Robert Morris on Living in God’s Economy: 3 Keys to Financial Freedom

Rober Morris Headshot

Today’s guest post is by Robert Morris, the founding and senior pastor of Gateway Church—a multicampus church with more than 26,000 members. His weekly television show, The Blessed Life, is broadcast to 90 million US homes, and he’s also the bestselling author of The Blessed Life: The Simple Secret of Achieving Guaranteed Financial Results. Discover how to trade in selfishness for generosity, and get the secrets to living a truly blessed life: download The Blessed Life on Vyrso today!  

As a nation, we’re going through some pretty tough economic times. But I want to remind you of a simple yet profound truth right up front—God is bigger than the economy. He will always provide for his children. Psalm 46:1–2 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea.”

When living in uncertain economic times it’s difficult to have hope, but here are three principles guaranteed to help you develop the proper perspective and walk in financial freedom.

1. Put God first

The Bible says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce;” (Proverbs 3:9). Do you honor God with the firstfruits of your finances?

You can claim God has first place in your life—but by observing where your money goes, I can tell you who really has first place in your life. Maybe it’s the mortgage company, the electric company, or even Visa, MasterCard, and American Express!

When God is first, he blesses the rest. This principle is seen throughout the Bible. The first check I write every month is the tithe check. Not the second check, third, or eighth—the first. I want to give God the first part of all my increase, not the last part.

Please understand me. This isn’t law; it’s love! This is expressing love and gratitude and honor to the God who has given us everything.

2. Learn to wait

When Egypt experienced a season of great abundance, Joseph made the Egyptians store up, store up, and store up. Maybe some of the people said, “We’ve got enough grain stored up by now! Why can’t we just use some of this grain, instead of storing it up?” Joseph most likely replied, “No, you don’t understand. If you don’t store it up now, you’re not going to have it later when you need it.”

When it comes to wealth, the Bible teaches us to wait, be faithful, and be good stewards (see Proverbs 28:20). Sometimes people try to get rich quickly because they aren’t willing to live as they should financially. They want to have what they want and have it now!

Before you make a purchase, look at your budget and ask God if this is his will at the moment. In an “instant gratification” society, it’s all too easy to fall into the pattern of buying whatever we want at the moment without being patient or seeking God’s counsel about it.

3. Live below your means

This principle is very important. Truly living below your means dictates that you use less than 70 percent of your income. So, if you tithe 10 percent, put 10 percent in savings, put 10 percent in retirement or other investments, and give something in offerings above your tithes, you’re going to be living on 60 to 70 percent of your income at the highest level.

When my oldest son was away at college, his accelerated academic schedule made working a part-time job unfeasible. So I provided nearly all of his support. Before he went off to school, we sat down and drew up a budget for him based on a set amount I’d send him each month. I was pleased to discover he was doing a great job living below his means. He was being a good steward.

So, as a loving father, I rewarded him! I increased the amount of money I sent him each month. A few months later, he called me and mentioned moving into a new apartment could lower the costs even more. We checked into his idea, and helped him move into the less expensive apartment. Shortly thereafter, he called and shared his costs were indeed lower and he needed less money. But I kept sending him the same amount. He had been a good steward, and I wanted to reward him.

Why don’t we expect God to be as gracious and responsive as I was to my own son? Why are we so surprised to learn that God rewards and blesses us for being good stewards and living below our means?

Where are you investing?

It’s good to save, make investments, and be a good steward financially. But I wonder how many people have an ERA—an Eternal Retirement Account.

Although we’re going through tough economic times, each of us has the unique opportunity to place our trust in our Father who owns it all, knowing that he can provide for all of our needs. I urge you today: be a good steward, give generously, and continue to make eternal investments into God’s kingdom.

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Get more powerful financial and spiritual tips from bestselling author, Robert Morris: download The Blessed Life: The Simple Secret of Achieving Guaranteed Financial Results today!

 

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The Most Important (and Surprising) Aspect of Your Finances: An Interview with Mary Hunt

Mary HuntMary Hunt is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 books—selling over one million copies in total. Hunt is also the founder and publisher of Debt-Proof Living, a popular organization that helps people all over the world get their finances in order. Today only, get four of Hunt’s books for 70% off with Mary Hunt’s Financially Savvy Woman Bundle—part of Vyrso’s Money Makeover.

