Friday, July 31, 2009

How to lighten a heavy heart

Pro 12:25 Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.

I suppose none of us are strangers to having a heavy heart. I know that heavy-heartedness robs us of the buoyancy which carries us through the day. A heavy heart steals from us blessing and joy.

I think we are all appointed to being burdened with heaviness from time to time. It teaches us to appreciate the good times, to cast all our cares upon Jesus, to trust in Him and to have character.

But the answer to a heavy heart is to have a good word. When bills are due and pressing and you receive the news of an unexpected windfall in your favor, that makes you glad. When you have been ill and the doctor says the illness is subsiding, that's good news that makes your heard glad. When a straying child calls to let you know their prodigal days are over, your burdens are lifted by such a good word.

The Gospel is the good news to those who are burdened with sin. Sinful hearts are made new by Jesus' sacrifice and God's forgiveness.

The Bible is the Word of God, the ultimate good Word which is intended to gladden our hearts. The promises and encouragement of God's unfailing good Word are able to remove the heaviness each and every time we mine its depths.

Friend, if your heart is stooped by heaviness today, dive into God's good Word so that He may gladden your heart.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thank you, God, for a good woman.

Pro 12:4 A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.

Have you ever looked at other's spouses and wondered if you could ever be married to that person? Perhaps you have thought, "I'd be in prison for murder if I was married to him/her."

It is amazing the marriages that seem to be made in heaven and those that appear to be products of the "hot spot."

I am praising God today that I have been crowned by Heaven with a godly and virtuous woman. 14 years ago this coming Monday, God blessed me with the finest woman on the planet. Industrious, godly, wise, kind, giving and beautiful - God is good!

I hope each of you are able to say similar things about the gift God has given to you as your spouse.

Lord, thank your for all your gifts, but especially for the wonderful spouse with which you have crowned my life.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Righteous Root

Pro 12:3 A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved.

So much of what we see in those who claim the name of Christ is a sham. They can talk the talk, but walking the walk consistently is another story. Granted, we are all made of dust and are prone to fall, yet some folks maintain a solid testimony over a long period of time, while others are like a flash in the pan.

What makes the difference? You have to look deep down within to the very root of the soul. If, at the very core, you find a root of righteousness, you are going to find a person who shall not be moved.

I received correspondence from a long time friend who admitted that they had strayed for a number of years and were now returning to the right path. This person confessed that Jesus had not been the chief aim of life, rather their particular take on matters of faith. In my estimation, the root was bad, therefore they could never be established. Indeed, they ended up following after some fairly unorthodox teachings. I pray that this friend could now be rooted in none other than Jesus and His clear teachings so that they will never again be moved.

I think of Paul's words in Eph 3:16-19 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Are you rooted and grounded in the love of Jesus, strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man? If not, reject vain philosophy, worldly distraction and aberrant teaching. Get into the Book, being led by His Spirit and get rooted in righteousness.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Smart, Very Smart!

Pro 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.

Apple trees are supposed to produce apples, pear trees, pears, except in my neighborhood where both are simply decorative, only for looks. They produce beautiful blossoms, but no fruit.

How similar to the overwhelming majority of believerdom, where most of our Christianity is for show. Little fruit results from our faith walk.

We are going to have a difficult time fulfilling the Great Commission, Jesus final instructions to His church, if we neglect the "go" in "go ye." I think that most Christians feel that that kind of stuff is best left to the professionals. But everyone thinks that everyone else is going to do it and guess what? It doesn't get done.

That's a shame, because the message we have to offer is life changing and eternally beneficial. Freely we have received, so we ought to freely give.

The #1 reason, of course, that we don't win souls is because we have spiritualshareaphobia. We fear rejection, we fear retribution, we fear nameless things that would never occur in a thousand years. But it is just enough fear to keep us from going to the trouble of trying.

But we have been equipped with a set of tools that makes it unimaginably easy to witness; the Word of God, which God promised would never return void to Him, and the Spirit of God, Who comes upon us to enable us to do what seems impossible.

