June 26, 2017

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Financial Freedom {part 3}

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For the past two weeks, we have been talking about how to begin to have financial freedom in your life.  If you haven’t read the earlier posts yet, you can find them here and here.   The questions that we are discussing in regard to finances are:

How do you master money when you feel like money has actually mastered you?

How do I get in the black with my finances when I am always in the red?

How do I get out of debt?

For our last post in this series today, we will be working through living by a monthly budget and the HOW of getting out of debt. As you can imagine, they go hand in hand and I pray these steps will help you to begin to see a light at the end of the debt tunnel!

Last week, we talked about the Law of Stewardship where you were urged to resolve to live by a monthly budget. It is easy for someone to TELL you that is what you should do, but hard to put in place if you don’t know the HOW. Here are four steps to get you started:

  1. Determine your total monthly income: add up your salary, dividends, trust income, interest, or any other sources of fixed income.
  2. Determine spendable income: subtract your tithes and taxes.
  3. Determine your fixed monthly expenses (look at the prior year’s expenditures; divide yearly totals by 12 for approximate figures) and your discretionary expenses (money spent at your discretion.) Your total expenditures must not exceed net spendable income.
  4. Determine if you have a debt or surplus lifestyle.
  • Refuse to live your life drowning in debt
  • Debt is bondage to another
  • Debt dishonors God
  • Debt reveals lack of self-control
  • Debt brings God’s judgement

Now that you have done this, it is time to take a look at how to cancel debt. Proverbs 6:5 says “Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler.”

First stop…. You must identify your debt situation:

Make an inventory of your assets:

  • What do you own?
  • What is the approximate value of the things you own (car, house, property, insurance policy… large items)?

Identify your income:

  • How much money do you make?
  • How much time per week do you work to obtain this money?
  • Do you have any investments?

Describe your debts:

  • What do you owe?
  • When is it due?
  • What interest rates are you paying on each debt?

Approximate your monthly bills:

  • What do you pay for utilities, gasoline/ transportation, food, phone, clothing, insurance, entertainment?

Next…. consider your lifestyle….

Be introspective:

  • Why do you live the way you do?  Is it for career advancement, to impress family or friends, or to live comfortably?
  • Were you brought up living this way?
  • How do your friends, family and co-workers live?

Consider what you could do without:

  • Do you have expensive items you don’t need that, after the initial purchase, have high maintenance costs?
  • Do you pay others to do something that you could do yourself?
  • Do you eat out when you could eat less expensively at home?

Look for what you can substitute:

  • Can you substitute less expensive items for premium products or services you currently use?

Reconsider gift giving:

  • Do you disregard budgets and savings plans during holidays and gift-giving occasions?
  • Can you give fewer and less-expensive gifts?
  • Does it mean that you love your friends and family any less if you live within your means?
  • Would your loved ones want you to go into debt to buy them presents?

Moving on to establishing financial goals

List future expenditures:

  • What future expenses do you anticipate?
  • Are you looking to buy a home, pay for a daughter’s wedding, or replace a vehicle?

Consider future career changes:

  • Are you considering going to school or starting your own business?
  • How will these plans change your financial situation?

Prepare for family changes:

  • Are you expecting a child?
  • Are children leaving the home?
  • Do you have elderly parents in poor health?
  • Prepare for how these changes will affect your finances

State your future financial goals:

  • Financially, where do you want to be five years from now? Ten years from now?
  • What are realistic expectations?

Finally, it is time to take action with your finances!

Pay extra on your debts:

  • Which debt has the highest interest rate?
  • What amount of money can you pay each month on that debt?

Stop feeding your debt:

  • What lifestyle habits contribute to your debt?
  • Have you stopped using credit cards and started paying cash?

Change your lifestyle:

  • What items can you do without that you really do not need?
  • What expensive assets can you sell that would be financially profitable to sell?

Establish a savings plan:

  • How much should you plan to give to God?
  • How much money are you setting aside to help those in need?

Proverbs 8:20-21

I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me and making their treasuries full.

Remember…. just as the Bible has predetermined YOUR purpose… it has also predetermined your money’s purpose:

It is ALL for the glory of God!

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Financial Freedom {part 2}

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Last week, we began talking about how to begin to have financial freedom in your life. If you haven’t read it yet, you can find the post here.  The questions that we are discussing in regard to finances are:

How do you master money when you feel like money has actually mastered you?

How do I get in the black with my finances when I am always in the red?

How do I get out of debt?

…and today we will be working through the five principles for wise money management that the Bible lays out for us to help guide us as we work to get out of debt.  I pray this will be a blessing to you!

The Law of Contentment

  • Remember…God owns everything! {Psalm 50:12}
  • Recognize that God is our mighty source. He provides all that you possess. {Deuteronomy 8:17-18}
  • Realize that God wants you to be content with what you have. {Philippians 4:12}
  • Take a few moments and review what money means to you… (Security? Significance? Self-worth? Status? Power? Independence? A means to helping others? Other______?)
  • Once you discover all of the needs you expect money to fill, call Philippians 4:19 to mind…especially when you are tempted to spend needlessly.
  • Be sure to rest in God’s presence no matter what your financial circumstances.

Hebrews 13:5

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have,

because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

The Law of Self-Control

  • Start by transferring ownership of everything to God…mentally and emotionally. {Haggai 2:8}
  • Then you must separate yourself from the sin of greed.  You must repent and confess if your trust is in money.  Remind yourself of the consequences of financial bondage. {Luke 12:15}
  • Set a NEW goal for managing your finances.  Get counsel from someone with financial self-control and commit to staying on course with God’s plan for your finances.  {2 Corinthians 5:9}
  • Keep away from temptation by controlling your thoughts. Avoid thinking you can occasionally indulge yourself and avoid thinking that you can do whatever you want, self-sufficiently.

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.

But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

The Law of Stewardship

  • You must recognize your accountability to God for how you spend money.  What does accountability mean?  It means…. Knowing exactly what comes in, knowing exactly what goes out, knowing exactly where it goes (budgeting), knowing how to save (regardless of your income), knowing how to put your money to work for you (safe investment planning), and knowing when and where to give money to God and to others.
  • Return the first tenth of your earnings to God…this must be a commitment!  Many assume that tithing was taught only in the Old Testament.  However, Jesus gave full endorsement to the principle of tithing. {Luke 11:42}
  • Reserve an amount of your earnings for saving.  A wise steward plans ahead by establishing a habit of saving. {Proverbs 13:22}
  • Be sure to respond to the needs of others. When you allow God’s heart to have freedom in your heart, your attitude toward giving will change so that He will use your giving in the lives of others. {Proverbs 19:17}
  • Resolve to live by a monthly budget.  {We will talk more about this next week!}

The Law of Giving

  • Give confidently to God that which He has commanded.  {Malachi 3:10}
  • Give regularly to the work of the Lord.  {1 Corinthians 16:2}
  • Give sacrificially by giving up some of your own desires. {2 Corinthians 8:3}
  • Give cheerfully–not reluctantly or under pressure.  {2 Corinthians 9:7}
  • Give generously to the poor.  {Deuteronomy 15:11}
  • Give compassionately to those in need.  {Romans 12:13}
  • Give secretly without letting others know.  {Matthew 6:1}

The Law of Petition… How to Pray for Your Needs

The following are some conditions on which successful prayer depends:

  • Is your request within the will of God? {1 John 5:14}
  • Have you confessed and repented of any known sin in your life?  {Psalm 66:18-19}
  • Instead of desiring your own will, are you willing to accept God’s will with a submissive heart?  {Mark 14:36, Philippians 4:6-7}

Blessings to you,

Coach Megan 🙂

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Financial Freedom {part 1}

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This week I have received several emails asking various questions about spending money- gaining financial freedom. I thought that the best way to handle this would be to break up this topic into several posts so as not to be too overwhelming and hopefully for it to be fairly easy to digest and put into practice! All of the emails I received had to do with the same questions….

