Category Archives: Resourcefulness

Understand God’s Purposes for Money

One of the major sources of conflict — even in Christian marriages — today is money. Everybody has their own ideas how their money should be used. But as Christians, we need to realize that everything we have comes from God and belongs to Him. So in order to be good stewards of the money God has entrusted to our care, we need to know and understand God’s purposes for money. Knowing and applying God’s purposes for money results in financial freedom. An incorrect understanding of God’s purposes for money brings financial bondage and a host of consequences that have the potential of destroying your marriage, your health, and your testimony.

A man who has financial freedom can build his job around his family; a man without financial freedom is often forced to build his family around his job. If we have sleepless nights and ulcers worrying over financial decisions it is probably an indication that we do not have a correct understanding of God’s purposes for money, because God wants us to be financially free in order to serve Him.

Financial bondage is an immediate consequence of not understanding God’s purposes for money. God’s purposes for money are not to provide us with security, independence, or even to buy whatever we want. God’s purposes are, firstly:

TO PROVIDE BASIC NEEDS 

If we build our lives around possessions, then we will be devastated whenever those possessions are lost or taken away from us. Recent banking and Stock Market scandals prove that even respected, financial institutions cannot guarantee absolute security. So that people who were trusting in bank or retirement accounts are now experiencing the consequences of financial bondage.

Security is only possible as we build our lives around that which can never be taken away from us. We can loose every possession, every person, and every position; but if we are building our lives around the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, we can loose everything else and still have security because He can never be taken away from us.

God wants to build into each one of our lives the quality of contentment. In 1 Timothy 6:8, Paul says, “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” The person who is not content with God’s provision of food and clothing will always have deep financial and spiritual problems.  Contentment with the basics enables us to resist the constant barrage of advertising that seeks to convince us that we are not able to enjoy life unless we buy some new gadget or service. Paul again says in 1 Timothy 6:6, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Is contentment a characteristic of your life? Are you content with your present salary or are you always trying to figure out how you can earn more money? Are you content with the size of your house or car, or do you secretly wish for something bigger and better? An attitude of discontentment is probably an indication that you are experiencing financial bondage.

A second purpose for money is:

TO GIVE TO CHRISTIANS

During the time of Christ, the Jews and Gentiles had no dealings with each other. But God was able to overcome this problem among Christians by using Jewish Christians to take the Gospel to the Gentiles and then using the Gentile believers to meet the material needs of the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem who were experiencing famine. Paul explains this purpose for money in 2 Corinthians 8:14: “…that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want….”

Our generosity and willingness to give to meet the needs of other Christians is a reflection of our true spirituality. You can often tell how committed a Christian really is and where his priorities really are by looking at his cheque book.

Not long after my father accepted Jesus Christ as his Saviour, he became very interested in missionary work. He was informed of a specific need for £5.00. And although he couldn’t meet that need himself (for in those days after the war, £5.00 was more than a week’s wages), he prayed that the Lord would provide. After he prayed, he lay down on top of his bed. And as he lay there thinking, he heard my grandmother — who wasn’t a Christian at that time — come up the stairs, past his door and into her room. A short time later, he heard her come out and stop at his door. Then she came in and said, “Here, I’m sure you can use that,” and put a large white £5.00 note into his hand. God uses the abundance of one Christian to meet the needs of others.

When was the last time that God prompted you to give to the need of another Christian? Did you obey God’s prompting?

God’s third purpose for money is:

TO CONFIRM DIRECTION

One of the greatest protections that every Christian has from making wrong financial decisions is purposing not to move forward on any program unless and until the funds are provided. Hudson Taylor said, “God’s work done in God’s way will not lack God’s support. He is just as able to supply funds ahead of time as afterward and He much prefers doing so.”

God will use the supply of money or the lack of it to confirm His direction for many of our financial decisions. If the funds are not available, it could be for several reasons: either we have misspent the money; we don’t need the item; or God may be testing our faith by providing the funds just when they are needed.

