Sunday, October 17, 2010

God Meets Us Where We're At

Is your soul stirred by abject poverty, yet you don't know where to begin?  Have you done nothing, for fear of doing the wrong thing?

You are not alone!

And there is hope for you.  God always takes us right where we're at, moving us forward with love and faithfulness.  He doesn't expect you to sell all your possessions and give everything to the poor.  Really.  And right now, depending on your circumstances, he may not want you to commit to a monthly gift at all.

How we handle our money speaks volumes about our heart, our Christian walk, our usefulness to God.  To impact our world's for Christ--even in our own homes--we need to understand Biblical money management.

Where are you right now?  What level of self-control do you currently possess?  Do you live within your means?  Are you carrying a balance on any credit cards?  Did you buy more house than you could chew?  Or more car?  Do you regularly--weekly or monthly--purchase new material goods--things that are wants, not needs? Are you giving ten percent to your local church?  Or even five percent?  Are you building a savings--five percent of your monthly income, perhaps?

If your answer to some of these is wanting, wherein lies the problem?  Are you spending to fill up a void in your life?  To deal with stress?  To boost your confidence or your image?  Is God a companion of yours, truly?  Do you sing to him, read His word, pray to him, praise his Holy name?  Do you get quiet and really listen to Him?  Do you give Him a chance to fill your void?

Have you evaluated your friends, remembering that bad company corrupts good character?  Limit your time with materialists.  They have nothing to offer you.  Materialism is sin.  Plain and simple.  Do a 180 degree turn away from your sin, starting with the company you keep.

If your spouse is a materialist, pray for your spouse, but still be responsible for lining your own behavior up with Scripture.  So your husband overspends.  Couldn't you still focus on reducing your grocery bill, your clothing bill, your misc. expenses bill?  Focus on what you can do, while praying for your spouse.

Tips for getting out of the starting gate:

1.  Keep a giving journal and focus your heart on one or two things at a time.  All the while, pray about how God will use you and your family in the area of giving.

2.  Copy giving Scriptures down and memorize them.

3.  Reduce your spending in two areas and journal about your weekly progress.

4.  Identify spending triggers and avoid them.  Read a book when you feel the urge to spend.  Pray.  Take a hike or a walk.  Make something in the kitchen or in the craft room.  Play a board game with the kids.  Read pictures books or a novel to the kids.  Write in a journal.  Garden.  Paint.

5.  Make a list of simple giving projects you can implement, such as working to stock local food pantries.

6.  Educate yourself about abject poverty.

7.  Start a gratitude list in your giving journal.

8. Research the ways you can make a bigger difference, once your finances are healthy. Pray about sharing your research with your husband.  He will have noticed your heart change by now, and be intrigued.

9.  Find an accountability partner.  If you must shop for something, bring her along to keep you on track.

10.  Devise a plan for teaching your children about money management.  If they have any money, give them one jar for tithing (10%), one for savings (10%), and a third for discretionary spending.   Have them memorize giving Scriptures.  Teach them about abject poverty.

You can do this!  Get out of that starting gate today!

"He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses." Proverbs 28:27

"Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it."  Luke17:33

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