Category Archives: Optimizing Life

Smart Spending: Prioritize the Big, Save Big

Hey savvy savers! 💰✨ When it comes to cutting expenses, it’s not just about clipping coupons or switching to generic brands. Dive into the bigger picture by focusing on major expense categories first.

This approach, known as Pareto analysis, ensures you tackle the areas with the most significant impact on your budget.

🔍 Message: Begin by identifying your major expenses—housing, transportation, and long-term commitments. Remember, owning assets means not just their cost but also maintenance expenses.

Pare down your list, organizing from largest to smallest, and prioritize slashing costs in the bigger categories. Don’t ignore the small expenses, but don’t let them distract you from significant savings in larger areas.

The key is distinguishing between wants and needs. Set your budget based on income and long-term objectives before deciding what you can afford. Avoid the common pitfall of starting with pricey desires and then fitting them into your budget.

💰 Financial Wisdom: Say no to debt! Saving up for significant purchases like a house or car requires discipline and long-term planning, but it saves you a ton in the end. Patience and contentment are virtues that pay off. This goes for credit card debt too—avoid it like the plague. Remember, all you have belongs to God; manage your money His way.

Here are several common areas where families in the USA tend to have high spending:

Housing Costs:

    • Rent or Mortgage: Housing is often the most significant expense for families. Monthly rent or mortgage payments, property taxes, homeowners’ association fees, and maintenance costs can add up quickly.

Transportation:

    • Car Payments: Many families have car payments, and with the desire for newer models and additional vehicles, transportation costs can become substantial.
    • Fuel and Maintenance: Beyond the car payment, fuel, insurance, regular maintenance, and unexpected repairs contribute to high transportation expenses.

Healthcare:

      • Insurance Premiums: Health insurance premiums, whether through an employer or independently, can be a major monthly expense.
      • Out-of-Pocket Costs: Co-pays, deductibles, and expenses not covered by insurance can quickly accumulate, especially for families with frequent healthcare needs. 

Education:

        • Tuition and School Fees: For families with children, private school tuition or higher education costs can be a significant financial burden.
        • Education-Related Expenses: Books, school supplies, extracurricular activities, and other education-related costs contribute to the overall spending.

Debt Payments:

    • Credit Card Debt: Families may accumulate credit card debt, and high-interest rates can result in substantial monthly payments.
    • Student Loans: For those who pursued higher education, student loan repayments can be a long-term financial commitment.

It’s important for families to carefully assess these areas and create a budget that allows for necessary expenses while also planning for savings and unexpected costs.

⚖️ Call to Action: Challenge yourself to reevaluate your expenses. Distinguish wants from needs, prioritize the big-ticket items, and resist the allure of debt.

Share your tips and insights in the comments to inspire others on their journey to financial freedom.

💻 Resource: Explore more about managing money God’s way at GrowGodsMoney.org. Let’s cultivate financial wisdom together!

#SmartSpending #BudgetWisdom #FinancialFreedom #ParetoPrinciples

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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 .

Gratitude Unbound: A Psalm of Thanksgiving

Step into the melodic verses of Psalm 138, where the psalmist crafts a symphony of gratitude and unwavering confidence in the Almighty. As we traverse these soul-stirring words, let’s explore the power of thanksgiving and the assurance that comes from placing our trust in God, irrespective of our financial position.

Psalms 138

Thanksgiving for the LORD’S Favor.

A Psalm of David.

     1I will give You thanks with all my heart;
I will sing praises to You before the gods.

      2I will bow down toward Your holy temple
And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name.

      3On the day I called, You answered me;
You made me bold with strength in my soul.

      4All the kings of the earth will give thanks to You, O LORD,
When they have heard the words of Your mouth.

      5And they will sing of the ways of the LORD,
For great is the glory of the LORD.

      6For though the LORD is exalted,
Yet He regards the lowly,
But the haughty He knows from afar.

      7Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;
You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.

      8The LORD will accomplish what concerns me;
Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

Gratitude in All Financial Landscapes:

As we traverse the Psalm 138, let’s recognize the profound message it carries for our diverse financial positions. Whether we find ourselves on the peaks of prosperity or navigating the valleys of modest means, the heart of the psalmist resonates with timeless gratitude.

1. Thankfulness Beyond Wealth:

  • Gratitude isn’t exclusive to financial abundance; it’s a melody that echoes through the humblest of financial circumstances. The psalmist’s words remind us that thanksgiving is a timeless attitude, transcending the size of our bank accounts.

2. Confidence in Provision:

  • Regardless of our financial stature, Psalm 138 encourages us to find confidence in God’s provision. It’s not about the quantity of wealth but the unwavering assurance that our needs are seen, known, and met by a gracious Provider.

3. A Symphony of Contentment:

  • The exaltation of the Lord in this psalm isn’t dependent on opulence. Instead, it underscores the transformative power of centering our hearts on gratitude, finding contentment in the recognition of God’s provision, no matter the scale.

4. Assurance Amidst Financial Challenges:

  • In the face of financial troubles, Psalm 138 offers a profound assurance. It’s a declaration that even in economic challenges, we can find revival, resilience, and salvation in the unfailing hand of the Lord.

Reflecting on Financial Gratitude:

Let Psalm 138 inspire a symphony of gratitude in your life. Take a moment to consider the richness of thanksgiving, not just when the coffers overflow, but especially when navigating the more modest landscapes.

💬 Join the Conversation: Share your reflections on gratitude for God’s provision by commenting below.

How do you cultivate thankfulness in your financial journey, no matter the peaks or valleys?

Let’s harmonize our hearts in gratitude and inspire one another.

As we navigate Psalm 138, may our hearts resonate with gratitude, confident in the enduring provision of our faithful Provider. 🎶💰

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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 .

Life’s Brevity, Eternal Focus: What Truly Matters

As we immerse ourselves in our daily routines and accomplishments, let’s pause to consider the wisdom in prioritizing eternal significance over temporal success.

In the hustle and bustle of our earthly lives, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture—our lives on this earth are but a fleeting moment in the grand scope of eternity.

Let’s take a moment to reflect on the eternal impact we can have by helping others find Christ and by focusing our decisions to pursue the things of God, shifting our focus from worldly pursuits to heavenly priorities.

📖 Psalm 39, penned by David, serves as a poignant reminder of life’s brevity. “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be,” he implores, recognizing the fleeting nature of our existence. In a world where we heap up wealth without knowing who will spend it, where our busy rushing often ends in nothing, the psalmist anchors his hope in the Lord.

In the midst of life’s turmoil and the constant pursuit of more, let’s be intentional about seeking contentment and balancing our pursuit of money with God’s call for how we should live. The psalmist echoes this sentiment in verse 7, “And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.”

Psalm 39

For Jeduthun, the choir director: A psalm of David.

1I said to myself, “I will watch what I do

and not sin in what I say.

I will hold my tongue

when the ungodly are around me.”

2But as I stood there in silence—

not even speaking of good things—

the turmoil within me grew worse.

3The more I thought about it,

the hotter I got,

igniting a fire of words:

4“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.

Remind me that my days are numbered—

how fleeting my life is.

5You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.

My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;

at best, each of us is but a breath.”

Interlude

6We are merely moving shadows,

and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.

We heap up wealth,

not knowing who will spend it.

7And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?

My only hope is in you.

8Rescue me from my rebellion.

Do not let fools mock me.

9I am silent before you; I won’t say a word,

for my punishment is from you.

10But please stop striking me!

I am exhausted by the blows from your hand.

11When you discipline us for our sins,

you consume like a moth what is precious to us.

Each of us is but a breath.

Interlude

12Hear my prayer, O Lord!

Listen to my cries for help!

Don’t ignore my tears.

For I am your guest—

a traveler passing through,

as my ancestors were before me.

13Leave me alone so I can smile again

before I am gone and exist no more.

