Tag Archives: money

Exodus 13; Luke 16; Job 31; 2 Corinthians 1

My trust is in God.

It seems like such a simple statement. But how easy is it to claim it?

The Israelites are rescued from slavery, and God, in his mercy, leads them. He took them in a roundabout way, through the wilderness, toward the Red Sea. (Last year, I read an insightful and helpful book called Red Sea Rules by Robert J. Morgan. When I think of the Red Sea, I know there is a watery expanse in front of Israelites, and a pursuing army behind them. There’s really nothing to do at that point but trust God, because He’s the only one who can make a way.)

17 When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. Exodus 13:17-18, NLT.

Job gives a final protest and defense of his innocence. (I know from Job 1, he is a man of complete integrity. The Lord even refers to him as a man of complete integrity, calls him the finest man in all the earth, blameless.) So when he pleads his case of innocence and asks these questions, it seems right. (God has His own questions for Job in chapter 38!) But was his defense just his trust in himself?

“Have I lied to anyone
    or deceived anyone?

16 “Have I refused to help the poor,
    or crushed the hopes of widows?

24 “Have I put my trust in money
    or felt secure because of my gold?
25 Have I gloated about my wealth
    and all that I own? Job 31:5, 16, 24-35, NLT

Jesus has a story to tell, and I sit at his feet and listen closely.

Jesus told this story to his disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a manager handling his affairs. One day a report came that the manager was wasting his employer’s money. So the employer called him in and said, ‘What’s this I hear about you? Get your report in order, because you are going to be fired.’

“The manager thought to himself, ‘Now what? My boss has fired me. I don’t have the strength to dig ditches, and I’m too proud to beg. Ah, I know how to ensure that I’ll have plenty of friends who will give me a home when I am fired.’

“So he invited each person who owed money to his employer to come and discuss the situation. He asked the first one, ‘How much do you owe him?’ The man replied, ‘I owe him 800 gallons of olive oil.’ So the manager told him, ‘Take the bill and quickly change it to 400 gallons.’

“‘And how much do you owe my employer?’ he asked the next man. ‘I owe him 1,000 bushels of wheat,’ was the reply. ‘Here,’ the manager said, ‘take the bill and change it to 800 bushels.’

“The rich man had to admire the dishonest rascal for being so shrewd. And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light. Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.

10 “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. 11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? 12 And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?

13 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.” Luke 16:1-13, NLT

You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money. Serve God, trust him, work for him. Or be enslaved to money, an earthly focus, greed, an idol. Is it possible this parable is about trusting God?

(The next story Jesus tells is about the rich man and Lazarus. A very thought-provoking, telling read.)

 Paul is crushed and overwhelmed. He and those he traveled with expected to die.

We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. 10 And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.2 Corinthians 1:8-10, NLT

There are times I could recount all the things I have done, in my own defense. It points to my (limited and short-sighted) strength. But in the times of overwhelm, of an army and an ocean, of the things I can’t see versus the things I can see–those things point to a great God who is really in charge. He deserves all the glory.

Lord, instead of focusing on my own ability, I want to focus on you. When I think of what I can do, it tricks and traps my mind and causes me to stumble in my walk. Suddenly, I’m trying to figure out all the answers instead of turning to you. Help me to keep my eyes fixed firmly on you. You have called me to certain tasks, and I want to face them in your wisdom and guidance.

Courtney (66books365)

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Hosea 11-13; Matthew 19

If you want to give it all you’ve got,” Jesus replied, “go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in Heaven. Then come follow me.” That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crestfallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn’t bear to let go. As he watched him go, Jesus told His disciples, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for the rich to enter God’s kingdom? Let me tell you, it’s easier to gallop a camel through a needle’s eye than for the rich to enter God’s kingdom.” The disciples were staggered. “Then who has any chance at all?” Jesus looked hard at them and said, “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.” Matthew 19:21-26 MSG

