Page 1


God Will Provide Desires of the Heart Carlo arrived in Boston in the year 1916, intent on making his fortune. He had just been released from prison and was looking for a new start. He had previously held a number of different jobs: grocery clerk, dishwasher, factory hand and painter. But when he discovered International Reply Coupons, Carlo began to believe he could really hit the big time. International Reply Coupons were postage coupons that could be bought in one country and exchanged for postage stamps in another. A person writing to someone abroad could include a Reply Coupon in the envelope—in effect paying the postage for a return letter. Carlo calculated he could buy these coupons in another country where they were somewhat less expensive, have them brought to the United States, and sell them at a handsome profit. Investors poured money into Carlo’s business venture. In less than five years, these individuals had made investments totaling in the millions of dollars. Initially, the return on these investments was very good. Before long,




GOD WILL PROVIDE

some people were mortgaging their homes and investing their life savings with Carlo, who was making $250,000 a day in 1920! But all was not as it appeared to be. Carlo’s company wasn’t actually generating profits of any kind. It was using money invested by new clients to pay dividends to existing clients. Fortunately for Carlo—but unfortunately for some investors—many clients chose not to take their profits out of the business; instead they reinvested in the hope of an even bigger payday. When investors started asking Carlo for their money, it became apparent that the cupboard was almost bare. While Carlo was living a life of luxury, his investors were about to lose everything they had entrusted to him. Carlo (Charles) Ponzi was arrested in August of 1920, with liabilities of around $7 million—the equivalent of more than $80 million in 2011 dollars, and his investors lost $20 million— about $225 million today. There’s something about the lure of money that often has a devastating effect on a person’s morality and behavior. Understanding this, Paul wrote to the young church leader Timothy with the advice that “those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many

GOD WILL PROVIDE



foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.” (1 Timothy 6:9) Charles Ponzi certainly didn’t need the kind of wealth he was dishonestly accumulating. He could have been happy earning much less money and living a far simpler life. Yet he wasn’t content with less. Ponzi wanted more. And it is the desire for more that can often lead a person astray, even into “destruction and perdition.” The Bible makes it clear that there is nothing wrong with money in and of itself, and that there’s nothing wrong with wealth. Solomon was extremely wealthy, David was a very rich man, and Abraham was a man of considerable means. But problems often arise when a person’s desire for money causes that person to lose sight of God’s plan for his or her life. As Paul went on to say to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:10, “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Although there are currently more billionaires in the world than ever before, whole nations have plunged into financial crisis and huge numbers of people have lost their jobs




GOD WILL PROVIDE

and homes. What’s a person to do in order to survive financially in these troubled times? Interestingly, the Bible speaks about finance more than it does about almost any other topic. It is clear that God cares about finance, and about our financial well-being. There are numerous principles God gives to help us make wise financial decisions. Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” In this passage of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was talking about our daily needs, such as food and clothing. He pledges that when a person puts God first in his or her life, God will provide. “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:25, 26) The message from Jesus is clear: “God will provide!” In a day of job loss and foreclosure, this is real assurance. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” and God will provide.

GOD WILL PROVIDE



Fulfillment Throughout the entire Bible, we see how God has provided for His people. “In the beginning” God created a magnificent planet and filled it with everything needed to secure our first parents’ happiness and prosperity. The world was pollution-free, stress-free and populated with extraordinarily beautiful animals. God Himself made personal visits to the planet and spent time with its inhabitants. He couldn’t have given them more. Everything about that arrangement was perfect, until Adam and Eve decided God hadn’t actually given them enough. One day while Eve was walking near the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, a serpent used by Satan as a medium of communication spoke to her. He offered her the one food she was forbidden to eat. (Genesis 3:3) Satan convinced Eve that God was withholding a blessing from her. He said, “God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5) In effect, Satan was saying, “Eve, what God has given you isn’t enough. There’s more. There’s no reason for you to be content with what you have, when having more can make you truly happy.”




GOD WILL PROVIDE

And just as people have done for thousands of years since that fateful day, Eve agreed with Satan that in order to be truly fulfilled, she needed more than what God had given her. Eve’s desire for “more” caused separation from God (Isaiah 59:2) and plunged the planet into sin and misery. She’d lost trust in God’s ability to provide for her needs and, like Charles Ponzi, had resorted to a dangerous scheme in order to improve her lot. God has a proven track record of providing for His people. When a terrible famine threatened the very existence of God’s people, God had already foreordained that they would be provided for from the food stores of the Egyptian pharaoh. He even “sent a man before them— Joseph—who was sold as a slave” (Psalm 105:17), who was later able to ensure that his father and brothers would have adequate food. When Israel left Egypt and wandered in an arid, inhospitable wilderness, God provided for them by bringing water from a rock and carpeting the ground with bread. But the Israelites wished for more. They actually resented what God had done for them, and clamored for a return to Egyptian slavery. They said, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of

GOD WILL PROVIDE



the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full!” (Exodus 16:3) Freed slaves were longing for a return to tyranny and abuse, rather than trusting and rejoicing in the freedom granted them by God! They wanted more. In spite of having seen God send plagues from Heaven, open the Red Sea, deliver Israel from the armies of Egypt, and miraculously provide water and food along their journey— and even though a pillar of cloud led them by day and a pillar of fire led them by night—they wanted more than what God was giving them. (Exodus 13:21, 22) When God’s people decided He was not giving them enough, they took it upon themselves to get more of what they wanted. A golden calf in place of God, a king in place of a prophet, and the gods of the heathen in the place of the God of Heaven. When God’s people trusted Him, sought Him, and were satisfied with what He provided, things ran smoothly. When they wanted more than what God was prepared to give, trouble came. Is the same true for humanity living at the edge of the Second Coming of Jesus? Could it




GOD WILL PROVIDE

be that when people trust in God, and seek His Kingdom and righteousness, then He will add to us all things that we need? Philippians 4:19 contains one of the most remarkable promises in the entire Bible. “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” What makes that promise especially remarkable is the use of two small words: shall and all. My God shall supply all your need—not my God might supply all your need—He shall do so. The meaning of the word shall is evident. God will do this. He has said so. For God not to do what He has said would make God a liar. In this verse, God says He is going to supply our need, and He will do it. Then the verse says that God will provide for all our needs. That word all is a comprehensive word. We would rightly think of the word all as meaning “every, each one, every need without exception.” That’s what the Bible says. “My God shall supply all your need.” How will He do that? “According to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Can God afford to do this? Does God possess the riches to supply our need? Every need we have? He surely does. The Bible says in Psalm 24:1 “the earth is the Lord’s, and all

GOD WILL PROVIDE



its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.” Very evidently, God isn’t strapped financially. “‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts.” (Haggai 2:8) God owns it all, so there’s no question that He has the wherewithal to make good on His promise. A check cashed at the Bank of Heaven will never come back marked “insufficient funds.” Philippians 4:19 also promises that God shall supply all our needs by Christ Jesus. Paul could hardly have made a more forceful point in completing this verse. The believers at Philippi were well aware that Jesus is the Creator of the world. (John 1:3, Colossians 1:16) If anybody could supply a person’s needs, surely the Creator of the world could do so! The name of Jesus is synonymous with giving, for as John pointed out in John 3:16, “God so loved the world that He gave” Jesus to the world. And as Paul wrote to the Romans, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32) In other words, if God was prepared to give Jesus for you, He’s clearly willing to give you all things. This is what the promise of Philippians 4:19 states.


10

GOD WILL PROVIDE

Need vs. Want An important question to ask is, “What are our needs?” When I was about 13 years old, I had a good friend who desperately wanted a Yamaha TT250 motorbike. After pondering his situation, he figured out how he might get one: he would pray and ask God for one! He had never attended church and I don’t think he had ever prayed. But he reasoned that if he prayed, and if God was real, then he’d get his motorbike. He knew enough about Christianity to know that God is supposed to answer prayers. I never could figure out just what he’d have done if God provided that Yamaha. As he prayed in his bedroom, he asked God to give him a motorbike right there beside his bed. I remember my friend’s room was not large. Perhaps God did him more than one favor in not giving him that motorcycle. He would have had to disassemble it to get it outside, and I know for sure his parents wouldn’t have been impressed with the headache all of that would have created. God’s promise to us in Philippians 4:19 is that He will supply our need. My friend needed a motorbike like he needed measles. Some people who pray for a promotion don’t get it because

