VIDEO Spending Your Way To Wealth

It’s no secret that the Bible teaches us to live our lives a little bit differently than the world does. And that’s especially true when it comes to money.

Practice contentment and don’t covet other people’s stuff, the Bible says (Hebrews 13:5Exodus 20:17). But advertisers make you want the life you see in their commercials. You feel incomplete, so you hand over the cash, hoping to buy happiness.

Worship God above all else, and don’t worship idols, the Bible tells us (Exodus 20:3–4, Matthew 6:24). But people often make their material possessions into gods without even realizing it—especially money.

And when it comes to saving, giving and debt, it’s no different. The world says one thing, but the Bible points to a better way—a way that glorifies God and actually helps us live fuller, more joyful lives (Galatians 6:8)!

Hey, we get it. It’s tough trying to resist the world’s ways when it comes to money. We’ve all experienced temptation in that area and have buckled at some point. That’s why keeping God’s desire for our finances front of mind is so important.

Remember these three points next time you feel the world trying to take your money out of God’s hands and put it into its own. You’ve got this!

The world says: YOLO! You only live once! Indulge first and save later.
God says: Pay yourself by saving. Then enjoy the fruits of your labor.

According to a 2015 Federal Reserve report, nearly half of Americans don’t have the cash on hand to cover a $400 emergency. And more than half of households couldn’t live without their income for just one month without borrowing. Yikes! Lots of Americans definitely prioritize the present over the future.

But Proverbs 21:20 (NIV) explains the value in saving for a rainy day: “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.” And even beyond your own household, saving can create financial stability for future generations: “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children” (Proverbs 13:22 NKJV).

It’s okay to have some fun with your money—as long as you budget for it, and as long as you pay yourself first by tucking some of your money into savings.

The world says: Spend all of your money on you. There’s no way you’ll have anything left over!
God says: Give 10% off the top and work toward being able to give even beyond that.

Here’s the truth about giving: No one gives accidentally. They’re intentional about it. That means that when they budget their money each month, they set aside 10% of their income to give first, even before they save it. That’s the instruction in Proverbs 3:9–10 (NKJV): “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” And in Malachi 3:10, God tells us that those firstfruits should be a tenth of what we produce.

Lots of people say they don’t have enough money to give. But the problem might be that they don’t make it a priority. If giving doesn’t happen first, the money will never be there. That’s part of why just 5% of all adults have tithed. Among born-again Christians, that number is still only 12%.

Giving isn’t a priority in the world, but it’s a priority to God.

The world says: Debt can be a tool to buy things you couldn’t otherwise have.
God says: Debt is bad. There’s no such thing as good debt.

Over the past several decades, debt has been marketed so heavily that many people feel like they can’t survive without it! In fact, eight in 10 Americans have debt, and seven in 10 believe it’s necessary. But debt has also forced people to delay or avoid expensive life events like marriage or kids, and it’s caused bankruptcy, divorce and all kinds of other messes.

Proverbs 22:7 actually says borrowing money enslaves you to the lender. And in Romans 13:8, Paul calls us to pay off all our debts so that the only thing we owe each other is love.

The Bible doesn’t say debt is a sin, but it has nothing good to say about it and definitely discourages it. The risk you accept when taking on debt is too great to make any possible benefits worth it. Take God’s word on this one and save up to pay cash for the things other people might borrow for.

The Bible is full of wisdom about handling money according to God’s teachings, not the world’s. Next time you’re wondering what to do with your finances, turn to His Word instead of to the masses!

“Spend Your Way To Wealth” | October 11, 2020

Missing: Wisdom

Give your servant a discerning heart . . . to distinguish between right and wrong. 1 Kings 3:9

Two-year-old Kenneth went missing. Yet within three minutes of his mom’s 9-1-1 call, an emergency worker found him just two blocks from home at the county fair. His mom had promised he could go later that day with his grandpa. But he’d driven his toy tractor there, and parked it at his favorite ride. When the boy was safely home, his dad wisely removed the toy’s battery. 

Kenneth was actually rather smart to get where he wanted to go, but two-year-olds are missing another key quality: wisdom. And as adults we sometimes lack it too. Solomon, who’d been appointed king by his father David (1 Kings 2), admitted he felt like a child. God appeared to him in a dream and said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you” (3:5). He replied, “I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. . . . So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong” (vv. 7–9). God gave Solomon “a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore” (4:29). 

Where can we get the wisdom we need? Solomon said the beginning of wisdom is a “fear” or awe of God (Proverbs 9:10). So we can start by asking Him to teach us about Himself and to give us wisdom beyond our own.

By:  Anne Cetas

Reflect & Pray

In what areas do you need God’s wisdom? What might give you a teachable heart?

I’m always in need of wisdom, God. I want to follow Your ways. Please show me which way to go.

There Are Promises for the Persecuted

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.

Persecution is a scary prospect, yet it’s written into the Christian story time and time again. And the way that we think, speak, and pray about suffering for our faith can impact how we respond to such situations. When you are feeling fearful, concerned, confused, or even angry, look to God’s Word, and take comfort in Jesus’ promise that the persecuted will be blessed (Matt. 5:10-12). 

