Hope for your financial life and beyond

Infamous Days Are Not Show-Stoppers

Arizona Memorial OverheadInfamous days dot the landscape of American history. Gettysburg. Pearl Harbor. 9/11. These were days when our great nation went down for the count. Atrocious, dreadful, unforgivable days, where it seemed like the essence of who we were as a country might be lost forever.

Infamous days hurt.

They raise puzzling questions.

They leave us scarred and frustrated.

They are filled with fear.

They also serve as turning points. They are the proverbial fork-in-the-road of life. In these moments, do we choose to remain on the canvas, bloodied and bruised? Or do we rise to our feet, receive the standing eight count, and continue to press on?

Infamous days also punctuate the landscape of our personal life. A family tragedy. Complete financial ruin. Words spoken that destroy a friendship. They may not be as grandiose in scale as a national event, but they still raise hurts and questions and fears.

When I was in graduate school, through sheer laziness and inattentiveness, I missed the deadline to apply for my internship.

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I’m Turning 40 – Now What?

turning 40Is it taboo to discuss your age on your blog? If so, I’m engaging in a major faux pas today as I announce that it’s my birthday and I’m turning 40. Woo-hoo! Let’s here it for all the middle age guys out there!

I’ve always heard life starts going down hill after turning 40. I’m not sure why people say that. Is it because the average life span in America is 78, so in the mind of most people, your half way home? Is it because people believe the “fun” times of young adulthood – like partying on spring break or at Mardi Gras – are over?

Or is it perhaps that your body starts to catch up with you as more aches and pains come each morning as you roll out of bed?

Now that I’m here, I’m feeling like I don’t want to buy into the pessimism of what I’ve heard.

Thoughts on Turning 40

In the past year, I’ve done three new and remarkable things:

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For the Love of Money

VaultI brought this post out of The Vault today to do two things:

1) to remind myself on this Valentine’s Day the trap that awaits when I choose to put my affection in the wrong place and,

2) to introduce a new feature on Luke1428 called “Theology Thursdays.” It is my goal for Thursday’s post to include a spiritual perspective as it relates to our responsibilities towards money, wealth and personal finance.  Hopefully that will be a blessing to you as I share what is on my heart.

So with that introduction, re-enjoy “For the Love of Money” (first appeared on Aug. 3, 2012). 

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“Money money money money, MONEY!”

“Some people got to have it…some people really need it…Hey, listen to me, y’all do thangs, do thangs, do thangs – bad thangs with it.

Well, you wanna do thangs, do thangs, do thangs – good thangs with it…talkin’ about cash money…

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In Whom Do You Trust?

Tree by waterChristmas 2012 is behind us, which means there are only a few short days until the calendar turns the page to a new year. If you are like me, you have already begun to plan ahead and maybe have already listed two or three resolutions to pursue in the upcoming year. It’s always beneficial to set goals as they set us in motion, give us direction and produce intensity to accomplish great things.

My personal goals have to begin with my most important relationship. So today as I begin this New Year’s Resolution Series, I would like us to (re)consider the value of placing our trust in the right thing.

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The Best Food Budget Ever

What would it be like if you could go 40 days without food? If you could, that would seriously put you ahead on your monthly food budget. In my family of six, I estimate approximately six weeks of no grocery shopping or going to restaurants would put us to the positive about $1,800. (I know…we don’t coupon much.)

I think there would be a revolt in my house if I tried suggesting this and rightly so. None of us could naturally go this long without eating…unless maybe we had a supernatural meal to sustain us.

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God Is Doing This For You Today (Psalm 23)

psalm 23Perhaps no passage of Scripture is more familiar than Psalm 23. Here, I’ll get you started – “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…” Here’s the rest.

What follows below is not my attempt to improve on God’s written Word. I think He did a pretty good job without my help. Rather, it’s just what went through my mind as I read this passage again recently. Perhaps today, we can stop and consider all that God has and is currently doing for us.

