Monday, July 21, 2014

Things that Change, Things that Stay the Same

            Well, we’ve been in Costa Rica just over ten months now. I got to thinking (all the time) about these past months and how it’s affected me.

Things That Have Changed:
1. I am less time conscious as I go to sleep when I’m tired (typically 8 or 8:30pm) and wake up when I’m done sleeping (typically 5:30 or 6 am). My day is not dictated by alarms or bells.
2. I am the early riser in our household. I’m getting up at least an hour (if not more) before Lucas each day and he’s staying up at least an hour than me each night.
3. My speaking has slowed down. I have trouble fully expressing myself as my sentences have more errors, more mispronunciations, and more stammering. Many times, I know the words I want to say, but I can’t express them with my “gringo-mouth.”
4. Our meals are centered around rice, beans, chicken, and fresh fruits & veggies.
5. I stopped making menus (since I am keeping the basic staples well stocked).

            Things That Have Stayed the Same:
1. I make lists & follow them.
2. I learn best through seeing words & studying the books.
3. Lucas is still the more social one of the two of us. 
4. I plan for the future & try to maintain routines.

While some of my behaviors & patterns have changed, my core personality has stayed the same. It's hard to believe that we've been here so long & that we only have two months left.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Why it's Biblical (yet practically unamerican) to Give Away Your Wealth

The American culture is largely one of consumerism and materialism. We hear the chorus to "buy it now", "buy it on credit", "buy it without delay". To delay your gratification while you save up the money for the purchase is considered abnormal. Millions join in the quest to earn more, achieve that promotion, and buy more stuff.

To give away your money to others is practically unamerican. Yet it's Biblical to do so.

Why am I generous with my time, money, and stuff?
1. It's not mine. I'm a steward of some of God's resources. God gives us the ability to work and therefore earn money. Everything comes from God, including what we have. (1 Chronicles 29:14 and Deuteronomy 8:17-18)
2. I'm blessed to bless others. We are blessed to be a blessing to others. (Genesis 12:2)
3. We are rich to be generous and our generosity brings glory, praise, and thanksgiving to God. (2 Cor. 9:10-11)
4. It can be an idol. Greed is listed as belonging to the earthly nature, along with immorality, impurity, and evil desires. Greed is idolatry. Immoral, impure, or greedy people have not part in the Kingdom of God. (Colossians 3:5 and Ephesians 5:5)
5. It can keep me from realizing my need for God. If I have enough money, I don't cry out to God in difficult situations. (Rev. 3:16-17)
6. I need to share. We should give out of our abundance to those with less and not extort money from others. (Luke 3:7-14)
7. Jesus told us, "WHEN you give to the needy," do it like this. Not if, but when. Treasures on earth won't last, but heavenly treasures will. Don't be greedy, don't be stingy, but be generous. We can't follow both God and money. Who do you want to serve? God will provide our needs (food, drink, clothes, etc.) if we seek His kingdom first. (Matthew 6)
 8. I can be content or love money. (Hebrews 13:5)
9. It's a trap!! Following the road to wealth leads to temptations, traps, and foolish/harmful desires that lead to ruin and destruction. The love of money is the start of all kinds of evil. It can draw people away from the faith. (1 Timothy 6:9-10)
10. It won't bring satisfaction. If you love money, you'll always want more and more and more. (Ecclesiastes 5:10)

Today I urge you to:
Be generous.
Tithe 10% of your income.
See how little you can live on.
Give to organizations that help those with less.