How I Fell Into Debt

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I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I don’t know why this even sticks out in my mind, but I remember riding with my dad to play with his company softball team. On the way Dad up and decided to swing into Wal-Mart and buy a new softball glove. It sticks out in my mind, because at the time I could not just swing by and buy anything! I was on a budget. Things were tight, but I was not in debt-yet. My salary as meager as it was did not land me in debt. Looking back it was a thought process that led me into debt. Let me break it down for you.

  1. I am just as good as everyone else, so I deserve what everyone else has. 

I got tired of watching friends buy new cars I could not afford, so I finally got my parents to cosign for me to buy a brand new Subaru Justy with no radio or air conditioning. It was the cheapest new car I could afford and for some reason I thought I had to have a new car because all my friends were buying new cars at the time. Later after making several payments I had a dream I had my old car back, which was old and used but paid for when I had it. While I thought I deserved what my friends had, I failed to realize that things don’t determine your self worth. I also forgot the homeless man sleeping in the alley was just as good as I am. Coveting instead of being thankful led me into debt. The richest person is not the one who has the most. Its the one who needs the least.

2. There is no way I can max out this credit card!

I was in my late twenties by the time I got a major credit card. Now I could get whatever I needed whenever I needed it. It came with a credit limit of $5,000.00. My friends told me to be careful and not max it out. The interest rate was high. I told them there is no way I could max this card out! It has a $5,000.00 limit. I will never reach that! Before the year was over it was maxed out. I was drowning in debt because I was living like I was rich. I finally realized rich people are rich because they live like they are poor. Poor people are poor because they live like they are rich. There are exceptions I know. But it applied to me. If only I had realized my self worth did not come from what I could buy.

3. I Didn’t Realize its Okay to say I Don’t Have Money.

During this time I studied the Bible with a couple my age and we quickly became good friends. I would call them and ask them to go out to eat with me, and occasionally they would say something that I did not know was even possible to say. They would say, “We don’t have the money right now.” I was too embarrassed to say such a thing, but when they said it they were not embarrassed at all. How could that be? Instead when they said it they sounded strong, like they had self-control. Remember the whole reason I got my credit card was so that I could get whatever I needed whenever I needed it. No reason to say I don’t have money when you have a credit card right? Wrong! Too late in life I learned if I can’t afford it I don’t need it. When I would fall behind on bills I was afraid my phone would be cut off. Meanwhile I had friends who’s phones did get cut off. To my amazement and astonishment their lives went on. Yup. If you can’t afford it you don’t need it. Its amazing all the things we think we need that we really don’t!

4. When Using a Credit Card you Still Have to pay for it!

Okay after I share how stupid my thinking was here, you are going to wonder how I was ever smart enough to land a job, and you are going to totally understand why I am still single and no one wants to marry me! Believe it or not I would be in a department store getting something I needed, and I would literally ask myself, yes these are the exact words that would go through my numb skull brain, “Do I want to pay for it or just put it on the credit card?” What and idiot! I was going to pay for it either way! And with interest rates, by putting it on the card I paid for things four times over! Now I know you are not that stupid. But if there is just one person out there just as stupid as me then I hope this saves them from making the same mistake I did. If you save for something and pay cash its all interest free. Why not wait a little while and pay for it once, instead of getting it now and paying for it four times over later? Some things were worn out that I was still paying on!

So there I was drowning in debt, unable to afford things I needed today, because I was till paying interest on things I bought long ago. Here is the kicker. When you are in debt your money is not your own. It does not belong to you. You owe it to someone else. So I was not even donating my own money to the church. It was money that belonged to the credit companies. Let that sink in. If I owed $15,000.00 and got paid $2000.00 a month then each month my money belonged to the credit companies. The money I was spending for food and clothes and even giving to the church was not my own money. My $2,000.00 check did not belong to me. I had already spent that check seven times! Did I still owe tithe? Of course! But I was paying it with borrowed money. That is not returning tithe! That is giving God money you borrowed from somewhere else!

I was in a mess and it was my own stupid fault! Thankfully I serve a God who loves and rescues the most stupid of people!

To be continued……

Proverbs in Light of the Cross: Co-Signing For A Friend’s Debt

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

My child, if you have put up security for a friend’s debt or agreed to guarantee the debt of a stranger— if you have trapped yourself by your agreement and are caught by what you said— follow my advice and save yourself, for you have placed yourself at your friend’s mercy. Now swallow your pride; go and beg to have your name erased.  Don’t put it off; do it now! Don’t rest until you do. Save yourself like a gazelle escaping from a hunter, like a bird fleeing from a net. Proverbs 6:1-5 NLT

A friend encouraged me to share his story as a warning for others. His son had bought a nice new sports car. His son got his grand parents to co-sign for the loan which was several thousands of dollars. However the grand parents did not have the money for the debt, but were quite sure their grandson would be able to pay it on his own and establish his own credit. He was a very responsible young man.

