Monday, May 23, 2016

Choosing your company wisely

“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’” This small verse in 1 Corinthians 15 is a powerful warning. An overly confident Christian who believes he can uphold his morals no matter who he spends time with is playing with fire. 

A natural result of being a child of God is that the company of people with little or no love for God is just not enjoyable. It’s not that you look down on them, it’s just that they’re incapable of seeing the world with spiritual eyes and offer nothing to your life whatsoever. The inspiring quotes they post on social media don’t prove that they serve Jesus as their Lord and don’t qualify them as “good company.” On the other hand, if you’re born of God, you’re automatically fascinated by those who love and know God too, and you want to be as close to them as possible. If that isn’t happening, maybe it’s time to question whether you even have God’s nature yet.  (Just an FYI: Christian celebrities and church leaders may have a lot of admirers, but are not always true Christians. Look for the fruit of their conduct and the testimony of their lives, not their popularity.) 

Lot made the worst choices when it came to the company he kept. Lot had journeyed with his uncle Abraham through the wilderness until they finally settled in the Promised Land. Lot knew about God, His amazing promises, His faithfulness as they traveled, and about Abraham’s fierce devotion to this unseen God. Lot was a good man, but good wasn’t enough. Sure, he believed in God – he just didn’t value Him very highly. When Abraham gave Lot a chance to settle wherever he wanted, Lot greedily chose the greenest and most fertile land, leaving his uncle to fend for himself in the desert. Abraham didn’t complain, because he trusted that God would take care of him no matter where he settled, which is exactly what happened. But that tempting green land was actually the land of Sodom and Gomorrah, and a few chapters later, the Bible shows us that Lot didn’t just settle in the area, he had no qualms about moving right into the city of Sodom itself.  

Most of you know the story of how God had to send angels to warn Lot to pack up his family and run for their lives, not even to look back. Sodom and Gomorrah were so full of evil, perversity, and sexual abuse that God had to destroy them with fire and brimstone. But the story also depicts how entrenched and comfortable Lot’s family was in Sodom. Some of his daughters had married men from there who only laughed at Lot when he gave them the angel’s warnings. Lot’s wife was so attached to Sodom that she looked back at her home and turned into a pillar of salt. Widowed and homeless, Lot and his two unmarried daughters ran and hid in the mountains, in caves, barely escaping destruction by the mercy of God. Why didn’t he decide to rejoin Abraham and Sarah? Why didn’t they cry out to God and seek His guidance, or at least offer prayers of thanksgiving for having their skins saved? Lot and his daughters believed in God, but were calloused toward Him. They’d been influenced by life in Sodom, where God had been put on a shelf.

The unthinkable happened next. Lot’s daughters were convinced they there was no hope for the future. They were living like animals in a cave with no prospects for a husband, so they devised a plan to get their own father drunk on wine and sleep with him while he was unconscious. Their incestuous pregnancies brought about sons. The descendants of each son became the Moabites and the Ammonites – two of the enemy nations that hated and tormented Israel for generations. Their demon-influenced choices mushroomed into hundreds of years of bloodshed and misery. But it all started when Lot was so reckless that he thought he could mix his faith in God with the enjoyment of worldly company. 

Don’t overestimate your spirituality, and don’t underestimate the potential repercussions of reckless choices. We all need to be sharpened and uplifted with the faith of others who are stronger, or just as strong as we are. I’ve seen too many people receive answers to prayer, get baptized and then drift off with that overconfident attitude that they know what they’re doing and can handle life alone. The Body of Christ is meant to be a lifeline for all of us. The more we love Him, the more we long to be connected to each other, to be more connected to Him.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season; its leaf will not wither, and whatever he does will prosper.  Psalm 1:1-3 MEV

Monday, May 16, 2016

Joy in the eye of the storm

“God used to feel so close, but now my prayers seem dry as if He’s not listening anymore.” Everyone goes through dry lonely stretches in their walk with God. But what you do during those times determines how soon, and how strong you come out of them. God wants to know, is our faith based on warm fuzzy feelings, or on the rock-solid truth of His word? God is light, goodness, joy, peace, and all the attributes of the fruit of the Spirit listed throughout the Bible. It’s not wrong for us to want to feel those godly emotions, in fact it’s good to develop a heightened sense of His presence.

