money


This is almost humerous but it rings true what with all the databases out there that have your information. the grocery store has those little VIP Store cards that if you use will allow you to save a percentage on you bill… at the cost of your purchase being added to their database about your buying habits. Not to mention credit card purchases, credit reports, bank statements, HMO records, dentist records, hospital records, military records, police records and the lists go on infinitely, everyday a new list, a new way to catalogue you and your habits. As you read this say hello to the guys and gals in Foggy bottom.

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.youtube.com posted with vodpod

 

It is ironic that the very ones who pried open the lid of our Judicial system are the very ones who are now trying to nail it back on.  The natural response to anarchy is totalitarian rule. So it is easy to see how we have gotten to this point from say… the Sixties and Seventies.   Now, it’s hard to see how we can claim to be a democratic republic given we can only choose from only two parties which are running politicians whose image is more important than their character and substance.  There are no more statesmen who hold the best interest of the nation above their own political ambitions.  So, in order for the politicos to retain their power they have to have a victimized society which they can “care” for and pander to.  This is the enevitable result…

Reporting live frome the Village, I’m Number 6.

 

We’re run by the Pentagon, we’re run by Madison Avenue, we’re run by television, and as long as we accept those things and don’t revolt we’ll have to go along with the stream to the eventual avalanche… As long as we go out and buy stuff, we’re at their mercy. We’re at the mercy of the advertiser and of course there are certain things that we need, but a lot of the stuff that is bought is not needed…   We all live in a little Village… Your village may be different from other people’s villages but we are all prisoners.”   Cult TV (UK): “An Interview with Patrick McGoohan”, conducted by Warner Troyer, March 1977

From The Prisoner

“Where am I?”
“In the Village.”
“What do you want?”
“Information.”
“Whose side are you on?”
“That would be telling…. We want information. Information! INFORMATION!”
“You won’t get it.”
“By hook or by crook, we will.”
“Who are you?”
“The new Number Two.” 
“Who is Number One?”
“You are Number Six.”
“I am not a number — I am a free man!”
                                                                 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prisoner

Pack up the kids and the family fortune ‘cause we’re off to the cinema.

Admission to the movie $$$. Popcorn (popped maze, fluffy Styrofoam, proof that with salt and butter one can make anything palatable) $$$$$ (… I’m glad that mortgage lender was still available to approve the third loan on the house so we could afford the popcorn , of course the sub-prime loan debacle began subsequent to that loan, hhmmmm??) and a Drink $$$$ (anything with that much salt requires a beverage). Having to take a second job to pay for it all… priceless.

“What be this bleating in mine ears???” Baaa, Baaaa. Ah, a flock of sheep; all queued up for their ration of salted, buttered, Styrofoam and caffeinated, colored sugar water to wash it all down. (And for those disillusioned few who believe they have escaped the prison of said sheep fold, I offer exhibit A to the court, bottled H2O. Only the worst of prisoners are restricted to Styrofoam and water rations.

I watch, mesmerized, as one sheep followed the other and each was fleeced, right there at the counter. Then they walk away with a goofy self-satisfied grin that flies in the face of the fact that they have just squandered a full 1/3 of their children’s college education fund. Baaa, Baaaa! “Next!” and I take my turn at the shearing.

What movie could be so compelling I would risk financial and gastronomic ruin to attend? None other than that cinematic epic of popular culture, that masterpiece of film making, none other than that icon of hip, debonair and coolness…(I get goose bumps just thinking about it)… give it up for, “Alvin and the Chipmunks!” aaaaaahhhhh!! Woooo hooo!

As I sat there taking one for the team (so-to-speak) a great line from another strain on my budget came to mind and I settled in like a penguin on the beach in Madagascar, “Smile and wave boys, Smile and wave.”

Then it began to dawn on me, hey! this is a pretty good commentary on popular culture and on the Hollywood entertainment machine in general. It was heartening to see someone actually expose (albeit in a backhanded, under the radar manner) the star machine for the meat factory it is and the industry moguls for prostitutes they are. Wow! This reality thing has gone from Survivor, to the Biggest Loser, to Smarter than a 5th Grader, to Alvin and the big screen. Reality meets fantasy in a surreal rock-u-mentary featuring the meteoric rise to stardom of three striped rodents.

To be honest, without the trite remarks, the movie did a good job of showing the pitfalls of life without boundaries, My radar clicked on when the antagonist said, “There is only one rule…. There are no rules!” That is the essence of our present pop culture, No rules! No boundaries! Freedom! Complete autonomous freedom leads to anarchy. Alvin and the Boys were a fantastic visual representation of that truth. More of the, “If it works for you then it is ok,” mentality. One only has to look at Lindsey and Britney and a host of other pop icons to see the natural outcome of complete autonomous freedom. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, especially when it is given at the personal level.

So, all in all, I would have to give the rodents a thumb’s up. It may not be Oscar material but it is a good springboard to initiate conversation with your children concerning boundaries, rules and what true freedom means.

