April 19

Contentment In Christ

Jaime and Kids

Contentment in Christ

This is a re-blog from Bible Money Matters. I hope that you enjoy it.

Best regards,
Felix A. Montelara
Author; Potencial Millonario

Last week, I laid the foundation for how I studied personal finance in the Bible. I gave you a light introduction to what I call God’s Provident Plan and promised we’d look at each aspect in more depth. This is the first part of a series in which I’ll share what I’ve discovered about personal finance in the Bible. Today, we’re going to talk about the importance of contentment in Christ.

 

Once we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He becomes everything to us. He must become everything to us. We are in a continual struggle against Satan to keep other things (especially money) from taking the place of Christ. The World sends us a message that says more wealth and more stuff will make us happy. But God warns us in Revelation 3:17-18 that worldly wealth cannot offer us true satisfaction and security.

17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Revelation 3:17-18 (NIV)

Only God can provide us with true wealth and open our eyes so we can see the truth. God has a higher purpose for us than riches far beyond our needs and 6,000 square foot homes. God wants more meaning in our lives than a brand new luxury car in the driveway and a shiny yacht next to the dock. God has a higher calling for our retirement years than fruitless day after fruitless day spent on the golf course, beach, or back porch. The World’s message contradicts God’s message so much that we must choose between the two. Luke 16:13-15 says:

13 “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” 14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” Luke 16:13-15 (NIV)

We must choose between serving God or Money. There is no middle ground. Devotion to Money is completely and absolutely opposed to devotion to God. Greed and generosity cannot exist together. Consumerism and contentment demand different paths. Choosing to love and serve Money means that you are choosing to turn your back on God. But if you want to serve God, you must give your heart completely to Him. In Mark 7:21-23, Jesus tells us that greed and envy come from our hearts:

21 “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’” Mark 7:21-23 (NIV)

Once God has the commitment of our hearts, He can begin to transform our minds – change our thinking. The New Living Translation renders Romans 12:2 this way:

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 (NLT)

The solution to serving God and rejecting the World’s message is not to start trying to do what we think are all the right things. The solution is to give ourselves completely to God – to offer our entire lives as a sacrifice to Him in thankfulness and love for what He’s done for us. Then as we focus on Him we’ll learn what His will is for us and how we can glorify Him.

This step of getting God’s view takes time. It is a gradual transformation in our thinking that God effects as we grow in Him. We have to see that our focus on the things of this world keeps us from seeing the importance of love and relationships. That misplaced focus keeps us from fully serving God. We must focus on storing up treasures in heaven rather than on Earth because that will show whether our hearts belong to God or Money. If we let the concerns of this life take priority over the concerns of eternal life, we will be unfruitful. Jesus warns of this danger in Mark 4:18-19:

18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Mark 4:18-19 (NIV)

We must learn that everything belongs to God and everything comes from God. We must learn to be thankful in all circumstances. We must find satisfaction in our daily bread. We must learn that life is more than pursuing wealth, buying everything our culture tells us to want, and retiring early. And even though these ideas go against our human nature, we must understand that it’s not worth gaining the whole world if we end up losing our souls.

The transformation that happens as we let God renew our minds and thinking has huge repercussions in our lives. We gain understanding of what it means to be content in Christ. We see that our faith in Jesus gives us eternal life. We see the utter worthlessness of everything on earth when compared to our salvation and the riches of eternal life with God. We put our hope in Christ and the life He gives. Christ then gives us true contentment that conquers any circumstance we may face, but we must continue to focus on our hope in Him and weigh everything against the surpassing value of our eternal life with God.

When we find contentment in Christ and Christ alone, the importance of money in our lives diminishes and pales to the value we place on Jesus. We learn the secret to being happy in all situations – whether we’re full or starving, rich or poor, employed or jobless, single or married – nothing in this life matters at all when compared to the glorious gift of Jesus and the fact that no one and no circumstance can take that away from us. As Paul says in Philippians 4:11-13:

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)

When we see everything in light of eternity, we find that nothing on earth is of more value than our faith in Christ. We learn that while we may never be rich by the world’s standards, we have riches that can’t be measured in dollars, gold, houses, cars, or anything else in this life. We understand that contentment in Christ is true wealth.

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:6-12 (NIV)

Once we have this conviction of always finding our contentment in Christ, the Spirit will teach us to place much less importance on material things. We will no longer be focused solely on our own needs and wants – an early retirement, a bigger house, a nicer car, and so on. Instead, we’ll be consumed with a desire to focus on the needs of others – to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, and show God’s love to the world through our faith and deeds. This is the essence of contentment in Christ. We’ll spend less and less on ourselves and our desires as we seek to give more and more to others and fulfill God’s desires.

http://www.biblemoneymatters.com/gods-provident-plan-contentment-in-christ/?awt_l=6_YgE&awt_m=LTLO.iYltTUH7V

April 14

Do You Have What it Takes To Become a Financial Literacy Award Winner? Here Are The 2014 Education In Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Awards Winners

Banner WP

The Institute for Financial Literacy® 2014 Excellence In Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Awards winners are honored for their distinguished accomplishments in developing, implementing and promoting successful financial literacy education worldwide.

