Money, Power, Glory!

As I thought about the topic for this blog, the song, “Money, Power, Respect” came into my head. First you get the money, then you get the power, after you get the power, then you get the respect. This theory is a direct reflection of the worldly mindset towards money. The media teaches us that money gives us the power to do whatever we want, in hopes of becoming idols for those that are less fortunate, and gaining respect from those that have already made it. While Lil’ Kim may have been on to something, I find her theory flawed.They key ingredient that’s missing is God. Let’s take a closer look…

We can agree that we all need money in order to fulfill the basic necessities of life, such as water food, clothing, and shelter. The first course of action is to find a way to get money and to keep it flowing. Once we get the money, then we have the power to purchase basic necessities. Now, here’s where we find the fork in the road. While I agree that money gives us power, it’s what we do with that power that will determine whether or not God will be glorified or that person will be idolized. God is glorified when we use that power to serve him and others through our giving and debt free living. On the other hand, the person seeking respect/status for themselves becomes defined and idolized by the things that they have on display. One will serve God, and the other will chase things, as will their followers.

While the world may be about money, power, and respect, God’s children ought to seek money, power, and glory. We know that God provides for his children, and that money should never be an issue because He is rich beyond measure. However, we have a choice when it comes to using the power that God has given us. The path to respect leads to debt and mindless spending, while the road to glory provides limitless abundance and freedom. Which road will you take? If you’re on the wrong one, it’s not too late to get off. If God is truly our source, He will provide us with the money and power. It’s up to us to provide Him with the glory that He deserves.

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

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In God We Trust?

It’s interesting the the phrase “In God We Trust” is printed on our money, but yet God is often the last to receive any of it, if at all. The never-ending debate in church about whether or not we should or shouldn’t tithe…Why is it so difficult to trust God with our money?

In Malachi 3:10, God tells us to test Him regarding tithing. I have to admit that I didn’t know or hear much about tithing growing up in an Episcopal church. But the first time that I heard word on it, which was about 6 years ago, I started from that moment and haven’t looked back. I’ve seen nothing but increase year after year. It hasn’t always been easy either, but as long as I’ve stayed faithful, so has God. Do we really think that the world has our best interest at heart when it comes to our finances when the entire nation is in a state of debt? While they’re after our dollars, God is after our hearts. He does have our best interest in mind, and promises to rewards us beyond measure! That’s much more than any credit card company could ever offer.

Take the test, and challenge God. Fully trust Him with your finances and you will always end up with more than enough. God rewards good stewards by giving us more and more of his resources to manage. If you’re faithful over what you have, God will allow you to rule over so much more. But you will never know until you try. The world’s method of “buy now, pay later” has failed us all. Now will you trust God?

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

When It Rains: Car Edition

We often hear the term “save for a rainy day, ” indicating that at some point there may be a financial emergency and we need to be prepared. Well, there is a difference between saving for emergencies and budgeting for maintenance. An emergency is an unexpected occurrence that requires immediate attention. Things like injuries, accidents, sudden death, etc. of which we have no control. However, routine car maintenance does not qualify as an emergency. Why? Because we knew when we bought the car that it would need regular maintenance such as getting the oil changed, replacing tires, belts and hoses, 100,000 mile service, etc. Let’s not forget the dreaded “check engine” light! We can only hope that it’s just a sensor, but then again it might not be. Nonetheless, while some maintenance is minor, others require major services and repairs that have the potential of sending us further into debt if we aren’t prepared. When we don’t have the cash available for major repairs, we either put it on a credit card or put off the service for as long as we can. Both decisions could end up costing us a lot more in the end.

While you’re working out your monthly budget, make sure that you are setting aside at least $20 to $50 per month for car maintenance. That extra $240 – $600 per year creates a safety net between living free and living in bondage. If you drive a car with more expensive repairs, perhaps you’ll need to set aside more. We know that we have to have our cars inspected the same month every year. The slightest malfunction in wiper blades, any type of lighting, signals, tires, breaks, etc., could be the difference between receiving a pass or fail. Are you prepared to pay cash for new tires or breaks? If your car is close to reaching 75,000 or 100,000 miles, how are you going to fund the major services and parts replacements?

Car maintenance isn’t an emergency, it comes with the purchase. Unfortunately, for so many of us, it has become an emergency expense because we haven’t been prepared to cover the costs in cash. Preparation is key when it comes to getting out and staying out of debt. It’s about expecting the expected by planning ahead. Bottom line, your car will need to be serviced come rain or shine. Will you be ready? Your freedom depends on it!

