Financial stress can affect all facets of life. In some cases, it can even lead to severe anxiety and depression. Fortunately, we don’t have to do it on our own – the Bible has over 2,000 verses about money, wealth, and possessions. In this vlog, Melody Gray Block, Certified Financial Planner and MBA, introduces a few different perspectives on how to adopt a Christ-centered viewpoint on your finances.


– Melody Gray Block – She is a certified financial planning professional and has been involved in the financial services industry for 19 years. She helps small business owners and individuals get their financial house in order through a comprehensive financial planning services to include insurance and investment management services. She is a retired army veteran serving over 20 years and is currently serving on the SAGU business faculty. Please help me welcome: Professor Melody Gray Block. Thank you very much. Please give a hand for Coach Harmon Did’t she do an excellent job? Excellent job! You know, for those of you that don’t know, I used to play basketball. And I mean, I love to play ball. So anytime you want to go to the courts, let me know. So excellent job. I learned a lot of great things. So, what I’m really excited about is this opportunity. Thank you so much, Dr. Sanders, Dr. Taylor, Dr. Brooks, for allowing me to have the chance to just share a few things with you today. Of course, just like Coach Harmon was saying. I wasn’t really sure what I was going to talk about, but of course, the Lord always kind of comes through with that. Don’t you know? One of the things that I wanted to share with you is about money. A lot of times people go,’well why do you have to have this conversation,”. Right? We are in the spiritual realm here. Wait, ‘why do we need to talk about money,’? Don’t you know that a lot of us have a lot of doubts? How many in here have doubts about money? What is it? How do you make it? How do you manage it? Is it okay to manage it? Can I have some? Can I not have some? Right? What does the word say about money? Right? There’s a lot of doubts out there. If you go to a bookstore you’re going to find a number of different things out there. Even about just how to manage money. Right? Just, how to create a budget. Something very simple. But there’s going to be tons of books out there about how to manage or create a budget. Right? Wouldn’t you say? So it creates a lot of confusion, a lot of confusion. Even just how do you manage it. How do you make it? What do you do with it? What does the word say about it? So what my goal is today, and what I want to share with you is: four principles or four perspectives, I should say, that allow you- so that you can take a hold of what I want to share with you today. It will be more impactful to you than anything else that you learn about money. And I know that’s a pretty broad statement. You’re like, ‘Man, that’s a pretty huge guarantee,’. I’ve worked with people that struggle month to month, with people who are multimillionaires, and I have to tell you that the word of God has a lot of powerful words to say about money. Don’t you know that? There’s over 2,600 scriptures if you were aware about money and possessions. This is a big deal. Right? God spends a lot of time talking about this because it is a really big deal. So what I want to share with you are not only these perspectives but I’m going to also end with five different habits so that you can take these habits and you can apply them to your life. You will make a difference. And it doesn’t matter if you’re managing a $100 dollar allowance from your mom every month or if you’re managing $100 million dollar business. The principles are the same. The perspectives are the same. So I want to and I’m looking forward to sharing some of these with you. So why is this so important? Why does God say so much about money? It’s because of this, in Matthew 6:21 it says: “For where your treasure is, is where your heart will be also”. Where is your heart when we have a relationship? We’re called to have a relationship with God. Right? Relationships are to the heart. Right? It starts with trust. All of those things. So where is your heart? When we take a look at our finances? You could probably take a look at your finances and see how do you spend money every month and be able to learn a lot about your habits and what’s important to you. Right? If any new game comes out and you’re willing to go get that new game before you tithe. Right. Maybe showing that we really wanted that game. Right? Then where are we with the Lord? As you start taking a look at how do you spend your palm and how you spend your money, everybody’s going to be slightly different with that. And there’s nothing wrong with that. We all have different values. We all have different perspectives and principles. But I will tell you, with God, where is your heart, is where year treasuries is. Where is your heart? And so that’s why it’s so important. Money alone has the power to pull you closer to God than you would ever think that you could get or further away than you ever think was possible. It has that power. That’s why it’s so important that we get this right. So important. So what I’m want to share with you are four different perspectives. And so it starts with our heart. When you deal with money, just like anything else that you do, just as Coach shared, that we have to have the right lens the right way to be able to see things or view things. So that right lens. As we begin to take a look at that and I want to share with you. Four perspectives or four lens to look at money. Okay, we’re going to talk about stewardship. We’re going to talk about faith. We’re talking about wisdom. And we’re going to talk about contentment. So let’s start with stewardship. Stewardship perspective: Song 24:1, ‘The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. The world and all who live within it,’. Guys, God owns it all. Right? He owns it all. He owns everything. What I love about this versus is that it tells me that the pressure is off. Right? I don’t have to own it. Right? The lord owns it. He owns everything. Everything He gives you, He owns. – I’m sorry. I think I’m ajusting a little bit. Is that okay?