Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Praising God for the Gift of Life!

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127:3-5, KJV)

It is with joy-filled hearts that we announce that we are expecting a blessed addition to our family as Jill is now pregnant! A new child has been on our hearts and in our prayers for a long time and we praise the Lord that He has given us this precious gift of life! Children are an incredible gift from the hand of God and each family member of ours is very excited about the hope of bringing forth another child into this world. During this time, we are very keenly aware of God’s absolute sovereignty over all of life and we recognize that our lives are in His hands. It is the Lord that provides us with every breath we take (as we are told in Acts 17:25) and He is the One that has ordained our days before one of them came to be (according to Psalm 139:16).

Yesterday marked the passage of week 12 in the journey of this blessed pregnancy. Thus, the expected delivery date is July 14. As a husband, I have found that the times that my dearly beloved bride is pregnant to be some of the absolute sweetest times in all of life. What a blessing and a privilege it is to be able to provide care for our precious unborn child through providing care to my dear wife and what a joy it is to be able to see that baby growing and developing day by day through the changing shape of the one that I wed!

In the past, we have not found out the gender of our baby prior to the time of delivery and this time we plan to make no exception. We will be thrilled with either a boy or a girl and we enjoy the surprise of finding out at the time of delivery what God has knit together. May you all rejoice with us in the announcement of this new little life that our Heavenly Father is forming inside the secret and sacred place of the womb! The Lord is great and greatly to be praised!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008!

Last year, I (David) began writing a letter that I read on Christmas morning prior to opening our Christmas presents to aid in setting the tone for this special occasion. Here is this year's Christmas letter, which I hope that it will be a blessing to all who read it!

Christmas is a very blessed time of year as we celebrate the birth of our beloved Savior, Jesus! What a privilege it is that we can focus our attention on the time in history when God became flesh and dwelt among us! It is such a joy to be able to celebrate the real meaning behind Christmas as a family and I am filled with gratitude for God’s gift of marriage as well as His blessing of children. In addition to the three dear children that God has already entrusted to our care, we are very thankful to be expecting another child! This baby is truly an answer to prayer and we look forward to welcoming a new member into our family to be able to raise as a warrior in God’s army!

This Christmas may every thought, word, and action be pleasing to our Lord and King! The focus of our Christmas gifts this year is on our growth and development as individuals and as a family so that we will be all that God desires us to be. We are totally surrendered to His Lordship and we desire with our whole hearts to honor His Name. May the gifts that we open today be used as tools in helping to spur us on toward love and good deeds and may our entire Christmas celebration be a time of creating great family memories.

However, before we begin the opening of these gifts, let’s begin by looking back at the past to the first Christmas and learn from the Scriptures. Imagine with me for a moment what it must have been like when the angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds that very first Christmas. Here were the most ordinary of people in what was considered to be one of the humblest of professions receiving the news that the Savior of the world had been born! Indeed, they were given a message of good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people (Luke 2:10). The response of the shepherds to this news gives us a glimpse of their thoughts on this blessed night when God stepped into human history via that babe in Bethlehem and provides us with many important lessons for our lives today.

After hearing the message from the angel along with the praise from the heavenly host, the first reaction of the shepherds was to go and see the evidence of this incredible miracle of God becoming flesh. They traveled with haste to see the Promised One of God. This initial reaction by the shepherds represents obedience as they were acting on the truth that was revealed to them through the angel of the Lord. This initial response demonstrates to us that we, too, need to follow the truth that God gives through His Holy Word and His Holy Spirit.

After their obedience leading them to travel to see the Christ child, the shepherds proclaimed abroad what they had heard and seen (Luke 2:17). The truth that the angel of the Lord told them regarding the babe lying in a manger was verified and the shepherds would not keep silent about it! Instead, they served as God’s ambassadors by telling others the blessed news that God had shown to them. Our response should be akin to that of the shepherds by following their example to boldly testify to others of the truth that God has shown us.

