Bible with Cross Shadow by knowhimonline on Flickr       Today’s Personal Finance Bible Scripture comes from Matthew 16:26.

       26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?

Matthew 16:26 (NLT)

       Jesus is asking us to consider everything in light of eternity. What good will it do us if we gain everything in the world but end up losing our souls in the process? How happy are you going to be if you work extremely hard all your life so you can have an amazing house, nice cars, and two European vacations every year, but you end up with an unhappy family in the process?

       Or what if you give up your passion to take a job you really hate because you can get paid four times as much? Do you think early retirement from the job that makes you miserable is going to make up for the years you neglected your true passion? Most people don’t even manage to save that higher income so they can later pursue their passion. Lifestyle inflation creeps up and they end up working in a job they hate for 30-40 years.

       The things The World offers us often fail to satisfy us when we finally get them, and they often come at the cost of relationships and true happiness, satisfaction, meaning, and purpose. The Gift of Jesus allows us to experience true wealth in this life while revealing our true purpose as well. And we don’t have to sacrifice our relationships to receive that Gift. However, we can only fully receive Jesus’ Gift when we give up our own dreams, desires, goals, wishes, and The World’s message. To find the Good Life, we must give up this life and fully submit to God’s plan for us.

       The Silicon Valley Blogger (SVB) had a post up Friday about MonaVie and the ongoing drama that Lazy Man and Money faces as he tries to expose it for what it really is. If you’ve been approached by someone selling MonaVie’s miracle juice, I strongly encourage you to read what Lazy Man has written about them.

       I left a comment on SVB’s post that I wanted to share with you all. She asked for thoughts on MLM, MonaVie, and the like. Here’s what I had to say:

My thoughts on MLM? I HATE IT!

I hate that people relentlessly pursue their family and friends (and their family and friends) just to try to make a quick buck (with a shoddy or overpriced product).

I hate the social obligation that we often feel to support people doing the above.

I hate that people get sucked in to what they think is a “real” business when all it really does is suck up their money and pass it up the line.

I hate the brainwashing that makes it impossible to talk any sense into your family and friends.

I hate all the wasted time and resources that go into these things when people could do so much more on their own or even just with a reputable company.

I say more power to Lazy Man! If he gets only one person to turn away from MonaVie (or any other MLM), he’s done the world a favor!!!

(Side Note: I think Primerica is another terrible offender in this arena because of the damage they and their products can do to unsuspecting consumers. I’ve seen this first-hand with my own mother.)

Now let’s see how many of your readers have already joined the MLM cults. :)

       Maybe I’m being harsh, but I just don’t have much tolerance for these shams – I mean, wonderful opportunities to become your own boss…

       What do YOU think about MLMs (any of them)? Let me know in the comments below! I’ll be happy to discuss this with anyone who wants to talk about it.

       P.S. If you’re considering getting involved in a MLM or buying from someone who is, I’d be glad to talk with you for free. Maybe we could find a better business model for you or look at the true value of what you’re about to buy.

       In the last part of this series, we started talking about practical applications when we take on God’s View of the World, Money, and our lives. How should we act and what should we do when we take on God’s View and live out His will? We’re continuing that discussion today.

       Without God’s View, we tend to worry—a lot. Even after we begin to fully follow Him, we still worry. Why do we worry? Because we haven’t begun to rely on God and trust in His goodness. But in Luke 12:22-31, Jesus tells us not to worry about worldly cares:

Do Not Worry

       22 He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, don’t be anxious for your life, what you will eat, nor yet for your body, what you will wear. 23 Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they don’t sow, they don’t reap, they have no warehouse or barn, and God feeds them. How much more valuable are you than birds! 25 Which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his height (or an hour to your life)? 26 If then you aren’t able to do even the least things, why are you anxious about the rest?

       27 Consider the lilies, how they grow. They don’t toil, neither do they spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if this is how God clothes the grass in the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith? 29 Don’t seek what you will eat or what you will drink; neither be anxious. 30 For the nations of the world seek after all of these things, but your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek God’s Kingdom, and all these things will be added to you.”

Luke 12:22-31 (WEB)

This passage is also found in Matthew 6:25-34.

Lily by Per Ola Wiberg (Powi) on Flickr       We can spend a lot of time worrying about the what-ifs in our life. What if I lose my job? What if I get a terminal illness? What if I can’t retire? What if I die? But do we help anything by fretting over these things that may never happen? Even if they do happen, is there anything we can do to stop them from happening? In truth, there’s little good that can come from worrying, so why do it?

