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Last Days’ Finances

What’s your attitude toward money? Is there a different view we need to take because we’re living in the last-days? James has something to tell us about this.

Because the book of James was the first book written in the New Testament, the following passage is the first mention of the last-days.

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.
James 5:1-3

Please understand that James is not condemning you simply because you have a lot of money. It’s the attitude that’s wrong. There are certain key words that give us a clue.

He keeps repeating the word “your” in this passage. Your wealth, your clothes, and your gold and silver. He explains that these were things that were amassed or reserved for your own use in the last-days.

This is in stark contrast to what the believer’s attitude toward wealth should truly be. Everything I own actually belongs to God – it’s all His property. He’s made me to be a steward over it while it’s in my possession.

The person who thinks that this wealth is all mine for me to do with as I please is acting according to their flesh. It’s selfish and has no place in the kingdom of God. That’s what James is speaking to. He takes it even further.

Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.
James 5:4

I believe that we’re very close to the coming of the Lord. I also believe that in our generation we’ll see a last great harvest of souls before Christ’s return. But the reality is that this harvest needs to be financed.

In the last days God is going to bring financial blessings into the lives of His people. But these riches are not for us to spend totally on our own pleasures. Much of it is to be used to preach the Gospel. We need to reach as many as we can before the end comes.

As a minister of the Gospel, I’m trusting the Lord for the finances I need to do my part in winning this generation. I have to admit, I’ve cried out to God, asking Him why there seems to be so many uncaring Christians. I’m talking about those who simply hoard up wealth with no thought toward missions giving, or even getting involved in any kind of outreach project.

You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.
James 5:5-6

That’s the problem. Not that they have money. But that they’re using it for luxury and self-indulgence. When we withhold money that God is calling us to use for outreach; men and women are condemned to eternity without God. Many of them could have been reached and saved if the Gospel was financed and presented to them.

Don’t fall victim to this trap. According to James’ prophecy in this passage you have a choice to make. If you hoard it up, with no though of God’s will, you’re going to lose it. If, on the other hand, you obey the Holy Spirit’s prompting on how to use it; you’ll have a rich reward now and waiting in eternity.

Question: How have you been blessed by financing the Gospel?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

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Money and Humility

Fake MoneyThey say that the grass is always greener in the next yard. But is that the truth? What should our attitude be towards wealth?

If we want to do our best work for the Lord, then we need to deal with the issue of money. In our society you can’t function real well without it. So, we need to understand the Scriptural view. James had something to say about it.

The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower.
James 1:9-10

The first thing that we understand from this verse is that James is not saying that we all need to be poor. He doesn’t contrast poor vs. rich, which references how much money you have. Instead, he’s dealing with humble vs. rich, which tells me that he’s talking about our attitudes.

I believe that God wants to provide abundantly for His children. But what I’ve learned is that He works with us individually. What I mean is this; abundant provision in the United States will look differently than abundance in Indonesia. Yet, in both places, the Lord blesses His people in order for them to be a blessing to others.

The problem is not about how much money you have, it’s your attitude towards it that makes the difference. I’ve seen people who have no real money – everything they own is on credit. Yet they act arrogantly as if they own the world and are better than everyone else.

I’ve also seen people who don’t have a lot, but they’re constantly blessing others. As a result, God is always continuing to provide for them.

We need to learn the lesson of attitudes. It’s never about how much money you have. There needs to be a walk of humility.

But what is humility? Some think that it means you have to see yourself as a nobody. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

At one point Paul told Titus to show true humility toward all men (Titus 3:2). The fact is that true humility is always directed at others and never at us. It’s how I need to view those around me.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Philippians 2:3

Humility never puts itself down. Instead, it lifts others up. Okay, but what does that have to do with money?

If you think that your money makes you great and important, then you need an attitude adjustment. Money is a tool that we use to provide for our needs and to bless others. Having it doesn’t make you any better than you were without it.

James makes it clear in his next statement.

For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.
James 1:11

One way or another we’re going to learn that the external is not what life’s all about. Either you develop the spiritual strengths that bring a mature walk or you find out that the material things you’re relying on are never enough.

If you put your hope in a big bank account, then it will fail you. Your willingness to trust God and bless others is what will see you through the challenges of life.

Question: How have you experienced that trusting God is better than a big bank account?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2017 in Faith, God's Provision, Spiritual Walk

 

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Are You Distracted? #wordofGod

WeedI’m posting about the different kinds of soil that Jesus said was contained in our hearts.  Today’s is about someone with very good soil.  It produced bountifully.  The problem was that it wasn’t producing fruit.

Instead, it raised a great crop of thorns and thistles.  Then the few good plants that sprung up were choked out before they produced anything.

Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.
Mark 4:18-19

These believers get further along than the other groups.  They believe the Word and actually let it take root in their lives.  Their problem is that they let other things grow right along next to it.

The first plant Jesus mentions is the distractions of this age, in the original Greek.  What a description of the modern Christian – DISTRACTED!  It’s not that we’ve turned our backs on God.  On the contrary, we want God’s best – His Word and His grace.  The trouble is that we want the world’s best right along with it.  We’re getting distracted by the things of the world.

Right along with that is the delusion of wealth.  When we think of wealth, it tricks us into believing that it can supply all of our needs.  The truth is that wealth can only obtain material possessions.

Wealth can never satisfy the longing of our souls.  If it could, you would never hear of a wealthy person committing suicide.  The thing we need to put into perspective is that only the things that come from the Word of God are truly able to fulfill our lives.

The third plant that grows next to the Word is simply desires.  What the verse implies is that this is a desire for the things that were given up in order to follow after God.  When we start looking back at these things with longing in our hearts, it’s a sure road to failure.

Please understand that it’s not doing the former things that causes the trouble, it’s the desire to do it.

The biggest thing that the Christians of this generation need to realize is that you can’t have it all, no matter what any televangelist will tell you.  You can’t have the power of God manifest in you, as well as everything your flesh desires.

It’s a well-known principle of farming.  When weeds and valuable crops are allowed to grow in the same space, it’s the weeds that will win out every time.

We’re so quick to blame God.

“Oh God, I planted the Word.  Why is there no harvest?  Why have you failed me?”

I’m here to inform you, it wasn’t God who failed.  Everything grew as God ordained it to.  It was the weeds in your life that choked out the Word before it was able to produce fruit in you.  That’s why there was no harvest.

Question: How are you keeping your heart free from weeds?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2013 in Word of God

 

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Proverb – What do You Value?

Proverbs 10:2
Ill-gotten treasures are of no value, but righteousness delivers from death.

This sounds like an oxymoron.  A treasure that’s of no value.  How does that work?  I guess it all depends upon your perspective.

In the natural realm, any treasure is good and valuable, no matter how it’s gotten.  That’s the trouble with us humans, we can’t see the big picture.  We look at what will make us feel good right now.  That’s why so many people in our generation have clawed and fought their way up the corporate ladder, only to find out it was leaning against the wrong wall.

We get trapped in the love of money and excuse it away.

“I’m doing this for you, so you can be comfortable.”

“This extra job is only temporary.”

It is only after we have lost those people who are dear to us that we start to question if it was worth it.

Righteousness – a life lived with God’s priorities in view, delivers us from death.  No, not the grave, but from a living death.  Living your life in God’s will for you will keep your relationships from dying.  It will keep you from an unfulfilled life.  Then, in your later years, you can look back with no regrets.

After all, what is value?  We are eternal beings.  Only a miniscule part of our existence will be lived in this life.  As wonderful as money seems right now, it is only an illusion.

Don’t get me wrong, I need money to get by, the same as everyone else.  But money has no eternal value.  It is only good for life on this planet.  I need to be storing up eternal wealth.  That’s where righteousness comes in.  It will last throughout the ages to come.

As I said, it all comes down to perspective.  What is important to you?  Better yet, what is going to be important to you one million years from today?  Remember, there will come a day when things that you highly valued will suddenly become worthless.  And things that you didn’t care about will suddenly become of supreme importance.

Start planning now for your life in eternity.  It will reap the greatest profit you could ever hope to achieve.

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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