Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Tug of War?

Matthew 6:9-10 (KJV) 9  After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Before the memory of Irma fades I’d like to share a few more thoughts. As the hurricane approached the U.S. many people began to pray – for the Caribbean Islands as well as for Florida. I was among them, and it is the Florida-related prayers that I’ve been thinking about. No one knew for sure which path Irma was going to take. Most prayers took the form of asking God if it could go out to sea and affect no one. But, if that couldn’t happen… would the prayers of the west coast believers prevail, or would the prayers of the east coast believers? It makes me wonder… is prayer – at times – like a tug of war? A tug of war is “a contest in which two teams pull at opposite ends of a rope until one drags the other over a central line”. Many of us have participated in such a contest when we were younger.

My prayers (from Maine) were “west-coast” oriented, because my son lives about a quarter mile from the Gulf Coast, and I know others up and down the west coast of Florida. I wanted them to be safe. I wanted their property to be secure. I wanted everything to be okay for them. BUT… at the same time… I also know people on the east coast of Florida. I did not want harm to come to them or their property either. At first people on the west coast were “relieved” because the storm was supposed to travel up the east coast. Perhaps the brunt of it would miss them. Then people on the east coast were relieved because the worst of the storm was forecast to travel up the west coast. So… whose prayers “prevailed”? The east coasters or the west coasters… or someone else’s? Does prayer even affect the weather? Did the Christians on one coast have more faith… or were they “better” people? What about the south coast (the Keys) and the mid-state region? The more you think about these things the “trickier” prayer is to nail down to some automatic formula or response on God’s part. In fact, these kinds of thinking reveal some flaws in our understanding and practice of prayer.

Too often we approach prayer like we do the restaurant experience. And, though we do not use these words, the true approach of many a prayer is, “Dear God, are you ready to take my order?” We come before God and we see/imagine the “menu” available to us. Then we say, “I’d like this… and this… and that… please be as quick as you can to bring me just what I want.”
When the Holy Spirit (the “waiter”) takes our order to the cook (God the Father) we expect something great. When it is placed before us we do not always receive it with satisfaction. If I get a meal at a restaurant that I do not like, what do I do? In my case, I say nothing. But to myself and to Joanne I will grumble, grumble, grumble. In contrast, when my older brother gets a meal that he does not like, he sends it back demanding that it be “fixed” or replaced. How dare the cook send out such a disgusting or inferior thing and expect him to eat it!
Is the unwillingness to accept what God sends our way an appropriate attitude in our prayer lives? Is grumbling or complaining? Is getting up and walking out on Him? These things (as well as a “perfect meal”) are all related to “me getting what I wanted” out of God. But God is not my servant. I am His. Sometimes what God puts before me is bitter. It’s really hard to swallow. I don’t want it. Yet it is what God puts before me. Sometimes what God puts before me is sour. It feels like it has gone bad. It’s not fresh. It may even give me the “shivers” to get it down. Sometimes what God puts before me is salty. It leaves me wanting/needing more… something else to wash it down or quench my thirst (for Him). And sometimes what God puts before me is sweet. It tastes great. I can’t get enough of it. I think it should always be this way. If God “really” loves me everything He gives will be this way, and it will always be in line with just what I want.

In cases like these, we end up in a “tug of war” not with other Christians, but with God Himself. And guess what? That is one you will never win. If you think in these terms you will inevitably have to conclude at some point that God is against you. And honestly… is that the case? Do you really believe that? Dallas Willard (in Renovation of the Heart) asks a question that all of us truly need to come to terms with:…
“Do you want God to help you, or do you want God to be God?” God has a perfect will, and my only need is to seek, receive, and follow that will, not to seek for my will to prevail. At the end of it all, our best prayer is no more and no less than what Jesus taught us to pray…
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name” – More than anything else, O Lord, I want your name to be honored by me, through me, and in me.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done” – Jesus modeled this at the end of His life when He came to the cross. And He taught it as the model of our prayers.

