Finding Financial Freedom PART 3

Finding Financial Freedom PART 3

How Can I Be Rich Towards God…
I. Consider God First.

I like this money story:  “A torn and ragged one-dollar bill discovered that it was about to be retired from circulation. As it slowly moved along the conveyor belt to the shredder, it became acquainted and struck up a conversation with a fifty-dollar bill that was meeting the same fate.

The fifty began reminiscing about its travels all over the country. Life has been good,” the fifty exclaimed. “Why, I’ve been to Las Vegas, the finest restaurants in New York, political fund raisers, and I just returned from a cruise on the Caribbean.”
The one-dollar bill said, “You’re fortunate to have been able to visit all those places.”
So where all have you been in your lifetime, my little friend,” said the fifty?” “Well, I’ve been to the Methodist church, the Baptist church, the Episcopal church, the Presbyterian church, the Lutheran church, the Catholic church, the Salvation Army church, the Orthodox church, the Assembly of God church, the Brethren church, the Quaker church, the Pentecostal church, the Charismatic church, and the Church of Christ.
“Excuse me,” said the fifty, “but what’s a Church?”” -Min127
• First Fruits. Proverbs 3:9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine _________________:
• First Withdrawal.  Have a thought-out plan.  Schedule Tithing, giving, saving, etc. These disciplines should be habit. They are not based on how I feel. You may not feel like brushing teeth or cleaning your clothes but you do it. 1 Timothy 6:7-8 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith ____________________.

II. Consider Savings Second
Have a Savings Strategy.  Have long term planning.  Save up a short term savings for emergencies. Start with $1000 in emergency cash.  Follow your budget. Have one.  Find Ways to Save Pennies. Delay purchases one more month. Wait. Don’t buy things you will seldom if ever use.

BTW: It does not matter if it is a good deal – if you do not need it – don’t buy it.  Avoid the sales pressures of “Buy In next 15 minutes or you will lose the sale.”  Walk away.  Avoid the Checkout Lane items.
BTW: Many people in perpetual poverty are the fastest to buy on impulse the items at the checkout lane. Higher priced stuff. You get more product for less at the back of the store.

Here are some ideas to stretch your dollar farther…
o Keep using appliances till they die.
o Buy cars slightly used. Saves thousands on depreciation.
o Pay off the credit card each month. If you struggle to be disciplined, cut the card up, pay the rest of the bill. Use cash or debit.
o Take less vacations until house is paid off.
o Visit family for vacation. Go camping.
o Use Coupons. Mom used to save $10,000 or more with them.
o Learn the “art” of cutting your kids hair.
o Lunch not dinner at restaurants.
o Limit gift costs. Have discipline.
o Smaller birthday parties. Events should not be hundreds of dollars.
o Pay extra on principal not interest

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be _____________________ with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

 

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Finding Financial Freedom PART 2

Do you ever find that you have more month than money?
• Would you like to get out of debt?
• Would you like to not have credit card payments hanging over your head and dragging out for months or years?
• Would you like to be able to buy anything you need at any moment?
• Would you like to be able to help others in need ($1000) as soon as you see the need?
• Would you like to be able to retire from “income work” and have time to do “ministry work” in your retirement years?
What is your story concerning finances?
Personal Financial Discipline Honors the Lord.

We need Principles of Stewardship instilled in our financial and living choices.
Principle #1. “It all Belongs to God.”
• Exodus 19:5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for ________ the earth is mine:
• Psalm 50:10 For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.
Principle #2. “I Am A Steward.” 1 Corinthians 4:2

  • Be Faithful.
    Luke 16:10 He that is ____________ in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
    Steward = oikonomos, oy-kon-om’-os = a house-distributor (i.e. manager), or overseer, i.e. an employee in that capacity; by extension, a fiscal agent, treasurer.” -Strongs

God trusts us to some things in life. He adds more to those who are more trustworthy.

BTW: Not all blessings are measured in tangible physical things.

  • Be Fruitful. Tithe.
    Giving to God first is like planting finances to grow for the future.  This is an Old Testament concept that pre-dates the Law. Malachi 3:10 _____________ ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a _____________________, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

When we believe principle #1 – “it all belongs to God” it is easier to practice.
Malachi 3:8 Will a man ________ God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In _______________ and offerings.

