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Before the Buckets – Financial Foundations

It’s no wonder that people are stressed! Many people feel like financial uncertainty is a permanent fact of life. Others feel like they will have no security if the stock market sharply declines. After 40 years of giving financial advice and being a Christian, I am convinced that security and peace come when a person understands God’s perspective on money as well as His principles for wise decision-making. The nuts and bolts decisions are very important, but the over-arching peace of mind and freedom that you and I are seeking come only from embracing the Truth that God offers us in His Word.

“How Much Is Enough?”

Do you think it is possible ever really know, “How much is enough?” when it comes to your finances? I’ve wrestled with that question – for myself and others – for almost my entire life.

By the time I was 33 years old, in the early 1970s, I had been on the fast track to success for over 10 years. I had moved rapidly up the corporate ladder; I had founded what has become one of the 50 largest CPA firms in the country; I had ownership in two banks in Indiana; I had a wife and three healthy girls; I had all of the trappings of success. Also, at 33 years old, I had just given my life to Jesus Christ and was being challenged to re-think my priorities and my worldview. (See my testimony for the whole story of where I was at that time.)

During the early 1970’s, Americans were unsettled by inflation, a rising prime rate, and the removal of the dollar from the gold standard. For the first time in modern history, the United States began running a trade deficit. People were afraid that they would never be financially secure, even if they made good choices.

At that point, I was asking myself, “How much is enough?”; “Will I ever have enough to retire?”; “If I have enough to retire, will it still be enough when I need it?”, and on and on. In my line of work, I was seeing that other people were also afraid. They were asking the same questions. Out of their fear, they were either hoarding resources or living hedonistically and trying to get all of the gusto out of life that they could.

My newfound faith and my recurring fears about having enough came to an intersection at 33 years of age.

Hearing God’s call into full time ministry, Judy and I moved with our five children to Atlanta, Georgia while I worked at developing seminars in decision making, time management, faith planning, and problem solving. I also traveled to Africa 11 times in two years, assisting a ministry in applying the principles I was teaching.

Interestingly, I found that the question of “how much is enough?” was also being asked by missionaries, affluent and poor Africans, full time Christian workers, pastors, and new friends. I was coming to see that the following three questions transcended classes and cultures:

  1. Will I ever have enough?

  2. Will it continue to be enough?

  3. How much is enough, particularly in view of my Christian convictions and understanding of Scriptures?

From that point on, for the last few decades, I have sought to give financial counsel to believers that would remove frustration and fear from their relationship with money.

You are probably asking the three questions that I outlined above. If you are, then you are right where God would have you to be. You are open to his counsel in your life. I congratulate you for your teach-ability and I urge you to begin to turn over your fears to Him as you gather the tools and skills to gain wisdom and practical control of your finances.

Over my career, I have met many people whose fears and questions have been able to be quieted by embracing Truth and by dealing with financial realities in a responsible and proactive way. You CAN define your financial finish lines (Link to goal setting). You CAN learn about God’s insight into various financial areas of your life.

This website is the culmination of a lifetime of lessons learned and advice given. It is outlined in an “11 Bucket Model” for understanding your financial picture and creating a plan for your finances is rooted in my own journey to be “filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” (Colossians 1:9) Begin with step one and take the time to educate yourself so that you grow in confidence and faith.

Application:

Spend some time with the Lord and ponder your own questions. How does the “how much is enough?” question affect your financial decisions? Do you tend to hoard and over-manage, or do you tend toward irresponsibility with your finances? How does God’s Truth revealed in Luke 12:22 – 34 speak to the root causes of your fear? Finally, how much time and energy are you willing to spend in order to be teachable and intentional in your financial life?

Testimony: A Pastor Who Lived It:

Even in America, one of the world’s most affluent economies, there are few individuals who ever attain true financial independence. Most of us end up dependent on the government or family to help us make ends meet in our old age.

I’ve been honored to meet and work with many people who do live within their means and effectively save enough money for a productive retirement. One such person was dramatic in their impact on me.

In 1982, I met a humble pastor who had never earned more than $8,000 per year. He came to me wanting to know if he had enough money to live on for the rest of his life. When I met him, he was 80 years old and had already been retired for 20 years. His wife was required full time nursing care and he was concerned about his financial future.

As is my custom, I asked the gentleman some questions before I gave him any advice. My first question was whether he had debts to repay. He responded that he had never borrowed money in his life. I asked him “why not?” and he told me that it was simple: if he borrowed money, he’d have to pay it back someday. He felt that he could not afford to pay back a debt, feed his family, and give.

Secondly, I asked him what assets he had in his name. He said he and his wife had roughly $250,000 in cash and liquid assets in her name. Also, in his own name, he had about $350,000 in liquid assets. I was amazed! They had over $600,000 in cash and they had never earned more than $8,000 per year.

I was hung up on one final thing – he had not mentioned having any stocks, but his tax returns showed that he had quite a bit of dividend income. When I asked him about it, he said that at retirement, he had invested about $10,000 in the stock of a new company. Twenty years later, the market value of the stock was $1,063,000! WOW! After a lifetime of limited earnings, he and his wife had over 1.5 million dollars in cash and stock!

At that point in the conversation, I wanted to sit at this man’s feet and gain wisdom from him! I felt so humbled by the chance to see, firsthand, the biblical principles of money management at work in the life of God’s servant. His question was “will I have enough to live on?” The answer was a resounding yes!
His story may seem surreal, but I know many other individuals and couples who have faithfully practiced biblical principles of finances. I hope you take heart from his story. You, too, can begin the journey of faithfully practicing wisdom with your money and move in the direction of peace in your pocketbook.

What makes a Christian’s financial decisions different?

Do you remember the story of the twelve spies Moses sent into the Promised Land to report about the land? Ten of the spies returned to Moses and told him how terrified they were of the “giants” who lived in the land, while two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, returned to tell Moses, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” (Numbers 13:30 – NKJV)

The difference between the ten spies and Joshua and Caleb was a simple thing: their perspective. The ten believed in the strength of the opponent; the two believed in the strength of God.
William Cook, in Success, Motivation, and the Scriptures defines success as, “the continued achievement of being the person God wants me to be, and the continued achievement of established goals God helps me set.” In contrast, my oldest daughter once defined success in worldly terms as, “having whatever you want when you want it.” How very different!

