Sunday, March 23, 2014

Tithing is the Secret Key Ingredient for Winning Your War On Debt.

I had always been a strong believer in tithing,  but a few years ago my wife and I had a financial setback that caused us to not have enough money to go around to all of our obligations.  My first area of cutting our expenses was to reduce the tithing and eventually stopped tithing all together.

The was a big mistake as things did not get any better for us by not tithing.  A few years ago I made a conscious decision that I was going to go back to what I knew was right and that is my money is not my money as it is my Heavenly Father's money, He is my provider.  All He ask of me is to trust Him by giving Him ten percent of my income and I could manage the rest.

When we started tithing our full ten percent of our gross income things started changing.  After a few months we were no longer struggling to make ends meet.  The miracle is the Lord provided for our needs because we trusted Him.   My Heavenly Father does not need my money, but He needs to know if I trust Him or not.  He needs to know of we trust Him or do we trust in the god called Mammon, which is known as money.

Mammon is a worldly financial system also known as the Babylonian financial system.  The world's money system teaches us to hoard money for ourselves, our family and our future.  Money is a tool to be used, but was never meant to become a god.  Saving money is not a bad thing, however, as a believer we were never meant to love money more than our Heavenly Father.

The main difference between the worldly money system and God's money system is the worldly hoards  and does not want to share (known as greed).  God's money system is to give it away and trust in Him to provide for all our needs.  Unfortunately today's society dictates that we (believers and non-believers alike) live by certain standards and live beyond our means to repay (the worldly Babylonian system).

One day I was standing in the kitchen and I heard a thought in my head that said, "The harder you try to hold on to your money the harder it is to keep.  The harder you give it away the more you are blessed with more than just money."  You see investing for future gain is not necessarily a bad thing because Jesus taught us in the Parable of the Talents we are to invest our Talents (money and abilities God has provided each of us) our Lord had provided and reap a return for the kingdom.  The future gain the believer seeks is eternal whereas the investing in the worldly system has no future as the current worldly system is only temporary.

If you are struggling financially I recommend that you begin tithing to your local church.  If you cannot afford to pay ten percent at first it's okay to begin slow and work your way up to the full amount.  I also recommend that you also invest ten percent into an emergency fund I call the "Pay Myself Fund".  This emergency fund is not for hoarding at all.  It is responsibly being prepared for future repairs and other unexpected events.

Now that you are tithing and the Lord is blessing you is when the investing starts.  Tithing is not investing in the kingdom.  Tithing is our giving back to God what rightfully belongs to Him in the first place.  Because we trust Him with our finances He gives it back to us in order for us to give to others.  He provides the seed for us to invest in the kingdom and reap a harvest of some thirty, some sixty, and some one hundred times what we give.

Our giving, beyond the tithe, is our seeding for a harvest in the lives of others.  True wealth is not measures in what material possessions we have, but rather our treasures is in heaven.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Debt Reduction Plan

I am so excited to announce that Crown Financial Ministries has partnered with Christian Credit Counselors and they are ready and waiting to help you get control of your debt.  

Check out their website at http://www.christiancreditcounselors.org for more details and then call the toll free number.

 


My War On Debt is a ministry specializing in hope for those that are hurting because of the bondage of debt. Please feel free to add your comments, questions, or prayer requests.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Journey To Financial Freedom Seminar

This past Saturday I was a part of a "Journey To Financial Freedom" seminar, presented by Jack Wilkerson, and I wish you could have been there with me.  Jack is a tremendous speaker and delivered a wonderful presentation of what God's word has to says about money, and He has a lot to say on the subject.  He also taught on how to pay off debt and how to manage God's finances that He has provided you.

Pastors, I would highly recommend that you consider letting Crown present this program to your congregation.  Crown is different from "Financial Peace University" in that Crown is all about helping the church body grow in stewardship and managing God's money the way He intended for us to.

Church members, I would highly recommend that your talk to your pastor(s) or someone in your church staff about bringing this seminar to your church.


Please feel free to contact me for information on how Crown's "Journey To Financial Freedom Seminar" can help your church body learn and grow from this wonderful stewardship ministry.



