Seminar: Religious Folklore
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Welcome to Financial Freedom God’s Way, where you are continuing to learn, apply, and pass on, Bible-based financial principles and applications so that you and your family will not only just survive, but thrive during these very uncertain times.
Hi and welcome everyone, this is Bob Louder from Christian Financial Ministries, and it is an absolute honor to have you with us again—it really is. Where are we going during our 30 minute time together today?
- First of all, we’re going to see how we as Christians get into a whole lot of trouble by being too close to the world and not nearly close enough to God, we’re going to talk about sayings that sound spiritual but are not found in the Bible—that means we are going to be talking about religious folklore.
- Then, during our Q&A time together today we’ll see a question from a wife who doesn’t want to follow her husband into the budgeting process—we will talk just a bit about that awful sounding 5-letter word—the Budget.
- Then, well then, well, unfortunately, we have a new scam alert for you from the BBB.
With COVID mostly behind us, so many of us are looking to get out of the house and have some fun…but beware, it seems this summer lots and lots of folks are being scammed by fake events and phony tickets. We’ll talk about it.
So stay tuned, you are not going to want to miss a minute of today’s program.
And as we start, well please join me in prayer to make sure He is the one we are going to hear from these next 30 minutes. Father, thank You for meeting with us again today. Please give us ears to hear all that it is you have planned for us, to Your glory, in Jesus’ mighty name, amen.
OK….during all of our times together you have seen that we are all about drawing heavily on the Word of God. That being the case, it is time to switch gears just a bit—it is time to raise a warning flag. It is time to make sure we know that not everything that sounds spiritual is scriptural. There is quite a bit that we hear that falls into the class of what is called religious folklore.
- What is religious folklore?
- Religious folklore are sayings that sound spiritual but we are not going to find those sayings in the Bible.
- It includes information that gets us into trouble when we too close to the world and not nearly close enough to God
- Let me give you an example.
- Elderly couple came in for counseling.
- Got to know them for a little bit, then asked how we could help them.
- Concern for their out-of-work son. He wanted to borrow $50 from them to help get started in a new business. They asked what I thought of the idea.
- Well, I didn’t jump right in with all my thoughts on the subject, and I had quite a few. PTL I kept my mouth shut and simply asked them if they had prayed about it. They said, “Why, yes we have.”
- I asked what God had told them.
- They said they were confused because they had the resources to help but believed God didn’t want them to.
- I asked, “Why?”
- The husband said he didn’t remember exactly where, but he was sure that somewhere in the Bible God said, “Never a borrower or a lender be.”
Now let me ask you…is that what God’s Word says? Never a borrower or a lender be…is that what the Bible says? Well, the short answer is no…that saying does not come from the Bible. WHERE DOES THIS SAYING COME FROM (Poor Richard’s Almanac…actually somewhere in Shakespeare.) It sounds good but it is not from God. It is religious folklore. And that religious folklore was tearing apart that family.
- Now, we have already learned that there is more to say about money in the Bibles that any other single subject except for the subject of love—some 3000+ verses talk about money: how to make it, spend it, invest it, lend it, save it and on and on. Now, if the Bible has so much to say about money and it does, why in the world would we want to spend part of our valuable time together talking about what the Bible does not say?
- Why? Because we need to begin to recognize our bad habits before we can move to replace them with good habits—we need to be able to identify our worldly habits before we can see the need to replace them with godly habits.
- You see, we often get into trouble because we are entirely to close to the world. Here we see that we also get into trouble if we are not close enough to God.
- We need to discover more and more of what the Bible has to say about money.
- Personal opinion: One of these days another boy over there in the Israeli mountains is going to throw another rock into another cave and uncover another scroll. It will be that long lost book from the antiquities—it will be the book known as the Book of First Opinions. So here we go…right from that infamous Book of First Opinions we have some great examples of religious folklore.
“God helps those who help themselves.”
- Have you ever heard this? Is this what God says? He says, “I delight in helping those who can never help themselves.”
- Read Eccl 9 when you get a chance.
Or how about this one…”Money is the root of all evil.”
- IS THAT WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS?
- That is not what the scripture says. That has to be 1st Opinions 1:1. That is probably the most misquoted scripture about money in all of the Bible.
