Hope for your financial life and beyond

Some Say There Is No God. What If They Are Wrong?

I recently published an article highlighting some short Bible verses that hold tremendous meaning. For a couple of weeks, I promoted that post on Facebook. The article was well received, generating over 1.3k likes. But of course, as Facebook goes there are always dissenters. I had some fairly interesting comments posted on my page from people asserting that there is no God.

there is no godI don’t mind. I’m used to that kind of stuff.

I’ve always been fascinated by people who claim there is no God. Questioning whether there is a God is one thing. At least that person is thinking it through. But to deny the possibility altogether seems unimaginative.

I had a professor in grad school who fit this description. He thought we Christians in the class were shallow and narrow-minded. He scoffed at our belief that there is one God who oversees the entire universe. To him, we needed to open our minds and embrace other philosophical and scientific realities.

I always found that ironic. He chastised our singular vision and wanted us to be more open. Yet he himself was never open to the possibility that we might be right.

Which brings me to ask this question to anyone reading this right now:

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If You Have Never Read the Christmas Story…

My friend Shannon from The Heavy Purse has talked recently about the importance of traditions at Christmas. Like her I’ve seen how traditions help bind families together. They create strong emotional connections. They build lasting memories that are always looked back upon with fondness (or maybe not if you hated your family’s traditions…here’s to hoping that’s not the case).

away in a mangerOne tradition we started when our kids were old enough was to read the Christmas story from the Bible on Christmas Eve. After that we get a jump on unwrapping presents by opening the kids’ stockings. In recent years as the kids have become older, we’ve also added the viewing of “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Christmas Eve.

Even though we won’t be buying our kids presents this year, we will continue the reading and the movie watching. For us it’s a reminder of what the season means and how much we have for which to be grateful.

Perhaps you’ve never read the Bible story from Luke 2 about the birth of Jesus. It’s not what you might expect, considering Jesus was heralded in the Hebrew literature as the King of the Jews. He came into the world in the humblest of circumstances, surrounded by only his parents, some barnyard animals and a few unimportant shepherds.

Yet this simple story details the beginnings of a life that would change the world. I share it now with the hope that it might lead you to consider what Jesus could mean for you.

Merry Christmas!

The Biblical Christmas Story From Luke 2

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My Go To Bible Verse When I Worry About Money (or anything really)

Hidden Nuggets Series #67 – “…tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:34

worry about moneyIf there is one thing I’ve discovered while monitoring my own finances through the years it’s this – the future is friends with worry. It’s inevitable – at some point I will worry about money.

I think a lot of you are right there with me…worrying about money for retirement…worrying about how to budget for the monthly bills…worrying about career options, housing options, how to pay for college, and having enough to buy those Christmas presents. If we are not careful we end up exhausting ourselves when we worry about money.

Worry seems like a selfish act in that it places the whole burden on me. I’m the only one that can make it happen. I have to manage all the details. I need foresight into all the external factors that may arise so that I can juggle my decisions to achieve the desired outcome.

In reality, there is someone in my corner who knows my needs far better than I. And I can rest my worry about money (and all things really) at His feet.

Comforting Words When You Worry About Money

My go to Bible verse when I start to worry about money is actually a series of verses. In the midst of perhaps his greatest sermon, Jesus challenges worriers with these words in Matthew 6:25-34:

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An Amazing Offer From the Coolest Inheritance Story in the Bible

Hidden Nuggets Series #55 – “And the younger of them said…Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.” – Luke 15:12

inheritance in the bibleInheritance in the Bible is a hot topic with the word being mentioned over 200 times. There are some unique and compelling stories that involve the assets of one generation being passed on to the next. We find everything from women receiving an inheritance – which was uncommon in the culture of the time (Numbers 27), a younger brother “stealing” it from another (Genesis 27), and a woman being redeemed in an inheritance transaction by a man who would become her husband (Ruth 4).

Fun, fun stories that show not only how lives can be changed and futures altered but the passion, tension and questions that can surround the wealth transfer process.

For my money, the most memorable passage about inheritance in the Bible didn’t even literally occur. It was a parable, a fictitious story told by Jesus in Luke 15:11-32. While the ultimate message of the story was to expose the corrupt and selfish nature of the religious leaders of the day, it brings other memorable truths that can’t be ignored.

I Want It All and I Want It Now

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God’s Giving Nature Shines Brightest On Easter

Hidden Nuggets Series #37 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son; that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

a cross stands on a hill with a sunset in the backgroundDo you love to give? Ever wonder where that desire comes from?

I’m quite sure it’s a character quality God possesses Himself and bestowed on mankind during the days of creation so many years ago. The book of Genesis describes how we are created in His image. It would seem a logical conclusion that God passed on His giving nature to humanity during that creative process.