I had considered myself a generous person, until I let the words of Matthew soak in. I couldn’t help but ask myself, “What am I holding onto?” Most of the time, it’s the condition of my heart that comes out through other ways. That is when I start to rely on myself and replace trust with worry.  Though, I have seen God give back to me more and in abundance when I give something away. Like the time I reluctantly made a meal for someone else, even though I was wondering how I was going to feed my own family on a limited budget. The next week, my husband came home from work with a pile of boxed pizzas that were given to him. We couldn’t even fit them all in our freezer.  But, it’s  not always tangible…it’s also when I don’t think I have anymore of myself to give, He sustains me.   I am thankful for those times of His faithfulness to help me remember. Because, just like Israel, I can be so forgetful.

I’m still your God, the God who saved you out of Egypt. I’m the only real God you’ve ever known. I’m the one and only God who delivers. I took care of you during the wilderness hard times, those years when you had nothing. I took care of you, took care of all your needs, gave you everything you needed. You were spoiled. You thought you didn’t need me. You forgot me.” Hosea 13:4-6 MSG

Sometimes, I just need to return to Him. And remember that only He will satisfy me.

Then Peter chimed in, “We left everything and followed You. What do we get out of it?” Jesus replied, “…This is the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last fist.”Matthew 19:30 MSG

Thank you Father, how You have provided for me and my family. You have given me so much,  that I don’t deserve.   I pray that my heart’s desire would be to give it all back to You, because it Is ALL Yours. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Judges 4-6; Luke 21

While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins.

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.” Luke 21:1-4

I once heard a story about a young boy who thought he had nothing to put in the offering at a crusade. Though I can’t remember all of the details as it’s been years since I heard it, the gist of it is that a young boy was watching the offering baskets weave back and forth through the crowd, he was seeing all of the money given by the others, and he was getting sadder and sadder as they came closer to him. His pockets were empty; he had no money to give. He bowed his head in shame until he remembered he did have something that he could offer; and when the basket was handed to him, he laid it on the ground and stepped into it…”I give all of myself, Lord.”

I’ve never had a lot of money, as a matter of fact for most of my adult life I have lived below poverty level. It can be scary, literally some days not knowing where my next meal would come from, but the Lord has ALWAYS met my needs in some way – whether through the anticipated or {most of the time} through the completely mind-boggling unexpected.

In the beginning of my journey in faith, I felt guilty and full of shame because the small amount of money that I could afford to give for offerings never felt like enough. It felt meager and pitiful. As I continued, the Lord taught me truth through the story of the ‘widow’s mite’.

Giving isn’t about the dollar amount that is contributed. Sure, there are people in the world who are able to give thousands of dollars in one fell swoop, and that is amazing for the ministries and people who receive it; I can speak from personal experience that it means a lot when you’ve been given support in an area of need. However, the offering that God is hoping to receive is that of the best of what can be given with a heart of love, generosity, and willingness.

I may not be able to write a check for thousands, but I can give what I have – I can give my Bible to someone who, unbeknownst to me, had been praying for one the night before we met. I can serve someone in an area of need – cooking a meal, offering a ride, volunteering through a local ministry… I can give a hug, hold the door, help someone cross the street, and offer an ear to listen or a hand to hold.

As I listen…not to the voice of guilt that tries to make me feel inadequate because I don’t always have cash to give, but to the voice of Holy Spirit who shows me the ways that I can give my all to God. As I obey the promptings, some very easy and some that stretch my faith, I place myself in the proverbial offering basket.

Yesappa, Thank You for accepting the only offering I can give 100% of the time…myself. I pray that I am an incense pleasing to You. Show me how to give so that I can be a pipeline for You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Judges 5; Acts 9; Jeremiah 18; Mark 4

Does the snow of Lebanon ever vanish from its rocky slopes? Do its cool waters from distant sources ever stop flowing? Yet my people have forgotten me; they burn incense to worthless idols, which made them stumble in their ways, in the ancient paths. They made them walk in byways, on roads not built up. ~ Jeremiah 18:14-15

God is ever faithful.  He makes cars run longer, provides food, and pays bills when there is no money.  When we have been eye-witnesses to miracles such as these, why do we still worry?  We look at the possibility of an increase in pay and say, “This job or this increase in pay will save me.  Once I begin to make more money we will be secure.” Then all of our thoughts and energy begin to shift.  We are no longer praising the Lord for all He has done.  Instead, we begin to “worship the air” because the increase in income isn’t really there, even if it’s been “secured,” money is not secure and can’t really provide security.  Usually this type of thinking only causes us to stumble and make stupid choices in areas we were once wise.

God wants us to be blessed and to be able to pay our bills.  But He is a jealous God and He will not share His praises with the air or any other idol, for that matter.

Father, no matter what my circumstances—whether I own zero cars or three, whether my salary remains the same or multiplies 100 times its current size—You are my God and the supplier of all my needs.  To you alone will I give all my praises, for You alone are my King!  In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

HeatherPotts5

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Exodus 13, Luke 16, Job 31, 2 Corinthians 1

Read at – http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ex.%2013;%20Luke%2016;%20Job%2031;%202%20Cor.%201&version=NKJV

Exodus 13    Remember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out of this place….‘This is done because of what the Lord did for me’

              Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had placed the children of Israel under solemn oath, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here with you.” And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night.  

              Lord God, You are the Deliverer, the Provider and Sustainer. I suffer because I focus on my circumstances rather than clinging to You, no matter how much, often and powerfully You reveal Your character, attributes and activity in my daily life.

              Father, thank You for being the Sovereign Lord God throughout all time and space. You brought Joseph through many trials and hardship, where Joseph clung to You because of all his unfaithful and cruel family members, owners and friends. There was no person he could trust but You. Lord God, You were and are always Faithful! You let Joseph know You would bring him out of Egypt to be with Your people – and You covered Israel as You set them free! You saved Your people from judgment of death because You provided the only Way out! The Passover Lamb of God, representative of the eternal Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. (1)

            Lord God, You have been present during my past and are bringing me to the future You have planned. Help me to be faithful to You in my daily thought life so that I will not be depleted, distracted, saddened or without vision to forfeit what You want done, Your good and perfect will.

Luke 16         There was a certain rich man who had a steward, … and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you?’ … So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. …  And I say to you, … He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

            Lord God, You amaze me! You have trained me to be frugal and to give to You generously out of desiring for Your will and glory to be done here on earth as it is in heaven. Your  Word has done within me what You purposed! Yet it is never about money! It isn’t if we have money or not, are rich or not. It’s about depending on You, relying on You in a relationship based upon You, Lord Jesus! It is about living for You with integrity and honoring You with my attitude, motive and intent, along with everything else of my being. It is truly all about Jesus, the Word of God. (2)  

“it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.” Luke 16:17

               The rich man and Lazarus, hell and heaven, show me that it isn’t about who had ‘good’ or ‘evil’. It is about what we do within our circumstances about You! It doesn’t depend on seeing You, Jesus, but IF we heed You, the Word of God. (vs. 30-31)                     

Job 31           For what is the allotment of God from above, And the inheritance of the Almighty from on high? Is it not destruction for the wicked, And disaster for the workers of iniquity? Does He not see my ways, And count all my steps? … For destruction from God is a terror to me, And because of His magnificence I cannot endure.

            What Wondrous expressions displaying Job’s Love for God! The intimacy and passionate desire for God from Job is sacred. Job 31 reveals the tender subtleties of living a life with the sensibilities for God to honor of the Lord God Almighty. Oh, Lord, that I, in this day, would have the same fear of You and honor for You! My heart weeps at the iniquity within me and around me! Your heart must be continually broken by each subtle ignoring of Your Presence here on earth!

             Job cries out, “Oh, that I had one to hear me! Here is my mark. Oh, that the Almighty would answer me, That my Prosecutor had written a book! Surely I would carry it on my shoulder, And bind it on me like a crown; I would declare to Him the number of my steps; Like a prince I would approach Him.” Job 31:35-37

            Many of us suffer seasons of tragedy, loss and of friends with bad advice. Oh! That Job would have had the Book of Your Word! Then Job could have “heard” from You as his Most Trusted Friend! You, Lord Jesus, the Word of God! (3)   

            How blessed! I DO have this!! We have a book called the “library”, the Bible! Many of us do carry it around and bind it to our hearts and minds like You command. Some Christ followers yearn to have it, yet because of cultural and governmental oppression, they must quickly memorize the single page that is smuggled to them. Others hold Your infallible Word in disdain, and seek to destroy Your reputation and your living tablets of the Word. Sadly, some who claim to belong to you, ignore your commands, precepts, principles and promises. They live a life by “their own understanding” and not a life in the Fear and admonition of the Lord. (4)

             Lord God, by Job’s circumstances and choices, I see how You were involved and protecting his person the entire time, You teach me Who You are and How You are with me. Your Word grows in me a healthy fear and respect of You in order to hide safely in Your Presence.

              Some seasons “feel” like God is displeased with me, though it is the exact opposite because this is when I am being hewn out of His Love for me. It is at these very moments that God is surrounding me closely, protecting me, providing and preparing me for greater intimacy with Him and for His plans of fruitfulness in His Presence for my future! (6)

            Job suffered for one terrible, agonizing season. But Job’s unwavering faithfulness to God seems matchless to me. In the end, Lord God, You double-blessed Job, proving a “a rich harvest of righteousness” and reimbursing Job for “what the locust had eaten”. (5)

             Joseph, too, had an agonizing season before God brought abundance and saved the nation of Israel. My agonizing season, though nothing in comparison to theirs, seems hard to me all the same. Much time in a “wilderness” with much pruning, breaking, healing and training for me by the Husband’s (a farming term) Skillful Hand is to have me trust, rely and adhere to the Almighty alone.

              What feels like “being deprived”, tortured, rejected and “soulful pain” – however real, is really heavenly pruning. God is cutting off deception, sin patterns, strongholds, lies I trust in, and setting me free so that I am no longer captive to my flesh, emotions and evil that I am unaware of. I have prayed, and I mean it – Lord, You know. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. No matter what the cost – because You already Paid the Price. Thank You Lord Jesus Christ!

2 Corinthians 1       Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.

            Oh, Lord, the pain I feel seems interminable …. even though I know it is circumstantial and it will have an end. I do trust in the “God who raises the dead”. I am being helped by people “in prayer”. What if those two were not in place! I shudder to think of it. Lord God, help and save those who do not have You, the God of my salvation, the Holy One of Israel, for their Deliverer! Amen!

             For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. Now He Who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, Who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 2 Corinthians 1:20-22

Bible Insights –

1- Genesis 50:25; Exodus 13:19; John 1:29; John 1:36; Revelation 7:9-12; Romans 12:1-2  

2-  Isaiah 55:8-11; Colossians 3:23-24; John 1:1-3; John 1:14

3- Proverbs 18:24; John 5:24; John 6:63; Psalm 33:4; Psalm 119:43; Psalm 119:160; John 17:17; John 1:1-3; John 1:14

4- Psalm 1; Psalm 19; Psalm 119; Deuteronomy 6:4-8; Deuteronomy 11:16-23; 2 Corinthians 3:3; 1 Peter 2:5; Judges 17:6; Proverbs 3:5-7; Proverbs 18:2; Job 28:28; Ephesians 6:4

5- Psalm 4:8; Job 42:10-17; Joel 2:25; Hebrews 12:11

6- Jeremiah 29:11; Psalm 1:1-3; Job 42:10-17; John 14:2-3; John 8:31-36; Romans 6:23; Romans 5:8; Romans 5:21; Proverbs 3:12; Hebrews 12:3-11; Revelation 3:19

 Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

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