The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty- Proverbs 21:5
A few years ago, Gallup released a poll that said one in three Americans prepare a detailed household budget. When you compare that with a similar stat that says that 70% of us are living paycheck to paycheck it is painfully obvious that most of us are flying blind. Is it any surprise that the financial stress in our culture is palatable?
One of the key components of being well managed in your finances is to have a written working budget. We say that not just because we like budget (though we do like budgets), but because year after year we sit down with families who are working through the consequence of not having a firm handle of where their money is going? Consequences like
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What is Stewardship?
Psalms 24:1-2 says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it. For He has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.”
They say a great definition of worship is tied up in the idea that God is great, and worship is just acting accordingly. We acknowledge His greatness. Stewardship is similar. The Scripture says God owns all things, stewardship is just acknowledging that and simply living like God owns it all. What would change in your finances if you thought of yourself as the manager of what God has given you to manage, and He is the owner of all that you “own”?
We would like for you to consider becoming a Generous Steward. That requires a few things.
1. To be generous is to give of your finances to advance God’s Kingdom
If you are in a financially difficult time and would like to have us put together a simple spending plan for you click here to fill out our Survival Budget survey. Our coaches will send your plan back to you in 2-3 business days.
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?
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.
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.
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?”→
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.