Here's a short quiz to help determine your financial health. Take the quiz, but don't stop there. Read on for five things you can do NOW to improve your financial health.
1. Do you argue about money with those closest to you? Yes ____ No ____
2. Are you behind on your mortgage, car or card payments? Yes ___ No ___
3. Do you pay one credit card with another? Yes ___ No ___
4. Are Creditors calling? Yes ___ No ___
5. Are you considering consolidation loans, second jobs, second mortgages or bankruptcy? Yes ___ No ___ 6. Are you living paycheck to paycheck? Yes ___ No ___
7. Do you have an emergency fund, retirement savings and the right kinds of insurance? Yes ___ No ___
If you answered "Yes" to any of the first six questions or "No" to question seven, the first thing you need to know is that you are not alone. You, like most people, will likely face some kind of financial crisis at some time in your life. Your "time" might be right now. If it is, your crisis is probably due to a personal or family illness, the loss of a job, or overspending. (Are we hitting close to home? If so, please read on.)
The second thing you MUST UNDERSTAND is that you can overcome your current financial crisis, no matter what is the cause. Your financial situation does not have to go from bad to worse.
You have five very realistic options. We'll look at the first one now and the remaining four the next four times we get together.
Tip #1: Understand why it's important to manage your money God's way—we'll suggest a great resource.
TIP #2: Develop a personal financial recovery plan—you'll learn how. We'll point you to some great resources.
TIP #3: Credit Counseling from a reputable organization—you'll learn what this is and how to keep from being scammed.
TIP #4: Debt consolidation—you'll learn what this is and the pros and cons.
TIP #5: Bankruptcy—facts you need to know about the new bankruptcy law.
Are you ready? Onward with TIP #1: You MUST
Understand why it's important to manage your money God's way.
Let me ask you a question: How would you know if something is important to God? Well, one way is to see if He talks about it in His Word. If it's there, it's important.
Another question: How would you know if something is extra ordinarily important to God? The answer: If He covers it more than once or in different ways.
You need to know that God has quite a lot to say about money. Consider these FACTS:
1. There are about 500 verses on prayer and a little less than 500 verses on faith, yet over 700
verses that deal directly with money, and another two thousand that deal with how you are to handle all the material areas of your life.
2. Two-thirds of the parables deal with money.
3. The Bible has more to say about money than heaven and hell combined.
4. Even more to say about money than salvation.
5. As the matter of fact, the Bible has more to say about money than any other single subject…except love.
You can see that money is an important subject to God and therefore ought to be important for you and for you to understand His thoughts and directions. You ought to sit up and pay attention and remember that in 2 Timothy 3:16 you are told "All scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness."
All scripture is God breathed and USEFUL. His Word has a purpose. He gives you His Word for a reason. That reason is to begin to put it into use in your life--to identify and act on some personal applications. You need to first look to God's Word, and then begin to put His Word into practice, begin to live it.
Another thing. I believe you will find, as we spend time together for the next couple of articles, that how you use, or how you miss-use money is a very clear indicator, to you, in at least two different areas.
1. First, how you handle the material areas of your life is an outside, visible indicator to you, as to where you are inside spiritually with God. How you handle money is an indicator to you as to the quality of your relationship with God.
Luke 16:10-145 says: "Whoever can be trusted with very little, can also be trusted with much. And whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?"
I believe one of the best ways for you to check your spiritual temperature is to look into your personal checkbook. You can say anything you think others want to hear. You may be a great talker; great at faking your true attitudes. But the way you handle your finances is usually a dead giveaway to what's really going on inside you spiritually. It's a strong clue as to who is in control of your life.
God says that money and how you handle it, is a testing ground. A testing ground to indicate to you where you stand with Him. He already knows. This is an indicator for you. Let me say it again, the first indicator, according to God's Word, how you handle the material areas of your life is a clear, visable outside indicator to you of where you are inside spiritually with God. Putting it another way, your spiritual growth is tied directly to the way you handle your money. That's a strong statement but I believe you will call it truth as you read on.
2. I believe God uses money as a second indicator: How you handle your finances tells you a lot about how effectively you relate to and deal with other people.
This is an especially good indicator for husbands and wives, but it applies to you singles as well.
If you think about it, you will probably agree that money is either the best area of communications between you and those closet to you; or it's the worst…and it's the worst most of the time.
Statistics clearly show that more than 50% of all marriages fail, and that finances are the main symptom 90% of the time. According to many Christian counselors, money is the number one cause of stress and failure in all marriages.
And remember, do Christians have these problems? You bet! Do you believe there are Christians filing for divorce and bankruptcy? You bet! You can suffer right along with everyone else.
Why do you suffer? Most likely because you just don't know and/or apply what God's Word has to say.
Remember also, God says His people perish for what? Lack of knowledge.
So, there are THREE MAIN REASONS for you to look into God's Word on the subject of money.
1. It's important to Him.
2. You need to apply what He tells you.
3. You need to recognize that how you handle your money and the other material areas of you life is an indicator, to you, as to the quality of your relationship with God and other people.
How do you start along this path? I suggest three ways.
1. First, go to your Christian bookstore and buy a copy of "How To Manage Your Money" by Larry Burkett. This is the best in-depth Bible study on personal finances out there.
2. Second, continue with your subscription to your FREE "Debt Free Living God's Way Life & Financial Coaching Newsletter."
3. Finally, please call or email us if we can help in any way.