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Weekly Bible Verse – Generosity will Bring Blessing

August 11, 2010 · Filed Under Weekly Bible Verse · 6 Comments 

If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs.  Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.  Deuteronomy 15:7,8,10 (NIV)

If you’re reading this, then you’re most likely someone who cares at least a little bit about receiving God’s blessing (and maybe you care a whole lot).  This week’s verse is therefore of interest to you.  In the last sentence we see that God will bless you in “all your work and in everything you put your hand to.”  To be blessed in everything you do is a pretty sweet blessing (I want some of that!).

Of course, the next question is, “How do I go about receiving this awesome blessing from God?”  The first sentences tell us that we should freely lend a less fortunate person whatever he needs and should not be miserly toward him.  That is how you receive this blessing from God.  That seems counterintuitive, wouldn’t you agree?  It is basically teaching that you have to give away to get more.  That certainly flies in the face of the worldly wisdom of our society.

You’ve probably heard a Christian pastor or teacher or blogger at some point say that it is critically important for you to give to God as part of your financial plan.  In fact, you’ve probably heard that it should be the first thing you do with your money each month (I’ve said both of those things on this site).  Even if you are having trouble making everything else fit into your budget, skipping this crucial piece of your plan will have deleterious effects on your finances.  Again, that’s another counterintuitive teaching, isn’t it?

I think this week’s verse explains why that lesson actually makes sense (ok, still not from a worldly perspective, but I only really care about the Godly perspective anyway).  We just learned that if we give generously and without a grudging heart that God will bless everything that we do!  Now I’m not suggesting that we give money and God is forced to make us rich – I don’t think that is the message of this verse at all.  Remember the “generous” and “without a grudging heart” thing?  I’m convinced that giving money solely for the purpose of getting more back from God does not meet those criteria.

What I am saying is that we can give our gifts to God’s kingdom and be generous to those in need knowing that God will return that to us in the form of blessing.  Whether that’s a financial blessing or a family blessing or some other kind (or all of the above), I can’t say with certainty.  But I do believe that God tends to give more resources to those who have proven that they will direct a good portion of those resources back to God’s kingdom and to bless those in need.  So that’s something for you to think about this week.

God bless and have a great week…

Weekly Bible Verse – God is the Source of All Blessing

July 26, 2010 · Filed Under Weekly Bible Verse · 2 Comments 

Therefore, take care to follow the commands, decrees and laws I give you today.   If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the LORD your God will keep his covenant of love with you, as he swore to your forefathers.  He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land—your grain, new wine and oil—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks in the land that he swore to your forefathers to give you.  Deuteronomy 7:11-13 (NIV)

This week’s Bible verse is a simple reminder of who is in control of everything (hint: it’s God).  Yes, it is a simple truth but one that I think we need to remind ourselves of occasionally.  Of course, most God-honoring people know that God “blesses” but I think sometimes we lose sight of the specifics of what or how He blesses us.  That’s why this is our weekly verse…

Not only does God bless us in a generic sense but he also blesses materially as well.  He will bless “the crops of your land, … the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.”   This is another reminder to not separate out your “church” life from your “work” life.  We should not be people that do church and then do work and then ….   Instead, we should be Christians who recognize that God wants to be foremost in ALL of our lives: yes Sunday morning but also every morning.  He wants to be the most important thing in all aspects of our lives and has the capability to direct us and bless us in all aspects of our lives as well.  Seeing as this is a personal finance blog, I thought it appropriate to remind us who is really in control of our finances and wealth.

So don’t be a person who goes to church sometimes; rather, be a Christian who seeks to follow God’s commands in all areas of his/her life and therefore experiences all the blessings that God wants to put into your life.

God bless and have a great week…

Weekly Bible Verse – Achieving Contentment

July 12, 2010 · Filed Under Weekly Bible Verse · Add a Comment 

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.  Phil 4:11-13 (NIV)

Being content must be easier said than done considering how few people can actually live that way, at least in my society (myself included).  I truly believe that our inability to be “content” generates a tremendous number of problems in our world today.

Have you ever thought or uttered the following (surely you at least know someone who has):  “Sure, my house is fine but my neighbor has a bigger/nicer/newer (fill in the blank) house, patio, pool, car, etc.  What makes my neighbor so special…if he can have one of those, then I deserve one too!  Unfortunately, now that I’ve determined that I need one of those, I don’t have the money to spend to match my neighbor…but I do have a credit card!”  Follow that pattern a couple times and you’ll pretty quickly find yourself in an uncomfortable and ultimately untenable situation.

