Author Topic: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 11--1st Quarter 2018--Debt - A Daily Decision  (Read 2184 times)

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Wally

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Lesson 11 March 10-16





Debt - A Daily Decision













Commentary in Navy                  Inspiration in Maroon








So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  Luke 17:10

Richard Myers

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Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: Ps. 37:21, Matt. 4:3-10, Matt. 6:33, Deut. 28:12, Prov. 13:11, Prov. 21:5, 2 Cor. 4:18.

Memory verse: “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:7, 8

Sometimes you can be lucky enough to find someone who is willing to lend you money. Maybe that person does it with a pure motive - that is, he or she actually wants to help you out of a financial jam. But in most cases, people don’t lend you money out of the goodness of their hearts. They lend you money because they want to earn more (of your) money in return.

We should do all that we can to avoid debt. Of course, in certain circumstances, such as buying a house or a car, building a church, or getting an education, we need to borrow money. But it must be done as wisely as possible, with the intent of getting out of the debt as soon as possible.
 
Doing so wisely would mean not buying a luxury car, a fancy home, or an elegant church with a million  dollar organ. As for getting an  education, today it would be better to get the  kind of education Jesus and most of His  disciples had. The debt associated with education today is sinful, as is most of the education. Most  colleges and universities are the devil's workshop. 

Yet we must be careful. Spending money we don’t have is the gateway for God’s people to “make covetousness and love of earthly treasures the ruling traits of their character. As long as these traits rule, salvation and grace stand back.” - Ellen G. White, Early Writings, p. 267.

We are to improve our skills and abilities so that we can stay disciplined and do all that we can to avoid debt. This week we will look at what the Bible says concerning debt.

It may seem a good thing to borrow money in order to advance the work of the Lord.  Our wisdom is foolishness.

     When the publishing work at Nashville was started, it was the avowed purpose of the workers to keep out of debt; but in their desperate effort to make brick without straw, our brethren were led to depart from this purpose, and, as the result, the work has become involved in difficulty. But God's workmen at Nashville are not, because of this, to become discouraged. The work must not cease. Let all now seek most earnestly to avoid the mistakes of the past. Let them guard themselves as with a fence of barbed wire against the inclination to go into debt. Let them say firmly: "Henceforth we will advance no faster than the Lord shall indicate and the means in hand shall allow, even though the good work has to wait for a while. In beginning in new places, we will labor in narrow quarters, rather than involve the Lord's cause in debt."--7T 235, 236.   


There may be times when we need to borrow money, but we need wisdom from God to do so.

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

colporteur

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The subject of investing in the stock market doesn't exactly fall under "debt" but it may fall under " instant gratification". In a sense it does fall under the subject of debt. Anytime we load out the Lord's capital for personal gain and lose it we are indebted to God as stewards.

  "God desires His servants to avoid all speculation. Satan may pave the way by making the first investment successful, but Oh, how bitter will be the final outcome! If the professing Christian has success in his first speculation, His ruin is almost certain. Visionary schemes are wildly entered into as schemers present promising enterprises which they declare will pay a large percentage on all money invested. Good men are fascinated and deceived. Shares are purchased. Then comes confusion and loss. Some are totally ruined, having in the excitement invested all they had. In the thirst for riches, reason seems to depart. One or two may gain wealth, to their own injury, but many, many are bitterly disappointed.  {15MR 72.3}
 
     Man proposes, but to save him from ruin, God disposes. The Lord has instructed me that should our brethren who are engaged in speculation realize their expectation, it would be the greatest curse that could come to Seventh- day Adventists. Thus others would be led into the snare, to the peril of their souls. Those who can earn an honest living would give up their business to speculate in mining stock, selling their souls for the hope of gain.  {15MR 73.1} 


     Once speculation is entered into, there is ever after an unrest, a thirst for gain, a desire to engage in some enterprise by which means can be obtained with ease, to be spent with prodigality. If by the grace of God the error of this course is seen, and therefore does not prove fatal, the character bears the scars for years.  {15MR 74.1}

Question: How does playing the stock market place God's people in debt ?

