Wisdom and Love in Finances part two
Given By: "Glenn D. Blank" On Saturday, February 11, 2012

Last week I shared 5 principles of wisdom about finances, from Proverbs and other wisdom books.

Today I will quickly review them and share five more.

These ten may not be quite as stunning as the ten that Moshe brought down from Sinai-well, those were written by the finger of God-but following these principles will bless you.

Principle #1: Wisdom promises prosperity.

Proverbs 8:18. "With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity."

God wants to bless his people, and prosperity can be a blessing, if handled properly.

Principle #2: True prosperity flows from honoring God.

Proverbs 3:9-10, "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."

The blessing of prosperity flows out of honoring G-d.  Otherwise, it's not really a blessing.

Prosperity apart from honoring God is worthless in the end.  V'eemru? (And let us say.)

Prov 11:28. "Whoever trusts in riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf."

Principle #3: Godliness with contentment is great gain. (1 Timothy 6:6)

Prosperity apart from honoring God is worthless in the end.  V'eemru?

Contentment is a biblical balance to some prosperity teaching. 

Paul expresses wisdom when he says, in Php 4:12, "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."

The Lord does not want us to worry or be anxious, but to trusting and content. V'eemru?

Principle #4: The way to prosperity usually involves diligence and work.

So Proverbs 11:13 teaches us, "Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow."

Laziness is a major cause of poverty.

Unfortunately, the welfare system, while well-meaning, tends to reinforce dependence & poverty.

Hebrews 6:12 says, "We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised."

Principle #5: Avoid debt.

As Proverbs 22:7 warns, "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender."

(Get it?) The Great Lie of Madison Avenue Lie is: You need to buy things you don't need, ?with money you don't have, from people you don't even like. V'eemru?

If you don't know how to use a credit card, don't.

OK, are your ready for the next tablet of principles?

Principle #6: Whatever you earn, spend less.

Or as Proverbs 21:20 says: "There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, ?but a foolish man swallows it up."

The wise have a dwelling place filled with the treasure of security and the oil of the Spirit.

The foolish swallow up the treasure and oil so that there is nothing left to live on.

The best way to create financial security, whether it is for retirement or sending children ?to college, or devoting yourself to a mission for the Lord, or simply to be prepared for a crisis, ?is to spend less than you earn over time.

The wise understand the discipline of creating "margin" - a buffer zone between where we are and our limits.

Living without margin, you live from paycheck to paycheck worried that you will run out ?of money before you run out of month.

Living without margin, you figure you can keep your head above water-as long as nothing catastrophic happens.

Living without margin is a stressful way to live!

Living without margin can make you more vulnerable to anxiety and depression.

One financial planner estimates that 90% of all divorces are precipitated by financial stress.

It isn't much better among believers.

Proverbs 10:15. "The wealth of the rich is their fortified city, but poverty is the ruin of the poor."

In other words, wealth can be a form of protection-though not as a substitute for the LORD!

Yeshua warned against this in Luke 12:16-21, in his parable of the rich man who tore down his barns to build bigger ones, so he could be complacent.

"But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."

Yeshua warns against trusting in riches instead of G-d.

The problem with the rich man was not his wealth but his pride and complacency.

Prosperity with godly trust, though, is a fortified city, a place of protection, a place of margin.

People with financial margin have options; they have freedom to serve the Lord creatively.

So how do you get this margin?

Instead of borrowing to buy a car or take a vacation, wisdom says, consider the ant, which "stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest." Proverbs 6:6-8.

Can someone explain the lesson of the ant for all of us?

An ant has a brain so small you cannot see it with the naked eye.

Yet God built some wisdom in the ant: when there is abundance, set some aside for future needs.

Develop a budget and set aside a part of your present income for the inevitable needs of the future.

What was Joseph's advice to Pharaoh?  During the time of plenty, store up for the times of need!

That's what I taught my son Adam to do: he even had some funds left from his bar mitzvah and his job at Dorney Park, to help him pay for his college textbooks and keep his car running!

If you need help creating a budget and sticking with it, our elders can give you some pointers

Principle #7: You cannot out-give God.

Prov 11:24-25. "One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.  The generous man will be prosperous and he who waters will himself be watered."

Biblical wisdom is uncommon sense. The way to prosper to give it away.  Hmm?

17:5. "He who mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker."  On the other hand, 19:17 says

"He who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord and He will repay him for his good deed."

Now the idea here is not to looking for the payback!

It often comes in ways and when you aren't expecting it. 

Has anyone here noticed how that works?

Principle #8: Invest in friends.

Proverbs 19:16. "Many will entreat the favor of a generous man and every man is a friend to him who gives gifts."

In Luke 16:9, Yeshua amplifies this principle: "I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings."

Have you ever thought it odd that Yeshua counsels us to use worldly wealth to gain friends?

He warned against worshipping money, not against using it wisely.

And it is wise to use money to gain friends, to build relationships.

