Category Archives: Debt-free

It’s Honorable

One beautiful morning, I observed Bob, a veteran city worker, driving a gigantic, triple-deck, Toro lawn mower. His mission was to mow a small “island” of grass, edged with curbs and many obstacles. If he made one mistake, he’d either damage the city’s mower, one of the obstacles, or possibly injure himself.

If a mower could ballet dance, this one did. It gracefully flowed—grooming every inch, decks raising and lowering while whirling and twirling around obstacles. Bob was a master with an incredible show.

Chris is a sanitation worker. He “flies” along the streets of Leavenworth perched on a small platform that is just big enough for his feet. Before the truck stops, he launches from his perch grabbing bags of trash from the side of the street. In one smooth movement, he flings them into the gaping, hungry mouth of the trash truck.

Fifty years old and working like a fit twenty-year-old, Chris runs, grabs, throws, runs, grabs, throws, and then once again jumps onto the side of the truck. When I complimented him the Saturday morning he manned the brush dump where I was taking a load, he smiled wide and said, “Ya know. That day you saw me, I threw twenty-four ton.” What a guy!

No matter what you do to provide for your family, give it your all. There isn’t a shortage of jobs, just hardworking people.

I’m not aware of Chris or Bob knowing the Lord Jesus, but this verse would apply greatly to each follower of Christ. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17).

Steve

Courageous Love Required

It takes courage to be a good leader and be obedient to the Lord. The Lord’s instructions to Saul were very clear, “Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass” (1 Samuel 15:3). It would have been extremely difficult to carry out this command, but the Lord was clear.

Yet Saul disobeyed and blamed his disobedience on those he was called to lead. “And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.” (1 Samuel 15:24). Notice a halfhearted confession with no real repentance.

Saul gave a great excuse to say he feared the people  – God didn’t buy it. “And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry” (1 Samuel 15:22-23a).

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). God’s command to fathers is equally clear. Ya think?

Steve

Popular Recipe For Disaster

A sure plan for a high consumption, debt-financed lifestyle is to fill your spare time with as much fun and pleasurable activities as possible. “He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich” (Proverbs 21:17).

Hmm, on second thought, Scripture has a better plan. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).
Steve

A Matter of Trust

Have you noticed how easy it is to see flaws in others and not recognize them in ourselves? When tempted to distrust your wife, have you considered whether you are worthy of her trust? “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?” (Matthew 7:3-4)

What is your wife’s confidence level in you: 

  • To put the needs of the family above your personal wants and desires?
  • That if you say you will do something, you will do it?
  • To keep your end of “any agreements?”
  • To be careful with family resources?
  • That you own the responsibility of discipling your children in the Lord Jesus Christ?
  • To value your time as priceless or do you waste it on empty pursuits?

May we each have the mindset that trust is earned–not deserved.

Steve

What Means More

Everything in life is a trade. You exchange something you have for something you want. Your time is the primary currency you begin with. Then you earn income and exchange that for things.

Now consider what will you exchange to bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, to disciple them in the grace and love of the Lord Jesus Christ, to give them a love for the Lord and disdain the world? I believe the correct mindset for that trade is EVERYTHING. May we not hold anything back when it comes to our children. What does that mean practically?

It could mean:

  • Dad takes a lower paying job so he has more time to work with and disciple his children.
  • The family moves across town, or across the state, or across the country.
  • The family drives farther to a church because it is likeminded.
  • Dad gives up expensive hobbies to have more time and money for the family.
  • Dad structures his day so that he has personal and family Bible time every day.
  • Dad sees how negative entertainment is and chooses simple family pleasures.
  • Ultimately Dad gives up his rights in exchange for the good of his family.

What a heartbreak to observe families losing children where Dad is unwilling to count the cost and give everything he holds dear for the good of his family.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

Steve

Who Says You Can’t?

A mom shared with us the following:

——-

My husband and I started on the book, Buying a House Debt-Free, during the kids’ nap time, and we are ALREADY filled with fresh vision. Without vision, we’ve been feeling like we’re perishing (Proverbs 29:18).

Houses in our city average $1.5 million, so we won’t be buying a single-family home here any time soon (although I do believe that God could chose to do a miracle, if He wanted). We feel God led us to our condo where we put 50% down, and with rapid market appreciation and paying down extra, we’re now up to 75% paid off in 3 years. We didn’t want to get into debt, but the property was about 50% of what other, comparable places were selling for and our monthly expenses worked out to be only $70 more than renting. It has enabled us to continue to be generous givers (if you want to give like a rich person, you’ve got to develop the heart to give when you’re not rich), and for me to stay home with the kids. We are keen to owe no one anything except love, so that we can truly be obedient to every one of God’s commandments. Pray for us to obey His EVERY word.

Let’s build each other up in faith.

