Posted in street of gold, tribulation, wealth

Wealth is relative

Photo Wikimedia. Our plate had only two claws on it.

Some time ago, I went out to dinner with my husband and a well-heeled couple. The rich couple were hosting some clients. We all ate at a very high-end restaurant in Miami. We had attentive waiters, there were plush carpets, an extensive wine list…one of those places. I remember ordering the stone crab claw appetizers for $30 per plate, and this was in the 1990s.

Growing up, I never paid attention to money much. We always had a lot of it. I thought it was important to be frugal, though, and moderate with money, and to be generous. But as to the amounts, I didn’t pay attention. It was always there.

In my early adult years I owned a home and had a professional job, and not a lot of debt except the house. I liked earning my own money and paying for things in a timely manner. I guess you could say that I was a regular person in my relationship to money and personal wealth.

Now of course, the economy in America has changed and many people are struggling, even if they are lucky enough to have a job. “The working poor” I think the term is.  Wikipedia explains:

While poverty is often associated with joblessness, a significant proportion of the poor in the US and Canada, but also Italy, Spain, and Ireland are actually employed. The wages the working poor receive are insufficient to provide basic necessities and lead to people making choices between having food on the table or having a table. Largely because they are earning such low wages, the working poor face numerous obstacles that make it difficult for many of them to find and keep a job, save up money…

So back to the long-ago fancy dinner in Miami. The bill came to well over $600. I was amazed that one evening’s entertainment could be so expensive. I remarked as such to the host (a person with I was very familiar, so we could speak familiarly). He said, “It’s like this. You go out and spend $60 and it’s not so much money to you, because of your income. I go out and spend $600 and to me it is not so much, because of my income. It’s only another zero.”

He said that in 1998, and I remember it today. “It’s only another zero.”

The coming Tribulation will widen the gap between the working poor, who will simply become the poor, and the rich. There will be extreme wealth (Rev 18:3) and extreme poverty (Rev 6:6).

The extremely wealthy will trade in ivory and gems and spices and men. The poor will work all day for a loaf of bread.

However the relativity of wealth even then will be able to be comprehended. The people eating bread will glare at the large limos gliding by, the wealthy eating in restaurants, and the money traded as ships come in. “It’s only another zero” will still be comprehensible.

However, the wealth I am thinking of is incalculable.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5)

There are not enough zeroes in the world to comprehend the treasure that awaits His children.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24)

The inheritance is our salvation come to full fruition in the eternal state. Oh, yes, we will receive physical inheritance, in terms of rewards, and a place in His Father’s house prepared for us, and we will dwell where there are magnificent jewels and a street of gold. That is not the inheritance I am speaking of. That is like what we think of on earth when we inherit the grandmother’s jewels or mom’s house or dad’s roadster.

What we inherit is salvation, and then we inherit Christ. He is the unique jewel of the universe, distinct in glory and beauty.

And there are other things too, we can’t even conceive of.

“But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)

The difference between a rich man and a poor man’s zero is minuscule compared to the riches of His immeasurable grace and our inheritance in Christ Jesus.

May these thoughts bless and encourage you. 

Posted in banksters on balcony, fat cats, occupy wall street, prophecy, wealth

Banksters on balcony drink champagne and mock Wall Street protesters

Did you know that thousands of people are in New York city now, protesting on Wall Street? Fox News reports, “The “Occupy Wall Street” protest is entering its second week. Demonstrators said Saturday that they are protesting bank bailouts, the mortgage crisis and Georgia’s execution of Troy Davis. The Troy Davis thing was added into the protest recently, but the Occupy Wall Street movement has been planned for a while and it focuses on the people’s displeasure in this nation’s finances and economics. Bankster bailouts are especially at the center of the protests. People from all over the country arrived at NYC to do their part to let the Administration and the top influence makers know they were not happy. They are upset, in pain, on the verge of poverty. They want a say and they want someone to hear their pleas for change and justice.

They were greeted by fat cat bankers in tuxedoes on balconies, eating canapes and toasting them mockingly with glasses of champagne.

In case you can’t watch a video, here are some stills from the protest as the crowd went by 55 Wall St.

