boyradd

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Archive for the tag “money”

Learning to be in dependence

John 15:5 – I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

It has been a very long time since I posted anything on here. People were worried. Women and children were crying. News outlets posted that something nefarious had happened to me.

Actually, none of that is true.

Apart from a couple of people who regularly read my posts, I didn’t hear anything from anyone.

And, yet, surprisingly my numbers didn’t fall either.

So why has it been almost 3 months since I posted anything here?

I’ve been learning about being in dependence.

Tomorrow is July 4th. This is the date in America that we celebrate our independence. We are free. We aren’t tied to any other country.

We celebrate independence so much in this country. When children reach certain milestones in their lives they accept more responsibility which leads them to being more and more independent.

When we move out of our parents’ house and on our own, we accept full independence in our lives.

Growing up becomes a journey toward complete independence.

Psalm 40:3-4 – He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!

Sometimes we become so independent that we need to be stepped back a little.

That’s where my life has been.

I have always been able to handle what comes in my life. I have had tough times, but usually my own determination and grit got me or my family through. Sometimes that didn’t go so well. I think back at my divorce, for example. I didn’t have enough determination or grit to make it right and I didn’t listen to God enough to accept his grace and mercy and help.

But now I am starting to learn to move away from independence and move toward being in dependence.

My wife and I have had a lot of turmoil in recent months. I took a new job in full-time ministry. Right around the same time, she was laid off from her job. Then my dad was in and out of the hospital and then decided to move closer to us.

There is a lot of good stuff in there!

But it is also a lot of stuff that is happening at once. And couple that with the fact that our bank account is dwindling daily, it is pretty daunting.

In my past I have had 6 figure jobs and was never trying to find the next dollar to pay for anything. I was always able to do it on my own power. I can flippantly say that God gave me those jobs so I really was depending on Him, but truth of the matter was that I didn’t need God to do anything that I could do in my own power.

Now I am learning just how little of a man I am.

And in that weakness, God has done some very amazing things!

Each day I go to God and ask Him for the provision for the day. In my past I would have had enough provision for the year within 6 months of working. Now I am learning to lean on God more and more.

It has changed the way that I speak to Him.

Isaiah 30:15 – For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling

When I had everything I ever wanted, I found I wanted more. “God, please give me the ability to take the vacation so I can go cruise the southern Caribbean again.” Or, “God, let me be able to save enough so I can clear the trees from one acre of the property so I can build a party area.” Or here is my favorite, “God, give me more so I can start tithing. I just don’t have enough to give back to you yet.”

But now, my prayers are quiet. I don’t have any ambition left in me. There is nothing more that I want out of or from this world.

My car is no longer something that matters to me. It is a utilitarian need for the ministry.

My house is no longer that something that I care about. It is simply there to shelter us and keep us safe. As long as it does that, I don’t care if it is decorated or sterile. I don’t care if it is clean or filled with pet hair.

Food? That is still my issue. Anyone who knows me knows I love food. When I used to have a lot of money I would get my favorite, steamed blue crabs, as much as I could. Now, those are a far-off dream since they are so expensive. I was blessed to be able to have crabs once last year. Who knows, the summer is young, there still may be a chance this year. God willing.

But see, my prayers are no longer about the stuff that I have or the stuff that I want (except steamed crabs lol). My prayers are about how I can be used in my current role, in my current condition, in my current state, for God.

I pray for provision to make it through the day. I pray to not have anything pop up in our expenses that God won’t cover. And I pray for the time to get everything done that He is requiring of me.

Other than that, my 45 minutes or so in prayer each morning is in silence or reading the Bible. I am looking for God to speak to me rather than spending all my time speaking to Him.

And it is in that place, the place of utter dependence on God, that I find my contentment.

Yes, I still get frustrated. Just today as I was talking with my wife about finances I showed my frustrations. That is still my humanity. I can’t give up my humanity.

But it is in that place that I learn dependence.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

So on this Independence Day in America may you seek to be in dependence of Jesus Christ, the One and true Creator, brother and friend. He is all that and yet is God alone.

