THE DANGER OF OUR BLESSINGS
After Moses had died, Joshua took his place as the leader of the Children of Israel. I want you to notice part of God tells Joshuah.
Joshua 1:5 †"No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.† 6 "Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.† 7 "Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.
Though Joshua was taking on a new role with great responsibilities he could be confident that God was with him. He could also know that if he did not veer to the right or the left from Godís commands that God would bless him and make him prosper wherever he went. Of course, the key point here is that one must stay on the path that God has put before us. Like a person on a narrow path with a cliff on both sides if you go too far to the right or the left you will be in great danger.
Everything will be great if we stay focused on the path God has created for us by keeping His commandments, but the problem is that when we get used to the blessings that God has given us there is a real danger of taken them for granted and then the blessing can lead to our downfall. We could use Joshua as an example. You would be hard pressed to find anyone in the Bible that was as faithful courageous in the Lord as Joshua, but there was a time during his conquest that he took for granted his ability to talk with the Lord and get his wisdom on matters.
Joshua 9:3 But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai,† 4 they worked craftily, and went and pretended to be ambassadors. And they took old sacks on their donkeys, old wineskins torn and mended,† 5 old and patched sandals on their feet, and old garments on themselves; and all the bread of their provision was dry and moldy.† 6 And they went to Joshua, to the camp at Gilgal, and said to him and to the men of Israel, "We have come from a far country; now therefore, make a covenant with us."† 7 Then the men of Israel said to the Hivites, "Perhaps you dwell among us; so how can we make a covenant with you?"† 8 But they said to Joshua, "We are your servants." And Joshua said to them, "Who are you, and where do you come from?"† 9 So they said to him: "From a very far country your servants have come, because of the name of the LORD your God; for we have heard of His fame, and all that He did in Egypt,† 10 "and all that He did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan -- to Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who was at Ashtaroth.† 11 "Therefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spoke to us, saying, 'Take provisions with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say to them, "We are your servants; now therefore, make a covenant with us." '† 12 "This bread of ours we took hot for our provision from our houses on the day we departed to come to you. But now look, it is dry and moldy.† 13 "And these wineskins which we filled were new, and see, they are torn; and these our garments and our sandals have become old because of the very long journey."† 14 Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the LORD.† 15 So Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them to let them live; and the rulers of the congregation swore to them.
Joshua has the ability to seek the council of the Lord, but he decided to buy into their story and make peace with them. Had he not been temporarily blinded by the blessing he had and took it for granted, he would have found out that these are the people he was supposed to destroy. This exactly how a blessing can become dangerous.
This same idea can be seen throughout the Book of Judges. God would raise up a judge for the people and he would help Godís people get back on track and they would defeat their enemy. They would begin to enjoy the blessings of life. When the judge died, the people would slowly but surely forget where their blessings came from and they would start enjoying life the way wanted to. They would start worshipping false gods and practicing sinful things, and they would soon find out the freedom that had been enjoying would be over because God would allow enemies to come in and humble them and remind them that God is the one that gave them their freedom.
So this lesson is about reminding you to be careful to not take the blessings you have received for granted because when† you do you can put your soul in jeopardy and your blessing can turn out to be a curse because you went too far to the right or too far to the left.
The first blessing I want to examine that can be abused and lead to your downfall is intellect. Please understand I am not condemning being smart or being well-educated, but I am saying that one can become too smart for their own good. Think about it this a way. Most of us have probably flown in an airplane. Some of these planes are huge, but what makes them safe is the pilot. However, if that pilot got of control and decided to something crazy in one of those massive planes he could do great damage and even kill everyone on board, but a normal pilot is not going to do this because he understands the regulations that he is to fly by.
Well this is similar when it comes to education. God has created with the ability to learn and to grow, but if we do not regulate ourselves by the Word of God and we simply go crazy with education, we too can do harm to ourselves and others when we no longer have God in sight. The problem some run into sometimes when it comes to their intellect is they reach a point where they think they too smart for God and His Word.
