27 June, 2016

Are you the Christian I am looking for?

Monday, 27 June 2016

The Body of Christ and Money :: Lending to the Poor

I have been trying to get to this blog for several days because a variety of spiritual issues have been winding through my thoughts.  I am trying to decide how they will affect my current life and my life in the near future.  I am looking for GOD in my crisis... what is His path for me through these days, what is His purpose in allowing them to happen.  Sometimes writing helps me to sort through all those parts of a problem.

Right now, the most urgent issue I am facing is housing.  It has again come to the top of the priority list and there still is no visible solution to this problem.  For me the battle always seems to be money... too little of it... to little to easily get ahead of the financial problems it causes.

Because I cannot suddenly create the income I need, I am believing GOD will provide a way to access the housing I need, the workspaces and equipment I am searching for, and other necessary items required to continue building Working Together Inc. 

You may be the Christian GOD uses to help me.

I don't want to endure another homeless experience, but that seems to be possible.  I am really too old and tired and not healthy enough to fight these battles again, but I also realize there are already many others suffering the same plight, and these are the times of persecution.  The means may be different, the source may have changed, but the effects and the motives are the same.

So, again, I am looking for the Body of Christ, trying to find even ONE Christian to be the answer to my needs and my prayers.  I am looking for GOD in the middle of my distress, my prayers, my hope, and my life.

I am praying for a place I can OWN 
so I won't ever have to move
or be homeless again.

Here are some of the things I am looking for in my housing prayer ::
  • As I near the end of my earthly life, I am praying for a final place to live, a home and land that I will never have to move from again.  
  • It needs to be in the Eugene OR area, where Working Together has been existing almost since it was born.
  • It needs to be a decent home that won't need a lot of repairs, be big enough for me and my planned work projects, have space for the help I will need, and include land to develop food and other resources. 
  • I am praying for a place that is on a major bus line so I can travel to town for what I need to survive daily life with, so customers will be able to reach me, and so I can hire employees who ride the bus. 
  • Because of my financial situation, I need a flexible payment structure, and the first three years of survival and development income included in the loan (approx. $18 to $30K/year).  This will allow me to survive as I develop the property for income purposes. 
  • Having discovered that GOD lends us the tithe if we need it, requiring a 20% fee when it is repaid, I am looking for a similar arrangement over at least 15 years, but will repay this loan as quickly as GOD provides the income for it.
  • Using the property for collateral is expected, but the goal is never to move again and to (finally) have the workspaces I have searched for almost all my life.  Considering the property a tithe unto GOD is also an option, which would make GOD responsible for paying you through other channels in your life.

The loan I am searching for would look like this...
  • Principal
  • plus 20% as interest 
  • divided over 15 years or more (180 months or more) 
  • with no payments due the first three years 
  • and flexible payments for the remainder of the loan 
  • possibly smaller in the beginning 
  • and larger at the end
  • an early repayment option (including the full 20%)
  • maybe a partial balloon payment option

I know it is asking a lot, but this is the prayer I need answered,
now, as soon as possible.

How much do I need?  I'm not sure.  It will depend on the property.

I would like to share that I have been looking for housing answers for the homeless (and Christians as the End Times get worse) for many years.  I have always been a fan of Habitat for Humanity, but then I discovered the $20,000 House at Auburn University's Rural Studio.  After that, Tiny Homes appeared on the scene.  I have been trying to design my own version of homes that will fit in this loan category.  I feel it is possible to help millions of homeless, disabled, and low-income people to own a small home now, changing their lives forever. 

Below I would like to describe the financing program I hope to build to achieve this goal.  It is based on the Bible concept I shared earlier and puts that concept into real numbers, so you can understand the possibilities.

When I was working on my budgets for tiny/small homes for those on a fixed income, the maximum biblical loan I felt fair was $50K, which included $40K for the house, $8K for the biblical 20% flat fee interest and a $2K loan processing fee to cover expenses in that direction. 

Another option I figured out was to take the 30% of the income that would become the monthly housing payment a person could pay and multiply it by 180 months to get a maximum loan amount for that person.  In my current financial status, that would be $115 times 180, or $20,700... which would become $20K for math purposes.  This loan amount is divided into $15K maximum for the house, $3K for the interest, and $2K for the loan processing fee.

Fifteen thousand dollars doesn't afford much of a house, even in tiny houses.  Larger loan options are needed for people at the lower end of the economy, and that is why I went up to the $50K maximum for each loan.  This maximum loan amount creates a monthly payment in the $275 range.

Another issue poverty households face is the debt collection process.  Debt collections can cause homelessness in the lives of people trying to recover from poverty or a financial crisis.  It may be important to limit the final equity in a house to less than the legal amount at the time a loan is created for a house.  That limit was $30K the last time I checked.  This debt collection process is why so many with unpaid medical bills end up losing their home... they are forced to sell their house by creditors because their equity is more than $30K.  Where do you turn when the bank is the collector?

A $30K house would also have a $6K interest fee and a $2K loan processing fee... that would be $38,000 divided by 180 months, or monthly payments just over $200.  With a maximum of $50K possible, there might be room to add to the loan to cover insurance for the first few years, or more improvements to the property.

