Hope for your financial life and beyond

Interview with a Centenarian: At 100, My Grandfather Reflects on Life, Faith and Finding Purpose

Oh, to be a centenarian – 100 years of living. It’s simply amazing! Most of us would settle for 80% of that. It’s hard to fathom the changes and life events someone born in 1914 has experienced.

centenarian

Byron Miller – Preaching at 100 years of age

What will you be up to at 100 years of age? My grandfather, as shown in the picture, preached a sermon the day after he turned 100. His challenge to those who listened:

1. Practice Gratitude (be thankful)

2. Express Certitude (in the things of your faith)

3. Develop Fortitude (build the power to endure)

And he played his guitar and sang a short chorus at the end. The song’s message – “Just a little bit longer Lord…just a little bit longer.”

Not a dry eye in the house.

In the weeks leading up to his 100th birthday, my grandfather was kind enough to answer some questions about his life. I’d encourage you to take five minutes to enjoy this thought provoking read about a man who has experienced the Depression, the loss of siblings, financial challenges, joys and regrets and 60+ years of ministry.

Q & A With a Centenarian

1. What is the most amazing thing you have seen in your lifetime? Why did that stand out?

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The Most Important Reason You Do Not Worry About Tomorrow

You’ve probably heard it said at some point, “Hey, do not worry about tomorrow. Focus on today and let the future take care of itself.” That’s not bad advice really. The older I get the more I’m realizing why.

do not worry about tomorrowWe all have things that affect our actions from day to day. Things we’ve done in the past affect us in the present. Things we are doing in the present affect us in the present. And believe it or not, things that we will do in the future affect us in the present even though they haven’t happened yet.

You may be thinking, “How could that possibly be if those events have yet to occur?” Well, it’s not the event per se that affects us. It’s how we think about those yet-to-happen events and how they lead us to worry about them.

Of those three time lines – past, present and future – I think the future one has the greatest potential to stop us in our tracks. Here’s how.

Why You Do Not Worry About Tomorrow

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12 Short Bible Verses that Pack a Powerful Message

There is no doubt about it – the Bible is a big book. Within its pages you will find over 31,000 verses that teach, guide, warn and encourage. It’s so long, many people embark on a long journey to read the Bible in a year. And while all the verses are meaningful in some regard, some of the best are the short Bible verses that drive home a powerful idea.

short bible versesThe best thing about short Bible verses is that they can easily be memorized. Psalm 119:111 says, “Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You.” It wouldn’t take but a few minutes to commit that to memory.

Short Bible verses help us quickly fight off sin, encourage us in our times of need and help us minister to other people. And, because they are short, it will be easier to recall them. When the time comes, you can pull a specific verse out of your memory banks and draw strength from it as you handle the challenges of life.

There are so many short Bible verses to choose from so I’d encourage you to do your own study and seek them out. I’ll give you 12 here today to jump start the process.

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If You Do Anything This Year, Please Consider Receiving This Gift

…the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23

giftHow are those Christmas gifts working out for you? What level of satisfaction are you receiving from them? Wish you had received something else?

Gifts are awesome! My wife and I have bought many gifts for the house that have enhanced our family life. One of note a few years ago was a a 100+ yr. old oak pedestal table for our kitchen eating area. We had been looking for a larger kitchen table for the family because the six of us were sitting so close together we were knocking knees under the old one. Some nights it was just easier for me to eat standing up, plate in hand.

We have received so much satisfaction from that table. We have physical space so we are not breathing on other people’s food. Dinners are relaxing and comfortable.

But while it was a great gift to ourselves and does provide a convenience, in the end it’s just a thing. It’s a possession that won’t last. It’s a personal asset that does not fulfill any deep emotional or spiritual needs inside our souls.

The Pursuit of Assets

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A Christmas Memory That Still Challenges Me to This Day

I really do love the Christmas season. I know it’s hectic, that travel is often a nightmare and that the weather can sometimes wreck your plans. Each of those issues may bring back a Christmas memory you’d rather not recall.

christmas memoryDespite all that, I look forward to Christmas. As long as I can remember I have. As a young child it always meant a trip to my grandparent’s house in Indiana. We’d usually stay for a week with the rest of the extended family crammed into the house. My sister and I camped out on air mattresses in my grandfather’s study.

I don’t know how my grandparents did it, especially my grandmother. Cooking for 15 plus people for the week must have been exhausting. In fact, from our sleeping position in the study, my sister and I could see the light of the kitchen click on early – VERY EARLY – each morning. She always pulled it off though with the perfect mixture of foods that we all liked.

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What Does God Want Me to Do with My Life?

