Tuesday, January 26, 2010


By the way, (as A would say, "This is totally random, but...")

Who would open an email from a Mr. Tan Wong with the subject line "I'VE GOT A BUSINESS PROPOSAL FOR YOU"???

I get this stuff ALL THE TIME. Are there people out there who actually open those??

Here's a business tip for you... delete that email! :O)

Ridiculous (AKA Ridonkulous!).

Coupon shopping trip update...

Well, I'm assuming none of you heard me scream, since I didn't have to! If you did hear someone, please know that it wasn't me,and perhaps you should have checked into it. :o)

Okay, so I went to CVS tonight. I spent about $70, and got close to $20.00 back in Extra Care Bucks. So, I'll be able to spend them later on anything else I want from CVS. If I use them to purchase more items that earn ECB's, then I just basically get the items free, and more ECB's to spend on my next trip. Do you see how this works?? It is a bit of an "investment" if you will, on the front end or the first trip, but by using coupons, and only purchasing items you normally buy, or would like to purchase anyway, not too bad.

The only thing that threw me off today was that I ran out of milk and Pull-ups for Sarah, needed them both, and refused to go to another store. Without that purchase I would have spent $12-$15 or so less. Their Pull-Ups are ridonkulous (as Anna would say, and I'm sure she will correct my spelling)!!!

So, without those items, I would have spent more like $55-$60. I used approximately $8.00 in coupons towards the items I purchased, so that means the actual cost of the items, had I not had the coupons would have been around $60-$62.00. Are you still with me?

My actual amount spent (on the sale items I went to buy) was let's say $60, less the $8 in coupons. I then got the ECB's which were about $18.00. So, that brings me to an approximate out of pocket of around $34.00 (when you count that I earned the $18.00 in ECB's to spend again later. They can be spent on any future purchases within the next 4 weeks.) I'm afraid that must really sound confusing. I'm not sure I'm explaining all this very well.

So, here's what I got for that amount (and I'm not including my gallon of milk and the Pull-ups).
  • 4 packs of paper towels (to stockpile for later use) there are 6 rolls per pack so 24 rolls total!!!
  • 2 things of a higher priced lady's deodorant (again stocking up at the low cost)
  • 1 bag of Lay's potato chips
  • 1 bag of Tostito's restaurant style chips (I keep things like this on hand for drop in guests or for when we are going to someone's house and I need to take a snack.)
  • 1 bag of Tostito's dip style chips (Guess who's having Mexican this week. We actually love these with Taco Soup!! I'll post the recipe for those of you who have no idea what that is.)
  • (3) 12 packs of Mountain Dew (Todd's drink of choice when he isn't drinking his home ground and perked Starbuck's coffee). They were on special 3/$10.
  • 2-pack small boxes of Cheez-It's (a family favorite snack - except for me, I don't like them).
  • 2-pack boxes of Ritz crackers (which Sarah loves and I will use as topping on the occasional casserole).
I also looked for a 2-pack special they had of Honey Nut Cherrios (which we all like), but that was sold out. It was the only thing on my list that was sold out! Everything else they had a fairly good stock of. I was pleasantly surprised!

So, not bad considering they are all things we use regularly and use lots of. I think I did okay.

Now, as for most everything else, here's what I'm going to do:
  1. I plan to take advantage of meat specials at Publix, and to ask their butcher when they mark down their meats. If I purchase organic meat, which is what we prefer, it is rather expensive. So, if I can get it on the days they mark it down, then bring it home and freeze or cook and freeze, I should be able to save a good bit on my meat again. I just got lazy about doing this. If the markdown time is some crazy time that I can't possibly take advantage of, then just the really good sales will have to do and I'll stock up and freeze then.
  2. Every other sale item from Winn Dixie, Piggly Wiggly, and other sources like that, I will take the sale paper to Wal-Mart and have them price match. I'll also use my coupons there. If CVS doesn't have any ECB deals that I'm interested in for the week, but carries some items on sale, I'll have them price matched as well. Remember if you do this that you must take the actual sale paper with you. You can't just go in and say, "Hey Lady, I saw these things in a sale paper for Joe's One Stop Shopping for 25 cents a pound." That won't get it! (I hope that made some of you laugh...)

For those of you who live in our area, I understand they've broken ground on the site for the new Publix!!! I can't wait to have one on this side of the mountain! I've got my Wal-mart, my bank, now a Publix! I may never go over that mountain again!

Logging off now and going to catch some sleep before my wild one gets up. She jumped from the coffee table in the front living room today, landed face first on the tile of the fireplace, and bloodied her nose. It's always something! I'd told her 4 times already just this morning that, "We do not jump from furniture", and I'd made her put the cushions back on the couch - she was jumping onto them. I suppose perhaps I should have let her leave them on the floor???? Good grief, and goodnight!

