Welcome A lot of you may be familiar with the phrase, “living paycheck to paycheck.” I’ve lived some of those moments in my lifetime, probably more than I care to talk about. If we’re all being honest, I bet most everyone can identify with times in life when we’ve had to watch our spending very closely as it gets close to the end of the month, or whatever pay period you may have. We plot and plan to make sure the biggest priorities are paid and meet expenses like gas and groceries. I know when I was teaching, a common phrase was “I’ll get that to you on payday,” referring to any fees, dues, or extra purchases we had been asked for at school. But I’m not talking about money today. I’m talking about something even more valuable, and potentially more plentiful, our faith. Thanks for joining me today.
Food For Thought Faith is my 2018 word of the year, so I have spent a lot of time during these first few months in study and personal growth on this topic. This type of growth requires a lot of self-reflection, even the kind of reflection that makes one realize they are weaker in an area than they previously thought. As I have been examining my own faith, I realized I’ve been treating my faith as some sort of payment system. Every time I witnessed an answered prayer, felt encouragement from the Word or others, or simply felt a general presence from God, I would receive a “faith check.” I would deposit this in my “faith account” and pull my positivity, trust, and belief from that bank, like a withdrawal system. But, if I went too long between these faith events, not focusing on my studies or not experiencing these miracles of modern day life, my faith account would begin to become depleted. I noticed I was letting my faith “account” dwindle simply because I wasn’t having first-hand experiences to reinforce my beliefs. I would start to have doubts in various areas of my life. I would question my own beliefs and faith. I would teeter on the edge of giving up on things I knew God wanted for me and my life. I now realize I was choosing to live faith-check to faith-check.
Faith is a much more valuable resource than our paychecks, if you can imagine that! Think about how much we look forward to getting that monthly or weekly payment! So many things in our physical life revolve around that paycheck–food, shelter, clothing, medical care, entertainment, comfort, transportation to go to work, etc. But everything in our spiritual life revolves around our faith. Without our faith, we become spiritually starved and ill. But unlike our regular paychecks, we can replenish our faith accounts anytime we want. It’s a matter of ask, seek, and find (Matt. 7:7-8). If I want my faith account to stay full, I have to seek and find positive words, scriptures, and experiences to build up my faith. I have to pray and ask God to help build me up and keep me rejuvenated and refreshed. I am responsible for keeping a positive faith balance.
I am a person that feels quite anxious if I start watching the bank account dip too low, becoming frantic on how to keep the finances in check. But I recently noticed my anxiety levels went up just as much when my faith was dipping low. I know that’s not who I am or how I want to live my life. I want to trust and believe in God’s promises, and I want to share those promises with others, helping to build up their faith accounts, as well. Unlike earthly money and paychecks, there is no limit to the level of faith we can achieve, because there is no limit to God’s promises and power. I’m ready to put my security and trust in the Lord, and allow him to direct deposit in my faith account!
Today’s Scriptures There are actions I can take to replenish my faith account, and one of the most important is to study and read scripture. Here is a list of scriptures you can begin with for building up your own “faith account.”
Additional Reading If you’d like to get more encouragement for your faith account, check out my Faith and Hope board on Pinterest.
Today’s Recipe It’s Frugal Friday! When I was growing up, my family was below the poverty level, but my parents made no excuses and asked for no assistance. My mom was the queen of frugal recipes, every day of the week! She could stretch ingredients or take a few grocery dollars and make them last for several days. One of the dishes we had often was her version of Shepherd’s Pie. This is NOT the traditional Shepherd’s Pie of Great Britain, but everyone in our household loved it when I was growing up. It’s a casserole of filling comfort food; the frugality is just a bonus!
My Mom’s Shepherd’s Pie (This version serves four.)
- 1/3 or 1/2 lb ground beef
- 2 medium or 3 small potatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 TBS butter
- 1/4 or 1/3 cup milk
- 1 15 oz can mixed vegetables (or whatever type of canned vegetable you have on hand)
- 1 10.5 oz can cream of mushroom soup (this is optional)
- 4 slices of American cheese
- a sprinkling of garlic powder, paprika, and black pepper
Peel, wash, and cut potatoes. Place in saucepan with enough water to cover and the teaspoon of salt. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and continue to cook until soft. Turn oven to 350. Brown ground beef in skillet. Drain off any excess fat. Drain and rinse the can of vegetables; add to skillet. Stir in cream soup, if using, combining all ingredients. Spray a 9×9 square baking dish with cooking spray. Pour meat mixture into dish and top with slices of cheese. Drain cooked potatoes. Add milk and butter and mash. Spread mashed potatoes on top of cheese. Sprinkle with spices, if desired. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.