At some point you’ve probably asked the question, What does God want me to do? You may have asked that in relation to your life in general or because of some problem or big decision you were facing. Either way, it’s a difficult question to answer. How can we figure out what the God of the universe wants for us?

what does God want me to doOne of the things I love about the Bible is its clarity. Sure it has some confusing passages and certain issues require a lot of study. But not when it comes to figuring out this question. God’s answers are clear, concise and to the point.

The answer to the question What does God want me to do, initially depends on where you are at in your life. If you don’t have a relationship with Him there is a first step He wants for you. After that, there are two other steps He would have you take. Let’s look at them one at a time.

What Does God Want Me to Do First?

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15 Bible Verses to Remind Us to Be Thankful

thankful bible versesI’m am thankful Bible verses exist to keep me thinking the right way. I often forget how many things I have to be thankful for. It’s much easier for me to let the worries and frustrations of life overshadow all the blessings I enjoy. But doing that often enough only produces a spirit of ingratitude.

So how do I fight against my tendencies?

First off, I have to remind myself routinely to let go of the negative. Nothing good comes when I daily choose to focus on all that is wrong with my life or the world.

But an even more powerful strategy is to meditate on the concept of thankfulness. And the source that I constantly turn to for that is the Bible.

I’d like to share with you my favorite Bible verses about giving thanks. Most are simply stand alone verses that express thankfulness to God for what he has done or is doing. King David was really good at that, as you will see from the multiple selections from the book of Psalms.

What’s great about these verses is that they really don’t need commentary. The message or challenge in each verse is pretty clear.  [Read more…]

3 Reasons A Good Name Is Better Than Riches (Proverbs 22:1)

“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold.” – Proverbs 22:1

Have you ever thought about the status of your name? Would you say it is good? Do you even care how those around you view your name?

a good name is better than richesJust to clear up any confusion, I’m not talking about your actual name. Mine is Brian. There is nothing fancy or unique about that as over 1.2 million people in the U.S. share it. It’s statistically the 29th most popular first name.

I’m talking about what your name implies. When people hear your name mentioned, what do they immediately think of you?

In this context, a “good name” really speaks to your integrity. It’s about your reputation and the character you possess inside. It identifies who you are from a moral and ethical standpoint. Essentially it is what you are all about.

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13 Encouraging Bible Verses for Men

Let’s face it – men need encouragement. We try to act tough like we can handle everything on our own. But if we are honest, we need to be lifted up just like anyone else. So it’s a good thing there are many encouraging Bible verses for men from which we can draw inspiration.

encouraging bible verses for menThe Bible is full of encouragement to all people. There are so many stories and verses that give us inspiration, strength and comfort in our time of need.

But are there verses that speak a little more directly to men and our issues? I think so. Men have challenges that women don’t face on the same scale or level of intensity. There is nothing wrong with that as we are all made differently. And some Bible verses may mean more to one person over another or one gender over another based on what we struggle with.

So today I’d like to highlight a few encouraging Bible verses for men that stand out to me and share a little about why they do.

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8 Bible Verses About God’s Love You Should Never Forget

Ever wonder where our capacity to love actually comes from? It’s pretty clear that our ability to love is something that was given to us by God. In fact, the Bible verses about God’s love that I read tell me He is Himself the essence of love and has passed that on to us.

verses about God's loveGranted it’s not always easy loving others. Often times we choose to love others based on how they act towards us. But that’s not how it is with God.

God’s love towards us is unconditional. That means He loves us no matter what. We can’t do anything to reject, or bypass or disown His love. He can’t help it – love is part of His nature. He loves us – all of us – equally and without hesitation.

If you doubt that, just look at these verses about God’s love found in the Bible.

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The Secret Step to Contentment (Philippians 4:11-12)

On Contentment – “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” Philippians 4:11-12

practicing contentment

Once upon a time (circa mid-2002), former NBA All-Star Allen Iverson produced a legendary press conference rant about the apparent need to show up for practice. After a first round playoff loss, his coach reprimanded him for missing one practice, maybe two, maybe three…we don’t really know how many.

Iverson argued to the reporters that a discussion about practice was irrelevant compared to his performance in the actual games – in what really mattered. He concluded his practice rant by exclaiming “How can I make my teammates better by practicing?”

There were days in high school when I hated basketball practice. It wasn’t very fun when you were tired or sore. Furthermore, I definitely wondered at times if I was helping my teammates get better. Isn’t that up to them?

But I pushed through all that because I came to realize one thing about practice – it produces greatness.

We aren’t born instantaneously great. Greatness comes slowly over time, as our mind, body and soul learns and adapts to whatever we are pursuing.

In the verse above, the missionary Paul shares with us in the Bible his secret step to contentment. He learned it. This makes me think it didn’t come naturally for him, just like it doesn’t come naturally for me. In other words, he had to practice it.

Contentment Doesn’t Come Easy

For Paul, contentment had to be achieved, through daily submission and practice. His statement is even more compelling considering the up and down circumstances he faced.

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