Money, Money, Money

 money, money, money

 

Proverbs 23:4-5 (NLT)
Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich.
 Be wise enough to know when to quit.
 In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, 
for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.

There’s nothing wrong with being rich. Nothing at all. There’s something quite wrong with wearing yourself out to get rich. It sounds good and noble to push and push that direction. It’s not. Why? We cannot count on money to make everything alright. To fix things. Or, to last forever. It is vitally important to put it in proper perspective. If our security or our trust is based on money, we will never be safe or satisfied.

Be wise. Be diligent. Plan ahead. Be well informed and smart about purchases and investments. Be the kind of employee or entrepreneur that is noticed and blessed for how you conduct your business affairs. All of that is good and admirable. BUT DON’T OBSESS AND GET ANXIOUS AND MAKE THE FINANCIAL REWARDS YOUR PRIMARY FOCUS.

In Matthew 13 and Mark 4, when Jesus is explaining the meaning of the parable of the sower, He talks about the third example of good seed bringing no harvest. The seed is the Word. In this case, the Word brings no harvest or benefit or blessing because of the thorns that “choke” the Word and it becomes “unfruitful.” The Truth of the Word – the message God has for His beloved children – is crowded out and doesn’t thrive or survive.

Why?

Cares. Anxieties. Distractions. Worry. The lure of wealth. The deceitfulness of riches
 (the lie that money and material things solve our problems and will make us happy). Desiring and focusing on other things more.

A scripture that is misquoted more often than it is quoted correctly is 1 Timothy 6:10.

1 Timothy 6:10 (NLT)
For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

LOVE of money. Money isn’t the root of all kinds of evil. Loving it is. Some people, craving money, pierced themselves with many sorrows. Money isn’t evil and it isn’t the having it or not having it that is the problem. It is the craving of it. We bring sorrow on ourselves when it is our focus and obsession. Ever had any sorrows because of chasing or craving money? You’re not alone!

Having money doesn’t equal craving it or loving it. Not having money doesn’t equal NOT craving it or NOT loving it. In fact, the percentage of people without much money who crave and obsess about it is probably just as large or larger than those who have lots of money. IT ISN’T ABOUT THE MONEY. It’s all about the role it plays in our motivations, actions, focus and priorities. [Read more…]

New Mercies

Lamentations 3 new every morning

Righteousness – Something to Shout About!

celebrate righteousness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proverbs 29:6 (NIV)
Evildoers are snared by their own sin,
 but the righteous shout for joy and are glad.

You know what I love about this verse? It is the second part that pertains to us. You know why? It is because WE ARE RIGHTEOUS!

2 Corinthians 5:21 – Jesus – Who had never known sin became sin so that we could become the righteousness of God through Him!

Philippians 3:9 – We don’t have to count on our own righteousness through what we do. Instead, we became righteous through faith in Christ! God’s way of making us right is through faith. Through receiving the finished work of the cross. The exchange of our sin for Christ’s righteousness.

Romans 5:1 – We’ve been made righteous and right with God through what Jesus has done for us; not through anything we’ve done for ourselves or for God.

Romans 4:24 – God declared Abraham righteous because of his faith and we are assured of the same. He counts us righteous if we believe in Him.

Romans 4:5 – We are declared and made righteous not because of any work or anything we do, but because of our faith in God.

We are righteous because of grace. The gift of grace. We couldn’t earn it to get it and we don’t earn it to keep it. Righteousness is ours. Given to us…by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

The first part of Proverbs 29:6 talks about how sin is a trap and a snare. It is. But it doesn’t have to be for us. We’ve been made righteous. Because of that, sin isn’t our master…because of grace! (Romans 6:14)

That’s what we have to shout for joy about and to be glad about!!!

God is good and He adores us! Shout for joy!

debbyberrysignature

Be a Day-Maker

watermelon

Having the Mind of Christ – Online and Offline

Proverbs 13:16 (NLT)
Wise people think before they act; 
fools don’t—and even brag about their foolishness.

It almost seems absurd that the second part of this verse not only is recorded in the scriptures – but is SO true. YouTube has hundreds of thousands of videos of people who purposely chose to do something risky, illegal, dangerous, or embarrassing and brought along friends to record it for posterity. We live in a time when attention for really stupid acts seems to be preferable to not being noticed.

