Friday, June 24, 2011

Budgeting Week Post #5- So why does it matter if I honor God with my finances anyway?!?!

"Don't hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust-or worse- stolen by burglars! Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it's safe from moth and rust and burglars. It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being...You can't worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you'll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can't worship God and Money both". Matthew 6"19-21, 24

Does God really care about how we choose to earn and spend our money? YES! In fact, money is mentioned over 800 times in the Bible. 800 times! This was the second most mentioned subject in all of God's word. But yet we hardly ever hear it discussed in our churches or Small groups. Why is that? Dave Ramsey says it's because we don't often realize what a problem managing money is for the average family. Look at these statistics:
1. Marital Problems - 37 percent (the highest rate) of marital problems derive from financial situations
In fact, 33% of CHRISTIAN marriages are now ended in divorce and money problems are the #1 reason!
Cash Flow - 70 percent of all consumers live paycheck to paycheck, meaning they run out of money before the end of the month

Can you see why this is an issue that God cared deeply about us understanding and one that we need to get under control quickly?

Although we are all clearly told in the first commandment that we are not to have any gods before God (Ex. 20:3), many of us have made money a god in our homes and lifestyles.

Jesus, who knew the human heart and walked among man, also knew that money was an issue. In fact, two-thirds of the parables that he told deal specifically with handling our finances! Don't get me wrong here, the money and the 'stuff' isn't the problem, but the money and 'stuff' can be a SYMPTOM of the problem. He constantly warned us to guard our hearts against greed, covetousness, ego, and pride, because these are the tools that Satan uses to control and manipulate this world. "He said to them, ‘Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions’ " (Luke 12:15). 

Crown Financial wrote the following: Finances - our spiritual barometer
A definition of "faith," according to Hebrews 11, is trusting God totally. It means trusting God for things you cannot see or manipulate into happening. Most of us truly desire to be able to exercise this faith, but the world around us tells us to do just the opposite. If you don’t have the money for what you "need," borrow to get it. If it’s too expensive for your income, so what? You deserve it; besides, you have to stretch yourself if you want to be successful in this world.

God’s Word tells us to learn to be content and dedicate ourselves to serving God. In Hebrews 12:1 we are told, "Let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us."

How and for what purpose God uses mone
(from Crown Financial's website)
Money is neither good nor bad: it is merely a medium of exchange. It is the misuse and abuse of money that cause the problems.

Because God is so good, He uses money for our benefit in several different ways.
  1. God uses money to strengthen our trust in Him. It is often through money that God can clearly and objectively show us that He is in total control, if we will trust Him and accept our positions as stewards and managers of His possessions (see Matthew 6:32-33).
  2. God uses money to develop our trustworthiness. This principle is important because our lives generally revolve around making, spending, saving, and using money. If He can trust us with money, He can trust us with greater responsibilities and His true riches (see Luke 16:11).
  3. God uses money to prove His love. Scripture tells us that God assumes the responsibility of providing the basic necessities for everyone who trusts in Him (see Matthew 7:11). By transferring all money to Him, He often uses money to meet those necessities of life.
  4. God uses money to demonstrate His faithfulness. Moses reminded Israel that it was God who would give them the power to make wealth. Our security is in God, not in our bank accounts. Discovering His faithfulness though financial needs encourages reliance on Him.
  5. God uses money to unite Christians in blessings. God will use the abundance of one Christian to supply the needs of another. Surplus money in our lives has been given by God for the purpose of helping those who are in need.
  6. God uses money to provide direction. There is probably no way God can direct our lives more meticulously than through the abundance or lack of money. Too often we believe God directs our lives through the abundance of money, but He also will lead us down His directed path by withholding money.
  7. God uses money to cultivate self-control. One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control, a key aspect of successful money management.
  8. God uses money to clarify spiritual maturity. Many temptations clamor for Christians' attention. A great deal can be learned about our personal character and spiritual maturity by noticing how we handle money and determine financial priorities.
Areas in which God does not use money
Just like there are several ways in which God uses money for our benefit, there are several areas in which God never uses money to influence our lives.
  1. God never uses money to worry us. If Christians are worried, frustrated, and upset about money, God is not in control. God said that wealth without worry is His plan for our lives. In addition, He promises to meet the needs of those who trust in Him (see Matthew 6:25).
  2. God never uses money to corrupt us. Many Christians have fallen into Satan's trap and are being corrupted. Christians whose financial life is characterized by greed, ego, deceit, and other worldly snares are at enmity with God and His plan.
  3. God never uses money to build egos. Frequently, Christians are trapped by financial ego in that they use money in an attempt to build self-worth and ego. However, in Christ all are financially equal because all wealth will pass away. What will remain will be those things that have been laid up in heaven—the true wealth.
  4. God never allows money to satisfy our personal whims or desires. God does not expect His people to live in poverty; however, He also does not endorse lavishness. Surplus is provided so that God's work can be funded and those in need can be helped. If the surplus is hoarded or wasted on lavishness rather than used for His plan and purpose, chances are the surplus will be removed.
So what do I need to know?
1- God wants us to be wise with the money we are given and to set aside some for savings. (Prov. 21:20)

2- God wants us to make a difference in our family by giving to future generations (Proverbs 13:22)
3-  The Bible DISCOURAGES debt. Yes, I'm serious. Proverbs 22:7
4- We are not to buy something unless we can afford it. Stop putting things on the credit card if you can't afford them!  Luke 14:28
5- We cannot be fully devoted to serving God and yet fully absorbed into our own world focused on always aquiring more money and more "stuff"

So what do I do?!?!

1- TITHE- This is not a request, it is an act of obedience. Malachi 3:10
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”
2- GIVE TO OTHERS- Acts 20:35
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

3- DON'T WORRY- Philippians 4:19

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. 
4- DON'T WORRY- Try to not be sucked in by the world's pull and needing to have more 'stuff'. Before you make a purchase, pray about it for an entire week. Talk with your spouse, a parent, a mentor, or a friend. Wait and see if after that week you still feel that you need it as badly as you did a week before. Could that money be more wisely invested somewhere else?
 James 4:14

"For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away."
Crown Financial says that "Money is a Tool, and Test, and a Testimony". Choose how you spend it wisely. 

Love to all of you! Hope you've enjoyed this week's series on Budgeting. Monday I'll post on Couponing.
Don't forget our giveaway we're doing for anyone who posts our blog on your Facebook page or on your own blog. You have until Thursday, June 30th at 10:00 a.m. Good luck!

1 comment:

  1. Amen, sister! What wonderful truths to be reminded of!


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