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Showing posts from 2016

Strong Finish

I am so grateful for the 2016 year. It has been amazing and I have enjoyed work, fun and spiritual growth. I am grateful for you and your interest in the Today's Word. Many of you have sent me emails in response to specific Today's Words that have been meaningful to you. I encourage all of you to do this when you find something relevant to your life in the Today's Word. I enjoy the banter and look forward to it because it is encouraging to me, too. This was a banner year as I crossed over the 1,000 mark of Today's Words I have posted for you at todaysword-Richard.blogspot.com! The breadth of topics and the several series were a real challenge for me and I hope you enjoyed learning possibly something new from the Bible and also being challenged to grow in some spiritual, emotional, and mental way in your life though these blogs. Think about someone you know, a close friend, family member or extended family person that might profit from reading the blog and when you are in…

Stars and Care

Astronomers estimate there are 10 billion galaxies in the observable universe and, although the number of stars in each galaxy varies, it is safe to assume an average of100 billion stars per galaxy which means that there are about 1 billion trillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) stars in the observable universe! This could make your star gazing a lifetime job. That aside, here's the question: "In so great a universe, are our small affairs on this one planet which is less than a dot in the universe too minute for God to notice? Does He have bigger things to care for than us? The psalmist says, "He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is the Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit." (Psalm 147:4-5) So, God is great and has numbered the innumerable stars and identified each one particularly. Does that mean He ignores us in our smallness or relegates us to a footnote among His great works? On the contrary, the psalmist is…

Eyes Fixed

It has been said that whatever you focus on that you will become. The mind is made that way; to take in through the eyes a desire, whether it be good or bad, and seek to make it happen. If you believe it, then you achieve it. David knew the importance of focusing on the Lord. He said, "My eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign Lord." (Psalm 141:8) He also said it this way, "My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare." (Psalm 25:15) The writer of Hebrews who was contrasting the Old Testament heroes with the New Testament Jesus said this, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…" (Hebrews 12:2) And, "Therefore, holy brothers…fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess." (Hebrews 3:1) Paul in writing about persecution said, "our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is se…

Oh Holy Night

It all began during the day in the Garden of Eden when Adam chose to eat of the forbidden tree's fruit. Eve had already partaken convinced by the master deceiver of the positive results she would experience. Instead, it sent the couple into a tailspin of lying, blaming and a forced departure from Eden's pure environment. That was a horrid day and the cascading effect of their sin and of those that followed swelled into murder, separation, and fighting between rival communities. This unrighteousness escalated enough that God made the decision to create a new start by saving only one family in the world-wide flood. But, after the ark landed and the family members dispersed across the land, the cycle began again. More war, separation, murder, slavery and many other unspeakable pains grasped the world and the master deceiver was elated at his conquest of man. The world softly asked the questions, "Who could stop this endless cycle? Who could stem this tide of evil?" O Holy…

Response

God is never early, nor ever late. He doesn't miss appointments or decide He doesn't need to meet. He always shares what to do and always cares as a shepherd for those who desire to be His sheep. You would think with that kind of reputation everyone would flock to Him. They would desire to be in His company and to listen and obey His words. But that is not the case. Many ignore Him; worship idols far inferior to Him. Blame Him for their problems and are angry with Him for not fulfilling their selfish desires. Zechariah spoke God's perspective about this type of people, "they refuse to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and stopped up their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets." (Zechariah 7:11-12a) So, what was God's response? "the Lord Almighty was very angry. When I (The Lord) called, they did not listen; so wh…

Purpose

Have you thought much about God and you? Do you recognize His work in your life? These are deep and thought provoking questions if you are a thinker and a doer. King David was anointed at 16 to be King of Israel and follow the kingship of Saul but he did not sit on the throne until he was 30. How would you do with knowing that you have a purposed life and still waiting for it to happen? There is a group of psalms toward the end of the 150 presented in the Bible. In the first of these David seems to look back from the throne and say in confidence, "The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me." (Psalm 138:8) He is experiencing the promise of God's direction and purposed involvement in his life in this psalm. In Psalm 139 David speaks of his all-present God. From his time in the womb, then in dark places, in high places, God is everywhere present alongside David. Chapter 140 reveals more closely the dangerous circumstances that were before him. But God is his rescuer, protector,…

