Sunday, July 31, 2016

Teach Little Kids About Money. Thou Shalt Not Covet. Volcanos. Plastic. Update.


For “Scripture Sunday”:

Teach Little Kids About Money

Your child may be too young for an allowance, but he or she’s not too young to be introduced to the all-important right approach to money.

Teach Little Kids About Money

If you’re frugal and restrained in how you use money, your child will be more likely to learn those traits too!

“Ever read the poem “Smart” in Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends? It begins:


“My dad gave me one dollar bill
’Cause I’m his smartest son,
And I swapped it for two shiny quarters
’Cause two is more than one!”

This “smart” son continued his “upward” trading—exchanging the two quarters for three dimes, and the three dimes for four nickels, and finally the four nickels for five pennies! The poem concludes:

“And then I went and showed my dad,
And he got red in the cheeks
And closed his eyes and shook his head—
Too proud of me to speak!”

One might wonder if perhaps Dad gave his “smartest son” an allowance before he was really ready for it! But even if your child doesn’t yet know the value of different coins or bills, you can still set the stage for him or her to learn how to handle money responsibly.

It all begins with you!

Whether you realize it or not, you’ve probably already begun your child’s lessons on finances. Your example as a parent in handling money is the foundation for every other finance lesson you can teach. The attitude and approach that you have toward money will rub off on your child.

From an early age, your child should see you being a careful shopper. Let him or her help you make your grocery list and talk about how these are the things that your family needs to buy. Let your child see that you plan what things you’re going to buy rather than buying impulsively. Talk about the difference between needs and wants.

As your child grows, you can ask him or her to help you compare items. You can talk about which box of cereal contains more (the size of the box doesn’t always give the answer!), which is healthier for your family and which has the better price. You can also talk about television commercials and how advertisers try to get you to buy their products.

If you’re frugal and restrained in how you use money, your child will be more likely to learn those traits too! And you can model patience in your purchases. Tell your child, “No, I think we’ll wait to get this until it’s on sale.” Remember, if you’re frugal and restrained in how you use money, your child will be more likely to learn those traits too!

Money doesn’t grow on trees: 

Another introductory concept to teach is where money comes from. (It’s not really as obvious as we think!) Explain to your child that people work and that’s how they earn money. And they earn money so that they can buy the things that they need. It’s important to explain that God is the One who gives us good health and makes us able to work and produce. The money we earn is related to our effort and diligence (Proverbs 10:4), but ultimately God is the One who gives wealth (verse 22).

As well, you’ll no doubt need to clear up misunderstandings about credit or debit cards, since it’s easy for children to think of it as free, limitless money. We’re becoming an increasingly cashless society, but make an effort to use cash whenever possible when your child is with you.

When you must use your credit or debit card, give a simple explanation of how it works. A credit card represents money that you’re promising to pay later. A debit card represents money that is going directly from what you’ve put in the bank to the store or restaurant. It may be a while before your child really understands, but keep the explanations coming at regular intervals.

Your child should learn that money is a limited resource. It’s good for your child to hear you say, “We don’t have enough money to buy that.” “We can’t afford that.” Likewise, there should be times when you can say, “We’re saving to buy a (whatever)!” Your child should learn that it’s okay to spend some money now, but it’s also important to save some for later."

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Thou Shalt Not Covet

Coveting—desiring something we shouldn’t have—is a dangerous trap for people both poor and rich. That’s why God says, “Thou shalt not covet.”

Thou Shalt Not Covet

God gave us the 10 Commandments for our benefit, including the 10th Commandment: “Thou shalt not covet” (Exodus 20:17, King James Version).

To understand God’s law against coveting, it can be helpful to consider an example of the damaging effects of coveting.

Consider Ahab  (1 Kings 16:29-22:40)

It was plain and simple. He wanted it, and he wanted it now! Day after day, he wandered up and down the halls with his mind centered on a prize he simply could not rightfully win. It became such a fixation that he almost became sick over it.

Sadder still, this man did not really need anything—after all, he was a king! With all the treasures in the king’s house, what more could this man want?

When your name is Ahab, king of Israel, there is always something more. In this case it happened to be a vineyard that was next door to his palace. What started out as the pursuit of additional property, quickly turned into an ugly and sinful attitude.