Saturday, August 24, 2013

Steps To Making A Budget

Creating a budget for the first time can be puzzling so you may need some help getting started.  One of the things I like most about the Crown.org website is all the free articles and downloads available for you and me to use.  One of my favorite is "Steps To Making A Budget" - this article will be a tremendous help for you in creating and managing your budget each month.

Please feel free to send me an e-mail if I can answer any questions.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Need Help With Starting Your Budget? Let one of our Mentors Help You!

Tired of losing sleep to money troubles? Crown Financial Ministries can help. Our online MoneyLife™ Mentoring program matches you with one of our certified mentors to thoroughly analyze your financial status. From there your mentor will work with you to develop a customized spending plan and debt elimination strategy to put you on the road to financial freedom! It all can be done securely and from the convenience of your home



http://youtu.be/2I7eWSqUcvo



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

MoneyLife Planner

When I first started as a budget counselor, back in the late 1990's, I would schedule an appointment to meet with a couple, or individual.  In this first meeting I would schedule the second appointment about 30-days following in order for them to track their spending for 30-day.  This would give them the beginning numbers to create their budget and also an opportunity for us to see in what areas they are over spending.

Things have changed today with the new budgeting tools available to us today.  I personally us Quicken Essentials for Mac for my budget each month.  There are other budgeting softwares you can purchase, but I would recommend that my subscribers consider the budgeting tools offered by Crown especially the MoneyLife Planner as shown below.
Crown has some wonderful personal resource tools that can help you on your journey to financial success:

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

MoneyLife Indicator

Before you begin your journey you need to know where you are going.  Before you can know when you get there you need to have a plan.  I highly recommend that you complete the MoneyLife Indicator in order for you to know where you are right now.  Click Here to begin




Monday, August 12, 2013

Why Should You Attend the Journey to Financial Freedom Seminar?



Crown Financial-Journey to Financial Freedom

  • 75% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck **
  • 76% have less than 6 months living expenses **
  • 25% have NO savings **
  • 80% ‘marriage difficulties-- blame finances
  • 95% of married couples DO NOT know where they spend their money
  • 90% + have NO Plan for finances

Journey to Financial Freedom Seminar:
  • One day away from your new financial future
  • God’s Word has +2200 references to financial/material possessions
  • God’s Word can turn the financial tide
  • Understand the World’s Economy(stress) vs God’s Economy(freedom)
  • Build a financial plan that works for you
  • You CAN live ‘financially free’
  • Couples, Get on the ‘Same Page’ financially
  • Journey to Financial Freedom seminar
              -Reduces stress
              -Transforms lives
              -Improve marriage
              -Draw people closer to Christ

ATTEND JOURNEY TO FINANCIAL FREEDOM—SEPTEMBER 14, 2013
   Register at Kiosk or on-line, www.judsonbaptist.com  (events)


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Journey to Financial Freedom Seminar



Dear Friends,
Your are invited to join me at the Journey to Financial Freedom Seminar September 14th as shown below.  I will be there for the Seminar and will be working the book tables.
Please let me know if you will be able to attend.  Bring a friend or a group.
Thanks,
Crown Events 
Journey to Financial Freedom Seminar
Nashville, TN
Event Location:
Judson Baptist Church
4900 Franklin Road
Nashville, TN 37220
Start Date: Sep 14, 2013 8:30 AM
End Date: Sep 14, 2013 4:00 PM
For information call: 615-833-6600 ; mike.james@judsonbaptist.com
Event Cost:
Indv: $40.00 Couple: $80.00
Total Cost:
$40.00
For more information, and to register for this event, please contact the church at 615-833-6600 , or visit their website:  www.judsonbaptist.com.
Lunch available on-site.

Journey to Financial Freedom Seminar
Also known as "Crown Money Map Seminar"


Whether your finances are a mess or you already have a handle on your spending, a clear, personalized roadmap will help keep you on track to meet your unique goals and arrive at your destination free from regrets.

Join us for the Journey to Financial Freedom Seminar and discover the intersection of God and your finances.

This live, fast-paced experience will give you the following three things:

§  Learn practical steps for eliminating debt
 
§  Develop confidence in your financial decisions
 
§  End the day with a personalized plan for managing your finances and your life
 
This updated seminar, led by a trained Crown seminar instructor, features the following:
 
§  Biblical teaching on how to apply the wisdom of the Bible into everyday financial-decision making
 
§  Hands-on, practical sessions to create and apply what you're learning
 
§  Group setting where your privacy is maintained yet still have the freedom to ask questions
 
§  New video and other multimedia teaching tools during the seminar
 
§  New online support web site to provide help before and after the seminar

Start your Personal Journey to True Financial Freedom!
Pre-registration is required for all Crown seminars at the Host location. Register early to guarantee your reservation. Bring your Bible, pen or pencil, and an open heart.

