Money, Money, Money

How much would your annual income have to be to make the top 1% of the wealthiest people in the world? According to Investopedia.com it is $32,400 per year. Does 99% of the world consider you wealthy?

You might believe “more” would make you happy. But the news tells of those who seem to have it all, but their wreaked lives are obviously miserable. Is it possible to have joy instead of misery in dealing with your finances?

Real joy is not determined by what you have, but by what has you. It’s not who you are that counts, but who’s you are.

To be genuinely blessed is to have joy. Jesus tells us how to be blessed, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)

In a world that screams incessantly to buy something, drive a newer car, live in a bigger house, and go on more vacations, it is amazing that the Creator of this world says we find joy not in accumulation but in generosity!

If God made you rich, what would be his purpose for the wealth? Would it be to obtain more luxuries? The Bible says, “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion” (1 Corinthians 9:11). The purpose of wealth is so you can be more generous!

God’s principles seem upside-down to our worldly way of thinking. It would seem that if you gave more away, you would have less to give. But in God’s economy the opposite is true, the more generous you are the more God will supply you! Here’s the promise, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

This famous verse comes from the final words of the book of joy, Philippians. God’s promise to supply our needs is in the context of generosity. It is generosity that triggers God’s supply! God richly supplies our needs, not to get more, but to give more.

What you spend your money on indicates what you really love. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). What does your checkbook say that you love?

A critical indicator of loving God is your financial priority. Is the first part of your income, at least the first ten percent, being used to accomplish God’s purposes through His church? The Bible says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crop” (Proverbs 3:9-10). Do you give God leftovers or firstfruits? Generosity is the key to joy!

Want to know more? Worship with us this Sunday at 9am. Find us at BalboaBaptist.Church. Our mission is to bring all people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ and help them grow toward Christian maturity through love, prayer, worship, teaching, and service.

Mystery Solved

An airline pilot flying over mountains in Tennessee pointed out a lake to his copilot. “See that little lake?” he said. “When I was a kid I used to sit in a rowboat down there, fishing. Every time a plane would fly overhead, I’d look up and wish I was flying it. Now I look down and wish I was in a rowboat, fishing.”

People were asked how much more money it would take to make them happy. The almost universal response was about twice as much as they currently had. Happiness based on things will always require more things to make us happy.

It is not in our nature to be content. Rather our natural inclination is to be discontent. One of the keys to joy is to do what the apostle Paul did when he said, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” (Philippians 4:11)

He learned how to be content. He did not possess a special personality trait that made him content, but he learned it in hard-knock circumstances. The word “learn” derives from the word “disciple.” It means to experience something, reflect on it, and act in a new way because of it. Jesus discipled people by challenging them to follow him around, learn by example, and experience his life. Contentment is not learned in the classroom.

Numerous television shows and movies are based on solving a mystery. Perhaps you enjoy a good mystery novel. Paul said, “In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret.” (Philippians 4:12) The word “secret” derives from our English word for “mystery.”

So how do we unravel the mystery to being content? It is not abandoning godly ambition to have goals, dreams, and plans. Neither is it escaping life’s challenges by detaching ourselves to a cabin in the woods. Nor is it a complacent “Who cares!” attitude.

The misery of discontentment is optional. You cannot choose all of your circumstances, but you can choose how you react to them. You can choose to pray instead of worry.

Contentment comes not from fretting over what the future holds, but from trusting the Lord who holds your future. It is an inward sufficiency based in Jesus Christ. Yes, it is faith. “And this is the victory that overcomes the world – our faith.” (1 John 5:4)

Contentment is engaging and confronting the constant resistance to faith in the dynamic, strengthening power of being in Christ who gives us his ability.

All this leads to one of the most famous verses in the Bible. A verse found in context of how to be content in the brutal circumstances life. What’s the secret? “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Want to know more? This Sunday at 9am, I will continue the series, “How to In-Joy Life: Simple, but Difficult Steps.” Find us at BalboaBaptist.Church. Our mission is to bring all people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ and help them grow toward Christian maturity through love, prayer, worship, teaching, and service.

Bird Nests

Nine out of ten things we worry about never happen. Dr. Walter Calvert’s study revealed that only 8% of what we worry about is legitimate. The other 92% are imagined, never happens, or are completely out of reach.

I might prove how illogical worry is, but we still worry. Telling ourselves not to worry does not stop us!

Someone said, “Worry is wasting today’s time to clutter up tomorrow’s opportunities with yesterday’s trouble.” Worry is an anxious uneasiness as we go to the same issue over and over getting nowhere. This useless effort drains us, produces no benefits, and makes us more miserable.

It’s not logical, it’s spiritual. It’s an issue of our relationship with God, specifically prayer. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” Philippians 4:6.

The urge to worry is the spiritual signal to start praying. “Let your requests be made known to God.” Of course God already knows. But pride leads us to try to handle it ourselves. Prayer is humbling ourselves to seek Him.

First, the root word for “prayer” carries the idea of making an exchange. Prayer is exchanging what you can’t do for what God can do. It is exchanging requests, making our requests to God and listening to God’s requests for obedience.

Second, “supplication” means to make our requests expressing a profound sense of our need. It is not saying that we need a little help, but a lot of help with a sense of absolute bankruptcy.

Third, make our requests excited with gratitude for how God has already blessed. Remember the song, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one?” Thank Him for specific ways God excelled at meeting your needs.

How often should we pray? How often do we worry? Worry is something we do no matter what else is going on around us. Prayer needs to be just as continual.

Wow, we have to change the way we think to do that! That’s a monumental task. Remember this, thoughts are like birds, you can’t control which ones fly over your head, but you can control which ones build a nest in your hair. Let prayer build the nest, not worry.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

Want to know more? This Sunday at 9am, I will continue the series, “How to In-Joy Life: Simple, but Difficult Steps.” Find us at BalboaBaptist.Church. Our mission is to bring all people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ and help them grow toward Christian maturity through love, prayer, worship, teaching, and service.

Anger, Angst, and … Joy?

Those jarring hits in the NFL make players and fans flinch. When two defensive players hit a receiver at the same time – ouch! Injuries cause some to question the joy of playing and watching football. The 2015 movie “Concussion” starring Will Smith has increased this spotlight.

Life can produce a double-hit as well. It can hit you with anger from an argument with friend or co-worker and at the same time life can drill you with anxiety from overwhelming circumstances.

This is the scenario in Philippians 4. In between these two painful joy-stealers, anger and angst, the apostle Paul says an amazing thing: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand.” Philippians 4:4-5

When a double-whammy sucks the joy out of you, adopt three essential attitudes in order to experience joy.

First, be Glad God Gave you Grace. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” The words “rejoice” and “grace” share the same root word. When you put your faith in Christ for salvation, God gives you His grace. Regardless of life’s circumstances, you can rejoice in God’s forgiveness of sin provided by His grace. Be glad in it.

Second, Relax your Reasons & Rights and be Reasonable. “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.” The word for “reasonableness” has no English equivalent, so it is translated gentle, considerate, thoughtful, moderate, and gracious. It means to relax strict standards in order to keep the spirit of the standards. Instead of wringing out your reasons for self-justification or demanding your rights, be reasonable. Joy results if you carry a cross instead of a grudge.

Third, Don’t Sneer, Jesus is Here & Near. “The Lord is at hand.” Don’t sneer “What’s the use?” or “Why try?” Act and think according to Jesus’ promise to never leave you or forsake you. He is always “here.” Christ’s love and power is always available to help you. Also His second coming is “near.” He is coming again soon, so don’t be caught carrying worries and grudges when He comes.

An Aramaic exclamation of calling out to God is “Maranatha!” It means, “Our Lord, come!”

Want to know more? This Sunday at 9am, I will continue the series, “How to In-Joy Life: Simple, but Difficult Steps.” Find us at BalboaBaptist.Church. Our mission is to bring all people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ and help them grow toward Christian maturity through love, prayer, worship, teaching, and service.