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.

How to Thrive Through Financial Difficulties

When Isaac planted his crops that year, he harvested a hundred times more grain than he planted, for the Lord blessed him. He became a very rich man, and his wealth continued to grow.                                                                                                                                                                                      Genesis 26:12-13 (NLT)

thriving

Are you in a financial famine? Or do you say like many do, “I need more money.”? The above scripture often touches our hearts during financial difficulties and rightly so. It reminds us that God is still in control even when the world around us is falling apart. It also reminds us that we are not forgotten by God and that He can and is able to bring us out of any financial trouble we may be facing.

This account of Isaac’s encounter with God occurs during an economic hardship that affected many. There are a few principles we can take from this part of God’s word that would help during challenging financial times as well as when we experience financial increases.

 

Be open to hear from God. Be open to hear the most unusual and seemingly illogical instructions.

Gen. 26:2 -3, “Then the Lord appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father.”

God wants to be an integral part of your life. Even in times of financial difficulties God wants to relate to you and to help you through the rough roads.  He wants to encourage and direct you so that you would prosper through life.

As God speaks to Isaac He gave a command with the promise of His presence and of His blessing, “I will be with you and bless you” (Gen.26:3).

Just as He did with Isaac, He is willing to do with you. He wants to direct your life and be with you all the way as you carry out His will and in the process of life bring blessings to you.

 

Obey. Do what God tells you to do; even when it doesn’t make sense to you.

The blessings God gives goes beyond the person and the material. They extend beyond your generation. Imagine that – because of your relationship with God your family is blessed for generations. As God’s oath to Abraham was transferred to his son Isaac and to Isaac’s descendants, so does His blessings to you reach forward to your family for generations to come.

 “because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” Isaac learned that well and obeyed God and stayed where he instructed him to (Gen. 26:5-6).

Think about this. Does it make sense?  Imagine you have the opportunity to go where the economic climate is better. Or you have a job offer or business opportunity opened to you in another country and the prospects indeed look promising. As you ponder and pray about it, God tells you – “Don’t go; stay here with your family.”  What would be your first response? Human as we are, we would think much about it and even question God. Although we know God wants what is best for us when a good thing comes along we might think that God is holding us back. In some cases, we may even think that it is the enemy trying to dissuade us from receiving the blessings of God. This is a tough one. But obedience to God is always best. Obedience to God is key to life and financial success.

 

Speak the truth at all times.

I like the Bible. It shows how much God is willing to relate to us even in our sinful state. The relationship of imperfect man with a perfect and loving God rings throughout.  Sometimes when we are in difficulty (like Isaac being in a strange land) we tend to put up defence mechanisms to protect ourselves. From a financial perspective, during difficult we may lie to the creditors or avoid taking their phone calls. But there is no need to do this when God is with you.

When Isaac’s lie was discovered, it actually resulted in his safely being guaranteed by the very people he feared would kill him. Telling your creditor about your loss of income and your inability to repay as required can actually open the door for some relief. I have heard of cases where the debt has been cancelled! The creditor may be able to give you a longer grace period or offer an alternative that would help until you get back on your feet financially.

Don’t be afraid to be honest. God will honour that.

 

Take action to create wealth.

Gen.26:12-14 really encourages me to move forward with my goals regardless to what the economic forecasters as saying.

 You don’t have to wait for the external conditions to improve or change in order to make an internal shift and take decisive action. If you wait you will likely never achieve your goals.

Isaac’s action to plant during the scarcity was a step of faith which God honoured. Not only did he reap 100% of his crop but his cattle and his household increased so much that his neighbours noticed it. When you move forward in faith – whether to change your career, work towards a promotion that doesn’t seem likely or start a new business or even find an extra income stream – God will prosper you and those around you will see it too!

 

Avoid relationship conflicts.

When you begin to prosper (while others are still facing financial challenges) not everyone will be happy about your successes. Some will want to learn from you while others will envy you and try to sabotage you in some way. This is what happened to Isaac. Each time he succeeded in digging a well and finding water – a much-needed commodity then – his “friendly” neighbours came to stake their claim on it.

The blessing on your life may cause others to envy (Gen.26:14), to fear you (Gen.26:16), to quarrel with you, to steal from you and to try to frustrate you (Gen.26:19-22). You may experience conflict in one way or another with friends or family members. People may think that your good fortune is undeserving. You may have ‘sudden’ friction between you and others that didn’t exist before. You may find that people just attach themselves to you to get what they can from you and not because they genuinely care about you. It’s unfortunate but this is how some respond.

The important step you must take in times like these is to let go and let God and not to react rashly to what others are doing. Isaac gave up what he and his servants had worked hard for but in the end they prevailed. So don’t despair. Don’t fight your enemies. God will make room for you and make you fruitful where you are (Gen. 26:22).

 

Finally, be patience, peace (shalom) will come.

The time will come as you continue to prosper and you handle relationship issues well that God will cause even your enemies to be at peace with you.  Why? Your godly response to them (even when they do you wrong), will cause them to acknowledge that the Lord is with you (Gen. 26:28-29). They will want to make amends with you. Being at peace with your enemies will make the financial successes you receive even more pleasant.

Isaac’s situation takes us through the stages from financial struggle to success giving us some insight in how we should respond in times like these. The essence of this is that we should have a relationship with Christ, follow His leading, take action and live out the Christ life as He want us to.

Financial Empowerment for FREE!

ebook readingSmashwords have put on a reading celebration this week from Mar 02, 2014 to Mar 08, 2014. You will find many titles available at discounted prices or for free during their Read an E-Book Week promotion.

Financial EmpowermentThis is a great opportunity for you to grab a copy of my book, Financial Empowerment: Realign Your Finances for God’s Will. It will be available in various formats for FREE for this week only.

Lots of other authors will have their books available through this promotion so now is the time to stock up on new or favorite titles.

Financial Empowerment will help you to manage your personal finances using biblical and practical solutions whether you are challenged in this area or not. So if you haven’t received your copy or if you’d like to gift it to someone, please use the coupon code RW100 when you checkout. 

Remember, this pricing is available only on Smashwords.com and you can use the coupon to get Financial Empowerment: Realign Your Finances for God’s Will for FREE through to Saturday, March 8th, 2014.

Once you’ve read Financial Empowerment: Realign Your Finances for God’s Will please let me know what you think of it by leaving a review on Smashwords or a comment here on my blog.

I pray that you and others will benefit tremendously by applying the principles discussed in this book.

Thanks & Happy Reading.

Here to your financial empowerment God’s Way,

Pamela C

P.S. Don’t forget to spread the word to friends and family.

Are You Eating Your Seed? Part I

Eating your seed

Eating your money

Recently after making a purchase the Holy Spirit confronted me about it? Why? I had just left home pondering over making a small but reasonable purchase in advertising that would help me spread the word about Financial Empowerment: Realign Your Finances to God’s Will. I even had the option of taking a trial period but didn’t. What did I do instead? I spent money (more than the cost of the advertising) without hesitation on something else. I convinced myself that it was good because I was celebrating a special event but at the same time it was short-lived.

I realized how easy it is to make frivolous or unplanned purchases. Those type of purchases that have no lasting value and eat away at your future. I noticed how hesitant I can be at times when it comes to investing in my future via savings, business or career building. Do you experience that sometimes? I guess what the Apostle Paul said even applies how we manage money – what we should do we don’t and what we shouldn’t do we do. Thankfully by the time I reached home, I decided to make the investment in promoting my book and trust God that it would help reach those who need it.

I think that we can all identify with making these types of unplanned purchases. It’s an ongoing battle to keep focused on our goals. The problem with these out-of-order purchases is the negative impact on our future. It’s like a farmer eating all his seed. That wouldn’t be right now, would it? But what really is your seed? To the farmer the seed has potential to do be (1) food and (2) income generation and reinvestment. So to us, the seed is money.

For us, the seed (money) carries the same potential. Whatever money we have can be divided into (1) food and consumables for our daily living and (2) investment for our future.

Generally, most of our money tends to go towards food or bread. But do you understand what bread is?

  • Bread is a by-product of the seed. It is derived from the seed
  • Bread is for instant gratification or enjoyment
  • It’s a consumable item to be used now or within a short period. If not used within a specified time it becomes of no use or value to the consumer. e.g. Bread spoils within a few days; other foods if not consumed after a specified period are not safe for consumption; electronics or cars or other items loose value with use or deteriorate or become obsolete
  • It has no long term future benefit

In summary, bread has a now benefit not a future one.

On the other hand, the seed also have another benefit if treated differently. If it is planted instead of consumed, then the gains can be far-reaching. For the farmer, a planted seed means future profit or income. What we give, save or invest is the seed we are planting for our future. When we plant our money it grows, increases in value or amount, brings a return to you or benefits you.

