[anzac] #2 -"The FIGHT AGAINST MAMMON"

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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2006 13:11:50 -0500
PART 2 - "The FIGHT AGAINST MAMMON"
-by Marc White.

It has often struck me lately that with the advent of electronic
media, email, and all the other modern marvels, we now have a
responsibility second to none. We affluent folks have the ability to
see the poverty and injustices in the whole world. What, therefore,
is the command to help?

1 John 3:16-17~
"We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we
ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the
world's goods, and sees his BROTHER in need and closes his
heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?"

The rhetorical answer is we don’t love God if we bypass the
obvious need in lieu of our comfort and convenience. One billion
people in the world (3 times the population of the USA) live on $1
a day or less. How much is that cup of coffee we buy on the way
to work? Two billion others live on $750 a year or less. Why do
we need a closet full of clothes when our brethren in Asia only
have the clothes on their back?

I once visited with a pastor and his wife in central Russia for an
afternoon. They were most generous with their meager food
supplies, and the sausage and bread tasted like a banquet. Their
income was $25 a month, or $1 a day.

We’re so quick to quote the “Love Chapter” of 1 Corinthians 13.
And a wonderful passage it is. But look at how Paul frames the
ultimate sacrifice:

1 Cor. 13:3~
"And if I give ALL MY POSSESSIONS TO FEED THE POOR, and
if I SURRENDER MY BODY TO BE BURNED, but do not have
love, it profits me nothing."

If you’re like me, you’ve probably encountered numerous saints
who have made all sorts of theological gyrations to get around,
under, or through the plain meaning. Notice he said is WAS the
ultimate sacrifice to give ALL possessions and/or our very life. But
the method must be in love. And if in love, it profits GREATLY.
That’s his point, I believe. Let us not miss it, or we miss the life of
Jesus, and perhaps eternity. Remember, he who seeks to save his life….

And Jesus Himself once again gives a general command to all his followers:

Luke 12:33-34~
"SELL YOUR POSSESSIONS AND GIVE TO CHARITY; make
yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing
treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys.
"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Next, we begin a story of how this is flushed out day by day by
those of us living in affluent places, or even poor places where
poor people can be every bit as covetous as the rich. We don’t
want to succumb to the poverty of affluence. Only by His amazing
grace will any of us make it through the needle’s eye.

STORY of a MODERN FAMILY

"Money and love are mutually exclusive. Where mammon rules,
the possessive will is stronger than the will to community... Jesus,
the prince of life, declared war on this spirit, and we must declare
war on it too. When our inmost eye has been opened to his light…
we can no longer accumulate property. We will turn our backs on
everything present and live instead for freedom, unity, and peace."

Jordan Hogan read the quote for the third time, swallowing hard,
wondering to himself if it was just him who felt butterflies in his
stomach over this article. I'm certain, he mused, that this is the
work of the Holy Spirit. I'm dying to know what Kristie is feeling.

Kristie, his wife, was really the instigator of this most holy work of
God. She had been reading a series of Christian articles entitled
"The Fight Against Mammon" that were given to her by a
disgruntled fellow saint in her home group that actually despised
these writings. The articles proclaimed that the love of money was
so widespread in the assemblies of Jesus in the west that this
demonic influence must be broken for ordinary people to truly love
Jesus and inherit His kingdom. Kristie had been gripped in her
heart of hearts because the articles described both her and
Jordan, her husband of 15 years. And she was the one who
broached the subject with her husband, and had left the articles in
conspicuous places around their lavish home in hope he would
read them. Her prayer was answered. But now, it became more
than she bargained for with her heavenly Father.

Jordan was even under more conviction than Kristie, it appeared.
They were having very spirited discussions on what to do with all
their stuff, their investments, their newer vehicles, even their fancy
home that they had fooled themselves into believing they'd use it
for real "ministry" to the poor. Their talks were often turning into
arguments as Jordan was now ready for action, a bold action he
declared to his wife.