You can't take your money or fancy cars into heaven, but you can take godly relationships.

Even in this life, investing in relationships is wise.

Successful businesspeople know this.

Businesses that stop investing in people eventually go out of business. Ditto for congregations.

Proverbs 19:4 frankly says. "Wealth brings many friends, but a poor man's friend deserts him."

Everyone can apply these principles. 

Use whatever substance Hashem gives you to bless others, and you will be blessed. V'eemru?

Principle #9: Get good advice.

Proverbs 15:22 "Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed."

Whether it be with making wise investments, or finding a good mechanic, or succeeding with a budget, wisdom tells us to seek good advice.

When the time drew near for me to commit to full time ministry, I sought counsel from Dan Juster sought counsel from my elders about how to put together a budget, and then with our accountant about how to make it work efficiently with the IRS.  Then the Lord took care of the rest.

Proverbs 19:20 "Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise."

Accepting advice may require some humility.  But remember: God gives grace to the humble!

Also, seek good, godly advice!  

Proverbs 14:15. "A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps."

There are plenty of people out there ready to give you bad advice-especially on the Internet!  Don't believe every pitch you hear.  Give thought to your steps.  V'eemru?

If anyone needs more biblical counsel, talk to our zakenim (elders).?If we believe you need even more counsel, we can refer you to biblical financial counselors.

Principle #10 (last, but not least): Be faithful with your tithes and offerings.

Deut. 12:11 commands, "then you will bring all that I am ordering you to the place Hashem your God chooses to have his name live -your burnt offerings, sacrifices, tithes, the offering from your hand.."

When we keep the covenant commandment, Hashem promises to bless us, as the next verse says,

"and you will rejoice in the presence of Hashem your God-you, your sons and your daughters."

How many of you have experienced the joy of giving tithes and offerings to Hashem?  Stand up!

Mal 3:10-11, "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."

There is both a positive and negative promise in this passage.

Is we are faithful to give 10% of their income to the house of Hashem, He promises to bless the remaining 90% by throwing open the floodgates of heaven and pouring out blessing.

On the other hand, if we refuse to give 10%, the other 90% will be consumed by the devourer.

What good is what we have if we consume it all on our appetites instead of God's house?

Robert Jeffress, in his book The Solomon Secrets, tells the story of a pastor who made ?an impassioned plea for money to repair an old, crumbling church building.

At the end of the message, the richest man in the congregation stood up and said, ?"I'll give one hundred dollars to the building fund."

At that precise moment, a piece of plaster from the ceiling fell on his shoulder.

He said, "I'll give one thousand dollars to the building fund."

Before he could sit down, another piece fell on his head.

He screamed out, "Pastor, I will double my pledge!"

This prompted one of the deacons to shout, "Hit him again, Lord. Hit him again!"

God may not hit you on the head, but the Holy Spirit will nudge you..

Consistent giving of tithes to the house of God and offerings as the Spirit leads will produce godliness and faithfulness. 

Tithing is all about emunah: covenant faith and faithfulness.

In Mark 12:41-44, consider what Yeshua says about the offerings:

"{Yeshua} sat down opposite the treasury and began watching how the people were putting money ?into the offering box. Many rich people were putting in a lot.  Then a poor widow came and put in ?two small copper coins, worth less than a penny. Calling His disciples over, He said to them,

"Amen, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those contributing to the box! For they all put in from their surplus; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything she had, her whole living."

Why did he honor her gift, even though it was financially less?

Because she gave it in faith.

That's the most important thing about giving tithes and offerings: give in faith, rejoicing that you are able to trust Hashem and obey his commandments.

If you find it hard to give, ask Hashem to give you more faith.

I assure you, that's a prayer He will answer.

Moreover, He promises he will open the floodgates of heaven to bless you.

Test him in this!  V'eemru?

Let me review the ten principles I shared with you:

1. Wisdom promises prosperity.

2. True prosperity flows from honoring God.

3. "Godliness with contentment is great gain." 

4. The way to prosperity usually involves diligence and work.

5. Avoid debt.?6. Whatever you earn, spend less.

7. You cannot out-give God.

8. Invest in friends.

9. Get good advice.

10. Be faithful with your tithes and offerings.

Last time, I closed with a prayer to cancel any curses that may block God's blessings.

How many you know that God will restore and renew blessings in your life?

Any testimonies?

Let's pray: "Our Father in heaven, I give you thanks for the blood of Yeshua that redeemed me from all my sins, paid all my debts, and cancelled every curse against me!  I repent of believing any lies or curses spoken about me or my family.  I rebuke the curse and the spirit of poverty, debt, or discontent right now.  By the blood of Yeshua, shed through his crown of thorns and all his wounds, every curse against me is broken and reversed.  I receive the blessing of prosperity, contentment and generosity that you intend for me as your child and your servant.  And as you bless me and my house, I will honor you.  I pray in the name of Yeshua our Messiah and King. Amen."?