MoneyI am writing this post to encourage us all to consider what God has to say about money.  A few years ago I found myself in some financial trouble and decided to research each of the Bible references regarding finances.  I discovered the Bible has a lot to say about this subject.  This post is a brief synopsis of some of the Scriptures that have been a help to me as I have sought to honor God with my resources. 

One of the basic principles of Scripture is that God owns everything. (Haggai 2:8; Psalm 50:9-10)  We know as the Creator (Hebrews 11:3) he ultimately has the right to demand our time, talents and resources be spent for His glory.  I Corinthians 6:19-20 teaches that all we are is His.  Should the creation say to the Creator, “I will take what you have made from you and use it only for my pleasure?”   This principle of God’s ownership is basic to understanding how to handle our money God’s way.

Another principle from Scripture that is foundational when it comes to money is that God gives and takes away as He pleases.  (Job 1:21)  God is sovereign in this physical matter just as He is in spiritual matters.   This truth will remind us not to take pride in our monetary successes. (I Corinthians 4:7; Deuteronomy 8:18)  This will also help us not to worry in failure if we’ve done our best. (Matthew 6:26) 

A third Scriptural principle is that God does often entrust wealth to the faithful. (Matthew 25:21, 24-30; I Corinthians 4:2)  A man or woman of God who can have wealth and use it as God would desire, without becoming enslaved by its power, is truly a faithful steward.  We should all strive to be worthy of this honor, not simply to gain God’s material blessing, but so that we might be used to further His kingdom.

A fourth Biblical principle is that God wants us to earn a living.  (I Timothy 5:8)  Proverbs 11:1 teaches that a wise man delights in good business.  Proverbs 28:19 says a wise man delights in hard work and Proverbs 21:20  commends a wise man for delighting in saving his money for the future (Proverbs 30:25).  Also, Proverbs 24:3 says a wise man delights in planning and being prepared. (Proverbs 6:8;22:3)

Here are some guidelines of what to do with God’s money when He gives it to us:

  • Know where you stand by developing a family budget. (Proverbs 27:23)  This will help you know if you are able to save or if you are spending too much.  Also, determine if you have enough of an emergency fund (at least 3 months of aafter-tax income). (Proverbs 6:8)  Christians have often brought reproach on the name of Christ when they are not prepared financially for the unexpected.  Ask yourself, do you have unsecured debt?  Tackle your highest interest rate first and pay down your unsecured debt as soon as possible. (Romans 13:8)  As Christians, we are to be ready to do whatever God commands and be free to follow his lead.  We can’t do this if we have debts that we couldn’t easily pay off.  Finally determine if you are protected against catastrophes?  Do you have adequate health/life insurance, disability insurance, and long-term care insurance?  While these were not available in Bible times, we see principles from Scripture that would lead us to protect our families from these financial “catastrophes”. (Proverbs 22:3)   
  • Realize how much is enough and learn to say “no”. (Philippians 4:12)  You don’tnecessarily need to take that higher paying position or that extra job.  Buying a new car is not always necessary.  But this is not popular in our culture today.  Covetousness is rampant in the 21st century, to deny this is to proverbially hide your head in the sand.  Scripture doesn’t condemn desiring money.  But it does condemn loving money.  Your motives are the key.  (I Timothy 6:10)  
  • Control your spending.  (Galatians 5:22-23) Ask yourself, “Do I really need that thing?” and “Is there something God wants me to do with His money besides buy that thing?” (I Co 10:28)
  • Set up your work before you establish your home. (Proverbs 24:27)  It is better to go on to college and establish your career before you marry and have children.
  • Never cosign a loan you’re not ready to pay! The Bible strictly warns against this.  (Proverbs 17:18)
  • Give generously, freely and sacrificially to those in need (I John 3:17) and give a tithe (tenth) of your income to God’s work at your local church.  The tithe was actually a form of taxation among the Jews during Old Testament times.  (Leviticus 27:30, Deuteronomy 12:6, Deuteronomy 14:28)  While the tithe was not specifically commanded to the church by the apostles, the principle of giving to God’s work still applies. And 10% is only a starting point.  The early church gave all they had! (I Corinthians 16:1-2; II Corinthians 9:5-7)  They gave until it caused them personal suffering, they gave sacrificially.  (II Corinthians 8:2-3)

In 1744 John Wesley wrote, “When I die if I leave behind me ten pounds… you and all mankind can bear witness against me, that I have lived and died a thief and a robber.” When he died in 1791, the only money mentioned in his will was the miscellaneous coins to be found in his pockets and dresser drawers. Most of the 30,000 pounds he had earned in his lifetime he had given away. As Wesley said, “I cannot helping leaving my books behind me whenever God calls me hence; but in every other respect, my own hands will be my executors.”  Wesley believed as one’s income goes up so should his standard of giving, not his standard of living.

I believe if we follow these principles in handling money we will be blessed and bring honor to Christ Jesus.  May we apply these Scriptures to our lives so that we can bring more glory to Him.