And when we do take that step of faith and obedience to give a witness to a needy soul, we will be greatly rewarded with the satisfaction that the seed was planted and there will be eternal results, not the least of which is the "well done" from our Savior.

You see, the fruit of a Christian is another Christian, or as the writer here says, a tree of life. That is, the propagation of the Christian family. He that winneth souls is, therefore, a very wise believer. Another soul is the one and only thing we are able to take to heaven with us.

The story is told of the traveler in the woods who encountered an old wise man tending his camp fire. After greetings and food were shared, the wanderer readied himself to resume his trek. The wise man told him this in parting; "as you journey, you will find some perfectly round stones along the river's edge, put as many in your pack as you can, and in the morning, you will be glad and you will be sad."

With a thanks for his kindness and words, the young man continued on, selecting a few of these stones along the way. It seemed odd to him, so he didn't keep near as many as he found, thinking it somewhat silly.

Finally, he made camp, slept well and awakened to the new day. His first thought was of the stones in his pack and what the man had told him, "in the morning you will be glad and you will be sad."

Retrieving the stones, he was amazed to see that each perfectly round stone had transformed into a beautiful, precious jewel. He was gleeful that he would no longer a poor traveler, but a man whose needs would easily be met for some time. But suddenly he was sad. had he picked up every stone he had seen, he would be rich beyond all measure. Had he only collected more! Alas, the traveler was glad, but he was sad.

The morning is soon coming when all believers will be so very glad. Heaven's glory will be shared with gladness. Yet, we will have the stark reality that heaven will be missing millions of precious jewels because we failed to gather them along our journey to the Promised Land.

Friend, won't you depend on the Spirit of the Lord today to lead you to at least one soul with whom you can share the gospel message that was freely shared with you? It is the smart thing to do. Believe me, in the morning you will be glad.

Lord, empower us and lead us for witness before we pillow our

Monday, July 27, 2009

Give to Get to Give Again

Pro 11:23 The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.
Pro 11:24 There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.
Pro 11:25 The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.
Pro 11:26 He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.

Jesus put the gist of these verses in a nice nutshell, Luk 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

The fact is, you have to put it out there to do any good. This principle is not only good for monetary matters, but it also pertains to kindness, charity, even a simple smile.

The sharing of the Gospel of Christ will also result in a great return. He that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

The Gaither Vocal Band sings a catchy tune along these lines called Give It Away, here are the lyrics:

If you want more happy than your heart will hold
If you want to stand taller if the truth were told
Take whatever you have, and give it away
If you want less lonely and a lot more fun
And deep satisfaction when the day is done
Then throw your heart wide open and give it away

He was workin' in his garden when I happened by
He waved me over with that look in his eye
And he started breakin' off some ears of corn
Here boy, today this corn is just right
Just boil it up for your supper tonight
I've learned it's true what my pappy used to say
Nothing's quite as good 'til you give it away

There's been a lotta water go over the dam
Since the day in the garden with my Uncle Sam
So I hope you'll hear these words I have to say
There are two kinds of folks-takers and givers
There's gripers and complainers and big hearted livers
It depends on how we choose to spend our days
We can hoard up all we've got, or give it all away

If you want more happy than your heart will hold
If you want to stand taller if the truth were told
Take whatever you have, and give it away
If you want less lonely and a lot more fun
And deep satisfaction when the day is done
Then throw your heart wide open and give it away

To hear the song:

What can you give today that will give glorious returns both here on earth and in heaven above?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Too Funny

Pro 11:22 As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.

