January 12

Two Masters, Really?

Felix Cesar

By Felix A. Montelara

Author & Host of the Potential Millionaire

Matthew 6:24

English Standard Version (ESV)

24 “No one can serve two masters, for 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 God and money.

 

In the last episode of Potencial Millonario, I talked to you about the strange taboo that exists about money- in that money is a topic that many people will avoid discussing until they are really in trouble with it.  Most financial problems could be solved early on with appropriate planning and budgeting, but because of the money taboo, many people will not ask for advice and will make dangerous decisions, such as taking out title loans, skipping payments, or hiding the problem from their family.  It is often only when a person becomes desperate that they will finally ask for help, and usually I find that most of the problems could have been avoided if they had asked sooner.  These financial problems can bring ruin to a marriage and destroy a family, causing people to lie to each other, hide the issues, and bring huge amounts of stress onto relationships.  Debt is a terrible master, and serving debt is like signing yourself over to servitude.  So I ask you, is money the problem, or is it the fact that people won’t talk about money, and therefore don’t understand money, that is the problem?  Friends, that is exactly why I began this radio program and website, this is why I wrote the book Potencial Millonario:  to help you understand your money and make it work for you!

In Matthew 6:24, it states, “No one can serve two masters, for 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 God and money.”  Let me make something clear: Money is not your master.  When you take my advice or follow my golden rules, or when you decide that you want to be financially free, or that you want to start saving money, or that you want to become wealthy, you are NOT serving your money.  You are NOT making money your master.

Potencial Millonario

Stop Worrying and Start Living

On the contrary, when you decide to have a responsible lifestyle in which you have a budget, an emergency fund, a savings account, when you save for what you want to buy instead of using credit, when you discuss money with your family and involve them in this process, when you do these things you are NOT serving money.  You are making your money serve you.  You are making your money work for you.  You are being a good steward of God’s bountiful gifts, you are taking the opportunities the God sets before you.  You are following God’s word as written in the over 100 verses in the Bible that deal with money.  So, my friends, when you are financially free you can serve God.

If you are in terrible financial trouble, if you are worrying day in and day out, if you are lying to your family, if you feel guilty because you cannot get a handle on these things- you need to ask yourself if you are serving money or serving God.  Is there time in your day, amidst your money worries and stress, to give time, thanks, and devotion to God?  Or do you instead find your discussion with God always starts with, “Why me?”  Friends, as Matthew 6:24 states, “No one can serve two masters, for 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 God and money.”  Be the boss of your money, make your money work for you, so that you can do God’s work.  You will love the financial freedom, you will love the relaxation that comes from knowing that you have control of your money.  This will free you to do the wonderful things that you are capable of with your God-given gifts and talents.

Footnotes: Matthew 6:24 Greek mammon, a Semitic word for money or possessions

 

January 8

The Potential Millionaire On Savings

100_4246

By Felix A. Montelara

1 Corinthians 16:2 ESV / 18 helpful votes

On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.

2 Corinthians 9:6 ESV / 13 helpful votes

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

In the last episode of Potential Millionaire, I not only discussed the importance of saving money, but also exactly how much money to save and where to save it.  Let’s be certain to understand that we save money not to hoard it or lord it over others, but actually to act as good stewards and thankful recipients of God’s bounty.  There are a number of Biblical Scripture passages that support my point.  First, let’s take 1 Corinthians 16:2, which states that “On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.”  1 Corinthians is advocating exactly what I discussed last week- that we must diligently set aside money to save each and every time we have income.  No matter the size of the amount saved- it is the action of  retaining that piece of our income before we do our spending that really allows us to accumulate wealth.  The Bible instructs us to live by conserving what we have, not only in times of distress, but every day.  When we save daily and weekly, we grow our savings so that in our times of need we can rely on ourselves.  We can help ourselves because we have an emergency fund, and we can enjoy life to a fuller extent because we can save for our goals and attain them.  Would you like to go on vacation? Buy a new car?  A television?  These are things that can be saved for too- so that when the day comes that we have enough, we can proudly purchase these items using God’s bounty- and not the credit of a lender.