1 Corinthians 3:18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.† 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their own craftiness";† 20 and again, "The LORD knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile."† 21 Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours:† 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come -- all are yours.† 23 And you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.
No matter how many degrees you get, no matter how many people might agree with your philosophy of life, you nor anyone else can even come close to to the knowledge and wisdom of God. We must also be careful to not look up to those that are well-educated as if they are God. Yes, we can respect their intelligence, but in the end they are no more important than any other Christian within the Lordís body. Notice what Bible does say about those that are wise in the flesh that is wise in the way of the world.
1 Corinthians 1:26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.† 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;† 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,† 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.
While God has blessed us the ability to be wise, just because your sharper than tack with the wisdom of the world does not mean that God can use you because you have allowed the great blessing of intellect to make you wise in your own eyes and has caused you to reject the wisdom of God.
I have been following some of Brad Harrubís posts on fb. If you do not know who he is, is a well-educated man who has his degree in Anatomy and Neurobiology. Though his instructors continued to teach evolution and discount Godís Word as being a myth, he did not allow these teachings of worldly educated men turn him away from God and His Word. Instead, he ended using his worldly education to help show that evolution is not true, that God does exist, and that His Word his true. Had he not had a strong foundation in Godís Word he could have easily could have let his education go to head and lose sight of the blessing that God had given him.
If you do not Brad, he goes around all over our nation and sometimes to other countries to give seminars defending God and His Word. Since he is out and about so much, he gets to hear more information than most about the various colleges, and he is hearing more and more disturbing news about Christian colleges. Christian parents will pay extra money to send their children to a Chrisitan college because they think it will be safer for them and keep them focused on Godís Word. Unfortunately, some of the these Christian colleges are hiring professors who have become wise in their own eyes and they are corrupting these young people by planting doubts in their minds about the validity of God and teaching evolution. There are more and more students that off to a Christians college that are turning their back on God within just a few years because they are buying into the philosophies of men. This is when the blessing of intellect can become very dangerous.
The Bible warns us about this in:
Colossians 2:8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
We need to remind ourselves of what Jeremiah said:
Jeremiah 10:23 O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.
We need to take to heart what Solomon wrote in:
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;† 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.† 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil.† 8 It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.
We can and should enjoy the blessing God has given us with our intellect, but we must never lose our focus that no matter what we learn or what we do God and His Word must be our foundation. We would do well do remember that knowledge can puff us up (1 Cor. 8:1), so we must be careful that we do not become wise in our eyes. As Isaiah warns:
Isaiah 47:10 "For you have trusted in your wickedness; You have said, 'No one sees me'; Your wisdom and your knowledge have warped you; And you have said in your heart, 'I am, and there is no one else besides me.'
So, let us be careful when it comes to the blessing of our intellect and never lose sight that God and His Word must continue to be our foundation.
2 Peter 3:17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;† 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
Letís now take a look at some other blessings that can turn into a curse if we lose our focus. Time is a great blessing. We have it some much easier today, because most people work a 40 hr per week job and they have plenty of time to do things they want. Also, we are living longer than we used to. So, most of us have the great blessing of time, but this can work against. I like what Solomon wrote about time:
Ecclesiastes 3:1 To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:† 2 A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;† 3 A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up;† 4 A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance;† 5 A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;† 6 A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away;† 7 A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;† 8 A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.
When you think about time is definitely a great blessing, it gives us time to do all kinds of things, but when time can become dangerous is when we take it for granted. God has given the blessing of time to everyone, but some use time as an excuse to not obey the gospel. For example notice what we read in:
Acts 24:24 And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.† 25 Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, "Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you."†
Felix was afraid about what he heard, but it was not enough for him to do anything about it. Instead, he pushed it off to a more convenient day. How many times have you talked to people about God and they tell you that they know they need to get their life right and start going to church, but first they need to get some things in order before they do? The problem is they think they have plenty of time to change their ways, but they may find themselves like be like the rich farmer we read about in:
Luke 12:16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.† 17 "And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?'† 18 "So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.† 19 'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry." '† 20 "But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?'† 21 "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
This rich farmer thought he had all the time in the world, but his life ended that night and he died in a lost state because all he was thinking about himself and how much time he had left to enjoy his life.
