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In God’s eyes

Anthony spoke on giving on Sunday, specifically about giving within the church.

My question is what do we give out of. Some give out of abundance, some give out of lack. Some give out of obligation others give out of guilt. God would have us give out of love. This is why God gives to us, because he loves us, so shouldn’t love be the reason, the motivation, and the inspiration for our giving to those that would have a need among us, LOVE?

Doesn’t John 13:35 tell us that love for other Christian’s is one of the greatest tools for spreading the gospel that the church has?

That being said Anthony addressed our giving from the stand point of stewardship. God has given us wealth, resources, possessions, abilities so that we can be good stewards of it. We might think that being a good steward means saving, or investing, and sometimes it does. But we once again must be reminded that the way we view somethings is not the same as how God would view the same thing and our thoughts on a subject are not the same as what God’s thoughts would be on the same subject. So what would God’s stewardship look like?

God would call us to put to use, save and invest in the things that he sees as important. The very purpose of our existence, the reason he established the church. God would have us build community, and relationship with other people. Rebecca and I have opened our home on Saturday to invite people over to have a time to glorify God. We are using our resources for God’s purposes. God would have us reach out and grow in our relationship with him. God has given us more than enough to work with the problem is, in God’s eyes, we are just wasting it on trivial things.

Adult discussion:

  1. What are you wasting your God given resources on?
  2. What do you think God’s view of your stewardship has been?
  3. When are you going to do something about your lack of obedience?
  4. What is a small step you can take to being a more Godly steward?

Family Discussion:

  1. What are somethings God has blessed us with?
  2. What are some of our resources, abilities, etc. as a family?
  3. How can we better use what we have to glorify God?
  4. What are some areas we are wasting some of what God has given us?
 

TRUST IN THE LORD

When Ellen and I were engaged we declared that Proverbs 3:5-6 would be “our verses”. It reads, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” We wanted to put God first in all that we did. We desired then and still today to make Kingdom decisions. We want to always do what God’s word says, not what we personally want. These verses can be applied in many different situations and aspects of life.

If we continue to read this passage we will be able to put in context what God is trying to teach us here. Verses 7-10 tell us not to be wise in our own eyes, fear the Lord, and depart from evil. In doing this we will bring health and strength to our bodies. We are instructed to honor the Lord with the firstfruits of our increase and if we do, our barns will be filled and our vats overflowing.

I believe these aren’t just random verses grouped together but rather they go together to complete a full thought.

We all have been guilty of being “wise in our own eyes” haven’t we? I look back on my youth and even in the not so distant past and drop my head at the way I thought and acted at times. Fearing the Lord has been an easier task for me. Its not terror of the Lord, but a reverence and respect of who He is. God’s ways aren’t my ways. Realizing this and placing my hope and trust in Him, I am able to forgo stress that I would normally carry. We honor the Lord by giving Him our firstfruits as well. We need to give to God our first, not our last. We never should wait and then give God the leftovers. This is true in finances of course but also with our time and other resources as well.

If we aren’t trusting the Lord and acknowledging him in ALL our ways; if we aren’t giving our firstfruits, then we simply aren’t honoring God. We are trusting in ourselves rather than God and not following His word. In doing this we cheat ourselves of health in our body and peace in our minds. We carry the stress of life that God never intended for us to carry.

“Yes Anthony, but you don’t know my situation.” Well, you are correct. I don’t know your situation. I don’t know the pain, hurt, and defeat that you may be facing. But I know a God that does. He loves you so very much and wants your trust to be placed in Him. Go to your Bible now and read Proverbs 3. Pray to God and ask for His help to take ALL of life’s cares and concerns to Him. In doing so He is faithful to direct your paths and bring health and strength to your body.

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Finance, Individual Growth, Life

 

WHAT!!!!!!!!!!

May I rant for a moment? Thank you

I thought this might be applicable with our financial class coming up.

I was listening to Clark Howard the other day, and a man called in. His predicament was that his mother was underwater in her mortgage and thought there maybe some government assistance for the elderly or some way he could refinance and possibly help his mother, out.

Now, before I go any further let me state that I do not intend on judging this man particularly. I do not know the entire situation nor do I know his heart. I am unable to judge his fruit thus I am not judging him, I simply want to use his situation as an example.

Well, the situation, as the man described it, was that his mother lived off social security and was being forced to use up her savings in order to pay the bills. You see the mother was $135,000 in dept on her home which she had bought for $160,000, so she hadn’t been in it long. The son was attempting to keep his mother in her home. My thought was why is she so far in dept as a single elderly woman, where was the son when she got into such dept? Well, Clark began asking questions. He came to ask the guy about how many siblings he had and why he was the one calling in? Well, one daughter had received several “loans” from her mother and there was little chance of those loans being paid back. The others lived dispersed throughout the country. The son that was calling lived 5min away from mom. Well, Clark gave the guy the bad news. There was little that could be done. They would have to get a room mate for mom (and even that might not fix the problem) or attempt to sell the house in this bad economy. The obvious question becomes if they sell the house where will mom live? So Clark asked if any of the kids made decent money and/or they might have some sort of in-laws suit or extra room at there house. The son replied that he had some sort of in-laws suit or guest area and that “if it came to it, I could take her in”.

That is what really caught me. All the rest of the story is all to common in today’s economy, especially with the elderly. But the son said “if it came to it, I could take her in”. This isn’t some stranger its his own mother! Now, as I said I can’t possibly genuinely judge this man’s attitude, motive, “fruit”, I am merely speaking to the perceived situation.

That being said, I could only think of verses like1 Tim. 5:4

“but if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family and to make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God.”

Many of us have aging parents and grandparents. It isn’t the state’s, or even the church’s job to take care of your parents its yours. Many of us have stories not to unlike this man. We have siblings or relatives that have taken advantage of others good will. We have parents in tough times. We ourselves are in a hard spot, many of us. At least this guy was attempting to help his mom by seeking advice. Our parents and grandparents have done so much for us, its time for some of us to pay some of it back.

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2011 in Family, Finance

 

I owe, I owe, so off to work I go

There is a bumper sticker that you might have read, “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go”. Unfortunately this is true of almost all Americans. Debt is the great provider. If you need it, debt can get it. Debt is not as innocent as it appears. Debt is Satan’s deception! Debt promises so much, yet it only puts you in a heavy yoke of slavery. God never intended for us to rely on debt to meet our needs. He has promised that we would be lenders, not borrowers. He said that we would be the head, not the tail.  Yet today most Christians see debt as a way of life. You say ” if it wasn’t for debt, we wouldn’t have nothing”. I say you still don’t have nothing. Just stop making the payments, and the real rightful owner will show up and take it away. Harsh? Maybe. Truth? Absolutely.

I use to minister with a company called Faith-Full Family Finances. I learned so very much concerning God’s Word and finances during that time. I had the opportunity to sit down across the kitchen table with many Christian couples and show them the deception of debt. Time and time again the story was always the same. They were living paycheck to paycheck, spending all that they made, with no extra money in the bank. When they came up short, they used a credit card to make up the difference. They didn’t feel guilty or wrong in doing this; after all, everyone is in debt. Debt happens so slowly and unexpectantly – until one day you realize just how much you owe.

Isaiah says that the Spirit of the Lord is upon him to preach the good news to the poor. What is good news to the poor? You can be free of debt! You no longer have to be a slave to your financial bondage. You may feel that you are so far behind that there is no way to climb out. That is simply not true. There is financial freedom to EVERYONE who is willing to follow God’s will for their life in the area of finances. IF you are willing, most can be free of debt in 5-7 years. Sound impossible? It’s not. And “NO!” I’m not selling anything.

Let’s start your path to debt free-living today. Take out a piece of paper and start recording everything you spend on a daily basis. We will do this for 1 month. Record everything. Every soda, every snack, every meal out, power bills, water bills, car insurance, EVERYTHING. If you pay a bill yearly, don’t forget to divide by 12 and record it as well. Don’t worry about neatness or putting things into categories yet. The only purpose of this exercise is to get a snapshot view of what you spend in a month’s time.

El and I first did this in 1989 and, boy, were we surprised at what we discovered. After the month of recording your expenses we will then evaluate your situation and move on from there.

If you decide to do this exercise with me, please let me know so I may start praying for you and your path to financial freedom.

Proverbs 22:7
The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2011 in Finance, Individual Growth, Life

 

IT’S MY MONEY AND I WANT IT NOW!

There is a commercial by JG Wentworth showing various people screaming “It’s my money and I want it now!”. That’s right. If you are receiving a structured cash settlement, Mr. Wentworth has a deal for you. Just call 1-877-CASH-NOW. Let’s say you are to receive $20,000 over the next four years. Why wait? It’s your money after all. Good old JG will make a lump sum payment to you now. What is the catch? Your lump sum payment will only be 60% of the total. BUT…….you will have it in hand. You have 12,000 dollars in hand. Well, not quite. TAXES! Even at 15%, that is another $3000 taken away. Why $3000 you ask? Well you don’t expect     Mr. Wentworth to pay taxes, do you? He is doing you a favor. You pay taxes on the total amount of $20,000 (20,000 x .15 = 3000). Anyway, you now get a check in the mail for $9000. What would you do with a check of that size? It is your money and you now have it in hand.

Side thought, are you going to tithe on the $20,000, the $12,000, or the $9000? Are you going to tithe at all? You should give the Lord his share you know.

Speaking of the Lord and his share, what is His share?

Haggai 2:8 says “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, says the Lord of Hosts”. You see, it all belongs to God. We in the church have this idea that 10% belongs to God and we are free to use the other 90% as we wish. WRONG! It is 100% His and we are merely stewards of what belongs to God. We also tend to separate spiritual and secular matters. WRONG! There is no secular. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof”(Psalms 24:1). All is God’s. All is sacred. The money, the gold, the silver, every area of life is spiritual. Every spending decision is a spiritual decision.

So what is the Lord’s share? 100%.

The next time we pull out our wallet, check book, or credit card, let’s remember that we are spending God’s money and He should be consulted.

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2011 in Finance, Individual Growth

 

Don’t Get The Checkbook Wet!

During the 12th century when the Crusades were being fought, mercenaries were employed to fight with the crusaders to further the cause. It was a religious war, so the leadership insisted that the mercenaries be baptised before fighting. As they were being baptised, the mercenaries would hold their swords out of the water to symbolize the one thing in their life that Jesus Christ did not control. They had the freedom to use the swords anyway they wished.

Today I believe most Christians handle their money the same way. They hold their checkbook or credit card out of the water – in effect saying, “Lord, you can be in control of my life except for the money. I am able to handle that myself.”

Possessions and money are the primary competitors with Jesus Christ for most American Christians today. Jesus says that we must choose which one we will serve. “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24). It is impossible to serve money and still serve the Lord.

So, what is the proper response for a Christian to have towards their finances? Why are there more than 2,350 verses in the Bible on money and possessions? Why are 16 of the 38 parables concerning how people should handle their money and possessions? Christ certainly is concerned about us and how we handle this area in our lives. He wants us to know His perspective and apply it!

My goal over the next few weeks is to blog about the areas in my life that I am re-learning. Debt, honesty, giving, work, investing, spending – all things that God has a lot to say about. As we learn and follow the scriptural priciples of how to handle money, we will grow closer to Christ and learn to be content in every circumstance.

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2011 in Finance, Individual Growth

 
 
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