Hope for your financial life and beyond

God’s Giving Nature Shines Brightest On Easter

EasterWe don’t often think of Easter as the holiday of giving. Giving is most characterized by the Christmas season. We love giving presents to show those we love how much we care about them.

Are you one who loves to give? Have you ever wondered where that desire came from? Well, a starting point would direct us back to the time when the greatest gift ever given was bestowed on mankind.

I’m quite sure giving is a character quality God possesses Himself. He passed that gift down to mankind during the days of creation so many years ago. The book of Genesis describes how we are created in His image. So it would be logical to conclude that God passed on His giving nature to humanity during that creative process.

And then, one special time on the holiday we now call Easter, God showed us just how extreme a giver He can be.

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My Go To Bible Verse When I Worry About Money

If 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.worry about money

I think many people are right there with me. A recent survey showed that 73% of Americans ranked their finances as the #1 stress in their life. That’s over things you’d think would cause more stress like relationships, career, family, kids and traffic on the freeway.

So what’s to worry about when it comes to money? Well, everything really.

First and foremost, we worry about how to make ends meet. Again, recent studies show that just over 60% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. That means they can only make ends meet from one paycheck to the next. That’s no way to live, wondering if you can make it to the next pay stub.

But there are other areas where people worry about money.

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With God All Things Are Possible – Even Saving Rich People

“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 is bad. Nor was he saying that a person can buy their way into heaven. That can only happen through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

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.

So what was going on here? In essence, Jesus knew something about this particular man. It was something that was keeping him from following Jesus and inheriting eternal life. The man’s reaction to Jesus’ final instruction reveals exactly what it was.

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8 Bible Verses About God’s Love You Should Never Forget

Ever wonder where our capacity to love actually comes from? It’s pretty clear that our ability to love is something that was given to us by God. In fact, the Bible verses about God’s love that I read tell me He is Himself the essence of love and has passed that on to us.

verses about God's loveGranted it’s not always easy loving others. We are difficult people to get along with. Even people we care about sometimes do not get the love they deserve from us.

Not only is loving others hard, we often choose to love for all the wrong reasons. Often times we choose to love others based on how they act towards us. Or we choose to love based on what we can get from someone else. Fortunately for us, that’s not how it is with God.

God’s love towards us is unconditional. That means He loves us no matter what. We can’t do anything to reject, or bypass or disown His love. He can’t help it – love is part of His nature.

He loves us – all of us – equally and without hesitation no matter who you are or what you have done. Let that sink in for a moment.

If you doubt this, just look at these verses about God’s love found in the Bible.

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Key Differences in the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders

Every builder knows you need a strong foundation to support a house. Well, accept one builder described in the Biblical parable of the wise and foolish builders. He could have made a better choice and taken a Construction 101 class. More about that in a moment.

parable of the wise and foolish buildersWhat makes a solid foundation?  A concrete slab works. So does a poured basement wall or concrete blocks placed on a footer.

On the other hand, building a house that rests on gravel won’t work in the long run. Dirt would be even less sturdy. A house built on sand would have no chance.

No one would ever conceive of building a house on something as unstable and shifty as sand. Without a solid foundation, the ground would buckle under the weight of the house. The slightest storm would wash away the sand and cause the house to crumble.

Ironically, we do this all the time. Not with a real house structure though. We do it with something way more valuable – our lives. We construct a life on all kinds of foundations that have no chance of supporting us in the long run.

Jesus told an epic parable about a wise builder and a foolish builder that highlights this issue. They both built their house differently. And wow…did they ever have different outcomes!

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12 Bible Verses About Friendship That Will Make You a Better Friend

We all want to be a better friend, right? But sometimes we don’t know how to be a better friend or what being a better friend looks like. It may surprise you to know that there are many Bible verses about friendship that speak to this.

Bible verses about friendshipFirst and foremost, there are many great examples of friendship between people in the Bible. Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi come to mind. Also David and Jonathan were described as being as close of friends as anyone could be. And of course, when we have a relationship with Jesus Christ, He becomes the ultimate friend on whom we can count.

Let’s face it though – friendships can be hard. Sometimes it’s hard just to find friends. Other times we fall into the wrong type of friendships, ones that lead us in the wrong direction. And, just like a reliable car, the best friendships take work to maintain.