Time can also work against Christians because we start telling ourselves we have plenty of time to labor in Godís kingdom so we put off doing thing for the Lord. We put off inviting that friend or family member to church, we put off doing that good deed for someone that needs it, we put off praying for someone because we are too busy living life. The list could go and on. If we are not careful, we can find ourselves never doing anything for the Lord because we convince ourselves that we can do it later. This is a problem that can affect an entire congregation. Paul wrote to a church about this very problem in:
2 Corinthians 8:10 And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago;† 11 but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have.
We have to be careful about using time as an excuse for not getting things done for the Lord. If everyone has that mentality nothing will ever get done. Consider the following verses:
Ephesians 5:15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,† 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Galatians 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.
Jesus Himself said:
Matthew 5:14 "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.† 15 "Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.† 16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Our opportunity to serve and use our time wisely is today because tomorrow may not come. Even if we had an expiration date stamped on our foot and we knew had 20 years of life left this does not mean that we should put things off until the last few years of our life. No, we should buckle down and make each day count for the Lord because He created us for good works:
Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
So, let us be careful that we do not take the blessing of time for granted. Instead, let us make the most of each day for the Lord. Let us help remind those who are putting off obeying the gospel that tomorrow may be too late.
So far all we have looked at is two blessings that can turn into a curse, intellect and time, but I hope you will join us back tonight as we look at some more blessing we need to keep a close eye on that turn into curse as well if we do not remain focused on where the blessing came from. Let us strive to not turn to the left or to the right, but stay on the path that God put before us.
THE DANGER OF OUR BLESSINGS
This morning we began looking at the danger of our blessings when we take them for granted. I talked about the dangers of the blessing of intellect and how it can lead us astray and I talked about the dangers of taking the blessing of time for granted. Tonight, I will continue looking at other blessings that can be used for good but if we allow them to go our heads or we lose focus on where the blessings came from, then they can become a curse in that they can cause to fall away.
Our first blessing that we will look at is wealth. Often times wealth is a blessing that turns into a curse because many times it corrupts a person and causes them to lose focus on God. As Jesus said:
Matthew 19:23 "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.† 24 "And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
Notice, Jesus did not say it was impossible, but hard. Paul talks about this topic in:
1 Timothy 6:6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain.† 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.† 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.† 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.† 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
First, Paul talks about the attitude that all Christians should have no matter how much or how little money they have. They are to be content with what they have realizing that they cannot take their riches with them when they die.
Second, he points out how dangerous wealth can become when you make it your focus. Paul says that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. The love of money is what caused Judas to betray Jesus. The love of money has caused many to push God out of their lives in order to pursue it† because they lost focus on what their true treasure is, which is heaven. As Jesus said:
Matthew 6:19 " Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;† 20 "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.† 21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Having wealth is not a bad thing. In fact, it can be a blessing as long you do not lose focus on God. Again, Paul points this out inĒ
1 Timothy 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.† 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,† 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
Paul mentions another problem with wealth. It causes† someone to be haughty. They began to think they are better than everyone else and look down on the poor. They also have a tendency to put their trust in their money because they feel like it allows them to have whatever they want, but it cannot buy you eternal life. However, if the rich put their trust in God and put Him first and use their blessing to further the kingdom of God by helping others then they can use their blessing of wealth in a way that will be pleasing to God.
Sometimes a rich man will give more money than someone makes in a year, but the problem is that the rich man just gave out of their abundance and really did not make a sacrifice at all. Jesus made note of this in:
Mark 12:42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans.† 43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury;† 44 "for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood."
