Tuesday, 30 July 2013

I.O.U. Nothing

Proverbs 22:1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.

      When I was a young man I had ten credit cards and, of course, I had ten invoices coming in the mail all the time. The reason was simple, I was only paying the minimum payment on some of the bills. I did not know the Lord personally in those days, but the Spiritual principles and laws of money, wealth, and commerce were at work whether I believed or not. I was guilty of breaking this law. Prov. 3:27 Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. 

      I was doing this very thing. I was using the money that belonged to my creditors in order to self-indulge, therefore, abusing my good name. I was paying less than the minimum payments because I was spending the rest on parties and that life style. There came the day when it all caught up with me and I had to get a bill payer loan. The bank manager cut up all ten credit cards and took care of all the phone calls to the charge card companies in order to pay the total balances owed. 
      It took me four and a half years at $302.00 a month to pay it all off. In the early 1970's that was a lot of money. During those five years, I used cash only and never again owed anyone an outstanding debt. If I could not pay cash for it, I would not buy it, no matter what "IT" was. Prov. 22:7 The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. Thank God in the same summer of the final payment paid, I received Christ as my Lord and Savior.
      Under God's financial principles for living, I have learned how to manage my fiscal affairs. I am often stunned at the financial traps and schemes that Christian brothers find themselves caught up in and sometimes actually promoting. 
      A sister in the Lord that I was counseling for her debt problems had owed a Doctor $425.00 for over three years and had not made a payment during that time. She was constantly asking the Doctor for more time with his invoice and yet she was traveling to all types of Christian conferences. When we looked into all her debt, there were more creditors owed, and she was treating them in a similar fashion. I explained Prov. 3:27 Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. 
      The irony would have been funny, but this was pathetic. She was stealing the money owed the Doctor in order to enhance her Spiritual life in Christ by spending the owed money on Christian conferences. She was not choosing the advice of this bible verse. Prov. 22:1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches. She could not understand why she found it so hard to hear God's direction in her life. Mark 4:25 For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath. 
      I explained that until she started to seriously deal with her creditors she would find it hard to move forward in the blessing of God's provision. It took a year and a half for her to pay off her outstanding debts, but finally came to a place where Rom. 13:8a Owe no man any thing, but to love one another. had become real to her. 
      A few years ago I had parked in front of a large drug store, and I noticed a sign in their window that said "SALE ON STUFF." I realized that we have become so conditioned to buying on impulse, that the sign said it all. Stuff and more stuff is what we, as a nation are going into extreme debt over. The hole in our hearts cannot be filled with stuff. It can only be filled with Christ Himself. Gal. 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.
      The principle of God's financial grace will come to you when you seek Him first. Matt. 6:33  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Yes, the proverb tells me to choose a good name and that I will do with the help of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Do You See?

Proverbs 29:18  Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he.

      How many a good story, poem, play, or song was dropped from our hearts, or not written because we talked ourselves out of it? We might have said things like, "I could never write like him I'm such a poor speller. It would probably fail on opening night, what do I know about dancing. Why try and sing this song I wrote, my music teacher said I couldn't carry a tune in a bucket."
     God created us in His image and has put within each one of us the ability to create as He does. Gen. 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. We have an enemy that is after our creative ability that brings glory to God, and joy to our hearts and lives. John 10:10 The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 
      John Maxwell said, "Where there is no hope in the future, there is no power in the present."  Where there is no vision for the future, the people perish because they have lost their power to dream and their strength to advance in their God-given vision of hope.
     Thank God that we can out-vision the enemy of our soul by the Word of our living God. 1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world. You have to remember that you and God are a majority and that is why you can work out your visions and dreams in life. Christ in us will give us the strength to move forward Phil. 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. 
      Our creative abilities are inspired by God to bring us closer to Him, in order to build our faith in His love toward us. Heb. 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. Is it no wonder that the devil hates us? John 8:44-B When he (Satan) speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. The devil has not changed his tactic from the start when seducing Eve. Gen. 3:1 Yea, hath God said? 
      He is trying the very same thing on us. He says, do you really think people will like this? Do you actually think God will help you with that poorly written story? Even if you get to sing, would you look good in public? There is nothing new under the sun here, he goes on and on trying to destroy the creativity within you by using insecurity and inferiority. He is after that vision that expresses your love for God. 
     We have a promise from God's word that we will be visionaries in God. Joel 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: Let us go right on dreaming and giving vision to our future with the leading of the mighty God. 
      Why? Our Lord and Savior truly wants us to succeed in His loving plan for our lives. Phil. 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Go ahead! Paint, sing, dance, write, invent, create, dream, love, and vision to the best of your God-given ability. Vision the future and you will have strength for today!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

