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How To Overcome Financial Anxiety

 

4120466 - this young man is experience intense stress over a time of economic downturn or other financial hardship.

Do you every get anxious about your financial problems? If so, how do you overcome this anxiety in a healthy, biblical way?

 

Philippians 4:6-7 is one on the first verses I learned when I was 28 and initially introduced to Christ as my savior It had a major influence on my thinking then, and meditating on it again this week had an equally significant impact.

 

It says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7)

 

Let’s unpack this passage together and as we do, I want you to think about some of the things that make you anxious and how this passage might free you from it.

 

It begins with a command: “Be anxious for nothing . . .”  The Lord is clear that regardless of the challenge – health, financial, relational, work or a host of others – we are not to be anxious. Throughout the Bible, we often see issues framed between Our Responsibilities and God’s Responsibilities.

 

Our Part

The next portion of this scripture addresses Our Part, “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

 

It is clear that in every circumstance large or small, by our prayers and supplication with thanksgiving we are to tell the Lord our requests. Some people think that they shouldn’t bring their concerns about money to God because He might be too busy running the universe, but He tells us to bring Him everything.

 

We also should bring our prayers to Him with supplication and thanksgiving. The dictionary defines supplication as, “asking or begging for something humbly or earnestly.” Our heart should be submitted to the Lord as we earnestly make our request.

 

God’s Part.

Slowly read what the does in response. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” God will bring us His peace, which is so amazing that it defies understanding, and it guards our hearts and minds in Christ! Can you imagine anything better to overcome financial anxiety!

 

I want to challenge you to meditate on Philippians 4:6-7 the next time you are feeling anxious. Pray with supplication and thanksgiving, then experience the precious peace of God.

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What is the Economy of God?

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It starts with a dream…
Several years ago, I had a dream in which I was standing at an ATM machine. I was in line for several minutes, only to put my card in and watch as the machine spit out American tens, fives and ones and then nothing!  I wanted to panic as I had anticipated getting twenties and more money. 
Suddenly, I looked to my right and saw another ATM machine with a man clothed in white standing beside it. There was no lineup and I knew I needed to move over to that machine.  As I then stood in front of it, the dream suddenly ended.  I sensed the Lord speaking to me “I want you to step into My economy”.
 
This dream remains with me and has caused me to ponder what exactly does this phrase ‘economy of God’ mean?  While I do continue my quest to understand this term, here are a few of my thoughts so far.
 
Three things I consider when thinking through this term ‘economy’ are: 
1) The dictionary defines ‘economy’ as “careful management of available resources” and includes such concepts as thrift, providence, prudence, careful budgeting, saving, restraint, and frugality; 
2) In the Greek it pertains to “stewardship or administration related to a household”; 
3) Throughout the New Testament we hear Jesus speaking about His Kingdom having come. He often spoke about it within the context of servants being judged for their stewardship of what has been entrusted to them by their master i.e. Luke 16:1-13. 
 
My sense is that God is looking for us to have a far greater perspective in managing our finances than the immediate here and now. He wants us to consider an eternal perspective. I believe He is my King and He rules over a Kingdom as described in His Word.  As a believer in Him, I am a part of this Kingdom. I believe He has asked us to work in partnership with Him in stewarding or administrating this Kingdom as He leads and directs –in this case from a financial perspective.  I have come to realize that all that He has given me belongs to Him – the full 100%. 
So this begs the question – how does He ask me to steward these financial resources?
 
First, our Lord and King makes it clear in Scripture that He is the source of all things, including our finances. He then lays out principles for us in both the Old and New Testament that include such areas as debt, savings, tithes, offering and gifts. We follow these principles in obedience but He also desires us to seek His leading as part of the process. 
We ask Him what would bless and give Him joy in our financial stewardship. This question not only relates to where we tithe and release our offerings and gifts but also includes how we spend and manage our own personal finances in day-to-day living. 
 
In essence, the economy of God is being aware and intentional in how you and I administrate the financial resources He puts at our disposal.  I believe He releases financial creativity within us and blesses us for the healthy functioning of our families and communities.  Included in this process is a joyful and active engagement with Him, a partnering, an asking for direction and guidance, a releasing in obedience, a seeking to bless, and, ultimately, seeing fruit borne and the Kingdom of God extended.  This will have eternal rewards as His Word says.
 
