Monthly Archives: February 2011

Is cleanliness next to Godliness, how about orderliness?

No more is cleanliness next to Godliness than orderliness is close to it. In the Old Testament there are various regulations for staying or becoming “clean.” However, Christ assures us that it isn’t what is on the outside that makes us clean or approved by God, but it is what is in our hearts that really matters (Mark 714-23).

Should people who live Godly lives exhibit order? Reading “But let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner” (1 Corinthians 14:40), I am inclined to think so. Does it seem to you like Christians can be particularly bad decisions makers? Do we act on impulse and emotion and feel rushed into important decisions, all the while trying to look good and together on the outside?

The proof is in the outcome, I suppose; are the outcomes of our major decisions usually good? I know that is not the case for me all the time. So what is the answer? I wonder if it is when we allow God to do the ordering. The mind of God definitely lays out plans, and there is an order to His processes- absolutely.

How can I live out God-like orderliness? I guess the answer is to let go, and to let him create the order that he wants; the timing, the resources, the direction, the maturation in me during the wait.

How does this apply to finances?
I think it is this: first letting go, and then relinquishing control; “God, you order the steps of my life, I’ve tried my way, and it doesn’t always work so good.” This has ramifications to our spending decisions, lifestyle, and many other areas.

Am I to be organized?
I know that the more things I am involved in, the messier life is, and find it difficult to get and stay organized. Does Christ lead us into a life that is more simplified? Perhaps, though I am not sure that is always the case; life can surely get messy sometimes. Also I find the more I try to create and keep order, the more controlling I am.

Financial Organization?
Life is messy. However, if our budget, checkbook, financial records and bill paying is a mess, I find it a struggle to have order, or let God in to do so. We are able to keep organized through having a place for almost every financial document or data in an accordion file, software and filing cabinets. It is not next to Godliness, but it helps keep down the distractions.

Is God Generous?

An interesting question to contemplate, I think. Humans often look at what we don’t have. We see the gap, the glass half full. The 5th verse of Psalm 23 finishes with “my cup runneth over.”

Let’s see, what did God give me? Many verses describe that he gives each human life, breath, the earth and the creation in it. Through Christ, salvation from our sins, redemption, and a great eternity. Through the Holy Spirit, counsel, comfort and companionship.  During our lives he provides us with family, friends, food, shelter, work, talents, senses, and community – all for rich and enjoyable lives. Sometimes we have health and wealth.

I’ve been plodding my way through Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Joshua following the Israelites. I’m astounded at how easily they complained and yearned for their old days of slavery, even after the wonderful care God gave them, and I wonder how could they be that way?

In Numbers 13, Caleb and Joshua scouted out where God was going to lead them. Out of fear they rebelled and grumbled against God in chapters 14 and 16. As a result, God withheld the promise (14:30) to give them the Promised Land, and gave it to their descendants.

Did the Israelites have reason to complain? Were their lives difficult? They were not always easy for sure; wars, desert travel, change, evolving (uncertain) religion and government. They forgot that God was good and generous and that he cared about them and had good things in store if they would follow Him and wait for the blessings.

4 Biblical Rules to Recover From Financial Crisis

This is the final article of a 4-Part Series: Part 1. God’s 5 simple practices for personal finance,  Part 2. God’s 4 key money management principles , Part 3. 5 of God’s rules for preventing financial crisis.

You may or may not have followed these Godly practices and principles, or maybe life threw you some big curve balls, such as an extended job loss; so what does the Bible say about having a plan to get out of financial crisis? First of all, read the prior articles and make sure you are following God’s principles and practices. In addition:

1.   Get counsel from many
This was covered already, but I am mentioning it again because few people do it. Don’t hesitate to talk to many people to get many perspectives for solutions out of your situation. This is hard for many people because of pride, but move past that and get many viewpoints, encouragement and prayer from them. “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.” (Proverbs 12:15), “…and fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22)

2.   Be responsible with whatever you have – focus on the little things
During your financial crisis, focus on Luke 16:10: “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” The wisdom this verse provides is focus. With all of the issues you are dealing with, this will keep you grounded. Many people in extreme difficulty will find it easy to be uncaring about the little details, feeling it has gotten so bad that they find themselves asking the question, “What does it matter?” On the contrary, the Lord gives us a fresh start every day, and he wants to bless those who are good with management. For example, if you hired an investment professional and gave her $10,000 to invest on your behalf, and she returned 10%, you would probably want to give her more. On the other hand, if she lost money, you would not be inclined to give her more to invest. I think God works a little the same way; He is watching us, and if we are good with managing the little He gives us, He might be inclined to give us more.

3.   Be content regardless of  your circumstances
Financial difficulty can be one of the most stressful things that someone can go through; it is up there with illness, job loss, tax audit and death. Consider Philippians 4:11, 12: “For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” We too can learn to be content and at peace even when in extreme financial crisis. The tragedy of difficulty is to endure it and not learn the lessons that God would have for us; one of the most valuable lessons will be to learn the secret Paul described, the secret of contentment in all circumstances because of the maturity we experience in our relationship with Christ.

4.   Help others and be generous
When a great position of mine ended about 4 years ago, it was really tough. I continued to tithe to the best of my ability and I volunteered. Every Saturday morning for several months I helped out at an inner-city food pantry for selfish reasons. I knew helping people a lot worse off than me would help me on many levels, and it did.“I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” (Acts 20:35)

In conclusion, remember  to pray for miracles (2 Kings 4:1-7), and remember that God cares about those going through difficulty: “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18) You will get through this.