The final response that we see from the shepherds is that they glorified and praised God (Luke 2:20). The shepherds exhibit the joy of the Lord after they have been obedient to act on what they were told and willingly proclaim what they had experienced with their own ears and eyes. What a blessing to be able to worship the Lord God Almighty and to be filled with His joy. May we do the same as those shepherds by lifting up the Name of the Lord on High- at Christmas and all throughout the year.

This Christmas may we learn from the shepherds to be obedient, humble servants who proclaim His truth to others and joyfully praise His Name.

Merry Christmas and may we please the Lord today through our time of celebration!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. (Psalm 100, KJV)

As we look around us and reflect on the Lord’s love, provision, and leading over the past year, there is much for which we can be thankful.

  • We are thankful for the salvation that we have been given through the Lord Jesus Christ. It is based on His finished work on the Cross combined with His grace, mercy, and goodness that we have the hope, as well as the assurance, of eternal life.
  • We are thankful for God’s Holy Word. It is through the Bible that we can learn how to live a life that is honoring and pleasing to His Name. How blessed we are to have such amazing access in this country to the Scriptures. In addition, our nation is filled with books and resources that honor Biblical principles, are consistent with the Lord’s teachings, and help us in understanding and applying His truth.

  • We are thankful for the ministry of the Holy Spirit, Who serves as our guide throughout this journey of life. What a great privilege to have God’s Spirit indwelling us to give power in living a Christian life of victory.

  • We are thankful that God has promised us that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Therefore, no matter where we are and whatever situation we find ourselves, God is always with us, encouraging us to walk in His truth.

  • We are thankful for God’s sovereignty, which extends to every area of life. Based on this reality, we can face the future with confidence knowing that God works everything together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

  • We are thankful that the Lord has allowed us to be a part of His Work while we are sojourning on this earth. What a blessing and a privilege that the Lord has called us to be His ambassadors and provides our lives with meaning and purpose.

  • We are thankful for the consistent provision that God has bestowed upon us as His children. We need not be anxious about anything, knowing that God will provide all of our needs through the riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

  • We are thankful for the gift of our earthly family. It is such a great blessing that we can live our lives in the context of close family relationships. Those of us who are married have the privilege of enjoying the most loving and closest relationship on this earth. In addition, those of us who have children are entrusted with a special gift whom we can raise up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

  • We are thankful that we can freely and openly worship God Almighty in a manner that is consistent with our conscience. We are filled with gratitude that we can gather together with other believers to glorify the Name of the Lord on high (Psalm 86:9).

  • We are thankful for the godly American heritage that we have been given. May the example of the early colonists at Jamestown and Plymouth, who were each committed to entering a new land for the purpose of gospel evangelism, serve as a means of inspiration to spur us on to greater service to the living God.

  • We are thankful for the world that God has created. While all of creation is groaning and travailing in pain (Romans 8:22), there is still much beauty and majesty that we see as we look at what He has made.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, may our hearts be focused on the Lord. We serve an awesome God who is beautiful beyond description and has given His children blessings that only His hand can provide!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

More Thanksgiving Myths

Here are some interesting things that have been wrongly portrayed about the pilgrims.

You have probably seen the typical pilgrim picture: buckles on hats and shoes, man carrying a blunderbuss (a short-barrelled bell-mouth gun), and log cabins.

In reality, buckles as decorations didn't appear until later in the 17th century, not earlier when the pilgrims arrived. Women didn't wear bangs, or hair down loose. Men would have had a full beard, not Amish beards (without a moustache).

The log cabin method of home building was brought to America by Swedish colonists in 1638, many years after the pilgrims. The blunderbuss was a riot gun used for dispelling crowds, not hunting. And it would not have been with the pilgrims, as it was a gun used in the 1700s.

Go check out a typical picture and see what errors you find! :-)

(Most of this information was taken from The Thanksgiving Primer.)