No blog, per se, just a very funny verse. Think about it!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Gracious Women and Strong Men

Pro 11:16 A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong
men retain riches

Have you noticed the trend of role reversal so prevalent in
our society? It seems men have been so emasculated and
women have been so empowered that real men are very rare
these days.
I see that most men have taken the attitude of the native
Americans... "Our women make the decisions, prepare the
food, skin the animals, do all the work, take care of the
children We get to hunt, fish and lie about, and you want to
come and show us a better way to live?"
Men have been trained by TV, entertainment, the
government and their wives to tuck their tails between their
legs and just say, "Yes Ma'am!"
And why not? Leaving the responsibilities up to someone else
is kind of refreshing to someone of lower character. The
result... America 2009.
But a gracious woman who lets her guy be a real man and a
strong man who knows how to treat his lady...that's a
combination that pleases Heaven and provides for an
honorable and prosperous foundation for the home, church
and society.

Oh, just a moment, my wife is calling, "Coming dear!"

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Don't Go It Alone

Pro 11:14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

A little foray into politics will help me to illustrate my point today.

We have, in America, what is called the balance of powers. the Executive, Judicial and legislative branches of government provide for a checks and balances system to ensure wise decisions and keep power from going to the heads of one branch.

Although, in the current climate, government is a steamroller in which each branch is on the same page and there are no checks and balances. Taken-for-granted freedoms we have laboured for are being daily stripped from us. Our government is acting unilaterally to give this nation the "change" every one had "hoped" for, and that change isn't pretty.

The previous administration was roundly criticized for acting unilaterally in it's "war on terror" and it's policies concerning Iraq. But our current regime showed that the former one was a lightweight when it comes to acting without counsel. These guys know how to get 'er done. How unfortunate for our nation.

However, as Christians, we tend to do a lot of unilateral action also. We fail to employ the wisdom of many counselors. And acting without counsel can get us in trouble. The child of God is gifted with 5 sources of counsel to help us make wise, informed decisions.

*Prayer - I believe there is safety in daily, early morning counsel with the Lord.

*Bible - There is much safety in consulting with the Word of God before the day's decisions challenge us.

*Holy Spirit - When we are up against it, we need to listen to the counsel of the Holy Spirit as He speaks to our hearts and guides us to the right path.

*Godly Christians - As we continue to contemplate important dilemmas, godly people in our lives should also be consulted. Teachers, pastors, spiritual mentors, prayer warriors and battle tested warriors of God can be of great help.

*Open and closed doors tend to help us know what decisions to make.

Unilateral decisions are unwise. Remember your balance of powers today as you face your decisions. Don't go it alone when you don't have to, great counsel is available to you.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Why, Shut My Mouth!

Pro 11:13 A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.

It sure is fun to know a secret, and it is even more fun to share that secret with others. One child said that a secret is something you tell to one person at a time.

We have things in our lives that are so painful we just would rather not have everyone else know about them. We prefer to grieve or suffer quietly. Yet, they are so much to bear that we share the news with our most trusted confidants so that they may shoulder our burdens with us.

These people are those "faithful spirits" that we know will conceal the matter.

We all need at least one faithful spirit in our lives whom we know will pray for us, care for us and love us through our difficulty.

Better yet, it is a blessing to be trusted as that faithful spirit in the life of another.

While loose lips sink ships, faithful spirits take us through troubled waters.
Lord, allow me to be trusted by another today as a faithful spirit, so that I may be used to minister in their life.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Private Enemy #1 - Pride

Pro 11:2 When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.

Pride gets in the way of anything good. I am amazed at how often I hear people use the word pride as if it were a good thing. I am even more amazed seeing pride in action and the obstacle pride is to any sort of progress. Now comes the kicker...I am talking mainly about the pride in my own life.

Jesus was all about humility. If anyone has a right to be proud, He is the One, yet He took upon Him the form of a servant and became obedient unto death, even the shameful death of the cross. He invites us to enter His yoke of free-from-pride lowliness, that is where, He says, we can find rest.

As long as we cherish pride, as long as we demand to be right, be perfect, be the best, we will always experience an affront to our superiority because there will always come along someone who is more right than we are, more perfect and better. Then, our pride takes a whack. You can never find one with a deeper injury than a prideful person who took a hit in the ego. Then, as the Proverb says, cometh shame.

So, lay aside pride today. When the reality hits that you are less then all that, humbly agree with that assessment and there will be no pressure to prove anything except that you are what you are, just an old sinner saved by grace, an imperfect humble servant of the perfect King Who sees you as pretty special.

This lowly self assessment shows wisdom, as the verse says.

By the way, We are heading to youth camp today and will be out of pocket again for a while. I will try to post, however internet service will be pretty scarce, they don't even have cell phone service there. We will see you when we see you!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A False Balance

Pro 11:1 A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.

Remember the days when the butcher put his thumb on the scales so the meat would appear to weigh a little more than it did?

We find that it is an abominable thing in the Lord's eyes when people are purposefully cheated in this fashion.

This was part of Jesus' anger when He cleansed the temple. The crooks who were selling animals for sacrifice were overcharging the poor worshippers.

Yet, I see another false balance going on in our day, and that is when we find our lives out of balance. We can tend to thumb our scales to add weight to some very unimportant things while the things that should take precedence are neglected.

Some of the things that tend to get slighted are family, church, prayer, Bible reading, proper care for the body, etc., while TV, recreation, overeating, pleasure and other lesser things get top billing in our lives.

I believe this kind of false balance is also unacceptable to the Lord. Jesus told us in His sermon on the mount that we need to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and then all the other things will be added in.

Take a priority inventory of your life and see if there is some imbalance of your priorities. Are there important things you are slighting in favor of frivolous activity? Seek to get everything back into proper balance.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Tale of Two Sons

Proverbs 10

This entire chapter contrasts two different types of people, those who are wise, industrious, righteous, etc, and those who are foolish, lazy and wicked. 30 out of 32of these verses present a contrast. Only verses 10 & 26 do not. The reader is given the choice of what type of son/daughter he/she will be.

We have choices to make everyday and there are consequences that come with each choice. When your choices become habits, character, or lack of character results. Proverbs helps a person choose by principle and character rather than situation and bad habit.

Following are a few of the contrasts:

1. Wise/Foolish. One makes his dad glad, the other makes his mum glum. vs 1
2. Righteous/Wicked. One cheats death, the other cheats his bank account. vs 2
3. Diligent/Slacker. One makes the dough, the other goes too slow. vss 3&4
4. Reaper/Sleeper. One stores while the other snores. vs 5
5. Just/Wicked. One is blessed, the other gets the rest (violence and rotteness) 6,7
6. Wise Heart/Prating Fool. One is a listener while the other loves to hear himself talk 8
7. Right Path/Wrong Path. One stands, the other falls. 9
8. Good Words/Bad Words. One builds, the other destroys. 11, 13
9. Love/Hate. One brings peace, one causes war. 12

Conclusion: The more lazy a person becomes, the more wicked his heart, words and actions. The more diligent a person is, the more he exhibits wisdom, character and is productive.

What type of person do we desire to be?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Make Wisdom Your Friend

Pro 8:36 But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.

Wisdom is the power to see and the inclination to choose the best and highest goal, together with the surest means of attaining it. J.I. Packer

The 8th chapter of Proverbs extols wisdom. Each and every verse sings her praises. She is superior to anything a person can hold in their hands. She is God's vessel of creation. She dances before the throne of the Almighty. She is ready and available in abundance to all seek her. There is a dearth of wisdom among men, through no fault of God or wisdom itself. Many are those who would pass by wisdom in favor of folly, foolishness and frivolity. Sad, for he that finds wisdom finds life and shall obtain the Lord's favor, vs 35.

Finally, we find this daunting promise in the last verse, he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.

It is difficult to understand why so many would make such a poor decision, other than the obvious, they don't fear the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom.

An angel appears at a faculty meeting and tells the dean that in return for his unselfish and exemplary behavior, the Lord will reward him with his choice of infinite wealth, wisdom or beauty. Without hesitating, the dean selects infinite wisdom.
“Done!” says the angel, and disappears in a cloud of smoke and a bolt of lightning. Now, all heads turn toward the dean, who sits surrounded by a faint halo of light. At length, one of his colleagues whispers, “Say something.”
The dean looks at them and says, “I should have taken the money.”

