Sunday, October 18, 2015

Day 6 of the Best of My Life: You're Worth More Than Gold

Happy Sunday everyone! I pray that you are having a blessed day thus far. I recently just got home from church and it was the sermon lesson today that got me inspired to write another blog post, so here I am! :D

Today's sermon was about money. The sermon text came from 2 Kings 5, which says: 
Naaman Healed of Leprosy
Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.[a]
Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”
Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said.“By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents[b] of silver, six thousand shekels[c] of gold and ten sets of clothing. The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.”
As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!”
When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house.10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.
13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
15 Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.”
16 The prophet answered, “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” And even though Naaman urged him, he refused.
17 “If you will not,” said Naaman, “please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the Lord. 18 But may the Lordforgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I have to bow there also—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant for this.”
19 “Go in peace,” Elisha said.
After Naaman had traveled some distance, 20 Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, “My master was too easy on Naaman, this Aramean, by not accepting from him what he brought. As surely as the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.”
21 So Gehazi hurried after Naaman. When Naaman saw him running toward him, he got down from the chariot to meet him. “Is everything all right?” he asked.
22 “Everything is all right,” Gehazi answered. “My master sent me to say, ‘Two young men from the company of the prophets have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them a talent[d] of silver and two sets of clothing.’”
23 “By all means, take two talents,” said Naaman. He urged Gehazi to accept them, and then tied up the two talents of silver in two bags, with two sets of clothing. He gave them to two of his servants, and they carried them ahead of Gehazi. 24 When Gehazi came to the hill, he took the things from the servants and put them away in the house. He sent the men away and they left.
25 When he went in and stood before his master, Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?”
“Your servant didn’t go anywhere,” Gehazi answered.
26 But Elisha said to him, “Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to take money or to accept clothes—or olive groves and vineyards, or flocks and herds, or male and female slaves? 27 Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever.” Then Gehazi went from Elisha’s presence and his skin was leprous—it had become as white as snow.
The sermon focused on how Naaman received more then just healing from his leprosy; Naaman also learned who the true God was and he began to worship him instead of his false gods. What I want to focus on is how God loves us and uses his miracles to bring us to him and how we are worth more to him than gold.

Throughout history, money has been influencing people; whether we are rich or poor, money is always important to us. However, the question remains, does money rule your life? For Naaman, a rich man, it seemed money would rule his life, and yet we found out otherwise when he was desperate to get rid of his leprosy. He had to learn also that despite what he thought, that miracle was free! We CANNOT buy God's love, nor his miracles.

God's love is all around us, and guess what, it's FREE! However, it also states that,"The wages of sin, is death."Romans 6:23. That verse continues to say, "...but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." That is the ONLY way we can get into Heaven.

Not by good deeds, even though we should still do them. Not by trying to be perfect. Not by trying to buy God's love by saying things like, "Lord I'm trying to be nice to people, so where is your goodness?" It does not work that way, and yet God still loves us even though we continually sin. People love gold, and yet God values us more than gold. God created us for his pleasure and to do his work, which is to spread the Good News of Jesus to all people. How wonderful is that?! Yet as wonderful as that is, there are many who will cling to their gold, to their wealth, their material items. They believe it makes them happy; it makes them special.

No, that is far from true. I find most wealthy people miserable deep inside for they lack true happiness. True happiness and joy can ONLY come from God. I have discovered this truth first hand. When I was a little girl, my family lived the upper middle class life. I lived in a 2 story, brick house, in a very nice neighborhood. Just about every weekend, we would travel 40 minutes south to South Bend, Indiana to go shopping and go out to eat simply because we could afford to do so. At the store, I would usually go to the toy aisle and pick out something I like, typically a barbie doll or some accessory for my dolls at home, and my parents would buy them.

Keep in mind I also had an older brother who also would pick out a toy. A family of four buying about $100+ groceries and other miscellaneous items each week while living in a nice house. I took ballet and tap dance and went to a private school as well. I was surely living it up. I was little, and I was happy and I was also very naive

Those "happy" family outings began to thin over the years as my parents started to argue more and more, and eventually divorce. No more dance. No more private school. No more new toys. My dad had met another woman and her name is Lora. She is now my step-mom and through her I gained 4 step-brothers and sisters; 2 brothers and 2 sisters. I also had a younger biological sister. Life was no longer happy-go-lucky. Due to the divorce and other financial struggles that I later learned, such as the fact my father had filed for bankruptcy, my family had gone from the upper middle class, to below poverty in a few years.

I lost my home to foreclosure and had to sell a good chunk of my belongings for money in a garage sale. I used my money to help my mom, if I remember correctly. I was so young that some of those details have escaped me. However, I know that if not for my grandma, we would have lived in a homeless shelter. At that time I lived with my mom and two biological siblings, Erik and Stephanie.

My grandma was generous to us and took pity on us and so she paid, $10,000 cash for my mom to get a mobile home where we lived. I know one of the concerns I had was the idea of going to a different school district. However, a miracle had happened for our family, we had gotten a place to live in the nick of time. We had learned that if my grandma had not purchased the home when she did, it would have been sold the next day to a couple.

Despite our struggles, I grew up in a Christian home and I know that prayer had helped us through those difficult times. However, losing a home was only part of the struggle. When my dad left, my brother began to act out and abuse my mom, sister, and I. He beat us, threatened us (including my grandma), called us rotten names, and also touched us where we did not want to be touched. For some reason, he had to take all his anger and frustration on his family and over time, his abuse began to take a toll on me.

For almost 15 years I had to deal with abuse from my older brother. I tried to put a stop to it, but each time my brother got in trouble by the police for domestic abuse. he weaseled his way back and continued to hurt us. Now, you are probably wondering, how is it that a Christian family went through so much, had to lose so much, and I can still say that God loves me more than gold?!

Simple, I had to become more humble and I would not have learned that lesson if I were still living the life of a wealthy person. I had to learn that life was unfair, unjust, painful, difficult, and always a battle between good and evil so that I could also see the miracles God placed in my life.
I had a home, I had my family as dysfunctional as it was, I had great and supportive friends, I had food even though my mom was on welfare to get us this food, and I had clothes, and an education. I was very blessed indeed and I had to learn the hard way that money is not what is important; God is what's important.

I had to constantly keep myself firm in God's promises to make it through my ordeal. Songs like Britt Nicole's "Gold" kept me steadfast and not happy. For the most part, I have been very joyful throughout my life, as hectic as it was, and that's because I had God. I knew that God loved me and will ALWAYS keep his promises.

Now, I am away from my brother in a safe home living with my Opa (grandfather). My sister lives with us too. My mom  and brother, who bother suffer mental illness, are bother safe and in separate AFC homes recuperating after having mental breakdowns. I have a loving, supportive, hard-working, Christian boyfriend. I have a full time, respectable job. I have a car. I have food and clothes. Yet once again, I have God in my life.

Money is needed to get by, and even though I am going through financial burden right now, I can rejoice in the fact that my burden will not last forever, and that if it came down to it, I would rather be poor and have the Kingdom of Heaven. then be rich and lose my faith and gain Hell.
I am NOT saying that being rich will make you lose faith, if you are a Christian, I am saying that the temptation is stronger. It says, "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." Matthew 19:24.

Keep the faith and you will be blessed and never forget that God loves you more than he loves gold! You are worth way more than that, "So hold your head up high, it's your time to shine
From the inside out it shows, you're worth more than gold"