How to End Your Love Affair with Money

And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own? “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.” The Pharisees, who dearly loved their money, heard all this and scoffed at him. – Luke 16:12-14 (NLT)

Money, mammon, wealth, or riches – whatever word you use or however you look at you, you have to deal with money every day. The challenge with money – whether you have great sums of it, not enough money or even none at all is that you have to manage money. Daily you are faced with having to earn money, save money, give money, spend money or borrow money. All this interaction with money leads you to form a relationship with money. Some money behaviorists and money coaches call this connect a “money relationship” but I described it as a “love affair with money”.

What?! A Love Affair with Money? Yes, I know that does sound ludicrous, too personal and too intimate. The reality or the truth is that you deal with money so much that you form an emotional connection with it that is often not beneficial to you or to those around you.

I know of those who have been so caught up with making money or trying to reach some proverbial money goal that in the push to get it, they lose – not only money but family, friendships and other relationships that far outweigh what money can do. The greed and the love of money have led people to lie, cheat, steal and even kill to get it! There’s also the other side, where some have been so fearful about having “too much money” because they think money will change them for the worse. Others adopt a selfish attitude that they only want enough for themselves and their love ones. Sadly, they do not recognize or care to acknowledge that there are needs beyond themselves.

Okay, let’s look at it in another way. Imagine that you just received an unexpected gift of $20,000. How do you feel? What’s your thoughts as you think about this new money you now have? Did you start thinking about how would use (spend) that money? Did you feel a sense of relief because you have that extra that could help you in so many ways? Now turn your imagination in the other direction. What if you lost $200,000 or incurred an expected major expense of that amount? How do you feel now? Total opposite reaction right?

So you see, money effects more than just your bank account. It effects you – body, soul and spirit. You may have several reactions when it comes to money – either you love it, hate it, fear it or have some level of indifference to it. But the truth is that any of those approaches can lead to poor mismanagement and financial troubles.

What you and I need to accomplish in life where money is concern is a balance approach. Rather than allowing money to control our lives, we need to control it. If you get to the heart of money matters and its impact, you will stand in a better position as the master of your money rather than money being your master.

But you may be asking, “How do I become a master of money? I am in debt and can’t pay my bills on time. I don’t have a lot and I am constantly worried.” Or you may be asking the same question but your story may be somewhat difference, “I earn a good income but I don’t know where it is going. I can’t seem to keep money in my bank account.” These two very real situations show how controlling money can be if you don’t take over and be in control of it. But there is hope and help here. Some of the ways you can control your money and take back your life really is to:

Let God Master You And Your Resources
First and foremost, love God, be loyal to Him and serve Him only. Jesus says it, both God and money are masters. Which one do you want to rule you? When you make a comparison, God always comes out on top as being not only a loving master but a loving Father. The choice is yours.

Secondly, be generous. Make every effort to tithe to God and give to others. Whether you see it that way or not right now, money is not meant to be hoarded; it is currency, it flows from you to someone else, from someone to you. The promise regarding giving is that the more you give the more you actually receive. Proverbs 11:24, NIV – “One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.”

Educate Yourself in Personal Finance
Educate yourself – biblically and practically – on money management. The more you know and understand the better equipped you are to make sound financial and life decisions.

Read and study money books, audios, videos, newspapers, online magazines, blog posts (like this one) to guide you in your financial empowerment journey. You can even hire a money coach or seek some form of counseling if you so desire or believe you need more direct assistance.

View Money Objectively
Take the emotion out of money by managing objectively. How? Constantly remind yourself that it isn’t yours in the first place even though you are fully responsible for it now.
When you manage money like it’s a business or like you have to give your employer a detailed report about what you’ve done with his money it makes it easier. Why? You manage from a position of respect. You manage logically. You assess the risk of whatever you do. You’re more cautious. You also seek to be profitable but again weighing the risk of any investment you make. You diversify to spread your risk.

How to take the emotion out of money? Remember you’re a temporary owner and have to give God a good report of your life including how you manage your personal finances.

FINALLY … Make a Personal Commitment
Yes, every starts with a thought and a thought decision. Today decide. Are you going to let money rule or overtake your life or are you going to rule and manage it and let it serve you instead. Make a commitment today to change your relationship with and management of money.

Let’s together turn a new page in your lives to become better money managers. If you think you’re bad at this money thing, ask God to make you good at it. If you’re a good money manager ask him to make you a better one.

Today, will you make a personal commitment to yourself and to God? Recognize that you owe it to yourself to live a financially empowering life and to start doing so right now. Share your commitment and comment below.

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Jesus, The Reason for Christmas

Jesus is the reason for this Christmas Season

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,     Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen! —Isaiah 9:6-7 (AMP)

Christmas…the most wonderful time of the year!

This is what we often hear from both those who are Christians and those who are not. Many like the festivity of this season. There is even a sense of peace or calm about this time of the year (depending on where you are in the world).

Furthermore, it is a time of rejoicing, celebrating, and much giving and receiving. It’s a time when people go out of their way to serve and to help others. It is undeniably the one of the best season in every year. It’s a time when many spend time where it matters most – with family, in the house of the Lord and in reflection of God’s love towards us. No matter what, Jesus our Lord and Savior has shaped and continues to shape world history. He is the Reason for this Christmas Season.

May you experience the love of God is greater measure this Christmas and beyond.

Blessings to you and yours.

PamelaC

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5 Reasons Difficulties Are Good for You

difficult brings opportunity_7299354_sBut the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were in dread of the children of Israel. —Exodus 1:12 (NKJV)

There is no one who would say that they like adversity or any kind of difficulty in life. Why? Because we often feel and see the immediate unpleasantness of it. It doesn’t matter if you’re facing sickness, financial lack, strained relationships with a spouse, family member or friend, a difficult supervisor at work, the loss of a job or major savings, the purposeful attack of the enemy through a particular person and situation, you often wish you didn’t have to go through it.

I understand clearly that none of us like such unpleasantness. But I also learned that it is in these times if you embrace and manage it well and learn to view what’s happening from God’s perspective that you grow in manifold ways.

With this in mind, I seek to encourage you (as I did myself when studying the Word of God) to find the good in all life challenges and adversities. Be blessed as you read on.
In Exodus, the account of the Israelites, the oppression they faced and the glorious working of the Lord in their lives presents for us many lessons about adversity. Take the time the review these scriptures with new eyes, let God enlighten your understanding and I hope that you will walk through life stronger on account of this word today.
First of all recognize that adversity presents itself not by happenstance, the enemy is often using different strategies against Christians. We must learn to recognize them.

The enemy’s strategies involve:
• Keeping you bond (Ex. 1:10)
• Limiting your freedom (Ex. 1:10)
• Stunting your growth and that of the kingdom of God (Ex. 1:10)
• Enslaving you and forcing you work for him instead of serving God (Ex. 1:13-14)
• Confining you and keeping you under his control (Ex. 1:13-14)
• Stealing your joy by constantly oppressing you (Ex. 1:15-16)
• Destroying you and your family and by extension your future (Ex. 1:16)

What we experience in life is not easy and in this Christian walk it often seems more challenging but like Paul says in Romans 8: 31-39 (CJB) we are “super conquerors”. If this be so, that means we are gaining more than losing during difficulties. Look at what adversity can do for you (through the experience of the Israelites in Egypt)…

1. You will learn new skills (Ex. 1:11)
The Israelites went to Egypt as shepherds; an occupation that the Egyptians considered to be an abomination. As such they separated the Israelites by giving them the land of Goshen to live in. Under the oppression of this new Pharaoh who didn’t know Joseph, the Israelites were forced to learn skills – drafting, architecture, carpentry and other associated skills while building the treasure cities of Pitham and Ra’ames.