2 Corinthians has more to instruct us with about saving.  2 Corinthians 9:6 states, “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” Iphone 040813 308  The Bible is telling us that we must make a conscious effort to care for, save, and then yes, use, God’s bountiful gifts.  But only those who put in the time and effort will see the fruit of their labors.  There is no get rich quick scheme that is sustaining- there is no magic pill for success.  Friends, what I am advocating is nothing more than good, honest work both outside and inside your household.  It takes work to make a budget and follow it.  It takes work to work to save money.  It takes effort and discipline to do these things.  Yes, everyone has millionaire potential, and the Bible provides us with the directions on how to achieve it:  Carefully saving, diligently working, and gratefully watching over our households and money.  These are the keys for unlocking our millionaire potential.

 

January 1

Commit to Your New Year’s Resolutions. Are You Up to Them?

superheroes

By Felix A. Montelara

Author & Host of The Potential Millionaire

2 Corinthians 13:5

New International Version (NIV)

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

Isaiah 50:7

But the sovereign Lord helps me, so I am not humiliated. For that reason I am steadfastly resolved; I know I will not be put to shame.

In the last episode, I talked about the topic of new years resolutions, and we discussed how important it is to include your finances in your resolutions.  However, most people break their resolutions within a few weeks, and often resolutions are forgotten quickly.  It is very important to make resolutions that are realistic, manageable, and that you are committed to.  I have a number of golden rules that I talk about, and that you will find in my book, Potencial Millonario.  These would make wonderful resolutions for the New Year.  For example,  I recommend that you make a family budget, and know exactly how much money you make and spend.  I recommend that you have an emergency fund, so that you are prepared for life’s unexpected disasters.  I recommend that you save money, and that you pay yourself first.  I recommend that you are honest with your family about money, and that you approach money matters together as a team.  But what good are all these resolutions, if you are not totally committed to making them happen?  What good are they, if you aren’t willing to make the sacrifices required to succeed?  We all have millionaire potential, but do we all have the courage and discipline to be millionaires?

I really believe that each of us has millionaire potential, and that each of has the same opportunity to follow these golden rules and succeed at becoming financially free.  Will it be easy?  No.  Will it happen overnight? No.  Will it be worth it?  Absolutely.

Let’s take some inspiring words from the Bible to help us have the courage to make good financial decisions in this New Year, and to have the resolve to keep our resolutions and to remain on the road to financial freedom.  2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Iphone 040813 006 Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?”  Friends, these plans that we make about the New Year are tests.  They are tests of our discipline, our resolve, our courage.  We must look inward, we must look at ourselves and decide if we can pass the test.  When you are tempted to spend money you don’t have, when you are tempted to argue about money, when you are tempted to despair- think about whether or not you are in the faith- and find strength in the fact that we can take strength from Jesus.  Lean on Him- rest on Him- and keep strong in your resolutions.  Make them last the whole year, make good habits for yourselves about your money.  Recognize that millionaire potential that is within you, and be willing to commit to it.

Isaiah 50:7 states, “But the sovereign LORD helps me, so I am not humiliated. For that reason I am steadfastly resolved; I know I will not be put to shame.”  As you commit yourselves to your budget, your savings, your emergency fund, your good spending habits, know that you are not alone.  Know that if you persevere, you will not be humiliated, but instead you will be uplifted.  I know that for some of you, the road to financial freedom will be a tough one- but you must believe that you can do this.  No matter what difficulties you have been through, no matter what troubles you will go through, if you persevere and have courage and discipline, you will triumph in the end.

November 30

The Potential Millionaire Golden Rule # 5 Save 10 to 15 %

Banner WP

From: The Potental Millionaire By Felix A. Montelara Author of Potencial Millonario

In episode 4 of my radio program, Potencial Millonario, I discussed the various types of debt and the importance of budgeting.  Budgeting means that you know exactly how much money comes into your household, how much you spend, where you spend it, and how much you waste.  In other words, creating a budget means you track every cent you make and spend, so you can discover all the money leaks in your household.  Once the money leaks are discovered, they can be stopped.   When we stop wasting money, we start saving money.  This money can then be applied to outstanding debts, or saved in an emergency fund.  The key idea is: stop spending what you don’t have, stop creating new debt, know where your money is, and use every penny you have to pay off old debts.  Only then can you begin on the path to financial freedom.