A Good Inheritance

Proverbs 13:22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children.

     This proverb makes an interesting statement, and gives a practical instruction. 
     The impact of our personal relationship with the Lord Jesus should be so transparently honest and real that our spiritual relationship would influence and reach our grand-children. The raising of our children under God and His principles would have an impact on our children to the point that they carry God's holy influence to their next generation.
     One of the key reasons that God chose Abraham to establish a covenant with, was that Abraham had agreed to teach his children about God. On that premise, God was pleased and made an eternal covenant with Abraham and his descendants. Gen. 18:19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgement; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
      Raising children to choose a personal relationship with the Lord is God's desire for our lives. This does not mean that it will be clear sailing or without troubles. Just because you have a personal relationship with Christ does not mean your children have automatic salvation. As we know, God does not have grandchildren; He only has children. 
      The comfort that we can take in raising our children in the Lord is that all possible directions from God will be at our children's disposal so they can make their own personal choice to serve the living God out of their own free will. Prov. 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. 
      You will notice that the verse says, "when he is old he will not depart from it." It does not say that there won't be trials and problems between the young and old stages of their lives. What do we do then? We keep our relationship with the Lord strong and genuine so that our children have a righteous reference to draw their conclusions from.
     There is also some practical advice in this verse. Prov. 13:22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children. We have all heard of some inappropriate behavior that occurs when a family member has passed away and there is vocal disagreement at the reading of the will. Yes! Where there is a will, there are relatives! 
      Prov. 13:11 Wealth gained hastily, will dwindle. Prov. 23:5 Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. Most people, "not all" who come into an inheritance, blow it on stuff. Literally, the wealth appears to have manifested a set of wings and flies away not to be seen again. The inheritors are left that shouldawouldacoulda feeling about the money that is spent and gone.
      A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children. If I have raised my sons with a good work ethic and a righteous character for taking personal responsibility in their lives, they should be able to take care of themselves. They should not be in a position of needing what I have fiscally accumulated by the time of my death. 
      I think the best way to help my children would be to leave most of what I have to my son's children if they have any. This would relieve much pressure in their lives because they would know that their children were provided for. Then repeat the process in the next generation.
    I am only thinking out loud here with these personal observations. If you wish to leave everything you have to a house full of cats, that is your freedom and business. May God give you all the wisdom that you need in this life.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Thank You, in Any Language!

Proverbs 15:23 A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!

      One of the best answers from a person's mouth is, Thank You!
      We live in a time of great discontentment. Many news articles report on people living with high levels of stress, depression, anxiety, and fear. These news stories are written in wonder of what is going on with people today. There seems to be an inability to grasp contentment.
      