It's easier to slow a fast horse down than to get a dead one going.

colporteur

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 We have SDA friends in another state. The pastor there has lead them to invest $500,000 in the stock market. We have repeated inspired counsel against such things.
The pastor has also taken advantage of the relationship to get funds for himself, dinners etc.,etc..

When I became SDA I had my wife stop putting part of her paycheck into stock investments for retirement. We may have ended up being to pay off our house etc.,etc.. had we continued contributing and let the gov't match it but I could not see investing in things that are opposed to the kingdom of God.
It's easier to slow a fast horse down than to get a dead one going.

Richard Myers

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Buying stock is interesting. I don't do it.  :)    It can be very speculative, but not necessarily  Church members would invest in some of our missionary buildings, like buying stock, but of course for the Lord's work.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Sunday March 11

Borrowing and Spending

The prophets and Elisha were getting wood by the River Jordan when “the iron axhead fell into the water. ‘Oh no, my lord!’ [one of the prophets] cried out. ‘It was borrowed” (2 Kings 6:5, NIV). The verb “to borrow” means using with permission something that belongs to another. This permission carries risk and responsibility. Borrowed money is no different than the borrowed ax, except that it can have more serious consequences if misused.

The only reason we borrow money is to spend it. The financial risk we take is in presuming that we have the ability to repay and that there will be no financial surprises in the future. Yet the future is unknown to us (Eccles. 8:7); hence, borrowing money always entails a risk.

Not if we borrow on behalf of our Savior with His leading. If we borrow on our own for our own purposes, then yes, there is a risk. We could die today. What is the risk then? It depends, does it not? If we have collateral upon which the loan was given, then it will be given up. Is that a risk? Maybe, maybe not. If we borrow with nothing as security, then if we cannot pay it back, there is indeed a consequence. We agree to pay back what we borrow, if we do not, this brings reproach upon Christ if we call ourselves Christians.


What do the following texts have to say about debt? Ps. 37:21

Eccles. 5:5

Deut. 28:44, 45

We may borrow money with the idea to use it wisely, but the temptation to spend what we have, even of borrowed money, can lead to some very difficult problems. Indeed, spending borrowed money allows many of us to live in ways that we can’t afford. Temptation to borrow and spend is the heartbeat of a consumer culture that affects the rich and poor. When tempted, we should seek God’s provision (1 Cor. 10:13), because borrowing can be a curse (Deut. 28:43-45).

What is the solution? The answer is always the same. Put the horse in front of the cart. If the cart is in front, then there will always be a problem. But, when we abide in Christ, then when tempted, we do not yield. God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. We do not borrow to spend on self, and we count the cost of  borrowing for the Lord's work.


Don’t start the bad habit of borrowing money. If you already have, pay it back as soon as possible. We must learn to spend wisely and be masters of God’s money, and not be mastered by the world’s money instead.

And, this begins with the lesson that credit cards are Satan's device to lead us to spend on that which we do not need.


Again, there are some situations in which we need to borrow. But it must be done cautiously and with the intention of paying everything back as soon as we can.

What spiritual dangers are there for a person who gets too caught up in debt?

We bring reproach upon Jesus by not paying back what we borrowed. If we spend more than we can afford on things we do not need, then we have not enough money to pay that which we do need. And, then, how can we support the work of God?



Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Wally

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Buying stock is interesting. I don't do it.  :)    It can be very speculative, but not necessarily  Church members would invest in some of our missionary buildings, like buying stock, but of course for the Lord's work.

