Category Archives: Perspective

Orientation for a Secure Financial Future

Scanning the landscape of your financial future?

There are about six major ways to become wealthy:

  • Be Born into a Wealthy Family

    • It goes without saying that
      • if you are the child, relative, or heir of
        • Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Sam Walton, or
        • Africa’s Aliko Dangote, or Mexico’s Carlos Slim, or
        • any of the royal families in Kuwait, Oman, or Dubai, etc.
          • you WILL also be wealthy.
    • But this path to wealth is not available to over 99% of the planet!
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  • Marry into a Wealthy Family

    • Kate Middleton, and Meghan Markle
      • married into British Royalty and into Wealth!
    • The wives of Rupert Murdoch, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk
      • all married into wealth.
    • However, this road is reserved
      • for only a tiny sliver of humanity. 
      • It also appears that
        • the wealthy generally marry
          • people of similar economic status.
  • Win a Lottery Jackpot with a Big Cash Prize

    • The odds of winning the mega million jackpot in the US
      • for example, is over 1 in 300 million
      • that means it is ‘possible’ to lose over 300 million times
        • before you win once!
      • It also means that you may never win
        • if you play the lottery every day
          • of a 100-year life span
          • (that is about 36,600 days!)
          • and never win!
      • As a means to wealth,
        • winning the Jackpot is therefore a ‘false hope’
        • for the majority of us.
      • Note:  Forget about the publicity
        • around those who win;
        • the prize money
        • (less the portion
          • that goes to the organizers)
          • is coming from all those who did not win,
            • (that is a lot of people!)
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  • Steal Money From Plenty of People or From a Wealthy Person

    • The problem with this approach is that
      • it is illegal and you may get caught, 
      • it is anti-biblical, unethical, and immoral; moreover
      • people/the wealthy will work to protect their money, and
      • therefore the success rate of achieving lifetime wealth
        • through thievery is also very low.
    • Therefore, this is not a viable approach to wealth
      • for average person
      • (some still try to make a living
        • by scamming people out of their money).
  • Become a Successful Professional in a Well-paying Industry 

    • Note: “successful”
    • Also Note: “well paying industry” of the economy, meaning
      • star athletes, champion sportsmen, movie stars, etc.
        • at the top of their profession
        • (Usain Bolt
          • the 100 meter Jamaican world record holder
          • is reportedly worth over $30 million
            • in 2019!);
      • professions requiring high qualification, and
        • that are in high demand
        • but with low supply of workers, for example,
          • brain surgeons, computer whiz, fund managers, etc.
    • Also Note: Working for income in an excellent but regular job
        • is not usually a means to wealth!!
    • The possibilities here in my judgment are greater
      • than the previous listings
      • but still for most people
      • it is not a feasible way to build lifetime wealth.
  • Start and Run Your Own Successful Business 

    • Note again “successful”
    • Starting and running a business requires
      • special skills
        • which many people do not appear to have;
      • willingness to take risks,
      • willingness to bear full responsibility
        • for your own welfare.
      • But with risks comes financial reward
        • that can grow without limit
          • into lifetime wealth,
          • as long as the business continues to grow
            • and is successful.
    • The proportion of people who can take this is also greater 
      • than than the previous options!
  • Get A regular career and invest wisely

    • in other Successful Businesses
      • over a long period of time!
    • Note: you do not have to be successful at
      • starting and running a business; but
        • you must be good at picking successful businesses
          • over a long period of time!
    • This means using modest regular income, and
      • saving all you can, while
      • investing in businesses that are successful,
      • over a long period of time,
        • will generally compound into wealth!
    • This is the most available route for most people!
      • More next time.

On a final note:

  • Becoming ‘wealthy’ need not be your goal, rather
  • Make it your goal to become Financially Free:
    • Have enough to tithe and give to the work of the Lord.
    • Have enough to cover your budgeted expense
      • including miscellaneous, as well as
      • unplanned and unexpected expenses.
    • Have enough to cover for emergencies.
    • Save enough to guarantee a desired standard of living in retirement.
    • Have enough to leave a legacy for the next generation!
    • Have enough to be generous and make a difference in the lives of others.
  • This we can all do
    • If we start early,
    • with much planning, prayer, and discipline!!

