Hope for your financial life and beyond

Operation Christmas Child: Changing Lives One Shoebox at a Time

I believe the Bible when it says, He who has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor”  (Proverbs 22:9). There are spiritual and emotional blessings that come when we give to others, especially those in challenging life situations. And this time of year I can think of nothing better to give to than Operation Christmas Child. 

operation christmas childCan you imagine living in a world with no Christmas? What does that look like?

There are no kids eager to wake you up at 7:00 a.m…no smiles when a gift is received…no feelings of being special…no thoughts that someone cares for you.

What an unattractive and dismal scenario. Sadly, millions of children all over the world experience a Christmas just like this.  Their Christmas is bitter, meaningless and without hope.

That’s where Operation Christmas Child steps in. But they are only able to do so with your help. Here is how.

Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Program

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7 Positive Lessons from Job’s Friends on Helping Hurting People

Ever felt like you had no clue how to help someone who was hurting? It doesn’t matter if the pain is physical, emotional or spiritual. Too often we simply freeze, not really knowing how to best help our friends in need.

Should I give them advice? Try to cheer them up? Give them a hug? Offer to help them in some way? Who really knows, right? It’s simply hard to know the appropriate way to respond so as not to hurt or offend them further.

job's friendsThe Bible records a story for us about a man named Job (pronounced “jobe”) who felt some of the deepest emotional pain one could experience. In his time of pain, three of his friends came to be with him. The initial steps they took serve as an example to us all on how to respond when one of our friends is hurting.

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Here Are the Top 9 Bible Verses for Teens to Know

Hidden Nuggets Series #105 – Bible Verses for Teens to Know

It’s challenging being a teen in today’s world. I should know – I have two of my own living in the house. Teens today face so many personal struggles and so many difficult life situations that they often feel a sense of hopelessness and confusion. Not to mention the daily bombardment of temptations that lure them in the wrong direction. It’s no wonder so many teens throw up their hands in despair and say, “Why even try?”

bible verses for teensThe good news I share on a regular basis with my own kids and with the youth group I pastor is that God doesn’t want teens to feel that way. God wants them to feel strong. They can be filled with hope and be optimistic about the future. He wants them to be filled with hope and to be optimistic about the future. And the only way they can be that way is to embrace the Word of God and find what they need for life within the pages of the Bible.

The challenge for teens though is knowing where to start. The Bible is a big book. Does God have specific Bible verses for teens to help with something they are facing?

I believe He does.

There are many verses that could be applicable for teens. I’ve boiled it down to 9 to keep it short and simple and to touch on issues I know teens are going through. The great thing is these Bible verses for teens are short and easy to memorize. That will help them have an arsenal of verses to focus on as they go through the challenges of life.

Valuable Bible Verses for Teens

If you are a teen and are looking for some help within the pages of the Bible, start with these 9 verses:

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The Most Important Reason You Do Not Worry About Tomorrow

You’ve probably heard it said at some point, “Hey, do not worry about tomorrow. Focus on today and let the future take care of itself.” That’s not bad advice really. The older I get the more I’m realizing why.

do not worry about tomorrowWe all have things that affect our daily actions. Things we’ve done in the past affect us in the present. Things we are doing in the present affect us in the present. And believe it or not, things that we will do in the future affect us in the present even though they haven’t happened yet.

You may be thinking, “How could that possibly be if those events have yet to occur?” Well, it’s not the event per se that affects us. It’s how we think about those yet-to-happen events and how they lead us to worry about them.

Of those three time lines – past, present and future – I think the future one has the greatest potential to stop us in our tracks. Here’s how.

Why You Do Not Worry About Tomorrow

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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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Encouraging Bible Verses for the Dark Times of Life (Joshua 1:9)

Hidden Nuggets Series #103 – 35 Encouraging Bible Verses

Let’s face it…we’ve all had some dark times in life. Times when we felt like not going on. Instances when we felt like all hope was lost. Periods of life when we hurt. Times that didn’t make sense.

encouraging Bible versesThere is no question we need to be lifted up during those difficult times. 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 your light and your protector through the tough times is just a taste of what God has to offer you. There are many more encouraging Bible verses to lift you up. I offer a few of them to you now.

