Tag: parables

money

Do you know the condition of your herd?

I seldom write about money management. And you’ll be surprised at the portion of scripture I used to support my case.

Proverbs 27: 23-27

“Know well the condition of your flocks and pay attention to your herds:”

Yes, this scripture does refer to sheep but every time I read this verse I think of money instead. I read it like this:

“Know what your money is going and pay attention to your finances.”

I said I seldom write about finances. Actually, I never have.

I don’t even know what is prompting this. Maybe it’s because the tax deadline is coming up. Who knows?

As a Christian, I am a strong believer in tithing. But I’m also a strong believer in “sacrificial” giving. So what is that?

Did you know that there are over 2,300 verses in the Bible about money and possessions? Of Jesus’s 38 parables, 16 of them are about finances. The subject of love in scripture is outnumbered three to one as there are three times as many verses about money and possessions than there are about love. One would never need a money management if they just followed what scripture says.

And we would not be held captive by our money or our desire to have more.

money

It’s not the least bit complicated.

My mother gave me a wonderful piece of advice years ago when my husband and I got married. “If you go to work, don’t live on both incomes.” We never did.

Another thing my mom always says, “It’s not how much you make, it’s how much you save.” She is a living example of that and she has relieved my brother and me of a great deal of angst because she managed her money well. We don’t have to worry if we’re going to have to dip into our own saving to take care of her. She is to be applauded.

Tithing is giving ten percent of our income to the church. Sacrificial giving is beyond that. How much more? That’s between the individual Christian and God. But like tithing, is has to be planned.

Some people plan on giving extra every quarter. But you could do it twice a year or even monthly. Maybe once a year. The point is to give more. Our former pastor once shared how he and his wife try to increase the percentage of their giving every year. That’s a good way to go, too.

Before I hear the obvious objection, “I don’t have any extra to give”, you might find it interesting to know that those who have the least give the most. The higher the income, the less the giving. This has been validated in all research.

An interesting book by Randy Alcorn gives a lot of insight. It’s called, “Money, Possessions and Eternity.”

RAndy Alcorn

Whatever you decide, try giving a little extra over the next few months. You’d be surprised how easy it is and how little you will miss it.

God bless and have a good day.

 

When God wakes you up at 4:00 a.m.

As you know, there has been a lot going on in my life this week.

Yesterday was such a day. You can read about it here.

This morning at 4:00 a.m. God woke me up. I’m sure many would say it was because of stress. Some of it might have been but God certainly had some things to say to me.

While I am exhausted now, I am very much at peace about all the decisions I am having to make, which brings me to this post.

I find that when most people talk about compassion, they throw out common sense and logic. It’s so easy to have a knee-jerk reaction because we want to feel magnanimous. We don’t think through our choices. And, as Christians, we can really get messed up sometimes because we’re not familiar with all of Scripture. And the totality of scripture more times than not suggests that compassion should be tempered with thoughtful intelligence.

An example might be when someone feels compassion for a family member or friend who has a drug or alcohol addiction and contributes to that addiction by a gift of money. One could still help but in a way that doesn’t encourage bad behavior.

I thought of every parable. I thought of every healing. I thought of every lesson taught throughout the Bible. I thought of the Proverbs pertaining to wisdom.And all of that helped me work through the issues.

I have a supernatural peace now that scripture promises when we bring God in on our decision-making process from the very beginning.

Here’s some links to past posts about making decisions:

making decisions

My experience with how God helps us make good decisions

How to be absolutely sure God is leading us. (part 1

And then there is a post that seems contradictory. You’ll have to read it to know what I’m talking about.

Why we don’t always have to ask God about every decision.

Anyway, hope this helps you today if you have some big decisions to make.

God bless and have a good one.

 

 

 

 

God looks after our “feathers”

What does Jesus mean when He says He will “clothe us”? What does He mean by telling us that He provides for the birds of the air and the lilies on the ground; therefore, He will care for us. Does He mean He’ll take care of everything and there’s nothing we have to do?

Hardly.

Laziness is enthusiastically abhorred throughout the scriptures.

lazy 1

lazy 1

So how do these verses work together? One thing is sure:

God does not contradict Himself.

(It may seem like it, but He doesn’t. It would take me hours to explain this.)

As with most of Jesus’s teachings, He illustrates His points using examples common to the culture at the time. In this case, it’s birds and  flowers. Other times it was nature, seeds, fields, farming, fishing, etc.

If the teaching were given today it would be centered around our cell phone use, our TV watching, our jobs , sports. But the message would be the same.

The point of these kinds of teachings is to remind us that as long as we are rightly related to Him, He will look after the details in our lives. It’s when those details become more important than the big picture that we get into trouble.

