Building People. Spreading Hope.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Don’t Shoot the Wounded

People do unpredictable things. We say, “What were you thinking?” We have all done some things we’re not very proud of. When people make a blunder, it is easy to point fingers and judge but the right thing to do is to forgive, love, and restore them.

Recently, I got a call from a friend informing me how Billy Graham’s grandson had succumbed to some indiscretion. He wasn’t just informing but reminding me to show mercy. I agreed.

That’s exactly the attitude of Jesus. The Bible says, “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world” (John 3:17 NIV).

Once, an adulterous woman was brought to Jesus. The religious fanatics of the day threw her at the feet of Jesus claiming that they had caught her in the act. What a religious duty to look through the keyhole! I always wonder why they didn’t catch the man.

I see the dust rise. This young woman had gone astray. It could have been your daughter, my daughter. Jesus was the only person qualified to judge her but He wouldn’t. He said, “Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!"

If you want to be like Jesus, quit throwing stones at people!

Celebrity or not we’re all under the clutches of sin. By the way, there’s no celebrity Christian or VIP sinner in God’s eyes. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

As long as we’re here on earth, none of us are immune to sin. Let's not judge people simply because their sin is different than ours. God doesn’t see any difference.

Some say, “But these are leaders in a position of influence and authority!” So what? If we’ve not prayed for a person to walk uprightly before God, we have no right to judge them.

Whenever I’m tempted to point fingers at others, I’m reminded of the terrible mistakes I’ve made over the course of my life. I sinned deliberately. I knew better. But against all good judgment, I failed. How grateful I am for God’s mercy and people’s forgiveness.

9-year-old Kim Phuc suffered terrible burns by the napalm bomb dropped into her village during the Vietnam War. As she ran for her life, naked, photographer Nick Ut shot a picture of her that decorated the covers of every magazine and newspaper in the U.S. Phuc spent more than a year in hospitals. After dozens of reconstructive surgeries, Kim survived. Now 52, she lives just outside Toronto, a wife, mother and the subject of the iconic picture in 1972.

Kim could not find peace. She wanted to disappear. She even wished for death. She thought if she died she wouldn't have to suffer mentally, physically, and emotionally. She began to seek answers, studying different religious texts. At 19, she became a Christian, and she credits her faith for helping her embrace life again.

"When I became Christian, I have a wonderful connection -- the relationship between me, and Jesus, and God. And from that point," she says, "I learned to forgive."

Clearly, if anyone should have difficulty forgiving, it would be Kim. But she allowed God’s forgiveness and mercy to flow towards her assailants. What was humanly impossible was made possible through God.

Let us not be so quick to judge. Let us not drag people through the mud when they make a grave mistake. Christian army is the only army that kills its wounded. Where is the compassion? Beware! We too are susceptible to fall into temptation. Instead of pointing fingers, let us pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Don’t shoot the wounded. Let us show mercy and restore the fallen!

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted” (Galatians 6:1 NIV).

Spread Your Influence:

Stay Inspired:

See Your Impact:

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Get Out of Debt

We live in an age of instant gratification. Our society thinks that there’s nothing wrong with about living beyond our means. Some of us are so deep in debt that we’ve given up the hope of ever getting out of it. Today, I have good news for you. God wants you to be free and clear of all debts.

According to, the average household with at least one credit card has nearly $15,950 in credit card debt. The average interest rate runs in the mid to high teens at any given time. That’s just credit card debt. Then there are retail shops, student loans, mortgages, and car payments. How then can we get out of debt? 

The first step of getting out of debt is a change of mindset. Unless we change our thinking, we will never change. The Bible says, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7 NIV). Today let’s discuss seven practical ways to get out of debt.

1. Make a decision. Unless we see ourselves getting out of debt, we never will. Whatever you focus on will grow. I speak from experience. Once you make the decision to get out of debt, you’ll be amazed by how many ways you can find to pay off your debt. Make a decision today!

2. Accept that it will take some time. None of us got into our debt overnight and we’re not going to get out of it in just a month. However, if we plan, prepare, and cut spending, we’ll be able to pay off our debt sooner than we thought possible. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

3. Start with the highest interest debts. Paying the minimum balance on your debt can often take up to 5-10 years and you end up paying three to five times the amount you borrowed originally. I’ve been paying a certain loan that should have taken 15 years to pay off. Recently, I started doing what I’m telling you. I’m making sacrifice and paying five times more towards my principal rather than the minimum payment prescribed. Now I can pay off that debt in less than two years!

4. Change your spending habits. The marketing people will always tell you how you “deserve” it. Not only that, why wait? Have it “now.” The advertisements will entice you with a “one day only sale.” Don’t fall for these traps. Your house is loaded with stuff you couldn’t live without and now just collects dust over the years. Be honest with yourself and resist the urge to spend on whatever your little eyes see. Let me say something hard with a smile on my face. Out of control spending is an addiction just like drugs and alcohol. Unless you get rid of it, it will get rid of you. Get some help and be secure in God – not the stuff you have. Smile!

5. Learn to manage your money. God wants to make you the ruler over much but not until you’ve learnt to be a good steward over what He has already given you. Nineteen percent of Americans spend more than they earn. As your income increases and sudden money comes into your hand, don’t buy more stuff and increase your living standards. The secret to living a financially balanced life is to live on 70% of your income. Right off the top put 10-20% in savings and investments (after you’ve paid off your liquid debts). Give at least 10% to God’s work. Consult a financial advisor.

6. Practical ways to save money. Refinance your house with a lower interest rate and 15 years loan or less. Re-evaluate your car, health, life insurance, and service plans. Eat out less and eat more healthy food at home. Get rid of brand name coffee, soda, sugar, cigarettes, and liquor. Carry only your debit card. Use cash whenever possible. Buy when the price is half the cost and not when the advertisers or your impulse tells you to. Cut down spending on big-ticket items, vacations, or entertainment until you’ve paid off your liquid debts. Be generous and develop a habit of giving (doesn’t have to be big) for we reap what we sow. Give to bless Israel and God will bless you.

7. Pray for supernatural debt cancellation. Many people in debt feel guilty about asking God for helping them get out of debt. Like all our indiscretions, nothing catches God by surprise. God’s grace is not performance based. It doesn’t matter how you got into your debt – Jesus can get you out! Believe God for supernatural intervention. One of my friends had a $1.3 million debt canceled because they did their part and dared to believe God for the impossible. God wants to help you come out of debt. Do your best and let God do the rest. Friend, there is help and there is hope. Starting today, let’s make it a priority to come out of debt. I’m praying for you!

“Owe nothing to anyone--except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God's law” (Romans 13:8 NLT).

Spread Your Influence: