As we looked at assessing our life yesterday we focused on general happiness and career. In this blog we’ll look at how our finances and our relationships affect our emotional health.
As we’ve looked how we would respond if we had 30 Days to Live we discovered that finances are looked at differently. Money is no longer a goal but a tool. If you missed that e-Devotional please review it. When departing from this world the only financial worry people may have is not leaving bills for their loved ones. In assessing our lives, financial pressure can play a huge role.
1. Do my finances cause stress in my life?
Really Pastor Lon? Doesn’t finances cause stress in everyone’s life unless their rich? No, they don’t. There are people out there who live within their means including a budget. I know we’ve done it.
Financial pressure is a major cause of divorce, suicide, domestic violence, heart disease and much more. My wife and I had periods of our life where the financial pressure was overwhelming (either because of sickness, unemployment or poor financial decisions). We had to make some hard decisions to change our lives. First, I decided to go back to school and change careers. Second, we began to adjust our spending.
Now before you give me “you don’t understand” comments. I went back to school when I was 30, married and had a kid. I worked, volunteered 15 hours a week in my church and carried a 3.9 gpa in college. I’m not saying that to brag, simply to say stop making excuses!! I should have gone to school two years earlier but kept talking myself out of it. “We can’t afford it.” “I don’t have time.” Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. Once I got fed up with my situation, I sucked it up and did what I HAD to do to be happier.
Having said that, a new career or more money isn’t always the answer to financial pressure. It has been my experience that people with poor spending habits will always stretch the finances to the max not matter how much they make. I have counseled people making over $100,000 a year that were in worse shape than couples making $18,000.
2. Do I have a budget I FOLLOW?
Solving financial pressure is NOT about getting more money. It is about having a spending plan.
A budget is a dirty word to some people. They think of it as restraining and rules to make them unhappy. I don’t agree. It’s simply a spending plan. There’s guilt free freedom when you go out to dinner and know it’s in your entertainment budget.
A budget needs to plan for monthly expenses, emergencies, debt reduction and savings. You need a plan no matter how much you make. Usually people wait until they are so far in debt they feel hopeless before trying a budget. Don’t wait! There isn’t time in a blog to explain a budget but here’s a good resource.
Crown Financial is a ministry with great articles and lots of free resources including a budget sheet. (http://www.crown.org/GettingStarted/)
3. Do I tithe?
People will say, “I’ve prayed and asked God help me with my financial problems but nothing happened.” If you don’t acknowledge God in your finances then you have no right to ask Him to help you.
“You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!” – Malachi 3:8-10
If we call ourselves believers but don’t tithe then we have put a curse on ourselves. the good news is this, as with any sin, we can repent and be forgiven.
Did you notice the last two sentences in this bible passage? It is the ONLY place in all scripture where we are told to test or try God! Any other time putting God to the test is a sin. God tells us tithing is so very important that actually tells us to give it a try and see how big His blessing will be. Seven different times I’ve challenge people I was counseling to try tithing for 90 days. I told them if God didn’t bless, I would give their money back. That’s right a money back guarantee on God! You know what? Not one person asked for their money back. Every one was amazed at what God did. One man got a promotion, another a new job. One lady paid a huge debt off with less than half what she owed! A different lady got an unexpected inheritance. God doesn’t lie and His scripture is the key to success in your finances.
Lord, help me to live within my finances. I know you provide for all my needs as I put you first in my finances through tithing. I ask in faith for your help and thank you now that you will answer. I am confident in your provision and refuse the pressure financial issue can bring by trusting in you. In your name I pray, amen.
- Do I tithe in faith, expecting God to provide?
- Do I know what I spend?
- Create a budget this week.
- If you’re not tithing, commit to for the next 90 days.