Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Is God Your Financial Adviser? Proverb 11

When the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream, He said to him;
"Ask! What shall I give you?" 1 Kings 3:5
Solomon could have asked for anything his heart desired; wealth, women, slaves, victory in battle over all of God's enemies, or even a very long healthy life. Yet, he asked for none of those things. Instead, Solomon humbled himself and said to the LORD;
".....give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?" 1 Kings 3:9
This response pleased the LORD so much that God not only made Solomon the wisest person who ever lived, other than Jesus, but He also made him the richest man ever, and gave him victory over all God's people so there would be peace throughout his lifetime. It is this wisdom that allowed Solomon to give us the great Proverbs we use to this day to properly run our lives in accordance with God's precepts. One of them being, our finances.

There are well over 200 or more Proverbs that deal with finances. In Proverb 9 we learn from Solomon;
“Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn out her seven pillars.” Proverbs 9:1
By remembering the seven pillars of Godly wisdom, and putting them in practice, you will have financial success in your life. If you fail at any of them, you will then struggle with all of them, and your life will be more difficult than God wants it to be.

It's my belief that the following list best describes what those seven pillars are, and how they can lead to your financial success in the world.

1.) Honor God with your money and walk with integrity
2.) Be diligent and have a good work ethic.
3.) Be careful of debt, and don’t co-sign.
4.) Be generous; give to the poor.
5.) Seek counsel from those who have proven their wisdom.
6.) Be financially faithful and avoid get-rich-quick schemes.
7.) Don't hoard your wealth when you can help others

1.) Honor God with your money and walk with integrity
We are to honor God with everything. Our mind, our heart, our soul, and our possessions. Everything we have, we have because He gave them to us. Staring with our very life. So why would we not want to honor the very One Who has blessed us with it? That includes our money.
“Honor the LORD with your possessions, and with the first-fruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” Proverbs 3:9-10
God wants us to be satisfied so that we will not struggle in life. However, we are not to be so beholding to money that it rules us. He doesn’t want you to trust in riches, because if you do, then God will come second behind. So by always giving your fruits to God, you make God number one in your life. Remember, all the money in the world is not worth dishonoring God or losing your reputation. Jesus tells us;
For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:26
Solomon also tells us that;
“In the house of the righteous there is much treasure, but in the revenue of the wicked is trouble”Proverbs 15:6
So remember to never compromise with what you know to be right in order to get ahead. Honor God with all you have, and then you will be assured that you will be putting your wealth before Him. By releasing what you have in your hand, you then allow the LORD to send blessing back into your life.

2.) Be diligent and have a good work ethic.
Nothing leads to poverty quicker than idle hands, and a lazy spirit. God wants us to work, so that we will appreciate all we have. In today's world we have elected politicians who champion the causes of the little guy. That in and of itself is not a bad thing, but when you mix in the idea that those who have worked hard for what is theirs, should be forced by the government to give to those who refuse to work, we make men believe that laziness is a virtue and work is a sin. Men should work for their living, and have a good attitude towards those who give them employment. The Proverbs tells us that,
“He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes him rich.”Proverbs 10:4
In the New Testament Paul chastised those in the Thessalonian church who would not work;
For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 2 Thessalonians 3:10-11
No matter how old you are, God has things for you to do. If your goal is to get rich, retire and do nothing, you are probably not going to be very prosperous. But if your goal is to glorify God in everything you do, you will let Him be the driving force of your life. In return God will bless the fruits of your labor.

3.) Be careful of debt, and don’t co-sign.
When you take out a loan, you become someone’s servant. Until it’s paid off, you spend part of your time each week working to pay the lender instead of enjoying what God wanted you to have.

What about credit cards? They aren’t evil; just make sure you use them as a convenience, not as an alternative to saving. And always pay them off 100% each month so you don’t end up paying outlandish interest on them.

A debt mentality will prompt you to borrow for things like VCRs and TVs, or for vacations and going out to eat. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if an item depreciates in value the minute you take it out of the store, don’t borrow money to purchase it. There are some exceptions; like borrowing to get a car if you don’t have any other way to get to work. Generally, though, you will be much better off waiting and saving.

