“Money: How to Be Rich Without It and How to Stretch It Using Ten Hints from the Past and the Technology of Today”

Since I have created this blog to help you stretch your money, I have decided to do just that and have put new pricing on my book.

Check out Amazon and Smashwords for new pricing. There are reviews and a sample chapter on this site. Check out tabs above.

I would love to hear from you after you read it. 41NydAJhNoL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_

Here is a preview of Money: How to Be Rich Without It and How to Stretch It Using Ten Hints from the Past and the Technology of Today

“Money is often on my mind. Chances are it is on your mind, too. Whether we have a lot of it, just enough of it, not much of it or none at all, money is on our minds.”

With frugality in her DNA, the author explains her lengthy title in the foreword: “Since your perception of riches has a great deal with how you approach your handling of money, the best starting place is Money, How to Rich Without It. In this book, I talk about millionaires who don’t fit the profile you would normally expect as well as some people I know who are rich beyond description although they don’t have any money. In these two extremes, I found a common denominator: the right attitude toward money.

… perhaps it’s time to rethink the wisdom of those who have gone before us. A miserly attitude is not the answer, but because they survived during some very rough times, maybe their advice is worth another look, thus the reason for a look at Money: How to Stretch It Using 10 Hints from the Past.

We do, however, live in the 21st century and have advantages that our ancestors could not have even dreamed of, thus the addition of and the Technology of Today. The appendix has an abundance of websites and resources that will help you stretch your dollars.”

Written from a Christian perspective, the book also includes an overview of what the Bible says about money.

Order paperback and Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/Money-Without-Stretch-Using-Technology/dp/1479389161/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391084095&sr=8-1&keywords=money%3A+how+to+be+rich+without+it

Download available in all formats, including PDF and Sony Reader: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/221060

How to Manage Money: Practical Counsel – Work, Give, Live on a Budget

Guest blogger: Richard L. Blake

For the introduction to this seven part series (this is part six), see 3/11/2016 post “How to Manage Money”.

At this point we need to look at the lifestyle of a steward. While this is not the place for technical financial advice, we would do well to consider how to apply the biblical principles we just reviewed to the matter of managing money. I want to offer some basic money management counsel consistent with scripture and sound financial practices.

Work

         This is foundational to a steward’s lifestyle. The first thing God did with Adam was to put him to work: “Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). And in the New Testament, Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “If anyone will not work, neither let him eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

God is surely the provider of our money and every other blessing. But he expects us to work. Paul wrote to the Colossians, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (3:23-24). And Proverbs says, “Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, but he who gathers by labor will increase (13:11). Getting wealth is the result of faithful, diligent, hard work along with biblical management of that income.rucni-prace

Give

         While stewardship involves more than giving, it never involves less than giving. God entrusts wealth to us, not so we can spend on ourselves lavishly, but so we can give to others. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed . . . you will be enriched in everything for all liberality . . . ” (2 Corinthians 9:8, 11). Author Randy Alcorn says, “Too often we assume that God entrusts more to us to increase our standard of living, yet his stated purpose is to increase our standard of giving.”

The starting point in our giving should be the tithe, a biblical term meaning “a tenth part.” This was God’s requirement of the ancient Israelites. God made clear that the tithe belonged to him. Failure to tithe was to rob God: “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed Thee?’ In tithes and offerings” (Malachi 3:8). Notice that last sentence, “In tithes and offerings.” Giving is something that goes beyond the tithe. Since a voluntary “offering” was something God considered “due” him under the Old Covenant, why would we think it acceptable to do less under the New Covenant? Put another way, why should we do less under Grace than under Law?

Far more than mere tithing, the Old Testament emphasizes “freewill offerings” or “voluntary offerings.” These were included with the tithes: “Bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, your sacred offerings, your offerings to fulfill a vow, your voluntary offerings . . .” (Deuteronomy 12:6). The people were thrilled with giving far beyond the tithe, as evidenced in their joyful contributions toward the building of the Tabernacle: “The people of Israel—every man and woman who was eager to help in the work the Lord had given them through Moses—brought their gifts and gave them freely to the Lord” (Exodus 35:29).

