Debt and the Christian Life

Debt and the Christian Life

Debt is a tough subject for most to discuss. It is the biggest financial challenge facing Americans today. So, where does credit/debt fall in the life of a Christian?  Is it a sin?

I wanted to take the time to share with you my views on debt from a spiritual perspective. In my book Deceptive Money I write about it in the last chapter which I refer to as the most important chapter.  Here are a few thoughts to consider:

1) I believe that you should always pay back what you owe. Debt is a contractual and moral obligation that we make with someone. Whether or not we like the terms and conditions, at some point we did agree to them.

2) Paying off your debt takes your relationship with Christ to whole different level. Working to become debt free creates a dependence on God.  We learn to shift our priorities and it is only possible by coming back to a Matthew 6:24 life. It is the strength of that level of dependence that firms the foundation for a strong relationship. I have often said that it is debt that brings a person back to God.

3) If we are in debt, we are not as free as we can be to serve. We want to be 100% free to serve in our relationship with Christ. If we are not in a place to where we can commit 100% of our time and attention to Christ, then we are a slave to man as it says in 1 Corinthians 7:23. We also want to be free to serve others as well. Debt always robs you of your freedom. It requires you to do things that you probably wouldn’t be doing given a debt free life.

4) Christ doesn’t want obligations above the relationship with Him. If you are in debt, you are completely obligated. Until you get out of debt, it is hard to be in a place where you can give 100% of yourself. Debt can become something that develops a life of its own.

5) Debt problems can easily be created when we allow a Matthew 6:24 life to get out of balance. There comes a time when money is allowed to become a god. It is so easy to enjoy all of the immediate short-term gratification that credit, the precursor to debt, can provide. The key is getting back into God’s financial will for your life. It is only there that you can start your road back to freedom.

So is debt a sin?

The Bible does not specifically say that debt is a sin. It is letting those things get out of control and get in the way of your relationship with Christ when it becomes the problem.

Money was written about or referenced more than anything else in the Bible (according to Crown Financial). God knew that we needed instruction on dealing with money. He knew that it would get in the way. Credit is a powerful tool of commerce. If used correctly, it can be a good prudent strategy in how we handle His money.

The key is using debt the right way. If you are going to borrow money, know how you are going to pay it back. Know without a doubt you are not making a commitment that will get in the way of your relationship with Christ. If you have debt, commit to a game plan where you can get out of it. Make the two objectives of your life to be freedom from everything and dependence on Him.

Coupons.com – Independence Day Gifts and Deals!

Coupons.com – Independence Day Gifts and Deals!

With the 4th of July right around the corner, Coupons.com has incredible deals available for those looking to find some steals this weekend, including an exclusive Walgreens discount.  
 

The Modern Day Steward Movement

The Modern Day Steward Movement

 

Understanding money is a challenge for most people.  As a Christian, we want to understand money through the lens of the Bible.  That should be easy to do.  After all, money is referenced or written about more than any other topic in the Bible.  Do you think that God knew we would struggle with money?

It even gets more complicated than that.  Our relationship with money is a direct reflection of our relationship with God. We either live a Matthew 6:24 life or not.  Who will you put first in your life?  Money or God?  The answer lies with understanding how you take what the Bible says about money and making it work in modern times. Then that further complicates things because money can be an unconscious god in our life.  It can provide the illusion of confidence, happiness, security, etc. Money connects to other idols that we might have in our life. Money could be the last great surrender in the Christian Life.

So I want to start a movement.  God gave me this idea of the Modern Day Steward. I didn’t know what to do with it until things started to come together. With the reach of TheMaven Media Platform I had the answer.  The movement comes in the form of people coming together and saying I want to be a better steward of what God has given me. In order to do that, you have to invest in an education concerning how money works and what the Bible says about money.  My part is to bring all of that content together through discussions on the website, following up with your questions or your postings on the site, bringing other resources to you such as experts in student loans and admissions, home buying and real estate, and consistent daily content.  All you have to do is follow the site and visit in your free time pieces that teach you how money works.  You also have direct access to me and the other writers on the site. It works just like Facebook. You post your questions or comments in any of the rooms or you can instant message myself or the other contributors if you want to remain private with your questions.

I am doing this for two reasons.  First, it is time to get our financial lives in order.  We have to be intentional.  That includes yours truly.  I am on this journey for the same reasons I am starting it.  Second, we have an almost 20 trillion dollar debt problem in this country.  One day it is going to become a problem. Those who survive and thrive will be the ones who have their financial house in order.  I want that to be you!

So joint the movement and be a better steward of what God has given you.

Keep the Faith,

Bob

Does the Lottery Create Happiness and Security?

Does the Lottery Create Happiness and Security?

If you won the lotto, what would you do with the money?

Of course, you would get all types of answers from buying an island to buying a Ferrari.  On a local radio station, the morning DJ commented that the lotto provides the opportunity to just dream about what it would be like to walk away with instant riches. Yes, it is the ticket to happiness and security.

So, this begs a question.

If you won the lottery, would you feel more secure and happy than you were before you won it? 

Now, to be fair, that is a tough question. I think that most of us would say yes to that question before truly thinking about it. However, saying yes to that question also says a few other things about how we view money. First, it is implying that money is going to provide you with happiness.  Second, it implies that money is where you find your security. If not, why would you chase something that only offered you a 1 in 176 million chance of winning?

The real answer is found in a question. Where do you find your true happiness and security?  Does it require that you win the lottery or any other process that will enable you to win big money?  Do you find your true happiness and security in God?  The truth is that winning the lottery shouldn’t change your level of security or happiness.  It shouldn’t take money to make one happy or feel secure.

