I want what I want when I want it!

I want an iPhone.  I want a flat screen.  I want a new car.  I want a vacation. I want a house. I want a bean feast.  I want all these things now!!!

You don’t have the money but you can still have them now.  Just put them on a credit card and pay later.  You will find a way.  You don’t even have to pay it all.  Pay a little at a time.  Don’t worry.  You can have it all now.

Juts like spoiled Veruca, this is what is being sold to America.  Even in this down economy people are still being sold on financing things so they can pay for them later.  December is the worst time of year for it.  Now most are playing catch up.  Credit card debt is out of control.  Paychecks come in and they go out.  It becomes an endless cycle for most.  Even those who have may not really have.  They just appear to have.

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.  Proverbs 22:7 (ESV)

This system has been going on forever.  It seems like a good idea, have it now and pay for it later, but some run into trouble.  Some struggle to pay for it later.  I am not condemning those who fall into this trap.  I can’t talk about the splinter in their eye while the plank is in mine. (Matthew 7:3)

So if you are in this trouble what is next?  How do you get out of a hole?  Well, the first thing you can do is forgive yourself. When you realize you have dug this hole you might feel guilty for putting your family and yourself in it.  This is normal.  Don’t let it take you deeper.  Forgive yourself. Then start to dig out.  Get help.

Stop wanting (coveting).  Wanting leads down roads that go no where.  The world tells us we can have it now when we really can’t.  Smart people don’t listen to the world.  Godly people don’t listen to the world.  I wish I hadn’t listened to the world.

Look what happened to Veruca and her father when they wanted it all now.

There are two quick things you can do when you feel you need something you can’t afford. Pray to God that it is His will that you have it and WORK FOR IT! Make sure you have the dough before you make the pie.

God gives us what we can handle. If we have shown Him we are not able to be proper stewards of His money, and it is His money, He will not give us more. We must work for it knowing that it is His.  Would He want us to spend it on frivolous things?  Would He want us to spend money we do not have?  Would He want us to always borrow and be a slave to the lender?

There are many Biblical truths about stewarding your money.  If you have any please feel free to drop some comments below.

What are you doing to get out of the hole?

What are you doing to stay out of it?

What are you doing to be proper stewards of God’s money?

How are you avoiding being like Veruca and wanting a “bean feats”?

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Continue The Doctor’s Dream

Freedom!

Many have died for it.  For your freedom. For my freedom.  We were created to be free by our Creator.  Many try to take away freedom with their power.  Many fear our freedom will take away their power.  People look to take away freedom from those who are different,  from those who are weak, and from those who can’t stand on their own.

The Lord has created people who will not stand for freedoms that the Lord gave us to be taken away.  The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Junior was one of these people.  He stood up for freedom.  He stood up for love.  He loved the Lord and loved his neighbor.  He fought for freedom for all people.  Not black, not white, not yellow, or brown.  All people.

He has said, “I have decided to stick with love.  Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

He has said, “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”

In my last post I wrote about the greatest commandments.  Dr. King followed these.  He loved God and loved his neighbor.  Hate cut his life short but hate did not succeed at killing his dream.  While we all do not get along, and people still try to take freedoms away, I encourage you to continue to journey to the mountain top.  I encourage you to continue to fight for freedom.  I encourage you to love God and your neighbors.

Micah 6:8

(KJV)
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

The Greatest

There are two that He said were the greatest.  These two, His listeners probably did not expect to hear Him say.  He did not say they were the easiest to follow, but He said “all the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”(Matthew 22:40)  They are simple in thinking but not simple in acting.  Most basic rules are simple but not easy.  I try to imagine being there as the Pharisees egged Him on and tried to get Him to blaspheme.  “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” (Matthew 22:36)  Did they expect His response?  Did they think He would go another direction.

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)  Well, they might have expected that one but the next is interesting.  “And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Matthew 22:39)

I wonder if some of them were like “Love my neighbor?  But he always puts his trash on my side of the street.  He never says hi to me.  He always has parties and never invites me over.  Really?  Love my neighbor?”

Some of us today read this and hear it in church and still think similar thoughts.  “My neighbor isn’t nice to me.  My neighbor is always coming over and never minds his business.  My neighbor has trash in his driveway all the time.  I’m supposed to love him?”