What is your perspective on success?

Christian and non-Christian alike are concerned with success. Success is always related to our goals. The difference, as with the spies, is in our perspective. One view focuses on immediate gratification and self-promotion while the other focuses on an unseen eternity and treasure in heaven.
What you focus on determines your attitudes and actions. A Christian’s focus, perspective, or worldview will determine their financial decisions and will distinguish their decisions from those who are not believers.
Jesus used many word pictures and analogies to communicate to His followers about our focus and goals. I’ve chosen a few themes that have struck me through the years but would encourage you to ask the Lord what His definition of “success” looks like for your life, based on Scripture.

  1. Salt and Light: Matthew 5: 13 – 16 (NIV)

    “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds, and praise your Father in heaven.”

What being “salt and light” means about money:

As with other areas, your finances should be different from, not better than, others in the world. You may or may not have more than your friend, but the amount is not the distinguishing factor. The distinguishing factor for you is that you are free from anxiety because your money and your “toys” don’t possess you. You are prayerful and you plan, therefore you are confident. You know that Christ’s promises of abundance and security don’t rest in temporal things but rather rest on His character and His eternal plan. Your perspective is eternal; you hold your possessions with an open hand; and your lifestyle is free from anxiety about money.

  1. Servant: Mark 10:43-45 (NKJV), I Timothy 6:18 (NIV)

    “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
    “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds and to be generous and willing to share.”

What being a “servant” means about money:

Money is one of the primary resources that a believer can use to serve others. Money is in greater abundance among American Christians than among almost any other group of believers. How generous are we?

Some are very generous. Believers who have answered the question, “Why am I here?” tend to be generous in using their money to serve others. As Rick Warren says in his book, The Purpose Driven Life, “It’s not about you.” Since financial planning is the predetermined use of financial resources to accomplish certain goals and objectives, a person who sees their role in the world as a servant will use their financial resources to fulfill that God given role.

Others of us are not as generous. In the 2008 book, Passing the Plate: Why American Christians Don’t Give Away More Money, authors Smith, Emerson, and Snell found that 22% of all American Christians gave nothing, 71% gave less than 2% of their income, and 9% gave 10% or more. They conjecture that with “reasonably generous giving,” Christians in America could generate an additional $133.4 billion per year for the cause of service to the world. Imagine the possibilities if we saw ourselves as servants and used our money to serve!

As I said, there are many analogies that Jesus uses to explain to a believer how we can and should view our definition of success. These are just two examples. My point is to express to you that our financial decisions are different because our lens is different. What lens is God asking you to look through as you view your money right now?

“What would you tell me, in a nutshell, about God’s opinion on my money?”

One morning at church, a Sunday school teacher stopped me on the way to teach class and asked if I could help him with his lesson on stewardship that day. I only had a few minutes to share with him, but after praying briefly, I conveyed the threefold message on stewardship that God put on my heart. In the years since then, I have preached and taught many times on these principles, knowing that they are freeing, profound Scriptural truths:

  1. God owns it all.
    Psalm 24:1, Leviticus 25:23, Haggai 2:8, I Corinthians 6:19 – 20, Deuteronomy 8:18, Matthew 25:21

  2. Money is never an end in itself, but is merely a resource to accomplish other, God-given, goals and obligations.
    Ecclesiastes 5:10 – 15, Deuteronomy 6:10 – 12, I Timothy 6:17 – 19, Matthew 6:19 – 21, 24

  3. Spend less than you earn and do it for a long time, and you will be financially successful.
    Proverbs 13:11, Proverbs 21:20, Proverbs 21:5

For more scriptures, visit Crown.org and GenerousGiving.org which both have extensive scriptures on various stewardship topics.

The first two principles provide amazing freedom as we yield control to God (since it is His anyway) and allow Him to direct our goals and obligations so that His money is used for His purposes in our lives. The third principle is very simple, but it provides the backbone for all sound financial planning decisions. Without margin in our finances, we have no way to accomplish goals with our money!

“What are the modern day implications about biblical stewardship from the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14 – 30 NKJV)?

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter in to the joy of your lord. Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

The parable of the talents, as the scripture here is commonly referred to, is ultimately about God’s interaction with us after Christ’s return. However, I have found the passage rich with truths about stewardship. Taken together, these four points define stewardship – both our role and the way God uses the process to shape us.

1 God Owns it All
In the parable, the lord “delivered his goods” to his servants. Over and over in Scripture, God is declared as the owner of all. If we follow the principle to its logical conclusion, there are three powerful implications.

First of all, God has the right to whatever He wants, whenever He wants it. God retains ownership, all we have is the responsibility associated with stewarding or taking care of His possessions. We might gain some benefits while carrying out my responsibilities, but God, as owner, retains the rights of ownership.
Think of it as parenting. When you give your child a car or a cell phone or even a pet, you entrust it to their care and allow them the privileges and responsibilities that come with their new possession. However, as the ultimate authority in the home, you retain ownership of that possession. As God’s child, you will possess many things but own nothing.

If you live in a house that you own, take some time to reflect on this truth by walking around your property and pondering how long that piece of land has been there. Think about how long it will continue to be there. Ask yourself whether you really do “own” your home or whether you are just the possessor of it for the moment. Your title to your home gives you the right to possess it, but only God actually owns it forever.

    What are the practical implications God’s total right to “my stuff”?
    While our emotions may be strong and loud when we lose or gain any possession, our mind and our spirit will have strong resolve that God has a right to give and take when He so chooses.

    Grasping the truth of God’s ownership frees us to give generously where we are led. We are free to use God’s resources for God’s purposes!

Secondly, not only is every giving decision a spiritual decision, but also every spending decision we make is a spiritual decision! All financial decisions are equal before God – cars, vacations, clothing, taxes, debt, children’s education, and on and on. All of these uses of money are responsible uses and are available for provision, benefit, and benevolence in our world.

What are the practical implications of my spending decisions being spiritual decisions?

    We can glorify Him in all of our spending decisions, and He cares about each decision that we make.

