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Archive for the tag “Taking Risks”

Kingdom Purpose

Over the years, I have listened to many speakers on health-related topics as well as biblical-based teachings. Every once in a while, I will run across a webinar or series of talks on a particular subject that interests me that has nothing to do with health or the Bible. I listened to a series a couple of weeks ago on money. I let this message marinate since that time to discern what should be shared on this blog site.

Usually I post my health-related articles on my newsletter, which I post on my Denise4Health Facebook page (you can “like” my page to get my articles). The biblical-based articles I post on this site. I have chosen to write this article for this site because it does have a spiritual application. Jesus taught quite a bit about money – usually the relationship we have with it. We all know how to spend it really well. But do we really have God’s perspective on it? After all, the money we receive comes from Him. It’s all His – we’re just managers of His resources.

The series started out with a talk on debt. I have often heard how debt was bad, but one of the speakers talked about how the wealthy use debt to increase their wealth. Let me give you a bit of my back story. One of my previous jobs was with a real estate company who purchased or built buildings for leasing purposes. They would get so excited when the banks would raise their debt ceilings to increase the loan potential and thus buy or build more buildings. I would get perplexed when that would happen. I thought debt was a bad thing so why would they want more of it?

I had a bit of a light bulb moment when the speakers revealed the reasoning behind the debt. Money is supposed to work for us. Apparently my former employer understood this concept and it made good business sense. They used the banks money to make them money and fulfill their vision of why they were in business – to provide quality buildings for businesses and to make some money for their shareholders (or that was my concept of their vision).

Debt was interesting from that perspective but I don’t foresee going into debt to make money for myself – just not going to happen. However, there were other speakers on different aspects of investing to create wealth. We might have a bad concept of wealth – money is the root of evil. However, wealth isn’t really a bad thing. Yes, the love of money is – the Bible tells us so. But wealth can be used to God’s advantage. God is looking for someone to fund His vision.

In Joel 2:28, we are told in the last days old men will dream dreams and young men will see visions. Totally out of context; but maybe in the last days, the old ones will be funding the visions of the young ones. Just a thought.

I believe in divine connections – old and young alike, we are called to help one another fulfill God’s vision. I also believe God calls all His people to be investors. But most of us don’t know how to invest. And most of us don’t have additional money to invest. Most of us live from paycheck to paycheck barely making ends meet. We survive rather than thrive. I believe God wants us to thrive; it’s better for His Kingdom. We just have to learn how to manage money wisely. Like Jesus’ disciples, we have to be taught the skills to help the Kingdom.

We have many teachings from Jesus on money. One story concerned three managers (Luke 19 and Matthew 25) who were left in charge of the business (gold) while the master was away. Another story concerned the rich man building bigger barns (found in Luke 12). The first story was about increasing what the master gave the servants (investors for the Kingdom) and the second story was about sharing the increase God gives us and not storing it up in bigger barns (bank accounts) for the future.

This is not about socialism – take from the rich to give to the poor; but giving in response to what has been done for us. The first century Christians shared with those in need. It’s what made them different from the rest of the world. We are to learn how to put God’s money to work for His Kingdom purpose. I believe this is the true definition of wealth. We all need to learn how to be wealthy and it might be we have to take a risk or two to get there.

We can all be risk adverse; I know I avoid it, if possible. However, I believe someone is going to be called to fund someone else’s vision for God’s purpose. It will take a step of faith to be that someone. In order to be that someone, we need to get our finances under control. We need the resources to be able to fund the vision.

Like any skill, we have to learn how to master the skill of building wealth to build His Kingdom. It means surrendering to God – everything is His – and let Him direct our steps to financial freedom and wealth investing. Just saying “yes” to His vision means He gets the glory and we get the blessings. That’s a pretty sweet deal.

And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:29-34

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The Shield

A few years ago, I took one of those spiritual gifts assessment tests. One of the gifts that came out highest of all was faith. In my past, I have taken a few risks, but I never attributed it to having great faith. I have left jobs to move to other cities. Over five years ago, I took a leap of faith to leave a good paying job. At the time, I believed it was the right thing to do. I believed God led me to that decision. Taking a risk always causes a bit of trepidation. Sometimes, God will reveal part of the plan to me, and I feel a bit more certain in my decisions. However, it’s been over five years, and I am having doubts as to the plan God had for this time. God isn’t doing what He has done in my past. He is not meeting my expectations, and I just fail to recognize that God has a different plan than what I expected. He’s creative that way!