Abiding always in His grace, Lori

Monday, January 25, 2010

Couponing, is it really worth it???

Okay, so I decided that I would give couponing another try. Years ago I used coupons all the time, but got really lazy with them because I couldn't find a reasonable system for organizing them and keeping up with what I actually had, and by the time I had a grocery list with the item on it, that I had a coupon for, I either couldn't find the coupon or worse yet it was expired!! AAHH! What is the point! Are coupons out there just to drive us crazy? HHMM, I'm beginning to wonder. What if it is a ploy by the liberals to try to make all of us fiscal conservatives go mad? It just might work!

Anyway, I digress. I had heard of the "coupon mom"'s website, and ran across a book she's written in the bookstore the other day. The Coupon Mom's Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bill in Half. In HALF??!!?? Without going insane?? I wasn't so sure, but being a sucker for a book, and having a perpetually teachable spirit, I couldn't help but wonder if this woman could make a believer out of me, teach me something useful, and help me to save a good deal of money every week.

Here's what I've found since almost finishing her book, and perusing alot of what the internet has to offer on the subject (mind blowing in and of itself!).

  1. A better way to organize my coupons so that I can find them when I need them. I'm using the "binder" method laid out on TheKrazyCouponLady.com website. (Did I mention that I might know why she's K*R*A*Z*Y???) Anyway, the system seems to be more organized than the little coupon holder accordion type thingys I've tried in the past.
  2. You can spend entirely TOO much time trying to find online coupons for sale items on your grocery list!!! See, that seems to be the catch, you need to stack coupons with items that are on sale. If you can stack a "manufacturer's coupon" with a "store coupon" with an item that's on sale, then you have hit the couponer's jackpot.

Tonight, I spent several hours working on the organization of my new "little" system. I printed and cut out dozens of coupons from the internet for items we use every week or regularly, and especially for items that are on sale this week. After strewing them out all over the bed, at about the time he was ready to turn in for the evening, I heard my dear husband mutter under his breath (rather loudly) JUST SPEND THE MONEY!!!

But, being the diligent, keeper at home that I am, I am determined to give this the best effort I can. I've got my binder all ready to go. My first stop will be CVS tomorrow. Assuming they actually have everything in stock that is on sale, and for which I have coupons, I have figured up that my grocery/household items will come up to an approximate sale price worth of $64.00, for which - after using my coupons and receiving my Extra Bucks back (which is like Monopoly money that can then be respent at CVS), I will spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $ 33.00. Hey!!! That actually IS a savings of almost half!!!

Maybe this will work after all! The biggest part of it all, I hope, is behind me. Setting up the notebook, finding some coupons to get started with (I'll continue on with just my Sunday coupons now), I think really was the hardest part. So, now that that is done, hopefully things will move along more smoothly on this try. I plan to keep it up for at least a month, weigh the time that it takes to do it against what I feel my time is worth, and see how it pans out. I'm trying to keep an open mind, and I'll try to keep you updated as I go along.

Seriously though, ya'll pray for me, because if I get to that CVS tomorrow and all this stuff I spent time cutting coupons out for is sold out, you will likely hear my screams from wherever it is you may be. :o)

Abiding in His abundant provision, and hoping for a good shopping trip tomorrow.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Never asked to borrow a penny since...

This is a true story. The names have been changed to protect the innocent (yeah right)...

One day, a brilliant mother and her beautiful daughter, we'll call her Kate, went to the store to buy some things.

While they were there, Kate spied an item that she simply couldn't stand to go home without. She inquired of her mother if she might buy it for her. Her mother, being the brilliant one that she is, asked Kate if she had any money at home with which to repay her for the item. Kate replied, "No."

So, the brilliant mother told Kate that she would purchase the item for her "on credit" but that she would expect her to repay her for it. Kate quickly, happily and quite willingly agreed.

After arriving back at their meticulously kept home (oh hush, it's my story!) the brilliant mother began having Kate busy herself with various and sundry chores. Kate was not pleased at the added work, but complied anyway. The day came and went and Kate enjoyed her newly aquired item.

The next day, the brilliant mother set Kate to doing all sorts of things around the house again. Things that Kate was not normally asked to do. Finally after nearly another entire day of this Kate exclaimed, "Why are you treating me like a slave!!!" (In her most dramatic tone, some of you have heard it!)

With a knowing smile the mother replied, "Because dear, you owe me money, and you haven't yet repaid the debt. You see Kate, the Bible says, in Proverbs 22:7, 'The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.' You have made yourself a slave to the one from whom you've borrowed money, and that would be me."

