Silver and Gold

Ezekiel 7:19They will throw their silver into the streets,
And their gold will be like refuse;
Their silver and their gold will not be able to deliver them
In the day of the wrath of the Lord;
They will not satisfy their souls,
Nor fill their stomachs,
Because it became their stumbling block of iniquity.”

Security is a dominant thought in society. Attempting to prepare for ones future is the drive of many financial planners and brokers, storing up wealth for the day of retirement. In the midst of an unstable economy, many financial experts will suggest investing in gold or silver as a safeguard during uncertain times. Uncertainty is the rule of thumb in this day and age. Whether it is financial security, health, or relationships, it all can be a cause for stress and anxiety.

In my field of cardiology (no, I’m not a doctor), we see a condition that presents itself in our patients that is occurring far more often than when I first started working in the Cath. Lab 24 years ago, the condition is called takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy or “Broken Heart Syndrome” is when the heart muscle becomes suddenly stunned or weakened. It mostly occurs following severe emotional or physical stress. We bring these patients into the Lab thinking they are experiencing a heart attack and discover their coronary arteries look normal and yet their heart function looks like they’ve had a massive heart attack.

Why am I giving you a short lesson in the field of cardiology?

Luke 21:25-26And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming upon the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

Jesus was describing in this passage in Luke which signs will occur in the last days. Fear is such a prevalent emotion in our world, it seems there is no end to the things people fear. The movie industry has churned out one horror movie after another, using people’s fear of evil for their greed and their gain. Evil is glorified and given more power and influence than it deserves. Satan is glorified in movies and on T.V., hailed as a soft hearted yet devious gentleman, preying upon the supposedly bad people while partaking of gratuitous hedonism. Money is likewise worshipped on the trading floors at Wall Street to the Casinos of Las Vegas, the appetite for more is insatiable.

Fear has an effect on people in a measure greater than many could know. Stress is a byproduct of fear and anxiety and the drug industry as well as mental health industry have been busier than ever. Depression, suicide (which is at its highest level since 1941), insomnia to name a few, the list goes on with the repercussions of placing hope elsewhere than Christ alone.

What are people to do in this age of Covid-19? There are continuous warning signs; everyone is wearing a mask, the news reports another multitude of cases, elections, famines, and on and on, people have a reason for anxiety. What you place your trust in and where it lies is what separates those living in peace and those in upheaval.

Proverbs 3:5-6Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.”

In this day of information overload, everyone wants to have answers. The problem we are running into is the reliability of information. Video and pictures can be easily manipulated to express a viewpoint rather than relay the true event. Alarmists get ahold of a bit of false news and quickly circulate it before it is denounced as “fake news”, and by the time it is shown to be false, the anxiety it was meant to produce has achieved its intended goal.

What would the response of Jesus be if He were walking among us right now?

We can look at some of the chaos occurring during Jesus’ day and gain some clues…

Isaiah 53:7 “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.”

First: Jesus knew when to speak up and when to be silent. Jesus was being questioned by the Sanhedrin and Pilate for the accusations brought against Him in Matthew 26:62-63 “And the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!”

Matthew 27:11-12Now Jesus stood before the governor. And the governor asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?”Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.” And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing.

Secondly: Jesus knew what His purpose was and was not dissuaded by threats or fear.

Matthew 20:17-19As Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and on the way He said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.”

Thirdly: Jesus did not let Himself get caught up in the ungodly government that was ruling.

Matthew 22:15-22Then the Pharisees went and plotted together how they might trap Him in what He said. And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any. “Tell us then, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? “Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax.” And they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” And hearing this, they were amazed, and leaving Him, they went away.

Fourth: Jesus encouraged them not to worry about the small stuff!

Matthew 6:25-34For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as towhat you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28“And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32“For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33“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.”

The pattern of peace was demonstrated by the Prince of Peace. That which is eternal is the measuring line for life decisions. If we don’t take this measuring rod into consideration then we risk coming to the end of our lives with nothing more to show for it than a collection of stuff that we will just leave behind. We have so many issues we could get wrapped up in, politicians, threats, movements, there are diseases, instability, we have an endless supply of ways to stress out.

Where we have set our minds and placed our trust determines how we will come through this madness.

Jeremiah 29:11-13For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

Remember this promise, remember God has a plan and His plan is good. Remember that no matter how chaotic the world becomes around you, God never changes! His love for you does not diminish simply because you are less than perfect. His plans for you don’t change because you wandered off His path and into trouble. The Lord simply beckons you to come back, repent of your sins, and He welcomes you with open arms.

The steadfast, unchanging nature of a Just and Holy God should give you solace in knowing there is a fixed point of Truth that doesn’t adjust to culture. To hold ourselves up to this measure of Truth is the confidence in knowing Jesus has justified us by His sacrifice and has made us holy.

It is wise to prepare financially for your future, but, if you can’t, if it takes all you have just to survive, you must remember that the Lord our maker has our future in His hands…it is He who supplies us.

One of my favorite books of all time is called Do you believe in miracles? by John Van Diest, it is a compilation of short stories by various authors, that reveal miraculous events in the lives of ordinary people. I’ve read this book to my kids when they were young and handed out a few copies through the years. One such story that stands out took place in the early days of the Dallas Theological Seminary….

The story goes: Shortly after the Dallas Theological Seminary was founded in 1924, it almost had to close. The creditors were about to foreclose at noon on a certain day. Pres. Lewis S. Chafer met with his faculty at the office, praying fervently that God would provide. Present was Dr. Harry Ironside who prayed in his characteristic style: “Lord, we know that the cattle on a thousand hills are Thine. Please sell some of them and send us the money.”Meanwhile, a tall Texas businessman stepped into the seminary business office, saying: “I just sold two carloads of cattle in Fort Worth, but could not make the deal go through. I feel compelled to give the money to the seminary. I don’t care if you need it or not, but here’s the check!” The surprised secretary took the check, and timidly knocked on the door of the prayer meeting. When Dr. Chafer took the check out of her hand, it was for the exact amount of the debt. Turning to Dr. Ironside, Chafer said: “Harry, God sold the cattle!”

This story is in the book and many others like it. The promise that God will remain faithful is not an empty promise, He always remains Faithful.

2 Timothy 2:11-13

“This is a faithful saying:

For if we died with Him,
We shall also live with Him.
If we endure,
We shall also reign with Him.
If we deny Him,
He also will deny us.
If we are faithless,
He remains faithful;
He cannot deny Himself.

For God to remain faithful is a product of His nature. He cannot be unfaithful, it is not in Him. When you understand this principle, you begin to understand how small your circumstances really are. No matter how uncertain your life may be, there is a rock solid certainty in Christ….He Loves You…He gave His life for you….He will not abandon you….no matter what!!!

Don’t allow your health, finances, relationships, failures, or the uncertainty of knowing your future steal your joy. All of these God uses to strengthen you, not dishearten you.

James 1:2-4Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

If you are despondent, if you are even considering suicide or fear has gripped you, please feel free to reach out to me. I’d be happy to pray for you. Get connected to other believers, allow them to strengthen you as well and know…we have a future and a Hope.

The Lord is always faithful.

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