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Rise Up, O Church of God - Part 1

The Church in a nation has a tremendous opportunity to influence whether that nation will know God’s blessing as we are told in 2 Chronicles 7:14:

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Thus, if we look around us and see that our nation is in a moral slide, then as the Church of Jesus Christ, we must fall on our faces before the Lord and turn from our wicked ways. It is the responsibility of the Church to cry out to the Lord for the healing of our land. O, how this is needed in the United States of America today!

Let us look where the Christian Church in the land of the free and the home of the brave has fallen short and is in need of repentance before the Lord. As we shall discover, these compromises within the church have rather sobering parallels within the American culture. However, the situation is not without hope as there are very practical solutions offered by God’s Holy Word to reclaiming dominion in our society for His honor and glory.

First, while much of the Church has been properly outraged at the sin of abortion, it has not shown a love for new life in heralding children as a gift from God. In general, the Church views children in a very similar manner to the world—namely, as a burden and not as a blessing. There are many in the Church that look upon children as being too expensive both financially and emotionally. This attitude shows up in both words (via comments such as, “We are DONE having children” or “We can’t afford to have another child”) and actions (including medically invasive procedures to ensure that the child-bearing years are stopped short). O, how it must grieve the heart of our Lord to see and hear His people fighting to prevent one of His greatest treasures from entering into this world.

Many within the Church consider themselves pro-life since they have a belief that life begins at conception and they have a great repulsion over terminating a life within the womb. Holding to these convictions is very noble and right and are certainly necessary to claim a pro-life position—but are they sufficient? Is a desire to see the children that are conceived to be given the opportunity to enter into this world all that is required to be a pro-life advocate? Or is there more to being pro-life than simply being anti-abortion?

God’s Holy Word provides the answer:
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127:3-5, KJV)

Consequently, our attitude towards children should be one of viewing them as a heritage from the Lord! We should see children as a great blessing and an asset in helping fight the battle against the Satan and the forces of darkness. We show a love for life by praying for God to bless us with more children and encouraging others within the body of Christ that children are indeed a great gift from the hand of the Lord. If this nation is to have a proper perspective on the future generations yet to be born, the Church must repent of its worldly mindset toward the heritage of the Lord and must proclaim the Biblical truth that children are one of the greatest earthly treasures from Almighty God! If the Church will rise up with respect to the love for life, then, perhaps, God will rid our nation of the horror of taking the lives of the innocent unborn.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Common Thanksgiving Myth

Do you know the real reason the Pilgrims came to America?

It is a commonly thought that the Pilgrims left England to come to America for their religious freedom. This is incorrect! The Pilgrims left England to go to Holland for their religious freedom. While they had their freedom in Holland to worship as they desired, after awhile they saw a disturbing trend.

I'll let the words from the journal of Governor William Bradford of the Mayflower Pilgrims explain the problem:

But still more lamentable, and of all sorrows most heavy to be borne, was that many of the children, influenced by these conditions, and the great licentiousness of the young people of the country, and the many temptations of the city were led by evil example into dangerous courses, getting the reins off their necks and leaving their parents. Some became soldiers, others embarked on voyages by sea and others upon worse courses tending to dissoluteness and the danger of their souls, to the great grief of the parents and the dishonour of God. So they saw their posterity would be in danger to degenerate and become corrupt.

~William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation

The Pilgrims had their religious freedom, but their children were being corrupted by the Dutch "worldliness". They came to America to raise their children in godliness--without being tainted by others who did not have the same standards. They desired to shelter their children. We should do the same.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Braided Rug

I always have several projects going at once. There are just too many wonderful things with which to keep busy! I do love the process of using my hands to create items for my home and family that are useful and also hopefully beautiful.

One of my current projects is a braided rug. For a few years, I have been looking at my husband's exercise equipment as it lies on a flattened cardboard box put there to protect the basement floor. I disliked the way it looks, but certainly did not want to spend decorating money on something for the exercise area! So, I started thinking, "why don't I make a rug?" It can't be THAT hard if other people can make them. I was envisioning something lovely, useful, and practically free that I could enjoy making.

