What Does it Mean to be Rich?

Read James 5: 1-6

In biblical stewardship, what we chase is temporary and will rot, so why would we place our trust in it?

Even those things we think are important usually are not! People who place their trust in wealth, accomplishments, education, self, or… are headed for trouble as it takes them away from God just as chasing the devil does; both lead to the same end-separation from God both while on the earth and if Christ is never fully received also for eternity. Even if the person does become saved in Christ, he or she will live a life of waste and no return for that which is important. It will be the evidence to convict us of our sins and leave us earthly and the danger of being eternally dejected, void of hope or meaning. Not the loss of our salvation; rather the notification, we never received it (Matt. 13)!

So, what does it mean to be rich?

“Rich,” in this passage, refers to a social class of aristocracy. Keep in mind that wealth, in and of itself, is not condemned here or any other place in the Bible. As, wealth can be a blessing from God if we use it as a tool and not as a devotion (Prov. 10:22).

The condemnation James gives it implies the abuse of money to oppress the poor. This is a manner of the heart, as our checkbook will show where our loyalty, commitment, and interest abound!

“Corrupted”…”rust” are general terms that refer to anything that can, and will corrode and decay by rust, mildew, bugs, weather, wood rot, or for anything destroyed by fire. All matter, no matter how valuable, is in a state of decay. In the end it is worthless and meaningless (Matt. 6:19-20).

Wages” refers to being paid. To not pay someone was considered evil and violated the law of God. People needed their daily wages to purchase food for that day for their families. Thus, with no money, they would go hungry after a hard day’s work, and have to live with a disappointed family (Lev. 19:13; Deut. 24:14-15; Prov. 11:24; Jer, 22:13; Mal. 3:5)!

Fraud.” The earnings of the poor were a meager fraction of that of the owners. And, even when the workers were paid, it was not sufficient pay to provide care for themselves and family. Sometimes, they were not even able to “glean” the land they just worked (Lev. 19:9-10; 23:22; Deut. 24:19).

So, what we think is rich in God’s perspective is really not, not important at all. Wealth in money and things do not make you rich in God’s sight or and what really matters. As relationships and our sanctification in Christ is what is real riches. The devotion to material wealth comes from selfish motivations, and this selfishness will be used to judge us (Acts 2:17; 1Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:1; Heb. 1:2; 1John 2:18).

Look at the context and know this, the poor will not be ignored by God; their cries reach Him. Our responsibility to care for them must be heeded! There is never an excuse to cheat or take advantage of another person. For a Christian, it is diametrically in opposition to whom Christ is and what He has done for us! The cry and the fact of the evidence are testimony and evidence against such an evil person (Gen. 4:10).

Relationships and our sanctification in Christ is our true wealth of riches!

 

Handling Credit Cards

Handling Credit CardsThis is a very simple concept and will alleviate most of your money struggles and marriage arguments.

Credit cards are a tool when you are in a great need. It is always best to play them off each month.

What credit cards are not, is being your money! They are not your income or your entitlement, they are not what you need or what you deserve. When we get this, we will be on the right track of money management.

This is all about telling your money what to do, not allowing your desires to ‘defund’ you. If you can’t manage a credit card, do not have one. Stick to a debit card and have a good budget to guide you.

Biblical Concepts on Generosity PII

Generosity in Practice 

Generosity is the realization we have His living water flowing in us. To keep it fresh, it must flow out of us, too (John 4; 7:38)!

This is like the Dead Sea in Israel, which is a dead body of water that has little to no life in it. There is no life in it because it has no outlet. It has a river flowing into it, but the water remains there, and becomes stagnated with harsh salts and minerals to the point that nothing can live or grow there. When we are stingy, we become like the Dead Sea–stagnant and lifeless. The living water within us will quickly become stagnant, like a mud puddle with mosquito larvae growing in it, useless, and even dangerous.

Here are positive examples from Scripture (Exodus 36:2-7; Luke 7:44-8:3; 10:33-37; 21:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8:1-7)

Here are negative examples from Scripture (Haggai 1:2-9; Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 25:31-46; 26:6-13)

Is the Character of Generosity working in you?

Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and Fruit of Generosity from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself:

  1. How do I exhibit Generosity in my daily life?
  2. What can I do to develop a mindset to know that all I have in life belongs to God, and, since He supplies all I have and need, I can model His grace through being Generous?
  3. What blocks me from being Generous?
  4. How can I make Generosity function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress?

 A selfish Christian or a self-centered church that does not give, and only sees themselves as a charity, will become a Dead Sea rather quickly. How sad and pathetic that would be–an unconcerned, uncaring, and self-absorbed quandary to the neighborhood, and a disgrace to the Kingdom!

Think through the steps you need to take to put Generosity into action in a specific instance. If you are not a giving or hospitable person, seek to discover why. You are blocking God’s work in you. How can you release your selfish attitudes, and embrace the flowing in and out of His work in you?

The lack of Generosity will reflect a lack of faith and obedience! If you think there are no rivers coming into you, then seek what is blocking them. Is it sin, attitude, fear….?

God blesses those who steadfastly embrace His call, and who stay true to Christ. We need to stop looking for approval from society, and seek His approval. True Character will be the fruit of our encounter with Christ and the endeavor of how we are with others around us!

 

 

Biblical Concepts on Generosity PI

 

Generosity

What is “Generosity?”

What are the things that cause you to be stingy with what God gives you?

Generosity is actually a ‘Fruit’ of the Holy Spirit that gets a hold of the real believer; thus, this action will inspire one to be more charitable to others. This allows us to give to others because God has given abundantly to us. It is also the wise use of stewardship and the proper attitude that all possessions belong to God. Since, we are merely the caretakers for His stuff, we can properly manage and re-purpose for Christ’s purpose. 

Key passages: Deuteronomy 16:17; Proverbs 11:24-25; 13:7; Matthew 10:8; 2 Corinthians 9: 6-15; 1 John 3:17 

This Fruit encounter will see the Lord as the Source of true blessing, not our selfish desires.

Basically, God wants us to get rid of Stinginess, and is a person of character who in endowed by the Fruit of the Spirit so we can exhibit and practice Generosity.

What happens when we are not generous? What are the opposites of God’s call?Greed, Stinginess, Selfishness and Miserlinessare the fruits of the flesh that cause us to be ‘possessed’ by our possessions, stopping us from being a blessing and of use to God and others. These rotten fruits ‘rot’ because we hoard them and do not use them properly as Christ called us to do. This blocks the flow of God’s blessings and ‘living water’ from flowing in us. We will become stagnant and useless to the Kingdom or the people around us. Pride and arrogance will be the driving force, the quintessential things that God hates the most (Proverbs 6:16-18)!

Generosity is an example of our trust and reliance on God. Because He has given so much to us, way beyond what we can comprehend, we can therefore be charitable to others.

Generosity is also an act of worship–to model Christ, and see the big picture that goods and material things are not important, but relationships are. This goes to giving back to God, providing to those who have less, and making sure your church is modeling this character.

One of the things I both love and hate to do is go out to lunch with a bunch of fellow Christians after church or Bible study. I love the fellowship and conversation; but, when it comes to tip time, I, as the pastor usually ends up paying the tip or make up the rest bill. Then, hear complaints from waitresses about how stingy the various church groups are! When will we learn, as a Church, that our actions enable us to point others to the way to the Lord, and give us the ability to repel others from Him!

Let yourself be a rich and growing reservoir, overflowing like a fountain of living water that refreshes and encourages all those around you (Eph. 5:18). This will be your sweetness and virtue to others, which will point them to God and be a welcome mat to the Christian life.

 

6 Apps That Can Simplify Your Money Life

From Forbs, here are some good leads to check out:

If you’re the C.F.O. of your household, then you’ve probably wondered if there isn’t a techie solution for managing your finances.

The problem is that there are probably too many options out there. The onslaught of offerings that you’ll find when you visit the app store can be overwhelming—but we’re here to help!

We’ve scouted six free apps (including ours!) that are easy to use and work wonders to streamline your life and your wallet. Then we asked Jennifer Jolly, a tech expert and blogger behind Tech’s Appeal, to fill us in on what makes these apps so helpful—as well as some things to consider before you download.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2014/01/24/6-apps-that-can-simplify-your-money-life/

How to Work on a Budget

It is not hard to do, and it will make your life so much easier!

