I can make a mean spreadsheet. In fact, it’s one of my spiritual gifts. Not only does it look pretty with all sorts of colors and shading, but the formulas I insert into each cell are, well, let’s just say accountants envy me. I love to discuss finances and insert said finances into one of my beautiful spreadsheets. I’m the disciplined type and stick to a financial plan.
But, it hasn’t always been this way.
Because I’m a sucker for a new car. Gah, just thinking about the new car smell makes me want to toss every bit of information I’ve learned from Dave Ramsey and rush down to my nearest Acura dealership to get a brand-spankin’ new MDX. But I have not done that, the purchasing of a brand new car…since 2014, that is.
Budgets. They are not what you typically want to talk about. Many people think they are restrictive and don’t allow spontaneity. They feel like a burden and the removal of all things fun. But I would argue that budgets are not restrictive at all but instead bring freedom. Because what really restricts is living above your means which eventually equates to debt. And debt is nothing but bondage.
We can want to be financially free and think we are if we don’t have rules and regulations to guide us, but the truth is, we need guidelines to help us stay within healthy parameters. We must deny some things to get better things, and financial freedom takes sacrifice. We have been taught that there is no way around debt. We’ll always have a car payment or a house payment. We’ll never be able to afford this or do that. That’s simply untrue. With planning and sacrifice, financial freedom is possible. It just takes a lot of sacrifice and dying to self. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?
So, how do we budget ourselves so that we can be financially free?
The last thing we need as ministry leaders is...read more (scroll down to the Day 5 entry)
Cindy Beall is a writer, speaker and mentor to women. She oversees the Equipping arm on the Leading & Loving It team that ministers to pastor’s wives and women in ministry. Her first book, Healing Your Marriage When Trust Is Broken, released in 2011 and her second book, Rebuilding A Marriage Better Than New, release in 2016 with Harvest House Publishers.
But, those who have not been so fortunate, may still be seeking approval from authority figures even as adults, never quite feeling they measure up to others around them.
Words kill, words give life; they are either poison or fruit . . . you choose (Proverbs 18:21, MSG).
If we are honest, even the best parents can give a mixture of blessing and cursing, healing and hurt within moments. Florence Littauer, author of Silver Boxes, inspires us to weigh our words knowing the value of encouragement and the pain caused by criticism. She shares an illustration of how many building blocks it takes for a child to construct a castle, yet all it takes is one kick to knock them all down. I was challenged that even when giving so many compliments and words of support, all it took was one sharp word of correction and my children would experience pain. I am not saying we should not give instruction or discipline, but we can ask God to show us how to encourage positive behavior rather than focusing on the negative.
Watch the way you talk. Say only what helps, each word a gift (Ephesians 4:29, MSG).
...In the Old Testament, God tells Abraham that his offspring will be instruments of blessing to the whole world both in their deeds as well as with their words (see Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 22:16-18). From these early examples, the power of blessing began to develop, and we see it became a practice for generations. Their very names were often used as a form of blessing and prophetic promise based on the meaning of each name. This was evidenced by the names Zelophehad gave to his five daughters, declaring their individual gifts and abilities which he prophetically spoke over them (Numbers 27:1; Joshua 17:3-6). A patriarch’s final blessing was important in biblical times as a matter of inheritance rights. In addition, some final blessings included prophetic statements that revealed God’s supernatural power at work in and through those that received the blessing.
...The principle is clear: God has given parents and grandparents the privilege and authority to speak blessing over their children and, with that blessing, to advance life, health, growth, joy and self-confidence! We need to learn to incorporate this privilege as a dynamic aspect of raising our children and blessing them in every way we possibly can.
In the same way we are admonished to speak blessing over the next generation, we also feel that God is pronouncing His blessing over each one of us in a powerful and prophetic way, blessing our lives and our future. As a spiritual leader to the women placed under my care, I speak God’s blessing over your lives and His favor for you to be used mightily in these last days...read more
It’s Your AttitudePut on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him (Colossians 3:10, NLT).
It’s your attitude, so it’s your decision whether you want to keep it or not.