I've gotten loads of free pants to cut into strips for the braids. I got tired of cutting them and felt I was never going to get anywhere. Around the same time I tired of my task, my son, Jordan, wanted a job to make some money. I seized upon this golden opportunity to get the strips cut. He loved it. It was not difficult, just time-consuming. Actually, it was very time-consuming. My "free" rug has now cost me a lot of money!

I am still enjoying the process. I hope that putting my project on here for the "world" to see will motivate me to keep at it! My crocheted afghan took me about 18 years of working off and on (obviously more "off" than "on") to finish. I don't plan to take quite that long....

Here are the strips of old pants, all cut, rolled, and ready to go. Aren't they colorful? I think they will make a lovely rug.

And here is the very little bit I have braided so far.

The plan is to make a 4' X 6' rug. We'll see.....


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy 12th Birthday, Son!

Today is a day of joy in our home as we celebrate the birthday of our second-born son, Aidan! He is a great blessing to our family and today we wish to be a blessing to him through this blog post.

Aidan, we love you very much and there are a great many things that we appreciate about you! May what is written here be a reminder of how special you are to our family!

First and foremost, we appreciate that you are a follower of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! We are grateful that you have begun your journey of faithfulness and it is our prayer that you will continually grow in both knowledge and wisdom through the fear of the Lord.

Second, we appreciate your joyful and positive attitude about life. You are a great encouragement to be around because of your optimistic outlook.

Third, we appreciate your interest and excitement about so many subjects. Whether it is showing us what you figured out about how something works, telling us about being able to catch toads around our home, or discussing your latest drawing, we are thankful that you do these with genuine enthusiasm!

Fourth, we appreciate your tenderness and care toward others—especially toward those who are downcast, going through some difficulty, or have experienced disappointment. May you always use your compassion to reach out to others with the love of Christ!

Fifth, we appreciate your interest in God’s Holy Word. We are very thankful for your questions related to Bible passages and we are thrilled to see your desire to know and understand what the Scriptures teach.

Sixth, we appreciate your sensitivity to right and wrong. You have been given a great gift to be able to discern what is good and what is evil. May you use this discernment to always choose the path leading to righteousness, godliness, and holiness.

Aidan, we pray that you will continually be growing, learning, and developing into the man that God wants you to be!

Happy 12th Birthday, Aidan!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vote Today

Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you will cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.
~John Quincy Adams

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wasting a Vote- According to Whom?

There is a common school of thought that upholds the idea that the only vote that should be cast is one for a candidate that has a likelihood (by human reasoning) of winning their associated office. Is the counsel of limiting your vote to the leading candidates based on faithful stewardship or is it placing pragmatism over principle? Let us look to God’s Holy Word for the appropriate response to this question.

When Daniel was given the vision and understanding of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream from the Lord, he praised the One and Only True God. Included in Daniel’s praise was the following verse:

And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings (Daniel 2:21, KJV)

What a freeing thought that those that are set up as civil magistrates are placed there by the Lord Himself. He does not need our human scheming in order to accomplish a particular result. In no way does this justify complacency or a lack of involvement in the political process, but instead points out that the responsibility we have before the Lord does not extend to using the outcome of an election to justify our action. Instead, we are each accountable before Our Heavenly Father to be obedient to what He commands regardless of the outcome. As we consider how we are to vote, our concern should be on submitting our will to the Word of God. For those of us who claim the Name of Christ, we do not have the option to use our vote for political expediency.

There are many who will appropriately extol the virtue of someone who is willing to stand up against the ungodly based on principles and convictions even if that stand leads to being martyred for their faith. Yet, many who praise the courage of the martyrs will then condemn those who cast their ballot based on the same principles and convictions! That condemnation takes the form of raising the accusation that such a vote is wasted if the candidate is unlikely to be elected. Since we are to be advancing the crown rights of Christ on this earth through our obedience to His Word, it appears clear to me that the only votes that are wasted are those that are cast based on fear of men rather than based on a holy fear of the living God!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Evil of Voting For the Lesser of Two Evils

You have probably heard it posited before (even by those who are well-meaning) that a legitimate use of your vote is to cast it for the lesser of two evils. However, is this counsel based on Biblical principles or is it based on worldly wisdom? In order to get the proper perspective on this issue, we must ask the same question that needs to be asked in any and every situation—namely “What saith the Scriptures?”

