“Why is God Allowing this to Happen to Me?”

April 8, 2009

As people walk away from homes that are in foreclosure, or are dismissed from jobs that they have enjoyed for years, some may be asking the question, “Why is God allowing this to happen to me?”foreclosure

Some people are at a loss on how they will pay the bills, or put food on the table for their family.Make no mistake about it, when you have no means by which to meet your responsibilities it can add a tremendous amount of stress to your life.

9 years ago, to no fault of my own, I lost a good job that provided well for my family.I was informed about the layoff on Friday and on Sunday my wife informed me that we would be having our 3rd child in a few short months.

As a Christian I took this in stride, knowing that God would provide for us just as He always had.I would find another job and life would continue just as it always had.

3 months later, we were broke and I was still out of a job.I discovered later that when employers found out that I was on layoff and would be returning to my old job at a better salary that they had no interest in me…except for one company.

hog-processingThe local Hog Processing Plant would take nearly anyone who was willing to work.Reluctantly I took the job and began working on the “kill floor” on the maintenance crew.When I first started I wondered how I would ever get past the smell of death in the air, but soon found out that the smell was the least of my worries.

My first day on the job a “jaw pulling machine” got jammed with a hog jaw and it took 3 of us pulling on a pry bar for 10 minutes to unlock the machine.No sooner that we were done with that we had another call to a conveyor belt.

We literally had to run to the conveyor belt (sliding on “who-knows-what” on the floor), where we found that the belt was stuck because hog guts were jamming the line.Since it was my first day on the job I got the honor of crawling on my stomach under the belt where I pulled the innards out of the machine.Luckily it worked.

On breaks I changed bloody saw blades.When machines broke down I did whatever it took to get those machines up and running again.I learned to become a master plunger when blood and guts clogged the pipes.And I did it all for less then half of my former salary.cut-money-in-half

At home bill collectors were calling because we simply couldn’t pay our minimum payments.We struggled by, paid what we could and lived on next to nothing.Thankfully the Lord provided for us through the kindness of others.Around Christmas we received an anonymous envelope in the mail with money, a gift from a brother at our local church no doubt.Family members occasionally would provide groceries.This was very humbling and appreciated all at the same time.

 

Eventually God opened other doors and this time period in my life was over.When we were going through that time, it seemed as if it would never end.It was a painfully tough, pride swallowing time for me and my wife.However I thank God for that time in our life.

It was when we were struggling to make ends meet that we learned some very important lessons about life.We learned the value of a dollar.We learned about the pitfalls of debt.We learned that God does provide exactly what we need exactly when we need it, even if we don’t want it.

I also learned that God is sovereign.It didn’t matter what I wanted, it didn’t matter what I did.God’s will be done.It was His will for me to work at the Hog Processing Plant, and I had to  just bow to the will of the  King.

That brings me back to the question that we started with.“Why is God allowing this to happen to me?”Perhaps we are not asking the right question.

Perhaps the question should be something like this.“Why has God given me, a rotten sinner, anything?”The only thing that we sinners deserve is death, Hell, and destruction.

bible

I am convinced that if I had not lost my job 9 years ago and went to work at the Hog Plant that I would be making the same foolish mistakes today that I made then.I would be spiritually stagnant and my relationship with Christ and my family would be infantile.

Why is God allowing this to happen to you?Who are we to question God?Consider what God says to Job in this passage from Job 38 1-4.

“Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.Where was thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?declare, if thou hast understanding”

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The Biggest Crisis in America

March 10, 2009

There is an economic crisis in America, but it is not our biggest crisis.

The Associated Press today released some numbers from americanreligionsurvey-aris.org

a national survey on religion in America.

Here are some of the numbers.