What you give grows. Giving doesn’t seem to have an initial benefit but it gives much needed blessings to the giver. The kind of blessings money cannot buy.

Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now by it, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. –Malachi 3:10

Give, and [gifts] will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will they pour into [the pouch formed by] the bosom [of your robe and used as a bag]. For with the measure you deal out [with the measure you use when you confer benefits on others], it will be measured back to you. –Luke 6:38

What you invest grows. Investing can provide streams of income that is expected or unexpected.

His master said to him, Well done, you upright (honorable, admirable) and faithful servant! You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little; I will put you in charge of much. Enter into and share the joy (the delight, the blessedness) which your master enjoys. –Matthew 25:21

Then you should have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received what was my own with interest. –Matthew 25:27

If you give, save, invest the seed it will benefit your life. If you eat all the seed, it is consumed and gone forever and not able to provide any future benefit. You and I have a choice.

The Lord also pointed out why we so easily eat our seed, that is, waste your financial future:

(1) Fear of the unknown. In my case, I wasn’t sure of the outcome of my investment in advertising. I would pay now but would have to wait to see the results of doing this type of business – if I would gain any exposure at all, if it would convert into sales and other connections. However, with frivolous purchases the thought about our financial future often does not come until after the purchase as been made!

(2) The strong urge for instant gratification. When we buy and consume something we wanted (clothing, food, electronics, etc) we receive an immediate tangible item in exchange for our money. Although these things are short-lived, the pull for instant gratification is what compels us to spend. Unfortunately the feeling quickly dies along with the item we purchased.

This is a situation most of us find ourselves in. We are trying to balance the financial scales which often topple over to the spending side. Even though we have dreams or goals that require an initial outlay of our time, money and efforts we often spend for instant gratification or temporal gain rather than for delayed satisfaction and a better future.

Not only did the Lord bring this to light from a personal perspective but spiritually as it relates to building the kingdom of God. You see, looking at my scenario, the investment in advertising was not just about selling books but about (1) sharing the message of the good news (2) helping people in the body of Christ move from financial struggle to success and (3) encouraging others to serve God wholeheartedly with their money.

Not making such an investing in the kingdom of God displeases the Lord and negatively impacts the work of the gospel. Often times the toss-up between spending on ourselves and making an investment in our future and in God’s kingdom result in our seed being eaten. Why? We want to please ourselves more and think we are deserving of or entitled to whatever we want.

But there is a danger in this. How can we avoid eating up our seed? Next week’s post will explore this.

Does Your Money Pockets Have Holes?

“Thus speaks the Lord of hosts, saying: ‘This people says, “The time has not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built.”’”

Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?” Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways!

“You have sown much, and bring in little;
You eat, but do not have enough;
You drink, but you are not filled with drink;
You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm;
And he who earns wages,
Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”

Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways! Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the Lord. “You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?” says the Lord of hosts. “Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house. Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit. For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”

Haggai 1:2-11 (NKJV)

Ever wondered why life is so challenging or why you struggle financially? Is it frustration to keep working so hard but not see any substantial progress?

Have you ever considered if your service to the Lord is lacking in some way? Are your priorities about you only and not about God and honoring Him in all you do? Are you more concerned about building your life than seeking the kingdom of God?

In reading Haggai, I realized that we too can fall into this trap and not even realize it. We could be so focused on building our house (our lives, our careers, our wealth, etc.) that we miss the mark and put God on the back burner of our lives. We could be found having an “I” attitude and not be God-centered people.

Today, I’d say to all of us, “It is time for us to build the kingdom of God.” We may not have a physical structure to build such as a church, hospital, clinic, teaching center or library for people in need. But we do have a spiritual building to construct – the body of Christ. How do we do this? First, know Christ personally, intimately, feelingly. Next, make Him known – to compel others to come into the kingdom.

We can build God’s kingdom through preaching the gospel, teaching His word, sharing His love or caring for those in need. We build when we actively participate in different ministries within our church such as administrative work, hospitality, prayer or intercession, cell groups, and so on. Whatever part we play it would please God to see us building His kingdom.

I’ve just given a few ways we can build but often times we don’t want to do anything because life is just too busy. What are we so busy doing:

  • Building our houses or doing some kind of home improvement (vs.3)
  • Working and trying to make more money which never seems to amount to enough (vs. 6)
  • Socializing with friends – which often takes priority over spend time with God or with our family

If we examine our daily activity, the honest response we should have is “Lord forgive me for focusing so much on me and so little on You.”

If we consider our ways as Haggai said we would realize that we are often banging our heads against the wall, or striving so hard in life and making no substantial progress. There are Christians who can attest to the words in Hag. 1:6 which I summarized in this way – Spinning the wheel of no progress. You invest a lot but receive a little return. No matter how much you eat or how special your meals, you never feel satisfied. As for clothes you think you must the latest fashion or you want more. You work hard but the money is never enough. Frankly as soon as it is earned it is gone.

Then we wonder why we struggle so much.

In my book Financial Empowerment, I share some of the reasons why we financially strapped but in this word the Lord really brings to light our heart motive. We look out for ourselves more than others. We take care of ourselves more than we seek ways to serve God by serving others. In other words, we walk in disobedience to God and fail to please Him.

The lack or financial struggle some of us experience is a directly result of our unwillingness to serve God. Put it another way, (vs.10) the blessings of God are withheld from us because we focus on serving ourselves more than God who deserves to be glorified.

If you are facing financial challenges, I urge you to examine yourself. Consider your ways. Then have an attitude like the psalmist David and ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and cleanse you. Be willing to ask for forgiveness and turn from doing things the I-way to the God-way.

Consider these questions and let the Holy Spirit search your heart and heal you:

  • Are you busy building your house, your life or your career while God’s business goes unattended?
  • Do you care for the widow, father the orphan, feed the hungry, aid the sick, witness the love of God to others, or even help build or maintain the house of God?
  • Are you so caught up with your life, finances or businesses that you forget to serve the Lord?
  • What is it that is keeping you from God’s service but still not satisfying you?

These may be hard questions but necessary. Sometimes we need to step back from life and take a hard look to see where we have gone wrong. The blessing of doing this is that we have redemption through Christ to lift us up and bring us back to a heart of worship towards God in everything we do. As we align our will to God’s; He will set our lives in order and pour out His blessings on us. Your financial struggle will be over and you will find joy and peace in the house of God.

Financial Empowerment Quiz

Are You Financially Empowered? Take this quiz to find out.

Whether you are facing financial challenges of not; take this short quiz to how you stand financially.

These questions are based on some of the subject areas covered in my book Financial Empowerment: Realign Your Finances to God’s Will. It discusses the problems we face in different areas of our finances and shows how to manage money using God’s principles. Financial Empowerment is about how you view and manage your money in light of God’s word. It’s about using biblical solutions as well as practical ones in our personal finances.

Take is short quiz to find out if you are financially empowered.

Note: Please check one answer that best describes your situation.

Check out the Financial Empowerment page for more details.

 

Simplify Your Life: Keep Your Finances in Order

So the rich man called for his manager and said to him, ‘What’s this I hear about you? Let me examine your books. It’s obvious that you can’t manage my property any longer.’ (Luke 16:2, GW)

Review your financesIn this Simplify Your Life series, we’ve cleaned up and cleared out a lot to make our lives less complicated. However, it wouldn’t be wise to continue this series without discussing personal money management. One thing is certain; we have to account to God for everything including how we manage our money and the other resources He gives to us. It would honor. God and serve us well if we have a good handle on our finances.

We have to know when and how much to tithe, give, save, invest, lend and sometimes borrow. If we don’t set money rules for ourselves we can easily become entangled in spending more that we actually earn and be faced with more debt than we can handle. But we can develop some simple money habits to keep our finances in order.

Simple Life Habits For Everyday Success
  • Be thankful for what you have. Appreciate the goodness of God toward you.
  • A heart of gratitude keeps you from complaining and constantly worrying about whether you have enough.
  • Give generously and with a cheerful heart.
  • You will be filled with joy when you see the benefits or blessing others derive from your acts of love.
  • Save a little every time you earn or receive money.
  • Consider this as a blessing to yourself for your now and your future.
  • Don’t run into big purchases or unplanned ones. Wait 24 hours to give it some thought.
  • This will help you to avoid overspending or making unnecessary purchases that you may later regret.
  • Borrow as little as possible and pay off your debts steadily.
  • You will reduce the stress of being a debtor if you embrace this practice.
  • Keep records of your finances and review monthly.
  • You will see the progress to your financial goals and make needed changes (spend less or earn more) to achieve them.

Personal money matters could at times be rather complicated especially with the many options available to us. At times, using the services of a financial planner will make it simpler to control.

How do you keep your finances in order?