The Secret Garden Letters - February 2009

Prospering In Our Uncertain Times

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 In this article:

This crisis might be the start of a "better" life!

A crisis in the home is fixed in the heart.

More money will not fix your problem.

Your rescue comes!

God's plan was and still is this...

What should our goals be, why are we here?

Are you living or dying?

Investing in your life

Are you "possessed"?

Guilty by association

Ten steps to prosperity in any economy

 

Earth

Without knowing what your particular situation is, I'd like to make a couple of statements that might give you hope and a 10 point checklist for Prospering no matter what the rest of the world is doing!  (Feel free to skip to the good points and skim the article first using the links above.)

1.  I want to suggest to you that this economic crisis may not be an entirely “bad” thing but a chance given to us to make new choices, better choices and to put things in better perspective.  It may very well be a rare opportunity to turn our families around and pursue what is truly lasting, while we have time. 

I don't know about you, but in most families, there are things in our lives that aren’t working, and the emphasis for most of us has been material and success/world related.   We’ve invested huge money for diplomas, mortgaged our houses to send the kids to school, and built our whole lives on the “system” that will pass away when Jesus returns.   

While all that is great for living on this planet, it may have left the majority of people a bit lacking towards the next.  For some people it's even left them empty and bitter.

Remember the verse, “What does it profit a man if he should gain the whole world, but lose his soul?” 

It’s very easy to forget that all the things we are pursuing today are about as meaningful and lasting as play money in a pretend bank.  We think we’re working for the American dream, and for some time in our future to sit in the sun and enjoy our retirement.  But who do you know who is really doing that?  Maybe a handful, and when your time comes, will there be anything left for you to live on? 

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2.  The “crisis” we are experiencing is not as much an economic crisis as a spiritual one.  I’m not talking about religious spirituality.  You are spirit and body even if you don’t go to any church. 

Here, when I use the term “spiritual” I mean the combination of your mind, your emotions and your heart.  That part of you that is NON physical, but IS who you are.   

Are we working together with all of our parts, our thoughts, emotions and the desires of our heart for a single purpose, or are we scattered?  Focus can bring clarity and increased power to fulfill our goals.

You know, for years adults have been working harder, longer hours, taking out more loans, paying higher prices for everything, to have things that we’ve forgotten we already had!! 

We already HAD a life, and the ability to build for ourselves whatever we wanted.  We built our homes with our hands instead of going to work to afford a home with a huge mortgage. 

As life became more complicated and full of more junk, more clutter, more things that we added on to the deficit of hours in a day, we compensated by throwing more money at a problem.  

Because we were working, and couldn't spend much time with the kids we increased their allowance and bought them things.  We said we wanted their lives to be better than ours, so they wouldn’t have to work this hard! 

Wait a minute!  Just a few years ago, we created our families, raised them daily at our side as we worked, taught them every step necessary through the day and night to take care of themselves and to carry on when we were gone.  Life WAS good, because it was the fruit of our labor and we didn't expect anything we didn't work for.

Children learned by example and practice.  They participated in the home from age 3 or less, and they grew up with self-esteem, a love for work, and healthy bodies.   They knew they were an important part of our lives and that the family depended on their efforts.

Sigh...

Do you remember back in the garden of Eden, when Satan whispered to Eve that God lied, that there was MORE than what He had given them?  That if they only ate that apple they would become like gods themselves. 

He’s still whispering to us, beloveds.  He’s telling us to let go of the simple things and TRY to attain what HE offers.  

God has already supplied us with everything His way.  Satan said, “no, I can do this better”, and he created the kingdom of money and commerce, higher education, etc.  Then we all believed it was a good thing, jumped aboard and had to create more and more of the system to cover up for what wasn’t working.  (Juvenile courts, daycares, more and more prisons.)

Suddenly there’s nobody home steering the “ship” and the children learn from strangers instead of the parents.  We tell them all their lives that they have to wait until they’re 18 to do anything important, and when they turn 18, suddenly we expect them to rush out and have jobs and be productive citizens.  What would make them suddenly have the motivation, self esteem and confidence to do that, if it hasn't been being nurtured all along?

I believe life as we know it is on the wrong track.  God may be giving us a chance to stop the train so we can get off and go in the other direction. 

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Getting more and more money never solved anything.  We all want to win a lottery somewhere, but God knows what we really need and is bringing us through a process for a reason.

