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In a previous blog I talked about success more on the biblical side. This post will dive into the worldly view of success and the driving forces.
The world is obsessed with opportunity and growth. Idols can be made from just about any object, goal, or idea. While any one thing that replaces God in our lives is considered an idol, the intensity, passion, or obsession it creates in our hearts becomes the real deeper issue. These deep rooted heart concepts have the capacity to change the world misdirecting hearts and souls through misguided idols of worship. We can be in the world but not of the world. Daniel was a good example of this. Golden statues of Nebuchadnezzar and worshipping injunctions to King Darius put Daniel and his friends in fiery furnaces and a den of lions.
These obsessions to be worshipped, immortalized, and idolized have become ways of the world. Standard operating procedures to protect and make the world better. One such example is the idol of perpetual growth. This idea or idol takes many shapes and forms. It is the key driver in almost every business decision when it comes to marketing, budgeting, and planning. Individuals are a by-product of it, continually looking for the newest competitive edge. Existence has become the bottom line.
The world is one big competition and everything is a commodity. Every person, place, and thing has a number and a value and there is always a person or group looking to exploit and make money off of that number or value. Two world class athletes, let's say track sprinters, either from the same period or different periods are equal in physical strength and speed. How does one all of a sudden get faster and records smashed? New technology. Better shoes, clothing, and enhancements legal or illegal. The world is continually looking to outdo what has already been done. But why?
Investors, budgets, debt service. Where improvement can be shown, money can be made. Money satisfies peoples need for a return on investment, growing retirements, balanced budgets, and paying debt. Constant improvements such laws, regulations, and codes as are needed because the world is in a perpetual state of entropy, among other reasons such as people's need for power, control, and greed.
Entropy is defined as a lack of order or predictability: a gradual decline into disorder. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that as energy is transferred or transformed, the less and less it becomes productive, thus increasing the total entropy of a system. A fully charged cell phone will lose its power more quickly as we open new Google pages, applications, text, Youtube, etc. Until it either shuts off from lack of power or we recharge it. The formula for entropy is actually one that is way over my head, but the basic idea is this: the more configurations added to an isolated environment the quicker the environment goes into disarray or disorder. The configurations in this example are people. The rate of disorder is determined by the number of configurations multiplied by a natural logarithm and Boltzmann's constant. The speed of entropy has the capability to multiply exponential through various external and internal factors and increased population.
So, getting back to perpetual growth. Tomas Sedlacek, a Christian Czech economist and Chief Macroeconomic Strategist at CSOB (a Czech national bank) and author of "Economics of Good and Evil," said the following during an interview with David McAlvany: mcalvanyweeklycommentary.com/tomsedlacek/.
"So today we could see in the way of the end of history, economics has become the growth model. We don’t really criticize capitalism, we criticize growth capitalism. These are two completely different systems, although many people don’t distinguish between the two. Nevertheless, this growth capitalism has become the most ecumenical religion of the whole globe. Everybody believes in it, despite the culture, or religion, or anything else. And, of course, the guardians of this ideology are partly central bankers. These are the priests, the highly educated, the highly acclaimed members of our society, you know, priests who are guiding the world. I would even say, much more important in strength than our presidents are central bankers, who have equal, or perhaps even slightly larger influence than the economists."
The first question is, can you recognize growth capitalism in the world around us? Do you understand it's underlying roots on societies behaviors? Do you see it as financial warfare?
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The idea of work, or working, and tying it to success is a huge study topic all in its own. Hard work and being driven is usually associated with successful people. Everyday the world bombards us with its ideas of success either directly or subconsciously. Success as defined by the dictionary, "is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, whether good or bad." Some of these concepts are visual and are projected upon us, while others our minds fabricate through judgments, assumptions, and insecurities. Fancy cars, big houses, assets, net worth, degrees, power, influence, etc.
There are many motivating factors that drive the need for success. Emotional, physical, mental, and material are a few that encapsulate a broad picture. The Bible has over 40 verses that speak on the topic of work, deed, or toil, which makes it pretty important. Through the fall of man, God required us to toil and work all the days of our lives. In 1 Corinthians, Paul talks about being a fellow worker with God in terms of ministers. As each of us are disciples of Christ we are all ministers as we go out into the world, interact with people, and are put into different situations in which to give glory to God.
"For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, another is building upon it. But let each man be careful how he builds upon it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if a any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work." (1 Corinthians 3:9-13)
Another important verse is Matthew 6:24, "No one can serve two masters; for he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth." The term for money is an Aramaic term for profits or material possessions. Since God tolerates no rivals, Jesus repeatedly warns of the danger of accumulation riches (Matthew 13:22; 19:16-30; 26:14-16; 27:3-10; 28:11-15), which can be an idol. We must trust God to meet our needs and the community of disciples is to be mutually supportive.
The Bible outlines a path to spiritual success that will overflow into every area of our lives. It starts with wisdom.
