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Ask Donnell: What's The Bible's Position on Wealth, Riches and Luxuries?

We received the following question from Nahom;

"Donnell, what do you think about luxuries? A rich person should definitely use their money to help those less privileged/poor. Like donating to charity. But does that make it bad to buy a luxury car for example? As long as they don't put it over God and aren't materialists, is is it okay?"

Nahom, thanks for another great question. The relationship between Christians and money can sometimes be a complex one. On the one hand, King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 10:19 that money answers all things, but then a few thousand years later Apostle Paul said in 1 Timothy 6:10 that the love of money is the root of all evil. In the same way, Jesus said to use money to make friends in Luke 16:9 but in Matthew 19:23, He said it's hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. So what are we to think? Which is it? Is it good to be rich or is it bad? Should a rich person enjoy their money or should they give it all to the poor? The answer is, it depends. 🙂 Let's dig in a little deeper.

Enjoy the Fruits of your Hard Work!

Ecclesiastes 3:9-13(NLT) - What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.

It's a good thing to work hard and enjoy the benefits of your hard work. Solomon described the fruits of your labor as gifts from God. For instance, if you like eating at nice restaurants and you can afford it, dress up nice, order whatever you want and take a box home with you when you're finished. There's nothing to be ashamed of. God has given you the strength, ability, and favor to generate enough revenue to maintain a particular lifestyle.

It Can't Be All About Money!

James 4:1-3(NLT) - What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.

Some people will never be rich and God will see to it that it does not happen. It's not that God doesn't want people to be rich. It's that people whose priorities are in the wrong place won't get His help to be rich. They can help themselves or the devil might help them get money but God won't. When people's motives are wrong, God doesn't get involved in helping them to do wrong. His main concern is not our money. His main concern is our hearts.

Luke 12:13-21(NLT) - Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.” Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”

Nowhere in this parable did Jesus condemn the rich man for being rich. That's an important observation because some people don't get that. Being rich is not a bad thing. The bad thing is when the riches consume your entire life. That's what happened to this rich man. He was a fool to make his money his priority instead of building his relationship with God. He could have had both but he chose one, the wrong one.

Though it's Good To Have Money, Money Can't Have You!

Mark 10:17-25(NKJV) - Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’” And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

The rich young ruler did not have money but money had him. Jesus knew that and put him to the test. Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell everything and give the money to the poor not because that's what every rich person is supposed to do but to prove a point. What point? That it's hard to trust in riches and also trust in God. When Jesus told the rich young ruler to get rid of his money, Jesus was asking the young man to trust Him. Unfortunately, he could not. That's the same test Jesus put the twelve disciples through in Luke 9:1-6 and the seventy disciples in Luke 10:1-12. He asked them all to leave their money behind and trust Him to provide for them on a missions trip. They all did it and guess what happened? In Luke 22:35-36, they were free to get their money back.

Mark 10:28-30(NKJV) - Then Peter began to say to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You.” So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.

When Jesus asked the rich young ruler to give up his money, it was really an opportunity. After the rich man had already left, Jesus explained to the disciples what the man had just missed out on. He promised that when people sacrifice anything they have for His sake or the gospel, He would multiply their seed and give it back to them as a harvest both in the time that they live on the earth and for eternity.

Get Your Priorities Right and God Himself will Give you the Money!

2 Chronicles 1:7-12(NLT) - That night God appeared to Solomon and said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!” Solomon replied to God, “You showed great and faithful love to David, my father, and now you have made me king in his place. O Lord God, please continue to keep your promise to David my father, for you have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth! Give me the wisdom and knowledge to lead them properly, for who could possibly govern this great people of yours?” God said to Solomon, “Because your greatest desire is to help your people, and you did not ask for wealth, riches, fame, or even the death of your enemies or a long life, but rather you asked for wisdom and knowledge to properly govern my people— I will certainly give you the wisdom and knowledge you requested. But I will also give you wealth, riches, and fame such as no other king has had before you or will ever have in the future!”

Solomon never asked God to be rich. He asked for wisdom to help people. It was God who decided to give him wealth, riches, and fame. In other words, it was God's Will for Solomon to be rich. If it was up to Solomon, the wisdom to rule God's people would have sufficed. That was God's decision.