I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me. Men of perverse heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with evil. (Psalm 101:3, 4)

As Christians, we are to be continually seeking to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. According to the above verses, our response to evil is to not set it before our eyes, to have a hatred for the deeds that result from it, and to keep those who have it in their hearts far from us. The last part of the verse summarizes how those who love God should view evil—we are to have NOTHING to do with it. As a consequence of this truth, we cannot succumb to the temptation of using our vote to support a candidate that is the lesser of the available evils. If there are no Biblically qualified candidates for the position on which we are voting, then we must not compromise principle and are bound to abstain from using our vote for any of the options that are before us. We will all have to give an account to the Lord Jesus Christ for our actions and if we vote for evil (even if we deem it to be the lesser of the evils under consideration), then we have gone against clear Biblical teaching. Please remember that voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

How to Change History

When people's souls are changed so that they think differently and act differently, history changes. The consequences are eternal because souls are eternal.

~Geoffrey Botkin as quoted in So Much More by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Birthday Blessings My Beloved Bride!

This post is intended as a special honor to my dear and precious wife, Jill, on her birthday! I praise the Lord that I have been given a treasure in such a godly woman who is absolutely committed to the truth of God’s Word—including living by it and raising up the next generation to follow the path of righteousness. My beautiful bride is worth far above rubies and I am praying that the Lord will continually bless her with the following:

Wisdom – ”She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” (Proverbs 31:26, KJV)

Joy – “Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.” (Psalm 32:11, KJV)

Hope – “For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.” (Psalm 38:15, KJV)

Strength – “the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people.” (Psalm 68:35, KJV)

Peace – “the LORD will bless his people with peace” (Psalm 29:11, KJV)

Patience – “That ye be ... followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Hebrews 6:12, KJV)

Jill keeps busy hands caring for our home and training our children through our commitment to home-schooling them. She is my dearly beloved bride and I am very blessed to be together with her on this journey of living a life dedicated to establishing a legacy of faithfulness!

Jill, may our Lord and Savior richly shower blessings upon you and may your heart be filled with those qualities for which I am praying. Happy Birthday, my precious bride and wife!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Godly Principles for Financial Stewardship: Commitment #6

Providing an inheritance for future generations.

I am sure that you have seen the signs and bumper stickers that state “I am spending my children’s inheritance”. While that statement may be the truth of what they are indeed doing, that attitude is entirely anti-Biblical. Consider the following verse from God’s Holy Word:

A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children (Proverbs 13:22, KJV)

Now the inheritance that we should be leaving should be first and foremost a faithful legacy to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In addition, we should be working to provide a financial inheritance for future generations. In this way, we will be modeling an important trait of God’s nature of provision to those who stem from our family line. We are committed to establishing a faithful legacy that will extend for many generations into the future and a part of the legacy that we are planning to leave is a financial inheritance for our children and our children’s children. In addition, we will be leaving a charge to our progeny to continue to follow in a path of righteousness that includes planning for the future inheritance that they will be leaving for those who are yet unborn.

Final Conclusion

I believe that each of us will be well served to adopt these six commitments for godly financial stewardship just outlined from the principles of God’s Holy Word. As we all seek to honor God with our finances, may He be pleased with our efforts and may He grant us the gifts that only He can give!

Godly Principles for Financial Stewardship: Commitment #5

Living free from financial debt—unless there is a matter of life and death on the line. God’s Word has much counsel to give us on the subject of debt.