Proverbs 27:23-27 describes what I have been discussing in the last few episodes of Potencial Millonario: “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds, for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.”  This passage from Scripture encourages us to watch over and really know our ‘flocks,’ which in today’s  society might be interpreted as households.  How can we hope to be financially free if we don’t know where each dollar comes from and where each one goes?  The Bible instructs us to pay attention; to be good stewards of what God provides us with.  This passage also comes with a warning for those who will not take care of their gifts:  “riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.”  This warning lets us know that life is fleeting, and we must try to be prepared for what lies ahead.  However, we don’t always know what is ahead of us.  It is only through a careful stewardship of our households that we can hope to weather these storms.

In Biblical times wealth was measured in livestock.  In these modern times, we define our wealth with money.  Knowing our modern “flocks and herds” means having a working budget and a real understanding of how we spend and save our money.  Once we truly understand how we spend our money, we can undertake the difficult task of making changes to our bad spending habits.  These spending habits are what make us poor, and we must correct them in order to become financially free.  We can replace bad spending habits with good savings habits- then we begin to accumulate wealth and notice the difference that having money, rather than wasting money, can have in our lives.

Amonzon Book cover

October 31

Financial Freedom Prayer

By Felix A. Montelara

Author: Potential Millionaire

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My Angel

Are you feeling financially broken?  Does a lack of money cause stress in your life and arguments between you and loved ones?  Do you find your mind wandering to thoughts of how you will make your utility payments, grocery bills, or other financial obligations when you should be focused on other tasks?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be time to really lift these worries up to God in prayer. Prayer? You would probably tell me that you pray about this all the time. But I challenge you to be truthful with yourself right now.  What are you really asking God for?  Are you asking for more money, less bills, miracles?  Are you asking because your’re at the end of your rope, or because you’re at the beginning of your climb? You see, it makes a difference.

How are you approaching God right now, in this moment?  Is it in desperation, or in communication?  Communication, my friends, is what we need right now with God- and that involves you asking, and then listening to His answer.   Allow me to suggest a new prayer for your financial life- one that asks for instructions.  Let’s go to God in communication, asking for direction and listening for the response.  In addition, it may be time to involve the other people in your life who are affected by your money stress: your spouse, children, or other family members.  Be open with them, begin the conversation about money stress with letting them join in this prayer time.  Let the topic end there- sleep on it and listen to God’s response in your life.
Let’s begin with a quiet reflection on the Bible in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.”
Leader: Holy Father, we come to you as children, as students needing guidance.  We lift up the concerns in our hearts, and ask for your divine guidance.  We pray to the Lord,
All: Lord hear our prayer.
Leader: Holy Father, give us the courage to speak openly and honestly to each other about our money issues, and help us to be calm and caring in our conversation.  We pray to the Lord,
All: Lord hear our prayer.
Leader: Holy Father, humble our hearts and remind us that your son, Jesus Christ, came from the poorest of beginnings but was still the King of Kings.  Teach us to live within our means, to budget our funds, and to spend wisely on what we truly need. We pray to the Lord,
 
All: Lord hear out prayer.
Leader:  Holy Father, forgive us for our mistakes, and help us to forgive each other.  Release us from the burden of debt we have unwisely chained to ourselves.  Release us from our anxiety about money.  Release us from the tension that strangles our relationships.  We pray to the Lord,
All: Lord hear our prayer.
Leader:  Holy Father, make our minds and hearts still so that we can listen to your instructions.  Guide us to make good decisions, be with us when we choose, let us hear your council.  We pray to the Lord,
All: Lord hear our prayer.
Leader:  Thank you, Holy Father, for this time together.  Let this moment be a new beginning.  Let this moment cleanse us and heal us.  Let us breathe in your spirit and let us pick up our cross, knowing, Father, that you help us carry it.  In Jesus’ name we pray,
All: Amen.

 

  • Devotion (nwinspiration.wordpress.com)
October 29

Is it Christian to want to be a millionaire?

Comprelo Ya... Potencial Millonario By Felix A. Montelara

By Felix A. Montelara, Author: Potencial Millonario

This is a question that has come up in my email and phone conversations.  If a Christian wants to be rich, is he or she serving two masters?  We are all familiar with the Biblical texts (for example Luke 16:13) which council that we cannot serve two masters, and if we try we will end up taking sides: pitting one against the other in our hearts and actions.  With this strict advice and warning, we must be careful to examine just what we are doing when we strive to fulfill the Potential Millionaire in all of us.

