Category Archives: Optimizing Life

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 .

Can You Find True Peace Through Wealth?

Managing our finances wisely according to God’s word is a very good thing, but we should take care to never put our faith in our finances. We can only find true peace by placing our faith in God.

Luke 12:16-32

16And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. 17“And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ 18“Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ 20“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ 21“So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

      22And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. 23“For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24“Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! 25“And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? 26“If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? 27“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 28“But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! 29“And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. 30“For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. 31“But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.

Many prepare financially for their anticipated days in their earthly life and may even plan for some expenses associated with death and burial. They make considerations for those who will survive them. They put their faith in their money. However, the most important planning is not for expenses related to our death, but for where we will go thereafter… either to Heaven or Hell and to what legacy we leave in regards helping others and leading others to Heaven (or Hell) with us. What treasure are we storing up in heaven? In this regard, plan wisely and act now.

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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 .

Don’t Let Money Keep You Apart from God

Let me preface this article by highlighting that God does not call all of us to part with all our money. He does not need our money, but rather He wants our heart. Some He may call to give up their money, in particular if they are placing it as an idol in their life that keeps them separated from God by taking His rightful place as Lord of their life.  What He calls you to do individually… by all means do it. God’s specific direction to you in your life trumps the general biblical advice we share through this ministry. Sometimes He has something specific in mind that is more important than the general wisdom He has provided.

However, take caution that you are hearing from Him properly. He will never contradict Himself. Thus, if He asks you to do something, pray over it, ask for confirmation, seek trustworthy Christians you know to help validate what you are hearing and make sure you are not acting inconsistent with what God teaches in the Bible. Most of all… ask God to help you clearly understand and obey.

“What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” This question is incredibly important, and those who ask it genuinely seeking an answer have already started down the right track. They have acknowledged there is eternal life and not everyone gets there. Some will have eternal suffering instead. Let us review how Jesus answers this question when a rich young man asks Him.

Mark 10:17-31

The Rich Young Ruler

      17As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 18And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. 19“You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, Do not defraud, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’” 20And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” 21Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.

      23And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” 24The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 26They were even more astonished and said to Him, “Then who can be saved?” 27Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”

      28Peter began to say to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You.” 29Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, 30but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. 31“But many who are first will be last, and the last, first.”

The rich young ruler was not far from the kingdom of heaven. He knew the commandments and he knew Jesus was the right person to ask. Clearly, he did not fully understand the significance of obeying the commandments, as he felt that he had obeyed them sufficiently well throughout his life. None can truly accomplish this, when we fully consider how to apply this law according to Jesus, Himself (Matthew 5:21-48). However, he was looking in the right places for the answer.

Jesus did not even break stride in the conversation to explain what it means to truly follow the full standard of God’s commandments. He already knew where the man was failing in his devotion to God. For this specific individual, it was love of money. Jesus never called everyone to give away their money, it is not required. He knew this individual had that as his primary remaining barrier to following God. Sadly, the man went away grieving rather than following after Jesus.

Jesus, never wanting to let a teaching opportunity be wasted, spoke further with His disciples on the subject. He pointed out how hard it is for many that have money to choose to serve God instead of money. We cannot serve both (Matthew 6:24). However, there is hope. No matter what personal obstacle stands in our way, we have hope with God that we can overcome it and follow Jesus.

27Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”

We can also be encouraged that whatever it is that we give up in order to follow Jesus, we will not regret it so long as we submit to and trust Him.

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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 .

Increase The Money in Your Pocket Now

I know people are in a range of different places with regards to their finances. Those that have a solid foundation already are optimizing spending and debt management and looking for investment opportunities to grow their finances.

However, many simply feel like they are running as fast as they can to just stay in place… never making progress toward their goals. Long term job selection and career or skill development seem far off objectives.  They want to know how to get more money now.

There are at least two very effective ways to get more money in your pocket quickly.

For those of you who have jobs that are commission or “tip” based or those who have the opportunity to work overtime, simply working hard and working longer hours can be effective short term to generate more income. Of course, that effort may not be sustainable long term without detriment to your personal or family life. It ultimately only bears meaningful results if you take that money and pay down debt or create savings or investment funds. If you work harder and then just buy more stuff you “want” but do not “need”, then it has not accomplished anything substantial.

The second approach is undeniably effective, if done in meaningful way. Reduce your spending! You not only keep the money you have earned, but do not forget that you have already paid taxes on this money. A dollar saved is worth more than a dollar earned. It really is yours to save and invest… so long as you do not spend it. To be most effective, start by challenging everything you are spending money on, starting with larger expenses first. Differentiate true “need” from “want”. Aggressively reduce spending on “wants”. Yes, it will feel uncomfortable and force you to change your behavior. But it absolutely generates cash in your pocket at the end of the month.