🙏 Take a moment to prayerfully consider your priorities. Reflect on how you spend your time, energy, money, and talent. Is the majority dedicated to honoring God and furthering His kingdom, or is it invested in building your own through work or family? Are you standing firm on God’s unchanging values, or are you swayed by the ever-shifting opinions of the world?

💡Share your reflections in the comments. Let’s encourage each other to align our lives with the eternal priorities that truly matter.

Tag someone who may benefit from this reminder and let’s embark on this journey together!

⚓  As we navigate life’s brief moments, may we not delay in submitting to and obeying God. The only things that will truly matter at the end of our lives are whether we personally submitted to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and the impact we had in furthering God’s kingdom on earth. Let’s make every moment count!

#EternalSignificance #KingdomLiving #PrioritiesInChrist #HeavenlyPerspective

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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 .

Stewardship: A Divine Perspective on Finances

Hey everyone! 💰✨ We all understand the importance of responsible resource management. We wouldn’t hand over our checkbooks without a second thought, expecting others to spend without aligning with our values and purposes. So, why do we sometimes struggle to grasp that God cares deeply about how we handle the resources He entrusts to us?

💡Just like we manage our businesses and families with purpose, God desires us to steward His blessings in a way that aligns with His will. Let’s dive into the divine perspective on finances.

💼 Whether it’s a company or a family, limited resources require careful management. We appreciate those who use resources wisely and correct those who do not. Consider your own checkbook – would you hand it over without caring how it’s spent? God cares about how we manage all aspects of our lives, including our finances.

God’s ownership of everything is emphasized in Psalm 24:1, stating, “The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it.” Just as a business owner entrusts their possessions to employees, God entrusts us with His resources, expecting us to steward them faithfully.

In Luke 20:21-25, Jesus reminds us to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. Our financial decisions are a reflection of our submission to God’s authority. In Proverbs 3:9-10 and Malachi 3:10, we’re encouraged to honor God with our wealth and tithes, experiencing blessings when we do.

The parable of the talents in Matthew 25 reinforces the importance of faithful stewardship. The master rewards those who use their talents wisely and rebukes the one who hides his. It’s a powerful reminder that God expects us to invest, not hoard, the resources He provides.

💬 Friends, have you submitted all your finances to be stewarded on behalf of God, or are you holding back for personal purposes? Let’s discuss in the comments.

Share your experiences and reflections on managing your resources to further the kingdom of God.

🌱 Invitation: Take a moment to reflect on your financial decisions. Are they aligned with God’s principles? Share your insights and tag someone who could benefit from this divine perspective on stewardship.

Let’s encourage each other on this journey of responsible and purposeful financial management!

#DivineStewardship #FaithfulFinances #GodsResources #KingdomBuildingWealth

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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 .

Vote Wisely: This Decision Could Impact Your Income By 10-20% Or More

What if I told you that a single decision could impact all of your earning potential, savings, and investing by 10-20% or more? A wrong decision moves toward reducing your income, and a good decision moves toward increasing your income. You would immediately want to know what it was and how to learn more about it.

In the United States of America, we have the honor of voting in elections to select who takes many of our public offices at the local, state, and national levels. Elections have consequences and voting matters… a lot!

Our country was founded by Christians who were seeking freedom to worship God freely and Biblically, out from under any tyrannical rule of a king. Freedom was important… and so often not truly achieved.

It is very important to understand that the USA was not founded as a democracy, in which a majority of people can vote for whatever they want, including taking the wealth and possessions of the minority. Instead, God guided our founding fathers to establish a wonderful form of government known as a constitutional republic.

We do in fact participate in voting to elect representatives to the national government, but just as important is the US Constitution, which is in place to limit the power of the national government. The intent was to have a small national government doing the bare minimum (such as providing for the common defense… that’s the military) and not getting involved in impinging on the freedom of the states and the people.

Now we have a huge, stifling, mass of national government bureaucracy that tells us even how much water our toilet can flush and what kind of light bulbs we must use or cannot use.  We have fallen a long way and given up much freedom. The Constitution is constantly under attack from those who wish to redefine it and consider it a “living document”, which means essentially… “as long as we can get judges to say it means something else, then it does”. This approach is wrong.  The founders put in place a management of change process for the Constitution… and it is not simply getting people in black robes to say it means something else today than it did a few hundred years ago. It is called constitutional amendments. The process has been used many times, but not recently. The Constitution means what it says until we follow the process to change it. That is the only way to protect the individual rights of the people and the founding fathers knew it! It is supposed to be hard to change!

Not only does the national government continue to grow and impinge on personal liberty, but it continues to spend money it does not have at an increasingly alarming rate… on things it should not be involved in managing and does not manage well. To pay for this, the national government always says we need to spend more money on more government programs and raise taxes or go so far into debt we will never get out. Even if they print enough money to pay off the debt, the money we have will fall in value because of the extra money printed. Our purchasing power plummets! If a business was run this way, the same government would probably throw the business leader in jail.

America was founded as a land of opportunity! Those who work hard can improve their family’s standard of living over multiple generations or sometimes even in a single generation. This is harder and harder to do as the government gets bigger and taxes more and puts in place more regulations and more burdens like healthcare programs for which they have no constitutional authority, despite what a ruling of the Supreme Court may say.

Elections have consequences.   It all ends up affecting your ability to earn income with liberty, to keep what you earned rather than giving it to a government to waste, to save and invest freely and rely on God and the talents He gave you rather than relying always on the national government.

For those who want to get everything for free with someone else’s money… there is not enough of “someone else’s money” to pay for everything you want you will always be beholden to the national government to get by. You basically make yourself a voluntary dependent (e.g. like a child) of the government. On the other hand, many of us want to keep our freedom and the fruits of our labor. We want a small national government and a return to the protection of our personal liberty provided by the US Constitution. We trust in God and ourselves to work hard and get ahead. If we fail, we own it, and we get back up and try again. We don’t expect someone else to always pay our bills or cover our mistakes. We are accountable to God for how we use what He has given us in this life, whether time, talent, or treasure.

I encourage active participation in elections, not only by voting but also by influencing those around you. Research the truth. Do not trust what politicians say, but rather judge by the fruit of their lives as the Bible instructs us. Do not be lazy and believe what TV network news shows tell you, for they are decidedly leaning toward big national government and less individual freedom. The same is true for most social media sites today. Instead, seek out the truth diligently on the internet. Search out confirmation from multiple time-tested, reliable news sources. (You can’t trust everyone’s blog, either.) We are to test everything and discern truth from lies. If someone is constantly changing positions when it suits them, then you know they have no principle. They are political chameleons, and you cannot trust them except to look out for their own best interests. If they are honest but their plans will bankrupt our country worse than today… you may be able to trust them, but you are voting for disaster and loss of freedom. Look for those whose past actions and accomplishments line up with what they say and line up with what God’s word says. Seek those who strongly support the protection of individual rights provided by the Constitution… for ultimately it is your rights they protect!

How much harder it is to manage your personal finances when the government always takes more and more from what you earn, what you spend, what you invest, and even what you own when you die! What good is it to earn and save and invest if the government can just come and take what they want from whom they want?

Elections have consequences. Get involved today and don’t stop trying to influence your elected officials once they get into office. Remain engaged!

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

A Biblical Approach to Jealousy Around Financial Success

Hey friends! 👋✨ Have you ever felt the sting of jealousy or faced adversity when things started going well in your life? It’s not a new phenomenon, and the Bible has some profound wisdom on how to handle such situations, especially in the realm of personal and business finances.

In Genesis 26:12-25 (included at the end of the article), we find Isaac, a man blessed by God, facing jealousy and hostility for his prosperity. But instead of retaliating, Isaac’s journey holds valuable lessons for us on managing success and financial blessings with grace.

Human nature hasn’t changed over the centuries. When God blesses us, jealousy may stir up adversity. Isaac’s story teaches us that fools may harm us out of envy, but the wise seek to understand and replicate our success.

Isaac, despite facing adversity, respected authority, and relocated peacefully. He encountered challenges when digging wells, yet he avoided conflict and found open space to flourish. Rather than complaining about hostility, he thanked God for providing room for him.

Isaac’s response to adversity was not violent; he sought peaceful solutions, giving glory to God. His example reminds us that while there are times for fighting (as Abraham showed), there are also moments when a peaceful response is the best way forward. Isaac’s posture wasn’t that of a conqueror, despite his wealth, demonstrating the power of seeking peaceful solutions.

Friends, let’s reflect on Isaac’s approach. In managing our personal and business finances, let’s seek God’s wisdom.

Share your thoughts in the comments about how you’ve navigated financial blessings or adversities in your life and share this post with someone who might find it helpful.

Let’s encourage one another on this journey of applying God’s word to our finances! 🌱💰

#BiblicalFinances #ProsperityWithGrace #WisdomInWealth #FaithAndFinances

Genesis 26:12-25 records that Isaac was living in Philistine land. Jealousy of others toward the success of Isaac (due to God’s blessing) drives conflict which ultimately leads to Isaac’s departure from the area.

12 When Isaac planted his crops that year, he harvested a hundred times more grain than he planted, for the Lord blessed him. 13 He became a very rich man, and his wealth continued to grow. 14 He acquired so many flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and servants that the Philistines became jealous of him. 15 So the Philistines filled up all of Isaac’s wells with dirt. These were the wells that had been dug by the servants of his father, Abraham.

16 Finally, Abimelech ordered Isaac to leave the country. “Go somewhere else,” he said, “for you have become too powerful for us.”

17 So Isaac moved away to the Gerar Valley, where he set up their tents and settled down. 18 He reopened the wells his father had dug, which the Philistines had filled in after Abraham’s death. Isaac also restored the names Abraham had given them.

19 Isaac’s servants also dug in the Gerar Valley and discovered a well of fresh water. 20 But then the shepherds from Gerar came and claimed the spring. “This is our water,” they said, and they argued over it with Isaac’s herdsmen. So Isaac named the well Esek (which means “argument”). 21 Isaac’s men then dug another well, but again there was a dispute over it. So Isaac named it Sitnah (which means “hostility”). 22 Abandoning that one, Isaac moved on and dug another well. This time there was no dispute over it, so Isaac named the place Rehoboth (which means “open space”), for he said, “At last the Lord has created enough space for us to prosper in this land.”

23 From there Isaac moved to Beersheba, 24 where the Lord appeared to him on the night of his arrival. “I am the God of your father, Abraham,” he said. “Do not be afraid, for I am with you and will bless you. I will multiply your descendants, and they will become a great nation. I will do this because of my promise to Abraham, my servant.” 25 Then Isaac built an altar there and worshiped the Lord. He set up his camp at that place, and his servants dug another well.

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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 .

Who Is Blessed, and Who Should Take Caution?

To those who do not know the LORD or walk in relationship with Him, this message may seem like foolishness. However, it is based on sound doctrine from the Bible. We should not overlook the importance of God’s blessing on us as His followers, nor His cautions. Whether we are blessed and rich, blessed and poor, or blessed and somewhere in between it is important to seek His blessing. But remember, blessing does not always translate to “rich”, and “rich” does not always translate to happiness and joy and fulfillment.

Luke chapter 6 records some rich and deep teaching from our Lord, Yeshua. While we always want to read in context (e.g. read the whole chapter(s) rather than picking a verse here and there), I want to make sure we don’t breeze over some of this rich teaching by putting too much in one article. Sometimes we get distracted to read through the whole section of scripture for the day and lose the opportunity to pause and prayerfully reflect on what it means and how it applies to us.

Luke 6:20-26

The Beatitudes

     20And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21“Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. 22“Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. 23“Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets. 24“But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. 25“Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. 26“Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.