Blameless

I remember the day I stood in front of another person and asked them to forgive me for something I had done to them. What a day! They said, "Yes," and I walked away with a clear conscience. I felt blameless for a while. To become blameless for the things we messed up and see personal relationships restored is a great goal and can be achieved periodically, but because our flesh does not want to do what God wants us to, it tries to keep us from dealing with this challenge. The challenge to be blameless has been there even before Christ. Noah was "a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time and he walked with God." (Genesis 6:9) It was put to Abraham by God when He told him to "walk before me and be blameless." (Genesis 17:1) The people of Israel were told by Moses that they "must be blameless before the Lord your God." (Deuteronomy 18:13) However, there is another who has crossed the gulf for each of us, Jesus Christ, who died taking on t…

Spirituality

Everyone in the world has some kind of spirituality because God has placed within us a spiritual "hole" that needs to be filled. So spirituality is not "owned" by believer's in Christ. In other religions it may be seen as asceticism and for the "god deniers" it is secularism. It has been defined as "the state of deep relationship to God" so connection with God or for unbelievers connection with their "god" is spirituality. But as believers how can we understand this less as an ethereal concept and more as an actual activity? Consider the following connections as paramount to your spirituality: Connection to God the Father as a son. 1 John 3:1 says, "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" Romans 8:15b says, "you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.'" We call Him "daddy." As a son there ar…

Shepherd

In 1025 B.C. David was anointed king of Israel by Samuel. He was just a 15 year old lad at that time and would not assume the throne from Saul until 14 years later. He wrote many of the Psalms but his Psalm 23 is full of confidence and faith. "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul." (Psalm 23:1-2) This has been a hallowed passage for centuries. It has been used at many funerals to bring comfort and in other times to bring rest from worry and the many other pressures of life. There is no way to gauge its impact on the souls of humanity but to say it has been massive. In the coming Tribulation period there will be chaos from sword, famine, and plague. Millions upon millions will die of these causes but millions also will die from persecution. In Revelation 7 John sees the moments in heaven before this future time begins. An angel comes from the east carrying the seal of the living G…

Receiving Honor

Where do you sit at the table when you are invited to dinner? Is it close to the host or way down at the other end of the table? Wise Solomon said that "a man of lowly spirit gains honor." (Proverbs 29:23) To understand Solomon's statement we link it with this meaningful parable of Jesus: "When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, 'Give this man your seat.' Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, 'Friend, move up to a better place.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 14:8-11) Here are a few observations on this parable: "A per…

What is Truth?

Pilate posed this questioned in a discussion with Jesus early the morning of his crucifixion after he had been betrayed to the Sanhedrin by Judas. Jesus had said to Pilate, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world, to testify to the truth." (John 18:37) Pilate responded by asking, "What is truth?" Pilate was a politician. He knew he was always spinning the truth, playing with words, protecting his own interest. But more than that, Pilate might have been intimating that truth may not discernible; that life was an illusion, people playing on a stage, so, best to grab what you could while it was going your way because it soon would be over. So, what is truth? Jesus said earlier, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me." (John 14:6) Possibly the word truth is better defined as "the reality." When you substitute this word into both Pilate&#…

Happy

What does it take to make you happy? Some would say, "time spent with a new puppy." Others might say, "driving down the street in a new car." These external opportunities to gain happiness, and many more like them, might give us this feeling of happy for a brief time but soon will leave us with an empty "happy" and in search of getting it back. The psalmist had lots of wisdom which he imparted in short bursts. He said this, "Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways." (Psalm 128:1) The word "blessed" can be translated "happy." So, what is he saying makes him happy? Two things are stated here. One, fearing the Lord. This is a reverential fear rather than a foreboding fear. It is not an angst or an anxiousness, it is giving to God His proper due. Sure God has the power to turn us into dust by just saying the word but that is seeing Him as a demanding and destroying person rather than seeing Him as a loving God reach…

Darkness

People don't like the dark for a lot of reasons. Maybe it's because they can't find their way or because the darkness covers those lurking around for prey. But some don't like the darkness because it is in the dark and quiet moments that old actions come back to haunt them. These could be unresolved conflicts, bad past decisions, or hurtful words they said to someone close to them. What is the solution to this? John was an apostle that, according to history, was the last one to die of the twelve. He had a personal relationship with Jesus, was there when he was resurrected, saw the church age begin on the day of Pentecost and saw many churches begin and flourish under God's hand. More than this, he saw the bigger picture of personal struggles that believers were having and he wanted to reassure them of God's love for them, so he wrote the book of 1 John. In it he addressed "the dark" in each of us. He said, "This is how we know that we belong to the…