My Reflections on Psalm 23

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Snickers Isn’t the Only Thing That Satisfies

Around 3:00 pm this Thursday afternoon, I expect to be settling down into the leather reclining love seat in my living room for my annual post Thanksgiving Day meal ritual. Kids will be running around the house, there will be the noise of dishes getting cleaned in the kitchen and the CBS football analysts will probably be dissecting a helmet-to-helmet personal foul call.

Yes, there will be a lot of noise, but it won’t matter. I’ll have a really satisfied feeling. My body will need to allocate more energy towards food digestion which means less blood flowing to other parts of the body, including the central nervous system. With blood flow to the CNS decreased, I can foresee only one possible outcome…nap time.

We love food that satisfies. In fact, Mars, Incorporated in the 1980s developed an entire add campaign for one of their candy bars around this theme. C’mon…you know the tune. Sing it with me. “Snickers satisfies you!”

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God is Not a Cosmic Killjoy

cosmic killjoyAmong the many false opinions that have developed concerning the nature of God, lies one that speaks about God’s goodness. Many people envision God as a cosmic killjoy, like a cop standing in the middle of all the world’s traffic. He’s ready to blow His whistle when one car veers slightly to the left or right.

People who have this view of God would basically see Him as the spoiler of all their fun.

“Stop that!” “You can’t go there!” “You don’t need those nice things!” “One more time doing that and I am going to zap you!” “Don’t you dare cross that line!”

At the heart of this belief people are really asking the question, “Does God really want to bless me and meet my needs?”  In other words, “Can I truly believe that God wants to provide for me?” Well, the answer from the Bible is that He does in more ways than we can imagine.

Cosmic Killjoy or Not?

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Should I Borrow Money to Get What I Want?

borrow moneyWe live in a “Have It Now” culture that screams, “Borrow money now to get what you want!”

We want our fast food within 5 minutes or less in the drive-thru.  We want to make quick money for as little work as possible. We drive fast cars so we can get to our destination sooner. We are first in line for the newest technology gadget the day it is released. Can’t wait…gotta have it.

This “Have It Now” culture has also skewed our reasoning ability, in that it has masterfully helped us change our “wants” into “needs.”

We no longer want the new bass boat – it is a need.

We no longer want the week-long cruise to Bermuda – it is a need.

We no longer want the $5,000 Hall of Fame rookie card – it is a need.

We no longer want…(fill in yours here)…it is a need.

Borrow Money to Get What We Want

Think through all of your major purchases in the past year. How many of them would truly be classified as “needs?”

Put these two things together – getting what we want quickly and “wants vs. needs” – and a real problem begins to arise for most everyone in society. We don’t have the money to pay for these items!

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God Places Us For A Purpose

Are you sick and tired of your job? Wish you could win the Mega-Millions Jackpot and escape to paradise, never to work again? If so, maybe some reflection and a new perspective is in order. Humans were endowed with the nature to work from the very beginning and they could not escape it, not even in paradise.

In Genesis chapters 1-2, we are told of God’s spectacular creation of the universe and all that it contains – the heavens, planets, stars, plants, animals and human beings. God was very pleased with his creation and when he was finished he commanded mankind saying, “…have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28). And then God did something awesome. He created a garden of paradise – in a place called Eden.

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“Hey Jesus…You Hungry?”

What if you could have anything you ever wanted? What if you could click your fingers and have your needs satisfied, your wants realized and your desires fulfilled? This would be your very own genie-in-a-bottle scenario without the three-wish restriction.

This sounds really enticing, to have everything your heart desires, whenever you want it. Think about it…food…fame…love…power…riches…peace. From your most basic needs to your most extravagant, nothing would be beyond your reach. And the best part is, you could provide that all by yourself just by wishing it to happen.

All right…pinch yourself…dreamtime is over. Of course, this is not reality for us. It will never happen. But there was one man in history that had the ability to make this happen. Thank God he chose not to.

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