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WHEN MONEY BECOMES A PROBLEM

It's not what you would do

If millions should be your lot,

It's what you are doing now

With the fifteen dollars you've got!

Although the grammar in the above rhyme could be improved, it emphasizes that money, possessions, and work are linked together in both practical and emotional ways for each person. Your use of money shows the way you trade your work and resources for the work and resources of others, and your belongings are the accumulation of this proves.

One of the major causes of marital unhappiness is financial mismanagement. We live in a financial world of income, taxes, loans, creditors, investments and church contributions. Sadly, many are not prepared to take on the challenges of managing their finances in a worldly sense, much less according to biblical principles.

Eighty-five percent of divorced couples indicate financial problems were a contributing factor to the erosion of the marriage. The Bible has much to say about financial concerns. We all would do better if we learned to manage money as God would have us to.

BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES

1. The Bible teaches the proper attitude toward money.Money becomes a problem when it is misused. Paul taught Timothy,

But godliness with contentment is great gain: for we brought nothing into the world, for neither can we carry anything out; but having food and covering we shall be therewith content. But they that are minded to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and hurtful lusts, such as drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil: which some reaching after have been led astray from the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows (1 Tim. 6:6-10 NKJV).

Note that "The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." It is not a sin to be wealthy. Neither is it virtuous to be poor. Even a poor person can fall prey to covetousness. Money, in itself, is morally neutral. Money, like fire can be used to our benefit or it can destroy us.

Thus, Paul also taught,
    Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life (1 Timothy 6:17-19 NKJV).

    Money can be used properly or improperly. It may be used as a weapon to control others or as a status symbol to impress others. It may be used as a toy for our own amusement. The writer of Hebrews said,

    Let your conduct be without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have. For He himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we may boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not fear: What can man do to me? (Heb. 13:5-6 NKJV).

    2. Secondly,discipline is necessary in order to handle money properly. In addition to having the right attitude about money, we must practice biblical discipline regarding the management of our resources.

    Paul taught:

    For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, If any will not work, neither let him eat. For we hear of some that walk among you disorderly, that work not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread (2 Thess. 3:10-12).

    What did Paul mean when he wrote to Christians at Rome saying " Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law"? (Rom. 13:8NKJV). This does not mean that one cannot buy anything on credit. You don't owe anything until the payment is due. It does mean "Pay your bills." It also means that we should not over-extend our selves.

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    Are You Living Beyond Your Means?

    Here are some ways to tell if you are living beyond your means:

    If you find that you are living beyond your means, then begin to take action to either increase your income or decrease your spending.

    Debt can be a millstone around the neck and can ruin a marriage. We must discipline ourselves to live within our means. Remember:

    "If your out-go exceeds your income, your upkeep will be your downfall."

    3. The principle of stewardship means that we are but managers of the material things God has granted. We are not owners! Therefore, we must understand that we will someday account for the use of these material blessings. Consider Jehovah's instruction to ancient Israel:

    "And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day." (Deut. 8:18 NKJV).

    4. Learn to give as you have been prospered. Paul's inspired instructions to Christians at Corinth and the region of Galatia are as follows:

    "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come" (1 Cor. 16:1-2).

    Paul later wrote to these same Christians at Corinth to encourage them to continue in the grace of giving. He used the generosity of Christians in Macedonia (Philippi, Berea and Thessalonica as an example of giving that pleases God.

    "But as you abound in everything--in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us--see that you abound in this grace also. I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich" (2 Cor. 8:7-9).

    5. Keep in mind the law of sowing and reaping. The inspired apostle stated God's inalterable law in the words of 2 Cor. 9:6-9,

    But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: "He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever." (NKJV)

    Giving to God in a cheerful manner and as pre-determined in a sincere heart as well as in proportion to income is deemed to be sowing bountifully by the apostle.

    Many of the problems regarding money management will be overcome when families learn to use Biblical principles in the use of their resources. We encourage each family to put these principles into practice.

    --Dan Flournoy

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    PLANNING A BUDGET

    We suggest that you sit down as a couple and plan a budget together. This should be based on your combined income as a married couple.

    What to include:(1) Your regular monthly sources of income, i.e. your take home pay (after taxes and deductions). (2) Do not include money available from savings or temporary income.

    Income:

    1. Wages, salary, tips -- person 1 __________
    2. Wages, salary, tips -- person 2 __________
    3. Other income (interest, etc.) ____________
    4. TOTAL INCOME (Add all income items) __________

      Expenses:Under expenses include the regular monthly payments you make for each of the categories listed below.

      1. __________Church contribution
      2. __________Savings
      3. __________Housing (rent or mortgage)
      4. __________Housing repairs (amount spent to fix things)
      5. __________Food
      6. __________Medical and dental
      7. __________Car Payment
      8. __________Car upkeep (gasoline, etc.)
      9. __________Car insurance
      10. __________Clothing
      11. __________Dry cleaning/laundry
      12. __________Insurance (home/property)
      13. __________Insurance (life)
      14. __________Insurance (health)
      15. __________Telephone
      16. __________Gas
      17. __________Electricity
      18. __________Water, sewer, garbage removal
      19. __________Entertainment
      20. __________Miscellaneous expenses
      21. __________TOTAL EXPENSES

      Subtract your total expenses from your total income. Remember: "If your outgo exceeds your income your upkeep will be your downfall!


    Additional material will be forthcoming. Please return again soon.




    Email: dan@christian-family.net


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