    Also, we can trust that (as stewards) God has given us guidelines (in Scripture) about many uses money so that we can be within the bounds of how He wants His money used.

Thirdly, because God owns it all, we cannot fake stewardship. Our checkbooks display what we really believe about our money and who owns it. Our checkbooks reveal our goals, our desires, our addictions, or priorities, our relationships, and even how we spend our time. As believers, we are schooled in what we “should” be doing – bible study, prayer, church attendance, philanthropy, etc. We can live those actions externally and have internally rebellious or self-righteous hearts. However, what our money reveals about our hearts cannot be faked. It will always tell a true story.

What are the practical implications of being incapable of faking stewardship?

    We have an opportunity to be vulnerable and to be changed. For those willing to be accountable and open about money with the Lord and with those close to us, we have tremendous opportunity to be changed and to be touched by God’s true transforming power. Transformation only occurs when vulnerability exists, so being honest about our stewardship will lead us to transformation in our hearts.

2 We are in a growth process
In reading all Scripture, it is clear that God uses our time on earth to shape and mold us. The parable of the talents reveals God is using our money and material possessions as a tool, a test, and a testimony.

Money is a Tool:

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4:11 – 12 (NIV)

Paul recounts his own life experience in these verses. No doubt you can relate to them. Sometimes we have plenty; sometimes we lack. God is not trying to annoy or frustrate us. Rather, He wants to use our resources as a tool to get our attention and teach us something
What are the practical implications of understanding that money is a tool?
We can ask, “God, what do you want me to learn?” rather than whining, “God, why are you treating me like this?”

Money is a Test:

“So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?” Luke 16:11 – 12 (NIV)

Mysteriously, our eternal position and reward is linked to our earthly faithfulness in handling the “talents” God gives us here. The above scripture and others like it show that God trusts eternal riches more completely to those who reveal their commitment to Him in tangible ways on earth through letting go of money and relationships when we are called to.

What are the practical implications of understanding that money is a test?

Knowing that our use of resources and relationships has impact far beyond today allows us to maintain an eternal perspective as we make simple and complicated financial decisions.

Money is a Testimony:

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:13 – 14 (NKJV)

How are money and testimony related? God uses our attitude toward money, wealth, lack, etc., as a testimony to the world. As He withholds desires, our attitudes are a testimony. As He blesses us, our attitudes are a testimony.

What are the practical implications of understanding that money is a testimony?
Keep in mind that our verbal and attitudinal response to both blessing and lack will have impact on the world around us. We have the gift of being salt and light to a fearful and desperate world as we take care of daily financial obligations and needs.

For those of us who feel like failures in our finances, please remember that God is a God of grace and that our weakness becomes His strength. Confess those failures, receive His mercy, and move on. Growth is a process, not a one-time event. Jesus desires that we sit at His feet to learn continually, not that we “graduate” from His school and become independent from Him.

3. The Amount is Not Important:

In Matthew 25:21 and 25:23, the lord says the same thing to the slave with two talents and the slave with five talents. In both cases, they are told that they have been faithful with a few things and will be granted more. The conclusion here is that the amount we have is not important, rather what we do with what we have been given IS important.

In America today, there is an undercurrent of conflict among believers about money. Some feel that money is a direct reward or blessing to reveal God’s favor and others feel that money is inherently evil and should be given away rather than accumulated. In this parable, God neither condemns nor commends poverty OR wealth.

The profound truth in scripture is that, since God owns it all, whatever He gives you can be held openly and managed responsibly. The amount is not important. Our attitude toward Him and our management of our resources are important.

What are the practical implications of understanding that the amount is not important?

There is freedom in knowing that the amount of money in our checking account does not indicate God’s love or favor for us. Freely take care of the resources you have and trust His perfect love for you.

4. Faith Requires Action:

The servant who had only one talent and buried it in the ground is representative of those who know better but DO nothing. Many of us know what we “ought” to do about ordering our finances and even intellectually believe that God will care for us through the painful process of getting our financial house in order. However, we don’t put our faith into action, and it is therefore dead faith.

What are the practical implications of understanding that faith requires action?

  • Deal with the possible reasons that we are inactive in this area of our life:

  • Are we too immersed in worldly philosophies to adhere to scriptural ones?

  • Are we too afraid of making a biblical or financial mistake to step out and risk?

  • Are we frustrated by confusion about what IS the right thing to do with our money?

Then, seek God for His direction and trust His word to you. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (NIV)

What are the three most important financial questions I should ask myself?
  • Who owns it?
    I am a manager or trustee of everything God has given me. How will I handle it?

  • How much is enough?
    I need to set finish lines so that I know when I am done accumulating. Then I decide what to do with the extra.

  • Who is going to be the next steward?
    Who gets what I have accumulated after I am gone, and are they prepared?

What are the three questions everyone is trying to answer about their finances?
  • Will you ever have enough?
    Will I be able to retire, or have enough extra to pay for emergencies?

  • How much is enough?
    Have I set finish lines so that you know how much is enough?

  • If I have enough, will it continue to be enough?
    People are living longer now than ever before, so is my lifestyle going to be supported by what I have accumulated?

Does God’s word have anything to say about my finances?
  • Every piece of good financial advice has its roots in a biblical principal.

  • There are over 2,350 verses in the Bible that deal with money and money management.

  • The way I manage my money reveals my belief system, and it reveals my character.

  • God’s word is transcendent over time and circumstances. Scripture gives principles about the five immediate uses of money: giving, saving, taxes, debt repayment, and lifestyle.

How do we live in light of economic uncertainty?

We can be certain that there will always be economic uncertainty.

Four principles:

  • Spend less than you earn. (Live within your income.)

  • Avoid the use of debt. (Do not live so that you obligate your future.)

  • Build liquidity or flexibility by having reserves set aside.

  • Set long - term goals. (Know where you are headed and what your priorities are.)

These principles will work no matter what your income level, where you live, what your circumstances are, or what your stage of life is.

What is going to happen in our economy?
  • If we look at our economy in the past 100 years, there have been many time of economic stress: inflation, deflation, war, stock market crashes, Y2K, 9/11.

