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So far Henry Fernandez has created 66 blog entries.

Love God, Not the World!

The Bible is very clear when it comes to the things that please God and those things that are contrary to His Word. Unfortunately, we live in a society that tries to rewrite the rules of ethics and godliness to suit their own purposes. And sadly, many believers have chosen to live by those worldly, sinful standards and ignore God’s Word, which leads to a life not according to His will and not pleasing to Him. It is not God’s desire that we live ungodly lifestyles—lives that are in direct contradiction to what His Son has redeemed us from.

Proverbs 6:16-19, The Message, says, “Here are six things God hates, and one more that he loathes with a passion: eyes that are arrogant, a tongue that lies, hands that murder the innocent, a heart that hatches evil plots, feet that race down a wicked track, a mouth that lies under oath, a troublemaker in the family.” One of the quickest ways to become entangled with any of these offenses is when you choose to conform to worldly standards. Search your heart to make sure you’re not following the world, but that you’ve set your heart to choose, say and do those things that are right and pleasing to God.


His Image, His Likeness!

Did you know you’re just like Jesus? If you’re a believer, then God says you are. Not only that, but you have the same ability and authority that Jesus had when He was here on the earth, and that He operates in now that He is in heaven. I know that’s a lot to handle, but it’s what the Bible teaches, and what Jesus told His disciples. First John 4:17, New Living Translation, tells us, “And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.” And in John 14:12, The Message, Jesus said to His disciples, “The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it.”

The Bible says we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21). That means we are to reflect Him in everything we do—from our appearance to our character to the lifestyle we live—and it all begins with our right relationship and daily fellowship with God. Galatians 6:7, NLT, gives us this warning: “Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.” Knowing who we are in Christ Jesus and desiring to please our heavenly Father in everything we say and do is vital to a successful Christian life. When we know and obey His Word, we won’t leave the door open for the enemy to deceive or mislead us or cause us to sin. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you represent your heavenly Father to the world, just like Christ Jesus did.


How Free Are You?

You are free today! I can say that about you with 100 percent assurance, because it’s exactly what Jesus said about you. In John 8:36, The Message, Jesus told His disciples: “I tell you most solemnly that anyone who chooses a life of sin is trapped in a dead-end life and is, in fact, a slave. A slave is a transient, who can’t come and go at will. The Son, though, has an established position, the run of the house. So, if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through.” Now, you may be thinking, I’ve never been in slavery, so that doesn’t really apply to me. Yes, it does apply to you because at one time you were considered a slave.

In Romans 6:16, New Living Translation, Apostle Paul wrote: “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.” The truth is, when Jesus came into your life, He set you free from the bondage of sin. He broke every chain and made it possible for you to be free from every stronghold the devil may have had on you. If you were once a sinner, (and according to Romans 3:23 we all were), then you were a slave to sin. Just as a master controls his slave, sin had complete control over your life. But if you’ve since given your life to Christ, sin no longer has dominion over you. As Paul added: “Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you” (Romans 6:17, NLT).


Priceless Freedom?

On Wednesday, across our great nation we will celebrate Independence Day—the day in history that signifies the birth of our nation and the freedom granted every American citizen through the signing of the Declaration of Independence. As you enjoy spending time with family and friends on the Fourth of July, consider the true meaning of freedom and that your freedom did not come without a price. Celebrate by thanking God for the brave men and women who, down through the years, fought and made sacrifices to achieve your freedom—those whose blood was shed and who gave their lives to guarantee your right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” And thank God for giving all of us His Son, Jesus, who through the shedding of His blood, paid the price for our sin and redeemed us back to a blessed relationship and fellowship with our heavenly Father. That’s true independence!

In 1 Corinthians 6:20, Apostle Paul reminds us that we are “bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” John 8:36, says, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” God paid a precious price for each of us through the giving of His only Son. It is through Jesus that we are truly free—that we find the freedom of not only knowing our true purpose in life, but we know and understand who we are, and what God has created us to be. It’s perfectly fine to celebrate with family and friends on this historic day in our nation. But don’t forget to remember Jesus, and the price He paid for our freedom. Because of Him, we are truly free!


Keep God First!

All month we’ve discussed the fundamentals regarding stewardship, and what it means to be a good steward over your finances. In this final devotion, I want to share with you the first, and most important step toward good money management, and that’s making Jesus Christ the top priority in your life and acknowledging Him as your only Source for everything you need. It’s interesting to me the emphasis that’s placed on money and finances in this country. It’s as though money is the answer to everything—that it can solve every problem. The truth is, money cannot buy everything, and it doesn’t solve every problem. First Timothy 6:10 warns us not to love money. Yet, God chose to make money an important part of our lives for certain reasons. One of those reasons, I believe, is to help finance the building of His kingdom.

When Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 6:33 to “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you,” He wasn’t just speaking idle words. He was making a very serious point about something He knew would be of great importance and value to them, and all who would follow them after He was no longer on the earth. When we put God first—in everything—He responds by answering us when we pray to Him and giving us whatever it is we need—whether spiritual or material. He sees to it that every good thing we ask for or need, if it’s in accordance with His will for us, is provided. Proverbs 3:9, The Message, tells us to “Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best.” Now that you have a better understanding of stewardship, and why money management plays such an important role in our lives, make sure your priorities are in order. Be sure and keep God first in your life, including your finances. Give Him your very best, so that He can continue giving you His best.


