“Biblical Answers To Your Financial Questions”
Here is a bit about what you can expect from this blog. Money is perhaps the least understood yet most discussed topic in our society today. Thousands of families daily make financial decisions based on bad advice.
In reality the only totally reliable advice comes from God’s Word–the Bible. I have found that the Bible addresses virtually every financial decision you or I will ever have to make. This Blog is dedicated help you make those financial decisions, whether great or small. Here you will find many of the financial questions folks ask every day, along with Bible-based responses. These questions and responses are are based on experiences and materials gleaned from more than 25 years of prayerful service as a certified teacher, trainer, counselor and/or coach representing the Dave Ramsey organization, the John Maxwell Team, Crown Ministries, and Christian Financial Concepts (Mr. Larry Burkett–praise the Lord for Larry Burkett. In his all-to-brief lifetime Larry surely forgot more than I’ll ever know about how to deal with what the Bible has to say about money!)
Our 501-c-3 non-profit ministry is Christian Financial Ministries (www.christianfinancialministries.org). We offer you the Holy Spirit inspired and led, Bible-based, Financial Freedom God’s Way Online Academy. Our motto is “Financial Freedom God’s Way: learn it, live it, and lead others to it.”
So, please scroll down, read, comment, share with others, and be blessed in the Lord!
March 27th, 2017 by Bob Louder
Question: Reverend Bob, I’m a pastor. Quite often members of our congregation give us junk and then write it off on their income taxes. We get worn-out cars, worn-out clothes, and other items that we have no use for. I have a real problem with this. Could you give me some direction. Response: I often ask Christians who are content to give junk to God–if they would like to get junk back from God. I suspect not. I don’t believe that a church should be a refuse dump for unusable items. Larry Burkett used to counsel that “If you can’t use, refuse it.” Consider setting up a screening committee to evaluate all non-cash gifts. If you don’t have an actual use for the item, or it’s not readily convertible into cash, don’t accept it. Groups like the Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries refurbish used furniture, clothing, appliances, etc., and turn them into assets. Refer your donors to them.
Posted in Giving
March 21st, 2017 by Bob Louder
Question: Rev Louder. My teenagers are starting to receive credit card offers. I’m really concerned that they will get trapped by easy credit. HELP, what can I do? Bob’s Response: You have good reason to be concerned. Youth today, particularly college students, are one of the major targets for credit card companies. What can you do? I suggest you teach your older children (16 and older) how to handle credit cards by letting them have and use ONE card of their own (regular credit card or a pre-paid credit card) while they are still at home and under your supervision. I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with credit cards. Data shows that it’s the way the cards are used that causes the problems. Now, what do i mean by “supervision”? Set firm rules and stick to them. For example: (1) Require your teens to have and use (and have your constantly review) monthly budgets. (2) Don’t let them charge anything that’s not on their budget. (3) ENSURE that they pay their credit card bill in full each month. (4) The FIRST month they can’t/don’t pay off their card bill in full, destroy the card, cancel the account, and don’t allow them to get another. (5) Let your teens know that these are the same rules you follow and why. It’s important to explain (no debate) these rules in advance. Then, stick to the rules. You will be helping your teens form habits that will serve them well when they are no longer under your roof or under your authority. Remember Proverbs 22:6–“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Like Larry Burkett used to say, “Establish fair rules, enforce them consistently, and be firm”
Posted in Money and Children
March 9th, 2017 by Bob Louder
Question: Dr. Louder. My husband and I are middle-class parents. We have a nice income, no debts, and money in the bank…praise the Lord! Here’s our question: How much should our children know about our finances? We are concerned we might create the false impression that we are rich. Response: This is truly a matter of personal opinion. Basically, I believe it’s best to be totally honest with your children…age appropriately honest–probably best in their teen years. If you are earning, giving, saving and spending according to God’s plan for your life (which appears to be the case) then why not show them your plan and help them develop and start to live on plans of their own? Help them develop positive expectations of what can happen if they learn and apply biblical financial wisdom. Honestly, wisdom is a blessing at any age. As it says in Proverbs 16:16, How much better to get wisdom that gold, to get insight rather than silver.
Posted in Money and Children
February 13th, 2017 by Bob Louder
Question: Should I ever contribute directly to a needy person rather than through a church or other Christian organization? What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing this? Response: I remember how Larry Burkett taught us that sometimes it is proper to give directly to an individual. For example, when you’re trying to teach children the purpose of giving, it’s good to have them help a needy family. This allows them to see the benefits of giving in the lives of real people. If they give only through a church offering, your children may miss this. A second reason is that you also may want to have a personal ministry in people’s lives. This is evidence of truly caring, as 1 John 3:17 says: “But whoever has the world’s good, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” Giving directly to somebody demonstrates that you love and care about that person. HOWEVER, I don’t suggest you make a habit of giving cash! Instead buy or pay for what they need, whether it’s utilities, groceries, rent, etc. Why? Because too often a cash gift is diverted or misused. I also recommend that before you give to anyone, you verify that their needs are real, and not the result of mismanagement. If you don’t know how to provide financial coaching yourself, help them find someone who can. Be certain that what you’re doing is helping them out of a problem and not contributing to their problems.
