Posts Tagged finances

Be a blessing & Be blessed

Proverb 10: 22

It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich , and He adds no sorrow to it.

I wrote yesterday that the fastest way to bless yourself is to pray for those in leadership positions above you. Frankly, you ought to be praying for those people in the organization who are below you too but that topic is for another day.

Do you know it is okay to be blessed? Even financially? Well, think about it. Who should be the most blessed, the kids of the King or the heathen unbelievers? There are a lot of components to being rich but it would be pure foolishness for me to suggest that financial wealth isn’t one of them. Dad wants you blessed in every area of your life. that, truly, is the only way you can be rich. You gotta have health, money, a great relationship with your heavenly father, and good friends. You are not, however, going to have these things if you don’t believe the father wants you to have them. If you think any part of the blessing is prohibited then you are going to choke off the flow. Believe it!

There is a reason Solomon wrote this verse. He conveyed two messages in it. First, wealth comes from the Father. Period. There are no qualifiers here. God is the Lord of the blessing. He is the one who sends the blessing to you. Secondly, Yahweh means for you to have the blessing and to be rich without guilt. He is the one who blesses you. What reason would you have to feel guilt over what the Father is doing?

Here is the point I want to get to though. As we saw in yesterday’s devotion, the way to be blessed is to bless. If you will hold up your leaders to the Lord, praying for them and refraining from speaking negatively, then good will come. Now, here is the rest of the secret. The remainder of the blessing comes on the same highway. Father God is the Lord of provision. No doubt about that. He has warehouses full of provision with your name on it. The easiest and the best way to requisition what He has already laid up for you is to give to someone else? Be a blessing and be blessed. That’s how this thing works. “That’s crazy!” you say. Yep! It is. The Kingdom of God does not work the way the world does and that actually makes sense too. The world has been perverted, which means it has been twisted where it just doesn’t work any longer the way it was designed to work. So, knowing that, you really wouldn’t expect the world and the Kingdom to work the same way. The secret is in knowing how the Kingdom works and applying those procedures. That is why I am telling you this, so that you can apply the Kingdom principles and get yourself blessed. Doesn’t that sound great?

Bottom line? If you want to be blessed, be a blessing. Kinda weird, very cool, but most importantly, it works.

Economic Reality

Philippians 4: 19


And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
This verse is just two verses after yesterday’s verse about the gifts of the Philippians accruing to their own account. Here Paul delivers the punch line. Because they, the Philippians, met the needs of the ministry, God was obligated to meet all of their needs. We really need to learn that God moves resources all over the world according to this principle. He multiplies seed sown. This is the principle we all need to adopt in our finances. This is the way God set up the earth to work. We have turned it on its head and operated our economy according to all we can get. That is just the opposite of the economic principles God established in the earth in the beginning. One can see the righteousness in God’s way and the greed in the other way. It is no wonder our economy has collapsed around our ears. It was never meant to work that way. God is your source and your provider and he wants to see you well cared for. He does that by multiplying your seed so for goodness sake, sow some good seed today.

A Full Life

3 John 2

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.
This passage of scripture portrays the image of a victorious Christian. This is the picture of who we are all destined to be because of the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. First of all, our souls are to prosper. That encompasses our emotional life, social life, and our intellectual life. It is the transformation of the human soul through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps this is best thought of as the intangibles. It is all of the things that make a life full. It is part of what Jesus meant when he said that he came into the world to give us abundant life (John 10: 10).

As we allow the Holy Spirit to work within our spirits, setting us free from every sort of bondage, we are supposed to also evidence physical well-being and financial prosperity. You see, to God and to Jesus, it is a package deal. We are supposed to have it all, not just one little portion. You are supposed to be well in your body and well in your finances. Your soul is supposed to be healed from any emotional scars and you are to be free. Jesus said that he was anointed to set the captives free (Luke 4: 18). So, his ministry and his word do free us from our former bondage so that we might live in abundance of every sort and pass that blessing on to others. 

It starts in your spirit and manifests in every part of your life. Do not let the devil steal any part of it from you because Jesus came to set you free.

Go With God

Psalm 37: 19

They will not be ashamed in the time of evil; and in the days of famine they will have abundance.

Now this verse you can take to the bank and I am not just making a pun. Here is your promise that in the economic downturn you will be running to the bank to make deposits. 

Many of us watch the stock market and other economic indicators. That’s fine. It’s even kinda fun. The key for Christians is don’t make those indicators your Bible. They do not, in fact, indicate your economic prosperity. Your indicators are in the verse above and others like it. God wants to get out there first and tell you not to rely on Wall Street predictions. He already has an economic plan for you and it is a plan for your well-being (Jeremiah 29: 11).

I have watched Christians work with God on economics. I have seen some listen to whatever they heard on the morning economic news and invest their belief in what they heard. I watched them fail. I watched them go nearly into bankruptcy. Yet others listened to the Word of God and even in the time of famine fared quite well. Some people even grew financially during some of the worst financial times. 

I guess it all goes back to the little train who believed he could. If you believe God, you will succeed according to God’s good promises. If you don’t believe, God, if you believe what you hear on the television, then, well . . . good luck. You either align your finances with God and reap along with Him or you align your finances with the world and go however the world goes. Go with the guy who can bring you abundance even during a famine. Go with God!

Fulfilled

2 Corinthians 9: 8         Amplified Bible

And God is able to make all grace [every favor and earthly blessing] come in abundance to you, so that you may always [under all circumstances, regardless of the need] have complete sufficiency in everything [being completely self-sufficient in Him], and have an abundance for every good work and act of charity.

In Luke 6: 38 we see Jesus importuning us to give. We have briefly pondered the question of why Jesus wants us to give.  I gave you a Biblical Principle that you can hang your hat on. Specifically, everything Jesus tells us to do is for our own good (see devotion from Wednesday, January 27, 2016). If you will always begin with this premise, you will arrive at right conclusions. Let me suggest some other reasons why Jesus encourages us to give.  

The first one is so simple and so obvious that it has almost become invisible. Jesus tells us to become habitual givers because he loves us. We have all heard people saying that the preacher on wants to get something from them. I don’t doubt there are preachers who put pressure on us to give for that reason but I innocently believe they are in the minority. Jesus pushes us to teach on giving not because he wants to get something from you. He is trying to bless you. He is trying to give to you but he needs your seed so that he can multiply it. Just look at Jesus’ life on earth. He was always giving away. He continuously blessed the people. He hasn’t changed. He still is trying to bless everyone.

In today’s text, the Apostle Paul provides two additional reasons for why Jesus teaches us to be givers. Those reasons are so that we will always have sufficient resources to meet our needs and so that, from our abundance, we will be able to help meet the needs of others.  

If you look closely, if you peer inside these ideas, you will see the Kingdom of God financial laws at work. Through our giving, we increase. With our increase, we increase others, who then contribute to meeting the needs of others, and on and on. God is in the business of growing. With the obedience of just a few people, He can start a garden growing which truly can spread across the entire earth. Let me just say this plainly – there is power in giving. Do not underestimate this primary tool of the Kingdom. Give and it shall be given unto you, then give again. Your crop will overflow so that you will have an abundance for every good work.

Applied Law

Luke 6: 38

Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.

This is the law of sowing and reaping. If you give, it will be given to you. Period. Jesus spoke these words. The truth of the matter is that because this is a spiritual law, not Jesus nor even God Himself can stop the flow of benefit to you. A law operates the same way all the time and automatically. Jesus did not say and is not saying that when you give God will bless you. Read it again. He is simply teaching about the application of the law of sowing and reaping. When you sow, you shall reap.

As people begin to learn this important lesson they are routinely confronted with how, when and why to use it. Truly, I have seen more than one person trip over what they perceive as the ethic of this law. They will say to me, “Yes, I see this is true and from God but we shouldn’t give in order to receive.” That is like saying, “We shouldn’t intentionally use gravity.” I know it sounds holy, and that is what people are wrestling with. It is their learned sense of right and wrong. However, the real truth is that is a carnal perspective taught to all of us by the world. I know that sounds a bit harsh but I am trying to set you free here. When God establishes a law and Jesus teaches us about it they mean for us to use it for our benefit and for the benefit of those around us.

You don’t have to be selfish in order to use this law. You can always support this and other ministries with your increase. So, let’s get out of our worldly ethic for a minute and stretch our minds. Jesus came to the earth teaching that the Kingdom of God has come. That was a new thing and people had no idea what he was talking about. Then he proceeded to teach us how this Kingdom works. The first lesson, the predominant application of this Kingdom domain is that whenever you sow money, kindness, patience or anything else whether good or bad, you will receive a harvest which is multiplied many times over. Remember Jesus’ language. He said you shall receive “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over.” When I hear that I think of trying to get all of the bag of grits to fit in my canister. I have to shake it and bang it on the counter to get it to press down so that I can get all of the grits to fit. That’s what Jesus is talking about. Your return is going to be so great that you won’t be able to fit it into your container. It is running over.

