Giving Is Living

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Most of us have a favorite charity or cause that we are passionate about. Some of us may spend weekends volunteering for a certain organization or helping those who are elderly, homeless, or are teenagers. This desire to help may come from a previous experience with a certain population, from being helped by another individual, or from having once been a person in a similar situation

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38

I remember growing up and watching my mother volunteer and donate to a food pantry in our neighborhood. She often dragged us there, where we would spend Saturday mornings feeding the poor and homeless. During the holidays she always encouraged others to donate to that specific food pantry.

Growing up I didn’t understand the value of giving money or time to a cause. Later in life, when my parents didn’t have enough money to pay for food they too went to the food pantry my mother had spent years volunteering at and donating to. In fact, the workers there were delighted to help. They asked us what we needed, offered more than food, and checked on us regularly until my parents had gotten back on their feet.

It was this act of service that taught me how important it is to give. How by giving you could reap the benefits of the seed you had sown. I wondered later on what would have happened if my mother hadn’t taken the time volunteer or fundraise for the food pantry, if she had not built relationships with the workers and the individuals that came there for food. I thought of the support they gave us and realized that they truly were helping us live. That through God they had become our community and cared for our wellbeing the same way my mother had cared for so many there.

There are various reasons why we give. It may be to give back to our community, sow a seed, or because we too have been on the receiving end. By giving we too can live. As Christians we become disciples, caring for others the way Jesus did. By giving, we extend the gratitude that has been given to us, in the process sharing the joy of knowing Christ as our Savior.

We Want to Know:

How do you give back?

How has giving helped you to live?

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Saving for A Rainy Day

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We were having Easter brunch after church and a friend revealed that she was struggling to pay all of her bills. She recently went to the mechanic and was told her car needed hundreds of dollars in repairs and had not planned to spend that kind of money on fixing it.

She was looking for a second job and had recently signed up for a class hoping to advance her career. After hearing about her concerns, I wondered how many of us were saving for a rainy day.

According to Market Watch, most Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings account, and over 20% don’t even have a savings account.

Debt often is more than just a financial burden. Debt can cause emotional and physical burdens due to stress. It has the ability to overshadow our accomplishments, goals and dreams. Like a cloud, we often find our selves looking for ways to run from it, or hide as it approaches.

Much like a rainy day, it too will pass.

My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

There are steps we can take to overcome a rainy day. One such step is to live within our means. To buy what we need and not what we want. Doing so forces us to be obedient, to be accountable to ourselves and our family members. It also forces us to not put our focus on our finances, but rather on God.

Being consistent about saving means putting aside money regularly for that rainy day. This might include setting a savings account with direct deposit, moving a certain amount monthly into our savings account, or setting a percentage of our paycheck for savings.

Saving for a rainy day also reminds us that God is our supplier, that the money we have, our job, our home all belongs to God. It builds our faith by reminding us that God is our umbrella on a rainy day. That it is because of him that we are able to save for days when our car needs repairs or our home needs an upgrade.

We Want to Know:

Are you saving for a rainy day?

If so, how are you able to save?

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Leave An Inheritance?

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Growing up my parents were adamant about making sure we understood the importance of working hard. It was a legacy they left us with, that handwork and dedication was the only way to make sure you succeeded.

As my siblings and I got older our parents were adamant about making sure they discussed their finances and investments. When I got my first job as a tour guide at thirteen, I remember discussing the 401k plan, the health benefits, and other benefits for the position. At the time I found the paperwork to be overwhelming, but my parents explained everything I couldn’t understand.

This was my first understanding of the Bible’s reference to leaving an inheritance and the concept of saving for the future.

A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous. Proverbs 13:22

About a year ago my mother called to tell me she was writing her will. I was surprised, in fact, I insisted that I did not want to know what she had written in her will. After all, my siblings and I are very close. I imagined we would never disagree regarding our parent’s money. When I later joined the Financial Peace class by Dave Ramsey, I understood why she was writing a will.

But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. Deuteronomy 8:18

Beyond giving a foundational understanding of ones finances and what the Bible says about being financially successful, the course elaborates on the importance of leaving an inheritance for your family. God wants us to live in a way that we can give back. He is not a God of confusion, by getting our finances in order we are abiding in him. Much like the spiritual inheritance we leave for our kids- to follow in God’s teachings as Christians, the financial inheritance is a way to honor him. From tithing to donating to a charitable cause, these are all ways we are honoring God.

