★ Thought for the Day – Where Does Money Come From? ★

67 - Daily Dependence - Where Does Money Come FromWe have all heard the question, whether in real life or see it in a movie, “Mommy/Daddy where do babies come from?”  Then comes an awkward silence and some stalling until either “the talk” is done or in other instances some other reason is told to avoid the conversation until they are older.  Today I want to explore “Where Does Money Come From?”  I saw this comic and it got my creative juices flowing!

67 - Dilbert - Where Does Money Come From

The age old question, if it takes money to make money then how do you get ahead?  But I think that this Dilbert comic nails it!  God is the answer and if we can grasp it, it will forever change our path in our career and financial peace!

Deuteronomy 8:18 (NASB) puts it all into perspective:

“But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth…” 

Arguments abound over pride and self-reliance that what success has been achieved is a result of hard work and effort but I love how Deuteronomy cuts to the heart of the matter and sets things straight!  You would not be able to work hard, nor would you have the intelligence or ability if God did not first give it to you.  So you want to have success in your finances then you need to put God first!  Proverbs 3:9–10 (NIV1984) instructs us to,

 “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” 

Don’t get hung up with the agricultural references of crops barns and vats…substitute those for paycheck and bank account.  One thing that I have noticed is that if I do not make my tithes (or 10% of my income) and offerings (above the tithe) a priority in my budget, there will always be something else that will eat up the money.  When it says “First Fruits” here, it means above all things, first and foremost, Honor the Lord with your wealth which He has provided for you.  So the principle is to bring to God the first 10% of what you earn before you pay all the other bills.

I saw a church sign with this message, “Give God what’s right not what’s left.”  

67 - Daily Dependence - Deuteronomy 8-18

I love that and when you overlay the truth of Deuteronomy 8:18, things come into focus a little better, don’t they?  God deserves our best, and to make Him, and the building of His kingdom first in our lives.  If we don’t make our tithe first on the budget that is exactly what will happen, God will get the leftovers, assuming of course there is anything.  Robert Morris said perfectly:
67 - Daily Dependence - Robert Morris
If you do place God first, His blessings will overflow and you will see a radical change in your finances!!

Now before this post gets derailed, I am not talking about “prosperity gospel” where you “give to get,” that is the farthest thing from the truth!!  God is not a vending machine!

67 - Daily Dependence - God is Not A Vending MachineIn His book, “God Is Not A Vending Machine,” Marvin Hinten makes this statement,

“The Pervasive influence of the vending economy has had spiritual repercussions.  While still referring to God as a person, Christians increasingly tend to treat Him as a vending machine.  If they pop in their coins of prayer, Bible study, and church attendance, […I don’t think Mr. Hinten would mind, I would add ‘paying your tithes’ as well,] He is expected to deliver “the goods;” Financial security, popularity and good health.”

If you pay your tithes, it should be because you love Him and want to please God in obeying this requirement. Something to realize is that God does not need our money, but He wants our hearts to be focused on the Kingdom of Heaven, not on stuff here on earth.  He knew that we would have an issue in this area which is why God made the requirement in the first place so that MONEY would not have a hold on OUR HEARTS.  The tithe or 10% of our income is actually the minimum required by God.  It’s comical to think that we own any of our income when you shine the light of Psalm 24:1 (NIV1984) on the issue,

“The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” 

Rather than gripping about “losing” 10% we should be happy that we get to keep 90%!  Malachi 3:10-12 (NIV1984) says it all,

“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 you will not have room enough for it.  I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty.  “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.” 

I love this verse because it is the only place in the Bible that God challenges us to “Test” Him.  And if we pass the test he promises to throw open the floodgates of heaven (or other translations say the “windows of heaven”) and bless us so much that we will not have room enough to store it.  Now that is what I want.  He also promises to prevent pests or the enemy from devouring what we have and that is not just finances and possessions but our marriage, our children and our health.  So you see we really can’t afford not to give our tithe to the Lord.  I could do an entire post just on these three verses alone, so we are not going to go much deeper in terms of offerings or extravagant giving but just know, the closer you get to God, and the more you love God, the more you will want to give to the building of His kingdom!