But there is no comparison to the deep eternal joy of the Holy Spirit, and moods that come and go with changing circumstances. God wants us to experience deep supernatural joy and peace in the midst of dry times, in the midst of trials and demonic attacks. That’s the only way we can know that we’re truly bearing the fruit of the Spirit, when fleshly emotions fail us and we let God’s heavenly qualities motivate everything we do.  

Do you want to feel God closer and see Him clearer? Then get excited about dry times! Don’t be afraid of demonic attacks. That’s the perfect climate for the rich and abundant fruit of the Holy Spirit to be borne in you. It’s the last thing you may want, but in the middle of a storm, standing firm in your determination that His Word is true, is when miracles and answered prayer manifest. The eye of the storm is where you can be filled with a greater joy and sense of victory than comfortably hiding from problems in your home, clutching whatever worldly security you have. When you defy your storm by faith, the roar dies to a whimper. God shows Himself strong in supernatural ways, and you will never be the same again. 

When Jesus left the earth and gave the Great Commission to His disciples, His final promise was that He’d be with them until the very end. It’s no coincidence that the promise came just as Jesus finished telling His followers to go out and get busy spreading the gospel to every nation, to all the world, making disciples, fully knowing that many would be tortured and killed for their faith. While risking life and limb to obey the Great Commission, they could be sure His presence would never leave them. It doesn’t mean that He’s not with those who stay at home, and it doesn’t mean that we have to be thrown to the lions to prove our faith, but it does mean that we can be sure to see His presence alive and shining when we’re willing to take risks to put His Kingdom above all else.  

A lot of people misunderstand why our church encourages people to make sacrifices to God. Some even find an excuse to disappear from church during that sacrificial season, and mysteriously reappear when it’s all over to avoid the discomfort of hearing those messages. A sacrifice that honors God has to be given out of the freewill of the giver, and not by compulsion or guilt trips, otherwise there’s no spiritual benefit and it just causes bitterness and resentment. But if that challenge is taken up with the right spirit, prayerfully and in sync with God’s prompting, it creates that “perfect storm” where you’ve chosen to put God above everything else in order to advance the cause of His Kingdom. Not everyone is called to leave their homes and families to preach the gospel around the world, but all of us are called to be a part of that Great Commission. Getting busy doing God’s will, places us in the eye of the storm. We witness miracles that otherwise would not have been possible, our testimonies save lives, and best of all, we see Him more clearly and experience profound joy.  

The tougher the struggles, the deeper our experiences with God, as long we remain faithful. Being battered by life because you abandoned your faith doesn’t count, but the moment you turn back to Him, the growing season begins again. Don’t shirk from opportunities to grow, or be resentful of challenges. Wherever He leads, He’s present, and in His presence is fullness of joy

You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore.  Psalm 16:11 MEV

Then Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.   Matthew 28:18-20 MEV

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Celebrating as an act of faith

Right after the Jewish Passover came a countdown of seven weeks (49 days) when the Feast of the Firstfruits was celebrated, which ended at Pentecost – literally meaning the 50th day. These ancient feasts may seem like useless Bible trivia, but God never does anything trivial. So what was so special about the Feast of the Firstfruits?  

It was when the new spring crops of grain, fruit and vegetables were given to God in the confidence that He was going to provide for the entire year ahead. It was the first small harvest at the very beginning of the planting season. Other harvests, that would sustain them through the cold winter would continue to be brought in up until the autumn months of September and October – if the rain and sun were plentiful that year. There was no guarantee of a good year, no guarantee that drought wouldn’t wither their crops. They could work hard, but the right proportions of rain and sun came by the providence of God alone. If they didn’t fully trust in Him, they could lose everything. Their firstfruits weren’t much, but they were a declaration that God would provide, a celebration of faith that big blessings would come.

Imagine enduring a tough winter in Israel, carefully portioning out the grain and dried fruit you’d stored up for your family until the next year’s harvest. When spring finally arrives, fresh new crops provide hope that you no longer have to scrimp and save. But instead of devouring it right away, God commanded that the first crop be set aside for Him. They were to give sheaves of grain to the temple priests who would wave them towards the four corners of the compass – they were to offer some grain as flour baked into loaves, a basketful of their first fruit and vegetables, as well as the sacrifice of an unblemished lamb. They were to bring it all to His temple with joyful singing and celebration. The small crop was the first evidence that God’s huge blessings were on their way, and in that faith they were commanded to have a party! Only after that celebration, could they return home and enjoy the rest of their crops.

Today, God still wants us to celebrate every time we see the tiny beginnings of a miracle making their appearance. He wants us to give thanks for the first “harvest” that comes into our hands, in a joyful manner, in the knowledge that it’s just the beginning of what He’s going to do for us. If it’s our salary, then that firstfruit is a tithe. If we’ve been praying for a loved one who’s made a slight change for the better, our firstfruit is to give thanks with the certainty that something new and powerful is beginning, no matter how small the change seems.  If it’s news of an improved medical exam, then our firstfruit is to give our testimony, proclaiming that though we haven’t yet seen the final result, we’re sure that God is moving and that He deserves all the praise. God expects us to take the small insignificant signs of His handiwork as absolute proof that He is faithful to His Word and will accomplish exactly what He promises. After all, the consummate definition of faith is:  “…the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

We have a serious problem of thinking that being cynical and hesitant is a sign of maturity, but in the Kingdom of God, that’s hogwash. How many times have we seen positive signs of change, but hang back and say something like, “Hold on, I don’t want to get my hopes up just yet. Let me just ride this out and see if anything comes of it”?  How many times has God done something amazing in answer to prayer, but because it’s not the final answer we had hoped for, we won’t give Him the public honor He deserves by giving our testimony? Why do we think that talking about what God has done for us, whether big or small, is being proud and showing off? Why are we embarrassed to give our testimonies? All this is hogwash. The Bible teaches us that there’s a good kind of boasting – when we boast about Him!  (Galatians 6:14) Robbing God of our firstfruits isn’t just refusing to pay our tithes, it’s refusing to celebrate the small signs that He’s providing for us. And when we rob God, we lose blessings.  

Giving our firstfruits with joy is a declaration of faith that says: 1. Everything good comes from God alone, both big and small, and 2. We have to celebrate the answer to our prayer even before we see it happen.  When we honor Him this way, we open doors for His abundance to flow… Let’s grab every chance we have to live out the spirit of the firstfruits – giving our possessions, our praise and our testimony to Him in the faith that He will be good to us in every way. 

And it must be, when you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance, and you possess it, and dwell in it, that you shall take from the first of all the produce of the ground which you shall bring from your land that the Lord your God is giving you, and put it in a basket and go to the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide. You shall go to the priest in office at that time and say to him, “I profess this day to the Lord your God that I have come into the land which the Lord promised to our fathers to give us.”  (Deuteronomy 26:1-3 MEV)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Dreams, passion and your inner drive

An article in a top business magazine reveals how interviewers look for certain personality traits when hiring employees, that personality can outweigh an impressive resume.  Skills and education are great, but if a person doesn’t have what it takes to get the job done well in the real world, they’re not much use to a company that wants results.  Who you are – or at least who you project you are – is crucial to how companies hire their staff.  Interviewers may not know it, but they’re tapping into a God-given instinct to see beyond the superficial and look for real substance.  God looks beyond the superficial as well, only He does it far better than any of us.  

You can find story after story online of rags-to-riches successes, men and women who had nothing and created world-renown companies through a passion for their dreams.  Many had little to no faith in God, but they wanted what they wanted so badly that they pursued that dream no matter how impossible it seemed.  Some were homeless and lived out of their cars, others were forced to work three jobs doing manual labor, others had come from abusive homes and the foster care system, but all of them latched onto their dreams until they came true.  Their inner drive made them able.