Seeing Christ

The disciples had the privilege of sitting, conversing, eating, and ministering with Jesus as he walked through his journey to the cross. But they also saw him in his resurrected state as the first human to obtain a resurrected body. In fact, he spent forty days (Acts 1:3) with them before he ascended into heaven and began his advocating for believers before the Father. (1 John 2:1) John says we will all get the opportunity to see him too, he says, "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:2) This appearance of Jesus is at the rapture of all believers and is spoken of in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven,…and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive.…will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air." Dead believer's bod…

Perspective in December

Black Friday has come and gone and we noticed that some of the participants weren't very thankful, having just gone through Thanksgiving, but exhibited a black heart of selfishness. There was no "after you" involved; it was all a matter of first come, first served. Further, supposed big cuts were advertised on "many items" but when you got there wasn't it true that the item you anticipated would be cheaper was still at full price. Amazing! Now that we have passed through the "outer marker" of Thanksgiving for Christmas we turn our attention to lights, trees, presents and making a soft landing on the 25th. We are in the final turn for the year's end too and as much as we would like to be joyful and cheer-filled the pressure is on to fulfill dreams for children and for ourselves. Instead of reflecting on the "reason for the season," we are reflecting on the bills the season will produce, the many parties we need to go to, and the vaca…

Example

If you are the older child in a family, you probably heard several times from your parents how you were to be an example to your younger brothers or sisters. You were older, "know the ropes," and you were to be someone they could look up to, to be the example they could follow after. This was to be true of your parents also. They were to be examples however sometimes their response to this was, "do what I say, not what I do."   Peter spoke of the challenge of a personal testimony in suffering and said, "…if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps." (1 Peter 2:20-21) Here we see that our long past Savior was our example in how to walk through suffering. Peter said in verse 19 that we are able to bear up under suffering because we are "conscious of God." We understand that He is aware and beside…

Real Thanks

This is the day. People who don't thank very much become thankful on this day. We attend groups where everyone says what they are "thankful" for and it includes jobs, family, and good health. But what should you really be thankful for not just today but every day? Peter, frustrated several times while being discipled by Jesus, said, "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect." (1 Peter 1:18-19) What kind of perishable things will you be thankful for today? Can silver and gold, which is not very perishable but considered in that category, be something you are thankful for today? How about your way of life, is it an "empty way of life" and yet you will be thankful for that today? There is nothing you can be more grateful for than redemption through the blood …

Palms and Cherubim

Palms and Cherubim  Ezekiel had a great vision about forty years into the captivity that gave to him a blueprint for the Temple which lay totally destroyed in Jerusalem. This would be essential to Ezra who would begin rebuilding it after his release from captivity thirty years later. In the midst of the massive amount of measurements and descriptions related to the Temple is this phrase, "from the floor to the area above the entrance, cherubim and palm trees were carved on the wall of the outer sanctuary." (Ezekiel 41:20)  In the wood of the walls artists had carved alternating rows of cherubim and palm trees. Knowing that God does not choose images without some significance, what do these imply? Cherubim are the highest created spirit beings in heaven and are defenders and protectors of God's holiness from pollution. They are "overshadowers" or guardians of the throne (Revelation 4:6-9), that's why cherubim were placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden…

Tongue Tied?

How long ago was it that you said something you really didn't want to say? Maybe you were filled with anxiety when terrible words came out of your mouth. Maybe you said something in defense of yourself but in so doing you criticized another. Maybe you were drunk and your tongue was unfettered by your senses. These all point out the nature of one of the smaller parts of our body, the tongue and its power. It "makes great boasts," is "a world of evil," and "sets the whole course of" a life on fire. (James 3:5-6) Fire spreads and destroys everything in its path, if not burning it, it is scaring or bending through its heat. These phrases create videos in our mind. We can see Hitler speaking, Arab leaders defaming Jews, politicians lying to our faces, and reporters writing stories that are pure fiction. But we can also see families broken up by hurtful words, and spiritual leaders directing the masses toward false religions. James illustrated the power of th…

Communication

Is this a problem of all mankind? I mean by that, does everyone have a problem in communication? Do national leaders communicate well with their constituents? Do owners communicate with their workers? Do reporters actually know how to communicate the truth or just follow an agenda? Do parents communicate well with their children? We can assuredly say that most people do not communicate well. Why is that? Could it be that we are all so wrapped up in our own stuff and have our own preconceived notions about the world around us that we can't hear what is being said? James said there are three things that are important to communication: 1)We need to be "quick to listen." (James 1:19a) Listening is the first step in understanding. Listening is more than just hearing words; it is parsing those words, reflecting back our understanding of those words, and adjusting our impressions of those words until we know exactly what the other person is trying to communicate. It takes time to…

