Monday, March 2

Financially Viable & Reliable

“Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.” (Haggai 1:6)

My daughter has a Masters in Econometrics. In April of this year she will fly to London with her husband to work on her PhD. Econometrics is the application of mathematical and statistical techniques to economic data and problems. She works for the No.1 World Finance Institution and spends her twelve-hour days studying the world-market and making financial decisions based on this collective information. In addition, she writes media releases for the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.

Belinda loves to discuss the American economy with me. I don’t! She knows the alleged whys of our crisis and can throw statistics at you faster than you can say HELP! When she emails me asking for my opinion, I respond with; “Let me think on it and get back to you.” I never say when I will get back to her---just that I will!

I am very grateful for my twenty-seven year old daughter and thank God that she is astute, hard working, articulated and too busy to recall my promised opinions on the economic crisis. How convenient for me! Besides, I love to ask God what His opinion is and He has taken considerable time to teach me the whys of our economic crisis and the hows of any future personal financial stability. “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.” (Haggai 1:7)

In our fast paced world convenience is a premium. Fortunes have been made by those who cater to man’s desire for ease and convenience. We have instant pudding, instant potatoes, microwave ovens and direct deposit. Amidst the expediency some things are not as convenient as we would like. Furthermore, usually the best things take time and are not always timely.

I know there are those who speak about knowing God’s will by its ease and convenience. Yet the unvarnished truth is that the will of God is not always convenient. In fact God does not check man’s schedule before executing His plan!

Speaking about convenience, how many times have parents commented that Christmas could come at a more convenient time? I want to tell you about some parents that were hoping for a more convenient Christmas. “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.” (Luke 2:1)

Tax-time is not my favorite time of the year. I suppose tax-time has never been a popular time. In the days of Caesar Augustus tax-time was extremely unpopular. Not only was it time to pay out for “services” that folks didn’t agree with but you had to travel for the privilege to do so.

Do you realize how much frustration there would be if every American had to write a check to the government every time they got paid? It would be good for all students of American history to remember that some red-blooded Yankees held the Boston Tea party over a 3% tax on tea! The spark that ignited the American Revolution was a 3% tax on tea! How far we have come?

Not only was it tax-time in Luke chapter two but every one in Israel that was from somewhere else had to return to their hometown. You couldn’t crank up the computer and e-file over the Internet. You couldn’t fill out a form and mail in a check. You had to pack your bags and return to the town you were from. The convenience of an SUV was non-existent. Your mode of transportation was old Clyde the donkey.

Great with child, traveling to another place, and having no idea where you will live or what you will do if you come into labor; your firstborn is about to come into the world and you don’t even have a roof over your head. This is probably one of the worst days of your life! On the worst day of Joseph and Mary’s life, God made His appearance. “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,” (Galatians 4:4)

God’s time was not man’s time and it still isn’t!

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7) Is it possible that God was in control of this situation all along? Not only is it possible, it is absolutely certain. God’s purpose was to bring Mary and Joseph to a stable and the precious babe that was born to be laid in a manger. No, He was not born in a convenient way. This was not the birth of a conventional King. He is the Great Shepherd and He came into this world at the worst of times. And yet it was God’s perfect time. This was the fullness of time - God’s perfect time!

All of the disasters that went into this day from Mary and Joseph’s perspective were indeed the plan of God from the beginning of time.

Your Disaster

I want to encourage you to recognize the sacredness of your calamity. Perhaps the political environment is not to your choosing. I know the economy has not been this poor for many years. Maybe it is a hard time for your family. It might be health that is failing you; your marriage has seen better days, or a wayward child that will not respond to the love on your part grips your soul every day. You may live from week to week not knowing how you will pay your bills, fill your fridge, or meet the most basic needs.

My own personal testimony is living proof that “He owns the cattle on a thousand hills” and WILL meet your needs! He promises to feed us, clothe us, and put a roof over our heads and yet we leave our base, we panic and leave the perfect will of God; we take matters into our own hands because our income is no longer enough.

When we can longer do it; He flexes His muscles and shows us who was in control all along. Could it be that the hand of God is at work behind the scenes? Might the Lord not be found directing some of the very things that are troubling us? Why would He do this? Doesn't a bended knee and an unfeigned faith do more than leaving our babies with someone else's mama and making up the difference that you don't think God can?