The EIFLE Awards were established in 2007 and have since become one of the most prestigious and sought after awards in the industry. Each year, the Institute for Financial Literacy presents EIFLE Awards to individuals and organizations that have shown exceptional innovation, dedication and commitment to the field of financial literacy education.

ACFE_Tagsm

The work of these authors, educators, organizations and researchers inspires others to strive toward excellence as well, increasing the availability and effectiveness of financial literacy education in communities across the country.

I had the pleasure attending the Annual Conference on Financial Education. I met and interviewed some of the award winning individuals (see below) and I will make the interviews available in future blog posts and podcasts of The Potential Millionaire / Potencial Millonario – www.potentialmillionaire.net. In my conversations with the award winners it was made very clear that helping the underprivileged was a staple of their commitment to producing, teaching, and funding financial literacy programs. I learned that it was the core of their individual beliefs and corporate visions.  On behalf of The Potential Millionaire, I congratulate and commend all of the EIFLE winners.

The Institute for Financial Literacy website can be reached at www.Financiallit.org for detailed information on the EIFLE awards. If you know any of the award winners or just wan to say congrats,  please  leave a comment below. 

EIFLE logoHere are the 2014 EIFLE award winners:

For Profit Organization of the Year:

ING Bank Turkey

Organization of the Year, Corporate Leadership:

Discover

 Instructional Game of the Year:Tabletop

MoneyWorks

Goodwill Industries of West Michigan, Inc.

Nonprofit Organization of the Year:

Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada)

 Education Program of the Year:Children, General

Hartford Stage Financial Literacy Program

Hartford Stage

Education Program of the Year:

Children, Financial Responsibility & Decision Making

TrueWealth-KIDS

TrueWealth Ventures, Inc.

 Education Program of the Year:Children, Income & Careers

CU 4 Reality™ Financial Education Program

America’s Credit Union Museum

Education Program of the Year:

Children, Saving & Investing

Delaware BANK AT SCHOOL

Delaware Financial Literacy Institute

 Education Program of the Year:Adult, General

Adelante con tu future, Educacion Financiera

BBVA Bancomer

Education Program of the Year:

Children, Planning & Money Management

Youth Financial Camp

A+ Federal Credit Union

 Book of the Year:Adult, General

Pocket Change: Using the Science of Personal Change to Improve Financial Habits

by Heidi T. Beckman, PH.D.

Book of the Year:

Children, General

The Money Tree

by LaDonna Smith

Legacy:

Hon. John C. Nifo II

Credit Abuse Resistance Education (CARE)

Book of the Year:

Adult, Money Management

The $1,000 Challenge: How One Family Slashed Its Budget Without Moving Under a Bridge or Living on Government Cheese

by Brian O’Connor

Educator(s) of the Year:

William Daniel

William R. Boone High School

Educator(s) of the Year:

Ingrid Adade

Leominster Credit Union

April 6

How to get your financial house in order by age 30 (USA Today- Money)

TopHatLogo
Author: Anne Godlasky, @annieisi, USA TODAY5:38 p.m. EDT May 16, 2013

New wrinkles. Pressure to procreate. And what have you checked off your bucket list lately? Turning 30 can be stressful, even before thinking about personal financial goals and how to achieve them.

Adults 34 and younger grade themselves worse than any other age group in their personal finance knowledge, with 48% giving themselves a C or lower, according to a survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Financial planners say that needs to change. Millennials have a lot to do to get their house in order.

“I think every birthday you check your credit score and your weight, and one should be going up, and one should be coming down,” says Jean Chatzky, 48, a personal finance expert whose Money School webinars launched last month. “People around 30 are under more pressures than any prior generation,” she says, citing “tremendous” student loan debt, “stagnant” wages, the burst housing bubble and the burden of retirement and health care costs moving increasingly from employers to individuals.

In fact, the average net worth of those under 40 in 2010 was 7% below that of people in the same age range in 1983, the Urban Institute reported in March.

“Thirty today isn’t what 30 was a few decades ago. It could mean single and 30, or married with children,” says Megan Rindskopf, 26, a certified financial planner with ClearView Wealth Management in Charlotte. “I think the biggest issue for people in this age range is knowing how best to deal with competing priorities. A lot of people are living paycheck to paycheck. This is kind of the age where you feel you need to grow up.”

