Jesus is Lord and Money Talks

Gifts of the Holy Spirit were controversial in the mid-first century and to some extent are problematic in our age.

Paul devoted three chapters of his letter to the Corinthians to show them the value of spiritual gifts, and also to correct their beliefs.

When in doubt about spiritual gifts, read 1 Corinthians 12-14 without filtering Paul’s words through the previous teaching you may have received. If you do this, many questions will be answered.

Jesus is Lord

In today’s YouTube video Rudy Ross explains how he uses Paul’s instructions in the opening words of chapter twelve to discern God’s direction.

1 Corinthians 12.1-3Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed.

You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak.

Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says “Let Jesus be cursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.

Dallas Willard devoted a book illuminating the wonderful truth that God speaks to his children. He teaches that a personal relationship can only be genuine if there is both a give and take of information.

We talk to God through prayer and he speaks to us through mental impressions.

Evil spirits and our personal thoughts impress our minds, too. How can we differentiate between the different voices in our head?

As we have an impression from God, we can ask if the “speaker” can say, “Jesus is Lord.”

(1) If the “speaker” says, “Yes, Jesus is Lord,” we can trust this to be from God.

(2) If the “speaker” refuses to say, “Jesus is Lord,” we should beware of the information because it may come from an evil spirit.

(3) If there is no response at all, the “speaker” may be our thoughts.

My experience with decision-making is that I have to get my own feelings out of the way before I can hear from God.

I have learned that long internal arguments are products of my mind, not God’s. When God communicates, he delivers a short, direct message that needs to be followed.

Money Talks

Paul said, “You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak” (1 Corinthians 12.2).

The many idols in Corinth were carved from marble or other stones. The physical idol did not speak, but the demonic forces behind the idol communicated through the priests of the temple.

The temple to Asclepius in Corinth was devoted to physical health. People sacrificed and worshiped this idol, hoping for healing, a longer life, or children.

Even though the marble statue of Ascelipus never spoke, the idol exerted significant influence over people.

The phrase, “money talks,” is parallel to the service of Asclepius. Currency doesn’t speak, but it exerts inordinate influence in the world.

“In God We Trust” can be found on our money, but the way money is used reflects its inclination to curse Jesus.

Let me explain.

When powerful people extract goods and services from a nation to live a lavish lifestyle, their money curses Jesus. It does so because the behavior is opposed to the character and nature of Jesus.

One of my neighbors was the plant manager of a well-known company. We visited one night and he was distraught because he had to fire four “worker bees” because an executive wanted a raise.

According to “Forbes” magazine, “It’s been a very prosperous year to be a billionaire, data from the 2021 Forbes list of the World’s Billionaires show.”

“Forbes” listed 13 Mexican billionaires in 2021. During a pandemic, the richest man in Mexico’s wealth rose from 43.6 billion in 2020 to 62.8 in 2021.

In what way does money curse Jesus? Extreme wealth that is obtained at the expense of the poor and vulnerable denies the essential principles of Christ.

Why do you think Amazon and its subsidiaries spent roughly $20.3 million and Meta (the Facebook parent company) shelled out $20.1 million to lobby Congress and the federal government in 2021?

They did for the same reason that the Mexican billionaires are so deeply connected with the Mexican government. They want to ensure a competitive advantage.

I use both Amazon and Facebook and I only use them for illustration purposes. Money is not an idol that does not speak. Money talks.

Money and other idols curse Jesus through behavior that is contrary to the attitudes and actions of Jesus.

Jesus is Lord

I have been asked by numerous public officials and private citizens what I think about the homeless situation in Independence.

My opinion is that systemic change needs to start with state government. What are the systems in place that increase the homeless population?

That question should be honestly addressed on a statewide level and the slogan, “money talks,” highlights part of the issue.

Rome also has a homeless problem. The Pope’s access to money has spoken. Instead of bringing a curse on Jesus, the use of the Vatican’s funds loudly declares, “Jesus is Lord.”

Here are some examples of the Vatican’s efforts to address the homeless problem in the spirit of Christ.

Pope Francis turned Palazzo Migliori, a palatial 19th-century building close to the papal enclave, into a shelter for homeless people.

This luxurious, four-story building with 16 bedrooms close to St. Peter’s Square could have earned revenue for the Vatican as a luxury hotel, but Pope Francis wanted homeless people to live there.

In June 2015, the 84-year-old pope footed the bill for two busloads of poor people to see the Shroud of Turin, a cloth believed to have been wrapped around Jesus after his crucifixion.

He also invited around 150 homeless people to a private visit to the Vatican museums and the Sistine Chapel in the pope’s official residence.

At the request of the pontiff, the Holy See has set up showers for homeless people under the colonnade of St. Peter’s Square.

The Office of Papal Charities, charged with offering assistance to the poor in the name of the Holy Father, provides haircuts and shaves to homeless people by professional volunteers.

This is one among many ways God’s people through the power of the Holy Spirit can declare the lordship of Christ.

One of our good friends at Maywood frequently said, “Don’t talk about it. Be about it.”

When we say that Jesus is Lord, our actions should speak louder than our words.

Prayer for Ukraine

I have not included a prayer for Ukraine in recent articles. That doesn’t mean I have stopped praying. In fact, prayer for Ukraine is at the top of my prayer agenda.

Please take a few minutes each day to keep current on events in that country. Then, ask the Holy Spirit how you can best pray for God’s will to be done there.

If you email your prayer request to bsprad49@gmail.com or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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