Lesson learned, the brilliant mother agreed that the debt had been worked off and thus repaid. She then explained the dangers of borrowing money - for anything no matter how small - and told her beautiful daughter how unpleasant it truly feels to work all of the time just to repay your debts.

Kate has never asked to borrow money again. In fact, her grandmother offered to "spot her" some money to buy something she wanted when the two of them were out shopping together one day, and the now brilliant daughter said, "No, thank you. I'll wait until I have the money and buy it later." Ah, smart girl.

That precious one would be my Anna Kate, and she will make some lucky young man a great catch one day!! The brilliant mother with the immaculate house was me - absolutely no resemblance to the real thing :o) Now, I've just got to remember to use the same tactic with Sarah Beth when she gets a few years older!

I am desperately leaning on His wisdom in trying to train my children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and teaching them to trust that EVERY word in the WORD is there and useful for a reason - our good and His glory.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."

Abiding in His grace,

Monday, January 18, 2010

Disciplined Finances

Disciplined financial living leads to peace in your life.

That's the truth, whether you believe it or not, whether you want to do it or not, whether you even care to have peace in your life. Financial chaos brings some of the worst discomfort, frustration, fear, and anxiety into your life you will ever experience.
I know, I've lived it.

So here is the question I pose to you to ponder today...

Are you willing to be disciplined in the area of your
finances and spending in order to have peace in your life, for you and for your family?

Now consider:
Hebrews 12:11
"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.
Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

You see PEACE is a fruit of the Spirit. It is one of the ways that others, the lost, see the image of Christ in our lives. Can other's see peace in your life that glorifies Christ, or do they see distress, anguish, financial dishonesty when it benefits you, or just plain financial fear?

I remember vividly the fear I felt as the year 2000 approached. Dozens of people got rich as they created fear in the masses about "Y2K". Perhaps you remember where you were and how you felt. For months I worried about not having the money to stockpile food, food I was being convinced (by Christians pedaling fear) I was going to need. I didn't have the money to put away cash that we "might need" because the World's computers were all going to crash leaving the financial institutions paralyzed. All I could do was wash out milk jugs and store up water.

We were not financially strapped, we were financially wound up tighter than a spring. I had been home 3 years with Anna, we had 2 older vehicles which were constantly in need of repair and we had racked up a good deal of credit card debt repairing them. We'd sold our former residence, a mobile home with a little property we had gotten at a good price from family. We were building our current home, using the money from our sale, and a small inheritance amount, to fund it. My Christian friends were just as worried as the lost. We were doing everything we could to work our way out of debt while still having me at home full-time with our daughter. It was not a time of peace for us, but Todd was working day and night (literally) doing all he could to dig us out, and I was at home doing my part - saving money, scrimping, and doing all I knew to do financially.

Finally, as the "Y2K Crisis" was at it's height, I just couldn't stand the pressure anymore, and finally I did what I should have done all along. I quit listening to everyone else, and began to pray and read the Word.

The Lord led me to this verse:

"I have been young and now I am old,yet I have not seen the
righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread."
Psalm 37:25

Perhaps that is encouragement for you today. That's the great thing about the Word. What meant so much to me that day in 1999, can also mean so much to you today in 2010.

Be sure to check out the quote in Interesting Facts and Quotes (up top and on the left). Today's quote really says ALOT in very few words!!!

Abiding in His Sovereign Grace for every day,

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Talking to myself???

Okay everyone out there in the blogosphere... I feel as if I am talking to myself.

The numbers on my visitor counter are going up, so I know you've been here, but you aren't saying anything. It makes it hard to want to keep going on.

PLEASE! Say something!! Anything!!

It's simple, all you have to do is hit the comment button at the bottom of the post and leave your thoughts, say "hi!", agree or disagree with something I've said or quoted. Anything, I'm begging you!!!

:o) Big smiles,

Thursday, January 14, 2010

More millionaire mindset...

Continuing on with what we started yesterday,

2. "Is this expenditure contributing to my wealth or taking from it?... It's no coincidence that the wealthy put their money in their homes instead of their cars. Homes usually appreciate. Cars almost always depreciate."

3. "Is this an Impulsive purchase or a planned purchase? Am I being pressured to make an expenditure I'm not certain about?"

"... Never forget that compound interest is just as powerful working against you as it is working for you. What might seem like a small expense now can, in the long run, steal your wealth. Simply put, there are two kinds of people: those who earn interest and those who pay it. That's the fundamental difference between the wealthy and the desperate. The Millionaire Mentality sees clearly the danger of credit and knows that freedom and power are infinitely better than short-lived pleasure."

