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A Debt To Be Paid

June 17th, 2014
“Don’t run up debts, except for the huge debt you owe each other.” Romans 13:8 MSG.

Financial debt is not advisable; relational debt is not avoidable.

My thoughts and comments today are about “a debt to be paid.”

In today’s culture, debt has become a way of life. Debt results from your buying things you don’t need, with money you don’t have, to impress people who don’t care. You are repeatedly told that the world’s economy depends upon it, all to persuade you of the impossibility of living without debt. But you can, and you should. The world’s economy relies upon an increasing rate of consumption. To business, you are a consumer; the more you consume, the happier “they “ are, whoever that is.

The evil genius of credit cards has made resistance nearly impossible. Marketing persuades you to believe you always need more, and better, and newer, and bigger, therefore more expensive. Actually, your needs are not more; your wants are. In today’s culture, debt has become a way of life. Increasing consumption supplies neither security nor satisfaction; it provides only a growing balance of personal indebtedness. Debt is never satisfying. Debt breeds more debt.

I grew up in a modest, but comfortable home. We never had too much, but we never seemed to have too little. I was taught that all you have and what you earn comes from God through His blessing on your honest labor. James 1:17-18 NLT. Therefore, the first portion is given back to God as a tithe, in recognition of His benevolence and obedience for His continued blessing. Malachi 3:8-12 NKJV. After that, everything you have is a matter of stewardship, not ownership. 1 Corinthians 4:2 NIV.

From my Dad’s advice, I learned that if I never spend all that I earn, I would always have a little extra when needed. That became a rule of stewardship and personal economy that I still follow today. Most importantly, that Godly advice works. Life is simpler; worries are less; financial freedom is greater. And in that restraint, you learn some practical measure of when enough is enough.

Financial debt is not advisable. Relational debt is not avoidable. “Don’t run up debts, except for the huge debt you owe each other.” Romans 13:8 MSG. This verse has always seemed an unusual pairing to me – financial debt and a loving lifestyle. I believe they are mutually exclusive. You are told to avoid debt; you are taught to fulfill love. Here’s how they both relate and differ. Both are obligations to which you bind yourself by free choice.

Financial debt is about satisfying you and your wants. Relational debt is about serving others and their needs. The greater your financial debts, the more preoccupied you become with yourself and the less thought and means you have left for others. Financial debt concerns you with paying your bills, satisfying your wants, and absorbing your extra. Relational debt redirects you toward giving instead of getting, meeting others’ needs before your wants, and returning the good you have received.

Just as debt engenders more debt, love will engender more love. God’s Word is always the best counsel, “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8 NAS. God’s way is always the best way. You have a debt to be paid.

Today, my prayer for you is to understand that debt will cause you to sacrifice the ultimate for the immediate.

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God Has a Better Idea

June 30th, 2009

“That the Son of God may be glorified through it.” John 11:4 NIV

“The least of God’s ideas will be bigger and better than even the best of mine – or yours!”

My thoughts today are this, “God has a better idea.”

Things are not always as they first seem. The reality of the moment may not remain the reality, as you knew it to be. Again today, my thoughts and comments are taken from the account of the death and miraculous resurrection of Lazarus. Martha and Mary had placed all their hopes on Jesus’ coming immediately, but Jesus waited four days before He came.

Be prepared for the fact that God’s plan always has an element of timing, and He alone determines when that will be. The matter is never only what God wants to do, but also how He intends to do that, and especially, when He chooses to accomplish that. See Psalm 31:15 NIV.

You may only see life in the present moment. For most of us, now is the operative word. Immediately is what you assume to be the opportune time for what your impatience wants God to do for you. But the right thing at a wrong time is no better than the right time but a wrong thing. God looks at life across the span of eternity – what was, is, and will be. Right now may not be the right time. God always has the better idea at exactly the right time. You can trust God with your life completely – every bit, piece, and minute.

This wasn’t about what the sisters assumed at all – the quicker the better. Martha and Mary’s idea for a successful outcome was Lazarus’ healing, but he died. God had a bigger and better idea! Lazarus would be more wonderfully and perfectly “healed” than they could even imagine. God wants your life to become a living testimony of His power and love for all to see. “God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” See Ephesians 3:20 NIV. I have learned this across the years: the least of God’s ideas will be better than even the best of mine – or yours!

Lazarus’ unfortunate sickness and death had become (1) an occasion for the glory of God. “This sickness will not end in death; it is for the glory of God so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” John 11:4 NIV. You are not in such a hurry that you would rather preempt God’s glory being shown to others, would you? Live your life in such a way that lets others see who God is.

Paul was in a Roman prison awaiting his martyrdom as he wrote these words, “According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:20-21 NKJV. The timing of either, he left to God for His glory.

There is another important element with which God concerns Himself – that (2) your faith would be real, and strong. See John 11:15 NKJV. “For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let patience grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.James 1:3-4 NLT. Ready for anything! Does that describe you spiritually?

My prayer for you today is: trust God’s timing for every moment and situation in your life.

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