The key to success in this kind of lending program is flexibility... working with people through their problems, helping them to succeed, protecting them from more homelessness, building supports into their lives, and trusting GOD for the process.

I am looking for this kind of loan, but probably at a much larger financial level to cover the land and start-up costs of what I hope to do.

Are you the Christian I am looking for?

20 June, 2016

Spiritual Battles and Daily Life

My internet disappeared as I tried to write this,
so I finished it on my computer and then transferred it to my blog later,
when the internet was working again.... such a pain !!

Monday, 20 June 2016 - about 6pm my time

The days of our spiritual battles are long and busy.  I wonder how difficult these battles would be if I was able to do what I really want to do.  When I think about how my own spiritual battles increased as I tried to do things in Christian realms, I begin to look at my favorite preachers and others in ministries differently.  Now I wonder what battles they face, how they deal with them, how GOD helps them, what I need to know, how I can fight better, what it looks like when GOD helps them, and more. 

Christians, ordinary people who are Christians, like me, are not prepared for these kinds of spiritual battles.  When they happen, we just think life is really bad and don't understand why.  I know that is what happened to me in the beginning of my efforts to create some kind of ministry.  It was a long time before I realized that something was going on and all these problems weren't happening by "accident" or without purpose. 

The spiritual realms are an unknown field to me.  I understand the possibilities that the Bible teaches us, but the real life details are beyond my ability to figure out.  I wish I was one of those mighty warriors of the faith, but I am not.  I just keep doing my best and plead with GOD to protect us.

When I was searching for answers about Christianity and salvation and what the Bible teaches, I went to a lot of different churches... across the long spectrum of Charismatic and tongues-speakers to Conservative Southern Baptists.  I tried to understand cults and how to know if a particular church actually is one.  I explored groups that said they were helping the homeless and poor... and found some of them to be predators of those desperate and trusting people who are searching for GOD and heaven.  I eventually decided that genuine believers are everywhere, even in the cults as individuals grow into future evangelistic believers.

"There are Christians in every denomination,
but every denomination isn't Christian." 

The Body of Christ became more real to me as all of this was being discovered and reflected on.  I wondered if we are weak because of our separations... if those differences that divide us are meant to be our place in the ONE Body of Christ... some for power in prayer, some for mercy, some for teaching, some for evangelism, some for helps, some for each of the gifts and ministries we know about.  Big churches may be a reflection of personality... little churches may be critical to the neighborhoods they serve... but all of us suffer because we are not "working together" as a single Body of Christ.  This is a spiritual battle that has existed long before me.  I still hope that GOD will provide a way to bring us together, especially for the hardships ahead.

Knowing about spiritual battles doesn't help me fight mine.  I think this may be because my personality is part of my army.  I count on the power of GOD and His promises to help me, and the angels that do His work, and the plans GOD has for my existence.  I am just one cell in the huge Body of souls that are saved by Christ.  I don't have to become like everyone else, and they don't have to be like me.  Knowing all this helps me to focus on what matters as I search for answers to my problems... and the problems of the world.

The future of America is being fought for this year.  We have a serious election ahead of us, and four years of whoever wins.  The battles for America's soul are growing.  Franklin Graham's Decision America 2016 Tour is part of my hopes for America and my prayers for Christians who live here.  I receive their updates through the mail, I joined the Oregon group on Facebook, I have the dates marked on my desk calendar, and I ordered one of the Prayer Journals they created for the event (with a page for all 50 states)... and I try to find a way to share my concerns for America whenever I can. 

We are at a difficult time in prophecy... what we pray for may be impossible for GOD to honor because some things have been destined for centuries.  I think prayer helps us, though... and helps us to look for GOD's solutions to our problems.  If you have read any of my blogs, comments on Facebook, or other writings, you will know that Working Together's mission is to prepare for the End Time struggles we know are coming.  Someone will face them, and there may not be a refuge for them if we don't make one.  Our wayward children, grandchildren, and loved ones, might one day decide that GOD is the right path.  Will there be a place of refuge for them... I don't know.  I just think it would be good to build them.

I hope you will join me in this effort.

Finished about 7:30pm
Posted about 8pm

18 June, 2016

Today is the Sabbath - what does that mean?

Saturday, 18 June 2016 - about 10:15am my time

It is another day of "rest" and I still don't know how to define that in my life.  I believe the Sabbath is a commandment so it isn't just an "if I want to" activity.  The Ten Commandments didn't go away when Christ died and salvation through Him started.

Here is the part about the Sabbath from the link above ::

8  “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
9  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.   
11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

The great controversy between Saturday and Sunday is solved in my mind by the fact that we are adopted into the Jewish family when we become saved and cease to be Gentiles.  There are only two people groups in GOD's eyes, I believe.... the Jews and everyone else, called the Gentiles.  The biblical Sabbath is evening and morning according to Creation... so for the Jews it is Friday evening at sundown through sundown on Saturday.

I find this change of "days" to be a pain in the bottom, but that is how GOD decreed it.  I once had the thought that we get to rest at the first part of the "day" (sleep at night and get refreshed), then we have all day to do real Sabbath things (whatever they may be).

