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Money, Possessions, and Eternity [Kindle Edition]

Money, Possessions, and Eternity [Kindle Edition] – Free for a limited time

by Randy Alcorn

What does the Bible really say about money? This completely revised and updated version of the classic best-seller provides a Christian perspective about money and material possessions based on the author’s painstaking study of the Bible. Randy Alcorn uses the Scriptures to approach this often touchy subject head-on. Thought-provoking arguments challenge readers to rethink their attitudes and use their God-given resources in ways that will have an eternal impact. Alcorn deals straightforwardly with issues of materialism, stewardship, prosperity theology, debt, and more. An excellent choice for group study as well as individual financial guidance. Includes a study guide, indexes, and appendixes with additional resources.


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Seven Principles of Finance for the Believer – by Jim & Pam Elliff

Seven Principles of Finance for the Believer – by Jim & Pam Elliff

One of the most recognizable differences in the believer and the world he lives in is his unusual relationship to money and possessions. However, even serious believers sometimes balk at the seeming extremities in the teaching and lifestyle of Christ and the leaders of the New Testament church. Can we duplicate this New Testament lifestyle in our day?

This outline provides the diligent believer with some key principals preparing him/her for radical, other-worldly financial behavior. Alone, or if married, with your spouse, take some time for reading the Scripture texts and thinking through the obedient thing to do in each area. Then write out what you find. There is only one thing for you to do after this meditation … obey!

1. The Principle of Non-Attachment
I will purchase or receive nothing that I cannot give away.

And He said to them, “Beware and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions. Luke 12:15

Luke 12:32-34; 16:13-25; 1 John 2:15-17

What must be done to obey these verses?


2. The Principle of Liberty
I will owe no man anything but to love him.

Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. Rom. 13:8

Pro. 22:7

What must be done to obey these verses?


3. The Principle of Liberality
I will constantly seek to give away possessions for God’s glory.

For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability they gave of their own accord, begging us with much entreaty for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God. 2 Cor. 8:3-5

2 Cor. 9:7; Luke 6:38

What must be done to obey these verses?


4. The Principle of Recall
I will keep accurate records of God’s dealings with me financially in order to show others that God answers prayer and provides for His own.

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Mat. 5:16

Prov. 27:23-27

What must be done to obey these verses?


5. The Principle of Security
I will save and invest only if God is leading, with the understanding that I will give it all away at His slightest instruction.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and dust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up your treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in or steal. Mat. 6:19-20

Prov. 28:8; 1 Tim. 6:9-11

What must be done to obey these verses?


6. The Principle of Compassion
I will not pray for someone’s needs financially unless I am willing to be the instrument God uses to meet that need if He should desire.

We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. 1 John 3:16-18

James 2:15-17; Luke 6:30, 38; II Cor. 9:6-15; Prov. 28:27

What must be done to obey these verses?


7. The Principle of Contentment
I will be content to live on whatever God chooses to provide, whether little or much.

Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Phil. 4:11-13

Prov. 30:7-9; Matt. 6:24-34; 1 Tim. 6:8

What must be done to obey these verses?


Copyright © 1996 Jim and Pam Elliff
Christian Communicators Worldwide, Inc.
201 Main, Parkville, MO 64152 USA
www.CCWtoday.org
Permission granted for not-for-sale reproduction in exact form including copyright
Other uses require written permission. Write for additional materials.



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Gradually Becoming Obedient?

A church that we are familiar with had this in their bulletin in a discussion about tithing:

Some people who are not tithing wonder if they can “work their way up to a tithe” by increasing their giving some each year until they reach 10%. This question is not addressed in the Bible because tithing is an act of obedience, and you cannot be partially obedient or work your way into obedience. There is no other issue of obedience in which we would suggest that we would gradually become obedient.

What is your reaction to a statement like that?

Think about this in relation to things other than tithes.

Is this an accurate statement?

What does the Bible say about obedience?



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And “You” Think Finances Are Tight?

I have been made aware of a young family that is working hard at living off of under $1000 dollars a month. The young mom, Emily, is working hard, at home, in order to be able to be home with her children. How many families are living at this level of income and yet the mother is dedicated to being home with her children and being obedient to the Lord.

Give her website a visit. Under $1000 per Month: How a Family of Four Happily Thrives on Less Than $1000 a Month.

Thankfully, we have been blessed and do not have to live on such a tight budget. But even so I have learned something from her website. Cooking Bread in a CrockPot This could be useful sometime, such as in a hotel or camping.

I must admit that I’ve also been convicted about spending so much just because I can spend it.

There have been many negative comments that have been critical of the way her family is living, especially the fact that they still tithe while making so little.  While I might not have made all the same choices she has made, I would work just as hard at being home with the children.

Pray that her husband gets a good raise or an even better job.


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I Can’t Afford to ….

Sometimes it is interesting how when I have been writing on a certain topic I seem to run across others discussing the same issue. Maybe they just catch my eye more or maybe when the Lord lays a topic on one person’s heart He also lays it on others.

Anyway, I read this post last night and was surprised at how closely it fit with my discussion of I Can’t Be a “Keeper At Home” Because … of the wife’s part in My Husband Wants Me to Work.

I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have heard this statement

You’re so lucky. I wish I could stay home with my children but I just can’t afford it.”

An open letter to working moms by Kim at Life in a Shoe:

Dear Working Mom,

I see you nearly every time I’m out with my children. Sometimes you are very young, sometimes you look older. You might look happy one day and tired or stressed the next. You are different every time I meet you, but you say the same thing to me nearly every time: “You’re so lucky. I wish I could stay home with my children but I just can’t afford it.” …


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Two Incomes, Is It Worth It?

Think the wife working is helping the family get by?

Have you really done the math?

This is a totally secular source but just see what your extra income will really net your family.

Are two wage earners really better than one?

Below is the example given on the site:

Enter your information here
Your annual income and taxes

Annual income from one wage earner~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~$45,000
Annual income from two wage earners~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~$65,000
How many hours per week would the second wage earner work?~~20 hours
Average tax rate with just one wage earner~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~10.0%
Average tax rate with two wage earners~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~15.0%

Additional monthly work-related expenses

Child care~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~$300
Clothing~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~$50
Dry cleaning~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~$50
Commuting costs~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~$150
Unreimbursed work expenses~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~$50

Increased monthly lifestyle expenses

Having two wage earners often means spending more on dining out or hiring additional services such as housecleaners. How much would these costs increase for you?

Entertainment~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~$50
Dining out~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~$200
Additional services~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~$100

Results
Another salary would change your annual household income by ~~~~$3,350
Additional dollars earned per hour~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~$3.35
Additional income from second wage earner~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~$20,000
Additional tax incurred~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~$5,250
Additional related expenses~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~$11,400
Net additional household income~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~$3,350

Click this link and enter your family financial numbers. Try to get it as accurate as possible.

The following links from the same site may also be helpful in shaving expenses.

Parents, ward off ‘childhood affluenza’

Does Johnny really need a cell phone?

Please remember though that this is a secular source for information. Be sure to check all advice out according to Scripture.

==============================================================
Now honestly evaluate your family’s income.

How little is the wife really working for? $3.35 an hour isn’t worth it is it?

Do you really know what the extra expenses are for your family when the wife works?

Spend a month recording everything that is spent. Right down to the coffee or colas at work and the kids MacDonald’s Happy Meals.

Beside each expense mark whether it is work related or if it could possibly be eliminated with the wife home each day.


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Explanation

After my last post My Husband Wants Me to Work – Is the Wife Responsible? , I just want to be clear that I wasn’t judging any of the things listed as being sinful and wrong. Just that some of these can be excessive and lead to sin.

Most of these activities are not sinful but when they are excesses that affect the family’s finances they can be serious problems.

