Tag Archives: WEALTH STORED FOR THE RIGHTEOUS

Wealth Stored for the Righteous-Part 19: “I Can Read!”

Hi Friends:
As the author of the continuing series “Wealth Stored for the Righteous,” I am always thinking about things we are blessed with, yet seem, so often, to take for granted.

Only recently, while in prayer, I “just happened to remember” that I was thankful for … the ability to read … What a tremendous blessing, just to be able to pick up a book, a piece of paper, see a sign or billboard … and, be able to read all of the words. What a blessing this is. Even as I prayed, thankfully, for this ability and gift, I was surprised how seldom I had actually, physically, said “thank you” for this ability and gift.

Eventually, we’ll get to the “Freedom of the Press” we enjoy in this country (which so many around the world don’t have), but, for now, I’m just thankful that I can read.

I’m thankful that I was raised to appreciation the written word. To appreciation books. And, to appreciation authors. In fact, I can remember spending many, many hours with my brothers and sisters playing the card game of “Authors.” Remember that game? I’ll try to remember to write an “I Remember” feature story on the game.

Once again, I find myself being thankful for the way I was raised.

It’s true: Parents who read have children who read. Parents who love books will have children who love books.
Yes, you could say the same thing about prayer, but, for now, the emphasis is on the example set by parents, to instill within their children the love of books, and of reading.

Could the following just be a coincidence?
Is it a coincidence that my first side job, after moving to the North Country, was at the College Bookstore?
Is it a coincidence that, after earning my Degree in Theology, I would earn Certification as a Library Media Specialist?
Is it a coincidence that, just today, I left the High School Library, traveled to another Library, and discussed “Library” for 3 hours?
Is it a coincidence that all of my siblings also have large book collections?
Is it a coincidence that these same siblings buy and sell used books, and I consider them to be experts in finding valuable books?
The list goes on and on, but I’ll just add this one:
Many writers, and other public figures, name their homes.
Before moving to the North Country (an operation we code-named “Operation Iceberg”), we named our home “Destiny.”
Yes, Destiny.
Do you know what our School Library Inventory/Collection Management Program/System is called?
Destiny.

By the way, my Beloved Sister had one of the largest collections of books I’ve ever seen. Among my most prized possessions are many of those books, tucked away, yes, but still I have them … has it been that long ago??? … I still have those books, and, sometimes, I’ll open up one of the totes, get out a book, yes, smell the pages, check out the pages for all of those passages she had underlined, and made “side-notes” beside … and … and … just clutch them … hold them … lovingly … tenderly … to my chest … I may not actively read them, but I will always have them … I will always have them …

There are so many quotes about the importance of books, both to the individual, and to society as a whole.
The same can be said about the value of reading.
I’ll mention just one, and, even though it’s so obvious, either I couldn’t remember who first said it, or it was just an original quote I thought I had first come up with:
“Readers are Leaders.” I’ve used this for years, even to the point of printing bookmarks with this quote on it.
After researching this quote, I found a longer version from President Harry S. Truman:
“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”

I don’t remember hearing this quote before, and, just now, located the source. While not remembering if I’d ever heard the original quote or not, I do know this: While reading several “self-help/self-improvement/inspirational-motivational books, I did learn that one quality which all successful men share, is that they are readers. So, that must have been where I got the idea, first, for my “short-quote.”

Again, this is not, necessarily, about books, the right or wrong kind of books … just the fact that it is such a blessing to be able to have the ability to read, and, having just this one ability, can lead to so much further blessing, understanding, and action.

So, as I researched this, I did the Google Search:
“What percentage of the world’s population can read?”

The number is somewhere around 80%. That sounds, on the surface, really good. However (why is there always an “however?), this still means that there are well over 700 Million people around the world who can’t read. Closer to home, I also learned that over 32 Million Americans can’t read. There are a lot of statistics out there, but I was especially troubled by a statistic I read that stated that around 80% of US families did not buy a book in the last year.

By the way, yes, I do enjoy audio books. Especially if they are “dramatized versions.” Just thought I’d throw that in. In fact, at some point, the plan is to produce our own audio books.
I am asked, often, how I personally feel about Digital Books. For simplicity, let’s call them “Kindle” Books.

I can appreciate their purpose, and understand why so many people enjoy them. The “night light,” the fact that they can change (meaning to enlarge) the size of the print, and they can carry an entire Library on one, small device.

However (there’s that word again), I guess I’m just from the Old School. I love the smell of the pages. I love the feel of the book. I love turning the pages. I love placing the bookmark, closing the book, and, lovingly, placing the book where I can see it … looking forward to the next time I can get back to it. I love the smell of the pages (I may have already written that). I have even noticed that the smell of the pages have changed over time. The other day, I was going through a collection of books from the 1960’s and 70’s, and, well, of course, I brought the book up to my face, thumbed through the pages at “nose-length,” and … just the memories it brought back.

I really love the Bible on … on … let’s just say, “Audio Bible.” I was going to write “Bible on Tape,” or “Bible on Cassette,” but many of our audience may not know what that is. I even have Sermons on LP/Album/Record … but, I won’t go there, for the same reason.

Here’s a short rhyme I just got:
“God’s Word is meant to be heard.”
Of course, I agree … but, it is also meant to be read.
Pray More.
Study More.
Be More.

A final thought about Digital Bibles: There are many places where someone would be arrested, even killed, for reading a Bible in public. However … in these places, digital Bibles can be read, without anyone noticing. This is a large ministry, worldwide, in those nations (so many, many of them) which are hostile/dangerous to Christians.

Once again, I remind that this is not about freedom, necessarily, but the ability to, read. I’m thinking that that’s something “they can’t take away.”

You know how you’ll go to the Mall, and everyone splits up … to meet again in, like, 3 hours?
I’m the one, who, 3 hours later … is still at the Book Store.
Just drop me off at the Book Store … I’m not ashamed of that. In fact, I’m proud of that.
To hold a book.
To smell a book.
To carry a book into the Repair Shop, and not worry about “how long it takes.”
I’m not ashamed of that. I’m proud of that.
I can read.

Oh … okay … there is one more quote I’d like to share with you. I even have this on a tee shirt, hanging behind me, at the Library.
It is a quote from Mark Twain, and I write it now, from memory:
“The man who does not read good books, has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.”

I am so blessed … just to have the ability to read. I thank God that “I can read!”
Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

Here’s a direct link to the entire series so far:
Wealth Stored for the Righteous

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Wealth Stored for the Righteous-Part 18: “Attention Shoppers!”

Hi Friends:

We are back to the series “in which, yes, we are thankful for what our Heavenly future holds, but, let’s not forget all of the benefits … all of the blessings … we have, in our life right now, which, often, we take for granted …”

I think that many of the blessings we enjoy are things and activities which we do … so often … things we have to do, that they become a “chore;” that we just don’t realize how blessed we are, just to be able to do these “chores.” High on this list is a chore, a “have-to” activity, done weekly, or even more often:

The opportunity, the ability, to just go out and buy groceries. To have “Grocery Stores” available to us, with such a variety of products. We can just go in, choose what we want, and leave … without incident. This “without incident” is important. Think of the situation so much of the world is in, right now. Just the ability to “go out without incident” is a pretty rare thing in a lot of countries around the globe. How blessed we are in this country, and in many countries, just to be able to “go out” and shop … where we want, and when we want. What a blessing this is! What an opportunity so many don’t have.

There is an example I’d like to share, which really brought this thinking on. Several years ago, our Pastor told this story:
This, again, was several years ago, and it was during a time when, in Russia, there were massive food shortages. Remember? People were lined up … lined up for blocks … just to get bread, or other basic food necessities. It was a terrible time in Russia, and we saw all this on the nightly news.
Our Pastor, like so many Pastors, worked a “regular job.” This is one of the reasons we try to do all we can to honor Pastors. So many we’ve known, have held down full-time jobs, while serving as Full-Time Pastors. Our Pastor worked in a grocery store. He had worked in a grocery store pretty much all his life, and was a manager when he received the call to preach. So, when God called him to a small town, many miles away … in order to support his family while beginning this new Work … he worked at a local grocery store.

One day, a lady, from Russia, came into the store, accompanying the friends she was visiting, here in America. This grocery store was laid out like all grocery stores, set up so that the first department you had to walk through was the Produce Section. In a marketing course I once took, I learned there is a reason that all grocery stores are set up this way. Anyway … our Pastor was working the Produce Department on this particular day. This lady, visiting here in America, during the time of a national food shortage in her home country, walked through the entrance of the store, veered to the right (notice it is always to the right), and the first Section she saw, in this American grocery store, was the produce department. She passed out. She fainted. She really did. She was so overwhelmed by what she saw, she just “shut down.” Fainted. Passed out. Overwhelmed. She could not comprehend how so much food … how so many choices … were available … She could just reach out and pick out … whatever she wanted … Where were the crowds … the pushing and shoving … the mass hysteria …???
I wonder … how many people … in that grocery store at that exact moment … were complaining? How about the “line” at checkout? I would image … once this lady revived … she could have told us about what a “grocery/food line” really looked like.

I think of two things as I write this: Knowing the outlay of the store, I know that the Deli Department would be the next section she would have encountered. All that fresh bread … all that fresh food … all those choices … All those people at the Deli Counter looking like they had better things to do than stand in this line … Somehow, she must have made it through. The other thing I think of, is this: I’m not knocking this particular grocery store, as they do have a fine Produce Department … but, I think about the first time, down in Rhode Island, when I walked into a “Whole Foods” Market for the first time. I must have spent an hour just in the Produce Department! At least! It was like a world tour of produce. I think … had this lady … from Russia … walked into this Store … well, they would have had to send an ambulance, at least …

How blessed we are. Maybe it’s because of this lady’s story, but, I never complain about going to the grocery store. I go down every aisle, whether I need anything there, or not. By the way, in the South, when you go to the grocery store, you call it, “go get groceries” or “grocery shopping.” In the North, it’s always called, “Food Shopping.” And, those grocery carts? In the North, they are called “carriages.” Just thought I’d throw that in. Yes, we all complain about prices, I guess. And, how about this, in the middle of this story: How often have we complained about the selection? Not enough brands. Not enough choices. I wonder how this lady would respond to our complaints over the pains of grocery shopping in the United States?

