Archive for January 16th, 2007

Your End of The Promise

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

Today’s scripture: Deuteronomy 8:11-18 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Robert Ferguson):

But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.

Praise God, it seems we have made it to another new year! It is such a perfect time to look back and do a review.

There seems to be a certain poetry and rhythm to life. We toil about all year, working through our days, accomplishing our tasks, and trying to move from one rung of the ladder to the next. Suddenly the holidays move in on us and we proceed to go on a two month spending spree. Many of us have experienced a bountiful Thanksgiving followed by frenetic spending for friends and loved ones. No matter how tight the budgets are we always make a way to buy gifts for those that are closest to our hearts at Christmas time. As the year comes to an end, if you are anything like me, around new years day things begin to really slow down.

January seems like a perfect time for resolutions. 2006 turned out just okay, but we all want 2007 to be better for so many reasons.

As you take a moment to review the verses for today consider how we might view God’s blessing for our life differently in 2007. Deuteronomy 8:18 reminds us that God has made a promise to the people that they have been given the ability to produce wealth. God has not promised to make us all wealthy, but to give us the ability and the strength to create some measure of wealth.

As I have reviewed my own balance sheet at the end of 2006 I have found a mountain of opportunities where I could improve my financial picture. I need to save more, spend less, improve my credit, and tithe more consistently. Wow! That’s a lot for one year.

As I took this particular situation to God in prayer it became clear to me that perhaps we are thinking of this whole thing in the wrong light. So often these days you might hear messages from preachers and teachers that can be classified as “prosperity gospel.” Usually those messages are punctuated with phrases like, “get ready, get ready, get ready”, “your miracle is on the way” and “if you do this then God will bless you.” “You are one blessing away from a windfall.” Many times we find Luke 6:38 referenced, “give and it shall be given unto you. A good measure pressed down, shaken together and running over poured into your lap.”

And while I don’t dispute or argue those biblical principles I do believe there are many other principles that surround that one and it’s easy to miss the overarching message from God. There are principles that we must have enacted in our lives.

The first of these Godly principles is hard work. It is hard work to create an accurate picture of how much we spend. I heard Joyce Meyers say once that if your out go is more than you income your upkeep will be your downfall. Creating a budget and following it is hard work. Getting spending habits under control is difficult. However, this is one thing that will help us receive Gods blessing in our lives.

The second principle is creating new attitudes about money. I have a serious problem with spending money before I get it. There have been times when I could budget out my entire paycheck before I receive it and no where in the budget was there a line for savings. Imagine that, no line to pay myself, not to mention a line to pay God.

The problem, or at least one of them, is thinking of money as something that has to be given away as opposed to kept. My grandmother used to say that the 50 cents she just gave me was burning a hole in my pocket. We laughed at that, but that money was burning a hole in my pocket because I could not wait to spend it; a bad habit that has stayed with me into my adult life. I will suggest that many of us have that problem. One of the definitions of repenting is to have a change of mind or thinking about an issue. I suggest that we need to repent from our old thinking of money.

Finally, the third principle is the principle of tithing. This is a very sensitive area so I will only reference Matthew 25:14-30. God has entrusted us with gifts, abilities, and talents — and we have been given a charge and a responsibility to do well in this world and to help those that are in need. Don’t get confused here — saving is important, but multiplying is a principle of God. When we are obedient with the little things, God has promised to increase our gifts.
As we ask God in prayer to bless our lives, finances, and health, let us be mindful to remember that God has given us the ability to create wealth. It is our responsibility to work hard, create new attitudes towards money, and invest in the Kingdom of God.

Thought and prayer for the day: God, help me to keep work and money, blessings and responsibility, in a balance that pleases You. Renew my thoughts and attitudes.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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