Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Two things I ask

My girls are blessed with the treasures of beautiful children's Bibles that their great-grandmother gave them for Christmas this past year.

They often ask me to read them. My oldest, at night before bed, especially enjoys having me look up new things to praise God for based on scripture. This morning my youngest brought me a stack of books to read, including her Bible, so I started with that. I randomly opened it to Proverbs 30 and started reading in verse 5. I actually really like the simple language of the International Children's Bible version -

"Every word of God can be trusted. He protects those who come to him for safety. Do not add to his words. If you do, he will correct you and prove that you are a liar. I ask two things from you, Lord. Don't refuse me before I die. Keep me from lying and being dishonest. And don't make me either rich or poor. Just give me enough food for each day. If I have too much, I might reject you. I might say, 'I don't know the Lord.' If I am poor, I might steal. Then I would disgrace the name of my God."

What a treasure those four verses are!

"Every word of God can be trusted." We can't be reminded often enough that EVERY word of God can CAN BE trusted. When I read the Bible I don't have to wonder if it is true, if he will keep his promises, if it is really relevant to me. IT IS!!! The more I read and learn and know Him and experience Him I can attest that he is a trustworthy God. Since the beginning of time Satan's biggest lie and temptation is that God cannot be trusted. To this day he tries to tempt us all in the same way. I do not want to fall for that lie.

"Do not add to his words. If you do, he will correct you and prove that you are a liar."  I laughed to myself reading this verse. All I could think of was that crazy Brother John/Family Radio guy predicting the end of the world last month. The Bible is SO CLEAR that NO ONE knows the "final day" and for anyone that dares to come up with supposed new revelation, God will prove him a liar. Yup, that's what happened!

"I ask two things from you, Lord...Keep me from lying and being dishonest. And don't make me either rich or poor."  The more I thought about these the more I realized they sort of boil down my own priorities. To keep me from lying and being dishonest - my character and integrity are so important to me. Not because of who it makes me but because of my how life reflects Jesus. He is always true, always right, always just. If I claim to be a follower of him and I am not like him than I am a hypocrite.  I ask that God would continually make me more and more like him.

Just last night Darren and I were discussing our finances. You know when you get to those financial crossroads and have to make big decisions that will seriously affect your future. Being a financial advisor, he is very thorough in planning for all of our considerations. He's got a great handle on our monthly budget, our net worth (personal balance sheet - assets vs. liabilities), considers current and future value of money in every decision, how it affects cash flow, etc etc etc... While all his spreadsheets and illustrations are very helpful to me in understanding the big picture and all the details, I sometimes find too much information confusing! Just when I start to feel a leaning in one direction, he brings up another angle for consideration and then I start my processing all over again. I just have to ask God to give me assurance and peace about the right decision. And he does.

Quite a few times last night we discussed what we could do vs. what we should do. If we can afford a bigger house, should we? If we can afford a new car, should we? What truly are our priorities? Reading these verses really confirmed some things for me. "Don't make me rich or poor...If I have too much I might reject you." I can't see money causing either of us to reject God but it provides the temptation to rely it instead of God. One of our decisions last night involved discussing our cash savings - how much of a "buffer" are we comfortable with? We are both pretty conservative and like to keep our savings account nicely padded.  But to what degree are we relying on that buffer instead of God? Maybe the wisest decision is to invest more of that than we are comfortable with and trust that God will provide should emergencies arise?

"If I am poor, I might steal. Then I would disgrace the name of my God." I've never been truly poor. I've lived very modestly but never have I wondered where my next meal would come from or how we'd make our rent or mortgage payment. I am truly blessed. As we have saught God's wisdom concerning our money, he has always provided for our needs.  But the attitude of the author (Agur son of Jakeh says verse 1) is one I found interesting. The reason he does not want to be poor is not because of the difficulty he will suffer, but because he will be tempted to sin and thus disgrace God as a result. No matter what my financial position, I want the way I use my resources to glorify Him. I don't want money to cause me to sin.

The end of verse 8 says, "Just give me enough food for today." Sounds familiar...oh yeah - as Jesus taught his disciples how to pray in Matthew 6, verse 11 says, "Give us this day our daily bread." Or in my daughter's Bible, "Give us the food we need for each day." That really is the perfect position. To have what we need and trust God for the future.

Today my prayer is the same as Agur's. Two things I ask of you God: 1. Keep me honest. 2. Provide what I need for today and give me wisdom to make financial decisions that honor You. (Okay, so that's sort of three things, but whatever.)

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