How do you master money when you feel like money has actually mastered you?

How do I get in the black with my finances when I am always in the red?

How do I get out of debt?

Good thing for all of us that we CAN find financial freedom through sound Biblical principles for wise money management and solve all of our dollar dilemmas!

I don’t know about you, but my whole life, I believed societal myths about money and it wasn’t until I stacked them up against God’s truth that I was truly set free from them. Do any of these myths sound familiar? Let’s see how they stand up to God’s living truth!

Myth: Money is the root of all evil

Truth: No….. money can actually be used for great good. It is really the love of money that is wrong.

1 Timothy 6:10

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.

Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Myth: If I just have enough money, I will be satisfied.

Truth: Satisfaction with your financial situation does NOT come from the amount of money you have, but wisely managing what you have.

Ecclesiastes 5:10

Whoever loves money never has enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.

Myth: You must borrow money and pay it back in order to prove financial responsibility and establish good credit references.

Truth: Borrowing and paying back money is not always necessary to get credit. Most lenders are more than anxious to extend credit in order to collect inflated interest rates over an extended period of time. Why?

Proverbs 22:7

The borrower is slave to the lender.

The first aspect of this subject that I think is important for us to discuss is how to know whether you are trustworthy in the way you spend money. You must first desire to please the Lord in every way that you manage the financial resources He has given you. Before you purchase anything, it is good to ask yourself:

  • Is this purchase a true need or just a desire?
  • Do I have adequate funds to purchase this without using credit?
  • Have I compared the cost of competing products?
  • Have I prayed about this purchase?
  • Have I been patient in waiting on God’s provision?
  • Do I have God’s peace regarding this purchase?
  • Does this purchase conform to the purpose God has for me?
  • Is there agreement with my spouse about this purchase?

The Bible says:

1 Corinthians 4:2

Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.

Have you run your purchases through this filter? How would your spending habits be different if you did? I would love to hear all of your thoughts about this in a comment below. I think we would all agree that our money is not ours…. but it belongs to God and we are called to be good stewards of it. God is the owner of everything.  We are the managers of what He has entrusted to our care.

1 Chronicles 29:11

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,

for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.

This scripture tells us that God is the owner of everything.  Stop and think about that for just a second.  How often do we insert the possessive pronouns of “my”, “mine”, or “ours” when talking about possessions?  It reminds me of a child who says: it’s “mine”, “mine”, “mine!”  But according to scripture house, cars, money and all possessions belong to God.

Most commonly the idea of people claiming money as “their” money leads them down the road of poor decision-making.  Think about all of the financially immoral acts in our society.  All of them typically occur because people make decisions with the perspective of it being “their” money versus it being God’s money.

  • When we acknowledge God’s ownership, every spending decision becomes a spiritual decision.  
  • We need to stop asking, “Lord, what do You want me to do with my money?” 
  • The question needs to be restated, “Lord ,what do You want me to do with Your money?”

Many blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂

 

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Defeating Distractions!

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Dear Coach Megan,

I am so frustrated with myself because I have been so easily side-tracked by distractions lately and I just can’t get a handle on it! It is beginning to affect my job and my home life, and I could really use some direction on how to focus and let God take control back of my time! I hope you can help! ~LN

Dear LN,

I think we all struggle with distractions at one time or another and I am so happy you have reached out to get some guidance on this issue in order to make best use of your resource of time. I actually led a conference call on this very topic for Girlfriends Coffee Hour Leadership this past year so I will be using that as my guide to help you. I pray this is a blessing….

 _________________

Let’s face it. We all are guilty of succumbing to distractions…. But God calls us to not to and it IS possible to keep them at bay!

Do you know what the key to this is?????

Oh yes friends, it’s all about being INTENTIONAL!!!!

We all know that the more we are in line with God’s word and doing things to further His Kingdom, the more fiery darts Satan will throw at us in his attempt to knock us off course.  We need to recognize distractions for what they are in order to keep them in their proper place and NOT give them center stage!!!