Before I left Northern Ireland to attend Bible college in the United States, my father sat me down and told me that they weren’t able to pay for my Bible school education for two reasons: 1) they couldn’t afford it, and 2) they wanted me to learn to trust God for the money without borrowing and without making my financial needs known to anyone but the Lord. Half way through one school year, I didn’t have enough funds to pay for the next term. I sensed the Lord leading that if the funds were not provided on a certain day by 4:00 p.m. then I would take that as his direction for me to return home. The day of the deadline arrived, and at 3:50 p.m. God had still not provided the money. Then the telephone rang and I was asked to go immediately to the school office. I was asked if I had all of the money to pay my school bill. I told them I hadn’t and how I sensed the Lord’s leading to put a deadline at 4:00 p.m. that afternoon. I was then told that before I even came into the school office, an anonymous donor had placed enough money in my school account to take care of my entire school bill. I looked at the clock, and it was just seconds before 4:00 p.m. God had confirmed His direction with the precise timing of a gift.

This leads us to God’s fourth purpose for money:

TO DEMONSTRATE GOD’S POWER

2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” God is a supernatural, powerful God, who wants to demonstrate His reality and power both to Christians and to an unbelieving, skeptical world. One of the ways He has chosen to do this is through the miraculous provision of money.

A miracle is a natural or supernatural event with precise timing that brings glory to God. Whenever a Christian or a church prays about a specific financial need, and they receive an unexpected and unsolicited gift from someone who didn’t know about that need, God’s supernatural power is demonstrated.

In Malachi 3:10, we read: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” God wants to demonstrate His power and bless us if only we will trust Him with our finances.

A young couple I know were challenged about tithing. They were deep in debt and experiencing all the consequences of financial bondage after stepping outside of God’s will and making some wrong financial decisions. When the husband received his next pay cheque, they first wrote a cheque for their tithe, and then paid the remaining outstanding bills. By the end of the week, they had no money in their bank account and the petrol tank in their car was nearly empty. On the way to church that next Sunday morning, the husband suggested not giving the tithe to the church as he needed petrol to get to work the next day; but the young wife insisted that having made the commitment to God, they should obey and trust the Lord to demonstrate His power on their behalf. The following day, the young wife expected the Lord to provide the money miraculously in the post. But when the post arrived and there was no provision of money, she became angry at God. Then just before the husband had to leave for work, a relative arrived with an unexpected cash gift enough to fill the family car with petrol. That young family saw a demonstration of God’s power, and they were then able to share with their children how powerful God is and how He was able to provide for their specific need. God delights in demonstrating His power so that we can report them to each other and to our children and to our grandchildren.

Outline taken from Men’s Manual Volume 2

15 Basic Steps to Getting the Best Buy

  1. Relate Money to the Time Required to Earn It
  2. Compare Cost with Other Things that Could Be Bought
  3. Figure Savings by Percentages, Not Cents
  4. Put All Earnings Directly into the Bank
  5. Carry as Little Cash as Necessary
  6. Know What You Want before Shopping
  7. Focus on the Buy, Not the Bank Balance
  8. Look at the Price before You Look at the Product
  9. Make Sure You Really Know the Full Price
  10. Determine the Unit Price of Quantity Buying
  11. Total Your Purchases before Checking Out
  12. Check Products in a Consumer Guide
  13. Write Out Questions and Answers
  14. Get Counsel from Owners and Repairmen
  15. Check with Your Wife before Buying

Men’s Manual Volume 2

Two Frogs In Cream

Two frogs fell into a can of cream,
Or so I’ve’ heard it told:
The sides of the can were shiny and steep,
The cream was deep and cold.
“O, what’s the use?” croaked Number 1,
“Tis fate; no help’s around.
Good-bye, my friends. Good-bye, sad world”
And weeping still, he drowned.
But Number 2, of sterner stuff,
Dog-paddled in surprise.
The while he wiped his creamy face
And dried his creamy eyes.
“I’ll swim awhile, at least,” he said –
Or so I’ve heard he said:
“It really wouldn’t help the world
If one more frog were dead.”
An hour or two he kicked and swam,
Not once he stopped to mutter;
But kicked and kicked and swam and kicked.
Then hopped out, via butter

