If you’ve ever followed boxing, then I’m sure you’ve heard of Roy Jones Jr. Roy Jones Jr. has been called the best fighter, pound-for-pound, and he’s known for his confidence in the ring. He was so sure of his skills, that at times, he paraded around the ring with his hands behind his back. But, Antonio Tarver had a cure for his pride: he defeated him by KO in the second of twelve rounds in 2005. Roy Jones Jr. is a witness that “pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18, New Living Translation).
Just as Antonio Tarver was the remedy for Roy Jones Jr., so God has a way of bringing us down a notch. God specializes in bringing us back down to earth whenever our heads get too big for our bodies. For the Israelites, problems were the remedy. God told them that trouble was a sign that they had become proud. But, the good news is, recovery was as simple as humbling themselves. If they humbled themselves and prayed, God will reverse the curse.
Maybe the madness in your life is a sign that you’ve become a little too independent. I encourage you to humble yourself, and watch God straighten out the mess in your life.
For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted (Luke 14:11, New Living Translation)
The story of Jonah came to mind as I thought about this email. God gave Jonah specific instructions, but he chose otherwise. And, disobedience has consequences: Jonah went through a tumultuous storm and ended up in the belly of a fish. Interestingly, problems often arise when our will or priorities supersede God’s. The storms of life are God’s gentle reminder that we need to come back to him.
Thoughts like these challenged me to look at today’s text a bit differently. Here’s a question for you: how did the disciples know about the storm? Jesus was asleep in the back of the boat, and had they been with Him, they wouldn’t have known about the storm. But they weren’t, and just like Jonah, they ran into a storm. Whenever we lose intimacy (closeness) with God, then the peace we enjoy evaporates. Restored peace, however, is as easy as coming back to God. When the disciples went back to Jesus, everything calmed down.
Maybe the madness you’re experiencing is a sign that you’ve abandoned God. If so, then consider this thought I obtained from a church sign: “No Jesus, no peace. Know Jesus, know peace.” Come back to God, and watch things calm down in your life.
Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest – Jesus (Matthew 11:28, New Living Translation)
Our economic woes are to blame for a lot of the problems we face. Losing your job, home, or investment account will make life a little less exciting. But for some people, the economic woes are the scapegoat for their own mistakes. Some people were in a jam before the economy plunged. They thought life would always be good and lived above their means. Now, they’re over their heads in debt, wondering if there’s any way out.
The Egyptians were addicted to spending, and it nearly led to their demise. Though Joseph, the speaker in today’s recharge, advised them to save for the rainy days ahead, they didn’t listen. They thought the ground would yield increase every year, but they found out otherwise. They were in such a mess that they had to sell their cattle, land, and even themselves just to eat during the famine. Ironically, their peril could have been avoided if they had only listened to Joseph.
I’m not sure about you, but given the current economic woes, I’m willing, and excited, to accept Joseph’s antidote. It’s really simple, too – save 20%, live off the remaining 80%. And, of the 20% saved, give 10% to God. Try it, and watch God sustain you during the famine.