Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest.
One of the saddest realities facing our nation is that too many Americans are in debt and have no idea how they got there. Somewhere in our youth, we were convinced to be consumers – people buying things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t even like. As a result, we have failed to provide for both ourselves and our families because we are burdened by unnecessary debt. We are unable to buy a house or to save money for when emergencies happen, and we are often lacking necessities because we incurred debt spending credit on our pleasures and desires.
While there is nothing wrong with using credit responsibly, such as to purchase a home, it is wrong to mortgage our future for the sole purpose of gratifying our current desires. The latter use of credit goes against one of the consistent themes in the Bible – the idea of planning for the future. In today’s passage, we see King Solomon take an example from the animal world to show us the importance of saving and planning. The ant collects its food during the summer, when there are crops in abundance. There are ant colonies where this food is stored and, once the winter comes, the ants are free to eat and hibernate until the warm weather returns.
Like the ant, we should learn how to handle our finances so that during our youth, when we are at our highest earning potential, we can save money for a comfortable retirement. For those of us who are disciples of Jesus Christ, we should be employing the “10-10-80 Rule” when it comes to our finances – the first 10 percent of our income belongs to the Lord, the second 10 percent should be put in savings, and we should use the 80 percent to pay for our living expenses. If we start this plan as young people, we should be able to provide for ourselves and our families in old age. And if you are older, it is never too late to speak with a financial planner about what options are available so that you can meet your needs as a senior.
Consider the following questions:
- Have you ever made a budget? If you don’t know how, are you willing to learn?
- Have you learned the difference between a “need” and a “greed?” Can you distinguish between what is necessary in your life and what is a luxury?
- Are you aware of God’s promises in Malachi 3:6-12 to those who are faithful in tithing? Would you be willing to at least sit down with a person who tithes and ask whether they have experienced those promises?
Published on Jan 28 @ 3:13 AM EDT
Author: L.B. Cowman
“Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”
When we have doubts or are facing difficulties, when others suggest courses of action that are conflicting, when caution dictates one approach but faith another, we should be still. We should quiet each intruding person, calm ourselves in the sacred stillness of God’s presence, study His Word for guidance, and with true devotion focus our attention on Him.
We should lift our nature into the pure light radiating from His face, having an eagerness to know only what God our Lord will determine for us. Soon God will reveal, by His secret counsel, a distinct and unmistakable sense of His direction. It is unwise for a new believer to depend on this approach alone. He should wait for circumstances to also confirm what God is revealing. Yet Christians who have had many experiences in their walk with Him know the great value of the secret counsel of the Lord as a means of discerning His will.
Are you uncertain about which direction you should go? Take your question to God and receive guidance from either the light of His smile or the cloud of His refusal. You must get alone with Him, where the lights and the darkness of this world cannot interfere and where the opinions of others cannot reach you. You must also have the courage to wait in silent expectation, even when everyone around you is insisting on an immediate decision or action. If you will do these things, the will of God will become clear to you. And you will have a deeper concept of who He is, having more insight into His nature and His heart of love. All this will be your unsurpassed gift. It will be a heavenly experience, a precious eternal privilege, and the rich reward for the long hours of waiting. DAVID
Keep still! When trouble is brewing, keep still! When slander is getting on its legs, keep still! When your feelings are hurt, keep still till you recover from your excitement at any rate! Things look different through an unagitated eye. In a commotion once I wrote a letter and sent it and wished I had not. In my later years I had another commotion and wrote another long letter; my life had rubbed a little sense into me, and I kept that letter in my pocket until I could look it over without agitation, and without tears, and I was glad I did—less and less it seemed necessary to send it. I was not sure it would do any harm, but in my doubtfulness, I learned reticence, and eventually it was destroyed. Time works wonders!
Wait till you can speak calmly and then perhaps you will not need to speak. Silence is the most powerful thing conceivable, sometimes. It is strength in its grandeur; it is like a regiment ordered to stand still in the mad fury of battle. To plunge in were twice as easy. Nothing is lost by learning to keep still. HANNAH WHITALL SMITH
I do not believe we have even begun to understand the wonderful power there is in being still. We are in such a hurry, always doing, that we are in danger of not allowing God the opportunity to work. You may be sure that God will never say to us, “Stand still,” “Sit still,” or “Be still,” unless He is going to do something. This is our problem regarding the Christian life: we want to do something to be Christians, instead of allowing Him to work in us. Think of how still you stand when your picture is being taken, as the photographer captures your likeness on film. God has one eternal purpose for us: that we should be “conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29 KJV). But in order for that to happen, we must stand still. We hear so much today about being active, but maybe we need to learn what it means to be quiet. Perhaps we simply need to learn to be still and watch God work out the details that challenged us so greatly and caused us so much distress. You will find that He works wonders if we can just still our hearts and sit before Him until He speaks.
Oh Lord, You know my heart better than I know it myself. You know my struggles and You hold each hope and fear in Your caring hands. Teach me, LORD, to be still and to know that You are God. I trust in You alone. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.
An excerpt from the book: "Streams in the Desert: Morning and Evening"
Published on Jan 31 @ 12:46 AM EDT