Verse of the Day

Matthew 16:25
“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”

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Our Poverty For His Riches

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II Corinthians 8:9-Our Poverty for His Riches
 
I was reading my Bible last night just before going to sleep and this verse just jumped out at me. You know how you read the Bible for years and you know you have read that verse so many times, but there is that time when the Holy Ghost just quickens your mind to the depth of it; the true meaning of it and what it means to you right then at that moment. I must confess that I was filled with praise and more appreciation for Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself more than I have felt for some time.  I am going to write this verse  in the amplified form and we can really comprehend what Paul was saying to his listeners then and to us now.
 
 “For you are becoming progressively acquainted with and recognizing more strongly and clearly the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (His undeserved favor and spiritual blessing), in that, though He was (so very) rich, yet for YOUR sakes, He became (so very) poor, in order that by His poverty you might become enriched (abundantly supplied). 
 
Look at what Jesus did for you and I contained in this one verse. He was something (rich) but He will willing to become something else (poor), in order for you and I to change our estate (poverty) into abundant riches: riches like He had before He decided to become poor. Think about that-He wanted to move us from our poverty-stricken state to His position of wealth and riches and in order to do that, He had to give up His riches and become poor. 
 
Now, knowing what I know about human nature, I don’t know one person in a trillion of earthly origin that would be willing to do this. No, most folk hold on to whatever they have and they are not willing to change places with anyone, especially someone who has less than they do. Listen, Jesus had it all before Mary’s womb, the manger and the 33 years that followed that. Let’s look at what He gave up. Hebrews 1:2 says that God had appointed Him the heir of all things. Philippians 2:6-7 tells us that Jesus had God’s reputation. Verse 6 says that He was essentially one with God and in the form of God. He possessed all the fullness of the attributes which makes God what He is. Verse 7 says He stripped Himself of all privileges and rightful  dignity and took on the guise of a servant. Summed up: He emptied Himself. We know that He had all power in heaven and in earth and that He could walk in fire and not be burned-Daniel 3. We know that Revelation 1:5 says he was the Prince and Ruler of all the kings of the earth. 1:11, He calls Himself the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. Suffice it to say that Jesus was RICH! He owned everything here, there and beyond. No one could have given Him anything He didn’t own. He sat on circle of the earth there is no one who can search out His understanding (Isaiah 40). 
 
Yet in spite of all these riches, power, authority and governing capability of the entire world, He was willing to lay that down, give it all up and become our state of poverty and lack so we could gain the position that He gave up. I don’t know about you, but that is just about more than I can fathom. A love like that is beyond our human understanding because you see, our love is limited. Our love is, at its best, shallow, compared to His. I think I can grasp that He did all of this for us out of His great love, but something saddens me. That is, our lack of love for Him and our unwillingness to accept His unconditional love. And, there are so many who say they believe in Him and His grace described in our text, yet they continue to live in poverty when He did all this so the believer can become rich. 
 
The word rich in this passage involves so much more than wealth, money, possessions or property. It does include that as Paul goes on to say in Chapter 9, but if it were just about ownership of things, we know that riches are fleeting, temporary and can be frozen, taken or burned up in a few moments of time. No, the RICH that Paul was describing was referring to the estate of a sinner versus a born again child of God. The poverty we were in was SIN. Even if we were millionaires by this world’s standards, if we were unregenerate and without Christ, we were still considered poor in God’s sight. When He looked down to decide whether He was going to give all His riches up and become poor for mankind’s sake, He didn’t sort out and separate the elite from the nobody’s of this world. He didn’t check everyone’s bank account and find a tycoon and say, “Now I don’t have to become poor so he can be rich, cause he is already well off”. No, Friends, we were all as an unclean thing (Isaiah 64:6). He saw all of us as poor, lost, wandering souls with no way to make ourselves any better than what we were and that was POOR. So, the plan the Father gave Him was, “if you will lay aside your riches and become what they are, I will give them a chance to change their status and become what You are right now“. So Jesus made the decision. He said Yes to the Father’s plan and laid aside his royal robes and clothed Himself with garments like ours and took on Himself the form of a servant. From then on, He started becoming poor and He lived like He was poor while He was on this earth because as the Son of Man, He was (Matthew 8:20 and Luke 9:58).  Paul uses the phrase “He humbled Himself”. Willingly, not forced into it by coercion, but of His own choosing, He gave up His riches.
 
 I know we see movies where the rich girl chooses to be poor and she falls in love with a pauper and she in content to give all her riches up for his love. Those are mostly fabrications to entertain us. But friends, the story I am telling you is true. A real prince became a pauper to give you, a pauper, a chance to become a prince. All you have to do is believe the story I’ve just told you and accept Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross as your way out of poverty and in a few seconds, His blood will wash over your sin cursed soul and you will become RICH!  What an exchange-your poverty for His riches. Your failure for His success. Your ugliness for His beauty. You can trade your sins for salvation and in a few moments, you will have His relief versus your load of care and trouble and sorrow (Isaiah 61:1-3).  And we can walk away from that born again experience, new creatures in Christ.  And, when we start, as Paul says in our text, becoming progressively acquainted with and recognizing more strongly His Grace, we will begin to see that we can rise out of poverty, not only of our sins and disgrace, but also in material goods. God will start to show us that we don’t have to live in lack, deficiency and always coming up short from paycheck to paycheck. Always struggling, always on the borderline of losing everything with nothing to spare to help anyone else. No, that is not how God wants us to live. Rich in our text is also referring to having our needs met. The sum of Paul’s message to the Corinthians in Chapters 8 and 9 was on giving of their substance so God could bless them with more. Matter of fact, these 2 chapters contain the most extensive teaching about Christian giving found in the NT. He encouraged them to give bountifully so they could reap bountifully. He warned them about being closed fisted when it came to giving in 9:6-7. So we can be rich in faith and rich in love and not see the benefits of all the riches and wind up living in poverty even though we are believers. No, No No! That is not God’s plan for you, child of God.  He wants you to be blessed with sufficient funds to live in this world stress free! The principles that brings these blessings upon a child of God  are found in Luke 6:38, Malachi 3:8-12, Deuteronomy 28:1-13 and many more. Proverbs 19:17 is also a good principle scripture. James 2:5 says that God chose you in poverty but He is making you rich in faith! Use that faith, let it develop and increase it be putting it to work! Pray for the sick, visit the fatherless and widows and believe for the lost to come in. As you do, you will be gaining wealth that no Wall Street tycoon can ever experience. Your bank account may not change right away, but you will and your finances will change also if you will give God time to bless the seeds you plant! 
 
When you have time, Read II Corinthians 8 and 9! 
 
 

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