GOD WILL PROVIDE

11

there is more for them to gain from staying in their current position than there would be in them ascending a rung on the company ladder. What God has promised is that He would supply our need. That is what He promised Adam and Eve. It was when Eve decided she “needed” more than God was giving that the planet ended up in chaos. Sometimes it can seem as though God is oblivious to our needs. Surely a seven-yearold girl needs to be healed from cancer. Surely someone’s dying mother needs to be restored to health. Isn’t it true that someone who has been imprisoned unjustly needs to be released right away? Realistically speaking, it isn’t always easy for us to see through the eyes of God. From my point of view, the people in the Twin Towers on 9/11 needed to be evacuated from those buildings before the planes hit the buildings. I find it hard to imagine that my neighbor needed to lose his job and have his home go into foreclosure more than he needed to keep his job, keep his home and keep his family together. There is something that is important to remember. A vital factor in the Christian experience is trust. Life doesn’t always go


12

GOD WILL PROVIDE

smoothly for Christians. Sin’s entrance into the world brought with it all manner of horrible and tragic circumstances, and believers in Jesus are not immune to calamity. We are not always protected from the effects of Eve’s transgression in the Garden of Eden. Accidents happen, illnesses are endured, people die prematurely, and floods and tornados wipe out homes. Before we begin to think that God does not intervene to save His children from trouble, however, we have evidence that He truly does. Mary, Joseph and Jesus escaped the wrath of Herod owing to the direct intervention of God. (Matthew 2:13) Paul was spirited away from trouble that would have resulted in the loss of his life (Acts 9:25), and he survived a disastrous shipwreck. (Acts 27:39-44) Peter was miraculously released from prison on more than one occasion. (Acts 5:19; 12:7, 8) So does God provide our need only sometimes? No, God always provides. But only God accurately sees and understands our needs. God sees the big picture while we are only capable of seeing a fraction of what He sees. Just as we can see the Milky Way but cannot see the billions of galaxies out of our view, we

GOD WILL PROVIDE

13

don’t have the complete picture of our life that God has. While it might sometimes seem that God does not acknowledge our needs as we see them, we can know that nothing escapes His view. While God might not always give you the money, health, liberty or opportunity that you feel you need, you can be totally confident that God always gives us what He knows we really need in any given situation. (Philippians 4:19) And most importantly, God will always give us what we need for salvation. Always. If we understand this right, we’ll realize that every circumstance in which we find ourselves is helpful to us in light of eternity. (Romans 8:28) And even though it might not always feel that way, that’s what is most important. God’s Promises In 2002, a successful 39-year-old real estate entrepreneur from the Los Angeles area came across an exciting investment opportunity promising a 12 percent return every 90 days. He realized investment involves risk, so a risk he took. His initial $25,000 investment brought healthy returns, so within a year he increased his investment to $500,000. Not long after that, the company in which he had been


14

GOD WILL PROVIDE

investing was exposed as a Ponzi scheme. He lost everything. It seems there’s another scam or get-richquick scheme born every minute. I’ve met people who have fallen victim to financial scams. I’ve received e-mails from people supposedly in a foreign country sending the inexplicable news that I have been selected to receive a payout of thousands of dollars—if I only send a specified amount of money ahead of time to secure my good fortune. I’ve met people who have perpetrated financial scams, causing others to be wiped out financially. A common thread runs through all of these situations: a desire to get rich quick. Nowhere in the Bible does God promise that we’ll “get rich quick.” Although many religious organizations have been irresponsible in the way they have promised people that God would make them wealthy, God didn’t promise anyone a million dollars or a mansion with an ocean view. What He has promised is to supply our need. It’s important to be careful with how we interpret that word, promise. I’ve promised my children that we would go swimming the following day, but then I had to explain that when there’s lightning flashing, we just can’t

GOD WILL PROVIDE

15

go swimming in spite of what I might have said yesterday. Or since we have to visit Grandma in the hospital, swimming isn’t going to be possible. Or because they disobeyed a specific instruction, Daddy has decided a privilege or two will be withdrawn. Most promises are conditional. Tidy your room, and you can have ice cream. Be here by 4:30, and I will give you a ride. Come to practice, and you can play on the team. God’s promises are conditional, too. “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.” (Isaiah 1:19) “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:6) When God says He will supply all our needs, He means exactly what He says. But it is our attitude toward God that either enables Him to bless us or prevents Him from blessing us as we’d like Him to. Remember Matthew 6:33. It says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and... [then] ...all these things shall be added unto you.” Making God our top priority enables Him to bless us as He wishes to bless us. We must not think that God has to be convinced to bless us; He wants to do that. “If you then, being evil,


