Christians have been asking me, on the radio, at tax appointments in my office, and at social events, "What is happening in the economy and what can we do?" I would like to answer that question for those of you who are wondering. God is in control! This is not a cliche, or a "spiritual" pat statement. It is a peace that God has literally given me regarding these last days. You HAVE to know that God is in control.
What does this mean to you? It means that you can go about living your life and working your work. You may not have all of the answers. But God does. Your responsibility is to continue to go about your business. John 16:33 says "In this world you will have trouble. BUT take heart! I have overcome the world."
Now is the time to totally trust God. Now is the time to operate in stewardship in your finances. And now is the time to use your gifting to fulfill God's calling in your life. Don't look to circumstances and situations in the news and take them to heart... Apply God's Word to every area of your finances and watch his hand move in your finances.
****Here is a key to surviving in today's economy: IF YOU DON'T LET THE ECONOMY AFFECT YOUR GIVING, THE ECONOMY DON'T AFFECT YOUR LIVING!1) How bad, really, is our economy?
- The economy is riding a roller coaster. Many people liken it to the great depression. In my opinion, we are not close to the depression, nor do we want to see those days again. Free enterprise forces are a continuing driving force, pushing to boost the economy. Meanwhile, government intervention is counteracting that by setting us up for hyper inflation.
a) Do you see a time frame for the economy to turn around?
- Yes. However, it all depends on us. Big government is not the answer. A welfare state is not the answer. The answer lies in the American people. We need to take back our country. We need to get back to the American Dream. The money lenders would have us believe that it is 2 cars and 2 car payments, a house and two mortgages. NOT! It is Americans redeveloping a good work ethic. It is Americans living within their means. It is Americans doing for themselves and not waiting for a handout from Big Brother. If we will grab onto the spirit that made this country great, we can turn this thing around in 3 to 5 years.
2) What is going to happen to the money in my retirement account? Should I pull it out? Should I leave it in?
If you're young, what should you do? If you're older (50s) what should you do? Just to let you know, I have lost tens of thousands of dollars on my retirement plan. What am I doing about it? My peace about it is blowing my own mind. I know that Father is in control. That is what really matters to me. From a pragmatic perspective, if your company is matching your investment, you can lose 50% and still break even. If your company doesn't match your contribution and you are in debt, you might want to consider stopping the contribution to pay off debt and pick it back up after the debt is gone.
3) What should be the financial priorities for people in today's economy?
- God (Tithes, Offerings & Alms)
-Eliminate Debt-Save for a rainy day. Don't try to save until you have your debts eliminated.
-Buy things that you will need for the future - Prepare for the coming "famine" by "storing". How do you do that? Joseph!
-The real question is, do we take God at His word or don't we? Learn what He says about your finances.
4) Is it possible to live without debt in our society i.e. mortgages and car loans?
- Absolutely! In 1909 4% of the population had mortgages. Now, 4% don't. I have a client who is 104 and has a mortgage of $180,000. That's very sad. Many clients of mine live without debt. It is not impossible for the average American Christian to live without debt. But it takes work. You need to establish a budget and stick to it. It is sad that many Christians don't apply God's Word to their finances.
- Many of you have credit cards. They tend to distract your finances from paying off your equity debt, like mortgages and car loans. You need to know that credit card companies are not your friends. Their objective is to keep you in debt and continue to make money. Snip before you slip. Perform plastic surgery. Do you know what a credit card is? A bit of plastic......
- People ask, is there a useful purpose for credit cards? Yes! Tracking expenses and frequent flyer miles. But, if you have a balance, STOP!
5) How do you stop living payday to payday?(learn from Joshua-Take the Land)
-It begins with a budget. First, get a handle on your spending. Many people want to bury their problems by spending. STOP! Now is the time to store for your future. Now is the time to spend only for what is a true need. Too many Christians go about their business, saying that God is their source. They spend with reckless abandon. God is not pleased with this action. God is not going to continue to bail you out. God is not mocked!
- How many of you have established a written budget? I can tell you that there are about 7% who have one. The only way to stop living from payday to payday is to spend less than you take home. The only way that you know you are spending less than you are taking home is to record it. How do you know how much you should spend unless you have it written down? Once you write it down, you need to stick to what you have written down. Even if you have a large amount of debt, once you have a budget, you can start eliminating that debt a piece at a time (like an elephant).
- Yesterday's wants have become today's needs. This means that you need to realize and do certain things.
a.) Realize that God WILL provide all of your needs
b.) Evaluate what are need and get rid of the wants
c.) Trust that God will provide all of your nees accoring to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
- Keep in mind that if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you always got. You need to make a decision to change what you're doing starting today!!!!