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

Fighting Temptation

Is it just me, or does it seem as if every time you start to change a habit, people, things, and every other distraction start coming out of the woodwork? Well let me tell you, getting out of debt is no different. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of trips, sales, movies, events and group outings that I’ve turned down so that I could stay on the debt freedom track. It’s a hard thing to do, especially when you’ve been buying what you want, when you want, with no regard to the long-term impact that it could have. Here are some things that have helped me, that may help you as well…

1. Avoid the need to eat out – Start packing your breakfast and lunch for work, and start cooking dinner at home.

2. Cancel e-mail subscriptions from your favorite stores – You simply don’t need to be tempted by weekly sales…talk about torture! Out of sight, out of mind.

3. Budget for outings – Plan and save for something fun each month so that you don’t feel completely deprived and turn into a caveman/woman.

4. Weekends before 5pm – Schedule activities and meals during off-peak hours when the cost is usually cheaper.

5. Check your progress daily – With your goals at the front of your mind, it’s a lot easier to stay focused.

6. Just say no! – Honor your budget. You’ll thank yourself later.

While you may not be able to participate in or buy everything that you want right now, find a few things to do that won’t hinder your progress or completely eliminate your social life. Remember, we’re leaving behind the old, and walking into the new. You will be tempted. What will be your escape route?

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

Conquering The Debt Mountain

“Whew, and I thought I would never make it…” That’s what I’ll probably say (after I shout to the high heavens first) once I finally make it to debt freedom. When you decide to face your debt head on, it can definitely feel like you’re staring right into the side of a massive mountain. After I totaled all of my debts, calculated monthly expenses, and considered how much I made…I thought, there was just no way. I’m going to be paying off these loans for the rest of my life! But you know what? Better late than never. Actually, since I started chipping away at my debt mountain, it’s starting to look more like a debt hill. Eventually, it will become level with the ground and nonexistent. If I hadn’t started at all, I’d still be staring at the same, massive pile of debt.

No matter how big your debt mountain may seem in the beginning, know that you have the power to move it off your path. You can start by deciding not to make it bigger than it already is. It will take effort, planning, and consistency. Be encouraged. You just never know what resources will appear once you start you’re adventure. For instance, it seems as if I have more money now than I did before, but that’s not the case. The difference is, I have better control, and use money as a tool, instead of letting it fall where it may. All of a sudden, my mountain isn’t nearly as intimidating as it was before, and it’s shrinking faster than I thought it would. So go ahead, face your mountain head on, and I’ll see you on the other side!

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

A Debt Freedom Prayer

Lord, today I choose to live debt free. I will no longer manage money the world’s way. Free me from the hands of my lenders. Although I have borrowed in the past, I will borrow no more. Lord, I believe that you are my source; not credit cards or loans. From this day forward, I will be a pipeline for Kingdom wealth. I will give, save, and invest like never before. Today, I receive the prosperous, debt free life that you have prepared for me. Renew my heart and my mind so that I may live the life of the rich and glorious. It’s in Jesus’ name that I pray, Amen.

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

The Debt Devil

Simply put, debt keeps us from God and limits His work through us. Would any of you like to be in a position to give more or to really impact someone else’s life? I think most of us would, but we can’t because our money has already been directed away from us and God before our paychecks hit the bank. We have the same list of people waiting to be paid each month, and God is lucky if He’s one of them. That ought not be. If God has richly blessed us, we should be able to take care of Him first, and have enough left over to settle our desires debt free. But instead, our debt has become a priority over God. We have to get back to putting God’s needs first, and separate ourselves from the world.

We know that the borrower is slave to the lender, and that man cannot serve two masters. If we’re all enslaved to the world’s creditors, who’s serving God? And I don’t mean just nickel and diming each Sunday because that’s all that we can spare. I’m referring to the people that are financially free to answer God’s call. Do we want to be one of those people? Do we care if we’re not one of them? If so, what are we going to do about it?

Debt not only takes our money, but it can take away our joy and happiness by the stress that it causes. That isn’t God’s will for our lives. He wants us to live free. He wants us to live in abundance. But we have to put ourselves in position to receive what God as for our lives. The same way that we protect our souls from evil, we must also guard our financial blessings from the debt devil. There should be a visible difference in the way that Christians handle money. Let’s regain our financial souls. We can do it with God’s help. He’s able, and so are we.

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne