Sunday, February 17, 2008

Don’t lose your joy because of circumstances

Men have pursued joy in every avenue imaginable. Some have successfully found it while others have not. Perhaps it would be easier to describe where joy cannot be found:
"Not in Unbelief -- Voltaire was an infidel of the most pronounced type. He wrote: "I wish I had never been born.
"Not in Pleasure -- Lord Byron lived a life of pleasure if anyone did. He wrote: "The worm, the canker, and grief are mine alone.
"Not in Money -- Jay Gould, the American millionaire, had plenty of that. When dying, he said: "I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth.
"Not in Position and Fame -- Lord Beaconsfield enjoyed more than his share of both. He wrote: "Youth is a mistake; manhood a struggle; old age a regret.
"Not in Military Glory -- Alexander the Great conquered the known world in his day. Having done so, he wept in his tent, before he said, "There are no more worlds to conquer."
Where then is real joy found? -- the answer is simple, in Christ alone.
I am talking about the Joy which is a deep and abiding inner rejoicing which was promised to those who abide in Christ and obey His commandments (John 15:10-11).
It does not depend on circumstances because it rests in God’s sovereign control of all things (Rom. 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose).
John 15:10-11 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father‘s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
God is working things out for my good.Rom 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Life is full of ups and downs; full of all sorts of happenings. One moment you are going full steam ahead, with the wind in your sails, when suddenly, you hit a sand bar. Maybe you are confused, maybe angry, maybe discouraged. All you know is that all of a sudden, your Joy is gone.
There are a host of situations that can rob us of our joy.
* It may be the loss of a loved one.
* It may be the loss of a job.
* It could be the break-up of a relationship.
* What about pressures at work; relationship problems with colleagues or bosses.
* It could be a problem in your family; the behavior of your unsaved husband or wife.
* You expected that promotion and it went to someone else who has only been with the company for half the time that you’ve been there.
* You expected to be used in the church in a certain way but this hasn’t happened.
* You car was written off in an accident and now you don’t have wheels.It could be concerns about the future:
* your children’s education;
* a life partner will I ever get married?
* Exam results what will they be like?
* Will I get a job when I finish school or college?
The list is endless:
* current circumstances,
* people that have hurt you,
* concern about the future,
* even concern about your past.
These things can distract us from the life that God wants us to enjoy. Count it all joyJames 1:2-4: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Saving and Investing

Scripture is not definitive when it comes to faith and income. Deuteronomy commands believers to "remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth", and the rest of the Old Testament is dotted with celebrations of God's bestowal of the good life. On at least one, occasion Jesus holds up well informed business practice (investing rather than saving) as a metaphor for spiritual practice. God looks at much more than how much money a person may or may not have. In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), Jesus teaches us how proper stewardship of our material goods can lead to tremendous blessing, and how God is actually displeased with us when our lives are not productive.
The church is to be a place where rich and poor meet together (Proverbs 22:2), and we embrace the common goal of coming together in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God (Ephesians 4:13). It is in this sort of environment that mature, stable disciples are made who can learn to rise above their circumstances, whatever they may be, and to become fruitful, productive members of society. It also involves learning proper financial stewardship, which would include tithing and giving, (Malachi. 3:8-10; 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2; 2 Corinthians 8, 9; Hebrews 7:8), saving and investing (Deuteronomy 28:5; Proverbs 6:6-11) and understanding that it is God who gives us the power to acquire wealth in the first place (Deuteronomy 8:18). These are the very laws that Jesus' compassion for the poor are based upon (see Matthew 4:4).
In three of the Gospels, Jesus warns that each of his disciples may have to "deny himself" and even "take up his Cross." In support of this alarming prediction, he forcefully contrasts the fleeting pleasures of today with the promise of eternity: "For what profit is it to a man," he asks, "if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" It is one of the New Testament's hardest teachings, yet generations of churchgoers have understood that being Christian, on some level, means being ready to sacrifice--money, autonomy or even their lives.

List of Alternative Investment, some paying 10% or more per month.
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Warren Buffet, Berkshire's CEO is the most successful money manager in recorded history. The average annual return for the fund since 1990 has been 18.8%, which is almost twice the long-term average annual return of the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index. Big returns, such as a 57.4% and 52.2% gains in 1994 and 1998, helped power the stock. The biggest loss during that period was a 19.9% drop in 1999, as investors went tech crazy.Berkshire's Class A shares sell for over $150,000 as of December 7, 2007, making them the highest-priced shares on the New York Stock Exchange, in part because they have never had a stock split. Shares closed over $100,000 for the first time October 23, 2006. [1]Yet, some of the above mentioned schemes are paying 10 or more percent per month. A return of 10 per cent per month works out to be about 314 per cent a year. This is over 16 times Warren Buffet's historical average.

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