Life. Money. Hope. (Week Three)

•October 31, 2012 • Leave a Comment

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Life.  Money.  Hope.  (Week Three)

How To Survive An Economic Meltdown

One.  Have confidence to make your need known and have an expectancy accordingly.  There is something about “saying” that activates our faith.  Elijah was NOT in a bountiful environment.  He did NOT see God’s plan in obvious detail.  Yet, he spoke what he needed.

God sees things from a MUCH higher vantage point than we do.  Our verbal expression of our need gets us to start thinking more like God.

Two.  You can “have” what you have in your house, or you can “increase” what you have in your house.  All this woman had was enough for one meal and then she was prepared to die as a result of her provision running out.

Now I wonder if I had been reading this portion of Scripture wrong all of this time by thinking that the story was about Elijah.  Maybe this is where the story starts being about God’s ability to inspire faith-filled obedience in this single mother.  Maybe she was on God’s radar even more than Elijah was?

In the natural it would be foolish to think that the “little bit” that she had would be worth giving away.  We’d be crazy to do it!  But, God didnt call it a last meal, He called it seed that He wanted her to sow.

What leaves your hand today, will never leave your future.  God had plans for those few sticks, and that small amount of oil and flour.  She sowed it in obedience and that opened the door of opportunity for God to multiply it for her and her son.

More thoughts tomorrow.

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Life. Money. Hope. (Part Three)

•October 30, 2012 • Leave a Comment

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Life.  Money.  Hope. Series:  How To Survive An Economic Meltdown

First, I am not saying that “we” are on the verge of an economic meltdown in our country.  Maybe you were expecting that tone with this entry due to the political climate.  I do believe that a nation or a world power can indeed suffer huge economic issues, but I also believe that an individual and even a household can run into devesating financial crises.  So, apply accordingly.

The story of Elijah in 1 Kings 17  lets us see that in rough times God is our provider, oftentimes, in VERY unusual ways.  Here is a brief outline.

(v1-v8)   There was a drought in the land and Elijah was affected just like everyone else.  God was in control of the situation and told Elijah some very specific things to do and places to go in order for his provision.  Even that dried up, though.

God tells him one of the craziest instructions in the Bible!  “Go to Zarephath and find a specific widow.”  What?  A widow is my next provision?

The first part of this story is solely based on believing that God is our provision entirely.  The economic situations that surround us are NOT too big for God.  Remember, “the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.”

God sees IT ALL from a much better and much healthier perspective than we do and He is actively orchestrating YOUR provision in ways and with resources that are bigger than our own understanding.

More tomorrow.

 

Life. Money. Hope. (Part Two)

•October 16, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Here are some elements of being a a good manager of the resources that God has entrusted you with.

You can mange through the tithe.  The Bible explains the tithe as the first 10% of your income (or your crop if you were a farmer) that was given to your local church where there was evidence of building God’s Kingdom.  (Deut. 26:12, Deut. 14:22-23)

The tithe, contrary to popular arguments was NOT implemented in the Law.  Actually, Abraham gestured his thanksgiving through a tithe long before the Law was passed down.  Oftentimes people saw that we are no longer under the Old Covenant and therefore we do not HAVE to tithe.  Instead of finding loopholes for reasons not to tithe, maybe we should find out why God saw great benefit in showing us this process in the firstplace and attach our thinking and spending to these values.  THAT is truly breaking the power of the Law and finding the heart of God, isn’t it?

Lastly, God calls the tithe holy.  It’s amazing to think that God values our tithe so much and what it represents in gratitude that He calls it holy in Lev. 27:30.  Our tithing represents a lifestyle and action of gratitude and worship.  So, it’s not just what we are bringing (10%) but it is what we are doing (worship) that matters.

Life. Money. Hope. (Part One)

•October 15, 2012 • Leave a Comment

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Our goal for our new series at CANVAS Church (http://www.canvaschurch.net) is to help people slay the giant of debt and create a lifestyle of healthy money management by living below their means.

I truly believe that most people truly want to give and to be generous, but they are just strapped.  I can relate, Suzy and I have surely been there.  More about that later, though.

I’m sure that your church is much like mine when it comes to presenting and promoting a series like this.  There might be some people who think, “He’s going to spend four weeks talking about my money.”  Actually, that’s not my plan.  I am going to spend four weeks talking about God’s money and how we have the amazing responsibility to steward it rightly for Him, for His Kingdom, and for those around us.

You see, God is over it all.  He always has been.  Even in the beginning He created the Earth and Eden in all of it’s fullness and beauty.  Yet, he commanded Adam to work the land, have dominion over it, and to manage it.  God had already spoke to the ground and commanded it to produce (fruit), He asked Adam to rightly manage what was already on its way.

“The Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”  Psalm 24:1 (KJV)

My take on this verse, the Maners Paraphrase, is “God created the Earth and all of its contents and everything in it that has power to create prosperity and security.”

God has set everything in motion for us and has placed us in an area of His blessing.  All He requires of us is to manage it rightly.

More tomorrow.

Planting non-GMO Citrus

•October 2, 2012 • 1 Comment

We finally did it!  We planted our first few citrus trees in the backyard.

For quite a while, our family has been concerned about the quality (or lack of) food that comes from the typical grocery store chain and even the large stores that market themselves as “organic”  We know that most foods are processed with things that just shouldn’t go into our bodies and we want to minimize this as much as possible.

We have surrounded ourselves with friends who are feeling this same way and we are getting quite the education!  These folks have turned their properties into areas for raising Talapia, planting backyard vegetables, raising bees, growing citrus, and even raising some chickens for fresh eggs.  They have inspired us!

Yesterday, we had the chance to go deep into the North Florida woods to find some seedlings near the base of some 80+ year old citrus trees and we scored!  Part of our excitement is that these trees are as pure as they come…having never been altered genetically or sprayed with any form of pesticide.

ImageWe were able to grab three seedlings…two Blood Oranges, and one tangerine.

Here’s to healthy(ier) eating!

 

 

Forgotten Virtues: Purity 3

•September 28, 2012 • Leave a Comment

ImageForgotten Virtues 

Purity

I took a bit of a detour in Sunday’s message on purity to say that strong relationship with Jesus is so much stronger than a list of rules and regulations alone.  However, most people are oddly more comfortable with rules and the potential legalistic bondage that could come along with them because they have yet to experience abiding inn the Vine (Jesus.)

Afterall, by the time you get your long list of rules out to check it, you probably have already violated it, right?

So, for those who still function on the obligatory list of rules…we found a few.

One.  Don’t look at porn.  (This one probably doesn’t need any explanation.)  Just don’t do it.

Two.  Don’t make anything else out to be porn.  Don’t linger in looking at something or someone and assign impure values to it.  What you do to add to something in your thought processes can contaminate the experience.  So, if bathing suits at the beach cause you to lust, learn to look away.

Three.  Don’t entertain fantasy.  Face the facts, your fantasies are NOT real and they will never happen to you.  Your fantasies are NOT real and God already gave you a great gift in your spouse…and they ARE real!  Fantasies do a disservice to your spouse and dishonors the covenant of marriage that you made to them.  Fantasies result in unfair comparisons and unrealistic expectations.  And lastly, fantasy creates a “fixation” on something other than God and He calls this idolatry.

Four.  Guard your speech and actions around the opposite sex.  Don’t contribute to an emotional attachment that you cannot righteously fulfill.

Five.  Listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit in your life and solicit the accountability relationship of a strong Christian friend.

Forgotten Virtues: Purity 2

•September 25, 2012 • Leave a Comment

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Forgotten Virtues Series

Week Two:  Purity

Look what the Bible says in 2 Cor. 7:1“since we have these PROMISES, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting (practicing, developing, committing to) holiness out of reverence for God…” (emphasis added)

God is serious about the process of right living and holiness.  He already sees it in each one of us and has made such generous provisions for life change to happen.  

Did you notice the word “promises”?  What promises?  Well, for that you need to rewind back a few verses to 2 Cor. 6:14-18.  In this cluster of verses we see that God is setting out promises that begin to lay the foundation for the most amazing relationship that has ever been offered to mankind.  God says…

“…WE are His temple…”

“…I will live with/in them…”

“…I will walk among them…”

“…I will be their God and they will be my people…”

Our goal in living rightly in holiness and purity is NOT so that we can flawlessly execute some long list of “Do’s and Don’ts” (more about that another day), but so that our lifestyle better reflects the character of God as we live in relationship with Him while we spend our years here on Earth.