The final quote for today is one that resonates with me the most. It is something that I think is not only wrong, unfortunate and unfair, it's just sad. I hate that it is the truth, but I have seen it in action - way more times than I wish I had - in the lives of so many people we know or are acquainted with. They are some of the same people who are easily scammed by the get-rich-quick schemes, the lure of easy money, and the enticement of hitting it big while gambling. Perhaps the most disturbing and the most despicable to me though is that these are often the same people who are deceived into giving "seed money" to Word of Faith "ministers" in order to "receive a hundred fold harvest", yada, yada, yada, ad nauseum. I could list many verses that caution God's people from the mistreatment of the poor, but I won't try to go there now. Needless to say, He doesn't look kindly upon it.

"The poor and the uneducated are particularly susceptible to interest schemes. That's one of the reasons why they stay poor."

Some of my favorite Millionaire quotes...

These are some of my favorite quotes from the book The 5 Lessons A Millionaire Taught Me - About Life and Wealth; by Richard Paul Evans. This book was recommended reading by our financial planner several years ago, and I've referred to it often throughout the years, just re-reading some of my favorite points. So, I thought I'd share some of them with you here in no particular order, and encourage you to read the whole book. Enjoy!

"Life isn't about money. It's about God. It's about love. It's about family and relationships."

"To the financially enslaved, life becomes all about money."

"... today's millionaires are remarkably frugal and careful with their money."

"Most people you see trying to look wealthy are doing just that. An expensive car or home does not make one wealthy. In fact, the inverse is more likely true."

"Taking control of your money begins with taking responsibility for it. That means knowing how much you have, where it is coming from, where it is going, and what it's doing in the meantime."

"It's a matter of personal stewardship." Learning where your money is going is the most
important step to gaining control of your finances."

"Work the day job, he said, (quoting from an unnamed Chinese Billionaire). "Get insurance and benefits and stability for your family. You owe them that. But always be looking for the side way to earn. That's where you'll find wealth." (In other words, always be looking for how to make extra money on the side. This could be a second part-time job, starting a small business than can be worked around your schedule, or beginning a home-based business. This is what Todd and I did for years before starting our own business, he worked nights and weekends doing side jobs, while working full-time for someone else who provided us with insurance and retirement, and those things for stability, until we had what we needed to go out on our own. This whole process probably took us 5 years or so. It wasn't the most fun 5 years, but it got the job done!)

Mind-Set One:
The Millionaire Mentality Carefully Considers Each Expenditure
There are 3 questions that the successful wealth builder asks himself before he spends his money.
  1. Is this expenditure really necessary? (Or is it possible to get the same personal effect without using money or using less of it?) "The seven golden words: "Is that the best you can do?" ... Of all the advice in this book, the seven golden words are likely to provide you the most immediate and surprising success.

Stay Tuned More mind sets to come tomorrow. You can order this book online through Amazon.com.

Learning along with you and abiding in His grace to lead me through,


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Save on Ice Cream...

See the interesting fact for the day to your right.... save on ice cream, lose weight and provide clean safe drinking water for a family who has none - for an entire year!!
Your cost, just $30.00!! What a bargain!!!
Learn more and give through PUR's Children's Safe Drinking Water http://www.csdw.org/csdw/home.shtml

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Crown Financial Ministries Money Forms and Helps

These are the budgeting and financial tools that Todd and I have used for almost 20 years. They are informative, straight forward, concise and written in language you can understand.

Read them, use them, and your financial outlook will change because of them!!

Crown's Free Publications Online
November 02, 2004 -->by Crown Financial Ministries
All are available at http://www.crown.org/Library/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=263

Percentage Guides in PDF format:
Single ParentFamily of Two (Married Couple)
Family of FourFamily of Four (High Housing Costs Area)
Family of Six

Charts in PDF format:
30 Day Diary
Budget Analysis Form
Checkbook Ledger
Debt List
Financial Statement
Income Allocation
Individual Account Page
Insurance Needs
Investing Chart 1
Investing Chart 2
Investing Chart 3
Monthly Income and Expenses
Savings AllocationsWhat the Ratings Mean

Information Sheets:
Austin Pryor
Balancing Your Checkbook
Clean Up Your Credit Report Yourself
Christian Farmers
College Funding
Creation Nonprofit
Crown Career Resources
David Pollock
Debt Elimination
Envelope Budgeting System
Funeral Consumer Societies
Home Business
Home Schooling
Identity Theft
Joni and Friends
Marriage Pamphlet
Mutual Funds
Prison Ministry
Small Business
Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
Tax Counsel
Unemployment Fact Sheet

Pamphlets in PDF format:
Before You Say I Do
Debt and CreditFamily Budgeting
Finances for Children and Teens
Giving and Tithing
Home Business Insurance
Major Purchases - Houses and Cars
Starting a Business
Widow's Financial Guide

Also visit their site online at http://www.crownmoneymap.org/.
Your Money Map is one of the best books you'll ever read on the subject of Christian finances.