Churches and other organizations: If you would like to host a Journey to Financial Freedom Seminar in your area, please contact John Riley at 602-765-1988 or seminars@crown.org.

If you need further assistance with budget questions before or after the seminar, Crown has a network of Money Map Coaches who can guide you through the process of setting up an effective personal budget. For more information, please send a request to coaches@crown.org.


Success Is A Journey


What does it mean to be a success?  Most people measure one's success is by how much money or possessions they have acquired.    One online definition I found is this: "The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted: attributed their success in business to hard work."  True success is not an end result but rather a process or a journey that is actually a lifestyle change. 

Over the years we have had famous motivational speakers train us on how we can motivate ourselves to do more and achieve more financial prosperity than everyone else.  I'm not against anyone being financially prosperous.   However, I believe these motivational speakers, who by they way have made themselves very wealthy through their teachings, have caused many people to become self-conscious, self-centered, selfish, and downright greedy.   These people are very ambitious and determined to get what they want at any cost.  There is nothing wrong with being ambitious, but the enemy uses lust and greed to take our eyes off the real meaning of success in all areas of life.

What is the real meaning of success?  The real meaning of success is to understand where true wealth lies.  True wealth is not just money or possessions.  I'm not against your having money or possessions as long as the money and possessions do not have you.  The thing about the money and possessions we accumulate in life are left behind when we die - we cannot take it with us.  True wealth, or treasure (Jesus said, "Where your treasure is there will your heart be also") is not just material things - it's also the joy and peace that you experience in your spirit, body, and mind when you are doing God's will on earth.  Your true treasure that last forever is the treasure your accumulate in heaven - Matthew 6:19

True success or true wealth is actually an attitude, a "BE" attitude, if you will.  It's an attitude of "Being".  True success and true wealth is "Who You Be" - I know that's not proper English but it's my way of explaining that it is who you are in Christ Jesus that holds the key to true wealth and success.  Who you are in Christ is who you be in Christ.  If you be in Christ then you have a "BE" attitude or an attitude of Christ.  Another way of saying is a "He" attitude, a Jesus attitude.  This means to look at success and wealth the way Jesus would view it.  Study these scriptures to learn who you are in Christ and let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Forgive Us Our Debts as We Forgive Our Debtors,

Right in the middle of The Lord's Prayer Jesus teaches us to ask God to forgive us our debts, "What"? "Debts?" - "You mean to tell me we should ask God to forgive us for being in debt?" "Are you saying to being debt is a sin?"  Matthew 6:11-13 quoted the word as debts, but the prayer is often prayed using the word trespasses instead of debt, and also the word sin instead of debt.

I think the key to this passage lies in the rest of the phrase, "as we forgive our debtors (those that owe us - those that trespass against us - those that have sinned against us)".  The secret to success in managing the finances God has entrusted you with is forgive.  "Forgive who?"  First we should be willing to go to God and confess, "Lord, I have done a poor job if managing your finances.  Lord, I ask you to forgive me as I have forgiven myself, as I have forgiven others that have hurt or offended me."

Before you begin your personal "War on Debt" I would like for you to know you will never win this war by yourself.  Learning to live on a budget is a key factor in your success in getting out of debt, however, getting out of debt should not be your only goal.

Your responsibility is to allow yourself to have a change of attitude about money and your responsibility to God as a believer.  If you are a believer in Jesus Christ then you are no longer in charge of your life, as you once thought you were.  Before Christ you were a slave to sin and death.  As a Believer you are no longer a slave to sin, but you do have a new master.  You are still a slave because you were purchased with a price - Jesus gave His life to purchase you from the old master, sin and death, to redeem you to back to your original owner, our Heavenly Father.

Now that we know who our new Master is (we cannot serve two masters by the way) we surrender our will to His will and allow Him to be the master of our lives.  This means trusting in Him to provide instead of trusting in our on strengths and abilities.  God's plan for man was to have dominion on the earth as His partner, His manager, His steward on this earth.  God provides what we need in life and He allows us to manage what He has provided.  Our job is to trust in Him to provide.

The income you receive from your employment or other sources are not yours.  You see God provided it for you to manage and all He asks for is you to honor Him with the tithe (10% of your gross income - not net).  Why does God require the tithe?  Does He need the money?  God doesn't need the money as He owns it all.  So why do we have to tithe?  By our returning a portion of what He has given us is a test for us - it is a test of our willingness to be a faithful steward with what He has provided.

Most of us do not realize the tithe is more for our benefit that it is God's.  Our tithe is paid to our local church and the local church uses the money for the business of running the church and spreading the gospel.  Our faithfulness in paying God the tithes allows God to bless us with His abundance - He blesses us with more in order for us to give beyond the tithe as gifts and offerings.  Gifts and offerings are not just money - they are also the giving of ourselves unselfishly to others.  I think this is fully illustrated in Matthew 25, especially verses 31-46.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Last week's cartoon was "Don't Worry" which was perfect for the lesson from Matthew 6 especially verses 25-35.  This week's cartoon is perfect for this lesson as we will be learning to change our focus from looking inward or self consciousness, which is "Me" consciousness, to looking outward or Jesus consciousness, which known as  "His" (Jesus) consciousness.  Notice in this cartoon Jesus us wants to give our burdens to Him, to let Him carry the load for us.  He wants us to let go and let Him deal with the issues in life we face we face.

I love the way Chuck Bentley explains there are two types of trees in his book "The Root of Riches" - He explains the difference between these two consciousnesses as the "Me Tree and the He Tree".  I would highly recommend that you order this book as Chuck does a great job of helping us rethink our understanding of the me consciousness and Jesus consciousness.

Like the caption in the cartoon we will learn how to "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you" 1 Peter 5:7.  "How can we do that when we are deep in debt?",  you might ask.  Pass your cares to Jesus and trust in Him to work out those things for you.  When we can let go of being our own god (fix it ourself) we let Him be our God (fix it for us).

The secret to building anything, including a budget, is to have a solid foundation.  Jesus described a foundation as built upon a rock Matthew 7:24-27.  Notice Jesus is telling us the key to our success lies in our hearing what He says and in our doing what He says.  Jesus was successful in His ministry on earth as a man.  He did not operate in His Godly powers, but rather as an earthly man, a prophet.  Jesus did nothing except what the Father told him to do John 14:10 -  "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works."  Please read all of John 14 to get the full impact of the scripture.

Notice what Jesus says in verse 21 - "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”  What commandments is He talking about?  He's talking about His words He has told you.

Proverbs 4 gives us further guidance into hearing godly instructions and doing, or living by, those instructions.  Notice verse 20, "My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings." NKJV  When we have heard and know Jesus' sayings, His words, then we are to do just what Jesus did - say what He said.  Jesus only did and said what His Father said and we too can say and do what Jesus said.

Jesus said it this way, "It is the Father speaking through me and what He wanted me to do."  As we hear and understand Jesus' words in the scriptures the Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts revealing to us what God wants us to learn and what He wants us to do.  This is how our heart changes from self-conscious (selfishness) to He-consciousness (unselfishness).

John 6:63 - Jesus explained it this way, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life." NKJV  When we know and speak Jesus's words they are spirit and they are life - His words are life for our benefit no matter what circumstances are going on around us.  Jesus gave us some powerful tools to use in our war on debt - His words and His Name - use them for His purpose and His glory.

John 8:28-32 - Jesus explains that He did nothing of Himself and that He only did what the Father taught Him.  He is our example to do what He has taught us to do.  Jesus went on to explain that He only did what pleased the Father.  Wow!  Wouldn't it be great if we could  be like Jesus and only do the things that please the Father!  Yes, we can!  Jesus went on to explain in verses 31, 32, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  NKJV 

