Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Day 14

Our real worth is what will be ours in eternity.

Practical Tips for Godly Lifestyle Adjustments

Check those that are good reminders for you:

Live simply and within your means (1 Tim 6:6-8)

Do not covet the possessions of others (Eph 5:30)

Follow this wise advice: “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”

When considering making a purchase, ask yourself: “Do I really need this?” Learn to discern between your needs and your wants. (1 Tim 6:8-10, Heb 13:5)

Resist the urge to compare yourself with others (2 Cor 10:12)

Examine your home for evidence of hoarding (Luke 12:18)

Give away anything that owns you (Matt 19:21)

Do not fall for commercial advertising – shop wisely based on good counsel (Prov 11:14).

Avoid fads; stick with the classics that are always in style. (Col 2:8, Rom 12:1-2)

Analyze the cost of seemingly small expenditures, such as eating out, buying brand name clothing, etc. These purchases can add up to substantial sums of money. (Prov 27:23-24)

In making major purchases, be sure to shop around, compare prices, gain knowledge, and get at least three prices or bids before making your final decision. (Prov 24:4-5)

Actively deaccumulate by going through your closets, drawers, storage spaces, garage, basement, etc. (Matt 6:19-20)

Be willing to pray before making special purchases. Give God the opportunity to lead you or provide for you in an unexpected but more affordable way. (1 Peter 5:7)

Be willing to purchase or use pre-owned items. Oftentimes you can save substantial money by getting what someone else previously paid full price for. (Job 27:16, Prov 13:22)

Adapted from material by Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadows, IL

Count Your Blessings

A pathway to more joyful and generous giving and living

A number of years ago, I discovered a wonderful verse in I Corinthians 16:2, “On the first day of each week let each of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper.”

At first, I didn’t understand how the verse could apply to my life. But my wife and I began a Sunday evening practice of “looking back and writing down” how God provided for us in the previous seven days. Each week, we discovered there were many ways that God provided for us outside of our normal income. We began giving 10% of my main income to our local church and we then started a “Blessings Fund” that represented 10% or more of the myriad of blessings God creatively brought into our life week by week.

At the end of the first year, even though my main income only brought in $15,000; I discovered we had given $1500 to our local church and an additional $2500 out of our “Blessings Fund” to other Christian causes. This meant that God had blessed us with $25,000 of blessings during the past year.

We did this for several more years and discovered that every year God doubled and tripled what we were able and willing to give to the Lord’s work because we counted our blessings. Here are the lessons we learned and practiced that helped us live a more joyful and generous life:

1) Plan a time each week where you will begin to write down God’s provisions from the previous week in a “Blessings Notebook.”

2) When you meet together, think back over the following areas and write down anything that comes to your remembrance:

MAIN INCOME? If you were paid during the week, write down that amount. For us, we then gave 10% of this amount to our local church.

ADDITIONAL INCOME OR UNEXPECTED CASH? Write down any cash gifts, overtime pay, bonuses, second salary, moonlighting, investment returns, sale of any possession, refunds, inheritance, etc.

PEOPLE’S HOSPITALITY? Meals, lodging, entertainments that others gave to you or paid the cost.

SPECIAL HELP OR ASSISTANCE? Help with car – house - equipment repairs, free babysitting, etc.

DISCOUNT OR SALE ITEMS? Any money saved on discounted clothing or household items, garage sale/thrift shop savings, discounts on recreational activities, etc.

PURCHASE OF NEW POSSESSIONS? When my wife and I were buying a major item or a luxury item, we sometimes included the cost of these items in our blessings fund and in order to give an additional 10% or more to the Lord’s work.

1) Write down the financial value for each item OR (very important) write down the amount you “WOULD HAVE BEEN WILLING TO SPEND” for the item. For example: A family member gave me a $1000 radial arm saw. I would have never been able or willing to afford a $1000 tool like this, but I might have “been willing to spend” $200 on a used radial arm saw at a garage sale. So, in this example, I put down the value of the blessing at $200 (not $1000). Therefore I ended up giving an extra $20 to the Lord’s work, not an extra $100.

2) Add up the value of the total number of blessing items for the week and take 10% or more of the total and decide where to give it OR set aside the week’s amount in your notebook or put the money in a special place or account and consider this your “BLESSINGS FUND”.

3) Faithfully give your church 10% or more of your main income. Then begin to joyfully and generously use your “Blessings Fund” to help support missions, missionaries, special projects and needs, building programs, the needy, and Christian workers and organizations.

4-WEEK CHALLENGE: I am confident that the LORD has been “blessing” most people’s lives week by week. But most of us don’t “see” the blessings because we don’t take time each week to “look back over the last 7 days to see what God has done to provide for us.” Because of this, I challenge you to try this for at least 4 weeks to “see” what God is doing for you! I believe it will truly lead you to a more joyful and generous life!



Identify: “Where is your money going?”

“Riches certainly make themselves wings;

They fly away like an eagle...” Prov 23:5

Money talks: It says, “good bye!” Where is your money going?

Step 1: As best as you can, estimate how much money you are spending on a “monthly basis” in each area listed on the next page (Helpful hint: Take ANY quarterly, yearly, sometimes and one time expenses and pro-rate this amount on a monthly basis).

Step 2: Prayerfully review the list. Are there any items the Lord may be showing you that:

· You don’t really need and could eliminate from your spending in order to be more generous?

· You could meet this need more affordably by shopping around or by lowering your expectations so you could be more generous?

· You should decrease or eliminate because you realize this expenditure is hurtful to your personal health OR your spiritual growth and service?

· You could postpone or trust God to meet this need in another way so that you could be more generous?

Step 3: Based on items you identified in step 2, determine an increased amount you could give to the Lord monthly to meet a special need: $________/month.

Helpful note: If you would like to find out how your spending compares to recommended national averages, visit: ©



Possible questions to think

about or discuss…

1. What financial situation did you mainly grow up with (i.e. not enough, just made ends meets, more than enough, etc.)?

2. What did your parents do, if anything, to help train you to manage your finances?

3. What did you think about the “Count Your Blessings” article? Could this practice have any impact on your life and giving?

4. When you filled out the worksheet for this week’s project, “Focusing on Your Lifestyle”, what surprised you or caught your attention in doing this exercise?

5. What was the most painful or difficult financial experience you ever recall going through?

6. Have you ever intentionally curtailed your normal spending in order to be more generous to the Lord’s work? If so, when?

7. What truth or Bible verse from the past 7 days of reading stood out to you the most?

8. What was the best financial advice or teaching you ever received in life (from reading, seminars/conferences, personal example, or personal advice)?

9. What is one thing you spend your money on that is unhealthy for you or is a waste of money?

10. What is something you bought on impulse that you realized later you didn’t really need?

11. If you began to experience tough times financially, would you try to take care of your own needs first or would you first make sure you gave to God from whatever minimal resources you had available? Why?

Dictionary definitions of


assets =

Any and all items that someone possesses.

A valuable item or items in someone’s ownership.

The entire property (tangible or financial) of all sorts, belonging to a person, a corporation, or an estate.

Assets include cash, stock, inventories, possessions, real estate property rights, and goodwill.

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