Posts Tagged good
One thing I noticed when I first became a Christian is that, in general, Christians look younger than average at almost every age.
Some may have had a little nip or tuck but surely not all. So of course I prayed about it. The scripture says:
“…who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” Psalm 103:5
And it seems to be so.
So these are my possible ten reasons Christians tend to look jolly well for their age:
- Peace – Deep peace stills the brow. Less worry, fewer worry lines- stands to reason.
- Deliverance -From addictions. Since June 2010 the Lord has delivered me of a taste for alcohol and a full-blown addiction to nicotine. And testimony after testimony tells a similar story.
- Sleep – There is just something about being right with God that means you get a deep and refreshing sleep
- Restoration – The Lord promises restoration, this appears to apply to cells as much as anything
- Healing -Clearly illness takes its toll on the countenance, and Jesus came to relieve us of physical suffering
- Support -Belonging to a church means there is always someone to turn to for a helping hand, reducing the strain on the individual
- Abundance -Good food and plenty of it
- Victory -We have victory over Satan and it is the enemy that comes to kill steal and destroy, but we have the authority and victory to prevail under the blood of Jesus
- Love- Living in love ramps up the happiness factor, which in turn increase endorphins and so improves our immune system, helping to keep healthy and looking well
- Faith = rest, God has our back, we do everything through Him, all glory to Him
Borrowing and Lending
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend, And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.” Hamlet Wm Shakespeare, 1602
Shakespeare makes the point in this famous Polonius quote that lending money can be too big a strain on a relationship. The biblical view on lending is more straightforward – if you can afford to lend you can almost certainly afford to give away instead.
Shakespeare’s other point is also important “..borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry”. In other words you shouldn’t try to borrow out of a tight financial situation but rather trade, or work, your way out.
who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Whoever does these things will never be shaken.
They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing.
And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
The Godly Approach to Lending
How much time and money would we save without borrowing and lending? We would not have an international financial crisis without borrowing and lending. Would most people still build their own homes without mortgages? I think we would have evolved other, better, ways of affording houses and land. Would we have to live longer with our parents? Maybe. Would that be a bad thing? Probably not, especially while our children were young. How much better to have extended family?
How many lives would have been lived longer and with better quality without debt worries causing stress related illnesses and suicides?
We falsely believe we need loads of materials goods, bigger homes and newer, more impressive cars, so we borrow to finance them. Just who are we trying to impress? Strangers on the highway? Our colleagues? People who won’t even remember our names 5 years after our retirement. Surely our family don’t need us to buy their affections. If they do, there is a whole other issue that needs looking at.
How much of our hard-earned money do we give away in interest every month to irresponsible bankers who make bad decisions but still have enormous bonuses and actually produce what?
How much better to live within our means, even if it means not having the newest, shiniest temptation gadget on the market this season. How much better to sleep soundly every night? How much better to feel able to answer the phone knowing it won’t be anyone chasing repayment of some debt for some “treasure” long forgotten about.
At one time the Western nations managed their money biblically – saving and then consuming. In the meantime we actually cooked our food instead of defrosting and microwaving it. Home made jam to use up the produce in the garden and greenhouse. Fishing to actually catch fish to eat. White washing a fence, mending. Making soup.
We miss out on so many of these simple joys because we work so many hours to pay our interest bearing debts that we sell our quality time, our family time very cheaply.
This is brilliant!
You want to make a real difference in peoples lives? So what’s £15 to you? A couple of bottles of wine? Half of a computing game? a DVD? A single night at the cinema? A cheap handbag?
How about instead going to http://www.lendwithcare.org/ and lending from just £15.00 to an aspiring entrepreneur in developing countries?
This UK website is facilitated by the Co-operative and managed by Care International. The idea is so simple and wonderful. You lend from £15 to an entrepreneur supported by Care and associated organisations. You should get your money back so you can lend it all over again to someone else in need of help.
This is such a great feeling, helping people to help themselves and then you can help some more.
What does the bible say?
