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Bev’s Second Surgey

Dear Friends,

This afternoon during some prayer time, I began to weep suddenly. I’d been feeling tender all day, but now this. Why?

Then, I realized that in about 14 hours Bev, my wife of 42 years was going to have her second major surgery associated with her double mastectomy. A flood of memories together engulfed me.

The first time I saw her at the First National Bank of Maitland, I was applying for a loan to build a restaurant made out of a caboose and five railroad box cars. I knew from that moment that she was the girl I wanted to marry and grow old together with.

Together we have experienced many births and new beginnings. About six months after our marriage, we were both born again as we were introduced to Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. The exhilaration of the births of our three children—Matthew, Andrew and Danielle. The births of our two amazing grandchildren—did I tell you how bright they are? The birth of our Caboose Restaurant and real estate development company—The Crown Company. The birth of Crown Ministries and more recently Compass—finances God’s way.

We’ve also experience our share of deaths and the end of chapters in our lives. The deaths of all four of our parents and Andrew when he was 11. The sale of the Caboose and The Crown Company before we started Crown Ministries. The unexpected transition from Crown Financial Ministries after serving there for 22 years.

Bottom line, we have experienced life together with all its highs and lows. Through it all, we have grown in our love for each other and in our love and trust of Christ. When we are in the midst of a challenging time or know of someone who is facing something hard, we often ask each other, “How do people make it who don’t know Jesus? How do people make it if they don’t have a soul mate with whom they can pray encourage each other?”

This is my prayer for you on the eve of Bev’s surgery when she and I are in a tender place, thankful for praying friends like you, and trusting in the absolutely faithful God of the universe. May you come to know Christ better. May you be surrounded with His people who genuinely care for you.

Gratefully in Christ,
Howard Dayton

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Jack Norman Funeral

The contrast could not have been more vivid. The senseless tragedy of the murder of 20 first-graders and 6 staff at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and the death of 81 year old, Jack Norman.

Rightfully so, the nation mourned the death of the children with flags flying at half mast. Their memorial service was broadcast by many of the major television networks. All of us who are parents or grandparents hugged our kids a little more tightly and expressed our love to them a little more fervently.

Jack Norman died of a heart attack while walking on a side walk. When the policeman went to his home of inform Arlene Norman, his wife of 61 years, of his sudden death, she smiled and said, “He lived his whole life for this day.” She then invited the policeman inside and shared how he could come to know Jesus Christ as his Savior.

Don’t skip over what Arlene Norman told the policeman, “He lived his whole life for this day.” Jack Norman lived with his focus on the day he would be face to face with Christ.

I met Jack in 1985, the year the Lord prompted to start the financial ministry. Jack was extraordinarily faithful to lead the Continue reading Jack Norman Funeral

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Hurricane Sandy

What do the hurricane “Sandy” and Steve Jobs’ new yacht have in common?

Sandy was the largest storm (1000 miles in circumference) on record to smash into the US east coast. Dozens lost their lives, some 8 million people lost power, and the damage to property is estimated to be north of $50 billion. I talked with a close friend this morning from Connecticut, and he told of the devastation. He ended by saying, “Our family is safe and that’s all that matters. Our things might be gone, but we’re safe.”

About the same time as Sandy was coming on shore and a year after his death, Steve Jobs’ 256 foot super yacht was launched. Think of the gazillions of dollars and all Jobs’ time and effort invested in this yacht that he will never sail.

People invest so much money and time in accumulating things that are so fragile and uncertain. I Timothy 6:17 cautions us, “Do not fix your hope on the uncertainty of riches, but only on God.”

We are called by the Lord to be faithful stewards of all that He entrusts to us. We are to work hard, to give generously, to get out of debt and to save and invest. BUT, we must Continue reading Hurricane Sandy

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Update on Bev

Dear Friends,

It has been seven weeks since my wife Bev’s double mastectomy surgery. Thank you so very, very much for praying for her recovery.

Here’s the update: We are incredibly grateful to report that all her testing has confirmed that she is cancer free! To God alone be the glory! We are quite certain that the prayers of His people were a major factor contributing to this good report.

Bev’s recovery has been steady. She has faced two primary challenges: (1) The pain medication she took amplified bouts of depression to an extraordinary level. She is no longer taking this medication, but still is grappling with periodic depression. (2) Bev’s spiritual gift is service. She has been a remarkable servant to our family, friends and all those with whom she comes in contact. Physically, she has been unable to serve, which has been frustrating to her. On the other hand, it has been a very sweet time for me and our children as we finally can focus on serving her!

Her prayer requests: (1) Relief from the depression. (2) The Lord’s direction on whether or not to go through a chemo treatment which has awful side effects.

When we first married, Bev promised me that our lives together would not be boring . . . and boy was she right! After 41 years of marriage, I knew and admired Bev’s many strengths and her deep love of Jesus Christ. But during the past two months, I have come to admire and respect her even more. The Lord has given her amazing courage, perseverance, and a remarkable depth to her kindness and appreciation of others.

About the only way I can describe Bev is from the pages of Proverbs 31:28-30, “Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her saying, ‘Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all.’ Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”

Gratefully in Christ,
Howard Dayton

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2 Timothy 1:7

For the past several weeks, I have been meditating on 2 Timothy 1:7 which says, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and a sound mind.”

Think about that! God has not given us a spirit of timidity. According to the Thesaurus, synonyms for timidity are fearfulness, angst, trepidation, and uneasiness.

