Tag Archives: giving

Finding Financial Freedom PART 5

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

In an effort to encourage and help you have more financial freedom, the following resources are recommend:

How to Manage Your Money, Larry Burkett
Giving & Tithing, Larry Burkett
Never Enough?, Blue & Guess
The Total Money Makeover Workbook, Ramsey
Complete Financial Guide for Young Couples, Burkett
Investing Through Your Building Years, Burkett
Investing for the Future, Burkett
Faith Based Finances, Focus on the Family
Living on God’s Economy, Chappell
Faith and Finances, Tim Rosen
Money Map, Crown Financial
Free and Clear, Howard Dayton
The S.A.L.T. Plan, Howard Bentley
Your Money Map (Audio CD), Howard Dayton
Money Matters Workbook for Teens, Larry Burkett
How to Manage Your Money, Larry Burkett
Using Your Money Wisely, Larry Burkett
Business by the Book, Larry Burkett
Money Before Marriage, Larry Burkett
Financial Peace Revisited, Dave Ramsey
Smart Money; Smart Kids, Dave Ramsey

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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?

The Gift of Himself

The Gift of Himself

I read about one boy named Alfred who “wrote a letter to Santa which read, “Dear Santa, you did not bring me anything good last year. You did not bring me anything good the year before that. This is your last chance. Signed, Alfred.””

Of course, us humans receiving material gifts is not the purpose of Christmas. Modern thinking tends to focus on gifts to the neglect of the reason for Christmas to begin with.

As the Christmas day approaches news reports always come in about record sales or low sales at the stores.  As soon as Black Friday hit, we heard of the large number of retail sales.  Online sales soared again on Cyber Monday.  Business owners perhaps are thinking “this is the best Christmas ever!”

When everything is said and done – the first Christmas is the best Christmas.  It was on that day, that Jesus inserted Himself into this human experience, took on flesh, and began His mission to seek and save the lost.   He gave Himself to us as a gift.

With all the busyness of the season, please do not forget the reason for this season.  God’s love.  His Gift. God’s Son. His Sacrifice. Our Sins. His Forgiveness.  Thank the Lord Jesus came to earth for us.   Thank God for the gift of His Son and the Salvation He purchased at the cross.

Philippians  2:5-8 is a good Christmas reminder: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Be Like Your Dog

Don’t Be Like Your Dog

“A little lad of six was invited out to lunch in a neighbor’s home. As soon as all were seated at the table the food was served. The little boy was puzzled, and, with a child’s frankness, asked, “Don’t you say a prayer before you eat?” The host was uncomfortable, and mumbled, “No, we don’t take time for that.” The lad thought silently for a while, and said, “You’re just like my dog! You start right in.””

Don’t be like your dog on Thanksgiving.  Remember to give thanks to the Lord.

One of my favorite things to do each holiday season is to watch Charlie Brown and his talented dog, Snoopy.  One of the best yearly reminders of God’s blessing to early America can be seen in Charles Schultz’ rendition of the Pilgrims coming over on the Mayflower, meeting Chief Massasoit and Squanto and sitting down to dinner and giving thanks to God for surviving the brutal and deadly winters they were unprepared for.  With little food, a majority of the settlers buried, and with great uncertainty facing the future, they stopped everything to praise and thank the Lord.

It has been said that being truly “thankful” involves “giving.”  After all, the word Thanksgiving is a compound word; and both “Thanks” and Giving” are words rich with meaning.  Grateful people are happy people.  Have you ever seen a complaining, grumbling person?  Sure.  Are they happy?  No.  We are most happy when we have thankful attitudes, grateful words, and gracious actions.  If you are consistently giving praise and thanks to the Lord, you will be less likely to be critical, self absorbed, and feeling negative about life.

We need to be like the Apostle Paul who said in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  The early Christians living in the city of Thessalonica were challenged and encouraged to give thanks in everything in life.  Every life stage.  Every circumstance.  Every weather event.  Every electoral cycle.  Every season of life.  Every start to the week.  In.  Everything.  Give.  Thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Thank-you for reading these devotionals.  I am grateful for each reader and pray that these postings will be a help to you.

 

 

 

 

 

(Snoopy rendition by Charles Schulz, from internet search)

Developing Character at Christmas

Developing Character at Christmas

“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11

In a day of extreme excess and people forgetting the true meaning of Christmas, Christian people must purpose in their mind and be deliberate in their actions to accurately portray Christmas to the family and to others.

The American Research Group reports: “Shoppers around the country say they are planning to spend an average of $929 for gifts this holiday season, up from $882 last year according to the 32d annual survey on holiday spending from the American Research Group, Inc. Planned gift spending for 2016 is $47 above spending in 2015 and it is the first time planned gift spending exceeds $900 since 2006.”

Black Friday, and Cyber Monday were again record breaking days in the number of sales and dollars transacted.

I like the choir song: “Much to do no time to do it, I can’t get it all done at Christmastime…”

With our schedules and minds being pulled in so many different directions, sometimes we forget the real purpose and meaning of Christmas!

Here are some ideas to help build character in yourself and your family members.