You’ve probably experienced that no matter how much more you earn, it is never enough.  But if you’re living God’s way, putting Him first and leaning on Him for all supply, then no matter how little you make, it always goes around.  Isn’t that amazing!?  I’ve witnessed this all my life and know that it is true.  He will never leave alone those who are looking to Him and depending on Him for their lives.

My message is, if you find yourself in trouble, go to God.  Read the word, know the promises, BELIEVE, have enough courage to stand in faith for God's help.  Christians should be helping each other through their churches as well.  The early church brought their money into the church to share so that no family went without.

If we were doing what we should be in our churches, you would be encouraged to make your needs known so that the group could pray together and share what they had to help.

I think we may have to break down some of the walls we've built in our lives to recover from this, but the end result will be better than what we had.  

Your life may look very different after this crisis, and you may have to move to a different house, if your mortgage is too high, but I think it can be better than it ever was, or at least than it was for a long time. 

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Because of the promises made to Abraham, that are extended to us as believers in Christ, God promised we would have food, clothing, and health, help for our families and every need met as long as we sought God first.  (Learn about these promises here.)

This is our rescue, knowing the scripture promises so we can stand on them and claim them in Jesus' name.  

Read the Bible, discuss its promises with your family, and begin to keep a "book of remembrance" to keep track of all the rescues and benefits God gives you.  As you read back over what He's done for you in the past, you'll have greater faith and courage for what you face in the future.  It really works!

 

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God’s plan is simple.  

He only gave us three things to attend to and promised to do the rest for us.

  1. Jesus said to love God with all of our minds, hearts and souls and... 

  2. To love others as we love ourselves.   (In these two commandments all the others will be fulfilled.)

  3. He said the “work” we are to be doing is to believe on the one God sent (In this one work of trusting Jesus with everything, all is accomplished.)

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So what are we here for?  What SHOULD our goals be?

I believe we are here to heap treasure in heaven for Jesus Christ by using our talents and our faith.

As the parable of the ruler who gave the talents to his servants to invest while he was away, we are here to build treasures for our Lord and His Kingdom with the talents he’s given us. 

The good we do here benefits us now as well as for wealth and prosperity in the kingdom to come.  (Not necessarily talking about actual cash money, but something of value in the Kingdom.)

Remember, there is nothing new under the sun.  

You know, everything you're struggling with has been tried before by other generations and cultures.  This is not new, and many other people found their way through trials and deep thought.

Astrology has been kicking around for centuries, stock markets and investments have gone up and down for a very long time and even the principles in the book "The Secret" are only retold truths and half truths being marketed in a new wrapper for the current generation.  They can't help us, they only lead us down other paths.

In Ecclesiastes, a very wise man told us of his journey to discover the purpose of life and that he had tried literally EVERYTHING and found it all to be folly.  There was only one thing that meant anything or was worth attending to.  That was our relationship with God.

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We’re either living our purpose or we’re dying.

Despite the economy, despite what troubles you are going through, the answer is to get up and do your dream, your purpose, what you’re passionate about.  

Rethink your plan and make every move count towards reaching that inner goal.  Include the Father, put Him first and be grateful for everything you DO have.

In the parable of the talents, the only guy who lost his talent was the guy who didn’t do anything with it.  The others got to keep the talents they were given plus the increase they had earned with it.  Those who had invested what they had were then put in charge of many cities in the ruler's new kingdom.  They had all the wealth of those cities at their disposal besides what they had earned themselves. 

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Where and how do you invest what God has given you to find an increase?  

In the Bank of the Kingdom of God of course, and by using your talents to help others and give God honor.

In this life we are given a set of talents and desires along with almost total freedom to act in ways that use these talents for the benefit of mankind and the Glory of God.  Along the journey, our character flaws will be exposed, and ample opportunities for overcoming those flaws are given to us.  

We not only learn how to forgive, but how to be forgiven.  The quickest way to get through the tests and find the happiest path is to conquer ego and self, laying down our “lives” for the good of those around us.

Make a conscious decision to seek God's ways and fulfill your destiny for the Kingdom of God.  The moment you turn to Him, He turns to you, and closes the gap.  You’re immediately there.  There is no long journey to travel to find God.  He WANTS to be found.