BTW: We still follow the civil law of the OT. The ceremonial law, and the laws indicating salvation, we do not follow. The practical law still works.

  • Tithes are Expanded on in New Testament
    Matthew 5:21. Hate is like murder.
    Matthew 5:28. Lusting is same as adultery.
    The idea is that the “Spirit of the Law” and the attitude with which one follows the Bible teaching is more important than the “letter of the Law.”  That would indicate that 10% is a great place to start with the “spirit of tithing and giving.”

That is why 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a __________________ giver.”

Principle #3. Money is Temporary.
Take a moment to read Matthew 6:19-20.  1 Timothy 6:17 says, Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in __________________ riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

Principle #4. Eternal Investments Can be Made.

God Does Not Need Your Money.  Please read Psalm 50:7-13

You Need the Financial Discipline that Tithes and Offerings Provide. Psalm 50:14-15.

There is a difference between controlling your money or allowing money to control you! God does not reprove His people for bringing the offering, but for thinking that they were doing God a favor, or helping Him out with the offering. God does not want your money – He wants your heart! Love Him more than money!  We bring tithes and give offerings, not because God depends on us – but because we depend on God!

“The story is told of a man who was asked, “Are you a believer in the Christian religion?”
“Oh, certainly!” “You are a member of some church, then, I suppose?”
“Member of a church? No, indeed. Why should I be a member of a church? It is quite unnecessary; the dying thief wasn’t a member of a church, and he went to Heaven.”
“But of course you have been baptized; you know the command—”
“Been baptized? Oh, no; that is another needless ceremony! I am as safe as the dying thief was, and he never was baptized.”
“But surely, since you will not join a church or be baptized, you will do something in acknowledgment of your faith. You will give of your means—you will help the cause in some way?”
“No, sir; I do nothing of the kind. The dying thief—”
“Let me remark, my friend, before you go any further, that you seem to be on pretty intimate terms with the dying thief. You seem to derive a great deal of consolation from his career. But, mind you, there is one important difference between you and him. He was a dying thief—and you are a living thief.”” -Min127

Luke 12:31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Check out Luke 12:13-21.

 

Finding Financial Freedom PART 1

Finding Financial Freedom.  PART 1
Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them. Psalm 62:10

“A father gave his little girl two dollars and said, “You can do anything you want with one of the dollars, but the other dollar belongs to God.” With joy she ran to the candy store. On the way she tripped and one dollar fell into the storm drain. She got up and said, “Well Lord, there goes Your dollar.” -Min127
Last time, we learned in 1 Peter about our inheritance and tremendous wealth we have in Jesus. Sadly, we can be so focused what we do not have (by way of material things) that we lose sight of how the Lord has blessed us.
Others are not good stewards of what God has entrusted. I would like to bring a message today to help you go beyond “scratching out” a living and living “pay check to pay check.”
These Bible principles when faithfully followed will change your financial situation and enable you to use your earthly money for heavenly good.

Making more money is not the issue…
“A very large number (78%) of former NFL players are broke or financially stressed after retirement, and 60% of former NBA players go broke five years after retiring, according to Sports Illustrated.”

They go on to say: “Broke athletes are practically an epidemic.”  The following data is quoted from: http://www.businesspundit.com/25-rich-athletes-who-went-broke/26/

Evander Holyfield
4-time Heavyweight Champion of the World

Estimated lifetime earnings: $250 million
He had a deal with Diet Coke, a video game, the “Real deal” record label, the “Real Deal” grill, and appeared in numerous TV appearances and 3 films. Then, there was the dancing thing. One wonders how Holyfied had time to lose money. The answer: Children. Holyfield fathered 11 of them.
“I’m not broke; I’m just not liquid,” 45-year-old Holyfield claimed when he narrowly avoided charges that he was around $9,000 behind in court-ordered child support payments. The banks foreclosed on his $10 million-dollar home. Even a landscaping firm says the former champ owes them $500k for yard work. Ever since Tyson bit his ear off, it seems everyone wants a piece of the Champ.