I never complain about the price of gas, because I know how much “the rest of the world” has been paying for gas for several years now …

A word about shortages: I can remember only a few “shortages” in my time. I think about how that must sound to those growing up in the World War II years, for example. How the word “ration” was part of their daily existence. How blessed we are! Right now! My first job, in fact, my first 2 jobs, were in a grocery store. I remember during this time, and I was still in my early teens, there was a “sugar shortage.” Remember? The cost of a 5 lb. bag of sugar “went through the roof.” There was a huge outcry from the public. I remember clearly, as I worked, bagging groceries. People just quit buying sugar. They did. What happened? Suddenly … the price went down … and, there was, suddenly, plenty of sugar to go around. It seems like there was another shortage I can remember, but I can’t quite remember if this was around the same time. But, at one time, I remember a shortage of peanut butter. Yes, peanut butter. A shortage. I remember it. Seems like the same thing happened, as happened to bring the sugar shortage to an end.

That’s it, the shortages I can remember. Of course, this doesn’t include the gasoline shortage. This was something we all remember. I can, so clearly remember, the statement that “Gas will never go up to over 1.00!” Never! Ever! Remember the lines at the pump? The certain days when you couldn’t buy gas?
I also remember this statement from that period: “As soon as gas went up over 1.00, suddenly, there was plenty of it.”

While I am writing about this lady from Russia, there is something else I remember, from hearing about her visit here, and it directly relates to this series, and how we take for granted, what so many people around the world just don’t have. Remember that this lady was staying with friends here in the United States, during a time of great turmoil in her home country.
You know how, when you take a bath, you drain the water?
And, when you finish doing the dishes, you drain the water?

Well, this lady, as she helped with the dishes … she was appalled when, after the dishes were done … the water was drained … What? What? She didn’t understand, and, as she watched the dirty dish water empty out, she exclaimed, “What are you doing???” Why aren’t you saving that water???
In her home country … there was also a water shortage … how could we possibly just drain out water we could use again???

Should I even mention her reaction when she discovered that, after someone bathes … they drain the dirty bath water?
She, literally, could not fathom such a waste of precious water. Precious water, which could be used. Again, and again.
How blessed are we?

I just got home from the Grocery Store. Our small town has a local grocer, and there is a “big” grocery store in the adjoining town, about 5 miles away. I am thankful to have the choice to frequent both, and that I get a sales paper from each … which determines which one I visit that particular week. Yes, one “large-chain” grocery store closed here a few years ago, and we still have that “big-box” store, where I can buy bags of dirt, and lettuce … and, check out at the same register.
We are blessed. We don’t have what many have, the choices and all. But, I am thankful for the choices we do have. Plus, if I want to save another 10.00 on groceries … I have the choice to drive, “without incident,” to other grocery stores in the region. My choice. I love it when I hear someone brag about how much they saved by driving 70 miles, and spent half a day … to get those veggies on sale!!! Saved 5.00!

It seems so silly to complain about any shopping experience we have, given the freedoms we enjoy, which so many don’t. My major complaint about my “gettin’ groceries” today is those “fridge-packs” of soda. Made to fit right in on that bottom drawer. Perfect! They have been out for several years … and, I still haven’t opened one right, yet! Today, I decided to change my luck, and, finally, learn the secret to opening one. They open, I see from the examples, where you can get one out at a time. It didn’t work this time, either. There are perforations to make it easy, but, to tear open from the perforations … I haven’t got it right yet … today, I set the “fridge-pack” on its side (pretty smart, I thought), and, as I tore apart from the perforations … I took out the spice rack from the wall …

I remember attending a lecture a few years ago about primitive cultures. How that they were “hunters and gatherers.” And, how we are, still today, hunters and gatherers. We just hunt for the bargains, and then we go to a certain location (the grocery store) and gather.
We are so blessed, just to have the opportunity to hunt and gather, without incident, in our country.

As a bonus, getting back to the story of the Russian lady, let us thank God, every day, for running water, for running hot water, for electricity, and for so many other things we take for granted. Every day. We are so blessed.

Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

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“Double Debit Indebtedness”- Part Two

Hi Friends:

It was this past August, and Carol and I were returning from a trip to Georgia. As we traveled up Highway 93 North, we stopped at the newly remodeled/rebuilt New Hampshire Visitors Center in Hooksett. They did a great job on it, making it a combination of shopping/dining/gas stations and a New Hampshire History Museum. I spent a long time at the exhibits, and wanted to spend more time, but we wanted to get home by dark, as we have to travel through moose country on the last leg of the journey home.

