Category Archives: Plan Carefully and Seek Wise Advice

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 .

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 .

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 .

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 .

Who’s Financial Advice Can I Trust?

There are at least three common pitfalls associated with seeking advice…

  • Some do not seek wise advice from anyone but rely solely on themselves and then fail to do adequate research.
  • Some take advice from friends or people they know, but regardless of even the best of intentions… these people may not actually have financial wisdom and can lead them astray.
  • Others seek professional advice from strangers they do not know because they have a degree, a certification, or work at an investing company and say they are here to help. But take care, for not all who say they have your best interest at heart really do.

It is important to diligently do your homework when seeking financial advice and weighing alternatives. Do not be lazy or hasty.

Proverbs 21:5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.

Seeking wise advice is a good idea, but you must use discernment in whom you trust and in which advice you follow.

Proverbs 15:22 Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.

Advice from friends and family may be very good sometimes… and sometimes not. It is ok to seek it, but you will do well to verify by consulting other sources or doing research on your own.

When seeking advice from professionals, many are genuinely there to help you and some are wolves just trying to collect their fees . It is important to evaluate each on a case by case basis. Know how they get paid, or if they do not get paid. It may influence their behavior.

2 Timothy 3:1-5  But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.

Keep in mind… those who are wolves in sheep’s clothing… will not wear a sign as such. They will appear to be friendly and helpful… they likely hold to a form of godliness, but deny its power. Avoid men such as these.  Discernment is important.

I have heard of many issues with honest people seeking advice from professionals. In one example, when the fee structure was a percentage of the money at time of opening account the client could not get meaningful support later to help with investments… the professional had already had been paid and lost incentive to help.

Another example includes someone giving advice that was paid by fees or incentives based on selling certain “recommended” financial instruments. He tried to lock his client in on a long term annuity while interest rates were the lowest in 30 years! That is when you get a mortgage, not when you get a long term annuity. (If you don’t know what an annuity is, think of it like loaning money to someone else and they pay you interest.)  When the client did not buy it… the professional tried to pressure him… “Don’t let me down again.” Who is working for whom?

The answer is to seek advice from multiple sources and to do personal research to confirm. In other words, get a second opinion.  By taking shortcuts in deciding whom to trust with your money you may be taking unnecessary risk without even realizing it. People do not have to break the law to take advantage of you.

Don’t be paranoid either… most professionals are actually trying to help you… you just need to verify your decisions by doing your homework to understand the investments they recommend.

Remember too, you can always trust God’s word to be true and careful study of His word combined with obedience to His commands and a consistent pray life can lead you through all things and bring you much peace.

Proverbs 3:5-8  Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.

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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 .

The Way of a Fool Is Right In His Own Eyes

We should be careful to listen to God’s advice. Those who wish to become wise, who love knowledge, must accept discipline and correction… must recognize that others may have more wisdom in some areas than ourselves. That is how we learn and get better.

Proverbs 12:1 and 15

1Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
But he who hates reproof is stupid.

 15The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.

If you are not humble enough to acknowledge that others may have wise input worthy to consider, that you may have made or be making mistakes than you will continue to make mistakes.

Be humble. Seek wisdom. Accept correction from God and from others. Learn from it. Grow in wisdom.

These fundamentals apply to all aspects of life… and certainly to all aspects of managing your finances. There are great examples of public organizations or private advisors that can help. Most people even have others around them that may have good input.

For a few examples, please visit our resources section of our website.

Resources

Our mission is to help you. We provide the Resources section of GrowGodsMoney.org to help provide you with greater depth of resources by referring you to high quality organizations that have a lot of great content or provide a financial service (e.g. broker for investments).

We do not get paid by these organizations for referrals. We do not “compete” with these institutions, but rather see ourselves as part of the body of Christ in connecting you with helpful resources they already provide.

If there are resources you would like to recommend or give us feedback on, please send us information from the Contact Us page.