Clearly this is an example where God’s ways are not our ways! The logic seems upside down by man’s values. Who wants to be poor? hungry? filled with sorrow? scorned and insulted? Who does not want to be rich and well liked?

Let us first point out that this does not mean you can’t have relationship with the LORD and go to heaven if you are rich. Abraham was rich, as just one quick example. Let us also consider “poor” from the perspective of “poor in spirit”.

Have you considered that those who are poor, hungry, and sorrowful are perhaps not “self-sufficient”. They know they need help. They know they cannot figure it all out on their own.  The poor in spirit know they are not good enough on their own. They need a savior. This attitude can often help set them up to truly submit to the LORD or submit more fully. They “have nothing to lose” and recognize they need help from one who is wiser.

On the other hand, many who are rich and content may focus more and more on being self-sufficient and less on relying on God. This increases risk of not having a deeply connected relationship with the LORD. Additionally, the LORD wants to be first in their life. Many who are rich have at times gotten their wealth through pursuit and prioritization of money over other things (not always! money is not inherently bad, just the love of money). They would have to submit to the LORD and serve Him rather than money. If they are not “poor in spirit”, they may have a hard time to recognize that they are not good enough on their own and that they need a savior.

I wanted to close with what serves as both encouragement and rebuke. We should all ask ourselves… “are we scorned for Jesus?” Do our co-workers, friends, and family even know we submit to Him. Do we put Him first? Do we choose His ways over even popular cultural and family traditions? Have we changed our lives based on our relationship with Him, even though it causes tension with others?

I pose that in most cases if we experience no conflict on behalf of our relationship with Christ, then perhaps we need to evaluate if we are truly representing Him and His teaching to the world. If people around us can’t tell we follow Jesus, then perhaps we are not actually fully submitted to Him… or we are just hanging out with a small group of believers and not bringing the gospel to others… which again comes back to not being fully submitted to Him.  He commands us to share the gospel with the world. Don’t kid yourself about churches being perfect either. Even within a church, if you are living for Christ according to Biblical principles and willing to be different and change, you will find yourself being set apart in some ways from others who are in your church. When you change visibly in the name of God, it is amazing how others come forward to pull you back as if your choice to change your life for God has made them uncomfortable because you are living different from them. They don’t want to change or feel guilty, so they must convince themselves, sometimes others, maybe you that you are wrong.

Pray for the Spirit to lead you. Follow the Spirit and God’s written word in the Bible. Test everything against this. Do not just accept as fact the traditions of men or churches.

22“Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. 23“Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.


Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

A Truly Profitable Investment with Long Term Payout

We are all looking for profitable long-term investments to help us manage our personal finances. This is a very good goal. However, let’s pause long enough to put life in a slightly different perspective with regards to what is profitable. The greatest asset we have, one which we did not earn and we can not replace, is the life which our Father in heaven as gifted to us. In a way, we could think of ourselves as an asset in God’s hands. What “profit” is He seeking from us in how we use our lives? How will we invest this one time gift for His glory and our benefit? They are not mutually exclusive, though the world (and Satan) will try to convince you to pick one or the other.

After meeting Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, Paul lived a life that serves as a good portrait of one who lived submitted completely to Jesus Christ. Paul truly died to self and took up his cross to follow after Christ. He turned His life into a fantastic investment for the Lord. I am confident he is even now enjoying the fruits personally of his choices. Eternity in the presence of the Lord. What Joy! But it was not without choices and trade-offs in his own earthly life. Paul had strong convictions and lived for God. He was focused on being truly profitable rather than just getting money and comfort for himself.

Matthew 16:24-27

      24Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27“For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.

As he prepared to leave for Jerusalem, Paul met with local elders of the church to remind them about his personal life lived as example as one submitted to Christ. It was filled with hardship and uncertainty, but also hope and joy in all circumstances. Paul provides a good summary of how we should approach our lives submitted to Christ. We do well to read carefully as if Paul were writing this to us and try to apply it in our lives today.

