Training for the Cross - Bible Study

Friday, October 3, 2014

Pearls of Wisdom - Gary & Judy Porter

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." (Matthew 13:45-46).

Judy and I have been happily married for nearly 20 years and have gained tremendous insight into what life principles work well and not so well in being successful in our personal relationships, as well as our respective businesses as owner/operators of Cross Country Saddlery and Victory Karate Klub. These principles, which are Bible-based, are also critical in the operations Rid’n for the Cross Ministries, Cross Country Cowboy Fellowship, and Sunday Country radio outreach that are owned by God and managed by us. We would like to share what we feel have been important guidelines for our success in each of the areas mentioned.

First and foremost in every endeavor, God is first! Our motto or creed has always been: Continually practicing the presence of God. He has to be first in everything. We are reminded in James 4:8, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." The Bible reminds us that He is always near so we need to remember that and practice His ever presence. For us, it is critical that we find time for Him, not only as a couple but also individually. We need to seek His face in prayer and we need to study His Word daily. That is part of the ‘drawing near to God so that He will draw near to you’.

Having the Holy Spirit actively working in our lives daily is crucial. The Bible tells us in 1 John 5:7-8, "For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one."

We begin each morning, holding hands and praying together. First, inviting our Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit into our lives each day and giving thanks to God for all He has done in our lives, and secondly, asking for God’s direction, guidance and wisdom in everything that we might lay our hand to, whether in our work shop, in our personal life, in our relationships with others, our business decisions, etc. Again, the Bible reminds us in James 4:2, "Yet you do not have because you do not ask."

We believe that starting our day in prayer is a critical part of the principle of “first fruits” taught in the Bible which is regarding tithing of our time, resources, talents, finances and energy. Tithing is not just the giving 10% of our finances but includes the giving of our resources, of our time and effort and of our talents and abilities. It is important to understand that the tithe meant giving the first of the best of what you had to God, not the least of what you had. When we work, whether in our businesses, our personal lives, working with our horses, working with relationships, we do not work as unto man, but work as unto the Lord, giving our very best every time, regardless of what those around us may be doing.

We understand that all that we have belongs to God and we are only stewards of what we have been blessed to have care of. That includes our home, our children and grand-children, our health, our businesses, our personal property, our livestock, relationships with others, etc. Because it is all His and we are only stewards of what He has given to us, we need to take the best possible care that we can of all of it.

Jesus instructs His children in Matt 5:15-16 to let their light shine before men: "Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

We are to be a light to the world in every aspect of our lives. In the troubling times we now live in people need hope and the hope they need is found only in Jesus Christ. We have found it is easy to be a light to the world. As an example: when you are asked, “How are you today?” Tell them “I am blessed!” because you are. If we strive to be a light in all that we do, people we automatically be drawn to you. And not to you really, but to the light you represent, Jesus Christ.

In our experience good communication skills are paramount in our business and our ministries as well as our personal relationships. In our dealings with other personalities, as well as to each other, without open communication misunderstandings can occur and lead to hurt feelings that take time to mend. If we keep our lines of communication open, with an ‘others minded’ attitude, misunderstandings can be avoided. If we find that an offense, even unintentionally, has occurred we are quick to address the offense and make amends. We find in the book of Eph 4:25-27, Do Not Grieve the Spirit: "Therefore, putting away lying, Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil." In a ‘me first’ world, when offenses are common-place, we make a choice not to be easily offended or hold a grudge. Instead, we forgive as Jesus would have us do.

God tells us in Jer 29:10-12, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you."

And Jesus tell us in Matt 6:33-34, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

If we trust His Word and are careful to daily follow God’s precepts for us then the promises we find in Jeremiah and Matthew will be ours. First is the daily seeking, then His plans will be ours. It’s a daily choice that leads to success.

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