The stock market is the biggest gambling casino on the planet.  It was with good reason that we were counseled to avoid it.
So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  Luke 17:10

Richard Myers

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Yes, Wally, today it is like what happened before the crash in the 20s. People are betting each day that it will go up. Or if they like, they can bet a stock will go down. We will see a crazy ups and downs as speculators play the market like they play the wheel in the casinos.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
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Monday March 12

Stewardship and Instant Gratification

“And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright” (Gen. 25:34, NKJV). Esau was a rugged outdoorsman who followed his passions. When he smelled his brother’s stew, he wanted the lentils immediately, even though it was unlikely that he was dying from starvation. Controlled by his emotions and feelings, he allowed the pressure of the moment to overpower reasoning, and traded his birthright for some instant gratification. When he wanted his birthright back, and “though he sought it diligently with tears” (Heb. 12:17, NKJV), he did not receive it.

If it taste good, eat it, if it feels good, do it. If you want it, take it now. This is the fallen nature that keeps man a prisoner to self and sin. The only hope is found in Christ. Only when the heart is fully given to Christ, can we do any good thing for the right reason.


In contrast, we have the example of Jesus. After a 40-day fast and near starvation, Jesus was tempted by Satan three times (Matt. 4:3-10). But Jesus saw the temptations for what they were, and even in His weakened condition He did not give in to gratification. Jesus lived His entire life denying the pleasures of sin and gratification, and by so doing He showed that we could have power over sin, too. He did not trade away or lose His birthright, and He invites all to share in being joint heirs with Him (Rom. 8:17, Titus 3:7). We keep our birthright by following the example Jesus gave when tempted (1 Cor. 10:13).

We must be found abiding in Christ and He in us in order to do as Jesus did.


The best this world can offer is to experience the here and now, because it cannot offer an experience in the hereafter. To live for yourself is the opposite of living for God.

What do the following texts teach about the potential dangers of instant gratification, even for faithful people? 2 Sam. 11:2-4, Gen. 3:6, Phil. 3:19, 1 John 2:16, Rom. 8:8.

The desire for instant gratification is symptomatic of an uncontrolled mind; it is an enemy of patience that undermines long-term goals, mocking and injuring accountability. To delay gratification is a learned principle; it is a life skill that helps us manage situations and pressures, especially the temptations that the world has to offer, such as borrowing money unwisely. This idea, however, is not popular in a world built on the indulgence of instant reward, quick fixes, and get-rich-quick schemes. Once we have experienced instant gratification, we are more likely to choose the short-term reward again, and then again, and again.  . . .  Stewards of the gifts God has given us must not fall into that trap.

We will yield to temptations to sin unless we are fully surrendered to Jesus. Pharisees think they can do what is right without dying to self. Amazing thought!
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Tuesday March 13

Living Within Your Means

“There is desirable treasure, and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man squanders it” (Prov. 21:20, NKJV). This text contrasts the stewardship of economic responsibility with luxurious and wasteful management. Foolish people make no plans to live within their means. They greedily spend wealth at their disposal, even borrowed wealth, feeling that financial wisdom or frugal living is a hardship, like an unwanted diet. Yet even when we need to borrow money, such as for a house, we must do it with careful consideration and the realization that we need to live within our means.

The wealthy can live within their means out of their wealth. Their problem is that they always are worrying about their wealth and how to keep it. When people have very little and live from paycheck to paycheck, they worry about sustaining life, not wealth. Still, the Bible gives counsel on living within our means, regardless of how much we have. Paul recommends what we might consider extreme simplicity: “But if we have food and clothing [could include housing], we will be content with that” (1 Tim. 6:8, NIV). Paul doesn’t consider earthly possessions all that important because for him, living in Christ is enough (Phil. 1:21).

What principle must be remembered before anything else? Matt. 6:33. How can we be sure that this is how we are living our lives?

We should think of our means not as income but as resources that we have a responsibility to manage. A budget is the method we should use to accomplish this task. Planning a budget is a learned skill that needs to be studied thoughtfully. Disciplined practice and effort are needed to be successful in managing a balanced financial plan (Prov. 14:15). If we make the commitment to succeed in our financial stewardship plan, we will be able to avoid embarrassing financial mistakes.

If you are having a problem with money management, set up a budget. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as totaling all your expenditures for a few months and then averaging in your monthly expenses. The key is to live within your means, no matter what, and to do all that is possible to avoid debt.

