Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

money – do you have enough?

What role does money play in my life? 

Money consumes some people.  There are those who are in financial disarray.  Financial matters are one of the leading causes of  problems in marriage. 

Money is a part of every day life.  Ask just about anyone these days, and you will see that changes have been made in how they handle their money or they are drowning in debt or that money is at least an issue.  Stress over money is on the rise.  I don’t have to look far to see that ‘cut backs’ are happening everywhere.  Prices go up and wages go down. 

Hubby and I have been re-evaluating our budget.  This is not something I enjoy.  However, I do enjoy not living in debt.   So when the money coming in decreases then the money spent needs to decrease.  Oh if only the government would catch on to that. 

Compared to a lot of people, we are extremely good budgeteers.   Yet there is room for improvement.  I realized  this past week-end that if  I compare myself to my sister-in-law then I have much room for improvement.  I don’t generally play the compare game.  Yet sometimes it can be helpful.  I believe God was showing me that good enough is only mediocre. 

It is my desire to be a great steward of the money God has blessed us with.  I heard about a bumper sticker that says “Living with less so we can give more.”     That just resonated with my whole being!!!  

God is allowing our finances to be juggled.  Along with the inspiration from Di, on that return trip I read the book  “Take God at His Word – Experience the Power of Giving” by Dr Kregg Hood.  Coincidence?  I don’t believe so. 

The Bible is the best book on money.   There are a lot of other books out there on this topic but I am not impressed with most of them.  However, Dr Hood writes in an easy reading style while getting to the heart of the matter.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is

We don’t give to be blessed, we give because we are blessed.”  (p.30)

The book is about taking God at His Word.  There are four main Words that Dr Hood addresses.  

 Word One “I will make you rich in every way.” 

Word Two “I want you to tithe so I can reward you.” 

 Word Three “I trust you to manage material resources.”  

Word Four “I will help you give more than you can imagine.”  

 After each Word there is   a ‘think it thru’ section at the end.  It is useful for applying what the Word says to life.

Since my first babysitting job, I have practiced tithing.  My parents led by  example and demonstrated  the importance and the benefits of tithing.   God tells us to “test Him in this.”  (Malachi 3:10)   

I also tithe because of the consequences of not tithing.  There are many Christians who struggle in this area and have allowed fear to hinder their thinking.   It is a huge trust issue but I can think of no one that I could possibly trust more than God.   He is my source, my provider.  Giving back to Him is my expression of that trust and faith. 

“If you’re experiencing great financial difficulty, have you considered the possibility that you might be living under an easily reversible curse? ”  (p.37)

If you haven’t a clue what the Bible says about money or if your finances are a mess I highly recommend that you pick this book up.  It will change how you look at money. 

The book is also helpful to those of us who are good stewards of our money.    It has encouraged me to press on to be a ‘great’ steward of all that God has blessed me with.

til next time

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March 19, 2010 Posted by | spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

blessed to be a blessing

Here I sit in my warm house with the sound of my 20 gallon fish tank in the back ground.  –Fish have been directly linked to reducing stress  —  It works for me until I have to clean the tank.  Ugh!

–It sure seems the older I get the easier it is for me to get side tracked.  This blog isn’t about my fish —

Ummm “Honey the computer just went down and the fish tank isn’t making noise?”

Curt was changing the light switch in our bedroom — happy sigh — but  somehow the power went out in the dining room.   ??  Imagine my surprise  when I rebooted the computer and everything was still up – facebook, wordpress and the first two paragraphs of this blog post had  saved.  Weird.

How appropriate though.  Here I am typing away in my warm house that is filled with expressions of love from my friends.   The electricity works (once Curt turned the power back on *~*).  I am blessed!

I am able to  go into the kitchen or one of my two bathrooms and get fresh water.  I did two loads of laundry without ever having to get dressed.   I am blessed beyond measure.

