Recession Proof

 

House and money on scalesI’m still having conversations with people regarding the recession that started in 2007 and ended in 2010 for a lot of people. There are people today, 7 years later still suffering from the “fall out” of that downturn in the market. There were some good people who lost their retirement savings or their fortune. I learned a lot during that time and I made some decisions about being in that place of fear and struggle. I started reading, researching and learning how to avoid the decisions that caused such harm to so many people. I studied the teaching of Dave Ramsey about dumping debt and how Romans 13:8 is good counsel. Check this out….

Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:8 CSB)

I don’t know a lot of people who were not affected profoundly by the recession. I have seen many start to repeat some of the same behaviors that cost them severely during that time. I have also seen wisdom in others determined to not ever be that vulnerable financially again.

Paul gives Timothy some excellent instruction regarding wealth management. I’m trying to look at my money different than I ever have before. Check this out…

17 Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be arrogant or to set their hope on the uncertainty of wealth, but on God, who richly provides us with all things to enjoy. 18 Instruct them to do what is good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and willing to share, 19 storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of what is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19 CSB)

According to research done by Forbes magazine, the poor in America live better than 95 percent of the world’s population. (June 1, 2013) I believe that with our wealth, comes responsibility.  I think it’s critical to bring our money management under the authority of The Lord. Check this out…

But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:9-10 CSB)

Money is not evil. Money is a medium – it does the work of people in possession of it. I can use it to evil or I can use it to do good. I would be wise to grow in my management of money. It’s way too easy to spend and harder to earn and keep.  Becoming aware of my money management skills (or lack thereof) is critical to handling it wisely and with a godly spirit. I do enjoy having extra money. I feel blessed to have learned some valuable lessons during the recession that I plan on implementing into my life for the rest of my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Poor

poor  gypsy go beggingI believe “poor” to be a relative term. There are those in our community that I would consider poor and it’s not because they don’t have money – it’s because they haven’t surrendered to the Lord. They are still trying to do life on their terms instead of His. I also believe that financially speaking, poor is a bit relative.  There are some people appear wealthy – who choose to drive expensive cars, live in very large homes – they look the part, but they are in debt up to their eyeballs. I call those people “fake rich” because they are owned by someone else or something else. There are some people who try to impress and “out do” people that they don’t know or even like.  I have seen poor people. I’ve been to Nicaragua – I’ve served the homeless. Many of these people have very little in financial terms, but they are full of joy anyway. They don’t necessarily know any other way to be right now.

I have been “broke” and I’ve had money saved and I must admit that I’m happier and more joyful with money in the bank. I’ve decided that I don’t want to forget what it’s like to struggle financially. I don’t ever want to forget that the Lord was with me during the struggle. He is also with me during times of plenty and blessing. He wants to be Lord of my life no matter what my financial situation is.

King David warned wealthy people whom he could identify with – because he was King and he was wealthy. He trusted the Lord even though he was successful. Check this out…

1 The fool says in his heart,

    ‘There is no God.’

They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;

    there is no one who does good.

4 Do all these evildoers know nothing?

They devour my people as though eating bread;

    they never call on the Lord.

5 But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,

    for God is present in the company of the righteous.

6 You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor,

    but the Lord is their refuge. (Psalm 14:1,4-6 NIV)

I’d rather be poor and have the Lord as my leader and my confidant than to be wealthy and estranged from Him. I’ve been both and I like building wealth much better. When I’m compared to people who live at or below the “poverty level”, I’m wealthy. When I’m compared to a billionaire, I’m poor. With the Lord in my heart and in charge of my life I can be focused and filled with joy in either circumstance. This life is not all about how much I can acquire before I die – this life is about honoring God with all I am and all I have. The enemy is attracted to wealth – so I want to be cautious when I prosper.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Prosperity

Hand giving moneyWhen I think of this word, I often think of wealth along with it. I imagine financial success for sure. I enjoy learning from people who are prosperous and successful. I think I learned a lot of lessons about prosperity during the “great recession”. It’s a bit comical when I hear economist say the time frame of 2007-2009 and for me it felt like 2007-2011! :-) In my line of work and in my local economic area, it took a while to pull out of that tailspin that we were in.

I came across this word prosperity in the book of Job this morning. One of his “friends”, Eliphaz is chastising him and has some advice to give Job in the midst of his suffering. Eliphaz is a speaking directly into Job and calling him out on some situations of his past. I don’t know if he is embellishing them, or if they are factual. He gets to this one spot in his lecture and it made me think a bit more. Check this out…

21 ‘Submit to God and be at peace with him;

    in this way prosperity will come to you.

22 Accept instruction from his mouth

    and lay up his words in your heart. (Job 22:21-22 NIV)

I’ve heard pastors teach a “prosperity gospel” and I have strong convictions about that. I don’t believe if I follow the Lord fully, I’ll become wealthy in financial terms. I do believe that the Lord has blessed my business because I’ve asked Him to. I also want to honor Him and His call upon my business. I also think prosperity can be more than financial. I think prosperity can mean blessing and contentment. I’ve seen people who are prosperous who are completely miserable. I’ve seen prosperous people try to buy their health. I’ve seen prosperous people whose family is estranged because their values were more about prosperity than peace. Prosperity is not a bad word, but I think it’s a misunderstood word. I believe prosperity means balance in blessing as well as giving. I feel prosperous when I give. I also think giving can bring much peace.

This passage in Job is really wise counsel for me today.

I want to be at peace with God – personal terms with Him.

I want to accept instruction from Him – simple obedience.

I want to lay up His words inside my heart – build my convictions.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Riches, Wealth & Generosity

 

Hand giving moneyI actually enjoy being around people with money. It’s not that I’m jealous or envious (at times I must confess I struggle with that), but because they act different. When people have money they are treated like they are more special than people without money. While I enjoy being around people of wealth, I’ve learned that they have some of the same feelings and fears that I have. I have also learned that when I travel around the world even at my income level, I’m quite wealthy compared to some. There will always be a lot of people way wealthier than me and there will also always be people who have less than I have.

I see wealth and riches as way to glorify the Lord. I love being generous. I enjoy giving even more when it’s secretive and quiet. Those are times when the Lord is most pleased with me.

King Solomon was “filthy rich” – he was known for his wealth and his wisdom -that’s a pretty good combination. The Lord had richly blessed him. He built the temple, which took 7 years, and then he built his castle, which took 13 years. He was in construction for 20 years! He continued to amass great wealth even as he spent great wealth. He also finished what he started with the temple. Check this out…

51 When all the work King Solomon had done for the temple of the Lord was finished, he brought in the things his father David had dedicated—the silver and gold and the furnishings—and he placed them in the treasuries of the Lord’s temple. (1 Kings 7:51 NIV)

I’m actually waking up this morning in the lake home of a wealthy individual who is incredibly generous with what the Lord has blessed him and his family. I do believe that it is difficult for wealthy people to trust in the Lord instead of their money. The recession that we all lived through taught us that wealth could be fleeting. I want to earn more and more money, but I want to be careful that I follow the Lord fully and have a generous spirit as I continue to grow my wealth.

Another major thought about people who manage well and accumulate wealth is that they can live a life of significance and influence. They can dig a well in a community in Africa or Nicaragua and give clean water to a whole community of people. They can provide for a homeless family to get a fresh start. We are never more like God than when we give. He gave His Son. He came to us. God is proactively generous, loving and kind. Wealthy people who can immolate that are blessed beyond compare.

Pressing On!

Dwayne