In the world today three billion people work all month to earn $2.00. In the USA today people throw away $2.00 a day to buy a cup of Starbucks or a lotto ticket. Unemployed people sit in front of plasma screens and drive a car to the unemployment line to pick up a check to pay people at a restaurant to serve them food. The combined average income for people in the Central Valley of California earn $42,000 annually which puts them in the TOP 4% of wage earners in the world. It is a fact that only 3% of people who live on planet earth own cars. Most folks are RICH but they do not FEEL rich because BEING rich is a moving target. Cable TV, Internet access, cell phones, appliances to refrigerate and cook food, and cars are not necessities they are the luxuries of RICH people. Our required living expenses, our dreams, our hopes for MORE cause us to chase the moving target of GETTING RICH as we FEEL unsatisfied with what we have. We hear it on the radio, we watch rich lifestyles on TV, we read HOW TO GET RICH in numerous books, and we resolve to do whatever it takes to capture the elusive dangling carrot of getting RICH enough to feel satisfied. Today many FEEL poor because they lost the job, the home, their health, but they live in a house, not on the street, under a bridge, or in a make-shift hut. The GOOD NEWS, the TRUTH is, according to God's word, we have been given much, we have been given HOPE! We are encouraged by God to "BE RICH in GOOD DEEDS, and BE generous and WILLING to share."
(1 Tim 6:17-19) In order to FEEL rich, in order that we HONOR God for all He has done, we must sincerely realize what Almighty God has given us already! --- We MUST ADMIT that in this present world ---
WE are RICH. We are filled by the Holy Spirit! Our Father takes great pleasure in us as we live to talk with the King of Kings! Let us ask for ears to hear His voice, for eyes to see what He sees! Let us be genuinely grateful for direct access to God. Lord we ask the Holy Spirit to expand our hearts and our willingness to use the gifts that You have given us. Ripe fruit hangs in the sun, by the Son, waiting to be chosen! When was the last time you had to pray for food? Wisely God commands us not to be arrogant, or to put our HOPE in wealth. What money gives us changes, it is uncertain, it comes and goes. The proof of the TRUTH in God's word is the fall of the World Trade Center, the homes lost in Katrina, the collapsed buildings in Haiti, the failed electricity in Chile. As our awesome Father does, our Lord commands that we pay attention to what He says, that we are obedient to Him, that we trust that He knows best, and that we --- "put our HOPE in God". God does not change. God is certain, He is eternal, He rules the earth and everything in it. We must look around and ADMIT to God that He has "richly provided us with everything for our enjoyment." Do you own a pet? What purpose did God have in creating dogs, cats, horses, fish, birds? Our heavenly Father has richly provided everything for our enjoyment. The stars, the sun, the moon, the ocean, the flowers, the trees, majestic mountains, a wide variety of all that is lovely. God knitted us together in our mother's warm womb and gave us life to ENJOY all seasons, and all things. Regardless of what zip code we live in, everyone can step outside and hear FREE music! An orchestra of birds singing, or the drum of rain drops pounding, or the sound of wind whistling through the trees. We were given the sensory mechanism to smell spring blossoms and the aroma of bread baking at General Mills in Lodi. We have been given the sensory to touch, to feel goose bumps, to hug and embrace the wealth of wisdom, knowing we are so loved by God! "Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and ENABLES him to ENJOY them, to ACCEPT his lot and BE HAPPY in his work --- this is a GIFT from GOD!" Do we not all possess the Holy Spirit, the ability to see, hear, smell, taste and touch? These things we possess because of the love of God. As we are enabled by God to accept and enjoy the multitude of GIFTS that He has given us, we are HAPPY in our work, in our gifts from God, and we are completely satisfied. A buffet of deserts at Crossroads left us not wanting more! FREE food, FREE entertainment, and the FREEDOM to enjoy all things is a GIFT from God. This photo is proof of many different models of God's humanity, gathering together to celebrate healthy, safe connections - and laughter at Crossroads Church in Manteca! Mark was given the gift to make music and he shared his gift freely. Bobbi was given the gift of leadership and she taught a gaggle of goofs how to play Bunko! We are absolutely RICH, yet it is a narrow path that we chose to walk on, to arrive through the eye of that needle that pricked our heart and said "Follow Me"! God created humanity so that He could communicate with us. He does not talk, listen or write words for the animals or the waters to have direction. He wrote a guide book for those whom He gave a mind to think and choose with. He gave us the capacity to desire and follow Him. AMEN