Paul was content because he understood God's promises to provide what he needed. What verses in Scripture do we see that gives us peace, no matter what happens. Job understood when he lost all, do we?


Read Luke 14:27-30. Jesus illustrates here the cost of discipleship by giving the example of a builder estimating the cost of building a tower and what happens if he can’t finish it. What lesson on stewardship should we take from here?

We can lose what we have if we do not count the cost of building.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 11--1st Quarter 2018--Debt - A Daily Decision
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2018, 04:20:42 PM »
Wednesday March 14

Saying No to Debt

Read Deuteronomy 28:12. What does this teach us about getting into too much debt? What principle do we see at work here?

It’s just common sense to avoid debt as much as you can. Scripture discourages us from cosigning other people’s debts as well (Prov. 17:18, 22:26). Debt leverages the future and obligates us to submit to its demands from our position of financial weakness. It is a smooth elixir that Christians find difficult to decline and manage. Debt may not be immoral, but it does not strengthen our spiritual life.

“There must be a strict regard to economy or a heavy debt will be incurred. Keep within bounds. Shun the incurring of debt as you would shun leprosy.” - Ellen G. White, Counsels on Stewardship, p. 272.

Debt can become financial bondage that makes us a “servant to the lender” (Prov. 22:7). Because debt is so intertwined with the fabric of our economic world, we think of it as just the norm. After all, whole nations exist on debt; why shouldn’t individuals do the same thing? This is a wrong attitude to have.

“Make a solemn covenant with God that by His blessing you will pay your debts and then owe no man anything if you live on porridge and bread. It is so easy in preparing your table to throw out of your pocket twenty-five cents for extras. Take care of the pennies, and the dollars will take care of themselves. It is the mites here and the mites there that are spent for this, that, and the other, that soon run up into dollars. Deny self at least while you are walled in with debts. . . . Do not falter, be discouraged, or turn back. Deny your taste, deny the indulgence of appetite, save your pence and pay your debts. Work them off as fast as possible. When you can stand forth a free man again, owing no man anything, you will have achieved a great victory.” - Ellen G. White, Counsels on Stewardship, p. 257.


Debt is a weak foundation for Christians to stand on. It can do damage to our spiritual experience and impact our ability to fund God’s work. It robs us of our ability to give to others with confidence and steals opportunities for God’s blessings.

What are some choices you can make right now that could help you avoid any unnecessary debt? What might you need to deny yourself of in order to stay out of debt?

Deny self by giving the whole heart to Christ and the rest will fall into line. We we follow Christ and His ways, life will be a blessing.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 11--1st Quarter 2018--Debt - A Daily Decision
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2018, 04:27:23 PM »
Thursday March 15

Saving and Investing

Ants labor to save provisions for the winter (Prov. 6:6-8). We are wise to consider their ways when we save money routinely for a specific purpose. The point in saving is to have resources available for our living expenses or needs as opposed to wasting or hoarding what we earn. Managing money requires wisdom, budgeting, and discipline. If all we do is save for ourselves, we are pilfering God’s possessions instead of stewarding them.

“Money needlessly spent is a double loss. Not only is it gone, but its potential for earnings is also gone. Had we set it aside, it could have been multiplying on earth through savings or in heaven through giving.  . . .  Saving is a discipline that develops authority over money. Instead of letting money take us wherever our whims incline, we take control.” - Randy C. Alcorn, Money, Possessions and Eternity (Carol Stream: Illinois, Tyndale House Publishers, 2003), p. 328.

Better said, is we let God take control. Our wisdom is foolishness.


Read Proverbs 13:11, Proverbs 21:5, and Proverbs 13:18. What practical words are here for us that can help us deal better with financial issues?