Let me make it clear:  I do not want you to serve God and money.  I want you to serve God, and let your money serve you.  I firmly believe that God sets before all of us wonderful opportunities every day, and these opportunities can lead us to great wealth and well-being.  We must recognize them, choose them, and be thankful to God for them.  The personal finance strategies that I recommend and employ are really stewardship principles, in which I am helping you recognize, understand, and avail yourselves of the opportunities that God sets before you every day.  It is through this process that we all realize the Potential Millionaire status that God sets at our table- we must choose His blessings in order to manifest this lifestyle for ourselves.  By serving God, by making him number one in our lives, we become aware of his teachings, blessings, and actions in our lives.  That’s when doors start opening in our financial future.
Money is a gift from God, and we must make it serve us in a God-like way.  We must never become greedy, take what is not ours, or act at the expense of others.  Money is a powerful tool with which to serve others, help those less fortunate than us, and spread the Word of God.
January 11

Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman

Baby Jesus

By Felix A. Montelara

Author & Host of The Potential Millionaire

Luke 7:36-50 / New International Version (NIV)

In the last episode of Potential Millionaire, I talked to you about changing your paradigm which means changing the way you see the world.  A paradigm is world view, and sometimes we need to modify what we see in life, so that we can change our bad behaviors into good ones.  There is a saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks- but I think you can, if you are willing to see the world in a different way.  Change is difficult, especially when a person has developed a behavior that has become habitual.  Can people change?  Yes, but it can be a difficult process, and it means constantly working to behave differently.   A paradigm shift may be as drastic as radically altering how we live and act, such as cutting up credit cards so you can’t spend money you don’t have-or it can be as minor as seeing things differently.  For example, do you need to view money as your servant, instead of being a slave to the almighty dollar?  Either way, a paradigm shift goes right along with New Year’s Resolutions- for how can your resolution to do things differently ever succeed, unless you are willing to change how you see the world, unless you are willing to prioritize differently, and unless you are willing to change what is important to you?

 There are many interesting passages in the Bible about paradigm shifts, or in other words, about people making drastic changes to their lives.  After all, many Bible stories are about sinners who find redemption, and resolve to continue their lives in a new direction.  In addition, there are many Bible stories about debt- because Jesus often compared debt, or owing a person money, to sin, which is making a bad choice when you know it is wrong.  In Luke 7:36-50, we are told the story of when Jesus has his feet washed by a sinful woman. 20130724_112110  Jesus had been invited to the home of Simon, who was a Pharisee, and encountered what was probably a prostitute.  The woman wept and wet Jesus’ feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, and anointed his feet with perfume.  The Pharisee was astounded, and doubted Jesus, thinking that “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”  Jesus seemed to read his mind, and told the Pharisee a parable about two people who had their debts (one large and one small) forgiven for free by the lender, because neither debtor had the money to repay the debts.  Jesus asked the Pharisee, “Now which of them will love him more?”  The Pharisee told Jesus, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”  Jesus agreed, but then made an important point about the sinful woman.  Jesus told the Pharisee that he was a person who had sinned little, but he also loved only a little, because the Pharisee did not wash Jesus’ feet, or perfume his body.  Jesus then said that the woman, although very sinful, had washed and perfumed him, showing much love to Jesus.  Jesus said, Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”  Jesus then said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”  We are then left to assume that the woman’s life has forever changed- because Jesus not only forgave her sins, but he did so in front of a crowd of important people.  She now had the opportunity for a paradigm shift- her whole world had changed.  She had the opportunity to leave behind her old, sinful life of prostitution and begin a new life.  Would it be easy?  No, I don’t think so.  But it is important to remember that Jesus gave her the opportunity to change- and she had to make it happen.

We are likewise given opportunities to change the way we see the world, but it is up to us implement these changes, to stay the course, to commit to the changes.  We all make mistakes, but these mistakes can be forgiven.  But like the woman in the Bible, we must return love to God when we are given forgiveness- we must act on our opportunities and show that we have changed.

In this New Year, do you need to forgive yourself for some past money mistakes?  Do you need to see things differently?  Do you need to take advantage of opportunities and prove that you have seen the errors of your ways?  It is possible for everyone to learn about money, to make it work for them, to become wealthy, to become debt free.  In order to do these things, we need to change how we view money, spending, and debt.  We need to seize the opportunities that God puts before us- if you are learning how to manage your money and live debt free- will repay God with love and be dedicated enough to do it?