They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing. Psalm 37:26
who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Whoever does these things will never be shaken. Psalm 15:5
And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.
So how about putting the Word into practice and changing lives for the sake of a just a few quid?
Pat Robinson calls it the law of use. Secularly we say “use it or lose it”.
In the bible Jesus explains it via the parable of the talents and it is of course where we get our notions of talents and of “god-given talents” from.
First of all lets remind ourselves of what Jesus actually tells us in the Word:
15And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
16Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
19After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
30And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” Matthew 25:14-30
For a long time I really wasn’t sure what to make of this story, it seemed so harsh on the poor servant with nothing. I read as much as I could about it and I have come to the conclusion that it is about faith. We have talents, gifts which maybe abilities or actual riches. Its no good to the Lord if we let fear stop us using these gifts. Fear is of the enemy not of the Lord. We must trust, have faith in the Lord,that when we use our talents all will be for the good and grace of God. What matters is that we use them in the service of the Lord, getting the Word of God to those who otherwise would be destined to perish.
How do we do this? Well I personally have always found writing easier than standing in front of people and preaching so that is what I do and here you are experiencing it at your leisure via the internet. As you read this I am touching a life, using many gifts: reading and writing, my laptop, my internet connection, this wonderful WordPress blogging space…. Potentially and with God’s Grace we can reach billions around the world in this way. With Google translate we can reach them in many languages.
Everyone will have different talents and the holy spirit is there to guide you in their use. Some may be brilliant fund-raisers and help finance the missionaries who are able to touch many lives in many lands. Others are gifted orators and can preach to crowds and millions by TV and radio.
What is this to do with my Business though? Well your Godly business’s role is to give people jobs and opportunities, to raise money etc etc But it is also vital not to waste the resources you have been given. I believe that we are called to be productive. Production is the key to everything. You can’t rely on service economy without somewhere someone producing (building,farming, mining, fishing, etc) something which needs services. And this is where everything seems to have gone awry. We need to get back to basics, we need to be productive and we need to USE the resources we have been blessed with!
I expect that not a week after the riots are finished you were surprised that you weren’t any happier for owning your new shoes or watching your new telly.
I expect you are every bit as bored and uninspired with life as you were before the riots.
Guess what? You really aren’t any different to those celebs you follow in the rag press in a desperate attempt to find something, anything, interesting to inspire you to get out of bed every day. Know what? No matter how rich they get even rich celebs still do stupid things and still look miserable and ill.
So you wanted to show the police and “the rich people” you can do what you want? Shocking, NOT. Everyone always knew you can do what you want. You have free will. So not a biggie. Charlie Sheen can do what he wants. Drink till his liver explodes, take drugs till his nose falls off, sleep with hookers til his body rots with STDs. He’s rich. You sure showed him! LOL.
For all the stuff that was knicked, for all the cheap wine that was drunk, for all the property that was destroyed, here we are and your life is still every bit as empty as it was a week or two ago, isn’t it?
You were the victim of a BIG CON. Sadly you were played by the devil and now you nurse a riot hangover and peer into an emptiness that can’t be filled with toxic inebriation and material goods, and never has. It just wasn’t as much fun as you expected it to be was it, the rioting.
You let the enemy convince you that once you had all the trappings of richness you would be happy. What an empty promise. How sad. What a waste.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” John 10:10
Steal, kill and destroy. Sound familiar rioter? You were used. That doesn’t feel great does it, being used?
How would you like a life where you could have your own business, raise a happy family – full of love. Have plenty of joy. Every single day. Never be bored. Never again need to numb yourself with drink, drugs, TV, ipod touches, stealing, wrecking, gaming?
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
Jesus wants you to have it all. Why not try Him? You’ve tried everything else! Why not click the link and read a bit more of John?
If you really want to shock society, following Jesus will do it! It has for over 2,000 years. Try it, if you’re brave enough.
When I wrote my last blog about tithing I purely conceived it as a little example simply of my own experiences of tithing and the outcome of my own heavenly guidance from the Lord regarding tithing. I did not expect it to be so controversial a topic as I view it as a personal decision for each Christian, based on their understanding of the Word and their own conviction on the subject.
I was grateful to receive lots of very interesting feedback from the blog and was very happy to leave it there. Then the Holy Spirit began convicting me to write a follow up to make a few more points, two to be exact. Of all the feedback I had there was one issue that I thought was important and it was this from a comment on my last blog:
“Jesus did not tell us to tithe. Jesus told the Scribes and Pharisees they ought to tithe because they were under the Old Covenant law. Jesus was born, lived, and died under the Old Covenant. The New Covenant didn’t begin until after Jesus died on the cross.”
This was an interesting point but then a couple of things started to niggle at me.
Firstly, you could say the same thing about virtually everything Jesus is quoted as saying in the Gospels, ie. that it was said before the New Covenant began and so doesn’t apply to us under grace today.
But, Jesus didn’t come to destroy the law but to fulfil it, so I view his statement about tithing as His taking an opportunity to confirm the principle.
Secondly, many times in the Gospels Jesus takes the opportunity to correct religious legalism, for example:
What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them. (Matthew 15:11)
So we see Jesus challenges aspects of the law at some times, but on this issue it is confirmed (my emphasis):
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. (Matthew 23:23)
What I find so striking is that while many, many times Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for legalism, however in this verse (given to me in response to specific prayer asking for guidance on tithing), He takes the opportunity to reinforce a practice.
When I first became a sweet and innocent new Christian I watched the Christian TV shows, and I learned about tithing (giving a tenth of your income to the Lord) and flush with newborn enthusiasm I started tithing faithfully.
After a good start it started to get very difficult. I was newly a single Mom, Christmas was looming and I wanted my children to have a lovely Christmas after a tumultuous year. The Lord spoke to my heart and said Who are tithes for? The fatherless. Your children are fatherless in the world so I want you to put half your tithes directly to improving their life for 3 months.
Wow. Okay Lord, I thought, and so I did and we had a lovely holiday season.
In the new year I went back to tithing and all was well again for a couple of months. Then I started jiggling my tithes around to help my cashflow. Nearly immediately I had hold ups with my income coming in. It was exactly as if the Lord was saying, if you mess with the timing of My finances, I can easily mess with yours! I immediately repented, and went back to tithing in a timely manner!
After a few months I again found myself stretching to make ends meet. By now you would have thought I would recognise the test. Would I have faith to push through a slightly trying time? At this very moment I happened across a teaching that clearly explained that tithing was an old testament concept, that it was part of the law, that we gentiles aren’t under the law but under grace and anything the Lord does for us is by grace and nothing we do, or don’t do, will affect our abundance which is a gift of God by grace. All of this teaching appeared firmly supported by scripture. Further the teaching said that, by tithing, we put ourselves under the law and therefore under the possibility of the curse. After reading this very convincing, scripture quoting, teaching I was actually feeling AFRAID to tithe. Now by this time hundreds of hours of bible study and my own experience should have shown me this was a false teaching, but I checked out the quoted scriptures and they all appeared to support the argument. The very fact that this teaching used FEAR should immediately have been a red flag. Who is fear of? the Lord? No. The enemy Yes.
What happened? Well I stopped tithing for two months, because of this false teaching, and both months I ended up having to borrow money just to get my bills paid. there were days when my family actually struggled for groceries. I was out of faith. I felt distanced from God.
I prayed about it and immediately the Lord gave me this simple scripture.. in Jesus’ own words, as clear as clear can be (my emphasis):
Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practised the latter without leaving the former undone. Luke 11:42
So I determined to go back to tithing. I thanked God for the guidance. The very next day I had a letter telling me I was owed some considerable money, and a very useful amount monthly from that month onwards. Oh yeah!
My view now? Yes tithe. But not out of fear. Yes it’s new testament, yes it’s new covenant. Jesus says so.
Last week my little boy, who’s 5, sauntered past me as I did some correspondence, as usual draped on the sofa, balancing my laptop on a cushion.