      Gratefulness is a concept rather than an attribute of character. Saying thank you for what we have is no longer a normal exercise of heart, and thought. We read in Rom. 1:21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. This verse is talking about people who 'knew God', not the unbelievers, but people who claim to know God. When they did not give thanks or express gratitude to God, their thinking brought them only futility. What is the opposite of futility? That would be a mind that is productive, creative, and full of peace.
      Phil. 4:11 For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. How was the Apostle Paul able to say that he had learned to be content? Paul was betrayed, whipped, beat, shipwrecked, poisoned, chained in prison and his character was attacked viciously on a regular basis and yet, he was content. He understood the principle of gratitude and thankfulness. He was consistent with his thank-you's toward his Lord. Rom. 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all.
      He was thankful for the people in his life. 1 Cor. 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf. Paul went before the Lord giving thanks on their behalf. Phil. 1:3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you. During his daily walk when someone came to his mind, Paul would thank the Lord for that person or group. Philemon 1:4 I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers. During his devotional time in prayer, Paul would thank God for the people that had been given to him to receive the good news. 
      1 Cor. 14:18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all. For Paul's daily private and personal life, he was again very thankful. He said "Thank You" all the time and because of that expression of heart, Paul was able to choose contentment in all things. 
      A heart of gratefulness will put you in a position of choice when all the struggles come your way. If "thank you" is a natural statement from your lips, then you will have the strength to choose contentment in every situation that comes your way. When gratefulness is practiced and becomes the first thought in your heart and mind, you will have the joy of life. You will have and produce a Godly life.
      Medical practitioners are aware of the healing powers of gratefulness. I was listening to a Doctor who worked with manic depressed people. He explained his healing method for these suffering patients and the simplicity was remarkable. He put one-half of the patients on the newest pills that were available and the other half, he tried an experiment in gratefulness.
      Over a three-month supervised period of time, the physician asked the second group to write down five things they were grateful for every day during the program and to also do twenty minutes of physical exercises in the same day. The medical staff were able to monitor the gratitude group because they were being treated at an outdoor ranch facility.
      After three months, the first group had improved to a moderate level that the pills could bring them to, but still needing pills. The gratitude members had not only improved but most were healed of their manic depression and had gone on to productive lives. They got healed by saying THANK YOU!!! Of course, there was more involved in the eventual healing, but the catalyst was gratefulness and thanksgiving.
      I had heard this story over five years ago and at that time I started a project of my own. I started to write five things I was grateful for every day in a scribbler. To this day I am still writing my five thank yous in a scribbler. I have found that choosing contentment only came easier after I had developed a heart of thanksgiving. Say thank you, and your life will change for the better. Bless you, all.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

A Good Friend

Proverbs 13:20 He that walks with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

      My Father-in-law has a saying, "Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are."       When God wants to bless you He brings you a friend. When the devil wants to kill you, he brings you a fool. How often have you seen disasters in a family because of wrong influences in relationships? 
      The young man who is arrested because he was with that foolish person in the wrong place at the wrong time. The young lady who ended up in an abusive relationship because she would not see in the so-called friend what was evident to anyone else who had a pulse. 
      Those who after being warned bought that five acres of prime real-estate from that supposed nice person, only to find out the land they bought is under two feet of water eleven months a year. Prov. 16:30 With narrowed eyes, people plot evil; with a smirk, they plan their mischief.
      God has given us the choice to be as wise and wealthy as the wisest and wealthiest person on earth or, you can be as wicked and poor as the vilest and poorest person on earth. This is your choice entirely, as you are created with a free will. It is true that God will use foolishness as said in 1 Cor. 1:27 
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. However, God will never use the foolishness to destroy you but to bring you back into a loving relationship with Himself.
      Hang out with the type of people who will lovingly influence you toward righteousness and living a blessed life. Why accept the advice of a neurotic tabloid TV host who influences your choices toward a life of mediocrity? Psalm 122:1 I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. 
      Isn't it wonderful that when God sends you a friend, that blessing is part of that relationship? Prov. 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. True friendship will cause spiritual growth for your good. Jer. 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 
      Spend time with the Lord and your character will grow to recognize Godliness in others. Matt. 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Invest quality time with people who love the Lord and your love and friendships will grow. Your best friend of all is Christ. 
      He has given all to be your Savior. How well the old hymn says, "Oh what a friend we have in Jesus." John 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knows not what his lord does: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Giving Honour

Proverbs 3:9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the first-fruits of all thine increase.

        To honor means: respect highly or a mark of distinction. We could say, "Respect highly with a mark of distinction the Lord with our substance. "Our substance is what we make, create, and earn to live the everyday working and doing life. 
      This first fruit, or tithe and offering, is given as an act of honoring God. However, more than earthly goods are intended when talking about substance. 
      The very substance of who we are comes under the light of the new birth in Christ. We now honor the Lord with our entire life because of His grace toward us. Giving ourselves daily to the will of our heavenly Father is giving honor to the Lord. He redeemed us by giving us His very best, and that is Himself. We, therefore, honor Him by giving the best we are and have in Him.
      Why give the first fruits to the Lord or dare I say it, tithe? My pastor often says; Do you want 90% of blessed money or do you want 100% of cursed money? That is a good question. When you tithe the 10% to God, then this allows the LORD to sanctify the balance. 
      The sanctified money that you steward, by faith, will go much farther and do a lot more blessed work with less strife. Heb. 7:8 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. 
      Here on earth, we give the tithes and offerings to the ministers, pastors, or clergy that are called by God to ministry or as said in this verse, we give to 'men that die,' but when we give by faith it is the Lord who receives it. 
      It is the Lord that gives you the wisdom as to how to steward the balance. Solomon, a very wealthy king encourages us to be generous with the substance that we steward. Eccl. 11:1 Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. 2 Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for you do not know what evil shall be upon the earth. 
      Solomon is saying that we will not always have the answers as to why evil or its effects shall be upon the earth, but none the less stay generous, because you will reap that generosity one day. You may be a help to someone in crisis, and one day you find yourself in a hard place, and there will be seven and eight helping you along. 
      I like the way the Apostle Paul says it in 2 Cor. 9:6 But this I say, He which sows sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which sows bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposes in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver.
      Be a cheerful giver. Give with a heart of honor and your barns will be filled with plenty. This is a promise of God to us who live with our hearts and hands extended to give and receive through our Lord. 
      Developing an attitude of generosity will help us respond to the voice of the Lord when we are asked by Him to be a blessing toward a need. John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. Giving with honor will bring peace to our hearts and lives, so continue being a generous person.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Act or React

Proverbs 3:25 Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it comes.

      Sudden fear is often a reaction of PANIC. Panic means: to be affected with, infectious fright, sudden general alarm, or feel stricken.
      Be not afraid of sudden fear means just that; do not react in a panic mode when you hear of some terrible news concerning yourself or a loved one, or when you see some national catastrophe that has been played over and over on the news.
      Do not allow these events to consume your emotions and decision-making in that moment. The Lord has instructed us in how to act during these frightful occasions. Prov. 3:26 For the LORD shall be thy confidence and keep thy foot from being taken. He says in Psalms 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God.
      Someone might say, "How do I not react the way I have reacted my entire life toward fear?" We read in 1 Pet. 5:7 Casting all your care upon Him; for He cares for you. Handing over our fears, sorrow, grief, anxiety, and suffering of the mind in that moment of the sudden frightful news is an acquired skill. 
      Yes, we have to learn how to change our minds when the tragic event is happening. However, we have the Holy Spirit to teach us how to respond His way. John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
      Prov. 3:25 exhorts us: not to be afraid of the desolation of the wicked when it comes. Notice the proverb says "when the desolation comes," and not "if" it comes. We live in a fallen world and stuff will happen to the destruction of all choices that are made in the name of conceit, greed, and selfish preservation. Gal. 6: 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
      When your life is immersed in the covenant that you live in Christ, you will have no reason to fear the desolation that happens to the wicked because you are not under that judgement. Rather, you are in a position to help those who have fallen to the destruction and tragedy. 
      My prayer for us all is Psalms 91:5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flies by day; 6 Nor for the pestilence that walks in darkness; nor for the destruction that wastes at noonday. 7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Amen and amen!

Friday, 12 July 2013

Say it !!!

Proverbs 24:10 If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.

       How often have you wished you had wings so you could just fly away from all your fears and problems? Honesty would include most of us saying this very thing in our hearts. I think the reason God created us without wings is that we would do just that, fly away. 
      The Psalmist says it clearly in Psalm 55:6 And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. 7 Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. 8 I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest. 
      Yes! We would hasten or escape from the storm in our life. However, we were created to go forward in life with an expectation of winning the battle raging over us. God has made us victors and not victims. The Lord has given us His assurance and presence. Heb.13:5 He will never leave us nor forsake us.
      The Lord helps us strengthen our resolve and faith to accomplish what He put in our hearts and minds to do. He says in Joel 3:10 Let the weak say, I am strong. Again the LORD wants us to say what our position is. In Psalm 107:2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy. It is true that there is a lot of negativity in the world, but we do not have to be inundated by it. 
      We have a Savior who has overcome every possible attack that can mount up against us. We are more than able to fight back, but we do it through the Holy Spirit. 2 Cor. 10:4  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. 
      Plus we have a promise that if we are tempted to cower and give up the battle, then the Lord says in 1 Cor. 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 
      What if we fall to this temptation? Praise the Lord that there is grace and forgiveness for us to the asking. What will I do then? I will believe what God says about me and I will say what the Psalmist says in Psalm 91:2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Just say it!!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Work Hard or Work Smart.

Proverbs 14:23  In all labour there is profit: but talk of lips tends only to penury.

      The word of God has a lot to say about work and labour. Col. 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. 
      Work has become a dirty word in our time. It seems that when people find a job, they stop looking for work. The get rich quick mentality is eroding some fundamental truths. It is true that some have struck it very rich with "seemingly" low input, but this is not the rule. We were created to work and be creative. Work was ordained before the fall of man. Gen. 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
      Someone once said, "I find more fun in working, then when I am looking to have fun." It is true that some work hard, and others work smart. I try to work hard at working smart. This allows God plenty of room to move on my behalf.
      The reason rivers are crooked is that water finds the least amount of resistance as it carves and flows its path to the ocean. Man's character can become lazy in a similar way in that he looks for the least amount of work for the most amount of pay. 
      I'm not saying you should feel guilty if you have a great career, rather to the contrary, say thank you for that blessing. I'm not suggesting that you have to be a slave to your job and not find easier ways of doing the work and enjoying more productivity using your abilities. 
      I'm saying we were created to be creative and productive for our life's growth. God has given us the ability to do whatever we put our minds to doing. Work, and working during our life is biblical. Psalm 92:14 They shall still bring forth fruit in old age. Work and creativity will continue into old age. 
      Matt. 9:37 The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. 
We will work here on earth, and we will work with the Lord forever in glory. Work is here to stay.


Be Wise

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

      Everything starts with a beginning, knowledge included. The knowledge of God that you act upon will bring with it glory, wisdom, and instruction for life. Prov. 8.23 wisdom says, "I was set up from everlasting from the beginning." Gen. 1:1 says, "In the beginning God created," or made. Who made? God made! God created wisdom and knowledge.
    God is the one we must answer to, therefore the fear (respect, honor) of God can only bring about a wise starting point to your choice of reverence toward Him. This fear, therefore, is the right building block toward the knowledge and knowing of God. Thus the fear of the Lord is the beginning of true wisdom and knowledge.
     Fools cannot help but despise wisdom and instruction because their reaction is an engrafted part of their character. A sin nature finds no comfort in a holy and wise God. Psalm 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, there is no God. The rejection of God is the rejection of wisdom, instruction, truth, and righteous knowledge. The fool's life becomes a constant choice of eternal folly. 2 Tim. 3:7 Ever leaning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
    Choosing the fear of the Lord will bring more than Godly wisdom and righteous knowledge; it will also bring the presence of the Lord himself. James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.
    God is good!