Category Archives: Money

Confronting Fear and Anxiety

After spending time with the Lord today, I feel that He would really like this particular post (from yesterday) to serve as today’s post as well. May His will be done, beloved.

Confronting Anxiety and Fear

With the power and authority that Christ has given me, I am renouncing the enemy’s garbage off of you today. Today is the day the Lord has made, and we are going to rejoice and be glad in it.

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” Luke 10:19

The same power that resurrected Jesus Christ from the grave and overcome the power of darkness is the exact same power that resides in us as believers of the One True King – Jesus Christ. I’m ready to call the enemy out for his lies and pervasive distortions of who you are, who God is, and what this life is really about.

Let’s start with the seed of fear. After growing in our minds, fear can create symptoms such as insecurity, greed, people-pleasing, or depression. Whatever the outward appearance, fear of something is generally a major root cause for each of those. Whenever a seed of fear isn’t immediately confronted with the power and authority of Christ through God’s word, it can sprout into a weed that seeks to demolish every bit of your righteousness, cripple you spiritually, and numb your true emotions. Yet, the truth is that we can rest because there is never a reason to fear, and in fact the Lord commands us not to fear.

“For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (BBE)

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Why does the enemy plant seeds of fear into our minds?

For the simple fact that he desires our worship. He wants our attention, our minds, our hearts, our bodies, and our lives. In his pursuit, he starts with a simple thought and hopes it takes root. Fear is intended to create a wedge between us and the Living God by distracting us from Him. In our confusion, we may focus on other unreliable or temporary sources of comfort (such as money or another person) to relieve our fears. And once this distraction causes us to turn away from the Great I AM, we are prone to worship the very thing that we fear, which leads to our next point: anxiety.

Why does he plant seeds of anxiety?

Because nagging anxiety will drive us to build altars in our hearts to worship idols where God was once revered. You see, what you worry about is what you will end up worshiping. And anything you worship outside of the Lord is really an idol in your life.

Satan knows the Ten Commandments, and he also knows how God feels about idols very well. The enemy wanted everyone to take their eyes off of the One True God and to worship him (Satan) instead. We all know the outcome of that decision: God-the Father kicked him out of heaven and cursed him for eternity. We should not be surprised that the enemy still uses the exact same tactics of idolatry to attack God’s people.

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Psalms 56:3

“Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves any gods of cast metal: I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 19:4

Here are some common examples of how idolatry can emerge from fear or anxiety:

    • You’re afraid of being lonely, so you do everything you can to create (and protect) a busy schedule
  • You’re afraid of being single, so you date every guy or girl that catches your eye
  • You’re afraid of rejection, so you isolate yourself and hide behind a TV screen and the internet
  • You’re afraid of being abandoned, so you obsess about being the “perfect and worthy” spouse
  • You’re afraid of the economy collapsing, so you hoard everything you own without consulting the Lord
  • You’re anxious about bills, your bank account, and the stock market, so you constantly focus on money
  • You’re anxious about how others see you or what they think about you, so you build a facade that others approve of
  • You’re anxious about poor choices of your friends/family members, constantly focusing on the details of their lives
  • You’re anxious about your sales goals and your work performance, constantly focusing on your job

Notice a theme here? Fear and anxiety are incredibly controlling and oppressive. They can lead us into fatigue, sadness, confusion, depression, crankiness, malnourishment, and frustration as they spread throughout our hearts and minds.

“Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” Proverbs 12:25

When we’re with Jesus, there is absolutely no reason to fear what He has already overcome. Satan is defeated, along with everything he tries to throw at us. Fear and anxiety are merely tactics to get your eyes off of all that Jesus is. The enemy knows that if he can remove us from adoring and trusting the Great I AM, we are hopeless. Therefore, we must focus on Jesus Christ as our future, our acceptance, our community, our security, our companion, and our identity.

What are you afraid of today, beloved? Whoever you are, Jesus is going to set you free today. You just need to confront fear and anxiety, lay them down at His feet, and ask Him to deliver you with the power of His mighty right hand. Whatever it is, ask Him. He will be faithful to forgive, deliver, and redeem you.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalms 34:4

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

Image provided by Bala Chanders
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How to Have an Excellent Engagement

Image of Engaged Couple

This post is for both men and women, but the first paragraph is specifically for the ladies reading this today.

