Your Brain is a Jerk Or: How and Why To Use The Cash System

IMG_1104If simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, the cash system (a.k.a. the envelope system) is a gentleman in a top hat ready to take your coat. You’ve undoubtedly heard of it (if you haven’t, scooch over and make some room for me under that rock), so we can do away with the long, drawn out explanation.

Here it is in three easy steps:

1. Go to bank. At the beginning of each month (or week), withdrawal from the bank the amount of money your spending plan dictates you will need for that month (or week).

2. Fill Envelopes. Label a bunch of envelopes to correspond with the categories in your spending plan. Fill aforementioned envelopes with aforementioned cash.

3. Spend Money. When you need to spend money on something (i.e. gas, groceries, iguana cages), go to that envelope and take out cash. Proceed with spending until cash is gone. When this happens, stop spending. Hint: you’ll know to stop spending when the envelope is empty.

That’s it. This is caveman stuff here, folks, and that’s the beauty of it.

So, who needs to use the cash system? I’m glad you asked. If you find that you’re consistently going over budget in several categories or not hitting your goals (say, finally paying off that Clown College student loan), it’s time to stop the bleeding and switch to a cash system.

In reality, it’s a great tool for everyone and their brother’s mother. Even folks who are financially on track can use the cash system every now to dunk their proverbial fiscal lives in a bucket of ice water. I know CEOs of financial advisement companies (with seven figure bank accounts) who have used the cash system exclusively for years.

Here’s why. The benefits, especially for people who need to right the ship, are as numerous as they are boring.

1. Science. Scientists tell us that spending cold hard cash actually triggers pain receptors in your brain, while sliding a debit or credit card doesn’t. Which must be why people spend 30% less when they use cash in place of plastic. When it comes to fast food, that number jumps to 47%. The average cash sale at McDonalds is $4.50 while the average credit card sale is $7. Buying stuff with that Visa just plain feels good psychologically, meaning our brain is a sadistic jerk that cannot be trusted.

Consider this. Back in 1986, when I was, ahem.. a tender three years of age, a consumer psychologist named Richard Feinberg conducted a series of four experiments that showed that a credit card logo alone was enough to increase spending. In two experiments, he had subjects flip through a binder containing images of consumer products (mail order catalogs) and write down how much they would be willing to pay for each item.

Half of the subjects followed these directives while sitting at a table containing a pile of MasterCard paraphernalia — door signs and replicas of credit cards — ostensibly left over from a prior experiment. The other half sat at a bare table.

Here are the average amounts (1986 dollars) that were offered for each item in one of the studies:

Product No MC Logo MasterCard Logo Increase
Toaster $21.50 $67.33 213%
Black/White TV $67.00 $136.92 104%
Lamp $34.42 $47.17 37%
Digital Clock $18.08 $31.25 73%
Pocket Camera $29.58 $52.67 78%
Home Stereo $157.42 $191.17 21%
Dress $25.42 $49.42 94%
Mixer $17.75 $36.25 104%
Tent $7.58 $28.42 275%
Saw $33.42 $67.33 101%
Chess Set $8.67 $25.75 197%
Tape Recorder $26.50 $42.75 61%

Inevitably, most of you who are reading this will think something like, “Yeah, maybe that’s true for some people, but not me — I am too smart / sophisticated / disciplined to be affected.”

Be calm. What you are experiencing is superiority bias. David McRainey explains in his book, You Are Not So Smart:

“The last thirty years’ worth of research shows just about all of us think we are more competent than our coworkers, more ethical than our friends, friendlier than the general public, more intelligent than our peers, more attractive than the average person, less prejudiced than people in our region, younger-looking than people the same age, better drivers than most people we know, better children than our siblings, and that we will live longer than the average lifespan. (As you just read that list, maybe you said to yourself, “No, I don’t think I’m better than everyone.” So you think you’re more honest with yourself than the average person? You are not so smart.) No one, it seems, believes he or she is part of the population contributing to the statistics generating averages.”