Acts 20:17-38

Farewell to Ephesus

      17From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church. 18And when they had come to him, he said to them,
“You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time, 19serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews; 20how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, 21solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. 22“And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. 24“But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.

      25“And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face. 26“Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27“For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. 28“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29“I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31“Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. 32“And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33“I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothes. 34“You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me. 35“In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

      36When he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37And they began to weep aloud and embraced Paul, and repeatedly kissed him, 38grieving especially over the word which he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they were accompanying him to the ship.

As we consider this portrait of living for Christ, Paul reveals several key elements we should carefully consider and apply in our own lives, not matter what our work or ministry.

  • Serve God with humility, even through trials and tears.
  • Do not shrink from teaching truth and repentance, regardless of consequences to you personally.
  • Remember that our life’s purpose is not our own when we are submitted to Christ. Our purpose is to wholeheartedly seek after the work God assigns us to further His kingdom.
  • Be on guard for false teaching and those who would draw you away from Christ. The threat comes both from those outside the church as well as from among the church. People will pervert God’s word to draw disciples after themselves.
  • Do not cease to admonish one another so that we help one another to remain in Christ and in His truth.
  • In testing for false teaching, admonishing, and living for Christ we must look to God and to the word of God as our unchanging source of truth.
  • Work hard to provide for yourself and do not covet someone else’s wealth.
  • Help the weak.
  • Pray for one another in genuine love and concern. Create a community of brothers and sisters in Christ that truly love and care for each other.

Ask yourself… “How does this teaching from Paul apply to my life today?” and then take action to make any course corrections you need to live fully submitted to Christ.

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

Why Does God Want My Money?

“Why does God want my money?” Many will ask themselves this when they do not want to obey His instructions about money. They would rather keep it all and decide for themselves how much to give, if at all, and to whom. It is a trick question, really. God does not want your money… He wants your heart.

Matthew 6:19-21  19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The point is that God warns us we cannot have two masters. We cannot serve both God and money.

Luke 16:13  13“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

He wants us to choose Him over money.

Matthew 6:33  33“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

God knows that helping us to consciously choose to put Him first will put us on the right path in life. We will not only please Him but find more joy in life as well and live with the right priorities. Many who choose to serve money find ruin and destruction.

1 Timothy 6:9-10  9But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10For 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.

“Does God really care how much I give?” Yes. Once again, whether you use your money to honor God or to serve yourself is quite telling as an indicator of your heart.  If you are trying to calculate the bare minimum you can give God and “get by” you are missing the point. He wants your heart. God especially does not like when we lie to Him or cheat Him, claiming before Him or before men to bring a certain amount and then refusing to do so. Yes, He gets angry.

Malachi 3:8-10  8“Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. 9“You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! 10“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. 11“Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,” says the LORD of hosts. 12“All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land,” says the LORD of hosts.

Acts 5:1-11

1But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? 4“While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it. 6The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him.

      7Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8And Peter responded to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.” 9Then Peter said to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.10And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things.

Perhaps the better question is not “Why does God want my money?”  but rather “Why am I unwilling to trust God with the money He provided me?”

Prayerfully consider your finances and ask God to help you obey Him. What changes should you consider with your finances so that you are in obedience to His word?

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

A Light to Guide My Path

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.

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 whether or not we are focused on finances or more broadly at life in general. 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.

Many like to believe they are in control of their own life, but we are not in control of our lives. We can influence our path and choose how we react to the unexpected. Truly, the most impactful thing we can do is to submit to God and seek to follow His instructions for how to live our lives. We can seek relationship with Him, obey Him, and then trust in Him even through the tough times.

I recognize I have not focused this article on what is specific to finances, but if you read the scripture carefully, it speaks volumes in regards to how we work hard to earn money, treat people while we earn money, submit to God as priority over our money, recognize God’s sovereignty over our situations, etc. There is much to harvest and all we must do is humble ourselves in submission to the Lord and seek His wisdom and then seek His help to apply it in our lives.

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