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Young man and the Streetwalker

(Note: substitute for "young man" preacher, politician, husband, etc.)

Read Proverbs 7 and keep your Bible open.

Gov. Marc Sanford of S. Carolina is now fighting for his life, his career, his family and his reputation. Why? He couldn't keep his pants zipped when temptations came his way. One thing led to another, now he is a has been. He will never amount to a hill of beans as long as he lives. Same with Eliot Spitzer, John Edwards, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, etc.

1. What are the temptations? Note: they are on every corner 12
*to not use wisdom 7
*to forget principles 1-5
*to go on the prowl 9 (police adage: "nothing good happens after midnight!")

2. What are the characteristics of this woman?
*flattery, subtlety - smooth talker 10 (14-21)
*indecent clothing 10
*loud and stubborn 11
*a woman of the streets 11-12
*no morals 13 (kissing leads to everything else)

3. What are the results of succumbing to this temptation?
*he yielded to temptation 21
*he became like an ox going to slaughter 22
*he became a fool 22
*he was the prey and got snared 23
*it was much more than a little fun, it was for his life 23 (Sin will take you farther than you wanted to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and cost you more than you wanted to pay)
*even more, it was for his eternity 27

4. How could this young man have been wiser?
*could have stood on principle and kept his heart pure 25
*could have thought with his head, not his hormones 25 "decline"
*could have stayed away from a bad part of town 8, 25
*could have left at any time but instead was overcome with flattery and kisses
*could have realized how common and costly this kind of thing is 26

It is said that strong men can either be taken by fame, finances or females. Watch out for all three. Our society is saturated with the fascination for sexual pleasure but the cost attached to this sin is astronomical.

Ladies, exhibit godliness, good character, chastity and modesty.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Munching the Pachyderm.

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Mk 16:15

We just returned home from vacation. You know the old saying, “I need a vacation from my vacation!” Well, that’s certainly how I feel. When I returned, the reality hit me of a million things that need my attention. Youth camp is coming up, the church lawn is screaming for some attention, the people in the nursing homes are wondering why they haven’t been visited, different individuals are needing some serious shepherding, our yard has turned into Sherwood Forest, I am a bit behind in the production of our TV shows, my mother needs me to come and get her so she can move home, there is a wedding just around the corner, financial matters loom…on top of all that there are the regular things of the ministry like sermon preparation and so on. As I have often said in the past, I don’t know how people who have “real jobs” ever get anything done.

That’s where elephant eating comes into play. A native has just downed a few thousand pounds of mammoth meat and scratches his head, “how do I eat this elephant?” The answer has always been the same, “one bite at a time!”

And so, rather than being so overwhelmed with the tasks which loom heavily upon me, I will put one foot in front of another, relying on God’s unfailing grace, strength and wisdom. I will tackle one project at a time. What gets done, I will praise the Lord for as I check that item off the list. What doesn’t get done, oh well…

That brings me to the elephant of the ages, soul-winning and missions. There are about 6 billion souls out there without a Savior. Each needs to hear about the love of Christ for them and of His death on Calvary to save them. Somebody has to tell them and that somebody is me and that somebody is you. Truly, the task is daunting, the elephant is impossible, but we can do it, one bite (or one soul) at a time. Rather than shrinking from the task, let’s run to it. Let us lead a soul to the Lord today, another later this week, another next week, a couple next month. And, sure enough, by God’s unfailing grace, we can manage to munch the pachyderm.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Wife and the Other Woman

Proverbs 5:18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
5:5 Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.

Though it may seem that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, there is no green grass in hell, not one blade. If God has given you a good spouse, seek nothing else. Be content. Make your marriage work. The alternative is unconsciable.

