Whatever Happened To Keeping One’s Word Because It Is The Right Thing To Do?

Whatever happened to keeping one’s word, simply because it is the right thing to do?

In today’s climate of trashy television, When Calls The Heart on the Hallmark Channel is a very refreshing show and last Sunday’s episode centered around the railroad’s refusal to honor its contract to construct a depot in Hope Valley because it did not seem to be a profitable investment.

Well, after the mayor and townspeople made their case, the railroad representative wasn’t convinced until one of the young people made a convincing argument at the end. It was heartwarming and genuine, based on principles and honor, not money and profit.

Sometimes it is hard to do the right thing and it costs some serious money and requires hard sacrifices to do so.

A young builder and his partner wanted to get a start building new homes for sale in a really hot market in the early 1980s in an exclusive development that featured a beautiful golf course, clubhouse, condos, and luxury single-family homes in a gated community.

They bought a lot, the young builder designed the home and drew the plans himself, the partner put up the cash (about $35,000) and they got a local bank to fund the construction loan. The home was beautiful and everyone thought it would sell before it was even finished like most of the houses had in that location. However, right before they closed on the lot, someone suggested they buy another lot on the golf course and not the one they had previously been shown. Everyone agreed this was the right thing to do. The only problem was that no one realized at the time the design was wrong for a home that backed up to the golf course.

Only after the house was sold did anyone ever point out that the great-room should have overlooked the golf course, which makes sense of course, but the original lot backed up to woods and that is why the design had the master bedroom and breakfast room in the rear.

The young builder worked very hard to make sure that everything was done just right and every day, he drove over an hour to get to work and over an hour to get home after supervising the various subcontractors.

He even did some of the work himself, including all the finish carpentry. But after the house was nearly finished there were no buyers and the interest payments were beginning to get hard to make because there were some cost overruns due to some changes that were suggested by the real estate agent. Keep in mind that this was during the time of super-inflation and interest rates were around 14% or more.

Soon the cash reserves were almost gone and the bank became very concerned because the construction loan term was about to end and there were no prospects. Things looked very bleak and it looked like it was going to cost another $30,000+ to finish the house, so work was basically stopped. The house was built, just not 100% finished.

Months went by and it appeared bankruptcy was the only option until one day about a week before Christmas the banker called the young builder and said he had a buyer for the house. The builder was thrilled! But it wasn’t good news because the price was for what the bank was owed, which meant the partners would lose their investment plus the amount of money needed to complete the house and pay all the remaining bills, a total of about $65,000 LOSS!

The young builder was very worried. He had only recently been married and had a new baby and did not have anywhere close to that amount of money in savings. Most of the subcontractors and suppliers that he used were companies and people that he had known for many years, some for decades since some were personal friends as well, and he was afraid of damaging those relationships. Another thing that complicated this was that he also worked with and for his father, who was a builder/developer with an excellent reputation.

The banker insisted that the partners accept this offer, threatening to foreclose if they did not. But since the house still needed some work to be finished and bills to be paid, if there were any liens filed by subcontractors or suppliers, the sale could be delayed.

So the young builder decided to contact all the people he owed money to and promised each and everyone that if they would help him and allow the sale to go through without any liens, he would personally guarantee payment, no matter what. Because he had a good relationship with all these people, they agreed and the sale went through.

The young builder had a rough time though and it took over two years to finally pay off all the subs and suppliers, but he did and he continued to do business with all of them for many years afterward.

This might sound like a fictional story, but I assure you, it is not because I am that young builder, and my partner was my brother-in-law. And I have not retold this story to try and build myself up, but to tell you that when you treat people honestly and keep your word, they will do the same.

There was no way that I could knowingly or willingly damage the relationships with subcontractors and suppliers that my father had with some people, that in some cases had existed for decades. Those people trusted my word because of the past relationship I had with them and I was not about to let them down.

I don’t know how I did it. Well, actually I do. It was God and only God that kept me going.

“Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.”—Isaiah 40:28–31 ESV

Is It Ever OK to Lie? Must We Always Tell the Truth?

I am a follower of Gary DeMar (AmericanVision.org) and have many of his books and DVDs on various topics dealing with Christianity. I met Gary around 2004-2005 at an American Vision Conference (when he was still the president) in Powder Springs, GA and my life has never been the same. The list of speakers that I heard included Dr. Gary North, Dr. Voddie Baucham, Jr., Joseph Farah, and of course Gary DeMar himself. The reason I mention this is that sometimes you hear or read something that challenges long-held beliefs and that conference began a 6-7 year process that radically changed a lot of my beliefs about the end-times and prophecy. More on that in the future. But this article was also one of those moments. I always believed that we should not lie. After all the Bible commands it, right? Well, not so fast!

(Click the link to read the article and it will open up in a new tab. https://garydemar.com/ever-ok-lie-must-always-tell-truth/ Then come back to finish reading here.)