There were a LOT of people there protesting. They were concerned, making a statement with their feet and their voice as we are still allowed to do in this great country. Yet I am ashamed for the people on the balcony. My opinion at the end, but first, the bible-

I’ve been talking for a while about the phenomenon called wealth gap, or wealth skew. Anyone who has visited or lived in a Third World nation knows this is not a new thing. The very rich have always lived alongside the very poor. But in America, we have had generations of a thriving middle class, and the obvious gaps between the very rich and the poverty stricken have not always been so obvious. In many other nations, too, a middle class has arisen that allowed a majority of their populations to live in relative comfort.

In addition, people seem to think that the Tribulation will be filled with 100% poor, moaning in the streets as dogs lick their sores, like the poor man Lazarus outside the rich man’s house. (Luke 16:19-31). But the situation will be very much like Lazarus and the rich man, because there will be rich men living in the Tribulation too. The only difference is that there will be zero compassion. There will be the very rich during the time of Jacob’s Trouble, known to the Gentiles as the Tribulation but they care nothing for the poor. They care so little the rich even fail to pay their employees, thinking nothing of it. (James 5:4) That a thriving trade in luxuries has been ongoing is evident from Revelation 18:9-14 and the kings of the earth, the rich, the mighty men, those that lived in splendor exist too. These are the people who buy the luxuries

Lament for Babylon
“And the kings of the earth, who committed acts of immorality and lived sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning, standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’  “And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargoes any more— cargoes of gold and silver and precious stones and pearls and fine linen and purple and silk and scarlet, and every kind of citron wood and every article of ivory and every article made from very costly wood and bronze and iron and marble, and cinnamon and spice and incense and perfume and frankincense and wine and olive oil and fine flour and wheat and cattle and sheep, and cargoes of horses and chariots and slaves and human lives. The fruit you long for has gone from you, and all things that were luxurious and splendid have passed away from you and men will no longer find them.”

The Lord has a lot to say about greed, cheating, and squandering resources for your own gain. 1 Timothy 6:10 says that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.

–Just balances (scales)-“You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin; I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt.” (Leviticus 19:36)
–“A merchant, in whose hands are false balances, He loves to oppress.” (Hosea 12:7)
–“Can I justify wicked scales And a bag of deceptive weights?” (Micah 6:11)

The scene at the balcony sickens. It sickens us for so many reasons. I am a capitalist and I like earning my pay through hard work. I admire people who come to America and by sweat of their brow, make it in this country and provide for their family. My great-grandfather came here from Italy in 1899 with some money in his pocket and by the 1920 census he had a wife, 6 kids, and a solid business. That business provided for three generations of his American descendants.

But the people on the balcony, or people like them, we discovered all too devastatingly at the 2008 crash, did not make their money honestly. Through false real estate deals, nepotism, bailouts, inflated bonuses, stolen pension funds, junk bond manipulation and the like, many of them cheated honest people to get where they are.

The people on the ground are marching because they are in economic pain, losing their standard of living, they know someone who is hungry…and the people on the balcony did not even have enough compassion not to mock their concerns and stay inside, never mind ponder their future and how they got to where they are. Compassion for others and honest introspection seems to have gone the way of the dodo bird.

The verses in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 are being fulfilled now and will continue. And in another place, Paul said, “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.” (1 Tim 6:9). James 5:2 predicts, “Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes.”

We can become angry over such displays of greed and hate such as those on the balcony exhibited, in this country I no longer even recognize, or we can have compassion on them ourselves, knowing that not only will moths and rust destroy them, but unless they repent, they will live with a worm that never dies. (Mark 9:48). Where will their champagne be then?

Posted in end time, prophecy, riches, wealth

Can the rich inherit heaven?

Matthew 19:24 records Jesus as saying, “Again I tell 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.” This was Jesus’ summation of an exchange He’d just had with a rich young man. The young man had asked: “What must I do to gain eternal life?” When Jesus told him, “If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”
“Which ones?” the man inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, do not give false testimony, and love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.”

That’s when Jesus said it is hard for the rich to enter heaven. He was not saying wealth was bad. That rich young man wanted to follow the cash road and not the road to salvation. Abram was rich and he entered heaven. The bible records Abram (Abraham) in Genesis 13:2 “had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.” But Abraham was a friend to God (Isaiah 41:8) and God blessed Abram (Genesis 14:19). So having money isn’t the issue. Your attitude about it, is. The rich young man made money a priority rather than trusting Jesus for his needs.

This week several articles caught my eye. In attempting to discover what is driving the tea party movement, especially the success of Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally, the comment was made, “The recession is undergirding a huge amount of free-floating anxiety about everything. …[C]ertainly for all of the past three years, there has been nothing but uncertainty in the economy…”

The collapse of the economy is in my opinion one of God’s merciful warning signs to us. It might not seem like His mercy as you try to put food on the table, but for wealthy nations like the US, Britain and others, having  the extraneous things stripped away from us goes a long way to putting things back into perspective, like God as the center point of our lives instead of chasing material wealth, as the rich young man wanted to do.

In this article, “Gallup surveyed people in more than 100 countries in 2009 and found that religiosity was highly correlated to poverty. Richer countries in general are less religious.” There was one exception: The US, who, despite our wealth, still claims religion as an important part of our lives. Our economic decline has begun, however, and the hope is that as our material things are being stripped away from us that the focus will once again be centered on God. It is what the end time signs are for.

Riches delude us into thinking that we can sustain ourselves in our own power. ‘Why do I need God?’ you might think, ‘I can house, feed, and clothe myself. I have toys and leisure and plenty. I don’t need to sacrifice or give up one iota of my things. I worked hard for them.’ Well, Haggai 2:8 reminds us, “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.” Everything you have is already God’s and He can take it away in a moment. That rich young man could not see the truth: “Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. (Proverbs 23:5) Riches are temporary, as much of the industrialized world is now discovering. Riches fly away.

Europe is having a hard time with this concept. They are at a tipping point. Will the hard economic times release them from clinging to worldly goods and start them looking up? Or will they struggle to maintain it all under their own power? The article excerpt below puts it historical perspective. I strongly recommend reading all of it.

“It seems the populace wants the best of all worlds. Someone who can do it all—keep the eurozone together, protect their shorter work weeks, ensure early retirement ages and provide the high standard of living those in the European Union have come to expect. Someone who can secure their social programs and pensions. They want someone who can step in and take charge. To accomplish this, one leader would have to quickly seize sweeping amounts of centralized power. He would have to control the social, political and military powers of Europe. He would have to unite the continent in a way not seen since the EU’s inception. Does this sound unbelievable? It should not. This is what Europe has always done. Throughout the centuries, the continent has surrendered its power to one man—one who can ensure they continue to live comfortably.”

The article continues with giving examples from history: Constantine, Justinian, Charlemagne, Otto The Great, Charles V, Garibaldi united Italy, then came Napoleon, Mussolini and Hitler. Europe is staggering once again under economic decline and soon the choice will come. Trust Jesus, or trust a charismatic figure issuing flattering promises and sly words that tickle the ears. We know the outcome. On a grand scale they will clamor for status quo and the empty promises of the antichrist.

During the Tribulation (Time of Jacob’s Trouble) those who still insist on clinging to their money and ‘things’ will realize their bad trade. James 5:1 warns: “Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you…”

Do not take the cash road, for it is broad and leads to destruction. Take the narrow way: look where it leads! True wealth is a growing Holy Spirit inside you. Real riches are the joy in serving a risen Lord. Even those believers who are already wealthy have an admonishment: “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;” (1 Timothy 6:17). Many wealthy folks already have discovered how quickly their stock portfolios and retirement funds shrunk in a day, a week, a year. It all comes from the blessing of God and He takes it away also. Trust not in earthly belongings, they are so much clutter and distraction from the purity of the narrow way. If you are wealthy, great, just remember to Whom it all really belongs. If you are not wealthy on this earth, then remember that your riches are stored up in heaven. (Mt 6:19-20)

Jesus is good to us and mighty to save. And the gifts do not end there, but begin. He gives us a place to live for eternity. He gives peace, joy, and wealth beyond measure. I am glad I traded worldly things for His promises. There is no better retirement fund!