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Four Seasons of Life - Financial Stress

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Having more doesn't mean you're having enough. "The more the merrier", is a myth. In every stage of our financial ladder, there will always be the shadow of stress. And unless we learn how to biblically handle our finances, it will alway bring us doubt, discontent, selfishness, stress and temptations to cheat. But the good news is, God has promised that He will supply all the needs of those who believe in Christ Jesus. The premise to the promise is to ask for it, be content, cheerfully give, depend on the Lord and exercise integrity.

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Opening

From the start of this Series: The “Four Seasons of Life” we learned that, seasons of our lives are:
Beyond our control
Often Confusing
God has a purpose
Includes both good & bad times
You will reap in season, what you sow in another
We learned how to biblically deal with our loneliness
We learned how to biblically deal with our insecurities
Today let us learn how we can deal with our financial stress
Maybe some of you will say, Pastor I’m ok with money, no stress at all… well, good for you
However, having more doesn’t mean you’re having enough
The more you have, the more you need to maintain
It’s a Myth: The more the merrier. Having more, will make you more happy
Let me explain this further
There was a guy that works 9 to 5 behind the desk who receives $10 an hour and his take home after all expenses and taxes is roughly around 30% of what he totally makes. With a simple lifestyle, he was happy;
Because of his diligence at work, he was promoted as a supervisor and got a raise to $15 an hour. He has to level up his lifestyle to cope up with the standards of a supervisor, so his net take home was down to 20% of what he totally makes;
A couple of years after, he was promoted as a manager because of his hard work. Consequential to that was his raise to $20 an hour. However, he has to level up his lifestyle as a manager, so his net take home was further shrunk to 10%..
That means more work and lesser pay for the manager…
Isn’t that stressful?
Not unless we know how to biblically manage our finances, it will always be stressful.
It is very interesting to know that the word “money” was mentioned more in the Bible than the word “prayer”
In the NLT the word prayer was mentioned 114 times while the word “money” was mentioned 203 times (almost twice)
Why is this so?… I believe it is because, God uses money as an acid test of our faith & character

Text

Let us see what we can learn from the widow of Zarephath
1 Kings 17:7-16
1 Kings 17:7–16 CEV
7 But after a while, it dried up because there was no rain. 8 The Lord told Elijah, 9 “Go to the town of Zarephath in Sidon and live there. I’ve told a widow in that town to give you food.” 10 When Elijah came near the town gate of Zarephath, he saw a widow gathering sticks for a fire. “Would you please bring me a cup of water?” he asked. 11 As she left to get it, he asked, “Would you also please bring me a piece of bread?” 12 The widow answered, “In the name of the living Lord your God, I swear that I don’t have any bread. All I have is a handful of flour and a little olive oil. I’m on my way home now with these few sticks to cook what I have for my son and me. After that, we will starve to death.” 13 Elijah said, “Everything will be fine. Do what you said. Go home and fix something for you and your son. But first, please make a small piece of bread and bring it to me. 14 The Lord God of Israel has promised that your jar of flour won’t run out and your bottle of oil won’t dry up before he sends rain for the crops.” 15 The widow went home and did exactly what Elijah had told her. She and Elijah and her family had enough food for a long time. 16 The Lord kept the promise that his prophet Elijah had made, and she did not run out of flour or oil.
There was famine (crisis) in the land
Food were scarce and life was stressful
When Elijah asked the widow for water and bread, her immediate response was to “withhold” what she had
But Elijah gave her an assurance based on the “promise” of God
But, as forerunner to that promise, she must have to first give Elijah what he asked for (symbolic of what is due to God)
When the widow obeyed, the promise was fulfilled
The Lord kept His promise
What was the Promise?
Philippians 4:19 ESV
19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 419
Philippians 4:19 CEV
19 I pray that God will take care of all your needs with the wonderful blessings that come from Christ Jesus!
This promise only belongs to christians (remember the Bible said, if you believe, you shall receive?)
Probably you will ask… Pastor, I am a believer, but…
How come I have financial need?
Well, every promise has a “premise”
Noticeably in the Bible, every time God is to do something, He would always require us to do something
Yes, His love is unconditional, but obedience is our way of telling God… “I love you too!”
What are the Premises to the Promise?
How to melt our financial stress away?