What I mean is that there are wives and mothers who blame their husband for their not being able to stay home with the children. The husband expects the wife to work but when it is seriously considered the truth is that the wife’s excesses are damaging the family finances. Then it would be sinful and wrong for the wife to blame the husband and make excuses that “My husband wants me to work.” When in fact the wife is over spending and causing this problem.

It is not my intention to judge anyone for the house that they live in or the car they drive. That was not the point. The point is that if your spending on extras and excesses is causing finances to be difficult or making you have to work, then you maybe sinning. Or if your discontent is affecting your husband, then maybe you should reevaluate it.

There is enough Biblical evidence to show that mothers should be home and available to raise their children unto the Lord. There is also evidence that wives should not be placing bosses and other men over themselves instead of their husbands.

Will I say 100%, absolutely, every single time that wives and mother are to never work outside the house? No. That will be something that has to be directed by the Lord and His Word. However, many women have never even given the matter serious consideration. But I will say that the Bible is clear that wives and mothers should be typically be home and available to their families.

For example, I have no qualms telling others they should wear clothing and modest clothing at that. Especially in public! However, will I say that 100%, absolutely every single time a Christian believer should wear modest clothing in public. Nope. Because then if I did I would reveal how little I really know about the Bible.

See even Isaiah was told by the Lord to walk naked for three years in public as a sign to others.

Isaiah 20:2-4
2 at that time the Lord spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, “Go, and loose the sackcloth from your waist and take off your sandals from your feet,” and he did so, walking naked and barefoot.
3 Then the Lord said, “As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Cush,
4 so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptian captives and the Cushite exiles, both the young and the old, naked and barefoot, with buttocks uncovered, the nakedness of Egypt.
ESV

Yet even so, I have no qualms telling another that they should wear clothes and dress modestly. The Lord is welcome to instruct them otherwise and they should be obedient. Just make sure you are an “Isaiah” being spoken to by the Lord.

Just the same, I have no trouble telling a mother that they should stay home with their children and raise them in the nourishment and admonition of the Lord. Might there be exceptions, there might, but what woman will ever on her deathbed regret not having worked more? I think the evidence is clear both Biblically and in society that children need the continual guidance and teaching of a mother available at all times not just 5PM – 9PM.

Does it matter if you live in a shack, a small house, or a ten-bedroom mansion? It depends. It does not depend on the money spent for them though. What does matter is whether that money spent on the house was wisely invested or foolishly over spent in excess. Where a ten bedroom house might be a wise investment for the Duggars, it might be unwise for a family of five who must take out huge loans to finance it. However, it the family of five saved for years and spent no more than they could afford but still bought the house then so be it. Maybe they desire to house missionaries on furlough, foster children, or run a home business, etc. The key is the heart and staying within the finances the Lord has provided.

Do I care what a person wears or how much they spent on it? Yes and no. I don’t care whether you wear dresses or pants, expensive clothes or clothes from the thrift store. However when in public I normally wear dresses, not because I feel I have to, but I prefer to and in order to not be offensive to others. I don’t even know the most expensive labels and really care about them only if they are advertised in offensive ways, think Abercrombie. My children have worn clothing that many might assume I spent a lot for due to the label or style, however they would find the clothing was given to us or purchased at the thrift store for no more than a couple of dollars.

Yet I will be very judgmental if you are dressed immodestly. If I know you, I just might say something to you. Why? Is this not a personal decision? It is until it affects my family and then it is no longer personal. We must guard our eyes and the eyes of our children.

It would be very easy for another to judge my family just by a casual glance. We have several acres and some might consider that excessive. We have a relatively nice house which some might consider excessive, however since we only have three bedrooms for seven it is a tight squeeze. Eating out is usually once a week, that is something my husband chooses to do and it is often a ministry opportunity when we include others. We have two newer cars (2000’s) that some might deem excessive. However, my husband drives quite a bit for work and he ends up with 200,000 miles on a car that might be just six or seven years old. I have a car because we live so far away from the cities and travel is a must especially when he is out of town.

So it would be very easy for another to judge us as excessive without knowing us. But the key is we are living within our means and are able to share with other churches, ministries and individuals on a regular basis.

However, if we were living the same way and running up credit card debt, unable to help others and I was unable to stay home with my children then we should evaluate our lifestyle. That is why I suggested asking a friend that knows you and or asking your husband. They are better able to help you make wise choices.

But by no means should I blame my husband if my excesses where the reason for him saying I must work and not be home with the children.



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My Husband Wants Me to Work – Is the Wife Responsible?

3. My Husband Wants Me To Work

As I continue discussing I Can’t Be a “Keeper At Home” Because … this is the wife’s part of My Husband Wants Me to Work.

What if your husband’s desire for you to work is due to sin in your life?

It is so easy to recognize problems another is having but it is much harder to be aware of our own sin.

Wives need to be sure that sinful behaviors and attitudes of their own are not the cause for a husband wanting the wife to work.

Sinful behaviors that might cause a husband to say a wife must work.

1. Over Spending

Do you spend too much money each month? Does the balance on the credit cards continue to go up while you are only able to pay the minimum? Are you a regular at the mall?

You are the slave to whomever you owe money!

Proverbs 22:7 The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. ESV

2. Poor meal planning

Do you spend too much on groceries by buying prepackaged meals and instant meals? Are you constantly having to buy fast food to feed the family due to time issues and poor planning?

Proverbs 6:6-8
6 Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.
7 Without having any chief, officer, or ruler,
8 she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.
ESV

Proverbs 31:15 She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. ESV

3. Expensive hobbies

Do your hobbies eat up too much money? Does scrap book supplies eat all the excess money? Are you constantly starting a new craft idea, with the all the necessary supplies, yet never profiting from it.

Proverbs 12:11 Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense. ESV

Proverbs 31:18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. ESV

4. Personal care

Is a $40 plus haircut every six weeks a necessary item? Does perming, straightening and coloring eat up $100’s of dollars a year? What about fancy braiding or hair pieces?

Do you purchase salon shampoo and all the extra sprays, gels, and other products? What about tanning booths and waxing? Manicures and pedicure? Expensive perfume? Makeup?

Proverbs 31:30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. ESV

1 Timothy 2:9-10
9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire,
10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.
ESV

5. Clothing

Where do your purchase your clothing? Malls and boutiques? Must you have the latest style? Do you have clothes that have never been worn sitting in your closet? How many pairs of shoes (i.e. Imelda R. Marcos)? Do you change purses as often as clothes?

Proverbs 31:17 She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. ESV

Proverbs 31:25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. ESV

1 Timothy 2:9-10
9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire,
10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.
ESV

6. Luxury items

Expensive coffees and lattes ($5 for 200 days = $1000). Magazine subscriptions? Are you fond of jewelry? Even costume jewelry adds up in price.

Luke 15:13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. ESV

7. Discontent

Do you talk constantly about wanting a larger house or a new car? Moving to a more upscale neighborhood? Want to take big trips such as skiing and the beach?

Furniture is too old and outdated? Need new carpets? Want to remodel the kitchen?

Philippians 4:11-13
11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
ESV

1 Timothy 6:6 Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, … ESV

8. Lazy

Do you pay others to do what you could do yourself? Do you pay $10 – $15 dollars for the kids haircuts when you can do them yourself for much cheaper? Do you want a maid? Pay for lawn work that you could do?

Proverbs 13:4 The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied. ESV

Proverbs 31:27 She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. ESV

9. Expensive habits

Movies, cable TV and cell phones eating all your money? Do the children really need cell phones with unlimited calling and text messaging? There is a never ending list of items that could eventually eat away at your money.

Ecclesiastes 5:10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. ESV

10. Shopping to feel good

Do you go shopping when stressed? Do you buy things in order to lift your spirits?

Proverbs 25:28 A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. ESV

11. Living without any cushion

Does your family spend all the money each month such that when an emergency occurs it must be charged on credit cards? If the washing machine tears up must you take out a loan or use credit? Do you not keep any money set aside for emergency repairs and expenses? Remember something will break you can count on it!

