Posts Tagged ‘money’

Stand Firm in Your Faith

September 15, 2014

Sometimes the world around us can be pretty tempting.  If we are not careful we can easily fall into the way of the world, thinking that what we see with the eyes of the flesh is more important than the world of the spirit.

I.  Within You:  Luke 17:20-21

Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Many of the Jews at the time of Jesus were looking for a messiah who would restore the autonomy of the kingdom of Israel.  They were tired of being under the rule of the Romans and longed for independence.  In these verses above we are told that the kingdom of God is within us.  It is not a kingdom of this world. Jesus acknowledged to Pilate that He was a king, but that His kingdom was not of this world.  We are told by Paul that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal.  That we wrestle not with flesh and blood.  It is a spiritual battle, a battle not based in the material world of the flesh, but in the non-material world of the spirit.

II.  Serve God or Money:  Luke 16:13

 “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.”

Mammon is not a word that is commonly used today.  It basically means money.  You cannot serve God and money.  It is not that money is important, it is that it is not more important than God.  God must be first.  We live in this material world, but the non-material world of the spirit is, and must be, more important to us.  We cannot serve God and the world.  Only one thing can be our top priority, and that must be God.

III.  Giving Offense:  Luke 17:1-4

Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”

Take heed to yourselves.  Be careful that the things that we say and the life that we lead does not become a stumbling block to others in their faith.  If someone sins against us, we can rebuke them.  If they repent, we must forgive them.

IV.  Sifted:  Luke 22:31-32

 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

Like Simon, our faith may be sifted, or tried, by events in this life.  If we do fail, it does not have to be permanent.  We can repent and be restored.  We should encourage others who go through trials, and occasionally fail, that momentary failure does not have to be permanent separation.  Of course, the goal is to pass the test, standing firm in our faith.

As we seek to be faithful servants of the kingdom of God, we should steadfastly give God priority in our lives.  We should seek to live lives that will encourage others in their faith and not be a hindrance to them.  We should forgive those who have wronged us even as we trust that God will forgive us.

These are the sermon notes from 9/7/14.  Any advertisement that might appear is placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

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Brain Drain??

October 27, 2009

I read an article the other day about the steep reduction in pay being forced upon the executives of the large banks that had received a government bailout.  The concern that was expressed was that these individuals were brilliant in their fields, and that if they were not paid what they thought they  were worth, that they would quit their jobs to work for someone else.

If they are so brilliant, then why did the government need to bail them out?

For most people, if their area of responsibility had failed miserably, they would be looking for a new job, not cashing bonus checks.  Are they going to put on their resume  “We oversaw the destruction of our last company, now what can we do for you”???

If the government had not bailed them out, either they would have worked themselves out of the hole, or they would have been fired and replaced, or their entire business would be consumed by other businesses that were run more efficiently.  The business world can take care  of itself.  The strong survive, the weak are devoured.

Why did we interfere?

Financial Responsibility

September 29, 2008

As an individual, I have long sought to make appropriate financial decisions for myself and for my family.  There are many things that we have gone without, but we have always had our needs met and have always kept up with our bills.

As the pastor of a church, we have made it a priority to stay within our budget.  We do not spend what we do not have in the bank.  We have paid off our debts, maintained our property, and even made some improvements. 

At this time in our country there is a financial crisis because individuals took out loans that they could not afford.  Companies made those loans knowing that they were risky.  Neither side was being financially responsible in their decisions.  Whatever our government decides to do, it is going to be fraught with risk.  I am praying earnestly that they will make the right decision.

I hope that we will learn from this situation.  That in the same way that many of us are trying to go “green'” in our lifestyles, that we will, as a society, begin to make better financial decisions, that we will become financially responsible.

Economic Security

September 18, 2008

This past week has not been a good week for the stock market in the USA.  There have been two days of major drops and there are still two days of trading left in the week.  I suspect that some people are truly being devastated by this economic upheaval. 

I am not worried at all.

I have a four part plan for economic security. 

First,  I understand the difference between needs and wants.   We need the basics of food, clothing and shelter.  Beyond that, it is what we want to have that gets us into trouble.  One of the biggest problems that people have today is that they want to live beyond their income.  Credit is available, and people overextend themselves to have something today that they will pay for dearly tomorrow.  Often these are things that people want, but don’t need.  We don’t need steak, designer clothing or large homes.  I understand the diffence between needs and wants, and am willing to live within my income.

Secondly, I create and stay on a budget.  I believe in planning ahead.  I believe in saving for large ticket items, rather than paying the interest on a loan.  I am thankful that my wife agrees with me about this issue, because it takes both of us being willing to work together to make a budget work. 

Third, I have told my sons since they were toddlers, that I will take care of you for the first eighteen years of your life, if necessary, you will take care of me, for the last years of my life.  I hope that it will never come to that, but it is an option that has been used for generations, long before social security or pensions. 

Fourth, and most importantly, since I was sixteen, I have been faithful in giving back to God a tithe, plus offerings, of my income.  I believe that God blesses my finances, at least partially, because I have always trusted that God is my ultimate provider.  He is my true source of economic security.