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Three Rules for Managing Money

John Wesley said, "Money is an excellent gift of God if it is used excellently, answering the noblest needs of humanity." To Wesley, you see, money was not the enemy. The enemy is my own sinful nature. Therefore, in order to arrive at a balanced view of money, I must ask myself frugality's simple questions:

1. What is money for? Money is for exchange. Money is for goods and services that may, without corrupting my spirit, add education, comfort and beauty to my life and to the lives of those I love. Furthermore, money is for the good of humanity and the expansion of the kingdom.

Money is never to be used for the purchase of status. Neither is it to be used for the demonstration of power. James, in his epistle, talks about the way we treat the wealthy in church. (See James 2:1?9.) Money often speaks in church, and it does not always say, "Praise the Lord."

2. Who's in charge here? Am I controlling money, or is it controlling me? When ethical decisions are based on the bottom line of finances, money is in control. Are we making our decisions according to God or mammon?

Man cannot serve two masters at one time. He will always love one and hate the other. Financial expediency corrupts faith like demonic rust and eats away at character, destroying submission to authority, humility, obedience, holiness and patience.

Money must never control us. We must control it. I do not believe there is some mystical, evil power inherent in the dollar bill. What I do believe is that there is a weakness in my own flesh. Therefore, I must humble myself under the hand of God. I must show mammon who is in charge here. It is the Lord Jesus Christ--not mammon.

3. Will I let character set the limits? Am I willing for God to limit aspects of my life through a commitment to frugal living? In other words, when there is not sufficient money for me to pursue a certain course of action, am I willing to believe that it is not God's will for me to do it now?

We easily confess that the positive abundance of funds can be used by God to affirm a course of action. If that is true, the contrary may also be true. From time to time God may pull tight the purse strings in order to stop me from a course that is not in His will. Therefore, lack of funds may be a way that God can use my commitment to frugal, modest living to keep me from continuing in a path that is wrong for me.

Frugality is the willingness to endure limits on myself. A grave danger inherent in the American credit system is that it allows me to consume at a level of superficial prosperity, which is not based on any real wealth. Sooner or later, of course, the piper must be paid. Bankruptcy in America comes dressed in a tuxedo, not in rags. Fooled by their own mirage of wealth, Americans are amazed when financial disaster hits them.

We must again master the primeval art of waiting on things until we can pay for them. Credit can be a good thing, but its misuse destroys character. It creates a mirage of prosperity, becoming a self-made sword of Damocles.

Cars, houses, furniture and clothing dangle dangerously above the heads of the indebted. If they have no real wealth, sooner or later the whole bundle will fall.

The Place of Prosperity

If I live a frugal life with a balanced view of money, what about prosperity in my life? I think the church has often failed to communicate a balanced view of prosperity.

On the one hand there are the hyperspiritual who say money is altogether evil. Get it away from you. Give it away. Do not have anything to do with it. It is nasty, dirty and filthy, and it has a spirit in it that will get you.

Then let there come a need to pay for something in the church, and they will ask folks to give money. You see, having told them how bad it is, they now ask God to give the congregation enough of it to support the church.

On the other hand, others say that God is a God of riches. God wants to bless you, they reason, and if you are right with God, you are going to be rich. Therefore, if you are not rich, it must be because you are not right with God.

Stranded in between these two extremes is the great body of people who are living day-to-day on the money that they can earn, while trying to provide for their families and improve their lives. What can we say to them?

There is nothing inherently evil about needing or having the finances to get by in this life. John Wesley had a magnificent equation for this. He said to earn all you can. Earn it righteously. Earn it in a way that brings no shame to people and no shame to God. Earn all you can.

Second, save all you can. Now, saving all the money you can does not mean hoarding it. It means setting limits on my lifestyle in order that more might be made available to the kingdom of God and not go up in the smoke of mere consumerism. Saving all you can is crucial to frugality.

Earn all you can. Save all you can. Then Wesley adds the missing element: Give all you can. Frugality saves to give. Greed gives to get. Frugality plots and plans, schemes and denies self, and sacrifices in order to give more next year than this year.

I want to suggest that you have a family meeting. Ask yourselves: "What can we do to give more than we gave last year? Is there any way we can live a more modest life, something we can do without, some excess we can lay aside in order that we may make a greater investment in the kingdom of God than we have ever made?"

Frugality is the strength of character that will set us free from the terrible grip of mammon.

The prosperity of God is a great blessing--dangerous, but great. If greatly used, prosperity can do much good. Hoarded or squandered, it corrupts character and destroys families.

Work hard, serve folks joyfully, save frugally and give generously.


Mark Rutland is the president of Southeastern College in Lakeland, Florida, and the founder and president of Global Servants (globalservants.org), a missions ministry to national pastors and leaders. He is an international conference speaker and evangelist, and the author of many books.


