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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What Does God Want Me to Do with My Life?

Hidden Nuggets Series #104 – “…love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind…‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-38)

what does God want me to doAt some point you’ve probably asked the question, What does God want me to do? You may have thought about it in relation to your life in general or because of some problem or big decision you were facing. Either way, it seems like a difficult question to answer. How can we figure out what the God of the universe wants for us?

One of the things I love about the Bible is its clarity. Sure it has some cryptic passages and certain issues require a lot of study. But not when it comes to figuring out this question. God’s answers are clear, concise and to the point.

The answer to the question What does God want me to do, initially depends on where you are at in your life. If you don’t have a relationship with Him there is a first step He wants for you. After that, there are two other steps He’d have you take. I’ll take them one at a time.

What Does God Want Me to Do First?

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Should I Cosign? Here Is the Truth About What God Says

Hidden Nuggets Series #102: “Do not be one of those who shakes hands in a pledge, one of those who is surety [ cosign ] for debts.” – Proverbs 22:26

If you’ve ever had a situation where a friend or family member asked you to cosign a loan you know it’s a tough spot to be in. On the one hand you want to help. But the idea of being responsible for someone’s debt has you a little squeamish.

cosignSay “No” and it seems like you don’t care.

Say “Yes” and you are opening yourself up to financial risk.

Maybe as you thought think about what to do, you should have considered asking this question: “What does God have to say about it? Would He want me to cosign for this loan?” It may never have occurred to you to seek advice from a higher power.

The truth is God talks a lot about money in the Bible. He even has advice about cosigning which really surprised me when I found it. For anyone, but especially people of faith, His advice is worth listening to.

God’s Advice on Whether to Cosign

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What Happens When You Seek First the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33)

Hidden Nuggets Series #97 – “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33

When your eyes crack open in the morning what is it you seek? What is the first thing on your mind?

seek first the kingdom of GodIf you are like me it’s probably the last thing you thought about the night before. Sleep never seems to wash away what we are passionate about. It’s always there the next day, front and center in our mind.

However, the answer to the question will reveal your priorities.

So many things vie for priority #1 in our lives that sometimes it’s a struggle to keep them in perspective. What seems important one day fades into the rearview mirror the next. New challenges, opportunities and attractions replace the old, and so on and on goes the cycle.

In the Bible, Jesus addressed our focus on priorities one day in a discussion about worry. Evidently some around him were fretting over what they might eat and drink and over what clothes they might wear. Not fretting like how you or I might have trouble deciding between steak and chicken for dinner or what to wear on any given Sunday to church. Theirs was a literal concern over not having any food or clothing as basic necessities of life, a dire circumstance to be in for sure.

As only Jesus could, he brought clarity to what they should seek first each day. As we’ll see the benefits received from putting his suggestion priority #1 actually spoke to their most pressing daily needs.

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With God All Things Are Possible – Even Saving Rich People

Hidden Nuggets Series #96 – “But Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26

On one occasion in the Bible a rich young ruler approached Jesus with a very serious question. The man asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. After a brief back and forth exchange Jesus had this final answer for him:

“If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow me.” (Matthew 19:21)

with god all things are possibleIt’s easy to misinterpret what Jesus was saying to the young man. He was not saying that owning possessions in and of itself is bad. Nor was he saying that a person can buy their way into heaven.

He also wasn’t saying that we all have to give up our wealth to enter heaven. And he certainly was not saying that God favors the poor over the rich. God looks upon all people with equal value regardless of their financial status.

Jesus knew something about this particular man though…something that was keeping him from inheriting eternal life. The man’s reaction to Jesus’ final instruction reveals exactly what it was.

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The Hidden Issue Behind the Best-Laid Plans

Hidden Nuggets Series #66 – “…you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away…” – James 4:14

“Mary, I know what I’m going to do tomorrow and the next day and next year and the year after that. I’m shaking the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I’m going to see the world. Italy, Greece, the Parthenon, the Coliseum…then I’m coming back here and go to college and see what they know, and then I’m going to build things…”

george bailey and mary hatchSounds like this man is going to have a wonderful life. His path is clear. His steps are ordered in sequence. His vision is grand.

Yet, the movie character George Bailey never saw how life might disrupt his best-laid plans. He wasn’t anticipating any curveballs, like the impending tragedy coming to his family…that he’d take over the Building and Loan…that he’d give his college money to his brother Harry…that Harry wouldn’t want to take George’s place at the building and loan…that he’d marry Mary…that he’d use his honeymoon money to solve an economic crisis…that he’d face personal financial ruin over no fault of his own.

Funny how life chews up our plans, spits them out and declares, “Take that!”

George didn’t accomplish any of the dreams hatched in his young adult mind. But that doesn’t mean he never should have planned. Planning is vital for success. Maybe he could have been less arrogant though by understanding who it is that really orders our path. That’s the hidden issue behind our plans…they are subject to the one who knows what the future holds.

A Better Perspective on Planning

In the Bible, these words from the apostle James bear this idea out,

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Does God Want Me To Attend College?

Hidden Nuggets Series #54 – “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” – Luke 2:52

should i go to collegeI’m wrapping up my series on college this week with a rather odd question, something that a high school junior or senior might be asking – “Should I go to college and does God care?” Mom and dad sure have made it clear they think it’s important as they’ve been pounding the table for months to get those applications finished. What about God? Does He even have an opinion on college?

To those with no religious inclination this may seem silly. Why consult a higher power at all about a non-spiritual issue like whether to or where to attend college? I understand that line of thinking.

However, for those like myself with a relationship with God it’s huge for several reasons.

Should I Go to College?

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Since the Dawn of Time Our Purpose Has Involved Work

Hidden Nuggets Series #41 – “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it.” – Genesis 2:15

bamboo reed umbrella on a beach looking at to oceanIn light of my decision to quit my job and become a stay at home dad, I’ve been reflecting on how my work will change going forward. It will be different for sure as I won’t have a typical employer-employee relationship. I’ll be responsible to make sure tasks get completed around the home and that my writing stays on track. Of course, my wife will be around to monitor how things are going, but I’ll essentially be accountable to myself for it to happen.

Whether a person is a homemaker or a CEO work can become tedious and tiresome. Many get sick and tired of their jobs and begin to look for ways to escape. At times it seems the best thing would be to win the Mega-Millions Jackpot and escape to the beaches of paradise, never to work again.

If you feel that way perhaps a different perspective is in order. It’s time to realize that humans were endowed with the nature to work from the very beginning. Even the first two created beings could not escape it, even in paradise.

Being Guided to Your Calling

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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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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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Sometimes I Trust in the Wrong Things

Hidden Nuggets Series #2 – “Some trust in chariots and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” – Psalm 20:7

HorsesMisplaced trust. I’ve done that before in an effort to help me get by.

Friendships. Money and material possessions. Love. And, of course, my wide array of incredible talents. (OK…it may not be a wide array, but I have a few there.)

I love friendships. I enjoy money and appreciate the material possessions in my care. I love being in love. When my talents are used to accomplish something great, I’m thrilled.

There is a big problem however, with all these and other external things I put my complete trust in.

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