Fig­ur­ing out Your Fi­nances: Part 2

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trap, or you’re al­ready en­trapped.

1. Liv­ing on Credit

If you de­pend on credit to main­tain your life­style you’re spend­ing too much. Proverbs 3:27-28 “Don’t with­hold re­pay­ment of your debts.” In other words, if you have cash to pay it now, pay it now.

There are a cou­ple of prob­lems with liv­ing on credit: It shows a lack of con­tent­ment in your life. And it is a pre­sump­tion on the fu­ture. You say, “I can al­ways pay it off to­mor­row.” How do you think so? You might be dis­abled. You might have a ma­jor ac­ci­dent. Proverbs 27:1 “Boast not of to­mor­row, for you don’t know what to­mor­row will bring.”

2. De­lay­ing Pay­ments or Pay­ing the Min­i­mum

That’s a tell­tale sign you’re in the debt trap. The Bi­ble says in Ro­mans 13:8, "Let no debt re­main out­stand­ing.”

3. Un­able to Tithe or Save

Malachi 3:8 says, “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob Me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob You?’ In tithes and of­fer­ings.” If I’m not tithing, I’m rob­bing God. How do you ex­pect Him to bless your fi­nances if you’re rob­bing Him?

The Bi­ble tells us, “The wise man saves for the fu­ture, but the fool­ish man spends what­ever he gets.” If you’re not sav­ing any money, if you’re not tithing, you need a rad­i­cal over­haul of how your bud­get is be­ing built.

4. Un­able to Pay Taxes

The Bi­ble says in Matthew 22:21, “Give to Cae­sar what is Cae­sar’s and to God what is God’s.” If you can’t pay your taxes, you are in the debt trap.

5. Ex­trav­a­gant Spend­ing

Proverbs 21:17 says, “In­dulging in lux­u­ries, wine, and food will never make you wealthy.” To­day we have an en­tire lux­ury mar­ket that tar­gets peo­ple with cat­a­logues. I read this Christ­mas about a $200 nose-hair re­mover! Folks! I could show you a much cheaper way to do that.

6. Look­ing for Get Rich Quick Ideas

The Bi­ble says run from get rich quick schemes. It says it over and over again. Proverbs 21:5 says, “Steady plod­ding brings pros­per­ity; hasty spec­u­la­tion brings poverty.”

Peo­ple of­ten get in debt be­cause they live in a fan­tasy world. They’re al­ways dream­ing of some big strike to­mor­row. Some peo­ple are al­ways wait­ing to win the Lotto. You are more likely to be hit by a me­teor than to win the lot­tery. And don’t get me started on the stu­pid­ity of gam­bling! The Bi­ble says: Don’t do it! Don’t go to Lost Wages for your va­ca­tion.

Ec­cle­si­astes 5:7 “Dream­ing in­stead of do­ing is fool­ish­ness.” I’ve talked with many peo­ple, as a pas­tor, whose fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion, when you look at it on a piece of pa­per, it did look hu­manly im­pos­si­ble. You’d think, “There’s no way they’re go­ing to get out of debt.” But there is a way out. If you fol­low God’s fi­nan­cial plan:

Com­mit to be­com­ing debt free to­day—not to­mor­row, not next week, not next month— com­mit to be­ing debt now. Psalm 37:21 says, “The wicked bor­row and do not re­pay.” I know you’re think­ing, “But I’m in so much debt, why don’t I just file for bank­ruptcy and start over. It’s le­gal.” Yes it is le­gal but it’s not moral. There are many things that a Chris­tian, a be­liever, a fol­lower of Christ, some­one who’s se­ri­ously try­ing to live with in­tegrity, shouldn’t do.

Start pay­ing god and my­self first—I get that pay­check and the first ten per­cent goes back to God and the sec­ond ten goes to my sav­ings ac­count. Where did your abil­ity to make wealth come from? God and your­self. Yet these are the last two en­ti­ties we of­ten pay. You say, “I can’t af­ford to tithe, I can’t af­ford to save.” You can’t af­ford not to. If you want God’s bless­ing, you have to do it God’s way.

List all I owe and all I own—Proverbs 24:3 says, “By wis­dom a house is built, and through un­der­stand­ing it is es­tab­lished.” You need to know where your money is com­ing from, and how much it is, and you need to know where it’s all go­ing. Proverbs 18:13 (Liv­ing Bi­ble) says, “It’s stupid to de­cide be­fore know­ing the facts.” You’ve got to get the facts on your fi­nan­cial setup.

Have a sale—if God told you to give some­thing away or to sell some­thing and you say, “I could never do that.” There’s a word for that item. It’s an idol. The Bi­ble says in Ezekiel 20:7, “Get rid of ev­ery idol.” Some of you have idol­ized your house. You’ve idol­ized your car. The Bi­ble says

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