When the negotiation didn’t go his way, King Ahab unleashed his ruthless wife on the hapless neighbor. Queen Jezebel thought nothing of taking what didn’t belong to them, at the cost of their neighbor’s life. And all because King Ahab gave in to the sinful attitude of covetousness.

“I want what you have!” Defining “covet”

Although listed as the last of the 10 Commandments given by God, the act of coveting carries with it the potential for a lifetime of tragedy and heartache. It is easy to reason in one’s mind that coveting is not as bad as murder, stealing or adultery, but make no mistake—coveting, which is a sin in itself, can lead to all of these sins and more!

To covet means to desire wrongfully or inordinately without regard for the rights and property of others. God knows the heart of man and also the intent of the heart (1 Chronicles 28:9). So when He presented the 10 Commandments to the children of Israel, God elaborated on some of the items that should not be coveted.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:17).

God knew that a heart that begins to covet is a heart that no longer focuses on Him, but looks inwardly. Coveting begins when the mind harbors an insidious desire to wrongfully obtain something that is forbidden, without due regard for the rights or property of others. Coveting places your thoughts and desires above those of everyone else.

Unfortunately, there have been many horrific examples of this in the world today. The act of coveting has even been made to appear stylish by the motion picture industry, where coveting is at times even glamorized. If a so-called hero or heroine pursues an already married person, “frees” her or him from the bonds of a less-than-affectionate spouse, it is portrayed as acceptable, even the desirable thing to do!

Granting ourselves an excuse to covet

The seeds of coveting sometimes begin with an innocent observation.

In the story of King Arthur and the knights of the round table, for example, the knight Lancelot, who just happened to be King Arthur’s closest friend, made a simple, but inappropriate comment to the king’s fiancée, Guinevere. He said that as long as she lived, he would love no other. Lancelot was intrigued by the future queen’s beauty and found himself attracted to her. But rather than honor the sanctity of marriage, Lancelot and Guinevere began to covet things that weren’t theirs—each other! In the story, their covetous behavior led to adultery and the weakening of a kingdom.

Sadly, incidents just like this are played out all too often today. By using selfish reasoning and motives, people decide to obtain possessions (or someone else’s mate) for their own personal gain. The desire to have what is not theirs grows so powerful that even people who are normally respectful and law-abiding will circumvent laws and rules in order achieve their goal.

Such is the backstory for countless incidents of theft, embezzlement, kidnapping, adultery and even murder. The results of coveting are powerful and destructive.

Coveting is a trap

Covetousness is the trap in which King Ahab found himself snared, as the account recorded in 1 Kings 21 reveals. The vineyard Ahab coveted was owned by a man named Naboth. It was his inheritance, and Naboth told the king of its priceless value to him and his family.

But rather than approach this as a goal he could not achieve, or perhaps as a failed business venture, Ahab chose to sulk and focus on his covetous desires. He was angry with Naboth, and he still wanted his vineyard. In his self-absorbed and immature mind, he demonstrated a behavior we see often in children and sometimes even adults—he began to pout and wallow in self-pity.

Sulking, pouting and self-pity over something we can’t obtain can turn into bitterness. Bitterness can then lead to twisted reasoning that may lead to a sinful action in an attempt to acquire what is coveted. Scripture reveals that Ahab’s covetous behavior led to the death of Naboth. It initially appeared that Ahab got away with his sin, but God ultimately intervened and brought about the demise of Ahab.

Casting down idols

In the Bible, covetousness is described as a type of idolatry. God’s perspective on coveting can be clearly seen in Paul’s instructions to the church in Colossae: “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry (Colossians 3:5, emphasis added throughout).

Why does God say covetousness is idolatry? Because covetousness can become all-consuming. The person or object that is coveted becomes uppermost in the mind and, in the process, becomes an idol. All rules, commandments and laws become trivial in comparison, making it easier and easier to justify irreverent and/or illegal behavior.

Whatever becomes an idol in the mind takes precedence over everything and everyone—including the true God. Covetousness is one of the reasons God will punish the inhabitants of the earth. As Paul wrote in the same passage: “Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them” (verses 6-7).

How can we overcome covetousness?

What can be done to escape this sinful trap? In order to break free from this form of idolatry, one must be willing to take the necessary steps to cast down covetous behavior. The first step is controlling and reordering the thoughts of the heart.

King David (who also knew what it was like to struggle with coveting) asked God for His protection when it came to his thoughts. He wrote, “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works” (Psalm 141:3-4).