This was not good. I could feel the inside of me starting to boil and my face getting hot. And it wasn’t even a hot day! It was actually a very cold day in the middle of January, so it wasn’t the temperature that was causing me to overheat (and no, it wasn’t a hot flash, smarty-pants). I couldn’t blame it on a fever, because I was feeling fine physically.
No, the heat I was feeling was not related to my physical well-being; it was connected to my heart and soul. The embarrassing truth is that John had said something I didn’t agree with, and I’d made the decision to dwell on thoughts I shouldn’t have. Now I had an attitude of the wrong kind.
It wasn’t even caused by a big issue or a yelling fight (or should I say disagreement—I’ll admit we’ve had a few of those). In all honesty, I don’t even remember what I was frustrated about, and it was recent! But I do have a problem. It’s called prideful, selfish thinking. I like to be right and I like to win. So does John. Whoever said opposites attract was not at our wedding!
So on this day, just because I wanted John to agree with my opinion, I went from singing “Oh Happy Day” to wanting to throw a plate. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Maybe.
It all happened so quickly. In about five seconds flat, I allowed the thought of “I am right!” to transform into negative feelings and emotions, and I went from happy to angry. I made the decision to have a bad attitude, and the only thing that was going to change it was if and when John came to his senses and decided that I. Was. Right.
If you are human and breathing, you have probably experienced a plate-throwing mood. Maybe you are even in the middle of a bad-attitude day right now. It’s not too fun, is it? Thankfully there are ways to learn how to maintain a good attitude in life (besides persuading everyone to always give in to your opinion and do things your way).
Over the years, I have learned how to deal with my emotions and bad attitude more quickly and effectively than I did thirty years ago. So on that day in the middle of my confrontation with John, when my angry thoughts finally came up for air, I stopped and said a prayer. God, help me with these feelings.I know they are not of you and they are not what you desire for me. With his help, I made the decision to change my attitude right then and there. In an instant, as I humbled myself and purposefully changed my thinking, the burning and churning inside my soul began to subside. Now, don’t tell John I said this, but I still think I was right (even though I don’t remember what I was right about!). But that, my friend, is irrelevant. Instead of proving I was right, I chose to focus on adjusting my thinking and my attitude to line up with God’s will for me in that moment, and the overwhelming feelings of wanting John to see that I was right began to subside.
Years ago, when John and I were first married, God used a verse to help me in this “I want to always win and be right” struggle. This same verse came to my mind again that day. Many times these words have been the key to saving me from letting my attitude run wild and cause more damage to my day, my marriage, and my life.
Do nothing from fractional motives, [through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy ends] or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance. Instead, in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself [thinking more highly of one another than you do of yourselves]. Let each of you esteem and look upon and be concerned for not [merely] his own interests, but also each for the interests of others (Phillipians 2:3–4, AMP-CE, emphasis mine).
And don’t miss this:
Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example of humility]
(verse 5, AMP-CE).
That verse convicts me every time. It hits me right where it hurts. That part about doing nothing out of fractional motives, selfishness, or unworthy ends (like wanting to win) makes me think God must have said, “Put that part in there just for Debbie. She’s going to need to read it pretty much once a week or more.” And my guess is that I am not alone on this one, that you have had your bad-attitude, stop-annoying-my-life moments too...read more
Debbie Lindell is co-pastor with her husband, John, at James River Church in Ozark, MO. She is passionate about life and serving God with all her heart! Her greatest desire is to use her life to lead all who are watching her closer to Jesus, and to inspire every girl to believe what God’s Word says about them and His amazing plan and purpose for their life. Debbie loves to write, to give gifts, eat chocolate, drink lattes and play with her grandkids…..and of course, to hang out with the Sisterhood! This blog post from Nov 3, 2016 was posted by Her Green Room, an online community for ministry wives and excerpted from She Believes: Embracing the Life You Were Created to Live, by Debbie Lindell. Published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, (http://www.bakerpublishinggroup.com). ©2016. Used by permission.
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Monday, March 11