Distractions as a whole are a huge drain on every aspect of who we are. They take our focus away from what we should be doing – our tasks, goals, and purpose. This is why we have to eliminate them from our lives, if possible!  Personally, I find that if I  indulge in a distraction, an hour could go by and before I know it, I’ve blown away an entire block of time that God had meant for me to use in another, more purposeful way.  Generally, this makes me feel drained and disappointed, not just in myself for having let myself be distracted, but also about the lost opportunities and productive time I could have spent furthering His Kingdom in my home, in ministry, or in my community.

There is a flip side to this too…. When we succumb to distractions, not only are we affected but, if another person is involved, they are affected too!  If Facebook takes up all your time at home, your family is affected; and all the lives that you converse with, they are affected because they might also not be good stewards of their time.  If you bombard friends with private message after private message all day long, they are being distracted.

Essentially, a distraction is attractive because of two reasons:

  1. It gives us pleasure
  2. It takes pain away

When we indulge in a distraction, we focus our time and energy on something that is inherently more pleasurable than what we are currently doing.  Solving that problem is hard, so I’ll just surf on Facebook instead, right?  Finishing this document is going to take some time, so let me squeeze in 30 minutes on the phone with my friend.  Making that call to the customer will be challenging, so let me read the news first.  The reason these things are attractive is because they either give us pleasure or take some pain away.

I would like to challenge you to record everything you do in one day and how much time you spend doing it.  You can do this tomorrow.  As a distraction comes into play, jot down the circumstances surrounding it and how you chose to respond.  BE HONEST!!!  You might be surprised at just how many distractions are being thrown your way all day long and what is triggering them!

Here is an example for you….

I get home from work and I need to get dinner on. I am on my way to the kitchen and one of my kids comes flying downstairs in a panic because he can’t find his keys and he is going to be late for work. I have a choice to make whether his emergency is going to become my emergency, or not.

Remember those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books? I used to love those when I was a kid! Here’s my chance to see the different ways this could turn out….

  1. I could join his emergency and lose the time I need to get dinner started and then have to just order pizza because I am out of time and my family will eat unhealthy food and I will feel horrible about it.
  2. I could say some mean words to him, scolding him for being so careless and continue on with getting dinner going. He will feel horrible about himself by the time he gets to work.
  3. I could let him use my keys and no lesson will be learned but the panic will leave my house and I can stay calm.
  4. I can prepare some food for him to take with him to work and cheer him on, in finding his keys, while I get dinner ready.

I don’t know about you, but this is real life stuff in my house. Also, one thing I’ve noticed is that the more I choose behaviors that make me feel bad like giving cutting responses or jumping to every rescue, that makes me want to spend even more time doing distracting activities because the last thing I want to do is dwell on feeling bad about myself.  YIKES!!!

You might already know the areas in your life that you have a tendency to be the most distracted by and with. If that is the case, it is time to call the distractions what they are, move forward full speed ahead, and get them out of your way!!!

You need to overcompensate in the areas where you are the most distracted!

What does this look like in real life??? 

  • If Facebook is a distraction, turn off the alerts to your phone.
  • If the computer in general is a distraction, turn the parental controls on YOU!!!
  • If people are a distraction, schedule in certain times in your day to answer phone calls, texts, emails, phone calls, etc.
  • If YOU are doing all the parenting/watching your kids while your spouse watches TV, make it a point to get out of the house and see friends at least one night a week to give your hubby that father time he needs!

God calls us to give every aspect of our lives 110% of all we’ve got.  We owe it to Him and every single life we come in contact with to be our best and not let these fiery darts cause us to falter. When we are distracted our joy gets stolen and it becomes harder and harder to get it back. Things like Facebook, family time, helping a friend, and watching TV are not inherently bad things at all…. But being undisciplined and unintentional about the time we spend on them is not honoring our Heavenly Father with our time that He has so graciously given us!

 

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