       Instead of worrying about all possible future disasters, we should be focused on only one thing: seeking God’s kingdom. God knows what our needs are, and He will take care of us. Once we begin to rely on God and trust in His goodness, we can allow Him to provide the things we need. But until we let God change our hearts so we can fully trust Him, we will be so preoccupied with worry that we won’t be able to seek His kingdom and see His blessings in our lives.

       Does this mean we shouldn’t plan ahead for anything, or that we shouldn’t save for emergencies? Not at all. But it does mean that we shouldn’t be so worried about the cares of this life that we’re prevented from fully pursuing God’s kingdom. We should be so intensely focused on serving God and serving others that our worldly needs rarely cross our minds.

       Once we fully trust in God’s providence, we can begin to see that we have nothing to fear in this life. There are no worries to concern ourselves with when we’re fully resting in the Father’s arms.

       5 Be free from the love of money, content with such things as you have, for he has said, “I will in no way leave you, neither will I in any way forsake you.” 6 So that with good courage we say, “The Lord is my helper. I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

Hebrews 13:5-6 (WEB)

       God has promised that He will never leave or forsake us. He is always there to help us, and He always will be. We may not always understand how He’s working in our lives, and we may not see Him when He’s by our side. But He has promised that He will always take care of us. With a promise like that from the Creator of the entire universe, what do we really have to fear? What can we possibly worry about? God is in charge, and He’s taking care of everything for us.

       So how do we use this practically? Realize that once you fully submit yourself to God and His will for your life, He will take care of all your needs. Plan for what you know (like retirement and random emergencies). Take control of the things you can actually control (like your spending and attitude, not the economy or the government). And leave the rest to God. If you belong to God, what can happen to you in this life that can ruin you forever? Even death has no power, because once you die you’ll be with God for eternity. The presence of God is the only thing we need ever concern ourselves with in this life.

Want to read the entire Bible study series on Contentment? Download your free copy of Contentment Is Wealth: A Bible Study on Contentment now!

       This is the final article in a ten part series on how to get out of debt. If you haven’t already, you should check out the previous articles:

Step 10 – Don’t Get Trapped Again!

       You’ve finally paid off the debts that have been dragging you down. You’ve topped off your emergency fund so you don’t have to rely on credit cards when things go wrong. You feel like you can rest easy. But your journey isn’t quite over.

       It’s taken a lot of work to get here. The last thing you want to do is go back to the patterns that got you into debt in the first place! I’ll be the first to congratulate you for reaching your goal, but the true measure of your success will be your ability to continue using the skills you’ve learned in this process. If you get back into overspending and not preparing for emergencies, you’ll have to do this all over again. I don’t think you want to go there.

       So to make sure you don’t get trapped by debt again, let’s take a few moments to consider what you’ll need to do to retain this success. My hope is that the process of paying off your debt has changed your habits so that you’ll maintain them for the rest of your life. But you’ll have to keep your eyes open so you never fall into the pits of debt again.

  • Limit Your Use of Debt – Debt can be useful for some situations, but using a credit card because you don’t have the money isn’t one of them. Limit your use of debt so that you only consider it as an option when it is wise. Buying a home, getting an education, or starting/expanding a business can be good reasons for using debt (but not always). There may be times when debt appears to be your only option, but make sure it’s your choice of last resort and that you absolutely need whatever it is you’re paying for.
  •  

  • Continue to Track and Optimize Your Spending – The single best way to make sure you prevent overspending is to keep an eye on what you’re spending and review it regularly. The simple action of tracking your spending will naturally lead you to spend less because you’re consciously thinking about every dollar that leaves your hands. You can also use the information you collect to find the areas where you can cut back on things that aren’t important to you.
  •  

  • Look for Ways to Earn More – If you’ve been in debt for a while, it’s likely you’re a bit behind on saving for retirement and other financial goals. To catch up you not only need to decrease your spending but you also need to increase your earnings. Combining those strategies will leave you with the money you need to save and reach your goals. Advance your career, earn some money on the side, or start your own business – there are many ways to increase your income.
  •  

  • Keep Your Emergency Fund Stocked Up – If you have to use your emergency fund, be sure to replenish those savings as soon as possible so you’ll be ready for the next Murphy’s Law event. Also, don’t look at that money as your “spend on anything” fund. It’s there for a purpose. Only use it for that purpose!
  •  

  • Have a Plan and Save for the Future – You got into debt because you didn’t have a plan. Fail to make a plan now and you’ll probably end up in debt again. Make a plan, choose your goals, and figure out how you’ll get there. Save for those goals so you won’t be tempted to use debt on a whim.
  •  

  • Learn to Find Contentment – Finally, seek contentment in all things. Comparing ourselves to others, wanting what “they” have, and not being happy with our situation all lead us to living beyond our means. And living beyond our means leads to debt. Discover what’s truly important in your life, eliminate what isn’t, and set your own standards for success and happiness rather than letting others do it for you.

       That’s it for this series! As I mentioned in the last part of this series, my plan is to combine these ten steps with some valuable resources to help make getting out of debt achievable and easier. Make sure you’ve signed up for free updates to Provident Planning so you don’t miss out when I release this invaluable package! If you’ve signed up for free updates, you’ll be sure to see it as soon as it’s available.

       Have you gotten out of debt and stayed out of debt? How did you do it? What has been key to your success? Let me know in the comments below!

Raising a Cow for Beef: Month 12

Corey —  August 24, 2010 — 5 Comments

       Last month, I posted an update about how my wife and I are raising a cow for beef. This is a summary of our activity and costs for month 12. Bambi just turned one year old on Saturday. Happy birthday, Bambi! As always, let’s first check Bambi’s growth. Here he is at eleven months old:

Bambi - 11 Months Old

       And here he is at twelve months old:

Bambi - 12 Months Old

       I’m not really sure how much Bambi weighs right now, and I probably won’t know again until he goes to the butcher. Now that he’s living with other cows and has little interaction with humans it would probably be difficult to check him with a weight tape. But I can definitely see an improvement between these two pictures. He’s a bit stockier and more filled out.

Costs & Time

       Thanks to moving Bambi to our friends’ pasture, I haven’t spent any time on raising him this past month. I will be paying our friends some amount per month, but they haven’t let me know what it will be yet. I’m thinking it should be somewhere between $20-40/month. I was spending about $40-60/month to feed Bambi, but it won’t cost our friends that much since they have a large pasture. He’s still being fed some grain, but he gets most of his fill from the pasture. So I don’t really have anything to report in terms of time or money spent this past month. But here are our total costs so far for your reference:

  • Cost of Bambi – Free!
  • Castration & Dehorning – $16.00
  • Milk Replacer – $45.54
  • Miscellaneous – $46.87
  • Feed – $362.77
  • Hay – $88.00
  • Straw – $20.00
  • Medicine – $5.00
  • Total Spent – $584.18
  • Time – 102 hours

       If you want a more accurate estimate after a year, let’s figure on about $620 so far.

       Moving Bambi to our friends’ farm was probably the best decision I’ve made. It’s nice not having to move him around our yard, feed him every day, and refill his water buckets several times a day. We couldn’t have simply paid our friends to keep him from the beginning because bottle feeding requires a good bit of time.

       But it would have been better for us to raise him on the bottle, get him used to eating grain and grass, and then send him back to our friends. Then, we could have paid them a set amount to cover his boarding costs. This would have saved us some money (maybe about $160?) and a ton of time (probably well over 60 hours). The nice thing is that it doesn’t take any extra time for our friends to feed Bambi since they already have other cows to care for.

       We’ve found another friend from church who can send Bambi up to be butchered when he sends his cow in November. All that’s left now is to get it scheduled with the butcher and decide how we’d like things cut, packed, and processed (jerky, sweet bologna, etc.). I’ll be learning about that process in the next month or so because we need to get it scheduled soon.

       Make sure you sign up for free updates to Provident Planning if you don’t want to miss out on the final steps in the process of raising a cow for beef!

The Secret to a Successful Budget eBook
 
       Welcome to the Carnival of Personal Finance #271 – The Secret to a Successful Budget eBook Edition! My friend Craig Ford at Money Help for Christians is launching a new eBook today. It’s designed to help you discover the secrets to successful budgeting.

       I think it’s a great resource for anyone who’s ever struggled with budgeting, so I’ve included some quotes from his eBook throughout this carnival. You can get the book for 30% off if you buy before midnight (EDT) August 31st, 2010. Be sure to read through to the end of this carnival because I’ll be giving away two FREE copies to two lucky winners!

