S is for Schemes – The Bible Says What (About Your Money) #AprilA2ZChallenge

A friend told me she knows someone so lucky that other people ask him to touch their lottery tickets before they scratch them off. Do you know someone like this? She always gets the high cards. He rolls the most Yahtzees. She wins as often as she loses in the airport casino and frequently comes out ahead. He picks the winners more often than not. Someone you know has what is sometimes called the Midas Touch.

I’ve never been that person. I have invariably noticed among my acquaintances that those who have this gift are also exceptionally hard workers. Probably those two characteristics have nothing in common. It’s just my observation. Also, for the most part they are impervious to get-rich-quick schemes. They play for fun and never gamble with what they need. Again, that’s just folks I know. There are others who do very well with schemes and are often even well-intentioned. They can’t imagine their system not working for everyone else even when evidence patently shows the system not working for the majority of people.

A get-rich-quick scheme is developed to entrap the weak and especially the poor. After all, what does a wealthy man need with a get-rich-quick scheme?….We cannot get caught up in our own desires and fail to yield control to God’s wisdom. (Larry Burkett, The Word on Finances)

There are at least sixteen verses in the Bible dealing with schemes, and they are pretty clear about what is best for followers. Here are a few that speak for themselves and speak to me with enough conviction to direct my actions. Maybe some of them will speak to you as well.

Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. (Psalm 37:7 NASB)

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel (Proverbs 12:15).

A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished (Proverbs 28:20).

It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it (Proverbs 10:22).

A man with an evil eye hastens after wealth, and does not know that want will come upon him (Proverbs 28:22)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).


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Posted by on April 24, 2018 in A to Z Blog


R is for Root of All Evil – The Bible Says What (About Your Money) #AprilA2ZChallenge

Image courtesy of SamsOnlineJournal

One of the most misquoted statements in the Bible is the saying, “Money is the root of all evil.” Our minds take off immediately without realizing the error.

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (King James Bible First Timothy 6:10).

Here we see the error of leaving off the phrase “for the love of money.” Even if this first part is quoted properly, most folks aren’t looking beyond to the matter of coveting, of the faithful straying, and the piercing which in the original is like the word used to describe piercing a piece of meat to put over the fire to rotate and roast. This verse is summing up what Paul was writing before it, so the meaning is to be found mainly by reference to what went before.

In a more modern rendering, what Paul says right before is:

But 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. (1 Timothy 6:9 NASB)

So there’s a larger discussion of what some people are trapped into doing by the attitudes going along with wanting to get rich that includes “many foolish and harmful desires,” “a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes” (verse 4), thinking to use religion as a means to gain (verse 5), and being in a state the opposite of contentment (verse 8). 

These behaviors and attitudes are all of the sort that a person coveting what others have and trying to get rich to have those things as well can easily fall into as part of “The love of money is the root of all sorts of evil” (NASB translation).

Scripture can be used to say all sorts of things never intended, especially when a section or verse is taken out of context. We are fortunate indeed to live in a time when a search to find the actual wording of verses, or the context, or commentaries are right at our fingertips online. But it is still up to you and to me to actually dig deeper for the true meaning to apply God’s word to our lives.


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Posted by on April 24, 2018 in A to Z Blog


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Q is for Questioning God – The Bible Says What (About Your Money) #AprilA2ZChallenge

Q is for Questioning God (Cain and Able’s Offerings)

When I was young questioning authority was frowned upon. Nowadays people question everything, and teachers say there is no dumb question. What do you think about questioning God?

To my way of thinking He’s big enough and can take it. Examples in the Bible spring to mind such as Job who did not get the answer he might have wanted but certainly got a sufficient answer (Job 38-41). David wrote questions in his Psalms. The disciples questioned Jesus.

What about Cain and Able? They both brought offerings to God and “the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering. But for Cain and his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell (Genesis 4:4-5).

What? It seems pretty arbitrary, and it bothered me for a long time. Two people brought offerings and God didn’t accept one of them. Why?

The answers to all our questions are not always found in the Bible. In this case though one of the Christian financial books I read dug into the scripture for a reason that then made sense in terms of all the guidance we have on tithes and offerings in the Bible.

So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. And Abel on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions.

Cain worked the fields and Abel worked the stock. What I read pointed out that Cain brought “an offering” where Able brought the “first” increase. Many of us approach God the same way as Cain, just bringing something perhaps whatever we have in our pocket at the moment. Abel brought not only what the Bible later calls “first fruits” but the “fat portions.” The fat was considered the best part, the king’s part. The fat carries the aroma of whatever is cooking. It’s part of the reason bacon smells so great as it fries.

Some commentary points to the difference of blood sacrifice versus something else, but that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Later in the Bible tithes of herbs are mentioned as appropriate (Matthew 23:23). Offerings of gold and silver were made. Not every offering had to be blood. But a lamb had to be without blemish (Exodus 12:5) and even Jesus and his sacrificed life is described as the perfect Lamb of God (1 Peter 1:19).

The passage with Cain and Abel shows us that God has regard for offerings and the person offering them when the gift is the first and best.

Recently a friend asked me if our family tithes off the gross income or the net (i.e. after taxes). I told her the same thing a trusted friend told me when I asked them the same question.

Do you want God to bless the gross or the net?

I tend to think that if any money ever needed the hand of God’s blessing it is our tax money.

And what does God’s word say? Give Him the best and first. If the government is taking taxes first, which we cannot change, we can still show our highest honor and respect is for God by figuring our tithe from the gross.

This is my conviction, but maybe you are in a situation where 10% would take food from the mouths of your children. God meets us where we are and sees our hearts. Maybe you can only give $5 this time, but it is a place to start, and 10% can be the goal you reach for. Maybe you’ve given 10% for years, but the Holy Spirit is speaking to you about giving more, maybe a goal of 20%.

Ultimately we study God’s word, listen to His Spirit, and follow our individual hearts.



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Posted by on April 23, 2018 in A to Z Blog


P is for Plodding to Prosperity – The Bible Says What (About Your Money) #AprilA2ZChallenge

Image courtesy of YouTube video to make a lighted decoration out of a barrel.

I’m that person, the one who bends over to pick up a penny. I tell our kids, “Every penny counts.” Pennies add up to dollars, and I like to think of every bit of change as a portion of a dollar. Would you leave a dollar on the ground?

And how would you like to save between 13 and 26% on every purchase? How would that add up for you over time for every grocery trip? Target? Walmart? Gas fill up? The secret to savings at all these places is to pay off your credit card bill in full every month. Otherwise those %%% are being added to your expenses. Okay, I know this savings only works wherever you use credit cards.

Have you done the math for how much your car really costs after all the payments are made?

I might be a little sidetracked, because Plodding is about savings. Larry Burkett wrote, “It is not unspiritual to save; nor does it represent a lack of faith….savings [is] to store money for the purchase of a future need” (The Word on Finances). A replacement vehicle can be purchased with savings instead of debt.

A lifestyle of debt will continually drag you down where a lifestyle of savings can get you all the best deals.

We recently shopped for a car for our 16-year-old on a used lot. The place does financing, but the salesman knew we pay cash. Know what happened to the price of the cars? All cut by at least a third and some more. There’s a reason for the old saying “Cash is king.”

How do you get to where you pay cash for a car?

 Steady plodding brings prosperity; hasty speculation brings poverty. (Proverbs 21:5 TLB)

Plodding. The picture here is of filling a large barrel handful by handful. Make car payments to your savings account. Will you need to purchase Christmas gifts? Start saving in January. Will you need to make repairs? Put back a little every paycheck to cover future expenses. This is easier to do, of course, if the B-word is used at your house (i.e. Budget).

God condemns hoarding just in case because it means we are depending on money instead of God (Luke 12). But he applauds purposeful savings, that which is earmarked for a future need. Like Joseph saving Egypt and many surrounding countries by saving during seven years of plenty to have supply during seven years of famine (Genesis 41).

Go to the ant, O sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, which having no chief , officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer, and gathers her provision in the harvest. (Proverbs 6:6-8)

There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but the foolish man swallows it up. (Proverbs 21:20)

The list of things we’re saving for just got really long, because we purchased a house. It will need a new roof someday, new HVAC, replacement appliances, etc.

We don’t save for every eventuality, but we do honor God in our finances by applying His word and trusting that He is our all-sufficient one (hence His name,El Shaddai), and our Lord who provides (Jehovah Jireh).



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Posted by on April 23, 2018 in A to Z Blog


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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.


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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

Image courtesy of So What Faith

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.


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?


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


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

Image courtesy of thelivingbread article “Does God Hate Wealth?”

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” (1 Timothy 6:10) “You cannot serve God and mammon (i.e. money or material things) (Matthew 6:24). 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 or little belongs to Him, and you too may hear the Good,Good Father God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”


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


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