I hope my musings have challenged you to consider whether you have entered into the economy of God
Ray Borg is the National Director of Compass Canada, a worldwide, non-profit, interdenominational ministry that teaches people of all ages how to handle money based on the Bible.
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George Washington Decisions

Who are you going to ask: George or God?

Many people only consult George before making a decision . . . George Washington that is! You know, our first president whose likeness is on every one-dollar bill. People often make their decisions solely based on financial considerations, not what the Lord is saying to them through His Spirit and His word.

Compare how these men responded to Jesus’ invitation to follow him.

  • “Jesus saw two brothers, Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed him” (Matthew 4:18-20, NIV).
  • “Jesus saw a man named Matthew sitting in the tax collector’s booth. ‘Follow Me,’ he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him” (Matthew 9:9, NIV).
  • “Jesus said to him, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven. Then, come, follow me.’ When the young man heard this, he went away sad because he had great wealth” (Matthew 19:20-21, NIV).

Peter, Andrew, and Matthew left their businesses and their only source of income to follow Jesus. On the other hand, the Rich Young Ruler was unwilling to give away everything to follow Christ. He made his decision based on what George (or rather Caesar) was telling him. He was unable to shift his trust from his stuff to the invisible living God to provide. The Bible says that he went away sad. Think about this: This young man had the opportunity to walk with the Son of God and experience a deeper joy and meaningful life than he could even imagine. But he listened to George rather than God.

We should factor finances into our decisions, but ultimately the Lord wants our relationship with him to guide our choices.

This blog is based on the teachings of Dan Schilling, the Compass North American Director.

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Procrastination

Dear Friends,
It was totally predictable. When the economy began to recover from the Great Recession, consumer debt started to go back up, and the rate of saving went down. One of the reasons for this is procrastination. Procrastinators, because of laziness or even fear, have a habit of putting things off they should do now until later.

The Bible has many examples of godly people who were not procrastinators, and one of my favorites is Boaz. Naomi, the mother-in-law of Ruth, made this comment about Ruth’s future husband, Boaz: “Wait, my daughter, until you know how the matter turns out; for the man will not rest until he has settled it today” (Ruth 3:18). Boaz had the reputation of a person who acted promptly. He wasn’t going to rest until he finished the matter that day!

So, if you wrestle with procrastination, ask the Lord to give you the courage of Boaz, remembering Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Then, simply take these three Continue reading Procrastination

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Teens Becoming Rich

Dear Friends,

A recent survey of young teenagers found that 56 % of them believed that they would become rich during their lifetimes. That’s not too surprising, but this is—the three ways they thought they’d become rich.

According to this survey, here are the top three ways teens thought they’d get rich:

First, by becoming a highly paid professional athlete. Second, by winning the lottery.

Third, by cashing in on a large lawsuit!

I couldn’t believe it! A majority of teens believe they will get rich by playing sports or playing the lottery or making someone pay in a lawsuit! They didn’t even consider the possibility of becoming financially well off through hard work and wise spending.

This demonstrates how important it is for parents and grandparents to train children to handle money God’s way. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Well, how do we train children to wisely handle money? We need to become Continue reading Teens Becoming Rich

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Millionaire Athletes Going Broke

I just recently watched ESPN’s 30 for 30 series titled “Broke”. Essentially it is a documentary on athletes who have made hundreds of millions of dollars but are flat out broke.  I am by no means a financial expert, but feel that I could give wise counsel to almost all of the situations discussed. This counsel wouldn’t come from me, but would come from God’s word. Had these athletes followed a biblical worldview of handling their finances, I believe their lives would look completely different.

Let me preface this by saying that I am not trying to come off as judgmental (I know I’ve made my fair share of mistakes and my mistakes don’t show up on Sports Center or USA Today!)- my intention is to show that God’s word is applicable not only to the average “Joe” but to everyone- regardless of income, status, job title or lack of job title. Here are a few thoughts that stuck out to me from watching the show:

  • As an athlete, one of the most humiliating things you can say to an opponent is that you “own” them. It means that they are inferior and that they call the shots. An overriding theme of this documentary was athletes being owned by debt.

