Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Financial Freedom Part 2

Did you know that there are more than 2,300 scriptures in the Bible that deal with the area of finances?? That is an amazing fact. When I read this in our study book (http://www.crown.org/) I was absolutely shocked. You see, growing up in church the ONLY time I ever remember a sermon dealing with finances was when the pastor was teaching us to give our first 10% to the church. This has been the most transforming thought in our study of financial freedom so far. I've learned that God not only wants to direct our first 10% but He wants to direct the other 90% as well, and He's provided plenty of scriptures to guide us in this.

My whole life as a child of God I have thought that if I gave my 10% to the church and also gave additional offerings that I was good to go. I have been living my life in the dark! How could this be? I am a child of the Living God and I've gone to church for 41 years. Well, this is proof that we cannot expect to learn everything that is in God's word from our church. It's really about having a personal and growing relationship with our heavenly Father.

So, how does God view debt? Well, there are so many verses of scripture that address this I would encourage you to look them up! But to write this blog I'll list a few of my favorites:
Deu 15:4 ...For Jehovah shall greatly bless you in the land which Jehovah your God gives you for an inheritance to possess it, Deu 15:5 only if you carefully listen to the voice of Jehovah your God to be careful to do all these comandments which I command you today. Deu 15:6 For Jehovah your God blesses you as He promised you. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And you shall reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over you.

That is such a powerful verse. It shows me that I must obey God's commands and listen to His voice. When is the last time you purposefully tried to listen to His voice? I used to do this frequently but over the years I've allowed my life to be so busy that I stopped taking the time to listen to God. This is an area that God has awakened in me again and it feels so good to be in active relationship with Him again! I encourage you to ask God to talk to you today regarding the area of finances. Ask Him if you should make a purchase or not. You'll be amazed at how He might answer! But answer, He will.

Some more verses that were good to read: Pro 22:7 The poor are ruled by the rich, and those who borrow are slaves of moneylenders.
1Co 7:23 God paid a great price for you. So don't become slaves of anyone else.
Phi 4:19 And my God will fully supply your every need according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Wow, this was an eye opener for me. I certainly don't want to be ruled over by anyone else and realizing the powerful way God purchased my life, through the death and ressurection of His only son, Jesus, I am compelled to not want to get into debt. I don't have a right to get into debt. The money isn't mine at all, it was bought with a price that I cannot repay. But what freedom is in these verses. I am free to live without debt. I am free to have Him meet all of my needs. I am free to serve the one true Living God.

So, instead of feeling like I am accountable for the 12% or so of money that I lovingly give to God's works in the kingdom, I now realize that I am accountable for 100% of the money I have been given. It's not mine, it's God's. Now, when we pray about a purchase and God say's "no" then I can freely say "no" to that purchase without guilt or regret, and most importantly - NO DEBT!

I hope that God will encourage you to listen to His voice and look in His word to find out how He can handle your finances in a way that only leads to Financial Freedom.

Joh 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!

Praying for all who read this blog today! Love Sonya

Friday, April 25, 2008

Half full or half empty

Ok, I've always hated that analogy. I am a literal person and in my mind I wanted more detail, like did it start out full but you drank some, or did you just pour the last 1/2 of a glass of milk left in the container?? Just one of the quirky ways my mind operates!

This is all important, though. I awoke this morning to have a serious conversation with my hubby about an important decision we are trying to make in our lives. (At least I view it as important.) After 20 minutes with no common ground we stopped discussing it, realizing that he had to leave for work and I needed to get to my devotional time before the kids woke up. When I sat down for my devotion I had to admit being irritated at this man I am married to! I was nitpicking in my mind of how this and that are irritating to me about him. The Lord quickly intervened (he is so timely!) and brought to my mind the scripture in Tit 2:3 Let the aged women likewise be in reverent behavior, not slanderers, not enslaved by much wine, teachers of good; Tit 2:4 that they may train the young women to love their husbands, to love their children. How did this verse play in here? Well, the fact that we have to be taught to love our husbands and children. So, I started to think of when Jesus was here on earth and I had a few ideas:

First, I envisioned my husband was one of the desciples and I was part of the crowd when Jesus was teaching them. About the time when we all became hungary and Jesus realized that the desciples didn't have any food for the crowd, I got mad at my husband for not thinking ahead and bringing ample food for all! Well, we all know that this is NOT how Jesus handled things. No, he showed unconditional love and instead of pointing out the desciple's faults He took the matter to His Father who blessed the food of one small boy and a miracle was performed.

Next, my husband was Thomas and I was hanging out with him when Jesus appeared, I was of course in awe at seeing Him and my husband was doubting! I wanted to chastise him for having the nerve to have doubted Jesus, the Messiah! But we know that this too was not how Jesus actually handled things. No, instead of pointing out his faults, Jesus lovingly allowed him to put his hand into his side and see that it was really Him. I believe that God was showing me that I have become very critical of my husband and how that is NOT unconditional love. I was then reminded of 1Co 13:4 Love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or 1Co 13:5 rude. Love isn't selfish or quick tempered. It doesn't keep a record of wrongs that others do. 1Co 13:6 Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. 1Co 13:7 Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. 1Co 13:8 Love never fails!

Wow! I had unknowingly allowed the enemy of my soul to slowly, over time, cause me to lose site of this verse in my marriage. I had not been looking at the BILLIONS of good things that I love about my husband, I had focused on the very few negative things that I was dealing with today.

I am so glad that when we stray off of the path, God is always there to gently, lovingly lead us back. I am glad to say that I am purposely going to think on the good things about my husband and that is going to help me have unconditional love for him.

The most profound thing to me is that God hasn't "resolved" anything for me, He has just given me a different perspective on my husband. That has made all the difference in the world. That issue we were discussing really isn't so meaningful to me now. Just being able to spend time with my hubby this evening is what I'm focussing on.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Financial Freedom Part 1

This has been an interesting journey I've been on. Let me give you a little background: First I was raised in an upper middle class family and I was the youngest of 4. My husband likes to say that I grew up with a silver spoon in my mouth. Ok, I was given anything I wanted but my parents gave me much love and a relationship with the almighty God as well, so I am not complaining! To contrast, my hubby was not raised wealthy at all and he has a much better appreciation of money than I do.

We have decided to start in a group called Crown Financial Ministries to help us with this area and to hopefully learn to help others. This is the beginning of week 3. I was not real excited about this class as I knew this would mean certain change in my life. ( I take dying to self very seriously!) But after much prayer I realized that the money isn't even mine it's God's and it's time I learn how to handle it His way.

Well, armed with this new information, the kids and I headed out to our favorite clothing store to buy my very tall 9 year old a shirt that was actually long enough to cover her midrift. As we parked the van I surprised the kids by telling them we all needed to pray before going into the store. They were glad to join in and we asked God to give Mom wisdom in knowing how to buy frugally and also in what to buy since this was His money we were spending. (We had $50 to spend). In the past I would have not thought twice about buying lots of clothes and putting them on the charge card. Today, we were using cash that had been assigned to the need. As it turned out, the store was having a buy 1 get 1 free sale! My daughter was able to get 2 shirts and 2 pairs of capri's for $50!!! I was so blown away at God's care. He knew about the sale and our need and led us there at the right time to meet our every need.

My husband was obviously pleased with us and couldn't stop smiling at dinner. Finally, I am starting to realize how much God wants to direct our every step.... especially in the area of finance.

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