Abiding in His grace, attending to my "herds", Proverbs 27:23-24 says, "Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, And attend to your herds; For riches are not forever, Nor does a crown endure to all generations." I'm thankful in this economy that I have something to attend to at all.

See my Interesting Facts

Look to your right to see my NEW interesting facts and quotes section.

Today, you'll find an interesting fact about cars that absolutely shocked me...

Monday, January 11, 2010

10 Reasons Why You Should Tithe

Don't tune me out, this is a SERIOUS Biblical principle,
so stay with me on this one!!!

Perhaps you should start your reading with this article from Crown Financial Ministries, a Christian Organization http://www.crown.org/pamphlets/pdfs/GivingandTithing.pdf It gets to the heart of giving which is what all believers need to do - begin by examining your heart and what you believe about money.

Since the day when Todd and I brought home about $12,000 a year, we have tithed. As our salary has grown, the amount of the tithe has grow, as has our desire to do more for Christs' kingdom by helping to meet the needs of the poor and needy in their pain. I know that there are those of you who wander onto this blog by way of my friend John Edwards blog, so let me make a disclaimer here. God's word DOES have a lot to say about money and even money as it relates to faith. You have been brainwashed, using scriptures out of context. So,I would encourage you to read any references in their own context to be sure you understand what he saying. You must renew your mind to the truth of God's word in all of it's context. Do it NOW!!!


The following is a list of 10 Reasons why you should tithe. It's a good read....
This article comes to us from the following webpage: http://www.ministryhelps.com/infopages.php?info_id=32

