Friday, 31 December 2010

Last blog post for 2010

As we edge closer to the year 2011 I can't help but think that in
Australia it is already 2011, while the people in America will only get
there in about 8 hours time.

New Years Eve means different things to different people. Many people
regard it as the perfect opportunity to drink themselves paralytically
drunk, while others are attending church services as they ask for God's
guidance and protection for the New Year. Still others will be asleep at
midnight...

Some people are looking into bottles, some are smoking dangerous
concoctions, now I want to ask you - "What are you looking to this
coming year?"

Are you following the crowd, are you avoiding your problems with alcohol
or will you call out to an eternal Father who wants to take you in His
arms and be there for you?

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Ever wondered who made you or why?

These are some of the most important questions that we can ever ask
ourselves.

The answers to these questions will shape our lives ... if I believe
that I am an accident or a mistake - then I will not value life. But if
I believe that God created me, and with a purpose too - then I will set
out to discover that purpose.

A big difference between having hope, and being hopeless.

Monday, 20 December 2010

The poor, continued....

Today we continue to look at what the book of Proverbs says about the poor and about being poor.

Proverbs 22:2 "The rich and the poor are all created by the LORD." CEV

God created everyone. Some have more than others do, but they are not less important to God because He made everyone.

Proverbs 22:7 "The poor are always ruled over by the rich, so don't borrow and put yourself under their power." MSG

Debt is a very dangerous thing. It can cripple economies and change the lives of nations. Debt will enslave you. Today you can afford to be in debt, but if you loose your job tomorrow - you might have to sell everything you have to get out of debt.

Proverbs 22:22-23
"22 Don't take advantage of the poor just because you can; don't take advantage of those who stand helpless in court. 23 The LORD will argue their case for them and threaten the life of anyone who threatens theirs." GNB


The rich sometimes look down on the poor, but we must never forget that God made all of us and that He will protect the helpless and defenceless.

Money is not all that this life is about, what does money mean to you?

"We make a living by getting, but we make lives by giving."

Friday, 17 December 2010

Belated blog post

I have been battling to blog these past few days, I am on holiday in an area where using my cell phone or data stick for Internet connectivity is not possible. To make matters worse, my cousin's router needed to be reset and has only been up and running for about 20 minutes since the start of this week. So please bear with me if post are a little sporadic until next year...

So we carry on with our theme on Money in the book of Proverbs. Today we start a very interesting topic. Being / staying or becoming poor because of mismanagement of time, resources or just very bad decision making.

Proverbs 13:18 "Someone who will not learn will be poor and disgraced. Anyone who listens to correction is respected." GNB

This is a very important warning. Are you about to make an important decision? One that could influence your life long term? Something more important than, "what is for lunch?" or a similar trivial matter? Have you been faced with the same choice before? You need to learn from your mistakes, or you will be disgraced! Get counsel and make the right decision.

Proverbs 13:23 "Much food is in the plowed ground of the poor, but when there is no justice, it is swept away." MKJV

Injustice will deny people what is their fair portion in life.

Proverbs 14:20-21 "20 No one likes the poor, not even their neighbors, but the rich have many friends. 21 If you want to be happy, be kind to the poor; it is a sin to despise anyone." GNB

This is true, do you want to make friends? Get rich and start sharing your money with people. Do not despise others because they have less than you, you can be a great blessing to someone by giving them a plate of food or even a set of clothes. Let us remember what Jesus said in:

Matthew 25:36 "I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me with help {and} ministering care, I was in prison and you came to see Me." AMP (read the next 5 verses also)

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Monday, 13 December 2010

Better a little than...

Continuing with our study on money in the book of Proverbs today we
stumble upon "Better a little than..." it's a strange concept. Would
anyone really choose to have less under a specific set of circumstances?

Let us investigate!

Proverbs 15:16-17
"16 Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and
trouble with it. 17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a
fattened ox and hatred with it." ESV

What would you prefer? A feast fit for a king where everyone is upset
and people are flinging insults and curses? Or a peaceful, smaller meal?
Sometimes a lot of money can bring a lot of problems!

Proverbs 16:8 "Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues
with injustice." ESV

What does justice / injustice bring? One leads to blessing, the other
brings trouble. Injustice will not stay a secret forever and when
discovered it will bring you a lot of problems! Better to walk on the
right path.

Proverbs 16:19 "It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than
to divide the spoil with the proud." ESV

Being humble is better than being proud. There is a saying, "Pride comes
before a fall." Which is very true. You can be humble and allow someone
else to promote you, but if you are proud and try to promote yourself it
normally won't work out.

