Hope for your financial life and beyond

A Time For Choosing Freedom

Eerily, this man’s words, penned in 1964, are coming true on many levels:

American flag“Every lesson of history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement…[and] policies of accommodation…”

“If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand, the ultimatum…and what then?”

“…And someday when the time comes to deliver the final ultimatum, our surrender will be voluntary because by that time we will have been weakened from within spiritually, morally and economically…”

 But there is hope found through courage and sacrifice:

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A Soldier’s Pledge – If This Doesn’t Inspire You, Nothing Will

“America is depressing…mixed up…adrift…an afterthought.”

Have you sensed these themes rippling through our cultural narrative in the past few years?

A lack of pride in who we are seems to have blossomed. There is little passion for greatness. Few believe America’s best days lie ahead.

Everyday the news points out our flaws…can’t get our economy right…can’t get our race issues right…can’t get our foreign relations right…can’t even get our rights right.

Everything rises and falls with leadership – including America. So perhaps our malaise can be contributed to the uninspiring and ineffectual leadership we see in our government…in our communities…in our churches…in our homes.

We don’t have to settle for this though. We can choose a different path. We don’t have to feel blasé about America.

How do I know this?

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A Memorial Day Task: Teach Your Kids to Remember the Fallen

Memorial Day cemetaryDuring one of my classes this past school year, I happened to mention the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. I was a little surprised my descriptions of that tragedy and its aftermath didn’t elicit the kind of reaction I expected. Not that the students were indifferent, it just didn’t seem to draw out the same emotions that I was feeling while sharing that story.

Then it hit me…they are only 14 and 15 years old. How old were they on 9/11? One? Two?

They didn’t live through that day like the rest of America.

They don’t know many of the details.

They have no emotional connection to it.

They were too young for that event to have significant meaning. It’s not their fault. It’s just the reality of when they were born.

So many people died that day. Many more fell in the resulting wars that followed, as they fought to defend our way of life. Today’s youth need to be reminded of that fact.

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Knowing When to Give Yourself a Blogging Break

tied up handIs blogging wearing you down? I know for me there have been various times during the past year where it felt like a drag. I’ve seen this sentiment expressed elsewhere on blogs, so I am fairly certain it’s a common phenomenon.

If you are like me and feel a sense of commitment in keeping to a predefined schedule, you probably just suck it up and write through the tough days. A couple of times this year when I did this though, I felt my writing quality suffered.

If your main income is derived from blogging you don’t have much choice. You essentially have to keep working through the doldrums.

Whatever your situation, it’s a sickening feeling to be tied to something that you can’t (or choose not to) take a break from.

For 2014, I’m going to work on giving myself some freedom to take writing breaks from my blog if I feel the need. Nothing too extended – just skipping a post here or there. I think the benefit to me will be staying fresh and not forcing myself to produce writing that is sub-par.

Are there optimal times to take a break from your blog? I think you should at least consider it on these occasions:

Around Holidays

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What Good Is Freedom When You’re Told What To Do With It?

U.S. Constitution - We the PeopleIn the fall of 1620, a group of 102 passengers sailed from the coasts of Western Europe across the Atlantic. Their journey was filled with danger as they traveled in a craft none of us would dare think of sailing today. Much like the courageous astronauts of the 1960s, they faced considerable danger and extreme conditions as they pioneered into an unknown and mysterious world.

Colonies had been established before in the New World but none for such a reason as this. The purpose of those earlier establishments in the Caribbean, and more recently in 1607 at Jamestown, had simply been about wealth creation – find the riches of the new land and return them home for the glory of the mother country.

Simple. Materialistic. Focused.

While some on the Mayflower sought economic prosperity, there was a group aboard interested in something much deeper and profound than the accumulation of wealth. These were known as the Separatists who were fleeing religious persecution inflicted on them by the Church of England. The church in that time controlled religion, dictating to the people how, when and where they were to worship. Choose to worship in a way the church forbid, and you would face severe punishment.

So faced with bigotry and religious intolerance, they fled to a new world with the hopes of fulfilling the one deep desire burning in their hearts…the freedom to choose.

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Burn the Obstacles: Getting Rid of the Junk That Holds You Back

Hidden Nuggets Series #6  – “Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.” – Acts 19:18-20

What’s standing in the way of you and an awesome life?

fireA few pounds?

A damaging relationship?

A pessimistic attitude?

An addiction?

A spiritual connection?

Sometimes it’s tough to see what’s holding us back. In general, we don’t have a great track record of diagnosing our own personal issues. Others are much more skilled at pointing out areas of our life that could use some improvement.

Even when we are able to pinpoint the issue, it’s not always easy to alter our course. We offer excuses, rationalize actions and justify our way out of change. We’d rather keep hurting our chances at an excellent life than face the harsh realities of what are our faults.

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Freedom: It’s Why Budgets Rock!

I love my budget!

Jail cell window openSome of you think that’s crazy talk. Budgets conjure up images of men in straightjackets, whispering quietly to themselves in padded rooms. They are restrictive torture devices often forced upon us by an all-knowing and all-wise budget Nazi (aka the spouse or other special someone). They make us feel confined and boxed in.

I’ve been there.

I love to spend money as much as the next person and once felt like a budget wouldn’t help me accomplish any financial goal. I knew for sure it wouldn’t make me feel good because I couldn’t buy the things I wanted. Budgets seemed so difficult to piece together and I frankly didn’t have the time (or want to take the time) to figure it out.

Fortunately, my special someone (Mrs. Luke1428) was patient and loving in those days (and still is). Slowly, over time, we (I) agreed to give budgeting a three-month trial run. That decision changed our lives. And the best part was, we received something I never thought a budget could possibly produce:

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Land of the Free Because of the Brave

“From these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion, that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that his nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, 1863

I’ve never been to war. I’ve never even served. I don’t know what it’s like to stand in the heat of battle, wondering whether those moments will be my last on earth. I can’t imagine what level of courage that takes.

Yet we have had in our nation’s history men and women who faced those moments because of a deep and abiding passion for something very dear.

Arizona Memorial OverheadFreedom.

Like you, I’ve always believed in the concept of freedom. God first, country second was what we were taught at my school growing up. We even had an annual Patriotic Day school program in May to celebrate our countries’ freedom.

However, I received an education in what freedom really means several years ago when my wife and I took a trip to the Arizona Memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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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…]

Do You Want to be Debt Free?

Breaking the chains of debt is key to gaining financial freedom.

Where do you stand on the concept of debt?

It is huge issue in our culture today with proponents pushing both sides of the debate. And probably no Biblical issue about money has been more widely and passionately discussed than this one. We can all find justification for our particular position from the pages of the Bible or from just an everyday practical, money management standpoint.

So, the purpose of this post today is not to expound on and discuss the virtues or vices of debt. We will have plenty of time to do that at a later juncture. Rather it is to help us understand this one irrefutable core concept from Scripture…

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