Sunday, February 27, 2011

Part 4 - Whose Bread Are You Chewing On?

You can read Part 1, 2 and 3 by clicking on each.
Just as cooks pray for a good crop of young animals and fishermen for a good haul of fish, in the same way busybodies pray for a good crop of calamities or a good haul of difficulties that they, like cooks and fishermen, may always have something to fish out and butcher. -Plutarch, "On Being a Busybody"
Nobody can think straight who does not work.  Idleness warps the mind.  ~Henry Ford

Keep doing some kind of work, that the devil may always find you employed.  ~St. Jerome

Tomorrow is the only day in the year that appeals to a lazy man.  ~Jimmy Lyons

Do not repeat anything you will not sign your name to. ~Author Unknown

It is one of my sources of happiness never to desire a knowledge of other people's business. ~Dolley Madison

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Blessings Deprived

I've been having some wonderful talks with my dad about what he has learned over the years from starting a church in our home, having it grow successfully at times reaching over 100 and pastoring for 26 years.  I've already blogged about the heart-felt love my dad had and the relation to Paul, in that, he didn't want to be burdensome to his flock by being supported.  Now, I will continue the story and I was amazed that this was even shared in a recent Bible study - God knows!

Although my dad didn't expect the support of his church those 26 years, it caused not only problems for himself and our family, but it caused his flock to become a people who didn't think the man of God deserved much.  They became callous and it even pained them to give my dad $100 a month.  Eventually, they conspired against my dad and brought in a man secretly to overtake my dad's church.  Thankfully, one of them clued my dad in to what was happening and my dad got up and preached a message to those people and resigned and walked out with my mom.

Growing up, we lived in what would be called poverty levels.  Here, was my dad running a church at one time reaching 120 members and we were struggling to eat.  If my mom ever got a new outfit, snide remarks would be made to her.  My parents kept a cheap, gray car because if it had color or was a new car, the people would surely think we were stealing from them.  Oh, how my parents suffered for a heartless people!  I asked God recently to bless my parents and pay off all their debts for what they endured for 26 years out of pure love to see souls saved!

Was this a good thing that my dad did?  Did he create such a people because he didn't teach them to support the man of God?  He sure did suffer and still does because for those 26 years when he should have been supported by his ministry, he dug a hole of debt that he is still in today.

Paul himself, later asked forgiveness for this wrong he had done to the Corinthians of not receiving support from them.

For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:13

The other churches gave support to Paul and this made the Corinth church inferior to them.  He noted it as a wrong but still didn't want anything of them but that rather they would be saved.  Maybe, Paul saw what kind of people it made them as the Corinth church was full of sin.  The Corinthians didn't get to get the blessing that comes with supporting a pastor and thereby he deprived them that blessing.  How similiar to what my dad experienced! What does this all teach us?

We should have a heart to support the man of God.  I'm of the belief and so is my dad, that a pastor should be the one who has ALL his material needs met!  He shouldn't even be without because we are obligated to that pastor's material needs because he takes care of our spiritual needs!  He is worthy of his hire!!  I personally think that the pastor should be the one with the nicest car, nicest house and clothes because how could we ever repay him for the sacrifice he makes for our OUR souls!

Those that have a problem with supporting a pastor by paying their tithes are surely full of greed, covetousness, jealousy and envy.  Their heart is not right, how could it be?  They are those that are caught up in money and covetousness.  That is why they have such a hard time with a minister having anything, they have an evil heart!  If they don't have it, they hate anyone that does have it!  Truly, they need to be saved because they have never had the love of God.

After a few years of healing from what has happened, my dad is ready to pastor again and he will expect that which is rightfully his and the people will be blessed by taking care of the man of God!  A Christian should always have a heart, not only to give God what is rightfully his (a tenth of all your increase), but also to support the man of God.  For what pastors suffer, it is but a small thing to give them material goods.  Also, don't forget that God ordained this system of support:

Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. ~ 1 Corinthians 9:14

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

No Time

A friend asked me to scan this for her after seeing it in my laundry room.  Our first pastor gave us a copy of this and its always a great reminder and I thought I would share it with you all as well.  Feel free to click on it and enlarge and save for your own use.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

3 Months of Meals in the Freezer!

Since I had the chicken enchiladas in 2 glass pie plates, it was harder this time to fit it all in the freezer but I did with room to spare!  I will go picture by picture on how I packed the freezer.....

1.  I freeze my 3 glass casserole dishes on the side ledge and divide them with cardboard so they don't get squished.  Then in the second photo, I'm showing you how I arrange the already frozen ziploc bags - standing up for easy access.  I freeze whatever I cook on a certain day in the tray on top and then when its frozen solid by next morning, I move it to the bottom.

2.  This was my first time using pie plates for a freezer meal - chicken enchiladas.  I had 2, so I came up with the idea to break apart a box and then place one on one side and then put the other side down and place it on top.  You can't see it in the photo, but I had another piece of cardboard folded into a triangle to keep the cardboard off the one on the bottom.  It worked perfectly!

3.  Next, I froze Friday's meals in the tray and moved them below on Saturday when they were frozen.

4.  Then on Saturday, I froze the meatloaves and beefy mac in the trays.  Notice how everything fits and there is still room under the tray on the left for more food!  All I have left to put in there is the mac n' cheese on Mon. night.

5.  Here are 2 shots of the freezer above the fridge.  This is where I store my spaghetti and pizza sauces, yeast, bananas for shakes, berries, junk food (yes, we occasionally eat junk), burritos, ice pack, ice, salmon patties, muffins, etc.  This week, I'm taking those 5 pounds of strawberries and making jam.  I'm actually going to move things around a bit in here next week but here is how it looks now:

I hope this helped show you how YOU can fit 3 months of meals in a small 5-cubic foot chest freezer!!  It's all in the packing!  We have packed a LOT of Uhaul's in our days - so we have learned a bit about making things fit and who knew it would benefit my freezer packing abilities lol. ;-)

Some have asked where we got our freezer.  We actually bought it from our 2nd pastor in Alaska, but you can find it here at Walmart for $199:

We have had this freezer, the Haier brand for 6-7 years now and it runs great.  We had a lot of ice build-up on the sides but hubby just chopped it off with a screwdriver and we melted it in the sink lol.  No need to turn it off and let it melt when it comes off so easily!  I keep mine on 2 and the food gets frozen solid as a rock.  I don't think I've ever used the highest setting of 3, don't see a need to.  The cost to run the freezer per YEAR is just about $20 on setting 2, I suppose its more like $26 a year on setting 3.  So cost is definitely not an issue here!  

You normally don't get freezer burn at all in a chest freezer, that is mostly limited to foods put in a freezer that is above a fridge.

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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Paul's Ultimate Goal - The Saving of Souls

I was thinking of my dad, who pastored a church he started from nothing for 26 years.  He didn't want to accept money from the congregation monthly but they did force him to take at least $100 a month.  He decided that he wanted to work and support himself and his family, rather than to live off the gospel (although he had a right to as the Bible states).  He told me years later he did that so that no one could say they made him rich or bought his house and his car, etc.  My dad would drive a modest car and dress us in Kmart specials lol.

I started reading about Paul and how he himself did the same thing.  I really dug into the account in 1 Corinthians 9 and wanted to share my study with you all.  Paul was a man to be admired!  He reminded me of my dad, in that, though he had the POWER; the right; to live off the gospel - he chose rather to make his own way as not to hinder the gospel.  Notice the verse that states this:

Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.  ~ 1 Cor. 9:12

Paul suffered and didn't live off the church to prevent the hindering of the gospel.  Now, you may say to yourself, HOW could he hinder the gospel by taking what is rightfully his?  He tells us in a later verse:

But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void. ~ 1 Cor. 9:15

Others couldn't say he was getting rich off of them or abusing the gospel for gain.  He didn't want to give an opportunity for anyone to try and destroy his ministry this way and therefore hindering the gospel.  He cared so much for souls and seeing others saved, that he didn't want to do anything to hinder that - even taking what was rightfully his.  He suffered for others!  Amazing!

Here is Barnes' commentary on the end of verse 15:

“Any man” would have made that “void,” if he had supported Paul; had prevented the necessity of his labor, and had thus exposed him to the charge of having preached the gospel for the sake of gain.

The charge of having preached the gospel for the sake of gain is one that is common today and sadly there are those that are doing just that!  You hear about them being arrested every few years because they were stealing money, getting rich of the gospel wrongfully and causing many to turn on the gospel because of their abuse of the gospel for gain.

I couldn't help but see the parallel of my dad and Paul.  My dad loved the people in his church so greatly that he refused to accept his rightfully-owed pay.  Yet, he spent 26 years of his life working a full-time job, pastoring a church and suffering to see souls saved.  He also spent hours crying and praying for those people that they don't know about but I remember.  I remember those times when my dad went up to the barn in the middle of the night to pray to God.  I remember the calls in the middle of the night and how he would rush out to help someone.  Things unseen and he did it all for others and not for money.

Where are men like these?  Ones that would even go so far as to not take what was rightfully theirs to prevent accusations such as Paul described because they loved souls more.  Paul said he made himself an example.  Notice what Peter said:

Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.  ~ 1 Peter 5:2-3

Ministers shouldn't pursue the gospel as an easy way to make a living but rather for the love of souls and out of willing heart to preach the gospel.  They also shouldn't "lord" over God's people but rather be an example to them.  The world "lord" here means to control or dominate.  I really like Wesley's commentary on this:

Behaving in a haughty, domineering manner, as though you had dominion over their conscience. The word translated heritage, is, literally, the portions. There is one flock under the one chief Shepherd; but many portions of this, under many pastors. But being examples to the flock - This procures the most ready and free obedience.

Most of the time, those that seek gain from the gospel are also guilty of being proud, controlling and domineering.  They have to be this way so that they can control the people and get the money.  In essence they are making profit off of other's consciences.  Thereby they prevent the people from giving money WILLINGLY and FREELY - the people give because they are forced by this mental dominance.

Later on in the passage, Paul says:

What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel. For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. ~ 1 Cor. 9:18-19

What is Paul's ultimate goal if he preaches without compensation, thereby escaping the accusation of the abuse of power in the gospel, and then making himself a servant to all??  SO THAT HE MIGHT GAIN MORE SOULS!  Wow!  Paul counts his reward, not as monetary, but rather that of winning souls for Christ. What an ultimate sacrifice for others!  Who could deny Paul's love for people?  He made himself a voluntarily slave for no gain to the saving of the souls of others!

Barnes' commentary sums it all up:

A heart warmed with zeal for God, and breathing after the salvation of men, will not plead and insist upon rights and privileges in bar to this design. Those manifestly abuse their power in the gospel who employ it not to edification but destruction, and therefore breathe nothing of its spirit.

Ministers that plead and insist upon the rights, lord over God's heritage only cause their own destruction.  They will create a people whose giving is unwillingly out of a heart of fear, guilt and obligation.  It will be a people most miserable and will only feed the pride and covetousness of the minister who is more interested in gaining wealth and "employees" rather than the saving of souls.

Part 2 - Blessings Deprived

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Being Wise in our Finances - Part 1

What does God have to say about finances in His Word?  We see numerous passages that God is against debt and the Christian shouldn't purposely pursue debt but I understand that certain uncontrollable situations (medical bills), can leave us chained up in debt.  It isn't the time to take a handout or to find ways to not pay back what you owe - it is the time to pray and see the mighty hand of God take care of that debt!

A lot of times, people's financial situations are the result of their own choices.  Let's say that an uncontrollable situation such as a hospitalization occurs to you as it did to me a few years ago.  Let me insert this in here - you SHOULD have had insurance instead of spending your money on fancy cell phones, new cars, etc. but we learned the hard way by being uninsured 4 years ago.  You are left with a $50,000 medical bill.  The hospital tells you about the charity program based on income and they send you the form to fill out.  You can sign that form, which asks for all your expenses (even tithes) and send it in hoping to get it written off telling them (as most of those charity forms state) that you CAN NOT and DO NOT have the money to pay that debt back.  Charity is for those who are really without, not for those who would rather spend their money on other things.  You are giving your word that you can't do it.  Can you honestly say that truthfully?  I couldn't and though it would have seemed the easy road out, I knew in my heart that God wanted us to pay our debts back that we owed.

The wicked borrows and does not repay, But the righteous shows mercy and gives. ~Psalm 37:21

Then we got to see the mighty hand of God move, got to receive his financial blessings and realized that we made the right choice.  I had gotten another bill and noticed that somehow $24,000 (can't remember exact, could have been $26,000) was missing on the bill.  I called to find out what had happened and the whole medical billing staff was stumped because they said, it was taken off our bill but there was no reason as to why, who did it or what.  But they verified to us, saying we didn't owe it and someone had taken care of it for us!  Talk about a hallelujah breakdown!  Who knows, maybe God did it LOL!  Still to this day, its a mystery but they said it was valid but they don't know who forgave that $24,000.  We continued making the rest of the payments over 4 years and repayed our debt.

What if we had taken the other road and got the handout lying and saying we couldn't pay the debt, when we knew we could have over years of payments?  I believe, as its so commonly seen, that we would have created our own financial disaster because God doesn't bless lying and not repaying your debts.  We wouldn't have gotten to see the hand of God move so miraculously and we wouldn't have LEARNED through discipline of paying a bill over so many years that we never wanted to be in debt again and go without health insurance!!

The above example is just one, but there are other scenarios you can imagine that lead people into their financial ruin as they go against the principles set up by God.  If you pay your tithe, give offerings and follow God's Word in your financial dealings - you will find that the overflowing of blessings never ending!

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