Tag Archives: value

Finding Financial Freedom PART 3

Finding Financial Freedom PART 3

How Can I Be Rich Towards God…
I. Consider God First.

I like this money story:  “A torn and ragged one-dollar bill discovered that it was about to be retired from circulation. As it slowly moved along the conveyor belt to the shredder, it became acquainted and struck up a conversation with a fifty-dollar bill that was meeting the same fate.

The fifty began reminiscing about its travels all over the country. Life has been good,” the fifty exclaimed. “Why, I’ve been to Las Vegas, the finest restaurants in New York, political fund raisers, and I just returned from a cruise on the Caribbean.”
The one-dollar bill said, “You’re fortunate to have been able to visit all those places.”
So where all have you been in your lifetime, my little friend,” said the fifty?” “Well, I’ve been to the Methodist church, the Baptist church, the Episcopal church, the Presbyterian church, the Lutheran church, the Catholic church, the Salvation Army church, the Orthodox church, the Assembly of God church, the Brethren church, the Quaker church, the Pentecostal church, the Charismatic church, and the Church of Christ.
“Excuse me,” said the fifty, “but what’s a Church?”” -Min127
• First Fruits. Proverbs 3:9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine _________________:
• First Withdrawal.  Have a thought-out plan.  Schedule Tithing, giving, saving, etc. These disciplines should be habit. They are not based on how I feel. You may not feel like brushing teeth or cleaning your clothes but you do it. 1 Timothy 6:7-8 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith ____________________.

II. Consider Savings Second
Have a Savings Strategy.  Have long term planning.  Save up a short term savings for emergencies. Start with $1000 in emergency cash.  Follow your budget. Have one.  Find Ways to Save Pennies. Delay purchases one more month. Wait. Don’t buy things you will seldom if ever use.

BTW: It does not matter if it is a good deal – if you do not need it – don’t buy it.  Avoid the sales pressures of “Buy In next 15 minutes or you will lose the sale.”  Walk away.  Avoid the Checkout Lane items.
BTW: Many people in perpetual poverty are the fastest to buy on impulse the items at the checkout lane. Higher priced stuff. You get more product for less at the back of the store.

Here are some ideas to stretch your dollar farther…
o Keep using appliances till they die.
o Buy cars slightly used. Saves thousands on depreciation.
o Pay off the credit card each month. If you struggle to be disciplined, cut the card up, pay the rest of the bill. Use cash or debit.
o Take less vacations until house is paid off.
o Visit family for vacation. Go camping.
o Use Coupons. Mom used to save $10,000 or more with them.
o Learn the “art” of cutting your kids hair.
o Lunch not dinner at restaurants.
o Limit gift costs. Have discipline.
o Smaller birthday parties. Events should not be hundreds of dollars.
o Pay extra on principal not interest

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be _____________________ with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

 

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I Missed the Conference

I Missed The Conference

Red face. Swollen brow. My left eye was nearly swollen shut.  It was somewhat difficult to breath. The headache was paralyzing.  “You look terrible.” My doctor said to me Monday morning.  I appreciate it when my medical doctors are straight up with me.  “Take this medicine and you will be better in 3-4 days.”  I would rather be “better” in 20 minutes, but I was grateful.

That night was our Mission Conference.  I fought through the pain the previous day or two, but after several nights of not sleeping well and with the eye still swollen and headache still pounding, I knew I was a “no go” for the conference.

I do not recall ever missing one of our church missions conference.  Never. Ever.  Even as a young person, it was a priority in our home to be at every church service and every church event.  Our parents were faithful to see us be involved in church.

Missions conference holds many special memories in my mind as a young person.  The kid’s conferences, meeting the missionaries from around the world, and seeing the pastor call “all those willing to serve as missionaries” to come to the front so we could have a word of prayer.

As I have been reflecting on the message I heard Dr. Scott Caudill deliver on Tuesday night (I was well enough to attend) I began thinking of a verse he referenced, Matthew 6:21, For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  Of course, the context of what Jesus is speaking is dealing with money and stuff.  It applies to our time and talent as well.

Because my parents placed their treasure in the things of God; church, missions conference, youth group, etc. they made sure that their sons were at these events and services.  Ball games, piano practice, art class, overtime at work, and other stuff (even school) were not more important than the church stuff.  This made a difference in my life.  Their “Treasure” eventually was where their heart (and where my heart also) ended up – invested in the things of God.

Check out this verse again, “Where your treasure is…”  Before the heart is moved, the treasure is already in it’s place.  The heart catches up to where the treasure is.  It does not say “Love God with your heart and then your treasure will be at the right place.”