Am I willing for God’s will to be done… even when it is bitter to me? Can I trust God to do what is best and right in His sight, and can I trust that He is strong enough, wise enough, and loving enough to carry me and to glorify Himself in me? The tug of war of prayer is what is going on in my heart – between self and surrender, between discontentment and contentment, between rejection and acceptance. Do I really want God’s will, or don’t I? Will I be satisfied in Him? Will I follow in faith, or leave in disappointment? Am I ready to hold everything else with a loose grip, so that I may hold tightly only to God?

If your pattern of prayer is, “God, are you ready to take my order?”… I believe you will inevitably be disappointed with God. But if your pattern of prayer is, “Not my will, but Thy will be done”… then you will be living your life at a whole new level spiritually: deeper and richer and ultimately satisfying to you, as well as pleasing to God.

John 14:1 (NIV)  "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.

Matthew 26:42 (NIV)  He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done."

1 John 5:14-15 (KJV) 14  And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15  And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

Job 2:10 (NIV)  He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

PRAYER:  Lord, may I want your will… may I love your will, and may I accept your will with faith… each and every day. In the name of Jesus, AMEN.”

Jesus Christ is Lord!    

Scott

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A Personal Money Manifesto - Part Five

Psalm 150:6 (NIV)  Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.

Amidst the ways that money impacts our lives (in the last four weeks we have looked at work, worry, wants, waste) we now come to consider a usage of money that brings us great joy and fulfillment. Any “personal money manifesto” with no room for the relationship between money and worship would be a very limited and ultimately sad list of beliefs/goals. Our attitudes toward, and usage of money reflects our hearts, and it is from the heart that true worship comes.

WORSHIP – Though worship is accompanied and assisted by many outward forms and practices, the Bible clearly communicates to us that our God looks at and cares most about the heart. He knows the status of my heart. He knows when there is a disconnect between my heart and anything I might be doing or saying in any given moment. When I attend worship services and do the things we do there (sing, pray, give, listen to preaching, etc.), God knows if/when I am worshipping and when I am not. The actions in and of themselves are not true worship – unless they are accompanied and motivated by love, praise, gratitude, and trust that fill the heart of the worshipper. A heart that is empty of these produces a life that is empty of worship, regardless of what outward visible or audible activities one might engage in at a church building, worship service, or other such setting. Only God knows how much or how little actual worship is taking place in the individual believer and in the gathering of any people for the purpose of worshipping God.

All of life is a vehicle for worship and an opportunity for thanksgiving and praise. You do not need a liturgy. You do not need a pew. You do not need a song leader or preacher. Now, I like some of those things (especially since I am a preacher), but you don’t go through life with them constantly with you. They do not accompany you to the office (or wherever your job takes you). They are not in your house or your car. They are not at family meals or with you when you go for a hike or a run. None of them are with you all the time. But God is, and only God is. Therefore, if God is ever-present to you, you can worship Him in a variety of circumstances, and actually, in all circumstances. If one or more of these are present in your heart – love, praise, gratitude, trust – in a real way – wherever you may be and whatever you may be doing – then you are worshipping. And hopefully, worship is actually happening in the church building on Sunday mornings too.

There is a potential – for every single time you handle money (or some type of financial transaction) – for you and I to worship God – for love for, praise to, gratitude to, or trust in Him to be filling our heart and/or motivating that action or attitude. For example, how much does grumbling, complaining, or worrying about money result in worshipping God? None at all. Since all of my money and possessions come from God, I am constantly afforded an opportunity for a heart full of gratitude. When I “give up” money for an end that glorifies God (such as meeting the needs of others), I am being moved by love. When I release “my” money for some work of the Kingdom of God, I am declaring my trust in the Lord to take care of me without that money being mine anymore. When I am filled with thankfulness and “just feel like” sharing or giving in some way, I am pointing my heart and life to God. Money is a great vehicle for worshipping God. It’s such a prominent part of life. So why not “capture it” for the glory of God? I think if we don’t do this, then we must be wary, for money will capture our hearts if our hearts are not first and foremost captured by love for God, praise and gratitude to God, and trust in God.

Therefore…

-          I will seek to be generous, so that I might become more like the Lord I love. (Philippians 4:19)

-          I will seek to be intentional with my attitudes about giving, so that my giving will always be true worship.

-          I will seek to connect all my financial thoughts and dealings with love, praise, gratitude, or trust in my heart for God.

-          I will seek stop doing anything with money that I cannot connect in some way to worship of the Lord.

-          I will seek to be thankful in all circumstances – especially financial ones – so that God may be glorified (1 Thessalonians 5:18)… and to live with joy.

-          I will seek to be an example and encouragement to my brothers and sisters in Christ of what comes forth from a heart filled with love, praise, gratitude, and faith for God.

-          I will seek to keep my giving from ever becoming an action that is for my self-promotion, for people to love me or think more highly of me, or for any self-centered motive. I cannot worship God when I am the object of my giving.

-          I will seek to treasure the Lord as so much more valuable… above all other things and all other persons.

Would you add anything to my list?

May the Lord be gracious to us. He knows when love, praise, gratitude, and faith are not present in our hearts. Without Him, and without the help of the Holy Spirit, all our attempts at worship – including those related to money – will fail. By His grace and mercy, we shall actually worship. God is good.

John 4:23-24 (NIV) 23  Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."

Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV) 36  "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37  Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38  This is the first and greatest commandment. 39  And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV)  So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Matthew 6:21 (NIV)  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

PRAYER:  Father, fill my heart with love… praise… gratitude… and faith… all directed to you. Let these cover all my thoughts and dealings with money… for your glory. In the name of Jesus, AMEN.”

Jesus Christ is Lord!    

Scott

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Personal Money Manifesto - Part Four

Proverbs 23:5 (NIV)  Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

My attitudes and choices are impacted by money and what I believe about it. I live in a materialistic world – therefore I am subject to its pulls and pushes. These stand in contrast to the purposes and place of money in the will and kingdom of God. The more I seek God’s will and ways, the more I will be drawn away from thinking the world’s thoughts and doing things the world’s way. This relates to work, worry, wants, waste, and worship. In this fourth installment of my “personal money manifesto” I am addressing the connection between money and waste in life.

WASTE – It has often been said that “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. I understand that to mean that in the mind of one person a thing can be of little or no value, while at the same time in the mind of another person that same thing may be highly valued. It reminds me of the statement that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. The idea is that beauty is a relative concept, dependent upon the individual doing the observing. What constitutes “waste”? Is this, too, a relative concept? Landfills and recycling stations are filled with “stuff” that someone once “treasured” (to some degree) enough to spend his money for it. If you spend some time at or near a landfill you will vividly learn that “this world in its present form is passing away” (1 Corinthians 7:31). In the year ahead Joanne and I will be “taking inventory” of our “stuff” as we prepare to relocate. Do you think we will come across anything that we wish we had not spent money on? Do you think we will find anything that, in the end, was just a waste? I know we will. All of us – were we to “take inventory” in some way – can find things we regret spending “good” or “hard-earned” money on. At the time we thought we needed “it”, but it turns out we didn’t. At the time we thought it was so important to have, but it wasn’t.

Being wasteful is “using or expending something of value carelessly, extravagantly, or to no purpose”. One of the biblical words for it is “prodigal”. In Luke 15 Jesus relates what we call the story of the Prodigal Son. The younger son in the story takes his inheritance prematurely and, in Jesus’ words, “squandered his wealth in wild living” (Luke 15:13). It is one of the lowest feelings in the world to look back (“hindsight is 20/20”) and see nothing but loss… having nothing to show for one’s efforts. You feel foolish, empty, and useless. This is what waste does to the human soul. Yet we all leave a trail of waste behind us. How can we learn? How can we slow it down? How can we overcome our propensity for it?

One step is to actually take time for doing inventories. Though it is painful to see our mistakes, we can learn from them and make better decisions in the future. Waste is “unwanted or unusable materials… any substance which is discarded after primary use, or… is worthless, defective and of no use”. An inventory may allow us to forward the use of something rather than just trashing it (wasting it all the more). Hopefully it will increase our wisdom moving into the future.

