English Cottage from pinterest.com
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
Quote taken from Mere Christianity, by CS Lewis
I recently spoke of giving, of knowing to whom to appropriately give and when. This morning, I'm going to address debt. How can we give, when we have this vulture hovering over us? Scripture counsels not to borrow. DR Tony Evans addresses this monster so eloquently in his article, The Reality of Debt, found this morning at One Place.
Scripture and quotes are taken from The Reality of Debt, by DR Tony Evans, The Urban Alternative at One Place.
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children, And the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.
The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower becomes the lender's slave.
The wicked borrows and does not pay back, But the righteous is gracious and gives.
The LORD will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.
"Financially speaking, there are three kinds of people: the haves, the have-nots, and those who have not paid for what they have! Debt has become a way of life in the American landscape..." DR Evans states that there are all kinds of reasons why we accumulate debt, but "debt is first and foremost a spiritual issue—we are in debt because we have refused to obey God..." "We can be set free from the tyranny of debt, and there are four steps that can help us: plant, plan, prioritize, and pray... Knowing the truth about debt is the first step toward financial freedom." If you are struggling with debt, DR Evans may have solutions for you. It can be made quite simple: We may not have, because we owe. We cannot give, because we owe. The Living Word can help you find release from the debt vulture. In truth, we were created to be quite free of it.
He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
May the Lord Look into Our Hearts
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7
May We Receive His Perfect Repair
No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse.
May He Remake Us, Fresh and New
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17
May He Guide Us to the Marker
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
May He Help Us to Remain in Him
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
May He Bless Us with His Grace
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
May We Thank Him for His Mercy
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
Inspired by Day by Day with the Persecuted Church from Open Doors, written by Menes Abdul Noor, respected leader of the Christian Church in Cairo, and Open Doors' Writer of the Month.
I know, I know, I quote from Alistair Begg a lot. But who can help this, he loves the Lord with a poet's heart, and is especially eloquent when he speaks of His grace!
For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus
2 Timothy 2:1
"...the sap of grace flows from the stem to the branch, and when it is perceived that the stem itself is sustained by the very nourishment that feeds the branch. As we day by day receive grace from Jesus, and more constantly recognize it as coming from Him, we shall behold Him in communion with us and enjoy the joy of communion with Him. Let us make daily use of our riches and constantly come to Him as our own covenant Lord, taking from Him the supply of all we need with as much boldness as men take money from their own wallet."
Read Be Strengthened by His Grace, by Alistair Begg at One Place
Recently, Alistair Begg warned us to keep our faith strong and to nurture it every single day. Today, I call upon DR Tony Evans, The Purpose of Stewardship, at One Place. He provides wisdom regarding just the things that Alistair stresses and finds an excellent way to nurture our faith and love for Him each day. Giving. Giving is the very way to keep faith alive and to maintain the Holy Spirit's coursing through us, all day long, each and every day.
2 And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing;
3 And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."
"The covenant is the program of God’s kingdom. The principle of the covenant is that God expands His program of His kingdom rule in history through His servants. When God first made His covenant with Abraham, He promised to bless him, but not only that, He promised to bring blessings through him."
"But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
"In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
"When we give of our blessings, God will expand our roles as givers and allow us to keep on giving."
I am due to receive more of God's blessings soon. I have been praying for help finding ways to give back this blessing to God's people. Where will it do the most good? Yesterday, I was out doing errands, contemplating this very issue. Lo and behold, there stood a man on the street corner, hungry and cold. It came to me in a flash, God rather hit me on the top of my head with it: If I were to carry a wad of cash with me at all times, He will lead me to those who need it the most. Right there, right on that street corner, stood a man broken by life, weary with struggle and in desperate need of God's loving assistance. Giving. It is not a struggle, He opens the door to it at every corner!
Alistair Begg gives us gentle warning this morning. It is good to heed his superlative advice.
You can read Be Careful, by Alistair Begg at One Place
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.
1 Corinthians 10:12
Sustain me according to Your word, that I may live; And do not let me be ashamed of my hope.
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy,
"It is a curious fact that there is such a thing as being proud of grace. A man says, "I have great faith--I shall not fall; poor little faith may, but I never shall." "I have fervent love," says another. "I can stand; there is no danger of my going astray." He who boasts of grace has little grace to boast of.
"...Pay attention that you do not glory in your graces, but let all your glorying and confidence be in Christ and His strength, for only in this way can you be kept from falling. Be much more diligent in prayer. Spend longer time in holy adoration.
"Read the Scriptures more earnestly and constantly. Watch your lives more carefully. Live nearer to God. Take the best examples for your pattern. Let your conversation be full of heaven."
The Faith of Mary, Fra Angelico, 1434
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?
2 When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell.
3 Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear; Though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident.
4 One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple.
5 For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock.
6 And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.
7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice, And be gracious to me and answer me.
8 When You said, "Seek My face," my heart said to You, "Your face, O LORD, I shall seek."
9 Do not hide Your face from me, Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, But the LORD will take me up.
11 Teach me Your way, O LORD, And lead me in a level path Because of my foes.
12 Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries, For false witnesses have risen against me, And such as breathe out violence.
13 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.
14 Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.
"God doesn't want worthy people nearly as much as He wants committed people. Those individuals who stand up and say, "Here am I, Lord! Take me," are the ones who please Him most. To those who give their all to the Lord, He will give comfort and peace. They will have no cause to fear anything."
Read Wisdom from the Psalms at One Place
God to enfold me,
God to surround me,
God in my speaking,
God in my thinking.
God in my sleeping,
God in my waking,
God in my watching,
God in my hoping.
God in my life,
God in my lips,
God in my soul,
God in my heart.
God in my sufficing,
God in my slumber,
God in mine ever-living soul,
God in mine eternity.
All Scripture at Annie's Blog
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