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Author Archives: kristinkingauthor

About kristinkingauthor

Author, publisher and president of non-profit, Future Hope Africa.

O is for Offering – The Bible Says What (About Your Money) #AprilA2ZChallenge

For O is for Offering (#AtoZChallenge) I was able to find this joke I heard a long time ago on the site for the Institute of Islamic Christian and Jewish studies.

A rabbi, a priest, and a minister are discussing what they do with the money from the collection plate.
The priest says that he draws a circle on the floor, throws the money up in the air, and whatever lands in the circle, he gives to God; whatever lands outside the circle, he keeps.”
The minister explains that he has a very similar method: He draws a circle on the floor, throws the money up in the air, and whatever lands outside the circle he gives to God, whereas whatever lands inside the circle he keeps.
“I, too, have a system,” the rabbi says. “I throw the money up in the air, and whatever God catches, He can keep.”

I can’t help but smile. Actually there are several types of offerings in God’s word.

There are two scriptures that strike home the most with me regarding Offerings.

“Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.(Malachi 3:8 NASB)

Stealing is bad enough, but for me to think I steal from God is awful. However, I’ve heard Christian people say that this is an Old Testament teaching that doesn’t apply now. I cringe at that. There are at least 18 verses in the New Testament about offerings including giving sacrificially (the widow in Mark 12 and Luke 21), giving richly (alabaster bottle of perfume in Mark 14), selling what you have to give (Acts 4:36-37), and supporting workers doing kingdom work (3 John 8).

In the Old Testament there was the hope for the coming Savior, the faith that Christ would come. Does it make sense for me, a person who has seen that hope come to pass, who has the Spirit every day, to give less than the faithful from days of old?

It’s not just a 10% and I’ve checked the box kinda thing to me. The examples in the Bible include contributions to build the place of worship, atonement money, precious metals, building supplies, freewill offerings, guilt offerings, sin offerings, peace offerings, grain offerings, burnt offerings, thank offerings.

They gave so much in Exodus 36:5-6 that the Lord told Moses to stop them! Enough was in hand to complete what needed to be done at that time.

The second verse that strikes me is this:

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV)

Other verses support this focus on being willing to give. “Take from among you a contribution to the Lord; whoever is of a willing heart…” (Exodus 35:5 NASB) “Everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him came and brought the Lord’s contribution…” (Exodus 35:21). Offerings are both commanded (e.g. Deuteronomy 12:11) and of the heart. These can walk hand-in-hand.

Blessed with a paycheck? Give joyously. We are getting a tax return this year. A thank offering is in order. A new child was added to our family, and we saw that as a time to give. Did you hear of someone working for others needs? Maybe you felt the stirring, the move to give to cancer treatment, an education center in Africa, an orphanage, or perhaps it was closer to home like a family trying to adopt. Maybe the gift on your heart today isn’t money but second-hand clothes to help, time to volunteer, crossing the street with your mower to support a neighbor in hard times.

Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you.” (Deuteronomy 16:17 NASB)

I truly believe when we answer those stirrings inside to give, we answer a call from God.

–Kristin

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Posted by on April 18, 2018 in A to Z Blog

 

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N is for Ndulgence – The Bible Says What!?! (About Your Money) #AprilA2ZChallenge

Mid-spring with four sports, three other weekly commitments, plus the usual and I am behind on the A to Z challenge. So today I will borrow the words of Larry Burkett, founder of Crown Financial Ministries.

Indulgence

It’s easy to rationalize an indulgent lifestyle in a society where most people indulge themselves. While we go to sleep disturbed over whether or not to buy a big screen TV, over half the world’s children go to bed hungry or cold. One who never is willing to sacrifice, never willing to deny impulses to spend, and constantly seeks to indulge whimsical desires, will always be in bondage and feel frustrated. –Larry Burkett (The Word on Finances)

“He who loves pleasure will become a poor man; he who loves wine and oil will not become rich.” (Proverbs 21:17)

“Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit.” (Proverbs 25:28)

“A sated man loathes honey, but to a famished man any bitter thing is sweet.” (Proverbs 27:7)

The question I don’t ask myself often enough is how much is enough?

–Kristin

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2018 in Living in Holland

 

M is for Multiplication – The Bible Says What!?! (about your money) #AprilA2ZChallenge

Multiply your money. I think American culture takes this as a given, except in certain circles. One of those circles is part of the Christians. We’ve been taught or heard “The love of money is the root of all evil” ( ) “You cannot serve God and mammon (i.e. money or material things) ( ). So we tend to work only to provide for family and avoid even the appearance of working for or serving money.