16

GOD WILL PROVIDE

know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11) God wants to provide for His children, just as earthly parents want to provide for their children. What makes it possible for God to truly lead our lives is that we surrender to Him. When we’ve laid our lives at His feet and accepted His will for our life, whatever that will is, then God can truly bless us. (Galatians 2:20; Philippians 2:13) When Less Is More I was astonished to read about a professional basketball player who earned $110 million over 13 seasons in the NBA, then went bankrupt. Evidently, even the very wealthy can have serious financial “needs.” A person close to the professional basketball lockout in 2011 told me that the NBA Players’ Union gave advice to the non-working (and therefore non-earning) professional basketball players regarding how they could make it through the lockout. In essence, the message was, “Don’t spend money you don’t need to spend.” It’s a simple message that suggests our needs and our wants might not be the same.

GOD WILL PROVIDE

17

The truth is that most people earn enough money, but huge numbers of people live beyond their means. And all too often, the One who gives us everything gets little or nothing in return. In the Bible, God makes an incredible promise where He offers to give us far more than we’ll ever need. Yet a surprisingly small number of people take God up on His offer. Malachi 3:10 says, “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of Heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.’” Here God presents the one fail-safe method of securing financial security: asking us to return to Him a tithe—or a tenth—of our increase. In fact, He asks us to return “tithes and offerings.” (Malachi 3:8) Tithe is dedicated to the support of Gospel ministers, while offerings can be given to sustain other endeavors we feel God would have us support. Here we’re given a very direct promise from God that He will bless us. In fact, God says: “Try Me now in this; put me to the test! See what happens!”


18

GOD WILL PROVIDE

Likely there are few people who wouldn’t accept this proposition if it came from Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, two of the richest men in the world. Ask yourself: if either man guaranteed you an incredible return on your investment, asking for only 10 percent of your earnings, wouldn’t you trust him to keep his word? No one would doubt Mr. Gates’ ability to keep a promise like that. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that God is able to keep His. When we take that 10 percent and in faith give it to God out of love for Him, we make God responsible for our financial well-being. This doesn’t remove personal responsibility from the equation, but in honoring God we permit Him to bless our lives and to provide for our needs. I want to urge you to take God at His Word and, if you’ve not done so, make tithing part of your life. Before you pay the rent or the mortgage, or taxes, or a credit card bill, return the tithe to God. Of course, some people will say, “But I can’t afford to tithe!” Let me assure you: you can’t afford not to tithe. Remember what God said about opening the windows of Heaven and pouring out so much blessing you won’t be able to receive it all?

GOD WILL PROVIDE

19

In order to make this work, some people will have to make some changes to their current habits. Maybe cable television has got to go. Perhaps vacations can be taken closer to home—at national parks instead of Disneyland or Paris. Fewer meals eaten at restaurants, less pizza ordered in, a good used car bought for cash instead of a new car with a hefty monthly payment, and even using less electricity at home can all positively affect your bottom line—freeing up money for tithing that would otherwise go elsewhere. There are many money-saving ideas that can make tithing far easier. I’ve heard many firsthand accounts from people who made the decision to tithe and have enjoyed enormous blessings. These blessings are not only financial in nature. While checks do sometimes arrive in the mail “just in time,” tires last longer than expected, and items needed are found at bargain prices, God’s blessings frequently come in the form of health, security or personal peace. In whatever manner they come, blessings received from God will be perfect every time. Tithing should not be done just so a person might experience some kind of temporal advantage. Tithing is to be a love response to the great


20

GOD WILL PROVIDE

goodness of God, an act of worship that says, “Lord, I’m trusting you with my life, and I want to be faithful to you in all things.” It is part of seeking first the kingdom of God, knowing that “all these things shall be added to you.” God Provides When I was in the midst of making the decision to surrender my life to Christ, I considered the enormous impact that decision would have. One certainty was that as a Christian, I couldn’t go back to my career as a radio broadcaster. This meant my significant income would completely disappear and would not easily be replaced. But a Bible verse I had learned as a child kept repeating in my mind: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36) The message of the verse was very clear. I could have everything the world has to offer, yet if I didn’t yield my life to God, I would miss out on what was most important. What good would wealth do me then? Surely it would be wiser for me to honor God and choose to serve Him, and let financial considerations be secondary. A number of other Bible verses make the same point:

GOD WILL PROVIDE

21

“There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; and one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.” (Proverbs 13:7) “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.” (Proverbs 22:1) “Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward Heaven.” (Proverbs 23:5) “Better is a little with righteousness, than vast revenues without justice.” (Proverbs 16:8) From a Biblical perspective, no matter how you look at it, God has promised to provide for us when we put the principles of Heaven first in our lives. The message of the Bible is clear: in a world where little is certain, in an age of tremendous financial insecurity, God has promised that when we are faithful to Him, He will provide. There’s a dramatic Bible story that illustrates God’s willingness to provide for all our needs, no matter the cost to Himself. In Genesis 22, God speaks to Abraham saying, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” (Genesis 22:2)


22

GOD WILL PROVIDE

What a shocking thing for Abraham to hear from God! Not only did God ask Abraham to sacrifice his son, but He emphasized the severe nature of this request by pointing out that Abraham was to sacrifice his only son, the much loved, miracle child of his old age. With a heavy heart—yet full of love for God—Abraham, Isaac, and two servants set out carrying the wood prepared for the burning of the sacrifice. After traveling for two days, Abraham and Isaac left the servants and pressed toward the place of sacrifice. Isaac realized then that, although his father had fire and wood, the sacrifice itself was conspicuously absent. He asked, “Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” (Genesis 22:7) Abraham’s answer was prophetic. “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” (Genesis 22:8) Imagine what Abraham was experiencing. This godly, dedicated centenarian was about to take the life of his only son, based on the simple fact that God had asked him to do so. Even though Abraham believed God was able to resurrect Isaac (Hebrews 11:19), the emotional and spiritual battle that raged within him was undoubtedly intense. But as he struggled in bitter anguish through what was

GOD WILL PROVIDE

23

taking place, he was confident that God would provide a way out. Indeed, the Lord did stop Abraham from taking Isaac’s life. (Genesis 22:12) “Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.” (Genesis 22:13) God had provided. Abraham was called upon by God to offer up the one thing most precious to him: the life of his only son. When he demonstrated his willingness to follow God’s will—irrespective of the circumstances he was facing—and when he showed he was willing to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” God provided for Abraham. “And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, ‘In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.’” (Genesis 22:14) God told Abraham that He was able to bless him abundantly “because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son.” (Genesis 22:16) In providing for Abraham and Isaac—in giving a lamb to take the place of the young man—God demonstrated to humanity that He


24

GOD WILL PROVIDE

will provide for our need: not only our daily, temporal needs, but our spiritual needs as well. Providing a lamb to take the place of Isaac was a prophecy enacted that revealed God would send a Lamb to bear the sins of the world. What is your pressing need today? God has assured you that if you bring your need to Jesus, He will provide. Whether your need is financial, physical, emotional or spiritual, God pledges to provide for the needs of all who “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” Pastor, author and financial expert Ed Reid has appeared with me on It Is Written’s weekly television program. I asked Pastor Reid if he would share some principles to help people as they manage their finances in these challenging economic times. I’m thankful to him for his powerful insights into successful personal financial management. Here’s what he wrote.

GOD WILL PROVIDE

25

Managing Finances in Difficult Times By G. Edward Reid The current global financial crisis has sent shockwaves throughout virtually every sector of the economy. And it seems that scam artists are flourishing everywhere. For example, Bernard Madoff scammed some 5,000 otherwise intelligent people and institutional administrators out of an estimated $60 billion dollars. It is the largest investor fraud ever committed by one person. Business leaders, church leaders and individual families are understandably very concerned. What is the appropriate Christian response to all of this? The Bible has some answers. An interesting and amazing story is recorded in the Old Testament (2 Chronicles 20), where we find principles that apply well to our current economic crisis. Our crisis, like the one faced by the kingdom of Judah, has the very real potential to harm God’s church on earth, as well as our own individual lives.


26

GOD WILL PROVIDE

Toward the close of Jehoshaphat’s reign, a terrible army before which the inhabitants of the land had reason to tremble, invaded the kingdom of Judah. Jehoshaphat was a man of courage and valor. For years he had been strengthening his armies and his fortified cities. He was well prepared to meet almost any enemy, yet in this crisis he did not put his confidence in his own strength, but in the power of God. He set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. The people gathered together in the court of the temple—as Solomon had prayed they would when faced by danger. All the men of Judah stood before the Lord with their wives and children. They prayed that God would confuse their enemies, that His name might be glorified. Then the king prayed, “We have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” (2 Chronicles 20:12) After they committed themselves to God in this manner, the Spirit of the Lord came upon a man of God who said, “Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s… You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves,

GOD WILL PROVIDE

27

stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” (2 Chronicles 20:15, 17) So, early the next morning, with the Levitical choir in the front, the king assembled the people to sing praises to God. Then he admonished the people, “Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” (2 Chronicles 20:20) The choir began to sing, their enemies destroyed one another, and “no one had escaped.” (2 Chronicles 20:22-24) It took the men of Judah three days just to collect the spoils of the battle, and on the fourth day they returned to Jerusalem, singing as they went.

The Current Application

No one ever trusted God in vain. He never disappoints those who depend on Him. Whenever you do battle for the Lord, prepare yourself. Prepare well. Then recognize your weakness and depend 100 percent on the power of God for your deliverance. It is very tempting to trust in the power of the government or in our retirement account, but in every crisis mentioned in the Bible, when the people trusted in God, He honored their trust and provided for them.


28

GOD WILL PROVIDE

In another Bible example, the giant Goliath trusted in his armor. He terrified the armies of Israel by his defiant, savage boastings, while he made a most imposing display wearing his armor. In response to his boasting, David said to him, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand… Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:45-47)

Christian Principles of Finance

The principles for Christian money management do not change with the times. They are always the same. The basis for the recommendation for a healthy diet is the same no matter what your current health condition may be: Eat a wide variety of unrefined fruits, grains, nuts and vegetables in sufficient quantity to maintain your ideal weight. This will produce better results than bending with every new fad that comes along. This analogy also works for financial management.

GOD WILL PROVIDE

29

The “Recipe” for Financial Success

The principles for sound financial management are as simple as a good diet. If you are not following them, your financial security is at risk. The primary principles are: 1. Put God first. The wise king Solomon’s counsel is still valid. “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:9, 10) And Jesus Himself said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (food, clothing and shelter) shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) Current economic conditions bring to mind the words of an old song, “If we ever needed the Lord before, we sure do need Him now.” Now is the time to trust that God will sustain us and provide for our needs. (See also Deuteronomy 28:1-14.) 2. Spend less than you earn. We decry the government’s debt of over $11 trillion and the bailout of the banks at $700 billion, but American consumers are equally guilty of overspending. The outstanding credit


30

GOD WILL PROVIDE

card balance total—the amount that is unpaid and carried over from month to month—is now over $915 billion in the United States. The principle here is to be content with what we have, and to learn to live within our income. (See 1 Timothy 6:6-10.) Presently, about 43 percent of American families spend more than they earn each year. Don’t be one of them. 3. Save money every pay period. Those who have followed this principle and have at least six months’ worth of living expenses in cash savings in the bank are in much better shape than those who are in debt. A savings account provides protection when there is a job loss, car breakdown, health concern or other occurrence that could hurt your financial security. A nice little nest egg can help you weather an economic storm. 4. Do everything you can to keep your job. The Bible says, “Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before unknown men.” (Proverbs 22:29) There is much said about work and integrity in the Bible. Ask God for wisdom to do your work efficiently so that you will be able to continue to work in these hard times. If

GOD WILL PROVIDE

31

you should lose your job, be willing to work at whatever job is available that would not violate your conscience. 5. Be conservative with your investments. Remember, there is no more secure investment than investing in your own debt! During times of uncertainty, in addition to paying off your debts, the better part of wisdom suggests that investments be on the conservative side. This means FDIC insured accounts. If you have a surplus of means, it is a good time to “invest” in the cause of God. The needs of the work of God continue even in hard times. 6. Ask God for wisdom to make good earning, saving and spending decisions. Again, God’s Word directs us: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5, 6. See also Philippians 4:19 and Isaiah 26:3.) As Creator and Owner of everything, God has the unique ability to guide us in life. We must trust Him in this area of our lives. Enjoy the blessings of God by living prudently, and by helping others who are less fortunate.


32

GOD WILL PROVIDE

7. Don’t lose sight of the goal. Our real home is in Heaven. The events of this earth will grow strangely dim in the light of God’s glory and grace. Someday soon, everything on this earth will be burned up. The Bible says, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.” (2 Peter 3:10) This will not be a great disappointment to the true Christian. His or her treasures will be laid up securely in Heaven. The financial stresses of our economy can be greatly reduced or eliminated by following these seven principles. In love, God has given them to us for our own good. In looking back on his life, David said, “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.” (Psalm 37:25) Surely then, each of us can likewise see the blessing of God’s hand in our lives. *Emphasis added to verses via italics throughout this book.


God Will Provide  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you