Christians who consider tithing the high ground of giving are actually lowering the Old Testament standard, which merely started with the tithe but did not end there. Should the church, transformed by the redemptive work of Christ, experience such devoted, joyful giving any less than our Israelite counterparts? Or should we experience it all the more?

Remember what we said earlier about laying up treasures in heaven? Giving is one of the chief ways we do that.lossy-page1-800px-The_Child_At_Your_Door,_400,000_Orphans_Starving,_no_state_aid_available,_Campaign_for_$30,000,000._American..._-_NARA_-_512726.tiff

Live on a Budget

         This seems a logical thing to do yet many fail to employ such an important tool in money management. This involves planning and record keeping and it’s something any wise money manager should do. But before going into the specifics, some general lifestyle counsel is in order.

  • Learn to be content. The source of your contentment must never be from having more money or things because you will always require more to maintain the same level of contentment. True and lasting contentment comes from the Lord. “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am . . . I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11, 13). “Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have” (Hebrews 13:5). Two great threats to contentment are coveting things and comparing our lifestyle to others, so be on guard against those dangers.
  • Make an effort to live more simply. Every possession requires time, and often money to maintain. Too many or the wrong type can harm our relationship with the Lord and others. Advertisers communicate their message that you can’t live without their product—but you really can. A simple, quiet life is the best environment for us to grow in our relationship with God and with others.
  • Submit spending decisions to the Lord. When it comes to purchasing things we rarely have to do it “right now.” Major purchases, especially, should be avoided until you have prayed about it and asked God to bring clarity to the decisions. Just because you can afford something doesn’t mean God wants you to buy it. Since he holds us accountable for wise money management, it makes sense that he would want us to seek his guidance in deciding whether to spend. Remember, decisions have consequences. God will help you, but he will not eliminate the consequences of your bad decisions. Therefore, seek the Lord.

th-2While you’re working on adjusting your lifestyle, begin living on a budget. This is simply your plan for how you will allocate your income. Most people have a fairly regular monthly income. A budget is your plan to divide that income into some specific categories so that you don’t overspend. These would include things like your tithe, rent or mortgage, utilities, food, clothing and all your other regular needs, even a small amount for some miscellaneous things. The implementation of your budget requires careful record keeping for all expenditures. Budgeting and record keeping will help you get a grip on your spending. Many problems in managing money occur simply because people are not paying attention to what they are spending. Proverbs counsels, “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever” (27:23-24).

 

How to Manage Money: What the Bible Says About Stewardship

Guest blogger: Richard L. Blake

For the introduction to this seven part series (this is part five), see 3/11/2016 post “How to Manage Money”.

While God retains ownership of all things, he entrusts the management of those things to us, expecting we will use them wisely and in a way that honors him. This is the main point of several stewardship parables in the Gospels.

562px-Parable_of_the_Talents_001Consider the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). A man about to leave on a journey entrusted his possessions to three of his servants, giving to each different amounts but having the same expectation of faithfulness in their stewardship. Two of the servants invested wisely what was entrusted, but the third simply buried his master’s money in the ground. Upon the man’s return he called his servants to account and rewarded the two who had been faithful in their stewardship. But to the servant who had buried the money, refusing to steward it faithfully, the master said, “You wicked, lazy servant.” He was too lazy or scared to do what was right by his master, unfaithful with his money. Seeking safety, he lost everything.painting1

This parable teaches that we’re entrusted by God with different financial assets, gifts, and opportunities to have an impact on people for eternity, thereby making preparations for our own eternal future. The Scripture says, “So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). We’ll be held accountable for how we’ve stewarded God’s assets in this life. We’re to prepare for our master’s return by contributing to the growth of his kingdom through wisely investing his assets. That is not just money, but it does include money. A faithful steward handles all of God’s blessings in God’s way for God’s glory.

finance_tree_growth_45EA7BC7B6870

How to Manage Money:What the Bible Says About Ownership

Guest blogger: Richard L. Blake

For the introduction to this seven part series (this is part four), see 3/11/2016 post “How to Manage Money”.