No, Jesus is saying, “Put your treasure in the right place and then your heart will be in the right place.”  There is a big difference in this approach.

Where is your treasure today?  I can’t believe I missed a mission conference service!  I feel like the sickness “Providentially Hindered” me from attending on Monday.  That said, most of the time, when my treasure is not in the right place it is my personal choices and my own decisions that hinder me.  Believe me, I know we can’t be at everything the church offers, but shouldn’t I make an attempt?  At least for the Mission of the Gospel?  We have no reason for living were it not for the Gospel.  I don’t expect everyone to be at everything.  But what about your treasure?  Where is it today?  When you find your treasure – you will find where your heart truly is.

Be encouraged today to put your treasure in the right place.  Only then will your heart be in the right place.

 

 

 

 

The New “Valentines Day Massacre”

The New Valentines Day Massacre

February 14, 1929, seven men were killed in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood by 4 men in a planned attack in a mob war.  According to Wiki – “Two of the shooters were dressed as uniformed policemen, while the others wore suits, ties, overcoats and hats. Witnesses saw the “police” leading the other men at gunpoint out of the garage after the shooting.”

Interestingly enough the student assailant of the February 14, 2018 shooting walked out with others students to try to avoid being captured. What can one say? Sad. Tragic. Needless. My heart goes out to all the students and their families in that school.

The New “Valentines Day Massacre” is a reflection of the human heart.  In Florida, 17 Students are dead and many others are physically wounded.

In addition, the psychological trauma and the emotional distress will be painful for years to come if not properly processed by each student.  Those intense moments of either confronting the assailant, evading him, or even being confronted by the SWAT teams as they secured the area can become horrific memories in the mind of each student.

I read somewhere that since 1999 and Columbine High School in Colorado, that there have been 25 mass school shootings with nearly 100 students killed.  Just shortly after the Columbine event, I walked around the school property, saw the crime scene, and looked at the makeshift memorials on a hillside outside.

Who is to blame?  Why do mass casualty events like this happen?  Why does it seem to be increasing?

The problem of people killing other people is rooted in the cognition level of what people were celebrating on Valentine’s Day – the heart.  While people were eating chocolate hearts, sending hearts on texts, and attempting to express love to their mate, a troubled student in Florida was planning and formulating in his heart a plan of hate and harm.

An old prophet named Jeremiah wrote about the heart 2600 years ago in Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

Mankind, at his best is still a sinful being living in a world of pain, suffering, temptations, injustice, and unkindness.  People can be flat out mean.  It is because we are sinners and have a sin nature that is part of our DNA.

Apart from the “regeneration” of the Holy Spirit of God, individual men will continue to sin against themselves, against others, and against God.

When mass casualty events take place in schools, I ask the following questions:

  1. Where were the parents?
  2. Has the dad been a steady influence?
  3. What kind of abuse did the assailant endure as a child?
  4. How long has bitterness, anger and rage been left unchecked?
  5. What was the one “trigger event” or spark that brought this rage to the surface?

Like a chemical reaction, the chemicals can be mixed all together but lacks one ingredient, that when added causes the reaction or explosion.  What was the tipping point event (ingredient) in the life of the assailant?

Anyone with “no future” will be living in the past.  I suspect that this young man endured a difficult home life, did not feel loved and valued, and reacted to the hardships of life by isolating himself from the accountability of friends and family.  This young man had not discovered a purpose or reason for living.  It is possible one attempts to find significance by harming others.  Sometimes it is even posted in social media ahead of time.

The perception that “I have no reason for being alive” is just that – a perception.  It is informed by choices, environment, and the person’s past.  This is a sad way many people are living.  A person desperate for attention, significance, or security could drive himself to the point of insane actions to gain what he believes is lacking in his life – value.

God loves people so much that He sent Jesus to die on the cross, shedding His blood and taking our punishment and paying for our sin with his very life.  Following a person’s belief in Jesus, the Christian has a new purpose and reason for living.  Ephesians 2:10 states, For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.  Have Hope Today!  Choose New Life!  Jesus values each person and wants to have a personal relationship with each person.

Common denominators and problematic symptoms of assailants seem to include: a wounded spirit, isolation of self from others, a broken family, playing violent games, listening to music with violent lyrics, and a rebellious attitude that is quite and not always evident on the surface. Sometimes the assailants are trying to replicate something they saw in media.  Many times it is the student who is suffering life in silence.  The ones who suffer more vocally tend to get more attention from their peers and teachers.

The prophet Jeremiah, cited earlier, was known as “the weeping prophet.”  He saw the people of his land suffering and was fast to cry genuine tears.  Children in particular were being killed. Jeremiah 31:15 says, “Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.”