I find myself there now, concerned about the details of caring for a depressed person who is staying with us for a period and forgetting the big picture. The big picture here is getting her healthy again and

helping someone

helping someone

not  be overly concerned about how to cook vegan meals, the laundry, the distribution of chores.

(I’m definitely a “Martha”, aren’t I?”)

It was very hard in the beginning. I felt stressed with the responsibility for her life. I didn’t like having my routine interrupted. I still don’t. But I keep coming back to “Consider the lilies”, meaning the big picture.

When we’re in the middle of stressful circumstances, it’s easy to get caught up in the details. When Jesus personifies lilies, He’s saying, “You be concerned about your growth. I’ll take care of the soil.”

lillies 1

lilies 1

I hope I will look back at this time in her life and mine as a time we both grew in our faith That we both learned from each other. That we both see God’s hand in all of this.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

Live “less than” when you can

Death is truly the great equalizer of men. Sometimes, when I look at all my “stuff” I think about this.

Sure, I enjoy it. And God certainly has no problem with wealth (not mine but wealth in general 🙂 ) as evidenced by King David, Solomon, Abraham and others. God often blesses His children materially.

Solomon's wealth

Solomon’s wealth

And if we have been one of those so blessed (and if you live in the United States, you pretty much qualify), how do we put all this together? How do we reconcile wealth and faith?

Do we even have to?

If we do, then First of all, we share what we have, financially and otherwise. We give financially and we share of our possessions generously. We don’t always have to sell our excess. We can give it away. (Obviously, there are exceptions.) And if we do sell it, we are fair. We never try to take advantage. We are truthful and honest about whatever we are selling.

encouragement to give

encouragement to give

Secondly, we are thankful for what we do have and we let God know often. I don’t think there’s a day that goes by
that I don’t thank God for my abundant blessings. In fact, there are days I question why God is so good to me.

Some would wonder why I feel blessed. I don’t live in a new home but it’s lovely and charming, and is a testament to all the hard work my husband and I have put into it.  There’s not a room that doesn’t hold something I’ve created. I finally bought a car (used) last year after driving the former one for sixteen years.

Third, we don’t hang on too tightly. We realize that our homes really are temporary and only a place to hang our hat for a while.

Fourth, and this may sound strange, but we live “less than” we can. We might be financially able to buy the most expensive but we don’t. We shop carefully and frugally. Our “stuff” doesn’t always have to be new.

thrift store shopping

thrift store shopping

I’m not a saint. I would love to own a vacation home in the Caribbean like I see on House and Garden TV. In fact just a few days ago, I watched a show where a very young couple bought a “quaint” three hundred and fifty thousand dollar vacation home near the Bahamas. The mom, who didn’t work outside the home and had only one child, said she would feel so much less stress if she had a place to get away to.

are you kidding me?

are you kidding me?

 

vacation home/Caribbean

vacation home/Caribbean (This one rents for about $2600.00 for six nights. Of course, then there’s the air fare.)

But “teenytinyredcabin” will have to do and I love our little place up north.

But even with all I have I sometimes find myself wanting more. Wanting the newest. Wanting the latest. But when I clean this big ole’ house, I know “more” is not what I need because then there’s more to clean, repair, move around, etc. 🙂

There are more references in Scripture to money and our treasures here on earth than to salvation, prayer, etc. The majority of the parables Jesus taught center around money.

Why?

Because loving and coveting “things” is where most people get into trouble. Financial greed is the ground floor for almost all illegal activity. Greed and longing are what take us away from God.

I overheard my mother say something Christmas Eve, “I have all I need.” What a wonderful place to be in your life.

I love the saying that goes like this: “You don’t see a u-haul following a hearse.” Although I bet there are some in those processions that can just imagine all the stuff they might be inheriting that would take truck to bring home!

Anyway, I hope I didn’t make anyone feel guilty, especially so soon after Christmas. But what better time to think about wealth and possessions. Most of us are putting away our Christmas decorations this week. (I already have.) Here’s a little hint. I always evaluate what decorations I didn’t use this year. Is it because I don’t like them anymore? Or do I need to use them differently next year? However I answer these questions, determines whether I keep them or donate them. It’s a great way to keep Christmas “stuff” in check.

For example, this year I never even took out my Christmas dishes and I can’t say I missed them. I have wonderful soft green dishes that would also work so maybe I need to think through even having Christmas dishes. Or maybe I should get around to getting rid of some other china I have to make room for the Christmas dishes that are stored in the basement.  These are just some of the thought processes I’m going through right now that might help you as well.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

 

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