Chapter 9- Can I Trust Him?

JPEG Cover-Vibrantby Tim Howington

Chapter 9

 Can I Trust Him?

 The long and the short of it is simply an issue of trust.  Can you and I trust God?  Can you trust Him to make all things work out for good in your life?  This is the essence of the faith walk: trust.  Without faith (trust) it is impossible to please Him and faith (trust) is in its very nature a belief in things we cannot see.  If you and I must walk by sight we will struggle in the faith walk.  And if I am honest, it is at this point that I struggle.  Can I trust Him?

My Dad passed away recently and as he was struggling through his last days I saw the fear in his eyes of uncertainty about death.  Continue reading “Chapter 9- Can I Trust Him?”

Chapter Eight- Refreshed by Generosity

JPEG Cover-VibrantBy Tim Howington

Chapter Eight

 Refreshed by Generosity

 I don’t think she even understood how desperate our plight had become.  Not just in terms of money but more importantly morale.  Hundreds of prayers seem to be bouncing off the ceiling and as they say in Arkansas “my dauber was in the dirt.” And then the check came.  The check from one of our partners is normally $100 a month but this one was $300.  I called my buddy to thank him for the extra and he quickly deflected to his wife (whom I haven’t met yet).  Seems she felt impressed of the Lord to send some extra money.  I live in Arkansas and God led someone in Mississippi to meet a need that I have been petitioning Him about privately.  God moved another person to generosity on my behalf.  When I talked to my buddy his comment was classic, “don’t thank us, it’s not our money anyway, we just manage the Lord’s money”.  I have just been refreshed by generosity.

What does that have to do with managing ourselves in times of financial crisis?  Continue reading “Chapter Eight- Refreshed by Generosity”

Chapter Seven- Give Me My Portion

JPEG Cover-Vibrantby Tim Howington

Chapter Seven

 Give Me My Portion

God is great, beer is good and people are crazy.  This is the chorus to one of my favorite country songs.  The story line of the song is about two guys who meet in a bar and hit it off and talk into the wee hours of the morning about all kinds of things especially how to navigate life.  Turns out that one of the guys is a millionaire who ends up cutting his kids out of his will and leaving his fortune to this guy he barely knew.  The song goes on to say, “His kids were mad as hell, but me… I’m doing well.  God is great beer is good and people are crazy.”

When it comes to inheritances people are indeed crazy.  So many families are torn to shreds based on how they respond to the loss of a loved one.  In our business of helping families with their finances, we engage with people in their estate planning.  Without a good estate plan many a parent has sent their household into a pretty predictable outcome of chaos as the children fight over the stuff.  A good will and trust plan helps to define what each child should expect as their portion of the estate.

Have you ever wondered what your portion is as a child of God?  Continue reading “Chapter Seven- Give Me My Portion”

Chapter Six …but is He Willing?

JPEG Cover-Vibrantby Tim Howington

Chapter Six

 …but is He Willing?

It is Mother Day weekend in Rogers and I just spent an hour or so with my Mother-in-law in the rest home. She has a bad case of Alzheimer’s and she remembers me most of the time. Betty and I have been friends from the first time I met her over 28 years ago.  The first time Terri took me home to meet her parents; Betty killed the fatted calf as they say.  In her case, she prepared Betty’s Spaghetti and German chocolate cake.  We have tried to copy her recipe over the years, but nobody does spaghetti like her.  And her German chocolate cake is to die for.  Well, 2 plates in and 2 pieces of cake and I am stuffed to say the least.  And then it hits me:  I need a nap in the worst way.  But, I am there to impress them. Betty reads the look on my face and tells me to go take a nap on the couch.  This is right down my alley: genuine hospitality. To Terri’s horror I take her up on her offer and the rest is history.

But, this Lady that I love dearly has a degenerative disease that has rendered her in a very lovely childlike state where my Father-in-law feeds her dinner twice a day. And she walks incessantly down a short locked hallway with 8 of her closest friends who also have forgotten most of their lives and families.  Is that God’s will for her life? Continue reading “Chapter Six …but is He Willing?”

Chapter Five-God is Able…

JPEG Cover-Vibrantby Tim Howington

Chapter Five

 God is Able…

I am not sure how you manage your difficult financial times but I have a tendency to check the mailbox a lot.  Gone are the days of God providing manna from heaven but occasionally we have experienced a little mailbox manna.  Oh, don’t misunderstand me, I am a firm believer that we should do everything that we can to be responsible.  But, when you get past that point what do you do?  When you get to the place that God has to show up or you are sunk.  Some people really have to be beat down to rock bottom before they will admit that there is a place where we depend on God for our very next breath.

I remember the Christmas where things were so tight that I wasn’t sure if we would be able to buy gifts.  My family was in prayer about it and we were waiting to see what the Lord would do.  I can still remember someone coming by our house and dropping off a Christmas card.  When they left we opened the envelope to find almost to the penny what we needed for our Christmas budget.  My son, who had been praying with us about this, immediately recognized that God had answered our prayers.  As I write this I am a little embarrassed that we were in that spot.  But let’s be transparent for a moment.  There are hundreds and hundreds of people who are in just that predicament from time to time.  It may not be at Christmas, but there are times when you are looking to God to land that deal, sell that car, turn your sales around or make that bonus check materialize.

It is at these times that we find ourselves asking some tough questions:  Is God able to handle my situation?  Is God willing to help me in my situation? Continue reading “Chapter Five-God is Able…”

Chapter Four- Managing our Emotions in Tough Financial Times

JPEG Cover-Vibrantby Tim Howington

Chapter Four

Managing our Emotions in Tough Financial Times

 My Dad calls it a flesh break.  I call it the tirades of a crazy man.  The Lord calls it sin.  I have to admit that I was a little surprised by the string of expletives coming out of my mouth.  Even though I whispered my displeasure toward the Lord, I think my heart screamed inside.  And to my chagrin there is no doubt that He heard me.  It has been a long time since I had been that upset.  Before I became a believer I had a pretty foul mouth but that was one of the things that I really hadn’t struggled with afterward.  That is till I hit the wall: the financial stress wall.

The Scripture says that anxiety in the heart of man weighs it down. Said another way anxiety in the heart of man wears him out.  Just like a marathoner hits the physical wall, a person who is dealing with ongoing financial struggles hits the emotional wall from time to time.  Growing up in a chronically poor family, I saw it first hand with my Mom who must have had the patience of Job.  But, ever so often she would lose it and have to work through her emotions.  I would like to think of myself as strong, but the reality is that in challenging financial times my heart is full of anxiety and that little boy who was so self-conscious about being poor reappears with all his insecurities.  I know that I am to focus on daily bread, but I am concerned that the bakery may break down in the future.  Managing our emotions in the face of financial adversity is a key to managing yourself.

But how do you do that? Continue reading “Chapter Four- Managing our Emotions in Tough Financial Times”