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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.

SOCK IT TO ME BABY!!!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday Message: Success in Life

Ah you're breathing faster
Silence the only sound
There's no need to be nice on the way up
Cos you're not coming down

 
Genesis, Paperlate
 
 
 
Lately I have heard on secular radio a commercial that goes something like:
 
 
"What if there was a way to be prosperous that the banks didn't want you to know... a code in the pages of the Bible?.... Now, Dr. so-and-so, former pastor, will show you this Biblical code..."
 
 
So, is there a Biblical code for success in this life?  You bet there is!  I found it last night when I was reading, and it's based on three very simple principles.
 
#1- Don't Deny...
 
 
We are taught from an early age, there's a right and a wrong way to do things.  But that is way too limiting if you want to get ahead on this earth.  You have a fantastic array of talents and opportunities at your fingertips, and to get ahead, you should use them to the fullest.  Why say no just because, "It wouldn't be right"?  What is it you want?  The next promotion?  Find out who's in line for it and undercut them.  What needs to be done?  Do it no matter what it takes, or better yet, let someone else do it and take the credit!  If you have to bend the rules just a little bit, there's no harm- remember, the next guy is doing it to you.  "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you", the so-called Golden Rule, is not in the Bible... but go get the thing you want, no matter what, is!
 
 
#2- ...Glorify!
 
 
 
Being that nice, humble fellow that everyone likes is nice... if you want to be unnoticed at promotion time.  They call it a promotion because you need to promote yourself!  Substance doesn't matter near as much as style.  Go to any high powered office and tell me what you see.  Is it the dirty fingernailed, hard working blue-collar guy, the frumpy mom working two jobs to make ends meet?  No!  It's the Men's Warehouse clothes horse, the woman off the cover of Esquire with her high heels and plunging neckline.  Anyone can go in a factory and do manual labor.  But it's the one who looks good doing the job that produces nothing a person can take home and actually use that makes all the dough.  Don't believe it?  Who makes the most money?  Men who play games for a living, and the better at self promotion, the fatter the contract;  the men who buy and sell companies for a living, never actually making anything, but selling the value of those who do;  and Oprah Winfrey, and others like her whose only real contribution to society is being famous.  Face it, being hard working, normal, ugly- that blows.  You need to blow your OWN horn.
 
 
#3- Kiss the bosses' butt.
 
 
No matter how high you get, there's always someone higher.  And it's that person who can get you the power you crave.  But they AREN'T going to be impressed with what you have, because they have more.  They AREN'T going to be impressed with how you look, because they look better.  No, the only way to get to them is to TELL them they have more, that they look better, and how impressed you are that they do and how much you want to be like them.  Oh, and one more thing- you have to convince them that THEIR goals, THEIR needs, are more important to you than yours are!  Can you do that, Bunkie?  Well, if you mastered the other two, it should be no problem.
 
 
 
There you have it- the Biblical code for success on this world.  Is it really Biblical?  You bet it is!  Is it from God?
 
 
Well.... there's where the problem comes in.  It IS in the Bible, but it isn't God who says it.  Here, let me show you...
 
 
 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”[a]
Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:
‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’
and,
‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’[b]
Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”[c]
Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you,[d] Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”[e]
 


Gotcha, didn't I?  See, Satan's first temptation to Jesus was, "Cheat to get what you want."  It started with Jesus' hunger- a reasonable enough thing.  We all know you're going to eat once you get back to Galilee... and it's within Your power to "make a snack"... and who's gonna know, and what's it gonna hurt?  But Jesus replied that the things of this Earth aren't the important things; what God wants for us is.

You might say, what about Jacob?  Didn't he cheat to get the birthright, and he prospered... and what about David?  He took advantage of his position to gain Bathsheba... and they were the parents of the wisest man who ever lived, and that worked out okay, right?   Yes Jacob cheated... and as a result he was cheated himself, in that what should have been given to him without price cost him 14 years of hard labor.  And the prize, the woman he loved, was made barren and miserable, and in the end died early.  And David?  He got made a fool of by his own Prophet and lost a baby he prayed day and night for.  He had to fight his own children in order to give the kingdom to the child he loved.  Still sound like such a good deal?

Satan's second temptation always confused me, until I thought about all the work it would have saved Jesus.  None of that travelling on foot and by boat, begging for alms, sleeping "with no place to lay His head".  He could have just set up a throne right there at the Temple and people would have come right to Him- even the Pharisees, who couldn't have denied a troop of angels, after all.  But He replied to Satan, "I have a job to do... and I wish to do it right."

You say, what about Solomon?  He had a throne, a glorious throne, a nation working for him, and he wrote three books of the Bible!  Yes, but look at his life.  He received his wealth from God not because God wanted him to be wealthy- but because he was the wisest man in the world, and it takes a lot for a man that rich to realize he's a fool.  Instead of realizing that God gave him the wealth for it to be his burden, he did what any stupid man would have done with it.  And at the end of his life, he saw that the whole thing was an exercise in vanity, and he would have been better off a simple working man, doing what God had allotted him and enjoying the simple fruits of his labor.


Satan's third temptation was the one with the hook.  There was a price to pay for ultimate power, and that price was to recognize Satan as Boss.  Jesus had a simple answer to that- Get ye hence, only God is boss.  I want you to think here about the story of the Prodigal Son.  Now granted, there are those whose lives they have sealed from God (see the Monday Message a while back), and if they follow the "Biblical Code For Worldly Success", they may well find themselves worldly success.  Remember in Luke 12, there was a rich man who had all that success and all that power, without ever a regret.  Unlike him, the Prodigal still had the lessons his father taught him buried inside.  And eventually, when Satan got tired of trying to "bring him to the dark side", he just took it all away, leaving our hero in a pig troth fighting for corn shucks.  It just doesn't work for the Chosen of God.  If you walk that path, eventually, you will end up at the troth, trying to find the words of repentance.

And the other guy, with no regrets, who wholeheartedly followed the Satan plan?  Eventually, he heard:

But God said unto him, ‘Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee. Then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?’


The results of working for the Kingdom of Heaven are implicit in the name.  The results of working for the kingdoms of earth, on the other hand, I hope I've made apparent.


6 comments:

  1. Just finished writing about the prodigal son, and come here to find you writing about him too! Very good post; truth spoken!

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    1. Thank you ma'am! I may do it with a little more snark, but you have been an inspiration at times.

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  2. I always thought the third temptation (all this I will give you) showed the true nature of the evil one. Since Jesus is Lord, He created the entire universe and all things in it. The evil one couldn't offer to give the Lord anything - it's already belongs to Him.

    The nature of the evil one is to lie, but it is also ignorance. The evil one doesn't know everything - for instance, I don't think the evil one understood who he was really dealing with here - but he does know some things and he'll mix these up with lies to deceive us.

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    1. "- for instance, I don't think the evil one understood who he was really dealing with here -"

      I'd have to say I've never considered that possibility. Though it makes good sense considering. I have been a little stuck on Satan being near as omnipotent as God, and It's only in the last few weeks someone bashed me over the head with the idea he's not.

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  3. When I first started reading this, I was thoroughly confused! But then, I finished the post! Great post and insights.

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    1. Thank you, and nice to hear from you again! It's been a while...

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