- But he owns it all. So God owns it all. And if you could really get in your mind, ‘Wow, anything the that the Lord gives you, He owns it,’. Right? Our only responsibility is-switch to this? Can you hear me? Is that better? Okay- So God owns it all. Right? So He owns everything. And when we can get that perspective that He owns it and our only job is to manage it, then it takes a lot of pressure off. Right? But the great thing is, is we don’t even have to know all of those things. He teaches those things. How to even manage that money in our word, and in the word. So our role is just to be a steward of His resources. It’s to the point where we can. Once you adopt the attitude or stewardship mentality, you’re poised to go to on an unforgettable journey and adventure with God. When you can get to the point that you can hold out your hand and everything that you have and you say, ‘Lord what would you have?’ and where you can just say if He comes to you and says, ‘We’re short. I want you to write $10,000 to your neighbor”. and you can easily say without a shadow of a doubt, without first questioning, ‘How is that going to affect my retirement planning? How was it going to affect that thing that I was want to save for? How is that going to affect this that and the other?’ and you can literally just say, ‘Lord, absolutely. You want me to write a check to this person? I got to write it,” with an open hand. And when you can get to that spot, and when you can get there with that perspective, then you’re going to go to some amazing places with God because God is looking not just for stewards, but He’s looking for sons and daughters. Sons and daughters that He can trust. Right? He’s going to do a huge move of God. There’s a huge move of God going on right now. There’s no doubt in my mind that the people and the students that are here at Southwestern are going to be going to be world changers. He’s going to impact you in ways that not only can you impact others within your community, but within businesses that you have. But He can only do that if He can trust you. Right? Only if He can trust you with those resources. So, when you can be in that position, where you are a son or daughter of God, and that you say, ‘Lord, what would you have for us to do is what I want to do,’ because we won’t have to be concerned about that. Right? Because He says He would never leave you nor forsake you. So you don’t have to be concerned about what I’m going to do or how am I going to take care of myself. or how am I going to take care of my family or how am I to do this? Right? The lord has all of that in mind. So when you can have that perspective that God owns it all, the role, and our role is understanding our role is that we are stewards of his resources. It takes that pressure off. The other perspective we want to take a look at is the faith perspective. In Hebrews 11:6 it says that, ‘Without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who is,’- I can’t really read that- ‘when it comes, they must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him’. What would you do? What would you have me do with the financial resources that you have? It takes faith. Right? Sometimes when you first- when God first tells you, ‘Hey, tithe,’ sometimes that first tithe check takes faith. Right? Like truly a tithe?. Right? Not just your $20 right? A true tithe. When you really have and you take that step you’re like- but I want to have that bill. Right? But it’ll be all right. I mean, I did have that journey when the Lord first told me to tithe, then I was like, ‘How Lord?’. He’s like, ‘I got this thing.’ I was a single lady and I don’t have any other resources. Nobody else to call on. Lord are you sure? I had to literally sit and just read it over and over and over. “Trust the Lord, lean not on my own understanding.” Right? When you have to continue to get that, but when you can get that, when you can have that faith, to step out and manage finances this is the way the Lord says, ‘There is a reward.’ Actively trust. The hard thing about it is, I can’t always see that it’s very good. Sorry, guys. Actively trust Him to uniquely guide and direct our steps. Guys there’s so many verses in the Bible that talk about money and the impact of money. So He’s there to guide you and direct you even within your finances. Sometimes people think, ‘well, that’s world stuff,’. Right? ‘God doesn’t know about money.’ Have you ever heard that? Am I right? This is the real world stuff. Right? My dad used to say that to me, ‘This is real world stuff melody,’. Right? I’ll tell you what: God knows way more about money than we do. Right? He has so much to say about money and how to run a business inside the word of God. So we can actively trust Him? Just like we can absolutely trust Him to guide us to the right person to marry. Right? The right job to take. We can trust Him when we have a situation or financial burden or a bond or a situation we’re dealing with. We can say, ‘Lord what would you have for me to do in this situation?’. Right? He’s there to guide us and direct us. As I’ve said before, having that position where you can literally hold your finances out and say, ‘Lord, what would you have me to do with this?’. If he was a blessed Professor Watson with a million dollars first decision is not, ‘What am I going to do with that,’. Right? The first decision is, ‘Lord, what would you have?’. Right? What would you have? What was, what is your goal with that? Well, we can also be in that position that it doesn’t matter how much I have or where it comes from. The father, ‘You have a plane and direction,’. I trust that. Right? When you can have that position to really just hold it out and really seek his direction. But that’s hard. Right? I mean, when the first time you get a huge jump in pay, or you might get a huge influx of cash, it’s really tempting. Right? Truthfully, right? It’s tempting to go, ‘man, I’m going to do this, and I’m going to do this,’ and we’ve already got it set in our mind. Right? But when you can consciously go before the Lord and say, ‘Lord, whatever you would have,’ and honestly position it and lay it at his feet, you will see amazing things happen. As we continue to walk by faith thinking about God’s direction, God will and can sometimes use money to test our lives and to sharpen us. Know that one of the greatest things that, and I’ll talk more about it in a minute, but, one of the great things that Paul said is, ‘Whether our base are bound, I learned to be content.’