Friday, December 15, 2017

Help! What’s the Best Investment Vehicle for These Times?

August 21, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Manna, Monthly Articles

Unemployment has run out.  The bills have not.  You need to feed your family, provide them with medical care, buy school supplies and clothes, afford gas for your car –the one you may have to miss a payment on this month – so that you can actually get to the stores and doctor.  The nation’s credit rating has just been downgraded.  Welcome, nation, to your personal world.  Right?  In fact, welcome to the world of millions of Americans (based on the US population per the 2010 census and a reported 9.1% unemployment rate).   

And we aren’t facing only economic woes.  We are experiencing drought and flood, a rage of intense heat unlike any on record, fires cropping up in numerous parched areas, and all over the world there are natural disasters including floods, drought, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, hurricanes, famine.  A shortage of food world-wide is being predicted.  Genocide continues to wipe out generations of people in nations across the globe. 

And Islamic terrorism seems to have grown deeper roots, manifesting with recruits from among our own citizenry.  War is taking a toll on lives and families, and consequently, on our nation.  Socio-economic and political unrest and demise appear to be rampant in Europe and the Middle East, and we wonder how long before we see it here.  Indications of more war abound, and the tension between nations is painfully palpable. 

We are frustrated with our elected leaders and wonder just what it will take to produce unified, forward, positive movement and common-sense decisions.  The voices I’m hearing are full of worry and frustration, evidencing the fatigue and defeated attitudes of many. 

On August 6, 2011, “The Response” was held in Houston, Texas.  It was a call for national prayer initiated by Texas Governor Rick Perry, and endorsed and carried out by entities such as the American Family Association, among others.  Perry has taken a hit by many (particularly, the media) for this effort.  For whatever all the reasons he called for the event – and I am not going “there” in this article as my focus here is spiritual and not political — I remember the time in our country’s history when his efforts would have been encouraged nationwide –not ridiculed and minimized.  

I’m not advocating political support for Perry, but support only for the action of bringing people together for the purpose of individual and corporate repentance and prayer as seen in the second chapter of the Book of Joel in the Bible.  I read author Joel Rosenberg’s perspective of the event’s impact in his blog.  And then I asked friends who attended if Rosenberg’s article correctly related the event.  I received responses such as:

“It was non-political and very powerful.  It included self-examination and repentance, as well as corporate-examination and repentance.  The Holy Spirit was definitely moving there.”

“The blog is an accurate summary and well-stated.  I believe this did serve as a catalyst and more will be happening in the sense that what some saw will forever change them and the way they live their “Christian” life.  I believe I was one who saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears what will not allow me to be the same. May I never be!”

After reading Rosenberg’s article and my friends’ responses to my questions, I felt sad that I had missed attending the event.  And then, I asked myself, “As Christians, what stops us from utilizing the arsenal of prayer as our first line of defense against personal, national and world-wide challenges?  In fact, why is it that we don’t utilize prayer in an offensive capacity, being watchmen on the wall?  Individually and corporately?  What keeps us talking, blaming, arguing and debating about these challenges instead of first getting on our knees about them?  Why is our knee-jerk reaction to have some level of panic and wringing of the hands, trying to figure out what to do, what to do?”  

 

Ephesians 6:12 comes to mind:  “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”  In particular, the spirit of fear comes to mind.  Fear is there waiting to step up to the plate and shoot down courage and faith.  It causes us to go off on tangents – on those “what if” paths.   Not the problem-solving kind of “what if,” but the speculative, emotion-induced “what if.”  “What if” can be a powerful phrase, either building faith and courage, or destroying them. 

Fear can take our focus completely away from a solution and instead, refocus our energy on that insidious, speculative “what if.”  Fear feeds “what if’s.”  And it clouds our thinking.  It’s not from God.  “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”  2 Timothy 1:7

As I watched the stock market’s huge decline this past week, I was thinking that there’s going to be panic and fear, yet in the end – really — all that matters is our relationship with God.  The market’s decline may mean some cannot retire when they want.  It does not, however, define one’s eternity.  It may create more years of the stressors we have been under for a few years now, but in the end – it does not define our eternity.  The decline may steal away wealth that many have hopes on for a myriad of purposes – but it does not define one’s eternity.   Our downgraded credit rating as a nation may cause more financial hardship for many, but again, it does not define my or our eternity. 

And we all have an eternity to meet one day — which to me means we ought to invest considerably more time thinking about and preparing for that eternity with clear and sound minds instead of being sidelined with investments that are temporary and vulnerable.  Matthew 6:20 – “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal.

Don’t give fear a foothold in your thinking.  Overcome it by going to God instead of to the Wall Street Journal.  Ask for a sound mind, wisdom, and spirit of peace before you step forward to face situations and make decisions.  And invest heartily in knowing where your eternity lies.  It’s the wisest and highest-return investment that you could make while here on Earth.  Its return is everlasting. 

Born and raised in a small suburb of Houston, Nancy grew up the middle child of a working-class family. After a decade of exploring and living in Alaska, Arizona and Oregon, her family ties led her back to the Houston area, where she currently resides as a single mother of a 25-year-old. Throughout her adult years, she has acquired her associate degree while working alongside nationally recognized legal teams to provide clients with excellent representation, and is currently studying for her paralegal certification. Managing one of life’s many potential curve balls, she also is currently two years into a cancer journey – waiting patiently as God does battle on her behalf — and continues to rest in the power of the blood and name of Jesus as she seeks to live out God’s plan for her life. Oh yes – and she loves to sing and participate with friends in karaoke!

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