Editor’s Choice

       Here are my top picks from the submissions this week:

  • Mike Piper from Oblivious Investor presents Dealing with Investment Confusion, and says, “What’s the best approach to dealing with the confusion that comes from being a new investor?” – [Mike shares some good advice for people who are confused about investing. It won’t immediately cure your confusion, but applying this strategy over and over will help you make informed decisions you can stick to.]
  • Briana Ford from Go Banking Rates presents Why Americans Can’t Afford to Die [Infographic], and says, “If you never thought about this problem before, take a look at how expensive funerals really are. You may discover you, like many Americans, simply can’t afford to die.” – [What can I say? I’m a sucker for infographics.]
  • Len from Len Penzo dot Com presents A Simple Trick to Get Your Credit Card Interest Charges Waived. – [I wish more people realized the power of Len’s simple trick!]
  • Lauren from Richly Reasonable presents 4 Bad Deals, and says, “The term “Bad Deal” is relative. Not only is Necessity the mother of Invention, she is also the mother of many a Bad Deal. Necessity has a TON of children.” – [Funny, smart, and witty – and likely to open a few eyes at least!]
  • Jacob A. Irwin from My Personal Finance Journey presents Adjusting My Monthly Budget to Account for Home Ownership, and says, “A look at the steps I have recently taken to adjust my personal budget to account for the various elements of home ownership.” – [At our current rent rate owning a home just doesn’t make sense. Just look at all the costs involved!]

       Congratulations to the editor’s choice picks! Here are the rest of the articles from this week’s submissions.

Money Management

  • MD from Studenomics presents Quick College Students Guide To Personal Finance.
  • Jason from One Money Design presents How Do You Live Well on Less Pay?, and says, “There are plenty of people that don’t make a lot of money and have trouble covering basic expenses each month. There are 5 essential tips to follow to live well on less pay.”
  • Revanche from A Gai Shan Life presents Shopping for the single life .
  • ispf from Grad Money Matters presents The American Dream of Home Ownership: 10 Things You Can Do as a Student.
  • Jim from Wanderlust Journey presents Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Shareholder Benefits.
  • Jason from Live Real, Now presents Check Your Bills, and says, “Can you automate your finances too far?”
  • Elle from Couple Money presents Financial Tips for College Success, and says, “Many college students are surprised to see how easy it is to build a financial foundation for themselves. Learn how to set up bank accounts, pay your bills, and start a graduation fund.”
  • DE(a)BTh from Murder Your Debt presents Your Wasted Life, and says, “You thought financing a house and a fast car meant freedom. That an expensive education would lead you to a rewarding career where you could earn lots of money. You were wrong, weren’t you? You hate your career but you’re stuck. You’re stuck because you swallowed the lies you were sold. The lies that material possessions bring success. The lies that more money means more happiness. And now what? You’ve got it all; the cars, the house with the huge yard, the sexy outfits and shiny shoes. But you’re STILL not happy!”
  • vh from Funny about Money presents Social Security’s Bizarre Rules, and says, “Social Security’s restrictive rules make it impossible to get out of poverty when unemployment forces one into early retirement and stock-market losses militate against retirement fund drawdowns.”
  • J. Money from Budgets Are Sexy presents What would you do with an extra $1,000?, and says, “Montel Williams wants to know ;)”
  • Bob from Christian Finances presents How to spend unexpected income: 3 questions to ask, and says, “It can be tough to know what to do when you receive a large sum of cash – this article will give you some questions to help you figure out what to do with it…”
  • Mr. GoTo from Go To Retirement presents How Much Long Term Care Insurance Should You Have?, and says, “Insuring against a long term care event is part of personal risk management. Estimating the amount of long term care coverage to obtain requires careful consideration of several factors.”

If you are working 40 or more hours a week to earn your money, don’t you think it is worth an hour or two to set up a budget?

Isn’t it worth spending about an hour every week to manage the money you work so hard to earn? It is always better to manage what you have than to work yourself crazy trying to get more money.

– from page 21 of The Secret to a Successful Budget by Craig Ford

Finance

Investing

  • Dividend Growth Investor from Dividend Growth Investor presents 33 Dividend Champions to Consider, and says, “Dividend investor David Fish has created a list of dividend stocks which have raised distributions for 25 consecutive years and has named it the dividend champions list. His list includes 100 companies, which is more than twice the size of the Dividend Aristocrats. I ran a screen on the list in order to identify stocks for further research.”
  • Mike from The Financial Blogger presents Use the Loonie’s Strength to Invest in the Eagle Market, and says, “Canadian dollar is strong compared to the US dollar at this time. Use this as an opportunity to invest in US stocks.”
  • Div Guy from The Dividend Guy Blog presents Dividend Investing with Less Than $1,000 Part 3: How to Pick Your ETFs and/or Dividend Funds, and says, “Starting to invest is quite motivating but as a young investor, you must put greed and hype aside and start by looking for sound investments.”
  • Squirrelers presents Small Stocks = High Return and High Volatility, and says, “Small stocks, particularly those in the lowest deciles, have performed very well over the long-term. They can be an important part of your asset allocation, provided you can stomach the associated risks.”
  • D4L from Dividends Value presents My Top 6 Performing Dividend Stocks Just Might Surprise You, and says, “As I have stated many times, my goal is to create an ever growing income stream from dividend stocks. Secondarily, it is my desire to beat the S&P 500 over time. With that said, I rarely look at the capital performance of individual stocks. However, I recently sorted my portfolio by Total Gain % (total gain/basis) and was mildly surprised at the top performers.”
  • ElizabethG (Modern Gal) from Modern Gal presents Investing for Inflation in 2010.
  • DSO from High Dividend Stocks presents Big GE and it’s big dividend, and says, “One of America’s oldest and most prestigious companies has become an accidental high yielder.”

Budgeting in and of itself is useless.

Budgeting is part of a larger financial plan.

– from page 9 of The Secret to a Successful Budget by Craig Ford

Budgeting

Saving

Frugality

You need to focus your finances on accomplishing one major task at a time.

If you don’t, the danger is that every dollar will be diluted to a point that it makes little impact helping you reach your goals.

– from page 9 of The Secret to a Successful Budget by Craig Ford

Debt

Credit

The goal of the budget is to help you spend less than you earn.

Therefore, this becomes the single criteria for an effective budget – does it help you spend less than you earn?

– from page 12 of The Secret to a Successful Budget by Craig Ford

Reviews

  • PT from PT Money presents Free Prepaid Credit Cards, and says, “A thorough, original review of the best free prepaid credit cards, including those that are free of activation and monthly fees. These cards are great for those who need to avoid debt, or those that can’t get a traditional bank account.”
  • Silicon Valley Blogger from The Digerati Life presents Citi Dividend Platinum Select MasterCard Review, and says, “Here’s a review of a credit card I actually like.”

Real Estate

  • FMF from Free Money Finance presents How to Hire a Home Inspector, and says, “When you buy a home, you need to be sure you hire a good home inspector to identify any potential problems. This post gives tips on how to do this.”
  • Jeff Rose from Good Financial Cents presents Should You Upgrade to a Larger Home”, and says, ”
    In many markets, home owners are looking at homes in the next price range up as good buys, since foreclosures and a slow market are resulting in good deals. But, as tempting as it is to upgrade to a larger home, is it really a good idea? Here are some things to consider before upgrading to a larger home.”
  • Rob from Two Wise Acres presents 3 Things to Avoid When Buying a Home, and says, “When buying a home, it’s critical that you avoid these three credit mistakes.”
  • ctreit from Money Obedience presents Do renters really save money in the end?.

Taxes

  • pkamp3 from Don’t Quit Your Day Job… presents Tax Incidence, and says, “Who really pays for a tax when it is enacted? If the government enacts a new tax on washing machines, is the entire tax on Maytag? The consumer? Cameron Daniels breaks down the details.”

A budget lets your spouse see your values and priorities in a tangible way.

A budget forces you to communicate not just about your life goals, but also about your daily financial preferences.

– from page 16 of The Secret to a Successful Budget by Craig Ford

Career

  • Kristina from Dinks Finance presents A DINK in The Office, and says, “As a married or unmarried employee with no children, are you treated differently than your colleagues with kids?”
  • Nicole from Nicole and Maggie: Grumpy Rumblings presents Why did you go to graduate school?, and says, “Nicole and Maggie discuss reasons for graduate school and how sometimes we’re directed into a career for the right reasons and sometimes we fall into it for the wrong reasons. But it turns out OK anyway (or maybe it doesn’t, but you can always change your mind).”

Economy

  • Bret from Hope to Prosper presents Trillion Dollar Public Pension Shortfall, and says, “An article in the New York Times stated that there is a $1 Trillion dollar public pension shortfall. Despite repeated denials from PERS and public employee unions, public pensions are in big trouble.”
  • JLP from AllFinancialMatters.com presents Democrats, Republicans, and the Federal Debt Since 1979, and says, “Though the title may suggest it, this is not a “political” post.”

Budgeting is a process, not an event.

You won’t wake up tomorrow with an effective budget. Instead, you will start with a decent budget that later becomes a good budget. Eventually, it is a great budget.

– from page 16 of The Secret to a Successful Budget by Craig Ford

Other

The Secret to a Successful Budget eBook Giveaway!

       As promised, I’m giving away two free copies of The Secret to a Successful Budget courtesy of Craig. To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post telling me how budgeting has helped you OR your biggest struggle with budgeting. I’ll use random.org to select two winners tomorrow evening (August 24, 2010) at 5:00 PM EDT so be sure to enter by then!!! I’ll update this post to announce the winners, but use a valid email address when you comment so I can reach you if you win. Good luck!

[Update: Laura has won a free copy of The Secret to a Successful Budget! Congratulations!!!]

The Secret to a Successful Budget eBook

       In the last part of this series, we finished looking at God’s View of the World, Money, and our lives so we can start to focus on serving Him instead of serving Money. Today we’re going to start talking about practical applications. How should we act and what should we do when we take on God’s View and live out His will?

       The scripture today comes from Luke 6:20-38, and we’ll be looking at it in three parts. The first part we’ll look at is Luke 6:20-26:

The Beatitudes

   20 He lifted up his eyes to his disciples, and said,
   “Blessed are you who are poor,
   for yours is the Kingdom of God.

   21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
   for you will be filled.
   Blessed are you who weep now,
   for you will laugh.

   22 Blessed are you when men shall hate you, and when they shall exclude and mock you, and throw out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake. 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven, for their fathers did the same thing to the prophets.

   24 But woe to you who are rich!
   For you have received your consolation.

   25 Woe to you, you who are full now,
   for you will be hungry.
   Woe to you who laugh now,
   for you will mourn and weep.

   26 Woe, when men speak well of you,
   for their fathers did the same thing to the false prophets.”

Luke 6:20-26 (WEB)

       God doesn’t want us worried about our situation in this life. Even if we’re poor, hungry, and hated by men, we have an eternal reward in Heaven. Once we start keeping that in the front of our minds, we can see that we really are blessed, apart from our outward condition, and we are to be envied among men. Wealth and happiness in this life are only temporary rewards. If we focus on having those things in this life instead of being true to God, then we’ll have already received our reward.

       So what’s the practical application here? Stop worrying about your wealth, pantry, and reputation as men view those things, and instead focus on being rich in good works, full of God’s Word, and true to God’s will.

       The next part we’ll look at is from Luke 6:27-36:

Love for Enemies

       27 “But I tell you who hear: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you. 29 To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer also the other; and from him who takes away your cloak, don’t withhold your coat also. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and don’t ask him who takes away your goods to give them back again.

31 As you would like people to do to you, do exactly so to them. 32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive back as much. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back; and your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, even as your Father is also merciful.”

Luke 6:27-36 (WEB)

       While this section has very little to do with personal finance (apart from giving), it does show us just how different our lives will be if we take on God’s View of the World, Money, and our lives. Jesus is telling us here that instead of being focused on wealth and plenty in this life we should live out these few instructions. I think Jesus is showing us that contentment acted out in life ends up focused more on doing good and showing love than earning money and gaining wealth. I’ll let you contemplate how this applies to your own life, but it’s a good example of what actions and thoughts should replace our desire and efforts for wealth.

       Finally, we’ll look at Luke 6:37-38:

Judging Others

       37 “Don’t judge, and you won’t be judged. Don’t condemn, and you won’t be condemned. Set free, and you will be set free. 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be given to you. For with the same measure you measure it will be measured back to you.”

Luke 6:37-38 (WEB)

       Jesus tells us we’ll be greatly rewarded if we follow His teaching. Many take this to mean material rewards (a.k.a. the Prosperity Gospel), but I’m fairly certain Jesus is speaking in terms of spiritual and eternal rewards. If we are truly content and focused on God’s ways, are we going to care about being greatly rewarded in this life? Not at all—we’ll realize we already have a great reward in Heaven with Jesus. But think of the great reward we could have in this life if everyone took Jesus’ teaching to heart and lived it out. Can you imagine the peace, calm, and happiness we would all have if this happened? Now that would be a great blessing indeed!

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