The alternative to falling into this destructive pattern is, of course, being content with what you have.  Being financially prudent in your purchases can pretty much be summed up in these two simple rules:

  1. Make wise purchase decisions based on reality
  2. Be content with those purchases

I think we all agree that being smart and then being content will drive us a long way down the path to winning with our finances.  I think we also all agree that a lot of people are not doing that.  Well, most of the rest of this blog is about the first step, so let’s focus on the second step here briefly.

In this week’s verse, Paul tells us that he was able to be content in all manner of circumstances.  Whether he was experiencing a time of want or a time of plenty, he was satisfied (and isn’t it really hard to be satisfied during a time of want that comes after a time of prosperity?).  How did he accomplish this – through the “secret” that he uncovered: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”  “Him,” of course, is Jesus Christ.

Paul’s deep faith in Jesus provided him with real strength to confront those feelings of desire, lust, and envy that strike at us all.  I don’t think Paul is saying that he never experienced those emotions, just that he was imbued with the strength to put them aside and overcome them.  Exercising our faith forces us to shift our focus.  We no longer dwell on us, what we want and need.  Rather, we dwell on God and the eternal.  The “things” that tend to preoccupy us are reclassified as eternally insignificant and therefore no longer hold so much sway over us.

Faith in Jesus Christ provides us with the one thing that we really do need – our eternal salvation.  Shift your focus thusly and you may just see that having the most important thing will reduce your desire for the relatively insignificant ones.

God bless and have a great week..

Weekly Bible Verse – Why is it Important to Handle our Finances Well?

June 7, 2010 · Filed Under Weekly Bible Verse · 1 Comment 

And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?  Luke 13:11 (NLT)

I spend too much time thinking about, writing about, and discussing my finances.  You might have the same problem (it’s likely since you are reading a personal finance blog at this very moment!).  My wife often correctly tells me what I should worry less about our finances and trust God more in that area of our life.  Of course, she is correct but I do think that a healthy balance is needed in this area.  In fact, I think this week’s verse underscores the need to be proactive about being a good steward and taking care of your finances.

As it states, if we are “untrustworthy” with our worldly wealth, then we will never be trusted with heavenly riches.  It is therefore not appropriate to simply put our heads in the sand, ignore our finances, spend whatever we want, and then rely on God to make it all balance out at the end of the month (Reminds me of a Tim Hawkins routine: “Father, change the molecular structure of this food, this complete trash we’re about to shove in our gullet.  Change the cheeto into a carrot stick on the way down!”).  Remember that this is Jesus talking in this verse – Jesus Himself is reminding us that we need to be active in managing our finances to prove that we are capable of being entrusted with the “true riches of heaven.”

I would simply caution you not to go overboard and get so focused on money and your finances that they replace God as most important in your life.  Yes, be a good steward and manage your money faithfully, but your main purpose in life should still be to glorify God, not to spend every waking moment reading blogs, fretting about the stock market, and clicking on tweets that contain “get-rich-quick” schemes (oooh, maybe this one is legit)!  Again, accumulating wealth on earth should not be our end goal here;  our main goal is to be faithful to God with our finances to prove we are worthy of being entrusted with the true riches.

God bless and have a great week…

Weekly Bible Verse – An Extreme Consequence of Discontentment

June 1, 2010 · Filed Under Weekly Bible Verse · Add a Comment 

Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the LORD; and when the LORD heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.  Numbers 11:1 (NASB)

Have you ever been around someone who constantly dwells on what is wrong around them?  No matter what happens, they’re not happy.  Have you ever heard the saying “every cloud has a silver lining?”  Well, these people’s favorite saying seems to be “every silver lining has a dark cloud.”  This is what was happening to the Israelites in this week’s passage.

God had miraculously brought them out of Egypt.  He had freed them from slavery and was leading them to the excellent land that He had promised to them.  He also provided them with food for each day even though they were wandering through wilderness and what-not.

Unfortunately, it just wasn’t good enough for them.  Instead of dwelling on their amazing circumstances of manna failing daily from heaven and God in a pillar of cloud guiding them, they missed Egypt!  They missed the fish they used to “eat free” and the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic.  Would they really rather trade onions and leeks for freedom? (personally I wouldn’t trade a a broken CD for onions but that’s a topic for a different day)

Our situation may not be as extreme (you’re probably not reading this from the wilderness somewhere) but we often tend to fall into discontent and complaining as well.  No matter your current situation, you are most likely better off then the vast majority in this world.  Focus on what you do have not what you don’t and if you do find yourself longing for your Eqypt, be realistic in your memory.  Sure it was nice to have fish each day, but the Israelites obviously forgot about the price they paid to get those meals.  Again, get your focus off of yourself and onto God and others and you may find that your discontent drops considerably.

God bless and have a great week…

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