News with Heaven's Views Help in a Downward Financial Spiral
Adapted from an article by Howard Dayton
We live in a world dominated by debt. The vast majority of Americans [and people of many other nations] have no recollection of a time when home mortgages, automobile loans, school loans, and credit cards did not exist.
The pitch is: "Easy monthly payments!" Yes, but "easy" for whom?
Most symptoms of financial problems that families face today--business failures, foreclosures, bankruptcies, and out-of-control debt--can be traced to the central problem of ignoring God's financial principles as recorded in His Word.
When somebody's ignoring God's biblical financial principles, often the problem has been learned from parents who also had the same problem. Without a doubt, a lack of financial discipline in parents is reflected and amplified in the lives of their children.
In an 1865 address before the British House of Commons, Benjamin Disraeli said, "What we do and allow in moderation, our children will allow and do in excess."
What better words could describe the primary cause of the downward financial spiral of many families--and nations--today?
But there is hope, because God's financial principles and instructions aren't complicated or hard to understand. In fact, He designed them to be easily understood and His intention is to free His people from financial burdens, not bind them with an unattainable set of rules.
God's principles have increasingly been ignored by those who have adopted get-rich-quick mentalities using easily obtainable credit to purchase "what I want, when I want it." And children have learned to buy on credit from their parents' example. Now, we're reaping the burden of overwhelming excessive debt.
Financial problems can be devastating, so it makes good sense for families to practice prevention rather than recuperation. You may feel it's too late to practice prevention, but it's not. In fact, the only way to correct a downward financial spiral is to institute basic preventive measures in order to counterbalance unbiblical financial practices and to prevent further financial problems. Here are four steps.
1. The first is obvious--stop spending money that you don't have to buy things on credit that you may not be able to pay back if there's a financial downturn.
2. Start saving. "There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up" (Proverbs 21:20). Today, spending and borrowing are promoted, and saving is discouraged. But God's principles encourage saving for future needs and purchases, rather than borrowing or using credit.
3. Avoid hasty decisions and ignore pitches such as "buy now, before it's too late." "The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want" (Proverbs 21:5). Patience and consistency, rather than quick decisions and looking for instant success, are the ways to financial security. Discipline yourself to work and save to reach a goal.
4. Develop and live by a budget. "For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it--lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him" (Luke 14:28-29). Learn to develop and live on a balanced budget--a monthly spending plan. If you don't, chances are that the cycle of debt will continue and could easily worsen. Those mounting monthly payments probably aren't quite as "easy" to make as they are alleged to be.
If Christian families would live by sound biblical financial principles, they would be lights to show others the way to financial freedom--that is, not being "slaves" to their creditors.
(Jesus:) Financial pressure affects everyone in the world but My people have a way out of it. If they trust in Me and dedicate their lives to My cause of loving and caring for others, then their financial pressure becomes My financial pressure. And as with any burden that is cast on Me, I will sustain those who have cast it. It doesn't necessarily mean that they will have instant deliverance, but from the moment they turn to Me I go to work. It might take a while to come out of the tunnel, but they will immediately see the light that is at the end of it. The journey to that light will also be one worth the time and effort as I will bring them through every difficulty, and they will come out the better for it. Adversity is a hard teacher, but with Me as the counselor it also works together for good and can prove a very useful course for the student.
The author did miss one very important step in his four steps. The first step to get out of financial difficulty is to start to give. "There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself" (Proverbs 11:24-25). That might sound like a very contradictory idea to achieving financial solvency, but the illogical with man is often the logical with Me. "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8-9). That is unless we are thinking the same thoughts when you are tuned in to Me.
Even if it sounds crazy to give when you are tight financially, nevertheless it is My truth that giving brings on blessings. The old saying that "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35), is true in many ways, and the giver getting blessed by Me is a more sure law than the law of gravity. It is more likely that you would go floating away from the Earth than it is that you wouldn't be blessed by giving.
My work is the first place to give to. After that, give what you can to others in need. "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again" (Luke 6:38). "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it" (Malachi 3:10).