The reason for their suffering?  Why were their children being killed?  The Babylonian enemies of Israel were taking the people captive.  Why did God allow the pain, suffering, and even death at the hands of these evil attackers?  The people of God (who knew better) were no longer honoring God with their lives.  They had forsaken God for money and man-made idols.  They had even looked to the government to try to solve all their social and spiritual problems, but it could not help.

Original Sin is the cause of all human suffering.  The bad things God allows into our lives are conditioned to our response and relationship with Him.  Bad things happen to good and bad people.  Good things happen to both too.  One pastor friend of mine knows one of the young people who was killed in the Florida shooting.  Nothing takes God by surprise.

How we deal with the pain and suffering really depends on our perspective of God. Knowing God is loving and believing He does not want shootings like this to happen can give you assurance.  Trusting that God is perfectly Holy, and that mankind is inherently sinful causes us to see the need for God in our lives all the more!  God’s heart is that when people love Him, they will want to love and be kind to other people.  The heart is the issue.

The assailant broke many laws already including a very basic one – murdering people.  He took a weapon(s) onto school property.

Not only did the assailant break current civil laws, he broke the law of God.

  1. He was not loving his neighbor. Romans 13:8, Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
  2. He murdered innocent people. Exodus 20:13 says, “Thou shalt not kill.”
  3. He hated others in his heart. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus likens hating people to killing them.  To God, when we humans hate other humans it is the same as murdering them.  (Matthew 5:21-22)

A few random concluding thoughts…

  • Anytime a person takes the innocent life of another (circumstances of war and self-defense are different) it is a tragic symptom of a heart that does not know God.
  • Until there is a change in each human heart we will continue to see more and more evil in this world. Legislating morality is only on the surface.  The heart must be affected for it to be lasting.
  • Crime can be punished. Even the preventative nature of a swift justice system can be a deterrent, but a person who senses no purpose for life may want to go out “in a blaze of glory” anyway.
  • Evil events can be minimized, but they will not be eradicated in a world filled with sin and sinful people. Personal defense courses teach that “only a gun will stop another gun.”  Talk to your kids about safe responses.  Make them aware of “danger signals.”
  • Pray for the victims to recover.  Pray for the families of the deceased.  Ask God for His peace and comfort to be real to those hurting today.  God cares.  He knows the pain.
  • Above all – give control of your home to God. Teach your kids to love God.  When we love God, we will be kind to others. Develop and mold their hearts to be accountable to the God of Heaven.

I leave you with two statements Jesus made in Mark 12:30-31, And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Attacks like this reflect the heart.  Many times, the heart is a reflection of the home.  Make your home a place that gives meaning and purpose to life with the Lord as the source of that meaning.

 

 

 

 

 

Spiritual Discernment

Spiritual Discernment

“The story is told of an atheistic barber who was talking to a pastor. The barber asked the pastor, “If there is a loving God, how can He allow poverty, war, and suffering?”

Just at that moment a disheveled man crossed the street. The pastor said, “You are a barber and claim to be a good one. How can you allow that man to go unkept and unshaven?”

“He never gave me a chance!” the barber replied.

To which the pastor said, “Exactly, men are what they are because they reject God!””

There are many things in life that a person will not be able to understand apart from the “new birth” that takes place at the moment of salvation.  The Christian is made a new man (while living in his old body).  He, with the guidance of the Word of God and the Spirit of God has a whole new sphere of understanding that opens up to him.

1 Corinthians 2:14 teaches, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Clearly, Christian men and women are to possess spiritual discernment.  Sadly, many times we do not exhibit sound thinking and reasoning. Why?  Why do some Christians not exhibit good reasoning skills? Here are three thoughts as to why.

  1. We lose our objectivity when we are more in love with the world or the things of the world. 1 John 2:15 says, Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
  2. We lose our Christian rational when we do not know the Bible like we should. Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. One reason some Christians do not make good decisions is because their devotional and Bible educational life are not what it should be.
  3. We lose our clear mind when our soul is spiritually dry. A parched soul trying to find satisfaction with world relationships, philosophies and things cannot be quenched by anything other than the Word of God.  When people lost in desserts are found after surviving death, they are dehydrated and deranged.  They clearly cannot think right in that dry condition.  David, the shepherd boy did not want to dry up spiritually.  While out in the wilderness he said in Psalm 63:1-2, O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. 

Paramount to any relationship is real communication.  Prayer and Bible reading are vital aspects of your growth and development as a Christian.  Enriching your fellowship with God is dependent on a devotional life.

When we read and study the Bible, it penetrates into our soul, affects our mind, and enlightenes our decision making.

Many men reading this do not study the Word like they should.  As a result, their wives feel lonely and their children feel displaced.  A man like that is spiritually coasting, hoping that his home does not fall apart.  Some women scanning this article read Facebook more than they read the Bible.  Their discernment is lessened, and they have become more gullible to false teachings about health, relationships, and what is valuable in life.

Pray today.  Read the Bible today.  Proverbs and James are great places to learn God’s wisdom.  Ask the Lord to give you a discerning spirit.  Then make your discernment even stronger with Bible study.

 

 

 

 

 

The Watch and the Ring

The Watch and the Ring

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  Genesis 1:27

I am thankful for my wife.  I am glad that she is different than me!  If we were identical in personality and physicality why would I need her?  Better yet – Why would she need me?

God made men and women with differences on purpose and it is these differences that add great variety and… value to an individual person.

The role of men and women in the home or in the church has nothing to do with value or worth and everything to do with function and role.  If a body has two heads we would know the body will have conflict and issues.  Dr. Adrian Rogers used to preach that a body with “two heads is a freak.”  For sure it is not natural, nor intended for a body to have 2 heads trying to tell the body what to do. Science fiction is just that- science fiction.  Some people want science fiction to be true in their marriage relationship or in their home or church.  It is just not healthy to have two heads vying to be in charge.

 

The head of the church is Jesus.  For order & structure in the home, God says the man is the “head.”  Study the New Testament book of Ephesians chapter 5.

Men, don’t let that go to your head; and women, don’t think that this structure excludes or devalues you.  “To whom much is given much is required.”  If a home succeeds or not – is a responsibility charged to the man. He is held accountable by the Lord.  Men are not to be dictators.  Leaders are to be servants. A husband should be bending over backward to make life easy for his wife.

This organizational structure contributes to a happy and healthy home where the “two” have truly become “one.”

Men and women are of equal value, even if their role and function is not the same.  Here is a valid example:

Recently, I was looking at my wrist watch and my wedding band, both of which my wife gave to me.  Both are made from shiny silver looking metal.  They are made of the same stuff but are different in form and function.

  • The wedding band’s function is to prove that I belong to Natalie.
  • The wrist watches’ function is to keep me “on time.”

While both are made of similar materials and have a different function and role in my life, the watch and the ring have the same value.  The retail value of either one is about $200.

Function and role does not determine value.  Each person in your home should be HIGHLY VALUED…

 

 

 

 

The “Value Equation”

The “VALUE EQUATION” 

He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. Ecclesiastes 5:10

More money and more stuff that money can buy will not satisfy the deepest needs of your heart.  Because we tend to overvalue money and stuff, we can get caught into bad spending habits.  Today, please consider the God given stewardship He has entrusted to you.

How much is money worth to you?  How much are the items you buy worth to you?  What value do you place on the new TV, Phone, Car, etc.???

We can work the math to determine our money and materialistic values.  The “Value Equation” takes into account how much money you make per hour and then divides the total cost of the item you hope to purchase to then tell you how many hours you need to work to buy that item.  For example:

Suppose you make $15 per hour and work 40 hours per week.

Let’s say a new TV will cost $640. You make: $15 an hour.  (Divide cost of item by hourly wage.)

How many hours does it take you to buy the TV?  42.6 hours of work or nearly a full week of work.  That is how you determine value.  Is the TV worth it?  Should you save up a little longer?  Should you wait for the TV to go on sale or consider a different model?  Are discount codes and coupons worth looking for and using this purchase?

Have you ever said “It is only $5?”  That is about 20 minutes of work (at $15/hour).  Looking at money and value this way will help you make better fiscal decisions.

A new iPhone is $800.  800/15 = 53.3.  It will take a person 53.3 hours of work to be able to buy an iPhone.  Factor in all the other real needs you have and the iPhone may not be worth 6 long days of work to.

Remodeling a room in your house? Let’s say a new remodel is $3000.  That is 200 hours of work or 5 weeks of work (at $15/hour and 40 hours per week). Again, the power, gas, and water bill must be paid and you still must eat each day and feed your family.  Consider the insurance bill comes every 6 months and the house payment is a big portion of your budget.  It may be a good idea to save up a little longer to do the remodel.

IF Christians understood the value of money, while learning not to love money, we would become better stewards of the money God has entrusted to us.  “How much is it?” is not the best question to ask.  “How much do I value it?” is better. Greater still, “Is this what God would have me to purchase?” Ask the Lord to help you become better disciplined with His finances.