A good name

“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.” Pr. 22:1

Yesterday was my son’s 8th birthday.  He did have a good day and by the end of the day, declared it “the best birthday ever!”  That’s a win!

He liked his presents, but more than all of that, he enjoyed the closeness we shared as I read him our traditional birthday book.  He hugged me over and over as we looked at his baby pictures and I answered his questions about when he was born.

It thrilled his heart that his sister worked really hard and enthusiastically to make him a special birthday cake just the way he wanted.  His heart was overjoyed when we surprised him by having his old friend show up at our celebration last night.

He appreciated the work we did on his decorations.  He enjoyed having his grandfather, uncle, family, and some friends there to celebrate with him.  He was just happy to be loved and favored.

He was grateful and thankful for all we did and gave, and he expressed his thanks to all.  Everyone was happy to celebrate with him because he is a such a great guy.  He is kind, generous, loving, sharing, encouraging, fun, and is a joy to be around.  In other words, he has a good name.

And that is what I want for him most of all.  As much as he was grateful for the “riches” he received, he was much more nourished and made to feel complete by the favor shown to him.  As much as I enjoyed giving him things, I feel much more proud of the fact that people enjoy being around him and that he is a kind person.

My prayer is that he continue on this path all his days and that he grow to truly know for a fact what ‘things’ are most important to be chosen in this life.

It’s a reminder we can all use from time to time.  Riches and things can be helpful, pretty, and can make us smile temporarily, but can all be taken away or destroyed.  At the end of the day, what really matters are those who love and care for us.  How we make others feel is what they remember about us.  We have to make sure we are choosing to give ourselves a good name by our actions towards others.

Thanks for being a great illustration for this important verse, my amazing son!  We are so proud of you.

Mom, aka jamie

 

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Isn’t that a bit hasty?

Pr. 21:5:  “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.” 

If you are riding in a car with my kids for any length of time, you will hear them listing off the things they want.  “I wish we could go to the park.”  “I want to go to McDonald’s.”  “I wish God would move our house to that field with all that land so we could have animals.”  “I want a lightsaber.”  “I wish we could get ice cream.”  Seriously, it just goes on and on.  The longer the ride, the more wishes that are voiced.  They aren’t demanding these things, mind you; just thinking out loud.

They aren’t the only ones.  I’m not a big window shopper.  If I don’t go to stores, then I’m not aware of what I’m missing.  Once I step foot inside a store, I see all kinds of things I didn’t even know I “needed.”  HA!  I’m sure I could come up with a list of things I want to buy or do right now if I thought enough about it.

Solomon warns that being hasty leads to poverty.  How true.  If my kids, or I (the one with the check book), just started doing all the things they say they want, we wouldn’t have enough money for the things we need.  We can’t go to McDonald’s, Sweet Frog, the beach, etc. every single trip and still have money for electricity, food, or savings.  More than that, if we spent all our money on those impulsive ideas they have, we wouldn’t have the money to do the other things that they really like even more.  They simply don’t have the brain capacity just yet to understand that some things are worth Not doing so that you can do the things you really want to do.

We have to teach our kids how to be diligent planners.  How?  Well, we don’t give in to their every whim…or our own.  We don’t go out impulsively buying or doing things that catch our eye or our fancy.  Before I grocery shop with my kids, I even make a point to pray with them that we will make wise decisions and that God will direct us with wisdom.

It’s really a good reminder for all of us.  It’s good to let an idea or an impulse marinate over night once in a while to make sure you have peace about it, or to make sure you actually “need” it.  And there is nothing wrong with planning to save up for something or planning to do it another time as a reward.  Sometimes that can even be more exciting!  We are reminded that the plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty.  Sounds like we will have exactly what we need.

Guarding my wallet,

jamie

Proving we are faithful stewards

Pr. 3:9:  “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase”

This morning I was also reading Luke 16, about the unjust steward.  A steward is a person in charge of the property of affairs of another.  I believe the Lord has placed us all in charge of His estate here on earth, as we are His hands and feet.  That is why this proverb is so important.

When we honor the Lord with our possessions, with our firstfruits (our tithes) we are honoring and giving back to Him what is really His.  The parable of the unjust steward talks about a steward accused of wasting his master’s goods.  Verses 11 and 12 teach us, “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon (money), who will commit to your trust the true riches?  And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?”

Instead of wasting the money He entrusts to us, we give back a portion to Him in a demonstration of our understanding that He is the One who provides for all of our needs.  We give evidence that our trust is not in money, but in the One who holds the world in His hands.

We are told that if we are not faithful with money, we will not be trusted with true riches.  I am now reminded of Mt. 6:19-21.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

If our heart and our trust belong to the Lord, we understand that being faithful stewards of the things He has entrusted to us on this earth will store up for us treasures for eternity.

God will provide for our needs here on earth, if we are faithful with what He gives us.  If we show honor to Him by demonstrating our trust in Him through tithing, then we are demonstrating that we can be trusted with true riches.  What is more complimentary than that?

Let’s be faithful stewards, doing God’s work with the provisions He gives to us.  He will bless and care for us here, and reward us further in heaven.

Thanks, God!

jamie

Trusting in the Provider

Pr. 11:28:  “He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like foliage.”

Once in a while my trust in the Lord’s provision is tested.  It is easy to say that we trust in the Lord when all is going well, when we have plenty of food in the cabinets, and our checking and savings accounts are in the black.