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New Year! What Resolutions?!

I NO LONGER MAKE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS!!

WHY?  Two things!

  • I have come to view the end of one year and the start of another as 
    • a little too artificial.
    • Imagine looking back to the earth
      • from the vantage point of the moon.
      • What is the difference between
        • December 31st and
        • January 1st?
    • Or Imagine being a bird, or another animal.
      • What is the difference in the experience
      • of December 31st relative to January 1st?
  • I have resolutions,
    • but they are no longer bound by an artificial timeline.
    • My resolutions
      • like time itself,
      • are always on a continuum; and they
      • are about
        • ‘always growing’;
        • always becoming a better version of me.
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    •  I don’t stop striving to become better version of me
      • just because I broke a resolution after two months.
    • Neither do I wait until the next December 31st
      • to resolve to start again;
      • to become a better version of me;
        • after I fail by February 1st each year.

So what should we do on the 31st of December each year?

  • Do celebrate 
    • the end of a block of (man made) ‘time’ and the start of a new one,
      • like everybody else; and
      • it is useful to have time markers along the way, but
  • Do, never become obsessive
    • that you must meet all your benchmarks within the year
      • to consider yourself successful!

So here is the ONE AND ONLY RESOLUTION you need to have:

  • Always strive to become a better version of yourself with each passing day:
    • Be better at your faith, you know,
      • trust, pray, love, give, testify, know, and serve more, etc.,
        • about and as a result of your faith!
    • Better in your character
      • (the real you;
      • what’s inside;
      • like toothpaste,
        • what comes out when pressure is applied);
      • Be more dependable, more patient, more truthful,
      • more balanced, less self-centered, more at peace with yourself,
      • more generous with others,
        • with your resources as well as with their faults etc.,
      • more self disciplined with time, words, and actions; wiser.
  •  Better in your relationships: more
      • serving, self-less, open, forgiving, listening and less talking,
      • considerate, gentle, humble, and more self-control.
    • Better at your Career:  Make it your goal to be 
      • more dependable, knowledgeable, skillful, useful, available, etc.
        • with each passing day.

A wise man once said, long ago:

“…One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize…” Paul (ca. AD 52-62, Phil 3.13-14)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!  PLEASE LIKE AND SHARE!!

A Very Profound Event Happened at Christmas

A Very Profound Event Happened at Christmas:

  • God Became Man!

The Scriptures Says it Best:

  • No Exposition Needed
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  • In the beginning was the Word, and
    • the Word was with God, and
    • the Word was God.
    • He was with God in the beginning.
    • Through him all things were made;
    • without him nothing was made
      • that has been made.
    • In him was life, and
      • that life was the light of all mankind.
        • The light shines in the darkness, and
        • the darkness has not overcome[a] it. . . . 
  • He was in the world, and though
    • the world was made through him,
    • the world did not recognize him.
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  • He came to that which was his own,
    • but his own did not receive him. 
    • Yet to all who did receive him,
    • to those who believed in his name, 
      • he gave the right to become children of God
        • children born not
          • of natural descent, nor
          • of human decision
          • or a husband’s will, but
        • born of God.
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  • The Word became flesh and
    • made his dwelling among us.
    • We have seen his glory, 
      • the glory of the one and only Son,
        • who came from the Father,
        • full of grace and truth.
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A Very Profound Event Happened at Christmas:

  • God Became Man!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL!!

What Is So Special About Christmas?

For most of us, the Christmas season is special,

  • a welcome time of the year.

But I ask myself the question, Why?

  • WHAT IS SO UNIQUE ABOUT THIS TIME OF THE YEAR!?

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It is about the giving and receiving of gifts?

  • Everyone seem to make an effort to give a gift to someone else
    • No doubt receiving a gift is a pleasant experience.
    • Giving a gift that brings joy to someone else
      • is also a beautiful thing.
  • All this shopping for gifts mean more sales for businesses
    • which allows them
      • to hand out bonuses to workers
        • at Christmas.
    • Even without increased revenues,
    • Christmas is when businesses
      • make positive gestures
        • towards employees and the public.
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Could it be the Bright and Warm Colors of the season?

  • A lot of people put on
    • red, green or gold or other
    • bright and warm colors during this season.
  • Many homes are decorated with multi colored Christmas lights
    • on the outside
    • and, with colorfully decorated ornaments
      • on the inside including on Christmas trees.
  • Many stores and businesses 
    • make dramatic and colorful window displays.
    • On the inside, their products
      • are also beautifully arranged with Christmas decorations.
  • The streets, and city centers in many areas around the world
    • are also impressively decorated.
  • But the Christmas season is all this and more!

Could it be the Wonderful Sounds that fill the air?

  • Lots of music and the sounds of bells and whistles
    • fill the air during this season.
  • Christmas Carols tell the wonderful story
    • of the love of God and
    • of peace and goodwill towards all men.
  • The sounds of the Christmas season evokes nostalgia
    • in the minds of adults
      • about innocent childhood days as well as
      • about simpler days and times;
        • when they looked forward to
          • Christmas gifts, toys, family, and fun.
    • But the Christmas season
      • is special for  all this and more;
      • more than just the sounds of love, joy, peace, and hope that fills the air!

Is it because of the Special Food we enjoy at this time of the year?

  • Everyone goes out of their way to prepare special food and 
    • there is plenty of it
      • at Christmas time;
    • there is also a large variety of it
      • at Christmas time;
    • there is plenty of food and lots of variety
      • of very nice food
        • at Christmas time.
    • But the Christmas season is special
      • for more than lots of very fine food.

Is it the many celebrations, the events we get to attend?

    • Parties among friends and families,
    • nine lessons and carols;
    • special concerts and
    • sporting events etc.,
      • are all mostly very nice experiences.
  • Even without a party to go to,
    • the streets have more people
      • out and about,
        • (shopping, dining, buying and selling, etc.
        • not to forget the traffic);
      • during the Christmas season
      • giving a special ‘event’ type feeling.
  • This is good but Christmas season is special for much more!

All of the above,

  • each have a part to play
    • in making the Christmas Season
      • SO VERY SPECIAL.

But together,

  • the giving and receiving of gifts,
  • the bright and warm colors,
  • the sounds,
  • the special and very fine food,
  • the celebrations and special events;
    • combine to create a very powerful and positive vibe
      • in society.
  • The season is special,
    • because together
      • they make it a season of GOOD WILL
        • wherever Christmas is celebrated!

And we

  • (all of humanity, our families, our communities, our nation, our economies)
  • need AT LEAST ONE SEASON OF GOOD WILL in each year!

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU THE READER AND SUBSCRIBERS!

Please invite others to subscribe to this blog.  Thank You!

 

Thanksgiving (An Attitude of the heart!!)

This should have been posted before Thanksgiving Day.  All the same,

“Better Late than never,” and on thanksgiving week,

I heard one radio announcer say:

“Thanksgiving is not a day, it is an attitude of the heart.”

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  • T – THANK and PRAISE God

    • for all things BIG and SMALL!
      • And do not forget
        • the precious people in your life!
  • H – HEALTH AND LIFE

    • are things we can all be thankful for
      • even if we are ill at a hospital
        • or in bed!
  • A – APPRECIATE and ADMIRE

    • the beauty of God’s creation around you.
  • N – NAME and NUMBER

    • your blessings,
      • its a rewarding experience,
      • including the precious people in your life.
  • K – KINDNESS and THANKSGIVING

    • in the heart
      • are twin siblings in the same home.
  • S – A SMILE and a CHEER;

    • want to see it on the face of the deserving?
      • Just say, “Thank You!”
        • from the heart
        • and with a warm smile!
  • G – GIVING and RECEIVING:

    • The one exists not without the other
      • every time you say,
        • “Thank You!”
  • I – ICTUS;

    • Five Greek letters for ‘fish‘:
    • Jesus, Christ, God, Son, Savior:
      • at least one reason to “give thanks!”
  • V – VISION and VALUE:

    • Nothing says:
      • I see and I value what you have done” like when you say
        • “Thank you very much,”
          • from the heart.
  • I – INSIDE and OUTSIDE:

    • A thankful heart, expressed outwardly in sincere words
      • belong together.
  • N – NICE and NEW: 

    • Thanksgiving is always that
      • and much more.
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  • G – GOOD to GREAT: 

    • ‘Good Gifts’ become ‘GREAT GIFTS,’
      • when it is received with a heartfelt:
        • “Thank you.”

 

 

 

 

Near Death Experiences and the Bible!

What Should the Christian Make of Near Death Experiences (NDEs)?

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  • When Colton Burpo was four
    • he died and went to heaven, where
      • he met his grandparents and a sister
        • who had been still born.
    • His story was made popular by
      • both a book (“Heaven is for Real”), and
      • a movie by the same name.
    • Colton (now 20) had knowledge about his grandparents, and stillborn sister
      • that could only have come to him supernaturally,
      • that is through an NDE.
  • Recently also, my wife and I saw a documentary called ‘Afterlife‘ by Paul Perry,
    • which details the stories of people who experienced NDEs.
    • Perry clearly sees NDEs as proof of the ‘life after life’ and
    • the experience led us to examine Biblical teaching about the after life and
      • how that aligns with what is known about NDEs.
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  • If you are interested, the International Association of Near Death Studies (IANDS) website
    • contains a large collection of stories and information about NDEs;
      • the stories sometimes differ in the particulars; but
      • they also share strong similarities:
        • Out of body experience
        • Moving towards an unconditional loving light
        • Heightened senses, consciousness, peace and harmony
          • with the universe
        • Self-awareness – People experiencing NDEs
          • were aware of who they were as individuals
      • But there are others who believe that the experience is

 

  • Some descriptions of NDEs sound like
    • the product of vivid imagination and dreams, or  of
    • delirium, such as when a person is experiences very high fever
      • caused by malaria and other illnesses,
      • (an experience common to many people in the tropics
        • including me, my wife, and I am sure, many others); or
    • hallucination caused by certain types of restricted drugs.
  • Some texts in the Bible appear to relate to NDEs:
    • Paul (2 Corinthians 12) was caught up into the third heavens
      • he said he could not say whether he was
        • in the body or out of the body” (verse 3 ESV);
      • he also saw and heard wonderful things he could not describe.
        • Could this have been and NDE
          • after he was beaten up and left for dead
            • at Lystra (Acts 14.19-20)?
          • Or could this have been after one of the many beatings he had suffered
            • as seen in 2 Corinthians 6.2-10?
    • John the Beloved experienced visions
      • detailed in the book of revelation while fasting.
        • Could this also qualify as an NDE?
        • Please see Revelation 1.9 -20.
    • Many other prophets in the Bible received visions
      • Daniel (10.2 ff); Peter (Acts 10.10 ff; ), Stephen (Acts 7.55 ff) etc.
      • Were these NDEs?  Are NDEs the same, similar to
        • what is called a ‘vision’ and a ‘trance’ in the Bible?
    • Jesus spoke about Lazarus and the Rich Man in the afterlife
      • (the story does not appear to be a mere parable
        • but a description of historical events );
      • how similar are the details of this story
        • to the common elements of NDEs?

SO WHAT THEN?

  • At the minimum, I believe NDEs confirm
    • what the Bible clearly teaches:
      • that Human existence goes beyond the physical realm.
        • In fact humanity generally and instinctively believes this
        • hence the universal prevalence of religion
          • one way or another, all societies ‘pray;
        • although some (atheists, and skeptics, and naturalists etc.)
          • reject this possibility.
  • But NDEs are not the source of our hope; rather
    • the Bible’s teaching of the Resurrection is the source of our hope.
  • We must be careful not to develop doctrines
    • about the afterlife
      • based on NDEs, about,
      • who gets saved, how they are saved etc., or about
    • who God, Jesus Christ,  and the Holy Spirit is;
      • The Bible is our source of doctrine for all things Christian
        • (Jude 4; Galatians 1.7-9; 2 Timothy 3.16,17)
  • God wants us to live by faith and by the already provided word of God
    • Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
      • John 20.29!
    • Luke 16.27-31
      • The Rich man’s brothers must accept the teachings of scripture
        • by faith!
    • Hebrews 11.6
      • Faith not NDEs (or other types of miraculous signs)
        • must be he basis of our walk with God.
    • Paul – 2 Corinthians 5.7
      • “for we walk by faith and not by sight”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of the ‘Devil’ and the Evil in All of US!

Where does Satan and our Sinful Nature fit

  • in explaining the evil that is in the World Today?

As a Christian

  • I learn about the existence of ‘Satan‘ and of the ‘Sinful Nature,’ but
  • I have not fully resolved
    • how those two (sinful nature and Satan) interact to bring evil in the world.
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Regarding Satan (the devil, serpent, tempter, accuser, destroyer, etc.)

  • Is he present everywhere at the same time?
    • everyone appears to be constantly being affected or
      • tempted by him;
  • How is he able to tempt each person individually?
    • How come he knows what we are thinking?
    • How come he knows so much
      • about our individual histories, personalities and weaknesses?
  • If Satan, ‘the devil’
    • can tempt, deceive, dissuade, discourage, destroy individuals
      • even as the human population on the earth
        • continues to grow and
        • has reached over 4 billion; and if he
    • can work his evil from generation to generation for thousands of years;
      • the way some people say he does,
      • does not that make him a very powerful person
        • with some attributes like God(!)?
        • But he is NOT GOD!

This brings us to another source of evil in the world:

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  • The Sinful/Evil Nature in all of us.

A ‘celebrity’ (in the early church)  once said this about himself:

  • (in the first century)
  • “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me,
    • that is, in my sinful nature. 
    • For I have the desire to do what is good,
      • but I cannot carry it out.   
    • For I do not do the good I want to do,
      • but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”
        • (Paul: Romans 7.18-19)
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This is what that sinful nature looks like:

  • He(She) is lazy, slow, and a procrastinator.
  • He(She) lies, exaggerates, and deceives
  • He(She) is incredibly selfish;
  • He(She) is greedy, proud, boastful, and self-promoting
  • He(She) can be lewd, nasty, and insensitive
  • He(She) is utterly against God
    • He(she) does not want to submit to God’s rule or to worship him;
    • He(She) does not like to humble himself before God;
    • He(She) does not like to pray;
    • He(She) does not want to read sacred scriptures;
  • He(She) does not like limits
    • if the speed limit is 40 mph, he(she) wants to go at 45 mph or
    • if the speed limit is 55 mph, 65 mph seems attractive to him/her
  • He(She) lacks self control, prefers excesses,
    • he(she) does not want to wait or to accept limit on him/herself
      • whether it’s with regard to food and drink, or
      • in relation to social interactions,
        • including sex, and marital fidelity;
    • he(she) does not want to go to bed or to wake up early;
    • with regards to words and conversations,
      • he(she) can be mean, insensitive, inconsiderate, gossipy, and crass.
    • He(She) is never satisfied, always wants more.
  • He(She) works against the interest of the person in whom he dwells;
    • the excesses of the sinful nature may cause
      • disease, physical harm, crime and punishment;
      • auto accidents, fire, financial ruin,
      • ruined relationships and broken families,
      • loss of face and status, loss of power, etc.;
    • but this does not stop him or cause him to change direction .
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I believe that

  • this sinful/evil nature is in every human being;
    • it can be conditioned/tempered by
      • parental discipline and personal experiences;
      • Christian (religious) conversion and education, and by
      • custom, and the laws of society;
  • this sinful nature is a “he/she” because
    • it is a part of but
      • not the totality of who we are as individuals
    • because he(she) appears to operate by ‘reason’ and ‘persuasion’
      • to our minds and/or to our will
      • (See Paul above in Romans 7.15-25);
    • as individuals we have still have the ability
      • TO MAKE A CHOICE between what
        • the persuasion of what the sinful nature wants and what
        • commons sense, conscience, laws of society, and the dictates of our faith, tell us.
  • (Personally, I refer to this sinful nature as “THE BEAST”).
  • Bring a community of people together
    • with this sinful nature and its tendencies,
    • we then have endless possibilities for evil,
      • in our world!

NEXT POST:  BRINGING THE TWO TOGETHER:

  • SATAN, OUR SINFUL NATURE, AND THE PREVALENCE OF EVIL IN OUR WORLD!!