In another place David wrote that he would set nothing wicked before his sight (Psalm 101:3).

It is deceptive, because the sin of covetousness rarely looks evil. But in truth it is, and the quicker we understand that, the quicker we will be moved to repent of this sin.

In the process of reordering our thinking, we must move to the other end of the spectrum. The opposite of coveting is looking outwardly—not comparing ourselves with others, but looking for opportunities to give of ourselves in service to others who truly may be less fortunate.

Thankfulness to God

Then, when we do come upon something or someone we admire, we can keep it in the realm of proper admiration by actively giving thanks to God for the blessings He has bestowed on us.

We can take a personal inventory of all that God has given us and dwell on those things. If there is something else we like or would like to have, there is nothing wrong with making our request with a pure and contented heart. Whether it is a new car or a meaningful relationship, God knows what we need. So when our petition is made, we can ask in trust and faith, knowing that God has our best interest at heart.

As the writer of Hebrews so eloquently wrote, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).

God is the giver of good things and promises to be there. He is always ready to hear the fervent prayers of those who diligently seek after Him. Covetousness has no place in the heart of the man or woman who truly desires to seek God. That’s why God said: “Thou shalt not covet.”


For more information, see “Tenth Commandment: You Shall Not Covet.”


Structure of a Volcano

volcano_structure (Small)“Why do we call it a "volcano"? Off the coast of Sicily, in the Mediterranean Sea, there is little island called Vulcano.

A long time ago, the people who lived there believed that Vulcano actually was the chimney on the forge of Vulcan. And Vulcan was the blacksmith of the Roman gods.

A volcano is a mountain. However, they are not formed as other mountains are, by folding and crumpling or by uplift and erosion. Volcanoes, in a sense, build themselves with their own eruptions, including lava, bombs (crusted-over lava blobs), ashflows, and tephra (airborne ash and dust).

Usually, a volcano is a conical hill or mountain built around a vent that connects with reservoirs of molten rock below the surface of the Earth. "Volcano" also might be used to refer to the opening through which molten rock and gases are expelled.”

<<< Click on the numbers to learn more about volcanoes.   Source:USGS    From:




Another week has flown by.  More trips to Conroe to get some banking business done with a man who had been in a flood with his Arctic Fox Fifth Wheel, and it had been totalled by the insurance company.  He had added a lot of special features to his, so he was desperately looking for another Arctic Fox so that he could swap them out.  So I sold it to him, but the money came in dribs and drabs, so that meant 4 trips to Conroe in all. 

I went to the Social Security Office to see why they haven’t called me, but there were so many people already there that they were parked on the grass across the street, even though they have a large parking lot.  Phoning them means just about the same wait time as going there, and it seems that one can get more help with a face-to-face talk with a person.

One day, a friend of Roy’s came and dug up a little of the front yard to find the best place to connect the sewer to the guest house.  We found a good place to tie in to it, so I bought a ‘saddle tee’ from the plumbing supply house, but we haven’t had time to do anything more to the guest house.  A water leak on the other side of my meter was fixed by the water company but they had to dig up another part of my front yard. Then the rains came, and it was a muddy mess for a few days.

Another day, Roy had to go to the VA in Houston for his ‘Pre-Op’ instructions ready for his esophagus surgery on Tuesday.  They were pleased that for the first time he has gained a little weight.  I have been making sure that he has some Greek yogurt each morning before he starts work and that he has a good organic lunch before he leaves.   Now he is doing some work on the Fifth Wheel swapping out the items from the flooded one, as it is parked not too far away.  We will be glad when that’s over and we can get back to working on the guest house.

For the Church potluck I made another Dirty Rice, beef, onion, bell pepper dish.  The Bible readings were Deut. 1:1-3:22, Isa. 1:1-27, John 15:1-11.  The Teaching was about “He went to the Temple” and how He prepared the way.  I couldn’t hear it very well over the loud speaker in the kitchen.  Some people had arrived late and brought dishes that needed to be warmed up, and pizzas that needed to be cooked, so I went to the kitchen to help the Pastor’s wife,  she has enough to do without that.   So as not to cause more work on the Sabbath, some of us always bring something in a crockpot that just has to be plugged in.  As the Sabbath is supposed to be a day of rest, it has been made the day before, on Preparation Day.

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