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What is the Economy of God?

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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Bev’s Second Surgey

Dear Friends,

This afternoon during some prayer time, I began to weep suddenly. I’d been feeling tender all day, but now this. Why?

Then, I realized that in about 14 hours Bev, my wife of 42 years was going to have her second major surgery associated with her double mastectomy. A flood of memories together engulfed me.

The first time I saw her at the First National Bank of Maitland, I was applying for a loan to build a restaurant made out of a caboose and five railroad box cars. I knew from that moment that she was the girl I wanted to marry and grow old together with.

Together we have experienced many births and new beginnings. About six months after our marriage, we were both born again as we were introduced to Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. The exhilaration of the births of our three children—Matthew, Andrew and Danielle. The births of our two amazing grandchildren—did I tell you how bright they are? The birth of our Caboose Restaurant and real estate development company—The Crown Company. The birth of Crown Ministries and more recently Compass—finances God’s way.

We’ve also experience our share of deaths and the end of chapters in our lives. The deaths of all four of our parents and Andrew when he was 11. The sale of the Caboose and The Crown Company before we started Crown Ministries. The unexpected transition from Crown Financial Ministries after serving there for 22 years.

Bottom line, we have experienced life together with all its highs and lows. Through it all, we have grown in our love for each other and in our love and trust of Christ. When we are in the midst of a challenging time or know of someone who is facing something hard, we often ask each other, “How do people make it who don’t know Jesus? How do people make it if they don’t have a soul mate with whom they can pray encourage each other?”

This is my prayer for you on the eve of Bev’s surgery when she and I are in a tender place, thankful for praying friends like you, and trusting in the absolutely faithful God of the universe. May you come to know Christ better. May you be surrounded with His people who genuinely care for you.

Gratefully in Christ,
Howard Dayton

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Not of The World

God’s ways of handling money are so different than the world’s way. Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways than your ways.”

There was a classic example of this recently when General Motors announced that it wants to get out of the pension business. They are offering 42,000 GM retirees two options: they can either take a lump sum amount now, or GM will shift the pension to Prudential Insurance Company.

What stunned me was the advice given by a financial planner who works with these retirees. He said that one way for pensioners to make sure they’ll have enough income to provide for their futures, is to take their mortgage free homes and saddle them with a new 15- or 20-year home mortgage. With 15-year loans now averaging a little over 3 percent in interest, the retiree could invest that money, and hope to beat the rate they are paying on the loan.

The article ended by saying: Of course, they would have to be able to make their monthly payments – and live with the risks of betting the house on their investments – but those are questions for another day.

Think about this. Retirees encumbering their mortgage free homes in the hopes that their investments would beat the interest rate they are paying on a new mortgage. Forget the risk that they have obligated themselves to a higher cost of living. Forget the risk of investing in a time of tremendous economic uncertainty. Forget that Proverbs 22:7 warns us, “The borrower is servant (or slave) to the lender.”

Don’t forget the importance of learning what the God of the universe says about handling money . . . and practicing what He tells us.

God Bless,

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Caring for the Needy

Dear Friends,

Last week I was delighted to reconnect with a close friend, Dale Jones, who told me an amazing story of God’s provision.

Dale and his wife sold their Atlanta home and moved to Washington, D.C. just before the housing market fell apart. They purchased a home in D.C. and began to invest a great deal of effort in serving the needy in their community. Later, he began to feel uncomfortable because of the size of the home and its mortgage. He knelt by his bed and cried out to the Lord to enable them to sell the home.

The next day there was a knock at the door. The man at the door told Dale that he liked the looks of the home and that he wanted to buy it. When told the purchase price, he immediately agreed. Think about this! There was no For Sale sign. It wasn’t listed with a real estate broker. He buyer didn’t even ask to see the inside of the home! But he bought it for cash with no contingencies. No question about it—God alone brought this buyer in this challenging market!

Dale and I were weeping because of the kind faithfulness of Jesus Christ. When I asked Dale why he thought the Lord had acted so quickly, he Continue reading Caring for the Needy