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 🙂

 

Crazy Love: Chapter 5 – “Serving Leftovers To A Holy God” (pgs. 88-90)

Poor Rich People is what Francis Chan is talking about on pages 88-90.  He begins this section with a story about a young man name Ronnie from Uganda who is poor, as well as blind.  Ronnie’s closest friend is a girl who is deaf.  But, what stands out about these two isn’t that they are handicapped or very poor, but that they are totally content and in love with Jesus.

In the following paragraphs, I agree with Chan’s thoughts in regards to our society being filthy rich in comparison to poverty-stricken countries.  Chan goes on to say that, in reality, being rich is a serious disadvantage spiritually.  He then points out that WilliamWilberforce, an English politician and philanthropist in the 1700-1800’s said, “Prosperity hardens the heart.”

With all due respect to Mr. Chan and Mr. Wilberforce, their statements disturbed me. And yet, the scriptures in Luke 18:22-24 clearly point to the words of Jesus when He told the wealthy person to sell all he had and give to the poor, and he would have treasure in heaven, then “come, follow me.”  But, the man chose not to do so, and walked away.  Jesus responded:  “How hard it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God!”  He said (verse 25) it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God.

I wanted to get a handle on the statement Mr. Chan, and Mr. Wilberforce made, as well as what the above Scripture was saying.  So, hang with me while I talk this out with you and, above all, ask God to clarify it for you.

First of all, I believe that an entire doctrine cannot be based on one scripture, such as Luke 18:22-25.  Jesus did say that, but the Bible also says in 3 John 1:2:  “I wish above all that you prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers.”  So, it appears as though God does want us to prosper in our soul, as well as in health and financially.

Now let’s take a look at another scripture in regard to wealth in 1 Timothy 6:10.  “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.”  Now, didn’t that say the love of money?

Think about this:  Could it be that the rich man’s (Luke 18) soul was not prospering, not because he had wealth, but because of his love of money?  Could it be that his soul was not prospering, not because he had wealth, but that his wealth had him?

The old saying:  “You can’t come back from where you ain’t been,” is why I felt so compelled to look at the topic Poor Rich People from another angle by sharing a personal experience.

You see, I was put through the test about 20 years ago with those very words from Jesus:  “Come, follow me.”  Without going into all the specifics and details, to follow Him meant leaving the teaching profession I had been in for years…a job I dearly loved.  I was okay with that but, to follow Him meant facing other issues also.  So, I made my excuse list to God.  For example:

  1. Your timing is all wrong; ask me again in 10 years, and I will follow You.
  2. What You are asking is way out of my comfort zone.
  3. It will bring opposition, and I don’t like facing conflict. 
  4. I went to college for four years to be a teacher.  Sounds like such a waste to give all that up.
  5. Public schools need Christian teachers like me.
  6. My identity will be gone; I will not be able to call myself a teacher.
  7. And besides, and besides, and besides—the list went on and on.

These things were hardening my heart.

The beauty of all of this was that God kept pursuing me to follow Him, even in the midst of all my excuses.  I have to believe it was that Crazy Love for me that Mr. Chan talks about.

One of the scriptures that finally helped me make my decision was:  Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses.  Now, I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make.  Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!  (Deuteronomy 30:19 NLT)

May I quickly point out that we are no longer under the curse, so I knew that God was not going to cause a great calamity to come upon me if I chose not to follow Him. So, I began to see that He had a plan for my life, and He had a path He wanted me to go down in order to fulfill that plan.  But, it was up to me to make the choice.

And, yes, I answered His call to “Come, follow me,” and turned in my resignation and started my journey.  My journals are filled with that time period in my life.  If I may borrow a phrase from Mr. Chan:  “It was CRAZY!!!”

In conclusion, I’d like to offer my own personal opinion about what Poor Rich People means: 

Our heart can be hardened by things other than wealth.  Mine was.  Only as I humbled myself before the Almighty God to trust where He was leading me, did I become Rich in Spirit. And may I add:  He is still working on me in other areas to become ‘more rich’ in Him.   

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Let’s Pray: 

Father God, first of all, we open our hearts to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit to show us where our hearts might be hardening.  We ask Your forgiveness, and help us to turn from those things and follow You.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Your Assignment:   

Do you see anything that has hardened your heart?

Be blessed,

Martha



If you would like more information about Crazy Love Bible study click HERE.  Once we receive your registration, we will email you further details..

If you would like to send Martha a personal message in regards to this blog, you may email her at: Martha@girlfriendscoffeehour.com.