Instead of thinking of a budget as a negative thing, remember that a budget is simply a “game plan” or a financial plan. We need to have money to live in today’s society. Because money is a necessary aspect, a tool that we need to create, apply, and follow the plan. In doing so, we can be wise stewards with what God has blessed us, and we can competently handle money, time and things—all gifted to us for the glory of Our Lord. A well-designed budget considers necessities, generosity, and desires and benefits everyone—you, your spouse, your family, your friends, even strangers!

How do we do this? You need to have a plan. This starts with a biblical concept of how to deal with your money and debt.


First, know your total income (what comes in).

Then, count all of your expenses (what goes out).

The goal is to always make sure the income is greater than the expense. Kindly and honestly communicate with each other to make sure that you are both aware of the reality and work from there. Put the plan on paper and discuss it together. If you need a template for examples, go to crown.org or biblicalstewardship.net.

You are a money manager for God as it all belongs to Him, and we work for Him!

Here is how:

http://biblicalstewardship.net/how-to-make-a-family-budget/

Have you wondered what is our ultimate inheritance?

Read 1 Peter 1: 3-12

“Praise Be” or “Blessed be the God” is an incredible proncment of who we are in Christ. This word, phrase comes from the Greek, brake, used in Jewish blessings, and means the God Who blesses us. It also means rebirth—that God converts or “re-births” us.

Our inheritance means Chrisr re-purposed us, re-birthed us.

It is the theme that, as Christians, we are born again because God adopts and changes our nature as in starting again as new (Jer. 1:11-12; Ezek. 36:24-27; Mic. 1:10-15; John 3; 7:37-39). In Peter’s time, this phrase also referred to Gentiles who converted to Judaism. Now, He switches it to those who converted to Christ as their new living Hope, inheritance, security, and God.

So, let’s take a look at this wondrous key word, “Inheritance” here in 1 Peter, it means the “substance” of the hope we have in Christ. What does this have to do with stewardship? A lot, because we tend to think all stewardship is about is money. And what we are working for and why is so much more profound and powerful. It is not money or things, nor power or authority. Rather, it refers to salvation—our deliverance from sin; we are God’s children, sealed in Him and joint-heirs with Him by His Work. That we have God’s blessing, and also in context refers to how lovingly God goes out of His way to redeem us (Rom. 8:16-17; Heb. 1:14).

For the Jews in Jesus time, this meant inheriting a future world such as Israel’s inheritance of the Promised Land while wandering the desert. It infers redemption and the process God used to redeem us. It meant treasures stored up in Heaven for them (4 Ezra—a Jewish apocryphal book). For us, by Jesus’ righteousness and our obedience, our treasures are also stored up, while we still have opportunities now.

As a Christian, our chief inheritance is that Christ is our Redeemer! Christ is our Living Hope that will never fade away! This real inheritance gives us the confidence and conviction we have that our living God keeps His promises and secures us in Him. It is the assurance—and fact—that God has redeemed us, will bless us, and will care for us (1 Peter 1:13, 21; 3:15).

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.” Ephesians 1:18

We are chosen and given our new birth! We live in hope! As Christians, we have God’s abundant mercy, hope, and assurance so we can praise God for His grace and salvation! In our new life, we are set apart, as we have salvation and an eternal inheritance available to us! God makes us holy in His sight and relevant for life here and now as well as for the eternity to come.

Salvation produces hope and joy. He is our living Hope that will not fade away! This bond ties us to the responsibility of responding to what our God has done for us. He gives us faith; we are responsible for keeping the faith going and growing because we will be delivered from those who oppose us (Eph. 6:16; Phil. 2:12-13; 1 Pet. 5:8-9).

This inheritance is about our God’s most abundant mercy, love, and grace, given to us, without merit, before the foundations of matter and time. He loves and cares for us beyond any depth or limit, beyond any human comprehension. This inheritance is given to us so we can declare it to others. We know Christ because He has made Himself known to us so we can make Him known to others.