1. There are so many facets to a person’s budget—savings, tithing, budget shopping, etc. Is one more important than the others? Why?

Giving is number one. That’s because it’s the antidote for greed, which is the killer of all budgets. Greed is so rampant and so deadly; giving releases God’s supernatural intervention in your finances. If people would only truly believe that God means what he says.

2. What are the biggest issues you see with Christians’ views of money?

That God rewards his children in whom he finds pleasure with great wealth and multimillion-dollar homes and luxury automobiles. I don’t believe that God wants us to be rich. But he wants to pour out blessings on us so large we can’t hold them all; but these blessings aren’t for us to keep, they’re to give to others. If I have enough money to build a ten-million dollar mansion, should I do it? I don’t think so. I believe the Bible teaches that God will supply our needs and the desires of our hearts when we delight in him, and he wants us to be good and faithful stewards. He is looking for money managers he can trust to be distribution points of his riches. God blesses us to bless others.

3. You once pulled yourself out of six-figure debt—how did you find the motivation to stick with a new financial plan?

I really didn’t have the option to not stick with it. We didn’t have any credit and received notice that our home was going into foreclosure. That’s how far out of control my life had become. So I couldn’t rely on credit. I’d really come to the end of the road. Sticking to it was a matter of survival—the only choice I had. The big surprise for me was that my new commitment to giving and saving quieted two things I’d always struggled with: greed and fear. Giving was the antidote for greed; saving quelled the fear. Repaying the debt brought a new kind of satisfaction that was lasting, not the passing euphoria I’d get when wildly spending. It was amazing. The more we paid back, the more determined I became to keep going and pay more and more until those balances all reached $0.

4. The average American has over $15,000 in credit-card debt. What’s the first step someone should take to get out of debt?

Stop adding to it. Remove the temptation. That means hand off all of your credit cards to a trusted friend. Next, you have to face it. The who, what, when, and where of every single debt. Look them squarely in the face. No more denial. Know what you owe. I guess that’s more than one step . . .

5. A lot of children are being raised by parents who’ve made major financial mistakes—what’s the best way to teach our children how to effectively manage their money when we haven’t set good examples for them?

First, get rid of the idea that if you haven’t been perfect with money, you’ve lost your right to teach your children. That would be like saying if you ever got in trouble as a teen, you’ve given up your right to become a good parent. You don’t have any obligation to reveal the entirety of your financial past (or present) to your children. Teach them! Start now. Teaching teaches the teacher. They’ll keep you on your toes for sure. Allowing your children to make their own financial decisions, while still under the safety net of your home and parental authority, is the only way I know of to teach them to become financially responsible adults.

6. What can Christians do to change their attitudes toward money to help prepare for a healthier financial future?

First, pray for wisdom. Be willing to be a good and faithful steward. Every day is a test in trust. God is testing you to see if he can trust you. Will you hold tightly what he gives you to manage? Or will you pass the test with open hands, wisely taking care of your needs and then giving to others. The more you give, the more God will give you to manage, knowing he can trust you. You simply cannot out-give God.

7. Seventy-seven percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck—how can someone with so little money start saving?

Start with $5. And make it the very first $5 right off the top. You will not miss it if you put it away in a safe place that’s out of reach. Just keep doing it. Then increase it to $10. You’ll find so many places where money has been leaking out of your life to make up for what you are saving. Money in the bank changes everything, and it can start with just five bucks. It changes your attitude.

8. What does a well-rounded financial future look like?

Regular giving and saving. No unsecured debt. A healthy emergency fund so you can fund your own emergencies instead of relying on credit. Anticipating irregular expenses like property taxes and car repairs by planning ahead and saving up for what you know is coming in the future. Living an understated lifestyle, caring for others. An absence of greed and fear. Preparing for the future but not hoarding and not living in fear.

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Start getting your finances in order today! Learn from bestselling author and highly sought-after motivational speaker Mary Hunt with today’s Money Makeover bundle: Mary Hunt’s Financially Savvy Woman Bundle. Get 70% off four of Hunt’s books:

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  • Raising Financially Confident Kids

Get all four books for just $18.99!

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4 Keys to Being a Generous Steward

Money

The American dollar bill says “In God We Trust.” But when it comes to our money, do we really?

Stewardship is one of the most easily misunderstood biblical practices—especially when it comes to finances. To some people, the title of steward is merely an obligation to guard God’s money against everything and everyone that might reduce its value, or prevent it from being used for something greater. So our grip tightens. And so does its grip on us.

Here are four ways to be better stewards:

1. Invest in people

Say you lost your job, or you totaled your car, or your house was broken into, or a family member was hospitalized, and then a friend or a local church rallied behind you and gave you some money. Is that poor stewardship on their part, because they didn’t multiply the money God gave them? Not at all. And do you attribute their generosity to the innate goodness of humanity, to their personal character, or to the living God who dwells within them—the same God who gave you everything else you have? Regardless of where the money comes from, the root of all generosity is a God who provides abundantly and asks us to share that same generosity with others, which means that being generous is an integral part of good stewardship. God owns every “talent” everywhere. He just lets us hold on to some for a while.

2. Trust God with the things he gives you

Recently, I was at a class where, ironically, an accountant told us about the dangers of allowing a realtor or a bank tell you the best way to finance a new home. Each financial advisor has an angle—they want you to choose the strategy that benefits them, too. The weight of deciding how to use our money is ultimately on us, and it’s easy to feel like there’s no one we can trust—even a pastor or a church could have a vested interest in the way we use the money God has given us. But God knows every person, every billboard, every pamphlet or textbook or article or blog post you’ll ever be exposed to. And he has still entrusted you with the things you have. So listen. Pray. Read his Word. And trust his Spirit to give you discernment.

3. Having money isn’t about making money

Too often, how we use our money revolves around creating wealth, making more money, or, dare I say it, glorifying money. But having money isn’t about making more money. If we take our call to stewardship seriously, the purpose of accumulating more wealth would be to glorify God more with it, right? But does more money equal more God-glorifying potential? Luke 21:1–4 has something to say about that. What God can do with your life isn’t limited by how much money you have.

4. Remember you were made for more

Living generously isn’t easy. It takes hard work to create generous habits, and it wages a constant war against our human nature to see the money in our hands, wallets, and bank accounts not as gods that provide for us, but as God’s provision for us. Scripture challenges us to live radically different lives from the ones culture designs for us. We were made for more than this world. But sometimes it takes a little help to understand what that really means.

Here are four books that challenge our culture-based understanding of money and help you envision what generosity can look like in your life:

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What Christians Are Doing Wrong with Money: An Interview with Dani Johnson

Spirit driven success

Today’s interview is with Dani Johnson, an internationally renowned financial expert who’s been interviewed by Oprah, Good Morning America, and Forbes. In just two short years, she went from a homeless cocktail waitress to a millionaire, and since then, she’s traveled the world equipping people with proven and easy-to-follow strategies for financial success. Download Johnson’s powerful books, including Spirit Driven Success and Grooming the Next Generation for Success, on Vyrso today!

1. Americans work more than anyone in the industrialized world. We take less vacation, work longer days, and retire later. Yet the average American has over $225,000 in debt and less than $500 in savings—what are we doing wrong?

Everything! We’re working too much, and we’re working hard instead of smart. I used to be like all of those people until I had a heart attack at age 24 and a nervous breakdown at age 25. I was so consumed by this culture’s definition of success, I worked as though I were a slave to my business and a slave to money. I had to learn the biblical skills that took me from 100 hours a week down to 20, and I tripled my income. Since then, I’ve trained hundreds of thousands to do the same. We cannot work, live, act, walk, and talk like the majority of Americans, otherwise we’ll be just like them! You have to learn a new way of living, thinking, and doing everything in life.

That’s why it’s so important to learn the skills on our website and in our books and training materials. They get results. We’ve taken hundreds of thousands of Americans, just like the ones you mentioned, who are now debt free, making more money, having more fun, enjoying their lives, enjoying their spouses, and enjoying their kids. They will never go back to the way they used to live, just as I will never go back to the way I used to live.

2. What’s the biblical definition of financial success, or is there such a thing?

There are 2,500 verses in the Bible that talk about money. There are 220 that talk about salvation. I think God has a LOT to say about money, but most people only know the few negative Scriptures. They don’t know about the thousands of very pointed and positive verses concerning money, the very specific ways God tells us exactly how to make money, and how to create wealth.

Financial success is not being owned by money, being controlled by it, worrying about it, fretting about it, and being anxious about it. If you chase money, it runs from you. If you work with excellence and diligence, and you prosper where you’re planted, it comes to you. If you increase your skill, according to the Bible, skill brings success. If you increase your skill, then you make more money. It comes to you when you don’t chase it. The Bible says diligent hands produce wealth. It also says lazy hands will go hungry. Most people do not bring excellence, diligence, and higher skill sets into the marketplace, which is why they end up trapped in poverty.

There are principles about money you must learn if you don’t want to be broke, average, and mediocre. They are God’s principles. There are billionaires on this planet who use God’s principles, but they don’t walk with him. Wouldn’t it be great if all believers knew those principles? Imagine the orphans we could all feed together! Imagine how many of the elderly and the sick and the widows we could help! Imagine how we could spread the gospel even further if we understood those principles!

3. What’s the number-one obstacle Christians face when trying to achieve financial success?

Excuses. Excuses are a result of ignorance. Most Christians believe in a “lottery god” or a “poverty god,” which has been preached from the pulpit for hundreds of years. The poverty god says it’s wrong to make money, and if you want to be meek, then you have to be poor. That is not scriptural. Meekness is a condition of the heart, not a condition of the bank account. The lottery god is the most newfangled god everyone seems to be following. That is the “All you have to do is pray, and the money’s going to fall out of the heavens” god. This produces laziness, and it violates all of God’s financial principles.

The lottery god and the poverty god both end up stuck in poverty. If you follow the one true God’s biblical financial principles, you will succeed. But ignorance produces excuses, and excuses will keep you broke.

4. Many kids who grow up poor and abused end up raising their children in the same environment. How were you able to break this cycle and forge your own path?

I refused to be like my parents. Initially, because of my resentment and bitterness toward the way I was raised, I made the vow, like most people do, that I would never be like my parents and would not raise my children in the way I was raised. Initially, that was my motivation. But then the Lord made it clear that this was not enough, that I needed to fully forgive my parents for the way they raised me and the things they allowed me to see. And I needed to forgive myself for becoming like them. I had to learn new skills because I was trained to fail emotionally, relationally, socially, physically, financially, and spiritually. I was trained to fail in every area of my life because of the example my parents set and the training they demonstrated.

Business taught me if you want to succeed in something, you’ve got to learn new skills and strategies from people who are succeeding in those arenas. So I studied the Bible and people, and I applied what I learned. Therefore, I am not in the same place where I started. You can learn the same strategies and skills I learned, and you can change your finances, relationships, and improve every area of your life by using the same time-tested biblical strategies.

5. In just two years, you went from a homeless cocktail waitress to a millionaire—how did you achieve something so amazing in such a short time?

A year and a half before I was homeless, I invested in some business training, which I put to work by starting a business that began out of the trunk of my car and a payphone booth. Even though my first business had failed and resulted in homelessness, I got very serious about helping my clients reach their goals. I focused on giving the best possible service I could, and that resulted in great success. I also developed new strategies and methods which led to my clients referring others to me daily, and helped them succeed in their businesses, careers, and finances.

6. You’ve said that everyone is born with talents and abilities—what’s the best way to discover what those are and capitalize on them?

Quit focusing on and coveting other people’s talents and abilities. Everyone wants someone else’s strengths, but wanting someone else’s strength isn’t going to give it to you. When we covet other people’s talents, we’re saying “God, you made a mistake when you made me.” In reality, he formed you in your mother’s womb, and he put talent in you for your purpose and for your life. But most people, with all of their insecurities, just don’t want what they have; they want what somebody else has. This keeps them from being all they were wired to be.

I used to be that way. I started with nothing. I couldn’t read, I was terrible with people, I didn’t have any friends, and I was the “least likely” to succeed. And then I stopped focusing on what I didn’t have, and became grateful for what I did have. And bam! Never in a million years did I think I’d be a nationally syndicated TV and radio host, in business for 25 years, and a bestselling author. I did this just by using simple strategies a third grader could use. God knows what he made you for. As soon as you embrace it, you’re going to love it! You’re going to shine and excel, and your life will shock you.

7. Starting today, what’s one change a person could make to start achieving financial success?

Take the money you would normally be spending in foolish places and start attacking your debt, or invest that money into things that will make you money instead of buying things that will keep you stuck, broke, and in debt. You can learn new skills and strategies that will help you make more money than you ever thought possible and help you get promoted in your profession. One thing you can do today is go to DaniJohnson.com and start taking advantage of all the materials we have available for you. Become a student, and you will get results.

8. You have a personal mission to donate a million dollars every month to provide food and shelter to children around the world—what inspired this mission, and how can everyday people help?

When I was homeless, no one helped me and I’ve realized why: I had never helped anyone. But God completely transformed my heart. He put a passion in me to not only help others succeed financially and personally in their families, but that we, together as an army, take a portion of everything we make to help provide for kids in our country and abroad who are abused, don’t have food, don’t have the ability to get to school, and would stay stuck in another generation of great poverty if we didn’t intervene.

So I would love for you to let me help you succeed financially, and then you and I will take $1 out of every $10 we make, and transform villages of homeless kids. Let’s transform the lives of orphans, and help them find a “forever family,” and help them to grow up with an education, go to college and be able to then turn around and help their families and other orphans. You can do this by going to KingsRansom.org or calling 888-291-7123.

The Bible says if we ignore the cry of the poor, when we cry we will also be ignored. You want to make sure that when you cry, he hears you. So answer the cry of the poor right now.

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Discover the keys to financial success: download Johnson’s transformative books today! Get Spirit Driven Success for just $9.59 and Grooming the Next Generation for Success for $10.19.

 

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Get a 3-Book Bundle for Just $4.50 (Including a John Piper Title!)

Rethinking Retirement

As part of Vyrso’s Money Makeover, we’re offering a three-book bundle today for just $4.50! With the Biblical Promises Bundle, you’ll get a powerful collection of God’s promises throughout all of Scripture, a biblical look at what the modern church member should look like, and John Piper’s popular book Rethinking Retirement. Get 70% off the Biblical Promises Bundle today!

You’ll get:

1. Rethinking Retirement: Finishing Life for the Glory of Christ by John Piper

John Piper is one of the most well-respected theologians of our time. In this book, he challenges fellow baby boomers to forego the American dream of retirement and live out their golden years with a greater purpose. According to Piper, this book is for readers who long to finish better than they started, persevere for the right reasons (and without fear), experience true security, value what lies beyond their cravings, and live dangerously for the one who gave his life in his prime.

2. What Is a Healthy Church Member by Thabiti M. Anyabwile

In this 9Marks book, Thabiti Anyabwile answers the question: “What does a healthy church member look like in the light of Scripture?” Praised by D. A. Carson, Albert Mohler, R. C. Sproul, and others, this book captures what the local church experience should be like. According to Anyabwile, the church should be a home more profoundly wonderful and meaningful than any other place on earth. It’s a place of spiritual growth, where each member contributes to the church’s overall growth and health. Learn more about the modern church member with this powerful book!

3. The Bible’s Promises for Life by Crossway

This book is entirely comprised of God’s promises; it pulls sections from the ESV and organizes them by topic. With a click, jump to powerful and applicable passages about anxiety, discipleship, worship, and more. This book is easy to navigate and offers wisdom on some of life’s most troublesome and prevalent issues.

Today only: get all three books for just $4.50 with the Biblical Promises Bundle! But hurry—this deal expires tomorrow, March 14, at 10:59 a.m. (EST).

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Before You Say “I Do”: Establish Healthy Finances in Your Marriage (69% Off!)

Before you say I do devotional

Today’s Money Makeover bundle offers powerful advice for any couple. Featuring books from bestselling authors Stormie Omartian and H. Norman Wright, the Healthy Finances In Your Marriage Bundle will help you build a strong spiritual and financial foundation in your relationship. With this bundle, you’ll learn to clarify roles and expectations in your marriage, establish a budget that works, and draw closer to God and each other. Get four books for only $13.99!

Today only, get 69% off the Healthy Finances in Your Marriage Bundle.               

You’ll get:

  • Before You Say “I Do” Devotional by H. Norman Wright
  • Before You Say “I Do” by H. Norman Wright
  • After You Say “I Do” Devotional by H. Norman Wright
  • The Power of Prayer to Change Your Marriage by Stormie Omartian

Wright—a licensed marriage, family, and child therapist—has been counseling families and couples for decades, and has written more than 70 books. Here’s a sneak peek at his bestselling Before You Say “I Do” Devotional:

Money lifestyle

“What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” —Mark 8:36

Most of us have never thought about, let alone developed, a “money lifestyle” in marriage. We all have four choices regarding that lifestyle. Some choices have better consequences than others.

Living above your means—that’s easy. Anyone can do it. We look rich to other people. We accumulate as much as we want in goods . . . and pay more than we should in high interest rates. We indulge our insecurities with material goods. The problem is, it’s never enough. It takes more . . . and more . . . and more. Question: how does this lifestyle glorify God?

Living at your means is a better choice, but still not a good one. It comes in one hand and goes out the other at the same rate. At least there’s not much debt. But there are no savings, either. The focus is still on gathering rather than on planning for the future. Things occupy our thoughts. The problem is there’s not much room left for God. Question: how does this lifestyle glorify God?

Living within your means follows the scriptural teaching of being a good steward of what God has entrusted to you. The couple who lives within their means thinks about today and the future. But more than that, they look at how their money can be used for the kingdom of God. Tithing is a part of this couple’s life, even when they can’t afford it. Question: how does this lifestyle glorify God?

Living below your means is not a typical choice. It requires unusual self-discipline and a deliberate choice not to move up. The gift of giving rather than acquiring is this couple’s joy. They simply use only what’s necessary.

Which of these four styles describes your life? And is it by choice?

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Read more of the Before You Say “I Do” Devotional with the Healthy Finances in Your Marriage Bundle. Today only, get four powerful books by H. Norman Wright and Stormie Omartian for just $13.99!

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3 Ways to Avoid Fighting about Money

All about the benjaminsWhat’s the number-one thing couples fight about? Money. In fact, a recent study found that couples who fight about money once a week are 30% more likely to get divorced. So if you’re having nightly battles with your spouse over the grocery bill, or you’re nervous your fiancé spends too much money dining out, it’s time to address these concerns before they get worse—because they will.

Here are three ways you can avoid fighting with your spouse about money:

1. Don’t blame the other person

More than anything else, my parents (before getting divorced) fought about money. But it was never a “you spent too much on this” or “I wish I made more money” battle; instead, every fight grew out of a general sense of despair and stress that stemmed from not knowing how to pay the rent or buy the kids new soccer cleats. When one of them came home to another bill in the mail, and then realized their daughter forgot to empty the dishwasher, they lashed out. Not because there weren’t any clean forks, but because they were so stressed about that bill. This has to stop—it hurts your children and your spouse.

If you’re worried about money, stop blaming the people around you. Fix it. If you can feel your blood start to boil, stop and take a moment to consider why you’re really angry. Take a deep breath and pray for patience and peace (2 Timothy 2:23–26). Above all else, if you’re stressed about money, take comfort in your spouse. They’re your best friend, so confide in them. And for goodness’ sake, ask for a hug (it sounds simple, but I swear it works).

2. Be honest about your spending

This doesn’t just mean you admit to your husband that your new purse cost more than the phone bill—it means you’re honest with yourself. I get that you think you deserve a mini vacation with your income-tax return, and I totally understand that since you did a good job at work that you deserve a new TV—and feeling this way is totally natural, but it’s not smart (Proverbs 21:20). If you have an “I work hard, so I deserve material goods” attitude, you need to admit it to yourself and your spouse so you can fix it (Deuteronomy 8:17–18). Likewise, if you’re hardly putting any money in savings because you’re spending extra money on grande mochas, you need to admit to yourself and your spouse that you’re a bad saver. After all, “The first step is admitting you have a problem . . .” Before you can fix your finances, you need to be honest about what you’re doing wrong.

3. Figure out your financial roles and responsibilities

Is your husband a better saver than you? Is your wife better at planning and budgeting? Whatever your skill set, use it to your advantage. Then, figure out a budget that you’re both contributing to. That doesn’t mean you need to battle over who’s the bread winner—it means if your wife stays home with the kids, she finds ways to cut expenses, like affordable meals and thrift-store baby clothes. If the wife gets a bonus from work, the husband encourages her to put it in savings. Support each other and map out a budget that helps you cut frivolous spending and save for the future.

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To learn more about establishing a healthy relationship and healthy finances, I highly suggest these helpful resources by bestselling authors H. Norman Wright and Stormie Omartian:

 

Sources:

  • The New York Times, “Money Fights Predict Divorce Rates,” December 7, 2009
  • American Institute of CPAs “AICPA Survey: Finances Causing Rifts for American Couples,” May 4, 2012

 

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Does Anyone Fit In at Church? What We Might Be Doing Wrong.

Keith Robinson

Today’s guest post is by Keith Robinson, first-time author of You Found Me: God’s Relentless Pursuit to Find You. By the time Robinson was 17, his record included a DUI, possession of narcotics, and intent to sell drugs. After a life-changing visit with a stranger, Robinson went from an at-risk youth to someone consumed by spreading the good news that rescued him from a life of sin. Robinson is a charismatic speaker, founder and president of Emerge, Inc., and the lead pastor at Bethel Church in Evansville, Indiana.

Growing up, I didn’t belong to a church. I can honestly say I never really saw myself ever belonging in any “church.” From my experience, church was boring and a waste of a Sunday morning. Most of my friends in high school were forced to go with their parents and I found the whole routine to be superficial at best.

All of that changed for me when I was 17. I was invited to attend a church by a woman who’d visited my house to pray for me while I was on house arrest. When you’ve been on house arrest for several weeks, even going to church sounds fun. It’s also not that hard to get permission from your probation officer to leave your house and attend a church service.

God took that opportunity to reveal himself to me that day. He found me. He’d been looking for me for some time apparently. In fact, he was relentless in his pursuit of me. I was just too busy running. From that day forward, I learned to experience the power of God in the context of community. Today, I couldn’t imagine not belonging to a local church.

The shocking truth about “church”

Because there are so many confusing ideas in our generation about what “church” is, I believe we should reclaim the meaning and purpose of the “Church” (capital “C”).

One of the most shocking things I learned early on was discovering that the Church was not a building. You may think of the “Church” in that way, but steeples, crosses, pews, and parking lots full of cars with little fish on the back are not the real essence of the “Church.” I also thought most, if not all, churchgoing people were hypocrites. Admittedly, many are, but I determined years ago to not let the hypocrisy of some ruin the beauty of the God who found me.

The apostle Paul used the Greek word ekklesia for the word “church,” which means “called-out assembly” because of the word kaleo (to call) with the prefix ek (out). In those early days, Christians would meet often, eating together, praying together, and talking about how to live according to God’s pattern and plan. That small group grew one by one until eventually they had such a tremendous influence in their culture that the changes they envisioned became a reality in the world around them. Church was truly transformative!

Sadly, many students and young adults have a difficult time making connections in today’s churches. “Church” in America, it seems, has become a lot about “don’t do this,” “make sure you say that,” or “be sure to wear this.” Church was never meant to be based on where we’re from, what we do or say, or how we’re dressed. Belonging in the “Church” is based on what Christ has already done for us and who he’s created us to be.

Why community matters

When I started going to church, I certainly didn’t look the part. My very appearance said outcast. But my church said welcome. I had a much easier time believing in myself when surrounded by people who kept telling me how important I was to God, and to them.

Over a decade ago, I joined this network of “called-out ones.” In a world full of put-downs and stereotypes, I have chosen to believe that God desires to bring every person into a healthy expression of community: the “Church.”  Everywhere I go now, I’m compelled to perpetuate this message. The Church of Jesus is the agent of hope in our world because it’s a tangible expression of his heart.

The need for belonging is a universal one. Sadly, we often search for belonging in the arms of those who will never fill that void. Our endless pursuit of acceptance by others often leaves us feeling even lonelier.  God wants to fill that longing for belonging. He finds us, often when we least expect it. Then he does something even more extraordinary and scandalous. He calls us family! He doesn’t rescue us and simply abandon us. Instead, he calls us sons and daughters! Soon we discover that here, we belong among his people.

The longing of your heart to belong somewhere can be filled the moment you join the chorus of the “called out ones.”  Let us help you find your song again!

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However lost you may feel, know that God is pursuing you. Discover Robinson’s powerful story from tragedy to redemption, and learn how to let yourself be found: get You Found Me: God’s Relentless Pursuit to Find You for just $8.44!

 

This blog post’s content was adapted from You Found Me: God’s Relentless Pursuit to Find You with permission by Regal Books (Gospel Light).

 

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Why Dads Matter: 3 Books Every Dad Should Have

Success

Growing up, I was blessed to have an earthly dad who modeled my heavenly father’s love for me. He supported me in everything I did—even when the choices I made weren’t the same as the choices he wanted me to make (like deciding to do wrestling in high school, even though he’d invested years of his life and hundreds of dollars into making his son a basketball player).

But more than just supporting and loving me, my dad was a model of the man I hoped I would become. After serving as a worship leader and for a year as a missionary in refugee camps in Indonesia, my dad became a dedicated sound technician at our church. He’s been with the same church for over 40 years, remaining committed to his spiritual family through shifts in leadership, direction, and the volume of the worship (he now keeps a cup full of earplugs for the elderly).

The role model a Christian kid needed

I’d like to think that without my dad’s incredible model of service to God and the people around him, Jesus still would have called me into youth ministry—but I never would have been prepared for the level of devotion it takes to lead a team of youth leaders and live out a relational ministry to the adolescents in my community.

Without his model of financial responsibility, I would still be drowning in the debt of my student loans like many of my peers. My dad modeled financial responsibility with careful budgeting, intelligent saving, and a passionate work ethic. As a high-school teacher, he has never been wealthy, but as a father, he has always been rich in love and wisdom, and the way he spends the time and money he has reflects that. Even as an adult, I still turn to his knowledge and experience when making tough financial choices.

Today, less and less kids have a father they can look up to. And it’s a self-perpetuating cycle. According to James Merritt, 43% of American kids live in a home without their biological father. Statistically, kids who grow up in homes without their father are three times as likely to drop out of school, more likely to run away from home, at greater risk to harm themselves emotionally and physically, and more likely to get divorced if they get married.

The gritty reality of fatherlessness is a powerful call to fathers everywhere. Kids need the best from us, or it will be that much harder for them to offer their own kids their best in the future. The choices you make today as a father can affect your family—positively or negatively—for generations to come.

Here are three incredible resources for dads:

1. Success over Stress: 12 Ways to Take Back Your Life by H. Norman Wright

One of the greatest enemies of a good dad is stress. It can take any number of forms and can seep into all areas of your life—emotionally, physically, and spiritually. In Success over Stress, H. Norman Wright unmasks the many faces of stress and provides fathers with the tools to both combat it and choose to live a life defined by success, not stress.

2. What God Wants Every Dad to Know by James Merritt

James Merritt dives into the broken world of the fatherless, emerging with an empowering call to every father. After examining the weight of fatherhood, and the importance of being a good dad, Merritt lightens the load with keys to being a spiritually and financially disciplined father.

3. Quiet Times for Every Parent by H. Norman Wright

As a family therapist, H. Norman Wright knows the strength it takes to be a well-rounded parent. In Quiet Times for Every Parent, he provides hundreds of prayers to encourage, inspire, and challenge parents as they learn to be more resourceful.

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Today Only: Get 70% Off the True Prosperity Bundle!

Money Won't Make You Rich

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Establish true prosperity and financial freedom. Get a comprehensive guide to achieving financial success—God’s way. Apply the seven steps to achieving lifelong financial stability, and discover the true meaning of prosperity. This bundle is packed with advice from church leaders who truly understand how to apply biblical principles to your finances and your life.

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Money Won’t Make You Rich: God’s Principles for True Wealth, Prosperity, and Success by Sunday Adelaja

Pastor Sunday Adelaja is an expert in helping people achieve financial success—God’s way. He’s helped more than 200 people become millionaires by teaching them how to apply godly principles to their finances. Discover the true meaning of prosperity, the four principles of continuous success, how to avoid financial failure, and more.

Using Sense to Make Dollars: Godly Principles That Lead to Financial Freedom by Isaiah and Gloria Williams

In this insightful book, Bishop Isaiah S. Williams Jr. offers biblical wisdom to help you succeed both financially and in every other facet of your life. His godly advice on financial success and independence, as well as innovation and creativity, provide the tools you need to enjoy financial freedom. Regardless of where you’re at financially, Using Sense to Make Dollars will challenge you to manage your finances wisely and experience the abundant life God has promised his followers.

Response-Able: What My Father Taught Me about Life and Making a Difference by Matthew Hagee

Young pastor Matt Hagee has received a rich legacy of biblical wisdom from his father, bestselling author John Hagee. In this powerful book, Matt Hagee shares the most significant wisdom imparted to him in five key areas: society, finances, personal life, education, and politics. Matt Hagee breaks each of these down and offers seven steps to lasting change. Start transforming your life—and the world around you—today.

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