Yes!  We are supposed to love them.  Not just the neighbor next door, but everyone.  “But I can’t love everyone.”

There are two important things that must be done before loving your neighbor the way we are commanded to can happen.  Again these are simple, but for some, not easy.  Here it is:

Love God with all of your heart, mind, and soul.  Some people don’t even know God to love Him.  Some people were taught to fear God.  Not in the Biblical sense of fear, but they fear Him and are afraid to love Him.  Maybe this is because some church or pastor taught them to really fear Him and just follow the Laws like those who Jesus was addressing.  If you do not love God how can you love your neighbor?

Here is the second issue I see with people not loving their neighbor.  What Jesus says is “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  He says “as yourself.”  Do you love yourself?  I’m not asking if you are selfish and do things only for you.  That is not loving yourself.  That is trying to fill a hole with things.

Do you love yourself?

I am not a theologian.  I am just a person who loves God, loves my family, and loves you, because I know I love me.  I know that if I did not love God I could not love me.  I know that if I don’t love me I couldn’t love you.  I feel that Jesus is clear here saying “as yourself.”  If you do not love yourself it is impossible to really love others.

The hard part for those who love God and love themselves is to love those who do neither.  How do you do that?  Can you love someone who does not love you?  This is the only way that they will even start to let God’s love in.  This process can be simple as well but…… Not Easy.

Start being nice to the person who you feel does not like you.  Start a conversation or just say hi.  Say hi to the neighbor who complains about you.  Give them a card at Christmas, Thanksgiving, or any day.  Say hi to that person at work who puts up walls.  The one thing I will warn you about is to not get pulled in to their negative energy. Show them love but make it a process.  If you love them, they will start to love themselves.

God loves us all.

Do you love God?

Do you love yourself?

How can you better know God to love Him?

What is one thing you can do to show love for others?

How can you help others love themselves?

Please comment below.

Game Changers

When I was a kid, people would tell me how my life will be different when I get married.  I didn’t really think it would be.  I dated and had relationships. I thought I had it all figured out.  Then I got married and well, I was wrong.  It changed the game.  All the rules I had before did not apply.  I tried to still follow those rules.  I really needed to throw that book out and follow a new one.  I not only needed a new rule book, I needed a new game plan.

Then, when you get married people ask when are you having kids.  Then, you get pregnant (I wasn’t pregnant my wife was and God bless her and all women for carrying children and giving birth because you are amazing) and people say, your life is going to change.  I should have figured they were right because they were right about marriage, but I said “how hard can this be?”  I was wrong again.  Another game changer requiring new rules and a new game plan.

With both of these events it may take you a while before you realize the game is different.  It took me a while. I was trying to play the same game for a long time and getting no where.  Most of the time I was neither the winner or the loser. I was just playing the wrong game.

When you realize this, you must adjust to the game.  This is a lifestyle adjustment.  You are no longer a party of one.  Married you are two equaling one.  Here losing may actually help you win.  Men and women are very different, more than I thought.  We think differently and act and react differently. Recognizing this is a key to the game.  Knowing what to do with this knowledge is an even bigger key.

I once heard a pastor say that the person you marry will probably not be 100% like you.  They will have things they do that annoy you.  They will have hobbies that do not interest you.  They will have communication issues and other things that don’t fit your image of marriage.  His feelings on that are God puts us with people who we do not agree with all of the time so we learn unconditional love.  I believe there is a lot of merit to that.  Love is work.

The other game changer I mentioned is having children.  I thought it would be like, well, I really don’t know what I thought.  I was so bad in the beginning.  I was actually afraid that I was going to break my daughter.  This little child was my responsibility and I was so afraid of doing something wrong that I would let my wife do everything.  That is not a good game plan for that game changer.  Now my daughter is three and I am still a little scared I will break her.  She is strong but I still worry that something I do will hurt her.  But I am taking responsibility the best I can and not just deferring to my wife.

These two game changers also changed my view on the world.  For example, my wife and I are really researching vaccinations.  We haven’t found definitive evidence either way on if they do more good than harm.  No one can give us a straight answer.  Even my scientist friend who has a family of doctors argued for them but never gave me a clear answer.  She has children so her game changed.  Now someone who does not have children has an opinion on this as well.  I respect it but their view may change when their game does.  When they have to make the choices that effect another human being who they are responsible for it will change everything.

There is one more game changer I would like to bring up.  That is Believing.

Believing in yourself will give you confidence.  It will help take you places you never thought you could go.  It just starts with a little belief and it can build into a huge amount.  It is a game changer.

Believing in others will help you believe in yourself.  It will also help them to achieve things that they never thought were possible.  It will give them confidence and courage.  You will help to change their game.

Believing in something higher will change the entire game completely.  Having FAITH is an ultimate game changer.  Believing that there is a God who is looking out for me, loves me, and wants me to be succesful changes everything.  I look at things differently.  The game changes I mentioned before start to come into place.  Believing that God has my back helps me make the right decisions in the game of marriage and children and business and LIFE.

Without belief can I play these games? Yes.  Can I play successfully?  Maybe.

Successfully doesn’t mean winning. Successfully means handling the loses and the wins with the same joy.  Success means accepting things for what they are but having a willingness to believe I can make bad situations better.  Success is never giving up and having faith that no matter what happens God has my back.

To me, Believing is the ultimate game changer.  It has changed my game.

(click photo for ways to beautifully organize game changing moments)

What are some other game changers that you have had happen to you?  Please drop some comments below.  I would love to hear from you.

Don’t Bury Them

All of us have been given abilities, gifts, and/or talents.  These are usually things we enjoy doing or things we have come to learn without too much effort.  Chances are that if you are good at a certain thing you are also passionate about it as well.  This may be something you started at a young age or something you have discovered later in life.  These are things that have been put on your heart.  These are things that you think about day and night.  These are things that, if you are not doing for a living, will be on your mind while you are doing what you do for a living.

So what do you do?  Can you make these things your living? How do you do so?  How do you know if this is what you are called to do?

  1. Ask God. Pray to Him and ask Him if He put this on your heart.  Ask Him what you are supposed to do with these thoughts that are invading your life.
  2. Consult Scripture.  Find Bible passages concerning being called.  Look for God’s word to inform you if you are on the right path. Proverbs 3:6 “in all you ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
  3. Consult others for their thoughts.  Be careful to pick a few people who you trust.  Don’t just pick “yes people” who will tell you what they think you want to hear.  Pick people who may have followed what they feel God called them to do.
  4. Find out everything you can about the path you feel you are being called to.  You may just see an area of your talents as fun but you have not dug down below the surface.  See what it takes to do what it is you feel you are being called to do.  Don’t just study the skill but study the career and the lifestyle. Here again, consult people who are following that path.  Proverbs 15:22 “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”
  5. Do the work.  If you decide to go for it after all your deliberation, then the last steps are to do the work (Proverbs 12:23 “All hard work leads to profit, but mere talk leads to poverty”) and trust in the Lord.  Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.”

Here is something very important to remember.  You should use your gift, talents, and abilities that have been given to you to serve others.  They must bring a return, not only in wealth of finances, but wealth of prosperity for others.  I believe we are not given talents for ourselves.  We have been blessed so we may bless others.  We have been blessed so we can bring joy to others.  We have been blessed so we can help others build a house, repair a sink, teach them to dance, get them in shape, give them something inspiring to read, view, and experience.

Sadly, many waste their talents thinking they are not good enough.  Many play it safe without asking the Lord and feel they will never amount to anything.  Many will be like the servant Jesus speaks of who buries his talent instead of making it into something more. (Matthew 25:14-30)  God does not give you talents to waste.  He wants you to use them for His glory.  He wants you to use them to serve others.  Don’t hide them away for fear you may lose them.  Take the steps above and use them for Him.  God doesn’t make junk and He won’t give you something so you can bury it in the dirt.

I believe we must remember this, the talents God has given us are not greater than the people we are to serve with them.   Jesus came to serve us.  He was our greatest gift ever.  God also gave us our own unique gifts and we should use them to serve as Jesus served us.  Do not hold them back for yourself.

Find your calling.

Work at it and do it for His glory.