A full-time homemaker doesn't leave her home to make money, but she is out to save the family some money each month. The family's finances will not increase, but they will decrease slower than usual. In other words, less money spend will make the regular income last longer.
Following are few ideas on how to stretch your monthly resources:
What does God's Word tell us about our finances? If we would do a topic search about money we would bump into keywords and phrases like:
Don't love money. Love God instead.
God owns everything. It's all His. In 1 Chronicles we read:
11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, The power and the glory,
See, we don't own our money. We are stewards of it. God gives us the resources freely, but He also asks us to be wise in the way we handle them. As full-time Christian homemakers we are given the opportunity to praise and honor Him in the way we are handling "our" monthly income.
In Exodus 18 we find a story about Moses judging the people. Some of the issues brought before him were minor while others were major problems that needed to be solved. From morning until evening the people came to Moses asking him to settle their issues. At some point the workload became too heavy for Moses. He was not able to carry it out on his own. Jethro, his father-in-law, said to him:
Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself.
Just like Moses we tend to think we can and have to do everything on our own. We wash, hang up, take down, iron, and fold the clothes. We prepare, cook, and serve the food. We clear the table, rinse the dishes, load and unload the dishwasher. When we are running out of our own strength we try to push ourselves just a little bit further.
Just like Moses we have to listen and admit that we have our limits. We are not able to perform all tasks on our own. And we are certainly not able to do the impossible. We can't change others and we can't fix their problems for them. In fact, we ourselves are in desperate need of help so that we can and are willing to change. We have to face our hardships, and while we are going through them we are in need of someone who can not only do the possible but who is also able to do the impossible.
When the death of a loved one, divorce, drug addiction, abuse, sickness, mobbing, or any other worldy lions attack us then we are in desperate need for someone who can carry us through and make the impossible possible.
And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?”
What lions are you facing right now? Do you believe in the One who is able to deliver you from them?
In my last post, Tough Decisions, I shared with you a story about one of my saddest times in my life. After reading a tract about marriage, divorce, and remarriage my husband and I had to face the question of whether we could stay married or if we would have to get a divorce. This is a follow up to Friday's post.
We prayed. We asked, no, we begged, we pleaded with the LORD for our marriage.
What are you supposed to do in a situation like that? Search for articles, read books, go online for help? How about asking your pastor, friend, or members of your family what they would do? For us the dilemma started after reading what a particular denomination says about remarriage.
I will not mention the tract in details nor tell you more about that denomination. This post is not intended to refute their arguments nor to belittle their denomination.
The whole point I want you to get out of this post is: Search the Scriptures for answers. I don't mean for you to pick and choose as you please (oh, I'm very much guilty of having done that before) but to diligently search for answers in the Bible.
Searching for answers in God's Word means to be ready:
Our marriage could have ended right there. To move forward we had to accept to do whatever He would require us to do. We had to lay our marriage on the Altar of God. All glory to Him, He had plans for us to remain married.
No matter what you are facing, in all you do, seek God's will first.
This had been one of the saddest times of my life. I had read a tract about marriage, divorce, and remarriage, handed it over to my husband, and eagerly waited for him to share his thoughts about it with me.
“Let's pray. Let's ask God to reveal to us, through His Word, what He wants us to do.”
We prayed. We asked, we begged, we pleaded with the LORD for our marriage.
This particular tract argued that a person who remarried, after having been married and divorced before, must get a divorce and go back to the first spouse and marry that spouse again. The second marriage, or any that follows after the first one, except after the death of the first spouse, is sinful in God's eyes.
In a situation like this one we tend to find out all we can by...
reading articles and books about it
searching the internet for answers
asking our pastor, friends, or members of our close family what they suggest we should do
However, this kind of situation calls for a serious digging into the Bible!
Pray for wisdom and understanding from God.
Read your Bible. Trust in God's Word.
Wait upon the LORD to reveal His answer to you.
We prayed, we searched the Scriptures, and we asked God for direction. The hardest part was to admit and be ready that, if the LORD says and requires us to get a divorce, we will have to do as God tells us to do. It felt like something is tearing my heart apart...
It's hard to come to a point where your heart longs to go this way but God seems to be leading you unto another way. When faced with tough decisions, what will you do? Will you choose God's ways over man's ways? How far will you go?
The past three weeks had been quite tough. In the middle of struggling with problems it's hard to be still and know that God is still in control, isn't it?