Want to see how much impact you can have on your finances? Just commit to yourself to test for a month saying “no” to any discretionary spending. In other words, really distinguishing “want” from “need”. Take the extra money you save at the end of the month and put it aside to pay down debt, start an emergency fund, or start preparing for investing. See how quickly you can use this simple approach to get your finances under control. If you are not confident you can commit to this challenge for “no” discretionary spending, then simply set up an assigned dollar value to spend toward your “wants” for the month and track even your small expenses to avoid exceeding that target. Try reducing that target next month. See how much you are actually spending on “wants” and “convenience” vs. “needs”.

Yes… buying that morning coffee from the coffee shop instead of brewing at home counts as “want” and the added cost does matter over time.

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

God Is Bigger Than the Mission He Gives Us

It is very tempting for each of us to plan our finances in a way that we can completely control every aspect. Trust only in ourselves. Take no or little risk.

What if God calls us to give in a way that stretches us beyond our comfort zone?  What if He calls us to accomplish a task that we don’t know how to fund? Are we foolish to take such a risk?

That depends on whether or not you trust God and your ability to hear from Him.

We can often get wrapped up in how big a challenge appears. We can think as if we have to make it happen all by ourselves. We do well to consider, however, that if God is the one who told us to go accomplish the mission, then He already knows how He will enable us to accomplish it. He will provide. We need only listen and obey, even if we don’t see how He will finish the task with us and through us.

Exodus 38:21-31

The Cost of the Tabernacle

      21This is the number of the things for the tabernacle, the tabernacle of the testimony, as they were numbered according to the command of Moses, for the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest. 22Now Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made all that the LORD had commanded Moses. 23With him was Oholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, an engraver and a skillful workman and a weaver in blue and in purple and in scarlet material, and fine linen.

      24All the gold that was used for the work, in all the work of the sanctuary, even the gold of the wave offering, was 29 talents and 730 shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary. 25The silver of those of the congregation who were numbered was 100 talents and 1,775 shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary; 26a beka a head (that is, half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary), for each one who passed over to those who were numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for 603,550 men. 27The hundred talents of silver were for casting the sockets of the sanctuary and the sockets of the veil; one hundred sockets for the hundred talents, a talent for a socket. 28Of the 1,775 shekels, he made hooks for the pillars and overlaid their tops and made bands for them. 29The bronze of the wave offering was 70 talents and 2,400 shekels. 30With it he made the sockets to the doorway of the tent of meeting, and the bronze altar and its bronze grating, and all the utensils of the altar, 31and the sockets of the court all around and the sockets of the gate of the court, and all the pegs of the tabernacle and all the pegs of the court all around.

Think about how overwhelming the mission could or perhaps did appear to Moses and the Israelites to build the tabernacle. They were in the desert, not in a land of plenty! Yahweh laid out very specific instructions and a grand scale for the tabernacle. The people could easily have thrown up their hands and made excuses why it was not possible. They could have quit even before they started. They did not. And consider what they accomplished!

Are you facing a mission or challenge that God has called you to complete? Does it feel overwhelming? Do not be discouraged or find reasons to reject the challenge. Instead, trust in Him, seek Him, and obey His instructions and guidance. You will be amazed at what He can accomplish through His people.

Want to learn more about how to pray effectively? This includes listening as well as asking… try the following resources:

  • HearingFromJesus.org /Learning To Pray Effectively – teaching on effective prayer based on scripture
  • HearingFromJesus.org/categories/HearingFromGod – collection of devotions and scripture referencing hearing from God
  • Experiencing God, by Henry and Richard Blackaby, is a modern classic that has sold millions of copies worldwide. Experiencing God is based on seven Scriptural realities that teach us how to develop a true relationship with the Creator. By understanding how God is working through us even as we try to fathom His ways, we can begin to clearly know how to relate to Him.
  • Experiencing Prayer with Jesus, by Henry and Norman Blackaby,  takes you into what many aren’t experiencing in their prayer life – intimacy with God. Experiencing Prayer with Jesus is not simply more information about prayer, but rather a leading into a life-changing encounter with Christ.
  • Hearing God’s Voice, by Henry and Richard Blackaby, is for those who are ready to listen. Henry Blackaby and his son Richard help those who are listening to discern the voice of God, to identify ways He speaks, and to respond to His revelations of His will.

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 .

Should I Worry About My Finances?

It is easy and natural to worry. We can worry about our family, our jobs, our children’s performance in school or extra-curricular activities. We can worry about our favorite sports teams winning or losing. We can worry about what we will be doing next week. Many people worry about their finances. There are lots of reasons for which we can allow ourselves to worry.

But what does God have to say about worry? Actually, He has a lot to say. One such verse to explore is short and to the point.