Wow! I know Him and I am in Him then that means I am free.  I'm just as free as Jesus is, 
" .  .  . because as He is, so are we in this world." 1 John 4:16-18 NKJV  Is Jesus in debt?  No!  Is He full of worries and cares of this world?  No!  Then the truth has made you free because just as He is in heaven so are we in this world.  You may be thinking, "How can this be?"  This becomes a reality as we begin to change our hearts from the self-master of "I can do it myself" to the let Jesus be your Master, which is to say "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13  Read all of Philippians 4 NKJV.  I especially want you to focus on verses 6 and 7 "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Before you start your budget planning I recommend that you learn change your mindset from your lordship (your being the lord over your life) to His Lordship ( let Him be the Lord over your life).  Seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness and He will provide for your needs.  Don't worry about tomorrow - trust God daily to meet your needs. Matthew 6:32-34.  Search the scriptures for every word Jesus said and then do what He says and you will see God change your circumstances as you line up with what He has called you to do.  Your assignment today (and everyday) is to take your eyes off of self and turn your eyes upon Jesus.

"Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus"

O soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There's light for a look at the Saviour,
And life more abundant and free:

[Chorus:]
Turn you eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion
For more than conqu'rors we are!

[Chorus]

His word shall not fail you He promised;
Believe Him and all will be well.
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

[Chorus]



Sunday, July 21, 2013

How To Start A Budget

I guess a good way to start a budget is to consider the question - why do we even need a budget?  Well, to answer that question consider the cartoon shown here.  Notice the man is filled with worries, and anxieties because his expenses, bill, and debts.  I love what the birds say to each other - "What's eating him?" and "I guess God doesn't take care of him like He does us!"

In my line of work I hear people tell me everyday that they are experiencing tough times because there is just not enough money to go around.  Most of these people are living on a fixed income or what they are earning from their jobs just doesn't go as far as it used to.  These people are like the man in the cartoon being over whelmed with the burden of not enough money to around.  When you are burdened like the man in the cartoon you cannot think straight because of fear (worry and anxiety), doubt, and unbelief.  Notice this man is so burden down and he is trusting in his own abilities in his situation.  He is not looking to God at all.

Can a budget fix this man's problem?  Well the answer is yes, but to a point.  A budget can definitely help us better manage money, but the budget will not fix the problem with the heart.  The budget treats the symptom, but does not cure the problem in the heart.  Our heart is our mindset thinking about money.  We are double minded (you cannot serve two masters) caused by worldliness.  James 4:7-9 says our hearts need to be purified in order to overcome worldliness.  Worldliness is the root cause for the three distractions found in the parable of the sower mentioned in our last lesson: " . . . cares of this world, deceitfulness of riches, and desire for other things . . . " (Mark 4)  Does the man in the cartoon suffer from any of these three distractions? _______  If yes, which ones? ______________________

The cartoon above quotes Matthew 6:26-27 - this is Jesus' way of showing us that worry is not going to help us.  Jesus uses the birds as an example to teach us that our Heavenly Father is the provider for the birds and that we are more important to our Heavenly Father than the birds are.  Jesus is saying to us that our Heavenly Father is our provider and we are not to worry about these things as we are attempting to be our own god when we do.  We unwittingly short circuiting our own blessings from God by trying to do His job.

Before we start the budget process let's first take the focus off of ourselves (selfishness).  You see it is all about God and His will, and not our will, that is important.  We were created to be a partner (steward or manager) with God to do His will here on earth.  Our job is to trust Him to provide for our daily needs as described in The Lord's Prayer.  Our job is to pray to Him and ask Him to provide for our daily needs in order for us to accomplish His will here on earth.  He already knows what we need before we pray.  If He knows what we need then why do we need to ask Him for it?  He is our senior partner in our relationship with Him and He desires to hear from us.  He desires for us to come to Him and to rely on Him to provide.  When we come to Him is our way showing we are trusting in Him to provide for our needs instead of our providing for ourselves.  When we allow God to be our provider we are then focused on doing His will or whatever He has called us to do.  His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

We are not in charge of our lives - we are not our own.  We were bought with a price therefore we are His servant.  We are not our own master and we cannot serve two masters (as stated above).  We cannot serve God and serve ourselves at the same time.  The scriptures state we must choose to serve one and hate the other.  If you choose to serve and please yourself then you are your own god therefore you will reject the God that created you.  If you choose to serve your Creator then you will love your God and reject yourself.  What does it mean to reject yourself?  It means you release the control of your life and surrender it to Jesus.  You are no longer your god.  I think this is what Jesus meant when He told the rich young ruler, " . . . and come, take up your cross, and follow me."  Our cross, our burden is to surrender our will to Him and to follow Him.

How do we follow Him?  The secret lies in following His words (these sayings of mine) and by doing what he says.  Before you can begin your "Get out of debt" budget plan you must have a solid foundation to build your budget on.  If your foundation is built on the rock (Jesus and His words) then your plan will succeed no matter how long it takes and no matter what storms life throws your way.

Look to Jesus to calm your storms
If you are struggling financially or in any area of your life then turn your eyes on Jesus and stop looking at the storm in your life.  Talk to God about your needs in prayer and then trust in Him to provide.  In our next lesson we will start the steps to building a budget.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Power to Get Wealth

In our previous lesson we learned that we cannot serve two masters at the same time.  We would have to love one and hate the other.  Which master would you choose to serve, God or mammon (the spirit of lust for money).  If you picked mammon then you will reject God and choose to serve yourself as your own god.  If you picked God then you reject the spirit of mammon and choose to serve God.

Instructions to the Rich

Does God not want us to be wealthy?  No, to the contrary because it is God that gives the power to get wealth.   As a matter of fact many men of faith in the scriptures were very wealthy. So, if God gives the power to get wealth then why aren't all believers wealthy, and why are we warned about being wealthy.  God gives the power to get wealth to individuals that He can trust it with in order for them to accomplish His will through them.  The persons that He can trust are those that will not get into the trap of loving money and possession more than Him.  The key answer to the questions is answered in the instructions to the rich found in 1 Timothy 6:17-19.

Notice the attitude of Paul in the above scripture - " . . . not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy."  The secret to having wealth is it's okay to have wealth as long as it does not have you.  Notice in the balance of the scripture Paul says, "Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life."  

Notice the biblical attitude of the wealthy is not to hoard money but rather be ready to give at all times and willing to share what you have with others.  With this kind of attitude of the wealthy are faithful stewards of the possessions God has provided and are building a foundation for their future.  They are building more treasure in heaven than they could possibly ever build here on earth.  Those with this kind of attitude, whether rich or poor, are investing for their future for heavenly rewards.  In another lesson we will talk about building treasure in heaven.

Speaking of "a good foundation" - Jesus tells us how to build a foundation that cannot be destroyed no matter what storms of life come against us:


"Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.  

But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell.  And the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:47-49 NKJV

The foundation for today's lesson is for us build our house of upon a solid foundation:
  1. look for and mediate on the words of Jesus until you can understand what is saying to you.
  2. then do what He says!

One of my favorite phrases from the insurance industry is "Most people did not plan to fail, they just failed to plan."  As a believer it is our responsibility to build our house on a solid foundation and before we can build our house we must have a plan, a blueprint.  If your goal is to get out of debt and become the faithful steward as God has called you to be, then you must have a plan.  Your plan begins by learning and doing what Jesus said, and then prepare your plans or blueprint (budget).

We will discuss more about creating a budget in our next lesson.

You Cannot Serve God and Mammon


The Bible has a tremendous amount to say about money in both the Old and the New Testaments.  Money itself is not evil, however it can become evil.  Most people mistakenly misquote the phrase "Money is the root of all evil."  The scripture actually says that "The love of money is the root of all all kinds of evil"  I Timothy 6:10 NKJV.  

Money is not evil but it can become evil when is loved and even worshipped as an idol.  And, it is the root cause of other kinds of evil.  If you find yourself struggling financially you are probably also struggling in other areas of your life as well.  The root cause many of the  struggles we go through in life can be traced back to what's in our hearts.  Jesus gave us the key to this principle when He said, ". . . where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." This is where we do a self examination and discover what we treasure most in life is where our heart is focused.

This self examination is the first step to building a plan for getting out of debt because it is here where we will discover what is in our heart reveals where our treasure is.  What do you think about most?  All of us think all day long and even while we are doing multiple tasks.  If we are obsessed with making more money then our subconscious mind will be focused on ways to "make more money" all day long.  This obsession is a love of money and is also a lust for money.  Does more money help those that are in deep in debt.  Money money can be a temporary fix for certain parts of the budget, however, the root cause of the lust needs to be fixed before one can be free of the lust for money and for other things.