 

Johnny Unitas
Hall of Fame quarterback, 3-time MVP, Superbowl champion, 10-time Pro Bowl selection

Estimated lifetime earnings: $4 million

Widely considered one the best pro football QBs of all time, Johnny Unitas set several records that may never be beaten on the football field, like 47 games with a touchdown pass in a row.
He starred in professional football before salaries were measured in millions. His yearly contracts ranged from $7,000, his first in 1956 with the Colts, to $250,000 plus a $175,000 bonus in his last one with the San Diego Chargers in 1973.
After his playing days, he made some money as a TV commentator for CBS. He also invested in tanked business ventures, including a chain of bowling establishments, a prime-rib restaurant, an air-freight company, and Florida real estate investment. He and his wife, Sandra Unitas, filed for personal bankruptcy protection in 1991 after investing in a failed Reisterstown circuit-board manufacturer. He died 11 years later with a lawsuit from his estate hanging over all of his businesses.

Scottie Pippen
All Star, 6 NBA championships

Estimated lifetime earnings: $120 Million
Pippen unsuccessfully sued his former law firm for losing $27 million of his money through poor investments. (He had earned about $110 million in salary alone over a 17-year career.) In February 2007—around the same time as Pippen’s failed NBA comeback attempt—the Missouri Court of Appeals upheld a ruling that the player owed U.S. Bank more than $5 million in principal, interest and attorneys’ fees from a dispute regarding a Grumman Gulfstream II corporate jet that he had purchased in 2001.

Latrell Spreewell
Four-time NBA All Star; last played for the Timberwolves

Estimated lifetime earnings: $50 million
This 13-year NBA veteran turned down the Timberwolves’ $21 million offer to extend his contract for three years because the sum was too low. A mere three years later, federal agents repossessed Sprewell’s yacht, on which he still owed $1.3 million. That was just the beginning. In early 2008, Sprewell defaulted on a $1.5 million mortgage, lost his home to foreclosure, stopped paying his motorsports’ company’s bills, and then defaulted on another home loan, this one worth $10 million.

Michael Vick
#1 overall pick NFL Draft, 3x Pro Bowl QB for the Atlanta Falcons

Estimated lifetime earnings: More than $130 million

Mike Tyson
Undisputed heavyweight boxing champion of the world, youngest man to ever win the WBC, WBA and IBF Heavyweight Titles. First man to win 12 of his first 19 fights in the first round by KO.

Estimated lifetime earnings: $300-400 million
At one point, Tyson was worth less that $700 dollars. But his situation has improved. He appears to be doing well in recovery for drug and alcohol problems.

(Data quoted from: http://www.businesspundit.com/25-rich-athletes-who-went-broke/26/)

Financial discipline is needed, no matter how much money you make.

Come back next week for the next article…

 

 

 

 

 

More Than Death Insurance

More Than Death Insurance

“When one asked the salesman what he was selling, he said, “Life insurance.”

“That’s not life, but death insurance.”

“What do you mean?”

“You have to die to win.”

“Not always. You get your money back with big interest in 10 or 20 years if you live, but if you die your family is protected for a number of years.”

“Fine. The Bible says, ‘But if any provide not for his own, specially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel, but it’s more important to carry life insurance.”

“Say, what are you selling?”

“Life insurance. Eternal life. Nothing to pay, and you begin to get big dividends immediately, of peace, joy, contentment, and an understanding of God’s plan for your life.””  (-Knights)

What kind of insurance do you have?  Jesus came to earth to give something better than death or life “insurance.”  He came to earth to purchase eternal life.  Jesus paid the full price that our sin – death.  He died in my place.  He died for my sin.  He died in your place.  He died for your sin.  He shed His blood for our sin.  Theologians call this Substitutionary Atonement.

Romans 5:8 teaches, But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Jesus demonstrated or proved His love for us with his work and action on the cross.  He did not just say “I love you.”  He demonstrated love when He laid down His life for us.  No matter how BIG or little you perceive your sin to be, Jesus still loves you!  None of us are worthy, but He loves us anyway.

Then He rose from the dead.  The phrase: “Rose Again” in 1 Corinthians 15:4 indicates that while He was previously dead, He came back to life, and continues to be alive!”  What an incredible truth!  Jesus continues to be alive today.

