Hope for your financial life and beyond

Six Clues You Are a “Wait Until Next Year”-er (Part I)

The 2012 Major League Baseball season has almost concluded. Several teams are still battling it out to see who will be crowned World Series Champion. Most of the MLB fan base has moved on to be entertained by the NFL or college football or whatever as their team has officially been eliminated. The two teams I follow both exited the playoffs early, one to a blown infield fly rule call and the other to a blown 2-0 playoff series lead. (Seriously Cincy…how can you lose three in a row at home!?)

Each season ends in disappointment for 97% of all the teams and their fan bases. And in locker rooms, office buildings, bars, message boards and anywhere else across America people discuss what went wrong with this season, one phrase will be heard that gives hope to all who utter it — “Wait until next year.”

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A High Wall…Build It or Not?

In ancient times, the city wall was a symbol of strength. A finely constructed wall could ward off one’s enemies, keeping the inhabitants of the city safe. The more advanced the construction and the higher you could build the city wall the more secure you were. And when the Israelites came to the city of Jericho on their conquest of the Promised Land, they faced something they had likely never seen before…a walled-system so grand in scheme that it would dishearten the most elite of would-be invaders.

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Does Poverty Itself Destroy the Poor?

Does your worldview begin with blaming others?

In the first phrases of Proverbs 10:15 and Proverbs 18:11, we see that Solomon describes the rich man’s wealth as his strong city. Although wealth cannot protect us from evil, sicknesses, or other life emergencies, it can provide our life with some level of security and stability. It lessens our emotional anxiety, knowing we have enough resources to pay for things. It helps us manage through unexpected and expensive life events. We can also use wealth to produce more and, in the process, benefit others along the way as we give.

In the concluding phrase of Proverbs 10:15 Solomon offers a contrast to the strong city analogy when he says, “…the destruction of the poor is their poverty.” I find this interesting because Solomon does not say that a series of unfortunate events happened in these peoples’ lives and those events are what destroyed them (or made them poor). The emphasis here seems to actually read that poverty itself is what causes their destruction. Interesting. What is he referring to here? What destructive impact would an impoverished financial state have on a person’s life?

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Wealth Is Like A Strong City

Some proverbs just pop with imagery and for me this one brought back memories of the many hours of sleep I lost playing SimCity. I loved building those cities, although I never quite took the time to really understood what the whole point of the game was. I mean, once your map was full and you were connected to all of the side cites, what was supposed to happen next? Were you just supposed to make it stronger, better and more futuristic? Was there ever an endpoint to the game? Oh well, I digress…but I want to play it again right now.

These proverbs also caught my attention because Solomon repeated the same phrase twice in different parts of his book. So if the wisest man who ever lived repeated something twice, it probably requires some extra special attention. [Read more…]

Why to Develop a Strategic Plan

It has been a tough summer in many parts of the Midwest as crops have suffered due to the lack of rain. Drought conditions reduce crop yields, lessen the food supply and can put a farmers entire livelihood in jeopardy. In some countries, a severe drought can lead to famine as crops completely disappear over an extended period of years.

These type of conditions are very difficult for a farmer to plan for because they never know when one might occur. One person from history, however, did get a heads-up about a drought/famine and, because of his foreknowledge of the event, he quite possibly enacted the greatest crisis management plan the world has ever known.

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Count the Cost: Stick to the Plan to Win (Part 3 – Luke 14:28)

All of us want to finish our lives with honor and dignity. We want to look back over the years that we have been privileged to live hear on earth with a sense of pride, accomplishment and satisfaction that our lives have been well spent. We want to have reached our goals and contributed in some small way to the lives of those around us. We want to have been winners at life.

Wasn’t that the goal of the builder in Luke 14:28?

He wanted to win by finishing his tower. And he knew that weighing the costs of the project ahead of time in some serious get-down-to-business strategic planning sessions was going to help him accomplish his objective.

The point of the verse is about planning but the goal was to finish. What does “finishing” look like in regards to finances?

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Count the Cost: Find a Plan to Win (Part 2 – Luke 14:28)

George Bailey is beside himself at the prospects of living here.

Recently, a few miles from where I live, a house was sold for a minor sum of money after sitting vacant for years. The buyer, instead of choosing to live in the property, had the house bulldozed to the ground. Now this doesn’t seem like that uncommon of a thing to have happen to a property. After all, you have to make way for new construction, right?

The irony of the situation, however, is that it was new construction the buyer had leveled…well, at least it was new 7 years ago when they started building this beautiful, upper six-figure mansion of a house on a perfect, 5-acre corner lot of country land. No one had ever lived in that house. The original owner/builder only managed to get it about 75% completed.

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Count the Cost: Follow a Plan to Win (Part 1- Luke 14:28)

In Luke 14:25-33, Jesus is encouraging his followers to count the great personal cost it will take for each of them to truly be his disciple. He is trying to explain that in the very near future he is going to be crucified and in order for them to follow him to his death, they must be willing to die themselves. They would have to forsake everything (including family) in order to make this type of commitment to Jesus.

In order to get his point across, He uses two incredible examples that show how planning ahead of time can lead to a successful outcome.

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