- WHAT DOES GOD’S WORD SAY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL? Paul did not say money was the root of all evil. He said that the love of it was what caused all the problems.
- It is not the money we have or do not have that we should be concerned about as much as our attitude about all that we have been given.
- No, money is not the root of all evil—that is a great example of religious folklore.
And here is another one, have you ever heard this: riches THE evidence of God’s blessing. They may be AN evidence, but riches are not THE evidence of God’s blessing.
- Now here is the fallacy of this one: If you try to apply this criterion to Jesus Christ, He simply does not measure up.
- Jesus was not “rich” in that He never accumulated material wealth.
- In fact the scripture says He lived from the women…the women helped supply His way.
- Now, do not get the idea that Jesus did not have money nor had no reason to manage money. He had to have money to care for Himself and those traveling with Him. He had enough money He had to have a treasurer…remember Judas.
- Jesus did tell us that it is tough to be both rich and be spiritual. Remember,
Harder for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.
<Story of the needle gate—great study>
- And Jesus also tells us to
Beware, be on your guard against every form of greed, for not even when a man has an abundance shall his life consist of his possessions.
- And Jesus gave us a very interesting parable to describe this…the parable of the sorer. Remember? He said the Kingdom of God was like seed. And some of that seed could be sown among the thorns, which are the riches and pleasures of life. And what happened?
And though the word is received with great joy in the beginning, the riches and pleasures of life grew and choked out the Word… so there was no fruit.
- Has this happened to us? Did you ever have that happen to you as a Christian?
- Remember when you were first in love? ….
- Remember when you first found your love for the Lord. That great joy that you had in the beginning, that fire, that desire you had to serve the Lord. Remember, you talked you prayed you praised.
- Some say, “Why, I still have the joy of the Lord in my heart…I’m just more mature now.” When some Christians talk about having the joy of the Lord in their heart, I feel like someone ought to tell their face….
- Sometimes I believe we become like the Church of Ephesus as described by Jesus in His revelation. Remember, Jesus said they had lost the freshness and enthusiasm of their early devotion; they were still loyal and true, they just lacked passion.
- We start out with a passion for God. However, if we are not careful, our passion for God begins to cool down. And sometimes we allow our passion for the person of Jesus Christ to be replaced by our passion, and devotion to our church, our denomination, our study, rules and regulations, our spiritual gifts, even our commitment to God. These are all well and good but should never replace our passion for Jesus Christ.
- For us it could very well be that the riches and pleasures of this life have slipped in and choked out our joy.
- Perhaps the solution to our lack of joy is more maturity, not more money.
- By the way, sometimes in coaching sessions I have folks tell me something like this, “Bob, I don’t have any riches and pleasures and I still don’t have any joy?” Remember, joy is a function of attitude, not the amount or value of what you have. True, shortages and debt can choke out joy. The key is for you to focus on God not your circumstances.
- Riches and not THE evidence of God’s blessing, they are AN evidence.
I am sure you know, husbands and wives often have disagreements, have arguments about money, right. I recall the early days when my wife Debbie and I had some money arguments—only we didn’t call them arguments, we called them time of intensive fellowship—Ouch. What about you? Have you and those closest to you ever had some times of intensive fellowship centered on money? Have you? My guess is that yes, you have. Let me share with you two questions from wives that I’m sure came from times of financial intensive fellowship with their husbands. Here’s the first question:
Bob, my husband believes we should be living on a budget but he cannot explain to me what a budget is much less how to live on one…we need some help
- Sara, almost everyone already lives on a budget in one fashion or another. Let me explain.
- For some people, budgeting means they spend until all the money for that month is gone, but they determine not to spend more than they make. This form of budgeting seems to work well until the car breaks down or they lose a job for a while. Then they rationalize the use of debt as a necessity they could not avoid.
- On the other hand, some people spend all they make and rely on credit cards to fund their monthly deficits. They realize they have a problem but rationalize that they just do not make enough money to get by.
- Then, a smaller segment of our population makes enough money to be sloppy and get away with it. Yes, they may overspend, buying expensive indulgences, but they can cut back and pay their way out without much pain. However, they also are the ones who wonder how they can earn so much but never seem to have any money.