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Give away all that you can.  Sell what you have and give the money to the poor.  You cannot out give God.  The more you give and try to help others, the more flow of money and goods, and all good things come pouring back in on you.

Our accumulations of THINGS are called POSSESSIONS for a reason.  They POSSESS US!  They hinder us when we want to move or travel.  They cause us stress and worry when we're not there to watch over them.  They cost money to be maintained, and if we don't maintain them, they begin the quick decline into rot just like we do.

Throughout time philanthropists (givers) have been trying to give all they have to the poor.  People like Millard Fuller who started Habitat for Humanity and Bill Gates of Microsoft, and even Oprah Winfrey.  The more you give the more you receive.

Don’t just go find ways to MAKE more money; GIVE of whatever it is you have at this moment and let God give you the increase.  This is the way it has worked for centuries and made people like Abraham rich men.  

If you don’t have money to give, it might be supply for living, - food or tools or something else.  If it’s not material possessions, then give of your knowledge, your time and your influence in the world.

At the very least, give everyone you meet a silent prayer, a blessing, and the love of God in your heart.  Smile!

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Jesus said not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers.  They pull in an opposite direction, they make you stumble, and unwilling to go in the direction God is leading.

Whoever you hang around with, you become just like.  You can't put two different ideas in the same room without them staining one another.  We know not to plant cucumbers and squash near each other because they will cross-pollinate and become something entirely else, not useful for food.

Be careful what and who you spend your time and resources on.  Invest both wisely.  

Your reputation and integrity are also resources you have to draw on in times of need.  Don't underestimate their worth.

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Ten steps to prosperity in any economy

1.  Put God first, honor Him, worship Him, learn of Him and please Him by obedience and faith.  You cannot please God without them.

2.  Examine your life and heart, if you find sin – repent.  Repentance does not mean saying you’re sorry, it means turning your “vehicle” around in the RIGHT direction, heading to God. 

3.  Let go of the things of the world’s systems.  Care not for possessions, and give away what you don’t need.  Live for the joy of helping others and giving what you have to the poor. 

4.  Rejoice and be grateful.  Live in a constant state of prayer with gratitude and thanksgiving. 

5.  Ask boldly and confidently for the things you need, and for the needs of others.  Know that if your heart does not condemn you, you have what you have asked for in Jesus’ name. 

6.  Be content.  Ask yourself what it is you really NEED, and learn to be happy with “enough” rather than seeking “more”.  “More” is the word that got mankind in trouble and it’s always what Satan is offering. 

7.  If there are barriers in your way, pray them down!  Don’t listen to the status quo that says you can’t succeed. 

8.  Be sensitive enough to listen for God’s leading.  If your barriers or problems don’t come down with prayer, look for your path elsewhere.  Perhaps God doesn’t want you moving in that direction.  So, ask once and if He says no, find another direction to go in. 

9.  Remember that we’re all just passing through this earth.  We’re here for a very short and very informative vacation!  But soon and usually when we least expect it, we’ll be going home to make our report to the Master, and show how we’ve invested our talents. 

Prepare your hearts and your children’s hearts for this fact.  We cannot escape death, no matter how hard we try.  The closest we can come to it, is to embrace God’s wonderful offer of eternal life, and the cost is only trading this natural, faulty life, for the redeemed, blessed and empowered life of Christ living through us. 

You might even get some more earth years tacked on because you’ve been obedient, but even if your life here is short, be determined to do your purpose, your passion and make every moment count! 

10.  Let go of the fights in your life that lead to meaningless rewards.  If someone is trying to take something away from you, let them have it.  As Jesus said, if someone wants your coat, give him your cloak too.  If someone wants you to go a mile, go two miles.  If they would strike you on one side of your face, offer the other one also…RATHER than arguing over anything that doesn’t lead to eternal life. 

God does not need people to convince the world that He is right, or that THEIR religion or opinions or doctrines are right.  The world (and all of us) will know who is right soon enough. 

What God needs is genuine people, examples of His love and care for the world, His pity, His passion, and to take these hearts on fire to the hurting and the lonely and the lost.  Let God’s love inside you convict them.  Don’t argue over any of it!

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FOR IDEAS OF ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO EARN YOUR LIVING, CLICK HERE   

 

"Make each day useful and cheerful and prove that you know the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will be happy, old age without regret and life a beautiful success."

Louisa May Alcott
1832-1888, Author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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