They both were troubled over the last few years of their faith walk
that the fruit in their lives was minuscule. There was an emptiness
and lack of joy in their hearts that they had valiantly tried to fill with
many, many things. Home school activities for their children Seth,
age 12, and Ashley, age 9, didn't cut it. Their recent entrance into
small group home ministry in the lat to years soon proved to be
Christianity "light" with almost all participants talking about
themselves, their "ministries," and even sensing a void of
fellowship around how to serve the crippled, lame, poor, blind,
widows, orphans, and prisoners. Jordan even picked up an
acrostic to help him remember all the categories of the "least of
these." It was called the "CLPB – WOP," pronounced Clipped Whop.

Kristie tried the local church ladies group, taking Ashley with her.
But, alas and alack. Ashley had befriended a couple of people as
only the younger children can do. Her salvation in the last year
was real to all around her, and even her parents now knew that
there was something more to the Way than just a Sunday
meeting, a Wednesday night home group, and a ladies group
once a month. Ashley was asking to spend time with Quisha, a
young black girl she had met at a hotel pool a few miles away
while her cousins were in town. Not only that, but Quisha
introduced the family to her dirt-poor Grandma, Stephanie, who
was raising her, and to another black single mom in their run
down apartment complex, Lisa, who was recently abandoned and
then saved, doggedly trying to raise four kids under 8 years of age
on $18,000 a year.

Ashley and Quisha were now talking by phone frequently, and the
details of her economically hopeless life were being related at the
dinner table and in the car to her folks. Jordan and Kristie would
turn and look at each other, their hearts hurting for these souls,
wondering what they might do practically. More than once, Kristie
had cried herself to sleep softly with this burden not wanting to
disturb Jordan in the other side of their king size bed.

It was Jordan who first felt the direct leading on the Holy Spirit to
sacrificial action, or so he thought. As he approached Kristie, she
knew that look. The last time he had displayed that look to her
was when he was describing the greed and avarice of the owners
of the company he worked for as they ignored the desperate
economic plight of many of his female co-workers. She thought
she was ready for him now. But she had no idea.

He took her hand and began praying to Jesus. His voice became a
bit more loud than normal, then it began cracking with emotion as
he pleaded with the Spirit to give them courage to enter into the
battle for peoples souls. He pleaded with God the Father for grace
to stand strong. Kristie had never heard him pray like that before.
Never. The prayer went on for some time, a lot longer than Kristie
anticipated. Even when he was done and peered back into her
face, the look was still there. The kids were silently in the next
room listening to every word.

Things need to change big time, he declared. They were trapped
in the American gospel of affluence and had been seduced, he
went on. The kids were becoming yuppies, and the desire for more
and more was subtly out of control. Jordan proclaimed that they
couldn't compare themselves by their fellow church goers for
almost all were rich by the worlds standards. Kristie asked what
they should do, her heart racing now.

Jordan gushed over with a number of ideas. John the Baptist said
give your extra clothes away. Paul said be content with what you
have which means daily bread and basic housing. So we have to
deal with our investments, this fancy house, and these vehicles.
How can we, he said, store up these treasures on earth when
Quisha, Stephanie, and Lisa are all very close to being evicted
from their apartments since rent had gone up 30% in the last year
due to the "gambling" in the housing market. To top it all off, he
lamented, the girl's teeth are rotting out of their heads from poor nutrition.

Our clothes, $150,000 in investments, $200,000 in home equity
and excess furniture, and no time for outside ministry due to too
much time at work were all things that needed to fall under the
obedience of Jesus, he said.

Kristie was speechless. Was he going to do something stupid?
Do I need to call my dad the long time elder in the AOG mega
church to talk some sense into Jordan? What about the kids
education? Their vacations? The list in her head multiplied as she
added up what they would lose.

She went to bed wondering what the next day would bring. Oh,
more grace dear Lord. She felt like her whole world might just spin
right out of control. She wondered silently and yet shamefully why
she ever married Jordan in the first place. Why did she have to
read that article about the fight against mammon in the first place?
I can see now why my friend despised the article, she mused.

And a voice through the ages echoed faintly through her heart that
very moment, "And what will it profit a man if he gains the whole
world, and forfeits his soul?"

~SOURCE:  "Walk Worthy" - http://walkworthy.injesus.com
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