As I prepared for Easter Sunday preaching, I searched out all the leaders of the worlds major religions.  Here is what I found:

Buddhism. The Buddha’s body was cremated in Kushinagar, India and the relics were placed in monuments or stupas, some of which are believed to have survived until the present. Ramabhar Stupa in Kushinagar was built over a portion of the Buddha’s ashes on the spot where he was cremated by the ancient Malla people. The Temple of the Tooth or Dalada Maligawa in Sri Lanka is the place where the right tooth relic of Buddha is kept at present.

Christian Science.  Mary Baker Eddy is buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the United States.

Confucianism. The grave of Confucius, founder of Confucianism, is in his home town of Qufu, Shandong Province, China. The grave of Confucius is located in a large cemetery where more than 100,000 of his descendants are also buried.

Islam. According to early Muslim sources, Muhammad is buried in the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (“Mosque of the Prophet”) in the city of Medina in Saudi Arabia. The tomb of Muhammad lies within the confines of what used to be his wife Aisha’s and his house. During his lifetime it adjoined the mosque, which was expanded during the reign of Caliph al-Walid I to include his tomb.

Scientology.  Upon his death, L. Ron Hubbard was cremated and his ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.” (Wikipedia)

Christianity: Go to the Garden Tomb at Jerusalem.  There are no bones, no ashes – nothing!  Jesus walked out of that stone tomb alive!  Jesus is alive today. 

Would you believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus?  This is called the Gospel.  Jesus is alive and calling to you for a response.  Will you accept the forgiveness of sins and receive eternal life from Jesus?  He loves you.  Believe in Him today.

I Missed the Conference

I Missed The Conference

Red face. Swollen brow. My left eye was nearly swollen shut.  It was somewhat difficult to breath. The headache was paralyzing.  “You look terrible.” My doctor said to me Monday morning.  I appreciate it when my medical doctors are straight up with me.  “Take this medicine and you will be better in 3-4 days.”  I would rather be “better” in 20 minutes, but I was grateful.

That night was our Mission Conference.  I fought through the pain the previous day or two, but after several nights of not sleeping well and with the eye still swollen and headache still pounding, I knew I was a “no go” for the conference.

I do not recall ever missing one of our church missions conference.  Never. Ever.  Even as a young person, it was a priority in our home to be at every church service and every church event.  Our parents were faithful to see us be involved in church.

Missions conference holds many special memories in my mind as a young person.  The kid’s conferences, meeting the missionaries from around the world, and seeing the pastor call “all those willing to serve as missionaries” to come to the front so we could have a word of prayer.

As I have been reflecting on the message I heard Dr. Scott Caudill deliver on Tuesday night (I was well enough to attend) I began thinking of a verse he referenced, Matthew 6:21, For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  Of course, the context of what Jesus is speaking is dealing with money and stuff.  It applies to our time and talent as well.

Because my parents placed their treasure in the things of God; church, missions conference, youth group, etc. they made sure that their sons were at these events and services.  Ball games, piano practice, art class, overtime at work, and other stuff (even school) were not more important than the church stuff.  This made a difference in my life.  Their “Treasure” eventually was where their heart (and where my heart also) ended up – invested in the things of God.

Check out this verse again, “Where your treasure is…”  Before the heart is moved, the treasure is already in it’s place.  The heart catches up to where the treasure is.  It does not say “Love God with your heart and then your treasure will be at the right place.”

No, Jesus is saying, “Put your treasure in the right place and then your heart will be in the right place.”  There is a big difference in this approach.

Where is your treasure today?  I can’t believe I missed a mission conference service!  I feel like the sickness “Providentially Hindered” me from attending on Monday.  That said, most of the time, when my treasure is not in the right place it is my personal choices and my own decisions that hinder me.  Believe me, I know we can’t be at everything the church offers, but shouldn’t I make an attempt?  At least for the Mission of the Gospel?  We have no reason for living were it not for the Gospel.  I don’t expect everyone to be at everything.  But what about your treasure?  Where is it today?  When you find your treasure – you will find where your heart truly is.

Be encouraged today to put your treasure in the right place.  Only then will your heart be in the right place.

 

 

 

 

God’s Desire for Missions

With our annual missions conference starting Saturday, I thought I would search out several Scriptures that indicate God’s Desire for Missions.  God’s heartbeat should be the heart beat of His church.  The most important indicator of any churches vital signs (indicating good or poor health) is it’s pulse for missions and Gospel witness.

Psalm 67:2 That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.

Psalm 96:3 Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.

