This time of year, the Income Tax returns are fresh on our minds. Were you ever challenged by the IRS doing a personal examination? When my house in Grafton burned down, I was! It was so cold that night the hydrants and even the river were frozen, so it burned completely. When daylight came, I took pictures of the scene. Of course, I put the loss on my income tax return. It was no surprise that it was audited. An IRS agent came, and I had to deal with him person-to-person. After I showed the pictures to him, he decided he needed to ask no more questions.
Each of us faces an interview much more important than an IRS audit: "So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." (Rom. 14:12). There will be no questions asked, for Jesus has all the facts. Now He asks us to think about our own profit and loss, "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mt. 16:26)
How much did Adam and Eve lose by believing a lie? Everything God had given them was very good. (Gen 1:31) Why did they want to know evil? They gained nothing, but lost life in Paradise with God Himself! Satan made deviation from God's commands look so enticing that Eve got the idea that God was depriving them of something worth having. From what I see in mail sent to the church here in Union, I have to conclude that that same old lie is trapping many congregations. From outright encouragement of sexual perversions to claims of new revelations, the Bible is not considered the authority.
Satan tempts us through our ego: "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." (1 Jn 2:16). "For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error." (2 Peter 2:18).
It is said that 99% of our illnesses come from stress. Jesus spoke about that in Mt 6:31-33: "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
God has given us all we need: "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth ..." Paul reassures us in 1 Cor 2:11ff (ESV): "Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God." Peter assures us, "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." (2 Pet 1:20-21). The profit is when we exchange lies for the truth! The old saw, "If it has less than the Bible it doesn't have enough, and if it has more, it has too much, and if it's just the same we don't need it" sums it up well.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:"(Eph 1:3). What do we have to lose? Everything good! Shall we trade every spiritual blessing for anything the world offers? "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." (1 Jn 2:16-17). Let us treasure the blessings we have.
Our profit begins when we squelch our egos in order to become Christ's disciples: "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." (Mt 16:24). That fulfills the prayer of Jesus in Jn 17:17, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." Consider what God has given us: "For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." (1 Tim 4:8). "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." (Jn 16:13). "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." (Jn 6:6).
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. (2 Tim 3:16). PO Box 661, Union, WV 24983. firstname.lastname@example.org
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