HOW TO HELP YOUR KIDS BUY THEIR FIRST CAR

Pondering the Principles of Proverbs

Ants

Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,
Which, having no chief, officer or ruler,
Prepares her food in the summer
And gathers her provision in the harvest.
How long will you lie down, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?
“A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest”–
Your poverty will come in like a vagabond
And your need like an armed man.

(Pro. 6:6-11)

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Identity Theft

There is much concern, worry, and downright fear about someone being able to steal our identity.

For those of us who do most our financial transactions on-line–from purchasing of consumer goods to managing our assets–identity theft seemingly lurks behind every mouse click. Great measures are taken to make it more difficult for the identity predator to capture his prey.

Long and convoluted passwords are used within firewall protections wrapped within secret encryption devices and codes. In order to make it even more challenging, a different password is used for each account that requires one. Then the passwords are changed every few weeks or even days for each account. This includes not only the financial information accounts, but the social networking accounts and e-mail accounts.

Maybe it works. Maybe it serves. But I haven’t the time for it.

Once again, I find this to be unreasonable and pathetic for the Body of Christ to be involved in this.

My faith is not in the hackers’ ability to crack my encryption attempts. My faith is in the One who keeps me. Therefore my efforts at protection are minimal at best. I do only that which is required by the account that I am using. I’ve had the same password for all my accounts for years. I’ve had the same PIN for accounts that require them for years. In states where it has been possible, my driver’s license number has been my social security number. Simplicity is what works for me. Maybe it doesn’t for you.

My reasoning, though probably not well thought out, goes something like this:

  1. My identity is not how much money I have in my wallet. Neither my money nor my assets define who I am. Therefore, no one can steal my money and take my identity away from me.
  2. My life is hid with Christ in God (Col. 3:3). Therefore, no one can steal my identity–they can only join in with it!
  3. I dwell in the secret place of the Most High (Ps. 91). Therefore, God is my protector, which makes stealing my money even more difficult.
  4. Since God is my protector, I will not fear what man can do to me (Ps. 56:11).
  5. Since I do not fear what man can do to me, I am not concerned about this so-called identity theft.

Identity Theft is a misnomer, and something the devil is using to deceive the people of God.

Every time a child of God uses the term “identity theft,” he/she is giving credence to the lie that our identity is tied up in what we own. We need to pay attention to the words we speak.

The fact that fear is at the root of this whole thing should be enough to persuade the people of God to avoid it. Avoid the discussions, except to interject your statement of faith. Avoid reading about how to protect yourself from identity theft, except for reading the Bible.  Avoid reading about the latest victim’s story, because it only ministers fear.

Some will say that we need to be concerned. I am as concerned as I need to be. But, I am not constantly on the lookout for it.

I recall when we had the news about the “DC Sniper” that people in Missouri were hiding behind their cars while pumping gas. That is not concern. That is FEAR.

The point of all this?

I’m not exactly sure. I just know that I am still bothered by Christians who claim that faith is their message, while fear is their motivation.

FREE Aint Cheap!!

American society in general and Christians in particular have destroyed themselves. And we have done it under the guise of “Good Stewardship.”

Stewardship, as believed and practiced by the majority, has as its priority the preservation and conservation of resources. For some reason, ‘wise use’ hardly enters the picture.

In the movie “Pretty Woman,” with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, she would ask, “Why do you …?” His reply was always, “Because it’s the best.” It didn’t matter whether it was a seat at the opera, or a meal, or a hotel room, or a shirt. The best.

For reasons I won’t delineate here, we have left off having the best.

Notice how your mind immediately went to “I can’t afford the best!” Probably not.

But do you buy the best you can afford?

I remember growing up that many times my dad would complain about something. He would finish by saying, “I wish I could learn to buy quality.” He eventually did, but it was long process. Many children of the Depression Era had the same difficulty.

Do you consistently shop for the “best price?” Is that before, or after you have determined what is the best brand or quality?

However, this is all a side note to the real intent of this post.

Galatians 6:6-8~One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Many years ago there was a preacher who put out books, booklets, articles, and recordings. They were all listed as “Free as the Lord provides.” His ministry never lacked for funds. And people understood that they were a means of the Lord’s provision. When books were ordered, an offering was usually included. Those who had much gave much; those who had little gave little. The materials were sent whether an offering was included or not.

Over the years, that concept was lost. The preacher died, and his daughter has tried to keep the printed ministry going. However, few requests come with an offering attached.

The situation was summed up in one dear sister’s response. “When I read ‘Free as the Lord provides,’ I thought it meant it was free!” And those books are still ‘free.’ There is no charge. Ever. But they are not printed as often, because the funds simply are not there.

I saw in her statement how far we have regressed over the years; how much we have bought into the Babylonian ways of finance.

Look closely at the verses again from Galatians. They have been used in numerous ways, usually separate from each other.

If we take them together with the idea of sharing financially with those who teach us, we may gain some insight into the weakness that exists within the Body of Christ today.

Stated simply by the common cliche–“You get what you pay for.”

Using this passage with that understanding shows that what we reap is directly proportional to what we sow. Therefore, if a ministry puts its materials out on a free-will-offering basis, then we will only get from their work what we put into it.

Selah.

It may be a powerfully anointed ministry, but we gain little from it.

I contend the reason is that we put little into it.

The ministry may not be hurt, but what we receive is. We put in little, we take out little.

Our bookshelves may be lined; our CD rack may be full; but our minds and hearts are not satisfied.

We have taken our ‘stewardship’ of God’s provision to mean that we should access all the ‘free’ stuff that we can, and then spend the money we have on ourselves. That is not stewardship. It is stupidity in the form of greed.

Proverbs 23:23~Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.

APPLICATION: There are many “free’ sites on the web that help us with our Bible study. If you use any of them, have you sent them a donation?