I’ve seen multiple stories on internet news sites about people who committed crimes and WITHIN MINUTES posted updates, pictures and videos of what they had done. Recently, I saw a video a bank robber posted of herself flashing the cash and telling how she had accomplished this bank robbery. Seriously. Seriously?!!!?

But, it isn’t limited to crime. Social media has made us a culture of needy over-sharers and vultures. It’s jaw-dropping what people do and share. Or, what they watch their friends do and then share their friend’s misdeeds. Because it is possible and easy, it seems that it’s a shoulder-shruggable, foregone conclusion that nothing is safe or sacred. As a society, we are flaunting our own foolishness with abandon and the shame of others with relish. There are sites dedicated to the exposure of every embarrassment and failure that can be seen, texted or told. Solomon didn’t even know about Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, smart phones or the power of the internet…but, he knew about people. God gave him wisdom and insight into the hearts and motivations of people that transcends time and culture.

Wise people think before they act. Wise people consider the consequences. The results. The potential fallout. The potential risk. The potential gain. The possibility of hurting a reputation…their own or someone else’s.

Wise believers have an additional filter to think through. Does this build the Kingdom or cause it harm? Who could be hurt by this? If I say this, do that, or respond in a particular manner, how will I be portraying Christ and Christ in me? How will this reflect on Christians in general? The church? Will this build confidence and increase the drawing that the Holy Spirit is doing to bring souls to Christ? If I say something or express the opinion I hold, will it build up anyone, fix anything or cause a positive outcome?

PRESS PAUSE. SLOW. DOWN. AND. THINK. [Read more…]

The Wisdom Walk

Proverbs 28:26 (NIV)
Those who trust in themselves are fools, 
but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.

Proverbs 28:26 (AMP)
He who leans on, trusts in, and is confident of his own mind and heart is a (self-confident) fool, but he who walks in skillful and godly Wisdom shall be delivered.

I have yet to meet someone who feels strongly about something and yet is quite sure that they are wrong.

Including me…

We just do not quickly or easily admit we are wrong – even when we get pretty ample evidence. Often, as evidence begins to mount that we might have been wrong, we scurry to defend or justify our position. We blame it on wrong or inadequate information. Someone else’s action, manipulation, or influence.
 
Too many times in the past, I let my emotional response or what I thought I knew guide my decisions – and it didn’t work out well. Emotions and perceptions are not the basis for sound, wise decisions with predictably solid outcomes. Perceptions are so easily skewed. Emotions are so easily manipulated and quite fickle. FOR ALL OF US.

Remember the bad boy you thought you couldn’t live without? The trip you couldn’t miss that you couldn’t afford? The relationship that was ruined because of misunderstanding and both parties are still sure the other is totally wrong? The job that looked fabulous and turned out to be a nightmare? The house that was just perfect and turned out to be a money pit? That word bomb you had to detonate because you had to have the last word and the biggest word?

Think about the folks from different races, religions, tribes, nations, or political leanings that have allowed those different ways of being and seeing to lead them down horrific paths of destruction, hate, murder and even genocide. Have you ever talked to a racist? As astounding as it is, they really believe their stuff and believe it is right.

You know what we have in common with the obvious crazies? We really believe our stuff, too. Even when it isn’t working and we actually have ample evidence. It is hard to let go of what we FEEL and THINK. Even when it’s wrong. That’s why it’s called “foolish” to make our own emotions and perceptions the basis for our choices.

Thank God we don’t have to live that way if we don’t want to. Because He loves us so much, God didn’t leave us vulnerable to the shifting winds of our emotions. You have probably heard this, but we are not souls. We are spirits. Our spirit is who and what we are. We have a soul (mind, will and emotions) and we live in a body. But, our spirit is who we are. By and large, we are used to operating almost strictly by the dictates of our souls and not our spirits.

That’s where godly and skillful Wisdom comes in. As believers, we have free access to the wisdom of God and the mind of Christ. Given to us. (1 Corinthians 2:16, Proverbs 2:6, James 1:5, 1 Corinthians 1:24, Colossians 1:9) But, it doesn’t just automatically take over. We have to choose it. How?

