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Posts Tagged ‘solutions’

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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Out of Options?

July 9th, 2012

“He prayed that he might die.” 1 Kings 19:4 NKJV

When you are through with your options, you are ready for real solutions.

My thoughts and comments today ask “out of options?”

Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” The verse is a bit shocking; “[Elijah] prayed that he might die.” 1 Kings 19:4 NKJV. He was full of fear and tired. This prophet had been powerfully used by God on Mt. Carmel. Kings feared him; a nation revered him; but a queen despised him. “[Elijah] ran for his life . . a day’s journey into the wilderness.” You can never run fast enough or far enough to get away from your fear and despair. Really, if Elijah wanted to die, Jezebel would gladly have accommodated him.

So soon after a great victory, he no longer had the will to live. Extreme highs and severe lows are not always far apart. Elijah felt alone in his task, his life threatened by Jezebel. He was exhausted physically, wrung out emotionally and mentally, and weary and confused spiritually. He had nothing left. Read 1 Kings 19:1-4/10. Elijah was running on empty, literally. Elijah didn’t feel he could face another day. Life had become more than he could bear.

Let’s be practical; God always is. The recovery of Elijah began simply enough, with rest and nourishment. This was not the time for further depletion. Before you try to figure it all out with worry-filled days and sleepless nights, give yourself a time for recovery. Then God provided supernatural sustenance for forty days, until he finally came “as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.” See verses 5-8. Elijah ran from Jezebel, but at least he ran toward God. Along the way and at Horeb, God met Elijah, quieting his inner turmoil long enough to hear a fresh assignment. God has more for him. His life wasn’t over; a new chapter was yet to be written. See verses 11-18.

When you have gone as far as you can go with the strength you possess, what do you do? Inevitably, that is a common dilemma. From that point, your success or failure is found in your answer to that question. There will be a moment when what you’ve been doing is no longer working, when what you have is no longer enough, when what you know is not what you need to know. Sometimes, life seems to offer a dead end; going back isn’t an option and going forward doesn’t feel possible. Ever hear someone describe their situation as being “between a rock and a hard place?” Sometimes God allows you to get yourself into tight places until you will turn to Him. Ever been where you think you are out of options? When you are through with your options, you are ready for real solutions. God is your best option.

Out of options? You are in good company. The Apostle Paul described an experience when he was, “. . burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 NKJV. Maybe what he learned from that personal experience convinced Paul to pray for the Christ-followers at Ephesus, “to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man . . to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Read Ephesians 3:16-20 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you find God when you are searching for answers.

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A Better Option

February 21st, 2011

“Why are we sitting here until we die?” 2 Kings 7:3 NKJV

“When continuing as you are is not an option, doing nothing is not a solution.”

My thoughts today are about “a better option.”

Have you ever heard the saying, “between a rock and hard place?” Jonathan and his armor bearer faced a fierce enemy and just such a challenging difficulty, and their path forward was between a rock and a hard place. See 1 Samuel 14:4 NKJV. Listen to Jonathan’s courageous faith, though sorely outnumbered, “It may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.” 1 Samuel 14:1-14 NKJV. You don’t know what God will do until you give Him the opportunity to do something. Never project your own limitations onto God.

Sometimes life presents you with predicaments for which there are no easy answers. It’s those times in life when where you are not where you need to be; it’s those times when what you’ve been doing isn’t working as you need. If you keep doing what you’ve been doing that hasn’t been working, you will likely keep getting the same or similar results that will remain unsatisfactory. Albert Einstein called such behavior, “the definition of insanity.”

It was a time of great difficulty in Samaria. A lengthy siege of Samaria by Syria had depleted the available reserves of food for the captive city. Things were desperate. Inside the city there was starvation; outside the city was a conquering army who was powerful and merciless. Four lepers were caught in the middle of the fracas. That was a terrible predicament to be in. Leprosy would eventually take their lives; the Syrians could likely kill them sooner; starvation would happen before either. One thing for sure, their fate was certain if remaining where they were.

When continuing as you are is not an option, doing nothing is not your solution. The lepers eventually reasoned, “Why are we sitting here until we die?” 2 Kings 7:1-11 NKJV. They decided to look for a better option. The Syrians at least had food and maybe, just maybe, they might show mercy. I’ll let you read the story to find what they decided to do, and what happened when they looked for a better option. They took a chance that was uncertain as to outcome; they put themselves in God’s hands, and saw God work in ways they could not have dreamed. That could be your solution today.

How is life working for you right now? Maybe you are still trying ways that haven’t worked – going your own way, living as you please, using God rather than serving Him. Is it time for a change? There are several life-lessons you can draw from this wonderful little story of misery and miracles.

(1) Problems present possibilities you would not previously consider. Read vs. 3. Your predicament can be the best thing that happened to you, if it pushes you to action instead of paralyzing you with inaction. (2) Life can be uncertain, you will need courage. Read vs. 4. Life does not always tell you how some things are going to end.

(3) Make God your first and best option. Read vs. 5-7. When you allow the possibility for something good to happen, God gets involved for your benefit. See Psalm 103:2-6 NKJV. (4) Success is not a secret to be kept. Read vs. 8-11. Be generous to share your good fortune with others. Maybe today is your chance to see what God can do with your situation. Someone encouraged you; encourage others with your story.

My prayer for you today is that you discover the greatness of God in everyday life.

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