Take that to a higher, more powerful level, to the level of faith in God.  He is telling you every day: “You can!  Not because you are able, but because I will make you able!”  When we assume that our skills and abilities are the only tools God can use to bless us, we limit Him.  If we were raised in a home without the resources for a great education, or without the love and support we needed as kids, if the absence of those resources caused us to struggle and make poor life choices, it’s normal to believe that we are now saddled with a rotten past.  But that’s what being Born of God is all about – getting rid of that “saddle” and becoming fresh and new again.  God wants us to know that it doesn’t matter any more, because He’s not looking at our resume, He’s looking for our passion for Him.  That’s all.

Take a look at these statements and see if they accurately reflect who you are: “I trust God so much, that I’m willing to do whatever He asks, even if it feels like He might not come through.  I may look like I’m failing to everyone else, but since everything I do is to please Him - how could He allow me to fail?  He’s been so merciful and has given me more than I deserve, so how could I ever complain about my life?  I can’t wait to spend time with Him every day, I love training my ears to hear Him speak, and I love the challenge of obeying Him even in scary moments.  I can’t see the details of how my prayers will be answered, but the dreams He gave me are as real as if I held them in my hand. He is so real, and no one can convince me otherwise.”

That’s a life that reflects loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength as the 10 Commandments requires.  It’s a faith of passion and conviction that causes His eyes to be drawn to us as He searches to and fro to strengthen those who are totally devoted to Him (2 Chronicles 16:9).  That’s the kind of faith that God has pleasure in, that He loves to honor with answered prayers and miraculous changes.  

Don’t worry any longer about your disadvantages, about your flaws or lost opportunities.  God doesn’t care one bit about any of those, but He does care about the passion and trust you have in Him right now.  If you fear Him, you passionately desire more of Him, and you passionately fear losing His presence to the point that you will do whatever He asks of you.  If you’ve been basing your faith on earning His approval by being “good”… stop!  Know now that He is merciful.  Place all your hope on Him, trust in the dreams He has given you, and see where that kind of faith will take you.

He delights not in the strength of the horse, nor does He take pleasure in the legs of a man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy. Psalm 147:10-11, MEV

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Quality over quantity

How oblivious are we to the fact that choices we make on our journey towards heaven greatly impact our eternity there?  Of course we are to remain faithful until the end, never trade our salvation for the things of this world and never be lured away by sin – hopefully these are well-established truths for every Christian.  But our reward isn’t just escaping hell.  God intends to reward us richly based on the choices we make in this short life on earth right now.

He’s looking for quality – a quality of faith that can withstand fire and storms, a quality of love for Him that doesn’t worry about the approval of others, but pushes on to build up His Kingdom, His church, His people despite criticism or misunderstandings.  This world can’t even see that level of quality, and religious traditionalists are blind to it even more.  God saw the qualities of a king in a shepherd boy, David.  Jesus saw the qualities of raw faith in a Roman centurion who recognized His authority.  Gideon, the weakest of his tribe and clan was hand picked by the Angel of the Lord because of his spirit of revolt, which was the quality God needed to say, “Go in this your strength!”  No one would have chosen them by worldly standards, but there was eternal value in each of them that God gladly used.

The standards of the Kingdom of God are far above us.  When others are praising the greatness of philanthropists and poets and movers and shakers of this world, God is looking to see whether anything of eternal value exists in their lives.  If they have no faith in Him, all the good they do will be burned up in the end along with the praise and accolades of the world, and their future will be torment.  Not because God chose it, but because they did.  

And if someone does have faith in God and is headed towards heaven, God searches for anything of eternal value in them beyond their salvation.  They may be extremely active in their churches, coming home exhausted from evangelizing, scrubbing the church toilets and organizing for the next big meeting, but if their hearts are set on gaining the approval of their pastors and being seen as important in the eyes of others, God sees all their hard work as piles of stubble and hay.  If they turn their backs on others who don’t fit into their mold of the “perfect Christian” and spread rumors or gossip, they nullify the good that they do, because they are laying foundations that are worthless.  Churchiness is of no value to God.  Faith and faithfulness regardless of what others think, or do, is.