 “Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7

  • Seeking counsel seemed to be another theme in these athletes financial demise. They either didn’t seek counsel or they sought counsel from people who were self serving.

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice” -Proverbs 12:15

 “The thoughts of the righteous are just; the counsel of the wicked are deceitful.” – Proverbs 12:5

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Update from Howard: 1/3

On May 6, 1954, when Roger Bannister stepped to the starting line he knew the competition he faced was stiff. But in the 4-minutes that followed, he not only defeated the other runners in the race, he also surpassed every man in history who had ever competed in the mile run. Bannister became the first man to shatter the 4-minute mile. So called “Experts” had long considered it physically impossible to run a mile in less than 4 minutes.

But what happened in the following few months was even more stunning. Sixty days later, Australia’s Jon Landy surpassed Bannister’s world-record time. Then, New Zealand’s Peter Snell bettered the time further. And in the months that followed, dozens more runners broke 4 minutes in the mile run.

When Bannister shattered the 4-mile barrier, he issued an invitation for runners everywhere to join him, and did in amazing numbers. Did he use a special racing strategy or training technique? No. Roger Bannister contributed the one thing that had been missing for centuries—belief it could be done.

I don’t know what financial or career challenges you are facing today, but we are often controlled more by what we believe about ourselves and the circumstances. I know I struggle with this. Let’s reflect not on the challenges or what we view as our limitations, but on Almighty God. The One of whom it was said, “Nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:27).

As you begin this new year, join me in meditating on Ephesians 3:20, “Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.” In our minds, let’s not shrink God down to someone with human limitations; rather, let’s believe Him for who is really is and what He alone is able to accomplish in our lives and circumstances.

Love in Christ,
Howard

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Howard Dayton is the Founder and CEO, Compass – finances God’s way. For more information about Howard, please click HERE.

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I Have A Dream–Free at Last

This past June my wife and I had the privilege of hosting our “Mortgage Burning/Debt Free” party at our home!

We celebrated with around 100 guests- Howard, Dave, Kyle , the Compass field team, past mortgage& present donors, ministry leaders, friends and family all joined us in a time that will be fondly remembered by our family and I’m sure by many who attended.  You can see a brief slideshow of all the events & meetings in this SmileBox link..

Cheri & I want to thank the Lord for His miraculous provision that allowed us to pay off over $45,000 worth of debt in the past 5 years, amazingly while our annual income was never over $30,000! Also a special thanks to all who have given to this ministry over the past 7 years!  We couldn’t have done this without the Lord providing through you!

While I am thankful that we are “DEBT FREE”, I realize that I’m still not totally free.  I constantly need to seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance, not George Washington’s counsel for life decisions (you know the dead president on the “almighty dollar”).  I admit that I still don’t always ask God for He wants to do with HIS money, I often find I follow the leading of the “master” that has ruled most of my life—MONEY (Matt. 6:24)

I have a dream for God’s people to be “free at last” and experience the freedom from the slavery of debt (Proverbs 22:7).  But not just freedom from debt-more importantly to be free from serving the wrong master (money/mammon) –free to live a life of obedience to Christ through the Holy Spirit.

Not sure that ‘financial freedom’ was on the heart of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  in his “I Have a Dream” speech, given  on August 28, 1963 “When all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual, “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”  But I do believe it is on God’s heart for you & me to be ‘free at last’ from serving money instead of Him.

True freedom happens when we daily submit to a loving, intimate God -living a life of obedience to His ways. Are you free?  Regardless if you are debt free or not I hope you’ll join me in a quest for ‘true freedom’- a life that is free from serving the wrong master and then help others to do the same!

This can this be only be accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit in us, as seen in Galatians 6:8-9

“Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

So, keep your hands to the plow and allow God to continue to complete the good work in you (Phil 1:6) so you can be free! (John 8:31-32)

Next time I’ll share in more detail some amazing things God did to help us get out of debt!