In the study of the shield of faith in the Armor of God, Priscilla Shirer quotes her Daddy’s (Dr. Tony Evans) definition of faith: “Faith is acting like it is so, even when it is not so, so that it might be so, simply because God said so.” She also gave this definition: “faith is acting like God is telling the truth” (both quotes found on page 127). One thing that was revealed to me in this week’s lessons is the fact that God wants to see faith in us; faith is what is counted as righteousness. And He is all about growing our faith. This season for me maybe a time of truly putting my faith to a test!

Abraham was the example of having a righteous faith. He believed God – to show him where to go when he left his home; to have a son in his old age; and when he was asked to sacrifice that promised son. But Abraham made some wrong moves throughout his life, yet his faith was still counted as righteous. Hebrews 11 is gives a highlight of those who have had faith through the Bible. However, Genesis is the Book that shows the beginning of the faith journey. It is ripe with stories of faith building. Through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we see the times of building faith through their journeys. However, the further the story goes in Genesis, the further back God recedes. Faith is rooted in the past but focused on the future. Faith is built on what we have experienced in the past.

One of the questions Priscilla asked (page 124) is what is the difference between belief and faith? My response was that belief is wings and faith is the air beneath the wings. It helps us take a leap of faith and fly. We can believe all we want; but until we put action with the belief, we will never get anywhere. We believe God will still do what He said He would do and act on the promise. It’s what we do when we believe God. When we doubt, we actually believe the enemy’s lie rather than God’s word. The enemy does whatever he can to keep us from taking a risk. He sends doubts, fears, distractions; anything that will cause us to shrink back from God’s word.

Paul likened faith to a Roman shield. It was a protection from the enemy. Also, it could be linked together. Soldiers in a battle could link their shields together to form an impenetrable barrier. There was no way an enemy’s arrows could make it throw to do harm. So instead, the enemy would send a flaming arrow to something flammable. This would cause a distraction to the soldiers and cause them to focus on the flame instead of the enemy. As long as the soldier stayed behind the shield, the enemy had no power over them. The minute they dropped their protection to fight the fire, they were vulnerable.

In these troubled times, we have to link our shields together. The enemy is sending all kinds of distractions. The fires are raging around us. Our faith is the only thing that will keep us from getting burned by the enemy. It’s important to know who we can trust and who to turn to. Our faith has to be in someone or something much greater than the problem or else there is no point in having faith. Without faith, it’s just religion; it’s just a tradition that does nothing in the name of Jesus. Taking a risk for Jesus activates the shield and brings God glory. It’s time for God’s people to link up and become a mighty force. The world is waiting to see how we will react to our circumstances. Faith or fear. It’s either one or the other. Let’s act as if God is telling the truth and believe He will do a mighty work in and through us. Take a leap of faith and trust Him in the process.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6

Walking the Wire

A couple of months ago, I viewed a man on a wire walking across Niagara Falls from the US to Canada. It was exciting to see in person, I’m sure. The anticipation of it all. Can he do it? Will he fall? As I contemplated, I am reminded he took a risk. Even though he knew he trained well for it; even though he had done many stunts before; he still had to get up on the wire (cable) and take that first step, then the next step until he reached his destination.

I know I am capable of taking risks. I used to climb trees in my younger years. I don’t remember my first time. I’m sure I was scared to do it if I had thought about falling. But I know I took the first step, then the next step was right there, so I took that one until I reached the top of the tree. I didn’t stop climbing that particular tree until a few years later. I don’t know if I outgrew climbing trees or the reality that I could fall and break a leg changing my climbing endeavors. A friend had fallen out of a tree and broke her leg so I knew then it was a possibility.

I love when scripture keeps popping up for me to contemplate. I was reminded recently that Peter took that first step out of the boat. Many others could have done it as well, but he was the only one that took the chance. I have taken a few risks over the years. I have left jobs to move to other cities or just recently left a well-paid job to follow where I believe God is leading. I am reminded it takes more than one step. It takes many steps to reach a destination. I have to remember I take the next right step. I follow the course before me, just as the fellow did on the wire. What was amazing to me during that walk, he kept praising God and thanking Jesus (and they televised it!). Maybe it’s not a risk after all. Maybe it’s just the life of a follower of Jesus, take a step and praise God for it. Having the hope and assurance that no matter what, Jesus is walking with me. Let me be bold like Peter, have the faith of Abraham and the walk of Jesus.

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. Matthew 14:28-29

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