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Sep 30 2018 - Wisdom in Your Finances - Practical Suggestions

Lord, speak to our hearts this morning. What is most important is that You speak – not just our thoughts or words. You are a great God and know how to meet our needs – and we want to look to You in all things. It is easy to get overly concerned with things in our own lives and miss that You care for us and love us more than we could love ourselves.

I’d like to look at 6 practical suggestions in how to live in wisdom in our finances. I have been focusing on the heart issues, and now we’ll look at some of the practicals.

Proverbs – Debt – debt is one of the things that is emphasized. As I went to prepare this sermon – and went to search the Proverbs on debt – I thought there would be a huge list of them – and I was surprised to find that there was 1 verse that dealt with borrowing directly – and when I looked through the rest of the Bible – I found that there were only a few.

The rich rules over the poor (that is a sad comment!), And the borrower becomes the lender's slave. (Pro 22:7 NAU)

I had to go to the Psalms to find the second one:

The wicked borrow, and do not pay back, but the righteous are generous and keep giving; (Psa 37:21 NRS)

Here is one interesting thing – some talk about debt so that we misunderstand this – the Bible never says that Debt is wrong or sin. But what it does say – debt in general can have a negative impact on your financial situation. There are consequences for being in debt. There are disadvantages when we are in debt. You become the lender’s slave. In their culture, that was sort of true. In our culture, it puts burdens and responsibilities and anxiety and stress in our lives.

Although debt is not called sin, there are some things that happen when you get in significant debt.

Stewardship classes can help you get out of debt.

Dave Ramsey taught us about 10 years ago – we decided to do his debt snowball. That was a wise decision. If you are in debt – I’d encourage you to read about how to get out of it.

On the flip side of it – Lending -

"If you lend money to any of my people who are needy among you, do not be like a moneylender to him; do not charge him interest. (Exo 22:25 NET)

He who increases his wealth by interest and usury (don’t be a loan shark!), Gathers it for him who is gracious to the poor. (Prov. 28:8)

As you go through the Bible – there are many verses on LENDing to the needy and the poor. If we are commanded to lend, there must be a time and place for borrowing.

Their culture was different from our culture. Occasionally, there are those who can buy a first home without a mortgage. That is rare. For them – when they were lending money, the nation of Israel had this policy – Every seven years – all debts are forgiven. We’d love that policy!

If you took a loan out in year 6.5, it was forgiven 6 months later. Can you imagine if banks had to do that? They would change their lending policies. This is not saying we should have that mentality or adopt those laws, but it stresses the value of giving to those in need.

Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice. (Psalm 112:5 TNIV)

Jesus had a much more radical policy for Christians than the seven year forgiveness policy of the Old Testament:

Luke 6:34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

What Jesus is focusing on here – the heart attitude that He wants His followers to have in relationship to their possessions and wealth. God has given us wealth – that we might be able to help others in need. That is God’s purpose in giving us wealth.

This verse/command does not work in reverse – it is not for the borrower to use against the lender. This is for the person who has and his attitude toward the person in need.

Proverbs

Wealth gained quickly will dwindle away, but the one who gathers it little by little will become rich. (Proverbs 13:11)

An inheritance gained hurriedly at the beginning Will not be blessed in the end.

(Proverbs 20:21)

Number 3 – Get rich quick schemes are an unwise decision. If you are following those, you are not living the way of wisdom in your finances. Get Rich quick schemes are a poor decision – even if – especially if – it works! IF it works – then you’ve got it! But it works, and now you are hooked – and you are lost.

This is not about wise investing. Wise investing is important – but this is more of a heart attitude he is getting at. We can see the effects of fast wealth in the entertainment and sports worlds. Think about how so many of those lives get wrecked. But don’t be too critical of them – think about your own life – go back to when you were 21 years old – and what you would have done if someone had given you 30 million dollars. You might think – I would have been smart with it!

There was a basketball player – played for the Cavs – good guy – a Christian – who didn’t do all that other athletes do. But he died in a car going 100 MPH. When I was his age, I did not have a car that could go 100 MPH! I had an old VW wagon that struggled to hit 50 MPH. One day I was driving and I wondered about all the smoke…

Wealth provides plenty of opportunities for young people to get in trouble… Even at times the good ones.

The one who loves pleasure will be a poor person; whoever loves wine and anointing oil will not be rich. (Pro 21:17)

He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, But he who pursues worthless things lacks sense. (Pro 12:11)

Living the high life – Leisure, luxury, and pleasure – is unwise (as they say in the Indiana Jones movies)

We need to be aware of ultimate consumerism. It can destroy our lives. Money wasters: Addictions – we may know of people who became addicted to drugs and became homeless.

There are other forms of this that seem harmless but can be just as dangerous. Things that can zap us – take everything from us. Whether it is a shopaholic, techaholic – gambling – just go through the list.

5 and six are more practical AND the heart issues.

Proverbs 30:7

7 Two things I asked of You, Do not refuse me before I die: 8 Keep deception and lies far from me, Give me neither poverty nor riches;

(I’m sure we’ve prayed the first part – but have you ever prayed, “Do not give me riches!”)

Feed me with the food that is my portion,

This gets back to week 2 – God wants us to be content with getting our basic needs met.

It is hard for us, due to the push of our culture – to be content.

9 That I not be full and deny You and say, "Who is the LORD?" Or that I not be in want and steal, And profane the name of my God.

Does your wealth or riches cause you to forget or ignore God? Are there things you have that you trust in more than God?

If our bank account causes us to not rely on God – there is a problem.

If something we own causes us to not rely on God – there is a problem.

Does our stress over the lack of funds – bill-paying – unpaid bills – etc – Cause us to have unspiritual attitudes or cause us to act unspiritually in any way? Does it cause fear, anger, covetousness? If so, we have issues with our trust

Feed me with the food that is my portion, 9 That I not be full and deny You and say, "Who is the LORD?" Or that I not be in want and steal, And profane the name of my God.

Isn’t this a wonderful verse?:

How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding. For its profit is better than the profit of silver, And its gain than fine gold. (Prov. 3:14)

"Take my instruction, and not silver, And knowledge rather than choicest gold. (Prov. 8:10)

The way of Wisdom is the most valuable thing we can possess – to live in the way of wisdom is the most valuable thing we can possess – to do that – we must understand and possess and make our own an enduring value system, not a temporary worldly system. We need to value the things that God values – not the things that man values. God values eternal things.

When Jesus talked about money – if you are faithful with a very little thing – Jesus called money a very little thing – a tiny-winey thing! Tell yourself that when you go to pay a bill – it is a tiny winey thing!

Buy truth, and do not sell it, Get wisdom and instruction and understanding. (Prov. 23:23)

We need to use our temporal stuff to gain the way of wisdom. How do we do that? How do I use my temporal ‘stuff’ to become wise –

3 suggestions – how do you use money and possessions for a better perspective?

First – learn to be generous to the needy.

Second – use your possessions and talents to make ministry fruitful! We all have things to offer – talents – stuff – learn to use it for that.

Use your money and stuff and talents to spread the gospel. 3 simple steps.

How can you use what you have to further the kingdom of God. You could say that God has given all we have for His purpose. There are so many ways to do this I won’t even give suggestions. This week you will have numerous opportunities put in front of you to use what you have. It might be your abilities and time to further God’s kingdom. Go out – get up in the morning –ask, How can I further God’s kingdom? Let’s pray…


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