Dan Schilling

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Dan SchillingDan Schilling is the Executive Director for Compass – finances God’s Way for Ohio.

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Greetings from India

Shillong, India

Oh, the joy of travel! I’m currently in India a nation of 1.2 billion people, where there are multiple cultures, religions, ideologies and State government formats! There are thousands of gods and hundreds of free roaming sacred cows! The geography is as diverse as it’s peoples and languages!

I’ve come to India to support the Compass India team as they launch, for the 1st time in their history a 12-week financial study – Navigating Finances God Way! This will be one of only a handful of small groups studies presented by any ministry or denomination within the country!

I’ve been in the country for 4 days and have assisted the team in presenting Facilitator training in Kochi – a city of 2 million on the southwest coast, Kolkata- 12 million, on the sea of Bengal, then in Shillong and Guwahati, in the extreme northeast. These trainings have been focused on the leaders of influence in their cities and church denominations. In these 3 training we have averaged 35 leaders / training.

We have also met with the senior leaders of 3 denominations who signed letters of intent asking us to partner with them to bring about Stewardship ministry within their denominations.

So far the interest and enthusiasm is incredible! They are thankful for your help in making it possible for their people to study these truths 1st hand and learn the Biblical practices of handling resources effectively!

I’ll be traveling for another 10 days. Speaking to more Facilitators in Imphal & Mumbai, as well as presenting a leadership seminar in the same cities in honor of Dr. Dick Wynn.

For your interest on this 14 day trip, I will spend 10 nights in 8 different hotels or guest-houses and 4 nights sleeping in aircraft, as well, I will have spent 76 hours on those aircraft visiting 8 different cities! Not that I’m counting.

Blessings from your Brothers & Sisters in India!

Dave
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Dave Rae is the President and Managing Director of Global Operations of Compass – finances God’s way. For more information about Dave, please click HERE

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Watches and Warnings

One of the not-so-good things about living in this part of the south is the crazy weather…especially in the Spring. Several times this past month we have had tornado “warnings.” These are not to be confused with tornado “watches.” It’s taken me quite a few years to be able to keep from confusing the two, and it is important that you don’t. A warning means conditions are right for a tornado and a watch means there is one sighted in your area. If you were ever going to grab Toto and head for the storm cellar…now is that time. Except…in my area most homes don’t even have basements, let alone storm cellars. So, we head for the crawl space (where crawly things live) or we head for the only room without any external walls. Uh, that would be….the bathroom. If anything really bad were to ever happen, I know I’d be with Jesus in heaven. But at the same time, finding my body sprawled next to the toilet face down just isn’t the way I’d like to be found.

Like tornadoes, our financial condition also has warning signs. A warning might be bouncing checks on a regular basis and having to pay the overdraft fees that come with it. Another sign is regular heated discussions with your spouse over money and having to borrow money from relatives. A watch, meaning disaster may be imminent…is using credit cards to pay off other credit cards, having your car repossessed or having to turn up the volume on American Idol to drown out the sound of bill collectors calling.

Don’t ignore these signs in the same way people in my neck of the woods don’t ignore the weather siren! The same God who controls the weather also gave us all sorts of financial principles to live by. Such as:

  • Never co-sign for another’s loan
  • A wise man counts the cost before building a tower
  • Steady plodding brings prosperity
  • No one can serve two masters…you cannot serve both God and money
  • Instruct those in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of earthly riches.

And these are just a few. All Christians will face some storms in this life. Some of these are due to no fault of our own, such as illness or loss of a job. But many financial problems come about because we don’t plan, we don’t make wise choices, we aren’t content with what we have, or we just don’t know what God says about money.

The Bible doesn’t address every practical issue in life but in the case of money…God’s Word is replete with wisdom that will help you live a life of financial freedom and not financial bondage. We hear stories about this all the time on our radio program MoneyWise, and it really does make our day!

So keep your eyes and ears open for financial warning signs and….those pesky flying monkeys.

God Bless,
Steve

**Correction – A watch is when conditions are present to cause and event (hailstorm, tornado, flood, etc.). A warning is when the event is happening (it’s hailing, tornado is sighted and doing it’s business, the river is spilling over the banks)