1. To Honor the Creator.
"Render… unto God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:21).
Acquisitiveness is one of the basic drives of mankind. Children grasp their toys and cry, "Mine!" Someone has noted three attitudes in the parable of the good Samaritan. The priest and the Levite had the attitude, "What's mine is mine and I'm going to keep it!" The thieves had the attitude "What's yours is mine, and I'm going to get it!" The Samaritan had the attitude, 'What's mine is yours, and you can have it." There is another attitude that should permeate our thinking, even above the commendable attitude of the Samaritan. That is, "Everything we have belongs to God, and we are stewards of His goods'"
God owns the entire world and its substance. "The earth is the LORD"S, and the fulness thereof" (Psalm 24:1). "Behold, all souls are mine" (Ezekiel 18:4). "The silver is mine, and the gold is mine" (Haggai2:8). It is God who gives people the power to obtain wealth (Psalm 75:6-7; Ecclesiastes 5:19). We are not to glory in what God has given us, but to glory in Him (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
Why should I be grudge God ten percent when everything actually belongs to Him? If it were not for Him, there would be no land, no seed, no strength, no income, and no life. How generous He is to tell us, ""he tithe... is the LORD'S"! (Leviticus 27:30).
2. To Acknowledge My Heritage.
"And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Galatians 3:29).
Abraham was the first tithe payer of record(Genesis 14:20). Abraham's grandson, Jacob, paid tithes (Genesis 28:22). Scripture says that Levi, Abraham's descendant and the father of the tribe from which the priesthood came, paid tithes in Abraham (Hebrews 7:9). My heritage of paying a tithe precedes the law of Moses. As a child of Abraham and an heir of the promise of Abraham. I acknowledge my family relationship by paying tithes.
Jesus said to the Jews, "If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham" (John 8:39). It would be strange to claim to be a child of Abraham and yet to neglect one of Abraham's most fundamental and noteworthy acts. I pay my tithes as a spiritual descendant of Abraham, the father of the faithful.
3. To Fulfill the Covenant.
"For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious" (II Corinthians 3:11).
In every comparison of the law of Moses and the new covenant that came by Jesus Christ, the new covenant stands supreme. The characteristic word in the Book of Hebrews is better, and everything is better about the new covenant. If the law demanded tithes, then how much more should we who are under the "perfect law of liberty" give our tithes willingly. (See James 1:25). If the law is written in the fleshly tables of our hearts and we follow God's commands not from outward rules but because of our new nature, then how quickly and how easily we should give the tenth that belongs to the Lord" (See II Corinthians 3:3-6).
Some people say, "Oh, we do not pay tithes, because tithing was under the law." If that is a sufficient reason for not paying tithes, then we could also mistreat our parents, for the law said, Honour thy father and thy mother" (Exodus 20:12). In actuality, we honor our father and mother and we give our tithes because the principles of the law are written in our hearts by the Spirit of God. We give willingly and liberally because the Spirit motivates us to give what God has said is His.
4. To Show My Love.
"Many waters cannot quench love" (Song of Solomon 8:7).
Love is the strongest motivation in the world. I have seen bumper stickers that say, "If you love Jesus, honk you horn!" Anyone can honk his horn. But David said, "Neither will I offer…unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing" (II Samuel 24:24). Someone should print a sticker that says, "If you love Jesus, pay your tithes!"
For someone who genuinely loves the Lord, the tithe is only the beginning of his giving. He gives not only his tithe, but also offerings (plural), not grudgingly and not of necessity, but cheerfully with love.
5. To Fulfill an Obligation.
"Ye pay tithe…:these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone" (Matthew 23:23). Jesus did not criticize the Pharisees for paying tithes. He commended them. He said it was something they "ought" to have done. The word ought expresses an obligation or duty. It is one of the strongest words in the English language. To pay tithes is something every Christian ought to do. The word ought has three meanings: (a) obligation or duty; as in, "He ought to pay his debts", (b) desirability; as in, "You ought to eat more slowly", (c) expectancy or probability; as in, "I ought to be through by Monday." Each one of these meanings puts an obligation upon the Christian. It is desirable for him to pay his tithes, he is expected to pay his tithes, and he has a duty to pay his tithes.
6. To Escape Condemnation.
"Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me… in tithes and offerings" (Malachi 3:8).
How sad it is that people who are honest in business and who pay their debts to the bank, the store, and the government will not pay God what belongs to Him! Sometimes people quibble about whether they are "paying" or "giving" tithes, but both terms seem appropriate. The tithe is the Lord's and He expects us to pay it to Him; at the same time, He does not receive it until we give it to Him. He does not give us the authority to use His tithes for other purposes, but we have the power to spend it as long as it is in our hands. Nevertheless, a person is condemned if he spends God's money.
7. To Spread the Gospel.
"So hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel" (I Corinthians 9:14). God has ordained for people to be saved by the preaching of the gospel (I Corinthians 1:21). "How shall they hear without a preacher?" (Romans 10:14).
Tithing is God's way of supporting the ministry. In the Old Testament, the Levites and the priest were God's minister to the nation of Israel, and they were supported by tithes. In the New Testament, God has called people to minister the gospel. These ministers can be more effective if they do not have to provide for their livelihood by working on a secular job but can devote themselves full time to the work of God. They need time to give themselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word.
It is not wrong for a man to labor with his hands, nor should a minister feel too good to engage in honest labor. Yet God's plan is for those who preach the gospel to live of the gospel. When God inspired Moses to write that the people should not put a muzzle on the box that labored, God was not as concerned with the ox as He was with the principle that a laborer should receive his livelihood from his work. The application of this principle is that the minister of the gospel should earn his living from his ministry. (See I Corinthians 9:9-14).
Some ministers have endured financial hardships and deprivation in order to proclaim the gospel in needy areas. If the tithing income insures that the minister can live in a good house, drive a good car, and buy sufficient clothes for his family, why should I begrudge providing these things to a man who would preach the gospel even if he had to work on a secular job to do it? It is a disgrace to a church if the pastor has to take a secular job to supply his family's needs when there should be sufficient tithing income available to allow him to do God's work on a full-time basis. My tithing ca help to spread the gospel.
8. To Avoid a Curse.
"Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me" (Malachi 3:9).
Someone has said, "You can't outgive God, and you can't outsqueeze Him either."
Some people put their money into "a big with holes" (Haggai 1:6). They do not give God His tithe, bit they eventually spend the money for automobile repairs, medical bills, and a thousand other things that they might have avoided if they had been faithful to God in their giving.
God said that the whole nation of Israel was cursed because they had not given God His due. God asked Israel to dedicate the gold of Jericho to Him, but Achan took a wedge of gold and hid it in a tent. It became a curse to him and his whole family.
I do not want God to curse my blessings. I want to give Him His tithe.
9. To Enjoy God's Blessing.
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse… and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it " (Malachi 3:10). (See also Luke 6:38).
God blesses the people who pay tithes. They do not always have the most money or the best clothes, but they are blessed.
However, I am wary of those who promise, "If you give God a dollar, He will give you back four." The expectation of a return should not be our motivation for giving. And His richest blessings are not necessarily monetary.
But I do want God to notice me and remember me. He noticed that the window put money into the treasury at the Temple. He noticed what Cornelius was giving. He noticed what Israel was not giving. He knows what we give and He notices when we give.
God has asked us to prove Him and see if He will not give us His blessings. I have trusted Him, tested Him, and tried Him, and I have concluded that it is better to give God what belongs to Him.
10. To Be Consistent.
"Be thou an example of the believers" (I Timothy 4:12).
For most of my ministry. I have lived on tithing income. How could I receive tithes and not pay tithes? I could not do so and be consistent. The Levites, who received tithes, also paid tithes on what they received (Nehemiah 10:38). Preachers who receive tithes should be most faithful to pay them.
Paying tithes will not save a person-everyone must be born again to be saved. But paying tithes will reap a blessing. Genuine Christian not only pay tithes, but they willingly pay tithes.