Appletons'_Wesley_JohnA man once rushed upon John Wesley shouting, “Mr. Wesley, Mr. Wesley, something terrible has happened! Your house has burned to the ground!”

Thinking for a moment, Wesley replied, “No. The Lord’s house has burned to the ground. That means one less responsibility for me.” Wesley’s response reflected a basic reality of life—God is the owner of all things and we are simply the manager of his assets.

God’s ownership of all things is clearly expressed in many passages in the Bible. Consider these, for example:

“The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it” (Psalm 24:1).

“Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it” (Deuteronomy 10:14).

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“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things” (1 Chronicles 29:11-12).


“Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me”
(Job 41:11). 

“For every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it” (Psalm 50:101-2).

“‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty” (Haggai 2:8).

There are many other scriptures that make this point but these are enough to convince us that we own nothing; God retains ownership of everything. That extends even to our very selves, for God says, “You are not your own; you were bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Not only does God own everything, He gives to us our ability to make money and determines how much of his wealth he will entrust to us:

“Remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:18).

“The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up” (1 Samuel 2:7).

Any consideration of managing money, therefore, must begin with this: God owns it 600px-Globe.svgall.

How to Manage Money: Why A Biblical Mindset Matters

Guest blogger: Richard L. Blake

For the introduction on this series, see the 3/11/2016 post “How to Manage Money”

Maintaining a biblical mindset about God’s provisions matters for at least two reasons. First, it matters because of our relationship. We have been made in God’s likeness, fashioned for fellowship with him. He has redeemed us by the blood of his Son, showered us with blessings, and loves us with an everlasting love. Our response to this must be one of gratitude, and one way our gratitude is evident is in the way we manage the gifts he has given.

Moses reminded the Israelites of God’s expectations in response to his goodness:

800px-Foster_Bible_Pictures_0065-1_The_Israelites_Gather_Manna_in_the_WildernessH.M. Snyder, illustrator for the 1897 Bible Pictures and What They Teach Us by Charles Foster

“In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end. Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth . . . And it shall come about if you ever forget the Lord your God, and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you shall surely perish” (Deuteronomy 8:16-18a, 19).

In other words, God is paying attention to our response to his goodness in providing so abundantly for us. When we ungratefully receive and improperly use his provisions we wound his heart and injure our fellowship with him. Guard your relationship with the Provider, not the provision.

Another reason for maintaining this biblical mindset is because of our rewards. Scriptures teach us to view money and all materials things through the lens of eternity. Heavenly rewards await those who faithfully manage the provisions God entrusts to us on earth.

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks of money and rewards this way:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

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Jesus is asking us to see material things with an eternal perspective. This view sees all earthly treasures as not only a provision God makes for our own temporal needs, but also as a means to serve God and help others. In the process, we store up eternal treasures in heaven. To be sure, Christ’s words about storing up treasures in heaven can be broadly applied to how we spend our time and use our abilities. The Scriptures are clear that there are rewards for those things, as well. However, the central emphasis of this text is about giving and unselfishly using money and possessions.

We store up treasures on Earth by accumulating and preserving them. We store up treasures in heaven by holding loosely, sharing generously, and giving away earthly treasures for God’s Kingdom purposes. This is very practical investment counsel; invest in what has lasting value. Money is only of temporary value—unless, that is, it’s used and spent and shared and given with a view toward heavenly treasure. Moths destroy fabric, rust corrodes metals, and thieves can steal almost anything. No earthly treasure is safe. Yet even if they escape moths and rust and thieves, they cannot escape the coming fire of God that will consume the material world (2 Peter 3:7). Therefore, Jesus is not condemning wealth as morally wrong, but rather, he’s telling us it’s a bad investment.

Ultimately, we will die and everything we managed to hold onto in this world will be left behind. Whatever treasures we store up in heaven will be waiting when we arrive. Jesus is not telling us to avoid storing up treasures; in fact, he specifically tells us to do so. He’s just telling us to stop storing them in the wrong place—on Earth where they won’t last—and start storing them in the right place—Heaven, where they’ll last forever. Missionary Jim Elliot had this insight when he wrote: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

How to Manage Money: Biblical Principles

Guest blogger: Richard L. Blake

For the introduction to this seven part series, see 3/11/2016 post “How to Manage Money”.