Another strategy might be to pay only with cash. We tend to spend way to freely when we use plastic. Another strategy might be to avoid the purchase of anything that is not in “the plan” (a budget of some kind). Another strategy might be forcing yourself to wait a period of time before any purchase (over a certain amount, for example). Another strategy could be taking time to deliberately pray when entering a store, going on Amazon.com, pulling out your card/wallet, etc., so that you remember where your money came from. Then ask the Lord if His blessing is on “this purchase”. It may sound silly to pray before buying a candy bar or a cup of coffee or a pair of sunglasses. But it could be very helpful in slowing our propensity to waste… while increasing the time we spend consciously in the Lord’s presence.

Therefore…

-          I will seek to be careful in my spending choices and in my manner of spending (not being impetuous).

-          I will seek to avoid spending any money on any form of gambling.

-          I will seek to simplify my possessions, giving me less to worry about, less to clean, less to store, and less to be distracted by, and less to throw away.

-          I will seek input from others before many kinds of purchases, asking them to ask me honest questions about my plans. This could even included establishing an accountability partner.

-          I will seek to use some sort of system (budgeting) to give me limits (guidelines) for my spending.

-          I will seek to make saving money a priority in my financial life.

-          I will seek to make prayer a vital component of my financial choices and decisions.

Would you add anything to my list?

I recognize my need to continue to grow in this area. It is one of the places in my walk with God that comes under the greatest attack. The amount of waste in my life is a reflection on my self-centeredness and selfishness. Thoughts creep into my mind… like… “I wonder what I could have done with that (money) to help people and meet needs and ‘make a difference’.” Or… “How did I ever manage to get into this debt”? Or… “I’ve made so much work for myself – ‘caring’ for this stuff!” Perhaps you have thoughts like these. They remind us of our need for grace. Looking backward might possibly move us to change, but it is moving forward that I think is so important. And for that I desperately need God’s grace… I need His mind and will… and I need His strength and power. May the Lord rescue us from ourselves!

I read the attached article from Christianity Today Women recently. I thought it related to this topic in an interesting way. May the Lord bless you as you consider these things in relation to your own life.
NEXT WEEK – Money and Worship

John 6:12 (NIV)  When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted."

Mark 14:3-5 (NIV) 3  While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. 4  Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, "Why this waste of perfume? 5  It could have been sold for more than a year's wages and the money given to the poor." And they rebuked her harshly.

Luke 16:25 (NIV)  "But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.

Luke 12:15 (NIV)  Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."
 Luke 12:20-21 (NIV) 20  "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' 21  "This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."

Proverbs 21:20 (NIV)  In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.

James 5:1-3 (NIV) 1  Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. 2  Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3  Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.

Matthew 6:19-20 (NIV) 19  "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Exodus 20:17 (NIV)  "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."

PRAYER:  Father, show me grace that I may be able to discern what is wasteful… before I spend my money on it. Thank you for all that I have. It has all come to me by your hand and ultimately I am accountable to you for it all. Teach me good stewardship of all things, for – in the end – they are yours.  In the name of Jesus, AMEN.”

Jesus Christ is Lord!    

Scott

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Personal Money Manifesto - Part Three

Philippians 4:11-12 (NIV) 11  I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Money connects into our lives in several ways. The last two weeks I have described two: in our work and in worry. Our work (and it’s connection to money) either honors or dishonors God in our lives. Worry (specifically as it relates to money) is a sin (of idolatry) that displaces our confidence and trust in God, treating Him as weak and unable to take care of us and to fulfill His promises to us in Christ. Either one of these can consume us and interfere greatly with our walk with God.

WANTS - This third part of my personal money manifesto deals with another challenge to right thinking about money in my life: wants. Since I wrote a check-in about this not too long ago (January 24), I want to reference that here. I wrote about the “want book” (Sears catalog) I grew up with, learning to desire many things (most of which were not needs). Here is an excerpt from that Check-In…
“I want things. We are drawn to desire things. I think it’s pretty normal, and I don’t believe it is necessarily ‘wrong’ to want something. The problem is whether or not that wanted thing is in any way in conflict with God’s purpose or plan for me (and for my money). For example, in my life right now I have a want for a particular house (with a specific street address) in South Carolina. I do not believe that it is wrong to want a house. I have never owned one because a parsonage of some sort has always been supplied to me in the churches where I have served. Over the years I have been saving and I hope to be able to buy a home someday. But it is not as simple as just wanting this house. For one thing, it is not for sale. For another thing, if it did go on the market, it might end up being with a price beyond what I could pay or should pay (or try to pay). It’s a modest home by MDI standards. But that’s not the point. While wanting something is not necessarily wrong, we all know it can become wrong if it is not tempered by, or surrendered to, the will of God. For example, if something bad had to happen to the current occupants of the house (who are unknown to me), I would NOT want the house. Or if purchasing the house was a step of bad judgment (risky or foolish in some way), I would not want the want to overtake the wisdom that would serve me better.”

            As I write this eight months later, God has provided Joanne and me with a home to transition (I don’t use the word “retire”) to when we leave First Baptist. After much prayer and hard work – with a fair amount of patience as well – we found a home within three miles of our daughter’s family. We have tried to be very careful and wise with the resources God has provided to us, and to Him we give all the glory and honor. It was worth it to wait on Him and not to be careless in putting our wants above Him. We believe He has met our need as we move forward into a new phase of our lives. And for this we are very grateful.

            Of course, a want doesn’t have to be as big as a house. It can be as small as a toy or an article of clothing that we just “have to have”. What I am constantly learning (and needing to learn more) is that God is the final decision maker about what I really “have to have”. Being submissive to this truth helps me avoid sin and deal with temptation in a much more successful way. And God’s grace and the filling of His Spirit make it possible.

Therefore…

-          I will seek to surrender my wants (each and every one – big or small) to my Father’s will.

-          I will seek and expect joy in the Lord in whatever His will is for me.

-          I will seek to be a good steward of the resources God blesses me with, managing (budgeting and directing) them toward the meeting of needs and turning off the impulse-to-buy “switch” within me.

-          I will seek to pray about everything – especially in the area of my spending and seek the advice and counsel of godly men and women as well.

-          I will seek to simplify my life, endeavoring to diminish the things around me (and the purchase of more) that have little significance or may reflect a materialistic bent in me.

-          I will seek to think eternally about the things I spend (or want to spend) my money on.

-          I will seek to avoid becoming a victim of my credit card, and if it begins to get out of control, I will destroy it before it destroys me (Romans 13:8).

Would you add anything to my list?

May the Lord help us, His disciples, to shorten our list of wants and lengthen our list of “Thy will be done”s. And as we constantly turn our wants over to Him, may we become satisfied and happy with His provision.

NEXT WEEK – Money and Waste

1 Timothy 6:6-10 (NIV) 6  But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9  People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)  Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

Philippians 4:19 (NIV)  And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

PRAYER:  Father, please give me strength to stand against all of the temptations around me, particularly the strong tendency toward materialism which leads me to value things more than I value you. Please forgive me for my proneness to overvalue the shiny, the expensive, the cutest, the latest, and the most popular, things. Lead me always to contentment. Thank you.  In the name of Jesus, AMEN.”

Jesus Christ is Lord!    

Scott

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A Personal Money Manifesto - Part Two

Philippians 4:8-9 (NIV) 8  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. 9  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Last week I shared about the connection between work and money in our lives. I indicated that work – as it relates to money - can have a positive or negative impact in our lives: it can be God-glorifying or sinful. Today I move on to another experience in our lives that relates to money, and this one is negative, and results in sin in our lives. Yet it is a common part of life and can easily slip into taking control of our lives.

