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Economic Uncertainty

November 26th, 2012

Economic Uncertainty

Government is not the solution to economic uncertainty; God is.

“I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances.” Philippians 4:11 NAS

Economic uncertainty seems the rule and not the exception presently. Each day’s news is filled with more bad news than good as it pertains to finances, whether on the global, national, local, or personal levels. Everyone suggests a different solution; no one solution seems effective. While political parties exonerate themselves while caustically blaming one another, the economic problems stubbornly grow more ugly and personal, and individual families suffer the consequence. Unemployment is not a percentage; it’s people. Our nation, like many other nations, faces economic challenges bigger than borrowing and spending can solve. See Proverbs 22:7 NIV. Nationally, this is not the first time, maybe not even the worst. Ask your grandparents or great grandparents.

Individually is a good place to begin, rather than nationally or internationally. I would first suggest that government is not the problem; you and I are – our incessant wants, insatiable appetites for more, sense of entitlement, and unrealistic expectation all that will be at another’s expense. The origin of the current economic uncertainty is first moral and spiritual, only then financial. As citizens, we have allowed the government to tax unfairly, spend unwisely, borrow indiscriminately, and grant government favors at public expense. But we are the government, by means of duly elected and appointed leaders. In the closing words of his Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln vowed, “. . that Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.” 1863. Of, by, and for the people remains the guiding principle upon which any government governs.

Likewise, the government is not the solution; God is. The problem of resolving personal economic uncertainty begins with each individual. The Bible’s counsel is this: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:6-9 NASV.

No one in today’s increasingly secular, materialistic society can avoid financial anxiety or be naturally content. Incessant advertising and irresistible marketing subtly erodes contentment. There is good news. Like Paul, you can say, “. . I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” Philippians 4:11-12 NASV.

My Dad taught me simple, practical principles of money management, “Work hard. Remember, God is your Source. Tithe first. Never spend all you earn. Save some. Spend wisely.” That’s Biblical economics, wise stewardship, and sound money management. Hebrews 13:5 NIV/2 Corinthians 9:6-11 NKJV. And tithing, giving, and generosity are what God honors and rewards. See Malachi 3:10-12 NIV/Luke 6:38/Acts 20:33-35 NIV. Be certain of this truth, “My God will supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you know the provision and blessing of God on all.

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Words

January 30th, 2012

“Your words are what sustain me . . they are my heart’s delight.” Jeremiah 15:16 NLT

“The Bible wisely advises you to value the economy of words.”

My thoughts today are about “words.”

Words shape understandings; words communicate thoughts, ideas, and actions to one another, facilitating relationships and coordinating efforts. Words have inherent power. Words are the expression of both mind and heart. With words you communicate with God Almighty and converse with children and men. Use words well and speak them wisely. Words possess enduring power to linger in people’s lives long after they are spoken. My friends comment on how often I repeat the words of my Dad or friends whose practical wisdom still influence my life. Words you speak and hear shape the person you are becoming, for better or worse.

Words make cowards of the bravest or can inspire ordinary people to lofty achievements. Who will forget Abraham Lincoln’s words at the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, battlefield, “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here,” or Sir Winston Churchill’s words to a battered, British nation, “Never in the field of conflict was so much owed by so many to so few,” or General Douglas MacArthur’s WWII unbroken promise to the Philippines, “I shall return, or the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Words mean something and deeply resonate in the psyche and souls of men.

With words, a person communicates with others, confesses errors, comforts the sorrowing, counsels the puzzled, chastens the wayward, and commits themselves to greater purpose. “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11 NIV. Noting the inherent power of words, the Bible wisely advises you to value the economy of words, “Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God . . therefore let your words be few.” Ecclesiastes 5:2 NKJV. Foolish and less than accurate words discount every other word that you speak. If people cannot believe all that you say, how will they know to believe anything that you say? Speak the truth in love to all others at all times. See Ephesians 4:15-16/29 NKJV.

But now, let’s consider the importance and power of God’s word. Read Isaiah 55:10-11 NIV. It is interesting that God created all that we see and enjoy with just His spoken word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command.” John 1:1 NKJV/Hebrews 11:3 NIV.

In the worst of his trouble, Job said, “I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” Job 23:12 KJV. In such life-shaping times you do not need your own or others’ opinions, you need a word from the Lord – wisdom that restores your faith and directs you forward. Would your life and faith be better and stronger if you spent more time honoring God’s Word and living according to its truth? Then why do people find so little time and give secondary priority to reading, studying, and knowing the Word of God everyday? The prophet Jeremiah placed the highest value on God’s words. “Your words are what sustain me. They bring me great joy and are my heart’s delight.” Jeremiah 15:16 NLT. The Word of God is not all it should be in your life until it is your “great joy and heart’s delight!”

My prayer for you today is that you build your life on every word God speaks.

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