Every man or woman of God who was used in the Bible was a surprise, a misfit and even a shock to people around them.  The risks they took to please God were priceless diamonds to Him, but usually offensive to others.  Only after they were tested by fire, did those risks prove their eternal value.  Moses, Esther and Mordecai, Daniel, Elijah and Elisha, Mary the sister of Martha, Matthew, Peter, Simon the Zealot, Paul, and the list goes on.  If our hearts are set on impressing others, we will have little to nothing of eternal value to show for our lives once we make it to heaven – if we make it to heaven.

In these few decades of life on this earth, we are given the choice to build lasting and permanent foundations, which will often mean doing things that no one will ever thank us for or acknowledge.  That’s where our faith is truly tested – we say that we love Jesus more than anything, but do we love Him enough to live a quality of life that only He might see?  Do we give up when we don’t gain immediate recognition for our good deeds?  Or even worse, do we not even bother to strive for a quality faith because we assume that we’re saved anyway?  A heart with that kind of attitude is so far from God, and may not even be saved at all.

Like Matthew 6:1 says, “Be sure that you not do your charitable deeds before men to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” Let’s decide to live every day laying down the most precious and lasting treasures that will honor God today and last forever.  

For no one can lay another foundation than that which was laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or stubble, each one’s work will be revealed. For the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done. If anyone’s work which he has built on the foundation endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss. But he himself will be saved, still going through the fire.  1 Corinthians 3:11-15, MEV

Friday, April 15, 2016

A brotherhood of man

In 1971 John Lennon, wishfully invited the world to imagine a utopia where there was no heaven, no hell, no countries, no causes to die for, no religion, where all humanity could share the world in brotherhood and peace.  His famous song was an instant hit and became the anthem for the anti-Vietnam hippie generation.  The philosophy of one world united in harmony sounds so lofty and appealing, but is unbiblical on its face.  The book of Daniel prophesies about the end times when the “great king” or antichrist arises, he will “destroy many in a time of peace,” that he will “destroy wonderfully and will prosper.”  International peace will mark his reign on earth, yet under that fa├žade of peace, he will destroy wonderfully.  

“…and shall destroy the mighty men and the holy people. By his cunning, he shall cause deceit to succeed under his hand, and he shall magnify himself in his heart.”  Daniel 8:24-25 MEV

We have to be careful not to fall into the popular notion that global peace needs to be sought after at all costs.  There’s a growing chasm in our culture that is separating those who are born of God from those who agree with the world.  There can be no harmony between darkness and light.  We are promised wars and a falling away of believers from the word of God.  We are promised persecution and sharper divisions between true and false Christians.  Weak Christians will be deceived by the attractive offerings of the peaceful and prosperous world of the antichrist, and will even turn against those who are strong in the faith.  There will be a time when they will be saying, as 1 Thessalonians 5 puts it, “‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape.” 

Jesus is the true Prince of Peace, but to experience that peace, each of us needs to do battle against our flesh, against evil, against the opinions of the world.  It means keeping our eyes wide open to detect the lies, to reject them, and to speak out against them.  It may look aggressive, but it’s this battle that guarantees our peace.  When we have real faith, nothing can cause us to lose our joy – not even the threat of persecution or the loss of approval by our families or friends.  Whoever knows us will either be so drawn to our spirit of peace and victory, or be utterly repulsed by it.  This distinguishes who a true believer is and who isn’t.  Anyone who is comfortable with the world’s philosophies and makes the world feel comfortable with them, is out of step with God and risks being destroyed in the times to come.  

In ancient Israel, the conflict of war kept God’s people sharp and alert, in prayer and fasting, in humble obedience to Him.  Their victories came through the discipline of living a separate and holy life.  The only way for the devil to destroy God’s people, was through a false sense of peace and security.  Making pacts with idolaters and tolerating immorality seemed like good tactical choices, until those spirits defiled them and ravaged their land.  When spiritual boundaries are torn down, God’s people suffer.  Holiness means being set apart, safe within God’s borders.
Don’t fall for popular philosophies of the crooked world we live in. Satan disguises himself as an angel of light through smooth words and lofty sounding ideals.  Be innocent as doves, but crafty as serpents.  Romans 12 and Hebrews 12 tell us that as far as it’s up to us, be peaceful and loving, but never to the point of compromising our faith or tolerating evil.  The days are already here when speaking the truth stirs up hatred and violence.  And that is why it’s so crucial now to get rooted in God’s peace that passes understanding, the peace of true faith, of fearless warfare, and of joyful obedience and victory in all things.  

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s foes will be those of his own household.’” Matthew 10:34-35 MEV

The Forgotten Commandment

If you take obedience to God’s word seriously, it should be a given that the Ten Commandments are the foundation of your life.  Many Christians can’t even name all ten offhand, but most believe that their lives are safely in line with those basic principles.  Only blatantly rebellious Christians will involve themselves in adultery, murder, theft and lying – at least the obvious acts that we associate with those sins.  

We often forget Jesus’ words that if we even just think lustful thoughts about someone, we have committed the sin of adultery.  Even if we lash out in anger or entertain hateful feelings towards someone, we have committed murder.  Who among us has never, even for a moment, fallen into entertaining such hidden sins?  Not even the holiest of the holy in our church community is innocent of breaking God’s commands, because all of us have sinful natures and need God’s mercy and forgiveness – even after being saved.  The more we love God, the more we will run from sin, and not only outward sins, but the sins of our hearts.  It’s a daily battle.  As vigilant as we may be, the human ego is so easy for the devil to manipulate. 

Which brings me to the one rarely thought of command.  Thou shalt not covet.  The full verse in Exodus 20:17, talks about not coveting your neighbor’s house, wife, male or female servant, oxen, donkey or anything else.  The word covet is so rarely used these days, it’s the forgotten command, the one no one seems to care much about.  But our world is full to overflowing with coveting, and we don’t even realize how often we embrace that sin.

The power of advertising and marketing is its reliance on humanity’s abundance supply of covetousness.  We see a product that we don’t really need, but we want to look like the beautiful happy people in that ad, so we waste our money to buy it anyway.  We covet the status that eating in a certain restaurant gives us, or the lifestyle we can pretend we have when we wear those clothes.  We’re embarrassed to drive that perfectly functional car with the funny appearance because we covet the cool factor that the pricier version has to offer, and dig ourselves into debt because of it.  We’ll buy our children expensive trinkets to satisfy the covetousness they learned from us.  Coveting can be done out of jealousy, rivalry and envy, the need to impress, or just out of pure selfishness.  But do we realize that coveting is listed right next to adultery, murder and theft?  It’s a sin of the heart, where we nurture demonic emotions and destroy our relationship with God.  Why are we not fighting against it?  Why is this evil so tolerated?  

If we hated it as much as murder, we would be alert to its presence and be radical about destroying any traces of it in our hearts.  Being grateful every day for the blessings that God has given us is a start.  There are many in this world who would be so happy to have the little that you’ve been blessed with, but coveting creates contempt for God’s provision and a greed for more.  Make a habit of sincerely praising God for others who receive blessings that you don’t yet have – be truly happy for them to kill any root of bitterness or covetousness in you.  All that matters  is how you invest in your eternity.  Everything will turn to dust and disappear, but in one hundred, two hundred, ten thousand years from now, you will still exist – either with God or without Him, depending on how you invest your life right now.  Take your eyes off of temporary treasures and status symbols, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.  Hunger and thirst for God’s ways above all.  It’s not worth showing contempt for the blessings God so lovingly provides for you and losing your salvation in the end.  Love Him in pureness of heart, because in that, there is no room for sin.     

You lust and do not have, so you kill. You desire to have and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have, because you do not ask.  You ask, and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your passions. You adulterers and adulteresses, do you not know that the friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.   James 4:2-4 MEV