I will close with this last quote from Robert Morris,

“Every time you get paid, are you going to believe that God’s Word works, that 90 percent with God’s blessing goes further than 100 percent without? We live in a cursed world, and what God wants to do is redeem our finances out from under the curse, but it takes our cooperation—to give Him the first 10 percent.”

So if you want to see a change in your finances, first change your heart and give your tithe with true appreciation of everything that God has given you.  Believe that 90% with God’s Blessing is far greater that 100% without!


If you are interested in learning more about managing your finances God’s way, check out this post called ★ Thought for the Day – Keeping Up With The Joneses? ★.

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★ Re|Engage – Grace ★

ReEngage - Lesson 03The next two chapters focused on this Principle:  EMBRACE HUMILTY.

Lesson 3 was on Grace…The main idea was:

You are in need of God’s grace.

Ephesians 2:4-5 (ESV)

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved”  

The definition of Grace as it pertains in Christian belief is:

 “The free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.” 

47 - Daily Dependence - Grace is the BridgeEphesians 2:8-9 (NLT)

“God saved you by His grace when you believed.  And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” 

The lesson made this powerful parallel between this verse and how our interactions with our spouse should be.

“Just as your relationship with God is grounded in grace, so must your relationship with your spouse be grounded in grace.  It’s the foundational pillar to any healthy relationship.”

Have you ever thought about extending grace to your spouse as being critical to a healthy marriage?  It spouses could grasp this concept the “self-help” industry would plummet!

“The bottom line is that we are not good enough and neither is our spouse…That’s why grace is essential to your relationship.”

What my wife and I really love about this class is how practical the counsel is and it’s application.  I love this on What grace in action looks like in action in marriage:

  • Grace does not focus on the faults of your spouse.
  • Grace is choosing to believe the best about their words and actions.
  • Grace is not shocked or angry when your spouse’s actions are not perfect.
  • Grace is not bringing up the ways your spouse has disappointed or hurt you in the past.
  • Grace responds kindly to a harsh word or a cold shoulder.
  • Grace causes you to be an advocate for your spouse rather than build a case against them.
  • Grace is loving your spouse, not because of their actions, but in spite of their actions.

And here is the flip side of What Grace is Not?

“But extending grace doesn’t mean that you grant your spouse permission to continue to hurt you.  And it doesn’t mean that the feelings of pain they have caused you are now invalid.  However, to re-engage with your spouse, you must follow Christ’s example as an initiator.  He initiates again and again because His love for you is perfect, and His love for you perseveres – even when you’re most unlovable.”

A friend of mine told me this and I will close with this…

“God is not looking for a perfect Christian but a persistent one.”  Gene Winterhalter

None of us are perfect but God desires us to chase after Him and be persistent in extending grace to the one that He blessed us with.

 

If you would like to read the next installment to the re|engage class, click here…★ Re|Engage – Humility ★

If you want to read previous re|engage lessons click here…

https://dailydependence.wordpress.com/category/reengage-class/?order=asc

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★ Thought for the Day – What’s Your Bottom Line? ★

48 - Daily Dependence - Dilbert - LeadershipI love this Dilbert comic on Leadership because it so poignantly portrays how good intentions tend to slip between the cracks as busyness increases.  Working in a corporate environment myself, I have found this to be true of myself more times then I would like to admit, and have also had it happen to me from time to time.  It is the desire of any person to have strong leadership and to genuinely feel like their manager or boss cares about their well being.  Too often, if we are not careful, the bottom line can crush the very people who are the company’s greatest asset!  William Arthur Ward stated it perfectly when he said:

"Wise are those who learn that the bottom line doesn't always have to be their top priority."
“Wise are those who learn that the bottom line doesn’t always have to be their top priority.”

All of us have to decide what will be most important in our lives.  Whatever you value, will have the highest priority in your company, organization and personal life.  Here is a great illustration of the difference between being a “boss” and being a “leader!”

48 - Daily Dependence - Leader vs BossWe have all had a boss like this, that believes “cracking the whip” on the “subordinates” is the only way to accomplish the goal.  But a true leader gets in front, and helps “shoulder the load” with the rest of the team!  If the latter could be the rule, instead of the exception, employees would stop feeling like they are in bondage, and instead feel valued, empowered and ready to work their heart out…Which ultimately will increase the bottom line!

So the question is, how does a company achieve success which keeps everyone employed, while also bringing fulfillment and satisfaction to those who are performing the work?  John Maxwell has what I think is probably the best way to develop the people who you lead called the “The 101 Principle”…

The 101 Principle – Finding the 1 percent you can affirm, and give 100 percent of your attention. Leadership rule #1 is this: Affirmation comes before confrontation. Good leaders look for the good in people and affirm it. Only then do they address the problems. (From the “John Maxwell Leadership Bible”)

So the question is…when power comes your way, what approach will we take?  Will you be a “boss,” and drive those under you to perform or will you be a “leader,” treating people with respect and making them feel as part of a team?  Ultimately, you will either devalue or add valueThat’s the bottom line!  

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★ Thought for the Day – All About The Big Ten ★

45 - Daily Dependence - About the Big 10

What do you know about the Ten Commandments?  Is this what you think of when you hear these two words?45 - Daily Dependence - Charlton Heston with Ten Commandments  Moses with the Stone Tablets as played by Charlton Heston in the movie the “Ten Commandments?” Or do you think of them as an antiquated list of rules of everything that you should not do from your childhood Sunday School Lesson?  Do you know any of them…Can you list all 10 Commandments?  When was the last time you read the “Big 10”…Bigger question, how often (if at all), do you read the Bible?  I just read an article that stated:

“The number of people in America who do not identify with any religion may be at an all-time high, but the Bible still holds an important place in the lives of many Americans, a new report suggests.

According to a study, “The Bible in American Life,” conducted by the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, 50% of Americans read some form of scripture in the past year, and 48% of those read the Bible.  Four in 5 read it at least once a month, and 9% of Americans say they read the Bible daily.”

Source: “American Bible Reading Statistics Reveal Who Is Studying The Good Book And Why,” Posted: 03/14/2014

This is a sad statistic when you think that only 9% of Americans read the Bible daily, it is no wonder that people don’t have a knowledge of the bible.  The purpose of the study was to understand better how Americans use the Bible in their personal daily lives and how other influences, including religious communities and the Internet, shape individuals’ use of scripture. You can download the report here.

Are you part of the 9%?  This “Thought for the Day” is not intended to condemn you for not reading the Bible, rather it is intended to emphasis the importance of knowing the Bible for yourself and not relying on passed down information from your parents or forgotten Sunday School lessons or just flat-out misinformation to stop you from reading the Bible for yourself.  I know that the thought of reading the Bible at all, let alone everyday can ne intimating but it is so worth it for it is the blueprint for life!  There is incredible wisdom the pages that can help you in your marriage, connecting with your children, your finances…you name it, it’s in there!  I am not going to lie to you, some weeks are better than others but I try read hard to read some amount of scripture each day.  Just recently, I read about the Ten Commandments which is outlined in Exodus 20:3-17 which are listed below from the New Living Translation (NLT).