Tomorrow we look at another three verses on this subject. What is your
opinion on this? Under what circumstances would you prefer less, if it
meant peace and happiness?

Friday, 10 December 2010

Keeping up with the Joneses...

Yesterday we talked about putting God first with our money and a little
about giving.

Today I would like to zoom in on "Keeping up with the Joneses." Whether
you know it or not we are all subjected to peer pressure. It's an
external force, compelling us to buy better and more stuff than our
neighbours. Living in constant fear of being left behind.

You don't need to drive a BMW, if you can only afford to drive a Toyota.
Neither do you need to buy a $10 000 home theatre system if you cannot
afford to. We feel bad when we can no longer compete with others. This
drives us into debt, which eventually chokes us.

Proverbs 12:9 "Better to be ordinary and work for a living than act
important and starve in the process." MSG

The thought of not being able to wear designer clothing might might make
you want to faint, but this is only a luxury. Remember that we said on
day 1 that life is more than money?

Proverbs 13:7 "One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another
pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth." ESV

Materialism, living for stuff - can not make you happy. It can keep you
in a circle of always needing to buy more stuff, and it keeps a lot of
companies in business; but it cannot heal a broken heart or bring you
lasting joy.

There's a song that goes, "Oh Lord won't You buy me a Mercedes Benz. My
friends all drive Porches, I must make amends, I've lived all my life no
help from my friends. Oh Lord won't You buy me a Mercedes Benz." If you
know the name of the song please post it in the comments.

I would like to end off with a quote:

"People get into debt by trying to keep up with those who already are."

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Money continued ...

We are busy looking at what the Bible has to say about money. Money has
been around a long time and the way we spend it tells more about our
character and motives than many would like it to.

Today we have a look at giving.

Proverbs 3:9-10
"9 Honor the LORD by giving him your money and the first part of all
your crops. 10 Then you will have more grain and grapes than you will
ever need." CEV

You can bring honour or dishonour on yourself and God based on what we
spend your money on. When we choose to honour God by giving Him 10% of
our income we put Him 1'st and we give Him another opportunity to bless us.

Proverbs 21:17 "Heavy drinkers and others who live only for pleasure
will lose all they have." CEV

How many people do you know or have you heard of who had more money or
possessions than they knew what to do with, but they drank it away or
lost some other way? It happens!

Proverbs 28:25 "Selfishness only causes trouble. You are much better off
to trust the LORD." GNB

When my needs become number 1 in my life, I miss what God wants to do
through me. We are to be Jesus' hands and feet, but if we focus only on
ourselves - we are not involving ourselves in this ministry.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Money, money, money ... Part 2

Money plays an important part in each of our lives and it is very
difficult to imagine a world without it. Yesterday we started looking at
what the Bible says about money. We started by saying that there is more
to life than money.

Today we are going to start looking what the book of Proverbs says about
money. Proverbs was written partly by Solomon (the wisest man who ever
lived) and can shed a lot of light on how to invest and how not to
invest your money. The way you spend your money can either cause you
great problems or a lot of joy. Let us begin.

Proverbs 3:5-6
"5 With all your heart you must trust the LORD and not your own
judgment. 6 Always let him lead you, and he will clear the road for you
to follow." CEV

Why is it wrong to trust my own judgment? Because I can only see what is
happening here and now. I can look back at the past and try to predict
the future - but only God knows what is coming. Trusting in my own
judgment will bring problems.

Proverbs 11:28 "Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the
righteous will flourish like a green leaf." ESV

What happens when you trust in your money? You start hoarding it and it
becomes the focus on your life. When something happens, like inflation
or recession, you are in trouble because your money is not as solid as
you thought it was.

So we need to trust in God and work wisely with our money as well.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Money, money, money ...

Money features as a prominent theme in the Bible. Many people do not want to hear a pastor talk about money, but what if the way you looked at and spent your money reflected your relationship with God? What if you could bring honour or dishonour on God based on the way that you managed your finances? Would you then be interested to see what the Bible says about money?

Before there were coins, paper money or credit cards people used silver or gold as currency. The period of mere barter had passed before Abraham walked the earth (Genesis 23:15-16). Although they did not have coins, the precious metals were cast in bars or rings to facilitate easy movement.

But how important is money really? You just need to give a passing glance at what is happening in the world to see that many people live very materialistic lives. Is money and the "happiness" that it brings all there is to life, or is there something more?

Matthew 6:25 "Therefore I say to you, Do not be anxious for your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?" MKJV

Life is indeed about more than money, join me as we make a study of some of what the Bible says about money.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Blogging from my phone

Hi, this is a test to see if i can blog from my mobile phone. I am not able to separate paragraphs, as the phone only has a basic email client and no qwerty keypad. I am off to bed now, wishing you a peaceful night. With God on our side we can also say: Psalm 91:5 - you need not fear any dangers at night or sudden attacks during the day (gnb)

Handle with prayer

Life is fragile - handle with prayer.

Psalm 103:15-16 "As for us, our life is like grass. We grow and flourish
like a wild flower; 16 then the wind blows on it, and it is gone--- no
one sees it again." GNB

As we draw nearer to the end of 2010 let us not forget that life is
precious, and short. Time goes by so quickly and one day our lives are over.

Colossians 4:2 "Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in
gratitude." MSG

We need to appreciate every day we have, and every good thing that we
are blessed with. Open your eyes to what is going on around you.
Everyone has at least 1 thing they can be thankful for. Are you healthy?
have you had breakfast today? Do you own more then one set of clothes?
Do you know that many people cannot answer yes to any of those questions.

Will we live based on what we do not have, or on what we do have? God
has given you and me today and we need to be thankful for the
opportunities that are presented to us today. There are no "Mulligans"
or "do overs" in life.

Lamentations 3:22-23 "The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his
mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is
your faithfulness.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Prayer is not

Luke 18:1 "Jesus told his disciples a story about how they should keep
on praying and never give up:" CEV

Prayer is not:
like a vending machine,
like a genie waiting to grant us 3 wishes,
me manipulating God to give me what I want,
a get out of jail free card,

Prayer is like how John the apostle put his head on Jesus chest, prayer
is like listening to the heartbeat of God and allowing it to change us.
We all have needs and wants, but that cannot be the focus of our prayers
- for that is very selfish.

Sometimes there is a process involved for us to get to the answer to our
prayers and we need to be prepared to pray through our problems - even
when it seems like God is turning a deaf ear to our pleas. As people we
don't always have the answers, but we trust in God who knows everything.

Matthew 7:7 "Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find.
Knock, and the door will be opened for you." CEV

Some prayers take longer to be answered than others, some prayers should
not be answered because we ask for the wrong things - but if we
continually search for God then we will find Him.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

What is prayer

Everything has a reason. Before we can discuss the reason for prayer we
first need to look at what prayer is. Is it something that superstitious
people do, mumbling prayers and meaningless words and hoping for the best?

Prayer is real, it is connecting with God our Heavenly Father. Jesus
spent much time in prayer, why shouldn't we also?

Prayer is a conversation, it is a part of sharing our lives with God. If
we read the "Our Father" in Matthew 6:9-13 we see Jesus giving us an
example of what prayer is. We share our lives with God and invite God to
play an active role in our lives. It's not because God does not know
what we need or that we need it; it's for us to invite God to be a part
of our lives.

We change when we realize that we are not in control, when we invite God
to be part of our lives and to protect, provide and guide us. We become
humble and learn to rely on God, instead of ourselves.

Prayer isn't difficult, it isn't complicated. Simply put, prayer is
sharing your life with God. Are you happy, or sad? God wants to be a
part of your life! no matter what is happening to you right now, you
need to know that God loves you and wants to be a very real part of your
life.

James 5:13 "is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone
happy? Let him sing songs of praise." NIV

Prayer takes time, we need to set time aside for prayer as there are any
distractions trying to keep us away from spending time on our knees. God
is not reluctant to answer us:

Jeremiah 33:3 "Call to me and will answer you and tell you great and
unsearchable things you do not know." NIV

@ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @
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On a side note, I would appreciate feedback on my blog. Still in the
infancy stage right now. Nothing is cast in stone at this point in time.
My question is, "what would you as the reader appreciate?" At the moment
I blog and post on Facebook, (I would like to invite you to connect with
me on Facebook) let me know if you have any ideas for expansion. And
thanks for reading and telling others about my blog.

A few thoughts on prayer

Prayer is a very important part of our spiritual lives. I would like to
share a few quotes with you on the subject of prayer:

Prayer is measured by it's depth, not it's length.
You can expect God to intervene, when you have taken the time to intercede.
I reach new heights when I get down on my knees to pray.
Things begun in prayer normally end in power.
Prayer is not overcoming God's reluctance, but taking hold of His
willingness.

I hope that this has inspired you, I would like to end with
1Thessalonians 5:17 "pray without ceasing", it's a short but very
powerful verse.