  • 15% of the respondents said they have no religion. An increase from 14.2% in 2001, and 8.2% in 1990.
  • Northern New England Surpassed the Pacific Northwest as the least religious Region.
  • 34% of Vermont reported that they have no religion
  • The numbers of Americans with no religion rose in every state
  • Mainline Protestants dropped from just over 17% to 12.9% of the population
  • 30% of married couples did not have a religious wedding ceremony
  • 27% said they did not want a religious funeral
  • 12% of Americans believe in a higher power but not the personal God at the core of monotheistic faiths.
  • 1.2% said they were part of new religious movements, including Scientology, Wicca, and Santeria
  • Evangelical or born-again Americans make up 34% of all American adults and 45% of all Christians and Catholics.
  • Muslim Americans grew to 0.6%

Our biggest crisis in America today is a spiritual crisis. Christians have no where to look but into the mirror when looking at these statistics. If we were at lest discipling our own children these numbers would be increasing for Christ.

Until we take seriously the commandments of God, the economic crisis doesn’t really matter.


Sinking Sand

March 9, 2009

As the Financial Tsunami makes landfall it is destroying everything within its path.  It is taking homes, mortgage companies, banks, investment companies, automobile manufactures, small businesses, large businesses, jobs, and anything or anyone else that has built their future on the sinking sands of debt.

wave-hitting-rock

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:  And the rains descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not:  for it was founded upon a rock.  And every one that heareth these saying of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:  And the rains descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: And great was the fall of it.” Mathew 7:24-27

In the area in which I live a large home builder just went out of business.  They cited the current economic environment was too tough for them to survive.  It’s true, the present economic environment is very difficult for home builders or anyone else involved with real estate to survive.  However, just a few short years ago they were making money hand over fist.  Their sales were booming and people were building a lot of homes.  What happened to all of the money that they earned when times were good?

I’ll tell you where it went.  It went to banks in interest payments.

This builder, like many other large builders, operated from a “stay in debt business model”.  It was working from the “microwave worldview” that it must be the biggest builder in the nation, right now!

They used debt to acquire land to be developed into building lots.  They used debt, in the form of a business credit line, to ‘ready’ the land for homes to be built.  They used debt to build spec. homes to be sold.

This type of operation is understandable (although risky) for a new start up business with a limited amount of cash.  However, for many builders and businesses there is no plan to get out of debt, and to operate the business debt free.  When profits are earned they are spent on bonuses, and dividend payments.  Interest paid to the bank is simply another category on the expense side of the ledger.  Sinking Sand.

The travesty of the whole thing is that’s what is taught in most business colleges today.  The students are not taught the pit falls of debt.  Debt is taught as a cost to do business.

It is more then just bad news for this builder and its employees.  There are many people who will suffer the consequences of the builder’s debt.  The towns in which land was acquired is now in questions.  Will this land sit empty with no use for several years?  What about the customers that were in the midst of building a new home; will their home be completed?  What about other companies (landscape companies, roofing companies, etc…) that became yoked with this builder; will they have to go out of business too?

I am not trying to pick on this one company, but I am using them as my example of how most businesses, large and small operate.

Debt kills, it destroys, and it enslaves.

With this in mind, think about these statistics.

  • About 43% of American families spend more than they earn each year.
  • Average households carry some $8,000 in credit card debt.
  • Personal bankruptcies have doubled in the past decade.
  • Consumers owe nearly $2 trillion. (not including mortgage debt)  That’s $18,654 per household

The current national debt is $10,964,973,383,260, and growing.  (Just in case you need to know that’s nearly $11 Trillion!)  It continues to grow at an average pace of $3.71 Billion per day.


At every level of our society (Government, Businesses, Households) debt continues to grow.  It there any wonder why

Thailand Tsunami Destruction

Thailand Tsunami Destruction

we are facing judgment?  We ignore the warning from God about debt and then we pray for blessings.

Make no mistake about it, the Financial Tsunami has made landfall, and only God knows how far it will go.  When it finally does recede we will then begin to see the destruction that it has brought forth upon our land and upon the world.  What an opportunity for the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


The Global Financial Summit

November 15, 2008

This is a Ron Paul video on the G20 Summit that is presently taking place.  He does an excellent job of articulating the direction that our country is likely to go.


The Family is Important

November 14, 2008

According to the Bible everyone has a role. Men are to provide for their families and to be the heads of their households. Women are to be the keepers at home so that the word of God is not blasphemed. Children are to be obedient so that they may live long upon the earth. The older men and women are to teach the younger men and women. Everyone has a job, and when it is done correctly not only is their harmony within the family but there is also economic prosperity.

The family is important, but the post-modern society has redefined what the family is and what it looks like. It has redefined the rolls of the family members. It has taken what is beautiful and right and turned it completely upside down. Sadly, the word dysfunctional almost naturally goes in front of most families these days.tidal-wave-2.jpg

This destruction of the Biblical family may be the greatest reason for the Financial Tsunami that is coming. I am working on a series of messages that will outline the roles that we are all suppose to be fulfilling, the benefit of doing things God’s way, and the consequences for ignoring the Bible and doing things our own way.

Please check back as I will post these messages soon.


The Debt Stacking Plan to Financial Freedom

November 3, 2008

If you find yourself in debt and want to free yourself of those bonds, debt stacking may be a strategy that you can use. It is not a quick fix, or a consolidation loan. It is a strategy that will help you to gradually make progress on paying off your debts. If you owe thousands more than you make per year then you can safely assume that it may take years to pay everything off.

Before I get into the plan I want to make it clear that living a debt free life is a lifestyle change for most people. You will actually need to start living the debt free lifestyle before you become debt free. It may be quite the shock to your system, and if you have a family that spends you will also need to get them on board to this change.

OK. The best way for me to explain debt stacking is to show you an example.

You owe the following.

Visa $2,300 Your monthly payment is $50

MasterCard $4,500 Your monthly payment is $75

Sears $5,000 Your Monthly payment is $100

Minivan $12,000 Your monthly payment is $275

Truck $18,000 Your monthly payment is $350

Home Equity $25,000 Your monthly payment is $350

1st Mortgage $80,000 Your monthly payment is $900

Total Debt $144,500 Your total monthly payments are $2,100

The strategy involves paying off the smallest debt first and then taking what was paid on that debt and applying it to the next smallest debt until it is paid off, and on down the line.

STEP #1 Pay off the VISA. It is the smallest debt and will free up an extra $50 per month to apply to the Master Card. If you are able find an extra $100 per month in your budget to apply to this debt. Take on a part time job if you can but it is very important to pay off this first debt as soon as possible. Let’s assume that you do find an extra $100 per month and apply it to the VISA. You can now pay off that VISA in approx.

It will take you approx. 16 months to pay off this debt. Yep that is a long time, but you have made progress. Now you can concentrate paying off the MasterCard, in which you now owe approx. $3500.

STEP #2 You can now pay $225 per month on your MASTERCARD. At this rate you will have the $3500 paid off in approx. in another 16 months. You have now been in this program for 32 months.

STEP #3 Payoff SEARS. You now owe them approx. $2500, but you can start paying $325 per month on that debt. SEARS is paid off in approx. 8 months. You now are free from credit card debt!

STEP #4 Payoff the MINIVAN. By this time you probably only owe about $4,000 on the MINIVAN, and you can now pay $600 per month on this debt, so it will be paid off within 6 months. You have now been in the program for 46 months, and you owe for your truck, home equity, and 1st mortgage.

STEP #5 Payoff the TRUCK. You probably now only owe about $3000 on your truck, and you can now pay $950 per month on this debt so it will be paid in full within 4 months. You have been in the program for 50 months.

STEP #6 Payoff the HOME EQUITY. By this time you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Also by now you can fully understand the imprisonment that debts bring to your life. But thank God you have made the decision to become free.

By this time you will owe approx. $15,000 on your HOME EQUITY and you can now pay $1,300 per month. You will have this debt paid off in approx. 12 months. You have now been in the program for 5 years and have paid off $64,500 in debt! AND you are down to 1 debt.