God does His greatest work in our life sometimes on our worst day and our leanest years. I welcome Him into my burdened heart for He is the very Author of my afflictions just as He is the Author and solution for our economic crisis. Let us push aside the hay and give the Lord Jesus the position of honor in our stable? Place Him there in the manger; when we do, we discover that He was born to reign in a world of uncertainty and trouble. He was born to reign in our own world of uncertainty and trouble. Other Kings are born for a palace but Jesus came for the worst day of our life and He will take us to a place of glory! Our yoke is lifted from our shoulders and surrendered to God who then becomes our “burden-bearer.”

These words were penned by Charles Spurgeon – “The yoke of Christ is rendered easy by the bright example of Christ and by the blessed fellowship with him to which his people are called. Christ himself carried it. Have you never read in Grecian story—I think there are one or two cases to the point—how the Grecian soldiers on their long marches grew exceedingly weary, and wished that the war were closed: they felt so dispirited. But there was a man whom they almost adored as a god—Alexander himself—and they saw him always sharing their toil. If the road was rough the monarch walked with them: if they were short of a draught of water Alexander would share their thirst. At the sight of him every man grew strong. Oh! It is grand to the believer to feel that; if there be a trial or a difficulty in the Christianity, Christ has borne it and Christ is with us bearing it still. Not like the scribes and Pharisees who laid heavy burdens, grievous to be borne upon men's shoulders, and they themselves would not touch them with one of their fingers; our Lord has taken the load himself and carried it and he now says to the disciples, "Take my yoke upon you—the very yoke I carried—and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart: I have borne the trial which you have to bear and endured to the end as you shall do through my grace."

The Solution

Read your Bible every day and begin to develop a prayer life. From the world’s viewpoint, reading your Bible and praying is routine for the average Christian woman. Do you realize that most Christian women do not have a daily scheduled Bible reading or prayer time?

As a heaven-loving soul I make it my practice to seek the face of God before I seek the face of dawn. Morning devotions are dear to me and have become like a garden filled with God where I eat of His fruit every day and drink from springs of living water; where my wisdom increases, my burdens are lifted, my heart is surrendered and my life is directed.

When we begin our day with God, it promises us a day of grace. God’s sanctifying influence must direct each succeeding hour of our day.

Morning devotions anchor our soul!

I ask God to teach me from His word each day, to reveal more of Him and less of me; to impart His wisdom, His holiness, and His ways onto me; to carve character and purity, to continue separating me from the world’s ways and the ways of the world. I ask Him to reveal any besetting sins, generational iniquity, and bad-habits that have become comfortable in my life. I seek His hand of mercy and His hand of blessings; I pour my heart out to Him and as the tears corrugate the pages of my bible and moisten my couch, I ask Him to keep my heart tender.

The morning is the gate of our day and should be well guarded with prayer! Would you forget to put on your clothes or wash your face before you went about your business? Would you embrace a battle without weapons? Why then would we start our day without God’s wisdom, guidance and protection? As a Christian woman, has it ever occurred to you how foolish that is?

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)

If the Israelites ate angel’s food for all those years then why don’t you feed on Jesus and eat of the fruit of Canaan? Our best is in Him only! Ask Him to refresh your spirit today and to give you the power to make it in this unstable world.

“And I called for a drought [economic crisis] upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.” (Haggai 1:11)

Replace your anxiety during this economic crisis with the security of a daily walk with God. Famine or drought is the biblical term for economic predicaments; God brings financial instability both individually and collectively to force us to reconsider our ways and to refocus our heart’s priorities. “And I will shake all nations…” (Haggai 2:7a) This is our classroom where we must learn from our mistakes and embrace his wisdom and direction for our lives. During these unsure times He stirs us up to strengthen us to do His work.

These lean times magnify God’s people, magnify God’s work and bring peace. But more importantly, He brings famine into our lives to shake us up and really show us what’s on our hearts. God knows we need character!

With God you have complete security and He loves to be the “meeter” of your needs.

As you embrace each day during the most difficult period of your life you have the necessary weaponry for the battles that lay ahead. God gives us all that we need – and more!

"Read your Bible, Pray every day, pray every day, pray every day.
Read your Bible, Pray every day, and you'll grow, grow, grow!"

I Love You,

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