Category Archives: Money / Finances / Wealth

We Will Be Held To Account If We Misuse Our Wealth

James is clearly rebuking the rich who have misused their wealth in James 5. He is not condemning every person with money. Note the clear indication that he is speaking to someone who was dishonest and did not pay what he owed, someone who was focused on their own pleasure above other people, who put to death the righteous. This is not true of all rich people by any stretch of the imagination. Abraham is one quick example of a man held in esteem for his faith and he was wealthy. Job was another.

James 5

Misuse of Riches

      1Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. 2Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. 3Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! 4Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. 5You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you.

We will be held to account for how we use what gifts YHWH provides to us, whether they are time, talent, or money. We do not have to give up all our money either. Quite the contrary, for those who have wealth, they have opportunity to help others with it, even if just to provide jobs and pay… it is not always about just giving it away.

Another thought to remember… a lot of people judge if they are wealthy or poor by comparison to others around them. However, in countries like the USA, compared to much of the world and historically speaking, almost all of us are wealthy. We have plentiful food, clean water, shelter… even TVs and smartphones. Do not be quick to dismiss the message in James 5 assuming it applies to those who are richer than yourself.  It applies to most of us, even if we don’t feel rich compared to “the other guy” who has a bigger house and fancier car.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

How Blessed Are the People Whose God Is The LORD!

I really appreciate the example David sets in his psalms. He prays to the LORD and asks for help, yes, but he first focuses on praising and recognizing YHWH for who he is and what he has done. He does not simply jump into a list of requests or demands. He comes before YHWH with humility and thankfulness and focuses first on the greatness of our God.

Psalms 144

Prayer for Rescue and Prosperity.

A Psalm of David.

     1Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
Who trains my hands for war,
And my fingers for battle;

      2My lovingkindness and my fortress,
My stronghold and my deliverer,
My shield and He in whom I take refuge,
Who subdues my people under me.

      3O LORD, what is man, that You take knowledge of him?
Or the son of man, that You think of him?

      4Man is like a mere breath;
His days are like a passing shadow.

      5Bow Your heavens, O LORD, and come down;
Touch the mountains, that they may smoke.

      6Flash forth lightning and scatter them;
Send out Your arrows and confuse them.

      7Stretch forth Your hand from on high;
Rescue me and deliver me out of great waters,
Out of the hand of aliens

      8Whose mouths speak deceit,
And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

      9I will sing a new song to You, O God;
Upon a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You,

      10Who gives salvation to kings,
Who rescues David His servant from the evil sword.

      11Rescue me and deliver me out of the hand of aliens,
Whose mouth speaks deceit
And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

      12Let our sons in their youth be as grown-up plants,
And our daughters as corner pillars fashioned as for a palace;

      13Let our garners be full, furnishing every kind of produce,
And our flocks bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields;

      14Let our cattle bear
Without mishap and without loss,
Let there be no outcry in our streets!

      15How blessed are the people who are so situated;
How blessed are the people whose God is the LORD!

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The LORD Is My Helper; I Will Not Be Afraid

Good reminders and areas for reflection in the closing of Hebrews.

Hebrews 13

The Changeless Christ

      1Let love of the brethren continue. 2Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. 3Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body. 4Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge. 5Make sure that your character is 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,”

6so that we confidently say,
“THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID.
WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?”

      7Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited. 10We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.

God-pleasing Sacrifices

      15Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. 16And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

      17Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

      18Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things. 19And I urge you all the more to do this, so that I may be restored to you the sooner.

Benediction

      20Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

      22But I urge you, brethren, bear with this word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. 23Take notice that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom, if he comes soon, I will see you. 24Greet all of your leaders and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you.

      25Grace be with you all.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Remove Grief and Anger From Your Heart

Ecclesiastes 11 is an interesting chapter. He seems to suddenly give financial advice. I would need to reflect or study longer on verse 1, but in verse 2 he is clearly talking about diversifying assets / investments. He then seems to lay out some principles about rain and trees which seem to indicate that there are simply some things we cannot predict perfectly or control. It builds upon the end of verse 2.I find it particularly on point when he points out that those of us who are looking for a perfect time to do something, he refers to sowing seed, may never have a harvest. If we always wait for the perfect time, it never comes.

He then ties it back in towards YHWH by reminding us that just as in these events (e.g. rain, wind, trees falling, etc.), we will not always understand the will of YHWH, our Father.

He finishes the financial advice by encouraging us to diversify again. Do not sow all your seed in the morning or evening, but do both.

He then pivots in verse 7 and highlights that we should enjoy the good times in life because there will certainly be hard times. I think he gives forth bad advice in verse 9, encouraging us to follow the impulses of our heart and then promptly warns us that we will be judged by YHWH for these actions. Following impulses by our hearts is plain bad advice. Perhaps he did not mean it the way it sounds. After all, he clearly warns that we will be judged for it.

Jeremiah 17:9

   9“The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?

Clearly we should not “follow our hearts, but rather YHWH himself”.

He closes with some very good advice to not let grief and anger in our heart pull down our joy in life. Life is fleeting and we must not waste it on our own impulses or on grief and anger in our heart.

Ecclesiastes 11

Cast Your Bread on the Waters

      1Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days. 2Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth. 3If the clouds are full, they pour out rain upon the earth; and whether a tree falls toward the south or toward the north, wherever the tree falls, there it lies. 4He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap. 5Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.

      6Sow your seed in the morning and do not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good.

      7The light is pleasant, and it is good for the eyes to see the sun. 8Indeed, if a man should live many years, let him rejoice in them all, and let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. Everything that is to come will be futility.

      9Rejoice, young man, during your childhood, and let your heart be pleasant during the days of young manhood. And follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes. Yet know that God will bring you to judgment for all these things. 10So, remove grief and anger from your heart and put away pain from your body, because childhood and the prime of life are fleeting.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Trust the Lord to Provide for You

There may be times when we are tempted to look around at what the Lord has provided and be discontent. We may come and ask for more. If we do so, let us to so humbly and with thankfulness in our hearts for what he has already given. Let us then accept his answer, even if it is different than what we expected. Often, even if he will bless us and provide more for us, he may expect us to work for it.

Let us be content and trust in YHWH to provide for us our portion. Let us not strive with one another or look upon one another with jealousy or discontent.

Joshua 17

Territory of Manasseh

     1Now this was the lot for the tribe of Manasseh, for he was the firstborn of Joseph. To Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead, were allotted Gilead and Bashan, because he was a man of war. 2So the lot was made for the rest of the sons of Manasseh according to their families: for the sons of Abiezer and for the sons of Helek and for the sons of Asriel and for the sons of Shechem and for the sons of Hepher and for the sons of Shemida; these were the male descendants of Manasseh the son of Joseph according to their families.

      3However, Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons, only daughters; and these are the names of his daughters: Mahlah and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah. 4They came near before Eleazar the priest and before Joshua the son of Nun and before the leaders, saying, “The LORD commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our brothers.” So according to the command of the LORD he gave them an inheritance among their father’s brothers. 5Thus there fell ten portions to Manasseh, besides the land of Gilead and Bashan, which is beyond the Jordan, 6because the daughters of Manasseh received an inheritance among his sons. And the land of Gilead belonged to the rest of the sons of Manasseh.

      7The border of Manasseh ran from Asher to Michmethath which was east of Shechem; then the border went southward to the inhabitants of En-tappuah. 8The land of Tappuah belonged to Manasseh, but Tappuah on the border of Manasseh belonged to the sons of Ephraim. 9The border went down to the brook of Kanah, southward of the brook (these cities belonged to Ephraim among the cities of Manasseh), and the border of Manasseh was on the north side of the brook and it ended at the sea. 10The south side belonged to Ephraim and the north side to Manasseh, and the sea was their border; and they reached to Asher on the north and to Issachar on the east. 11In Issachar and in Asher, Manasseh had Beth-shean and its towns and Ibleam and its towns, and the inhabitants of Dor and its towns, and the inhabitants of En-dor and its towns, and the inhabitants of Taanach and its towns, and the inhabitants of Megiddo and its towns, the third is Napheth. 12But the sons of Manasseh could not take possession of these cities, because the Canaanites persisted in living in that land. 13It came about when the sons of Israel became strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but they did not drive them out completely.

      14Then the sons of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying, “Why have you given me only one lot and one portion for an inheritance, since I am a numerous people whom the LORD has thus far blessed?” 15Joshua said to them, “If you are a numerous people, go up to the forest and clear a place for yourself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the Rephaim, since the hill country of Ephraim is too narrow for you.” 16The sons of Joseph said, “The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the valley land have chariots of iron, both those who are in Beth-shean and its towns and those who are in the valley of Jezreel.” 17Joshua spoke to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and Manasseh, saying, “You are a numerous people and have great power; you shall not have one lot only, 18but the hill country shall be yours. For though it is a forest, you shall clear it, and to its farthest borders it shall be yours; for you shall drive out the Canaanites, even though they have chariots of iron and though they are strong.”

Prosperity and Blessing Come From The Lord

Let us remain focused on our heavenly father and provider and be both joyful and thankful as we seek him.

Psalm 127

A Song of Ascents, of Solomon.

    1Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman keeps awake in vain.

      2It is vain for you to rise up early,
To retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.

      3Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.

      4Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.

      5How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Instructions for All Who Follow Christ

1 Timothy 6 contains timeless wisdom for us to consider and apply in our lives. As you begin to read, consider that though the slave / master guidance may seem obsolete, perhaps you should consider it in regards to employee / employer perspective as I believe it still applies in that context or others where you are subject to proper authority.

1 Timothy 6

Instructions to Those Who Minister

     1All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against. 2Those who have believers as their masters must not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but must serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved. Teach and preach these principles.

      3If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, 4he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, 5and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. 6But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. 7For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. 8If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. 9But 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. 10For 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.

      11But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, 14that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.

      17Instruct 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. 18Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.

      20O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”— 21which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith.
Grace be with you.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

He Who Loves Money Will Not Be Satisfied With Money

Riches and wealth by themselves have no lasting significance. This seems contrary to what our culture today testifies and covets. However, really it changes when you stop thinking only about this world and start thinking about eternity. We can take none of this wealth with us.

Ecclesiastes 5:10-20

The Folly of Riches

     10He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity. 11When good things increase, those who consume them increase. So what is the advantage to their owners except to look on? 12The 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.

      13There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun: riches being hoarded by their owner to his hurt. 14When those riches were lost through a bad investment and he had fathered a son, then there was nothing to support him. 15As he had come naked from his mother’s womb, so will he return as he came. He will take nothing from the fruit of his labor that he can carry in his hand. 16This also is a grievous evil—exactly as a man is born, thus will he die. So what is the advantage to him who toils for the wind? 17Throughout his life he also eats in darkness with great vexation, sickness and anger.

      18Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward. 19Furthermore, 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 the gift of God. 20For he will not often consider the years of his life, because God keeps him occupied with the gladness of his heart.

For those who love money and seek to be satisfied by it, there will never be enough. There is always more to pursue.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Leadership Qualifications for the Church

Paul provides some timeless guidance on how carefully we should choose leaders within our church body. They high standards and appropriately so. Someone not only needs to meet these standards to lead in the church but also to remain in leadership within the church. If they fall, even if they repent, one must still consider very carefully if they are “beyond reproach” and if it is appropriate for them to retake a leadership position again. The emphasis is really about helping those they lead to grow closer to YHWH and it is not about maintaining the career interest of the leader.

1 Timothy 3

Overseers and Deacons

     1It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. 2An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. 4He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5(but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), 6and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. 7And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

      8Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, 9but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach. 11Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things. 12Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households. 13For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

      14I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; 15but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.

16By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness:
He who was revealed in the flesh,
Was vindicated in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Proclaimed among the nations,
Believed on in the world,
Taken up in glory.

I think this is an valuable standard to consider for all of us who wish to lead lives pleasing to YHWH, whether or not we take a formal position in the church. Prayerfully reflect and ask the Spirit to show you, without bias and defensiveness, how you and your household stack up to this standard. Ask him help to lead you in change as needed or continued growth in these areas. Pray for one another in this regard, that we would grow toward this standard.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The Prayer of Jabez

Almost buried in a section of historical family lineage in 1 Chronicles is a brief excerpt, limited to two verses, about a man named Jabez for whom God answered his prayer. Like so many parts of scripture, it is waiting for us to find it and explore the depths of God’s word, like buried treasure.

It is worthwhile to pause and reflect on these verses.

1 Chronicles:9-10

9Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, “Because I bore him with pain.” 10Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested.

Quite some time ago, someone wrote a book about “the prayer of Jabez” and people got almost in a craze about it. The problem is that many focused on only his prayer. They wanted to turn it into some formula whereby if anyone repeats the words they force God to bless them also. However, this is not how a relationship with the Lord works. We don’t control Him. We don’t get His power by rehearsing specific words like some sort of spell.

Matthew 6:7-8

     7“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8“So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

The prayer of Jabez was an honorable prayer. He asked for God’s blessing and asked for God’s protection from harm. These are good things to pray for. Let us also take care not to overlook that he also asked for God’s hand to be with Him and he was honorable in his life.

Jabez was not simply asking for more land and less pain, but also for a relationship with God and living his life in accordance with what God directed.

The path to living with the peace and joy of the Lord is one of submitting to him and building relationship with him. You can not and should not try to skip the relationship with God in pursuit of controlling him to give you the outcomes you want. As you build relationship with him, you will also discover that the relationship is the real treasure… that his hand would be with us.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.