The Last Will Be First

We strive to become rich, to rise above middle-class status and we even surrender to things we shouldn’t. We must always remember, in God’s economy the first will be last and the last will be first.

Jeremiah 39:9, 10, “Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive into Babylon the remnant of the people who remained in the city, and those who fell away, who fell to him, with the rest of the people who remained. But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left behind in the land of Judah the poor people who had nothing, and gave them vineyards and fields at that time.” Modern English Version

They carried off to Babylon all the upper-class and middle-class Israelites and the people of the city. The poorest of the poor were, not only spared, but given vineyards and fields. They went from having nothing to getting everything, and they retained their freedom.

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Much

We received our giving receipts on Friday. I checked to see how much we gave over and above our tithes or 10%. The amount is smaller than others, but the percentage of our income could be larger.

Mark 12:43, “Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. Many who were rich put in much.” Modern English Version

The first 10% we give is due to God. Anything above is seed we plant. God multiplies our seeds.

Dear Father God,

Thank You for meeting our needs last year. Thank You for the miraculous way you multiplied our seeds.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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Miracles

Miracles happen every day, but we don’t recognize them. As I look back on 2016, I see the miracles.

We replaced a furnace, central air, washer, and computer without depleting our emergency fund. God provided in miraculous ways.

Our health insurance premium went up 50% and I had emergency surgery! Yet, we paid each premium on time and have paid almost one-fourth of the hospital bill. Those were a few of our miracles this year.

John 3:2, “After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. ‘Rabbi,’ he said, ‘we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.’ ” New Living Translation

I need to believe, pray for and expect miracles. Jesus promised them to us!

John 14:12, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the father.” New Living Translation

Dear Father God,

Thank You for the miraculous ways you met our needs in 2016. I know you will continue to take care of us. I look forward to the miracles you have in store in 2017.

In Jesus Name, 

Amen

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As Much Happiness As Being Rich

In his sermon last night, Pastor Monte Knudsen said, “Life is not about the accumulation of stuff.”

When people were asked how much money it would take to make them  happy everyone answered $10,000 more than what they make now. It was the same answer for those who made $25,000 and for those who made $150,000.

Today’s verses show us the key to true happiness.

Psalms 119:14, 36, 37, “Obeying your instructions brings as much happiness as being rich…Make me want to obey you rather than to be rich. Take away my foolish desires, and let me find life by walking with you.”

Paid a Little; God Covered Most

I shared on an earlier post about the medical bills we were facing, see “Chipping Away at It,” http://wp.me/pK67X-UI.

This week we received two letters stating that 100% financial assistance on two of the three largest bills was granted. That left one small bill at that hospital which an income tax refund covered.

Now we only owe one hospital. Praise God!

Today we received a letter from our insurance company stating they reprocessed the bill at the third hospital. They paid 3/4 of that bill! Instead of paying on bills totaling thousands of dollars, we are left with a balance of a couple hundred dollars! Thank you, Jesus!

“How Great is Our God” – Hillsong

YOU KNOW MY STORY

I keep a daily journal. In it I write down my happiest moments and my deepest griefs. There is something cathartic about writing down the pains and sorrows.

It is like someone else shares my burden. And when I record the births and triumphs, someone shares my joy.

Job’s wish was that his words would be recorded.

Job 19:23, 24, “I wish that my words could be written down or chiseled into rock.”

His words were recorded many years later and we are not sure who recorded them. His words bring comfort to us when we are sick, despairing of life, suffering a financial down turn, or at the very worst, lose a child. We can identify with the pain and emotions in Job’s words.

“You Know My Name” – Detour 180

LIFE IS EASY GOING DOWN THE MOUNTAIN

Our lives are like hiking through the mountains. We struggle to climb a mountain: pay off a debt, endure an illness, suffer a job loss. When we reach the peak life is easier: the debt is paid, health restored, we find employment.

Going down the mountain is a piece of cake compared to climbing up. But at the end is another valley: another trial, challenge, problem, etc. The answer is at the top of the next mountain and we start climbing and struggling again.

We foolishly think the top of the mountain is a plateau and we will always be this well off. We are totally shocked when the next challenge comes.

We need to live expecting challenges:

  • Be frugal; and save as much money as possible.
  • Take care of our bodies.
  • Work hard at our present job.

Only God knows what is ahead.

Ecclesiastes 7:14, “When times are good, you should be cheerful; when times are bad, think what it means. God makes them both to keep us from knowing what will happen next.”

“Blessed Be the Name of the Lord”

A MEDICAL BLIZZARD

This is my “Medical” day. I had the first appointment at the dentist for a check-up and cleaning….and this year I needed x-rays…and that little cavity they decided to watch last visit had to be filled. The bill was much larger than I planned.

After sucking down some soup, I went to the eye doctor. I knew I needed glasses…I didn’t recognize my pastor playing the piano when I was sitting in the 5th row! (In my defense, I didn’t know he wore glasses.)

I had a certain type of frame in mind, and after trying on several pair of men’s frames, I reached the women’s section and found the pair I liked best.

The only problem is the frame would take over half of the budgeted amount I had set aside. The total would be $100.00 over.

I picked up our income taxes and was relieved to find the refund from one would cover the amount due for the other. But that wouldn’t help me buy glasses!

Than I read today’s verse.

Psalms 46:1, “God is our mighty fortress, always ready to help in times of trouble.”

I called my husband and asked him to meet me at the eye doctor’s after work. I’m believing God will help us find a less expensive pair of frames!

“Praise You in This Storm” – Casting Crowns

We just got back from the eye doctor. We picked another pair of frames, that I like even better, and came in $25.00 under budget! God came through!

I AM GOD’S FAVORITE

My husband took me shopping today and I tried to shop like a man. (Don’t browse, or look at clearance racks, get what is on your list and only what is on your list.)

He went above and beyond by checking for an item at a pawn shop, (no luck), and going to 3, count ’em, three “Good Will” type stores.

It was in one of those stores that I found a red, “London Fog” trench coat with a removable lining for $5.88.

I blogged a few days ago about looking for one. I even looked up the price online…$164.25 on clearance!

We went to eight more stores and as we drove by “The Dress Barn,” I thought, “The next time we are in town, I want to go there.”

When we drove by the “Steak and Shake,” I thought, “A shake sounds good.”

God wants us to not only enjoy our every day life, but have an abundant life.

1 Kings 7:18, “With two rows of designs that looked like pomegranates.”

“A pomegranate is a bright red fruit that looks like an apple. In ancient times, it was a symbol of life.” CEV Bible Notes

Why were there two rows?

To represent an abundant, unexpected, blessed life.

We were headed for home when David missed his exit. He was going to turn around when he noticed a “Famous Footwear.”

He stopped to look for shoes and it was located right next to “The Dress Barn!” I had time to try on several dresses.

He pulled out of the parking lot, and instead of turning left to go home, he turned right. He didn’t say a word until he was in the drive thru.

Then he said, “A shake sounded good to me.”

God is so good. When I wanted  a shake, he made David hungry for one. I think I’ll stop asking David for things. I’m going over his head straight to God!

“Friend of God” – Israel Houghton

CHIPPING AWAY AT MEDICAL BILLS

When considering our medical bills, we can be overwhelmed. There are hospital & doctor charges from three towns, and lab & test charges from four towns.

It is tempting to go borrow money, pay the bills off, and only need to deal with one bill; but today’s verse gives us other advice.

Proverbs 6:6, “…learn by watching an anthill.”

I’ve used ants to remove tree stumps. You pour flat pop on the stump. The ant takes a small bite of the stump and pop, and takes it to the anthill. It can take years…but as long as we kept dumping pop on it…it slowly was eaten away.

My friend, Jill says, “Inch by inch, life is a cinch; yard by yard, life can be hard.”

As each bill arrives, we send $10.00 or $20.00 to them. If the bill is small, and we have enough on hand, we just pay it. We will be paying on these for some time to come, but I know if we are faithful in the little things, God will reward us.

“We Could Change the World” – Matt Redman