  • The only thing we know for sure is that economic uncertainty is certain – so you need to plan with this in mind.

  • Live your life in light of biblical principles that will transcend any situation so that you can be as prepared as possible for economic uncertainty:

    Live within your means

    Avoid the use of debt

    Build cash reserves

    Plan for the future

What if we have a financial depression?
  • It is harder for a society to survive wealth than it is to survive and learn to live with poverty. No nation has ever survived prosperity.

  • Since the 1960s, there has been a phenomenal increase in personal wealth in the United States. The US controls 40% of the world’s wealth, and only has 2.5% of the population.

  • I do not know if we will have a financial depression. What I do know is that we can never have enough wealth to feel secure or significant.

  • The only certainty we have is that if we know God, we will spend eternity with Him. Ecclesiastes 5:15 says, “Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand.” (NIV)

What should I look for when choosing a financial advisor?

There are many advisors available to help you with your finances, as well as books, radio programs, TV programs, etc. There are enough resources available that you should be able to “do it yourself” with your financial plan. However, the Bible does tell us to seek counsel when it comes to serious matters.

There are five characteristics that you should look for in a financial advisor:

  1. What is their worldview? A Biblical worldview is the best source of wisdom.

  2. Do they ascribe to a code of ethics? Do they have integrity? How are they compensated?

  3. Do they have professional competency? No one is an expert in all areas; so make sure your financial advisor is competent in the area where you most need help.

  4. Will they give you client or character references? This is the best way to find out how good their advice has been.

  5. Do they personally practice the advice they are giving?

Faith and Finances: Volatility in the Stock Market

In the last year, we have experienced great volatility in the stock market. This is not a new thing, but it feels new and fearful to many. As Christians, we need to remember a few things:

  • The greatest barrier to faith is fear.

  • Go to God’s Word to receive comfort – He is not afraid, and He has promised that He will take care of us because we are His children.

There are five principles of money management in God’s Word that will position you to be strong in tough economic times.

  1. Live within your income. Have a budget and spend less than you earn.

  2. Use debt wisely, or avoid using debt at all if possible.

  3. Have an emergency fund.

  4. Set long-term financial goals.

  5. Believe that God owns it all.

If you have not lived within these principles, it is not too late to change your habits. The most important thing you can do, in any situation, is go to God’s Word for instruction, comfort, and encouragement.

Psalm 62:5 – 8
“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
My hope comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
He is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your hearts to Him,
For God is our refuge.” (NIV)

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Election of 2008

In the long-term, it does make a difference who wins the presidential election, because the candidates have differing economic and tax policies, and these things will affect our personal finances.

In the short-term, however, it does not matter who is elected. We are in a difficult economic time, and the economy is going to take some time to get out of the crisis, probably regardless of what short-term policies are put into place.

There are three important things we can and should do regarding the upcoming election:

Vote your conscience and your values.
Realize that your personal economy will always be subject to God’s principles of money management – no matter who is elected.
Look to the Bible for examples of people who served under ungodly kings and were blessed by God because they followed Him. A few examples of this are Joseph, Nehemiah, and Esther.

Regardless of the president, God has placed you wherever you are right now “for such a time as this.” Look for His guidance every day.

Philippians 4:4-7
“Rejoice in the Lord always.  Again I will say, rejoice!  Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (NKJV)

A guide to praying for government leaders

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Faith and Finances: Generosity and Gratitude
  • God demonstrates generosity.

  • We should respond with gratitude.

  • There is not one thing that you have received here on earth that is not a gift from God.

  • Be thankful – acknowledge that everything you have is from God, and let His generosity have an impact on every financial decision that you make.

Philippians 4:6
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (NKJV)

Nancy Williams at CBN, “Giving Thanks: Your Key to Well Being”

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Faith and Finances: Tips for Goal Setting

Goal setting is very important because:

  1. People who set goals usually accomplish far more than people who do not.

  2. Goals provide direction and motivation.

  3. When you accomplish a goal, you have a sense of reward.

The process of setting goals is more important than the goals themselves, because goals are going to change. Circumstances change, and when they do, your goals will change. If you know how to set goals, then when things change, you know how to adapt your goals to meet that change.

There are four guidelines that I follow as I set goals:

  1. Pray about what your goals should be.

  2. Spend time in Scripture, seeking God’s will.

  3. Sit down with your spouse and come to an agreement about what your goals are.

  4. Quantify the goals that you believe God would have you set. Make them measurable, so that you know when you have achieved them.

Philippians 3:12 – 14
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Blueprint for Life, “Anyone Can Balance on Their Head”

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Faith and Finances: Scriptures of Encouragement

Our media drives us to fear. Fear and faith cannot co-exist, because “perfect love drives out fear.” (I John 4:18) However, the emotion of fear is very real. I go to Scripture when I become fearful. Here are some of my favorites:

Psalm 73:23-28: In fearful times, Christians can be a tremendous witness to people who are consumed by fear.

“Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.” (NIV)
II Corinthians 4:16-18: Focus on what is unseen, because what is seen is not permanent.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (NIV)

Hebrews 13:5-6:
God is always with His children. “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (NIV)

Revelation 3:20:
Jesus wants to have fellowship with you. When you are fellowshipping with Jesus, it is difficult to be fearful.“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (NIV)

Ephesians 3:20:
God is able to do far beyond anything we can imagine. This is an awesome promise.“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” (NIV) Fear is a legitimate emotion, but you can combat fear by going back to the Bible.

2 Timothy 1:7
“For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind.”  (NKJV)

Micca Monda Campbell, “No Need to Fear”

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Knowing Your Advisor is Trustworthy

Here are some criteria as you make a decision about who will help you with your investments:

  • Is there accountability? Every investment advisor needs to be accountable to someone.

  • Look for counselors who share your value system.

  • Interview more than one counselor when you are looking for one. Make sure you have a personality match with that person.

  • Know what your criteria are for choosing an advisor.

  • When you get advice, it is okay, and even helpful, to ask for someone else’s opinion.

  • Just because someone is a Christian does not necessarily make him or her a good investment advisor.

  • Also, just because someone says he or she is a Christian, they are not necessarily trustworthy.

