God's truth for today's world

Times are tough right now for many people. Why? Because in a nutshell, our country as a whole has not been following biblical principles of finance. Now is a very good time for every one of us to understand how God desires us to handle our money. So that, we can be blessed and be a blessing to others.

With respect to money, the Bible speaks of two kinds of people. The first kind of person I want to talk about today is a stingy person. A stingy person is someone who could be said to be a penny-pincher. A stingy person wants to keep as much money as he can and spend or give away as little as possible. Some people think that being stingy is a virtue. Let’s see what God’s Word says.

Proverbs 28:22 (NIV) A stingy man is eager to get rich and is unaware that poverty awaits him.

God’s Word tells us that the root of stinginess is the desire to get rich. A stingy person depends on money for his security. Therefore a stingy person never has enough money. A stingy person is self-centered and only thinks about his own needs. God’s Word also tells us that the result of stinginess is not riches, but poverty. In other words, the stingy person gets the exact opposite of what he wants. He wants riches and he receives his worst fear, poverty.

What the opposite of a stingy person? The opposite is a generous person. A generous person thinks about other people and gives freely to others.

Proverbs 11:24-25 (NIV) One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

In these verses, God’s Word contrasts a stingy and a generous person. The stingy person again comes to poverty, but the generous person gains even as he gives and ends in prosperity.

Listen to my September 20, 2009 message “The Joy of Generosity” (message notes).

God’s Word, the Bible, is our guide book for life. God’s Word is the key that unlocks the secret of a great life.

Joshua 1:8 (NIV) Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

This was a promise that God made to Joshua and applies to each one of us as well. Prosperity and success in God’s eyes does not happen automatically. God lists three conditions for success in life.

  1. Discuss the Word of God – talk about it with your family, at your Life Group, with your friends.
  2. Meditate on God’s Word day and night – to meditate is to think over the meaning and application of the Bible to your life.
  3. Why should you discuss and think about God’s Word? So that you are careful to do everything written it.

Following God’s plan for life leads to prosperity and success in your life.

2 Corinthians 9:11 (NIV) You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

What you think “rich” means and what the Bible means by “rich” may well be different. To be made rich in every way is to have enough resources of all kinds to meet your own needs and have enough to be a generous giver. Generous givers produce the result of thanksgiving to God from those who are blessed through their giving.

Listen to my September 13, 2009 message “A Practical Plan for Generous Giving” (message notes).

090830-blessed-financiallyGod gave us His Word in order to teach us how to live a successful life with His help. Success in God’s eyes is discovering God’s will and then doing it, nothing more and nothing less. God wants you to be a success in life, that’s what He created you for. Yet many people don’t believe that God has good plans for their lives.

3 John 1:2 (NASB95) Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.

This prayer of the apostle John reflects God’s will for our lives in the form of a promise. The success of your life, according to this verse, is dependent on the prosperity of your soul. In other words, your spiritual relationship with with God is the foundation of a blessed life. If your soul is prospering, then it is God’s will that you prosper in all other respects, including your health and your finances.

Proverbs 10:22 (NIV) The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it.

God wants to bless His children in their finances so that they have the resources to carry out His plan for their lives. God does not bless people financially so that they can spend their money in luxurious living, but so that they can bless others. We are blessed so that we can be a blessing.

In order to be blessed financially by the Lord, you must follow the financial principles that God has given us in His Word. Jesus set out the most important principle, the principle of giving.

Luke 6:38 (NIV) Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

When you give to God, God will give back to you, in greater measure than you have given. The more you give to God, the more you will receive. I have seen the truth of this principle evidenced in my own life and the lives of many people in the church. Those that are faithful in giving tithes and offerings are blessed financially, even in the midst of this recession. Those that are afraid and don’t give to God have grave problems in their finances. Each person has a choice to make. Am I going to believe God’s Word and be a generous giver or not? God blesses those who trust Him with their finances.

Listen to my message “How To Be Blessed Financially” (message notes).

090830-giving-that-feels-goodGod has given to us a gift, the Word of God, which is the Bible. The Bible is not simply words written down by men, the Bible is the very Word of God. The Bible is God’s revelation of who He is and how people can know God. God’s Word is God’s manual for living a blessed life, both now and in eternity. God wants you to take Him at His Word.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV) All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

So, God’s Word is meant to equip you to live the life God created you to live. If you don’t make use of God’s Word to guide your life, you’ll miss out on God’s blessings for your life. Our challenge is to take God at His Word. What that means is each of us must believe that what God’s Word says is really true and we can put our trust in it. When you believe that what God has said in His Word is true, then you can live your life trusting in that Word.

This series will not be about God’s Word in general, but about one part of God’s Word. However, the part of God’s Word that we’re going to be talking about is huge. Over 2350 verses in the Bible talk about this topic, which is the topic of money. If you handle your money God’s way, you’ll be blessed in your finances. If you handle your money your way, you will have untold problems in your finances.

God’s Word teaches us that our money really isn’t ours, it’s God’s. And God’s Word has some directions in it about handling His money. One of the most important aspects of handling your money God’s way is the aspect of giving. God wants giving to feel good for every believer. I just recently finished reading a book called “How To Be Happy Giving Your Money Away.” That title captures how God wants you to feel about giving.

For a lot of people giving their money away doesn’t seem to feel good, in fact they resist it and give as little as possible. But what does God’s Word, say about giving? What did Jesus say about giving?

Acts 20:35b (NIV) Remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

Being blessed makes me feel good. So if I take God at his Word, I’m going to be a giver. I’m going to believe that as I give to God and His Word, I’m going to be blessed in every way.

My parents taught me to be a blessed giver. From around the age of 4, I have given at least 10% of all my income to the church, the Bible calls it a tithe. When my wife Carol was saved as child, she began tithing as well. Over the years, we’ve always had more than enough. Our needs have been met and we’ve had enough to continue being happy giving our money away. God’s promises work whether we’re in a recession or not. We want you and your family to be blessed as well.

Listen to my August 30, 2009 message “Giving That Feels Good” (message notes).