2. Spend Less. This is a Kevin Cross stone cold lock guarantee: you WILL spend less if you make the switch to cash. In my 20 years of financial counseling, not one person has managed to spend more on the envelope system. For one, when it comes to credit cards, it’s well established in the field of behavioral economics that people who use plastic are unconsciously willing to spend more than those who pay with cash, a phenomenon known as the “credit card premium.” That’s because there’s an emotional pain associated with handing over hard currency that curbs spending, as opposed to mindless purchasing when forking over plastic.

3. No debt. I defy you to rack up consumer debt while only using cash. It cannot be done. If you argue with this, I will personally come to your house and drive you to the mental institution.

4. No Guilt. Detractors say this method will make you feel like an 8th grader on an allowance, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, it’ll give you a glorious feeling of liberation and will effectively eliminate all the hand wringing associated with not know where your money is going. After all, this is completely guilt free spending. You can spend this cash with the life affirming knowledge that it will not rock your financial foundation one bit.

5. Off the Grid. If you commit a federal offense (and you look like you might), the F.B.I. won’t be able to track you via your credit card purchases. So there’s that.

Have you used the cash system? Have questions about it? Hate Koalas who throw spiders at strangers? Talk about it below.

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From Welfare to Winning

poverty girl

Today’s post comes from Jennifer Allison, who now writes awesome pieces over at her hilarious and inspiring blog, Confessions of a Rambunctious Kid

Twenty years ago I was the poorest I’ve ever been in my life. I was also pregnant and unmarried. And to make matters even harder, my doctor ordered me on 24/7 bed rest because of a dangerous health condition that threatened the life of my unborn son. So, I went from dirt poor to beyond destitute at the worst possible time. I lived off of food stamps, Medicaid and welfare during that time and the $200 a month handout I received literally kept me alive for about a year. But it was during those challenges that I learned a lot about who God is, as well as four important life lessons about how to win.

Step 1: Trust God

When I became hungry enough, lonely enough, and broke enough, I finally cried out to God to save me. Trying real hard just wasn’t good enough…it was a matter of life or death. I needed the one who controlled the universe to move on my behalf. And when I finally put my life in His hands He provided for me in miraculous ways. From food and shelter to diapers and a crib, I was given everything I ever needed…and mostly from strangers I didn’t even know. I would not have survived without His intervention. Trusting Him was the most important decision of my life and the only way I accomplished the next steps in my journey.

Step 2: Assume Personal Responsibility

God moved me to cancel my government assistance before I had a paycheck coming in. Even though welfare had helped me through a difficult time, I felt like God wanted me to depend on Him instead. So with a knot in my stomach and doubt in my mind, I stepped out in faith. Soon thereafter, God miraculously provided me with a job…with full benefits. It was the perfect job too, one I had not even applied for, which set me up for my entire career.

I also learned that it was my responsibility to take care of everything God had given me, which included my son, the small amount of material things I owned, and even my skills and talents. That doesn’t mean I didn’t share my needs with others, or even receive help that was offered at times. But I learned how to manage my time and I worked hard with every opportunity that presented itself. I also allowed myself to be accountable to people I trusted, who challenged me to grow. Once I had learned to manage all those things well, God gave me even more.

Step 3: Obey Scripture

Reading the Bible was a critical step in getting to know who God is and what my role as a steward meant. The more I studied Scripture, the more I realized I needed to get free of debt and unshackle myself from the bondage I was in with credit card companies. I put a plan together to pay off everything I owed, which I expected would take two years. I was living paycheck to paycheck so I begged God for His help along the way. And sure enough, He showed up. Through more miraculous events, which included extra work and unforeseen refunds, I became debt-free in half the time I predicted it would take. That was a huge step towards feeling secure and peaceful…not to mention it deepened my faith.

Step 4: Budget

Getting out of debt, staying out of debt, and being a good money manager is dependent on having a written budget plan, and sticking to it. I’m a bit of a nerd so I use an excel spreadsheet to account for every penny I earn and spend. Before I even receive my paycheck, I spend it on paper first. Then I have freedom to spend my real dollars without fear. Plus, it’s easier to overcome temptation and impulse buying when I know what my money has been delegated for. My budget has become my prized possession because of the amazing freedom it has bought me. Setting and meeting financial goals each month has also given me a great sense of accomplishment. It’s very true that if you aim for nothing, you will get there every time.