According to this chapter, here is what you get when you forsake your spouse for another:
1. Bitterness - 4
2. Stabbed - 4
3. Death - 5
4. Hell - 5
5. Uncertainty - 6
6. Lost Honor - 9
7. Grind - 9
8. Poverty - 10
9. Subjugation - 10
10. Great Sorrow - 11
11. Disease - 11
12. Regret - 12, 13
13. Shame - 14
14. God's Scorn - 21
15. Bound by Sin - 22
16. A Foolish and Bitter End - 23

But if a person makes things work in their own marriage, the benefits are:
1. Satisfaction - 15
2. Productivity - 16
3. Success - 17
4. Happiness - 18
5. Faithful Companionship - 18
6. Sexual Fulfillment - 19

So, as the writer of Proverbs says, "Drink waters out of thine own cistern."

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Parent's Primary Objective

Pro 3:1 My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:

There is no doubt we all have way too much to do. My intent is not to add to our mounting responsibilities, but rather to trim some of the excess.

Our kids need our instruction more than ever before. When we realize how absent we parents have become in the lives and especially the instruction of our young ones, there is no doubt that the chances of them developing quality character is diminished. This results in more work and greater grieve later on once they begin to stray from normative behavior. What can be done?

Realizing that television has become the number one educator of most children, and what a poor schoolmaster it is, we must cut down their time in front of the set and increase their time at the feet of dad, mom and especially, Jesus.

In the first verse of Proverbs 3, we find a godly parent giving instruction and godly principle to a son who is receptive and needful of the same.

Might I suggest each of us forgo one TV program per day, or one half hour of computer time and instead use it to instruct our most valuable resources and charges, our kids?

There is an abundance of material to use for this purpose, but since we are here in Proverbs, how about reading and expounding upon one chapter of the book per day?

As I observe the youth, even of our church, I see that there is a great need of
guidance, protection, direction and correction. I shudder to think of where many will end up if there is not parental intervention, and very soon. I also observe that there is no lack of love on the part of the parents, just a lack of the discipline it takes in some parents to see their children through to godly maturity. Time restraints, misplaced priorities, lack of knowledge and other difficulties keep them from performing their most important task, passing down the faith in bite sized morsels, causing the kids to assimilate the commandments of God in their young lives.

How about starting, or restarting a family devotional time today?
Additionally, don't miss out on those great teaching moments that arise during the course of the day, something that happened to the kids at play or at school could be the launching pad for a biblical character lesson.

May God bless you as you embark on this path of bringing up your precious little ones in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Filled With Plenty

Pro 3:9, 10 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:
So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine

God's math and my math are two very different things. My wife and I decided a long time ago to quit budgeting. I wouldn't suggest that for everyone trying to dig themselves out of debt. In fact, it goes against what all good Christian financial counselors (and others) teach. On paper, it really just doesn't make sense that we could survive and thrive the way we have through God's blessings. But He doesn't seem to be in the "sense-making" mode.

What we have experienced is mind-boggling. The more we give to the Lord, the more we get back. So we give more and we get back more! It kind of goes like this, we give to get to give to get to give. It is true what they say, you just cannot out-give the Lord!

We have experienced some real financial crunches over the past few years, mainly over hospital visits and home buying and selling. Yet, we have done our best to always be faithful to the Lord in tithing and missions giving. Not only has He brought us through, but He has allowed us to flourish. Our latest slump is due to trying to help out a loved one, which has really caused the screws to be tightened. Yet, God is faithful to His promise of verses 9 and 10.

Some have questioned, If the Lord gave you ten times the amount you tithed, what would be your income? Well, let's just say that the IRS would be licking their chops as they reviewed our financial files. We could probably send Michelle and her husband on a date to NYC for pizza and a Broadway show!

Friend, I can't tell you all the “hows” of it, I can only tell you that God keeps His promises. If we will honor Him, first and foremost, with our substance, our barns (bank accounts) will be filled with plenty and our presses will burst out with new wine (Diet Coke!)

I encourage you, give to missions, help the needy, and especially, tithe to your local Bible-believing church! You will not go wrong. Be involved in the new math, God's ledger.