As I stepped off of the curb, into the parking lot, I glanced down at the pavement … yes … always on the lookout for that penny … but, this time, I saw something much more: It was a shiny Bank Debit Card. As I reached down and picked it up (sub-consciously looking around to see if I was noticed), I saw that it was a Business Debit Card. I noted that it looked fairly new, and it was still well within the expiration date. I then took my wallet out, and placed it inside, for safe-keeping.

Here’s the first thought that I had:
I was glad that I was the one who found it.
I was glad that the owner didn’t have to worry about someone using their lost card.
I know full well, as I never carry cash and always use the same type of card for transactions, which, these days, if the amount of the debit is under a set amount, you don’t even have to sign the receipt.
As a “card-carrying” businessman myself, I know full well the possibilities, and the concern which a lost card can bring.

I thought about how long we were at the Welcome Center … I would safely guess that it was the longest period of time we’d ever spent at one of these stops. It seemed to “be arranged” that we would step off that curb at just the exact, right time. It’s hard to imagine someone seeing the card and not picking it up … regardless of motive. It must have “just been dropped” … just before we headed out.

Anyway, I am thankful, as I wrote in Part One, that I was raised to be honest. I remember, as I thought about the “coincidence” of us finding the card, how thankful I was to have been given the opportunity to bless someone we didn’t know, just by being honest.

First thing the next morning, I called the telephone number listed on the back of the card, and explained about finding the card. The Bank was in Massachusetts, and no one had called, yet, about the card being missing. Somehow, that made me more grateful to have found it. If the wrong person had found the card, and it wasn’t noticed to be missing for a while … well, I was glad I found it.

I really didn’t want to give my name or any information; I just wanted to report the card. However, there was something else that moved me to at least give my name and telephone number. I wanted whoever owned the card to know that there are still honest people in the world. You just never know how your actions, even small, may affect someone else in a positive way. I know that regardless of how I am treated by someone, or I see people who act in a negative way, how much it blesses me to see someone who was “raised right.” It encourages me to “keep on keeping on.”
So, I gave my contact information, and explained to the man at the Bank why.

Later that day, when I came back in the house from Summer chores, there was a message on the answering machine. I recognized the name from the name on the Card. He left his telephone number. Again … I thought about not calling … I really didn’t want to. It was no big deal to me, it was just something you do. Period. But, I got that same feeling about someone else knowing that there are still honest people in the world … so I called.

What are the chances? The man’s Bank was headquartered in Massachusetts, but he lived in New Hampshire. He had been traveling to spend some time with his son in college. Somehow, he noticed something about me, just from the way I talked: That I was a Christian. Then, he confirmed that, he too, was a Christian. What are the chances? In our conversation, of course, he thanked me. Right off the bat, I told him how thankful I was to have been “raised right,” and explained to him my motive for wanting him to know that, yes, there are still honest people in the world.

That was in late August. Now, it’s the Labor Day Weekend. It’s the Saturday of the Holiday, and of course, I spent the day at School. Leaving the School, I did something I hardly ever do: I stopped at the local Bank branch to take some cash out of the ATM. By the way, do you know why they call it an ATM? Because that’s where All The Money is. Anyway, as I put my card into the slot, it wouldn’t go in. I tried it again. Still wouldn’t go in. Then, I saw why:
You guessed it … there was a Debit/Credit Card left in the slop. Shiny and new … and, it was Saturday … Banks wouldn’t be open until Tuesday … Long, Holiday weekend. Yet, again, I felt that same feeling. How it was the first Saturday I had worked at School this School year. I know it was the first Saturday of the School year, but you get the idea. I hardly ever stop at this Bank’s ATM, as I don’t carry cash as a rule … even if I plan to spend it all on the next stop …

I was so glad I was “raised right.”
Raised to be honest.
And, that I was taught the difference between right and wrong.
And, yes, taught to work hard.
By the living examples of those who raised me, who were as hard-working as they were honest.
I may have strayed, but they never did.

Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

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Wealth Stored for the Righteous-Part 17: “Double Debit Indebtedness”- Part One

Hi Friends:

I am so thankful to get back to writing, and to this series. I looked at how I began the last installment in this series, posted a while ago, and this is how it started:

“It is good to be back to writing. With job, business, and other writing responsibilities, it’s funny how “your first love” gets pushed “to the back.” Plus, the opportunity to travel has also figured into the time equation. We’re back to our series, in which, yes, we are thankful for what our Heavenly future holds, but, let’s not forget all of the benefits … all of the blessings … There are just so many blessings we have, in our life right now, which, often, we take for granted … “

When this series goes to print form, I am sure that I will use sub-titles for each chapter.
I had originally planned to write this as a separate, “stand-alone” post, but, I felt led to include it as a much-appreciated chapter in the series … At first, I was going to include this in our “Travel” series, but the exact same thing which prompted me to include it as part of “Travel” happened again … locally …

So, here goes: “Double Debit Indebtedness:”

I am so thankful that I was “raised right.” While this may mean different things for different people, what I mean is that I am so glad … and, so proud … and, so thankful … to have been raised “right.”
In a Christian home.
Taught the difference between right and wrong.
By honest parents.
Who taught me to be honest.
Hard working parents.
Who taught me to work hard.
My first job was at 14.
I haven’t stopped working.
Ever.

I was taught to be grateful for everything I had.
Somehow … I just knew that, regardless of how “poor” we may have been, there were so many others who were so much worse off.
I’ve learned that the best advantage I had, growing up, were my parents, and what they taught me.
What they showed me-by how they lived their lives.
I strayed … they didn’t.
Ever.
Again:
I strayed.
They didn’t.
Ever.

They taught me that the “important” things I wanted to have … in order to have them … I must work for them.
Period.
Period.

They were a moral foundation which I could build my life upon. Because … they built their life upon the same foundation.
I strayed.
They didn’t.
Ever.

They were honest. They were hard-working. They were respectful.
They were great.
The best kind of great.
The kind of great which influenced all who knew them.

Examples of how they lived their lives would fill many pages.
What drove me to write this installment of the series was just one example I was taught:
Honesty.
Being honest.

I can honestly say that I really don’t know how to not be honest. I don’t. I don’t know how to be dishonest. I never saw it in them, and I never learned how to be anything but honest.

Oh yeah … I am human, and there are certain traits which are “built into” all humans.
Like telling a lie.
You don’t have to teach a child how to lie:
“Who broke the lamp?”
The ability to lie is part of our sinful nature which you don’t have to teach. We are all born with it.

However … the ability to be honest … that is something which has to be taught.
We aren’t born to be honest. That would go against our sinful nature. We must learn to be honest.
Honest!
If we don’t “learn” to be honest …
We won’t be.
Yes, we can learn to lie. I won’t “lie” about that.
But, in order to “learn” to lie … if we have to learn to lie … that means it would have to go against what we have been taught. We’d have to “learn.”

I think back to what I wrote about what I’ve written about my Dad. How honest he was, and, still is. He is the only person I’ve ever known who, if he found money in the change slot of a pay-telephone or vending machine … he would put it back.
I’ve seen this.
He would, literally, put the change back into the machine.

It looks like it may be possible to have a “Part-2” as a part of a “part of” a series.

I am just so thankful that I had parents who taught me right from wrong.
Who were honest.
It is the “honesty” part which has driven me to include this installment as part of the series.

I am so thankful that I had parents who “raised me right.”
As a teacher in Public Schools … well … let’s just say … well … you know what I am saying.
I can honest say that I have heard the old saying about “the apple not falling far from the tree” many times in my time in the Public Schools. However, I can honestly say that I have never, ever heard that saying used in a positive way.
Never.
Ever.

This series is about being thankful for what we already have.
I realize there are so many, which Jesus has saved out of disastrous circumstances and upbringings. That there are many who have “turned away” from a Godly upbringing. I realize this. Yet, how often have those of us who were blessed to have been “raised right” thanked God for their upbringing? I mean, being thankful every day. When, every day, as you list what you are thankful for, that you praise God for the way you were raised?
I must admit, that, while I make a point, every day, to thank God for things I don’t want to take for granted, like electricity and running water (and always add “running hot water”), but I have failed to be thankful for the first real blessing of my life:
To be raised in a Christian home.
To have been taught the difference between right and wrong.
To have been taught to be honest.

What a blessing, “freely bestowed,” to have been “raised right.”
To know that, regardless of how I may have strayed …
They never did.
Ever.

Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

Here’s a direct link to the entire series so far:

Wealth Stored for the Righteous

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Wealth Stored for the Righteous-Part 15

Time after time, over and over, I try to help and encourage by writing about the importance of two things we can do, every day, to help us improve in our walk with God … our relationship with Him … and our relationships with others:

I just can’t empathize enough how important it is to begin the day with prayer and Bible study. How much? That’s a personal choice, but it is a choice which must be made, and followed through with, every day. As with most things in life, start “small” and you will find both time, and yourself, growing. I put it this way, in order to show that, as you begin to see the difference doing this makes in your life, you’ll begin to devote more time to prayer and Bible study, and you’ll see even greater benefits as you go along. I was sharing about this just this morning, as I ran into a dear Brother, while I was at a local gas station (Sorry, there doesn’t seem to be “Gas Stations” anymore, just convenience stores which sell gas … another point for another time …). I explained that setting aside this time does require a sacrifice, as does just about everything worthwhile which is meant to improve us (I think there’s another topic right there). I explained how much of a difference it is to have to get up at 5:30 in the morning. Last year, I could leave my house-on a bicycle-at five minutes until eight, and make it on time. This year, a different School, so I have to leave around seven. Which means I must get up at 5:30 in order to “do what I need to do” in order to leave on time. But, it is so much worth it. The hard part is that, while I must get up at least an hour earlier … I can’t seem to get to bed any earlier. That’s something that I am continuing to ask God’s help for.