As I got into the Sabbath challenge I could understand why there were so many problems surrounding it... and still are.  I finally got to the question, "How does GOD rest?" and am still there.  I also realized that babies needed to be cared for, old people needed to be cared for, some things had to be done to eat (just not making a fire, which was a LOT of work).  Servants were resting, too.  That means everyone had to do things differently... feed themselves, and things like that.  :-)

I haven't decided about the animal questions...  they could "save" animals in distress, so I call that the "emergency clause" -- we can do emergency activities... but how to separate them from regular work activities, I'm not sure.  Shelters, hospitals, police, military... these things don't go away because it is the Sabbath... how do we deal with the needs of that one day a week ??   I'm not sure. 

The whole idea of the Sabbath rest is that GOD is able to deal with those details when we honor Him with our commitment not to do "work" on that day.  That includes earning the income from our regular labor, which we rely on for our survival.  For the farmer that is the crops in the fields.  For the rancher, it is the animals that create their income.  For those in urban areas, where there is a lot of crime, that includes the safety of our lives.  All of these details are the kinds of things that make the Sabbath an act of faith, like tithing.

It isn't an easy question to answer.  GOD is involved in all the parts of our lives.  The Bible tells us that GOD is able to make one field prosper and another to whither.  It tells us that GOD controls the womb.  We discover that GOD protects those who rely on Him, and uses the evil to bring judgment on those who go against the things He has decreed, including the wayward Jew.

Christians seem to have a Sabbath of going to church and eating out afterwards.  I don't know what else happens in other people's houses, but I'm not sure rest is the theme of the day.  If our servants are also to rest, does that mean we really shouldn't go out to eat?  Is gardening work, or is it a recreational part of our lives, something we do to relax, a hobby, not really a job to us?  That question came up in my mind.  What can we do on the Sabbath that isn't considered work?  Did potlucks start as the Sabbath rest meal?  :-)

I remember a news story about orthodox Jews trying to claim that pushing the elevator button was work and they couldn't do that on the Sabbath.  It must have been on Facebook (FB) because I remember commenting that if you can't push the elevator button, you also can't open a door, the frig, the microwave, the toilet, or anything we use in day-to-day life.  I don't remember exactly what I wrote for examples, but you get the idea by the ones I shared here.  I don't think pushing an elevator button is what GOD was concerned about.

I continue to search for my own answers to my Sabbath rest.  I decided it had to be between GOD and me because that is how we are finally judged.  Everyone else won't be with me when I reach the Great White Throne Judgment... I need to find my own answers.  I think GOD understands the process and will help me find His Truth about the matter.

If you have any thoughts on the matter, please use the comments section to share them.  We all have different lives and when we share some of the better details about them, others are helped.  We can search for the answers together.  Thanks.

17 June, 2016

Moving my focus to this blog

Friday,  17 JUNE 2016 - about 11am my time

It has been awhile... I have been praying and thinking about how to best use my limited time.  I want to do more blogging and want to have the spiritual focus in my writing, so I am going to move more of my personal posting to this blog.

I have been trying to post Thankfulness entries at Etsy.com forums, and have a forum thread for Bible verses there.  I am trying to get those to a more neutral space... maybe...well, so far that is the plan... and this seems the natural location.  I think it is important to be in the public arena with our faith, and I like the crafting focus of Etsy.

I have encountered problems related to my Christian faith at Etsy, but I don't know if that is because of the employees or is the unspoken stance of the business.  I am just trying to sell there, so I am looking for solutions that will work for me.  I think the team approach may be better for me and for any Christians selling there.  There are Christian teams, and I hope we can network and support one another within the Etsy framework.  Only time will tell.

I have also been posting prayers at the OR Decision America Tour Group at Facebook (FB)... and at other posts on FB when the situation seemed to call for a prayer from my heart.  Twitter is a bit short for a real prayer, but I think I remember adding some words of prayer there.  The online environment is a good place to share these kinds of things, so people can see what we care about, how we share needs with GOD, when we feel prayer is necessary.  I still remember thinking I would never be holy enough to pray out loud.  I still feel that way, but when I can write what is in my heart I don't have to think about all those eyes on me...  it can become a conversation online.  I think that is good.

For myself, I am still praying about my housing need (FEB post) in the Eugene area.  I am trying to "land" in my final resting place for the remainder of the life GOD has planned for me.  You might find this hard to believe, but in my original family, we moved a lot.  I always wanted to be settled into one place before my kids started school.  It didn't work out that way.  I still have the same dreams I've had most of my life, just no permanent place to build them.  I try to find ways to help other low-income families find the stability I wasn't able to find.  I think this is how GOD works... the things we suffer become the focus of our life/ministry later on.

I guess I will end with my thankful focus for today...

Today I am thankful for writing again, for posting my views, for blogging again, for finding more of the direction I need to go in.  I am thankful for the food I finally got at the local farmer's market the other day... it tastes really good.  I am thankful for rest, for improving my budgeting, for coffee, for getting my order from Amazon on time, for plans to create, for hopes and dreams and GOD in my life.

May the GOD I love bless all those who love Him...  Amen.

Until next time,