By Stephen Phinney

Between last weeks posting and today's, Jane and I were remembering the old days when we were without food, we would put it on a credit card.  The past several months, we have been put in a position of having to use our food money to pay our rent.  Both of us agreed that we couldn't remember a time in 30 years of ministry that things were as tight as they are right now but yet we were celebrating our faith.

Within a couple days of this talk, we received a card in the mail from friends with a $1,000 check enclosed.  While we were celebrating our new food money, a grandchild walks up to "Oma" (Jane) and gives her a card.  In this card was a hand colored rainbow of promise, a note stating "for your bills," and her tithe money from her "piggy bank."  We can't tell you how moved we were!  Being debt free has many hardships but the rewards are etermal.

Have you ever worked diligently to get out of debt, just to find yourself back in debt several years later? I have - three times. Debt mentality is a dangerous place to live. God said that the “natural mind cannot understand the things of God.” In fact, He goes on to say that the things of God are “foolish to Him.” Any mind that is not reconciled unto God, either through Salvation and/or by way of walking after the Spirit, is a mind that is in debt. The way that a man manages his finances is a direct reflection of his relationship with God – or lack of it.

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised (1 Corinthians 2:14, NASB).

THE NATURAL MIND: The tragedy of a man with a natural mind is he will NEVER be able to understand the wisdom of God. It will be easy for him to get into debt and stay there his entire life. He will resort to his own understanding and experiences to live from one master (financier) to another – constantly borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. The man with a natural mind is unsaved and has never asked Jesus Christ to come and live within his mortal being. His mind is easily seduced by earthly, natural, and demonic ideas.

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, and demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing (James 3:14-16, NASB).

The sobering reality is that the natural man cannot understand God’s purposes of spending money. Honestly – he won’t even really care. If it doesn’t make sense to him, why would he want to live it out? So if you are an unsaved reader, good luck; because luck is all that you have going for you. If you pray that the Spirit grants you understanding, you might just be asking for Salvation. In that case, you might want to consider reading the prayer at the bottom of this posting.

SPIRITUAL MAN: This is a person who has asked Jesus Christ to come into his mortal body through Salvation. Christ lives in him and he lives in Christ. Because of this Truth, the indwelt Spirit gives guidance and understanding to the Word of God. If a person does not have the indwelling Spirit living and breathing IN him, he has zero capacity to understand any of the elements of God (1 Cor. 2: 14-15). Not one jot or tittle. The Spiritual man can hear words of wisdom and become overwhelmed with a peace that God is speaking to him through the words, printed or spoken. This is because outward spoken words become a witness to inward spoken words through the enabled power of the Holy Spirit. This is one of the GREATEST blessings an indwelt Christian possesses once saved!

This all reminds me of the story of Elijah and the brook. Elijah was asked; OK, commanded by the Lord to flee to a brook in the wilderness. At first this sounded a bit strange to me, but as I read on, I soon realized that God was about to show him the most powerful principle of Heaven – God is in charge. He obeyed God, and as a result he was protected from the wrath of that horrid Queen Jezebel. God then miraculously fed Elijah by ravens every morning and evening (I Kings 17:1-6).

If it wasn’t for Elijah knowing the difference between hearing the voice of God versus his own, God only knows what would have happened. It was during those months that God not only saved his life from the wicked queen, but He freed him from severe despair – or as the world calls it, depression. Through this provisionary time, God delivered rest for his body and MIND. God lavished him with intimate fellowship and he experienced daily proof that God was his provider. God revealed His miraculous plan of economy right in front of Elijah’s eyes. By the way, this was during a time when there was severe feminine in all the land.

Sooner or later, the brook dried up. Although God could have miraculously kept the water flowing, He used this apparent “lack of provision” to move Elijah from this comfortable place to the widow Zarephath. Again, as expected, Elijah obeyed God. Later, he understood God’s purpose for such a move.

I don’t know if you remember the story, but the widow Zarephath had only enough food for one more meal. God directed Elijah to instruct her to make a meal for him first. When I first read this story, I really thought Elijah was being quite selfish. But later, I saw the reality of what God was doing. The widow obeyed, and because she did, God miraculously multiplied her food. In fact, God’s blessing and provision lasted for over a year – until the famine was over. Again, her ability to hear and obey allowed her to embrace and understand one of the most important financial principles: When we give our first fruit to God, He causes the remainder of our assets to meet our needs – even if it takes supernatural multiplication to do it.

Next: The Four Purposes of Money

For those lead to pray the Salvation Prayer:

“Loving heavenly Father, I take by faith the helmet of salvation. I recognize that my Salvation is the Person of Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. I cover my mind with Him. I desire that He put His mind within me. Let my thoughts be His thoughts. I open my mind fully and only to the control of the Lord Jesus Christ. I replace my own selfish and sinful thoughts with His. I reject every projected thought of Satan and his demons and request instead, the mind of the Lord Jesus Christ. Grant me the wisdom to discern thoughts that are from the world, my old sin nature, and Satan’s kingdom.

I believe that Jesus is Your Son, He died on the cross for my sins, and that Jesus is God. I believe in the Trinity: You as the Father, Jesus as the Son, and in the Holy Spirit. I confess that I have been a sinner – totally separated from You. I choose to accept Your forgiveness for my sins, through the power of the blood of Jesus, that was shed for me on the cross. I now ask that you send the Holy Spirit to live inside my mortal body. (Pause for a moment)

I praise You, heavenly Father, that I may know the mind of Christ as I hide Your Word within my heart and mind. Open my heart to love Your Word. Grant to me the ability and capacity to memorize large portions of it. May Your Word be ever over my mind like a helmet of strength, which Satan’s projected thoughts cannot penetrate. Cause me to allow the Holy Spirit (the Life of Christ) within me to fulfill the discipline of daily living to appropriate Your Salvation. These things I lay before You, in the precious name of my new Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!”