Tag Archive: debt

psalm 15 is a short and schweet psalm and the message i got from it is to live well.

the psalmist gives some examples of what living well looks like – ‘speaks the truth from their heart’, ‘utters no slander’, ‘does no wrong to a neighbor’, ‘casts no slur on others’, ‘keeps an oath even when it hurts’, ‘lends money to the poor without interest’, and ‘does not accept a bribe against the innocent’ with the promise that ‘Whoever does these things will never be shaken.’

so that sounds really good, although right at the beginning he has thrown in these two: ‘The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous’ which makes it seem unattainable.

i think it is a reminder to us, that in one sense it is. even when we look at the opening phrase – ‘LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain?’ – the answer appears to be no-one. None of us are worthy of that honour in and of ourselves.

yet God has extended that invitation to us. it is by what He has done – and specifically by sending Jesus to die on the cross as a representative of both mankind and heaven – that we have been made worthy, and children of God [1 john 3.1]. and so this psalm to me really gives a glimpse of the idea of the kingdom of God being both now [the first list] and not yet [blameless, righteous which will be achieved in fullness later when Jesus returns]

the second point i get from this psalm is the bit about ‘lends money to the poor without interest’ which, along with jubilee [cancelling all debt every seven years] seems to be such a creative economic blueprint from God for creating and sustaining good community among people and i get excited when i see people living that out in real life. lending money without charging interest is the lowest the bar should ever be set, but it is a good place to begin.

continuing with this series of new year’s evolutions – with the idea of moving beyond a dream list of ‘i wish this for next year’ to some specific steps and actions to put into place to help you transform yourself into a better person in 2012. and my next evolution suggestion is this:


wo, that seems a little complicated, but really it’s just some more intentional living and this one requires a bit more work and effort and maybe even sweat and tears, but it is vital to having a life to the full 2012:

DEAL WITH THE PAST – one of the biggest aspects linked to this is forgiveness and this is such an important thing as holding onto unforgiveness and the bitterness/anger/resentment that goes with it, can be one of the most damaging things in life [physical, emotionally and even spiritually]

it has been said that holding on to unforgiveness is like drinking a cup of poison and hoping that the other person dies… because most of the stuff associated with unforgiveness hurts you and often the person it is directed at, is blissfully unaware that you are holding something against them. sometimes they may know and so it will affect both of you, but it is impossible to not forgive someone and live unaffected by that. what often happens is you build walls around yourself to protect you from being hurt again [by that person, or maybe by anyone] and while that can be incredibly affective, what it does is it also keeps out the potential love and support from both friends and God, which leads to loneliness and bitterness and increasing resentment and so on. the bible is clear that if someone has something against you [not even just you against them] you should interrupt your worship [leave your gift at the altar] and go and put things right with that person [as much as is possible for you, sometimes they won’t be interested but you have to make the effort from your side] and then return when you can honestly and truly [and purely] be able to worship God properly [matthew 5.24]

so to create a base for great relationship with God and a platform for healthy, growing relationships with friends and family it is vital that you do not hold unforgiveness against anyone. there might be something that happened ten years ago [or when you were a young child] and yet every time you see the person or hear their name it sends shock waves through your body – you need to address it and bring forgiveness, or it will stick with you for the rest of your life. [and i am not suggesting this is an easy thing – when it heads towards areas of abuse, be it physical or even just verbal, and rape, then it can be incredibly difficult, almost impossible and will not be a one moment thing but rather a journey of choosing to forgive daily, but fortunately i am in relationship with a God who is great with the ‘impossible’ and so i know there is a hope and a future where He is involved]. taking this point seriously will revolutionise your life.

another aspect of dealing with the past is getting out of debt. living in debt is a crippling thing because it feeds itself and just continues to be an ever gaping’er hole. as much as it is up to you in life, live without debt because this affects relationships and opportunities and health and so much more. for some of you this will mean the tough decision to take a serious look at your lifestyle and making some changes so you can live according to your means and not beyond them – things like what you spend on entertainment, or even take-away coffee [i made a decision when i was in stellenbosch that as much as i love it, i can’t really justify drinking at vida e cos the coffee is so expensive, but had specific times when drinking at Seattle was allowable] and even maybe where you live and what you drive. the distinction between need and greed can be a really helpful one in this area if we can be honest about it. and often choosing to spend less on yourself gives you resources to pour into others.

one other aspect i won’t go into in depth her, but which i think is key is to stop living off yesterday’s stories and miracles and accomplishments – be strengthened when you look back on them for sure, but always be looking forwards to the new thing God is going to do – if the stories you tell of God working in your life are ten years old, you need some new stories…


again, there is a lot that can be said here – hopefully this blog works as a catalyst to spark off much greater thought and life change, but just a few thoughts… one area which i think differently to a lot of people, but similarly to how i read and understand the Bible, is the area of savings. while i think it is good to save specifically for something you have in mind and are working towards [i spent six months in the UK working to save up enough money so I could do a Youth With A Mission school in Holland in 2000] i don’t think savings for the sake of having a backup plan are a God idea. i believe for the most part we should be living and using the majority of our resources [time, money, energy] for what is happening now [although always keeping the future in mind, but not having the now determined by then then] and not just storing things up to enjoy later [see the parable of the rich fool in luke 12 as one example].

take a look at the early church in Acts 2.42 and 3 as well and see how the community aspect of how they lived affected their finances and how they looked after each other [community will be a future part of this series so watch out for it] because if we are a part of a community who really live in and around each others lives, then their will be mutual provision in all areas of life and cross-resourcing and it has the potential to create a really beautiful thing.

the problem with being stuck in the past [unforgiveness, regret, holding on to past failures and missed opportunities] or living in the future [being fully focused on the thing that it yet to come – “when I’m finished school”, “when i’m married”, “when i’m retired”] is that usually the now suffers very much and present relationships, opportunities, life and potential lose a lot of what they could be.

and so please put some time aside to think through these things and more – deal with the past and then live now, keeping the future in mind, but not being dictated by it…

to continue to the next one on how you spend your money, time and energy, click here.

‘Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.’ [romans 13.8]

i love that verse.  i have been reading romans for quite a long time now and i just keep getting stuck on that verse any time I am near it

the continuing debt to love one another – what a cool way to be in debt – and the idea that it is ongoing – so keep chipping away at it – keep increasing the investment – but you’ll never actually be out of that debt – cos there will never be a time when you have loved enough, given enough, uplifted enough…

but the flip side is that unlike a normal debt, this is not one that has to leave you feeling bad and burdened or under a cloud of compulsion – cos like another verse i always get stuck on in 2 corinthians 5.14 where it says ‘for Christ’s love compels us…’ and again it’s not the compelling of ‘ooh you better do this thing or else’ but more a case of once we truly ‘get’ Christ’s love – once we understand the sacrifice and experience the joy and freedom of surrendering our whole lives to Him, then the compulsion sets in as a response to His love and grace

the “I can’t not’ness” of God’s love

wow this crazy redemptive revolutionary love of God is so wild man, it’s so completely liberating, it’s so undeserved (i know me!) it’s so much, how can i not pass it on, live it out, pour it out… and continue to do so

continuing debt of love – the one debt i hungrily embrace.