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Finding Financial Freedom PART 1

Finding Financial Freedom.  PART 1
Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them. Psalm 62:10

“A father gave his little girl two dollars and said, “You can do anything you want with one of the dollars, but the other dollar belongs to God.” With joy she ran to the candy store. On the way she tripped and one dollar fell into the storm drain. She got up and said, “Well Lord, there goes Your dollar.” -Min127
Last time, we learned in 1 Peter about our inheritance and tremendous wealth we have in Jesus. Sadly, we can be so focused what we do not have (by way of material things) that we lose sight of how the Lord has blessed us.
Others are not good stewards of what God has entrusted. I would like to bring a message today to help you go beyond “scratching out” a living and living “pay check to pay check.”
These Bible principles when faithfully followed will change your financial situation and enable you to use your earthly money for heavenly good.

Making more money is not the issue…
“A very large number (78%) of former NFL players are broke or financially stressed after retirement, and 60% of former NBA players go broke five years after retiring, according to Sports Illustrated.”

They go on to say: “Broke athletes are practically an epidemic.”  The following data is quoted from: http://www.businesspundit.com/25-rich-athletes-who-went-broke/26/

Evander Holyfield
4-time Heavyweight Champion of the World

Estimated lifetime earnings: $250 million
He had a deal with Diet Coke, a video game, the “Real deal” record label, the “Real Deal” grill, and appeared in numerous TV appearances and 3 films. Then, there was the dancing thing. One wonders how Holyfied had time to lose money. The answer: Children. Holyfield fathered 11 of them.
“I’m not broke; I’m just not liquid,” 45-year-old Holyfield claimed when he narrowly avoided charges that he was around $9,000 behind in court-ordered child support payments. The banks foreclosed on his $10 million-dollar home. Even a landscaping firm says the former champ owes them $500k for yard work. Ever since Tyson bit his ear off, it seems everyone wants a piece of the Champ.

 

Johnny Unitas
Hall of Fame quarterback, 3-time MVP, Superbowl champion, 10-time Pro Bowl selection

Estimated lifetime earnings: $4 million

Widely considered one the best pro football QBs of all time, Johnny Unitas set several records that may never be beaten on the football field, like 47 games with a touchdown pass in a row.
He starred in professional football before salaries were measured in millions. His yearly contracts ranged from $7,000, his first in 1956 with the Colts, to $250,000 plus a $175,000 bonus in his last one with the San Diego Chargers in 1973.
After his playing days, he made some money as a TV commentator for CBS. He also invested in tanked business ventures, including a chain of bowling establishments, a prime-rib restaurant, an air-freight company, and Florida real estate investment. He and his wife, Sandra Unitas, filed for personal bankruptcy protection in 1991 after investing in a failed Reisterstown circuit-board manufacturer. He died 11 years later with a lawsuit from his estate hanging over all of his businesses.

Scottie Pippen
All Star, 6 NBA championships

Estimated lifetime earnings: $120 Million
Pippen unsuccessfully sued his former law firm for losing $27 million of his money through poor investments. (He had earned about $110 million in salary alone over a 17-year career.) In February 2007—around the same time as Pippen’s failed NBA comeback attempt—the Missouri Court of Appeals upheld a ruling that the player owed U.S. Bank more than $5 million in principal, interest and attorneys’ fees from a dispute regarding a Grumman Gulfstream II corporate jet that he had purchased in 2001.

Latrell Spreewell
Four-time NBA All Star; last played for the Timberwolves

Estimated lifetime earnings: $50 million
This 13-year NBA veteran turned down the Timberwolves’ $21 million offer to extend his contract for three years because the sum was too low. A mere three years later, federal agents repossessed Sprewell’s yacht, on which he still owed $1.3 million. That was just the beginning. In early 2008, Sprewell defaulted on a $1.5 million mortgage, lost his home to foreclosure, stopped paying his motorsports’ company’s bills, and then defaulted on another home loan, this one worth $10 million.

Michael Vick
#1 overall pick NFL Draft, 3x Pro Bowl QB for the Atlanta Falcons

Estimated lifetime earnings: More than $130 million

Mike Tyson
Undisputed heavyweight boxing champion of the world, youngest man to ever win the WBC, WBA and IBF Heavyweight Titles. First man to win 12 of his first 19 fights in the first round by KO.

Estimated lifetime earnings: $300-400 million
At one point, Tyson was worth less that $700 dollars. But his situation has improved. He appears to be doing well in recovery for drug and alcohol problems.

(Data quoted from: http://www.businesspundit.com/25-rich-athletes-who-went-broke/26/)

Financial discipline is needed, no matter how much money you make.

Come back next week for the next article…

 

 

 

 

 

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“Prayer” in Psalms

“Prayer” in the Book of Psalms

31 times in the Book of Psalms is the word “Prayer” found.  That is enough times to read a new verse about “prayer” every day for a month! Sometimes it is found in the chapter heading.  At other times it is in the text of the psalm.  As you read through these words of Scripture today – take time to pray.  Let’s seek the God of the Bible in a personal way and bring the requests and desires of our hearts to Him.  The needs of this hour are great – and we have a great God Who can hear our calling to Him in prayer.

