Tag Archives: possessions

With Friends Like These . . . Job’s Friends and Religious Foolishness (√The Prologue: Chs. 1-3, Part 2)

As we continue our examination of “The Prologue” (Chs. 1-3), the scene shifts dramatically from earth to heaven. The curtain is pulled back as it were and we listen in on a conversation between God and Satan!

II. A Celestial Challenge (1:6-12)

God’s messengers, spirit beings called angels, report to the Lord and He singles out Satan for a challenge. Asking him, “Where have you come from?”, God requires the devil to give an accounting of his activities. Satan’s response is: “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth in it.” (v. 7). We are reminded of Peter’s declaration of the devil that we are to “be alert and of sober mind [because our] enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (I Peter 5:8).

Ours is no stationary adversary. He roams, he prowls, he’s looking for his next meal! Amazingly the Lord does not say to Satan, “Stop it! Stop your roaming!” No, the Lord issues a challenge to the devil: “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” (v. 8).

What an endorsement of Job’s character! These words are the same as those which introduced the book, that Job was “blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.” (v. 1). Again we are reminded that whatever calamities eventually come Job’s way, they are not punishment for his sins.

But Satan does not cower in the presence of the Almighty. His retort to God is: “Does Job fear God for nothing?” (v. 9). He explains Job’s godliness by a kind of quid pro quo argument (something for something else). “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.” (v. 10).

This demonic accusation — that Job’s loyalty is conditional upon God’s blessing — evilly focuses upon God’s goodness toward His servant. God’s “hedge” has provided protection for Job, his family, and his many possessions. God’s blessing has been the bribe God used to keep Job loyal and godly.

And Satan is not finished with his debate with the Lord. He next issues a challenge to God: “But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” (v. 11). Satan wants God to do the striking. Satan wants God to be cursed by Job.

But Satan is not in charge, even if he acts like he is. The Lord’s response to Satan’s assault is: “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” (v. 12). Satan is a real and powerful adversary. But he is not God. And God gives him permission to remove Job’s possessions. However, the devil is commanded not to lay a finger on Job himself. How will a poverty-stricken Job respond to his upcoming loss of all things?

Satan wastes no time in carrying out his God-allowed attack on Job and his wealth. We read that he “went out from the presence of the Lord.” (v. 12).

This first challenge from the devil should give pause to all who have swallowed the health and wealth gospel nonsense. Is the Lord obligated to materially bless His servants? Are riches a definitive proof of God’s blessing? Should one be loyal to the Lord in order to receive prosperity? What about when that wealth wastes away or is violently removed?



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Posted by on December 11, 2022 in the book of Job


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Bless-ed! 52 Blessings Your Lost Friend Doesn’t Have . . . And What You Can Do About It! (Part 25)

I understand that someone asked a question of John Davison Rockefeller Sr., an American business magnate and philanthropist whose net worth in the early 19th Century was $418 billion, “How much money does a person really need?” And he reportedly answered, “Just a little bit more!”

My friend Mike, who has not yet trusted Christ as his Savior, is fairly wealthy and quite generous. He has plenty of earthly treasures, but as of yet, isn’t storing up treasures in heaven as Jesus teaches (Matt. 6:19-20). I believe it could be said that for many of my unsaved friends —


Money Cash GIFI’m not  saying that my friends are greedy or materialistic, but many of them do lack a biblical perspective on what they own. This is also true of many of us Jesus followers. In a sense, our possessions often possess us.

God’s Word is clear that He is not anti-matter, that what we own isn’t really ours, that things are not to be more valued than people, and that He uses material blessings for His glory. We are stewards not only of His grace but of the gifts He gives to use for Him. Some preachers have said that Jesus taught more about money than He did about heaven. I’ve not checked that out, but He does warn of greed (Lk. 12:15) and Scripture warns of our temptation to esteem others based on their financial status (see James 2).

The Bible provides very specific principles about our possessions. Here are a few: (1) All that we have we have from the Lord (I Cor. 4:7); (2) Even your own life has been bought at the price of Christ’s blood (I Cor. 6:19-20); (3) One’s life and value are not dependent on what one owns (Lk. 12:15); (4) We are to learn to be content in either poverty or material abundance (Phil. 4:11-12); (5) We should be ready to share materially with those in need (Eph. 4:28); (6) Earthly wealth can keep people out of the kingdom of God (Mk. 10); and (7) God is not anti-possessions (Acts 4-5).

How are we to pray for our lost friends? We are not to be selfish or preoccupied with our material possessions, but be willing to share with others. So we pray for ourselves to be good stewards of God’s grace and God’s blessings. And we pray for our lost friends that they would seek the Lord “who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” (I Tim. 6:17).




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Some Musings on Hebrews 13 (Part 4)

As I have often mentioned in this blog, my friend Frank and I have an agreement. We read the same chapter in God’s Word each day for a week and then drop each other a short email about what we have learned. We then move to the next chapter the next week. I describe our modest online Bible study here. You might want to try this with a friend or relative.

We are finishing up our reading of the book of Hebrews. And there is much in this final chapter that I just have to go over with you. Let’s look at the next verse:

Choosing to keep our lives free from the love of money and learning to be content with what we have flow from an understanding of God’s abiding presence with us. He has promised never to leave or forsake us!

Taking that perspective on our lives and our possessions should lead us to make a declaration — a confident declaration: “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (v. 6). question! What can mere mortals do to me? Well, they can rob me of my stuff, but they can’t steal my joy in Jesus. They can swindle me out of my retirement funds, but they can’t bar me from heaven. They can take away my earthly goods, but they can’t separate me from my heavenly Savior.

Today’s Challenge: The antidote to fear is faith in the Lord, in His help, in His abiding and sustaining presence. Be confident today, my friend, not in yourself or your stuff, but in Your Savior!