How can I be so confident God is an extreme giver? It’s because of verses from the Bible, like the most famous one of all:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son; that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

We see in this verse that God gave. He didn’t receive or take anything from us. He gave something very valuable so that humanity would get the chance at a relationship with Him. It’s such a staggering concept – giving up your only Son to die for the sins of mankind – it hardly makes sense. Never could you or I have come up with this kind of plan to bridge the gap between God and man.

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Interview with a Centenarian: At 100, My Grandfather Reflects on Life, Faith and Finding Purpose

To be a centenarian – 100 years of living. Amazing! Most of us would settle for 80% of that. It’s hard to fathom the changes and life events someone born in 1914 has experienced.

centenarian

Byron Miller – Preaching at 100 years of age

What will you be up to at 100 years of age? My grandfather, as shown in the picture, preached a sermon the day after he turned 100. His challenge to those who listened:

1. Practice Gratitude (be thankful)

2. Express Certitude (in the things of your faith)

3. Develop Fortitude (build the power to endure)

Oh, and he played his guitar and sang a short chorus at the end. The song’s message – “Just a little bit longer Lord…just a little bit longer.”

Not a dry eye in the house.

In the weeks leading up to his 100th birthday, my grandfather was kind enough to answer some questions about his life. I’d encourage you to take five minutes to enjoy this thought provoking read about a man who has experienced the Depression, the loss of siblings, financial challenges, joys and regrets and 60+ years of ministry.

Q & A With a Centenarian

1. What is the most amazing thing you have seen in your lifetime? Why did that stand out?

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If You Do Anything This Year, Please Consider Receiving This Gift

Hidden Nuggets Series #23…the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23

How are those Christmas gifts working out for you? What level of satisfaction are you receiving from them?

Gifts are awesome! My wife and I just purchased a 100+ yr. old oak pedestal table for our kitchen eating area. We’ve been looking for a larger kitchen table for the family because the six of us were sitting so close we were knocking knees under the old one. Some nights it was just easier for me to eat standing up, plate in hand.

We are already receiving satisfaction from that table. We have physical space so we can breathe now. Our dinners are more relaxed. After only several meals, I can’t imagine eating dinner in the kitchen without it.

While it’s a great gift we’ve given ourselves and does provide a convenience, it’s just a thing.

A possession that won’t last.

An asset that does not fulfill any deep emotional need inside our soul.

People are always looking for assets – something to fill that void in their life.

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The Benefits of Living in the Moment

Hidden Nuggets Series #3  – “Give us this day our daily bread.” – Matthew 6:11

In what year are your thoughts?

In what year are your thoughts?

I’m a personal finance blogger. It’s my business to help others plan for and navigate through the future. Yet I find myself often neglecting one of the simplest messages Jesus ever gave his disciples.

Focus on today.

Jesus’ challenge to his disciples came in the heart of what would later be called “The Lord’s Prayer.” He was modeling for them the appropriate way to approach and speak with God. He was alleviating any confusion they had as to what prayer should be. (I assume they were confused because they asked Jesus to teach them how to pray.)

So in the middle of the “Our Fathers” and the “Deliver us from evils,” Jesus asks his disciples to voice this line each time they communicate with their heavenly Father – “Give us this day our daily bread.” It’s a powerful request, and it is just as relevant today as it was 2,000+ years ago.

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In Whom Do You Trust?

Tree by waterChristmas 2012 is behind us, which means there are only a few short days until the calendar turns the page to a new year. If you are like me, you have already begun to plan ahead and maybe have already listed two or three resolutions to pursue in the upcoming year. It’s always beneficial to set goals as they set us in motion, give us direction and produce intensity to accomplish great things.

My personal goals have to begin with my most important relationship. So today as I begin this New Year’s Resolution Series, I would like us to (re)consider the value of placing our trust in the right thing.

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The Best Food Budget Ever

What would it be like if you could go 40 days without food? If you could, that would seriously put you ahead on your monthly food budget. In my family of six, I estimate approximately six weeks of no grocery shopping or going to restaurants would put us to the positive about $1,800. (I know…we don’t coupon much.)

I think there would be a revolt in my house if I tried suggesting this and rightly so. None of us could naturally go this long without eating…unless maybe we had a supernatural meal to sustain us.

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God Is Doing This For You Today (Psalm 23)

psalm 23Perhaps no passage of Scripture is more familiar than Psalm 23. Here, I’ll get you started – “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…” Here’s the rest.

What follows below is not my attempt to improve on God’s written Word. I think He did a pretty good job without my help. Rather, it’s just what went through my mind as I read this passage again recently. Perhaps today, we can stop and consider all that God has and is currently doing for us.

My Reflections on Psalm 23

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