Spiritual Nourishment!

In 1 Peter 2:2, New Living Translation, the Bible says, “Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment.” I particularly like the last part of that verse, “Cry out for this nourishment,” because it emphasizes just how important it is that Christians receive spiritual nourishment. It’s vital to our survival. That’s why God’s Word encourages in 2 Timothy 2:15 that we “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The New Living Translation says, “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.”

In the same way, it’s just as important that we seek godly instruction regarding the handling of our finances. Just like we’re not born already saved and knowing how to serve God, we don’t enter this life knowing all there is to know about money management. Growing and developing in the Christian walk of faith doesn’t happen overnight. You must put in some time and determination to get to where God intends for you to be. Becoming a good steward over your finances is no different. It takes time, effort, commitment and determination. If you’re diligent in practicing good money management, letting God lead you, then you can expect Him to fulfill His promises of prosperity and blessing because He will reward your faithful stewardship.


Receive Your Reward!

I believe that’s the message God has for the Church—His people—today. He’s telling us to get ready to possess the land and receive and enjoy those things He has promised us. That instruction is for you, it’s for me, and it’s for everyone who believes His Word and will hear and obey His voice. The things He promised have been set before you and are yours for the taking. God is saying, “You’ve put in your time, now get ready to receive your reward.” But you’ll not be able to partake of those things if you have not made the proper preparation—if you have not put in your time.

What exactly does it mean to put in your time? It means you’ve done what’s required or asked of you. If you have a job, then you’re required to work a certain number of hours to earn your pay. When you’ve accomplished those hours, your requirement has been fulfilled. You’ve put in your time, and you’re paid for that time. The same can be said for how you handle life—including your finances. If you’re a faithful steward over your finances, you have a set plan. You establish and live on a budget, you exercise wise, disciplined and skillful spending, and you save and invest your money. And you ALWAYS keep God first in your giving. You put in your time, and in the end, you receive your reward.


Get Organized!

Mention the word budget, and many people cringe. Why is that? It’s because they have no discipline in their lives when it comes to money management. They’re spendthrifts or impulse buyers who, in most cases, struggle financially because they live beyond their means. The Bible tells us in Luke 16:10, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.” That’s why having a budget is so important. When you know what your current financial status is, you can easily track your expenses, so you know what, where, when, and how your money is being used.

We can learn a valuable lesson from the parable in Luke 15:11-32 when Jesus told about the son who demanded his father give him his inheritance prematurely. Not having a plan for how to manage his money, the Bible says, the son went away and “wasted all his money in wild living” (New Living Translation). Returning home in shame, the son had nothing to show for his time away or for the large amount of money he had been given. A good man will leave an inheritance for his children, and his grandchildren. That’s God’s plan for us all. Part of fulfilling that plan is proper money management. If we expect His plan to work for our good, and the good of those we leave an inheritance, we must develop a plan as well. Getting organized and setting up a budget is a necessary part of that plan. It will help us, and our heirs enjoy financial prosperity.


To Borrow, Or Not to Borrow!

On Monday, we talked about taking charge of your finances, so you don’t end up in a situation that necessitates having to borrow or go into debt to make ends meet. Sadly, many wait too late to begin a money-management program and borrowing ends up being their only way out. Is that a bad thing? Going into debt is never good, but the truth is there are times when borrowing money is appropriate. The important thing to remember, though, is to borrow only what is necessary. With godly financial counsel, a good financial plan, and a strong commitment to becoming debt free as soon as possible, you can develop strategies to get out of debt, even after you have borrowed.

We can’t review the entire story here, but 2 Kings 4 (New Living Translation) tells of a widow who appealed to the prophet Elisha after a creditor had threatened to take her two sons as slaves because she could not pay her debt. When Elisha asked what she had in her house, the woman answered, “Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil” (verse 2). The prophet told her to “borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors. Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled” (verses 3-4). As she did as she was told, her sons kept bringing her jars and, the Bible says, “she filled one after another. Soon every container was full to the brim” (verse 5)! When the woman told Elisha what had happened, he said, “Now sell the olive oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on what is left over” (verse 7). God always provides, even more when necessary, no matter the circumstance or situation. What he does for one, He will surely do for you.


Take Charge!

When the Lord placed Adam and Eve in the Garden, one instruction He gave them was to “Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground” (Genesis 1:28, New Living Translation). In other words, God made them stewards over all He had created. He trusted them to watch over, care for and preserve His creation! Just as He did for Adam and Eve, God will make provision for you in every area of your life. Beyond that, He expects you to take charge over those things and make the best use of them.e trus

Proverbs 27:23, English Standard Version, says: “Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds.” For Adam and Eve to be good stewards over what God had given them, and for them to effectively take charge of and make right decisions regarding those things, they first had to assess all that had been entrusted to them. Then, they could determine what was needed to ensure everything would be well taken care of. The same is true with your finances. Never make rash financial decisions or take risks, such as making large purchases or investments, without first considering your financial status. Learn to manage your money. Establish a budget so you can track your spending and use your money wisely. That way, you position yourself to always have the financial resources you need to take care of yourself and your family, and even be a blessing to others.