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)
The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender.
Are you still in control of your finances? If not, who is?
I'm grateful that we do not owe money. We don't have to pay off credit cards or loans each month. We are not in debt. That hasn't always been the case, though. By God's grace, we managed to get out of debt and so can you. In my post Debt I have mentioned that I will share more on how to tackle debt.
Meanwhile, I'm taking a course on Home Economics which includes a workbook called The ABCs of Money Management. One of the books recommended for reading is called Kingdom-Focused Finances for the Family. It reveals truths about the way we are using money that I have never thought of before. In chapter 6, What Is a Financial Statement, Gary Miller explains using a financial statement. In it he is giving an example of buying a sofa and then updating his statement. This has been a real eye-opener for me. He deducts the amount he has paid for his new sofa from his checking account. Then he gets into the value of the piece of furniture after he has taken it home. He points out that buying this sofa just dropped his net worth a couple of hundred dollars.
Another thing that I keep bumping into during this study is debt. We need to stay in control of our finances even when we are borrowing money. There are times when we will have to get into debt, e.g. by getting a loan, but we will have to carefully discern our motive behind it. Do we need a new car or would a used one do as well? Did we borrow because we need a mortgage to buy a home? Or, are we in debt because we have made a couple of unwise decisions? Perhaps we kept spending money, charging our credit card/s again and again, on things we couldn't afford to pay cash for? Have we ignored that fact and bought them no matter what the consequences?
So, how do we tackle debt?
Be in control of your finances. Don't waste money. Don't spend it on paying high interest rates and making payments over a long period of time. Be content. Don't give in to every wish you might have, especially whenever that wish will cost a large sum of money. Instead, plan ahead: Set aside money each month, saving up for the day of purchase.