ACKNOWLEDGE THAT WE NEED IT AND HE’S GOT IT

Lord, your thoughts and ways are higher than mine (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Lord, anything that seems wise in this world is foolish compared to Your wisdom. (I Corinthians 3:19)

All true wisdom and understanding comes from You, Lord. (Job 12:12-13)

ASK FOR WISDOM

Your Word says that if I lack wisdom, all I have to do is ask You for it and You give it generously. (James 1:5)

RECEIVE WISDOM

I am called by God and Jesus has been made the wisdom of God to me. (1 Corinthians 1:24)

In You, Lord, is all of the wealth of wisdom and understanding – insight into Your ways and purposes. When I seek You, I find that wisdom. (Colossians 2:3)

Sounds good, right? Now what?

Here are some practical ways to access and walk in the wisdom of God. I’m certainly not saying I am an expert at this – but, I am pressing in and pressing toward it!

Put significant importance on knowing more and more about God’s ways and thoughts by putting your thoughts and attention and appropriate time and focus in that direction. If you wanted to become really skilled at any other thing, you wouldn’t think it was unusual or a real burden to spend time learning what you needed to learn and practicing what you needed to be able to do. No different here.

One teacher gave the assignment to go through the book of Proverbs and make two lists. One of everything it says a fool or the foolish do and another of what it says the wise do. That gave me a whole lot to think about.

Here’s a little quick checklist of God-wisdom qualities to consider when you are wondering what to do…

According to James 3:17, the wisdom that comes from heaven is:

PURE – So, check my motives and my emotions
…see what is driving the decision.

PEACE-LOVING – Will this choice bring greater peace?


GENTLE AT ALL TIMES – Is this kind, amiable, caring?

WILLING TO YIELD TO OTHERS – What is in the best interest of others here?


FULL OF MERCY – Am I being compassionate even when someone has done wrong to me?


FULL OF GOOD DEEDS – What is the opportunity for me to do good for someone here?


SHOWING NO FAVORITISM – Is this impartial and not from a place of emotional preference
?

SINCERE – Is this genuine and without a personal agenda?

When I think of checklists, one of the things that comes to mind is how pilots have a checklist that they have to go through before they take off. Even if they’ve been flying for decades, they go through the checklist. Every trip. Every time. It is to insure that the plane is ready for a safe journey to the desired destination. Got a desired outcome? Want to get there safely? Well, before we take off, let’s go through the checklist!

Look at that list. It will tell you a lot about our Heavenly Father and His great love for us. It describes His thoughts and ways. How blessed are we that we belong to Him????

God is good and He adores us!

debbyberrysignature

Lighten Up!

be the light

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is only one successful victor over darkness. Light.

Light doesn’t have to yell, or fight, or strategize, or manipulate. It doesn’t have to be big or perfect or especially talented. It can be the sun, candlelight, a flashlight, a light bulb, a fire, lightening, a match, a glow stick.

Light only has to BE to defeat darkness.

Matthew 5:14 (NLT)
 ~ “You are the light of the world–like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden…”

Ephesians 5:8 (NLT) ~ 
For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!

Let’s lighten things up, shall we? The darkness seems overwhelming all around us. Instead of being discouraged or scared, let’s shine. Think about the good. Talk about the good. Notice the good. Encourage the people you encounter. Smile a lot. The Creator of this universe is our Father. He’s got us in His hands. We have the sure and confident hope of eternity with Him. This stuff is temporary.

Be and Shine! This world needs the light.

debbyberrysignature

 

Guard your heart…Here’s how.

guard your heart

 

THIS IS NOT POLITICAL. It is an analogy. A metaphor. An allegory. A illustration. Any of these things that strikes your fancy. But, it is not political. Ok?

“The first lesson is to never underestimate a threat, never underestimate an enemy, never ignore the signs of danger. We can’t assume the enemy will act in ways that are convenient for us. The enemy can surprise us. Israel will not fall asleep on its watch again.” – Benjamin Netanyahu

How many of us have fallen asleep on the watch over our hearts, minds and lives?

Know that we do have a serious enemy…satan.  (Btw, I purposely don’t capitalize his name.) This isn’t some playground bully. This is an enemy who wants to devour every good thing in our lives. His sole purpose is to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). Don’t underestimate or ignore that he really has plans and will do all he can to bring destruction of every kind.