The point I am making is that, in order to improve, it does take work. Hard work. Consistent hard work. And, this work requires more time than if we didn’t want to improve, and didn’t want to find the time to improve. That’s why the time to improve, often, with our busy lives, doesn’t exist. It does not exist. That’s why … that’s why … we have to “make the time.” Those who “don’t have the time” never will … because they are not willing to do what it takes in order to “make” the time, to manufacture the time. Trust me, the time really doesn’t exist … and won’t exist … until we make it. Then, and only then, will this “new time” come into existence.

What could possibly be more important than “making” time to “spend time” with God? Talking to Him, listening to Him, and reading His Word. How could anything be more important? What is more important than our own, personal relationship with God?
“Our … (fill in the blank) …”

I get this thought that if we spent more time speaking with God about our problems … there would be less problems to speak with Him about … So … So … So … that would give us more time to just praise Him, thank Him for … yes, for … what He has already done … for the prayers He has already answered … the needs He has already met …
I’m going to say this, because it is true: God loves it when we praise Him! How do you think He feels-about you-when you are willing to “make time,” manufacture time (which before didn’t even exist!) in order just to have more time to spend with Him? How would you feel if the situation was reversed? Remember that our “closeness” with God depends upon how close we move toward Him. And, movement of any kind takes effort. And, in order to move closer to an object (yes, even an “object” of our affection), it is going to take more effort.

I keep getting this picture, as I think about all of the gifts God has already bestowed upon us. After all, this is the whole point of this series, to help understand how rich we are right now, how much God has already done for us, and what He does for us every day. The picture I get is this:
We see a gift that we know would be great to give to a particular person. Something they want, something they will just love, but, maybe, something they wouldn’t buy for themselves. Something, maybe, you know that they want, something maybe that they’ve even hinted around for. Something they will never be able to get on their own, but they still want. You have the resources to give them this as a gift. What goes through your mind as you think about it?
“They are going to love this!”
“I can’t wait to see the look on their face …!”
“This is great! I can’t wait!”
You become just as exited to give the gift as they are to receive it.

I believe God feels the same way. I think of the look on Jesus’ face, as He looked upon the face of someone He had just healed. I don’t even know the way I would describe it. What joy He must feel when He gives a gift to someone. When He answers a prayer.
I think the greatest joy Jesus gets today is when someone praises Him, when someone realizes what He has done for them, and thanks Him.

I think about how we feel.
When we give a gift to someone … and, “the look on their face” as they receive it is something we’ll never forget. I remember, a few years ago, when Carol gave a daughter of friends of ours a necklace. It was not for “Christmas” or for a birthday, or anything like that. It was just something she wanted to give this child. I remember that the necklace had a sunflower design (we love sunflowers!). This is years later, and I still remember the look on this young child’s face, as she unfolded the chain, and realized what it was. The look on her face! But, it was what she said that I think I remember the most. This was one of those moments, which you experience so rarely in life, when you witness something so special, as it unfolds before your eyes, that it is like a scene from a movie being played out in front of you. Something that you have read in a book, or perhaps seen in a movie … What she said, as the necklace was clasped, and the sunflower came to rest, it was what she said:
“I am never going to take this off!”
I’ll just never forget the joy and wonder in her voice, and on her face. I remember it so clearly today, so many years later.

God loves when we talk to Him. He loves when we are thankful for what He has given us. I don’t know about you, but I think that when we give someone something, and they go out of their way to let us know how grateful they are … it makes me want to give them something else! I hope the underlying point settles in.

God can do anything. There is nothing He can’t do. Guess what? He knows this. But, I think He loves it when we tell Him that we know it, too. He so loves it when we go out of our way to thank Him, to praise Him, and to just let Him know that we realize that what we have, the blessings we have been given (already), we are thankful for.

I’ve helped people, and they were so grateful … I wanted to do something else for them!
Another point.

I think about this: What if, every day, there was someone, a particular person, who gave us a gift? We’d get a gift, every day. What are the chances that, when you awoke every morning, the first thought you had was in anticipation of what gifts today would bring? Would this change your attitude? And, as you went about your “day to day,” I’m thinking that this would change everything. The person who gave you these gifts: Would you take the time to thank them? Wouldn’t you go out of your way to find them, make sure you ran into them-even if you had to change your schedule in order to do it? Wouldn’t you, somehow, someway … “make” the time to thank them?

I think that was another point.

So, if we don’t make the time for prayer and Bible study, it won’t be there. Because it doesn’t exist. At least, not yet. And, it won’t exist … it can’t exist … until we make this time. Consider the benefits. Remember also that doing nothing is also a decision.

Have you ever gone out of your way to do something for somebody, and they did not even acknowledge what was clearly a sacrifice for you to do?
Have you ever given a gift to someone, anticipating eagerly their response to the gift … and, they acted like it was “no big deal?”
Did you ever do something for someone, or given someone something, and they didn’t even say thank you?

