We are nearing the end of the year where the forecasters have said that the fiscal cliff will impact everyone. Well, what does that mean to you? It means higher taxes, increased penalties on married couples and investment income and reduced rate on charitable contributions as well as reduced unemployment benefits. If you listen to the experts they will emphatically tell you that this will hurt more than the last recession but no one is telling us how to protect ourselves from it. We do not know what Washington will do but we can’t wait for them to act. We should not let the current economy dictate our future. Here are a few timeless principles that will work in any economy:
Become a steward of your resources
Psalm 24:1 declares that, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” Everything we have on this earth is the Lord’s. We do not own anything. Stewardship is simply managing someone else’s resources to accomplish an objective and the objective is to ensure that our family needs are met in a time like this. Here are some characteristics of a steward:
First, the steward must be faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:2 states, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” It is the responsibility of the steward to become faithful with God’s resources. He acts and lives prudently based on a predetermined plan to accomplish a set goal. A steward must have the ability to learn. We are to educate our minds to become mentally strong instead of letting someone tell us what to do with our money. We are given ownership and it is up to us to turn a profit. The final characteristic of a good steward is that of a risk taker. Ecclesiastes 11:6 says that, “In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.” We have no idea what God is going to do in this climate. Will there be another recession or will there be an upturn in 2013? It’s up to Him. No matter the economic climate, be ready to take a risk. In the past recession, bonds took off for investors.
Get a budget and stick to it.
One survey suggests that over 33% of people do not operate a budget properly. Habakkuk 2:2 says Write a vision, and make it plain upon a table so that a runner can read it. A budget if operated correctly will guide, direct and even constrain you from splurging. Know this: Your budget can resolve all of your concerns. A budget should have three components: income, expenses, and net income (balance). Income is the most important aspect of the budget because the amount of income controls the amount of spending. For expenses, write down all of your expenses and separate your expenses into three categories (Need, Want, and Desire). A budget will give you the confidence to win any battle with finances.
Give, give, and give
The concept of giving has been given a bad reputation as most people are holding onto what they have. I am talking about the giving that helps people no matter their religion, nationality or culture. There are 3 areas of giving that can stimulate your finances. They are obedience giving, abundant giving, and sacrificial giving. Obedience giving is the type of giving sanctioned by God to support His church. This can be in the area of tithes and offering found in Malachi 3:8-11. Abundant giving addresses a specific need through family, friends, or coworkers, etc. I am not talking about a handout but changing the lives of people who are in need. Abundant giving is motivated by love. Lastly, sacrificial giving is abstaining from your wants or desires to meet and or exceed the needs of others. One example is supporting foreign work or supporting those who cannot support themselves. James 1:27 states that pure religion in the sight of God means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you with their material things. Giving is a key not only for those who need it but for us as all of our needs will be met. God promises this when we give – God loves a person who gives cheerfully. And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others (2 Corinthians 9:7-8).
Pray and Believe God
Matthew 21:22 says, “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” This may seem easy to say but when the reality hits this is all we have. Pray for sustainable faith to go through this period. Pray for those who are in leadership in our country. They need prayer just like us to make right decisions in the best interest of people. Ask God to turn their hearts to His. Lastly, continually pray that God makes you a blessing for others. That is why we are here on earth. When we follow these steps, the control in our finances is back in our hands and not determine by anyone else.
Make it a great day!
Cedric Dukes can be contacted at www.cedricdukes.com.