BREAKING NEWS! Stock Market Plunges 1,100 Points This Morning . . .

The stock market opened this morning with the Dow dropping as many as 1,100 points. To put this into perspective, the Dow has never closed down more than 800 points in a day!

 

I briefly turned on a financial TV channel to see what the financial gurus were saying. They were obviously struggling to explain this huge loss. Unlike their usual self-assuredness, they were unable to clearly articulate why it was happening and what was going to happen.

 

As we’ve been sharing with our MoneyWise listeners for the past couples of years, when any market has six straight years of amazing growth in value and is at or near record highs – we need to be cautious! So, we’ve been recommending no more than 25% of an individual’s investments in the stock market. And we’ve encouraged investors to do their homework and invest in solid companies that have little or no debt and pay a dividend.

 

The two passages that give us the clearest guidance when it comes to investing are Proverbs 21:5, “Steady plodding brings prosperity; hasty speculation brings poverty.” In other words, be a consistent investor even if you can afford just a few dollars a month.

 

The other passage is Ecclesiastes 11:2, “Divide your portion to seven or even eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur upon the earth.” In other words, it’s wise to diversify and not to put all of our investment dollars into one basket.

 

One final thought. When we face major financial challenges that are global and beyond our control, remember what 1 Timothy 6:17 tell us: “. . . don’t fix your hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.” All riches are uncertain. Stocks, real estate, bonds, and gold go up and down in value. There is only one thing on the planet that is certain and that is the Lord Himself. He told us in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.”

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The 3 Biggest Lessons I’ve Learned About Biblical Finance

In 1973, my business partner asked me to join him in a study of the Bible to discover what it said about money and possessions. I had never read the Bible before so this was going to be an eye-opening experience……..and it certainly was!

 

There were three things that really resonated with me during this year-long project.

 

  1. The Bible says a ton about money! There are 2,350 verses dealing with money and possessions. In fact, 15% of everything that Jesus said had to do with it. The reason the Lord said so much about money is simple. God loves and cares for us. He knew that all of us would have financial challenges and he wanted to equip you to handle it wisely.

 

  1. I thought that the only financial subject the Bible would address was generosity — the handling of 10 percent of our money. But it tells us how to earn, spend, save, give, invest, get out of debt, and teach our children. It shows us God’s way of handling 100 percent of our money. Everything we need to know about handling it is found in God’s word.

 

  1. Finally, the Bible reveals God has a role in handling money, and we have a part. God’s part is that he is the owner of everything, He is the One who provides our needs, and He is in ultimate control of all events. Take a look at how 1 Chronicles 29:11-12 sums up God Part: “Everything in the heavens and earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as being in control of everything. Riches and honor come from you alone, and you are the ruler of all mankind. Your hand controls power and might, and it is at your discretion that men are made great.” Our Part is that we’re to be faithful stewards of whatever God entrusts to us.

 

If you would like a Bible that has each of the 2,350 verses highlighted that deal with money and possessions, check out our Financial Stewardship Bible.

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3 Steps to Paying Off Your Car Debt . . . . Forever!

 

 

 

 

3 STEPS TO PAYING OFF YOUR CAR DEBTDo you know that some people never get out of car debt? And it’s one of their biggest obstacles on their journey to true financial freedom. Fortunately, there’s a way to get out of car debt for good by following these three simple steps.

 

  1. Decide to keep your car at least three years longer than your car loan—and then pay off the loan.
  2. After your last payment, keep making the same payment, but pay it to yourself. Put it into an account that you will use to buy your next car.
  3. When you’re ready to replace your car, the cash you have saved plus your car’s trade-in value should be sufficient to buy a car without credit. It may not be a new car, but a low-mileage used car is often value anyway.

 

My wife, Bev, once drove the same car for 17 looooong years. She bought it second-hand and paid cash for it. This was one of the wisest financial decisions we ever made because the average monthly payment on a new car that’s financed is about $385. So, for 17 years she didn’t have a $385 auto payment which saved us $78,540! We were able to use this money to be more generous, get out of debt more quickly, and save invest more.

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5 Reasons to Open a ROTH IRA

The news continues to be dominated by Greece’s possible bankruptcy and the question of whether it will stay in the European Union. In the midst of their struggle we’ve learned, once again, that when a country is fighting for financial survival, taxes go up, and the ability of those in retirement to make ends meet can be compromised. The Bible encourages us to save. Proverbs 21:20 says, “The wise man [and woman] saves for the future, the foolish one spends whatever he gets” (TLB).

