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Archive for February, 2014

How to Be Really Rich

 

I was raised in a culture of thrift but I life in a culture of indulgence. I was raised in a culture of saving, but I life in a culture of waste. I grew up in a culture that did not value being in debt, but I live in a culture where debt is considered normal, even necessary. One of my early memories is going to the bank with my Mama and my birthday money to open a saving account (it didn’t earn hardly any interest back then either). As the years went by money started to accumulate in that account as did opportunities to spend it. Unfortunately, or was it fortunately, my parents had voted themselves veto power, which they used to block most every spending plan of mine except for a bicycle. To this day I still have some money in that account.

 

From the time I left for college at age 18 until now thrift, saving, and not accepting debt as normal or necessary has served me well. I also happened to marry a girl who grew up with the same values, which was a good thing because we started out with almost nothing. When we moved for the first time after two and a half years the only furniture we owned was a rocking chair and an orange crate. When you are poor thrift, saving (even if it is just a little), and staying out of debt is super helpful we found.

 

Did you know that God’s written word, the Bible, advocates the attitudes and habits of thrift, saving, and not considering debt as normal? God has wisdom and ways to bless us in every area of life including the acquisitions and management of money, wealth, possessions, and riches. “It is the blessing of the LORD that makes rich, And He adds no sorrow to it. He who gives attention to the word will find good, And blessed is he who trusts in the LORD” Proverbs 10:22, 16:20 (NASB).

Of course you can be thrifty, save, and have no debt and also be grumpy, stingy, and judgmental. You can be rich and be a jerk, wealthy and discontent, swimming in abundance and drowning with sorrow. Plenty of people who don’t give God a second thought succeed in getting rich, are good money managers, and could teach many a lesson or two. God will never teach us just to be rich, because you can be rich and poor, rich and evil, wealthy and without compassion at the same time. But God will gladly teach us all we need to know for his blessing to flow into our lives, and there is no one who blesses like him. So if you are tired and weary when it comes to money, wealth, possessions, riches, whether you have a lot or are completely broke, then why not give Gods word and wisdom a real try? Chances are certain that you will end up being blessed.

To God be all glory, Pastor Hans

 

 

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I don’t remember much from chemistry class. The only thing I really liked was when the teacher made things ignite, blow up, or created havoc with acids. I knew it was going to be a good class when he started to put on his protective gear. It is astounding what can happen when you mix the wrong chemicals – Kabooom.

My oldest brother got into chemistry with one of his buddies. One day he summoned us to the kitchen in the downstairs apartment to give us a demonstration. He had concocted flash powder, the stuff they first used for flash photography. He had a little pile on a board on the counter and small can full sitting about a foot to the side. He lit off the small pile with marvelous results and earned some serious applause. Pleased he poured a second pile double the size of the first one onto the board. It went off in spectacular fashion almost blinding us, and it ignited the can, which spewed a flame upwards like rocket engine on a test stand and burned a serious hole into the ceiling. We thought it was glorious as we stood back up in the smoked filled room, but we also knew it spelled serious trouble. And yes, my Dad didn’t not see any humor in it at all. (My oldest brother never did become a chemist.)

Chemistry is also important in love, romance, and marriage. There are some things that don’t mix, that are volatile, that will burn you, are not safe. Just like it is unwise to light a match around gasoline fumes so it is unwise to ignore certain things when it comes romance and marriage. You and I have to know what will not mix. A good marriage, a happy romance, a healthy relationship does not mix  well with:

  • Any addiction, whether it be alcohol, drugs, gambling, porn, sex, video games, or whatever. Proverbs 23:29-35
  • Obsessions and worry. Matthew 6:25-34
  • Violence of any kind. Proverbs 3:31
  • A temper. Proverbs 22:24-25
  • Gossip. Proverbs 20:19
  • Lying, deception, not being truthful. Proverbs 6:16-19
  • Infidelity. Proverbs 6:24, 22:14
  • Foolishness. Proverbs 13:20
  • The love of money, greed. Luke 12:15, 1 Timothy 6:9-10
  • Hurtful words. Proverbs 16:27, 18:8
  • Evil. Proverbs 6:16-19
  • Laziness. Proverbs 18:9,19:15
  • Pride and arrogance. Proverbs 8:13, 11:2, 16:18
  • Bitterness. Ephesians 4:31, Hebrews 12:15
  • Jealousy. Proverbs 27:4
  • Being a control freak. 1 John 4:18
  • Self-centeredness. 2 Timothy 3:1-5
  • Bad company. 1 Corinthians 15:33
  • Lack of character and integrity. Proverbs 10:9, 20:7
  • Not taking responsibility, always blaming others. Genesis 3:8-13
  • Stubbornness. Zechariah 7:11
  • Rudeness. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
  • Negativity. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
  • Self-pity. 1 Corinthians 10:10, Exodus 17:3
  • No sense of humor, the inability to laugh at yourself. Proverbs 17:22

Do you realize all of the above and more are addressed in the Word of God, the Bible? If you are looking for great relationship chemistry maybe it is time to pay attention to what it warns us against and advises us to engage in and look for. The items in the list above are all volatile; they will blow up, burn you, hurt you, and be a source of heartache and pain. Don’t let the feeling of love blind you to them if you are still in the choosing stage. Work hard at none of them being true about yourself, you will choose better if these are important to you to avoid.