Blessings to you in these moments of prayer…

  • Psalm 4:1  <<To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm of David.>> Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.
  • 5:3 My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.
  • 6:9 The LORD hath heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer.
  • 17:1  <<A Prayer of David.>> Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips.
  • 35:13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.
  • 39:12 Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.
  • 42:8 Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.
  • 54:2 Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.
  • 55:1  <<To the chief Musician on Neginoth, Maschil, A Psalm of David.>> Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication.
  • 61:1  <<To the chief Musician upon Neginah, A Psalm of David.>> Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.
  • 64:1  <<To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.>> Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy.
  • 65:2 O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.
  • 66:19 But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.
  • 66:20 Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.
  • 69:13  But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.
  • 72:15 And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba: prayer also shall be made for him continually; and daily shall he be praised.
  • 80:4 O LORD God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people?
  • 84:8  O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah.
  • 86:1  <<A Prayer of David.>> Bow down thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy.
  • 86:6 Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications.
  • 88:2 Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry;
  • 88:13 But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee.
  • 90:1  <<A Prayer of Moses the man of God.>> Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
  • 102:1 <<A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the LORD.>> Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee.
  • 102:17 He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.
  • 109:4 For my love they are my adversaries: but I give myself unto prayer.
  • 109:7 When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin.
  • 141:2 Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
  • 141:5  Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities.
  • 142:1 <<Maschil of David; A Prayer when he was in the cave.>> I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication.
  • 143:1  <<A Psalm of David.>> Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness.

Selah…

 

 

 

 

 

Developing Character at Christmas

Developing Character at Christmas

“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11

In a day of extreme excess and people forgetting the true meaning of Christmas, Christian people must purpose in their mind and be deliberate in their actions to accurately portray Christmas to the family and to others.

The American Research Group reports: “Shoppers around the country say they are planning to spend an average of $929 for gifts this holiday season, up from $882 last year according to the 32d annual survey on holiday spending from the American Research Group, Inc. Planned gift spending for 2016 is $47 above spending in 2015 and it is the first time planned gift spending exceeds $900 since 2006.”

Black Friday, and Cyber Monday were again record breaking days in the number of sales and dollars transacted.

I like the choir song: “Much to do no time to do it, I can’t get it all done at Christmastime…”

With our schedules and minds being pulled in so many different directions, sometimes we forget the real purpose and meaning of Christmas!

Here are some ideas to help build character in yourself and your family members.

Emphasize Giving, Not Getting.  In Acts 20:35 Jesus said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

  • Encourage kids to give outgrown cloths.
  • Encourage the family to give unused toys (Even the tools and toys the men may have).
  • Exemplify giving to others in more need. Find someone to give food or essential items. Give things that you enjoy that others may enjoy them too.
  • Enjoy sharing a meal with others.
  • No matter our age, occupation, or financial status, each of us are in a position where we can give something to someone else.

Encourage Moderation, Not Excess.  Philippians 4:5 declares: “Let your moderation be known unto all men.”

Moderation means appropriate and mild.  When the wise men celebrated Jesus, they did so with three meaningful gifts:  “gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”

The gold was worthy of a King, the frankincense demonstrating His purity, and the myrrh represented His purpose for coming, to die on the cross.  Most of the time a few quality gifts mean more.

Joseph was able to take baby Jesus to Egypt and escape the murderous plot of King Herod to kill all the baby boys age 2 and under.  Joseph left his job and had the ability to move because of these meaningful gifts.

With our children we have purpose behind each gift.  We give…

  • An item they were hoping for. An item that would be on a “Wish list.”
  • An item they share with others in watching or listening to. An old TV show or movie that does not take away but contributes to godly character.
  • An item they can play with others. A board game, basketball, or even a video game would work here.

Cloths are a necessity so we do not include them as an item.  Three gifts are all we plan for.  Be purposeful with your gifts.  You may have some priorities that are like the above suggestions.  Whatever you do – have a purpose of some kind behind each one.  Be generous – with purpose and meaning.

Enable Simplicity, Not Busyness.

The church at Ephesus in Revelation chapter 2 “left their first love.”  How can that happen?  Because of the excess, commercials, and lustful society we live in – it is easy to get caught up with material things and business too.

Proverbs 4:23 instructs: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”  In order to keep safe our heart – we must have a greater purpose and plan.

Sometimes we are so busy we do get anything done.  Many of us do not accomplish anything that is worthwhile even though they have stress, work, and all the other symptoms of being productive.

SELAH – Stop and Think – is a needed practice at Christmas time.  Here are some suggestions to help you not be so busy that you forget what Christmas is really all about.

  • Read the Christmas Story in Matthew 2 and Luke 2.
  • Go to and participate in special church programs, but lesson your overall commitments of time and energy to things that have less than spiritual purposes.
  • Turn off the tv during the days off school. Our kids should not sit in front of a tv from 8 am to 3 pm.
  • Tune up beautiful Christmas Music. There are many wonderful Christian radio websites that will encourage you.  Please see the other postings for their addresses.
  • Go Christmas Caroling.
  • If you do watch a Christmas Movie, do so together as a family.

Be Purposeful – to Develop Character at Christmas.  Since Jesus Himself is the gift of Christmas, the things we do and give should reflect Him.  After all – It is His birthday we are supposed to be celebrating.