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What is the Economy of God?

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It starts with a dream…
Several years ago, I had a dream in which I was standing at an ATM machine. I was in line for several minutes, only to put my card in and watch as the machine spit out American tens, fives and ones and then nothing!  I wanted to panic as I had anticipated getting twenties and more money. 
Suddenly, I looked to my right and saw another ATM machine with a man clothed in white standing beside it. There was no lineup and I knew I needed to move over to that machine.  As I then stood in front of it, the dream suddenly ended.  I sensed the Lord speaking to me “I want you to step into My economy”.
 
This dream remains with me and has caused me to ponder what exactly does this phrase ‘economy of God’ mean?  While I do continue my quest to understand this term, here are a few of my thoughts so far.
 
Three things I consider when thinking through this term ‘economy’ are: 
1) The dictionary defines ‘economy’ as “careful management of available resources” and includes such concepts as thrift, providence, prudence, careful budgeting, saving, restraint, and frugality; 
2) In the Greek it pertains to “stewardship or administration related to a household”; 
3) Throughout the New Testament we hear Jesus speaking about His Kingdom having come. He often spoke about it within the context of servants being judged for their stewardship of what has been entrusted to them by their master i.e. Luke 16:1-13. 
 
My sense is that God is looking for us to have a far greater perspective in managing our finances than the immediate here and now. He wants us to consider an eternal perspective. I believe He is my King and He rules over a Kingdom as described in His Word.  As a believer in Him, I am a part of this Kingdom. I believe He has asked us to work in partnership with Him in stewarding or administrating this Kingdom as He leads and directs –in this case from a financial perspective.  I have come to realize that all that He has given me belongs to Him – the full 100%. 
So this begs the question – how does He ask me to steward these financial resources?
 
First, our Lord and King makes it clear in Scripture that He is the source of all things, including our finances. He then lays out principles for us in both the Old and New Testament that include such areas as debt, savings, tithes, offering and gifts. We follow these principles in obedience but He also desires us to seek His leading as part of the process. 
We ask Him what would bless and give Him joy in our financial stewardship. This question not only relates to where we tithe and release our offerings and gifts but also includes how we spend and manage our own personal finances in day-to-day living. 
 
In essence, the economy of God is being aware and intentional in how you and I administrate the financial resources He puts at our disposal.  I believe He releases financial creativity within us and blesses us for the healthy functioning of our families and communities.  Included in this process is a joyful and active engagement with Him, a partnering, an asking for direction and guidance, a releasing in obedience, a seeking to bless, and, ultimately, seeing fruit borne and the Kingdom of God extended.  This will have eternal rewards as His Word says.
 
I hope my musings have challenged you to consider whether you have entered into the economy of God
Ray Borg is the National Director of Compass Canada, a worldwide, non-profit, interdenominational ministry that teaches people of all ages how to handle money based on the Bible.
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I nearly lost my balance

I grew up in a small town in the oil fields of East Texas.  Many parking lots were lined with pipes about 2 feet off the ground rather than fences or other barriers.  As a teen, I loved to walk on the pipes, keeping my balance.  Steady balance was the key to staying in the game.

In my job, I have the ability to “trade” my regular schedule for more work, when it becomes available.   With two kids in college, money is going out faster than it is coming in.  I now find myself trying to “up the paycheck” at every opportunity.  I was considering working more days to be a better provider, but it would be a trade-off.  I would be losing time with my kids, while they were home from college between semesters.

Before moving on to the next task of the day, I took a break to scan through the first chapter of Proverbs, and there in verse 19, my eyes caught these words, “So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; It takes away the life of Continue reading I nearly lost my balance

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Widows & Peanuts

Dear Friends,

Bill Wade recently joined Compass to serve the Atlanta area. He just lost his mother and wrote this Widows & Peanuts article that I thought you’d enjoy.

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Going back to the family farm in Florida’s Panhandle always brings back fond memories of my childhood, such as, chasing the cats while being pushed by my brother in my red wagon. We also worked hard at the farm.

My grandmother was always cooking. I can remember walking in from the fields and hearing the weight jiggling on the top of the pressure cooker. This usually meant we were having our favorite: freshly boiled green peanuts!

During a recent visit to see my mother just before she died, she said, “I sure would love some boiled peanuts.” My heart sank because the peanuts already had been harvested. Nevertheless, I walked out to the field to see if any had been left.

I began looking along the edges of the field, and sure enough, the green peanut vines had been left! The trick to digging peanuts is loosening up the soil so the peanuts can be pulled up by the vine without losing many. I dug till the wheelbarrow was full. I’ll never forget the smile on my mom’s face when she saw all the peanuts!

Finding the peanuts for my mom who was so ill reminded me of Deuteronomy 24:19.  If you forget to bring in a stack of harvested grain, don’t go back in the field to get it. Leave it for the poor, including foreigners, orphans, and widows, and the LORD will make you successful in everything you do (CEV).

All too often, we consume all we produce—whether it’s crops or Continue reading Widows & Peanuts

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I Have A Dream–Free at Last

This past June my wife and I had the privilege of hosting our “Mortgage Burning/Debt Free” party at our home!

We celebrated with around 100 guests- Howard, Dave, Kyle , the Compass field team, past mortgage& present donors, ministry leaders, friends and family all joined us in a time that will be fondly remembered by our family and I’m sure by many who attended.  You can see a brief slideshow of all the events & meetings in this SmileBox link..

Cheri & I want to thank the Lord for His miraculous provision that allowed us to pay off over $45,000 worth of debt in the past 5 years, amazingly while our annual income was never over $30,000! Also a special thanks to all who have given to this ministry over the past 7 years!  We couldn’t have done this without the Lord providing through you!

