Featured

Wisdom in Finances

Click to watch funny lottery video

While meditating on financial wisdom, I came across this very funny video of a gentleman who was ready to quit his job after buying a winning lottery ticket.  Click the link above to watch this very funny video. I absolutely love this video.  This video shows this guy who is so fed up with his current and very dire financial  situation that he’s made every possible attempt to rectify it, even going as far as succumbing to buying lottery tickets.  I laughed at the fact that the winning lottery ticket he bought, and so dearly longed for, was shredded instantaneously and by accident, thus eliminating his great chances of finally gaining his definition of financial independence”. However; I immediately shuddered at the fact that he absolutely and without a doubt compromised any and every attempts at keeping his current job.  His intention of securing his financial future was destroyed by the fact that this was his one and only chance at financial independence. He put all of his financial independence “eggs” on this one winning lottery ticket “basket”.   What do you suppose ran through his mind as he lost his financial security and his job simultaneously  What did he leave his boss’ office thinking? Do you believe this person learned his lesson, or do you believe he possibly returned to his old ways of  buying more lottery tickets?

“2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” James 1:2-8

The book of James begins with challenging believers to be joyful while facing trials of many kinds.  The book states that such trials are meant to help us produce perseverance so that it may finish its work of bringing us to maturity and completion, lacking nothing.

But, how does perseverance actually work? Perseverance, as defined in the dictionary says that it is, “steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.” Doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success… So, should this person persevere in his pursuit of buying more and more lottery tickets, or should he persevere in his pursuits of learning how to become financially independent by seeking help from experts in the field?  What are your thoughts? What would you do?

James continues to unpack just how we would accomplish this “maturity and completeness”.  In verse 5, James unveils the source “maturity and completeness” and that source is Wisdom from God.  I love the fact that James understands that as humans, it is our nature to be lacking in wisdom. I am also comforted by the fact that God willingly wants to shower us with wisdom in generous proportions.  Isn’t a relief that God is ready for us to come before him and ask him for wisdom?  I hope  you didn’t miss the part on verse 5 where James explains that God will not “find fault” in us as we approach him to ask for wisdom.  Wow and wow! I’m blown away by such love and acceptance.  God knows we struggle and he’s completely empathetic and understanding of our situation as we grow in faith.  Its as though God is anticipating what we will feel and how feeling condemned by our financial despair would discourage us from seeking his help and from coming before his presence. He has already prepared a way for us to approach him in love and with complete and utter acceptance.  Don’t you just want to stop what you are doing and praise God right now? Go ahead, I won’t tell anyone.  Click here for a funny praise break!

Okay, now that you’re back from your praise break, let’s resume the teaching.  The latter half of the passage presents an even greater challenge. While we are able to come to God freely and we are also able to ask him for abundant wisdom, which He clearly has and which He clearly wants to generously give to you, guess what? It requires you to BELIEVE and not doubt that he’s going to give you such abundant wisdom. Do you find it challenging to accept the fact that God’s plans for you are good? Do you find it difficult to see God as this loving and amazing Father who showers his Creation with good things? Don’t feel alone in your faith-journey. I remember a time when the concept of a generous Creator was hard for me to buy into. I was raised with an image of God the Wrathful.  It wasn’t until I fully read the bible that I understood God’s primordial message.  To love me and for me to love Him and His creation.  My prayer for you is that you take time right now and ask God to help you with your unbelief and that this season of unbelief is so short that you can quickly return to the pathways of wisdom and blessings.  I pray right now that you are overcome with the Spirit of Wisdom and that it supersedes your decisions henceforth.

Now that you’ve prayed that prayer and for the ones that have accepted God’s wonderful blessings,  what are you to do now, with your awesome self full of abundant wisdom?  What are those pesky habits of yours that keep you in financial ruin?  Is it the inability to see the benefits of creating and maintaining a budget? I know many people who just despise the notion of a budget.  Is it that shopping has become therapy to medicate a condition that you’ve needed to bring to the feet of Christ?

My prayer for you today is that others do not refer to you as “double-minded and unstable”. It is my prayer that you begin to take God at His word and believe that he wants to grant you wisdom. He wants to see you fully complete and fully mature.  The blessings from financial maturity look like many things for many people. What does financial maturity look like for you? Comment below. We would love to hear how God is working in you and what your financial maturity looks like to you.

Be abundantly blessed with wisdom today!

In Christ,

Cecilia

 

 

 

God’s Financial Promises for You

Welcome to the “God’s Financial Promises for You” series.  We will discuss biblical principles with common-sense advice to help you gain financial security, financial independence, and peace of mind.  Today, we will unpack the principal of Living a Life According to God’s Wisdom.

Principal #1:  Living According to God’s Wisdom

God’s Word on Wisdom

  • Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding. Proverbs 3:13
  • But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and all will be given to him. James 1:5
  • Wise men store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin. Proverbs 10:14
  • He who walks with the wise grows wise. Proverbs 13:20
  • Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens. Daniel 12:3

Teaching

Isn’t it comforting to know that God’s will for us is to become wiser and more knowledgeable in matters of finance?  I give thanks to God that all I must do is ask Him for wisdom when I feel I’m lacking.  The Bible tells me that when I ask Him for wisdom, that God gives it to me generously [i].  It is also interesting to note that the opposite of “wisdom” is “foolishness”. The previous verse you read clearly states that foolishness invites ruin [ii].  Have you ever found yourself in financial ruin?  What decision(s) lead you there?

We praise God that you have taken the first step in uncovering God’s Financial Promises for You.  Whatever financial mistakes you’ve made in the past, be assured that you no longer should make those same mistakes again!

Application

According to Forbes.com, (link below); here are 10 Common Foolish Financial Decisions You Don’t Want to Make: [iii]

  1. Spending money on things you don’t need to impress people you don’t like. Don’t try to keep up with the Jones es because you will also have to keep up with the Jones es’ credit card debt.
  2. Dealing with old debts first. The delinquency may be old enough that it’s past your statute of limitations and the creditor can no longer sue you for it. If the delinquency is over 7 years old, it should have dropped off your credit report.
  3. Paying for credit monitoring. You can get free credit monitoring on sites like Credit Karma and Credit Sesame and get alerted if anything funky happens to your credit.  You can check your credit report for free at http://www.annualcreditreport.com  and dispute anything funky from the past.
  4. Using “average” assumptions in your retirement planning.  The problem with using average rates of return on your investments and an average life expectancy is that there’s a good chance you might earn less than average or live longer than average.
  5. Being recklessly conservative with long term investments. They may think you’re not taking risks, but you are taking one of the biggest risks of all: seeing the real value of your money not keep pace with inflation and not having enough money to retire on.
  6. Having too much money in one stock. It is a good idea to have no more than 10-15% at most of your portfolio in any one stock.  This is especially true if that one stock is your employer since you don’t want to be out of a job and a good bulk of you nest egg at the same time.
  7. Chasing Investing Returns. Studies have shown that top performing funds are no more likely than average to outperform in the future.
  8. Bailing out of stocks while they are low.  Make sure your portfolio matches your risk tolerance.
  9. Investing in high-cost mutual funds. Studies have shown cost to be the biggest predictor of superior returns when comparing similar mutual funds.
  10. Cashing out a retirement account frivolously. Unless you’re in a dire emergency, it’s probably not a good idea to raid your retirement account before you retire. Not only do you have to pay taxes on traditional retirement account withdrawals at your current marginal rate, but you may also have to pay a 10% penalty if you’re under age 59 1/2 and you lose all the future growth you would have earned.

Closing

Achieving financial security is a matter of applying God’s wisdom to everyday life.  We recognize that this type of wisdom can sometimes seem unrealistic. Why? Because we are imperfect beings living in a temptation-filled world.  What sets financially secure people apart from the rest of the crowd?  They apply God’s wisdom to everyday life, especially when it comes to financial matters. We hope you have enjoyed this teaching. Stay tuned for more financial promises for you, straight from God!

Contact Us!

Radiant Ministries is founded by Cecilia Silva.  Radiant Ministries exists to connect you to the Word of God in such a way that God’s light shines through you. We fulfill our mission statement by making God’s word easy to understand and easy to apply to everyday life. Cecilia is a licensed life insurance agent with Primerica Financial Services. Find out more about Primerica by visiting www.primerica.com

Cecilia can be reached via email: Cecilia@radiantministriesonline.com. You may also contact her via email for speaking engagements. Cecilia has extensive experience in the ministry and is a student at B.H. Carroll Theological Institute pursing a degree in Christian Education.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[i] James 1:5 NASB

[ii] Proverbs 10:14

[iii] https://www.forbes.com/sites/financialfinesse/2015/04/01/10-common-foolish-financial-decisions-you-dont-want-to-make/ – 6a1c9ced7bb8

 

What is the Bible – 1

Good evening!

It has been a while since I last blogged.  Be encouraged, my break was mostly related to keeping up with Seminary studies. I’m in the middle of one semester and about to register for the next.

But, enough about me!  Let’s continue to dive in to the Bible using one of my favorite resources; The Bible Project.  They’ve recently put out a new video called, “What is the Bible”. I will upload it and you can watch it here.

Additionally, access the Study Guide here and use it while you watch the video. Watch and study along. Make sure to comment should you have any comments or questions.  HowToReadTheBible.

Enjoy!

Understanding The Law Part 2

Tim and Jon discuss the metaphors used by Moses and The Prophets for why humans are incapable of obeying the law and how God plans to fix it. We discuss Jesus’ teaching on the law, the Great Command, and how his followers dealt with the law.

Videos at youtube.com/thebibleproject

Understanding The Law Part 1

Tim and Jon discuss why God gave so many laws to ancient Israel in the Bible. There are 613 laws found in the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, and they were the basis of God’s covenant with Israel. What role does the laws play in relationship to the overall narrative of the Old Testament?

Videos at youtube.com/thebibleproject

Deuteronomy

Are you ready for the next book of the Bible?

I hope you enjoy these free resources from Faithlife Bible Study and The Bible Project.

Bible Project Overview Video

Introduction to Deuteronomy

 Faithlife Bible Study – Deuteronomy

Deuteronomy concludes the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, with further instruction from Moses, the man who led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and received God’s law (see Exodus). In Deuteronomy, Moses reviews teachings and events from the time of the exodus and the people’s wilderness wanderings. He exhorts the Israelites to love their God Yahweh and obey His commandments. Deuteronomy ends with the final events of Moses’ life, including the official appointment of his successor Joshua—the man who formerly encouraged the Israelites to faithfully conquer the promised land despite terrible foes (Num 13–14). Deuteronomy records Moses telling the Israelites how to live in the land long ago promised to their forefather Abraham (Gen 12:1–3)—a land they must still conquer.

Background

Deuteronomy 31:9 indicates Moses’ involvement in writing the law portions of Deuteronomy. For this reason and others, Jewish and Christian traditions ascribe the Pentateuch to Moses, but it may have been completed and edited later (for more information on this debate, see the “Introduction to Genesis”).

Deuteronomy’s narrative is set on the plains of Moab, just across the Jordan River from the promised land, where the Israelites are camping after their 40 years of wilderness wandering—placing it within the same period as the closing chapters of Numbers.

The title “Deuteronomy” means “second law.” The book reiterates the law and the events recorded in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. It also establishes a framework for viewing this history: If the Israelites are faithful to God’s covenant, they will have peace and receive blessings from Yahweh, but if they turn away, they will experience curses of war, famine, and death—all of which are meant to prompt them to stay faithful. This framework is applied to subsequent books that narrate Israel’s later history (Joshua, Judges, 1–2 Samuel, 1–2 Kings).

The structure of Deuteronomy resembles ancient Near Eastern treaties between kings and the foreign nations they conquered. In these agreements, both the king and the nation accepted certain obligations; if the nation fulfilled the terms of the treaty, there would be peace. Deuteronomy’s similarities with these ancient documents, examples of which date from the fourteenth to the seventh centuries bc, likely indicate that it originated around the same time.

Structure

Deuteronomy has three major sections followed by an epilogue. Each major section presents a speech by Moses and begins with a special phrase marking it as a distinct unit.

The first speech (Deut 1:1–4:43) is introduced with a phrase stating these are “the words.” Moses uses the wilderness journey to teach the Israelites about God. This history shows that Yahweh is faithful to His people and able to overcome their enemies—and that Israel must trust and obey Him. If they do not follow Yahweh’s ways, they will not be able to live long term in the promised land.

Moses’ second speech (4:44–28:68), which is the longest of the three, is introduced with the phrase “this is the law.” After Moses repeats a form of the Ten Commandments (5:6–21), he expands on them in the subsequent chapters.

Moses’ third speech (29:1–30:20) is introduced with the same phrase that opens the first speech. Moses calls the Israelites to renew their covenant with Yahweh. He warns the Israelites that violating the covenant will lead to death, but he also assures them that repenting and trusting God will lead to life and blessing.

The epilogue (31:1–34:12) deals with the end of Moses’ life. Joshua succeeds Moses as leader of the Israelites. Moses sings a farewell song and blesses the people, and his life on this earth ends.

Outline

• Moses’ review of history (1:1–4:43)

• Moses’ review of the law (4:44–28:68)

• Moses’ review of the covenant (29:1–30:20)

• Moses’ final words and death (31:1–34:12)

Themes

One of the central messages of Deuteronomy is that God loves the Israelites, as seen inHis promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Deuteronomy also indicates that Yahweh showed His love for the Israelites by rescuing them from Egypt and will continue to do so by giving them the promised land. The Israelites should respond to Yahweh’s love by believing He can do anything He asks of them—even overcome dreadful foes in the promised land (31:1–6).

Moses commands the people to love Yahweh with all their heart, soul, and might—a statement Jesus will later call the greatest commandment (Deut 6:5; Matt 22:36–40). As God’s people we are to take courage and boldly embrace whatever He asks us to do, through the power of Christ (Deut 31:6–7; Acts 5). And if we do, we will surely see God at work in our lives, communities, and world.

Further Reading

The Pentateuch

Deuteronomy 32:8–9 and the Old Testament Worldview

Deuteronomy, Book of LBD

The Bible Project: Numbers

This is the 4th book of the bible.  This book was written after the Israelites have been freed from slavery. God brought them into Mt. Sinai and entered into a covenant with them there. And even though the people of God continued to rebel against God, he provided for them a place to be near His presence in the tabernacle.

The book of Numbers begins as Israel wraps up their 1 year stay at Mt. Sinai.  They head out into the wilderness on the way to the promised land.

Watch the study video so you can begin to breakdown chapters 1-10, 13-19, 21-21, and 22-36.

There is a poster for the book of Numbers that you may find very helpful. Enjoy!

06-Numbers-FNL-1