During adversity you will be forced to adapt and to learn new things. If you are in financial straits you may find the need to start a new career or a new business. You may have to acquire some business acumen to turn your hobbies into a viable business. If you find yourself constantly sick or with an illness for too long, you may be forced into praying and seeking God more for healing or you may need to restructure your health by changing your eating habits and exercising more. Adversity may even lead you to learn contentment and do without what you initially thought you could never live without. At times like these, your creative ability will come to the forefront and you’ll do things you never thought you could do.

2. You keep expanding and growing (Ex. 1:12)
Isn’t it interesting that the more afflictions the Israelites bore, the more they multiplied and grew? The aim of the Pharaoh was to stop the Israelites from growing as a nation. Most likely he thought that by oppressing them they would be too exhausted to even consider having time with their wives and building families.

Think of it, when you are facing challenges outside the home, it is often hard when you come home to the loving husband or wife or parent that you’d like to be. On many occasions if you don’t beware, your family life could suffer. When there is a breakdown in the family structure you could find yourself struggling. But thank God that in the midst of adversity, as Christians we recognize the importance of family life and as we bind closer together we grow, we become stronger – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. At times like this, God will draw family closer together and prayer will become the bedrock for your home and you and your family will grow stronger.

3. Your enemy fears you (Ex. 1:12)
I am sure that Pharaoh and his people couldn’t understand it. How could these people (Israelites) keep growing and even multiplying after all the hard labor they forced on them. The Egyptians not only couldn’t figure that out but they become afraid of these Hebrew people.

Isn’t that an oxymoron? The oppressor fears the oppressed rather than the oppressed/afflicted fearing the oppressor. This applies to you too. God will cause your enemies to fear you! The more afflicted you are, the more anointed you become the more the enemy fears you because under the fire of affliction you pray and fast even more than usual. The more you pray, the stronger you are. It may not seem that way in adversity and the attacks may even increase but that’s because the enemy sees you as a great and terrible threat to his agenda.

4. You will have the support of others (Ex. 1:17)
The midwives feared God and as a result disobeyed the direct orders of the Egyptian king to kill the Hebrew baby boys at birth. Their reverence or respect for God was far greater than the possible threat on their lives for not honoring Pharaoh’s instructions. Plus by doing this brave act, they showed their support and strengthen the Hebrews by indirectly protecting their children. As a result God noted their works and give them their own households.

It’s good to have others around who fear God and will honor Him by taking a stand for righteousness. When it gets tough those who remain faithful to God are by extension supporting you. Their actions may save you or someone else and boost your soul and spirit to keep moving forward regardless of your circumstances. God may even bring a “Johnathan” into your life that prays with you and supports you in various ways and at times when you really need it.

5. You could become someone’s deliverer (Ex. 2 & 3)
In the account of Israel’s hardship in Egypt, God raised up a leader to bring Israel out of slavery. During hardship it is hard to see a bright future and to believe that God is working behind the scenes. Indeed, it is true that hindsight is 20/20 vision. As you read through this word (Ex. 2-3), you learn that God is at work even while you are facing challenges planning how to get up into the “promised land” or the place of your dreams. In Israel’s case, God was making a leader in the midst of the very plot the Egyptians were using to destroy them! God used the love of a mother, the wit of a child, the desire of a woman to have children to save one boy who became Israel’s deliverer several years later.

Out of your difficulties, God may groom and lead someone to deliver you out of your troubles. However, God may even raise you up during your personal challenges to help others who are facing similar challenges. God may be calling you to be a “Joseph” or “Moses” for your community or even your nation. You would be amazed at how God will work through you to be a blessing to others.

I think these few nuggets show how you and I are more than conquerors through Christ. You will face difficulties, hardships, challenges in this life but through it all you will triumph. In the midst of living out your purpose, don’t let the adversities stop you from moving forward.

Now it’s your turn, please share one way some difficulty has been good for you. What didn’t you know about yourself before hardship showed up? Share and encourage others.

Blessings
Pamela C

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7 Rays of Hope for the Unsatisfied Spender

Does excessive spending benefit your economy“Why do you spend money on what cannot nourish you and your wages on what does not satisfy you?” Isaiah 55:2 (GW)

The words written in Isaiah 55 are some of my treasured scriptures. As I was preparing for this blog post on emotional or excessive spending, Is. 55:2 first came to mind. Then while reading the Globe & Mail I came across an article that highlighted the devastating effects of spending excessively.

In Isaiah 55, God Himself addressed the exiles and it’s interesting that He should ask a money related question: “Why do you spend money on what cannot nourish you and your wages on what does not satisfy you?” Why did He ask? He wanted them to stop practicing the ways of Babylon and follow Him.

Hmmm, that’s food for thought. The same is true for Christians today. God does not want you and me to behave like and/or embrace the practices of the world even though we live in it. He wants you to live by His word and make Him your first priority. He doesn’t want you to worry about what you have or don’t have because He promises that what you need He will make sure you have (Matt. 6: 24-34).

But really, why do so many spend and yet remain unhappy? Why do some many think that they need “retail therapy” (as some like to call it)? Emotional and excessive spenders want to:

  • Fill an emotional void such as when a person experiences a breakdown in a relationship
  • Get away from the reality of life as some think that shopping is a great stress reliever. But wait until they receive the credit card statement.
  • Impress or try to impress others with what you have or supposedly can “afford” only to worry later about how and when they can payoff that debt

The problem with this way of spending is that there are always negative results. You can end up with:

  • Excessive debt and have difficulty making the repayments
  • Too much stuff and not enough time or energy to make use of it all and the heavy weight of trying to manage it
  • Strained or severed relationships with loved ones because your focus is on money and not enjoying the gift of family and friends
  • Little or no savings or investments because most of your money is going toward debt repayment and basis living expenses

This all sounds quite depressing and so it is. But I want to focus on that fact that there is hope and there is help for those who desire to change.

  1. First of all, seek the Lord. Yes, come to Jesus. Spend time in the word of God (Isaiah 55: 3) to gain insight on how to manage your money. You can even read books to help. You can check out Financial Empowerment which gives both biblical and practical solution.
  2. Please whatever you do, seriously and earnestly pray about your spending habits. Ask God to remove your desire to go off on spending sprees. Ask Him for help, strength and grace for the journey ahead to make sound financial decisions and to follow through on each of them.
  3. Ask for forgiveness from God and from others you may have hurt on account of your actions. Forgiveness is the healing balm you need to move forward with your life in a positive way. Forgiveness will bring newness to your life – a fresh start for you and your loved ones (Luke 15:17-24).
  4. Make a strong decision to reduce or eliminate the purchase of certain items for an extended period. For example, maybe for 6 month or a year you can choose not to buy clothes, electronics, home accessories, dine out, and so on. Basically, don’t buy anything you don’t need and have enough of.
  5. In the midst of asking for forgiveness, ask a few people to support you. Make yourself accountable to a few trusted friends. And to the ones you often go shopping with, give them notice that your shopping spree days are over and you’ve started a new chapter in your life.
  6. You may consider getting professional help – if you can afford to and you believe that the return or value would far outweigh the investment. You can hire a money coach or debt counselor. This is totally up to you.
  7. Set a goal. Determine when and how you will pay off your debt. Have a plan that you see and work towards daily. With your new no-excess-spending policy, you can funnel more money into debt repayment and savings.

This may seem like a lot to do but my friend, take one step at a time. It took time to form bad money habits. Therefore time will also be needed to break them – particularly the chain of consumerism that has many bonded up. So consider this, with God being your Help you have all you need including time to change your money habits and change your life.

I wish you success on the journey to a satisfying life.

Now, it’s your turn…

If you have conquered excessive spending and debt, share your victory with us. I would love to hear your story. Help give hope to someone today.

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Get On Board and Stay On Board

Get on Board Stay on Board_Pearl Nsiah-KumiGod loves us so much He has made a way for us to escape the consequences of sin, by believing in the name of His Son, Jesus.

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Say YES to a relationship with Jesus, and allow Him to transform your life!

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