While I am thankful that we are “DEBT FREE”, I realize that I’m still not totally free.  I constantly need to seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance, not George Washington’s counsel for life decisions (you know the dead president on the “almighty dollar”).  I admit that I still don’t always ask God for He wants to do with HIS money, I often find I follow the leading of the “master” that has ruled most of my life—MONEY (Matt. 6:24)

I have a dream for God’s people to be “free at last” and experience the freedom from the slavery of debt (Proverbs 22:7).  But not just freedom from debt-more importantly to be free from serving the wrong master (money/mammon) –free to live a life of obedience to Christ through the Holy Spirit.

Not sure that ‘financial freedom’ was on the heart of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  in his “I Have a Dream” speech, given  on August 28, 1963 “When all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual, “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”  But I do believe it is on God’s heart for you & me to be ‘free at last’ from serving money instead of Him.

True freedom happens when we daily submit to a loving, intimate God -living a life of obedience to His ways. Are you free?  Regardless if you are debt free or not I hope you’ll join me in a quest for ‘true freedom’- a life that is free from serving the wrong master and then help others to do the same!

This can this be only be accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit in us, as seen in Galatians 6:8-9

“Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

So, keep your hands to the plow and allow God to continue to complete the good work in you (Phil 1:6) so you can be free! (John 8:31-32)

Next time I’ll share in more detail some amazing things God did to help us get out of debt!

Dan Schilling

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Dan SchillingDan Schilling is the Executive Director for Compass – finances God’s Way for Ohio.

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Toothpaste in the Sink

I know this happens to all of us, but isn’t it frustrating when you start your day by brushing your teeth, and just before you put the toothbrush in your mouth, the fresh dollop of toothpaste falls right off the brush and into the sink?  Sometimes, especially when my eyes aren’t fully open, I’ll be brushing my teeth, thinking I’m accomplishing a necessary morning task, only to realize after I’ve spent a couple of minutes or more brushing away, that the toothpaste is in the sink!  So I get to start all over again.

It dawned on me that my spiritual life can sometimes reflect “toothpaste in the sink”.  If I read scripture faithfully and have a morning devotion, but I don’t take the time to make sure that the passage that I’ve read is applied to some area of my life, I really haven’t accomplished very much.  In James 1:22-25, it says (my editorial comment in italics)

“But prove yourselves doers of the word (keep the toothpaste on the brush), and not merely hearers who delude themselves (you think you’re brushing your teeth, but you’re really not).  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was (and he failed to see the toothpaste in the sink).  But the one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does (there is no toothpaste in the sink and his teeth are really clean!).

All kidding aside, just as we know that toothpaste of today has all sorts of additives that are beneficial for our oral health (fluoride, baking soda, mouthwash, flavoring, peroxide, etc.) God’s Word is beneficial for our spiritual health.  But if the Word is left in the sink, it does us no good whatsoever.  When we read the Bible, do we ask ourselves “What am I to learn from this passage and how can I apply it to my life?” or do we go through the motions, check off the box that I did my Bible reading for the day, and get on with the day’s activities?  To keep the toothpaste from falling off the brush, we might need to press a little harder and make sure that the paste has fully infiltrated the bristles, because that’s where it will do us the most good.  God’s Word needs to be pressed down and become intertwined with our very being.   If it’s not, we’re just hearers and not doers.

Check out the sink the next time you brush your teeth – then ask yourself if your spiritual life reflects any similarities.

Jim Whorton

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Jim Whorton is an Executive Director for Compass – finances God’s Way.  Jim and his wife, Christy, serve the Florida, Georgia and Alabama areas.

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Lessons from Deborah

Lessons I Learned from the life of Deborah

Recently, I began a study on the women of the Bible. One of the women I would like to emulate is Deborah, so let me share a few highlights from her story with you. The life of Deborah is recorded in Judges 4-5.

Background

Deborah, the wife of Lippidoth, is among one of the outstanding women of history. She was a prophetess who heard from God and believed him. As a prophetess, she encouraged the people to follow God. She was the only female judge of Israel and the leader of the nation. She was responsible for leading Israel in battle against the Canaanites. While Deborah was described in Judges 4:4 as a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, she described herself as “a mother of Israel” (Judges 5:7).

Deborah was a wise leader and was known for her prophetic power. She loved the Lord and the people of Israel. She was a great mediator, adviser and counselor. She had great leadership skills, a remarkable relationship with God, and she was faithful.

Lessons Learned

Some of the lessons I learned from Deborah’s life are:

  • God can accomplish great things through people who are willing to be led by him
  • Wise leaders surround themselves with the right people
  • She was concerned about people, not just her success
  • Whenever people praised her she acknowledged that all the glory belongs to God.

Application to my life

Studying the life of Deborah has allowed me to seriously evaluate my life, my purpose and my calling. I have asked the Lord to help me to be the godly wife, mother and leader like Deborah. As I serve in the ministry, I pray that God will equip me with the godly characteristics and leadership qualities that she possessed in order to fulfill his purpose for my life.

I’ll continue to seek God’s guidance in every decision I make and to totally rely on him. My greatest desire is to allow him to:

  1. Develop in me the characteristics that Deborah demonstrated.
  2. Grant me an unwavering commitment to do his will
  3. Help me to do whatever it takes to strengthen and encourage others
  4. Give me the wisdom to make sound judgment and to offer counsel that guide individuals toward faithfulness and obedience in the area of biblical financial stewardship, and ultimately into a closer relationship with Christ.

May this be your heart’s desire also!

Yvonne Mitto

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Yvonne Mitto is the Executive Director for Compass, covering the New England area.  To find out more about Yvonne and ministry taking place in the New England area, please visit Compass – New England and New York State.