The_Black_Death

The Black Death

I ask you to come with me 669 years back in time to Lubeck, Germany. In 1347, as the Black Plague swept across Europe killing over 30 percent of the population, the people of Lubeck were terrified. The wealthy citizens sought to enter the huge fortified monastery for shelter. But the monks, afraid of contamination by the disease from the outside world, locked their gates and strictly refused admission.

The nobles and the wealthy pleaded in vain. They then took their money, jewelry and valuables and threw them over the wall, pleading for admission that they might find safety. Within a short time, the money and valuables piled up a meter high. Yet the contaminated treasure was left untouched and the gates remained closed.

Now, why did all these monies and valuables lie at the base of the monastery walls? Because the rich thought that money thrown away would save their lives, and the monks thought that contaminated money accepted would kill them.

There were two entirely different views of wealth. What is your view? This is a very important issue for us to consider.

Develop a Biblical Mindset About Money

When it comes to money and material possessions we find three different views in the church.

Poverty Theology

The premise of Poverty Theology is that money is inherently evil and thus to be poor is to be spiritual. The orientation then is towards shunning wealth. This makes no sense because some of God’s most godly saints are wealthy. Job was the richest man in the ancient east (Job 1:3; 42:12). Abraham was exceedingly wealthy (Genesis 13:2). It’s not a sin to be rich, nor to enjoy the things wealth may bring. In 1 Timothy we are told that God is the one who “who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (6:17). Solomon, famed for both his riches and his wisdom, wrote, “As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:19).

Some may ask, “Doesn’t the Bible say that money is the root of all evil?” No, it does not. Rather, it says, “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). Money itself is not evil but evil resides in people who love it. People may be moral or immoral, but money is morally neutral and can be used for good things or for bad. Therefore, we must reject the idea that money or material things are inherently unspiritual.

Prosperity Theology

The premise of Prosperity Theology is that money is a signature gift of God and thus to be rich is indicates God’s special favor. The orientation then is toward splurging wealth. Prosperity theology looks exactly like materialism but it professes to be based on God’s word and is therefore not only permissible but also desirable. Following God through giving and other forms of obedience become a formula for abundant provision and the celebration of prosperous living. There are some Christian leaders that exhort their listeners to give liberally while they live in palatial mansions, own private jets, and pay for luxurious hotel suites while they travel to spread their message of prosperity.

Of course, there are scriptures that seem to link material prosperity with God’s blessing. For instance, God gave material wealth to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Solomon, and Job because he approved of them. Some passages offer material rewards for faithful financial giving:

“You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings” (Deuteronomy 15:10).

      “Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine; The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered” (Proverbs 3:9-10; 11:25)

      “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows’” (Malachi 3:10).

God does do those things these scriptures promise, but that’s not the whole picture. The scriptures also warn against the dangers of wealth—especially that in their prosperity people often forget the Lord (Deuteronomy 8:7-18). But even when people love and obey God they still may suffer. In fact, they’re promised suffering (Acts 14:22; 2 Timothy 3:12). Jeremiah, a righteous man who lived in adversity, complained to God, “Why are the wicked so prosperous? Why are evil people so happy? (Jeremiah 12:1). His question echoed the psalmist who wrote, “This is what the wicked are like— always free of care, they go on amassing wealth” (Psalm 73:12).

If, as prosperity theology maintains, material wealth is a reliable indicator of God’s reward and approval, then crime bosses, drug lords, and embezzlers must be his most favored people, while Jesus and the apostle Paul must be on his blacklist. So, prosperity theology does not square with the teaching of scripture.

Provision Theology

The premise of Provision Theology is that money belongs to God but He has entrusted wealth to us to be used wisely. The orientation then is towards stewarding wealth. This is the biblically correct view of wealth. Our good God has promised to provide for all our needs according to his riches in glory (Philippians 4:19). His provision is therefore good and not to be shunned or apologized for. Neither is it to be coveted or boasted about. The right approach is to see money and all materials resources as God’s property placed under our management. We are stewards of his provisions.

