Silver and Gold

Ezekiel 7:19 They 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 often dominants peoples thoughts in this world. 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 cardiology there is a condition that presents itself that is occurring far more often than when I first started working in the Cath. Lab 26 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.

The overwhelming stress on people is causing sudden death to those who have no outlet for the pressure they endure.

Luke 21:25-26 And 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 described the signs that will occur in the last days, signs we are seeing occur now.

Fear

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 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 bad people while partaking of gratuitous hedonism. Money 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 much greater than many realize. Stress is a byproduct of fear while anxiety and the drug industry as well as mental health industry have been more prevalent 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.

How are people to react in this age of Covid-19 with wars and rumors of wars forming throughout the world? The warning signs of this age are everywhere; fear of another disease, famine, inflation, 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 3:5-6 Trust 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.”

Who you Trust

In this day of information overload, everyone wants to have answers and yet the reliability of information is skewed. 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.

Psalm 56:3-4 “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?”

David had much reason to fear. From being attacked by a rogue king to nations of people who wanted Israel gone, he had to keep his focus on the Lord. Whether it was in David’s era or in Jesus’ time on earth, there has always been reason to fear.

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.”

  1. 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!”

In foolishness the world brings accusation, and in foolishness they in turn cannot receive truth. Jesus knew what their responses would be so He chose the greater path.

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.

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

Matthew 20:17-19 As 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.”

Even though Jesus knew what to expect, He was not dissuaded from completing His mission. Jesus knew the prophecies, He understood the pain He was going to endure and yet He followed His Father’s will.

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

Matthew 22:15-22 Then 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?” They 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.

4. Jesus encouraged them not to worry about the small stuff!

Matthew 6:33-34 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

The pattern of peace was demonstrated by the Prince of Peace. That which is eternal is the measuring line for life’s 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 we will only 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 world of darkness.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 For 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 promises, 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 1:2-4 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing 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 reach out to a brother or sister in Christ. Let them pray with you and strengthen you. Get connected with other believers, they love you and genuinely care for you, the church is meant to dwell together.

Above all remember: The Lord is always faithful. He will never leave you or forsake you.

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