Category Archives: Ethics

A Light In The Darkness

We have probably all experienced a time when we are in true darkness. Perhaps camping in the woods on a very cloudy night? Maybe just in our house when the power goes out at night or we wake up at night and walk around the house without turning lights on so as not to disturb our family. Sometimes we can start to remember our way around if it is familiar circumstances… but how well do we do when there are unexpected obstacles (e.g. toys left out in pathways, etc.) or imagine if someone rearranged all the furniture! Usually we will not do well. We will trip or fall or gather bumps and bruises. It is really hard to get around without being able to see where we are going… to recognize clearly what are the obstacles that could hurt us and which is the safe path to travel. This is how many feel about managing their personal finances and trying to get beyond paycheck to paycheck or day to day living and into planning and strategy to prepare for what is to come in the future.

That is why God has given us the Bible! What a glorious gift to His people to have His written instruction book for life. If we choose to use it, it serves to light up our path so we can safely find the right path for living and avoid the traps and obstacles that could hurt us.

Psalm 119:105

105Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.

Proverbs in particular serves to provide timeless wisdom for us in how we should deal with our fellow man and also with God. It reminds us of what is good and what is bad. Remember, true goodness is that which is identified by God as right, not that which is identified by man as right. Man often gets it wrong. That is why God wrote it down!

Read Proverbs often, and not as if you are trying to win a race for reading quickly but rather pausing and considering how each verse is relevant not only in life today, but specifically how it may apply to your life. Then allow yourself the humility to admit where you are wrong and work to change your behavior and attitude. Those who are too proud to admit they are wrong, never get the benefit of learning to do better.

Proverbs 16

Contrast the Upright and the Wicked

       1The plans of the heart belong to man,
But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.

      2All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight,
But the LORD weighs the motives.

      3Commit your works to the LORD
And your plans will be established.

      4The LORD has made everything for its own purpose,
Even the wicked for the day of evil.

      5Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD;
Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.

      6By lovingkindness and truth iniquity is atoned for,
And by the fear of the LORD one keeps away from evil.

      7When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD,
He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

      8Better is a little with righteousness
Than great income with injustice.

      9The mind of man plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps.

      10A divine decision is in the lips of the king;
His mouth should not err in judgment.

      11A just balance and scales belong to the LORD;
All the weights of the bag are His concern.

      12It is an abomination for kings to commit wicked acts,
For a throne is established on righteousness.

      13Righteous lips are the delight of kings,
And he who speaks right is loved.

      14The fury of a king is like messengers of death,
But a wise man will appease it.

      15In the light of a king’s face is life,
And his favor is like a cloud with the spring rain.

      16How much better it is to get wisdom than gold!
And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.

      17The highway of the upright is to depart from evil;
He who watches his way preserves his life.

      18Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before stumbling.

      19It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly
Than to divide the spoil with the proud.

      20He who gives attention to the word will find good,
And blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.

      21The wise in heart will be called understanding,
And sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.

      22Understanding is a fountain of life to one who has it,
But the discipline of fools is folly.

      23The heart of the wise instructs his mouth
And adds persuasiveness to his lips.

      24Pleasant words are a honeycomb,
Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

      25There is a way which seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.

      26A worker’s appetite works for him,
For his hunger urges him on.

      27A worthless man digs up evil,
While his words are like scorching fire.

      28A perverse man spreads strife,
And a slanderer separates intimate friends.

      29A man of violence entices his neighbor
And leads him in a way that is not good.

      30He who winks his eyes does so to devise perverse things;
He who compresses his lips brings evil to pass.

      31A gray head is a crown of glory;
It is found in the way of righteousness.

      32He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.

      33The lot is cast into the lap,
But its every decision is from the LORD.

Challenge yourself to identify at least one, but maybe even up to three specific things, that you want to try to work on related to managing your personal finances. As an example, you might consider focusing verse 3 or verse 8.

      3Commit your works to the LORD
And your plans will be established.

8Better is a little with righteousness
Than great income with injustice.

