the party’s over.” Someone ask, “How much money did he leave?” The answer is, “He left it all!”

Riches are sometimes deceitful. This rich man (and most others) would have thought that he was financially “cool,” but Jesus said that he was a financial “fool!” His covetous greed was a curse indeed! His wealth cost him his health. His money made him miserable. His great gain…brought him grief and pain.
The “love of money is a root of ALL KINDS of evil” and it is also a “kind” of evil in itself. Covetousness (greed) is idolatry (Eph. 5:5; Col. 3:5). The greedy already have a “god” which is money/possessions! A lot of rich men are robbers! (Mal. 3:8-19). A statement I have heard often is: He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep…in order to gain what he cannot cannot lose! If we rob God when it comes to our gold…it can cost us riches untold!

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For THE LOVE OF MONEY IS A ROOT OF ALL KINDS OF EVIL, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.11 But you, O man of God, FLEE THESE THINGS and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. (1 Timothy 6:9-11).

Having said that, we need to be reminded that God gives us riches for us to “enjoy” and therefore we should not feel guilty for “having and enjoying our money/possessions.” But if our money “has us” then there is a problem. If we trust in our riches…God cannot trust us with His riches! One thing is certain…riches are uncertain!

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to TRUST IN UNCERTAIN RICHES but in the living God, who GIVES US RICHLY ALL THINGS TO ENJOY (1 Timothy 6:17).

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but LAY UP FOR YOURSELVES TREASURES IN HEAVEN, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Matthew 6:19-20).

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. YOU CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MONEY (Matthew 6:24, ESV).

Wayne Dunaway
gandpministries.org

A Yearning Desire…A Burning Fire

A Yearning Desire and a Burning Fire

The starting point of all achievement is desire. Desire is the first step toward winning souls, building up the body of Christ and doing the will of God in our own lives. There is fire in desire. Merely “wishing” will not get the job done. It takes a yearning desire (a craving, longing for, and seeking after what we want with our whole being). When God’s people “sought him with their whole desire” then “he was found of them” (2 Chron. 15:15, KJV). David was a “man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22). Why? It was because he desired the presence of the Lord. He wrote, “One thing I have desired of the Lord…that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life” (Ps. 27:4). The “desire of our soul” must be for God (Isa. 26:8). His “words are more to be desired than gold, yea, than much fine gold” (Ps. 19:10). We must “desire the pure milk of the word” (1 Peter 2:1). And when our relationship with Him is as it should be, based on what He has taught us in His word, He will create in us a burning fire for the salvation of others. He will help us to fulfill His will for our lives if that is truly the yearning desire in our hearts. Listen to the prophet Jeremiah,

Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, Nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a BURNING FIRE Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not (Jer. 20:9).

Consider also the following verse:

“Trust in the Lord and do good. Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the DESIRES of your heart (Ps. 37:3-4).

When we have a yearning desire in our hearts for His word, it will create a burning fire in our hearts for His work.

Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).

Wayne Dunaway
https://gandpministries.wordpress.com/

E S P and A B C

E S P & A B C

According to the preacher, there is “a time to love” (Ecc. 3:8). In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Paul records a list of love’s characteristics:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, IT KEEPS NO RECORD OF WRONGS. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

I wrote a poem a few years ago that many married couples with a mate (husband or wife) who just cannot keep the checkbook balanced might relate to:

MY WIFE AND THE CHECKBOOK

My wife she kept the checkbook…one month when I was gone,
Each night I’d ask her about it…when I called her on the phone.

She’d say, “Now don’t you worry…everything’s exactly right.
I balance the stupid checkbook…each and every night.”

When I got home to see her…I was pleasantly surprised to see,
The checkbook was in balance…just like she had told me.

But then I happened to notice…it was as plain as it could be,
She had written all over the checkbook…the letters E S P.

When I finally asked her about it…a big smile came on her face,
“When the checkbook would not balance,” she said…”There must be an Error Some Place.”

In all our relationships there is always “Error Some Place.” But love does not keep a “record of wrongs” (1 Cor. 13:5, NIV) and “covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8). This is why married couples make it and friendships last and believers get along.

This statement about “love” can also remind us that “God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8) and because of the blood of Jesus our “sins are covered” (Rom. 4:7). When God takes a close look at the “checkbook” of our Christian lives He sees a lot of E S P (Error Some Place), but He also sees that Jesus has written “A B C” over each error (Already Been Covered).

“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.” (Psalm 32:1-2, NIV).

David was a man who could make this statement from the arms of experience. He had felt the deep cleansing power of God’s forgiveness. Paul quotes this Psalm in Romans chapter 4 to show that in Christ, these words apply to us.

All who are in Christ, loving Him and trusting Him, should know the reality of the fact that our sins (past, present, and future) are covered by the blood of Jesus. The Christian is “blessed” by forgiveness and this should be “stressed” by us in order to help relieve some of the “stress” in us. Joy comes from accepting the forgiveness of the Lord. The sins “covered by the blood” will never be counted against the believer. The wonder working power in the blood of Jesus involves total and complete forgiveness of all sin.
What a powerful truth to know that no matter what our life has been like, God is always ready and willing to forgive. And the reason is because Christ died for us. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7). Forgiveness is something we all need, and God’s grace has provided it. The throne of God is a fountain of forgiveness for the sin-stained soul (Zech. 13:1). We must believe that God’s grace is real, and we must take Him at His word when He says that He has forgiven us in Christ. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9).

David also says, “Blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin” (Rom. 4:8, ESV). All of us sin out of weakness, ignorance, and error (we all have a lot of ESP—Error Some Place) but if we are in Christ, those sins/errors are continually cleansed by His blood (1 John 1:7). In Christ we stand faultless—absolutely perfect—before God (Col. 1:28). As sanctified believers we are “perfected forever” because of God’s “covenant” with Christ and therefore with us, so He will not remember our sins, lawless acts, and spiritual errors (Heb. 10:14, 17).

Blessed is the one “in whose spirit is no deceit.” This too points to the working of God in us and what He has done for us. God’s forgiveness, leading to our faultlessness, should certainly lead to our faithfulness. Those who have been forgiven should be diligent to express appreciation to God by living lives that glorify Him. In view of God’s mercy toward us, we should offer our lives to God (Rom. 12:1-2).

Words cannot really describe the wonders of God’s amazing grace. He is always ready to forgive the one who will trust and obey His Son. According to James 3:2 all Christians have a lot of E S P (Error Some Place), but God’s message of mercy to us is as simple as A B C (Already Been Covered).

Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).

Wayne Dunaway
gandpministries.org

Sweethearts Are Not Always "Sweet"

SWEETHEARTS ARE NOT ALWAYS “SWEET”

Patsey and I celebrated our 48th Valentine’s Day on February 14, 2017. We have been “Sweethearts” for over 48 years. But we all need to know, realize, and admit that Sweethearts are not always SWEET. “Sweetheart” sounds good, but that is not the way it is all of the time. Not very many, if any, of us actually “live happily ever afterward.” There are very few “Cinderella” stories in real life.

Pat is my sweetheart and my very best friend. She is my companion and the love of my life. But she is not always sweet (bless her heart) and, of course, neither am I. Sometimes I’ve wondered why she is still with me – especially the way I was right after we first got married and before I became a Christian. (When we were younger she would sometimes call me “handsome.” But now, the only time she even uses the word is when she wants money and then she will say, “Hand some over”). Seriously, it might help a lot of people if Christians simply told the truth about marriage and the ups and downs that are present in all marital relationships including those involving the most dedicated Christians.

Sometimes people have asked me questions like, “Do you and Pat ever fuss?” “Do you ever argue?” “Do you have disagreements?” “Do you ever get mad and lose your temper?” Then I usually think to myself, “What kind of stupid question is that?” Of course we do—about any number of things! We don’t agree on how to drive a car. We don’t always agree on how to treat our children. We don’t always agree on how and when to spend our money. We don’t always agree on when or how to have sex. In fact, we won’t agree on whether or not I should write this article and send it out!
(By the way, if it makes you feel better, you can refer to these disagreements and arguments as “lively discussions.”)

But someone says, “But, Wayne, you are a preacher!” What exactly does that have to do with anything? I am a man married to a woman! And, believe it or not, there is a big difference in the way we see a lot of things. I do not have to read a book about planets (Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus) to know that married couples are “far apart” in the way they think, reason, and feel. We all need to realize that the “honeymoon” does not last for any of us. (The “honeymoon” will, sooner or later, turn into “honey do’s.” At first, when she wakes up, it’s: “Lo the dawn.” But, after a year or two, when she wakes up, it’s: “Mow the lawn.” In other words, things change after we are married.)

People get all excited when they first get married. They go into the marriage looking for the Ideal, find that it is an Ordeal, and too many start looking for a New Deal. I read somewhere that marriage is about three “rings.” First, there is Engagement RING. Next, there is the Wedding RING. Then, there is the suffeRING. And there is some truth to that in every marriage at times. I am reminded of the words of a song I heard Waylon Jennings sing:

It was a picture perfect wedding
We had the whole world at our feet
Everyone thought we were heading
Down some lovers easy street
We’d have a house out in the country
A picket fence the whole nine yards
They said our love would last forever
It was written in the stars
Wrong! I should have known it all along
When the future looks too bright
Can’t be anything but right
Wrong!