The message in Scripture is clear—namely, that debt is bondage. When we make the decision that we will be going into financial debt, we are making a decision to willingly become a servant to our lender. As Proverbs 22:7 states:

The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. (Proverbs 22:7, KJV)

Now, if there was a medical necessity in the lives of one of those in my family that required the use of debt, I would willingly become a servant to the lender. However, apart from this extreme circumstance, our commitment is to not live with any debt whatsoever. Jill and I have been blessed to have parents that modeled well this principle as both of our sets of parents did not use any consumer debt (including credit cards and auto loans) and additionally paid off their land debts earlier than the term of their loans. However, our thinking was still clouded on this subject as our attitude was that debt was limited to not paying off credit cards each month and taking out a bank loan for anything other than a home. We viewed a mortgage as a necessity for the astute financial move of owning a home. This thinking did not come from God’s Word, but instead came from worldly wisdom. The Lord communicated to us the importance of becoming entirely free from all debt by opening our eyes to His truth that we are to have no debt outstanding except the debt of love and our mortgage certainly couldn’t be classified under a debt of love. Make a commitment today to take steps to get entirely out of debt, which will lead to greater freedom in many other areas of life. Do not despise the day of small beginnings—start small, but start somewhere!

Godly Principles for Financial Stewardship: Commitment #4

Give generously.

When we give gratefully and generously to further God’s kingdom work, we will be reinforcing our first and foundational commitment by continually having a very conscious and tangible reminder that God is the owner of all of the resources that He has given us. Our giving can be a great way to render service that is pleasing to the Lord and will help us continually fight against our human tendency to use money to satisfy our own selfish desires. In the Old Testament, God established the tithe (which literally means 10%) as a guide for how much we are to give. In the New Testament, we see that we are to go beyond the tithe and be generous and sacrificial givers. The tithe should be viewed as a floor of our giving and not as a ceiling. What a blessing we have been given to be a part of the work that God is doing through the use of our finances.

To guide our attitude on giving, we should be continually thinking on the following passage in 2 Corinthians:

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:6-7, KJV)

Godly Principles for Financial Stewardship: Commitment #3

Being content with our income.

We will do well to remember Solomon’s admonition given to us in the book of Ecclesiastes, which reads as follows:

He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver (Ecclesiastes 5:10, KJV)

Since God is the One who owns it all and He is the One that is providing us with our income, we should have an attitude of gratefulness for what He has so graciously given to us. Our hearts should be content knowing that the Lord has a plan for the future and that He is working all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. We all have three options in regard to how we live with respect to our income—we can live above our means, at our means, or below our means. Our family commitment is to live below our means and a part of that commitment includes not owning any credit cards as well using a detailed budget, which we strive to make reflective of our family priorities. We encourage you to sit down and come up with a budget based on godly principles to use in guiding your financial decisions.

Godly Principles for Financial Stewardship: Commitment #2

Serve God rather than money.

This commitment is really an outworking of the first commitment of recognizing that God owns it all. God is our great Provider and our trust for the future should rest in Him and not in our finances. Since God has provided us every good gift, we should be seeking to use the money He has given us in a manner that will serve Him and His purposes. Our focus should be on serving God and not bowing at the altar of materialism.

I praise the Lord that He taught me the importance of this principle by allowing me to LOSE money in the stock market. In the late 1990’s, there was a great deal of hype—even hysteria—on the dot com (or Internet) companies. While we did not directly get swept up into this hype, we had a significant amount of money invested in technology companies through stocks and mutual fund holdings. Our core mutual fund was one of the best performers in the year 1999 gaining more than 240% that year and the start of the year 2000 was picking up exactly where the previous year had ended. In March of 2000, our core fund was up about 700% since we purchased it and I knew that such rapid and incredible gains would not continue indefinitely, but I must admit that I was very proud of the amazing paper profits we had gained. Praise the Lord that He wanted to teach me an important principle that I should be focusing my time, affection, and attention on Him and not on the size of my market holdings. He allowed us to lose all of the profits that we had made on paper and then to lose some of the initial principal that we had invested.