-Unknown

The Resource of Prayer

1 Corinthians 16:2 – “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store as God hath prospered him.”

But suppose God has not prospered you; then he does not expect anything from you. But what if God has prospered one, and the man will not give? To that I say, we are not empowered to force or cajole a man into giving — better leave him with God. And yet I would not have us forget that there is always a resource left the church. It is indeed, a resource and power. It covers the illiberal man’s case, and all cases. I have rarely known it to fail. It was tested several years ago in a large city by a faithful layman. There was a pressing burdensome debt of some $16,000. It had rested as an incubus upon the congregation for years. One afternoon this gentleman requested nine or ten other male members of his church to meet him in a certain office. Here they spent a number of hours in humble, earnest prayer to God. As the prayer ascended, of course God descended; and there steadily grew within them a profound sense of their obligation to God. He was their Maker, Preserver, Benefactor; he had given ten thousand mercies, his Son had died for them, he had forgiven them, and this moment had heaven and endless life and blessedness awaiting them. And now what was it that they could do for him? What act or gift or sacrifice could ever repay, in the least degree, even a part of his love? “Lord, what wilt thou have us to do?” Who wonders at what followed? — that on their melted, graceful hearts God poured the spirit of his love, the tender, beauty. They arose from their knees and in ten minutes wiped out the debt of $16,000.

Carradine

Prayer Targets – A Little Known Resource for Victory over Temptation

If Satan has a stronghold in your life, particularly in the moral area, and you are overcome time and time again by this particular sin, the following plan of action using designated prayer targets can help bring victory.

The first step is to assign temptations to specific prayer targets. Think of three individuals you know. Think of someone you know who isn’t a Christian, but if they were to trust in Christ as Saviour they would make a great impact for the kingdom of God. Next, think of someone you know who is a backslider or carnal Christian but who could be tremendously used of God if they would only repent of the sin in their lives. Third, think of a Christian leader – someone on the front lines of spiritual conflict such as a pastor or missionary. Assign these individuals to specific temptations which you regularly face.

For example, if Satan tempts you with impure thoughts, assign that temptation to your non-Christian friend and start praying for his salvation. If Satan tempts you to be angry, start praying for the Christian you know who is a backslider – pray the God would convict him and that he would repent of his sin. If Satan tempts you to be fearful, start praying for your pastor and pray that God would strengthen him and equip him for the conflict.

Begin to take the offensive whenever you are tempted. When Satan tempts you in a certain area, take the initiative by praying offensively for a predetermined prayer target. The next time you are tempted by a particular sin, that will be your queue to start praying for these individuals using prayer as an offensive weapon against the kingdom of darkness. Now whenever you make this a consistent regular practice, two things will happen: 1. You will see answers to your prayers 2. You will experience less trouble with temptation in that particular area because Satan is not going to tempt you in that area if he knows that the temptation will be met with an immediate offensive attack upon his kingdom of darkness.