The song is right. If you think that married life is always traveling “down some lovers’ easy street” or it “can’t be anything but right,” then you are “Wrong!” Life is no storybook. I know that deep down some of us think of Cinderella and Prince Charming riding off into the sunset. But in real life it does not happen. And, sad to say, for some the Disney fairy tale ends up being more like a horror movie. Thankfully, it is not that bad for most of us, but we still need to face the fact that marriage is not for the faint of heart. Sweethearts are not always “sweet.” But the good thing is: they do not have to be! There are no perfect people and there are no perfect marriages. It takes commitment to make a marriage work. Therefore being willing to keep the commitment we make to each other is really what makes one a “Sweetheart” long term.

All of us who are married should consider two things. First, we need to be honest about how far short we all fall. There are no perfect marriages because there are no perfect people. We can put on our “happy faces” at church and pretend that we aren’t sinners who fail, but this does no one any good. Second, we need to remember that, although we are not all that we should be as husbands and wives all the time, if we are following Christ, we are not what we once were and can be. We should focus on getting better and improving our relationships. If we believe what the Bible says, then God’s ideal for a good marriage is not a fairy tale. It is our goal, our ambition, our desire.

“Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her (Eph. 5:25). Wives are to ‘love their husbands” (Titus 2:4).The key to a successful marriage commitment is commitment to Christ. We have the Bible to guide us and we have the “gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38) to “strengthen us” (Eph. 3:16) and to help us as we seek to do the Lord’s will in our marriages and in our Christian lives (Eph. 5:17).

The Bible does not teach us to “just accept that there are no happy marriages.” The Bible teaches us that there is something better. Marriage is a picture to the world of Christ and His relationship to the church (Eph. 5:31-32). That fact alone should motivate us all to seek to have successful, happy marriages–to the glory of God.

So, while admitting that I am not the husband I should be all the time, I have to believe that I am better than I was and can get better, if I allow the Spirit of Christ and His word to work in my life. So, be honest with where you are, and always depend upon God to help you do better both in your marriage and in life.

Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).

Wayne Dunaway
gandpministries.org

The Game Show Network and Church Autonomy

The Game Show Network and Church Autonomy
One of the greatest blessings that God has given us in the Church of Christ is autonomy. Our autonomy provides us with a tremendous advantage over some other religious groups. The privilege that we have in each congregation to take our Bibles and believe and practice what we understand it to teach is both thrilling and freeing. Not being governed by any outside group or hierarchy is a blessing that we far too often take for granted. Jesus is the head of each local church and that is it. Therefore, no outside person, church, group, paper, or school has any kind of “control” over the local church. I do not have to believe everything other churches believe, nor do I have to practice everything other churches practice in order to please God and be a faithful member of His church. There can be and are differences in the way we understand/interpret certain passages of scripture as has been proven over and over and over again. Cultural differences, worship preferences, background, and a host of other matters make each congregation unique. We all enjoy “fellowship in Christ” in spite of the many and various differences that may exist among us. In my judgment the “Restoration Plea,” especially as it was practiced in the beginning, is still the best thing going in our religious world today. Each congregation seeking to go back to Bible and to the “church” that Jesus built as revealed in the New Testament has to be the right thing to do.
But we must all realize that, like all other families or groups, there will be disagreements, dissension, and sometimes divisions among us. We can all be united in our “purpose” (loving Jesus and the church), but we have never had and never will have unity in all of our “perceptions” as to exactly how that is done in all cases. Therefore, we need to understand that all of us are “baptized believers” and are in “fellowship” with Christ and each other simply because we are “in Christ.” If you are “in Christ” and I am “in Christ” we have fellowship in that relationship in spite of the other issues and differences that we may have. Anyone who has studied the New Testament knows that there were serious doctrinal differences on any number of issues in the early church for various reasons and for extended periods of time.  For example, the believers in Corinth were experiencing all kind of difficulties in both doctrine and practice. Yet Paul said to them, “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor. 1:9). There were numerous errors and misunderstandings among them at the time Paul made that statement. (And if one thinks that the Corinthians read Paul’s letter one time and then all of them just “straightened it all out”—they have never preached to or been around our people for very long.) It takes time, patience, compassion, and understanding in dealing with others in the Church (Eph. 4:1-4).
But what does this have to do with the “Game Show Network?” Simply this, God has promised to save the church and I am “In It to Win It.” In spite of all of our differences, I believe that we are all in the family which presents us with a lot of “American Bible Challenges” that may sometimes seem more like we are in a “Family Feud” than in the Father’s family. But we all have our “Baggage” (errors and sins) and, thankfully, most of us are “Smarter Than a 5thGrader.” I know of course that there are, and always have been, a few who want to “police” the movement and turn us all into a “Dog Eat Dog” brotherhood and that can sometimes cause a “Chain Reaction” for some of their followers who might not think for themselves. But in most cases our people know that it is impossible to “Catch 21” every time (be right about everything) without getting beat or going busted. And remember, because of our congregational as well as our personal autonomy, I only speak for me and where I am. Others in the church are free to follow what they believe is right and do what they think is best. As for me, I will believe and seek to follow the Bible as I understand it at any given point in time regardless of what others think, say, teach, or believe, and regardless of where it may lead or what I myself may have taught previously. I am not like those in the “Newlywed Game” who are just now starting in this relationship.  I have been committed to Christ and the church for over forty-four years and I have no intention of changing. After all, what could be better than going back to the Bible and learning what God teaches about the church before there was any denominational bias including the sectarian concept of “Church of Christ-ism” that exists in the minds of some of our own people?
Wayne Dunaway
gandpministries.org

