Recession Proof

 

House and money on scalesI’m still having conversations with people regarding the recession that started in 2007 and ended in 2010 for a lot of people. There are people today, 7 years later still suffering from the “fall out” of that downturn in the market. There were some good people who lost their retirement savings or their fortune. I learned a lot during that time and I made some decisions about being in that place of fear and struggle. I started reading, researching and learning how to avoid the decisions that caused such harm to so many people. I studied the teaching of Dave Ramsey about dumping debt and how Romans 13:8 is good counsel. Check this out….

Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:8 CSB)

I don’t know a lot of people who were not affected profoundly by the recession. I have seen many start to repeat some of the same behaviors that cost them severely during that time. I have also seen wisdom in others determined to not ever be that vulnerable financially again.

Paul gives Timothy some excellent instruction regarding wealth management. I’m trying to look at my money different than I ever have before. Check this out…

17 Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be arrogant or to set their hope on the uncertainty of wealth, but on God, who richly provides us with all things to enjoy. 18 Instruct them to do what is good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and willing to share, 19 storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of what is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19 CSB)

According to research done by Forbes magazine, the poor in America live better than 95 percent of the world’s population. (June 1, 2013) I believe that with our wealth, comes responsibility.  I think it’s critical to bring our money management under the authority of The Lord. Check this out…

But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:9-10 CSB)

Money is not evil. Money is a medium – it does the work of people in possession of it. I can use it to evil or I can use it to do good. I would be wise to grow in my management of money. It’s way too easy to spend and harder to earn and keep.  Becoming aware of my money management skills (or lack thereof) is critical to handling it wisely and with a godly spirit. I do enjoy having extra money. I feel blessed to have learned some valuable lessons during the recession that I plan on implementing into my life for the rest of my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Imitator

 

I grew up imitating others in tons of ways. I remember as a kid trying to figure out my laugh, probably because someone made fun of how I laughed. I adjusted a lot of things to be like others. I imitated my Dad when I was young until I “got smarter than Him” – around 13 years old. (Total sarcasm.) When I was in my early to late teens, I became a bit of a chameleon. I would act like whoever I was with. If I were with Christians, I could play the part. If I were with some of my wild and crazy friends, I could hang with them too. Chameleons are that little lizard that changes his color to blend in to whatever environment he’s in. I also imitated great singers and musicians. I look back at seasons of my life and I always wanted to be someone else or something that I wasn’t. I finally got comfortable in my own skin several years ago and I’m thankful for who I am and Whose I am. I don’t try to keep up with others and impress them with my possessions or knowledge. I simply want to be who God called me to be. I want to honor Him with my life and my daily choices.  I love how Paul urged the Ephesians to live out their faith. Check this out…

1 Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children, and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light— for the fruit of the light consists of all goodness, righteousness, and truth— 10 testing what is pleasing to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:1-2, 8-10 CSB)

I want to love like God.

I want to give like God.

I want to think like God.

I want to counsel like God.

I want to imitate God in my daily life.

I want to learn from others, but I want to imitate the Lord. I want to finish my journey here on earth walking, talking, loving & living like God, Who made me. He gives me life. He gives me purpose. He is patient. He is loving. He is kind. He is full of grace and mercy. I so want to imitate Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Additional Offerings

 

MoreAs I’ve read through the books of the law in the Old Testament, I’ve gotten a bit weary trying to understand all the offering requirements of God’s people. They were moving a million plus people around the desert for 40 years and they had some very detailed rituals that they were to be part of each day. It’s been hard for me to wrap my head around all of this. Most of the requirements were upon the priests and the Levite family. This morning I came across a passage that described the daily offerings, the Sabbath offerings as well as a few annual gatherings. The Lord was very specific in what He expected during the daily offerings as well as special events. The Passover was a big event commemorating the departure from Egypt as the Lord issued the final plague onto the Egyptians. The Israelites were “passed over” and the feast of the Passover was a reminder of God rescuing them from the Egyptians. Check this out…