 

How to Manage Money

For seven posts, my husband, Richard L. Blake, is my guest blogger. Recently he was asked to write conference material on how to manage money. I thought it was so applicable to this blog site that I asked his permission to include it on this site. In these posts, I will share his notes – verbatim (only excluding what was very specific for his target audience) – with you.

Like the other posts on this blog, this material is written from a Christian perspective.

The next six posts will contain:

  • How to Manage Money: Biblical Principles
  • How to Manage Money: Why a Biblical Mindset Matters
  • How to Manage Money: What the Bible Says About Ownership
  • How to Manage Money: What the Bible Says About Stewardship
  • How to Manage Money: Practical Counsel – Work, Give, Live on a Budget
  • How to Manage Money: Practical Counsel – Get Out of Debt, Save, Invest

HOW TO MANAGE MONEY

The matter of money management may at first seem an appropriate subject only to those who actually have a good deal of money to manage. Some may believe the subject of little value to them because they think they have so little to manage. A rethinking of this view is in order for several reasons.

First, the matter is broader than merely managing money. Our material possessions, our gifts and talents, our time—these also are resources that we are given to manage. Gaining wisdom about managing all these resources will benefit us now, not only in producing greater gain but also in reducing stress and anxiety.

Secondly, we actually are rich. If you have an annual household income of $11,000  you’re in the top 14 percent of income earners in the world. If your income is only $34,000 annually you’re in the top 1 percent. And even if you made only $1,500 last year you would still have more money than 75 percent of all people on Earth. You may not feel wealthy but from a global perspective we’re among some of the richest people on earth. With more than 1 billion people around the world living on less than 1 dollar a day, living in huts without indoor plumbing or running water and unsure of where their next meal will come from, it does change our perspective. With that change we begin to see more of the importance of money management.

Finally, we need to become good managers of our resources because it is what God expects. In Luke 16, Jesus made a direct connection between our handling of worldly wealth and his decision to entrust to us even greater wealth: “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?” (Luke 16:10-11). God is observing what we do with our time, our talent, and our treasure. What may seem such little things to us are major factors in God’s decision to commend and promote us—or reprimand and demote us—in his Kingdom. Therefore, we must ask ourselves, “What opportunities are we missing, or one day will miss, because we have failed to use our money and other resources wisely?”

Thankful for Some I Have Never Met

I have been so blessed with a great family and precious friends from practically every corner of the world. I am thankful for all of them. However, I have reflected lately how thankful I am for many people I have never met and probably won’t meet this side of Heaven.

Instead of keeping magazine subscriptions for home improvement, decorating, cooking or other subjects I am interested in, I have turned instead to the world wide web and the many people who are willing to share their ideas and expertise just because they are interested in helping other people. I am very thankful for them.

423px-Good_housekeeping_1908_08_aWhen I have time to relax, I go to Pinterest or to some of the blogs I follow. I do not spend all day on these sites and I resist letting myself getting carried away by chasing rabbits from one blog to another. I do, however, treat these just like I used to treat my magazine subscriptions. Since I follow so many blogs, I often just scroll through my emails and delete most of the posts. There are times, though, something catches my eye and I spend a moment or two on the site. I always learn something. I have discovered there are many, many people just like me – who want to stretch their money and be good stewards of all the resources God has given us. Recently someone shared what gifts her sons really use and I received some great gift ideas for Christmas. I follow some blogs that are specifically Christian – often the scripture they share was just what I needed that day.

The possibility that the ones who have helped me will read this is slim. I still want to voice my thanks for people who are willing to share with others – especially when they don’t expect to get anything in return.

I also love good quotes and wanted to share this one from a daily email I subscribe to:

Only when the last tree has been felled, the last river poisoned and the last fish caught, man will know, that he cannot eat money. –

Old Indian Chief somewhere in the U.S.

I thank God for all of you who share.

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