One cannot base how much he gives based on the amount given. The question is, did you give out of your abundance or did you give in such a way that it affected your livelihood? Someone making a million dollars a year could give 50,000 a year and that would be 5% but a person that makes 50,000 per year and gives 2600 a year would be 5.2%. Though there is a major difference in the amount given, the 2600 is a slighter higher percentage than the 50,000. Of course what one gives is between him and God, but the amount given does not necessarily indicate sacrifice. Only you can make the assessment about yourself and your circumstance of whether you are giving as little as you can or if you are giving God what He deserves. As Paul said:
2 Corinthians 9:6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.† 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
The next blessing that can be used for good or turn into a curse is popularity. Some people have been blessed with being liked by many and this is something that can be used for good because they can their popularity to introduce people to Christ. If they use themselves correctly they can do much good for the kingdom of God.
However, the problem with being popular is that a person does not want to become unpopular, so that person has a tendency to take this blessing and turn into a curse by compromising Godís truth to maintain their popularity. I cannot think of a better Biblical example of this than the one that King Saul provides. He was commanded† to kill everything by God on one of his attacks, but this what we read:
1 Samuel 15:13 Then Samuel went to Saul, and Saul said to him, "Blessed are you of the LORD! I have performed the commandment of the LORD."† 14 But Samuel said, "What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?"† 15 And Saul said, "They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen, to sacrifice to the LORD your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed."† 16 Then Samuel said to Saul, "Be quiet! And I will tell you what the LORD said to me last night." And he said to him, "Speak on."† 17 So Samuel said, "When you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the LORD anoint you king over Israel?† 18 "Now the LORD sent you on a mission, and said, 'Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.'† 19 "Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the LORD?"† 20 And Saul said to Samuel, "But I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and gone on the mission on which the LORD sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.† 21 "But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the LORD your God in Gilgal."† 22 Then Samuel said: "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.† 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king."† 24 Then Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.† 25 "Now therefore, please pardon my sin, and return with me, that I may worship the LORD."† 26 But Samuel said to Saul, "I will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel."
Saul did not want to lose his popularity and have his people not like as much so he was willing to compromise Godís and this turns out to be a curse because God rejects him from being king and a new king is sought who of course was David.
This happens to Christians sometimes because they do not want to make enemies with those around them, so they will simply compromise Godís truth so they can remain popular among their peers. We must be careful not to allow popularity to cause to turn our back on Godís truth. God has always been opposed to this. For example notice the following verses:
Exodus 23:2 "You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice.
Proverbs 4:14 Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not walk in the way of evil.
Also, consider some of the things that† popularity caused in the N.T.
1. It caused some Jews to keep from confessing Jesus as Lord:
John 12:42 Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue;† 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
2. It caused Jesus to be crucified and a known criminal to go free:
Matthew 27:24 When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it." 25 And all the people answered and said, "His blood be on us and on our children." 26 Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.
3. It caused Felix to leave Paul bound up:
Acts 24:27 But after two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul bound.
4. It also caused Festus to try and get Paul to go to Jerusalem, which would have been a death sentence for him:
Acts 25:9 But Festus, wanting to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, "Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and there be judged before me concerning these things?"
More examples could be given, but I think you get the idea of popularity can be easily be turned into a curse and cause us to sin. So, let us follow the examples in the N.T. of the servants of God continues to preach Godís Word no matter what the result may be to their own popularity or own physical well being. As Peter and John said:
Acts 4:19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.† 20 "For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."
As Paul said:
Galatians 4:16 Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?
Finally, Peter says this:
1 Peter 4:1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,† 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.† 3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles -- when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.† 4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.
As Christians, letís pay close attention to our behavior to make sure we are compromising Godís truth make others happy. As Peter pointed out, when a someone becomes a Christian, many times your old friends are not going to understand why you will not run with them like you were before. This will make you very unpopular with them many times and it can be tempting to continue your sinful lifestyle with your friends because it was a lot of fun, but if you are going to be loyal to God, you cannot and must not allow yourself to go back to those things no matter how many friends you may lose.