Have you ever noticed that when 1 appliance goes bad at your house another usually follows?  I’ve been noticing strange little happenings with some of our appliances, and even a strange noise in the car.  All this during the same time as we are purchasing Christmas presents and birthday presents/events for our daughter’s birthday, and I had to replace my broken phone.

I admit that I occasionally get nervous.  Noticing a strange noise in my car last night, I felt worry creeping over me.  ‘What if’ started running through my brain.  What if the car needs repaired?  What if we get it repaired and the dishwasher quits working?  What if we do both and then someone needs to go to the doctor?  While we have money budgeted for each of these instances, I could see the funds dwindling slowly away in my mind.  My heart began to beat quickly.

Then, I heard the Word of God in my mind.  “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”  Ps.37:4  “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”  Mt. 6:33  “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  Ph. 4:19

Does it even matter how much is in my checking account if I have the Lord?  No!  I could have $.50 or $50,000 and it wouldn’t make any difference in how God could provide for me.  God isn’t tethered by limits as we are.  If I am trusting in riches or lack there of, then certainly I will fall.  Money is not the answer.  My God shall supply my needs.

I remember a time when I truly had no money for food.  I was a faithful tither, and I sought the Lord, and a co-worker randomly put a box of food in my car, complete with Christmas candy his mom had made.  🙂  Yum!  God provided.  Need met.

Just a few weeks ago I asked the Lord to provide some hand-me-downs for my daughter so I wouldn’t have to buy her any pants.  I was suddenly reminded of some pants that a friend had given me about 4 years ago.  They were way too big at the time, so I had stored them in my attic and forgotten about them.  God brought them to my mind and I rejoiced and praised Him.  They fit her perfectly!  Need met.

Remembering the Lord’s promises and the faithfulness I have witnessed, I am reminded that my trust is in the Lord, the Provider, and I feel the blooms of joy and peace opening up within me.  If it’s God in whom we are trusting, our provision will always be at hand.

Thanking Him,

jamie

For whom are you making preparations?

Pr. 4:3-4:  “When I was my father’s son, tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, he also taught me, and said to me:”

Others can teach and encourage our children.  However, there are some things that only we can do.

David referred to Solomon tender more than once.  When the Lord revealed to David that Solomon would build the temple, he said, “Solomon my son is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the Lord must be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all countries.  I will now make preparations for it.”  So David made abundant preparations before his death.

He then called Solomon to him and charged him to build the house for the Lord.  He reminded Solomon of what the Lord had told him, and to keep the law of the Lord.  He reminded him that God would prosper him for being obedient.  David then commanded all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon.

Not only did David charge his son to do what he was called to do, but he made enormous preparations to make it possible for Solomon to do his work.  Before the assembly of all the leaders of Jerusalem, David again said that Solomon was “young and inexperienced.”  He called for all the leaders to contribute to the building of the temple.  He let the leaders know exactly what the Lord had said to him concerning Solomon.

In their presence, he also told Solomon, “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of thoughts.  If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but it you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.  Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong, and do it.”

1 Ch. 29:24-25 says, “All the leaders and mighty men obeyed him, and also all the sons of King David submitted themselves to King Solomon.  So the Lord exalted Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed on him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.”

The prayers and preparation of his father, David, set Solomon up for the job to which he was called.  Taking seriously what God spoke over Solomon, David did not just encourage Solomon to fulfill his purpose, he charged him to do it, he made abundant preparations for it, he spoke it to the assembly of all leaders, and he called the leaders to assist his son.  David’s actions spoke more loudly to his son than any words ever could.

We can encourage and speak life, but when we put our money, time, and preparations behind our words, we are making very clear what it is we truly believe.  Others may be able to encourage your children, your family, or your friends, but there are some things that only you can do.  What actions do you need to take today to teach that tender person in your life?

Preparing,

jamie

Can money bring salvation?

Pr. 28:25:  “He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, but he who trusts in the Lord will be prospered.”

The NLV translates it this way:  “Greed causes fighting; trusting the LORD leads to prosperity.”  This verse is pretty self explanatory.   What else do we really need?  We are so consumed with consuming that we have trouble distinguishing wants from needs.

Do we really need shoes to match that outfit or will another pair of shoes we already own actually be fine?  Do we really need a new boat or does the boat we currently own get the job done just fine?  Do we really need that food we saw in the food magazine or will the food in our cabinets suffice?  The truth is that in our society the lines get easily blurred.  We can justify all the reasons we “need” something that we want, but at the end of the day most of us have all we need and more.  Certainly the Lord provides.

If you’ve ever had a time when you actually had no food or a bill you truly couldn’t pay, then you’ve probably seen the Lord provide.  When we get caught up in greed we can truly trouble our own houses and spend our money unwisely.  We have to find the courage and faith to be good stewards of the money and possessions God provides us.  When we do that, we will not only have all we need, but we will be grateful children and have enough to help others.  God gives to us not for our own greed and gain, but to reach out, as His hands, and give to those around us with true needs.

The believers in Acts 2:45-47, “sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.  So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people.  And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”

When we create our budget, spend our money, or decide on purchases, let’s keep in mind the fact that there are some around us that truly have needs.  “The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved”…He is the same God today.  Let’s make our decisions about money based on the knowledge that the way we use our money can be the tool God uses for someone else’s salvation.  Now that’s a good reason to pinch a penny!

Frugally,

jamie