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

It All Belongs to God

At GrowGodsMoney.org, our mission is to serve God by helping His people be wise stewards of the resources God has put in their care. All that we have belongs to God and He calls us to be good stewards of it. Each of us will be judged based on how we use what He has given us.  (Learn more About Us.)

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.

Matthew6:24 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 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.

GrowGodsMoney.org helps you build a personal financial plan for income, spending and debt, investment, and giving… all based on Biblical principles.

  1. Our Guiding Framework provides a solid outline around which you can build your personal financial plan.
  2. Review and use the recommended Resources we link to on the site. There is a lot of information out there to help you if you know where to look. We do not consider other Christian financial websites and ministries to be competitors… may it never be! We are part of the body of Christ. Our mission is to help our brothers and sisters in Christ.
  3. Subscribe to receive our biblical financial insights directly by email or Facebook. For email, use our subscribe button on our website or the email icon at the bottom of any post.
  4. Previously published financial insights posts are searchable by category on the website for application to your specific situation.

Please let us know how we can help you grow God’s money (Contact Us) and share our site with family, friends, and others that may benefit.

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. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

A Father’s Wise Advice

The wisdom in Proverbs 6:1-15 is as relevant today as it was when it was written. Please read it slowly and thoughtfully. Avoid reading so fast you cannot dwell on the message contained here. Allow God to speak to you for your life and the lives of those you may be able to help.

Take great care in giving a pledge or guarantee on behalf of neighbors and strangers. Do not do so unless you can afford to lose that amount if something does not work out.

1My son, if you have become surety for your neighbor,
Have given a pledge for a stranger,

      2If you have been snared with the words of your mouth,
Have been caught with the words of your mouth,

3Do this then, my son, and deliver yourself;
Since you have come into the hand of your neighbor,
Go, humble yourself, and importune your neighbor.

4Give no sleep to your eyes,
Nor slumber to your eyelids;

5Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hunter’s hand
And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.

Be not lazy. Instead, be industrious, taking ownership for your own care and for that of others you are responsible for. Think ahead, well beyond the short -term daily provision but rather looking ahead to the future. It may seem far off now, but if you don’t prepare now, you will face crisis later.

6Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,

7Which, having no chief,
Officer or ruler,

8Prepares her food in the summer
And gathers her provision in the harvest.

9How long will you lie down, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?

10“A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest”—

11Your poverty will come in like a vagabond
And your need like an armed man.

Do not devise evil for your own financial gain.

12A worthless person, a wicked man,
Is the one who walks with a perverse mouth,

13Who winks with his eyes, who signals with his feet,
Who points with his fingers;

14Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil,
Who spreads strife.

15Therefore his calamity will come suddenly;
Instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing.

Consider scripture from Proverbs as if it were advice from a wise, loving father… because it is just that.

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

Choose Your Own (Financial) Adventure – But Do So Wisely

I remember as a child reading a style of book that was called a “choose your own adventure” book. This style of kids’ book has a basic story line with several outcomes for each situation the characters encounter based on which choices you as the reader make for them. For example… if in the story the main character faces a choice to go into a cave or continue in the forest… the reader chooses and turns next to the page that continues the story based on that decision. The outcome is different based on the choice the reader makes.

The same is true in life. Yes, for each of us there are some preset assumptions for our adventure… who our parents are, where we are born, what value system we are taught, etc. However, we each have the opportunity to make choices for ourselves that influence the outcome of our personal story. This is true whether or not we choose to admit that we are making decisions that matter. Do we get up and find a job? Do we work hard? Do we show love to others? Do we obey God?

We make decisions every day. It is just that we at times overlook the importance of how even our seemingly daily, “small” decisions influence the outcome of our life.

I used to think it would be helpful to have a guide to help me choose wisely as each situation came up in those choose your own adventure books. What if I had a map that showed which choices led to success and which to destruction? Wouldn’t that be great! It would help me navigate to the best possible outcome for whatever story I was in.

While no one made a guide or map for the choose your own adventure books, God did in fact provide a guide for helping us in our everyday life decisions while we deal with other people and with God. Of course this includes managing our finances wisely!

