Honoring God with Your Money

My new book, Honoring God with Your Money, is now available on Amazon. This book is a study of what God’s word says about money, wealth, charity, greed, tithing, savings, and much more. It includes principles of budgeting and steps for getting out of debt.

Cover of Honoring God with Your Money, by Susan E Ball

If you are stressed by financial decisions or an inability to manage your money, this is a great book for you. God provides us all with resources to provide for our families and to bless others. Money is intended to meet your needs, not cause you more stress.

As you honor God by managing your money well, tithing, and blessing others, God will bless you. He has promised that in Malachi 3:10, “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try 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 such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.‘”

This is a great book for small group studies and Sunday school classes, as well as for young people graduating from high school or college and going out on their own for the first time and newly-married couples. For those who want to teach this in a group setting, I have developed teaching materials. These include activities, discussion ideas, and examples to enhance the lessons. Teaching materials are free and can be obtained my emailing me at susan.ball5@aol.com

I pray that God will use this book to bless you as you honor Him.

God Supplies Our Talents and Resources

In Exodus 31, God provided Moses with instructions on building the tabernacle. As He described the intricate work to be done, Moses probably felt a bit overwhelmed. Then God said something remarkable, “I have put wisdom in the heart of all the gifted artisans, that they may make all that I have commanded you.” (Exodus 31:6, NKJV)

In today’s vernacular, God was telling Moses, “Don’t worry. I’ve got this.”

Just before uttering those words, God told Moses, “I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,  to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship.” (Exodus 31:2 – 5)

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As we read on God has called another, Aholiab, to assist in the work of designing, instructing, and overseeing the other gifted men and women in who God had instilled artistic gifts.

Often when God calls us to do a work, we feel overwhelmed. The job is too big, the work is too difficult. We don’t know where to start, and we want to tell God that we aren’t up to the task. Then the Holy Spirit whispers, “I am here with you. I have given you the wisdom, the creativity, the initiative, and the strength to do all the I have commanded you.”

If God has birthed a vision in you, He will empower you to accomplish the work. And He will supply your need. He provided Moses with many gifted artisan to share the load. Those He called, He filled “with skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and the designer and the tapestry maker, in blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine linen, and of the weaver—those who do every work and those who design artistic works.” (Exodus 35:35, NKJV)A few chapters later, as the work began, God instructed Moses to ask the Israelites to bring offerings for the building of the teabernacle. Moses asked them to bring gold, silver, bronze, thread, linen, goats’ hair, animal skins, wood, spices, and precious gems. The offering was to be given freely, as they were willing. No one was compelled to give.

And what happened? In Exodus 35:21, we read, “Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments.” In fact, they brought so many supplies, that the artisans asked Moses to compel the people to stop the offerings. “The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the Lord commanded us to do.” (Exodus 36:5, NKJV)

God supplied their needs abundantly. They had more than enough material resources, and they had a great team of men and women in whom God had given the vision and talent needed to accomplish the task.

God has a great plan for your life. And, He will empower you with all that you need to accomplish it. Trust Him and take that step of faith to fulfill the dream He has birthed in your heart.

My One Word of 2021–Stewardship

I have chosen “stewardship” to be the word that I focus on for 2021. Stewardship relates to how we care for the duties and possessions entrusted to us. Specifically, how we manage the resources given to us by God.

In Genesis chapter 1, God commanded Adam to care for the earth and subdue. There are many stories of stewards in the Bible–some good and some bad stewards.

Growing up in the Assemblies of God, I have been involved in Girls Ministries for nearly 50 years. One of the principles that was impressed upon my was that I was to be a good steward of my time, talent, and money. 1 Corinthians 4:12, “Moreover, it is regard in stewards that a man be found faithful,” is a verse that I learned at a young age. It has guided me throughout my life in how I manage my money and conduct my life.

Managing my time has been more challenging. This year, I will focus on displaying faithful stewardship more thoroughly in how I spend my time. I will also encourage others to be faithful stewards in how they handle their money and other resources entrusted to them by God.

Money stewardship is the theme of my newest book, “Honoring God with Your Money.” In it, I examine what the Bible says about money in how we budget and spend our money, as well how we give and our attitudes towards money. The book will be published in the coming weeks.