Leaving an inheritance includes being financially stable. It means not leaving your family with a financial burden. It requires teaching your children to be financially stable, from an early age my parents took us to the bank and helped us manage our savings account. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I realized they were teaching us to be financially stable. They also taught us not to buy what we couldn’t afford, they were clear about what could have and what we couldn’t. They taught us to save for what we wanted and we learned to appreciate these items more because we had spent our own money on purchasing them.

Leaving an inheritance also requires planning for your kids future. It requires creating a will so that your family is not overwhelmed with the guilt of making decisions that they feel you may or may not agree with.

The concept of leaving an inheritance may seem overwhelming to a lot of us as is often the topic of finances. Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University is a wonderful place to start. The course focuses on practical steps you can take to find financial peace. It also gives biblical references along the way, referring to the what the Bible says about our finances.

Like my first job as a tour guide, I am reminded of how complex these decisions can be. I realize it takes time to understand where to start, what to invest in, how much to invest. But, with guidance you too can learn the importance of leaving an inheritance and how to go about doing it.

We want to know:

What steps are you taking to leave an inheritance for your family?

How are you teaching your family to be financially stable?

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Keys To Unlock Financial Freedom

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In this new season, God is taking us on a journey. A lot of people might have questions about their finances. Most people you meet have too much month left at the end of their paycheck. Everyone wants to unlock the door to financial freedom but as with any lock, using the right key is what will work. God has all the answers and as He reveals them to us, we shall respond accordingly. Many times when God gives answers, He gives them in the form of keys with which we can unlock the freedom that we seek.

Knowledge is a key of the kingdom and it is paramount to understanding the blessing of God. The blessing of the LORD makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it. (Proverbs 10:22). To access your financial freedom, you first must understand your current financial position and how to move from there to the next level.

The first thing to understand is this: God owns everything. The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. (Psalm 24:1). You are just a steward; a manager. If you grasp this then you will be delivered from misery that others have more than you do.

God has commanded and commissioned us to divide or apportion resources accordingly. Of all our increase, 10% is tithe. When we keep our covenant part, God will take care of us. Trust in God’s covenant with you by consistent and regular practicing of tithing. Know this: Whenever you stand in righteousness, God is faithful. He shows up!

I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. (Psalm 37:25).

The first time tithe is mentioned in the Bible is in Genesis chapter 14 after Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him having rescued his nephew Lot who had been taken captive. Abraham, who was still Abram then, is blessed by Melchizedek king of Salem – the priest of God Most High.

And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything. (Genesis 14:20).

Here, Abraham established a covenant between him and God. Tithing is a way of establishing a covenant between you and God. Through tithing you set yourself apart as you honor God this way.

An important thing to note here is that when you give your tithe, you are not giving it to pastor, you’re not giving it to the elders of the church – you are giving it to Jesus who is our High Priest now. Please read the following passage of scripture from the book of Hebrews:

This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, 2 and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” 3 Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.

4 Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! 5 Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people—that is, from their fellow Israelites—even though they also are descended from Abraham. 6 This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7 And without doubt the lesser is blessed by the greater. 8 In the one case, the tenth is collected by people who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. 9 One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, 10 because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor. (Hebrews 7:1-9)

Pay attention to verse 8. Tithe is collected by Him who is declared to be living. Jesus is the only High Priest that is living.

Jacob also gave so that he could connect with the blessing of God. He was not trying to meet a need or bills. This is what he said:

And this memorial pillar I have set up will become a place for worshiping God, and I will present to God a tenth of everything he gives me. (Genesis 28:22).

When you come to “this rock” – the church building, to give your tithe – a tenth or 10% of everything He gives you, you come to connect with the blessing of God. It is not the sweat of your brow or the work of your hands that blesses you; it is God who blesses and tithing is the way to connect with that blessing. Picking extra shifts may help a little but you need a permanent solution and this solution is obtained from connecting with the blessing of God through tithing. Tithing is the sure key to unlocking your financial freedom!

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