As important as personal finance is, most people struggle in this area and if you’ve had any dealings with financial planners you will agree with me that the industry as a whole needs much more reform that it is getting presently. Except for a few financial planners, most only trade products and services for commissions and fees. Rather than focus on planning that matters for the clients, they often focus on transactions and in the process provide sub-optimal financial plan that meets the needs of the clients. If you currently have a financial planner, how many times have you challenged your financial planner or questioned his advice? How often do you review your investments and retirement goals and plans? Do you know if your financial planner invests in the same products he recommends for you? Do you know how your financial planner is compensated? At the end of the day, no one will manage your money better than you so that’s why I think it is critical to be educated in this area so you can at least ask intelligent questions and make informed decisions about your money and future retirement. With the tools now available to all including the Fintech firms that are now disrupting the wealth management industry, there is no better time to consider taking full control of your financial future. I am currently testing and researching various service delivering options and will be providing a service shortly that will equip you to build a bullet proof retirement plan tailored to your needs. If you want more information on this, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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Faith

Do You Labor In What Does Not Satisfy?

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In light of the demands on our time and the pressure to work harder, mostly for the satisfaction of the pleasures of this world, I was encouraged by this verse in Isaiah 55:2 “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.

In his invitation to the people of Israel to receive the glory of the Lord’s restoration, Isaiah poses a great question for the people…”why do you spend money and labor for what can’t satisfy?” He calls on the people of God to listen diligently, eat what is good and delight in rich food. First, the satisfaction of God’s promises is only available to those who listen diligently. Listening diligently takes time, attention and effort. Second, they must eat what is good, the good word of God, the Gospel. And third, they must delight in God’s rich food, reading his words and hearing by faith and attending to God’s words with spiritual pleasure and delight.

We are called today to pause and examine our lives. What things are we pouring our time, money and effort into? Are they things that don’t satisfy? Or things that bring glory to the Lord? There is an invitation from Christ today for us to listen diligently, because the satisfaction God promises only comes to those who listen, those who listen patiently and attentively. We are invited to eat that which is good and to delight in the rich food. In other words, to spend time abiding in God’s word, meditating on His promises and delighting in the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer: Lord, our prayer is to only delight in your good word that promises satisfaction. May you lead and guide us as we redirect our efforts, time and money to those things that will bring glory to your Holy name. Fill our hearts with the joy and delight that only comes from the satisfaction of eating from the bread of life, the essential Word, Jesus Christ. Amen!

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Faith

He Was Pierced For Our Transgressions

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In Chapter 53 of Isaiah, the Prophet foretells the suffering of the Messiah, the end for which he was to die and the resulting salvation for mankind from His death and resurrection.

Isaiah 53:5-6 “[5] But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. [6] All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – everyone – to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

In these beautiful verses, Isaiah explains why Christ was stricken, smitten by God and afflicted (v.4). It was for us, for our transgressions…for our iniquities. It was in our place that the Messiah suffered. In v.5, Isaiah announces that provision for healing is found in the suffering of Jesus Christ, so with his wounds we are healed. And in v.6 he describes the need for the Messiah’s atoning work, that all of us, like stupid, headstrong sheep, have gone astray. We have turned on our own sinful ways, rather than following the ways of God. But God in his grace judged our iniquity as it was laid on Jesus Christ!

Knowing that Christ was pierced for my transgressions, that he was crushed for my iniquities, that his punishment gave me peace and that his wounds brought me healing overwhelms my heart with joy. I must then give praise to God almighty for this grace and salvation that I don’t deserve!  By faith I claim the perfect healing that was provided to me through His wounds on the cross and I will live everyday of my life focused on His ways rather than my sinful ways.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for both the physical and spiritual healing provided for me by the wounds you suffered on the cross. I give you glory Lord for realizing how lost I was in my ways and taking up my iniquity upon Yourself. 1 Peter 2:24-25 “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”  Amen!

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Faith

Let Wisdom and Discernment lead you to the Lord!

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In chapter 14 of the book of Hosea, Prophet Hosea calls on the people of Israel to return to the Lord. He says whoever is wise and discerning, let him understand and know these things.

Hosea 14:9 “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but the transgressors stumble in them.

What are the things that Hosea is referring to here? They are all over the book of Hosea but specifically I will highlight two verses in this chapter:

  1. V.2 “Take with you words and return to the Lord…” and “…Take away all iniquity…”: God calls the people to come before the Lord and repent from their iniquities. Taking the word of God with them means studying the word and communicating with God with their hearts, telling God that they love Him and confessing their sins before the Lord. When we come to the Lord, we recognize our sins and our total dependence on the grace of God to wipe away our iniquities. Paul expressed the same idea in Romans 10:8-10 “…The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (i.e. the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
  2. V.4 “I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely…”: The word apostasy is abandonment of one’s religious faith, a total desertion of or departure from one’s religion. The Lord saw that His people have abandoned him but He promised to heal them, not because they deserved it, but because it is in His nature to love them freely.

In this chapter alone, we see the cycle of repentance, redemption and restoration evident in Hosea’s prophecy. We see God’s love for his people – a nation of people more interested in themselves than in God’s direction for their lives – shine through clearly against the darkness of their idolatry and injustice.

We know that God brings judgment on those who turn from Him, but more importantly, it’s clear that no one sits outside of God’s offer of forgiveness! Today, I appreciate, even more, the saving power of God, now offered to me through His son, Jesus. I was once under His judgment because of my sins, but to the glory of God, I am forgiven and redeemed. I am restored to a loving relationship with my Father! The passage today shows what is restored when I return to the Lord:

  • Growth and beauty is restored (v.5 “…he shall blossom like the lily…”)
  • Strength is restored (v.5 “…he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon”)
  • Value is restored (v.6 “…his beauty shall be like the olive…”)
  • Delight is restored (v.6 “…his fragrance like Lebanon”)
  • Abundance is restored (v.7 “…flourish like the grain; …blossom like the vine; …their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon”)

Therefore, I must in turn, offer “redemption” or forgiveness to those in my life who were once under my judgment. I must forgive just as my Father forgave me.

Prayer:  Lord, may these truths be real in my life as I come to you now and confess my sins. Forgive me Lord and restore me back to a loving relationship with You. A relationship where I can experience the growth, strength, delight and abundance that can only be found in Christ Jesus. Amen!

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Faith

Don’t Let Pride Get in the Way

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As humans, particularly men, we give in to pride so easily. In the book of 2 Kings, we learn about Naaman and his pride. Naaman was a commander of the army of the king of Syria. He was a mighty man of valor as the bible described him. He was well respected and held in high favor. However, he was a leper. When he was told that a prophet in Samaria could cure him of his leprosy, he went and told the king who authorized him to go to Samaria. As Naaman arrived with his horses and chariots at the door of prophet Elisha’s house, he was humbled by the reality which was far different from his expectations.

 

2 King 5:10-12 “And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, ‘Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.’ But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, ‘Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?’ So he turned and went away in rage.”

 

Naaman was accustomed to being honored but Elisha would not even give him a personal audience, instead Elisha simply sent a messenger. Naaman apparently had it all figured out. In his great need, he anticipated a way God would work, and he was offended when God didn’t work the way he expected. Because his expectation of how God should work was crushed, Naaman wanted nothing to do with Elisha. If the answer was in washing in a river, Naaman knew there were better rivers in his own land. Naaman submitted to his pride. Naaman’s servants eventually came to his rescue with a timely advice which Naaman listened to, faithfully obeyed and was healed of his leprosy.

 

As we reflect on our own lives, we need to ask some tough questions. Are we not like Naaman sometimes when we discount the simplicity of God’s response to our needs? We let pride get in the way and thus, miss our healing moments and God’s miracles in our lives. We let our own opinions based on our status come before God’s opinion. Like Naaman, we often think that God’s plan is too cheap, too plain, too common merely based on our own status. This is God calling us to put him First…we must surrender our ways and submit to God’s wisdom and vision for our lives.

 

Proud men are the worst enemies to themselves and forgo their own redemption. Therefore, we must pray to God to destroy all elements of pride in us and keep us humble and obedient to His words. We learn from Romans 10:3 that those that are for establishing their own righteousness will not submit to the righteousness of God…”For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.” Lord, I pray that you will keep us in total submission to your righteousness. Amen!

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