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Category — Personal Finances

Excel in this Grace of Giving!

meditation“But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” 2 Corinthians 8:7 Wow! We’re to excel at giving!

 To excel means to be good at, master, be proficient, skillful, talented, be the best, improve upon, outdo, outshine, outstrip, shine, surpass, transcend—at this grace of giving! When it comes to giving, we’re to be the best we can be!

To excel at giving means we’ve got to engage in it intentionally. Skillful giving doesn’t just happen. We need to deliberately set out to master this grace of giving! To excel at giving is not an after-thought or the “seventh level” of following Jesus. To excel at giving is right there with excelling in faith, love, and following Jesus. [Read more →]

April 21, 2010   Comments Off on Excel in this Grace of Giving!

The Nature of Debt

the-nature-of-debt“Give a man everything he wants and at that moment, everything will not be everything.”  – Immanuel Kant

Christians often ask the question, “Is it wrong (e.g., is it a sin) to go into debt?”  But this is the wrong question to ask because it does not get at the cause of debt.  Self-inflicted debt is a symptom of the disease, not the cause. 

Our indebtedness has both cultural and personal roots.  Unless we have traveled the world extensively, we probably have no clue just how well off we are in North America.  While some of us struggle with what we see as serious financial challenges, few of us can relate with much of the world’s peoples as they rummage desperately for their next meal and a shelter for the night. [Read more →]

October 21, 2009   Comments Off on The Nature of Debt

Honoring God with Our Money

honor-god-with-our-giving“Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything your land produces.” (Proverbs 3:9 NLT) To honor God is to show our regard, esteem, value, respect, and prizing of him. When we give to the Lord, we demonstrate to him, to others, and to ourselves that he is supreme in our lives.  When we give, we attest that he is our most valued treasure. Giving shows that our hearts are set on him and not on our money or belongings. Giving honors God as supreme. Giving to him is an act of worship.

But there is both a non-giving and a giving that dishonors God. Not giving simply fails to honor God. Not giving demonstrates that we treasure our wealth and possessions above God. Not giving to God withholds honor from him and hoards that honor for us. By not giving we deny that all we have comes from God and belongs to him. Not giving also fails to show gratitude and thanksgiving for all God has blessed us with. So, not giving dishonors God. [Read more →]

October 16, 2009   Comments Off on Honoring God with Our Money

Give to Others and Watch God Provide!

give-to-others1Marlene was married with four children – all boys. Fairly early on in her marriage she contracted a crippling disease that if not checked would become terminal. The disease kept her mostly bedridden and unable to cope with even the simplest of her household and motherly chores.

Marlene’s husband was saddled with the responsibility of going to work every day and then coming home and taking care of the household, the children, and his invalid wife.

The pressure of this situation continued for 12 long years until one day when Marlene turned to Jesus Christ and asked him to heal her. She desperately longed to be the wife her husband needed and to take care of her children and home. [Read more →]

October 6, 2009   Comments Off on Give to Others and Watch God Provide!

Beyond Our Ability

obedience-to-godWhen I was 12 years old our church launched a campaign to raise pledges for missions for the coming year. The church leadership challenged us to spend time asking God what amount he would have us trust him for. Our leadership also led by example. God had given me a vision for reaching the lost around the world and I knew that he wanted to use me in a small way to see that vision accomplished. I prayed and sensed that he wanted me to trust him to give $4.00 per week through me.

As a 12-year-old I received a dollar per week for my allowance, so I couldn’t simply divert what was already coming in to my giving. I prayed that God would give me opportunities to earn enough to meet my pledge of $4.00 per week for the next year. I still remember how excited I was that morning in church when I turned in my pledge card. I knew I was embarking on an adventure with God and I could hardly wait to see how he would work in my life! [Read more →]

August 13, 2009   Comments Off on Beyond Our Ability

Investing in God’s Kingdom by Giving

meditation“Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything your land produces.” (Proverbs 3:9 NLT) To honor God is to show our regard, esteem, value, respect, and prizing of him. When we give to the Lord, we demonstrate to him, to others, and to ourselves that he is supreme in our lives.  When we give, we attest that he is our most valued treasure. Giving shows that our hearts are set on him and not on our money or belongings. Giving honors God as supreme. Giving to him is an act of worship.

But there is both a non-giving and a giving that dishonors God. Not giving simply fails to honor God. Not giving demonstrates that our wealth and possessions and not God are truly what we treasure most. Not giving to God withholds honor from him and hoards that honor for us. By not giving, we elevate our wealth and possessions above him.  So, not giving dishonors God. [Read more →]

August 10, 2009   Comments Off on Investing in God’s Kingdom by Giving

The Money Test

the-money-testBy itself money has no power. Money is an inanimate object and is neither good nor evil. But our relationship (our desire and affections) toward money determines its hold and power on us. Often our desires and affections for money are so strong that we yield ourselves to it and before we know it, money becomes our lord and we its slave. Desire for God is the key to breaking the power of money in our lives.

Because we are prone to let money rule over us, God uses the “money test” to determine where our hearts are with respect to him (and others). When John the Baptist appeared on the scene urging people to turn their hearts back to God, he explained to them that a heart in submission to God would produce “good fruit” in their lives (Luke 3:8). [Read more →]

June 1, 2009   Comments Off on The Money Test

Watch Out! Be on your guard!

watch-outJesus warns us, “Watch out!  Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15) Rick Warren points out that “Money has the greatest potential to replace God in your life.”

Wealth poses an undeniable magnetism, lure, attraction, seduction, enticement, sway, hold, control and rule in one’s life.  Because of its great allure, Satan singled out the pursuit of wealth as a chief ploy in tempting Jesus! (Matthew 4:8-10)  The Evil One continues to play this trump card in his attempts to deceive us, knowing how vulnerable we are to its enticements. (See 2 Timothy 3:1-2.) [Read more →]

May 16, 2009   Comments Off on Watch Out! Be on your guard!

Taste and See that God is Good!

When God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work – this is a gift of God.  – King Solomon, Ecclesiastes 5:19

When Chris met Ann, the girl of his dreams, she was away at school healing from a severed relationship with a boyfriend who was not a follower of Jesus. So, in order to win the favor of Ann and her mother, Chris knew he would have to pose as a good Christian man.

Chris had grown up in the church, so he had mastered Christian customs and lingo. His parents had made him go to church, but he neither knew God nor that he could know him. Chris saw himself as a man of the world who would do almost anything for a buck or to get what he wanted. And right now he wanted Ann. [Read more →]

May 3, 2009   Comments Off on Taste and See that God is Good!

Pure Joy!

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.”  – James 1:2

“God ordains suffering because it displays to the world the supremacy of his worth above all treasures.”  – John Piper

When Linda and I got married, I had one more year left to serve in the US Army in Berlin, Germany. At the time there were at least three good reasons for us to stay in the military. First, the military was providing a steady income, while the US economy was in recession. Second, my job classification was in high demand and the Army offered me a $10,000 bonus to re-enlist. (This was a lot of money in 1975!) And finally, after seven months of marriage, we had decided to start a family and Linda was now pregnant. To stay in the military meant full health coverage for Linda and the baby. To leave the military would leave us without health insurance. [Read more →]

April 29, 2009   Comments Off on Pure Joy!