My6inchchallenge's Blog

Tackling difficulties and overcoming the challenges life serves up – by Dona Halliday

Archive for money

Deliver us from want — Prosperity and the christian church

“What could she possibly have to be thankful for…?” My question caught me by surprise, but as it lingered I realized I needed an answer. I was reading a snippet of the story of a missionary on a short-term mission trip who had been on a now abandoned island in the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, ministering to lepers. On the final day, he was leading worship in a leper colony and asked if anyone had a favorite song. At his request, a woman turned and he saw the most disfigured face he’d ever seen—she had no ears, no nose and her lips were gone. But she raised her hand, it was fingerless, and asked, “Could we sing, ‘Count Your Many Blessings’?”

What would be on her list? I wanted to know. What blessings would SHE be thanking God for? How would her list compare to mine…, or yours.

Blessing defined as having good fortune or having tangible things for which we are thankful is very popular in our churches today. As a matter of fact, the idea of prosperity is one of the most popular guarenteed triggers to generate a shout in many places of worship. But I believe the noble goal of helping believers grasp the awesome heritage we have as a result of our relationship with God—that we need not live dejected, depressed, hopeless lives have turned us on to a desire to be delivered from “want”. Lack, it seems, has become the new evil —- and not necessarily the lack of a thing, but the lack of the thing being bigger and better. It seems everywhere we turn the word prosperity is being brandished and we seem to think we can praise our way into a life of abundance without developing characteristics of  discipline, self-control or excellent work ethics. We want stuff and we want it now.

I remember years ago a friend purchased a house, he was so excited about this milestone, but as we talked, his girlfriend’s response was, “It’s ok, for a starter home”. On another occasion I heard someone express dissatisfaction because the new car they had been able to afford was not a “luxury” vehicle. We appear to be at this very challenging juncture where what we have is never sufficient, where we can never be in the moment because of our anxiety for the next bigger thing. We seem to have this misguided concept that God is more interested in showering us with stuff than He is in making us after his own heart.

Would our churches want to take credit for this “renewed” mindset? For instead of developing disciples who are hungry for God, whose passion is serving for kingdom building, who remember our hallmark is in the way we love one another, and who can rest in the privileged state of learned contentment; we’ve produced many dissatisfied, selfish people, who have an insatiable appetite for more stuff, whose religious mantra is to name and claim, and who seem to think our hallmark is in the abundance of what we possess.

Lest some may think I’m opposed to disciples of Christ prospering in the material as well as the spiritual, let me say such thinking would be unwise and unscriptural. But the challenge to maintain right prospective is evident as we try to balance the pursuit of both. For though we may loose the things we touch, or even the things we touch with, like the leper on Chacachacare Island, assured, we’ll know that we still possess the cross-endorsed sacrificial gifts of Christ that nothing can destroy.

This is Dona Halliday challenging you to feed those things that have eternal value as your mind is being renewed

Take a listen. I love the message in this song – “Empty Me”

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Finally, I see you

He just stood looking in at me. I did not want to look at him. He stood on my left. I had never realized how long these stop lights were before. I sat searching my mind, adding and subtracting and came up empty. I had no money in my purse–I could not look at him and not have something to offer him. I felt compelled to turn–I saw the empty mouth hanging open, but his eyes broke my heart. They seemed sad, desperate and lost.

I suddenly remembered I had put away some single bills the day before for this very reason. So I reached for it, rolled down my window and handed it to him. He said, “All I can say miss, is God bless you for your kindness”. This guy was new, I had not seen him before. I had a few regulars, they were on my route home so I felt in someway responsible. I’d give them a few dollars and move on.

This day however, when I got home, I bawled, literally. There was something about him, that broke something inside me. I had arrived home to a house that was so warm in the winter that my attire was consistent year-round–dressed for the topics–but I had handed him $2. and left him out in the cold.

I kept wondering what else I could have done, my help in the face of such a challenge seemed inadequate. Later that evening, while reading “He Still Moves Stones,” Max Lucado retells the story of Leo Tolstoy, a Russian writer. Tolstoy said one day as he walked down the street he saw a beggar. He reached in his pocket to give the beggar some money but his pocket was empty. He turned to the man and said, “I’m sorry, my brother, but I have nothing to give.” The beggar brightened and said, “You have given me more than I asked for–you have called me brother.

Maybe that’s why I felt so broken, I finally saw, and realized these too were my brothers, though homeless, hungry and hurting we were connected. I also learned that even when my purse is empty, I can offer love, acknowledge and affirm their person-hood and let them know I see them.

Relationships – Sins of the past

The Judge sits with gavel in hand waiting to pass sentence on current and past sins. Having the power to show mercy or condemn, may she choose mercy. On my 6 inch challenge blog

"Judge with gavel in hand"

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“This is the second bad thing I did”, said Ruth, as she plunged into another story from her past. “I told this guy I had a Christmas gift for him and suggested that we do a gift exchange. He asked me what I wanted and I told him money. When he brought the money I told him I had forgotten his gift and I’ll give it to him the next day. The next day I tried to avoid him, so as he walked towards me calling my name, I started running –I had never bought him a gift. But that does not really count”,  does it”?, she asked with a laugh, “Because I was only a teenager.”

I can’t remember how this conversation started on my job, but Ruth, my coworker (the name has been changed to protect the guilty), is one of the sweetest persons I know, and as the judge in me rose to condemn her for such a terrible thing, grace reminded me to sit still. After all, I have my past sins and I can’t even blame youth for those unwise choices.

I believe that’s one thing our mistakes should teach us–be quick to show mercy and slow to condemn. Have you pointed your finger lately, shook you head in disbelief, wondering how someone could be so bad, so evil, so unwise? Have you banged your gavel and proclaimed they should never have another chance, you’ll never forgive them, they deserve what they get? Pause for a moment and check your past then see if you really have a clear conscience to continue throwing stones.

Places of Inspiration-The Art of Inspiring Change

About six months ago I started attending another church. This place has become one of the greatest sources of inspiration and influence in my life. A friend asked what I liked about the church and I replied that even though I found the teaching very profound, it was the simplicity (sincerity) and practicality that drew me.

I told her of a series we had done in December entitled “Before You Begin Again”.  Lessons taught on making and sustaining changes in our relationships, changes in our lifestyle to affect levels of fitness and health, and changes in the way we view money, were all very insightful. But, this statement inspired me more than anything else “Just be kind, it costs nothing to be kind”.

That may seem quite elementary, but the truth is profound. I also remembered as a child one of my favorite bible verses was “And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

I believe the reason that statement affected me was because I realized I had strayed from the core of that message. For years, I have protected myself by not allowing most people to get too close to me. I have experienced moments though, when my heart must have escaped that protection, because those were the times I lived my best life.

As a result of being inspired and challenged, I’m allowing my heart the freedom of tenderness as it learns again, that living is about opening its door and genuinely loving and caring for others.

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