He was carrying his big brother’s external drive, wires dragging behind him.
“Where are you off to with that Son” I enquired.
“To my room” he said somewhat matter of factly given the circumstances I thought.
“And why are you taking that?” I enquired.
“I want it” he said plainly.
“Why?” I felt this was a reasonable question seeing as a) He’s 5 b) He doesn’t have a laptop and c) It wasn’t his
I will spare you the rest of the conversation. It was was difficult to explain that it wasn’t a dvd player, although it played dvd’s and he knew it. He has a DVD player – I explained this of course but he countered this one was smaller and cooler. I finally trumped with “Its not yours, its your brother’s”. Needless to say, he wasn’t happy, but he gave up. Or so I thought.
Hours later, on our our way to do some shopping, he suddenly burst into tears…
“I want the DVD player!” accompanied by sniffles and tears.
Again I will spare you the details of all my explaining that it wasnt a DVD player, and that He Already Has a DVD player…
Eventually, frustrated trying to explain yet again, I appealed to the Lord “Give me the patience not to lose my patience please Lord!”
and this is the reponse I had from the Lord in my heart…
How do you think it is for me? This is what you all seem to do! You see something you think you want, and even thought you don’t know why the other person has it, what purpose it serves in their life, you want it too! Even though if you just opened your minds and hearts you would see you already have what you need, and in fact what you want, right now!
I’ve ordered my five fundamental F’s in my daily order that I attend to them, and noticed that it makes them alphabetical and easy to remember. Score!
The first thing I do every (weekday) morning is get into the Word. Sometimes this is not easy, especially in winter in the dark, and of course the enemy will try anything to stop you so that you find yourself tempted to just press that “snooze” button a few times. It takes just a little push to get past that, but the rewards are immense. I get up early so that I can concentrate and meditate before the children get up looking for breakfast, P E kit, lunch money. This two hour session sets me on my path for the day. I read the Word, pray, confess the Word and sip coffee watching Godly TV.
After a couple of hours in the Word, I am Much more able to greet my 3 boys in a positive, encouraging, patient and loving way. They tend to wake in a good mood and we have a happy breakfast before they all get off to school. I walk my little one to school, and I thank God for everyday I have that I can give him a loving little kiss on the forehead before he gets to the “Mom, get off,not in front of my friends” stage. Back home I get straight onto the washing, cleaning, tidying the garden… Looking after my nest.
I check my finances daily. I went through a horrible stage of thinking I was entitled to my every whim and I paid the price in a mass of consumer debt for stuff that didn’t bring me the happiness or satisfaction the advertising man had promised! What astonishes me now is that I would make the same mistake over and over and over and still not learn my lesson. It took years to fight my way back out of the pit of debt. It is a hard slog paying off debt, but it is truly amazing what you can achieve with very little cash as you do it. I might not be completely debt free now, but my head is well above water and I have learned to handle my cash responsibly. And now if I run out of cash I just make do until I get some more!
I am fanatical about business and I truly believe that a business founded soundly on Christian biblical principles can not fail to succeed. This is because any business based on helping others to solve their problems and which is grown organically (i.e. without borrowing to finance growth), has no seeds of failure in it.
Once the chores are done I head most days for the gym. If I get there early it is quieter, I am still fresh and awake and I make the most of it. If I have time I can also follow a workout with a relaxing hot tub session.
If I can I also work a walk into the day. This is a good time to meditate, pray and or pray in the spirit. Filling your lungs with oxygen inevitably increases the oxygen to your brain and aids clear thinking and de-stressing. This is a great time to literally walk with the Lord.
The rest of the day is filled with blogging, writing, speaking, working with others, growing things, people, organisations and businesses.
After school is break-time for me and the kids. A session in the family hot tub is a great time for family communication. Cooking the daily family meal together is another chance to bond. Plus I want to know my boys will all be equipped to feed themselves and their own families when the time comes.
The evening is wind-down time. Light reading. Godly TV. A family film….
Thank you prayers and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz