January 15 – Scripture of the Day

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Remember the saying, “save for a rainy day?”   Well in today’s scripture, we would more accurately say “save for a drought.”

The scripture for today is Genesis 41:34-36 which says: 34 Then Pharaoh should appoint supervisors over the land and let them collect one-fifth of all the crops during the seven good years. 35 Have them gather all the food produced in the good years that are just ahead and bring it to Pharaoh’s storehouses. Store it away, and guard it so there will be food in the cities. 36 That way there will be enough to eat when the seven years of famine come to the land of Egypt. Otherwise this famine will destroy the land.

After being sold into slavery and ending up in Egypt, Joseph found favor with Pharaoh and was not only released from prison, but made governor over the whole of Egypt.

God had told Joseph that there was going to be 7 years of bountiful crops, followed by 7 years of horrible drought. Knowing this, Joseph put a plan into place to save some of the harvest from each of the 7 good years, so there would be food to sustain the people during the 7 year drought.

Saving for a rainy day.

This is wise advice. We all know that unexpected things happen in life; accidents, costly repairs or otherwise.

If we are wise, we will have “saved for a rainy day” and have money put aside to pay for these times.

But astonishingly, even though we all realize these things happen, very few Americans have enough savings to cover these common incidents.

In fact, According to CNN, 76% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, meaning they have little or no savings to fall back on in case of an emergency, such as a job loss.

That’s a recipe for disaster.

Financial expert Dave Ramsey recommends an emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses, just for such emergencies.

That’s wise advice…that we also see in scripture.

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Today’s reading: Genesis 40:1-23; 35:28-29; 41:1-57
Tomorrow’s reading: Genesis 42:1-45:15

January 4 – Scripture of the Day

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The scripture that stood out to me today was Genesis 12:1-3 which says: The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”

Sometimes I look around and see all that I have, and wonder why?

Why me?

What have I done to deserve all these good things? A loving wife; wonderful children.  A good job, a comfortable home, nice cars, the ability to travel and play.

This scripture reminds me.  None of it is about me, I’ve done nothing to “deserve” these things.

Everything I have, everything I am that is good, is meant to bless others.

We are so blessed in America we don’t often even realize it or fully appreciate it. According to the Census Bureau, the average median income in the United States is $53,046.

Compared to the rest of the world, if you make $53,046, you are in the richest ONE QUARTER OF ONE PERCENT of people in the world. Yup, 0.027%.

So, even if you make half of the average income in the US, you are STILL in the TOP TWO PERCENT of people in the world.

We haven’t done anything to deserve this.  Even if you work hard, got a good education, have a good job, you still don’t deserve this.  You may have earned it, in the content of the society and economy in which we live.  But you don’t deserve it.

It is all a blessing from God.

And we are blessed… so we can be a blessing to others.

As Rick Warren says, God doesn’t give us more so we can increase our standard of living… God gives us more so we can increase our standard of GIVING.

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References:
United State Census Bureau
Global Rich List

Today’s reading was: Genesis 11:1-26; 1 Chronicles 1:24-27; Genesis 12:1-20; genesis 13:1-18; Genesis 14:1-24

Tomorrow’s reading is: Genesis 15:1-21; 16:1-16; 17:1-27

Co-Sign A Loan? Uh, No!

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Why do bank’s or other lenders want co-signers?

Because they’re pretty sure they’ll need one!

Banks and other lenders are in the business of making money.  If they lose out too often, the go out of business.  So, when they are concerned about someone who wants a loan for a car or just about anything else, they’ll ask for a co-signer.

What they’re saying is they EXPECT it’s pretty likely the person taking the loan WON’T PAY IT BACK!

And when that happens, the co-signer is on the hook.  It protects the bank; not the person borrowing!

Did you know the Bible actually says it’s STUPID to co-sign or guarantee someone else’s loan?

It does!

Don’t co-sign a loan for anyone, for anything.  It’s “stupid,” “poor judgement” and “poor sense.”

Don’t believe the Bible says that?  Take a look.

For more really, really good advice on staying out of debt, building wealth and being generous, take a look at Dave Ramsey’s website.  It’s got tons of good information.

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Scripture link:  Proverbs 17:18 (Yea, it’s in the Bible!)
Photo credit:  Pixabay.com

Stop Buying Crap You Don’t Need

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Today, Black Friday, is the largest shopping day of the year.  In some ways, its become a bigger “holiday” than Thanksgiving.

People go out insanely early, some even camping out in line for hours, to get shopping bargains.  Stores and malls are crowded.  It’s crazy.

I’ve never been a big Black Friday shopper.  In fact, quite the opposite is how happening.

Exactly a year ago a significant change began taking place in my life.  On vacation in Florida, I began reading about simplicity and minimalism.  I read just about everything I could find, and discovered something my soul had long been searching for, I just didn’t recognize it.

LESS IS MORE.

I have found that all the stuff I had was weighing me down; it was a hinderance; it was visually distracting; and most of the crap I had I didn’t even need or use.

So, over the last year I have simplified, minimized and significantly reduced the number of “things,” the “stuff” I have.

I’ve not just decluttered, but de-owned.

And I’m far better for it.

If you stop and actually LOOK at everything you own, you’ll be shocked.  I was.  It’s staggering the amount of stuff we have.  And most of it you don’t need and don’t use.

I have found much joy and freedom in reducing the amount of stuff I have.  I think you would too.

So, below are some links to the most useful reading I found on simplicity and minimalism.  Take a look, you might be surprised at what you find.

Scripture link: Ecclesiastes 5:10 (Amazing, huh?  Yea, its in the Bible!)
Photo credit:  Pixabay.com

Buy More Stuff?

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That season is upon us.  Yup, THAT season.  And I’m not talking about the Christmas season where Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus.

I’m talking about the Black Friday season.  The go-to-the-mall-and-buy-more-tons-of-crap-we-don’t-need-season.

We live in a culture where we are CONSTANTLY bombarded with advertisements, all meant to convince us to by more stuff.  And it works.  ALL.  THE.  TIME.

And buried in those really clever and often entertaining ads, is the message that if we just buy this particular product, life will be better.  We’ll be happy.

Problem is, it’s been going on our entire lives, and we’re no more happy than we were before we bought most of the crap we already have.

If we are dependent on stuff to make us happy we will continue to be caught in a viscous, never-ending cycle of buying the newest, latest-and-greatest, whatever it is.

It doesn’t work.  It just doesn’t work.

And deep down, when we really think about it, when we critically analyze it, we know its true.

All we have to do is look in our closets, our attics, our basements, our drawers, and our storage units.  There’s all that STUFF and we’re still not happy.

Heck, I bet you even forgot about much of the stuff you already have!

Truth is, stuff can’t ever make us happy.  Because if it did, we’d already be happier than we can imagine.

So if more stuff can’t make us happy, what can?

 

Scripture link:  Ecclesiastes 5:10 (Amazing, huh?  Yea, its in the Bible!)
Photo credit:  Pixabay.com

 

 

Weekend Reads

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One of my favorite blog topics is money.  Here is a really good article on some important items that should be in our budgets.
http://theartofsimple.net/3-items-i-wont-cut-from-my-budget/

For virtually my entire life, Billy Joel has been my favorite rock-n-roll artist.  I’ve seen him dozens of times in concert, all fantastic.  A new biography is out about Billy.  http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/life_and_entertainment/2014/10/30/story-of-rock-singer-survives-twists-turns.html 

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a fan of corvettes.  I like driving them, and my first corvette was a 1991 convertible.  Here’s an interesting article:
http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/news/auto-blog/why-this-one-of-a-kind-corvette-collection-disappeared-for-a-quarter-century-17363026

Are you a good parent?
http://julianfreeman.ca/family/good-parent

Living in American culture, we are used to  a very individualistic, autonomous, freedom laden existence.  That notion, however, is seen differently in the Christian paradigm.  This article is excellent for both believers and non-believers.  It challenges our thinking.

We know that part of our lives will be our death.  This article deals with one of the most basic issues in our lives:  our death.  It talks about 29-year-old Brittany Maynard who has talked about her intent to take her life by means of physician-assisted suicide in Oregon, because of a fast-growing, inoperable, fatal brain tumor.

Many in our culture believe this is our right.  Here is another way to look at “our lives” and what it means for all of us.  It will definitely stretch your thinking, whether you agree or not.  I don’t care if you disagree, just read and think.  http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/we-are-not-our-own-on-god-brittany-maynard-and-physician-assisted-suicide

Money Doesn’t Have to = Stress

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One of the biggest causes of stress in our lives is money.  For those who are married, the single biggest reason for divorce is fights over money.

For all the wonderful things we can do with money, it also can cause us many problems.

According to CNN, 76% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, meaning they have little or no savings to fall back on in case of an emergency, such as a job loss. (1)

Talk about a recipe for stress!

The single best thing we can do to avoid these situations is SPEND LESS than we make.  By doing so, we are able to save for those times when emergencies arise.

And the only way to save for retirement, for college for our children, or for anything else, is to SPEND LESS than we make.  It sounds simple, and it is.  But 76% of Americans don’t.

Want to take some serious stress out of your life?  Put yourself on a path to SPEND LESS than you make.  Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

For some really great resources on money and our lives, I strongly encourage you to visit www.DaveRamsey.com.

Scripture Link:  Proverbs 22:7
Photo credit:  Pixabay.com

(1) http://money.cnn.com/2013/06/24/pf/emergency-savings/