Burden, Barrier or Blessing

My wife and I are rich in terms of the fact that we have a roof over our heads, food to eat, water to drink, healthcare, education, and the ability to enjoy a little bit of fun from time to time. If you were to ask us, though, we are nowhere near rich because we base the definition of rich on seeing others with more “stuff” or money than we have. Maybe they are taking all the cool vacations and we are not. Maybe they are eating a 4 and 5-star restaurants. Splurging on a restaurant for us is typically going to the little hole in the wall that sells Mexican food for cheap.

We don’t typically have a lot in our bank account at the end of the month. I read an article the other day about people who save and save with the expectation that they will do good things with their money when they get enough of it.

But what happens if that day never comes?

You could walk out the door and be hit by a bus and never come to realize the good that you could have done with that money, or time, or love.

Money, as with anything in this life, can easily be a burden, a blessing, or a barrier.

Solomon says it best

Proverbs 30:7-9 – “I ask two things from you, Lord. Don’t refuse me before I die. Keep me from lying and being dishonest. And don’t make me either rich or poor; just give me enough food for each day. If I have too much, I might reject you and say, ‘I don’t know the Lord.’ If I am poor, I might steal and disgrace the name of my God.

 

As we go through what is left of our lives, we really need to understand how to look at money.

First, the burden.

If you spend all your life chasing money, then you have become a slave to it. You might desire to do good things with it, you might even do good with it from time to time, but you have determined that your money is YOURS and you ultimately have the decision over it.

When we find money as a burden, we spend our days chasing it. We live paycheck to paycheck. We can’t seem to get out from under the drive that money has over us.

When money is a burden, you feel as if you can’t get out from under the mountain of debt you have acquired. Your spending feels out of control. Every decision you make financially means that you will have to eliminate something out of your budget or else you will have to increase the debt. It creates a deep hole of debt that you can never get out of so you have to work more, or maybe even take a second job.

You begin looking at money in a negative way. You almost never tithe, and when you do it is much less than what you should. Work begins to become a negative thing as well.

You are burdened.

But our God is not a God of burdens, He is a God of relieving burdens.

It is at this point that resetting how you look at money is needed.

You might believe in God and lean on Him with almost every aspect of your life. But with money, you don’t, at least not until you feel you have to.

Then there is the other end of the spectrum. Money can be a barrier to God as well.

In the modern church today, especially with many of the pastors in the prosperity arena, God wants to bless you physically and monetarily as well as spiritually.

I don’t completely disagree. But I also don’t completely agree.

Proverbs 23:4 – Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit.

Many times when we have plenty we find ourselves doing everything in our own power. We leave God out of the equation altogether. Much of what we can do in this world to be successful doesn’t necessarily require God to bless it. He has given us abilities, even if we decide to use them for only ourselves.

During this time you might pray to God. You might even tithe. But you don’t truly understand what it means to lean on God for all your needs. If you need more money for something, you work a little harder. You make personal financial investment choices before considering the community of believers.

You need to learn that money is simply a tool. It is a means to an end, and none of it is yours. Apart from the argument that it all belongs to the government, it truly all belongs to God. He gave it to you. He wants you to use your money and/or position to further the Kingdom of God.

2 Corinthians 9:8 – And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.

Finally, money could be a blessing. While the Bible shows many cases where being rich is not necessarily a good thing, one point is very clear: God will provide your needs.

In the verse above God not only provides our needs but gives us plenty leftover to help others.

Notice something here, God does not say that he will give us plenty leftover to plan retirement or take a cruise or eat lavishly (this one hurts a little as I love food). But He gives us plenty so that we can help others with it.

The Christian life should never be one of comfort.

We should always be needing God to supply our needs, whether that be a mortgage, a car payment, or food.

But in return, we are promised that we will have everything we need, and more, so long as we provide for others with the excess.

So how do you see money and work? Is it a burden in which you are spending your entire time and life scraping by paycheck to paycheck without being able to celebrate the Kingdom of God with it? Is it a barrier that hinders your ability to seek God? Or is it a blessing, not just for you but for others with the excess that God has given you?

It may require some restructuring of your finances. But if you do, I promise, as does the Word of God, that it will be worth it for you.

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