The Bible touches on these things with the hopes of making us find and be better friends. There are many Bible verses about friendship to choose from. Here are 12 of the better ones from its pages.

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

“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.

In our minds, we think that 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. After all, it was 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.

Their disobedience of eating the forbidden fruit cost them their perfect world.

Interestingly enough, believers today haven’t found themselves immune to the issue either. That’s why in the New Testament of the Bible, Paul addressed the issue of contentment. He did so by counseling a young pastor named Timothy about the issue.

Let’s take a look at what Timothy was dealing with in his time and what we can learn from it today.

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15 Bible Verses to Remind Us to Be Thankful

thankful bible versesI’m am thankful Bible verses exist to keep me thinking the right way. I often forget how many things I have to be thankful for. It’s much easier for me to let the worries and frustrations of life overshadow all the blessings I enjoy. Doing that only produces a spirit of ingratitude and bitterness.

So how do I fight against my tendencies?

First off, I have to remind myself routinely to let go of the negative. Nothing good comes when I daily choose to focus on all that is wrong with my life or the world. That is no way to live life. You wake up each morning already in a bad mood.

But an even more powerful strategy is to meditate on the concept of thankfulness. And the source that I constantly turn to for that is the Bible.

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Learning to Love the Unlovable and Your Enemies (Luke 6:35)

“But love your enemies, do good, and lend hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great…” – Luke 6:35

I can easily love my wife. She is precious to me. So are my kids. They have no problem getting and receiving my love. Others who treat me well? Same thing.

love your enemies

Let’s face it, some people are simply more like us – in appearance, in personality, in cultural heritage, in matters of faith, etc. We are attracted to this familiarity and sameness. It gives us comfort and calms us, knowing there are people who we can always rely on and identify with.

When we develop a natural, positive connection with our kind of people, showing love towards them is not difficult. It’s easier to act appropriately around them and demonstrate love to them because we see the world as they do. For our people, we would sacrifice much. If they were in need, we’d come to their aid without hoping for or expecting anything in return.

After all, not only do we like them and treat them well, they like us and treat us well. How could you not love someone like this?

I expect those in Jesus’ day felt much the same way. So it must have shocked their system when Jesus told them to love your enemies” and show acts of love to those they considered unlovable. Can you imagine the expressions in the crowd when he said these words?

You mean, love those people? They are not anything like me. Love your enemies? That’s even harder than loving those who are not like me. Why would I love those who hate me?

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Encouraging Bible Verses for the Dark Times of Life

We’ve all had some dark times in life. Times when we felt like not going on. Times that hurt, that didn’t make sense and when all hope was lost. And when these occur, turning to God and reading some encouraging Bible verses can help.

encouraging bible versesThere is no question in difficult times we need to be lifted up.  But often we don’t know where to turn. Even those close to us like friends and family may not be able to help in the way we need.

Fortunately, there is One to whom we can always turn. God, through His words, has given us many encouraging Bible verses to which we can look and draw hope and comfort. They can inspire us even in the midst of life’s turmoil.

One of the best books to turn to for encouraging Bible verses is Psalms. King David wrote a good portion of that book and evidently he really needed some encouragement. He was routinely calling out to God to give him help, strength and joy in the midst of life’s trials.

Like this one from Psalm 84:11, which happens to be one of my favorites I wrote about,

“For the Lord God is a sun and a shield; the Lord will give grace and glory, no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”

Being our light and our protector through the tough times is just a taste of what God has to offer. There are many more encouraging Bible verses from David in Psalms and from the other Bible writers. Our hope is that they encourage you to face what life has placed in your path.

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If You Have Never Read the Christmas Story

Many believe in the important of Christmas traditions. Christmas traditions create strong emotional connections between people or events. They build lasting memories that are remembered with fondness. One tradition we started with our kids 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, we’ve also added the viewing of “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Christmas Eve.

the christmas story

Even though the kids are older and one has left for college, we continue the reading and 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 Christmas story from the Bible. The passage in Luke 2 describes the circumstances around 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 in its entirety with the hope that it might lead you to consider what Jesus could mean for you.

Merry Christmas!

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