Obsession With Possessions!

I had a hard time finding a name for an incident that I came across one morning. What could I call it?  Obsession with possessions?  Selfish materialism?  Or maybe just call it greed?  Would I be judging what I had witnessed?  Or perhaps God was purposely revealing something to me and teaching me how to be on the out-look for things which appear valuable, but have no eternal worth.

Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life.” (Romans 8:6)

One morning my dear friend came over and picked me up to go for a walk in a nearby canyon. The day was going to be a hot one, so when we arrived, my friend looked for a shady spot to park her car. At the end of the lot she found one and parked.

image

As we got out of the car, we gathered our bottles of water, our phones and began gearing up for our walk. Suddenly, the voice of a man drew our attention. He was probably in his seventies, and standing next to a vintage Ford Mustang automobile, perhaps a 1967 model. He was carefully polishing the front hood of his car, and we realized that he was talking to us. He said, “Can I ask you something?” We both turned around and said, “Sure!” He said, “Why did you park right next to my car?” We looked at each other with surprise, but responded back calmly and gently, “Because here there is shade?” He said, “There is shade right across the lot too.” He continued, “I always park at the back of parking lots whenever I go anywhere, so that no one will park next to me.” When we pulled in, we were so busy talking that we didn’t even notice him or his shiny blue car. We asked him if he wanted us to move our car. We told him we didn’t mind, in fact, we’d be glad to do it. Our calm response surprised the man – It was like a bucket of cold water washing away his anger. He even seemed to regret saying anything to us. Our pleasant response changed his attitude and he became more at ease.

I thank the prophet Solomon for his words of wisdom!
“A gentle answer turns away madness, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
(Proverb 1:15)

He said, “Don’t bother, it’s okay.” As we started walking away, I said, “Nice car!” He patted it, saying, “This is my baby. This is my girlfriend and my wife. This is my everything.” We laughed and waved goodbye, but my friend and I were dismayed. We discussed the incident as we walked.

I believe there is a reason for everything that happens around us. So I wondered what was God telling us in that very moment. The first thing we noticed was that possessions can make a person become selfish and greedy. The man didn’t want anyone to come near his precious car and didn’t even want to share the surrounding space with anyone! His car was his world. I say this not to pass judgement on him. It was with sadness that I realized he was worshiping an idol.

(Exodus 20:3-5)
“Do not worship any other gods besides me. Do not make idols of any kind, whether in the shape of birds or animals or fish. You must never worship or bow down to them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not share your affection with any other god!”

God says in (Matthew 6:24)
“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.”

My friend and I believe that God revealed something to all three of us that day. This man who invested so much of his time and energy into material things, had unexpectedly taught us something important. We learned that attaching ourselves to material things robs us of our relationship with God and others. It was apparent that idol worship (or in this case, auto worship) caused this man to stay away from forming relationships, even possibly a relationship with God. I pray that God spoke to the man’s heart through this experience and our reaction toward him.

It is unfortunate when we grasp onto worldly things, even though we know that when we die, we will take with us only our dignity, name, and love.

When I got home that day, I opened the Bible to see what it says about obsession. Did Jesus say, “Go ahead and store up stuff on earth?” No!  He said that life is not about storing up things here on earth. Life is about storing up things in Heaven.
The Bible says, “Don’t store up a bunch of stuff here on Earth where thieves can steal it and rust and moths can destroy it. Store your treasure in Heaven. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:29-21)

That makes sense. Because our lives here on earth are temporary. We are going to spend the eternity in heaven. The things that last forever are the word of God and people.
Here is what I learned from the studies that I took.  How can we store up treasure in heaven?
* Develop a closer walk with God.
* Grow deeper in your faith.
* Focus on serving others, rather than ourselves. Even small acts of service do not go unnoticed by God.

To store up treasure in heaven means to invest in the things which are boundless in the kingdom of God. Our love, generosity and sacrifice of time in order to help others will be highly rewarded in heaven. Next time you encounter a difficult person or situation, look for opportunities to connect and show some love. You might say, “I can’t love a stranger.” God says, “Yes you can.” Showing respect is an act of love. God sees and hears all.

Advertisements

Self-Pity, Guilt, And Fear!

How would you describe the depth of your character, the real you?  How do you react when you’re under pressure?  You might be surprised to see what comes to the surface in those moments.

Those who faithfully understand that God has best interest at heart will turn to Him in time of trouble. When pressure comes and life squeezes them, prayers will come out of their mouths. Unfortunately, those who indulge themselves in self-pity, anger and bitterness, unable to see God at work in the circumstances of their lives. And they have a different response. Whenever the pressure of life squeezes them, unpleasant actions and words come out, causing more pain for themselves and others around them. They don’t realize their actions and words damage their character and their relationships.

If you are like me, you will relate to this: Whenever I face suffering, I have a propensity to cry out to God. I move through the pain, letting God’s favor (His word) surround me.
Some days I was too tired physically, mentally and emotionally to deal with my or anyone else’s problems. I wasn’t looking for a trouble-free life; I know that life has setbacks and God uses them to grow us into the people He created us to be. We all face trials and conflicts in our lives from time to time. Life doesn’t always go as smoothly as we wish. We all know, to withstand difficulty in our lives, we must go through it. We can’t force healing. It takes time. But as far as me all I could do was to asked God on those moments “Please God, my Lord, take these problems and conflicts from my hand. I do not want to deal with it!!!”

Yet God was allowing those times of self-pity to make me realize how much I needed Him to shed His light on my direction. He was cleansing me from within, ridding me of that which wasn’t His.

The Lord says: “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30)

I pray that when I face unfortunate circumstances, I do not lose my focus on God. And I hope that under any pressure, prayer would be the first thing to come from my lips, and my words and actions would be directed by God. As I already see His shield of protection.

God already knew what was bothering me. He knew what was bringing me down to a place of self-pity. If I kept dwelling in my own misery, it was going to take me deeper and deeper, eventually making very hard to emerge from the hole dug by my own unpleasant thoughts. It was a dangerous place to be. Instead, I needed to lift up my eyes to heaven with a simple prayer.

“Help me, Lord my God; save me according to your unfailing love.” ( Psalm 109:26)

I said, “No” to self-pity and guilt, I chose to not travel that route. I continued praying, telling God everything that was troubling me. As I confessed and repented, I felt a heavy load lift from my heart. Wow! It was a miracle. Guilt, regret and fear were gone, just like that! When you pray earnestly from the depth of your heart with passion and with faith in the Lord, you will experience His power and glory. That is His promise.

image

This is my prayer always; “Change me from within, my desires and heart, make them like yours, O Lord.” In your precious name I pray; Amen!

I hide His word in my heart now, as a shield to protect me, that I might not sin against God. They are now a part of me, they are my prayers – inspired words with which I can praise God, ask Him to meet my needs and then end my prayer with gratitude and thankfulness. The bible inspired prayer verbalizes God’s promises, which we can receive by faith. It’s almost as if some of the verses have become my lifeline. But no, Jesus is my lifeline. God hears Jesus’ prayers because He is Himself the Word of God. He is the prayer. He is the one who is sitting at the right hand side of God and advocating on our behalf.

“Let your eyes look right on [with fixed purpose], and let your gaze be straight before you.” (Proverbs 4: 25)

I’m praying for you dear reader, that you may have the urge to hide God’s word in your heart, and He may cover you with his shield of protections. Amen!