WORRY – There are many things that can occupy the mind of a worrier: my relationships, my appearance, my abilities (or lack of), what people think of me, the safety and well-being of my children or other loved ones, my health, death, possible loss, what I’m going to say (in a conversation or speaking before a group), and so on. Just yesterday morning I found an empty bottle of tequila under the apple tree in front of my house. It makes me wonder who was around my house overnight and exactly when. Should I keep my windows open at night? What if someone is coming up to the house? What’s going on? It would be easy to escalate my emotions and experience the power of worry taking over. What’s the problem with that? The problem is that worry – in whatever shape, form or extent it takes – displaces my trust in God. This is what makes worry a sin – it becomes more prominent than my faith in the Lord. Worry is the inverse of faith. It cannot survive in the mind and heart of a person who is exercising faith. Worry proclaims that God is not strong enough or caring enough to watch over me and keep me. Most of us would be loath to say that we believe that God is weak. But that is exactly what we do when we worry.

At or near the top of every list I found of common worries people experience is something related to money, and it is usually about having enough, paying bills, and having money in the future. Most people worry about some aspect of money in their lives. Those with a lot of money in investments will worry about how well they do… or don’t do. Those who have experienced want in their lives will often worry about not having enough again. Those who have emergency costs will worry about how everything is going to get paid. Students who borrow a great deal of money for college will worry about if they will ever be able to pay it back. Will the economy collapse? Will I lose my job (income)? Will my identity be stolen? Will I ever be able to afford a house? Will I ever be able to enjoy life and feel like I have gotten ahead? What will happen if my spouse divorces me or dies? Could I ever become homeless? These are just a few possibilities on a much larger list. And they will have power and influence over us if there is not a greater power and influence, and that is the character and the Word of God, who is Lord over all, and who is completely worthy of my trust and confidence.

Therefore…

-          I will set my mind on the things of the Lord (Colossians 3:1-2), knowing that He alone (and what honors Him) is eternal. This will also help me avoid wasting time on worrying about money.

-          I will seek first His kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33), knowing that God will take care of everything that is a “thing” in this world.

-          I will seek confidence in God even when I have financial trouble or difficulty (Romans 8:28).

-          I will seek contentment in all circumstances (Philippians 4:11-13).

-          I will seek to daily express confidence (to God in prayer) that my life is in His hands.

-          I will seek to enjoy and focus on the blessings that I have, for worry will produce and ungrateful heart within me (Colossians 3:15, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Hebrews 12:28).

-          I will seek advice from wise and godly people.

-          I will pay my debts, and avoid debt that I cannot pay off (Romans 13:8)

-          I will guard my health (sleep, proper eating, exercise) when money issues cause stress and strain (Matthew 6:25-32).

-          I will seek to talk calmly about money rather than fight about it with my spouse , parent, or child (Colossians 4:6, 1 Timothy 4:12).

-          I will seek to avoid solving my problems (with worry) with alcohol or any other substance or practice that is harmful to my mind, body, or relationship (with God or others).

-          I will seek to focus on today and avoid letting the future and its potential troubles overwhelm me. (Matthew 6:34).

-          I will seek to pray regularly and entrust my relationship with money to the Lord and make it subject to Him.

-          I will seek to live simply, believing that the more I have, the greater my temptation to worry will be. So I will trust God to provide for my needs and not be consumed by my wants.

Would you add anything to my list?

I seek these things in response to God’s grace to me in Jesus, as a means to trust Him in practical ways. Disciples do not live in bondage to worry, but follow the One who has saved them fully and completely by His great work on the cross. So I surrender my worry to His Lordship of my life, including my attitudes about money.

NEXT WEEK – Money and Wants

Matthew 6:25-27 (NIV) 25  "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) 6  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 37:25 (NIV)  I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.

Philippians 4:19 (NIV)  And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

PRAYER:  Father, may my faith in you be strong. Remind me daily of you trustworthiness and your love for me. Remind me that my life is in your hands and that you are Jehovah-Jireh… my Provider. And thank you.  In the name of Jesus, AMEN.”

Jesus Christ is Lord!    

Scott