Maybe you are saying, “I wish I would have thought about these before I tied the knot.” It certainly is not too late for you to address these personally, make sure that what you bring to your marriage is neither explosive nor destructive. If needed seek help now.

To God be all glory, love you Pastor Hans

P.S. If you are in an unsafe relationship please get out and seek safety.

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Some Thoughts about Romance and Marriage

Just because you are madly “in love” with someone does not necessarily mean it is a great idea to marry that person. I have been to some breath-taking places, like on top of the Goerner Grat and its awesome 360 view that includes the Matterhorn, or the top of Half Dome or Mt Dana, or looking at stunning sunsets on sandy beaches. However, as beautiful as these places are none of them are suited to grow a garden. It is easy for passion and love to ignite but marriage is about a place where love can grow, can mature, and produce a harvest year in and year out.

What is the best way to prepare for romance and marriage? Working on your own godliness and looking for godliness in the persons you consider. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” Galatians 5:22-23a (NIV). Just think what can grow between two people if that describes them? Replace anyone of the above with an equivalent negative and picture how that will impact romance and marriage in the long haul. What if you replace self-control with a temper or an addiction? What if you replace faithfulness with unfaithfulness, or goodness with hurtfulness or wrong doing? You maight have some exciting days on the beach, but most of the time you will be engulfed in a cold fog. We should aim higher for both ourselves and especially the other person.

I have been burning brush piles and have been reminded of a simple truth. In order for a fire to keep burning you have to both tend to it and keep giving it more fuel. This takes at least three things, attention, time, and work. If I am not willing to give those three the fire will go out. And what happens if I no longer give my marriage attention, time, and effort? Yup, things will fizzle, be reduced to a flicker, or even become a cold pile of ashes. I love watching lovers who have learned that truth and whose fire is still hot and blazing after many decades.

Words are important in a marriage. If you look at a great marriage, a blessed romance you will find words that can be trusted, kind words, encouraging words, straight forward words, healing words, together words, tender words, thoughtful words, forgiving words, funny words, beautiful words, pure words, and loving words. Words are like the barometer of a relationship. Where you find ugly words, hurtful words, dishonest words, lying words, selfish words, harsh words, bitter words, biting words, thoughtless words, grudge words, unkind words, and empty words you will find two people far from their hopes and dreams. Of course all the words that come from my lips are real, they describe me even if they fool the listener. So my words reveal who I am more than anything else. Do my words tear down or build up? Do they unleash love or resentment? Do they grow flowers or thorns? Do they bless my love (James 3)?

To God be all glory, happy Valentines, Pastor Hans

 

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More Important Than Sex

Let me tell you a dirty little secret about people in churches. They have sex, yup, and they love it. Hard to believe, but true. In fact they like it as much as people who don’t go to church. Contrary to some rumors a person’s libido does not shrivel up and go to heaven when a person commits to following Christ.

If you read the Bible you will notice that it does not ignore sex but makes it clear that among other things God has created us as sexual beings. The only thing in the creation story that was declared no good was that Adam was alone, he did not have a partner, so God gave him Eve and lo and behold they did the “one flesh” thing which is also known as making love (Genesis2:18-25).

Now if you think this pastor’s note is just about sex then you are mistaken, it is actually about something more important in a marriage than sex. 1 Corinthians 7 speaks to those for whom celibacy is out of the question, which happens to be most of us, and then addresses husbands and wives in particular about sex. For one, to not use it as weapon or means of manipulation, and for another, not to stop making love, because in doing so you make each other vulnerable to temptation. The only exception is special times of prayer both husband and wives agree on. Yup, prayer in marriage, the ultimate romantic relationship, is even more important than sex. “The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality—the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out. Abstaining from sex is permissible for a period of time if you both agree to it, and if it’s for the purposes of prayer and fasting—but only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it” 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 (MSG).

It is difficult to be in a romantic relationship and not think about sex, you don’t have to do anything for that happen. On the other hand the importance of prayer in a romantic relationship, in a marriage, you have to discover and learn. It is interesting that Adam and Eve were both sexually unencumbered and spend time with God face to face (Genesis 3:8). They knew how to talk with each other and knew how to talk and walk with God. We rarely miss on the sex part, we don’t have to be told not to leave that out. But it is not so with prayer, too few make it a priority in romance, include it in dating, and practice it in marriage. I am hoping this pastor’s note will compel you to make prayer a normal part of your romantic, your married life. That you will not settle for a prayerless relationship, but that you will learn to walk and talk with God individually and together. It will not weaken but strengthen your relationship immeasurably.

To God be all glory, Pastor Hans

 

 

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