The Recession was Good for You

Having the right attitudes to money and a stewardship mindset is important for financial success.  The Bible contains a lot of wisdom related to this.  Recently it was reported in Time (Moneyland) that the Charles Schwab 2011 Teens & Money Survey (Please download survey PDF report) suggested, if only in some small way, the recession may have changed attitudes and knowledge about money management in young people who experienced recession in one way or another. Attitudes are more positive and constructive than it was prior to the Recession.

Highlights from the data, from the online survey of 1,132 American teens between ages of 16-18:

  • “93% say their family was impacted by the recession
  • “64% say they are more grateful now for what they have.”
  • “58% say they are less likely to ask for things they want.”
  • “73% say it’s important to have enough emergency savings in case times get tough.”
  • “77% describe themselves as “super savers,” and only 23% say they’re “big spenders.”

Psalm 119[67]  Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.

There are consequences for doing things our way, this includes entering cycles of loss and ultimately the demise of all hope as crashes produce anger and more rebellion – even while grace still cries out that there is a way back.   We can still find our path back to God, the Owner, who is ever seeking good stewards.  A few more words to reiterate on stewardship.

1.God supplies our needs and will not have us hungry.  He does not supply our carnal wants or wasteful excesses.

2.Covetousness is trying to be someone God has not gifted us to be and without the grace and abilities.  This produces bitterness and anguish of spirit and much zeal without knowledge.

3.Remember, we do not own the gifts and wealth but we can have power with God to make wealth.  God does not seek our permission to give or take that which belongs to Him.  There are direct unfortunate consequences for seeking independence from God in managing His resources rather than depending on Him.

I will have you attempt solving the following puzzle.  Three frogs were lounging on a fence facing a pond. Then suddenly there appeared a big fat insect. As the three frogs watched it strut towards the pond, one of them decided to jump down and go after it. Now, how many frogs were left on the fence?

Was your answer 2, 3, 1 or none? The correct answer is three.  There were three left. One only decided to jump but he did not. It is not enough for you to decide to be blessed you need to act.

It is our doing and obedience that saves us and not our decisions. Doing is always costly and often painful. Perhaps the lessons from this Recession will lead to more than decisions.

Count yourself blessed O stricken and afflicted.  I have encountered few who justified continued sin in their lives even with scriptures (as is common today) until mercifully struck down with financial or moral crisis and they found grace to cry and return to God for help.  It was easier to appreciate the gravity of misdeeds before God and seek repentance. Today, they have corrected many ethical situations that previously plagued their finances, marriage and life in general. Crisis (though not the preferred instructor we wish God to appoint) also teaches vital disciplines of prayer, humility and obedience that are not as well assimilated in today’s user-driven word environment.  Perhaps if we surveyed this aspect of the impact of the Recession, we may be able to establish improvements in our devotional life and like David also say…

Psalm 119 [71]  It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.

The Recession that did the most good was the affliction of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross at Calvary that we might be saved and receive eternal life… Surrender your life to Him.

Now you are better armed to manage the windfall soon coming your way.

(Originally published in The Christian Post)

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Confessions of an ex-Harlot

Nigeria should be divided into two nations to avoid further bloodshed between Muslims and Christians, said Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, according to a BBC report. He made this call in a speech to students, where he praised the example of India and Pakistan in 1947 saying the “partition saved the lives of millions of Hindus and Muslims.” According to the Libyan leader, splitting Nigeria “would stop the bloodshed and burning of places of worship,” Jana, the Libyan news agency quoted him as saying.

 I Kings 3 [25] And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other. [26] Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it.

The harlot woke up one day after a long night of adventures we do not want to hear about to discover something unusual. The baby in her arms did not look so healthy…the skin was pale and there was no reaction to any cuddling or pinching … only the infant just staring at the ceiling.  She had not fed her baby with milk for over a day and had overslept in the usual drunken stupor – this time she was not awakened by the normal cries for deserved attention from a mother.  And then suddenly this woman screamed seeing the baby was too still … dead.

This was not the promise that was made to her.  Her baby was to grow to become great, a source of joy and inspiration.  Indeed she knew and always believed strongly she held a star in her arms and would one day repent her wicked ways. Then as she cleaned the tears from her face she looked again to observe the tiny stiff open hands. The birth mark of greatness was no more on the tiny finger. She called to her silent friend, busy nursing her own baby, who shared the room and her eyes immediately caught the mark she had told no one about. In the arms of another she saw her star alive looking somewhat puzzled as though uncertain of the future.

Her trusted neighbour and friend had, in her drunken and careless moments, seized her baby and replaced her dream with a corpse. Now her trusted friend held firmly to her child…her dream…her star…stolen from her.

The case was taken to the Palace of the Judge.  As the different perspectives were presented a voice came saying “Divide the child…and give half to each…”  But the true mother could only see the bloodshed, the continued defenceless struggles, the endless battles and the final whimper as her star was eventually silenced by the axe. Then she screamed as one waking from a nightmare “O my Lord. Give her the living child.”  She would rather volunteer a poverty of spirit and pleasure than consider the snuffing out of her dreams. Without her dream alive she would lose all peace and would have elected for herself a greater sorrow and perpetual anguish. Perhaps someday she would have the opportunity to bring her case forward again before the Lord who surely lives. She accepts to be today’s loser and shuddered as she imagined her future star …nurtured in the cold arms of a thief…but then who can pull down a true star?  Who can stop the ordained will of the King of kings who reigns for ever. 

Then she hears the voice again as her Redeemer looked at her..I Kings 3[27] Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.

Today, her star is now back safe and protected by the justice of God … and growing to be what God has promised.  Meanwhile she has stopped her harlotry and drunkenness … her Redeemer will truly henceforth be her first husband.  Her joy is now full. The story has a blissful ending … finally her dreams come true even as  “ … kings, princes and princesses come out of her loins.”

Her baby is her nation. Do not be quick to judge her and disdain her experience …

I know my Redeemer lives and reigns forever.

Bode

 

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