——-

I find this testimony exciting. This couple has a “can-do” attitude, they were creative in figuring out a housing solution since single-family homes were too high, and are working quickly to pay off debt.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Proverbs 29:18).

Steve

Paying Ahead or Behind – Vocational Success

Seems like everyone has heard someone bemoaning their school debt. US News reports that the average college grad has more than $35,000 in school loans. That is a lot of money. Young families often struggle greatly under such a burden, and it puts tremendous pressure on a fledgling marriage. What if both husband and wife have loans? Trying to pay behind for “success” might be the greatest obstacle to their being able to attain it.

Now, picture raising your children with the mindset of paying in advance for success. They learn to make the most of their youth years. From twelve on up, they use their time preparing to be skilled adults while making a reasonable income in exchange for their time. This does not mean that they don’t have fun. They just find beneficial ways of having it. Instead of video games, they thrive on the enjoyment that comes from learning. Instead of hanging out with friends, they work out with siblings or dad or mom, which build strength and family relationships.

Soon they will seek the endorphins adult-type achievement brings as opposed to skateboards and amusement park rides. All choices involve a trade. Will they trade up or trade down for the value of their time? Likely, those trades will have great bearing on the value of their future vocational time. What their time is worth to others will directly correlate with how much time they will have available for their future family and serving the Lord.

Pay for success in advance.

“The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want” (Proverbs 21:5).

Time

God created time. Time used wisely coupled with God’s gracious provision, enables our children to be content in Christ. It is the universal bank account that puts everyone on the same level. We each have twenty-four hours a day to draw from and invest. At the end of the day, week, month, year, lifetime: what will we have to show for it?

It’s a trade, the most basic of all transactions. Read about successful people and men devoted to the Lord. I dare you to find one that squandered his time. When I was young, I traded my go-cart for a ball glove to a teenage neighbor. I mistakenly thought, “The go cart won’t run, so what good is it?” I didn’t value my go-cart as I should have, and I made a bad trade. Today, it seems, so many squander their time away on poor trades.

Some say that self-discipline/will power is the greatest predictor of individual success, even beyond intelligence. I certainly agree. However, in addition, I have to wonder if the driving force behind self-discipline might be how much a person values his time on earth. Possibly for Christians, the next step up is our level of desire to please our Lord in all things. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17).

Will we teach our children to value their time? Productively using one’s time is vitally important in having the funds needed for life. That is foundational in being content in Christ and that is a powerful motivator for self-discipline. Learning to spend their time productively will provide dividends that those who spend their time on entertainment will not receive.

Follow-on thought for Dads.
We often receive e-mails from frustrated, struggling moms who are drowning in desperation. They know that their children are suffering from lack of a productive home and will have lifelong consequences as a result. They want to believe managing their lives is possible. Of those who purchase Managers of Their Homes, we know that some number will still needlessly struggle to be successful. The book is capable of helping them as it has tens of thousands of moms, but what is missing is their husband’s support. Many husbands don’t value time, a peaceful, productive home, and their family pays the price.

An example is bedtime/wakeup time (BTWT). We often hear how a husband likes to stay up watching the news or movies and won’t go to sleep nor get up at a consistent time. We have found over the years that BTWT is the single, biggest predictor of a mom’s success in managing her day. Yet, Dad won’t inconvenience himself to have the discipline to go to bed and get up when he should in order to be an example, leader, and help to his family.

Valuing time is critical to your children’s success. If you aren’t consistent with BTWT, I would encourage you that it is time to begin. Support your wife by being consistent. Your children’s futures are worth it. Don’t you agree?

Steve

“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”
Ephesians 5:16

Out by the Curb

It is extremely important to know how we are to spend our time. Maybe, even more important is to know how we should not spend our time. I encourage you to take a tour of your house and look for “things” that waste time—yours and your family’s. What a blessing of productive time you will give your family if you move whatever time-wasting “things” you discover out to the curb.

Our time is priceless and limited. It takes courage to do the right thing.

“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9).

Life Takes Work

Dads usually work 40 or more hours a week.

Moms with several children often work 60 or more hours a week.

Those who have initiative and work hard will do far better in life than those who love entertainment and recreation.

God put man in the garden and on this earth to work. We do our children no favors if we do not teach them to enjoy work when, in fact, they will spend the majority of their daytime hours throughout their lives working.

Are we great examples of enjoying work, or do we “live for” fun and entertainment? Work is a blessing. If you doubt it, simply ask any immigrant or person who is out of work. 

Jesus Christ was totally focused on the “work” the Father gave Him to do on earth. He gave all of His day to His work. He finished His work and now sits beside the Father so that those who believe on Him might enter the rest of eternal life with Him.

Do we have a mind to work and be about the Lord’s business while He has us on this earth, or do we have a mind to play?  

“But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” (John 5:17)

Steve

Make sure to follow the Debt-Free Series which is just beginning on Titus2 blog.