Stewards save for family needs and invest in heaven when managing God’s assets. It is not about how much one possesses, but about having a biblical management plan in place, whatever your financial situation happens to be. Saving for family needs should be done wisely. To minimize any loss, spread out the risk (Eccles. 11:1, 2). Working at such minimization prior to your wants (Prov. 24:27) and then seeking qualified advice from others (Prov. 15:22) are two successful tools in this model. As needs are met and wealth grows, we must “remember the LORD your God, for it is [H]e who gives you the ability to produce wealth” (Deut. 8:18, NIV).

The most secure investment model for God’s steward is to invest in “the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 13:44). There are no recessions, risks, thieves, or market downturns. It’s like having a purse or wallet that will never wear out (Luke 12:33). Accepting Christ opens the account, and returning tithe and giving offerings are deposits. That is, however much we need to take care of our worldly and earthly things here, such as paying the bills, we must still always keep our focus on eternal truths.

Read 2 Corinthians 4:18. How can we keep this truth always before us while at the same time living as responsible stewards here?

When we awake in the morning, it would be well to spend a thoughtful hour with Jesus, beholding His Words and deeds, especially the closing scenes in His life on Earth. By beholding such glory (character) we shall be changed into His image (character) by the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18). Being a partaker of God's divine nature insures that we have power to do what is right.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 11--1st Quarter 2018--Debt - A Daily Decision
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2018, 08:14:12 PM »
Friday March 16

Further Thought: Every natural ability, skill, or gift comes from God, whether we were genetically born with it, influenced and educated by our environment, or both. The important part of the equation is what we do with the abilities and skills we have. God expects stewards to learn to be masters of their skills and abilities through education and practical experience (Eccles. 10:10).

Bezalel was filled “with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship” (Exod. 35:31, NKJV). He and Aholiab (Exod. 35:34) had the ability to teach others their craft.

It is true they learned things, and developed character. So did Lucifer. But, when Lucifer turned from God, it made no difference what he learned. Separated from Christ, he was evil. So it is with us today. If we are not vitally connected with Christ daily, we cannot do what is right for the right reason.


We can learn to be better stewards and specifically to eliminate debt while living in a materialistic world. We should always be developing our skills through reading, seminars, formal education, (whenever possible), and ultimately practice what we have learned. Growing our skills enables us to give our best to God and to be good stewards.

Jesus grew. He learned obedience through what He suffered, so will we. It is the heart God wants, and it is character that He is developing in all who will come unto Jesus. The rest will fall into line when we love Jesus supremely.


The parable of the talents indicates that each servant received talents “according to his own ability” (Matt. 25:15, NKJV). Two servants doubled their amounts; the third hid his in the ground. We should always strive to improve what we have, but burying the talent did not show any ability or skill. Managing money, getting out of debt, cultivating discipline, and practical experience develop competencies that are blessed by God. To become successful and good at something, we must repeat it again and again.

Amen. When we continually repeat something, it becomes a habit, and habits form character. If we will repeatedly spend time each day beholding Jesus, all else will fall into order. The character will be a reflection of Christ, and we will turn to Him continually for wisdom and grace.


“As the lessons of the Bible are wrought into the daily life, they have a deep and lasting influence upon the character. These lessons Timothy learned and practiced. He had no specially brilliant talents, but his work was valuable because he used his God-given abilities in the Master’s service.” - Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 205.


Discussion Questions:

    Though self-control is always important for the Christian, it is especially important when a lack of self-control can lead to financial hardship or even ruin. What can we as a church do to help those who could be in danger of this problem?

The answer is always the same, we point them to Jesus. Why? Because when they yield self to Christ, the Holy Spirit takes possession of the heart and brings with Him every one of the fruits of the Spirit. One of them is temperance.


    Read Romans 13:7, 8.

Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

How can we apply these words to our daily lives and in all our interactions with others?

The answer is always the same. We need to love Jesus with the whole heart. Then we shall love others, even our enemies. We will be content in all situations, for is God be for us, who can be against us!


    Some argue that we shouldn’t worry about getting in debt, because Jesus is coming back soon. How would you respond to that assertion?

I would not. Why argue with someone who has such an attitude? Point them to Jesus and what we must do in order to be ready for His soon coming.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.