Substituting Statistics for Trust

February 27, 2019: 2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21, 22; Psalms 30.

 

Trusting God with Our Budget

This is our third month using the free “Every Dollar” app. I love it! David is not convinced. He divides our income by our budget on an Excel spreadsheet. The salary-based budget does not reflect overtime, interest, tax refunds, etc.

I set up the March budget on “Every Dollar” and adjusted the spreadsheet to match. There are still areas we need to fund and that is where trust comes in. We trust God to either provide more income or show us where to cut expenses.

1 Chronicles 21:2, “Then David prayed, ‘I have sinned badly in what I have just done, substituting statistics for trust; forgive my sin – I’ve been really stupid.’ ”

The Message

Trusting God with our Savings

We also need to trust God with our investments. The “Parable of the Talents” in Matthew 25:14-30 is a story about investments. One servant was given $5,000, another $2,000, and the third $1,000. The first two worked hard and doubled their money. The third one buried it.

When the master returned he asked for an accounting. The first two pleased him but he was furious with the third. He told him, “The least you could do was deposit it and earn a little interest.”

No matter how much God gives us, our goal is to at least double it. Why? It takes money to spread the Gospel. It takes money to send missionaries, help the poor, provide for our churches and staff, etc. To give generously, we have to have it first.

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Another Reason They Stayed

Joseph was the only brother interred in Egypt. He was the last to die and he left instructions for his descendants to carry his bones back to Canaan when they left. Isn’t it funny that the brother who lived as a slave for 13 years lived the longest?

Genesis 50:26, “So, Joseph died at the age of one hundred and ten years old, and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.” Modern English Version

* * * * * * *

“Joseph’s body remained in Egypt until the exodus to the promised land of Canaan about 200 years later. Its final resting-place was Shechem, near Samaria, “in the parcel of ground which Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem” (Joshua 24:32). Here each of his brothers was also buried (Acts 7:15, 16).” Amplified Bible Notes

At least 12 times the Hebrews returned to Canaan to bury Jacob and the 11 brothers. Why didn’t they just move back?

One answer was found in Exodus 1:7, “…the sons of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly and multiplied, and became exceedingly mighty…” Modern English Version

“They had risen to great prosperity – as during the lifetimes of Joseph and his royal patron, they had, probably, enjoyed a free grant of the land…Having first obliged them, it is thought, to pay a ruinous rent, and involved them in difficulties, that new government…degraded them to the condition of serfs.” Critical and Explanatory Commentary, Vol. I

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The Last Will Be First

We strive to become rich, to rise above middle-class status and we even surrender to things we shouldn’t. We must always remember, in God’s economy the first will be last and the last will be first.

Jeremiah 39:9, 10, “Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive into Babylon the remnant of the people who remained in the city, and those who fell away, who fell to him, with the rest of the people who remained. But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left behind in the land of Judah the poor people who had nothing, and gave them vineyards and fields at that time.” Modern English Version

They carried off to Babylon all the upper-class and middle-class Israelites and the people of the city. The poorest of the poor were, not only spared, but given vineyards and fields. They went from having nothing to getting everything, and they retained their freedom.

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Much

We received our giving receipts on Friday. I checked to see how much we gave over and above our tithes or 10%. The amount is smaller than others, but the percentage of our income could be larger.

Mark 12:43, “Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. Many who were rich put in much.” Modern English Version

The first 10% we give is due to God. Anything above is seed we plant. God multiplies our seeds.

Dear Father God,

Thank You for meeting our needs last year. Thank You for the miraculous way you multiplied our seeds.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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Miracles

Miracles happen every day, but we don’t recognize them. As I look back on 2016, I see the miracles.

We replaced a furnace, central air, washer, and computer without depleting our emergency fund. God provided in miraculous ways.

Our health insurance premium went up 50% and I had emergency surgery! Yet, we paid each premium on time and have paid almost one-fourth of the hospital bill. Those were a few of our miracles this year.

John 3:2, “After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. ‘Rabbi,’ he said, ‘we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.’ ” New Living Translation

I need to believe, pray for and expect miracles. Jesus promised them to us!

John 14:12, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the father.” New Living Translation

Dear Father God,

Thank You for the miraculous ways you met our needs in 2016. I know you will continue to take care of us. I look forward to the miracles you have in store in 2017.

In Jesus Name, 

Amen

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Debt-Free

I ran into Ann on Friday night. She was so excited to see me and couldn’t wait to tell me she had paid off her mortgage.

I remember when she bought that house. It was a modest home in a tiny town and now it is all hers!

There is no better feeling than being debt-free. It’s a lifestyle.

2 Kings 4:7, “When she told the man of God what had happened he said to her, ‘Now sell the olive oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on what is left over.'” New Living Translation

Debt-Free Lifestyle

  1. Sell the extras.
  2. Pay off your debts.
  3. Live on what you make.

Dear Father God,

Thank you for taking care of us. When we give you a tenth, save a tenth, and live on the rest, we live peaceful, stress-free lives. You stretch that 80% further than we can stretch the 100%. Thank you for meeting our needs and helping us to reach our goals.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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As Much Happiness As Being Rich

In his sermon last night, Pastor Monte Knudsen said, “Life is not about the accumulation of stuff.”

When people were asked how much money it would take to make them  happy everyone answered $10,000 more than what they make now. It was the same answer for those who made $25,000 and for those who made $150,000.

Today’s verses show us the key to true happiness.

Psalms 119:14, 36, 37, “Obeying your instructions brings as much happiness as being rich…Make me want to obey you rather than to be rich. Take away my foolish desires, and let me find life by walking with you.”

Paid a Little; God Covered Most

I shared on an earlier post about the medical bills we were facing, see “Chipping Away at It,” http://wp.me/pK67X-UI.

This week we received two letters stating that 100% financial assistance on two of the three largest bills was granted. That left one small bill at that hospital which an income tax refund covered.

Now we only owe one hospital. Praise God!

Today we received a letter from our insurance company stating they reprocessed the bill at the third hospital. They paid 3/4 of that bill! Instead of paying on bills totaling thousands of dollars, we are left with a balance of a couple hundred dollars! Thank you, Jesus!

“How Great is Our God” – Hillsong

YOU KNOW MY STORY

I keep a daily journal. In it I write down my happiest moments and my deepest griefs. There is something cathartic about writing down the pains and sorrows.

It is like someone else shares my burden. And when I record the births and triumphs, someone shares my joy.

Job’s wish was that his words would be recorded.

Job 19:23, 24, “I wish that my words could be written down or chiseled into rock.”

His words were recorded many years later and we are not sure who recorded them. His words bring comfort to us when we are sick, despairing of life, suffering a financial down turn, or at the very worst, lose a child. We can identify with the pain and emotions in Job’s words.

“You Know My Name” – Detour 180

LIFE IS EASY GOING DOWN THE MOUNTAIN

Our lives are like hiking through the mountains. We struggle to climb a mountain: pay off a debt, endure an illness, suffer a job loss. When we reach the peak life is easier: the debt is paid, health restored, we find employment.

Going down the mountain is a piece of cake compared to climbing up. But at the end is another valley: another trial, challenge, problem, etc. The answer is at the top of the next mountain and we start climbing and struggling again.

We foolishly think the top of the mountain is a plateau and we will always be this well off. We are totally shocked when the next challenge comes.

We need to live expecting challenges:

  • Be frugal; and save as much money as possible.
  • Take care of our bodies.
  • Work hard at our present job.

Only God knows what is ahead.

Ecclesiastes 7:14, “When times are good, you should be cheerful; when times are bad, think what it means. God makes them both to keep us from knowing what will happen next.”

“Blessed Be the Name of the Lord”