Working through these steps was difficult at first, even painful at times. But, the more I stuck to them, the more I began to win. And now, twenty years later, these things are such an integral part of who I am, it’s like breathing. And the payoff has been huge… emotionally, spiritually and financially.

If you want a miracle cure for your finances, then trust God and obey His Word. You’ll be amazed and what happens when you do. You’ll find an abundance of peace and freedom, including the ability to be generous to others…which is truly priceless.

“It Felt Like Heaven Broke Out” Small Miami Church Restores Faith in Humanity

“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had..  There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.”

It’s frighteningly easy to become disheartened. We read every day about acts of greed; we see videos of our compatriots pummeling one another over a sale on a toaster; we even see it in our own lives. The world is rife with people acting in their own interests to the detriment of others and, sadly, many of them are fellow Christians.

But before you cue the sad Charlie Brown music, take heart. Transcendent, Christ-like acts of pure altruistic beauty are still alive and well.

A small church down in South Florida did something this past Sunday that is so radically counter-cultural, counter-intuitive and counter-worldly, it will bring a tear to your eye.

Here’s the story from my friend and Pastor of Miami Vineyard Community Church, Kevin Fish:

“The Naples Vineyard is a church of approximately 75 people and is roughly five years old. Its Pastor, Ed Ryerson, was just hitting his stride when he discovered he had cancer earlier this year. Doctors thought it was treatable, but his body did not respond to the treatments; in fact, the cancer spread more aggressively.

As I was jogging recently, I heard God tell me to give them the entire weekend offering. I told our church about God speaking to me and they responded. We combined the offerings of our five services together and made a road trip to surprise them with a check for $75,000.

Now, I was asking them to give money to an unknown church, make a four hour trip, and do it on Thanksgiving weekend. Not exactly a clarion call that inspires the masses to movement. But, they came out in force. [Below is the caravan of believers headed to Naples.]

The Cavalcade

Earlier that week, Ed had gone into hospice care and they said there was no way he was going to be able to make it for the service.  We believe God did a supernatural work in allowing him a 15 minute window to be there and to SEE this offering this side of heaven:

Pastor Ed Ryerson, Five Days Before His Death

After we gave away the offering, Ed’s son told me through tears that his Dad had everything in place for his departure except the financial piece and then you guys come and give us this check. He could not believe what was happening at that moment. It was surreal. It felt like heaven broke out.”

Here is the video of people rejoicing and shedding tears by using their money for things that moth and rust can never touch:

Don’t Shop On Gray Thursday or Black Friday. Here’s Why.

Security guards break up a fight between on Black Friday 2012.

Security guards break up a fight between on Black Friday 2012.

If malls and big box stores have become our temples, then shopping is how we worship and no form of prayer is more American than opening our wallets.

As you’ve all undoubtedly heard, many retailers will be opening their doors for Black Friday on Thursday, a day on which some lesser holiday, whose name escapes me at the moment, occurs. You can’t rightly call it Black Friday if it happens on a Thursday, so folks have taken to calling it Gray Thursday. Catchy, right?

Best Buy and Walmart will be opening their doors at 6 p.m. on Thursday, while Macy’s, Target, JCPenney, Kohl’s and Sears will begin welcoming suckers.. er, customers into their stores at 8 p.m.

Earliest of all, Kmart, which is owned by Sears Holdings, will be opening at 6 a.m. on Thursday morning and staying open for 41 hours straight. (Of course, K-Mart has been open on Thanksgiving for years.)

Now, everyone and their brother’s mother seems to recognize that this is a greedy, soul sucking push by struggling retailers to bleed consumers, but we refuse to do anything about it. We may rant and rave in indignation, but we’ll ultimately shrug our shoulders in apathy and write it off as another inevitability.