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Posted by on September 29, 2021 in Hebrews 13


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Some Musings on Hebrews 13 (Part 3)

As I have often mentioned in this blog, my friend Frank and I have an agreement. We read the same chapter in God’s Word each day for a week and then drop each other a short email about what we have learned. We then move to the next chapter the next week. I describe our modest online Bible study here. You might want to try this with a friend or relative.

We are finishing up our reading of the book of Hebrews. And there is much in this final chapter that I just have to go over with you. Let’s look at the next verse:

This is an amazing text! Before we examine it a bit more closely, feel free to click on the play button for 22 seconds of the music group Abba’s perspective!

The verse clearly challenges believers to “keep your lives free from the love of money”! Many people wrongly think that “money is the root of all evil.” That’s not what the Bible says. The passage that is often misquoted is I Timothy 6:10 which says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”  Notice: (1) It is the love of money that is a root of evil. It is not the only root of evil. (2) The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. (3) An eagerness for money has caused some to wander from the faith and to pierce themselves with many griefs!

How about one more audio clip emphasizing the acquiring of money?  This one is from the Beatles in 1963!

We are to “keep our lives free from the love of money”! Why? Because true contentment comes from recognizing God’s abiding presence with us! Money will vanish. Possessions will break or be stolen or get lost. But God’s promise of His never leaving us should be our anchor and assurance. And that’s what we should want!

Today’s Challenge: How do you look at money? Is it a tool to do the will of God and to enjoy the good gifts that He gives? Praise Him for His abiding presence with us — whether we are materially blessed . . . or not!

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Posted by on September 27, 2021 in Hebrews 13


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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Fulfillment)

“How much money does a person need?”, someone once asked one of the world’s richest men. “Just a little bit more” was his response. We were never created to have our emptiness filled with the things of this world. We can appreciate the things of this world without expecting them to give us meaning and fulfillment.  That’s God’s job!

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Posted by on September 28, 2020 in Calvin & Hobbes


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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Possessions)

Walt Whitman wrote: “I think I could turn to live with animals. They are so placid, so self contained. I stand and look at them long and long. They do not sweat and whine about their condition; They do not lay awake in the dark and weep for their sins; They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God. Not one is dissatisfied; not one is demented with the mania of owning things; not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago; not one is respectable, or unhappy over the whole earth.” (I Think I Could Turn And Live With Animals…)

What parts of that quote would you challenge?

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Posted by on August 26, 2020 in Calvin & Hobbes


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Time for a Great Commercial: “Gotta Have It!”

In Luke 12, Jesus says, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (v. 15).  Your possessions are not you!

In Matthew 6 Jesus says, 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Your thoughts?



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Posted by on November 22, 2016 in possessions


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John Ortberg on What You Treasure Most!

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Posted by on November 14, 2016 in treasures


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Time for a Great Cartoon: Getting and Having

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 9.13.35 PM

What insight Watterson has on the human condition! In our consumeristic culture, we are constantly bombarded with the message of GETTING.

Jesus said that a man’s life does not consist in what he HAS. We are of far more value than our possessions or our assets. The God who has “richly given us all things to enjoy” warns us not to put our hope in uncertain riches, but in God (I Tim. 6).

How do you look at your possessions? In 2003 we lost virtually everything we owned when our house burned down. A few things survived (such as our wedding album), but a malfunctioning attic fan started the fire that could have killed my family of four and our daughter-in-law.

As Corrie Ten Boom once said, ““Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.”

Your comments?

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Posted by on July 8, 2016 in materialism


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Seven Lessons for Suffering Saints (a study of Hebrews): Part 4

Our church has been going throughthe book of Hebrews.  Screenshot 2015-12-11 05.49.35My assignment was the question, “What do we learn about suffering from this book?”  You can access that message here:

.  In part 1, we saw Principle #1- The Lord Jesus suffered the worst life can bring — DEATH! (2:9).  We then asked the question, “How dare I ever feel that Jesus can’t understand my suffering?”

In our second installment we saw Principle #2 – God used suffering to perfect the Pioneer of our salvation! (2:10).  There we read, “In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.”  We then asked the question, “How dare I resist His using suffering to perfect me?!”

Screenshot 2015-12-16 06.10.35The third principle we saw in the book of Hebrews was simply this: Principle #3:  Remembering our sufferings brings believers together to support & encourage each other! This principle comes out of Hebrews, chapter 10:  “32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.”  The question we asked was: How dare I waste my suffering by forgetting the past or not standing with those suffering in the present?!

The fourth principle from the book of Hebrews on suffering is this:  Principle #4: Experiencing loss focuses our longing on the next life’s better and lasting possessions! (10:34)  In that verse we read, You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.”  The question we asked was: “How dare I allow myself to be captivated by this world’s stuff?!”  We are not saying that having stuff is wrong for the believer.  Possessions are fine.  The challenge is that I shouldn’t let my possessions possess me!

I’ve been working my way through a very helpful book entitled Becoming Worldly Saints: Screenshot 2015-12-16 07.03.50Can You Serve Jesus and Still Enjoy Your Life? by Michael Wittmer.  It’s so good that I’ve asked to teach it in a series of Sunday School lessons in our church.  Did you catch that last statement?  I asked to teach a Sunday School class!

Unlike some other books that seem to say we shouldn’t enjoy anything in this life, and sacrifice all comfort for Christ, Wittmer’s book gives us a balanced view, including the concept from I Timothy 6 that “God has richly given us all things to enjoy.”  Here’s one quote:  “We must love God more than the world, yet if we truly love God, we will also love the world, on his behalf. God matters more than the world, but because he loves it, the world now matters.” 

Your thoughts?

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Posted by on December 27, 2015 in suffering


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