Radio Seminar: Religious Folklore #2
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Welcome to Financial Freedom God’s Way radio, where you will 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—it really is.
- What can you expect to hear during our 30-minute time together today?
- Well, this week is going to be a little different than prior weeks. How so? We are going to invest all of our time today into our radio seminar. Recall that last week I asked you if you would like to know one possible reason you sometimes fail financially even though you believe you are following God’s financial principles? We’ll continue to talk—we are going to dig deep here during our Radio Seminar time together.
- But not to fear, Clark Howard and John Maxwell will join us again next week.
So stay tuned, believe me, you do not want to miss a single minute of this week’s program.
Now, as we start, as we always start, please join me in prayer to make sure He is the one we are going to hear from during 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.
My friend, in all of our times together you can see we are drawing heavily on the Word of God. For example, you’ve see the importance God places on his belt of truth, the logos, the written Word of God—your Bible. And from your Bible you’ve discovered the two most critical financial principles in all of God’s Word; wealth according to God’s definition which is everything God places into your spiritual trust account, and stewardship which is how you are to manage everything God places into your spiritual trust account.
But for right now—for last week, this week, and during our next Radio Seminar time together we are taking a step back so we can raise a red flag for you to consider. What kind of red flag?
- Well, recall that you and I often tend to get into trouble for two reasons. Sometimes you get into trouble because you are entirely too close to the world. Other times, well, other times you get into trouble because you’re not nearly close enough to God. Right?
- You see, sometimes you may think you are close to God and you are following His principles but you still slip, trip, stumble and fall. Has that ever happened to you, I mean, you’re moving along just fine in your faith when suddenly you seem to crash and burn in some financial or material part of your life. Does that sound familiar? Now, why might that be? Well, it could be because some of your material beliefs and actions are based on stuff that sounds spiritual but is not scriptural. This “stuff” is called religious folklore and I’m telling you from personal experience, religious folklore can really get you into a whole lot of trouble. Religious folklore can lead to worldly habits that will get you into trouble.
All this being the case, we are stopping for just a minute so you can learn to recognize and deal with religious folklore.
- Last time
- you discovered the definition of religious folklore. Do you recall that definition? Well, according to the Bible, religious folklore includes the sayings that get you into trouble when you are not close enough to God. It includes all those sayings that sound spiritual but are not Scriptural.
- For example, last time you heard some great examples of religious folklore such as
- “Never a borrower or lender be.”
- “God helps those who help themselves.”
- “Money is the root of all evil,” and
- “Poverty is spiritual.”
- Now remember, you can go to our website at christianfinancialministries.org and listen to or re-listen to lasts week’s program—or any of our prior programs for that matter.
This week we’re going to consider several more examples of religious folklore, more of those saying that get us into trouble because we are not nearly close enough to God and His word to recognize a lie of the world. Then next week we’ll talk about how to avoid religious folklore altogether.
The first one is “Riches are the evidence of God’s blessing”
- No, they may be one type of evidence, but riches are not THE evidence of God’s blessing.
- Now here’s the fallacy of this one: If you try to apply this criteria to Jesus Christ, He simply does not measure up. How so? Because we know from God’s Word that Jesus wasn’t “rich” in the sense that He never accumulated material wealth. In fact the scripture says He lived from the women…the women helped supply His way.
- But by the way, don’t you ever think Jesus didn’t use money to minister while he was here on earth. Don’t get the idea that Jesus didn’t have money nor had any reason to manage money. He used money to care for Himself, all his disciples and their families, and all the others who traveled with Him as well as to give to the poor. Listen, He had enough money He had to have a treasurer…remember Judas.
- Now, Jesus DID tell you that it’s tough to be both rich and be spiritual. Remember, Matthew 19:24 Jesus said…
Again, I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.
- Then in Luke 12:15 Jesus tells you 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 you a very interesting parable to describe this..the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:22. 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?
The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. So there was no fruit.
- Now, let me ask you…has this ever have that happen to you as a Christian?
- For example, remember when you were first in love? Do you remember that? You felt so good…now, if you’re a husband and your wife is listening to this with you, you had better be shaking your head up and down…you know what I’m saying. Do you remember what it was like? I mean, you dated, you had the best time. You’d spend all evening together, take her home, then the very next thing you’d do would be to give her a call on the phone to let her know again how much fun it was to be with her. Remember, you had that excitement, you had that joy, you had that enthusiasm…right? …. Nod your head right!.
- And wasn’t it that same way when you first became a Christian? 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. Every song had a spiritual meaning to it. Remember, you talked you prayed you praised, you were taught and you learned, you just couldn’t get enough of the Lord, remember?
- Well, you know, for a whole lot of years I’d travel around the country so much that after a while I started to be able to get back into the same community and quite often even get back into the same church. And I really got to know some folks. And every now and then I would have someone come up to me and say how much they had appreciated the seminar and some would say something like, “Boy, do I 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…. So many times we as Christians walk around as if we’ve lost our best friend, not just found a best friend.
- Sometimes I believe we become all too much like the Church of Ephesus as described by Jesus in His revelation. Remember, Jesus said they had lost the freshness and the enthusiasm of their early devotion; they were still loyal and true, they just lacked passion.
- You see, we tend to start out with a passion for God. But 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 Bible 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 many of us, perhaps for you, it could very well be that the riches and pleasures of this life have slipped in and choked out your joy.
- And if that’s so, perhaps the solution for any lack of joy you may be experiencing 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.
- Nope, riches and not THE evidence of God’s blessing, they are an evidence; they are not THE evidence.
“Problems are THE evidence of sin in your life.”
- Here’s another good example of religious folklore I’m pretty sure you have heard more than once or twice. Problems are THE evidence of sin in your life. Do you ever hear this one?
- Do you know what I fine? Most Christians have the absolute freedom to stand up in their church, or their Sunday school class or in their home study group to ask others to pray for physical healing. Right? “Guys, I really need you to pray for my family…my wife is sick, my son is going into the hospital…” and we expect and we appreciate the fact that everybody will pray, the elders and deacons come by and pray, our prayer request is posted all over the Internet—we can count on that. However, so many times we as Christians, in the same church and in the same environment, we have the freedom to stand up and ask for prayer for physical healing but not for financial healing—“Guys, if I don’t have $750 by this time next month, I’m going to lose my house.” Or, “If I don’t have $250 by this time next week they are going to come and take away my car.” You see, so many times we have the freedom to do the first and not the second because so many times within the Body of Christ, when we hear that somebody has a material problem, a money problem, we naturally believe there must be a spiritual problem, there must be some sin in their life. But be careful…that can be religious folklore…problems are not THE evidence of sin in anyone’s life; it may be an evidence but not the evidence. Really?
- Because in James 1:2-3 you find this:
Consider it pure joy, by brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”
- James is telling you that if you want your faith in God to grow, then God will allow some problems in your life.
- There is a marvelous story that goes along with this… If you were to go out into the field someplace and found a baby eagle that had fallen out of its nest. I mean, this is a brand new baby eagle—no feathers, no plumage, just skin and bone. But you feel sorry for it. You pick it up and take it home and you care for it and feed it, and pretty soon that eagle begins to get a little bit bigger…and bigger, and bigger. And about the time that bird gets to be about 15-16 weeks old you have a full-grown EAGLE. And the wife says, “Now, either that eagle has to go or you have to go.” And you, being a wise husband, you take him out to the field and say, “George, it’s been great having you here. I mean drop in any time. Bring the wife and kids and spend the week.” Then you throw that eagle up into the air and watch that eagle fly away. Right? What happens? That eagle falls right on his nose because it can’t fly a lick. You see, for an eagle, flying is a learned skill; it is not an innate ability. What happens is that when mother eagle builds a nest–I saw this out west where mother eagle would have her nest on a side of a cliff to help keep the predators away. And mother eagle would only have one or two eggs which would turn into only one or two baby eagles. And as soon as those eagles hatch, mother eagle begins to train them to fly but the baby eagles don’t know they’re be trained to fly, they just think this is a swell game that they’re playing. You see, mother eagle gets out on the side of the next, grabs the side of that nest with her talons, and begins to flap her wings. So what happens? Well the baby eagles start to do the same thing. They get out on the side of the nest, hold on tight and begin to flap their wings…only they’re not wings are they, they only have little bits of skin and bones. But every day, two to three times a day, it’s the same routine–out on the side of the nest and flap, flap, flap. Well, this keeps up week after week and those eagles grow larger and larger. Until one day 15-16 weeks later it’s really crowded on the edge of that nest…flap, flap, crunch, hey, watch it. Then one day mom comes home and simply drops off the food. The eagles really start to dig in. Then mother eagle does a strange thing. She goes around to the back of the next and kicks that nest off the ledge and the nest and the baby eagles begin to crash to the floor of the canyon. What happens? That’s right. Those eagles begin to flap like they’ve never flapped before. And what happens? Because they had practiced and practiced flapping their wings, they don’t crash and burn, they begin to soar and fly..
- Do you know what I believe, with every bit of my being, that is exactly the same way the Lord Jesus Christ wants to work with you.
- He lets you stand on the edge of your spiritual nest with your toes wrapped firmly around the safety ledge, studying your bible, praying, going to church, Bible study, Sunday school, conferences, and retreats, tapes, music, seminars like this, and all the rest.
- You are standing on the edge of that spiritual nest flapping your spiritual wings. You are developing a spiritual structure that is designed to support you.
- Then one day, when your nest gets tipped over, not if, but when your nest gets tipped over and out you go, you don’t have to crash and burn. If you have been practicing regularly, your spiritual wings allow you to fly… in spite of the problems. You then tend to grow stronger, not weaker…and you learn what it means to fly and soar on wings like eagles.
- You see, God wants to use problems in your life to strengthen you and to mature you, not to destroy you. Sure, you’d rather not have the problems thank-you-very-much. But now you have a chance to grow strong and become a much stronger witness to people who see you and know you because you have a great deal of credibility.
- In counseling, so many times, a couple will come in and the wife will put her materials down on the table, or, rather she’ll slam them down on the table—ker whap. Then she’ll sit down. The husband will come in, slam his materials down, key whap, and then he’ll sit down. Then they sit there and just glare at me for a minute, and I know what’s coming. The husband eventually says something like, “Do you know what Bob? We do not want to be here.” Really! “The only reason we’re here is because the pastor told us that unless we come and talk with you the church won’t give us any more help. And that kind-a aggravates me. Because you cannot possibly know what we’re going through. Man, we had to walk here this morning and I saw you drive up in a nearly new car. I know you live in a nice house on the other side of town. Do you know what? I’m staying with an elder, my wife is at the pastor’s house and the kids are spread out among some other folks at the church. Bob, I know that if I went into your house I could go to your refrigerator and find lots of good food. If I looked at your closets I’d see lots of great clothing. Bob, I have no idea how in the world I’m going to house and feed and clothe my family. How can you possibly know what it is that I’m going through?” Well, I’d let him catch his breath for a minute, then I’d say something like, and it would catch him a bit off guard, because I would say something like, “My friend, you’re right. You’re absolutely right. I cannot possibly know exactly what your family is going through.” And then I’d share a bit of my testimony with them…I’ll do that with you a little later if we have the time. But basically I’d share with them that early on in my life, before I became a Christian; I went through some very unpleasant times to include a divorce and a bankruptcy. I’d look him right in the eye and tell him something like, “My friend, I went through all of that and a whole lot more and it wasn’t a bit of fun. But do you know what? The Lord got a hold of my heart, and if He can take something as ugly as a divorce and a bankruptcy and turn it all around for me, He can do the exact same thing for you and your family as well.” And do you know what begins to happen? Well, the tension level in that counseling room begins to die down a little bit. Because I’m telling you under the authority of God’s Word, that God will allow you to go through some hard times. And He wants to use those hard times to strengthen you and mature you and to grow you not to break you.
- You see, if you really want your faith in God to grow, if you really want to experience Debt-Free Living God’s Way, God must allow problems in your life that will help prove and test your faith. And by the way, remember what you learned in one of our very first times together, remember you learned that more often than not, God chooses to work through ordinary people? What makes ordinary folks Biblical heroes? God’s work through them. Most biblical heroes, most of the folks, the men and women that God used in a mighty way, most of them had three things in common: They all recognized God’s voice, they understood what He said, and they knew what they were supposed to do after the conversation was over. And you can be the same way. Recognize that God can work through your good times as well as your hard times.
- By the way, Larry Burkett used to say that there are only two kinds of Christians in the world today, those who have problems and those who lie about it. And remember; when you get into trouble, do you trust God or do you just say that you trust God?
What’s the point of our religious folklore times together? You need to recognize that the truth of God’s Word is hard to grasp because you have been exposed the lies of the world for such a long time. You need to become so familiar with the Truth, the Logos, the written Word of God that you can clearly see the difference between words that sound good and the Word that is good—to be so close to the Truth that a lie is readily apparent. Only then will you be able to replace the words and habits of the world with habits based and founded on the Word. Only then will you begin to discover Debt-Free Living God’s Way. These are going to be great and productive times together…don’t miss next week. And by the way if you would like to re-listen to this or any of our programming, simply go to our website at www.christianfinancialministries.org.
Wow, that just about wraps up our time together today. Make sure you are with us next time when we will conclude our series on religious folklore where you will learn a fool proof way to avoid religious folklore all together. Plus, plus Clark Howard and John Maxwell will rejoin us next week as well…it’s going to be a great time together so don’t miss it.
Now, as we close for this time, please join me 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’ Amen.
Have a blessed day, won’t you, and we’ll see you next time as we continue down your personal road to Financial Freedom God’s Way.