Our frenzied lust for stuff, usually tempered by at least a modicum of rational thought during the year, all comes to head in one glorious moment as those sliding glass doors fly open to reveal where our true treasures lie. Big screen TVs, iPads, bread makers, We know in our hearts (especially as Christians) that it won’t satisfy, but we are driven by some demon compulsion that economists call behavioral economics; get people in for a “one-time only” deal, and even if the “doorbuster” stuff is gone early, they’ll buy something to justify the time wasted.

This makes no logical sense because the stuff on sale now will be even cheaper in a few weeks (and the store emptier), but it never fails to entice. It’s easy to shake our fingers at the retailers for infringing on the one day a year that’s supposed to eschew commercialism, but we have only ourselves to blame.

That the retailers use marketing ploys should come as no surprise; that’s what they do. But the fact that we support them in this destruction of sanctity is the real tragedy. Our collective dollars, as consumers, are one of the most powerful weapons in the free world, and yet, we continue to use them for evil (and to our own ultimate demise) than training them on things that really matter.

This year, instead of throwing up your hands in disgust, refuse to support this ugliness. Don’t buy a thing. Instead, take stock of what you already have; family, friends, love, full bellies, laughter, clothes on your back, clean water to drink, and a Savior whose love will long outlast that new laptop.

10 Commandments of Christian Finance

“As base a thing as money often is, yet it can be transmuted into everlasting treasure. It can be converted into food for the hungry and clothing for the poor. It can keep a missionary actively winning lost men to the light of the gospel and thus transmute itself into heavenly values. Any temporal possession can be turned into everlasting wealth. Whatever is given to Christ is immediately touched with immortality.” — A.W. Tozer (1897-1963), American pastor and writer

Money may not seem like an important spiritual issue, but Jesus actually said more about money and possessions than heaven and hell. It’s a pivotal issue for God and the way we use His money can send people to hell or rescue them from it. Luckily, the Bible is pretty black and white when it comes to money and possessions, so, using that guidebook, we’ve compiled the top ten commandments of Christian Finance:

1. God owns it all

“The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it…” – Psalms 24:1

The first step to handling your money God’s way is to accept that He owns everything. He owns all the wealth, He owns you, and He even owns your ability to make money: “You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me. But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.” At first, this may seem like a depressing thought, but going from an earthly perspective to an eternal perspective will actually make your financial life easier and more pleasurable. You will be less conflicted about sharing ‘your’ funds and ‘your’ possessions, because you will recognize that you have been blessed with the opportunity to share the funds and possessions that were actually God’s all along.

2. Surrender

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19

It starts with surrender. God promises to take care of us, to supply ALL our needs, but we have to surrender our finances to Him. This is a very hard step for some people, but a necessary one. If you haven’t before, say a prayer to God and give “your” finances over to Him and trust Him to take care of you. “Remember this— you can’t serve God and Money, but you can serve God with money.” – Selwyn Hughes

3. We are His managers

“For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” – 1 Corinthians 3:9 (the greek here actually implies that we are his fellow-laborers, that is, fellow-laborers in His employ, under His direction)

If you think the first commandment made you merely a passive bystander to your own financial situation, think again. God has a great deal for us. Yes, He owns everything, but He wants us to be His managers. In essence, this defines our purpose in this world as assigned to us by God Himself. It is our divinely given opportunity to join with God in His worldwide and eternal redemptive movement (Matthew 28:19-20). This deal is not God taking something from us; it is His method of bestowing His richest gifts upon His people and giving us a meaningful and pleasureful life.

So, if He owns it all and we are His managers, how do we manage? Well, like any good manager, God has given us plenty of instruction on how we should be handling His money and resources:

3. Avoid debt

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.” – Romans 13:8 (Here the Greek “no”, means “no”).

God knows that the burden of debt will not only cause us immense pain, it will also hold us back from experiencing the great joys of giving. Borrowing also makes us into slaves (Proverbs 22:7). If we can only serve one master, who should it be, God or Wells Fargo? So forget what some economist say, for a Christian, there is no such thing as good debt.