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Staying in line with spiritual warfare and the antithetical dichotomy of the world's view versus God's view regarding the impact of money in our lives, I am going to discuss what financial institutions base all financial decisions off of, the Five C's of Credit and compare it with God's Five C's of living for Him. Establishing our lives with God's Five C's will inevitably overflow and shape characteristics of societies Five C's, but the purpose is to live for a higher power and authority. Breaking out of the constraints and box-like structure we are forced to conform to and living for the Creator of the universe that often times feels opposite of the world.
When applying for a loan with a financial institution, a person is asked to fill out an application. This application requires you to provide your social security number, income, years employed, assets, asset detail, liabilities, and business or personal financial statements. All this information is then used to determine credit worthiness through the ability to repay whether it be cash flow or repossession, current and future market conditions, and past credit decisions.
It only takes one application to figure out the importance society places on these conditions, especially when trying to dig out of a financial hole. For most people, these conditions then subconsciously become a way of life. Parameters in which we live in order to stay within the mold of acceptance. They persuade our decisions, shape our lives, promote accumulation and preservation, and ultimately define who we are in society. The quickest judgment of who we are is the credit score. This score will make or brake people for many years.
The Five C's of Credit as society shapes us are as followed:
The antithesis is the Five C's of the Word as God shapes us to live for Him and not society.
Practicing the Five C's of God's Word we are not guaranteed Capacity, Capital, or Collateral. Conditions may change as God leads us in different directions or circumstances take a turn in which we did not anticipate. We may be required to change homes or jobs periodically as we prayerfully listen and follow God's direction, and we need to be open and ready for that change if necessary. But we are guaranteed a strong Character for living a life God intended and wants for us. Honest, ethical, moral, caring, content, servitude, and loving to name just a few.
It is important to not get caught up in the worldly requirements of money. Debt is presumptuous of the future and can lull us into a static lifestyle. Sticking with a good paying job that affords us the luxuries we have established. Change requires hard and often times drastic decisions to a way of life we have grown accustomed to.
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The foundation of our existence, the breath of our soul, and the battle for eternity is all spiritual. The affections of our heart and soul are constantly embattled between the love of the world and the love of our Creator. We live in a world that is antithetical to the world God intended. We asked for this. We created its current condition.
It is a hard concept for people to wrap their heads around generational sin. How could the actions and decisions of our previous ancestors effect, not only the general world around us, but more specifically our individual lives? I mean, don't we have control over our own decisions and destiny?
The reality is, the environment we live in today is a byproduct of generational sinful decisions that have influenced our worldviews, lifestyles, ambitions, and motivations.
To start with the most obvious example, Adam and Eve. Their sinful decision to be enlightened with knowledge. Genesis 2:15-17 speaks of the Edenic Covenant. This covenant in Eden is the first of the general or universal covenants. In it, Adam is charged to do the following:
This covenant was terminated by man's disobedience, when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, resulting in their spiritual and physical deaths. This failure necessitated the establishment of the covenant with Adam (Gen 3:14-21), which will be discussed further at a later time.
The sinful decision of Adam opens up a broken and sinful world from which every human is born into. I will demonstrate how brokenness perpetuates itself from insatiable desires which is then passed down along from generation to generation.
Cain and Able, the offspring of Adam and Eve, were the dichotomy of what the world was intended to be and what it has become. A character of divine worship versus a character of manipulation and greed. The meaning of Abel signified sorrow, while Cain stood for possession.
Abel, a lover of righteousness and believer that God was present at all his actions, excelled in virtue. Employed as shepherd, Abel relied on all that God provided to him. The growth of his assets were born naturally of their own accord as God intended and created to be. Thus, from God's provision did Abel give back the first fruits.
Cain, being wicked in his ways, was wholly intent upon getting through all means necessary. Being a farmer and working the land, Cain contrived the ground to produce unnaturally in order to gain exponentially. As his name implies, Cain was fully interested in himself and his possessions. Cain manipulated and invented ways to force the ground into producing. It was perversion of a perfect and harmonious world created by God.
God's preference of Abel's offering over Cains enraged him into a violent act of murder. His punishment from God was banishment and wondering of the earth. This fueled Cain's wickedness as he sought to procure everything that was for his own bodily pleasure with complete disregard to the people around him. Cain became very wealthy through rapine, violence, and robbery. He became a great leader of men practicing wicked ways that changed the way of simplicity wherein men lived before. Author of weights, measures, and land boundaries, Cain changed the world into craftiness and manipulation. He created the world into a possession oriented society whereas accumulation became a symbol of wealth and prosperity.
The conditions and mindset put forth by Cain has been carried out from generation after generation. The only thing changing are the tools. Ideas and methods are continually coming out to improve and manipulate the very fabrics of society. There will always be a benefactor to these changes. Changes require more laws, regulations, and red tape. Laws, regulations, and red tape require more change and manipulation.
Better systems, new ideas, advanced technology, etc. are all forms of a generational manipulation that was created by Cain. Being born into a certain generation, you become subject to the current practices of its time and many times to the changes and manipulation that occur thereafter.
It is time to bring life back to simplicity. Recognizing and honoring God's provisions. God created the Earth for our pleasure and He said it was good. Let's recognize that.
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In a continuing effort to provide a foundation for the premise of this website, here is my next blog that coincides with the vision.
As stated on the main page, New Community Financial is centered around Isaiah 8:11-12. The idea of a new community is adopted from Isaiah stemming from the idea of a small nucleus of God's people, preserved by His unmerited grace, forming a foundation for a new community devoted to His redemptive work. Long before prophets, a type of remnant theology may be seen in God's preservation of Noah and his family from the great flood. In the same way, God used Joseph in Egypt to sustain a remnant during the worldwide famine.
Remnant theology is also evident in the book of Deuteronomy, where Moses warned Israel that they would be scattered, but the obedient would eventually be restored to their homeland. This concept was picked up by the prophets and applied to the Hebrew people when they were carried into captivity by the Assyrians and Babylonians.
In the eighth century B.C., the prophet Amos proclaimed Israel's doom (Amos 8:1,2), but he also declared the possibility of deliverance for "the remnant of Joseph". In Isaiah's vision of Judah's judgment, the prophet thundered, "Unless the LORD of hosts had left us a few survivors, we would be like Sodom" (Is 1:9). Isaiah even named one of his sons Shear-jashub, meaning "A Remnant Shall Return" (Is 7:3). He predicted that the nation of Judah would be overthrown by a foreign power but that remnant would survive to serve as a witness to God's continuing work of world redemption (Is 10:20-23). The prophet Micah, a contemporary of Isaiah, tied the restoration remnant of God's future reign in Zion (Micah 2:12, 13).
In the New Testament, the apostle Paul applied remnant theology to the church, indicating that God's new people would include both believing Jews and Gentiles (Romans 9:22-27). Alluding to the seven thousand who had not worshipped Baal in Elijah's time (1 Kings 19:18), Paul declared, "In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God's gracious choice" (Romans 11:5).
Throughout history God has always preserved a remnant from among His people to serve as a lighthouse in the midst of a dark and sinful world.
I have felt inspired, through my deliverances, to write about and convey certain ideas and concepts from which I feel the Lord has given. It is important, in my opinion, to address the different types of biblical inspiration that has produced scripture, sermons, books, studies, and classes. I want to be kept accountable, true to God's Word, and pure in motives.
The word Inspiration can be found one time in the New Testament, Second Timothy 3:16. "All Scripture is inspired by God," literally "God-breathed." Divine inspiration logically follows divine revelation. In revelation God speaks to man's ear while by inspiration He guides the pen to ensure that the imparted message is correctly written down.
There are several ideas about the process of inspiration.
Plenary-verbal inspiration does not guarantee the inspiration of any translation, but only of the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts.
I will be using these ideas as a benchmark of accountability to all financial concepts portrayed in the website.
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There is a tremendous amount of backstory to the start of this website and ultimately my walk, that it is hard to determine where to begin. My testimony seems a fitting place as it ties into the nature of this project.
I don't consider myself an extraordinary individual. I do not possess an over abundance of any specific talent, not a super-athlete or mental genius. I always find satisfaction in physical manual labor while school, college specifically, was bit of a struggle. Finding a purpose in life has been a daily battle.
I had my first drink when I was eighteen years old and basically never looked back. Alcohol empowered me in areas if never knew I needed. That empowerment is a false sense of living that weakens the senses and numbs the feelings. It creates shallow relationships that leaves everyone involved craving more leading to brokenness, loneliness, and divorce.
I came to know Christ right around nineteen or twenty years old. I was attending church periodically with a girl I was dating at the time and her parents. During one of the altar calls, I felt urged to raise my hand in acceptance of Christ. I have learned over the years that accepting Christ during an altar call and following Christ are worlds apart. Matthew 7:21-23 describes it best in my opinion, when those who think they knew Christ are denied because they actually did not. The process in which one truly finds Christ is unclear to me but I do know it is rooted deep within the heart of the individual.
My revelation with Christ was clear. Not easy, but clear. This defining moment for me can only be described best by Toby Mac's song, "Feel It." When Jesus came crashing in, He wrecked me.
My first beer was only the beginning of many. I lived a party lifestyle to put it simply and mildly. Attending church on occasion when the guilt had built up enough to force me to go. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't always like that. Guilt is a double edged sword. It was also guilt that kept me from attending.
In 2005 I finally finished my bachelors degree in Economics. Finished is a term I use lightly. After working on said degree twelve years after finishing high school I was carried across the 'graduating finish line' on a stretcher, hooked to life support. Newly remarried and a closet alcoholic, things were about to change.
The Lord delivered me from alcohol overnight after a kneeling, heartfelt petition on my end and a miraculous encounter on His. There are thousands of words and hundreds of pages left out of this simple blog that don't even scratch the surface to this story. I had been wrecked.
This Jesus 'wrecking ball' encounter did many things for me. It left an insatiable desire to know more about Him. The knowledge left me uncontent with the world around me. I believe God opened up my eyes to the financial spiritual warfare the world is embroiled in every single day.
This is the cut version of my testimony. I believe the church, the body of Christ, needs a revival of testimonies from its believers. It doesn't require degrees or credentials to make one worthy of putting sermons together, writing books, or speaking the Truth.
Testimonies require a voice to be heard proclaiming Jesus is real.