Encouraging Bible Verses

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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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Count the Cost: The Secret Step for Success at Anything (Luke 14:28)

Hidden Nuggets Series #101 – “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish…” – Luke 14:28

count the costWould you like to have success at anything you do? Of course…so would I. Nobody sets out with the intention to fail. However, many times we do fail and it’s often because we refused to count the cost ahead of time.

What do I mean by count the cost? Does that have something to do with money? Well, maybe but not necessarily.

Put simply, when you count the cost you plan ahead. You take inventory of everything that needs to happen before you pursue a goal. Now, you may not know every little detail that needs to be achieved in the process. But you can at least get a sense of all the big rocks that will need to be accomplished in order for you to have success.

This concept isn’t a new one. The term “count the cost” actually has its origins in the Bible. And Jesus used it with his disciples to prove a very important point about planning ahead.

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Money in the Bible: 99 Topics That Will Move You to Action

When I began Luke1428, the main purpose was to share all that I’d learned about money in the Bible. After reading through the Bible in a year, I had recorded all the verses about money I could find. It was my goal to use those for a series of articles that would teach people what God thought about money and inspire them to take action.

I called this money in the Bible series “Hidden Nuggets.”

digging up hidden nuggets about money in the bibleIt’s called Hidden Nuggets because sometimes things aren’t obvious when you read the Bible. Usually you must dig to understand what God is trying to say. Like a piece of gold that is waiting in the earth to be discovered by a metal detector or a miner, so are many Bible verses. The truth is there waiting to be exposed to those who want to search out the meaning.

God has revealed to me more than I could have imagined through my study of money in the Bible. Many things I thought I knew I realize now I didn’t really know. So it is when you begin to dig for the truth – it stretches you to examine your faulting ways of thinking.

I’ve come to a very exciting milestone in my Hidden Nuggets series about money in the Bible. This is my 100th article for the series that dates back to July 14, 2013 with the publication of This Little Light of Mine. To commemorate this, I’d like share with you what I believe are the best 25 posts in the series.

My Top 25 Posts About Money in the Bible

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15 Bible Verses About Helping the Poor You Need to Know

 Hidden Nuggets Series #99 – “…For the poor will never cease from the land…” – Deuteronomy 15:11. This is one of many Bible verses about helping the poor, a major theme within the Bible. Jesus famously said in Matthew 22:39, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” This statement can most applicable in how we treat the poor.

bible verses about helping the poorDeuteronomy 15:11 says that the poor will always be with us. There will never be an instance in this present life when someone somewhere isn’t experiencing poverty. Because of that we should consider all manner of ways in which we might go about helping the poor.

God clearly has a special place in his heart for the poor. Here are 15 powerful Bible verses about helping the poor that show us how we might best meet their needs.

Old Testament Bible Verses About Helping the Poor

These verses capture the essence of how God feels about the poor and what the Bible says about helping them:

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How to Eat, Drink and Be Merry the Right Way (Luke 12:13-21)

Hidden Nuggets Series #98 – “And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink and be merry.” – Luke 12:19

eat drink and be merry“Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die” is a popular refrain you may have felt or expressed at some point in your life. If you are like me maybe you said it as a joke when you were downing a pint of ice cream swirled with chocolate sauce. As some in recent years have expressed, “You only live once, right?”

Truth is there is great seriousness in the statement and the consequences of adopting this attitude are serious.

There are two basic elements to the “eat, drink and be merry” philosophy towards life:

1) we are all going to die, sooner rather than later and…

2) since #1 is true, then we should live for the moment, enjoying whatever pleasures we can.

But the issue goes even deeper than those two concepts. When we opt for the eat, drink and be merry philosophy we are choosing laziness, neglect of our responsibilities and a forfeiture of the future. We are resting on what we have accomplished and counting on that to sustain us indefinitely.

You may not know the phrase has its origins in the Bible, taken from a story Jesus told of a rich fool.

The Parable of the Rich Fool

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