Psalm 112:1-3(KJV) - Praise ye the Lord. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever.

The Word of God is replete with promises like these for those who choose to fear God and delight in His commandments. God did it for Abraham, Solomon, David and many others and He can do it for you too. Yet, it's hard for some people to accept God's blessings of wealth and riches. That's fine. It's not for everyone so if a person doesn't want it, they don't need to have it. However, if you are faithful to God and He chooses to reward you in that way, enjoy it. It is His Will for you to have it.

Riches Come with Social Responsibility!

1 Timothy 6:17-19(NLT) - Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.

Again, Apostle Paul reiterates the earlier message of Jesus concerning trust. Rich people should never trust in their money. Their trust should be in God who is the one who gives riches for our enjoyment. They should enjoy their money and they should use their money for good. They should give to others and store up treasures in heaven. That's their social responsibility. If God blesses you with riches, that's what you need to know.

Giving Money to the Poor is not Always the Answer to Everything

John 12:1-8(NKJV) - Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it. But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.”

King Solomon said in Proverbs 19:17 that when you give to the poor you lend to God and God will pay you back. However, some people have turned giving to the poor into an excuse for telling rich people what to do with their money. Why did you buy that expensive car? You could have given the money to the poor. Why do you own a private jet? You should have given that money to the poor. Why is your house so big? You should have given that money to the poor.

Unfortunately, like the example in John 12, people who criticize the spending practices of the rich aren't always doing so because they care about the poor. They do so because they are jealous. How do we know that? Ask them how much of their own money they give to the poor. It's God's Will to give to the poor but it's not God's Will to try to put a rich person on a guilt trip about their charitable giving because you are jealous of their money. It's their money. If you believe the poor need to get money, you give it. Leave other people's money alone.

Acts 3:6(NKJV) - Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”

Give people what they need. Sometimes, what they need is not money.

The timing of your inquiry could not have been better. I have a new book coming out on January 1st which addresses the role of finances in God's Kingdom. It's called "The Fish with the Coin in Its Mouth". You can click the link to find out more. It's available now for pre-order on Amazon. Check it out!

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Decatur Community Workshops - "Dollars and Common Sense" Highlights

This video provides extended highlights from our recent workshop "Dollars and Common Sense". This event was a production of Decatur Community Workshops and was hosted at The Body Church, 3009 Rainbow Drive, Suite #142, Decatur, GA 30034.

Our faith-based group hosts monthly workshops in the Decatur area that are free, interactive and open to the surrounding community. Topics include leadership, personal finances, investing, professional networking, career advancement, real estate, grant writing and many more. We are open to suggestions and are always interested in welcoming new people. If you love to learn new things especially for free, this group is for you. For more info, visit www.meetup.com/decaturcommunityworkshops

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Special Bulletin: Making Sense of This Crazy Global Economy

Making Sense of This Crazy Global Economy

Proverbs 23:4-5(NLT) - Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit. In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.

1.5 Billion dollars! That's the latest lottery jackpot for The Powerball. If someone has the winning ticket that person's life would change forever. All of that person's money problems would be over. The person might pick up some new problems but that's a different issue. We found out that three people from Chino Hills, California; Munford, Tennessee; and Melbourne Beach, Florida had the winning numbers. It would not surprise me if there were a few Christians in the long lines outside of convenience stores and gas stations waiting to buy tickets. Some were believing God to guide them to the right numbers. Come on Jesus! All we do is win! Won't He do it? He did it once, He'll do it again! Maybe that was God's plan to reward some lucky tithe payers somewhere. Maybe not.

30 dollars! That's how low the oil price has fallen. That's a 70% drop in 18 months! As the oil price sunk lower and lower so did the hearts of people in countries with oil dependent economies. Some economists think it will only go lower. Perhaps as low as $10? It's tough times all around. One silver lining would be the low gas prices which we love. SUVs and big cars are selling again because with record low oil prices come record low gas prices.

Sell everything! 2016 will be a cataclysmic year so cash out while you can. That was the advice given to investors by Andrew Roberts, head of European economics, rates and Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and African research at Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). China's economic growth is slowing. The stock market is down. The oil price is down. All the signs point to a catastrophic collapse. One of my investment holdings reported horrendous earnings a few nights ago and the value plunged overnight. I guess it's time to jump off a building right? Of course not!

All of this craziness is happening with the world's economy all at once. What exactly are we supposed to do?

Luke 16:8(NLT) - “The rich man had to admire the dishonest rascal for being so shrewd. And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light.

Well, I can tell you what's not the answer. Doing nothing. When the world's falling apart around you pretending not to notice it and thinking it won't affect you at some point is not an option. Everywhere we look, people are responding to the global financial upheaval. The Trinidad Government is cutting back. Nigeria, Venezuela and seven other OPEC members are pushing with all of their might against their OPEC counterparts Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Quatar and the UAE to lower oil production. OPEC has the power to lower production and raise the oil price but won't do it. Unfortunately, the latter four (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Quatar and the UAE) hold all the cards and will not back down on production until they push the US shale oil producers as well as other non-OPEC producers like Russia out of business.

The world is doing something. There's no guarantee that their plans will work but at least they have a plan. As Jesus stated in Luke 16:8, the children of this world are crafty and cunning when it comes to handling worldly affairs. Sadly, the same can't always be said of the children of God. That's understandable because we are not of this world so we find no pleasure in being experts at the things of this world. Nonetheless, what's happening around us is affecting us so we might want to pay attention where we can and do something to hedge against the disaster that's already here.

Important Biblical Principles To Keep You Sane In The Middle of Financial Insanity

1) Fast Money Is Not God's Answer To Lasting Financial Stability

Proverbs 13:11(NET) - Wealth gained quickly will dwindle away, but the one who gathers it little by little will become rich.

Sorry you didn't win the $1.5 billion jackpot. Maybe next time God will tell you the correct numbers in a dream. Constantly, we hear horror stories of people who get money quickly and lose it just as quickly. Why is that so common? It's a Biblical principle. That's why God will not give you the numbers for the lotto jackpot. He will give you a business idea, an assignment, a gift, favor and an opportunity. Steward them well and you can turn into a money making machine. However, if you think talking in tongues while lining up at the gas station for a lotto ticket is God's answer to your financial problems, think again. Am I saying it's impossible for a Christian to ever win the lotto? Nope. I'm saying that it's not a Biblical financial principle for wealth building and never will be. It can't work for everyone so it can't be a principle.

2) Your Money Will Match Your Mindset

Proverbs 14:24(NLT) - Wealth is a crown for the wise; the effort of fools yields only foolishness.

It's easier to make money than to manage money but the latter determines your long term financial status. Your long-term financial state has more to do with your mindset and money management skills than your talents or luck. Talent and luck may open the door for you to get money but your mindset and money management skills are how you will keep it. This explains why many professional athletes and entertainers who don't understand how money works turn into poor former professional athletes and entertainers. Once the checks stop flowing they have to do something they never mastered and that's manage money. In the same way, many lottery winners blow through their fortunes because they have no idea of what to do with money of that magnitude. Your money will either rise or fall to meet your mindset. If you know what you are doing you can start small and steadily increase your net worth. If you don't know what you are doing you can start big and steadily decrease your net worth. In the end, the wise will rise above the foolish.

3) God Puts Money In The Hands Of People Who Know What To Do With It

Matthew 25:14-29(NLT) - “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip. “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money. “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’ “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ “The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’ “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’ “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’ “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.

In this Parable of The Kingdom, Jesus explained that God gives people money in proportion to their abilities. That's His way of holding people accountable. If you want God to put more money in your hands then you have to do two things; increase your financial management ability and demonstrate it by successfully managing what you already have. That's how God works. He doesn't spread wealth evenly. Those who do well with what they've been given are rewarded and those who don't do well lose what they have. God's plan for your long term financial success is not giving you wealth you have not demonstrated the ability to handle. Stop waiting for your lucky break or a million dollars to fall out of the sky. That's not established Biblical wisdom so you can't plan your financial future around it.

4) Don't Spend All You Earn

Proverbs 21:20(NLT) - The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get.

This might be the simplest financial principle ever but unfortunately, it still needs to be said. The world's economy is not in good shape so don't spend your entire paycheck. The Bible describes that as foolish. Live below your means and save as much as you can because you have no idea what could happen next. Even if you don't have a reliable income stream for any period of time your savings buy you time to figure things out. Essentially, your financial state is a measurement of what you have left after your financial commitments. You can improve your state by either increasing your income or decreasing your expenditure. When the latter is below the former you can build your savings.

If you want to spend more and still save then you have to figure out ways to generate more income. One way to do that is give yourself a raise by finding a higher paying job. Another is to pick up a second job. Even if it doesn't pay that much it provides additional income. You can also figure out innovative ways to get money. I have a couple that I won't share in this forum but believe me, they exist. Another is to develop your gifts and talents. What do you do extremely well that people would be willing to pay you for? I've been working hard on mine all my life. I hope you have been too. In times like these you may need to pull on them. Regardless, it doesn't matter how much you earn, don't spend all of it. That's not wise.

5) Be Excellent In Your Work Because It Will Affect Your Money

Proverbs 22:29(NKJV) - Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.

Luke 12:42-44(NLT) - And the Lord replied, “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns.

Everyone loves excellence. We may not all be willing to pay the price to operate in excellence in our own lives but we usually prefer those who deal with us to do so with excellence. God's established wisdom is that people who excel and demonstrate faithfulness are rewarded. If we accept that wisdom we position ourselves for promotion in the midst of mass layoffs or faithful clients when everyone else has to scale back. The time of reckoning comes for everyone so it's wise to prepare for it now. Be excellent in all that you do. If you own your business, God will reward you with clients of a higher echelon. If you work for someone, God will reward you with promotion. Excellence never goes unnoticed. Even when you think nobody else sees, God does and He rewards what He sees.

6) Don't Stop Sowing Financially Into God's Kingdom

Matthew 6:33(NLT) - Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

Proverbs 11:24-25(NLT) - Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.

In tough economic times the one advantage we do have as Christians is access to God's economic system. So it would behoove us to continue to participate in it. Keep tithing. Keep sowing. Keep investing in the work of The Lord. You can't get out of God's system what you do not put into it. This is not the time to skip out on your tithes. If you generate income, be sure to give The Lord His 10%. That's established Biblical wisdom. Don't give into the temptation to remove yourself from God's covering on your finances in an effort to save a very small portion of your total income. It's better to have money coming in and pay your tithes than to get your flow of money cut off as a result of circumventing Biblical wisdom.

7) Don't Panic, Pray and Experience God's Peace

Philippians 4:6-7(NLT) - Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

I prayed in tongues this morning. When's the last time you've done that? Hopefully, you just did because when things start looking crazy, prayer is your only answer. The world's economy is shaking all around us but we can have peace. It's a peace that exceeds understanding. That's what we need. Worrying will get us nowhere. Common sense says that we're supposed to panic. As we watch the stock market plunge and our investments suddenly lose value what are we supposed to do? Cry? Nope! We pray and enjoy the peace of God. Let the world panic and go crazy. Yes, the global economy is going crazy right now but that doesn't mean we have to.

In sum, let's get real about a few things. The rich are still getting richer and the poor are still getting poorer while the middle class are being stretching thin. That's not changing soon. The oil price is going to have to go back up eventually. It's a rigged system and it's rigged to make money for the people who are rigging it. If dropping the price helps them to make money they will drop it. When it causes them to start losing money they will raise it. They are losing money by the billions so before they run out of savings they will have no choice but to manipulate production and raise the price again.

Nothing is for certain in this world so put all of your trust in The Lord. Many people are in a state of complete fear concerning their financial future and that's understandable. We can't participate in that. The Lord is on our side and He won't abandon us at a time like this. He is speaking and it's our job to listen to what He has to say. There's so much more to be said but I've said enough for now. Think about what you already know and do something with that. Nonetheless, if you want to dig even deeper, watch this video. It will help.

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How Norway Used The "Joseph Financial Model" To Thrive During A Global Recession

An Introduction To Kingdom Economics

It's much easier to get money than it is to keep it. I remember hearing stories of the oil boom that hit Trinidad and Tobago in the 70s. Money was flowing like water. Now, what is there to show for it? I remember hearing stories of several different booms that hit the US over the last few decades; the stock market boom, the dot com boom, etc. Now, the economy of the world's richest nation is being propped up by deficit spending. Last Wednesday, January 8th, Reuters published the article, "All Norwegians become crown millionaires, in oil saving landmark" by Alister Doyle. It blew my mind and if you understand economics it will blow yours too. Check it out;

(Reuters) - Everyone in Norway became a theoretical crown millionaire on Wednesday in a milestone for the world's biggest sovereign wealth fund that has ballooned thanks to high oil and gas prices.

Set up in 1990, the fund owns around 1 percent of the world's stocks, as well as bonds and real estate from London to Boston, making the Nordic nation an exception when others are struggling under a mountain of debts.

A preliminary counter on the website of the central bank, which manages the fund, rose to 5.11 trillion crowns ($828.66 billion), fractionally more than a million times Norway's most recent official population estimate of 5,096,300.

It was the first time it reached the equivalent of a million crowns each, central bank spokesman Thomas Sevang said.

Not that Norwegians will be able to access or spend the money, squirreled away for a rainy day for them and future generations. Norway has resisted the temptation to splurge all the windfall since striking oil in the North Sea in 1969.

Finance Minister Siv Jensen told Reuters the fund, called the Government Pension Fund Global, had helped iron out big, unpredictable swings in oil and gas prices. Norway is the world's number seven oil exporter.

"Many countries have found that temporary large revenues from natural resource exploitation produce relatively short-lived booms that are followed by difficult adjustments," she said in an email.

The fund, equivalent to 183 percent of 2013 gross domestic product, is expected to peak at 220 percent around 2030.

"The fund is a success in the sense that parliament has managed to put aside money for the future. There are many examples of countries that have mot managed that," said Oeystein Doerum, chief economist at DNB Markets.

Norway has sought to avoid the boom and bust cycle by investing the cash abroad, rather than at home. Governments can spend 4 percent of the fund in Norway each year, slightly more than the annual return on investment.

Still, in Norway, oil wealth may have made the state reluctant to make reforms or cut subsidies unthinkable elsewhere. Farm subsidies allow farmers, for instance, to keep dairy cows in heated barns in the Arctic.

It may also have made some Norwegians reluctant to work. "One in five people of working age receives some kind of social insurance instead of working," Doerum said, despite an official unemployment rate of 3.3 percent.

Genesis 41:47-57(NLT) - As predicted, for seven years the land produced bumper crops. 48 During those years, Joseph gathered all the crops grown in Egypt and stored the grain from the surrounding fields in the cities. 49 He piled up huge amounts of grain like sand on the seashore. Finally, he stopped keeping records because there was too much to measure. 50 During this time, before the first of the famine years, two sons were born to Joseph and his wife, Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On. 51 Joseph named his older son Manasseh, for he said, “God has made me forget all my troubles and everyone in my father’s family.” 52 Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.” 53 At last the seven years of bumper crops throughout the land of Egypt came to an end. 54 Then the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had predicted. The famine also struck all the surrounding countries, but throughout Egypt there was plenty of food. 55 Eventually, however, the famine spread throughout the land of Egypt as well. And when the people cried out to Pharaoh for food, he told them, “Go to Joseph, and do whatever he tells you.” 56 So with severe famine everywhere, Joseph opened up the storehouses and distributed grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout the land of Egypt. 57 And people from all around came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph because the famine was severe throughout the world.

One of my favorite preachers put it like this; "In times of plenty, live lean so that in lean times you can live." When Joseph interpreted Pharaoh's dream, they knew exactly what was coming in the future and because they knew the future before it happened they owned the future. As a result, all who found out when the future actually happened had to pay Joseph a premium for it. That's the "Joseph Financial Model".

Norway has followed this model and is now sitting on so much money that each citizen is theoretically a millionaire. They are so comfortable that many people don't even work because they don't have to. When they hit an oil boom they took the surplus money and invested it. Brilliant! Now, by law they have chosen to take out a maximum of 4% annually from that fund for any domestic spending. That is approximately the amount of interest their money is gaining each year while they continue to add to the principal from annual oil sale surpluses. In other words, the fund continues to grow and grow and grow. It worked for Norway it will work for us.

That financial model came from The Bible. We should use it. What do you do when you get any extra money in your hands that you don't immediately need? Does it make you nervous? Do you feel uncomfortable sitting on extra money? Do you have to find somewhere to spend it so you can feel normal again? If that is you, it's time for a change. When God causes surplus to come into our hands we need to store it for a rainy day. One of these days a financial tsunami is going to hit this earth which will make this current recession look like a drizzle.

Have we learned anything from Joseph? Have we learned anything from Norway? When you have extra money it's not the time to spend it all on luxuries. Invest it and if you must spend anything from your surplus use the interest on your investment to do whatever you like. That's financial wisdom from God. It made Egypt the richest nation in the world and caused Norway to thrive in the midst of a global recession. What do you think it will do in your life? Some of us are broke by choice. It's not that we made the choice to be broke but our choices have caused us to be broke. When God gives us more than we need we should put away something because the future is uncertain. It's a new year. It's a new season. If you are fortunate enough to get a surplus. Invest it.

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Special Weekend Video Replay - Power Over Money

John 6:5-7(NLT) - Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, "Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?" He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do. Philip replied, "Even if we worked for months, we wouldn't have enough money to feed them!"

Not enough money? No problem! When Jesus walked the earth, money was never a problem. He had power over money. The same power is available to you.

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Special Weekend Video - Get Your Harvest

A few weeks ago we received a testimony from the wife of a prominent Atlanta Christian rap artist. She told us that someone from our local church gave them a DVD of this message and it really blessed their lives. They watched it over and over during a crucial season and The Lord spoke to them in a way that they really needed at the time. We released this over a year ago but we're replaying it this weekend for those who really need to hear it. If you saw it already, see it again. 🙂

If you've ever sown any type of seed into God's Kingdom, this message is for you.

Mark 4:26-29(KJV) - And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.
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Help Someone Else

Proverbs 11:25(NKJV) - The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself.
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Be Thankful

Philippians 4:6-7(NKJV) - Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
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Build Up Your Heavenly Account

Matthew 6:19-21(NKJV) - "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
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October 3, 2012 Posted by admin in Money

Learning To Be Content

Learning To Be Content

This week's blog series is based on the featured video, "Power Over Money." If you haven't seen it in its entirety don't be left out, scroll to the bottom of this blog and see it for yourself. You can also click here for the previous blog in the series, "The Danger of Money Stress".

I really hope this series has been a blessing to you because it's sure been a blessing to me. I wonder why I was surprised that after writing yesterday's blog I ended up being tested? It was a great opportunity to show that Jehovah Jireh is the God of my life and not money. I had to prove by my actions that I practice what I preach. Anyway, on with today's blog...

I've lived in metropolitan Atlanta, GA for over a decade. In a big urban/ suburban paradise like this one you meet lots of people with big dreams. Brothers are trying to start record labels or get signed to some kind of entertainment contract. Sisters are trying to blow up in the modeling industry.

Some folks hope to strike it rich doing multi-level marketing. Some hope to pick the lucky numbers when the lotto gets over $100 million. The recent uprising in reality shows and talent competitions have only fueled those flames of desire. You can go from a nobody to a superstar if you could just win American Idol or America's Next Top Model.

Though it's great to have ambition, sometimes we don't appreciate what we already have because we always want more. We're like kids who really want new toys every Christmas but throw them aside days after we receive them. God gives us what we want but then we want something else. He gives us that then we want what we had before.

Here's what The Apostle Paul has to say.

Philippians 4:11-13(NLT) - Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Several few years ago The Lord challenged me and exposed my heart when He asked, "If nothing else happens and you never get bigger than you are right now would you be satisfied?"

Hmmm... deep question. The truth is that at that point in my life the answer was no. I guess that's why He asked the question in the first place. I've definitely grown over the years and now measure my success by how well I handle what God has already given to me.

Can I be content with what The Lord has already done for me or does He have to do more to get my attention? The truth is that I am thankful for what I have. He's done enough to deserve my heartfelt gratitude. If this is it, then glory to God! He's been good!

What about you? Have you learned to be content? Why not make the decision today to quit complaining about what you have? Don't look at what you don't have but be thankful what you do have. Show yourself faithful right where you are and watch God bring you increase.

Luke 16:10(KJV) - He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

We'll continue from here tomorrow.

Not enough money? No problem! When Jesus walked the earth, money was never a problem. He had power over money. The same power is available to you.

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