In the Parable of the Sower (Mark 4 NKJV) Jesus mentioned three demonic influences that  affect the conditions of the soil (the heart), which will cause one to be unfruitful, ". . . and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful."  The condition of the soil in this parable is describing the condition of an individual's heart.  A person with these demonic influences affect the conditions of the heart and has the treasure focused in the wrong areas, therefore  will always cause one to be unfruitful, and always struggling in life.  A person that is obsessed with making more money can become rich by worldly standards, but they are in poverty spiritually therefore making them ineffective as a believer.


You Cannot Serve God and Riches

One of the keys to getting out of debt is to first realize we are not our own.  We mistakenly believe we are free to lead our lives as we want and we mistakenly believe we can be our own god.  This is not true! We belong to God and to serve Him, not ourselves.  Typically we have allowed ourselves to be in bondage to debt because we have been serving and pleasing ourselves first.  Jesus explained this when he said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."  What is mammon?   One commentary I read describes this way: Mammon, or money, should be used generously to build works that last.  Money is called unrighteous because it often manifests unrighteousness and selfishness in people (see 1 Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19, James 1:9-11, 5:1-6)

Perhaps the real question to ask is, "Who is mammon"?  In Pastor Robert Morris' sermon "Break the Spirit of Mammon", Pastor Robert explains that mammon is an evil spirit.   The spirit of mammon is a demonic spirit that attempts to influence man to be obsessed with money and I suspect also attempts to influence people in all other areas of unrighteousness. 

The first step to getting out of debt is to change the condition of the heart and the change what we treasure.   It's a matter of changing your attitude, your thought process about money and how God intended for us to manage money.  We will talk more about this in the next lesson.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Lord Drew Us

The following video testimony is a great example of how the Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts.  I love it when Mr. Thomas stated that The Lord drew him to make a decision.  




If you are unable to open the above video please click here

Have you come to the crossroads of your decision to get out of debt?  I would recommend that you consider Crown Financial's new program "MoneyLife Personal Financial Study" as shown on the sidebar of this BLOG



Hi Chet:  I have taken the financial university class through a church.  What are the steps to be able to help other people?

Ruth

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Hi Ruth, I am very excited that you have expressed a desire to help other people.  God plants desires in our hearts so that we may fulfill His calling in our lives.  You see we are called to serve Him through ministering to others.  Our calling is to teach others that God owns everything, including ourselves, and God is the provider of all things.  Our job is to trust in Him to provide and to teach others to look to Him to "give us this day our daily bread" as stated in The Lord's Prayer.

My recommendation is that you volunteer at your local church as a budget counselor.  And, if you would like to take it a step further I would recommend that you become a mentor for Crown Financial Ministries - this will allow you to minister to those outside your local church @ http://www.crown.org/Volunteering/

I would highly recommend that you recommend to you local church a new Crown Financial program "MoneyLife Personal Finance Study" as a classroom study or LifeGroup study.  Take a look at the video at http://cnowlen.crown.org 

The Crown.org website will be a valuable resource with articles and forms that you can share with those that your minister to.  This is a very important area that you can help others and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ at the same time.

Please feel free to contact me if I can assist you further.



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Whenever an article is posted on this BLOG an e-mail copy of the posting is sent to subscribers and also to those that have requested a free copy of my eBook "How to Win the War on Debt". If you no longer wish to receive my e-mails please send your e-mail request to mywelldone@iCloud.com and type "UNSUBSCRIBE" in the subject line.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Budget Assignment Almost Caused A Couple to Divorce

During one of my classes on "How to Prepare a Budget" I gave my students a copy of the Larry Burkett's Budget Form to take home and complete.  The students were then asked to bring the completed budget form back following week for class discussion.  One couple in particular stated they had fought all weekend because they had had trouble agreeing with each other as to what expenses they were willing eliminate of their excess spending.  They stated the fights were so bad they thought they were going to get a divorce because the first day they just could not agree on anything.

Many people avoid budget classes and budget counseling because for a couple to agree on a budget will require compromise and sacrifice, which is very hard or some people to do.  Why? Why do we even need a budget is what some ask?

There are a few people that have a large income and enjoy more coming in that they can spend therefore feel they do not need a budget.  And, they do not yet feel the pain of not having enough money left over at the end of the month to afford all the bills due.