  • Always pray about any investment before you put your money into it.

Matthew 10:16
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (NIV)

CFP.net, “How to Choose a (Financial) Planner”

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Finding Basic, Good Financial Advice

The best way to find a counterfeit is to hold it up to the real thing. Hold up any advice that you get against God’s Word as a test. If the advice is not consistent with the Bible, then it is not good advice.

There is no easy way out of financial trouble. You need to follow Scriptural principles. I believe there are four steps to getting out of financial trouble:

  1. Set up a budget. Reduce your expenses as much as you are able.

  2. Pay off short-term debt with the cash you free up when you make your budget.

  3. Save money for an emergency fund - for the unexpected things that happen in everyone’s life.

  4. Set long-term goals. Prioritize your goals so that you can organize your finances according to a plan.

Luke 16:11
“So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” (NIV)

Crown Financial Ministries, “Long-Range Investing Goals”

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Faith and Finances: Achieving Financial Peace of Mind

Financial peace of mind is not achieved because of a specific amount of money. Financial peace of mind is a matter of the heart, and a matter of perspective. You can never accumulate enough to experience financial peace of mind.

To achieve financial peace of mind, I believe that you have to learn to be content. In fact, I think that contentment should really be your goal. The apostle Paul said that he had learned to be content no matter what his circumstances were.

Contentment is really the goal – not financial peace of mind.

Contentment comes from a right perspective and a right attitude.

Go to God’s Word. Ask Him if you are okay in terms of this life, and in terms of your eternal destiny. If you are at peace with God, and are following His principles, then contentment, and therefore financial peace of mind, should be within your grasp.

Isaiah 26:3-4
“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.” (NASB)

Howard Datyon at Crosswalk, “Who You Gonna Believe?”

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Communication: Facilitating Husband/Wife Communication

God created men and women to be different from one another. Anyone who is married knows that to be the case. Because we are different, I believe that many married people have communication issues about their money and their budget. Thinking differently from your spouse is not bad or wrong, but for the sake of unity in marriage, try to work with your spouse instead of against them.

  • Because of how men tend to think, a lot of them consider their budget to be a fluid thing. We manipulate the numbers as time goes on and circumstances change.

  • Women, on the other hand, may like to have their husband write down the budget and not change the numbers without notice. Your wife will probably feel better about your budget if you stick with your original numbers. If the numbers need to change, talk about it first, before you change your spreadsheet.

Remember that unity and good communication are the goals. Be sensitive to one another, and be willing to see things from another’s point of view.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (NKJV)

Gary Chapman, “Balancing Your Money Mindset”

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Communication: Husband and Wife in Disagreement Over Financial Decisions

I received a question from a lady who had recently become a Christian, and her husband had not committed his life to Christ. Her question was, “What if I want to tithe and save and set a budget, and my husband does not?”

Husbands and wives are often on different financial pages, especially in the areas of giving and saving. Many times, a wife has a greater sense of insecurity financially, because she sees what is going out, but she may not have the same confidence as her husband about what is going to come in. Also, many times, a wife will want to give more than her husband and save more than her husband. These issues about money can be a cause of friction in a marriage.

I have two suggestions if you are in this situation:
Can you bring in a facilitator? Can you have someone listen to both of you, and facilitate your conversation?
Understand that God has put you in a unique position to be a sweet aroma to your husband.

You may have to let go of some things that are causing you some insecurity, and trust God to work in the heart of your husband. This type of trust is not easy, but God is powerful, and He can work through your attitudes and your actions, as much as He can through your words.

Psalm 133:1
“Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity.” (NASB)

“Is it Really Possible to Talk to Your Spouse about Finances Without Getting into an Argument?”

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Communication: “How much is enough?”

A very good thing that a married couple can do together, relative to their finances, is to make decisions early in your married life about what kind of lifestyle you intend to have. Then, when you are tempted to change your lifestyle, possibly because your income has gone up, you will already have the guidelines in place.

You must keep in mind that there is no lifestyle that will make you feel:

  1. Content

  2. Successful

  3. Secure

Most of the time, when someone asks the question, “How much is enough?”, what they are looking for is contentment, not a lifestyle.

So, set the guidelines early, and you will be ahead of most people.

I Timothy 6:6 – 8
“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” (NKJV)

Steve Scalici at Crosswalk, “Jesus Words on Wealth Trump The Apprentice Mentality”

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Children: Most Important Things to Teach Children About Money

I believe that there are two things that are very important to teach your children about money:

  1. God owns it all. God is the source of all money and everything else that you have. We have the responsibility and the privilege to manage His money.

  2. There is a limited supply of money. We used the envelope system to teach our children this principle. When the envelope was empty, they could not spend any more. Find some way to teach your children that you can spend money any way you want to, but you can only spend it once.

1 Chronicles 29:11 (NIV)
“Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is Yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; You are exalted as head over all.”

James 1:5-6 (NASB)
“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.”

Crown Financial Ministries, “Children and Finances”

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Children: The Envelope System

The envelope system is a tool to teach budgeting to your children.

Here is how it works:

  • Decide what categories you will have. We used clothes, gifts, spending, saving, and tithe as our main categories.

  • Decide an annual amount for each category.

  • Divide each annual amount by twelve.

  • Each month put the 1/12 amount in each envelope.

There are a few additional notes about this system that I would like to add:

  • To come up with the tithe and saving amount, we added together all of the other envelope amounts, and took 10% of that amount for the tithe, and another 10% for saving.

  • You can have as many envelopes, or categories, as you want. Each child is unique, and you may have different envelopes for different children.

  • I would recommend having your child tithe first, then put money in some sort of savings account, and then take what is left over and put it into envelopes. This method will help teach your children Biblical priorities of money management.

  • Explain to your children that when the money in each envelope is gone, there is no more money left for that month.

Ecclesiastes 7:11-12 (NKJV)
“Wisdom is good with an inheritance, and profitable to those who see the sun. For wisdom is a defense as money is a defense, but the excellence of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to those who have it.” 

Proverbs 22:6 (NASB)
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Phil Downer, “Money – Teach Your Children Life-Long Lessons”

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Children: Allowance for Chores or Grades
  • We had a philosophy that we did not have allowances for our children. An allowance gives your child a set amount of money and lets them spend it any way they want.