Since we were little, many of us women have dreamt of our big day, when we can walk down the aisle to be given away in marriage to the man of our dreams. But I want to share a word of wisdom with you: as easy as it is for us to get caught up in, wedding planning should not consume the entire engagement. Ladies, seize the engagement period the Lord has given you to really become acquainted with the person you will marry. Wedding planning is important and necessary, but make sure you also spend time preparing for life beyond your wedding day, rather than just the magical moments of the day itself. You will need to be humble, intentional, and patient, which is all possible through Jesus – just ask Him! And I promise you that your honeymoon and those days thereafter will be filled with greater joy and peace!

Back to everyone now: what are specific areas that our carnal minds want to focus on during the engagement?

1. Sex

We all know sex is on everyone’s mind leading up to the day. If you thought temptation was heavy while dating, just wait for the engagement, especially for the Christian couples that are abstaining from sex until marriage. Perhaps because the marriage is soon approaching, compromises get made, and boundaries are pushed. Imagine an oven dial that you turn from medium heat to high. What happens? You get warmed quicker and you also get burned quicker. This is exactly what happens once your relationship takes on a new form in engagement. So, what do we suggest?

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

Reestablish your physical boundaries as an engaged couple. New seasons bring forth changes and therefore new parameters. We know a married couple that enjoyed kissing and cuddling while dating, but after they got engaged and the heat turned up, they decided to stop kissing until the wedding day (they waited six months). This was incredibly wise. You too must be very careful, beloved. Sex is important, and if you really want to meaningfully enjoy it, make sure you have the appropriate boundaries to guard it until you’re married. Pre-marital sex (in any form) creates confusion in a relationship because it’s done outside of God’s terms.

“Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” Song of Solomon 8:4

2. The Wedding

As mentioned above, the actual wedding is often the “most discussed” item leading up to the wedding day. Totally understandable. You want your big shindig to be extremely memorable, and I get that. But remember that it will not actually impact your future as a married couple. Instead, focus on the areas that will play the biggest role in the day-to-day marital relationship:

  • Finances
  • Expectations of each other as husband or wife (specifically in relation to fulfilling your spouse’s emotional, physical, and spiritual needs, or even chores in the home)
  • Learning each other’s love language(s) to minimize confusion and disappointment
  • Discussing communication styles
  • Discussing how you each envision your future together (calling in life, living in another state/country, which ministries to serve in, and number of children)
  • Dealing with any and all previous wounds and hurts from past relationships, family members, and circumstances

Make sure you take the right steps to minimize hurt and learn how to love each other well.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

The choice is ours. We can choose to have a good marriage, a great marriage, or an excellent marriage. All it requires is simply Jesus Christ in the center of the relationship and two hearts willing to learn, grow, and work hard. If you include Jesus in your relationship today, then it’s much easier to include Him in your marriage.

Here are a few guidelines that worked really well for us as we were engaged:

  • We studied the Word together after dinner every Sunday
  • We intentionally never closed my or his bedroom door if we were both in it (to keep us from temptation, to keep others from building false assumptions, and to protect the purity of our relationship). And we never laid on a bed together
  • We intentionally explored new places and activities to build memories and have fun together
  • We took a 10-week “Dave Ramsey” financial course together in preparation for joining our bank accounts and spending habits
  • We prayed a lot together. And we sought wise counsel from mentors, our pastor, and a 6 week pre-marital counseling training. Again, there was a lot of repenting, crying, and divine healing in that season to get us ready for the serious covenant we were about to enter before the Living God. We wanted to be ready!
  • We served others in need together. This ushered in a strong foundation on which to fulfill the Great Commission with our Savior and one another

My hope and prayer is that this will offer sweet encouragement to those seeking wise counsel and advice on how to steward the engagement season. Use your time well, beloved. Honor the Lord and He too will honor you!

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The Big Question

God's wisdom - the Big question

Among the many colorful episodes in the life of King Solomon, one that always stands out to me is his unusual (yet clever) response when the Lord of all creation poses this request: “Ask for whatever you want Me to give you.”

God is impressed when Solomon responds: “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” In fact, the king’s response evokes deep satisfaction within the heart of his Maker.

I want this. I desire to impress the heart of my Maker.

One afternoon, I was sitting with a hot mug of coffee balanced perfectly between my knees. My journal and Bible were resting in my two hands. Then the God of the Universe burst into my ordinary room and asked me, “What do you want My child? Tell Me and I will be faithful to grant it.”

To which I audibly responded, “Am I hearing You correctly, Lord? Did You seriously just tell me to ask You for anything, and You will grant it?” My head was absolutely spinning. If I asked for the money to pay off the debt I had, then I could be hilariously generous to others! Or I could ask for a new job, since I was so tired of mine. Like a kid in a candy shop, I was in absolute disbelief. The King of kings and Lord of lords just asked me to tell Him what I want AND he was going to grant it.

For no other reason than His amazing grace, I quickly realized the magnitude of this question. With the understanding that this moment was too rare and holy to be wasted, I quickly had to formulate a response. Then I remembered Solomon’s request, and an earlier time when I had whispered to God that I too wanted to move His heart. Here was my opportunity to emulate King Solomon’s response, and I certainly wanted to impress the Lord.

“Lord, I know what I want. I want wisdom. Will you grant me a supernatural measure of wisdom? Wisdom that is beyond my years? A wisdom that will guide me in making decisions that will glorify You? Teach me to be like You.”

And He was so faithful to grant me this wisdom! His wisdom led me to years of Christian counseling and the Biblical finance courses that (after years of diligent downsizing) helped pay off thousands of dollars in debt. His wisdom led me to leave a life of mediocrity (or “responsible” and “safe” in the world’s eyes) behind. Instead, King Jesus led me overseas in faith to partner in life-changing missions work that continues to bear fruit today.

Wisdom has kept me from making several poor decisions and investing in unhealthy friendships. Together with obedience to God’s Word, wisdom led me to refuse any unexceptional relationships and prompted me to reevaluate what God (and I) would want in a future mate. Keith then met my (very high) God-given standards and possessed the qualities that I desired in a husband. Through the wise advice given to us in pre-marital counseling, we also learned to never put ministry before our marriage. That’s right: ministry NEVER goes before marriage, which has greatly protected our union. 

With His wisdom, God is included in every financial (and really just every) decision, and we also strive to be debt-free. Wisdom has guided both Keith and I to give generously. To this day, wisdom keeps us from incurring more debt simply by avoiding upgrades – upgrading our used cars, leaving our small loft, or exchanging our old furniture for newer, bigger, and higher cost items that may enslave us to a lender.

“For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money, and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.” Ecclesiastes 7:12

Wisdom is what leads us to success, beloved. Wisdom grants us long life by guiding us to make the best decisions.

In the quiet of this New Year’s morning, with my knees pressed down on a fluffy mat as a buffer from the cold concrete floor of our loft, I petitioned God to grant us more and more wisdom.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5

Beloved, His wisdom IS the answer to all your questions, problems, and struggles. Wisdom will make you prosper. Wisdom will give you success. Wisdom will keep you from danger. Wisdom will help you resolve conflict and establish strong boundaries.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.For through wisdomyour days will be many, and years will be added to your life.If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.” Proverbs 9:10-12

  • If you have money issues today and you want to be debt-free or save more money, ask the Lord for wisdom.
  • If you are having relational issues in your marriage or with a family member and want to be released from the tension it’s causing in your life, ask for wisdom.
    • If you need to lose weight or you’re facing a major physical issue and you don’t know how to do your part, ask for wisdom.
    • If you are a business owner or leader and you have some very pressing decisions to make with no viable option in sight, ask the Lord for wisdom.
  • If you need to place emotional boundaries with your friends or even physical boundaries with a boyfriend or girlfriend, ask the Lord for wisdom. He will be abundantly faithful to give you what is needed.

Let me challenge you in this, beloved. If you really want to be Christ-like, to think like Him, behave like Him, and experience life like He wants you to, then wisdom is the best way to start. Wisdom will guide you to love when you want to hate, because wisdom is the beginning of fearing the Lord (in a reverential manner). If you fear Him, you obey Him. And to obey Him is to love Him. And when we love Him, we love others. It’s crazy to think how much all of that points back to wisdom.

“Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it.Blessed are those who listen to me,  watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord.But those who fail to find me harm themselves; all who hate me love death.” Proverbs 8:33-36

May you be encouraged by this post today beloved. See that God has already provided you with an incredible tool to grow in stature and mature in His ways. That tool is the book of Proverbs. Read it, chew it, ponder it, digest it, re-read it, and ask Him to grant you wisdom to honor Him with your life. It’s the absolute best thing you could ever ask the Living God for during the years of your earthly life!

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