Proverbs 13:11 Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it. ESV

Proverbs 22:3 The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. ESV

12. Are you paying the “foolish tax?”

I don’t remember where I heard this term but it is fitting. Is your family still paying for foolish mistakes from years ago? Like still paying for the large TV that got broken. Paying for college loans and yet you aren’t even working in that field? Paying for a house you had to sell at a loss? Making payments on a car that you don’t have? Paying for a vacation that you hardly remember anymore? Still paying for Christmas presents that the kids didn’t like anyway or broke the first week?

Count the cost:

Luke 14:28-30
28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not S first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,
30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
ESV

13. Spoiled children

Must your children have stylish clothes? Do your children insist on certain brands and labels? Coloring, perming and styling children’s hair? Won’t wear hand-me-downs?

Can you not walk in your child’s room for the number of toys strewn everywhere? Video games, Cd’s and Wii eating up your money? Cell phones for each child?

Does your child refuse to take a lunch to school? Drink colas all day instead of water or cheaper drinks? Always snacking on chips, candy bars and ice cream instead of fruit? Picky eaters? Eating expensive cereals and breakfast items instead of cheaper items?

Are you stopping at Mickey D’s for meals? Buying “Happy Meals” instead of cheaper items? Ordering pizza is a regular meal?

Are your children always wanting what they see on TV?

What about sports and after school activities? How much do you really spend on these things when added up? Fees, uniforms, trips, travel, food, snacks and stress all add up.

Are you setting your child up for future failure by giving them too much and not requiring them to work for it?

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. ESV

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Surely no one does all of these things. You may actually do very few of them. But we all tend to have our areas of weakness where we easily fall into temptation. The problem is we rarely recognize it in ourselves.

Most of these activities are not sinful but when they are excesses that affect the family’s finances they can be serious problems.

Try asking a trusted friend. A real friend, one that is not shy about telling you exactly what she thinks without mincing words. Ask her where she sees you and your family spending too much money. Ask what she sees as excesses in your life that could be weeded out.

If you are really, brave and want to honestly know, ask your husband where he thinks you are over spending.

But be sure to prayerfully consider the advice instead of becoming defensive about it.

But be honest and admit that there are spending habits that you may have that affect your whole family and may be the reason your husband says you must work.



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My Husband Doesn’t Make Enough Money

This is a continuation of I Can’t Be a “Keeper At Home” Because ….

2. My Husband Doesn’t Make Enough Money

This is a very common reason for mothers to work. Many mothers would say that they would be glad to stay home with their children if their husband made more money with his job.

How much money is enough?

Does anyone ever make enough money?

Even the very rich work hard at making more money, so at what point will you have made enough?

See my point? If a family of four makes 20,000 a year, then they might think 30,000 would be enough. Yet a family of four making 30,000 might think 40,000 a year would be enough.

Merriam-Webster’s defines enough “as occurring in such quantity, quality, or scope as to fully meet demands, needs, or expectations.”

None of us ever get all our needs and expectations met. Even if we were content for a while in a small two bedroom house eventually society and advertising will take away our contentment.

While many people can quote the phrase that “money is the root of all evil.” Very few can remember that the beginning of that passage is talking about being content with food and clothing.

1 Timothy 6:6-10

6 Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment,
7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.
8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.
9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
ESV

The number of verses concerning money are tremendous in the Bible. Just search for them yourself using a Bible program.

Ecclesiastes 5:10-11

10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.
11 When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes?
ESV

Surely most people realize that the more income you have the more everyone and everything take it away. The government will penalize you for making too much money. The more valuable your house and cars the more taxes and insurance you must pay. It becomes a vicious cycle. Making more money to have to pay more money.

Have you cut out expenses as much as possible?

Do items like cable TV, magazine subscriptions, Starbucks coffee, and new clothes eat up your husband’s income such that you “have” to work?

Does having a nice home, with each child in their own bedroom, eat more than its fair share of your husband’s income? Maybe a smaller less expensive house would allow you to spend more time with the children.

Luke 12:15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” ESV


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