  • We wanted to teach our children how to budget by giving them constraints on how they could spend the money we gave them.

  • We also did not believe in paying our children for good grades. We thought that grades were that child’s responsibility, and they got to have the opportunities or suffer the consequences for their own grades.

  • Finally, we did not pay our children for doing certain chores around the house, such as making their bed or doing the dishes. Chores were jobs that the children had to do because they were a part of our family, and as a part of the family, everyone had a job to do.

  • By not paying for grades or chores, we hoped to teach our children personal responsibility and motivation for the sake of the task, not for the sake of money.

Proverbs 22:6 (NASB)
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
“For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

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Children: Goal Setting with Kids

When you are teaching your children anything, remember, “more is caught than taught.” If you set an example for your children, more than likely, they will follow your example. So, let your children see you setting goals, and talk about what you are doing, what you will do to reach your goal, and tell them when you meet your goal.
My wife and I did something fun with our children to teach them to set goals. Once a year, on that child’s birthday, we took them out for dinner and asked them what they wanted to do in the next year. Some of the areas that we asked them about were grades, friends, activities, and purchases. Each child had their own notebook, and we wrote down what they wanted to do in the next year. Then, on that child’s next birthday, we would go back to the notebook and see what they had accomplished.
Remember, though, that if you do not set goals for yourself, you probably cannot expect your children to learn to set goals.

Proverbs 16:1-3 (NASB)
“The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, but the Lord weighs the motives. Commit your works to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”

Proverbs 25:28, (NASB)
“Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit.”

Daniel B. Wallace, “Should a Christian Set Goals?”

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Faith and Finances: He is God and I am Not

The way you live your life is rooted in who you believe God to be.
If He is good and sovereign, and you truly believe that, you will build your life around reflecting His glory.

1 Chronicles 29:12 (NKJV)
“Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.”

James MacDonald of Walk in the Word discusses that "God is Good Even When Life is Bad."

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Faith and Finances: Walking with God, Part 1

How do you practice the presence of God?

  • Rejoice always

  • Pray without ceasing

  • In all things give thanks

These are all choices that you can make, continually, to practice the presence of God. In this way, you can begin to sense God’s presence in your life in your daily walk.

Romans 12:2 (NASB)
 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Sarah Beldo of Guideposts shares a study showing that gratitude leads to generosity.

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Faith and Finances: Walking with God, Part 2

Romans 12:2 (NIV)
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Crown Financial Ministries has an article about impulsive and compulsive spending.

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Faith and Finances: What Is Stewardship?
  • The word stewardship means “management.” A steward is a trustee or a manager.

  • Stewardship is about life management – not just money management.

  • Think about stewardship holistically. God has given you specific gifts to use for His honor and His glory.

I Peter 4:10 (NIV)
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.”

Bob Lotich at ChristianPF asks the question “Stewardship – What is it Really?”

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Faith and Finances: Stewardship: God Owns it All
  • Biblical stewardship begins with the belief that God owns it all.

  • Practice holding everything with an open hand. This way, God can put in or take out anything He wants at any time.

  • If you really believe that God owns it all, you can have true freedom, because there is no more fear of loss.

Psalm 50:10 (NASB)
“For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.”

Chuck Bentley writes at Crosswalk.com about trusting God when things are tough financially.

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Faith and Finances: Growth Through Stewardship
  • The reality of earthly life is that you are continually in a growth process.

  • Put your life experiences into the context of your spiritual growth. You are being prepared for something bigger in eternity.

  • Do not lose heart in the process, because you will be in a growth process the entire time you are on earth. Remember that you learn from your mistakes.

I Timothy 4:7-8 (NASB)
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

Ray Stedman writes about the apostle Paul’s stewardship of his accomplishments.

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Faith and Finances: Stewarding Various Amounts
  • You do not become a steward, you are a steward, regardless of how much or how little you have.

  • If you are faithful with a few things, God will entrust you with more things. The things with which you have been entrusted include money, but they also include time, relationships, job, family, etc.

  • The amount is not important. Remember you are a steward.

Luke 16:10 (NASB)
"He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.”

Ray Watson of The Secret Place writes that most Christians do not receive five talents. If the “one talent Christians” do not do their part, the work of the Kingdom will not get done.

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Faith and Finances: Stewardship and Faith
  • You are not a steward simply by holding something. You are a steward as you use or manage things. Faith requires action.

  • You will see the demonstration of God’s faithfulness as you look back, not as you look forward. God is and always will be faithful, but you will see this faithfulness as you need it, and as time unfolds.

  • The only way you are a steward is when you are managing and implementing decisions. Then you will see God work and be faithful to His promises.

James 2:17 (NIV)
“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

Wes Bridel at Kingdom Calling talks about ownership vs. stewardship.

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Faith and Finances: Stewardship: Money is a Tool

How you use money is one aspect of stewardship.

Money can be used as a tool in three ways:

  1. Money can be exchanged for something of value, such as food, shelter, or building memories with your family.

  2. Money can be used to chisel you into the image of God.

  3. Money can be a tool that God uses to get your attention.

I Timothy 6:6-10 (NASB)
“But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge men into ruin and destruction. 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.”

View a story from the writings of the late Bill Bright about God's financial provision for businessman Art DeMoss in an economic downturn."

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Faith and Finances: Stewardship: Money as a Test
  • God uses money to test your heart. Where your treasure is, that is where your heart will be.

  • The more you have, the more difficult it becomes to trust God. You tend to lean on your possessions and put your trust in things, rather than in God.

  • The key to the money test is to trust God for what you have received and for what you will receive.

Proverbs 30:8b-9 (NIV)
“Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much, and disown you, and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”

Rick Warren discusses “Money and the Spiritual Life.”

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Faith and Finances: Stewardship: Money as a Testimony
  • Stewardship is total life management…management of everything, not just of money.

  • You are called to represent Jesus, and to reveal Him to the world.

  • Your life, and the stewardship of your life, is a testimony to the world. As Christians, you are called to be salt and light to the world.

Philippians 2:15 (NASB)
“So that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world.”

Pat Robertson writes about what the Bible has to say about money.

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Faith and Finances: Christ’s Poverty and Our Riches

The Christmas story is that Christ was rich, and for your sake He became poor. He gave up everything in heaven so that you can experience forgiveness, and live with Him in eternity.

II Corinthians 8:9 (NASB)
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.”

Matt Bell writes about remembering to keep Christmas simple.

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Faith and Finances: True Financial Freedom: The Salvation Decision

What is the process of achieving true financial freedom?

The first, fundamental decision that you have to make on the road to financial freedom is to deal with your relationship with the creator God. Trusting Him as Savior of your life is a necessary first step to financial freedom.

This decision is between you and God, and you have to make this decision before you can begin the process of true financial freedom.

John 3:16 (NASB)
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

Campus Crusade for Christ tells how you can know God personally.

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Faith and Finances: True Financial Freedom: The Lordship Decision

What is the process of achieving true financial freedom?

The second decision you need to make is the Lordship decision. Once you have a relationship to God and His Son Jesus, you need to decide who is on the throne of your life as Lord. God is either Lord of all or He is not Lord at all. This is the second decision you need to make on the road to financial freedom.

Ephesians 4:22-23 (NIV)
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds.”

The Navigators writes a devotional about making Christ the Lord of your life.

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Faith and Finances: True Financial Freedom The Calling Decision

What is the process of achieving true financial freedom?

The third decision you need to make is: What has God called you to do vocationally? You may be called to be a doctor or a lawyer, or you may be called to be a stay at home mom or a volunteer. But each person has a work that God has called him or her, specifically, to do.

Ephesians 2:10 (NASB)
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

Dan Miller asks the question, “Can your job and your calling be the same thing?”

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Faith and Finances: True Financial Freedom The Steward Decision

What is the process of achieving true financial freedom?

The fourth decision you need to make is to commit to managing everything that God has entrusted you with for His honor and His glory?

I Peter 4:10 (NASB)
“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

Randy Alcorn explains how to send your treasure ahead of you to heaven.

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Faith and Finances: True Financial Freedom: The Treasure Decision

What is the process of achieving true financial freedom?

The fifth decision you need to make is to lay up treasures in heaven. You can decide to be a pipeline of God’s resources, rather than acting as a bucket that hoards resources. You cannot take your resources with you when you die, but you can send them on ahead as treasure in heaven.

I Timothy 6:18-19 (NIV)
“Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.  In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”

Charles R. Swindoll encourages us to be a joyful pipeline of generosity.

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Before the Buckets – Financial Foundations

It’s no wonder that people are stressed! Many people feel like financial uncertainty is a permanent fact of life. Others feel like they will have no security if the stock market sharply declines. After 40 years of giving financial advice and being a Christian, I am convinced that security and peace come when a person understands God’s perspective on money as well as His principles for wise decision-making. The nuts and bolts decisions are very important, but the over-arching peace of mind and freedom that you and I are seeking come only from embracing the Truth that God offers us in His Word.

 


Before the Buckets – Financial Foundations

It’s no wonder that people are stressed! Many people feel like financial uncertainty is a permanent fact of life. Others feel like they will have no security if the stock market sharply declines. After 40 years of giving financial advice and being a Christian, I am convinced that security and peace come when a person understands God’s perspective on money as well as His principles for wise decision-making. The nuts and bolts decisions are very important, but the over-arching peace of mind and freedom that you and I are seeking come only from embracing the Truth that God offers us in His Word.

Budgeting:

Proverbs 21:5
The plans of the diligent lead to profit, as surely as haste leads to poverty. (NIV)

Proverbs 22:3
The prudent see the evil and hides himself, but the naïve go on, and are punished for it. (NASB)

Proverbs 25:28
Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit. (NASB)

Communication:

Psalm 133:1
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity. (NASB)

Proverbs 27:17
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (NIV)

Amos 3:3
Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so? (NIV)

Romans 12:4-5
For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. (NASB)

I Peter 3:1-2
In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. (NASB)

Contentment:

Ex. 20:17
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (NASB)

Joshua 1:8
This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. (NASB)

Psalm 23:1
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. (NASB)

Ecclesiastes 5:19

Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is a gift of God. (NASB)

Isaiah 43:18-19

Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder the things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert. (NASB)

Luke 3:14
And some soldiers were questioning him, saying, “And what about us, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.” (NASB)

Luke 12:15
And 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.” (NASB)

Phil. 4:11-13
Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (NASB)

I Timothy 6:6-8
But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. (NASB)

James 4:1-3
What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. (NASB)

I John 2:15-17
Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also it’s lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever. (NASB)

God’s Control:

Proverbs 16:1-3
The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue of from the Lord. All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, but the Lord weighs the motives. Commit your works to the Lord, and your plans will be established. (NASB)

Proverbs 16:33
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord. (NASB)

Isaiah 55:8-9
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (NASB)

Luke 15:8-10
“Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!’ In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (NASB)

God’s Provision:

I Kings 17:13-16
Then Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go, do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first, and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son. For thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain on the face of the earth.’” So she went and did according to the word of Elijah, and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bowl of flour was not exhausted nor did the jar of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke through Elijah. (NASB)

Psalm 37:25
I have been young, and now I am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, or his descendants begging bread. (NASB)

Proverbs 10:22
It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it. (NASB)

Jeremiah 17:8

For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit. (NASB)

Matthew 7:11
“If you, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him.” (NASB)

Matthew 19:29
“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, shall receive many times as much, and shall inherit eternal life.” (NASB)

Luke 12:6-7
“Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? And yet none of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear, you are of more value than many sparrows.” (NASB)

II Corinthians 9:8
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed. (NASB)

Ephesians 3:20
Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us. (NASB)

The Benefits of Hard Work:

Proverbs 6:6-9
Go to the ant you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? (NIV)

Proverbs 12:24
The hand of the diligent will rule, but the slack hand will be put to forced labor. (NASB)

Proverbs 12:27
A slothful man does not roast his prey, but the precious possession of a man is diligence. (NASB)

Proverbs 13:8
A man’s riches may ransom his life, but a poor man hears no threat. (NIV)