This is just another reason why Christianity and the Bible are valid because it is God’s story of how He has revealed Himself to us and how we have responded, warts and all. It is not the fairy tale that many try and tell you where all of God’s “heroes” never do anything wrong, never make mistakes. We ALL have sinned and fall short of the Glory of the Lord, and we ALL need the Savior, Jesus Christ. If you are not confident about your eternal destiny and need to know the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus, please leave a comment below (your email will not be displayed) or send me an email to jay@thejoyfulchristian.net. I truly care!

Prayer Does Work – Jen’s Story

“Daddy, my car broke down on the Bonnet Carré spillway and I don’t know what to do!”

I could hear the terror in Jen’s voice and the roar of the cars and big rigs racing past her at 60+ miles per hour on a Friday afternoon in heavy traffic on I-10 west. She was headed to Baton Rouge. Those of you familiar with the New Orleans area know how intense traffic can be on I-10 headed towards Laplace from Kenner on the spillway in the late afternoon after work, but it is a whole other story on Friday when people are headed to Baton Rouge, especially when the LSU Tigers are playing. I told her to put her emergency flashers on (she already had) and to get out the passenger side and walk about 3-4 car lengths in front of her car, in case someone slammed into her in the rear.

NOLA.com
Bonnet Carre Spillway, I-10 West snarled from an accident that stopped traffic near I-55, from NOLA.com

“But Daddy, I can’t because all the cars are passing on my passenger side!” Now, I am getting terrified because the shoulder on the left side of this stretch of I-10 is not a full car width like on the right side and I am hoping that she cannot sense the fear in my voice as I try to remain calm and guide her. Continue reading “Prayer Does Work – Jen’s Story”

The Impact of One Faithful Witness

Jesus said, “You are to go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere.” (Mark 16;15)

Many of you have read the story about a Sunday School teacher named Edward Kimball.  Mr. Kimball was a timid shoe salesman who gathered the nerve to share the gospel with a co-worker named Dwight.L. Moody.  D.L. Moody made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ and went on to become one of the greatest evangelists in history.

Do you know the rest of the story?  D.L. Moody went to England and worked a profound change in the ministry of F.B. Meyer.  F.B. Meyer, with his new evangelistic fervor, influenced a college student named J. Wilbur Chapman. Chapman accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, and employed a converted baseball player in his ministry named Billy Sunday.  Billy Sunday became the greatest evangelist of his generation. Continue reading “The Impact of One Faithful Witness”

Safety. Always.

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I am doing research for a book I am writing and ran across this today. It is packed with lessons we can learn, but two of them I hope you will glean from this story is to SLOW DOWN and BE MORE CAREFUL.

How many times have we read tragic news stories of young children being run over by their own parents or relatives who were too much in a hurry to check if anyone or anything (pets, etc.) were around their vehicle before backing out the garage or driveway?

How many times have we read of multi-car pileups because people were following too closely simply because they could not take another few SECONDS to get to work or wherever they were going?

Do you REALLY believe that you are that super driver that can navigate in the blinding snowstorm or rainstorm when MILLIONS of others have proven they cannot?

 

Continue reading “Safety. Always.”

If I did this today, I would probably be shot!

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While attending Tulane University in the early 1970s, I had a part-time job at First Homestead, a savings and loan located on the corner of Baronne St. and Gravier St. in the CBD of New Orleans.
My primary job was as a gopher and office boy to assist Peter, an elderly gentleman who was one of the kindest, friendliest men I had ever had to pleasure to know.
Every day we arrived before everyone else to open the door and greet the other employees as they arrived and to stand guard at the entrance. This was before armed guards were necessary, even though there were occasional, but rare robberies.
For me, this was especially enjoyable since I was young, single and it allowed me to watch all the attractive young ladies that walked by on their way to work.
Our duties included opening the mail and distributing it to the appropriate parties, collecting outgoing mail and preparing it properly to deliver to the Post Office each day by weighing and applying the correct postage with the Pitney Bowes postage meter, keeping the employee kitchen neat and tidy, making coffee, general janitorial work during the day if necessary until the cleaning crew arrived after hours (including unstopping toilets), purchasing the office supplies and keeping the storeroom organized, running errands for all the other employees, delivering legal documents to the various attorneys’ offices, etc.
However, our most important job each day was to take the daily deposits to the appropriate banks, such as the Whitney, Hibernia, NBC to name a few. They were all within a few blocks, all within walking distance. Continue reading “If I did this today, I would probably be shot!”

If God Really Exists Why Doesn’t He Speak To Us?

How may times have we heard this objection to the Gospel of Jesus Christ? “If God really exists, then why doesn’t He speak to us?”

Or another version of this is “I will believe in Heaven if someone who has died and gone there comes back and tells us what it is like.”

Well folks, guess what, both of these things happened and the same person has fulfilled both of these requests—Jesus, the Son of God literally spoke to us for over three years during his ministry on earth over 2,000 years ago and His Words are forever preserved in our Bibles.

Furthermore, not only did He come down from His place in Heaven to be born as a human being and become one of us, but He was mercilessly beaten, crucified and died on a cruel Cross before He went back to Heaven to present His body as a perfect and final sacrifice for all of us to His Father for OUR sins, not His.