WHAT FINANCIAL GOALS SHOULD MILLENNIALS SET?

A good benchmark is to have one year’s salary saved in retirement accounts, such as a 401(k), by age 30, says David Weliver, 32, who created the financial advice websiteMoney Under 30 after recovering from his own problems with debt. Weliver calls the goal “income-based, so it’s not comparing a kindergarten teacher and a Wall Street banker.”

Financial experts recommend saving 10% to 15% of every paycheck to retirement and savings accounts.

However, saving newbies shouldn’t start with 10%, some advise.

“It’s like going on a crash diet — if you go too high, it’s too painful and too likely to fail,” Chatzky says. “Once you manage to set aside 2% for three to six months, then notch it up another 2%. … I’ve never seen a budget where I can’t find some wiggle room.”

As you save money, here are steps to take:

1. Meet obligations. Pay your rent and minimum loan amounts on time to avoid charges and fees.

2. Build an emergency fund. If you have nothing, start with $500-$1,500 to avoid overdrafting your checking account, says Weliver, then grow that buffer into a savings worth three to six months’ salary, to support you in case you lose your job.

3. Pay into 401(k) up to company match. If you don’t do this, “you’re missing out on free money,” Rindskopf says. If your company doesn’t match your 401(k) contributions, Weliver still recommends donating 3- to 5%.

4. Pay off credit card debt. “The biggest payoff is going to come from two things — capturing any matching [401(k)] dollars and paying back credit card debt,” because it is high interest, says Chatzky.

5. Increase savings. Once you’ve paid off debt, built an emergency fund and started saving for retirement, “look at shorter term goals and figure out how much you’ll need in two to five years,” such as paying for a wedding, car or down payment on a house, Weliver says. “You don’t want to put everything in retirement if you don’t have enough to pay for the things you’ll need.”

6. Buy life insurance. “I absolutely recommend it if you’re starting a family or if you have a spouse who depends on you to pay the bills,” says Rindskopf. “Do a little research before you jump in and buy a policy.”

7. Increase 401(k) contributions to 10%, even if it’s beyond company match, Weliver says.

8. Pay off student loans on schedule. Student loans are “tax-deductible and the interest rate is generally low,” says Chatzky.

9. Open tax-advantaged accounts. “If you’ve maxed out [other savings], but you still have money to put aside, look at other tax advantaged accounts you can open. If you have a child, look at the 529″ to save for their college education, Chatzky says.

10. Invest. If you’ve done all of this, increased your retirement and your savings and still have money to spare, you may consider investing in taxable brokerage accounts.

THE GENERATION OF ADJUSTED EXPECTATIONS

Chatzky, a mother of two teens, 18 and 16, says many young adults will need to “choose a smaller lifestyle than earlier generations.”

“It’s very demoralizing to think that the next generation won’t have a shot at doing as well as their parents did,” she says.

Weliver agrees that his generation has a different standard of living.

“We need to lower our expectations,” he says. “Retirement age may be 70. … That just may be the reality of our generation.”

With 32% of those 18-34 saying they put nothing toward retirement, according to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, even a later retirement date requires getting serious about personal finances as soon as possible.

“When you turn 30, it’s a really good time to make a five-year plan for your finances. Your 20s are notoriously uncertain — you may be moving, in and out of relationships and different jobs — so it’s hard to stick to a five-year plan because things change so quickly,” Weliver says. “By the time you’re 30, things may slow down a bit and there may be a natural progression in terms of savings and salary.”

Follow Anne Godlasky on Twitter @annieisi

March 21

Top 10 Solar Areas in the US

1110038_dollar_liberty_1
Top 10 Solar Areas in the US (via Planetsave)

You might expect the no.1 solar area in America to be a city like San Franciso or maybe San Diego. According to One Block Off the Grid, it isn’t one of the largest metro areas though, it’s Fresno, CA with a strong lead at 182 watts per capita, or…

Continue reading

March 21

Nashville Goes With Proterra Instead of BYD for EV Buses

cropped-pm-felix-radio-bama-logo.jpg
Nashville Goes With Proterra Instead of BYD for EV Buses (via Gas 2.0)

Last week Proterra, a manufacturer of EV buses, announced the sale of seven electric buses and a charging station to the Nashville MTA. The MTA selected South Carolina-based Proterra over China-based Build Your Dreams (BYD) EV-bus manufacturer after…

Continue reading

March 16

Is Money Creating Anxiety & Separating You From God?

