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Money-Wise

February 13th, 2009

“Then Isaac sowed . . and reaped . . a hundredfold, and the Lord blessed him.” Genesis 26:12 NKJV

“You cannot enjoy Kingdom prosperity if you choose to live by rules of the world’s economy.”

My thoughts today are about being “money-wise.”

You will never seem to have enough money, so it is important that you learn some basic things about handling the money you do have. The principles remain true and will work for you whether you have little or much. My Dad taught me to always live within your means and always save something for later. I think that is a Biblical principle of being money-wise. That isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but it is always the best thing to do. See Proverbs 21:20 NIV.

Gayle and I have done that for all of our married life, when we made the least and when we made more. We have chosen to live without credit card debt and been very careful about long-term debt. Before our marriage, my Dad recommended a percentage of gross income to allocate for housing that has been helpful to keep expenses in proportion to income, and not creeping greed.

Governments suppose that giving taxpayers’ money to large banking corporations and requiring them to lend money to again get sufficient funds circulating in the economy can solve the problem, when it actually fuels the source of the problem. The common wisdom – ill formed and wrongly believed – is that if everybody will just spend more, we can borrow and buy our way out of the predicament. That can never be anything but the most shortsighted cure.

Our country is in a bit of economic distress right now, which merely reflects the financial mess a lot of Americans have made for themselves. We have developed a lifestyle of debt, and a culture that enables and encourages our doing so. The wheels of commerce are greased by the principle of leverage through the continuing cycle of borrowing and a growing debt.

It doesn’t work long for a nation, and it won’t work at all for your household. The next time you admire someone else’s expensive home or car, consider the debt required for either of them, and the financial, marital and eventual emotional cost of having them.

Because a bank or merchant will give you the credit does not mean it is wise. Availability is not at all the same as affordability, and that seems to remain the oft-unasked question. Even affordability does not mean it is the right thing or the right time for you. You and I are stewards of what belongs to God – and everything you have belongs to God! See Psalm 24:1/1 Corinthians 4:2.

Years ago I felt the Lord challenged me to resist impulse purchases, and then taught me to prayerfully consider financial decisions first. I am not talking about a “prolonged prayer meeting” or being paralyzed until you hear an audible voice to direct you – just placing your heart and desires before the Lord for His wisdom, and right way and time to provide them.

You cannot enjoy Kingdom prosperity if you choose to live by rules of the world’s economy. “There was a famine in the land . . then Isaac sowed . . and reaped a hundredfold, and the Lord blessed him.” Genesis 26:1, 12-13 NIV. Notice the situation – a famine around you cannot prevent God’s blessing upon you. You have to sow seed to give God something to multiply. God’s blessing will make all the difference, but God will not bless your mess. Begin by putting God first. See Malachi 3:8-12.

My prayer for you is: earn diligently, save regularly, give generously, and spend wisely.

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