While the Bible as a whole provides much value and insight here, Proverbs in particular comes to mind as providing lots of specific applications of wisdom for how we make our daily decisions. Many of the Proverbs are laid out in such a way as to contrast righteousness and wisdom to wickedness. We do well to study Proverbs consistently and apply it as God intended as the guide to help us navigate our lives to the best possible outcome.

Do not think of scripture as something old and out of date. Instead, think of it as part of an instruction manual that God has given you… yes you, specifically… for your life. Read it as if God meant for you to use it in making your daily decisions, because He did!

I always encourage you to click the link and read the whole scripture, but I have highlighted some verses in the article that have more applicability for finances specifically.

Proverbs 17

Contrast the Upright and the Wicked

      1Better is a dry morsel and quietness with it
Than a house full of feasting with strife.

2A servant who acts wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully, and will share in the inheritance among brothers.

5He who mocks the poor taunts his Maker; he who rejoices at calamity will not go unpunished

10A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.

12Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly.

18A man lacking in sense pledges and becomes guarantor in the presence of his neighbor.

23A wicked man receives a bribe from the bosom to pervert the ways of justice.

At first glance, perhaps some of these may not be clear in regards to finances. Take time to dwell on them. Verse 10 and 12 strike me of very applicable to those of us who may make mistakes with our finances from time to time. Someone who wishes to help us may rebuke our unwise choices and we should take care to keep pride at bay and remain humble enough to receive their correction, even if they don’t say it in the nicest way. We will be the benefactor of the message if we do. Similarly, let us not be the fool trapped in his own folly once we have made a poor decision on finances. Be willing to admit a mistake and get out of it, even if at a loss. This could apply to overextending our debt by buying too big a home or too expensive cars and doing so on debt instead of saving ahead. The interest could cost you dearly. It could apply to investing in stocks when we make a poor choice and have a losing position.

10A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.

12Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly.

Take time to really reflect on each of the verses in today’s article. Think of situations and decisions you are facing today in your life. Which verses in today’s reading is God putting on your heart to apply in your life to help you make the right decisions?

God may also show you through His word some examples of where you handled a situation well, even if the outcome was not what you wanted… thank Him for the encouragement!

Continue to study and apply the wisdom contained in Proverbs to specific issues in your life. Use the wisdom God provides to help your find the best outcome based on choices you make that  influence your own personal adventure in life!

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

Are You Gambling or Investing?

Are you a gambler or an investor? Consider your entire portfolio that you invest. Do you understand how you will succeed if one particular asset or asset class (e.g. the stock market) goes up, goes down, or stays flat? If the success of your financial investing strategy requires any one asset to move in a particular direction, then what happens if it does not do that? You are essentially gambling your money on an asset increasing in value.

Let’s consider someone investing in the US stock market.

  • A gambler may make a disproportionately large bet on the stock market or an individual stock going in a specific direction. For example, he hopes or believes it will increase in value. He may make a big gain if things go his way, but if the market crashes he loses much money.
  • An investor avoids the greed of chasing the maximum gain, that brings with it high risk. Instead, he plans a strategy that is diversified across multiple assets or asset classes (e.g. diversified group of stocks, bonds, cash, perhaps some silver or gold). If the market crashes he is positioned to use some of his cash position or bonds to buy stocks after he is confident the crash has bottomed out and stabilized. When stocks recover, he comes out with a profit. Later, he rebalances his portfolio back to target by selling some of the stocks he picked up when values had fallen. If he suspects a certain investment has potential for high gain, he considers investing a smaller portion of his portfolio to capture the gain with less overall risk… this is called speculative investment.

If you have not done so in a while, it is a good time to consider your investing strategy. The global economy is trying to recover from struggles through many years and yet stocks are already priced at or near all-time highs due in part to heavy interference by national governments (e.g. “the Federal Reserve” keeping interest rates low artificially, thus driving people into the stock market at higher risk).

Do you know if your portfolio is prepared for either outcome (e.g. stock markets decline or rally higher)? or are you betting that it will work out in one particular outcome and unprepared for the other?

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