The ABC to merit God’s Promise

How to melt our financial stress away?
Ask for it
James 4:2 NCV
2 You want things, but you do not have them. So you are ready to kill and are jealous of other people, but you still cannot get what you want. So you argue and fight. You do not get what you want, because you do not ask God.
Rely on Christ and not on your “credit”
Learn to pray for it, before you pay for it
Be specific when you pray (Give us today our daily bread. Matthew 6:11)
Be Content
Philippians 4:12 NIV
12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Philippians 4:12 NIV
12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Contentment doesn’t mean not having financial plans or financial goals
Contentment means my happiness does not depend on my circumstances
Not a “when” and “then” mentality
To eliminate “discontent”, we must stop “comparing”
There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village.
There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village.
As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite few big fish.
As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite few big fish.
The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”
The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”
The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”
The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.” “Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?”
“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?”
“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.
“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.
The businessman then asked, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?”
The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”
The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”
The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman. “I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”
The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman.
“I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”
The fisherman continues, “And after that?” The businessman laughs heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.” The fisherman asks, “And after that?” The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!” The fisherman was puzzled, “Isn’t that what I am doing now?”
The fisherman continues, “And after that?”
The businessman laughs heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.” The fisherman asks,
“And after that?”
The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!”
The fisherman was puzzled, “Isn’t that what I am doing now?”
Let us take a look at another verse about “contentment” in
1 Timothy 6:6–8 NIV
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
Keep in mind that we own nothing in this world
We are just care takers, stewards of God’s blessings
When we transition to our eternal lives, in other words, when we die..
We cannot bring our “car”! We can only bring our “character”
We cannot bring our “property”, we can only bring our “integrity”
Cheerfully Give
Proverbs 3:9–10 ESV
9 Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; 10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.
God loves a cheerful giver
Whoever sows sparingly/generously, shall reap generously
Law of the harvest does not only apply to “money”. If you sow criticism, you will reap criticism
And remember, you will always reap more than what you sow.
Whenever I have a “need”, I plant a “seed”
It may sound illogical to some of you, but it’s called “faith”
My ways are higher than yours says the Lord of the harvest
The best time to “tithe”, is when you are in debt
Because in that circumstance, God will show you, that truly, His ways are higher than our ways
Depend on the Lord
1 Timothy 6:17 CEV
17 Warn the rich people of this world not to be proud or to trust in wealth that is easily lost. Tell them to have faith in God, who is rich and blesses us with everything we need to enjoy life.
My Personal Story about Financial Stress
The night when I used my only “credit card” to buy dinner for my family
My arrogance when I relied on my wealth during my bid for re-election
Our net worth has reached to a point where it got into my head
Until the Lord slowly have taken them back from me
We lost our house, we lost our properties, we lost our condominium
I almost lost my family. But I praise God, He catch me at the perfect time of my “fall”
And since that day of grace, I begun to depend on Him and Him alone (Matthew 6:33)
Exercise Integrity
Proverbs 16:11 CEV
11 The Lord doesn’t like it when we cheat in business.
Story: I justified my cheating to help the poor
Proverbs 19:1 CEV
1 It’s better to be poor and live right than to be a stupid liar.

Prayer

Let me pray for you today
Let your soul join me to pray
If you’re led by the Spirit, pray along with me
You’re the King of kings
Lord of the lords
The Elohim
The Adonai
El Shaddai
Yahweh
You’re the source of all grace
You are our great provider
Our Jehovah Jireh
Many names but One God
You
God the Father
God the Son
God the Holy Spirit
Our God is Three in One
Your grace is enough to forgive our sin
Thank you for the food we eat
Thank you for the clothes we wear
Thank you for the roof over our heads
Thank you for the cars we drive
Thank you for our jobs
Humble our hearts to always ask You for everything we need
Settle our hearts to be contend with what you give
Cheer our hearts to always give
Teach our hearts to depend on You
Grip our hearts to exercise integrity
Hear the prayers of your servant Lord
Hear the prayers of your people Lord
And all the grace-filled people of God will say… AMEN!
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