Posted in Giving
February 6th, 2017 by Bob Louder
Question: My husband and I both work. should we tithe from our total income, or just my husband’s income, since I don’t intend to work for a long period of time? Response: I believe you and your husband should do whatever God, your husband and you prayerfully decide…God is the ONLY ONE who should convict you as to how much to give. Having said that, the Bible says you should tithe on whatever comes into your possession, and in your case that includes both salaries. I also encourage you not to consider any income as “yours” or “his” but “ours.” God looks at a married couple as “one” (Gen. 2:24).
Posted in Giving
January 30th, 2017 by Bob Louder
Question: I’m a widow in my late fifties. When my children were at home I received Social Security benefits, but now they’re all adults and the Social Security benefits have ceased. Presently I’m living off the proceeds of my husband’s life insurance, which is barely enough to get by. When i retire, can I qualify for Social Security, even though I have personally never worked and never paid into the system? Response: According to the Social Security Department, you can qualify under your husband’s Social Security death benefits. But the amount you will draw is less that he would have been able to draw at retirement. I recommend that you contact your local Social Security Administration Department and verify the benefits you will qualify for. Be sure to apply by age sixty-one because it may take from nine to twelve months to get qualified.
Posted in Singles' Finances
January 24th, 2017 by Bob Louder
Question: We’re a young married couple. We periodically get unsolicited credit cards in the mail. I would like to have and use some, but my husband thinks that they’re evil and that a Christian should never use them. I find it hard even to cash a check without a credit card and almost impossible to rent a car. Is it wrong to have credit cards? Response: Credit cards are not evil, and credit cards are not “the” problem! The problem is the misuse of credit cards. For example, many children see their parents use credit cards to buy clothes, gas, food, and even toys. But very few parents bring their children in when they write the checks and say, “Kids, remember when we charged all that stuff? Now we have to pay for it.” I find that while credit cards are not essential, they can be a great convenience. Let me share with you some guidelines that will help you to properly manage your cards. As a husband and wife, together, you should make some very simple vows: (1) Never use your credit cards to buy anything that is not in your budget for the month. So first, you should have a budget. (2) Pay your credit cards of every month with no exceptions. (3) The first month you’re not able to pay off your cards completely, quit using them until they are paid off in full. The second month you’re not able to pay off your cards in full, destroy them. If you follow these rules you’ll never have a problem with credit cards. (Thank you Larry Burkett!)
Posted in Borrowing & Debt
January 16th, 2017 by Bob Louder
Question: Should I give my child an allowance? Response: Proverbs 3:12 says, “…because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” I’ve found it’s not wise to teach your children to expect allowances. A better way is to teach them to work and earn money. The term “allowance” implies something is given rather than earned. If God doesn’t provide us with an allowance, and he doesn’t, then we probably shouldn’t provide allowances to our children. However, if you have a child who demonstrates discipline in handling money and you want to give him or her a gift from time to time, that seems to be to be just fine. The key is to be certain that you’re establishing long-term values in your children that will guide them when they are adults.
Posted in Money and Children
January 10th, 2017 by Bob Louder
Attitudes: Question: “My wife and I have serious concerns about affluence in the United States. Is it scriptural for Christians to maintain this level of affluence, or should we drastically change our life-styles so we can feed the world’s hungry?” Response: God’s Word contains an abundance of references about concern for the poor (Ps 82:1-4, Isaiah 1:17; Matthew 25:34-40, James 1:27, and 1 John 3:17-18—just to mention a few. No doubt our affluence blinds us to the real needs of other people. Many Christians’ biggest concern is how to reduce their tax burden, not how to put bread on the table. But to put all this in balance, God’s Word does not prohibit a Christian from having a surplus. In fact, I believe that God places Christians at every level of society, from the poorest to the most affluent, so we can witness to those around us. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” What are the desires of our hearts? For those who seek to serve God, it’s not material indulgence. God promises His people an “abundance” if they care about others’ needs. “It is well with the man who is gracious and lends” (Ps 112:5). God has no difficulty with our affluence, provided that it’s used to help others and glorify Him.
Posted in Attitudes
January 10th, 2017 by Bob Louder
Husbands and wives: Question: I’m a Christian wife and mom who works outside the home. I enjoy my job, and I enjoy my home. But many friends have hinted that I’m sinning because I’m not home full-time. Does the Bible teach that wives should not work outside the home? Response: I don’t find where the Bible teaches that a wife cannot work outside the home, but I do believe the Bible helps us establish some priorities. For example, if a wife is working because a family “needs” the money, it’s a dangerous motive. I’ve found that until a couple learns to get along on what the husband makes, there will never be enough. Second, if a wife is working to fulfill her ego, this is also a dangerous and destructive motive and will often lead to divided loyalties between the job and home. Recall that Proverbs 31 describes the “excellent” wife. Verses 16 and 24 describe her business ventures as well as her household duties. She is described as a working wife and mom who is able to keep her priorities in balance. It’s this “balance” that helps determine whether or not a woman should work outside the home. Paul states in Titus 2:5 that women should be workers at home, subject to their own husbands. Since women are described elsewhere in Scripture as holding down job s outside the home, I don’t believe Paul is giving new counsel. He is simply stating that women should not neglect their family responsibilities by absorbing themselves in outside work, or even church activities. Here are some priorities for a working wife to prayerfully consider: (1) Gain her husband’s approval (Eph. 5:22). (This doesn’t mean that she nags him until he agrees.) (2) Her children are well cared for (Prov. 31:27). (Some children are ready for outside training at six, some at sixty.) (3) She maintains her home well (Prov. 31:15). (4) she can balance dual authority at home an on the job (James 1:8—not double-minded).
Posted in Husbands and Wives