Proverbs 22:29
Do you se a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men. (NASB)

Proverbs 24:33-34
A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man. (NIV)

Proverbs 28:19-20
He who tills his land will have plenty of food, but he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty. A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished. (NASB)

Ecclesiastes 5:12

The sleep of the working man is pleasant, whether he eats little or much. But the full stomach of the rich man does not allow him to sleep. (NASB)

II Thessalonians 3:10

For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone will not work let him not eat. (NASB)

Hope/Trust:

Psalm 62: 5-8
My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.
When I remember Thee on my bed, I meditate on Thee in the night watches, for Thou hast been my help, and in the shadow of Thy wings I sing for joy, my soul clings to Thee; Thy right hand upholds me. (NASB

I Timothy 6:17
Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. (NASB)

Have a Long-Term Perspective:

Psalm 49:17-20
For when he dies he will carry nothing away; his glory will not descend after him.
Though while he lives he congratulates himself – and though men praise you when you do well for yourself – He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see the light.
Man in his pomp, yet without understanding, is like the beasts that perish. (NASB)

Proverbs 13:16
Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool displays folly. (NASB)

Proverbs 21:20
In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has. (NIV)

Matthew 6:31-33
“Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” (NASB)

Matthew 25:1-13
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went out to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the prudent answered, saying, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. And later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ But he answered and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day not the hour.” (NASB)

II Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For the momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (NASB)

Galatians 6:9
And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. (NASB)

Philippians 3:14
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (NASB)

The Source of Your Security:

Psalm 73:23-26
Nevertheless, I am continually with Thee; Thou hast taken hold of my right hand. With Thy counsel Thou wilt guide me, and afterward receive me to glory. Who have I in heaven but Thee? And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (NASB)

Proverbs 23:4-5
Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle. (NIV)

Habakkuk 3:17-19
Though the fig tree should not blossom, and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail, and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold, and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exalt in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places. (NASB)

II Corinthians 3:5
Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God. (NASB)

Hebrews 13:5
Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” (NASB)

Stewardship:

Genesis 2:15
Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and to keep it. (NASB)

Deuteronomy 10:14
Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it. (NASB)

Proverbs 11:18

The wicked man earns deceptive wages, but he who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward. (NIV)

Proverbs 27:23-24
Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds;
for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations. (NIV)

Haggai 1:4-11
It is time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies desolate? Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, “Consider your ways! You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.” Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Consider your ways! Go up to the mountains, bring wood and rebuild the temple, that I may be pleased with it and be glorified,” says the Lord. “You look for much, but behold, it comes to little; when you bring it home, I blow it away. Why?” declares the Lord of hosts, “Because of My house which lies desolate, while each of you runs to his own house. Therefore because of you the sky has withheld its dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. And I called for a drought on the land, on the mountains, on the grain, on the new wine, on the oil, on what the ground produces, on men, on cattle, and on the labor of your hands.” (NASB)

Haggai 2:8

“The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,” declares the Lord of hosts. (NASB)

Matthew 25:14-30
“For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves, and entrusted his possessions to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. But he who received the one talent went away and dug into the ground, and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. And the one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me; see, I have gained five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master.’ The one also who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted to me two talents; see, I have gained two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘ Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed. And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground; see, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I scattered no seed. Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ For to everyone who has shall more be given, and he shall have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. And cast out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (NASB)

Luke 12:42-44
And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you, that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.” (NASB)

Luke 12:47-48
“And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, shall receive many lashes, but the ones who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. And from everyone who has been given much shall much be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.” (NASB)

Luke 16:10-12
“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much, and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. If therefore you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous mammon, who will entrust the true riches to you? And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?” (NASB)

Romans 14:7-8
For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. (NASB)

I Corinthians 3:12-15
Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire. (NASB)

Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than men. (NASB)

II Timothy 3:16-17

All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (NASB)

Testimony:

Matthew 5:13-16
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under a peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (NASB)

 

Thankfulness:

Psalm 103:2
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits. (NASB)

II Corinthians 8:9
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. (NASB)

I Timothy 4:4
For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude. (NASB)

Trust/Faith in God:

Psalm 32:8
I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel with My eye upon you.

Psalm 37:3-11
Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. And He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noonday.
Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret, it only leads to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.
Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; and you will look carefully for his place, and he will not be there. But the humble will inherit the land, and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.

Psalm 37:16-26

Better is the little of the righteous than the abundance of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked will be broken; but the Lord sustains the righteous.
The Lord knows the days of the blameless; and their inheritance will be forever. They will not be ashamed in the time of evil; and in the days of famine they will have abundance. But the wicked will perish; and the enemies of the Lord will be like the glory of the pastures, they vanish – like smoke they vanish away.
The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is gracious and gives. For those blessed by Him will inherit the land; but those cursed by Him will be cut off. The steps of a man are established by the Lord; and He delights in his way. When he falls, he shall not be hurled headlong; because the Lord is the one who holds his hand. I have been young and now I am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, or his descendants begging bread. All day long he is gracious and lends; and his descendants are a blessing.

Proverbs 3:5-6
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.

Matthew 6:34

“Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 7:7-11
“Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened. Or what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he shall ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”

Luke 12:22-31
And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; and they have no storeroom nor barn; and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life’s span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why are you anxious about other matters? Consider the lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. But if God so arrays the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you, O men of little faith! And do not seek what you shall eat, and what you shall drink, and do not keep worrying. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek first His kingdom, and these things shall be added to you.

Philippians 4:6-7
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19
And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

Hebrews 13:5-6
Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?”

I Peter 5:7
Casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.

Godly Wisdom:

Proverbs 8:10-11
Choose My instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her. (NIV)

Proverbs 27:12
The prudent see danger and seek refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it. (NIV)

Proverbs 28:26
He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe. (NIV)

Ecclesiastes 4:13

A poor, yet wise lad is better than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive instruction.

Matthew 10:16

“Behold, I send you out as sheet in the midst of wolves; therefore be as shrewd as serpents, and as innocent as doves.”

Ephesians 5:15-17
Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Colossians 1:9-10
For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. So that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

James 1:5
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

James 3:16-17
For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.



 

 
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