4. Live below your means

“In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.” Proverbs 21:20

Living below your means in a biblical sense doesn’t mean living on 90-95% of your income. It means leaving enough extra at the end of the month to give radically and joyfully. Many Christians have bought into the American dream that there’s nothing wrong with big houses and nice cars. It’s almost become a Christian trait to prosper. This is a lie from Satan. As John Piper says, “A $70,000 salary does not have to be accompanied by a $70,000 lifestyle. God is calling us to be conduits of his grace, not cul-de-sacs. Our great danger today is thinking that the conduit should be lined with gold. It shouldn’t. Copper will do. No matter how grateful we are, gold will not make the world think that our God is good: it will make people think that our God is gold. That is no honor to the supremacy of his worth.”

5. Save regularly

“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” – Proverbs 6:6

God wants us to have margin in our finances so we aren’t living paycheck to paycheck, eking out an existence, scraping by until we die. We should have some reserves so that when a friend or neighbor needs help, we don’t have to refuse them. We can have the great joy of helping them in God’s name. What a testament to the efficacy of our faith to a non-believer to be able to say, “I CAN help you and I WANT to help you and here’s why.”

6. Live on a spending plan

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’” – Luke 14:28-30

Just like an architect wouldn’t start building without first drawing up plans and estimating the cost, we shouldn’t approach our financial lives without a plan. A spending plan may seem like a buzzkill, limiting your ability to spend, it actually frees you up. Before we had a spending plan, every purchase was nerve wracking, guilt inducing affair. “Do we have the money for this?” “Was this a good decision?” “Are we still going to be able to put food on the table?” With a spending plan, all of that is built in so you know what you can spend without breaking the bank. Grab our spending plan (and other financial forms here).

7. Accept that you’re already rich

This is a hard concept to wrap our minds around because we live in a culture that tells us that more is better and the pursuit of wealth is our ultimate goal. Every day, we see people who have even more than we do, so these facts may shock you. Do you own a car? 92% of the world does not own a car – that puts you in the elite 8% of the world. Do you make more than $10,000 a year? That puts you in the top 13% richest people in the world (see your exact ranking here). Did you have clean water and food today? Almost half the people on this planet don’t. When we accept that OUR world is not THE world, we get a better perspective on our money and possessions.

8. Live simply

“But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” – 1 Timothy 6:8

Our lives have become so bogged down with stuff that we tend to lose sight of our real purpose here on earth. Richard Foster, the Christian theologian, puts it this way, “Simplicity is the only thing that can sufficiently reorient our lives so that possessions can be genuinely enjoyed without destroying us. Jesus Christ and all the writers of the New Testament call us to break free of mammon lust and live in joyous trust…They point us toward a way of living in which everything we have we receive as a gift, and everything we have is cared for by God, and everything we have is available to others when it is right and good. It is the means of liberation and power to do what is right and to overcome the forces of fear and avarice.” Does the stuff you have satisfy? Does it serve the Kingdom?

9. Give promiscuously

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” – 1 Timothy 6:17-19

When I give a car to a single mom, the donor of the car is usually present and both the giver and the receiver cry tears of joy. Does that make sense? They just gave away a $6,000 asset and they are crying for joy? This is the incredible, lasting pleasure and divine privilege we are lucky to enjoy as Christians. We know God owns everything and will supply all our needs, so that frees us up to do the fun stuff like impacting people’s lives for Him and getting involved in causes that light our fires and give us a passion for living. Giving is not about what God wants from us, it’s what He wants for us.

10. Keep an Eternal Perspective

“I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” – Luke 16:9

You can’t take it with you, but you can send it forward. Randy Alcorn likens the idea of accumulating money on earth to that of accumulating Confederate money during the U.S. Civil War. When the battle ends—as it ultimately will—the earthly wealth you have amassed will hold no value; your treasures await you in eternity. All this wealth, the cars, the houses, the statues, the will mean nothing. The only thing that will echo in eternity is what you’ve done for the kingdom with your money and resources. With all your dealings with money, keep an eternal perspective first and foremost in your mind and when you reach heaven, you will hear those sweet words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Can Borrowing Be a Good Thing?

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Consumer borrowing hit a record $3.04 trillion in the second quarter of 2013, a 22% increase over the last three years. Credit Card borrowing alone jumped 8.5% in one month. At the same time, our personal consumption rose drastically and our personal savings rate fell to 3.5%, the lowest it’s been since just before the recession.

If you subscribe to the analysis of almost every major media outlet, this is a good thing. We are to believe that borrowing is both the cause and the solution to our crisis; that taking a heavier debt load on our backs will somehow help us crawl out unscathed. Now, I understand the argument that our economy is based on consumer spending, but getting there on credit is a fallacy, both from a secular standpoint and a Christian one. Here are just a few reasons why:

Debt is psychologically unhealthy

9 out of 10 people with debt problems are suffering from mental health disorders, particularly depression and debilitating anxiety, according to the Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS). In fact, many banks are now setting up special mental capacity and health units in their debt collection teams, partly in response to a rise in suicides caused by the financial pressures of debt.

Debt prevents us from being generous

You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.” – 2 Cor. 9:11. God tells us over and over again to be generous and approach our fellow man with an open hand. This is meant for His glory and our ultimate pleasure. Remember, giving will satisfy us more in this life and the next than that big ticket item (this has been proven statistically, biblically and anecdotally ad infinitum).

Debt undermines God 

George Muller, a man who cared for 10,024 orphans in his lifetime without borrowing a dime, was often asked why he would not take food for the orphans on credit (or accept donations from people with debt). This is from his diary:

“December 1, 1842: Someone may ask, ‘Why don’t you buy the bread on credit? What does it matter whether you pay immediately for it or at the end of the month?’ My reply is this: If this work is the work of God, then He is surely able and willing to provide for it. He will not necessarily provide at the time we think that there is need. But when there is real need, He will not fail us. We may and should trust in the Lord to supply us with what we require at present, so that there may be no reason to go into debt. I could buy a considerable amount of goods on credit, but the next time we were in need, I would turn to further credit instead of turning to the Lord. Faith, which is maintained and strengthened only by exercise, would become weaker and weaker. At last, I would probably find myself deeply in debt with no prospect of getting out of it.”

If God can provide for the needs of thousands of orphans, He can and will provide for us as we TRUST in Him. It’s an insult to God’s supremacy and our faith when we trust in our credit cards more than the most powerful being in the universe.

Debt ain’t sexy

The Barna Group, one of the nation’s foremost statistics and polling organizations, estimates that 80-90% of divorces are caused by financial pressures. If I told you one thing could eliminate 80-90% of your marital problems, wouldn’t you jump on it? When husband and wife go into unreasonable debt together, they are asking for problems. When this happens on a large scale, what effect does it have on an entire nation?

As C.S. Lewis said, “Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” I hoped that there would be a silver lining to the recession; a megaphone wake up call to Americans that would shock us into living below our means, saving, and staying out of debt, but sadly, I was wrong.

What do you think? Is this surge in borrowing a good thing? Leave a comment below.

Must See Video: Chinese Christians See Bible For the First Time

I know this look. I’ve seen it come over the faces of American Christians many times. It’s a look of unparalleled ecstasy at knowing what a boon this new object will be in their lives.

Sadly, we’ve all seen it; in Black Friday videos, in the eyes of friends and family as they feverishly open that new iPad, and in ourselves when we covet that object (insert your weakness here) which captivates us and holds the promise of security, satisfaction, and significance in our lives.

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But here’s the rub; the book these Chinese Christians are unpacking with such unfettered joy is no less glorious in its life-giving promise than the ones we sometimes lug around out of a sense of duty. And, if we believe what we say, this book holds the key to our temporal and eternal lives, something that none of those objects of our desire can ever hope to match.

chinese-christians

I pray that we will be more like these Chinese Christians, pure elation filling our souls every time we look at God’s word. I am going to print this picture (to the right) and keep it in my Bible to remind me of that joy.

If you’d like to help get Bibles to China, check out Voice of the Martyr’s excellent ministry Bibles Unbound or Bibles For China. Both are reputable organizations who, for $5 – $6, will deliver a Bible to someone in this restricted nation.