Our country’s most popular retirement options are the 401(k), traditional IRA and Roth IRA. I recommend contributing to a 401(k) up to the amount of your employer’s match because it is free money, but not one penny more because of the five advantages of the Roth IRA.

  1. Although contributions to a Roth are not tax deductible, it grows tax free and after age 59½, anything you take out of it is tax free. This is a huge benefit when you are in retirement!
  2. If you are married, each year you and your spouse can both contribute $5,500 of earned income to your individual Roth’s regardless of who earned the money. The amount you can contribute annually is increased to $6,500 once you reach age 50.
  3. If you are experiencing a financial emergency, you can take out what you’ve contributed to a Roth penalty free and income tax free.
  4. Unlike a 401(k) or traditional IRA, when you reach age 70½ you are not subject to the taxable Required Minimum Distribution (RMD). In other words, you can choose to leave the assets in your Roth where they grow tax free.
  5. A Roth generally has the most favorable tax treatment when you pass your estate to your heirs.

The good news is that it is easy to open a Roth IRA. Most banks and online brokers can help you.

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God’s Sovereignty over the Nations

Concern and even fear grip many hearts as ISIS murders helpless people, Greece and Venezuela teeter on the brink of economic Armageddon, and Russia and China are daring other countries to stop their aggressiveness. In times like this it is crucial to understand God’s perspective of history and His control of world events.

Isaiah 40:15-16 tells us how He views even powerful nations: “The nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales . . . all the nations are as nothing before Him [the Lord], they are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless.”

Acts 17:26 makes it clear who is in complete control. “The Lord . . . . scattered the nations across the face of the earth. He decided beforehand which should rise and fall and when. He determined their boundaries” (TLB).

We can experience God’s peace when we embrace a loving God who is control of every event.

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Forgiveness Trumps Tragedy in Charleston

It was a tragic event that is etched in our minds just as the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster or the 9-11 Twin Towers attack.

Nine African-American members of historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, were murdered by a visitor they had welcomed into their Bible study. The perpetrator was a young white supremacist who intended to divide our country and ignite a race war.

But . . . the response of the members of Emanuel and the families of the victims stunned the media and the world. In the midst of their pain and loss was the kindest and most gracious display of forgiveness possible. These parents, spouses and close friends demonstrated to the world what knowing Jesus Christ in a remarkably close way is all about.

My wife, Bev, and I were reflecting on this yesterday, and I shared with her that I was strongly sensing in my own heart a deeper love for Christ and people, a greater desire to be in God’s word and to obey it more fully — all since observing their genuine forgiveness. She had been experiencing something similar, and thought that this could be the beginning of revival in our nation.

I want to challenge you to meditate on the promises found in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Let’s:

  • Humble ourselves before the Lord and people
  • Pray and seek the face of God
  • Turn from anything in our lives that is not pleasing to Christ
  • Forgive those who have harmed us in any way and communicate that to them

If we do this as the people of God, He promises:

  • To hear our prayers
  • Forgive our sin
  • And heal our land.

The cost of revival is high. Let’s not waste the incredibly expensive down payment of the lives of nine members of Emanuel AME Church.

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The Real Prosperity Gospel

Received this question recently: “I’m a new believer in Christ, and a friend told me that God wants us all to be financially wealthy. Is this what the Bible teaches?”

This view is known as prosperity theology which says that all Christians who have enough faith will always be prosperous, but that’s just not true.

Just look at some of God’s people in the Bible. Joseph was born into a wealthy family—then was a slave and prisoner for 17 years before God elevated him to prime minister of Egypt. David was anointed king of Israel, and then had to flee for his life for 10 years from King Saul before he became king. The apostle Peter told a lame beggar, “Silver and gold have I not, but in the name of the Lord Jesus, walk.”

Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11, “I have learned the secret of being content whether I am in abundance or want.” And in his life that is exactly what he experienced.

 Our job is to be faithful to handle money God’s way. It’s the Lord’s responsibility to decide how much to entrust to us at any time whether it is much or little.

To learn more about contentment and other principles of biblical financial stewardship head over to our website at http://www.compass1.org.

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