Resourceful Household Tips

  • To keep drains free flowing and odors down, pour one cup baking soda and one cup vinegar down drains once or twice a month.
  • Use old newspapers for cleaning glass and windows, they don’t streak or leave lint like paper towels do.
  • Make your own glass cleaner with water and ammonia.
  • Keep receipts, proof of purchase and UPCs off items that might have rebates in the future. The rebates and special offers can be found in newspapers, on the product, at store counters and various other sources.
  • Spend to save. Buy items like glue guns, shoe glue, car fix-it manuals and other items that will save money by fixing things you’ve already got.
  • Why not cut your spouse’s and children’s hair.
  • To make your own brown sugar at about half the cost per pound of store-bought, add 1 – 2T of dark molasses to 1 cup of white sugar and mix thoroughly. (Use blackstrap molasses, and 1T per cup makes a nice dark brown sugar.)
  • Make your own popsicles. You don’t need to buy the expensive store brand, when they are so easy to make at home. Use molds and fill them up with fruit juices, jello, yogurt, jelly, leftover juice from jars of fruit and even some of the fruit chopped up in it. Try making them fun with food coloring, coconut, sprinkles. Make them multi-colored by filling them half full, freezing for a little bit, them add another color.
  • Keep a small list of what you pay for items that you buy a lot. Then, when you’re at another grocery store, you’ll know if their special is really a special.
  • While waiting for hot water from your sink to get hot, place a milk jug under the faucet to collect water. Use this water to water plants, pets, etc. You’ll be surprised with how much water you’ve collected.
  • Almost all detergents (shampoo, dish soap, dishwashing detergent, etc.) recommend to use to much – use half what is recommended and increase a little till you get it right.
  • To shine silver do not buy the expensive cleaners. Simply line a large cake pan with aluminium foil. (Make sure that the foil completely covers all areas. add warm water to cover the item and several tablespoons of baking soda. Add the pieces of silver and wait 5-10 minutes. The grime will be gone and at a fraction of the cost of commercial cleaners. Not to mention no elbow grease!!!
  • One easy way to cut on cooking costs and time is to take one week and triple the amount of food needed for each meal. You then eat one of the meals and freeze the remainder for meals that are quick and easy to prepare in the weeks to come.
  • Reduce the amount of interest you pay on your mortgage payments by simply adding additional principle $$$$’s to the payments you make each month. It doesn’t have to be every month, it could be once a year if you receive year end bonuses. No tricks, no complicated formula. All you need to do is check your mortgage document to see if there is a pre-payment penalty clause,(usually paragraph 17), and if not, you are allowed to make additional payments in any amounts at any time over the term of the mortgage. For example; a $100,000.00 @ 8.5% for 30 years would give a borrower a monthly principle and interest payment of $763.51. If that borrower repaid the note over 30 years, never missing a payment he would have paid back over $274,800’s! However, by adding $63.63 dollars a month to the payment and telling the bank to reduce the principle by that amount every month, the borrower would pay back the loan in 22.5 years, costing them just over $223,300 over the term of the loan! That’s a whopping savings of over $51,500.00!

Four Probing Questions Related to Resourcefulness

  • Are you careless with your possessions if they are easily replaceable?
  • Do you gather materials for a project you have in mind, or do you just collect things for possible future use?
  • Do you know the skills, abilities, and interests of the people around you?
  • Do you look for reasons why you can accomplish a task rather than accept reasons why you cannot?

Character Clues Game

God Condescends to Meet The Limited Resources and Conditions of Men

  • Small offerings accepted from the poor #Le 14:21,22
  • Two mites from the widow #Mr 12:42-44
  • A cup of cold water, not despised #Mt 10:42
  • Faith, even as a grain of mustard seed, mighty #Mt 17:20
  • Two or three assembled in Christ’s name have the promise of the divine presence #Mt 18:20

Value even in Garbage

The story is told that as Queen Victoria was touring a paper factory in London, she saw a room that was filled with rags and she asked the guide what they were used for. The guide told her that these rags were collected from the garbage of the city of London and that this was the raw material from which the company’s finest paper was made.

A few days later the Queen received a gift of stationary and as she held it to the light she saw that it had a water mark that bore her image. She realised that this beautiful paper was made from the rags picked up from the garbage of the city of London.

That’s precisely the work that God is involved in. He begins with the raw material. He takes a life that’s worthless and by His grace and mercy He cleanses it and transforms it into something of value that bears the image of Jesus Christ.

How to Demonstrate Resourcefulness

at Home

  • Family members cherishing every moment together, however small, in order to build their relationships.
  • Wisely investing any extra income.
  • Finding creative ways to fix leftovers and foods the family has in abundance.
  • Using free time to enhance learning and creativity.
  • Finishing all the food on the plate before getting dessert.
  • Recycling aluminium, glass, and newspapers.
  • Giving away or selling those things which we do not use.
  • Shopping for bargains.
  • Being willing to wear already used clothes.
  • Training the family to be energy-givers rather than energy-takers.

at Work/School

  • Looking for ways to save your employer time and money.
  • Using minutes which would normally be wasted to do something of value i.e. use the time when we are waiting on someone to meditate on Scripture, or pray for someone in need.

at Church

  • Getting wise counsel from others.
  • Using accountability to others to enable us to gain victory over sin.
  • Regularly attending prayer meeting.
  • Being available to the church leadership to be used wherever there is a need.

Character Definitions for Resourcefulness

  • Seeing value in that which others overlook. Learning to make wise use of things which others would discard. Achieving a task with a minimum amount of outside resources. Knowing when not to use materials just because they are available. (Character Clues Game)
  • Making wise use of what others might overlook or discard. (Character First!)
  • fertile in expedients; clever, ingenious; rich in resources.  (The CHAMBERS DICTIONARY on CD-ROM)

Bible Stories Related to Resourcefulness

  • Gideon in using the jars (clay pots) and trumpets (Judges 7) (Key Verse:16)
  • Jesus feeding the 5000 (Matt.14:13-21) (Key Verses:17-18)
  • Elisha and the Widow’s Oil (II Kings 4: 1-7) (Key Verse: 2b-3)
  • Samson using foxes, torches and the jawbone of a donkey (Judges 15:3-5;14-16)
  • Ruth demonstrated resourcefulness in picking up the dropped corn after it had been harvested (Ruth 2)
  • The Prodigal Son did not demonstrate resourcefulness, but wasted his inheritance (Luke 15:11-32)
  • The Foolish Servant buried his talent and ended up loosing even that (Matt. 25:14-30)

Bible Verses Related to Resourcefulness

Spend an evening (or several) looking at just one of these verses at a time. Discuss with your family what each verse or story teaches about the character quality; and give vital application of how this quality can be applied to your family. Choose several verses to memorize together as a family during the month. Since the English word “resourcefulness” does not appear in the Authorized Version, we have included a list of verses which relate to this important character quality.

  • Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
  • Genesis 41:33-40 Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt.
    34 Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. {officers: or, overseers}
    35 And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities.
    36 And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine. {perish…: Heb. be not cut off}
    37 And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants.
    38 And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?
    39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art:
    40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. {be ruled: Heb. be armed, or, kiss}
  • Ruth 2:3 And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field [belonging] unto Boaz, who [was] of the kindred of Elimelech. {hap…: Heb. hap happened}
  • Isaiah 40:29 He giveth power to the faint; and to [them that have] no might he increaseth strength.
  • Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint. {renew: Heb. change}
  • Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
  • Matthew 6:19-21 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
    20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
    21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
  • Matthew 14:20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.
  • John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
  • John 15:5 I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. {without me: or, severed from me}
  • 2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency [is] of God;
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
  • Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
  • Ephesians 6:13-18 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. {having…: or, having overcome all}
    14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
    15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
    16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
    17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
    18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
  • Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
  • Colossians 1:11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
  • Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Hymns and Choruses Related to Resourcefulness

  • Great Is Thy Faithfulness (Thomas O. Chisholm, 1923)
  • God Will Take Care of You (Civilla D. Martin, 1904)
  • I Need Thee Every Hour (Annie S. Hawks, 1872)
  • Just As I Am (Charlotte Elliott, 1834)
  • Standing on the Promises (R. Kelso Carter, 1886)
  • Sweet Hour of Prayer (William Walford, 1845)
  • There Is Power in the Blood (Lewis E. Jones, 1899)