Hope you enjoyed this article. I promise, I'll write something of my own in another few week!!
Abiding in His grade,

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Shopping in Thrift and Consignment Stores

For years, I have been obsessed with saving money. I've desired to get out of debt and stay that way. I can't stand the feeling of owing money for cars, credit cards, furniture and things like that. It literally drives me C*R*A*Z*Y!! A short trip at best. ;o)

For this reason, every year I select a book or resource for the first of the year to read and study through. I also select additional books throughout the year to read and study to keep me focused and on track. I have to admit that it's easy to get off track.

So, because this is one of my passions, I wanted to share with my readers some online resources to help you learn to save money, get out of debt, give more, and live financial free. I will do this regularly, until I run out of resources. That could take a really long time!!! So, read on, and learn along with me this year - more ways to be free!

For the first 15 years of our marriage (we've been married almost 20), I shopped in Thrift and Consignment stores/sales exclusively for our clothing. We rarely bought shoes, except for the kids - as they outgrew them - and I mostly bought second hand shoes for myself. But over the years as our income has increased, I found it easy to slip into the patterns of shopping at the mall, specialty shops, or Wal-Mart and Target for our clothing and shoes. In the beginning we relied on hand-me-down, used, gifted or really saved up for furniture and household items (many of which we are still using today). I highly recommend teaching this habit to your children while they are young! As they get older (and pickier) they may become resistant to this practice. If so, give them a budget - say $30.00 - and tell them to put together two or three complete outfits with that amount. They will quickly find that their money goes a lot further in some stores than others!

I don't know at what point I began shopping differently, but I do remember one day feeling like I had "arrived" somehow, able to purchase *new* items - as if that really mattered!!! It sickens me to admit. The only thing we have truly restrained ourselves with has been upgrading our home. For some time we've really desired a slightly larger home, a little more space. With all that we do here - live, run a business, homeschool, etc... things get a little crowded! But, I ran across a scripture some time ago, totally providential, and it helped me to remember to keep first things first. I can't remember the version I read it in, but loosely translated it said, Build your business, before building your house. I think it was Proverbs 24:27. That restraint has been one of the things that has kept us afloat in this economic downturn.

Anyway, this article caught my eye today so I thought I'd share it first:
How To Shop In Thrift/Second Hand Stores is brought to you from www.FeedThePig.org.
How to shop in thrift/second hand stores is posted below exactly as it is on their site... at this link http://www.feedthepig.org/node/352
Sun, 12/13/2009 - 23:08
mgonamission -->

Thrifting has become trendy and it is a great way to save a lot of money. However, to make it worth your shopping dollars it helps to understand how to shop a thrift store.
1. The first rule of thrifting - Condition, condition, condition! Unless you are someone who lives to fix stuff, avoid the impulse of buying something that has obvious defects. Ask yourself, when would I have time to fix this, do I have the materials I need to fix it today, and have I ever fixed this kind of problem before. If you cannot answer yes to all of these questions leave it in the store.
2. Have an idea about what you are trying to find - you can throw away a lot of money in thrift stores if you browse the way you would at the mall. If you are looking for a pair of jeans, look for jeans. Have some tunnel vision. There may be other great things to tempt you with their low prices, but if you didn't need it before you entered the store you don't need it now.
3. Know your brands - do some research. All things are not created equal. We love name brands for a reason, we can predict their quality. Especially in thrift shopping the better the quality of the item, the better the bargain. It helps to be aware of the retail cost of the item you are looking for. Take the retail cost cut it in half, any price under that is a great bargain as long as the condition is good.
4. Be patient - thrift shopping is rewarding in part because it can be work to sort through items to find what you are looking for. When you do it is like finding buried treasure. That first trip to a thrift store can be daunting, it's not glitzy. They have not spent money on advertising displays to lure you into the store. All of that saving is passed on to you.
Thrifting can save thousands of dollars a year on clothing and household items. Especially if you have kids. With a little effort and some patience you can look good, feel good and keep most of your money in your pocket!

So, this year, save money, and give the rest through a credible Christian organization like World Vision, Compassion International, or Samaritan's Purse. Join me and post your money saving ideas by leaving a comment.

Trying to save along with you all, and give more for the cause of spreading the gospel throughout the world,

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Goal of Terrorists is .......... what ???

I usually do not post on things of a "political" nature. However, I have found myself severely frustrated today, and I want to make something very clear that was horribly misspoken today. This is my only other avenue of "speech" so here it goes.