- The bottom line is that everyone lives on a budget of some kind…the question is, what kind of budget should they live on.
- You see, a budget is nothing more than a short-range plan for how you will spend your money during the coming year. A budget should not restrict your freedom to enjoy life—it should help expand your life. “You may ask, “Just how can living on a budget expand my freedom?’ By helping you live within your means and not go into debt. If you are already in debt, a budget will help you out of it. A budget is not magical, and living on one will not permit you to spend more than you make and avoid debt. But a budget will tell you when you have spent all you can afford to each month in each category, such as entertainment, food, and car expenses. A budget also tells you how much you must save each month for one-time annual expenses, such as car insurance, property taxes, clothing, and even Christmas shopping.
- The simplest budget system is a series of envelopes, one for each spending category. All you do is write on each envelope the amount to be allocated from each paycheck, and put that amount of money in each envelope. The key to making this system work is not to rob one envelope to feed another. If you do, the money won’t be there when you need it, and you will eventually have to borrow.
- Obviously, most people today use checking accounts, and a budget can work equally well with one. Instead of envelopes, an account sheet is used for each category of expense. When you spend, simply subtract the amount from the appropriate account sheet. Thus the account sheets determine your spending, not how much is in your checking account. A surplus in checking does not represent a windfall profit. It is a budget money that has not yet been spent.
- The bottom line is this, Sara, if you and your husband are going to budget you must first understand what a budget can and cannot do for you—understanding the basics of budgeting is a great way to start.
- Now having said that, if you prayerfully believe the Lord is calling a budget into place in your life, give our office a call, we have trained folks who can help you.
So, now you have an overall view of what a budget is—I doubt any of this was a surprise to you. Now, let’s build on what we know by answering another question—Here is the question.
Question: My husband thinks we need a budget, but I don’t see the purpose. I manage money rather well and don’t spend more than we make, and I think a budget will be too restrictive. However, I want to be open to the Lord. Are there scriptural reasons to budget?
Great question. What if anything does the Bible say about budgeting. I mean, I know that Larry Burkett, Dave Ramsey, and a whole host of other folks talk to us about the need to budget. But what does the Bibles have to say?
- First of all, we find in the Bible that the purpose of budgeting is to free you up, not confine you. God expects you to be a participant in planning a budget, not an observer. As Proverbs 16:1-9 says, “The mind of man plans his way but the Lord directs his steps.” Therefore, as we apply practical concepts in handling our money, God provides godly wisdom. It should free you from worrying about whether the annual insurance payment will be made, whether you put enough money aside for the taxes on your home, and whether enough money will be available to buy the clothes your children need.
- If those are not problems for you, you are among the fortunate few. These are problems for the majority of Americans, and they may well be problems for our children when they have families. If you are not willing to live on a budget, and help your children do the same. A budget can be a treat teaching tool as well as a good measure of self-discipline
- Scriptural guidelines for budgeting can be found thorough out God’s Word. For instance, Proverbs 27:23 says, “Know well the condition of your heards, your flocks and your fields. Now, if you do not have any heards, flocks, or fields to manage, you do have things like your savings and checking accounts, your home, your time, your talents, abilities, skills and all the rest. You need to know well the condition of your clothing budget, your housing budget, and your food budget.”
- Furthermore, a budget can be used to develop good communication between husband and wife. It is one of those issues you can sit down together to discuss, and then come to a reasonable compromise. A budget is really very simple. You have a given amount of money to spend. A budget helps you decide how you are going to spend it. A budget is a basic requirement to help you manage the wealth that the Lord places into your spiritual trust account.
Scam alert from the BBB
Boy, this has been another great time together.
- We started out by seeing what religious folklore is all about and how to avoid it.
- Then during our Q&A time together we had the first of many questions that deal with the budget—and that a budget is simply a written plan to guide how you and your family spend money.
- And finally, you now understand what the fake events and phony tickets scams are all about and how to avoid them.
In closing, first, remember to check out our website at www.christianfinancialministries.org, and second, well, it is time to close this time together in prayer. Father God, I thank you for bringing us together today and for each of the days to come to Your glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Have a blesse d day, won’t you, and we’ll see you next time as we continue down your personal road to Financial Freedom God’s Way.