. Right? So it doesn’t matter as we begin to walk things out. God may put you in a position that allows you to make additional money and learn lessons. Right? You might be in a position where He recruits you to go someplace that you’re like, ‘Lord, how are you going to make it work?’. Right? But it takes faith knowing that wherever He directs, He provides. It may or may not be in the way that you want or how you want. You may not be able to get that car that you want or that other situation you might want, but we can trust Him that he’s going to direct us. Where he directs, He will provide. And of course connecting your faith journey with your financial journey. Guys there’s no doubt in my mind that as I began to go to the Lord more and more and more when it came to my finances, as I began to see clients go more and more and more to the Lord to find out more and getting closer to the Lord with their or their spiritual life, and combining that with their financial journey. Guys it will bring you so much closer to the Lord than you would ever think is possible. And I would challenge you to try to attempt that. The other thing that I want to share with you is wisdom perspective. Wisdom Perspective in James 3:17, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all purer than peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy, and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” There is so much when we start taking a look at the word. There are so many verses and so many parables about money and possessions because this is the one area that can obviously pull us away from the Lord. God’s works and speaks, of course, with authority. It is timeless guys. It never changes. Right? What Jesus talked about 2000 years ago applies today. And it will apply in 2000 years from now. So having the wisdom, the financial wisdom, the business wisdom, that is our work and in the word of God- it’s timeless and it will supply all and apply to all financial decision making skills or making decisions you need to make. Contentment perspective: First Timothy 6:6, ‘But godliness with contentment is great gain.’. In the world we have this perspective: more money, more things. It’ll make me more successful. It’ll make me more secure and I’ll make and be more significant. Right? That’s the world’s perspective. And sometimes it’s really easy, even as Christians, that we think, ‘Well, we have to be prepared, and we have to do these things, and the word says we need to do this,’. And it says we need to do that! Right? There’s so much that it’s so easy for all of us to get so caught up in making sure about we have and pursuing those things that we feel that everybody else on Facebook or Twitter or whatever else we follow says that we need to have to be successful and secure and insignificant. I going to tell you, there’s only one thing that you need to have to be successful, secure, and significant, and that is Jesus Christ. That is Jesus Christ. And when you have that, and you’re following what he has called you to do, whatever that is then that’s going to be more impactful in your life and in those lives of those lives around you. More than you would ever think is possible. Paul as I shared said, I need to learn that. He had learned to be content whether he had much or had little. He had- So whenever we have a position, or we have an attitude, that doesn’t mean that we don’t continue to strive. Always strive but continue to pursue things that the Lord would have. Right? It doesn’t mean, we sit back and watch Netflix all day. Right? Then, I mean, we do that. But it does mean that, you know what, I’m content with whenever or wherever I’m at. Whatever the Lord has me. That’s where He has me. I’m there for a reason. Whatever that reason is. And that we can trust that He will provide And He will never leave us nor forsake us. And that He will provide whatever needs that we have and to keep our lives free from the love of money in all be content with all that we have. It is important that, as we continue to go forward, that we have that contentment for these four perspectives. If you can grab a hold of these four perspectives. It will make a huge difference in how you approach money and how you approach your life. The other thing that I would share with you and leave with you are like, ‘Okay. Well now what?’. God gives simple financial principles and scripture. When you apply them your financial future is more durable and more stable. These five principles. These five habits will make a huge difference in your life. These principles will apply whether you’re managing a little or you’re managing a lot. And that is basically the five things here, which is, 1) spend less than you earn right. Whatever you earn, whatever that is, you spend less than that. 2) You avoid the use of debt. Anything that you can do to avoid the use of debt would be advantageous over your life. If you’re using credit cards stop using credit cards. Right? Find another way to go about handle that in your day to day expenses. 3) Give generously. We should always give generously. Giving is the antidote to greed. Giving is the antidote to greed. So if you begin to find yourself, and in your own heart beginning to stir up because you have more and more, maybe you have an opportunity to be able to get a nice paying job or what have you, it’s easy to allow that money to take a hold of you. The antidote to that is to give. So give generously. It will continue to position your heart in the right spot. 4) Plan it for financial margin. That basically just means guys things happen in life. Good things, bad things. Maybe you’re doing just fine. But maybe your parents need something. Or maybe your child needs something. Or maybe a friend needs something. Be to operate within a financial margin within your life. And of course: 5) Set those long goals. A lot of times with goals or long term goals, we might set as car as a course. And we say you know I’m going to save for this or we’re going to save for that. And then on that journey with the Lord, the Lord’s going to say, man that’s a great job being a Steward of those resources that I’ve asked of you. Now I’d like for you to take so much of that. I want you to give this to this other person over here. So it’s going to be an amazing journey that if you can just take these perspectives and these principles. And if you just take this alone. This will make a huge difference, and huge impact in the life that you have today and in the future. So with that, thank you.

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