One thing happened after another and each situation brought new challenges along. I'm worried about things and so I try to plan ahead to avoid any bad consequences. Planning and organizing just comes naturally to me. Something that isn't in my (human) nature, though, is to be still and to wait upon the LORD.
How about you?
Just a short while ago we had been reading through the Book of Isaiah. Then, the other day, I have stumbled across Psalm 27. I looked over the notes again to remind myself of what we had discussed during our Bible study a few weeks ago. Verse 14 says: Wait on the LORD, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the LORD! (NKJV)
Yes, it isn't always easy to wait on the LORD. We want to take matters into our own hands, don't we? We want to make things happen then and now - the sooner, the better. The problem is that, often enough, we will fail due to our own weakness; we will faint and be weary, and utterly fall.
But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 NKJV)
If you find yourself going through a tough time these days, take a short time out and open up your Bible to Isaiah 40. Start reading from verse 21 and onward, or, better yet, read the whole chapter (it's only 31 verses long) of Isaiah 40. Then, go ahead and read Psalm 27 to comfort and encourage yourself - to know that, no matter what you are facing today, God remains faithful and in control.
Blessed is the man
Yesterday my husband and I finished the first six months of our Bible reading plan*. This means that we just started our second round of reading through the Book of Psalms and therefore we have read Psalm 1 this morning. If you are following me at my other blog, too, you probably read my post about Favorite Books where I'm talking about my love for the Psalms:
I love the Psalms — reading them, meditating on them, and especially singing them.
Reading and believing in God's Word doesn't make all of our problems and sorrows disappear. We will find much comfort and hope in the Word of God, though. By seeking the LORD Jesus Christ with all our heart, we will soon know that He is the only One who is capable to give us eternal life and the One who will, in the near future, wipe away every tear from our eyes. Then there shall be no more death, nor more sorrow, no more crying, and no more pain! (see Revelation 21:4)
Don't be fooled. Some might try to tell you that there is a way in the middle. But there is not. From cover to cover the Bible tells us that there are only two ways in this life to choose from: The Way of the Word vs. The Way of the World.
*Bible Reading Plan We are using The Legacy Reading Plan as a guideline. I have slightly adjusted the plan so that we are following along reading the books as suggested, reading one Proverb a day, and reading one Psalm a day instead of three Psalms per week. This will take us once through all the other books of the Bible (Old and New Testament), except for Proverbs and Psalms. Our slightly changed plan guides us twelve times through the Book of Proverbs and twice through the Book of Psalms.
As I was sitting at the breakfast table this morning I glanced at the glass door of my oven and I didn’t like what I saw. It was dirty. Why did it look that smeary all of the sudden? I tell you why: the beam of the morning sun, shining brightly on it, exposed the stains that are usually hidden behind the dark glass door.
I thought of somebody I have shared the Gospel with a while ago. She was obviously curious and bombarded me with all sorts of questions about the Christian life. To be honest, that made me really happy. Why? Because I think whenever a person is asking us questions about our faith there is an open door. We should take the opportunity to share more about that precious hope we have. We need to be ready to give an answer about what we believe.
A little later on, that same week, we went for a walk together. At the end of the walk, back at where we had parked the cars, I took the gift-wrapped book out of my car and gave it to her.
Addressing her by her name, I said to her: “I want you to have this.”
Immediately, she got cocky and replied: “Is this a religious book? Because if it is, I don’t want to have it.”
“It’s not a religious book,” I told her, “It’s the Bible.”
She answered: “Well, that is a religious book. I don’t want to have it. Take it back home with you and give it to somebody else.”
I told her that I couldn’t pass it on to somebody else because I had written a dedication for her into it. Even though it contained a personal letter specifically for her, I left it right there at the parking lot in the hope that someone would pick it up, take it home and read it.
It’s about time to go back into the garden and pull some weeds. My mom actually enjoyed pulling weeds. You could literally see the joy in her face after she had managed to get to the root of each weed. Something I did not inherit, I’m afraid.
However, it is a job we will have to do. As long as we are on this earth we have to continue weeding. No matter how much we will ignore the weeds in our gardens, they will not disappear by it. They will grow as quick as lightning. The longer we procrastinate pulling them out the more stubborn they become; until they are almost unmanageable to handle.
