Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Happy New Year - Felix Sit Annus Novus

"And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new", Revelation 21:5.

Seek those things which are above, see Colossians 3:1, and store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, see Matthew 6:20. To be "rich toward God", Luke 12:21, is accordingly when we are concerned with the eternal things of God. Through Jesus all believers have an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance reserved in heaven, see 1 Peter 1:4.

In the New Testament Christians are exhorted to not love the world or anything in the world, see 1 John 2:15, but to look for the "city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God", see Hebrews 11:10. Now then we trust "in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy", 1 Timothy 6:17.

Yes, our God is truly good and great, and gives us richly all things to enjoy.

Our God is even sometimes accused because of His great generosity towards us, but then He answers: "Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?" - see Matthew 20:15. Thus God requires of Christians to have eyes which see what is truly beautiful and bright and precious and God-like. Then God's unexpected blessings to others will be seen in the light of the brightness of God's generosity as a precious treasure indeed.

"Ecce nova facio omnia", Revelation 21:5.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Merry Christmas - Felix Dies Nativitatis

"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people", Luke 1:68.

In the Amplified Bible Proverbs 13:11 reads as following: "Wealth not earned but won in haste or unjustly or from the production of things for vain or detrimental use such riches will dwindle away, but he who gathers little by little will increase his riches". Now we know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, "that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich", 2 Corinthians 8:9.

When Jesus was newborn he was laid in a manger; because there was no room for him in the inn at Bethlehem, see Luke 2:7. But the heavenly angels praised God and said: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men", Luke 2:14. The question this Christmas is thus: do you have room for Jesus? In Revelation 3:20 Jesus Himself says: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me".

God "made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross", Philippians 2:7 - 8.

God's great gift to us is that as many as received Jesus, "to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name", see John 1:12.

"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot", 1 Peter 1:18 - 19.

"In quo habemus redemptionem per sanguinem eius, remissionem peccatorum, secundum divitias gratiae eius", Ephesians 1:7.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Does The New Testament Recommend Gambling?

What does the New Testament really say about gambling?

Actually the New Testament recommends gambling. For instance the Roman soldiers, who crucified Jesus, cast lots for the vesture of Jesus "that the scripture might be fulfilled", see John 19:24.

In the Old Testament people cast lots about almost everything; see for example 1 Chronicles 26:13 - 14, and Nehemiah 10:34. In the New Testament the 11 remaining apostles prayed to Jesus for a new apostle and "gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles", Acts 1:23 - 26. The appointment of responsible persons to important offices should thus be based not on earlier performances, CVs, or such, but essentially by the casting of lots, according to the New Testament. And all under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Thus the New Testament encourages gambling and gambling is accordingly not a sin.

In Proverbs 16:33 in the Old Testament it says: "The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord". There is however wise and unwise gambling. If you have a lot of knowledge concerning a certain football team and you make a bet with this team as a winner against a very poorly performing team you will almost certainly win your bet. But to gamble with more money than you can afford to lose is unwise. And if you win your bet it is also unwise to start to bet on every game that there is, without being almost 100% sure that the teams you bet on actually will win. We have however the freedom of choice, and the Lord said Himself that we always will have the poor with us, see Mark 14:7.

Everything in life involves a gamble. To own a business, to get married, to settle down in a new city, to invest in stocks, and to buy insurance, are all activities which are gambling. I always have a calculator in my pocket in order to calculate upcoming risks with different opportunities. If the outcome of an upcoming event is too risky we should abstain from getting involved. Gambling is not a question of moral or immoral. Gambling is pure business and nothing else. Some people are addicted to gambling and some businesses are going into bancruptcy, but this doesn't mean that business activities in general are evil or that gambling as a whole is unethical.

It is true that "the love of money is the root of all evil", 1 Timothy 6:10. And it is also true that around one third of all millionaire lottery winners end up in poverty. Christians should therefore behave as good stewards, see 1 Peter 4:10, and use property well, see Luke 12:42 - 44, and have great integrity, see 1 Corinthians 4:1 - 2.

"Si Deus pro nobis, quis contra nos?", Romans 8:31.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Jesus Wants Us To Be Both Wealthy And Healthy

"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive", Matthew 21:22.

Yeah, God does exist! "Have faith in God", Mark 11:22. We can have whatever we want. In Mark 11:24 Jesus says: "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them", Mark 11:24.

And do not fear, because Jesus will give us the kingdom, see Luke 12:32. We get whatsoever we ask the Father in the name of Jesus, see John 16:23 - 24. Jesus states furthermore in John 14:14: "If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it". We find however a condition for having our wishes fulfilled in John 15:7 - "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you".

The apostle John wrote: "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth", 3 John 1:2.

Thus God wants us to be rich, and to both have material wealth and good health. Jesus sums up how to achieve this with the following words: "Fear not: believe only", Luke 8:50. In Philippians 4:19 we read: "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus".

Do not forget that: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above", James 1:17, "And the prayer of faith shall save the sick", James 5:15. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much", see James 5:16.

"Non in pane solo vivet homo, sed in omni verbo, quod procedit de ore Dei", Matthew 4:4.