Sure a few million dollars in the bank changes things.  It gives you options. Unfortunately, statistics are not kind to lottery winners. The stats would say that the vast majority of lotto winners go broke or end up incredibly unhappy. Isn’t it ironic that there is a 1 in 176 million probability that you can win the chance to be miserable? Yet, billions of people buy into the fantasy that a chance was going to bring some real happiness.

The lotto offers us the truth about money. It is just an illusion that makes you think you will be happy or think that you will feel secure. Only a relationship with Christ provides you with real happiness and your odds aren’t 1 in 176 million that you have access to that type of real security and happiness.

Imagine winning millions of dollars and nothing changes in your life. 

“People on Medicaid Who Will Lose Coverage… Could Find Jobs that Provide Health Insurance.”

“People on Medicaid Who Will Lose Coverage… Could Find Jobs that Provide Health Insurance.”

Kellyanne Conway said something this morning that just goes to show their healthcare plan is dead on arrival.  She said that those on Medicaid who will lose insurance can just go out and get a job and get benefits. Just like that! Lose your coverage and go get a job where an employer is going to pay for it. I am not really sure why she thought that was a good idea. Maybe it is desperation for sound bites.

As the Trump administration touts job creation, the reality is that there were more jobs that were estimated to be created then actually created.  Said another way, if you take out those government produced estimates, you have negative job growth since President Trump took office. To be fair, that is the hangover effect of President Obama’s policies. If this economy (which President Trump is taking a lot of credit for) heads south it won’t be President Obama getting the deserved credit for it, it will  be President Trump. He doesn’t need those optics. The media would love that by-line.

The healthcare system is broken. The type of solution that would probably fix this is politically unattainable. After all, we would have to remove all of the politics from healthcare. Good luck with that one!

First, the numbers are the numbers. Insurance companies, at least the ones that are left in the system, are dramatically increasing premiums for a reason. They are experiencing major losses. If Obamacare were a good healthcare plan, all  insurance plans would be competing for the insurance needs of the American people. Now you have very few insurers willing to take that risk.

Second, you can’t get rid of pre-existing conditions clauses in contracts and expect it to work without a major overhaul (which would be politically unacceptable). It appears that we are transitioning back to some sort of a hybrid of the old and the new healthcare models. President Trump so badly wants to shift the conversation and be the leader who overhauled and repealed Obamacare. To repeal Obamacare you have to bring back pre-existing condition riders and only offer premium coverage to people who are healthy.  At the heart of Obamacare is healthcare for everyone.  That is what would be repealed.  If he leads the process to take that mandate away and offer some sub health insurance to those with pre-existing conditions, he will create a set of optics no one would want.

Once again, they need to slow down, put the politics right, and carve all of the politics out of our healthcare system.  Then, and only then, does privately based healthcare have a chance.

Photo credit: Michael Vadon, Counselor to the President KellyAnne Conway at CPAC 2017, Flickr

How Do You Know If a Non-Profit/Ministry Is Legit?

How Do You Know If a Non-Profit/Ministry Is Legit?

I will be the first to admit that I am cynical at times. In almost 15 1/2 years of radio, I have come across non-profits of all kinds. Some are legitimate non-profit ministries with a mission. Some are just about raising the money, which begs the question –is this benefiting the organizer of the non-profit or truly being put into ministry? You don’t want to give to a ministry only to discover you are funding a 5,000-square foot home and expensive cars.

I think that it is important to be prudent and prayerful when deciding where to allocate God’s money. It is important to give to ministries. There are many ministries who are doing some great work. You just have to do your homework.

A friend of mine sent some great information to consider when evaluating a non-profit.  *Please know that these are not mine and unfortunately, I cannot find the source to properly give the author credit.

Real charities will always be happy to take your money a couple of days or even a couple of weeks after they first make contact with you, so take time to do your research. High pressure appeals that claim a need is “urgent” are often a warning sign of a scam.

Take time to ask the following questions before you donate:

note:  Some of these questions are worthy of asking your church. 

What is the charity’s exact name? Scam artists often use names that sound familiar to reputable charitable organizations in order to solicit donations.

Is the charity registered with the Secretary of State’s Office? If so, what is their registration number?

Does the charity operate nationally? If so, what is the address of its national offices?

Does it operate locally or have a local center? If so, what is the address of its local office?

How much of my donation will go to charitable activities?

How much of my donation will go to administrative expenses?

Is the call being made by a professional solicitor? If so, what percent of the donation will they receive and are they registered with the Secretary of State’s Office? What is their registration number?

Is my donation tax deductible, i.e. can I deduct it from my own federal income tax return?

My addition to this list of questions – Are you being promised that God will bless you financially if you give to a particular ministry?  There is a lot of that on late night Christian channels. To me, that is a red flag. The purpose of giving is not so that you are blessed financially.

Ask to be sent financial statements from the organization to determine who will benefit from your donation.

If you are purchasing a product that supports a charitable organization, always ask what percentage of the amount you spend will actually support the charity. If it is a product you do not want or need, you might be able to better help the charity by donating directly.

Search the charity on-line. Check for complaints filed by other consumers. To be fair, people are more apt to post something negative than positive. You are looking for a great deal of complaints all echoing about the same thing.

Contact your local Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints about the charity or search for the charity online at http://bbb.org/charity.

We would like to think that all non-profits are legit especially Christian ministries. Unfortunately, just like anything else, there are the ones who abuse the system.

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