Then there is the topic of putting yourself in debt to help another. I wrote a commentary for Proverb 6 on this subject. “Be Wise & Don't Co-sign For Others". Consider what these passages in the Scriptures say about putting yourself in debt for another person?
A man devoid of understanding shakes hands in a pledge, And becomes surety for his friend. (Prov 17:18)
He who is surety for a stranger will suffer, But one who hates being surety is secure. (Prov 11:15)
Take the garment of one who is surety for a stranger, And hold it as a pledge when it is for a seductress. (Prov 20:16
“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverb 22:7
Do not be one of those who shakes hands in a pledge, One of those who is surety for debts; If you have nothing with which to pay, Why should he take away your bed from under you? (Prov 22:26-27)
So, co-signing means that: "you are devoid of understanding," "you will suffer," "you have been snared," and “you could lose your bed". I admit I am not as knowledgeable as a banker on loans, but I do have a credit rating that is over 850. Trust me, I did not get it by co-signing on loans for friends and family members I know are not trustworthy If they need help, I would rather just loan them the money and then count it lost until they pay it back.

Here are a few rules I offer that will keep you from destroying a friendship, ruining your credit, or setting your child up for failure.
"Don't co-sign for your kids to get student loans."
"Don't co-sign for your kids to get car loans."
"Don't co-sign for your mom to get a house."
"Don't co-sign, because you're going to end up paying it, and it's stupid. Don't co-sign ever.
"Never, under any circumstances, ever co-sign."
"Co-signing is one of the dumbest financial things you can do."
"There is no reason to ever co-sign."
Strict I know, but common sense is a black and white fact, and the only way to protect yourself is to keep from putting yourself in danger of being in debt for a friend, relative, or yes, even a child. It would be a shame to lose something vital as a result of co-signing for someone else. The spiritual principle involved is that you should never assume responsibility for something you have no control or authority over. Follow this link if you would like read more of what I wrote on this topic, “Be Wise & Don't Co-sign For Others".

4.) Be generous; give to the poor.
Throughout the Scriptures we are reminded that we need to be aware of the less fortunate among us. God even tells farmers to not harvest everything so that the poor can glean what they need to survive. Something that is prominent in the book of Ruth.
"When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field when you reap, nor shall you gather any gleaning from your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger: I am the LORD your God." Leviticus 23:22
As one of only four women listed in the genealogy of Jesus, the story of Ruth plays a pivotal roll in understanding the concept of the Kinsman Redeemer. This is the roll of Christ in the Salvation of mankind. Now Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi depended upon Ruth's ability to glean for food they needed to eat. So Ruth gleaned from Boaz's farm. Boaz as you may remember was to become her Kinsman redeemer, a type of Christ. Without the LORD's command that we care for the less fortunate, Ruth never would have met her future husband. The marriage of Ruth and Boaz would bring forth King David's father, and thus their union is the line for which Jesus would come from.
There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, and He who waters will also be watered. Proverbs 11:24-25
Our desire to help those who need help goes right to the love in our hearts. I do not mean that we should be blind and help those who take advantage of it, nor if we know they are using the money you give for drugs and alcohol. However, unless you know for sure, do not jump to a conclusion when you see a beggar. You know not what their life has been like, nor do you know if this person is an angle;
Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Hebrews 13:2
God always blesses those who love people and are generous with those who have less than they do. When in doubt, it is always better to err on the side of love, rather than the side of arrogance and greed.

5.) Seek counsel from those who have proven their wisdom.
Unless it's inherited, most prosperous people are those individuals have earned their wealth. Not to say that those who inherited their wealth are not wise, because President Trump is an excellent example of a man who inherited a great sum of money, but then multiplied it many times over. However, he has those who give good council.
“Without counsel, plans go awry, But in the multitude of counselors they are established. ” Proverbs 15:22
All those who are successful have councilors who advise them in their moves. Whether it be a friend, a banker, and lawyer, or maybe it's their wife. A successful individual is one who learns from the wisdom of others. If you are not willing to listen to those with more knowledge on certain matters than you are, you will struggle with your finances.

Some people won’t accept advice regardless of where is comes from. They think they know it all, and with that foolish arrogance, their future will be bleak. They’d rather go broke than get help. It’s much better to seek counsel from a financially successful person than it is to keep reproducing costly mistakes! Of course the best council is to humble yourself and ask the LORD for guidance. He will either give you the answer you seek outright, or send a good councilor for you to listen to. The key word however, is, ”LISTEN”.

6.) Be financially faithful and avoid get-rich-quick schemes.
It is better to be faithful with what you already have than it is to get involved with the latest get-rich-quick scheme. Faithfulness is important to God. Besides, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. This does not mean to say that no one ever got rich by using a get rich scheme, but the graveyard of debt is loaded with those who tried and failed.
“a faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.” Proverbs 28:20
How terrible it is to know you lost your wealth, and maybe your family because you tried a risky scheme that did not work for you. Gambling on your future is not worth it. When you purchase that lottery ticket, or when you walk into that casino, remember that you are gambling with God's money. He just loaned it to you, so be wise not foolish.

7.) Don't hoard your wealth when you can help others
Those who hoard what they have, love their stuff more than they love God. No one can reach Heaven if their love for material wealth is greater than their love for God. Here are some Scriptures that speak to the problems of hoarding, anything especially ones wealth.
He who withholds grain, the people will curse him, But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it. Proverbs 11:26
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in your power to do it. Proverbs 3:27
There is a severe evil which I have seen under the sun: Riches kept for their owner to his hurt. Ecclesiastes 5:13
Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." Matthew 19:21
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:34
I'll close this commentary with this story about 69 year old Walter Samaszko Jr.'s of Carson City, Nevada. Walter's body was found in his home. It seems he died of heart failure, but because he had no family or friends, no one knew he died for almost a Month. As the authorities looked into his matters, they discovered that he had a bank account that barely had $200.

It seems that Mr Samaszko had lived with his mother in the same house since the 1960's. His mother died in 1992, and since then has lived as a recluse with no little or no outside contact. Then as the authorities went through his house to find anything about him they could to notify the next of kin, and clean the house for sale, they discovered something that would shock the world.

Officials found boxes full of gold stored around the house and garage. They then learned that he also had stock accounts of more than $165,000 and another $12,000 in cash at the house. The gold coins had been minted as early as the 1840's in such countries as Mexico, England, Austria and South Africa. Since many of the coins appear to be collector's items, the value could go much higher, he said.

We don't know if he was a Christian, but no one ever saw him going to church, and no one knows why he lived so meager, yet hoarded a kings ransom that he never took with him.

Proverb 11 (NKJV)

The Folly of Wickedness
01 Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD,
00 But a just weight is His delight.

02 When pride comes, then comes shame;
00 But with the humble is wisdom.

03 The integrity of the upright will guide them,
00 But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.
04 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
00 But righteousness delivers from death.
05 The righteousness of the blameless will direct his way aright,
00 But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness.
06 The righteousness of the upright will deliver them,
00 But the unfaithful will be caught by their lust.

07 When a wicked man dies, his expectation will perish,
00 And the hope of the unjust perishes.
08 The righteous is delivered from trouble,
00 And it comes to the wicked instead.
09 The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor,
00 But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.
10 When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices;
00 And when the wicked perish, there is jubilation.
11 By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted,
00 But it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.

12 He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor,
00 But a man of understanding holds his peace.

13 A talebearer reveals secrets,
00 But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.

14 Where there is no counsel, the people fall;
00 But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.

15 He who is surety for a stranger will suffer,
00 But one who hates being surety is secure.

16 A gracious woman retains honor,
00 But ruthless men retain riches.
17 The merciful man does good for his own soul,
00 But he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.
18 The wicked man does deceptive work,
00 But he who sows righteousness will have a sure reward.
19 As righteousness leads to life,
00 So he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death.
20 Those who are of a perverse heart are an abomination to the LORD,
00 But the blameless in their ways are His delight.
21 Though they join forces, the wicked will not go unpunished;
00 But the posterity of the righteous will be delivered.

22 As a ring of gold in a swine's snout,
00 So is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.
23 The desire of the righteous is only good,
00 But the expectation of the wicked is wrath.

24 There is one who scatters, yet increases more;
00 And there is one who withholds more than is right,
25 The generous soul will be made rich,
00 And he who waters will also be watered himself.
26 The people will curse him who withholds grain,
00 But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.

27 He who earnestly seeks good finds favor,
00 But trouble will come to him who seeks evil.

28 He who trusts in his riches will fall,
00 But the righteous will flourish like foliage.

29 He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind,
00 And the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.

30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
00 And he who wins souls is wise.

31 If the righteous will be recompensed on the earth,
00 How much more the ungodly and the sinner.

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