Another blessing that we have USA is freedom of religion. We do not have to fear for our lives when we gather together. We can preach and teach what the Bible says. We have access to Godís Word in all kinds of format. As great as this blessing is and as many opportunities it gives us to grow Godís kingdom our freedom can be turned into a curse when we take our freedom for granted.
As I talked about this morning, we can begin to have the mentality of the Jews during the times of the Judges. Times of great prosperity and freedom causes some to stop thinking about God because everything seems to be great. So, people tend to stop reading their Bibles and they do not pray because they feel like their nation and their lifestyle is all that they need. Our modern technology and abundance can make us do just like the Jews of Judges who would start pulling out their idols and giving praise to them. I know we do not have wooden idols per se, but we have a tendency to make other things our gods, whether we realize it or not.
It is important that we do not take our freedom for granted, Instead, we should use to our advantage to help promote the love of God and His Word. Let us not get to point where we have to be broken and beaten by our enemy for us to open our eyes to the need for us to live for God.
If you find yourself praying less, reading and studying Godís Word less, attending the assembly less, reaching out to people less, etc then you are taking your freedom for granted and need to refocus yourself on serving God. We should have the attitude of Paul:
Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,† 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Let us continue to strive to remember what our goal is as Christians. We are to remain focused on God no matter how good things are or how bad they are because heaven is our goal. Let us not be distracted by our good fortunes or by our society. Use every day of freedom you have to the best of your ability for the Lord.
Another blessing that some have is the ability to speak well. These individuals tend to be preachers or Bible class teachers. There are many great things that can be done by those who can speak well and make things interesting for those who are learning about Godís Word. Like any blessing, it can be abused and turned into a curse.
There are some speakers that are so good at their craft they could sell you on the idea that they have have ocean front property in Arizona. Many of our politicians have this ability, but preachers and teachers can cause great harm when they begin to use their talent to teach false things. James says:
James 3:1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
Teaching and preaching Godís Word is not for everyone and it carries with it a great responsibility because we will receive a stricter judgment. So, just a because a person is a smooth talker who who could sell binoculars to a blind person does not make them a good preacher or teacher. In order for someone to use their blessing of speech in the way that God will approve, they must preach the Word of God. As Paul told Timothy:
2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2 Timothy 4:1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:† 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
1 Timothy 4:12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.† 13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.† 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.† 15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.† 16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
Every preacher and teacher must never forget to use their blessing of speech to teach Godís Word and not simply entertain or especially teach false doctrine.
The last blessing I want to look at this evening applies to us all and is the blessing of health. Many have a tendency to take their health for granted until they get sick or something compromises their health. Sometimes people use the the blessing of their health as an excuse to put things off† to a later day, but:
Proverbs 27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth.
This fall right in line with our point I made earlier about time. The same principle applies because we never know how long we will have our health and be able to do things for the Lord. I have known people that seemed to be in great shape physically, but then they get a disease, have a stroke, or they mess their back up really bad, then they cannot do much at all physically. They long for the days when they were well. So, do not think that your health will always be there. Instead, do what you can for the Lord today while you still can.
In conclusion, we have been given many blessings in this life. We can can use them for good or they can be taken for granted and even turn into a curse. So, the main thought of the today is test yourself daily to make sure that you are not moving to right or to the left from the path that God has put before you. Use your blessing for good and do your best to never take them for granted.
I Count My Blessings
I count my daily blessings, Lord,
And try to count them all.
But, it's like counting all the stars at night
Or the raindrops, when they fall.
For, my blessings are so many
And my troubles are so few ...
That the good always outweighs the bad;
Due to blessings, sent from You.
So, Father, please forgive me
If I fail to count the ways ...
As you have blessed my life immensely,
Through your love that never strays.
© 2001 by Vickie Lambdin