Paul knew of this reassurance when he wrote to Timothy that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). And throughout the church today, many Christians follow Paul’s example of responding to such oppression not only with love and patience, but also with encouragement for other faithful believers. And we, likewise, can feel heartened by the promise of being blessed through our sufferings.

Think About It

  • Perhaps you have experienced resistance to your faith. How did that make you feel?
  • In today’s Western culture, how can Christians respond to persecution locally or elsewhere in the world?

And Line upon Line

“The word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.” (Isaiah 28:13)

This familiar passage (repeated mostly from Isaiah 28:10 just before it) is often cited in support of a detailed, verse-by-verse method of Bible study and exposition. However, the context is one of rebuke to the people of Ephraim (that is, the Northern Kingdom of Israel) in the days of the divided kingdom. Isaiah especially castigates the priests and prophets who should have been teaching God’s Word to the people but who had instead become proud and then drunkards, leaving the people in great ignorance and spiritual confusion.

Therefore, cried Isaiah: “Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts” (v. 9). Before they can really grow in the knowledge of God, they must be built up carefully, line upon line, for they are yet carnal babes in spiritual matters.

A very similar rebuke was administered to the early Christians and would be even more appropriate today: “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age” (Hebrews 5:12-14).

Such an admonition is greatly needed today, when Christian believers subsist almost entirely on spiritual milk—or even worse, on the froth that passes for evangelical literature in most Sunday schools and Christian bookstores today. We need to get back to the strong meat of the Word, lest we “fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.” HMM

Both the Small and the Great

Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. —1 Peter 5:5

Some time ago we heard a short address by a young preacher during which he quoted the following, “If you are too big for a little place, you are too little for a big place.”

It is an odd rule of the kingdom of God that when we try to get big, we always get smaller by the moment. God is jealous of His glory and will not allow anyone to share it with Him. The effort to appear great will bring the displeasure of God upon us and effectively prevent us from achieving the greatness after which we pant.

Humility pleases God wherever it is found, and the humble person will have God for his or her friend and helper always. Only the humble are completely sane, for they are the only ones who see clearly their own size and limitations. Egotists see things out of focus. To themselves they are large and God is correspondingly small, and that is a kind of moral insanity.   TWP034

Lord, help me never to be too big for a little place. In humility let me serve and revel in You as my “friend and helper always.” Amen.

Be A Worshiper First

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. —Psalm 100:4

Our Lord commands us to pray the Lord of the harvest that He will send forth laborers into His harvest field. What we are overlooking is that no one can be a worker who is not first a worshiper. Labor that does not spring out of worship is futile….

It may be set down as an axiom that if we do not worship we cannot work acceptably. The Holy Spirit can work through a worshiping heart and through no other kind. We may go through the motions and delude ourselves by our religious activity, but we are setting ourselves up for a shocking disillusionment some day.

Without doubt the emphasis in Christian teaching today should be on worship. There is little danger that we shall become merely worshipers and neglect the practical implications of the gospel….Fellowship with God leads straight to obedience and good works. That is the divine order, and it can never be reversed. BAM125-126

Christian work must ever be subordinate to Christian worship, and our service must be under the control and inspiration of our deeper life and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. CTBC, Vol. 1/232-233

Getting Past the First Step

Isaiah 41:10

It’s like riding a bike, as the old saying goes. Once you’ve learned how to do it, you never forget. We’ve reached that developmental stage in our family. Our daughter Janine asked for a new set of wheels. After much scouring of newspaper ads and scrutiny of bank accounts, dad and daughter set off in search of a bike. Soon the journey ended, money changed hands and the secondhand bike became our firstborn’s pride and joy. That was the easy part.

Janine’s old bike had training wheels. Before that she enjoyed the stability of a toddler’s tricycle. The old bike stood upright on its own. The trike didn’t wobble. The new five-gear, drop-handlebar, fluorescent flamingo paint job, however, suddenly looked more like a nightmare than a dream machine.

A new world beckoned: a world of excitement, enjoyment and freedom. But this world of adventure could not be entered without pain.

During a morning that contained more spills than thrills, one thing was clear. While Janine could ride without help or hindrance from dad once she got started, the hardest step to take was the first. It was the initial push of the pedal that was proving so difficult. This rite of passage would have to wait for another day.

To be fair, it’s not as easy as it looks. There’s a lot to contend with. There’s the weight of the bike, the coordination of the body, the dread of falling. After all, there’s nothing so easy as falling off a bike.

To many people, living out the Christian faith appears just as daunting. Jesus offers us a world so new, so exciting and so different that He describes it like being born all over again.

Jesus offers us freedom. He promises a journey with a purpose, His company through life’s ups and downs, and His comfort when we fall. But somehow that first step of faith is so hard to take.

We want to hold onto what we know and hand ourselves over to God at the same time. We’re attracted by forgiveness, but held back by fear. We’re afraid of missing out, yet afraid of messing up. We are going nowhere fast. We are in turmoil.

But we don’t have to struggle alone. “Do not fear,” God assures us, “for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10). In him we have a heavenly Father who holds us, guides us and encourages us to leave our fears and launch out in tandem with Him. After that first step, you’ll be on your way!

Nigel Bovey, The War Cry, U.K.