Hope for your financial life and beyond

How Science Proves That Tithing Is Linked to Success and Happiness

Please welcome blogger Anum Yoon as she shares her thoughts on the personal and spiritual benefits of tithing.

Hidden Nuggets Series #86 – “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” (Malachi 3:10)

tithingGiving away 10% of your income will lead to success and happiness. Sounds like the start of a scam, doesn’t it?

For centuries, Christians have committed to the counter-cultural practice of tithing (giving 10% of your money to the church, charity or missions). Although the secular world thought it crazy, Christians understood the true blessings that come from financial obedience to God.

In an unexpected turn of events, recent scientific studies have proven these blessings, showing empirically that tithing is linked to happiness and success.

Tithing Brings a Better Mood

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Arbor Day Special: The Only Type of Tree I Ever Want to Be

Hidden Nuggets Series #85 – “…he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water…” – Psalm 1:3

tree by waterI can’t imagine a world without trees. Years ago we planted two (#ArborDay) in our front yard so our kids could eventually climb them. Mostly I love the spring when trees come budding back to life. It’s a beautiful scene when your winter world goes from browns to greens in the span of a couple weeks.

Of course trees have been around forever and figured prominently in some Bible passages. They served as places of refuge and places of worship. They marked territory or direction and provided fruits of all kinds.

Absalom’s long hair got him caught in one, Solomon used them to build his magnificent temple and the vertically challenged Zacchaeus climbed one in order to see Jesus.

There are all kinds of trees listed in the Bible from terebinth to tamarisk trees, to poplar, almond, chestnut, palm, cedar, olive, fig, pomegranate, mulberry, cypress, sycamore, fir, apple, and oak.

And of course the two most famous trees planted in the Garden of Eden – the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Of them all though, I want to be the tree mentioned in Psalm 1:3. This one is fascinating because it describes the life I, and I think most people want to lead.

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One Simple Truth About Money: You Reap What You Sow

Hidden Nuggets Series #84 – “…for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” – Galatians 6:7

No one understood the concept of “you reap what you sow” better than my grandfathers. Both of them loved to work the land. One was a large-scale farmer, plowing and harvesting acres of land. The other took the small-scale approach by planting a vegetable garden each spring.

reap what you sowThat heritage spilled over into my mother and father. I remember about this time each spring, after the soil had thawed from the winter cold, dad would till a section of our backyard. We’d all then make a trip to the local nursery to pick out starter plants and little packages of seeds. Those seeds would go into the ground and with loving care, some sunshine and just the right amount of water, they would produce a harvest of vegetables we consumed all summer.

Something I never saw all those years though was a tomato plant that produced green peppers.

Whatever type of seed we sowed into the ground produced what the package said it would. Watermelon seeds became watermelons. Onions became onions. Eggplant became eggplant (sadly to my boyhood “forced-to-eat-it-at-dinner” dread…yuck!)

The fact that when we planted carrots we harvested carrots should not have been a surprise. It’s the simple concept of you reap what you sow. Whatever you put in, that’s what you’ll get out.

The Truth About Money: Reap What You Sow

Reaping what you sow isn’t an exclusively agrarian concept. It has application to many facets of life.

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Is the Bible Really Clear About Paying Taxes?

Hidden Nuggets Series #83 – “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” – Matthew 22:21

taxes in the bibleLike you, my tax paperwork is due to be filed by April 15th. I’ll grant you this is no fun to fill out every year. It’s become a much easier task though since my wife became a CPA.

Talking about taxes sets our blood to a boil. We don’t like that we work so hard only to see that much money taken from each paycheck. “Isn’t there a way to avoid it?” we ask.

That question should raise alarm bells for everyone. While certain maneuvers with money are legal, many others are not. If we are not careful, that question can lead us down a path of handling our money in a way that we might regret one day.

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The Bribe That Fueled the All-Time Greatest Easter Myth

Hidden Nuggets Series #82 – “…they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while you slept.’” – Matthew 28:12-13

Money is at the heart of many cover-ups. Flash enough cash and some people could be encouraged to keep quiet. Make that sum of money big enough and they could even be persuaded to promote a lie.

We’d call this type of gift a bribe. It’s money given so that you act in someone’s favor – usually in a dishonest or illegal fashion.

Bribes have been given in different circumstances throughout history to conceal an action or advance an agenda. In one instance one was used to push an Easter myth that continues to be believed by many to this day.

The Event That Fueled the Bribe

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3 Reasons A Good Name Is Better Than Riches (Proverbs 22:1)

Hidden Nuggets Series #81 – “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold.” – Proverbs 22:1

What’s the status of your name?

a good name is better than richesWould you say it is good?

Do you even care how those around you view your name?

I’m not talking about the actual name. Mine is Brian. There is nothing fancy about that as over one million people in the U.S. share it. It’s statistically the 29th most popular first name.

I’m talking about what your name implies. When people hear it what do they think of you?

A good name really speaks to your integrity. Therefore, it’s about your reputation and the character you have inside. It identifies who you are from a moral and ethical standpoint. Essentially it is what you are all about.

The Bible says in Proverbs 22:1 “a good name is to be chosen rather than great riches…” That’s amazing! Your good name is better than all the money in the world. That’s what people think when your name is mentioned.