It never came anywhere close to where it was at its zenith and, in fact, last year we sold the mutual fund based on it acquiring some companies that we did not want to support—at the time of the sale, we incurred a loss of some of our original principal. My heart is filled with gratitude that God taught me such an important lesson in a firm, but gentle way.

Godly Principles for Financial Stewardship: Commitment #1

Recognize that the Lord God Almighty owns EVERYTHING and we are simply His stewards.

According to Acts 17:28, it is in God alone that we live and move and have our being. God is the One who has given us our very lives and He is the One to whom we should dedicate all of our resources including our time, our talents, and our earthly treasures. Our attitude should not be that God owns 10% of our money and we own the remaining 90%. The truth of the matter is that God is the owner of it all and we should be seeking to honor Him with 100% of our finances. The recognition that God owns everything does not mean that we give all of our money away—it means that every financial decision that we make is to be scrutinized to ensure that we are making wise use of all that God provides. This commitment is absolutely foundational to how we can live a life that is devoted to the Lord God Omnipotent. As a family, we are committed to using everything that the Lord has given as an act of service and worship to Him.

Godly Principles for Financial Stewardship: Introduction

This series of posts on applying God's Word to the area of financial stewardship is taken from a testimony that David gave at our local assembly based on a request from our Pastor.

As Christians, we should be seeking to take every thought captive to the obedience of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The area of our focus for today is on finances and ensuring that we have God’s perspective on how we are to steward the money that God has provided us. I want to encourage you to look to the precious Word of God to guide your thinking into truth. What an incredible blessing we have been granted to have clear precepts, principles, and patterns by which we can order our lives to honor our Heavenly Father.

Biblical principles of managing our finances really do work! Our family can attest to this truth as we were able to reach the milestone of being entirely mortgage-free earlier this year. The foundation of managing our money well is first and foremost a commitment to living in accordance with what the Scriptures teach. Allow me to provide a framework for honoring God in this important area of finances, which I will do by communicating to you the six commitments that we have made as a family. Our hope and prayer is that by seeing the testimony of our family that you will be encouraged to ensure that you are using the financial resources that you have been entrusted in a manner that is consistent with God’s counsel.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Welcome to Our Blog!

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! We have begun this blog for the very specific purpose of honoring our Blessed Redeemer by chronicling a journey of faithfulness. This journey is one that has begun, but is far from over as we are planning and praying that God will be working in and through our family through His perfecting process of sanctification for many generations into the future. In this blog, we want to relay the specific providences of God in the lives of this family, as well as clear instruction for our progeny to follow in order that they will be able to build on the foundation that we are laying down for them. With this backdrop on the intention of this blog, we have the following introductory comments:

First, this blog is very intentionally and decidedly Christian. Currently, we are a family of five and each one of us in this family is a born-again, heaven-bound believer in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Second, this blog is intended to ensure that future generations will remember the past so that they can be encouraged by their Godly heritage through the generations.

Third, this blog will be seeking to uphold Scriptural commands, principles, and patterns by looking to apply the truths that are found in God’s Holy Word, which we hold to be sufficient for every area of life. Sola Scriptura (by Scripture alone) is our heart and we are continually examining our lives to make sure that we are making decisions that are based on what God has revealed to us in His Perfect Law through both the Old and New Testaments.

Fourth, this blog will serve as a means of sharpening our thinking by ensuring that we are properly contemplating questions of life from a Biblical worldview. In no way do we see that we have arrived to our final maturity (and we know that we never will reach our ultimate destination this side of heaven). We are looking forward to wrestling with issues in a way that will help us grow in our Christian walk and conform our character to the image of Christ.

Psalm 78 summarizes well the thoughts behind the reason that we have thought it important to initiate this blog:

For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments(Psalm 78:5-7)

We welcome you as a reader to this blog and hope that you will be challenged and encouraged to be working to establish a legacy of faithfulness for the honor and glory of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!