23 Offer these in addition to the regular morning burnt offering. 24 In this way present the food offering every day for seven days as an aroma pleasing to the Lord; it is to be offered in addition to the regular burnt offering and its drink offering. 25 On the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do not do any ordinary work. (Numbers 28:23-25 NIV)

Although I read this account and get weary thinking about all the work they participated in for these special events, I do realize that the people had to have a heart a deep gratitude as the Lord saved them. He also dwelled among them. As I reflect on the Lord’s Presence in me, I don’t get tired of thanking Him or worshipping Him. My gratitude is deep and profound to the Lord for saving me from sin that can destroy me.

These special offerings like the Passover were always in addition to their regular offerings. I think it’s worth noting that the Lord instituted daily rituals as well as special occasion rituals for His people. This tells me that my daily journey is great, but sometimes I need to do things or be part of things “in addition” to my daily commitments.

At the end of the day, I could never give God too much. I could never out give Him. I could never do enough for Him to compare with what He’s done for me. It’s a true privilege to give to Him and serve Him. I should never get comfortable and complacent with my offerings. I owe Him all of me – my whole life belongs to Him. The Lord is living vicariously through me because I’ve given Him total access to my life. That’s not just an additional offering – it’s all I have and all I’ve got. It’s all His – I’m just the manager of His resources.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Moved Heart

Human heart anatomy from a healthy bodyYoung man suffering pain on his chest, isolated on whiteI realize that my heart is really a pump inside the center of my chest. It controls the pumping of blood through out my entire body. I can’t control my heart – it just beats. I also know that there is something about the heart that is connected to my emotion. My heart is connected to all of who I am. I use the word heart to cover my physical enter and my emotional center as well. My heart is the essence of who I am.

Moses is giving the Israelite community instructions that he just received from the Lord about all that needed to happen to get the Tabernacle built. The people have now noticed the glow that is on Moses face when he meets with the Lord. They want to hear what he has to say, but they also have a profound respect that he has been in the Presence of God. Check this out…

20 Then the whole Israelite community withdrew from Moses’ presence, 21 and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the tent of meeting, for all its service, and for the sacred garments. 22 All who were willing, men and women alike, came and brought gold jewelry of all kinds: brooches, earrings, rings and ornaments. They all presented their gold as a wave offering to the Lord. (Exodus 35:20-22 NIV)

I know that there have been times when the Lord moved my heart. I do my very best to pray and ask Him what He wants me to do in situations where I’m not sure how to help or if I should help. I have helped people in the past because I felt sorry for them and I actually became an enabler to their alcohol addition. I also know that there are times I felt the Lord nudge my heart so that I could give and I hardly knew the person or anything about them and their situation. The Lord always knows the situation when He nudges my heart to give. I want to be a willing partner with the Lord is blessing others by giving and serving. I am more like God when I give than any other activity I do.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Generous

Gift Box opened w blue ribbonI believe that this is a state of mind or a position of my heart rather than an amount of money given away. Generosity is often connected with money more than any other thing. Money always seems to be the right color and size when it comes to birthday gifts for a family member. When I’m giving to others, it’s not always about money. Time is the most precious commodity of our day – I can be generous with time and it can be a huge blessing to another person. Check this out…

25 A generous person will prosper;

    whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25 NIV)

 

I love it when someone is generous with me. They give me more than I was expecting. When I grasp just how cool that is – it makes me want to be generous with others.  I’ve learned that when I give with the Spirit of God in my heart, it becomes a huge blessing to me. I can’t out give the Giver. The Lord is the Supreme Example of generosity. He loved me before I was really loveable. He gave before I knew I needed anything.  He gave me His most precious gift – His Son.  I want to be a giver like God. I heard it said, that “we are never more like God than when we give”.

 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)
 
Pressing On!
Dwayne