Ever done all you could for someone, and they act like you don’t exist?
Ever sent a note, or a letter to someone, and they didn’t even take the time to read it?
I feel I must insert something I heard recently. I can’t get this picture out of my mind:
It has to do with football, and a recent press conference.
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was injured during a game.
After the game, head coach Bill Belichick was asked this question:
“How did you feel when Gronkowski went down with an injury?”
Here is Coach Belichick’s response:
“How would you feel?”

God loves it when we “make” the time to thank Him, to just talk to Him.
To thank Him for what He has already done.

To be like Him, we must know Him.
How can we do this unless we speak with Him, read about Him, and then ask Him questions?

God has blessed us so much.
In closing, note that He will always make sure the time is available for manufacture … if it is something which you truly want. Meaning … if you truly want Him …

Blessings,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

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New Year, New Resolve: Part One

Hi Friends:

If it is one thing which God has been trying to show me over the past few months, as He’s guided me through the series, “Wealth Stored for the Righteous,” it is for me to both realize-and be thankful for-the things which He has already provided for me, the things He has already given me, the things I already have now. As if Salvation and His Spirit dwelling inside of me weren’t enough, I have been blessed beyond measure in so many other ways.

I have seen God’s hand involved in so many circumstances in my life over the past months, and seen direct results from so many prayers, and so many things which I have done … acting strictly on faith, my own personal belief, that He would bless us. It is so easy to say something like “I really, really, really believed that God would come through for us, and He did.” But, that’s a true statement, and I can’t put it any other better way. And, as things go along, progress, as God continues to be faithful to His Word and His promises, it helps to build my faith even more.

I am writing this to encourage you, and all of us: Just look at things in your life which have happened over the past few months. Just think about how blessed you and I have been, in so many ways. I know … I know … there have been tough times, times of trial and struggle … times we’ve had to work long … work hard … then work more … then work harder … But, God has given us the strength, and sometimes just plain courage, to keep on. To keep on working, and to keep on believing. I always say that the best students get the toughest tests. I just told that to a student in High School today.

I’ve written so often, and will continue to do so about this: Thank God every day for what you have … or, to be more specific, what He has allowed you to have. How blessed we are. Every day. To start your day with prayer and Bible study.
Start right.
End right.
Every day, I thank God for electricity, running water, running hot water, shelter and protection through the home he has provided for us. For our vehicles, to keep them running safely. Yes, I’ve had auto repairs. I prayed that God would give us favor. He did. We re-built our home over the Summer/Early Fall months, which took great leaps of faith, every step of the way. We asked for favor in many, many areas, involving a lot of different people … and, God tied it all together, and gave us favor in every single step.

After the re-build, we had a lot of painting and other work to do … which required warm weather, as paint, mortar, etc., has to have some degree of warmth to cure or dry properly. God gave us favor … every step of the way. We had the warmest December on record (for example), and November was especially kind to us. Last year, for example, we had between 1-2 feet of snow on the ground over the Thanksgiving break … this year, we had none. I had mortar and concrete work to do … I caulked windows on Thanksgiving Day, had concrete work to do the first week of December. The warmest weather ever. I just finished the last “outside” detail the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Was wearing short sleeves in the house, and our pellet stove over the past few weeks has been kept as low as I could get it, without turning it off. I see God’s hand in everything. As long as I keep doing that … He’ll keep putting His hands in.

These are just some of many real-life examples of how God has blessed us. There are so many more. I also pray, every day, that God would give both Carol and I favor on our jobs. He has. I pray every day that God will continue to bless us financially. Whether we like the concept or not, “financial” is a big part of life. We just have to remember that money doesn’t have a lot to do with “being successful.” Remember that Joseph, for example, was a “prosperous man” while he was still a slave. Because “God was with Joseph.” That’s the reason Joseph was a successful man, and that’s the only way we can be truly successful, truly prosperous. Only if “God is with us.”

And … as I’ve written so many times … if God is with us, just like in the case with Joseph, if God is with us … those around us-even at work-will know it. And, the same is also true if you don’t have God with you: Those around us-even those we work with-will know it.

I say all this to encourage us all to just be thankful for what we already have. Remember that it is a Biblical principle that God will give us a little … to see what we’ll do … and how we act-and react-will determine the future course.

I pray that God will allow me to see others the way He sees them. That way, my compassion for others will grow. This will lead to opportunities to “show Him” to others.
I pray that God will allow me to see myself the way He sees me. That way, I’ll be able to “see what I’m doing,” and ask for His help in specific areas I need to improve in.

I pray that God will help me be the man He called me to be, in order to do the things He’s called me to do.

I’ve always said that there are things I need to do more of, and there are things I need to do less of.
I should add one thing to that: There are things I need to do none of.

I’ve discovered the lasting, “every-day in every-way” benefits of prayer and Bible study every morning. I’m also beginning to realize the same benefits if I close my day with prayer, to re-cap the day … and ask for help for the next. This, literally, works miracles.

“The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad” (Psalm 126:3). Let’s thank Him more … so that He will do more … which really means, between-the-lines-I’ll do more.