In Matthew 25:14-30 Jesus tells a different story. A master is going away for a while and parcels out funds to three servants. A lot of modern translations use the word “talent.” The translation can be a bit misleading for modern folks who are thinking of singing talent, acting, or dancing. Some modern scholars then treat the story as applying to whatever natural gifts and abilities God has blessed you with and don’t apply Jesus teaching to money.

In Bible times, though, the talent was a unit of measure for commerce, and you could have a talent of gold, a talent of silver, or most accurately to Jesus’s Day, a talent equaled “60 manehs.”  This is most definitely money, and the master in the story represents God the Father.

He gave 5 talents to one servant, 2 talents to another, and 1 talent to a third “according to each one’s ability.” When the master returned the 5 talent servant had doubled his portion to 10. The 2 talents were doubled by that servant to 4. To them the master said, “Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.”

The 1 talent servant actually dug a hole to save the master’s money for him, but when the master returned the servant was called “wicked and lazy.” The master rebukes him saying he could have at least put the money in the bank and returned with interest. The 1 talent is taken and given to the servant with 10.

So multiplication can be a good thing, one the Father praises. But the rich man storing up warehouses of wealth is call a fool in another passage. So what gives?

Purpose. What is the purpose of our multiplication? It goes back to “A is for All Belongs to God.” Multiply for yourself, thinking of only yourself and that all this is yours, and be the fool. Multiply for God’s kingdom, for the master and the benefit of Him, recognizing that all of it whether much of little belongs to Him, and you too may hear the Good,Good Father God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

–Kristin

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2018 in A to Z Blog

 

Dutch Tulips #Keukenhof

Around this time of year, several of my friends in The Netherlands are enjoying their season pass to the famous gardens at Keukenhof. If you get to Holland during the season, you might place this experience high on your to-do list. While millions have taken photos capturing different aspects of the beauty beheld in these gardens, I met a Dutch photographer who specializes in macro. Today I salute Andrea Gulickx. I admire her vision and share it with you.

And for my friends in Holland, Andrea does workshops as well.

–Kristin

 “His cheeks are like a bed of balsam, Banks of sweet-scented herbs; His lips are lilies Dripping with liquid myrrh.” Song of Solomon 5:13, The Bible

 

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2018 in Living in Holland

 

L is for Lending Interest Free – The Bible Says What!?! (about your money) #AprilA2Z

The Board for our education center in Africa recently had to make a fairly big decision. Should we borrow money to lend in the new micro loan program we were launching? It looked like the offer was an answer to prayers…but was it really?

Most of the Board thought Bintu had found the greatest option at perfect timing. An organization was willing to lend us, Future Hope Africa, $11K at only 10% interest over the next three years. Did you know that many of the places offering micro loans to people in 3rd world countries charge between 20 and 80% interest? To me that’s highway robbery, and to the Bible it’s called “usury.” It’s no wonder so many start-ups in places of desperate need fail with that kind of interest hanging over the borrowers head.

One member of the board was concerned that we might be entering an Ishmael situation. When Abraham didn’t see God answering his prayers or God’s promise for an heir, he slept with his wife’s handmaiden to get the job done and thus Ishmael was born even though an heir was coming from Abraham’s wife in the future. When we get impatient for God to get things done and take matters into our own hands, we might be creating an Ishmael situation.

Was this loan the way God wanted us to proceed to fulfill what He gave us to do?

We tabled the decision, and I began doing more research. I had a good handle on what the Bible says about going into debt (see C is for Cursed), but starting a business is one of the gray areas, plus the fact we were making loans for others who came to us with needs, were educated by our partnership on starting and running a Christian business.

For my husband and me, the scriptures on loaning money could not have been clearer.

If you lend money to My people, to the poor among you, you are not to act as a creditor to him; you shall not charge him interest. (Exodus 22:25 NASB)

It is well with the man who is gracious and lends, he will maintain his cause in judgement. (Psalm 112:5)

“Suppose there is a righteous man who does what is just and right….He does not oppress anyone, but returns what he took in pledge for a loan….He does not lend to them at interest or take a profit from them….He follows my decrees and faithfully keeps my laws. That man is righteous; he will surely live”, (Ezekiel 18:5, 7a, 8-9).

When I read these verses to Ryan, he agreed that even 10% interest was too much. We emailed the Board which soon came to the unanimous decision to turn down the loan offer. (I should also note that the scripture makes a difference between loans to God’s people versus other people.)

Perhaps the Lord wanted individuals to rise up to answer the calls of brothers and sisters in Congo. I always like to guess at what God’s about even though I know His thinking is so far above my own that I’ll never understand. Regardless, God is answering in his own timing. Monday a woman who wants to start a Chicken for Eggs business will be meeting with our Congo team to set down how to begin.

Who will support the young man wanting to sell water at the hospital? Who will make the dream of Chickens for Meat family business come alive for a woman? Or the university student wanting to copy the successful business of a friend elsewhere selling stylish shirts at school? Or the Computer Serviceman who wants to buy better computers than are available locally to fix up and sell? Or the agriculture hopes of a family to grow potatoes when most in the area are imported from countries as far as China?

I could go on, but you get the picture. Others will join Ryan and me to become people blessed to be a blessing in the near future, and they’ll have that opportunity because we, the Board of FHA, turned to God’s word for guidance.

(I’ll add the links later–gotta run kid errands now–you can also visit FHA on FB at Friends of Future Hope Africa)

—-Kristin

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2018 in A to Z Blog

 

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K is for Keep – The Bible Says What!?! (about your money) #AprilA2ZChallenge

Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m a very good follower of Christ. I know a lot of what I should do, but it seems every day I fall short and don’t do the things I know. This isn’t about following the rules as much as doing what is actually good for me, what God knows is good for me. So K is for Keep.

Keep the words of this covenant to do them, that you may prosper in all that you do. (Deuteronomy 29:9, the Bible)

Obedience is probably not on the top of our list for how to get ahead. Work ethic, striving, luck, education–what other words or phrases are connected to the rich life in our age? And we’re not inclined to talk in terms of prosperity either. What does that even mean? I have a vague idea, but here is what Webster’s says:

Prosperity is the condition of being successful or thriving; especially economic well-being.

Can you think of someone rich and successful who is definitely is not thriving? Thriving makes me think of plants in the garden, growing strong, sending down solid roots, brightly colored, blooming or bringing forth fruit. There’s so much more for us when we seek God’s face. Prosperity Preachers will say “Give ten dollars today and receive a hundred by the end of the week.” I’ve heard this called the Prosperity Gospel, but any gospel that has seeking money as the goal is false, is deceiving us. What is the gospel?

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: (First Corinthians 15:3-4)

Thriving, not striving. Blooming face turned toward the son, taking in rain of blessings from heaven. Returning to my first love, what He did for you and me, and out of that keeping the words, doing the word.

“If they hear and serve Him, They will end their days in prosperity And their years in pleasures.” (Job 36:11 NASB)

Let it be.

–Kristin

Other K days from AtoZ around the web:

 

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2018 in A to Z Blog

 

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J is for Justice – The Bible Says What!?! (about your money) #AprilA2ZChallenge

Meeting our youngest sons for the first time in the Congolese orphanage.

Where do you see injustice? We saw it in our adoption process.

There was this government office we had to get adoption papers through in Congo, and our lawyer via our agency rep asked for $400 per child. We were adopting two little boys; so yes, that’s another $800 on our already costly international adoption. My dear friend Bintu (and her sister) were hosting us, and I mentioned this next step. She was appalled. She was angry.

She showed me the big sign on the front of that government building and translated it for me. The services were free. There were no fees. Bintu took over getting our paperwork for us. At the next meeting with our agency and the lawyer we told them that our friend was getting our papers. We didn’t mention that they were supposed to be free, but the lawyer was not happy. We started waiting the days for the paperwork, and Bintu’s brother-in-law helped us. He found out that the lawyer had accused Bintu of doing thing illegally so our papers would have to be investigated. God only knows how much and how many times he bribed the officials in that office, and how much of the money he was pocketing for himself. He didn’t create this paperwork or add anything to it. He simply delivered the folders of documents from 5+ adopting parents to that office. 10 minute job, tops. Injustice.

There are over 50 verses in the Bible dealing with justice, both our role in seeing justice done and God’s role in carrying out judgement against those who practice injustice. Reading these makes me fear for those office workers and that lawyer.

You shall not distort justice; you shall not be partial, and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous. Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, that you may live and possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you. (Deuteronomy 16:19-20)

He swallows riches, but will vomit them up; God will expel them from his belly. (Job 20:15)

They spend their days in prosperity, and suddenly they down to Sheol [hell]. (Job 21:13)

Reading these makes me fear for those office workers and that lawyer. He had bragged to the orphanage administrator that he made $8000 on each adopted child.

This all helps me understand the struggle Bintu has had to found our education center, to file papers for nonprofit status in Congo, even to open our bank account. I am so grateful for her work and for the fights she has made to uphold justice on our behalf personally and on behalf of all the children and families we serve in the name of Jesus in Congo. Check out all the amazing things God is doing through her and her staff.

Because of Bintu, we were able to reveal to the agency what the lawyer was doing, and he no longer takes advantage of adopting families. Bintu helped the agency find an honest local lawyer to take up the cause of the orphans going to forever homes.

Thus has the Lord of hosts said, “Dispense true justice, and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother.” (Zechariah 7:9)

What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

–Kristin

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2018 in A to Z Blog

 

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