Apply these goals to specific decisions and strategies you need to make in regards to your personal finances. If you can, share what you are working on with a trusted friend or family member who is a genuine follower of Christ. There is something for all of us to work on… we just need to admit it and then get about pursuing it!

My top pick for me personally today…

20He who gives attention to the word will find good,
And blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.

What will you work on? Remember to ask God in prayer to help you!

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

Resist When Sinners Entice You

There are right ways to increase your wealth and wrong ways. The truth of what is right and wrong is not determined by whether or not you gain money but rather by the standards God has provided us in His written word. It is better to be poor in finances and walk with God than to be rich in finances and live without Him.

Proverbs 1:8-19

The Enticement of Sinners

      8Hear, my son, your father’s instruction
And do not forsake your mother’s teaching;

      9Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head
And ornaments about your neck.

      10My son, if sinners entice you,
Do not consent.

      11If they say, “Come with us,
Let us lie in wait for blood,
Let us ambush the innocent without cause;

      12Let us swallow them alive like Sheol,
Even whole, as those who go down to the pit;

      13We will find all kinds of precious wealth,
We will fill our houses with spoil;

      14Throw in your lot with us,
We shall all have one purse,”

      15My son, do not walk in the way with them.
Keep your feet from their path,

      16For their feet run to evil
And they hasten to shed blood.

      17Indeed, it is useless to spread the baited net
In the sight of any bird;

      18But they lie in wait for their own blood;
They ambush their own lives.

      19So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence;
It takes away the life of its possessors.

Many people profess that they can help you on a path to having more money. Not all of the paths are righteous according to God’s standards. Choose carefully with the Bible as your guide. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you make the right choices, even when the situation seems dire and there may seem to be no easy way out.

It is better to be poor and dwell with God than to be rich and dwell without Him. Even in matters of life and death, it is better to choose the path that leads to heaven than the one that leads to hell… no matter what earthly wealth you may be promised in order for you to take the wrong path.

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

Find Favor with Both God and Man

It is easy to become full of ourselves, filled with pride when we succeed in the eyes of men. We must be careful to remain humble and serve God even in success. Many wise men, including David and Solomon, started with a close relationship with God and then drifted further from God when they had much success and power… and it was to their own downfall. When we find favor in the sight of God and man by living humbly and righteously according to God’s instruction, do not change the recipe. Keep doing the things that got you there… pray, study scripture, listen to God and obey, work hard, be patient, give glory to God for what He does through us, etc.

Joseph set a fantastic example in  Genesis 41:38-49. Joseph did not change when he was given great power and authority. He worked diligently and responsibly, maintaining his right relationship with God and he continued to experience favor from God and men as a result.

Joseph Is Made a Ruler of Egypt

38Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit?” 39So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are. 40“You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you.” 41Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” 42Then Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put the gold necklace around his neck. 43He had him ride in his second chariot; and they proclaimed before him, “Bow the knee!” And he set him over all the land of Egypt. 44Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Though I am Pharaoh, yet without your permission no one shall raise his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.” 45Then Pharaoh named Joseph Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, as his wife. And Joseph went forth over the land of Egypt.

46Now Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh, king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and went through all the land of Egypt. 47During the seven years of plenty the land brought forth abundantly. 48So he gathered all the food of these seven years which occurred in the land of Egypt and placed the food in the cities; he placed in every city the food from its own surrounding fields. 49Thus Joseph stored up grain in great abundance like the sand of the sea, until he stopped measuring it, for it was beyond measure.

Joseph had experienced much suffering and difficulty in his early life… sold into slavery by his brothers, thrown into jail based on lies, and forgotten in jail for years by one he helped. Joseph handled it with great patience and a righteous attitude toward God. Surely we would be tempted to think God forgot about us in his circumstances… to possibly disastrous results if we let our circumstances separate us from God. But now at 30 years old, Joseph stood tall as second in command of all Egypt… right where God wanted him. When he assumed the position, Joseph did not change and take credit or become filled with pride. He continued to honor God and faithfully carry out his work.

Challenge yourself, as followers of Christ, to take on the patience, diligence, humility, forgiveness, and faith which Joseph demonstrated throughout his life… through good times and bad. This is a great recipe to find favor with both God and man.

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

Reconcile with Both God and Man

Our culture emphasizes selfishness and coveting what others have so much, it becomes quite easy for many to rationalize taking advantage of others financially. Some may steal outright. Others may borrow and not pay back. Still others may just deceive someone for personal gain. As followers of Christ, we do not want to follow these practices. If we find that we have done so, let us make haste to reconcile with both God and man.

We have been called to love God and love one another.

Matthew 22:35-40

35One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 36“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38“This is the great and foremost commandment. 39“The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 40“On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

If or when we find we have sinned against someone with regards to finances, let us take action to reconcile with them and with God.

Leviticus 6:1-7

Guilt Offering

      1Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2“When a person sins and acts unfaithfully against the LORD, and deceives his companion in regard to a deposit or a security entrusted to him, or through robbery, or if he has extorted from his companion, 3or has found what was lost and lied about it and sworn falsely, so that he sins in regard to any one of the things a man may do; 4then it shall be, when he sins and becomes guilty, that he shall restore what he took by robbery or what he got by extortion, or the deposit which was entrusted to him or the lost thing which he found, 5or anything about which he swore falsely; he shall make restitution for it in full and add to it one-fifth more. He shall give it to the one to whom it belongs on the day he presents his guilt offering. 6“Then he shall bring to the priest his guilt offering to the LORD, a ram without defect from the flock, according to your valuation, for a guilt offering, 7and the priest shall make atonement for him before the LORD, and he will be forgiven for any one of the things which he may have done to incur guilt.”

If you have sinned against someone in this way, first stop sinning. Then do not delay in reconciling with both God and man.  This will move you forward into a deeper relationship with the Lord even if it causes you to face some uncomfortable accountability for your past actions.

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way and use it for His glory rather than your own. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

What Guidance Does God Provide for Finances?

God has a lot to say about wisdom and folly, righteousness and wickedness in His word. Proverbs, in particular, is filled with wisdom that applies as much today as it did when Solomon wrote it thousands of years ago. Human nature has not changed and neither has application of God’s word for how we are to deal with our fellow man.

Let us explore some of what God has said in Proverbs 11 that pertains to finances. I have included a link to reference to the whole scripture but pulled out some selected verses that are more directly relevant to finances. We can walk through them together.

Proverbs 11

1A false balance is an abomination to the LORD,
But a just weight is His delight.

God clearly calls us to be treat one another as we would want to be treated. Be just and fair. Note the emphasis revealed through scripture… God is not just academically identifying right and wrong, but actually considers one an abomination and the other to bring delight! It matters to God and thus it should matter to us.

2When pride comes, then comes dishonor,
But with the humble is wisdom.

Let us not act in such a way as to honor ourselves or make ourselves feel better than others, but rather seek humility and seek to honor the Lord and treat others with respect.

3The integrity of the upright will guide them,
But the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them.

Knowing and following God’s way provides a clear path to righteousness. Temptation of the flesh often tempts us to go the way of the world, but God wants us to live His way. When we pursue deceit and treachery, it will consume us and we will find no lasting satisfaction or joy.

4Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
But righteousness delivers from death.

There is no amount of riches that will mean anything when it is time for us to leave this world and face judgment before God. Only our right relationship with God will matter. Why give that up just to try to get a few dollars more or even a lot of dollars more?

5The righteousness of the blameless will smooth his way,
But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness.

6The righteousness of the upright will deliver them,
But the treacherous will be caught by their own greed.

In business as in life, a righteous lifestyle of godly attitudes and behavior will take us closer to God and bring much success. Greed is an empty pit which can never be filled, it will consume you and dominate your life if left unchecked or worse, embraced.

14Where there is no guidance the people fall,
But in abundance of counselors there is victory.

In personal finances, whether budgeting or reducing debt or investing, do not try to do it all alone as if you have all the answers. Seek good counselors to help you! Seek firm guidance from God and those who have already experienced and overcome the challenges you face today.

15He who is guarantor for a stranger will surely suffer for it,
But he who hates being a guarantor is secure.

It is unwise to be a guarantor for someone you do not know. How can you trust them? Do not lend what you are not willing to give.

17The merciful man does himself good,
But the cruel man does himself harm.

18The wicked earns deceptive wages,
But he who sows righteousness gets a true reward.

Show mercy to others as you would like to receive yourself. Avoid cruelty. Treat others as you would like to be treated. You may think you get ahead with deceit and wicked schemes, but it brings much emptiness and trouble along with the ill-gotten gain.

24There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more,
And there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want.

25The generous man will be prosperous,
And he who waters will himself be watered.

26He who withholds grain, the people will curse him,
But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.

Be generous in helping others and give the glory to God. Bless others in His name and watch as the blessings flow into your own life. The blessings will almost surely outweigh what you gave, though it is not necessarily dollars that God gives you but rather joy and closer relationship with Him!

28He who trusts in his riches will fall,
But the righteous will flourish like the green leaf.

Trust not in money and wealth, but in God, Himself, and you will flourish.

It is not right or helpful to say “I was born this way” as an excuse to continue in wickedness or foolishness. To remain in foolishness does not improve our situation, does it? It does not help us manage our money or our lives more effectively, does it?

We are all born to sin and selfishness. No one needs to teach a child to grab or demand something for themselves or hit someone when they are angry, but we certainly need to teach them to forgive and share and think of others. We can say that an alcoholic may be born with a tendency to become addicted to alcohol but do we not encourage them to turn from it and overcome that sin rather than embrace it and accept it? Of course! So it is also with other sins.

We must be careful to look to God’s definition of sin, of right and wrong, rather than the world’s definition. If we follow a broken compass, will we not get lost?

Each of us must decide if we will take the difficult, narrow path that leads to Jesus or if instead we will stay on the wide, easy path that leads to eternal separation from God… following our own selfish desires and the deception of Satan.

I pray as many as will hear the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ will accept it and travel the narrow path.

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way and use it for His glory rather than your own. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

What Did Jesus Say About Paying Taxes?

What did Jesus say about paying taxes?

Jesus knew the Pharisees and Herodians were trying to trap Him when they asked Him about taxes, but He took the opportunity to deflect their trap and lay out  straightforward guidance for all of us.

Mark 12: 13-16

Jesus Answers the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes

      13Then they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Him in order to trap Him in a statement. 14They came and said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay a poll-tax to Caesar, or not? 15“Shall we pay or shall we not pay?” But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why are you testing Me? Bring Me a denarius to look at.” 16They brought one. And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” And they said to Him, “Caesar’s.” 17And Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were amazed at Him.

Clearly Jesus did not agree with everything the Romans were doing, but He still gave guidance to pay the taxes to Caesar. Some may speculate that He was just deflecting the trap question, but Jesus never provided a wrong answer just to avoid a trap. He always took the opportunity to address the trap and make a point on the right way of doing things also.

For those who need more convincing… the Bible has it.

Romans 13:1-7

Be Subject to Government

      1Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. 5Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. 6For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

It is ok to work lawfully to reduce the tax burden. Governments usually waste money badly. Often they spend on things which may not honor God. However, just refusing to pay is not the guidance that Jesus provided for His people. Also let us not take Romans 13 out of context… we are not to blindly obey government when it conflicts with the instructions of God. There are plenty of examples, such as that of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, where they disobeyed unrighteous government commands because they conflicted with God’s instruction. However, paying taxes does not conflict with the instructions of God.

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way and use it for His glory rather than your own. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

How Do We Deal With Those We Cannot Trust?

How shall we deal in business with those we know we cannot trust or even perhaps just those we are not sure we can trust?  We stand firm to the principles and values inherent in God’s word. Even while we work diligently to ensure others do not take advantage of us, we hold ourselves accountable not to take advantage of them.

Let us consider how Jacob prospered, documented in Genesis 30:25-43. Remember that Jacob was a relatively new believer at this point while he labored under Laban. Jacob was living his life committed to God but doing so imperfectly… like all of us who try to serve God.

As we read this scripture, remember that Laban was certainly not one to be trusted. He deceived Jacob quite significantly, in tricking him to marry the wrong daughter after seven years of work. Laban was looking out only for Laban. So, too, we can remind ourselves that Jacob was also not one to be trusted before he committed to follow God on his way to Laban’s. Prior to that, Jacob actually deceived his own father and brother to steal Esau’s birthright from him. However, here we see Jacob is maturing and learning to do things God’s way… hard work and honest accounting with the flocks.

Jacob Prospers

      25Now it came about when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go to my own place and to my own country. 26“Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me depart; for you yourself know my service which I have rendered you.” 27But Laban said to him, “If now it pleases you, stay with me; I have divined that the LORD has blessed me on your account.” 28He continued, “Name me your wages, and I will give it.” 29But he said to him, “You yourself know how I have served you and how your cattle have fared with me. 30“For you had little before I came and it has increased to a multitude, and the LORD has blessed you wherever I turned. But now, when shall I provide for my own household also?” 31So he said, “What shall I give you?” And Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything. If you will do this one thing for me, I will again pasture and keep your flock: 32let me pass through your entire flock today, removing from there every speckled and spotted sheep and every black one among the lambs and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and such shall be my wages. 33“So my honesty will answer for me later, when you come concerning my wages. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats and black among the lambs, if found with me, will be considered stolen.” 34Laban said, “Good, let it be according to your word.” 35So he removed on that day the striped and spotted male goats and all the speckled and spotted female goats, every one with white in it, and all the black ones among the sheep, and gave them into the care of his sons. 36And he put a distance of three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks.

      37Then Jacob took fresh rods of poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white stripes in them, exposing the white which was in the rods. 38He set the rods which he had peeled in front of the flocks in the gutters, even in the watering troughs, where the flocks came to drink; and they mated when they came to drink. 39So the flocks mated by the rods, and the flocks brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted. 40Jacob separated the lambs, and made the flocks face toward the striped and all the black in the flock of Laban; and he put his own herds apart, and did not put them with Laban’s flock. 41Moreover, whenever the stronger of the flock were mating, Jacob would place the rods in the sight of the flock in the gutters, so that they might mate by the rods; 42but when the flock was feeble, he did not put them in; so the feebler were Laban’s and the stronger Jacob’s. 43So the man became exceedingly prosperous, and had large flocks and female and male servants and camels and donkeys.

Laban realizes that he is blessed because of association with Jacob, who serves God. Jacob, despite his mistakes, has been a witness to Laban and Laban wishes him to stay. Before we give Laban too much credit, though, his reason for wanting Jacob to stay is selfish and greedy. He has financially prospered with Jacob. Laban shows no interest in worshipping or serving God or even thanking God.

Jacob, however, also realized that he needed to begin investing not only in Laban’s flock but also in preparing for his own household for the future.  Jacob was willing to leave without pay other than the wives (and children) he had agreed to previously… even though Laban’s flocks have clearly prospered under Jacob’s care. Jacob demanded nothing extra, and was willing to leave with only his agreed upon wages (e.g. his wives and children) and God’s promise. He did not demand more than he agreed to just because Laban had prospered. He did not resent Laban and wish him ill because of his success.

However, God made a way for Jacob to prosper from his hard work helping with Laban’s flocks for those fourteen years. When Laban suggests Jacob name his price, Jacob finds wisdom in a solution that meets both his need and Laban’s, so he stays. Jacob tends the flocks and prospers exceedingly.

Each of us should consider:

  • Am I planning responsibly for my future needs and those of my family similar to Jacob?
  • Do I trust God to provide for me, adhering to His principles and values?
  • Do I keep my word and live up to my agreements? or do I demand more from someone just because they prosper from the work I agreed to do?
  • Do I resent someone else’s success or am I satisfied with the wages I agreed to?
  • Of course, it is also acceptable when our agreements have concluded to negotiate for better terms in the future based on the quality of our work. If all parties agree, we have a new agreement. If not, we should not resent the other, but just make a different choice to pursue our goals… just as Jacob was willing to leave. At no point did Jacob perceive Laban to be his enemy or adversary.
  • Do I recognize that if / when God blesses his people in financial matters it seldom comes overnight or without hard work, faith, and planning? Jacob, like Abraham before him, trusted God and worked hard over many years to generate his wealth. God blessed his hard work and it was fruitful. God does not reward laziness or lack of faith.

Prayerfully consider how to apply these lessons to both how you generate your income as well as how you fairly deal with people you may not feel you can trust. We have the opportunity to represent God to those who do not know Him. Imagine their surprise when we deal fairly and unselfishly with them! Plan and prepare and work hard and trust God by doing things His way, rather than the way of the world.

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

Wise Are Those Who Follow God’s Instruction

Are you looking for some “get rich quick” schemes and gimmicks? or are you looking for wisdom and advice that has stood the test of time. I find all of the wisdom in Proverbs to be applicable to our lives and situations today. Human nature has not changed and neither has God’s wisdom for how we should manage our relationships with other people and manage our own decisions for how to live our life and manage our finances.

Read Proverbs 10 with the belief that God can speak to you through it about specific things you should keep doing or change regarding your life decisions. Pray He would give you insight into applying the wisdom specifically for your life.

Proverbs 10

  1The proverbs of Solomon.
A wise son makes a father glad,
But a foolish son is a grief to his mother.

      2Ill-gotten gains do not profit,
But righteousness delivers from death.

      3The LORD will not allow the righteous to hunger,
But He will reject the craving of the wicked.

      4Poor is he who works with a negligent hand,
But the hand of the diligent makes rich.

      5He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely,
But he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully.

      6Blessings are on the head of the righteous,
But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.

      7The memory of the righteous is blessed,
But the name of the wicked will rot.

      8The wise of heart will receive commands,
But a babbling fool will be ruined.

      9He who walks in integrity walks securely,
But he who perverts his ways will be found out.

      10He who winks the eye causes trouble,
And a babbling fool will be ruined.

      11The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.

      12Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers all transgressions.

      13On the lips of the discerning, wisdom is found,
But a rod is for the back of him who lacks understanding.

      14Wise men store up knowledge,
But with the mouth of the foolish, ruin is at hand.

      15The rich man’s wealth is his fortress,
The ruin of the poor is their poverty.

      16The wages of the righteous is life,
The income of the wicked, punishment.

      17He is on the path of life who heeds instruction,
But he who ignores reproof goes astray.

      18He who conceals hatred has lying lips,
And he who spreads slander is a fool.

      19When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,
But he who restrains his lips is wise.

      20The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver,
The heart of the wicked is worth little.

      21The lips of the righteous feed many,
But fools die for lack of understanding.

      22It is the blessing of the LORD that makes rich,
And He adds no sorrow to it.

      23Doing wickedness is like sport to a fool,
And so is wisdom to a man of understanding.

      24What the wicked fears will come upon him,
But the desire of the righteous will be granted.

      25When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more,
But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.

      26Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes,
So is the lazy one to those who send him.

      27The fear of the LORD prolongs life,
But the years of the wicked will be shortened.

      28The hope of the righteous is gladness,
But the expectation of the wicked perishes.

      29The way of the LORD is a stronghold to the upright,
But ruin to the workers of iniquity.

      30The righteous will never be shaken,
But the wicked will not dwell in the land.

      31The mouth of the righteous flows with wisdom,
But the perverted tongue will be cut out.

      32The lips of the righteous bring forth what is acceptable,
But the mouth of the wicked what is perverted.

Notice how God’s word integrates how we deal with our money into a broader context of righteousness or wickedness. How we manage our money is absolutely a function of our relationship with God and the condition of our heart in submission to Him. One can not be fully righteous without learning how to deal properly with finances according to God’s word. Conversely, one who becomes increasingly righteous will understand much about managing finances.

God provides clear warning about the dangers of the love of money. Money must never be our master, but rather a tool or servant to help us serve God while we are here on this earth.

Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

What behaviors or attitudes do you need to change in your life? Pray for God’s help in dealing with money.

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

Give to Caesar What Is Caesar’s; and to God What Is God’s

If we gathered together with 100 people in an auditorium and asked for a show of hands for who is looking forward to paying their federal taxes this year… not many hands would go up. If we further asked who thought the tax money was managed responsibly and spent efficiently… even fewer hands would go up. If we were so bold as to ask who was planning to pay extra because they felt the U.S. federal government was such a good steward of their money… probably not even one hand would remain up. Very few in the U.S.A. actually believe they money they pay is being spent wisely. There is good reason for that… mostly because they are right. The U.S.A. federal government is wasteful and actually downright immoral with the expenditure of much of our hard-earned money. They collect money from people in the states and then threaten not to give it back to the states if they don’t go along with what the federal government wants… whether it is over controlling education or building roads or many other spending programs.

Now… should we do something about it? Yes. Get involved in politics and elections. Vote for smaller federal government and vote against those whose policies and behaviors are offensive to God.

Should we pay our taxes according to the law? Yes. Why? Because Jesus said so. Yes, He actually did comment on paying taxes.

Matthew 22:15-22

      15Then the Pharisees went and plotted together how they might trap Him in what He said. 16And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any. 17“Tell us then, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?” 18But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? 19“Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax.” And they brought Him a denarius. 20And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” 22And hearing this, they were amazed, and leaving Him, they went away.

While the question was not intended to be a genuine question about taxes, it was intended to be a trap, Jesus still provides insight into paying taxes.  The answer still applies today. Much of what Rome was doing was evil in the sight of the Lord, but Jesus pointed out that the money in question comes from Rome and thus can be used to pay lawful taxes to Rome as the civil governing authority.

Paul also wrote about taxes in Romans 13:1-7.

  1Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. 5Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. 6For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

Let us not be confused… there are many or perhaps most governments which are not serving God. Many or most are in fact dishonoring God. None the less, there is a certain authority which we are to give to the civil government so long as they do not cause us to disobey God’s commands. God’s authority is always the highest. We can, however, respect and pay taxes to a civil governing authority to the extent they do not require us to disobey or dishonor God.

7Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

Pay your taxes, but only what is due. There is no requirement to like paying taxes or to pay extra… so do your taxes well and avoid giving more than is due. Then go out to vote for someone who will reduce your tax bill in the future! Even if you want to give money away to help those in need, you can do so in a much smarter way than giving to the inefficient federal government. And when you give to help someone directly, you can give glory and honor to God for the blessing!

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way and use it for His glory rather than your own. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

How We Achieve Results Matters

Most people would agree that how we achieve results matters, but not everyone agrees on what defines the standard. Many would agree that it is based on applicable laws and regulations. That is a good start as a minimum reference point, but laws written by men often do not sufficiently or correctly (consistent with God’s word) define a standard for ethics and morality.

The only true and unchanging standard of ethics and morality is the one defined by God and documented throughout the Bible. This standard is higher than just “can we” do something within the laws of men, but instead builds to “should we, even if we can legally”.

  • Proverbs 22:1 A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, favor is better than silver and gold.
  • Proverbs 22:5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; he who guards himself will be far from them.
  • Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

By clearly defining what you consider to be acceptable ethical behavior ahead of time, you will have a much easier time making the right decision later when confronted with the opportunity to choose an unethical option that seems to offer profit.

For example, you may have an opportunity to make money by selling a product to people and getting a commission. However, you have to decide if you will really consider your clients and their needs… when your product will actually benefit them… or if you are willing to sell it to them at all costs, even by lying to them about the product or trying to make them fearful of not buying your product.

Don’t wait until you are in the moment to decide what your standard will be, it is too easy to make the wrong choice.

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way and use it for His glory rather than your own. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .