Tag Archives: poor

The “Success Sequence”

The “Success Sequence”

Prophecy News Watch is a website that keeps readers aware of current events of Biblical nature.  I enjoy their weekly emails.

One recent article suggested there is a “Success Sequence” for major life choices that impact whether person avoids poverty or lives in poverty.

The article in part said: “The Brookings Institute ‘demonstrated way back in the early nineties that Americans only need to do three things to avoid living in poverty: graduate from high school, marry before having a child, and have that child after age 20… Sociologists today say that this ‘success sequence’ still works. One study of millennials found that 97 percent of those who earn at least a high-school diploma, work, and get marred before having kids will not be poor as they enter their 30s.”

97 percent of those who followed this “Success Sequence” are not living in poverty today! It is hard to argue with those numbers.  With all the “Do what you want to do” teachings and instant gratification kids are taught; coupled along with homes that have very little discipline or moral expectations – no wonder poverty in America seems to be increasing.  Case in point:

  • 2-3 families living in under the same roof.
  • Cohabitating with several people, not related, is heard of more.
  • Young adults past college age still living at home.
  • Living pay check to pay check with no plan to pay off credit cards.
  • Kids with little education and no aspirations constantly playing on cell phones.
  • A major uptick in drug addictions, marijuana smokers, and the recent opioid epidemic.
  • An increase in screen addictions. Parents who allow cell phones and tablets risk not only the addictions to the pornography industry, but also the distorted development of a mind that is relying on a tablet or cellphone for information.
  • Personal debt is at an all time high.
  • There is an increase in people renting instead of buying homes.

Years ago Solomon taught in Proverbs 24:27 “Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.”

It could be stated that in different terms, the report is saying the same thing that Solomon said.

  1. Finish High School. Vocational and college training is also a consideration here.  (Prepare)
  2. Have a career and then get married. (Make Fit for Thyself in the Field)
  3. Have children following marriage. (Afterwards Build Thine House)

Perhaps one word to describe this “Success Sequence” is very simply – “Stable.”  Stability ensures you will avoid poverty.

One more warning on those little screens and social media: Couples who maintain separate social accounts many times have a more distant relationship with each other resulting in possible unhealthy choices, conflict, and perhaps even divorce.  This could contribute to a reversal of the “Success Sequence.”  When divorce occurs, no matter the wealth previously accumulated, cycles of decline begin, an estate is divided resulting in wasteful spending patterns and eventual poverty.

Stability will ensure that you do not live in poverty.  Better yet – Biblical stability will ensure you live a “successful life.”   Parents, teach your kids this plan.  The future of their lives and the future of your possible grandchildren depend on knowing this Bible truth.

 

 

 

 

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Discovering Joy

Discovering Joy

Joy has been aptly defined in a simple and yet profound acrostic.

Jesus, Others, You.

I like that.  Consider the depth of joy as opposed to the shallowness of mere happiness.  Happiness is generally derived from outer circumstances, while joy comes from within.  Happiness is impacted by good or bad surroundings whereas joy remains constant no matter the events a person may go through.  Joy is something that God can put inside your mind when you love and adore Him first in life.  We can be happy when our team wins; but if our team losses, we can still have joy.  We can get excited when the report comes back good; but when the doctor says, cancer or surgery, we can still have joy.

Speaking of the Macedonian Christians, Paul said in 2 Corinthians 8:2 “How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.”

These early Christians were suffering persecution, yet remained joyful in Jesus.  Many were tortured and killed for their faith.  These believers were known to be poor, yet were rich in spirit and even in sacrificing what little finances they had in order to give to missions work and Gospel ministry.  They had and Gospel focus in life.

They were so focused on loving The Lord, and on serving others that in spite of their lack of stuff, they had joy.  Even though their circumstances were tragic – they were at peace with God, satisfied with life, and expressed the joy of the Lord in their countenance, actions, and relationships.

Many times, we settle for “pursuing happiness” when we should be seeking, Bible based joy. Even if your circumstances are “less than ideal” or even if it seems like one storm after another comes your way – you can have the joy of the Lord in your life.

Following the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, the people gather together to hear Ezra read the Bible.  Following his reading, Nehemiah stands up and says in Nehemiah 8:10, “Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

The Joy of the Lord is our strength too.  Nehemiah says to “go celebrate, but no matter what happens the rest of your life – you can rely the joy of the Lord.”  This joy gives us strength and hope for the journey called life.  The Jews in the rebuilt city of Jerusalem were to face more troubles and challenges in the days ahead – and we will too.  Relying on the power of God can reinforce this idea that no matter the circumstances, the joy of the Lord can be real in our life.

Change the priority and focus of your life.  When my love shifts from selfishly loving myself to selflessly loving God, then others, and then far down the list, myself – then joy is can be discovered in my life.

Jesus – First.

Others – Second.

You – Last.

It will change your life.

Free Range Bear

Bear and Cub

Free Range Bear

As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.   Proverbs 28:15

Years ago, we had the privilege of living in a small city in the heart of the Monongahela National Forest in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia.   We enjoyed living there and were always blessed to see the “Wild and Wonderful” wildlife of West Virginia.  We had many black bear in our area.  It was not uncommon to see a mother bear and her cubs playing, or a bear running up a hill.  Even though the cubs look like teddy bears, they grow up fast and when hungry can be dangerous to humans.

I understand that black bear are territorial and have a certain “circuit” they travel in their search for food.  Berries and nuts are their primary food source.  Many times a bear will defend its area so as to not run out of food.  During times of drought, or when for some reason food is scarce, a bear may expand its area to find more food.  These “free ranging” bear will come into cities and areas where people live in seasons like this.  Our dog was really excited one morning when a bear showed up in our back yard!

One day, we were at another church family’s house on the mountain when we noticed a bear near our truck.  This bear was lying down in the driveway.  He looked hungry as his body was not plump, but very skinny, almost emaciated.  Some corn from feeding the chickens was in the driveway and this bear was laying there licking it off the ground.  The other man banged pots and pans together and we rushed at the bear, trying to appear bigger in an attempt to chase him away from the truck so we could leave.  The bear was ranging, but expanding his territorial range. He was in an area that he was not supposed to be in because he was hungry.

Ranging in this verse has to do with a “running a course, and eating greedily.”  This verse indicates that a governmental leader that is roaring like a lion and ranging like a bear is a wicked leader.  Speaking many words, but saying very little is a common tactic of governmental leaders, especially when involved in political campaigns.

Consider then the ranging bear.  Just as a bear gets into areas that it should not be in, the government can also get into areas that it should not be in.  Wicked leaders can be like the bear.   When the “wicked ruler” of this verse is too involved in the life of his citizens, he is in reality interfering with their lives.  When the ranging bear goes out of his territory it is because he is hungry and wanting more.  When governmental leaders want more control they are acting the same.  Greed, lust, power, and manipulation of the poor people is the result.  An ever hungry government is like the hungry bear, looking for more food to devour.   It is the poor among us who are affected the most.

This application can be seen throughout history in nations with Kings, Parliaments, Congress and Presidents.  We should pray for our leaders no matter which party they may be a part of.  I suppose the solution to this growing problem would be to elect leaders who do not extend themselves beyond the range of their office.