I’ve also decided that I should be more grateful to those around me who bless me. Whether it’s at School, or on the job, or where ever it may be, it seems that we spend most of our time and concern over those few who cause us trouble. So many meetings, rules, etc., are done and made to counter-act, or due to, the very few who don’t follow the rules, or cause “all the trouble.” I, jokingly say, in the course of a day, “Welcome to America … where everyone must pay for the actions of a few.” I need to let those people who do follow the rules, who do make our jobs easier, that we appreciate them. That we are grateful to them, and for them. That I do notice them, that I do know who they are, and that I am so much thankful for the way they conduct themselves, etc. We just never know how much we would bless someone else just by doing this one thing.

We are all so blessed.
In closing, allow me to repeat a couple of the closing lines from “Wealth Stored for the Righteous”-Part 14:
“What incredible treasure we have! What incredible wealth we have! What incredible riches we have! The best part? It is for now … and for eternity!
And, yes, I’ll say it: The more of this treasure you give to others … the more you receive!!!”

I pray that we, and we all, thank God every day for what He has already provided for us, what He has already given us, and to be thankful for what we already have.

I’ll continue the thought next time.

Blessings to you, and your Family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

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Wealth Stored for the Righteous-Part 12

Well, here we are at Part Twelve of this series, and still, we can’t get away from how much God does for us every day. Every day. It begins with our eternal security of salvation, yet there is so much more. Every Day. Perhaps Psalms 68:19 says it best: “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.”

This is why it is so important to pray every day, and read God’s Word, every day. I also believe the absolute best way to start your day is with prayer and Bible study. God knows what’s ahead … but, you don’t. So … be prepared, by starting your day with the One who holds the future-including today’s events, yet to come. I love how so many of the Psalms begin with praise to God … just like our day should begin. As Paul would write, we should, “In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6). Regardless of what you are facing, Paul encourages us to do the exact same thing the Psalmist would do: Yes, let God know your requests, pray to Him, but always add “thanksgiving” to include what He has already done for you. Why? God knows, what better way to build your faith, by recognizing what He has already done for you? And, by reading His Word, every day, then, “every day” you are reminded of what God has done for others throughout history, and be reminded, “every day,” what God’s promises are for you.

David (and let’s not forget this is King David) would begin the hymn of Psalm 103 with “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name” (Verse 1). Can you imagine how different the world would be if the leaders of the nations would begin their day, on their knees, beginning with words like “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.” Do we dare to imagine what our nation, and for our friends around the globe, what your nation would be like … if the leader of your nation began their day with “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name?”

Hey! This is an “election year!”
How different would things be … if … well … you get the idea …

Remember, friends, that it is perfectly fine to say “God bless,” even “God bless America,” just as long as you, just as in the Apostles’ day … just as long as you don’t mention the name of Jesus … I guess that’s another topic for another time. Ever considered the fact that, in the time of local or nation calamity or disaster … it is perfectly ok to say, even on Government grounds … even on School grounds … in case of disaster … it is perfectly ok to say things like “our thoughts and prayers are with …” I still remember, clearly, the “graffiti” I once saw scribbled on the wall of a trailer I was unloading: “In case of nuclear attack, the ban on school prayer will be lifted.”
Can you imagine a government leader … in the middle of great times, when things are going well … can you imagine a government leader beginning their speech with a prayer of thanksgiving to God, something like, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation?”

Remember that the nation of Israel was first when they put God first.
When they didn’t, they fell …
I think I have a new quote:
“To be first, put God first.”

Back to King David, and Psalm 103:
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits … Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Verses 2-5).
How much better would our day be, if we started with praise to God … to let Him know that we haven’t forgotten “all his benefits?” If begin our day by focusing on what God has already done for us, how do you think God would feel about that? How do you think our day would go?

I know … I know … What about when things go wrong? And, the worst of all: When someone treats us wrong, does us wrong, or talks about us wrong? The next verse of Psalm 103 addresses this: “The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed” (Verse 6).
If we can just learn to place all things in God’s hands … and, yes, I’ll say it … especially if we place other people in His hands. Often, this is the hardest thing of all to do.

I especially like that David praises God, not only for what He has done, but he praises and thanks God for Who He is, addressing the very character of God: “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities” (Verses 8-10). Notice the first two characteristics mentioned are God’s mercy and grace, and reinforced in verses 11-12: “For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” (Verses 11-12). Hard not to think that God removing our sins from us is at the top of the “benefits” list.

Then, as we wrote of last time, God is seen as the loving Father: “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him” (Verse 13).
Not only does God, as Creator, know us, but He knows our weaknesses: “For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust” (Verse 14).
Yes, we are beneficiary of God’s grace and mercy, but let’s not forget that with benefits come responsibility: “But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them” (Verses 17-18). Let us never forget that God is sovereign, and He is in control of everything that happens in our lives: “The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all … Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul” (Verses 19, 22).

So, in closing, allow me to write, and say, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.”

Blessings to you, and your family
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

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