What this verse is not saying, is that we should be rash risk takers; rather, we have been given power and love and a sound mind. We should pray and exercise a sound mind by asking the Lord for His direction and wisdom. But once we have received direction, we should not be timid—we should go for the gold!

Think of the characters in God’s word who were called to do something outside of their comfort zone: Abraham and Sarah were asked to leave the comfort of their home and family and go to a foreign land. David went from tending sheep to fighting giants. Moses turned his back on a life of royalty to lead the children of Israel out of slavery. Mary was asked to be the mother of the Savior before she was married.

What is God calling you to do that it outside of your comfort zone?

I am reminded of former president Theodore Roosevelt’s quote: “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong Continue reading 2 Timothy 1:7

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Running for Office

My mailbox is besieged with letters and advertisements from politicians, and in Florida it is hard to watch TV without seeing a political ad. Most of the advertisements have one thing in common—a harsh attack on the candidate’s opponent. The images of the opponent are often in black and white and always unflattering.

If you look at one of the political TV channels, do you ever hear someone say encouraging things about the other party? Or is it a relentless attack on the character of those on the other side of the isle?

In politics, it is certainly proper to point out the differences between the candidates, but is it done in a winsome and kind way? It is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

Does something in your heart and spirit ache when you see and hear the way politics is now being conducted on a local, state and national level? What would it be like for a candidate to implement these biblical commands in his or her run for office?

  • Encourage one another (Hebrews 10:25).
  • “Do not slander one another (James 4:11).
  • All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward Continue reading Running for Office
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Not Enough

Dear Friends,

Saturday morning I awoke early from a sound sleep repeating the words “It’s not enough!”

It’s a blessing to pay off your credit cards . . . but it’s not enough!

It’s a blessing to pay off your cars . . . but it’s not enough!

It’s a blessing to pay off your student loans . . . but it’s not enough!

It’s a blessing to pay off your home mortgage . . . but it’s not enough!

It’s a blessing to have 3 months of income saved up for emergencies . . . but it’s not enough!

It’s a blessing to save enough to pay for your kids’ education . . . but it’s not enough!

It’s a blessing to save enough to full fund your retirement . . . but it’s not enough!

It’s a blessing to reach True Financial Freedom on the Compass Money Map . . . but it’s not enough!
Many people who don’t know Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord have achieved all these goals. But for the person who knows the Savior, there is more. The Compass Mission statement captures this: Equipping people worldwide to faithfully apply God’s financial principles so they may know Christ more intimately, be free to serve Him and help fund the Great Commission.

Did you notice the three reasons we focus on Continue reading Not Enough

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Encouragement

Dear Friends,

This morning I was reading (probably for the sixth time) a classic book, Spiritual Leadership, by J. Oswald Sanders. Something he wrote jumped out: “Great leaders have always been great encouragers.”

And when I reflect on those who have had the greatest impact on me for the past 41 years I have known Jesus Christ—guess what? Without exception, they all have been great encouragers. My wife, Bev, Tim Manor, George Fooshee, Dave Rae, Jess Correll . . . just to mention a few.

Hebrews 10:25 tells us, “Let us encourage one another, and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.” We live in a time when the Great Recession and the challenges of unemployment, home foreclosures, political squabbling, and just plain hard times in life have lead to many discouraged and disillusioned people. People desperately need to know Christ as their savior, and His way of living as revealed to us the Bible.

I’ve so often taught that people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. May you and I ask the Lord to give us the gift of encouraging others, and the discernment to appropriately express this encouragement.

Warmly in Christ,
Howard Dayton

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Not of The World

God’s ways of handling money are so different than the world’s way. Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways than your ways.”

There was a classic example of this recently when General Motors announced that it wants to get out of the pension business. They are offering 42,000 GM retirees two options: they can either take a lump sum amount now, or GM will shift the pension to Prudential Insurance Company.

What stunned me was the advice given by a financial planner who works with these retirees. He said that one way for pensioners to make sure they’ll have enough income to provide for their futures, is to take their mortgage free homes and saddle them with a new 15- or 20-year home mortgage. With 15-year loans now averaging a little over 3 percent in interest, the retiree could invest that money, and hope to beat the rate they are paying on the loan.

The article ended by saying: Of course, they would have to be able to make their monthly payments – and live with the risks of betting the house on their investments – but those are questions for another day.

Think about this. Retirees encumbering their mortgage free homes in the hopes that their investments would beat the interest rate they are paying on a new mortgage. Forget the risk that they have obligated themselves to a higher cost of living. Forget the risk of investing in a time of tremendous economic uncertainty. Forget that Proverbs 22:7 warns us, “The borrower is servant (or slave) to the lender.”

Don’t forget the importance of learning what the God of the universe says about handling money . . . and practicing what He tells us.

God Bless,
Howard

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Never Forgotten

Dear Friends,

While on a 8-hour flight a couple of days ago, I carefully read the book of Ecclesiastes, and It impacted me like never before.

Repeatedly, Solomon tried various ways of making his life meaningful and fulfilling. Hard work, roaring financial success, building homes and massive real estate projects, becoming wise, entertainment, lots of wives and concubines, enjoying the power of being king . . . the list goes on and on.

Solomon then compared every one of these fleshly pursuits with the inescapable truth that all of us die and will be forgotten in just a few generations—whether we are wise or foolish, rich or poor, powerful or powerless.

And his conclusion, I think, communicated with a sense of quiet Continue reading Never Forgotten