Now then, why did Jesus teach us this? Was he trying to get us to give? Most people probably don’t truly believe that answer or we would see much better and more givers in the church. Why then? Here is a Bible principle that will serve you well if you will remember it. Everything that Jesus teaches us, everything that he tells us to do is for our good. That is a biggy. It means that Jesus told us about giving so that we will learn how to receive. Alright, let that sink in. Of the thirty-six words in today’s verse only one has to do with giving. The rest are about receiving.

Here is my point. Jesus was trying to teach us all how things work in the Kingdom of God. Remember he said that we are not of this world (John 17: 14). We are of the Kingdom of God. Therefore, we have to learn Kingdom Principles or how the Kingdom operates.

Today’s verse will teach you how to manage finances. If you want to make money, multiply your wealth and increase your financial well-being then you must give. That’s just how the Kingdom works, that is how Kingdom finances work. You cannot operate as the world operates and be successful because you don’t live in the world. This is a very important concept for us to grasp. Jesus is teaching how to succeed, how to have provision for every good work as well as taking care of your own needs. Now don’t say, “Well, I don’t want to give in order to receive.” That is denying the laws of the Kingdom. Would you say, “Okay, I am going to invest some money in this mutual fund but I don’t want it to increase.” Of course not. That would be foolishness. Why, then, would you expect a worldly venture to increase your portfolio but not your Father who loves you? When we stop and think of these things they really are foolish but it is only because we haven’t been taught. Now you know though. God intends for you to work the equation backwards. If I know the result I want, then I can figure out what seed to sow. If you need money, sow money. God’s law of sowing and reaping will multiply that seed and give you a harvest.

Jesus didn’t teach us to pray for our increase and then sit on the wharf and wait for our ship to dock. No, Jesus said, “Give.” Then pray over your seed. Ask Dad to multiply your seed to the one you give it to and to return it to you multiplied hundred-fold. Now that prayer is in keeping with the Word of God. Give and it shall be given to you. Let’s get scriptural with this thing and apply the spiritual laws.

The Rich Young Ruler (Part 5)

Mark 10: 21

And looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him, and said to him, “One thing you lack . . . come, follow me.”

What was the one thing that the rich young ruler lacked? I believe it was a deep abiding trust in the Holy One. I think Jesus was preaching Proverb 3: 5 to him which reads; “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” We know that this young man was holy because he kept the commandments. We know that he loved God. That is why he kept the commandments. He had a deeper longing for God also. He was not prideful either. Those two are demonstrated in the fact that he ran to Jesus and that he threw himself at Jesus’ feet. He wanted to know how to come closer to God and was willing to chase down the man he thought could teach him that.

His problem was not that he had riches. Really it is not hard to get into heaven with riches. You just leave them behind here on earth. You go, they stay. No, his problem was that he had learned to trust in his wealth. He trusted in his skills. He knew how to live and be prosperous but his trust was in himself and his ability to take care of himself. Jesus called him to leave that life and his possessions behind and follow him. Peter, John, etc. left their goods behind and it did not seem to bother them much. They did not have their trust tied into their fishing nets. This young man didn’t know how to walk by faith though. This is what Jesus wanted to teach him. In the fourth chapter of Mark, Jesus compared the kingdom of God to seed which is planted and having been planted, after a time, yields a crop. He was trying to teach them all the law of sowing and reaping.

When Jesus called Andrew and Peter, he told them that he would make him fishers of men. In the rich young ruler’s case, he would have shown him how to sow and reap in the kingdom of God. He would have taught him how to make money by sowing, but also he would have taught him how he (the young ruler) could plant the seed of God’s word and reap souls saved and destiny bound. He could have become a great evangelist because he already knew the principles of business. He just needed to learn to operate as God and Jesus did. And he needed to learn what we are all still learning even to this day. Walk wherever Jesus calls you without fear or concern for your own livelihood. Do what he calls you to do and have no thought for your own needs. They are the responsibility of the Father. The rich young ruler couldn’t step out of his comfort zone and follow Christ. He couldn’t step out on that water and trust Christ to hold him up. He couldn’t go where Jesus called because of his fear and lack of faith and trust. Now the real question is, “Can we?”

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