ohatcheechurchofchrist.org

BRINGING OUT THE BEST

In the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15, Jesus taught some revealing lessons about the nature of God. One of the things that Jesus did for us is to reveal to us what God is like. One of the ways He did this is by telling earthly stories with heavenly/spiritual meanings. That is what He did in this parable.

One of the main things that this parable teaches us is what God thinks of sinners who come to him. He “runs” out to meet them. Then He “brings out the best” for them and changes them for the better. When the Prodigal came home the father said to his servants, “Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet and bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry” (Lk. 15:22-23). The father brought out the best for a son who was unholy, unworthy, and undeserving. God, our Heavenly Father, has done the same for us. Think about it:

HE BRINGS OUT THE BEST TO US –God gives us everything we have. He gives us “life, breath, and all things” (Acts 17:25). He gives us “richly all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17). He gives us “every good and perfect gift” (James 1:17). We owe God for every aspect of our existence. But the greatest gift He ever gave to us is His Son. The best gift of all was given when God sent his Son to die for us. “Unto us a…son is given” (Isa. 9:6). This was Isaiah’s way of presenting the truth found in the most familiar verse in the Bible: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” (John 3:16). He brought out the best of Heaven and gave Him to us. God came running to us in the Person of His Son. He brought out the best to us.

HE BRINGS OUT THE BEST FOR US – Because God brought out the best to us, He also brings out the best for us. The Prodigal Son was dressed in a robe and blessed with a ring. He had a garment and an ornament. The father did for the Prodigal what the Prodigal could not do for himself. He extended forgiveness, freely and fully. There was no interrogation, no investigation, and no aggravation. He needed no explanation. All he needed to know was that his boy came home. This illustrates how God accepts us where we are when we come to him. It does not matter how horrible the sins, how many the “hog pens,” or how long it has been. He is always ready to run to forgive us and favor us with His presence, pardon, provision, and peace. All we have to do is come. And we can come just like the song says, “Just as I am without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me.” Christ became for us “wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30). Therefore He brings out the best for us.

HE BRINGS OUT THE BEST IN US – The Prodigal had a robe and ring and a heart made to sing. The Bible says “they (including the son) began to be merry” (Lk. 15:24). He had a garment and an ornament to help him forget about his past predicament. The Prodigal was given a new life. He was dressed and blessed and given his father’s best. The same is true with us. God brought out the best to us and He brought out the best for us, so that He could bring out the best in us. It is God who works in us “both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). He is “working in” us the things that are “well pleasing in His sight” (Heb. 13:20). We are “being transformed” by the “Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18) and are “being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16).

The Prodigal was blessed because his father brought out the best to him (his father’s presence). The Prodigal was blessed because his father brought out the best for him (his father’s provision). The Prodigal was blessed because his father brought out the best in him (his father’s peace). And our Father brings out the best in us.

With these thoughts in mind, read Isaiah 61:10 which states:

“I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” We can say that He is “my God,” because He has brought the best to us (His presence). We can say that He has “clothed me with garments of salvation” and “a robe of righteousness” because He has brought out the best for us (His provision). Therefore, we can say, “I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices” because He brings out the best inus (His peace).

Thank God for Jesus!

Wayne Dunaway

ohatcheechurchofchrist.org