Does that seem odd? I mean I could find some positive ways to use great riches. It sure would set my mind at ease knowing I’d never need to worry about money again.

That may be true but a good name still provides more value than money. Here’s why.

Why a Good Name Is Better Than Riches

I can think of three reasons why a good name is better than great riches:

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Why Godliness With Contentment Is Great Gain (I Timothy 6:6)

Hidden Nuggets Series #80 – “For godliness with contentment is great gain.” – I Timothy 6:6

Godliness with contentmentContentment is a virtue that challenges our do-more, get-more, be-more society. This is especially true as it relates to money and possessions. By and large, we are constantly striving to get more money and secure better possessions to “enhance” our lifestyle.

There is always a greener pasture than the one we are in right now.

This issue isn’t new to 21st century earth. Since the beginning of time mankind has been dealing with issues of contentment. Wasn’t it Adam and Eve who were not content with what God had given them in the Garden of Eden? They coveted the only thing God said they couldn’t have.

That sin of eating the forbidden fruit cost them their perfect world.

Interestingly enough, the church hasn’t found itself immune to the issue either. That’s why in the New Testament of the Bible, Paul had to counsel the young pastor Timothy about the issue of contentment.

The Perfect Equation: Godliness With Contentment = Gain

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How to Make a Good Decision Every Time

Hidden Nuggets Series #79 – “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise.” – Ephesians 5:15

(This bonus Hidden Nuggets article is dedicated to my kids. May you always make good decisions.)

how to make a good decisionHave you ever been in a difficult situation and wondered how to make a good decision? Silly question I know. Who hasn’t been in a tough spot like that?

We face decisions every day – small and large. Some are routine and have little to no impact on our lives. Others weigh heavy on our minds, causing us to lose sleep at night. Decisions can chart the course of our present and define our path for the next 10 years.

Whether they are in the moment decisions or ones that take time to think through, it is difficult to know how to make a good decision. How do you enter the decision making process – blindly or with your eyes wide open? What do you draw on to help you make a good decision, one that will be profitable for your future?

I’ve often thought my decisions were pretty good, even though there have been some I regret. My big issue is getting to the best decision quickly enough. I usually take a long time to come to a conclusion on weighty matters. Sometimes that frustrates me. At times I’ve missed the opportunity entirely because of my procrastination.

What if there was template that could teach you how to make a good decision? What if you could get instant clarity in some cases on whether to move in a direction? Would that be worth it?

I’ve found such a template [that I can’t take credit for] and it all rests in one broad question and three deeper questions you have to ask.

Our Problem in Making Good Decisions

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Consider the Ant in Your Definition of Work Ethic (Proverbs 6:6)

Hidden Nuggets Series #78 – “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise…” – Proverbs 6:6

consider the antDo you know any sluggards? That’s a term rarely used in our world today. The first thing I think of when hearing that word are creeping, slimy slugs.

You could easily identify what a sluggard is though if I gave you some synonyms. How do these words grab you – lazy, sluggish, loafer, slacker, and couch potato. Get the picture now?

The Bible has a lot to say about the lazy. This passage in Proverbs 6 may be the best known of them all. I think mostly because it tells us to consider the ant – an animal we hardly ever pay attention to.

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Give Money and It Shall Be Given Unto You? (Luke 6:38)

Hidden Nuggets Series #77 – “ Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” – Luke 6:38

give and it shall be given unto youI’ve spent a lot of time cataloging all the Bible verses about money. It’s the reason this site was born, to share what I had learned. There are literally hundreds of verses that give us positive instruction about the use and abuse of our money.

Unfortunately, there are many verses in the Bible about money that have been misinterpreted. For whatever reason they are used by individuals (or churches) to teach and promote a message the verse simply doesn’t teach. Of all these verses, there may be none more consistently abused than this statement made by Jesus in Luke 6:38. It reads:

“Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” (KJV)

(A bit of housekeeping here: The word mete means “to dispense or allot; to mete something out;” other synonyms would be to allocate, assign or dish out)

So, reading this as a stand-alone verse it would appear Jesus is saying this – “Whatever you give (the implication of “give” being money) you’ll get that back and then some (implied by the terms running over). In other words, God will bless you with money when you give money to Him.

Sounds like a good deal to me! Where do I sign up?

The Proper “Give and It Shall Be Given Unto You” Interpretation

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On Being Embarrassed By But Secretly Admiring Street Preachers

Hidden Nuggets Series #76 – “The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice…” Philippians 1:18

(This story has nothing to do with personal finance. But last summer God taught me a lesson about questioning the motives and tactics of those who preach his Word. It’s not up to me to be their judge. Here’s how I learned that…)

“Hooo!”

street preacher The booming cry cracked the calm Saturday afternoon air as my family and I stood in line at Great American Ballpark. Startled, I turn to see if I have been transported through time and space into an episode of Thundercats. Nope, don’t see Lion-O’s cat signal in the sky.

“Good afternoon everyone!”

The piercing voice continues to be projected over our heads. Where is it coming from? Who dares disrupt our anticipation of afternoon baseball?

I peered through some bystanders to see the originator of the voice standing on a grassy knoll. My eyebrows squinted with curiosity. A flushed face and drooping shoulders of embarrassment quickly replaced my curious gaze. For in his left hand held proudly forward was a Bible.

Street preacher. Oh, boy…here we go.

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