As it is with weeds, so it is with problems in our families. What will start out small, if left unnoticed, will grow bigger and bigger and turn into a real threat for us and our loved ones.
One way of keeping them under control is through prayer and praises to God. Now what could offer us a better pattern for prayer than the Psalms? They are inspired by the One who knows all about us and our problems. Many who have gone before us have used these very words to express their needs and their helplessness to God. They have used them to offer their heartfelt praises to the LORD.
Girl, pull the weeds early enough to avoid unnecessary hardships in your life. However, if the weeds have become so unbearable and unmanageable, don’t despair. Instead, take the Word of God and sit down in a quiet spot — perhaps right now — and read, meditate on, and pray the Psalms.
Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
They make it a spring:
The rain also covers it with pools.
(Psalm 84:5-6 NKJV)
One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts. (Psalm 145:4)
We need to hear the Word of the LORD, what He tells us to do in Deuteronomy 6:4-9
4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!
5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
6 "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
According to verse 7,
Your husband and you decided to start family worship at home but you are unsure of how to do it? Don't worry. There is help out there to get you started.
Joel Beeke, writes in the second chapter of his booklet Family Worship* about Joshua 24. Later on he refers to Deuteronomy 11:18-19 which is a review of Deuteronomy 6:6-7. (Ever heard a preacher tell you that if it is repeated it is very important and that we need to pay special attention to the words?) Later on, in the same chapter, he tells us a little more about the how-to of family worship: Instruction in the Word of God, Prayer, and singing praise to God. He continues to give more practical tips on time and place of worship.
If you are not yet in the habit of doing family worship at home, I urge you to take the opportunity to download this 35-page booklet which will give you a great insight into the importance and will give you a good start of how to do it. At the end of the booklet he will get into Objections Against Family Worship and Motivations for Family Worship.
*Family Worship, by Joel Beeke: You can find, read and download it at NTS Library
The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible: This Study Bible contains the complete KJV text, notes/comments on verses, and at the end of each chapter you will find Thoughts for Personal/Family Worship which digs deeper into the chapter and how it relates to other parts of the Bible and offers some questions/thoughts for (Bible study/family/worship) discussion. You can find the eBook there: The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible - EBOOK where you can also take a look at a samples that contains 64 pages.
One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts. (Psalm 145:4)
Some of us had been raised in Christian homes, while others had not been. Some of us had been brought up in the training and admonition of the Lord, others had not been. No matter what, after we are born again, we need to be very careful not to fall into the same trap that some of our fathers did.
In Judges we are told over and again how Israel turned away from the LORD. After a while they were in deep trouble. So, in their despair, they cried out to the LORD. He saved them. Then, for a period of time, they served the LORD. But later on, again, they turned from the LORD.
I regret just how often and how easily I have given into peer pressure in my 20s. And then I often wondered how different my life could have been, had I been growing up in a Christian home.
George Grant, author of In the Shadow of Plenty says that the bad influence the pagan nations had on Israel after they have come out of Egypt was not the problem. No, it was that the people of Israel did not want to rely on God alone. They made alliances with others, they did not what God had told them to do, they did not let go of things that God had warned them about. They did not trust that God would supply all their needs and that He would be their King.
I would say that my grandma was definitely a Christian. She read her Bible every morning, and she prayed with us children. She reminded my mom to keep on praying with us and to make sure we would learn the things of God. Well, my parents prayed with us until we were about ten years of age and they sent us to Sunday School and they made sure we had confirmation in the Lutheran Church. But that was about it. I often thought: What happened from one generation to the next? Have you ever asked this question? Maybe you have come to the same conclusion than I did: The next generation was rebellious and did not listen to their parents. So they went astray.
Well, that could have been one of the reasons but perhaps not the reason.
Listen to what Judges 2:10 says:
When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel.
They did not know the LORD? They did not know the work which He had done for Israel? Why not? Surely not (only) because they did not want to listen later on in life. Surely also because their parents had not taught them. Their family might have told them bits and pieces but wanted to leave the decision (of whether to be a Christian or not) to their children. Or, their parents have left it to the Sunday School teacher to tell them about God. Yes, of course, a Christian home does not make you a true Christian. God tells us that we must be born again in order to enter the Kingdom. However, God has given these children to us so we will teach them His ways.
More coming up on Monday: Family Worship Time - Part Two, which will include some practical tips and a booklet suggestion.