Category Archives: Finances

Working out God’s Word

The month of February has certainly been a very busy and impactful month in my life, no matter which way you attempt to define it: work, faith, family, finances.  Our family spent two separate three day periods away from home while I had to travel for work (we call these “mini-vacations”).  I also logged over 2000 work miles on my car.  These are certainly some tangible measures of a busy month.  Beyond the tangible, God was doing intangible work as he delivered on his promises while I committed at the beginning of the month to seek Him more intentially.

1.  Work can become a consuming force in my life, if left unchecked.

This year has marked quite a few changes for me in my workload.  I have accepted some new roles within my office, while transitioning out of some of my past roles.  All of which is very exciting and fulfilling to me, as I truly love the work that I do.  In general, I would classify myself as a driven person.  Growing up, this trait fleshed itself out as academic and athletic success.  Now in the workplace, it becomes a zeal to serve our clients better in our relationship based business.  God has simply taught me that my zeal for him must be above all other zeals (i.e. work, sports, family, etc.).  Or simply, no other gods before Him!  I believe that God is delivering on His promises.  As I seek Him, He is directing my zeal towards the heavenly things that truly matter.

2.  God is forever faithful to His promises.

This one is definitely not a “news flash”.  I have known this to be true for a long time, but it never ceases to amaze me when and how God delivers on his promises.  This month, his provision for our daily needs and financial provision have been at the forefront of my  mind.  Just days ago, my wife and I scheduled my last student loan payments and my family is now debt free (except for our home).  It’s a freeing feeling.  The bondage is gone as God provided the path to freedom.

That’s two for now.  I hope to outline some more in the coming days!

Blessings,
Travis

The Right Kind of Greed

Is there such a thing?  It seems like a weird concept, but here’s my thought!

This past Sunday at First Family Church, Pastor Todd preached on 1 Timothy 6:3-19, warning the church against greed.  Basically, the essence of the message is that greed leads to grief.  “For the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”   There are some weeks that Todd asks the church to respond.  This week he did.  The challenge I accept and proclaim is:

Today, I pursure commitment, and will intentionally guard against greed in order to prevent an eventual detour from the faith.  Today, I agree to invest more in eternal things, and will seek opportunities to be generous and to share, so that my forever life is stronger than my physical life.

As I was thinking about what it means to intentionally guard against greed…it seems to me that the best defense against greed is a offense towards something else.  The greed that wants to get rich and have more physical things…I want that part of the flesh to die.  I want to flee from those things.  I want to be a man of God who pursues righteousness, godliness, faith, and love.  I want to live by the Spirit!  I want to desire good works and storing up treasures in heaven.  I want the right kind of greed (if such a thing is possible).  I want to be greedy towards spiritual things with an eternal oulook.  I want to be on the offense and have “a greed” that wants more of God, not a greed that fixes my hope on the uncertainty of riches.

Financial Peace

Tonight I attended our church’s preview class for the upcoming Dave Ramsay Financial Peace University Class. A year ago I would have been skeptical of such a class, but 6 months into our own Total Money Makeover, I have become a believer of this system.

His system is not some magical formula. He simply preaches the importance of living within your means, not trying to keep up with the “Jones”, and staying out of debt.

Debt has become so common place today, that we have lost the biblical aspect of what God has to say about debt. In Proverbs 22:7 it says, “the borrower becomes the lender’s slave”. My wife and I are looking forward to the day that we can say that we are no longer the slave to our lender’s and that we can live debt free and in turn bless others.

Total Money Makeover

Since last November, my family has been on a “Total Money Makeover”. We credit Dave Ramsey for opening our eyes to how wasteful we had been of the financial resources that God has blessed us with. My wife and I read a book called the “Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey. Dave is a Christian author, but the book is not a so-called “Christian” book. The book is about behavioral finance. It’s about getting motivated to not live like the rest of America, broke and in debt, but to attack your debt and build wealth by freeing up your monthly budget from debt and credit card payments. It’s about not trying to keep up with the “Jones”, because they are broke and in debt. This book is not a “get rich quick” scheme, this book motivates you to live within your means today, so that in the future you will be have more freedom financially.

In the almost 6 months that my family has been on the Total Money Makeover we have had our ups and downs. But we have committed to not spending more than we make, and to attack our debt that keeps us in bondage. Since beginning the “Total Money Makeover” we have paid off two student loans, department store credit cards, and all of our medical bills. We have seen real results! They are tons of great success stories on his website. My wife and I have found a lot of peace financially, and have begun to really take control of our finances.

The book is a quick read and I would highly recommend it: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

God’s Provision

I asked my wife for a blog topic for today and she mentioned God’s provision. I would say if there is one way that God has consistently made himself known to our family, it’s through His provision. My wife and I have been married since June of 2005. I was taking a few summer classes before my senior year of college, and Angela was working at a bank in Marion, Iowa. We found out about a month after we got married, that we were expecting our first child. Here we were newlyweds, expecting a child to be born on spring break of my Senior year of college. God continually made himself known to us throughout those nine months of preparing for a baby. He taught us to be faithful to Him and He would provide all of our needs. Throughout the next year, I was able to hold a job and finish school, Angela was even denied short-term disability insurance that pays for maternity leave, but God still met our desires for Angela to be able to stay at home once our son, Abel, was born. God was faithful in meeting all our needs

My wife and I were consistent “tithers” in the church, but at times my heart was not right about it. The Lord has had to do a mighty work in me to show that he was in charge of every aspect of my life, even the finances. Over the last couple of years, my wife and I have had unexpected expenses pop up, but it always seems like we had enough to cover them. From time to time, some larger unexpected expenses would pop, $600 car bill here, new tires there, etc, and “somehow” God always brought in the extra income. There are countless examples in just the past few years alone.

One verse that has brought conviction in my life is the following:

Malachai 3:8-10 – “Will a man rob God? Yet your are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now is this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.”

Everything that we have is from God; so when we refuse to return to him a part of what he has give, we rob him, plain and simple. This verse hit me hard. Selfishly we reason, but it we could only use those extra dollars every month we could pay off……fill in the blank….

God has really had to do a work in my heart, because I know that my selfishness longs to be in control of things (especially the finances, since I graduated with a degree in finance). The truth is God’s math is different than ours. It doesn’t make sense to us humans with finite minds and with finite resources, how we will have all of our needs met. But the truth is, we serve an infinite God with infinite resources and nothing is impossible for God.

Please note that God’s provision:

  • Does not equal my “wish list”
  • Sometime means sacrifice in our lifestyle
  • Leads to a greater understanding of his character