How many of you have ever stolen something?
How many of you would take something that did not belong to you, now?
The Bible is clear in both the old and new testaments – Thou shalt not steal! Yet we do it almost everyday whether consciously or subconsciously, overtly or covertly.
I began this series of messages of encouraging the people of God to hedge themselves against financial disaster. If you want financial freedom you have to do it God’s way and not your way.
Jeremiah told the people of God,
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Haggai gave the reason,
Haggai 1:5-6 (NKJV)
Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: "Consider your ways!
6"You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes."
Hosea 4:6 (NKJV)
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
We have forgotten the Word of God, “we have sown to the wind and are reaping
But in the midst of the darkness there are still “points of light,”
Despite the greed of Wall Street, and despite Bernard Madoff stealing in
the approximately 50 billion of peoples investment and retirements there are
people who still have integrity.
Did you hear about?
1. The three Indiana Department of Transportation workers who came upon the truck tire stuffed with cash when they were picking up trash along I-70 in Hancock County, just west of the Mount Comfort Road exit – the money totaled $130,120.
"They were very surprised at what they saw," she said. "Once they realized it was actual cash, they called the State Police immediately and requested assistance. We are very proud of them for their honesty and integrity."
2. And the thrift store worker in Southern California who said she didn't think twice about returning $30,000 she found in donated clothing.
Barbarita Nunez was sorting clothes on Tuesday at the Veterans Thrift Store when she found a small box. Inside was an envelope of cash. Nunez said at first she thought the money was fake. But just in case, she gave it to her supervisor.
The money turned out to belong to a woman who had recently died. It was returned to her family, who gave Nunez a cash reward.
3. And the boots - If the owner of cash found in a pair of resale shop boots does not come forward, Rick and Dimitra Anderson plan to donate it to charity.
If the owner of cash found in a pair of resale shop boots does not come forward, Rick and Dimitra Anderson plan to donate it to charity.
Dimitra Anderson walked into a resale shop here last week and spotted a pair of boots she liked. She pushed her foot into the right one but felt a blockage. So she reached in with her hand.
Inside the boot was a sock. And inside the sock was a bank envelope. And inside the bank envelope was a stack of cash.
She bought the boots for $3 and did not mention the surprise contents to the clerk. It's not really the store's money once the boots were put out for sale, right?
"I got so scared. I went home and called Rick," she said.
Rick, Dimitra's husband and a Milwaukee firefighter, came home from work later, and Dimitra said she had found a rich bank envelope in the other boot, too. He reached deeper into that left boot and found a third envelope she hadn't noticed. It, too, was filled with dough.
"We're sitting on (here Rick mentioned an impressive dollar amount; I'm not sharing what it is because the Andersons are hoping to find the owner, and that's easier if you withhold a few details)."
Oftentimes, when people find cash, they either pocket it or they announce the discovery and then hold their breath and hope nobody claims it.
Dimitra and Rick contacted the Journal Sentinel and said they really want to find the owner. If they can't, they plan to donate the money to charity.
"I knew I wasn't going to keep it, no matter how much it was. If it's going to be mine, it's going to the Rescue Mission or the Humane Society," Dimitra said.
4. GRAND FORKS (AP) - Nearly $7,000 found in a coat pocket and money belt donated to a thrift shop here has been turned over to the state.
Shirley Meagher, who found the money while working at the Home Place Thrift Store last year, says she could put the money to better use.
"I don't think it's fair to me - to be as true as I was in turning that money in," Meagher said. "I could have used that, especially this time of year.
"My family is in a traumatic crisis right now. My daughter is in the hospital," she said. "What kind of Christmas is that going to be for them?"
The money was found by Meagher in December 2006, after the man died and his belt and jacket were donated to the store.
Police said the belt and jacket belonged to Gary Beaton, who was 59 when he died of cancer in Altru Hospital, after living in low-income housing and a Grand Forks shelter.
Investigations by the Grand Forks police and city attorney Howard Swanson turned up no relatives.
Based on his collection of identification cards, Beaton had traveled throughout the West, using social service agencies in several states, Swanson said.
He also had used the name Charles Nixon at one point, Swanson said. It's not clear which name was his real or legal one. No criminal record was found, nor any military record, he said.
But after a long search turned up no heirs, it was determined the money belongs to the state Department of Health and Human Services, because of the Medicaid that Beaton received, Swanson said.
Meagher, a funeral home and the thrift store also put in claims for the money.
Meagher, 60, was featured in the National Enquirer and said she got $500 from the Enquirer for being honest and turning the money she found over to her supervisor. She was stung by criticism she got from co-workers for taking the money from the Enquirer.
She has since quit working at the thrift shop and says she can no longer work because she has vision problems and chronic arthritis.
Meagher was notified that she wouldn't be getting the money on Thursday.
"It hurts my heart bad," she said. "I could have just stuffed that money in my purse, but in my heart I'm not that kind of person."
5. Thrift Store Workers Return Valuables
Orillia - Kudos to Salvation Army Thrift Store staff in Orillia. Recently a customer and his wife dropped off several bags of clothing that included, unbeknownst to them, a bag the grandchildren had placed in the trunk for safekeeping while they were skiing. The bag contained two purses with gift certificates, personal belongings and in excess of $300 cash. Before the girls realized their purses were missing the thrift store staff called to say they had found the money.
6. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP)
Police say employees at a thrift store in Daytona Beach found more than $10,000 stuffed in a donated bag.
Employees at the Junior League Thrift Shop in Daytona Beach say a man came in earlier in the week and donated several empty plastic grocery bags, which the store asks for to bag clothing. An employee who later went through the bags discovered the money.
Police spokesman Jamie Flynt says the money was given to police and has been tagged as evidence for now. They are still searching for the man.
These are truly inspirational in the midst of all the avarice and greed around us.
If we are to experience financial freedom then we must answer the question before God, would we steal?
1: to take the property of another wrongfully a: to take or appropriate without right and with intent to keep or make use of wrongfully b: to take away by force or unjust means <they've stolen our liberty> c: to take without permission <steal a kiss> d: to appropriate to oneself or beyond one's proper share
THE LIST GOES ON
synonyms steal , pilfer , filch , purloin, ROB
1 a (1): to take something away from by force : steal from (2): to take personal property from by violence or threat b (1): to remove valuables without right from (a place) (2): to take the contents of (a receptacle) c: to take away as loot :
Exodus 20:15 (NKJV)
"You shall not steal.
Ephesians 4:28 (NKJV)
Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.
Again the question would you steal and do you steal?
Most Christian would probably answer they don’t steal. But the Bible says to “examine our hearts.” It also states “to him that knows to do good and doesn’t do it to him it is sin.” So before you answer that you don’t steal, examine your heart.
We would condemn Judas for betraying Jesus for 30 pieces of silver about $21.60. But we don’t think it’s wrong to make a copy of someone else’s CD or DVD and not pay the manufacturer or producer of that which is copyrighted.
We would condemn Esau for giving up his birthright for a cup of soup, but eat an apple in the store and not pay for it when we check out.
Like the voice to Eve, satan whispers “yea hath God said.” My friend if we want Freedom not only financial but in every area of our life it’s going to come when we obey God.
Debbie returning a can of varthane $6 for a quart when it should have been $22 for a gallon.
There are people here today who wouldn’t steal a dime but they have been robbing God and if the truth be known I would much rather stand before God on judgment day with guilt from robbing my neighbor than guilt from robbing God.
Malachi 3:8-12 (NKJV)
"Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, 'In what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings. 9You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation.
10Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this," Says the Lord of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.
11"And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field," Says the Lord of hosts; 12"And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a delightful land," Says the Lord of hosts.
James 2:10 (NKJV)
For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
So how many commandments do we break when we don’t honor
God with our first fruits when we don’t tithe.
We wouldn’t steal from a man why would we steal from God?
There are those who teach tithing is just an Old Testament concept and does not
require our obedience to it. Jesus taught more about money matters than any
other single subject aside from hell. But because tithing is not gone over in
detail as it was in the Old Testament they say it doesn’t matter. But the
principle of tithing is like learning our ABC’s or Number’s, not once in college
did my professors teach us the ABC’s. It was something learned in elementary
school and did not need to be rehearsed again in college. But did I need to know
my ABC’s in college yes in about every subject it was necessary.
Stealing is an Old Testament concept. It is still found in the New Testament.
Adultery is an Old Testament concept. It is still wrong in the New Testament.
Isaiah 1:10-20 (NKJV)
Hear the word of the Lord, You rulers of Sodom; Give ear to the law of our God, You people of Gomorrah: 11"To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?" Says the Lord. "I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, Or of lambs or goats.
12"When you come to appear before Me, Who has required this from your hand, To trample My courts? 13Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies-- I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. 14Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. 15When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.
16"Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, 17Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.
18"Come now, and let us reason together," Says the Lord, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.
19If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; 20But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword"; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
But God has promised restoration to those who will repent and trun
from their wicked ways and obey the word of God.
2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (NKJV)
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
Hosea 14:1-9 (NKJV)
O Israel, return to the Lord your God, For you have stumbled because of your iniquity; 2Take words with you, And return to the Lord. Say to Him, "Take away all iniquity; Receive us graciously, For we will offer the sacrifices of our lips.
3Assyria shall not save us, We will not ride on horses, Nor will we say anymore to the work of our hands, 'You are our gods.' For in You the fatherless finds mercy."
4"I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, For My anger has turned away from him. 5I will be like the dew to Israel; He shall grow like the lily, And lengthen his roots like Lebanon. 6His branches shall spread; His beauty shall be like an olive tree, And his fragrance like Lebanon. 7Those who dwell under his shadow shall return; They shall be revived like grain, And grow like a vine. Their scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
8"Ephraim shall say, 'What have I to do anymore with idols?' I have heard and observed him. I am like a green cypress tree; Your fruit is found in Me."
9Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right; The righteous walk in them, But transgressors stumble in them.
Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
___________________ - you shalt not ______________.
you have to do it ________ way and not _________ way.
___________________ the _______________________.
that doesn’t ____________________ to ______________.
away but ____________ _____________ endures
and ______________ when His ________________ turn
from their __________________________.