When You think You Need More Money…

I have a lot of wealthy friends.  We live in really different financial spheres and  sometimes the money gap is comical.  For example,  I was thrilled to go to Florida and one friend vacationed at  a Mediterranean  oasis.  I bought a new house (that I love!) and one friend bought a new house that makes my house look like her bonus room.  Another  friend  eloquently remarked, “Jana I live in a land with lots of zeros, so I  am not worried about the cost of this.”

I laughed out loud. I can’t even imagine making such a statement.

The odd thing though is my wealthy friends also make heart-wrenching comments.  Two of them said  recently that they have a hard time with close friendships because people are jealous of them and that people judge them for how they spend their money.IMG_1962

These comments rattled my soul. For several reasons. I love my friends. Deeply. And they love me. Deeply.

I would hope that their love for me would not fluctuate as my income fluctuates. As in,  when I have no money,  I would have no friendship? So then, why would having a surplus of income mean a sacrifice of friendship?

Do we really believe that more money is the answer to most everything?  If we are not careful, we will have our eyes on more money rather than on more of our Maker.  Look at these statements from wealthy people in my world:

“I have so much money, I don’t really need Jesus for anything.”

“I had an opportunity to make millions, but I don’t think that is what’s best for my family or my own soul. I don’t think this is God’s plan for me right now.”

“I am thankful for the money we have, but my friends think I don’t have any problems.  They think their  life is harder than mine. And it gets very lonely.”

Do you hear the temptation? the poverty? the need?  Suddenly the ground becomes very level at the Cross. Perhaps money isn’t the answer to everything. Here are real life people who have plenty of money, yet still have plenty of lack.

Theologian Henri Nouwen poignantly calls out that we are all poor in some areas and rich in some areas. Some have material wealth, some have spiritual wealth. Some have wisdom, some mercy.  Yet above all things, he asks, where is our trust? The Lord is the source of all, for all.

Extreme security.  These are the two words that God gave me in March.  It was an invitation actually.

“How would you like to live in “extreme security?” He asked.

“What does this mean?” I said. Instantly I thought of paying opportunities that would give me more stability, more options. But that’s not what He had in mind.

“That you would be so convinced of My Provision that I would  become your ‘extreme security’.”

“I would love this Lord, but I don’t know how.”

“Trust Me.”

Trusting the goodness of God is our highest goal. Perhaps, just perhaps, this is why Jesus said you can’t love God and love money. You have to choose.

You can love God and use money. But you can’t love money and use God.

When I love God, I can learn to trust in His abundance for my every need. Enter peace.

When I love money, I am constantly grasping for more to meet my own needs. Enter exhaustion.

My wealthy friends already know this. They have all they need financially and more. (Which is why they give so much away.) They already know that money doesn’t meet ALL their needs. Only God can do that.

So regardless of your financial status, how is your peace? What is your source? Where is your love?

Really let the Lord reveal your mental conversations as you compare yourself to others, or even despise others for their surplus or lack. Are you asking God to meet your needs?  Are you accusing God of not taking care of you? How about this— are you thanking God for what you do have?

And, likewise, let the Lord reveal your areas of spiritual wealth. What areas are you so full that you might share with others?  You may be rich in ways you have never considered. I love what 1 Timothy 6:6 says: “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”  Godliness. Contentment. Great Gain. This sounds like a great path for us all, regardless of the number of zeros in our lives.

God is faithful to meet all our needs. May we be rich in trusting Him.




Where is your face?

I am not always a big fan of the book of Job. He had some pretty lousy friends who gave really crappy counsel. But as is the way of God, tucked in every messy relationship is a revelation of God, and a revelation of ourselves. Don’t even ask how I ended up at this passage. But it really hit me. I went back and read it in several translations.

Here is my take on it:

When we try to do it our way, then what we grasp and strive for is meaningless. Our impact on the world is very small. But when we do life God’s way, with Him as the source, the reward, the goal, the pleasure, then all of life is changed, not only our lives, but the lives of those around us.

“Give in to God, come to terms with him
and everything will turn out just fine.
Let him tell you what to do;
take his words to heart.
Come back to God Almighty
and he’ll rebuild your life.
Clean house of everything evil.
Relax your grip on your money
and abandon your gold-plated luxury.
God Almighty will be your treasure,
more wealth than you can imagine.
You’ll take delight in God, the Mighty One,
and look to him joyfully, boldly.

Job 22:21-26 The Message

Look at the actions required. Give in. Let Him tell you. Come back and He will rebuild. Clean house. Relax your grip and abandon. Take delight. And look to him.

Do you ever find yourself stuck in those Not Yet seasons? You know something in on the horizon but it’s not here yet?

Or you are poised in one of those Ready to Launch phases?

Or, perhaps, God has already Released you but you are not doing what He said?

Be faithful. Do what He tells you. Clean house. Let go of your notions about money and treasure. Delight in the Lord first and foremost. Turn your face toward Him. Not toward yourself. Not your pride or problems. Not someone else to “rescue” you. Just face him.

In one of the translations, the word God is Shaddai. How funny. That means All Sufficient. Lacking nothing. Looking to God is more than passive Jesus talk. It is intently listening and doing whatever He says.  There you find delight. And so does He.

 21 “Yield now and be at peace with Him;
Thereby good will come to you.
22 “Please receive instruction from His mouth
And establish His words in your heart.
23 “If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored;
If you remove unrighteousness far from your tent,
24 And place your gold in the dust,
And the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks,
25 Then the Almighty will be your gold
And choice silver to you.
26 “For then you will delight in the Almighty
And lift up your face to God. NASB



Give Us Our Daily Bread

In the book of John, chapter 5, Jesus had just completed feeding the masses with two fish and five loaves. And the next evening He walked on the water to catch up with His disciples who were rowing in boats. (You might want to let your brain and your faith actually connect on just those two facts alone.) Got it? Okay, let’s continue.

The next day, the recently fed masses went looking for Jesus. “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On Him, God the Father has placed His seal of approval.” Jesus said.

Let’s pause here a moment. Why are you looking for Jesus? Do you want the miraculous supernatural life? Or do you want your belly filled? I know in my own life, I get sucked into only asking for mortgage payments when God wants me learn how to co-rule in His Kingdom.

The crowd asks Jesus a pertinent question. “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

To the surprise of us all who have been seduced into a “working for God’s pleasure” mentality, Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.”

Huh? That’s it? Believe in Jesus? Not quite. This verse immediately sent my mind back to Psalm 78 which recounts the plight of the children of Israel. After all that God did in their midst, they were doomed to the desert because “they did not believe in God or trust His deliverance.”

To believe in Jesus is not a glib comment, or fish logo, or wristband. This is a “way of life” dependence on a Person. Not on programs, jobs, families, churches, bank accounts. Jesus is the central nervous system to the whole of our life. In Him, we live and move and have our being.

I’m not sure the folks with Jesus connected the dots yet because they turned around and asked Him for a sign. “What miraculous sign then will You give that we may see it and believe You? What will You do? Our forefathers at the manna in the desert; as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”

What are you asking Jesus for? Are you asking for more of His heart? Or are you still trying to be convinced that He is the Messiah? Do you want His life or are you satisfied with manna? If ever there was a case of selective memory, this is it.

That manna experiment didn’t end so well for their forefathers and they are asking Jesus for the same thing. And Jesus helped them raise their sights. He said, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

Can I dare to ask you who is your Moses? Who are you crediting for your provision and success and supply? Is it your work, your husband, your parents? Do you look to them to provide for you when it is our Father who gives you all you need for life and godliness?

Slowly a new hunger is stirring in those around Jesus. The people asked Him, “Sir, from now on give us this bread.” Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life.”

I don’t know about you, but for the first time in my life I understand why Jesus instructed us to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread.” It’s not the physical bread but the spiritual He was speaking of. Jesus has just told the disciples in Chapter 4, “I have food to eat you know nothing about.”

The disciples, like us, were still thinking the physical and asked a hilarious question: “Then His disciples said to each other, ‘Could someone have brought Him food?'”

Does God care about the physical needs? Of course He does. In fact Jesus tells His followers later, “Do not run after these things like the pagans do, your heavenly Father know you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you.”

What is so startling is the remainder of this conversation with Jesus. He has made this declaration and then proceeds to tell them “He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe me.”

Wow. My head is spinning today about what I am asking and why and who. I want to believe more. I want to feast on The Bread of Life. How about you?