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Jonathan’s Integrity

I’ve always thought Prince Jonathan, the son of Israel’s first anointed king, is an amazing example in the Bible of honor and integrity. Think about it: he was logically expected to succeed his father, King Saul, as king—but the prophet Samuel anointed the boy David instead.

Now, if I were in Jonathan’s position, I think I would have succumbed in one of two ways. Either I would have become consumed with envy, feeling that I had been dealt an unjust hand. Or I would have not cared about the affairs of the kingdom from then on.

Published in Personal Growth

Finding Our Niche

The great British writer Gilbert Keith Chesterton wrote a series of short stories about a parish priest, Father Brown, with a knack for forensics. This lowly priest investigated criminal cases while maintaining compassion and understanding toward the guilty.

Published in Personal Growth

The Mindset Change

A recent study done by Charles Schwab showed that in the United States, $2.4 million is the number that makes a household feel wealthy, and just over $1 million is what it takes to feel “comfortable.” Sadly, that means that only about 10% of the population in the United States is “comfortable.” And then there’s the rest of us! And regardless of where a household fell on the income spectrum, nearly every household reported “needing” just a little bit more. Never mind the vast majority of the world’s population living in developing countries, where such amounts would be considered vast fortunes accessible only to the wealthiest.

Published in Perspective

Debt Reduction and Wealthbuilding

Reading the blogs of other people fighting debt helps me keep my resolve in focused debt reduction. As I browse articles that relate to where we’re at in our journey out of debt, I often sift out those to do with investments and savings. There is an overlap between writings on the subject of debt reduction and those on the subject of wealth building, and while I’m 100% in when it comes to eliminating debt, I struggle with the concept of building wealth. Where I associate debt reduction with becoming responsible, exercising discipline, and cleaning up my act, I have tended to associate wealth building exclusively with greed and selfishness.

Published in Success

Three Faith-Boosting Lessons

It began one morning when I disagreed with something my wife said. It was during one of those trying patches where you find yourself irritable and finding fault with everyone around. I was about to contribute a sharp retort when I caught myself mid-speech and decided to pray if I should go ahead with it. The answer was an emphatic “No!” It all happened so quickly in my mind, but it set off a chain reaction that ended up bringing new insight.

Published in Prayer

Growth Is Addictive

I’m sure parents the world over share my dread of wrestling with children’s homework and preparing for tests. Calming my teenagers’ anxiety before a test or trying to get them to eat breakfast before a benchmark exam are parenting moments I’ll be more than happy to be done with.

Published in Personal Growth

Navigating the Lows

It’s well known that in fiction, plots along the lines of “Matilda is happy, beautiful, successful, and will live happily-ever-after-forever-and-ever” don’t make the most captivating stories or become bestsellers. Even picture books for children need to involve some kind of tension—an obstacle that the child needs to work through in order to achieve his or her happy ending. Whether it’s a little boy handling his first day of school, or a little girl learning to share her toys, the story isn’t captivating if it starts off perfect. Whereas books that go something like, “Man is falsely accused of a crime he did not commit, is imprisoned for countless years before he finally escapes with the intention of confronting his accusers and clearing his name” pique our interest. We want to know what happens next. We want to find out if things turn out right. We begin to want things for the characters because we’re able to relate to the difficulties they’re experiencing.

Published in Getting Through

The Thorn Factor

I don’t think that God intended any relationships to be perfect. I think of it as the “thorn” factor that He allows into the equation—that element that we shrink from, but that He knows we need. You may wonder, Why would we need differences of opinion, sensitivities, misunderstandings, jealousies, resentments, comparing, sacrificing, arguments, emotional upsets, fears, heartbreaks, and adversity? Those things don’t sound like they would build a very strong relationship.

Published in Personal Growth

The Burnt Saucepan

Not even the dark clouds and gusts of the icy wind outside seemed as bleak and cold as my heart. As I pulled a saucepan from the cupboard, measured water and dried beans into it, and turned on the stove, my mind wandered, retracing the events of the previous weeks and months.

Published in Getting Through

Six Dreams and the Making of a Man

Two dreams were the start of Joseph’s troubles.

“Listen to this dream,” Joseph told his 11 brothers. “We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!”

Published in Bible Stories
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