Emphasize Giving, Not Getting.  In Acts 20:35 Jesus said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

  • Encourage kids to give outgrown cloths.
  • Encourage the family to give unused toys (Even the tools and toys the men may have).
  • Exemplify giving to others in more need. Find someone to give food or essential items. Give things that you enjoy that others may enjoy them too.
  • Enjoy sharing a meal with others.
  • No matter our age, occupation, or financial status, each of us are in a position where we can give something to someone else.

Encourage Moderation, Not Excess.  Philippians 4:5 declares: “Let your moderation be known unto all men.”

Moderation means appropriate and mild.  When the wise men celebrated Jesus, they did so with three meaningful gifts:  “gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”

The gold was worthy of a King, the frankincense demonstrating His purity, and the myrrh represented His purpose for coming, to die on the cross.  Most of the time a few quality gifts mean more.

Joseph was able to take baby Jesus to Egypt and escape the murderous plot of King Herod to kill all the baby boys age 2 and under.  Joseph left his job and had the ability to move because of these meaningful gifts.

With our children we have purpose behind each gift.  We give…

  • An item they were hoping for. An item that would be on a “Wish list.”
  • An item they share with others in watching or listening to. An old TV show or movie that does not take away but contributes to godly character.
  • An item they can play with others. A board game, basketball, or even a video game would work here.

Cloths are a necessity so we do not include them as an item.  Three gifts are all we plan for.  Be purposeful with your gifts.  You may have some priorities that are like the above suggestions.  Whatever you do – have a purpose of some kind behind each one.  Be generous – with purpose and meaning.

Enable Simplicity, Not Busyness.

The church at Ephesus in Revelation chapter 2 “left their first love.”  How can that happen?  Because of the excess, commercials, and lustful society we live in – it is easy to get caught up with material things and business too.

Proverbs 4:23 instructs: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”  In order to keep safe our heart – we must have a greater purpose and plan.

Sometimes we are so busy we do get anything done.  Many of us do not accomplish anything that is worthwhile even though they have stress, work, and all the other symptoms of being productive.

SELAH – Stop and Think – is a needed practice at Christmas time.  Here are some suggestions to help you not be so busy that you forget what Christmas is really all about.

  • Read the Christmas Story in Matthew 2 and Luke 2.
  • Go to and participate in special church programs, but lesson your overall commitments of time and energy to things that have less than spiritual purposes.
  • Turn off the tv during the days off school. Our kids should not sit in front of a tv from 8 am to 3 pm.
  • Tune up beautiful Christmas Music. There are many wonderful Christian radio websites that will encourage you.  Please see the other postings for their addresses.
  • Go Christmas Caroling.
  • If you do watch a Christmas Movie, do so together as a family.

Be Purposeful – to Develop Character at Christmas.  Since Jesus Himself is the gift of Christmas, the things we do and give should reflect Him.  After all – It is His birthday we are supposed to be celebrating.

 

 

 

 

The Initiative of Missions

The Initiative of Missions

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

The tomb was empty.  The disciples were hiding in the Upper Room.  Jesus shows up.  He appears in the middle of the room even with all the doors and windows of the Upper Room closed.  The resurrected Savoir speaks about peace, the peace of God.  Then He directs the attention of the mesmerized disciples to the thought that just as the Father sent Jesus on a mission of rescue, Jesus was now sending His disciples.  He then enables them with the filling of the Holy Spirit.  Later in Acts 1 they are empowered by His Spirit.  Jesus initiates the call to participate in missions.

As disciples of Jesus, we are called with the same calling.  We are to go into this world and preach the Gospel.  While not everyone will be in ministry “vocationally” we are all in the ministry of giving out the Gospel.  You can help your church witness by giving out Gospel tracts and inviting people to church.  Concerning missions; Praying, giving and going are all important aspects.  You may be involved in praying and giving which then provides for those who actually go into vocational missions.  It could be that the Lord calls you to go into missions.

Three thoughts about missions:

Missions is Intentional.  Churches are not planted on accident.  When the disciples went about the world 2000 years ago, they preached, saw people saved, discipled, baptized and local churches formed.  Church planting is the primary goal of missions.  In order to start a church, evangelism and discipleship must take place.  It is good to note that discipleship always starts with evangelism.  It is impossible to truly have one without the other.  We are to “make disciples.”  This is very intentional when planting the seed of the Gospel and watering with the Word.

Missions is an Investment.  Speaking of “grace giving” or “faith promise missions giving” Paul says in Philippians 4:17: “Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.”  The believers in the church at Philippi were consistent in giving finances to Paul and his mission work.  When a soul was saved, a convert discipled, and a church established, that was fruit added to the account of the believers.  Their financial investment paid off in spiritual dividends.

Missions is Invitational.  The invitation is open to “whosoever will.”  Whether a young child, or a down and out adult, the invitation is still the same.  Jesus said in Matthew 11:28: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” And in 19:14: “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”   Whether it is here at home or on foreign soil: “Come to Jesus.”  Rich, poor, famous or infamous, healthy or not healthy: “Come to Jesus.”  The invitation is open for all.

It is the Lord who has initiated the call to you and I to be “sent” and to take His message to a needing world.  Are you participating in the evangelism opportunities of your local church?  Are you praying for and giving finances to missions?  Are you willing to go if the Lord calls you to vocational missions?

Let the words of Jesus resonate in your mind: “Even so send I you…