Good Things Happen to Bad People

I have witnessed this repeatedly. A promotion being given to a coworker in which the better candidate was passed up. I knew an individual who lied about virtually everything. His resume was fake and nothing he said could be trusted. Unfortunately for me he would be made my boss. His racist attitude would prove toxic to me. He would belittle myself, customers and my employees. I did not work for this person for long. It caused me to leave my position and seek employment elsewhere. I could not understand at the time what system allowed a person of low moral character to have authority over me. It didn’t really seem fair.

We have all experienced this on some level. Athletes who cheat, politicians who lie and executives who care about nothing but lining their pockets. There are so many people benefiting from their immoral activities. So what are we as Christians supposed to do? First, know that there is always punishment in store for that person. Isaiah 3:11 “Woe to the wicked! It will go badly with him, For what he deserves will be done to him.” It may seem like people are benefiting from bad behavior but are they really? Maybe in the short term but there is always a price to pay. The news is full of stories about people who get away with things for years then their life explodes almost instantly when it is time to pay for things they have done.

Second, pray for them especially if they are put in power over you. Matthew 5:44 “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” This is powerful. When we see wicked behavior, God calls us to pray for them. Psychology Today says that shutting out an individual or dwelling on negative thoughts about that person can actually make matters worse. Why not embrace the way we are called and pray.

Thirdly, trust that God has your best interest in mind. Psalm 37:34 “Wait for the Lord and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you will see it.” Live the way you know is righteous. Be confident that God rewards your faithfulness. Try not to be tempted to act likewise. Know that your future is in God’s capable hands and He will help you deal with the here and now even when others seem to be reaping rewards on earth.

Bad people getting good results seem to be a trend. I must admit that it is not fun when it happens but I found something rather interesting in my own. In every case I found myself in a better situation than the last. In fact, I would even say blessed. Not sure what happened to the individual I mentioned who was put in charge over me. He left the company and I never saw him again. I wonder if he was blessed like me. I hope so.

My prayer for you is you will realize God’s greater plan for you and enable you to pray for those who wrong you while you live righteously obeying authority.

Enslaved to Debt

This is part 8 of a 10 part series I call Financial Freedom. The previous post, Count the Cost, can be found here: https://thingsmyparentsnevertaughtme.family.blog/2019/12/10/count-the-cost/

My wife and I try to live within our means. In general we have stuck to this commitment. However, for many years large purchases seemed impossible. We did incur a large amount of debt in our cars and home. We were not alone. According to Money.com in 2018 the average debt for a 51 year old like me in the U.S.A. was $134000. It seems like the banks have a great deal of control over our finances. Proverbs 22:7 “The rich rule over the poor and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.” The average credit card debt in March 2019 according to the Federal Reserve was $5700! This means a massive amount of money is being transferred from your bank account to someone else! This did not sit right with me. My goal was to do something about this.

I look at it like the reverse of compound interest. When you buy something with credit then you end up paying much more for it. Let’s say you have $5000 of credit card debt and assume you charge nothing else to that card. You make payments of $100 a month at 18% interest. When you have paid off that credit card you will have added an extra $4311.25 in interest over 94 months. Let that sink in. A purchase of $5000 cost you almost double. Compare that to saving the $100 over 50 months and paying cash. A little patience and self control will make you $4311.25 richer. This same concept can be applied to larger items like cars and houses. This sounds impossible, right? However, the Bible calls us to it. Romans 13:8 “Owe nothing to anyone…” This idea is repeated throughout the Bible. If God said to do it then shouldn’t we give it a try?

Most people think it impossible but can you really afford otherwise? Here is what can be done. Lower expectations. Do I really need that sports car and a massive house? The bank wants to maximize it’s gains and will encourage you to buy as much as you are able. Paying cash will make you consider cheaper alternatives as well as paying less for that item over the long term. Before considering large purchases get other debt paid off. Pay down credit card and student loan as much as possible. It is a better investment to get out of debt first. Apply windfalls and raises directly to this debt. Then save! Start paying for cars and houses cash. If you already owe start double or triple paying as you can. Keep reminding yourself that debt equals slavery. Give it a try. God will not disappoint.

1. Make a plan to become debt free. If you are out of debt stay that way. If you are in debt, figure out how to get out of it.

2. Pray that God shows you how to stay out of debt. You may need forgiveness for acting outside of God’s will.

3. Be thankful for God’s direction and pray to honor God in this commandment.

We are currently working to become debt free. We now pay for cars cash and make double payments on our house. How cool is it to never have a car payment! It’s an amazing thing. I am so thankful for the freedom God gives my wife and I in that. I can’t wait to have our house payments disappear! It’s still a long way off but could you imagine what your life would be like to no longer have that massive debt? I can imagine how great it will feel to have no house payment and a peace of mind knowing we always have a home. No more stressful days wondering if we will make rent even when facing job loss! Doing the things God calls for is super cool!

I pray that God will help you be resolved in getting out of debt and staying that way so you may know a peace and fruitfulness in your finances as we are commanded to do in His word.

Count the Cost

This is the 7th in a series I call Financial Freedom. The previous post was entitled Prepare for the Future which can be found here: http://thingsmyparentsnevertaughtme.family.blog/2019/11/26/prepare-for-the-future/

The one thing my wife and I learned to do from our parents was creating a budget. We even took a class at church on how to make a budget together. We had fun with it. However, the first year of marriage was lean. If we had $2 left in a week for the dollar movie theater, it was exciting. This budget thing was extremely useful to know exactly how much we could spend. At the time we were acting according to God’s plan.

Christians are called to budget. Proverbs 21:5 “The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.” Making a budget and following it were very helpful in keeping us out of debt. Besides a car payment we had no debt. Our credit cards were paid off each month. Jesus talks about counting the cost of a project. Luke 14:28 “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?” To run a country, company or household you must know the cost of things and make a plan. 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 “Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.” Our positive example in stewardship of resources is representative to the world as faith in God.

To make a budget, simply make a list of everything you spend money on … tithe, housing, allowance, car payment, gas, etc. There are many resources that can help you determine where money is spent. Everyone’s list is different. Some will be estimates. It does not need to be perfection. Just a general idea. I like to think of it by month but whatever is easiest for you. Compare to your take home pay. If the numbers don’t add up then make adjustments as necessary. Easy right? Maybe not for some. It may require difficult decisions.

1. If you do not have one already, create a budget making sure that your tithe is top of the list.

2. Prayfully consider where adjustments can be made.

3. Be thankful for the provisions God has provided and doubly so if anything is leftover like $2.

Our parents did well to show us how a budget was made. It kept us out of financial hardship. I prepare a budget every year or when we have some life change. I share the budget with my wife and children. Yes, I think children should be aware and taught financial planning. Making a budget brings me peace of mind. The budget has transformed over the years with a variety of life decisions. At first, it was a way to figure out how to spend every last penny. Now, it is a useful tool in reaching our financial goals and making us more secure. Knowing the cost has allowed us to better serve God in our tithing and giving. How cool it is to obey God and bare fruit.

My prayer for you is that you will become a good steward of your finances and “count the cost” by creating a budget.