I did not write this short article to be a theological explanation of why Jesus died in our place, why He became the perfect and final sacrifice for the daily and annual sacrifices offered to God to atone for sins. There are plenty of articles and books written on this subject that explain it far better than I ever could. Continue reading “If God Really Exists Why Doesn’t He Speak To Us?”

Thankful For The Thorns

FROM The Daily Encourager

Sandra felt as low as the heels of her Birkenstocks when she pulled open the florist shop door, against a November gust of wind. Her life had been as sweet as a spring breeze and then, in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a “minor” automobile accident stole her joy. This was Thanksgiving week and the time she should have delivered their infant son. She grieved over their loss. Troubles had multiplied. Her husband’s company “threatened” to transfer his job to a new location.

Her sister had called to say that she could not come for her long awaited holiday visit. What’s worse, Sandra’s friend suggested that Sandra’s grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer. “She has no idea what I’m feeling,” thought Sandra with a shudder. “Thanksgiving? Thankful for what?” she wondered. “For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life, but took her child’s?”

“Good afternoon, can I help you?” Sandra was startled by the approach of the shop clerk.

“I… I need an arrangement,” stammered Sandra.

“For Thanksgiving? Do you want the beautiful, but ordinary, or would you like to challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the ‘Thanksgiving Special’? I’m convinced that flowers tell stories,” she continued. “Are you looking for something that conveys ‘gratitude’ this Thanksgiving?”

“Not exactly!” Sandra blurted out. “In the last five months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.” Sandra regretted her outburst, and was surprised when the clerk said, “I have the perfect arrangement for you.”

Then the bell on the door rang, and the clerk greeted the new customer, “Hi, Barbara… let me get your order.” She excused herself and walked back to a small workroom, then quickly reappeared, carrying an arrangement of greenery, bows, and what appeared to be long-stemmed, thorny roses – except the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped. There were no flowers. Continue reading “Thankful For The Thorns”

When God Restores What the Locusts Eat

“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten – the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm – My great army that I sent among you.” – Joel 2:25

There are seasons in our lives that involve times of famine and times of restoration. Solomon tells us that He has made everything beautiful in its time and that there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under Heaven. (See Ecclesiastes 3:1,11.)

God brings about both the good and the bad. The seasons of famine have a divine purpose in our lives. They accomplish things that only these hard places can accomplish. But there is a time when those hard places have accomplished their purpose and He begins to restore. God did this with the nation of Israel after a season of famine and devastation.

Be glad, O people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for He has given you the autumn rains in righteousness. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten – the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm – My great army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will My people be shamed. Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and that there is no other; never again will My people be shamed” (Joel 2:23-27).

God wants each of us to know that there is a time when He will restore in order to demonstrate His gracious hand in our lives. He is a loving Father who tenderly guides His children through the difficult places. If God has taken you through a time of leanness, know that He is the restorer of that which the locusts have eaten. Wait patiently for Him to bring this about in your life. He will do it.

Copyright 2000 by Os Hillman
TGIF (Today God Is First)
www.marketplaceleaders.org

Harvesters of Signs

FROM The Daily Encourager

“God took Abraham outside and said, ‘Look up at the heavens and count the stars – if indeed you can count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.'” (Genesis 15:5)

God had promised Abraham and Sarah that they would be founders of a great nation and a blessing to the earth. They had kept their part of the bargain and gone where God told them to go. They had trusted and believed. But the years had piled up like sand in the desert and no child had been born to them. True, God had brought them into a new land as promised, but what good was that if there was no one to leave it to?

The story of Sarah and Abraham is a story of barrenness – not only of their inability to have children, but also of a world in which our prayers seem to go unanswered, our deepest hopes remain unborn. As for Abraham, so also for us the time comes when we want action. Abraham, speaking for us all, says to God, in essence, “The land is fine, Lord, but what about the child you promised?”

We who worship the God of Abraham and Sarah and believe that the promised blessing is also for us feel the urgency in his question. We have asked it from the depths of our hearts too. Why am I unable to find a meaningful job? Where is the good health for which I’ve prayed? Will there ever be someone to love me? How long must we live in fear of terrorism? Where is the child I’ve been praying for?

As Abraham’s question cut through the night air, God gave him a sign. He took him outdoors, beneath a sky powdered with stars, and said again that he and Sarah would have descendants to outnumber the lights of heaven. It was not an explanation but simply a reiteration of the promise. It meant “Don’t give up!” “Keep the faith!” “I’m still around!”

Faith is a gift, something we receive rather than achieve. Some receive it in great measure, others less so. But all of us, like Abraham, are called to be observers of signs. When he grew tired of waiting, he saw in the stars something that helped him persevere. Our signs may be more subtle – a kind word, a gentle hand, a Christian song, a beautiful thing that reminds us of the Creator’s love. Harvest those signs. Share them. Each one, great or small, helps us in the long and difficult wait for the fulfillment of God’s promises.

Copyright 2010 Dr. Michael A. Halleen
Permission is granted to send this to others, with attribution, but not for commercial purposes.