Philippians 4:4-9

      4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

      8Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

I do want to make a point that there is a difference between “worry” about something and taking action to address a situation that needs you to do something. I need not “worry” about my future finances when I walk with Jehovah, but He expects me to plan wisely, consistent with His word, and to exercise self control and manage my affairs well. Let us be careful to avoid the mistake of saying “not to worry” means we ignore the situation. This would be wrong and lead to many troubles.

Let us not overlook, however, that the scripture does not just say “don’t worry”. It also combines that with direction to let our requests be made known to God by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. We should take our worries to our loving Father in prayer and supplication and with a thankful heart. We can trust Him. Whether He answers “yes” or “no” to any specific request, He knows what is good for us. He is our provider.

“Rejoicing always” sounds tough for most of us… but just because it is different than what we expect, does not mean that it is wrong. Often, what we have become accustomed to is wrong and we need to seek God’s way in the Bible and change our ways. Paul was more than just talk on “rejoice always”. He rejoiced even under persecution such as when he was beaten and put in prison. He rejoiced in the sovereignty and love of the Lord Jesus!

Be thankful for what we have in Christ and what He has already provided us even as we come before Yahweh to ask for our needs or requests. Seek contentment rather than coveting what others have.

When we focus on what is good, honorable, right, pure, lovely… we can truly learn, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to be anxious for nothing.

I leave you with a common expression you may have heard before for consideration and reflection.

“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?”

Do you know who said this first? It was Jesus, as documented in Matthew 6:27.

May the grace and peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, be with you.

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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 .

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 .

Why Did God Grant Jabez Prosperity?

Quite some time ago, someone wrote a book about “the prayer of Jabez” and people got almost in a craze about it. The problem is that many focused on only his prayer. They wanted to turn it into some formula whereby if anyone repeats the words, they force God to bless them also. However, this is not how a relationship with the Lord works. We don’t control Him. We don’t get His power by rehearsing specific words like some sort of spell.

So why did the LORD grant Jabez’s request for prosperity?

1 Chronicles:9-10

9Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, “Because I bore him with pain.” 10Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested.

Scripture highlights that he “was more honorable than his brothers”. He was someone who lived according to God’s ways in relationship with God. His prayer was a reasonable prayer.  He asked for God’s blessing and asked for God’s protection from harm. These are good things to pray for. Let us also take care not to overlook that he also asked for God’s hand to be with him, and he was honorable in his life. Jabez was not simply asking for more land and less pain, but also for a relationship with God and living his life in accordance with what God directed.

Let us take note that we should not simply take the words of Jabez and expect we pray them and somehow control God to bless us.

Matthew 6:7-8

     7“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8“So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

The path to living with the peace and joy of the Lord is one of submitting to Him and building relationship with Him. You cannot and should not try to skip the relationship with God in pursuit of controlling Him to give you the outcomes you want. That said, we ultimately must trust Him whether He tells us “yes” or “no” for the requests we bring before Him. As you build relationship with Him, you will also discover that the relationship is the real treasure… that His hand would be with us.

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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 .

Give Joyfully to the Lord with Thanksgiving and Praise

Many talk about the giving money to God as if it were a tax they had to pay the government, knowing the government will waste it or at best use it inefficiently. Some pay out of a feeling of obligation, some give out of pride to show off to others, and some just rationalize that they can not afford to give anything at all… neither money nor time. Blessed are those who give joyfully and generously of their money and/or their time to serve God.

One such example of a joyful giver is Jacob. After receiving God’s blessing from Isaac, Jacob had to leave his family because of the deception he used against his brother Esau. As he travels, God appears to him in a dream in Genesis 28:10-22.

      10Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11He came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place. 12He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. 14“Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” 16Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

      18So Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on its top. 19He called the name of that place Bethel; however, previously the name of the city had been Luz. 20Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, 21and I return to my father’s house in safety, then the LORD will be my God. 22“This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”

Jacob clearly understood that he could achieve nothing of what God promised on his own. He knew what it was to live without God, and it had brought him to a place where he had to leave home and family because of his selfish greed and deceitful scheming. God did not ask Jacob for ten percent… Jacob committed joyfully to giving that amount.  There was no one else there that Jacob was trying to impress. It was just God and Jacob. He wanted to give money to God as part of showing his thankfulness toward God. He committed to giving money to God before he earned it or even experienced any success that would show him how he could earn it.

Also take note that he was not simply “writing God a check”. He set up a pillar, anointed it with oil and made a personal commitment or covenant with God that “… the Lord will be my God.” This commitment went far beyond money. Jacob was genuinely and wholeheartedly committing himself to God after experiencing a powerful message from God in a dream.

If you have not already done so, or perhaps even if you have, take a few moments and pray to our Creator that He would reveal Himself to you and help you to have a heart to commit to and submit to Him. Turn you life over to God and seek to follow Him and proclaim Him wholeheartedly. Do not give out of obligation, but out of thankfulness and praise to God for all He has done and continues to do in your life.

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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 .