STEP #7 Payoff the 1ST MORTGAGE! By now you owe approx. $72,500 on your mortgage, and you can pay $2200 per month on this debt. At this rate you will have your 1st mortgage paid off in approx. 50 months. Congratulations you are debt free

You have gone from being buried in debt to debt free in less then 10 years. You didn’t need a consolidation loan, and you didn’t need to file bankruptcy. You just needed a plan, the right attitude and some patience.

You earned your freedom from slavery in less then 10 years!


Living Debt Free

November 2, 2008

Top 10 Ways to Eliminate Debt

1.     Goal Setting. A family without a financial vision will perish financially. You and your spouse should first commit yourself to a goal amount. I would suggest that you make it a minimum of $10,000. $10,000 may sound impossible for you to save up, but let me talk to you about that. To me, $10,000 is a significant amount of money.

Planning to save that much money involves the entire family. When everyone in the family is involved in a goal, everyone works to obtain it. You will be surprised when your teenager is ready to sacrifice Pizza Hut or some other luxury item because he knows that is too expensive for the family. And when you do reach your goal, you entire family bonds closer together, and the father and mother gain respect from the children for establishing a goal and sticking to it.

But don’t forget to reward the family once the goal is obtained. Just don’t spend the money, because this is your emergency fund.

2.     Plan ahead. Your car is running good now, but at some point you will need either to do some car repairs, or buy a different car. You may have an unexpected medical bill. You may have a family vacation that you will need to save for. Don’t rely on the plastic to get you through the unexpected or unusual expenses.

3.     Have a Written Game Plan. It stands to reason that if you are going to set out on a journey that you would take a map. Going from swimming in debt to living debt free is a journey and will probably be a very long journey. I would suggest writing: 1. a mission statement; 2. a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual game plan; 3. a recreation game plan. Review these plans often.

4.     Have Family Business Meetings. I think it would be wise to involve the whole family in this process. Have regular “living debt free” meeting with everyone. Everyone needs to hear progress reports and be given an opportunity to give feedback. Give each member of the family a responsibility. This allows each family member to take ownership of the written plan. This is also an excellent opportunity to teach your children the importance of living debt free. You may even want to give you children assignments to which they can do reports.

5.     Debt Stacking. After you have established your emergency fund, and have firmly committed to living a debt free life, begin paying off your debts one at a time with the smallest one first, all of the way up to the house. This is called debt stacking and I will have an upcoming post all about debt stacking.

6.     Control Your Utility Bills. Now I have gone from trying to help to meddling. My wife wants to turn up the heat, and I want it turned down. So it goes for most married couples. However in all seriousness in regards to eliminating debt, turning off the lights in an empty room and turning down the thermostat by 4 or 5 degrees can mean more money in your pocket each year.

7.     Apply All Income Increases to Your Debts. Apply all raises, surprise money, income from 2nd jobs, garage sale money, eBay money, and anything else that you can think of to your debts. Remember the reality is that you are in bondage, and thus if you want out of slavery it will require some sacrifice.

8.     Get out the Rabbit Ears. This is a taboo subject to most men. The TV is our time to relax, our time to vegetate as it may be. Turning off the cable TV and loosing ESPN is a tough choice for some people, but is one that I can honestly say from experience is not really that bad. In fact I don’t really even miss it any longer. Honest.

9.     Life Insurance. Let’s face the facts. You are going to die, and you may die before you become debt free and establish that nest egg that will allow your family to continue living debt free. It is an investment that you will hopefully loose all of your money on, but can pay dividends to your loved ones should something happen. Also, get enough to not only pay off your debts, but that would allow them to continue on financially without your income.

10.    Don’t get into debt in the first place. This may seem like a silly answer, but it is something that needs to be thought about. Instead of buying that new car, fix your old one. Instead of buying a new car, buy an inexpensive used one. Instead of buying the new pair of Levi’s blue jeans on the JC Penny’s credit card, check out a local thrift shop. If you are really serious about living debt free, you will probably have to change your mind set. Do you want to keep up with the Jones’s or follow the instructions of God’s word?