Tomorrow our church is taking an offering to send to Convoy of Hope to help them in their efforts to minister to the people of Haiti.  I can’t even begin to imagine what they are going through.  The pictures look like something from a bad movie scene.

Yet it isn’t a bad movie scene.  It is real life drama unfolding in the lives of hurting men and women.  I can’t hardly think about the children.

I can do something.  I can make a difference.   You can do something.  You can make a difference.   It is a group effort.  Convoy of Hope was already there before the quake.  They were already feeding 7,000 children every day.    As we send our monetary gifts they will take that gift and be our hands extended to the hurting.  It will make a difference.

Oh, I know that money is tight.  Most everyone has been affected one way or another by our shifting economy.  We’ve taken a cut in pay the last 3 months.  It isn’t easy trying to adjust the budget.

Yet people still go out to eat and purchase things that are not a true necessity. (the whole need vs want — Oy don’t even get me started on the ways I have learned that lesson)  Yet I, for one, still  love to eat out.   My favorite place these days is Quiznos — they have a great Beef, Bacon, and Cheddar torpedo for $4.00.   Funny it doesn’t hardly seem like a budget cut either – but it is.  A meal at Quiznos or a meal at Red Robin??  You do the math.   Again I digress.

So tomorrow I am cutting into that portion of our budget so that others will be able to eat.   I am blessed to be a blessing!  God will take care of us.  He always does.

Matt 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me.

I’ve included a video of  Hal Donaldson from the Convoy of Hope.  Reach into your pockets and make a difference.  It is indeed more blessed to give than receive.

til next time

January 16, 2010 Posted by | just thinking about stuff | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

it’s a penny?

jarWhat’s the big deal about a penny?  Is it good for anything?  Lots of people have penny jars.  In fact a few years back there was a push for people to empty their penny jars and get all those pennies back into circulation.  Um,  I still have my penny jar. 

I’ve heard it said that it takes more than a penny to produce a penny.  Silly huh??

I’m old enough to remember penny candy.  (yes it was still around in the late 60’s)  It was great to go down to the neighborhood store and get a handful of candy.  Sometimes the owner would sell two piecepennys for a penny.   It was living high!!

My dad would say, upon finding one, “Ah, 99 more and I have a dollar.”   He always picked them up.

I don’t pick them up anymore.  I might stop to pick up a nickel or a dime.  For sure I’ll stoop to pick up a quarter.   On a different thought,  I love to  put my two cents into the conversation.  Old habits die hard.  (click here <- life is complicated)

 There is a new reason why I don’t pick them up anymore.  It is no longer because it isn’t worth the effort.  The penny has taken on a new meaning for me.  pennyIn God We Trust is engraved on the penny.  Now when I see a penny, I pause for a moment to  remember that God is who I trust.   It is now a huge reminder to me.  I leave it right where it is so that maybe it will be a reminder for the next person.

Just the other day I was a bit stressed.  Finances were a bit of an issue.    I generally don’t worry much about money.  We faithfully tithe 10 % of our income.  We give above and beyond that for offerings and missions support.  God has always been faithful to us.  His word tells us in Malachi to try Him and see.   We are a living testimony to God’s faithfulness. 

{On a side note -Tithing is huge.  Learning to discipline yourself and live on what is left is also huge.  A budget is very helpful to know where your money is going.  However, just having a budget isn’t any big deal.  Sticking to it takes discipline.  The benefits are worth it.}

So I didn’t even realize I was a bit stressed about it until I happen to look down and see this penny.  It was God’s love all wrapped up in a little penny.  That was all it took for me to realize first off that I was a bit apprehensive.  Secondly to lay all that down at Jesus feet and to let the peace of God flow through me. 

So a little penny is a symbol for me.  At the strangest times, in the strangest places I have found a penny staring up at me.   It brings a smile to my face and refreshes my soul. 

Where do you see pennies?  Maybe God is trying to remind you that trusting Him makes a difference

In God We Trust

til next time

December 31, 2008 Posted by | life lessons | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments