Tag Archives: king solomon

Repost: There is a Season for Everything

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

If we continually rest upon the divine counsel of God’s infinite wisdom, our lives can reflect the simplicity of this statement from Ecclesiastes. However, our lives will become maddeningly complex if we choose to ignore the instructions God has for us regarding specific seasons.

“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3

“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” Psalm 37:23-24

In our minds, we can be in springtime when God has us firmly in a winter season.

“There is…a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot.” Ecclesiastes 3:2

Generally speaking, we as human beings don’t like change. In fact, we can enjoy comfort to the point that we’ll delay a season of change (even if it’s good) just to keep everything constant and predictable. Some of us are creatures of habit, and some of us really do like controlling our own lives.  Then, when God instructs us to do something we don’t want to do, our feathers get ruffled. But remember that life is about change.

If you’re not constantly changing, you’re also not growing. Entering (and exiting) seasons of change is healthy!

When God leads us into a new season, He often alters our present-day circumstances.

  • Have you lost the enthusiasm or passion about the work you once felt called to do? God may be moving you into a new season of rest or into a new career.
  • Are you experiencing immense pressure about your current dating relationship? God may be moving you forward into a new season of commitment (such as an engagement), or the relationship may need to come to an end.
  • Do you have an awkward tension towards any situation (a friendship, living arrangement, or financial plan) in your life that seems bizarre? You may be standing still in a season that God wants you to move past.

How can you know the time to move on?

Even after following Jesus for many years, listening for His prompting to move on can be difficult. Allow me to share a few personal examples with you:

1. In a recent season of my life, the Lord had impressed me to pray with a specific individual. Our time was undoubtedly fruitful, and meeting bright and early each Friday morning to sit with the Lord was a real joy. But over time, my spirit became more burdened than joyful, and the Lord  graciously related that this season had come to an end. Even if the Lord gives you a task that produces great fruit in one season, He may not have you continue indefinitely. Seek the Lord, and He’ll be faithful to include you on the timing of events.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

2. While I was serving as a missionary with limited funds, the Lord provided a beautiful place for me to live. After praying about it, my roommate and I agreed that I would stay there for a specific time (a few months). Once these initial months passed, we had both became comfortable with our living arrangement. On our own, we decided that I could stay for a bit longer (I still needed a place to live and she needed the income). Shortly thereafter, tension arose between us, and each of our boundaries were slowly encroached upon. At this point, I knew that something was definitely wrong, and God faithfully informed me that His purpose had been fulfilled and it was time to move on.

“Seek the Lord while he may be found;call on him while he is near.Let the wicked forsake their waysand the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” Isaiah 55:6-7

3. Finally, as a writer today, the Lord has me stepping into some very unfamiliar territory. He has given me a bucket full of BIG dreams, but I also only have a very limited amount of time. Therefore, I have had to choose my time wisely and bid farewell to some old activities (that have been fruitful in the past) to make room for the new items He has for me (that will produce the bountiful harvest He has planted in my life).

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2

Pruning can be a tough process, and it’s easier for us to remain where we feel most comfortable. But as His beloved, we must move on and we must move forward.

“…a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:3-8

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How to Establish a Biblically-Based Budget

After spending the last few days discussing ways in which we can be an effective rich person (and yes, this is implying that we are rich) through the medium of generosity, I thought it may be wise to provide some insight on how to set-up a biblically-based budget. If you missed the last few posts, you can read them here: You’re Richer than You ThinkHow to Be an Effective Rich Person, and 10 Practical Steps to Be an Effective Rich Person.

May you be encouraged and to God be the glory!

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“The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” Proverbs 22:3

This statement made by King Solomon can easily be used to show the need to budget.

Just as a business plan is necessary for a strong and sustainable company, a budget is equally as necessary for the health and vitality of our finances. Without them, companies or individuals would almost be predisposed to make poor financial choices and experience strategic misdirection.

Yet, despite the benefits of “planning” a financial course of action, my heart used to cringe at the very sound of the word “budget.” Budgeting was overly restrictive to me and limited my spontaneity in spending funds just as my heart desired. Because I worked hard to generate an income, I felt entitled to spend it the way I wanted.

Sound familiar?

After years of living like this, I decided to submit my mind (and spirit) to the financial wisdom of Scripture (through the lessons of Crown Financial Ministries) and discovered major errors in my budgeting (or lack thereof). Dumbfounded yet inspired by this new-found instruction, I was eager to “now” include Jesus.

Remember the Word teaches us to seek after knowledge as God’s FULL intent is for us to prosper and to be successful. However, we do have the responsibility to do our part in applying His instruction.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13

“An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge” Proverbs 18:15

“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.” Proverbs 4:7

1. So, what is a biblically-based budget?

A biblically-based budget is a structured financial plan that wisely guides an individual to manage (appropriately allocate) their God-given funds in effective ways using God’s word. Always remember that the purpose of this is for God to receive the glory for producing high-yielding fruit here on earth and in eternity. This means being rooted in scripture, covered in prayer, and constantly adapting to the different seasons in your life. The following scripture in Ecclesiastes confirms the value of wise financial planning:

“Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor.” Ecclesiastes 7:12

  2. What happens when a budget does not exist?

Chaos, poverty, and destruction are three words that immediately come to mind, along with the following scriptures and bullet points:

  • Impulsive/recreational shopping
  • Paying for services that are too expensive (desires outweighing true needs)
  • Living beyond your means because of internal or external pressure
  • Missing opportunities for investing in God’s Kingdom (spending lavishly on ourselves instead of giving to those in need)
  • Sporadic or inconsistent tithing (missing out on blessings from the Lord)
  • Saving negligently or inappropriately (by not saving, or saving so much to the point of hoarding)
  • Accruing debt (enjoying it now and paying it off later)

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. The more they increased, the more they sinned against me; I will change their glory into shame.” Hosea 4:6-7

“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?” Proverbs 1:22

3. What does a budget include according to God’s Word?

I.Tithes

Plan to give a specific amount (10% of income) consistently every month rather than feeling “guilty” through compulsive giving. Once you have the dollar amount set, allow Him to guide you on where it is to go – directly to the church, a missionary, or however He leads you. This is your first “bill” to pay every paycheck.

  • “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
  • “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” Malachi 3:10
  • “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.” Proverbs 11:24
  • “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine” Proverbs 3:9-10

II. Debt

Debt is not okay. This is very straightforward, yet completely contradictory to what most Americans are taught to do in pursuing the “American Dream”. Indebtedness to a lender is a  form of bondage. And because Jesus died to give us freedom, it is incredibly wise to approach a legal contract of purchase (A.K.A debt) with extreme caution. For many, this means a lifestyle change. And often this is exactly what the Lord desires. Paying off debt must be a top priority after paying God first.

  • “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” Proverbs 22:7
  • “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8

III. Savings

Saving is not only wise but very biblical. And it requires intentionality. Pay God first, then pay yourself. Even if it’s little by little ($10 a month if that’s all you can afford), at least do that. One cannot afford not to put funds aside. The goal is to save 10% of your income; however many start off at 5% and then slowly build upwards.

  • “Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.” proverbs 21:20
  • “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” Luke 14:28
  • “Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it” Proverbs 13:11
  • “On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come” 1 Corinthians 16:11

Continue reading the second portion of this post Practical Resources for a Biblically-Based Budget. We have provided a sample budget and helpful worksheets to begin your journey towards honoring God with your wealth. I’ve also shared my personal testimony of paying off over $50,000 in debt (while I was on the mission field with a 15k salary). Now, I am enjoying life completely debt-free – praise be to God alone! 

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The Gateway to a Successful Life

Among the many colorful episodes in the life of King Solomon, one that always stands out to me is his unusual (yet clever) response when the Lord of all creation poses this request: “Ask for whatever you want Me to give you.”

God is impressed when Solomon responds: “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” In fact, the king’s response evokes deep satisfaction within the heart of his Maker.

I want this. I desire to impress the heart of my Maker.

One afternoon, I was sitting with a hot mug of coffee balanced perfectly between my knees. My journal and Bible were resting in my two hands. Then the God of the Universe burst into my ordinary room and asked me, “What do you want My child? Tell Me and I will be faithful to grant it.”

To which I audibly responded, “Am I hearing You correctly, Lord? Did You seriously just tell me to ask You for anything, and You will grant it?” My head was absolutely spinning. If I asked for the money to pay off the debt I had, then I could be hilariously generous to others! Or I could ask for a new job, since I was so tired of mine. Like a kid in a candy shop, I was in absolute disbelief. The King of kings and Lord of lords just asked me to tell Him what I want AND he was going to grant it.

For no other reason than His amazing grace, I quickly realized the magnitude of this question. With the understanding that this moment was too rare and holy to be wasted, I quickly had to formulate a response. Then I remembered Solomon’s request, and an earlier time when I had whispered to God that I too wanted to move His heart. Here was my opportunity to emulate King Solomon’s response, and I certainly wanted to impress the Lord.

“Lord, I know what I want. I want wisdom. Will you grant me a supernatural measure of wisdom? Wisdom that is beyond my years? A wisdom that will guide me in making decisions that will glorify You? Teach me to be like You.”

His wisdom led me to years of Christian counseling and the Biblical finance courses that (after years of diligent downsizing) helped pay off thousands of dollars in debt. His wisdom led me to leave a life of mediocrity (or “responsible” and “safe” in the world’s eyes) behind. Instead, King Jesus led me overseas in faith to partner in life-changing missions work that continues to bear fruit today.

Wisdom has kept me from making several poor decisions and investing in unhealthy friendships. Together with obedience to God’s Word, wisdom led me to refuse any unexceptional relationships and prompted me to reevaluate what God (and I) would want in a future mate. Keith then met my (very high) God-given standards and possessed the qualities that I desired in a husband. Through the wise advice given to us in pre-marital counseling, we also learned to never put ministry before our marriage. That’s right: ministry NEVER goes before marriage, which has greatly protected our union. 

“For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money, and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.” Ecclesiastes 7:12

Wisdom is what leads us to success, beloved. Wisdom grants us long life by guiding us to make the best decisions.

In the quiet of the morning, with my knees pressed down on a fluffy mat as a buffer from the cold concrete floor of our loft, I petitioned God to grant us more and more wisdom.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5

Beloved, His wisdom IS the answer to all your questions, problems, and struggles. Wisdom will make you prosper. Wisdom will give you success. Wisdom will keep you from danger. Wisdom will help you resolve conflict and establish strong boundaries.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life.If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.” Proverbs 9:10-11

Let me challenge you in this, beloved. If you really want to be Christ-like, to think like Him, behave like Him, and experience life like He wants you to, then wisdom is the best way to start. Wisdom will guide you to love when you want to hate, because wisdom is the beginning of fearing the Lord (in a reverential manner). If you fear Him, you obey Him. And to obey Him is to love Him. And when we love Him, we love others. It’s crazy to think how much all of that points back to wisdom.

“Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it.Blessed are those who listen to me,  watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord.But those who fail to find me harm themselves; all who hate me love death.” Proverbs 8:33-36

May you be encouraged by this post today beloved. See that God has already provided you with an incredible tool to grow in stature and mature in His ways. That tool is the book of Proverbs. Read it, chew it, ponder it, digest it, re-read it, and ask Him to grant you wisdom to honor Him with your life. It’s the absolute best thing you could ever ask the Living God for during the years of your earthly life!

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