This article was adapted from Mark Rutland's book, Character Matters. Find more articles for men at newmanmag.com. read more


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Eat More Fish!


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Receive a Miracle


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Love is in the Air - Chales and DeLois Rivers


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Love is in the Air - Ian and Tammy Miller


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Love is in the Air - Karina Reusser


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Peel Your Onion


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Love is in the Air - Alicia and Christopher King


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Love is in the Air - Steve and Jane Yyounce


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Love is in the Air - Pearlene Friday


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Love is in the Air - Anil and Rita Philip


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Love is in the Air - Allen and Sharon Wohlend


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OVERCOMING Addiction to Pornography


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Love is in the Air - Sharon Clausen


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Energy Drainers


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Are You Ready for War?

Every day from every direction the winds keep blowing. The continuing war with Iraq coupled with the ongoing global war on terror threaten to disrupt the peace and calm so many of us have taken for granted. Since 9/11, it has been easy to see that we in America were not prepared for this period of instability.

Often there is a parallel between the natural and supernatural realms. In the supernatural realm today, the winds of war are blowing as well. The church in America needs to be prepared for the spiritual challenges that lie on our very doorsteps. But are we?

In Judges 3 we read how a generation of Israel was somewhat oblivious to what war was really about. The Lord remedied this situation by allowing some enemy nations to exist so that "the generations of the children of Israel might be taught to know war" (see v. 2, NKJV).

For Christians, learning to do "war" means gaining measurable victories over the kingdom of darkness. Think about it this way: When a thief gets saved, stealing diminishes; when a wife-beater gets saved, a family might be restored; when a drug dealer gets saved, drug dealing decreases in one neighborhood. As James 5:20 says, "He who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins."

There are five primary ways for us to effectively fight the good fight of faith--the kind that changes lives for Jesus.

The will to work, fight and win. Gen. Douglas MacArthur said, "It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it." The Bible says that the Jews in Nehemiah's day "had a mind to work" when it came time to rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem in the face of their enemies (see Neh. 4:6).

Knowing and having faith in Jesus' victory at Calvary and how it has changed countless situations, lives and families through the ages ought to provide plenty of motivation for pressing through to victory.

Righteous living. A clear heart and life allow us to stand in the face of adversity as well as to draw inner strength and stamina for undertaking spiritual action. Without righteousness, the devil can rightfully accuse us of attitudes and actions we have not repented of.

If our lives are not right with God we can pray the prayers, sing the songs and yell the formulated declarations but our voice is a shout with no clout. The condition of our heart matters: "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God" (Matt. 5:8).

Prayer. So much can be said about praying, but I like what James wrote best: "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16). The "much" it avails includes the power of God being loosed in us and through us as we fight for the lives of our family, friends, cities and nations. I have watched it thwart the works of darkness and help open the doors to evangelistic ministry.

The Word of God. God's Word ought to be stored up in our lives so that when we need it, we don't have to run to a bookshelf to find it. The Word is to be hidden in our hearts where it is available to be brought to our minds by the Holy Spirit on a moment's notice. In this way, Scripture becomes "the sword of the Spirit"--ready to be used when we face a situation in our own life or in another's. Is your ammo ready?

Winning people to Christ. This could be the most underused or even forgotten weapon of spiritual warfare, especially when influencing families, neighborhoods--even cities. There is no spiritual weapon that can replace evangelism. There is no spiritual substitute for evangelism, for it is the primary way of actually reaching out and touching another person with the life, love and gospel of Jesus Christ.

One of the easiest ways to measure the victories of our war is with this question: Are lives being changed and people getting saved? People coming to Christ and lives being transformed are a sure way to measure if our ministries or churches are effectively waging war in our communities.

Let's not be like the Israelites in Judges who knew nothing of war. Every day gives us great opportunities to make a difference. Let's move to the front lines. read more


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Take Care of Yourself


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Don’t Stop Half Way

Many Christians give up before they ever reach their full potential. You can find grace to finish the journey.

God is the Good Potter. I am most often the Not-So-Good Clay. My job is to spin and to stay put in the center of the wheel.

The Potter’s job is to design. Sometimes I don’t appreciate how fast the Potter spins me, or how tightly His skillful hands force my shape. read more


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Seven Steps to Being Spirit-Filled


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No More Office Nightmares

Don't let unrealistic expectations turn your work into misery. God's purpose for you is a good one.

Many believers I know desire to work for a ministry or Christian company someday. Their goal is to work in an environment with praise music playing, co-workers praying and Scripture verses beautifully calligraphied on wall plaques. They imagine such a workplace as holy, peaceful and devoid of that common problem: difficult co-workers.

I wish this were the case, but until our Lord comes back we will always have some level of difficulty relating to co-workers, whether Christian or not. I have traveled the length and breadth of this nation and most of the world, worked with Christians and non-Christians alike and believe me, there is little difference in how personnel operate under pressure. read more

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