Good and Perfect Gifts

To what do you attribute the gifts you are given? Is it your good fortune, your deservedness, your hard work, or your positive mental attitude? How about God? James said, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." (James 1:17) In the verses just before this one James said we have to be careful not to attribute temptation to God. We shouldn't blame our temptations and ultimate sins on God. Instead, we need to understand that every, I mean each and every gift is good, perfect and from God. To understand this we think of the millions of stars. Every star glittering at night is the creation of God the Father. He has designed a way for them to burn, like our sun, and not be destroyed and from them light is emitted which we are able to enjoy in the dark sky of the night and in the middle of the day. These are a gift from God. Many other gifts come from God, oxygen, trees, water, all o…

Moses' Decisions

We think of Moses as a powerful person who was directed by God but do we think about what he had to do to get to this place? The same question could be asked about Churchill, Reagan, Martin Luther, Galileo and more. What were the decisions they had to make to become the man they became? Hebrews 11, The "Hall of Fame" for faith gives us some examples of great men and women who decided for God. Of Moses it said, "when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the kings anger; he persevered because he saw him who was invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the first born of I…

Deceit Practiced - Deceit Series #5

Remember the statement, "Oh, that was just a little white lie." Well the problem with little white lies is that they get dirty with use and that snowball rolls down the hill getting momentum from lie upon lie. It is hard to remember all the details so we have to deceive more to try to save ourselves. This is what could be called "practicing deceit." The Psalmist said, "Your tongue plots destruction; it is like a sharpened razor, you who practice deceit." (Psalm 52:2) A sharpened razor cuts through hair quickly and cleanly and those who practice deceit get better at it to the point where they believe the lies of their deceit. Jeremiah said that leaders were practicing deceit. He said, "from the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. 'Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace." (Jeremiah 6:13-14; 8:10) We have some…

Deceit Principles - Deceit Series #4

It's not easy to recognize deceit clearly at the time it is happening. Sometimes we can look back and see the path that led to it but not always. Here are some Biblical challenges and principles to help you identify and push away from deceit. Action - Peter said, "Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind….crave pure spiritual milk…" (1 Peter 2:1-2) There is a wrong and right way to live, take heed of the difference. Moses wrote, "Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another." (Leviticus 19:11) These are the big three. Taking what belongs to another. Not telling the truth, and deceiving another into believing something false. Association  – The Psalmist said, "I do not sit with deceitful men, nor do I consort with hypocrites." (Psalm 26:4) Psalm 1:1 talks about walking in the counsel of the wicked, standing in the way where sinners congregate, and sitting in the seat of mockers. These are t…

Deceit of Others - Deceit Series #3

Deceit of Others – Deceit Series #3   There are many scriptures that speak of deceit by others. We have already discussed Eve who was deceived by the serpent. Think also of Abraham who said of Sarah, "She is my sister." (Genesis 20:2, 11-12) That was deceitful and done to protect himself from King Abimelech. Isaac did the same thing with Rebekah by his side. (Genesis 26:7) Jacob deceived his father to obtain the blessing. (Genesis 27:19, 36) Jacob deceived Laban in leaving him secretly. (Genesis 31:26) Jacob's other sons deceived the men of Shechem and killed them. (Genesis 34:13) Jacob's sons deceived him saying Joseph was killed by a wild animal and even offered up blood on his many colored coat to prove it. (Genesis 37:31-35) Tamar deceived Judah when he would not give his son to her to wed. (Genesis 38:13-16) And, this is just deception noted in the book of Genesis! Jesus said that many false prophets would come in his name "and will deceive many." (Matt…

Deceit of Self - Deceit Series #2

There are mind altering drugs but their potency only lasts a little while, then we are back into reality. It's not a good thing to use them, but something inside us keeps drawing us back to their limited "benefit" for our life. They help us to hide from the truth and build a false reality that can have deathly effects on us. Reality is a harsh thing. It causes us to look at the reasons for our circumstances and blame ourselves, or someone else, for where we are. Internal deceit is an altering of reality in the mind. It convinces that what we see which is not the truth is in fact the truth. It tells us a story that may have some truth in it but is adjusted from reality by our perceptions and the addition into our mind of other people's stories that agree with our perceptions. Let's just understand the truth, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure." (Jeremiah 17:9) This is echoed by Hosea, "The heart is deceitful." (Hosea 10:2) P…

Heartless

Two places in scripture the ostrich is mentioned. This large six to eight foot high bird is an illustration of the heartless people of Judah immediately after the capture of Jerusalem and its ultimate destruction by Babylonian soldiers. Jeremiah expresses the lost-ness of his people as destruction overtakes them. He compares Jews to ostriches. He says, "my people have become heartless like ostriches in the desert." (Lamentations 4:3) To what does this refer? It is explained by a passage in Job which says, "The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully…She lays her eggs on the ground and lets them warm in the sand, unmindful that a foot may crush them, that some wild animal may trample them. She treats her young harshly, as if they were not hers, she cares not that her labor was in vain, for God did not endow her with wisdom or give her a share of good sense. Yet when she spreads her feathers to run, she laughs at horse and rider." (Job 39:13-18) The Davis dictionary reveals …

Deceit - Deceit Series #1

This is the action of lying or tricking someone. It is a dishonest act and tries to persuade a person to buy something they would not otherwise buy or do something they would not otherwise do or believe something they wouldn't otherwise believe. It is also used in referencing a person's character, as if they are deceptive or perpetrating an act of deception. Job did not know why he was suffering great physical and emotional pain but his friends felt there was a very simple answer for that…Job was a sinner and had acted in some deceitful way for which God was now punishing him. Job declared, "my tongue will utter no deceit." (Job 27:4) I am blameless of being deceitful. Eliphaz implied Job was in the company of the godless who deceive. Zophar felt that God "recognizes deceitful men." (11:11) Implying that Job was in suffering because God did recognize him as a deceitful person. Job confidently stated that "both deceiver and deceived are God's." (…

God's Son

We think of him as Jesus Christ. How often, however, do we think of him as the second person of the Trinity? The book of Hebrews is written to show the supremacy of Jesus Christ over any human leader, i.e. prophets, Moses, Joshua, Aaron and many more, and even over the angels who are very powerful and are the messengers of God . The Son of God is described as, "heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." He also, "provided purification for sins" and then "sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven." (Hebrews 1:2b-3) Consider these six phrases: "Heir of all things" There is no one who stands between him and the Father. He is heir, therefore the one who will reign on earth at a later time."made the universe" He is the creator. There was no ooze that evolved to man. All …

Mentoring Believers

Our churches spend much time developing or finding curriculum for study in classes. There are many ways to walk through biblical truth but Paul gives words of wisdom to Titus, a young pastor, as requirements for four groups of people in the church. A general thought was to teach that which would be in harmony with "sound doctrine." This means that all that was taught had to be measured by soundness and unity with the faith. In Titus 2:15 Paul also augmented teaching with encouragement and rebuke (confrontation). This was a powerful combination. So, Paul tells Titus in Titus 2:1-10 that there should be mentoring going on for four groups of people: ·Older men were to be taught to be temperate (sober, as related to wine), worthy of respect(venerable or reverent), self-controlled (curbing desires and impulses), and sound (in good health) in the faith, in the love and in the patience. ·Older women were to be taught to be reverent in their lifestyle covering all occasions, not slander…

Crowns

We don't live in a nation that has real royalty. There are some in America that would like to be worshipped as royalty but their lineage doesn't support their claim to it. So, to think about a crown we probably would go to England and the Queen. Occasionally they put on their royal garb which includes a crown and show it off to the nation. It seems nice but somewhat out of place in the 21st century. So, what about crowns? Any chance you could get one? As a matter of fact, yes! Paul and Peter spoke of five crowns that we as believers can obtain. Here are their names and the activities for receiving them as a reward in heaven: Crown of Incorruption – given to those who keep their body under submission to the Spirit in everyday life  (1 Corinthians 9:25)Crown of Joy – given to those who lead people to Christ  (1 Thess. 2:19-20)Crown of Righteousness – given to those who long for the appearing of Christ to take us home to heaven  (2 Timothy 4:8; Hebrews…

Eternal Life

When we become a believer in the work Jesus Christ has done for us on the cross and through his resurrection, we obtain the quality of eternal life. So, what does it mean when Paul challenges Timothy, his disciple, to "take hold of the eternal life to which you were called…?" (1 Timothy 6:12) He obviously had eternal life, which was granted to everyone who became a believer, so what is the difference between this eternal life as opposed to that eternal life? The verb seems to indicate that he was not grasping eternal life now. Paul wants him to start using it by putting it into the thoughts and activities of his life. This is a summary by Paul to Timothy based on previous verses where he makes a comparison between living out riches in the earthly life and living out eternal life. (1 Timothy 6:5-11a) Being rich could cause many harmful results: falling into temptation, being caught in a trap, senseless and harmful lusts, sinking into a life of self-destruction, a wandering fro…