It is actually of a religious nature, although the liberals involved do not see, understand or even acknowledge the link. I have been watching the Live Desk on Fox News Channel, which is my news source of choice. Yes, I do believe they are "fair and balanced" for the most part. Anyway, while watching this program, I had to stop mid-show, thank you God for TiVo, and discuss a comment made by a gentleman on the program with my 13 year old daughter.

The discussion is opened about the incident at Fort Hood, and the following quote is made...

I quote from a Jim Arkadis; Director of the National Security Project at the Progressive Policy Institute. "With terrorism, you're trying to effect a change in policy or trying to get people to change their behavior."

The Miriam-Webster definition of terrorism is: "the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion."

However, when you are dealing with Islamic Terrorists, you have a whole other thing to consider. No one on the "left" or even in the middle seems to want to use the word "Islamic" with Terrorists, but quite frankly the terrorists are Islamic - for Pete sake! Islamic Terrorists kill for a number of reasons, I comment on them here in no particular order, and the list is certainly not exhaustive.

First of all, they believe they are involving themselves in "Jihad" (definition: a holy war waged on behalf of Islam as a religious duty; also : a personal struggle in devotion to Islam especially involving spiritual discipline). They are killing others, as a means of securing their place in "paradise", where I understand they will be met with 60 virgins or something of that sort. (I've never determined - what's in it for the women and children who are strapped with bombs and sent into crowds....)

Secondly, they kill to invoke terror (extreme debilitating fear) in those involved, and those surrounding the ones bombed, and to paralyze their infrastructure political, financial, religious, etc...

Thirdly, they believe that they are doing their "duty" to kill the infidel (defined as: an unbeliever with respect to a particular religion), anyone who does not believe what they do then, is an infidel. Gee, that leaves a lot of us out here, huh?

Terrorists do not care if after blowing themselves or others up, they effect a change in policy or behavior! Good grief, what rock does this man really live under! It is a totally SELFISH death - securing their own place in their supposed paradise and killing the infidels in the process. It reminds me of Dr. Phil's classic phrase, "What's in it for you?" and another "How's that working for you?"

So what then of the Christian - we're required to live a selfless life - dieing to ourselves, not killing others. Dieing to ourselves, hmmm, when was the last time you met a Christian really trying to live like that? Trust me, I'm speaking to myself here!

Abiding in His grace, and trying daily to crucify my own flesh, take up my cross, and allow the Spirit of Christ to live in and through me.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Busy New Year and Birthday Celebrations!!

Happy New Year everyone!

The New Year has been officially "rung in" with a New Year's Eve party that was much fun, and a three day long birthday celebration for Anna's 13th b'day!

We started the new year with friends from our church at a New Year's Eve party there. The kids had lots of fun playing Wii, which was set up on a big screen, and the adults had a lot of fun playing Rock Band on the X-box, also set up on a big screen. I think the adults were having more fun than the kids! (Me included!) Some of the kids played Rock Band too, but most of them don't know the songs - since they all seem to be from my "decade" which was quite some time ago. I refused to play any instruments, or sing on the karaoke microphone, but for those who were there... well, they know how much fun I had throwing in the occasional "Woo Hoo" during the numerous rounds of Michael Jackson's Beat It that were sung. What a night!

The next day we began celebrating Anna's 13th b'day with a bowling party, then pizza and fireworks back at our house. That one lasted into the wee hours of the morning as we had the chance to "catch up" with some close friends we'd not visited with in a while.

Saturday Anna had a friend over for the day and they were both exhausted from New Year's eve celebrations - so they were surprisingly very quiet.

Lastnight, we finished up with a family party here at our home which involved the grandparents and my brother's family, chili, cake, gifts, and some Mario Cart.

All in all, Anna had a wonderful 13th celebration, and now we are officially parenting a teenager. Ugh! Ya'll pray for me.

Because I am lousy at taking pictures, and my cell phone is a lousy picture taker, I only ended up with one photo decent enough to post. My sincere apologies to everyone else who joined us, but didn't make it into a decent photo that was postable. I'm afraid all of our events are destined to end with only one or two photos thanks to my sorry picture taking skills.

New Year note to self: Perhaps I should take a photography class. Hmm, that would probably lead to buying a much nicer camera than we have, and probably don't need, since I can't remember to keep batteries charged, or the camera with me.

Hope that you and your families enjoy a wonderful new year,

Anna with friends (and 2 of our Pastor's 5 children) Timothy and Tiffany.

Again, so sorry to all of the others who joined us to celebrate and didn't make it into a decent photo. I've not checked my regular camera yet, this pic is from my cell phone, but if I get some others I'll post them later. Also joining us over the weekend were the Hooks, the Hoosiers, the Jones, grandparents, my brother's family, and Anna's bff - Roxanna.