1 Peter 5:8 (NLT)
 ~ Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

John 10:10 (NLT)
 ~ The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

But, you know what the super good news is? He’s just not powerful enough to accomplish his goals without our cooperation. The enemy needs us to get skeptical, lazy, offended, self-absorbed, distracted, or distrusting of God – asleep on our watch – to give him access to devour us.

I am determined to be inedible. Not fit for enemy consumption. Not a tasty morsel. If that evil punk or one of his minions tries to take a bite out of me, I want every taste to be so unpleasant and sickening that I quickly become unappetizing.

Sounds good. But, how?

James 4:7 (NLT) ~ 
So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Again, sounds good. But, how?

Ephesians 4:26-27 (NLT
) ~ And don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

Most of us don’t think that we get angry very often. Almost all of us underestimate our readiness to be angry. Learn to recognize anger in all its disguises. Offense. Hurt. Disappointment. Impatience. Unforgiveness. It isn’t always evidenced by rage and shouting. In fact, it rarely is evidenced by outbursts and extreme behavior. It’s usually bubbling right under the surface – at the ready to feed on anything that inconveniences us, offends us, or hurts us. Give it control or sustain it…give a foothold to the devil.
[Read more…]

Cultivating Peace

 jealousy and envy

Proverbs 14:30 (NLT)
A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; 
jealousy is like cancer in the bones.

Proverbs 14:30 (AMP)
A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body, but envy, jealousy, and wrath are like rottenness of the bones.

Usually, health and fitness goals center around diet and exercise. Fewer calories. Less fat. Lower carbs. More vegetables and fruits. Leaner meats. Cleanses. Juice fasts. Gym memberships. Water aerobics. Walking. Jogging. Running. For many folks, the determination starts strong, but soon the sheen has worn off that previously shiny goal or resolution. Others will grit their teeth, set their jaws and stick with it; continuing the process and looking and feeling better because they do.

It’s always the right time of year to add a new regimen to our healthy resolutions. One that is guaranteed to make changes to our entire being – body, soul and spirit. How about a new exercise routine? Exercising peace. Building a peaceful heart and mind?

If you’ve resolved to lose weight, you’ve probably chosen a specific type of diet plan. You are counting these and avoiding those, and choosing this not that. Pursuing peace works the same way. This verse outlines clearly what needs to be avoided.

Jealousy – defined by Merriam-Webster as “hostile toward a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage.

Envy – defined by Merriam-Webster as “painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage.”

Wrath – defined by Merriam-Webster as “strong vengeful anger or indignation.”

Jealousy and envy require the act of comparison and the assumption of inferiority. Looking at someone else and comparing ourselves to them in some facet or aspect and finding in our estimation that what we are or what we have to be inferior to what they are or have. Jealousy and envy don’t just want what someone else has TOO; jealousy and envy usually want what someone else has INSTEAD of them having it or being it. [Read more…]

There’s a word for that!

Whatever's going on, His word on the subject is established.

Whatever’s going on, His word on the subject is established.

 

Got a few things that look like they are impossible? I do.

Luke 1:37 (NLT)
For nothing is impossible with God.

Luke 1:37 (NIV)
For no word from God will ever fail.

Luke 1:37 (ISV)
For nothing is impossible with respect to any of God’s promises.

Luke 1:37 (ASV)
For no word from God shall be void of power.

No matter how temporary everything – including this life – is, the word of the Lord endures forever. (1 Peter 1:23-25). His word is eternal and stands firm in the heavens. (Psalm 119:89).

Here’s an exercise for today…those impossible things? List a couple of them. Find promises from God in the Word that cover them. List those scriptures.

Then, list these four statements:
God is good.
He adores me.
He doesn’t condemn me and isn’t holding anything against me or keeping anything good from me.
Through Christ, God sees me as fully righteous. I am righteous and the promises for the righteous are mine without reservation through Christ.


Look at your list(s) every day. As many times as you can or need to. Read the scriptures out loud. Smile. Quit worrying and step into the place where you make ample room and fertile ground for the impossible to become a reality.

Let’s watch it happen. Need help with scriptures that apply to your list? Just ask.

God is good. And, He adores you. He really, really does.

debbyberrysignature