Big 10 - #1Big 10 - #2Big 10 - #3
Big 10 - #4Big 10 - #5Big 10 - #6
Big 10 - #7Big 10 - #8Big 10 - #9
Big 10 - #10

#1   “You must not have any other god but me.” Exodus 20:3

#2   “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.  You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.”  Exodus 20:4-6

#3   “You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.” Exodus 20:7

#4   “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you.  For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.”  Exodus 20:8-11

#5   “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12

#6   “You must not murder.” Exodus 20:13

#7   “You must not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14

#8   “You must not steal.” Exodus 20:15

#9   “You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.” Exodus 20:16

#10  “You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20:17

Many people view God as some sort of “cosmic killjoy,” and believe that Christianity is all about what you cannot do…but if people only knew what the bible says, that is the farthest thing from the truth.  Yes we study and learn what the Old Testament says, like the Ten Commandments, but when Jesus came to earth to restore the relationship between us and our Heavenly Father, everything changed!

Big 10 - SummarizedIn the New Testament Book of Matthew, it recounts when an expert in religious law, tried to trap Jesus with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”

“Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”  (Matthew 22:37-39 NLT)

You see the Ten Commandments can be summarized with these two mandates which all centered on love.  If you love God with everything you have within you, and you love your neighbor as yourself, then the “Big 10” will be fulfilled automatically!  When you believe in Jesus and have a relationship with Him everything changes.  How do you develop a relationship with Him you may ask?  Well just like making friend on the playground or when you started dating, you get to know to know them.  The same is true here, by reading God’s Word (the Bible), you will get to know your heavenly father, all that Jesus did when He came to earth and so much more!

Do you see how different the Bible can be when you know it?  I highly recommend that you get yourself a Bible and start reading today.  You can even get it electronically.  I use the “YouVersion” App (www.youversion.com) which is a free Bible on your phone, tablet, and/or computer.  YouVersion is a simple, ad-free Bible that brings God’s Word into your daily life anywhere you go.              45 - Daily Dependence - YouVersion App 45 - Daily Dependence - YouVersion App - Screen
You can jump to anywhere in the bible, highlight passages that are important to you, and start Bible Reading Plans.  My 10-year-old daughter has discovered that she can actually listen to it being read to her as she reads along…It has made reading the Bible so easy.

45 - Daily Dependence - Dusty BibleHow are you on your Bible Reading?  It doesn’t matter how much or how often you read, just start today and earnestly seek to know God and His Word better.

So dust off your Bible and get reading…you will never regret the time investment, it will pay dividends for generations to come!

If you would like to read more on the significance of reading the bible check out:

★ “Back to the Basics” – Pursuit #2 – What Are a You Feeding On? ★

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★ Thought for the Day –  Our Tongues Should Point People to Jesus ★ 

The whole purpose of our lives is to point others to Christ, not to ourselves.
Check out this awesome Instagram account http://instagram.com/undeservedgrace__

“The whole purpose of our lives is to point others to Christ, not to ourselves.”  Kristen Clark

As I have been reading through the Book of James, God has been showing me areas that I can improve on, so that I help point people to Jesus.  (I highly recommend you read it for yourself.)  One of the ways is in “Controlling My Tongue.”  My prayer and suggestion is for God to help us NOT TO BE LIKE what it says in James 3:7-10…

“People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue.  It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.  Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God.  And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!”

Nothing will turn people off from Jesus faster than hearing someone who professes to be a Christian, gossip, tell lies or use profanity.  INSTEAD we need TO BE LIKE what it says in James 3:13-17 which tells us that True Wisdom Comes from God…

“If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.  But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying.  For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom.  Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic.  For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.

  • But the wisdom from above is first of all pure.  
  • It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others.  
  • It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds.  
  • It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.”

So if the whole purpose of our lives is to point others to Christ, then we most learn to control our tongues!!  If we don’t then we will turn people away from what the point of our lives is all about.  We need to live our lives “mission-minded,” to see every moment, of every day as an opportunity to show the love of Christ to others.  In Matthew 28:19, Jesus tells us to “go and make disciples.”  We cannot do that if we are NOT CONTROLLING OUR TONGUES!  

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