Isaiah 42:4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.

Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

John 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

Acts 14:27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.

Ephesians 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

1 Peter 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

These 10 Scriptures give us a glimpse of the will of God for the Gospel to go into all the world.  The Lord uses His people to take His Word and Gospel message to other people.  If you are saved, the Lord used a person to either talk to you, preach to you, hand you a tract or Bible, or you found a Bible or Gospel tract that a person printed.

God can use you to give the Gospel in your local community.  The Lord can use you in global missions too.  Prayer for and giving to missionaries through your church will honor the Lord, help Gospel preachers, and will plant the Seed of the Word into the hearts of men and women, boys and girls, all around the world.

Do you have the same heart beat of God?  Are you doing your part to see the Gospel propagated throughout the world?

Think You Have A Headache Today?

Think You Have A Headache Today?

I read an article this week about a surgery performed on the wrong patient! Melanie Dadourian writes: “Doctors in Nairobi have been suspended for performing brain surgery on the wrong patient. A case of mistaken identification tags caused a mix-up between two patients — one needed surgery for a blood clot on the brain, the other just nursing and non-invasive treatment for swelling after a head trauma.  It wasn’t until hours into the surgery that doctors discovered there was no blood clot, according to a report from the BBC news service.”

Wow.  The wrong surgery on the wrong person for the wrong health need is a real problem indeed.  Now both patients had a severer headache!  Perhaps your headache does not feel as bad after reading this!

Doctors tell me that most headaches are caused by a lack of hydration.  When you learned about drinking 8 or more cups of water today in school, it was good advice!  Some headaches are caused by chemical issues in the brain. Sometimes its trauma or head trauma related.  Even when the eyes do not properly process sunlight a headache could occur. Sinus issues can contribute to them.  Sometimes tumors and abnormal growths are the culprit.  Many times, stress can create headaches.

Perhaps all of us have heard someone say something to the effect that another person caused their headache!  Actually – other people cannot cause our headaches.  How we process situations (our reactions or responses) would be the cause.  The external circumstances another person brings to bear does not enter into our head and cause the headache.  How we interpret and relate to the “potentially stressful situations” makes a big difference. We could call these types of headaches – “Relational Headaches.”

Each of us have processes (ways of interpreting and evaluating data) and responses to stimuli or circumstances.  How we respond can cause more problems (headaches) or cause more peace, and tranquility.

Here are some “Heart Remedies for Relational Headaches…”

  1. Cast Your Cares to the Lord. 1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Please know that humility and releasing the burden and weight of a situation go together.  A proud person will try to fix it, carry it or resolve it on his own.  He may create a self-induced headache because he is not humble enough to trust God and accept His outcomes.  We cannot change people; but we can allow the Lord to change us.  Give your concern to God today.  All relationships are helped when we carry less guilt, grief, or weight into them.

  1. Commit Your Way to the Lord. Psalm 37:4-5 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

Wanting more, wanting our way, and demanding our “rights” are good ways to acquire and sustain a headache.  When we delight in God, His Word, and His way for living, we are given more than we could ever hope for.  Because this is not always tangible and physical it is often overlooked.  The Lord can bring to pass any hope, dream, or aspiration that He places in your heart.  Our part in this is to “delight in Him.”  When we commit all our way to God we find the satisfaction in life that God has promised to us.

  1. Confess Your Need for the Lord. Colossians 1:18 And he (Jesus) is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.  And Colossians 2:10 And ye (Christians) are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

One preacher at church recently quoted a missionary and said: “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.”  I like the statement.  It seems most Christians do the attempting but do not do the expecting.  When we assume leadership, authority, or expectations that God did not give to us, we are sure to create our own headaches or even give cause for contributing to a headache in other people.

We need God.  The local church is His church.  Jesus is the Head.  When we try take leadership instead of servanthood, we err.  We are complete in Jesus.  When we serve, allowing the Lord to do the thinking, planning, directing, and overseeing, we lesson the likelihood of relational headaches that would otherwise occur.  God may or may not use us, or other people to fulfill His plan.  Whether at home, church, or in the community, when we follow the leadership of Christ – is helps us!

If you have a headache today – it could be worse.  You could be contributing to a relational headache that the Lord never intended for you to have.  May these 3 simple truths be a help to you today.