Remember the story of the ant and the grasshopper?  This fable has a good lesson for all of us to follow in preparing for the future as we may not always have the positive cash flow that allows more income than we are spending.  I do not agree with the term "Worry about tomorrow" - I don't think God planned for to us worry about tomorrow.  We will go into this more in a latter lesson.  Click here to see what God has to say about worry.  I think instead He planned for us to depending on Him for everything.  I do believe He planned for us to plan for tomorrow and the budget is a great tool for us to plan for today and tomorrow.  Our job is to be a steward or manager of the resources He has provided us to use in this life.  As I said earlier we will go into more details of this subject in a later lesson.

The reason the couple mentioned above had a battle with each other all weekend was because of some underlying problems of selfishness.  The husband did not want to give up any of the expenses involved with his passion of golf and other sports related activities.  He cared more about the pleasure he had  with his friends than he did with his wife and kids.  Needless to say the marriage was destined for divorce court even before the couple attempted to complete a budget.  The good news is after the weekend of battle with his wife the husband finally was able to see on paper that there was no way he could continue his unrestrained spending without disaster.  The husband and wife both agreed together to compromise and sacrifice all wasteful spending and finally developed a zero based budget.  Zero based budget means every cent of the household income and expenses are allocated with no surplus left over.

The thing about being in partnership with God is most of us have not been adequately trained as how to be a steward or manager of God's provision.  Most of us do not even realize we are God's partner and that He left us in charge to manage His resources that He provides us.  See the parable of the talents.

The purpose of this BLOG is to help train one another how to be the kind of steward or manager God planned for us to be.  Crown Financial Ministries offers you some wonderful tools to help you better manage the financial resources God has provided you.

 
I recommend you consider ordering Crown's MoneyLife Personal Finance Study online for $49.95 and THE S.A.L.T Plan for $15.95.  These two resources together will be some powerful tools to better help you manage the resources God had provided you.  To order click on the link on the sidebar of this BLOG.

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Whenever an article is posted on this BLOG an e-mail copy of the posting is sent to subscribers and also to those that have requested a free copy of my eBook "How to Win the War on Debt". If you no longer wish to receive my e-mails please send your e-mail request to mywelldone@iCloud.com and type "UNSUBSCRIBE" in the subject line.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

MoneyLife Personal Finance Study

by Crown Financial Ministries

Introducing the MoneyLife® Personal Finance Study. Biblical. Inspirational. Relational. Highly Practical. This program will meet you where you are, regardless of your financial situation, and help you grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ, increase your knowledge of His financial principles, and show you how to apply them in your personal financial decisions. With its biblical foundation and tremendous online financial assessment and budgeting tools, the MoneyLife Personal Finance Study can transform both your life and your money!


If you are not able to view the above video please click here

I am the Nashville area Associate for Crown Financial Ministries - please feel free to contact me by phone or text at 615-305-2474 - http://cnowlen.crown.org

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The S.A.L.T. PLAN


The S.A.L.T. PLAN

Over 28,000 families have already been impacted by The S.A.L.T. Plan!

The Enemy will never “waste a good crisis,” so neither should we as God’s people. We can turn everyday adversity into advantage by loving others and leading them into God’s Kingdom during their time of need. 


The signs are around us everyday. We are truly in times of economic hardship, and some would even say that we are hinging on an Economic Event of Biblical Proportions. The idea of preparing for hardship is a timeless concept. How can you protect your family in the midst of financial crisis?  


God’s Word provides proven principles for preparing you to do well in any economic situation. The S.A.L.T. Plan™ is a culmination of those principles compiled into a practical guide that provides both biblical wisdom and sound advice to help you carefully plan for hard times, while continuing to be faithful with your God-given resources.  


The S.A.L.T. Plan™ is a must read for individuals and families to live prepared for a worst case scenario and to seize the opportunity to be “Salt and Light” as God commands.  


Easily adapted for businesses and entire church congregations in the form of group studies, we suggest that individuals and families join together within larger organizations to help support each other while implementing the various aspects of the plan. Are you ready to commit to being salt and light in a darkening world?


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I just finished reading the The S.A.L.T. Plan by Chuck Bentley and I highly recommend that all my subscribers and followers read this book.  Order your copy today by clicking on the link on the sidebar of this blog.

Be sure to select "Chet Nowlen" in the drop down as your Crown Representative.