Logo PM LEO

It is often too easy to let the cares of the world consume our day.  We become entangled in ropes of anxiety, and the more we struggle, the more tied up we become.  This can happen to anyone, young or old, rich or poor, male or female.  The source of the anxiety will differ among people, but the results are the same: distraction, frustration, nervousness, loss of focus, and loss of motivation. Anxiety is a form of temptation.  It is a way of making us lose focus on what needs to be done.  There are many forms that temptation can take.  It is anything that takes our mind and spirit away from God.  When Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters,” he meant many things.  One interpretation is that he meant that you cannot serve anything else if you want to truly serve God.  This means that if anything consumes an unhealthy amount of your time, then it separates you from God.  If worry and anxiety consume you, then they have become a wall between you and God.  They will cause you to be unsuccessful, frustrated, and depressed.  As we contemplate these things, let’s remember Matthew 6: 21-34.  This is where Jesus gives us advice about how to approach our worries.  According to Matthew, Jesus said, “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Therefore, when we find ourselves in the clutches of anxiety, let’s do our best to turn our worries over to God.  We must try to break down the walls that separate us from Him, and in so doing we will strengthen ourselves on our way to financial freedom.

 

Matthew 6: 31-34

31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

 

 

March 16

Are You Feeling Rejected? If so, Never Give Up.

Baby Jesus

By: Felix A. Montelara, Author: Bulletproof Finances & Potencial Millonario

cropped-pm-felix-radio-bama-logo.jpg

I want to talk to you about rejection.  All of us have felt rejection before.  It can come into our lives in many different forms, such as when you don’t get the grade you want, the job you want, or even the girlfriend or boyfriend you want.  Many of the clients I talk to feel rejection with respect to money.  They feel that rejection when they try to get a loan, a mortgage, a credit report.  They feel rejection when they don’t have money for their bills, or when they can’t buy the things they want.  Rejection can often lead people to feel depressed, sad, or even hopeless.  I want to tell you about a few people who have been rejected in their lives.  Abraham Lincoln was one of the great presidents of the United States.  He actually ran for public office and was defeated seven times before he was elected president.   Think about the rejection he must have felt in each of those elections, after all the time and effort put into campaigning- just to lose again.  But Lincoln didn’t quit.  He was defeated, he was rejected, but he didn’t give up.  He kept going and he finally one.  Let me tell you about a person who was a reject from society. Abhram Lincoln  Let’s see if you can guess his name.  This guy was a teacher and preacher, but he was poor and never made much of a living at his work.  He had a small following and a group of close friends, but many of them abandoned him and rejected him when he needed them the most.  And then, worst of all, he was sent to help a nation of people, but they rejected him and called for him to be executed.  The very people he was trying to save chose to free a convicted criminal rather than him when they had the chance to free him.  After disparaging him, lying about him, selling his belongings, scattering his friends, and humiliating him, they finally watched him be killed when a court of law admitted that he had done no wrong.  Talk about the ultimate in rejection, the ultimate injustice.  Who was this man?  My friends, it was Jesus.  But even after all of this, even after being crucified on the cross, even after all of his suffering- did he give up?  Did he quit his mission?  Did he abandon all hope?  No, my friends, he didn’t.  He came back.  He was resurrected and came back victorious.  He finished teaching his disciples; he empowered them and sent them into the world to teach others.  And now we think of him as being the most influential man who ever lived.

So friends, when we are feeling rejected, let’s be rejects the way Abraham Lincoln and Jesus Christ were rejects.  Let’s be rejects who never give up.  Let’s be rejects who persevere and emerge victorious.

February 28

It’s America Saves Week! From February 24 – March 01, 2014

Potential Millionaire (Nick)

It’s America Saves Week! From February 24 – March 01, 2014. Do not miss the upcoming events for the rest of this week.

Experian Google Hangout

eXtension #eXASchat

  • Date: 2/3, 2/10, 2/17, and 2/24
  • Time: 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm EST
  • Hosted by: @moneytalk1 with special guest @AmericaSaves

Free Webinars

Brought to you by Florida Saves:

Other Activities

2014 America Saves Challenge

  • As part of America Saves Week (February 24-March 1, 2014), a time set aside annually to promote good savings behavior, the Cooperative Extension system is launching an online “2014 America Saves Challenge.”
  • This free five-week program, open to anyone who enrolls online, will be held from Sunday, February 23, through Saturday, March 29, 2014. Prizes will be awarded for participants who report the highest point totals at the end of each week and at the end of the challenge. To participate in the America Saves Challenge, visit the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ Challenge Web site at http://rutgers.ancc.net/. Set up a user name and password and download a one-page user’s guide with instructions about how to proceed. Enroll in the Challenge titled “2014 America Saves Challenge.” This challenge will be among a list of names of online challenges that are currently available to participate in.

Save Your Refund Sweepstakes

  • The SaveYourRefund Sweepstakes makes you a winner this tax season– win $250 in weekly drawings or a GRAND PRIZE of $25,000 by simply saving $50 of your federal refund!