As I juggle being a full-time employee, a wife, and mother and grandmother, with other obligations that include working in Girls Ministries and church leadership and writing books, faithful stewardship of my time has been even more critical.

Throughout this year, I encourage you to examine your own stewardship of your time, talent, and financial resources. Are you honoring God in all that you do?

Supporting Entrepreneurship through Samaritan’s Purse

I have long been enthusiastic about the work that Samaritan’s Purse does to spread the gospel around the world. The organization is best known for Operation Christmas Child, which delivers millions of shoe boxes filled with gifts to impoverished children around the world.

Samaritan’s Purse also provides relief to communities impacted by natural disasters. The organization is less well-known for supporting micro-business entrepreneurship around the world.

Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog
Chickens from Samaritan’s Purse

This week I allowed my granddaughters to choose an opportunity to help a family establish a business. Brooklyn choose Baby Chicks. Our $14 donation will supply a family with a dozen chicks. Each grown chicken can supply up to 200 eggs per year. She is helping to feed this family and to earn income by selling their extra eggs.


Maddie selected beekeeping. The donation of $20 will help a family get starting in producing honey which can be sold, along with beeswax, to meet the needs of their family.

Honey bee hives provided by Samaritan’s Purse give a family with an opportunity to support itself.



Samaritan’s Purse has many other opportunities for you to assist a family in starting a small business. Business ownership enables a family to be self-sufficient and help to meet the needs of their community. I encourage everyone to pray about helping establish new, small businesses around the world and share the love of Christ.

To learn more about Samaritan’s Purse, go to https://www.samaritanspurse.org

Thank you, Colin Kaepernick

Thank you for breaking the hold that professional football had on my time and attention. Before you decided to use my favorite sport as your personal platform, I scheduled my weekends around watching college and professional football. Since then, I have stopped watching the NFL altogether. That has freed up several hours each week to do things that are, quite frankly, more interesting and far more valuable uses of my time.

Much of the Old Testament is the history of the nation of Israel. God called the Israelites to be His people–set apart to worship the one true God with all their hearts and their minds and their souls. The nations that surrounded them worshiped many false gods–idols.

The Israelites had a tendency to cast their eyes at their neighbors and begin to integrate their lifestyles and practices into Israel’s culture. Time and time again, we read that Israel built altars to false gods and turned their back on the Lord God Jehovah.

God would allow the Israelites to sink into bondage until a new leader arose who tore down the altars–the high places–and led the people back into worshiping God alone.

American Christians have allowed false gods, such as professional athletes and celebrities, to capture our attention and our devotion. It is time to pull down the high places–the NFL, the NBA, Hollywood, or whatever it is that has captured our hearts–and give our full devotion to the Lord.

These things no longer have my attention. And, for that, I am thankful to Colin Kaepernick for helping to break my fascination with football.

Rejoicing for Sinners Who Repent

One Sunday many years ago, our minister stopped the musicians in the middle of a song and announced that he felt impressed by the Holy Spirit that someone wanted to make things right with God. Before he could finish speaking, his youngest son, Johnny, rushed down the aisle into his father’s arm and invited Jesus into his heart as his Lord and Savior.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the congregation.  Johnny was a young adult with a wife and children, and many of us had known him since he was a child.  We had seen him struggle with faith and turn his back on God.  Even when his wife accepted Jesus as her Savior, Johnny stayed away.

But God didn’t turn his back on Johnny.  God loved him and wanted Johnny to be a part of his family.  The church members had prayed diligently and fervently, along with his parents and family, for Johnny to come back to God. This was the day we had prayed for.  The rejoicing in that sanctuary was like nothing I had ever experienced.  For nearly an hour, people throughout the sanctuary stood and raised their hands and their voices to God, praising Him for a lost sheep that had come home.

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Sadly, I have not experienced that level of congregational rejoicing over a sinner coming to repentance again.  Of course, we are happy when we see a sinner repent.  We may  applaud and shout “Hallelujah”.  But, how often do we truly rejoice?   Jesus taught the apostles about rejoicing in the parable of the lost sheep and the parable of the lost coin.  It’s recorded in book of Matthew and Luke.  This version is from Luke 15:4-10.

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

 

Jesus tells us that the angels in Heaven rejoice over every sinner who repents.  Should we not also rejoice?  Coming to Jesus and accepting His free gift of forgiveness is the greatest decision a person can ever make, and all Christians should rejoice with him or her upon making this decision. We should celebrate exuberantly and weep with joy.

Last night, Sean Hannity interviewed Roger Stone on his evening television show.  By all accounts, Roger Stone is a person who has made many mistakes and many enemies.  But, in that interview, he testified that he has come to repentance and thanked Sean Hannity for convincing him to confess his sins and be reborn.

But more than anything else, I am grateful for God because as you told me, if I would — if I would rededicate my life to Christ, I would be reborn.

I can remember it like it was yesterday and your advice was as solid as can be. You said, God will never desert you. He will never abandon you. He will protect you if you — if you confess your sins and you walk in his way. And I’ve done my very best to do that.

Roger Stone on Hannity

 

Today I am rejoicing that another lost sheep has been welcomed back into the fold.  Roger Stone has confessed his sins and trusted in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.  This should fill us with joy and hope. And it should remind us to reaffirm our commitment to pray for our unsaved loved ones, our unsaved neighbors and friends, and our unsaved leaders.  Every person needs God. Every person needs forgiveness.  Every person needs to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.  Let’s pray for everyone we know to respond to Jesus’s offer of forgiveness and salvation.  And when they come to Jesus, let’s rejoice as though the greatest thing has just occurred.  Because it has.

 

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Being Salt and Light

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:13-14, NKJV

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In his book Secrets of a Prayer Warrior, Derek Prince writes , “the full extent of our responsibility as Christians [is] to exercise a unique and decisive influence on–that is, to rule–the society in which we live.”  He points out that a city situated on top of a hill is visible from all directions; it is conspicuous.  As Christians, we should be conspicuous in society for being different, for reflecting Christ.

My mother emphasized to my siblings and I that people are always watching Christians to see if they their actions line up with their stated beliefs.  She realized that someone considering making a decision for Christ could be turned off by a Christian who in a moment of anger spouted cursing or displayed inappropriate behavior in any circumstance. 

The secular world desperately wants to know if our claims of being changed by Christ are real.  They are looking for authentic faith.  When our actions reflect Christ, we will be a light shining in a dark world.  People will be attracted to the light.

In this passage, Jesus also talks about salt.  Prince points out that salt has two function.  As a seasoning, it gives flavor, and as a preservative, salt prevents decay, or corruption.  In terms of adding flavor, Prince write, “If we are the salt of the earth, we are like little granules sprinkled across the earth’s surface.  Our responsibility is to give the earth flavor…Our presence should make the earth acceptable to God in a way that it would not be acceptable to Him if we were not here as Christians living out our lives in His grace and love, worshiping and praising Him, and praising Him and praying according to His will.”  I love the visual picture of our love, praise, worship, and testimonies being sprinkled over the earth and giving it flavor.

As a preservative, Prince says that we are “to hold back the forces of corruption–moral corruption, social corruption, political corruption–until God’s purposes of mercy and grace have been worked out for this world of ours.”  I fear that we have failed greatly in that responsibility.  Everywhere we see evidence or moral, social, and political corruption in America.

Jesus has called Christians to be salt and light in this world.  We need to stand out by reflecting Christ to those around. We daily encounter people who are hurting, people who feel unloved or unworthy, people who need to know that Christ offers hope, forgiveness, and a new life.  Let us all strive to be a bright shining beacon of hope to those around us, pointing the way to Jesus.

 

 

Praying for Those in Authority

“The people who really rule the world are the those who know how to pray.”                               Derek Prince

In the third chapter of his book Secrets of a Prayer Warrior, Derek Prince provided clear guidance on why Christians must pray regularly and effectively for the leaders of our nation.  I will share here a summary of his work, and I encourage all who read this to buy this book and to begin to pray fervently for our nation and our leaders–all of them, not just those with whom you agree, or those with whom you disagree.

“Therefore I exhort first all all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”            1 Timothy 2:1 -4

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1) The primary activity of believers is Prayer.    In Isaiah 56:7, God tells his people, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”  Our first responsibility is to pray for all people and especially our government.

2) It is in our best interest to pray for our government.  As Christian pray for our government, our leaders will govern in ways that lead to the peace and safety of all people.

3) Our nation was founded on the principle that people should be allowed to leave quiet and peaceful lives that provide life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  This happens when the government provides a framework for law, order, and administration.

4) The outcome of good government is that it facilitates the preaching of the gospel.  And the end result is that people will be saved and come to know the truth of God’s love and mercy.

If we believe that our government has failed us, then we have to come to the realization that the government has failed for one of two reasons:

1) We have not prayed for our government as we ought to have.

2) We have prayed but without knowing the will of God.

1 Timothy 2:1-4 tells us that it is God’s will that we have good government.  We need to be praying earnestly and daily for our government. 

Prince writes, “We criticize. We complain. But we fail to pray.  This is why we see worldwide moral and ethical decline, both in leadership and in national culture.  We have not understood the limitless possibilities of praying according to God’s will as revealed in His Word.”

Imagine the power that can be released if all of God’s people in America prayed daily for our government leaders.  Let’s all commit to that goal.  I think that we will be amazed at what God will do.

Creativity in Quarantine

I received an email this week that contained a tweet by @martinkl.  The tweet read, “In 1665, the University of Cambridge temporarily closed due to the bubonic plague.  Isaac Newton had to work from home, and he used this time to develop calculus and the theory of gravity.”  Wow!  That is a truly productive use of a quarantine.

There is little in the news this weekend other than the coronavirus threat.  Like many others, I have sought to protect myself by avoiding crowds and spent most of the weekend in self-imposed quarantine.  I do not have any reason to believe that I have been exposed to the virus, nor do I have any of the serious underlying health conditions that would make me an ideal candidate for catching the disease.  But I am in my 60’s and I feel no reason to take unnecessary risks.

The quiet weekend left me with time to reflect and time to write.  I have been ‘stuck’ in writing a novel for several years, so much so that I laid it aside.  Last week I picked it back up and continued to struggle with how to move the story forward.  Tonight I had a break through.  Some people would call this a burst of creativity.  I believe that I heard from God.  After I prayed for guidance, I quietly waited and the Lord revealed His plan for this particularly novel.  In just a few moments, the story line became clear.  Don’t misunderstand me. It won’t be easy.  I have lots of work to do, which will involve a major editing and rewriting of the work I had done.  But, I can see where this story will go now, and it is much better than the story I had intended to write.

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I read a blog recently in which the author theorized that creativity blossoms in extended periods of quiet.  He encouraged people to block out 3 – 4 hours of interrupted time daily to do creative work. I concur totally. When I have uninterrupted periods of a few hours or more in which to write, I am more creative and productive than when I try to write in shorter blocks of time.  I believe that the blog author had discovered a Biblical principal.  God speaks to us when we are still and quite.   Psalm 46:10 admonishes us to ‘Be still, and know that I am God.”  In 1 Kings 19 Elijah seeks a revelation of the Lord, and the Lord appears to him as a gentle whisper.

Whether you go about life semi-normally for the next few weeks or you practice social distance and self-quarantining, I hope that you will take some extended time to be still and quiet.  You may find that this will be on of the greatest periods of creativity in your life.

 

Money Can Buy Happiness

There’s a famous saying, “Money can’t buy happiness.”  There are many studies that show that having and spending lots of money does not increase happiness.  Michael Norton, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard University, disagrees with that statement, with a caveat.  He says that money can buy happiness IF you spend it right.

How do you spend it right?  By spending it on others.  He did experiments a few years back in which he gave small amounts of money to different groups of people.  Some were instructed to spend it on themselves and the rest were told they had to spend the money on someone else.  Regardless of whom they spent the money on or the amount of money they spent, all who used the money for someone else reported higher levels of happiness at the end of the experiment.

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I love it when scientists, or social scientists in this case, prove the Word of God.  In Acts 20:35, Paul told the Ephesians, “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

“It is more blessed to give than to receive” is really another way of saying that you can achieve happiness by sharing your money with others.  And, of course, giving doesn’t only involve money.  You can be blessed by sharing your time, talents, and attention with others.  Not all of us have the financial resources to give away large amounts of money. But we all have something we can give.  And, as this study affirmed, even giving small amounts of money can bless someone and increase your level of happiness.

Further more, generosity brings blessings.  Proverbs 22:9 tells us “Whoever has a generous eye will be blessed,” and Proverbs 28:27 says, “He who gives to the poor will not lack.”

I would encourage you to look for opportunities each day to bless someone else with your money, time, or talent.  In this way, you will ensure that your days are blessed and filled with happiness.