Tragically, my friend’s son was hit and killed while riding a motorcycle, when he stopped by the side of the road. Not only did the family have a terrible tragedy to deal with emotionally, but the grandparents who co signed for the loan, were now in dire straits as they had to take over a car loan they had no money for. When they co-signed for their young grandson they never imagined this would happen!

Fortunately God provided. Another family member stepped forward  (Hurray for family!) and covered the loan and saved the grand parents.  My friend, who also happens to be one of my first Bible study students who I am still friends with today, wants to share his story as a warning to others who are tempted to co-sign for some one else’s debt. There are many reasons why Solomon said what he said, and this is one of them. Thank God for saving the dear grand parents from this terrible ordeal.

Romans 12-16; Vengeance is Mine

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.  Romans 12:19

I used to read this and think that God meant that He would pay the people back who hurt me, by hurting them back. Recently, while reading this passage it dawned on me that maybe Paul meant it another way. Maybe he meant that God Himself would repay me what my enemy owes me. If someone has stolen from me, whether it be money, or any other blessing, God will pay me back so that I don’t have to get it from the person who tried to hurt me.

Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8

The law defines what love is. Love is putting others first. “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please [his] neighbour for [his] good to edification.  Romans 15:1-2 If we love others, we will automatically be keeping all the commandments. The first four are about putting God first. The last six are about putting family and friends first.

Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, [be] glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.  Romans 16:25-27

William Earnhardt’s Financial Bailout Plan

I am writing from my comfortable apartment in beautiful Tampa Florida.

 

William Earnhardt’s Financial Bailout Plan

 

Okay, we all know I am no economic expert, but I think what we are discovering here is that we don’t have any economic experts! The reason we are having a world financial crisis is because the world’s financial policy is the exact opposite of Biblical financial policy.

 

Jesus says “The meek will inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5

The world says the greedy will inherit the earth. Sorry I have to go with Jesus on this one. And Jesus was not making a dictatorial decree when He said that. He was just revealing a law of nature. A law Wall Street will never learn, thus our financial dilemma today.

 

My bailout plan includes forgetting about yourself, and living to benefit others.

 

[Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Philippians 2:3-4

 

 

 

The Bible says, “If thou lend money to [any of] my people [that is] poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.” Exodus 22:25

We have a big problem here because the world banking business makes its profit from something that is strictly prohibited in the Bible-charging interest. Again I understand I am no financial expert here, but I can’t help but see red flags when your financial game plan is strictly prohibited in the Bible. Not that God will curse us for going against His plan, but God warned us against charging interest because He knew where it would lead to. By now we should see that too.

 

My bailout plan includes doing away with charging people interests on their loans. I know economy majors are laughing at me right now, but I don’t see anyone laughing on Wall Street right now, and once again I have to go with the Bible here again.

 

A couple thousand years ago a prophet hanging out near the Jordan River said, “be content with your wages.” Luke 3:14 

The world tells us if we don’t make enough to get what we want then charge it or borrow money for it. (while creditors should not be charging interest, borrowers should not be borrowing money just to keep up with the Joneses.) I know it sounds crazy, but I have to go with the prophet hanging out down by the river instead of those Wall Street gurus.

 

Borrowing money is actually lying. We lie to ourselves when we tell ourselves our credit level is actually money that we have. It is not our money it is the banks money. When we are content with our wages we develop something essential for survival, and that is self control and character. In the 30s people survived the depression with their self control, character and creativity. Credit cards and rotting our brains watching TV have all destroyed our character, self control and creativity. I shudder to think what a depression will be like this time.

 

I remember as a little kid in the late sixties and early seventies going to a little Mexican restaurant in Tulsa. We went on Wednesdays when their enchilada dinner was a dollar off. I remember asking my parents, ‘Can we go to the Monterey House today?” And my mother would answer, “No it is not Wednesday and they do not have their dollar off the enchilada dinner today.” I have not seen that kind of reasoning in years. My parents have always been generous towards others and thrifty with themselves. Frankly they have seen good times and bad times financially, but to be honest I can’t really recall exactly when they were rich or when they were poor because in either case they have always practiced, character, self control and creativity.

 

Again I am no financial wizard so it took me years to wake up and make this observation. Poor people are poor because they live like they are rich and rich people are rich because they live like they are poor. Sure there are exceptions, but it all comes down to character, self control and creativity. My mother was creative and would make us tuna gravy on toast. I loved it! It was not till a few years ago my mom said she made that just because we did not have a lot of money. I had no clue. I thought she was making it because it was delicious!

 

Fifty years ago you saw someone driving a Porsche and you thought, “Man they are rich!” Today you see someone driving a Porsche and you think, “Man are they in debt!”  

 

My bailout plan includes making character and self control the fabric of our lives again.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Matthew 6:33  Wall street is now missing “all these things” because they never sought “His righteousness”. Again Jesus was not being dictatorial in Matthew 6:33, He was just trying to explain to Wall Street another law of nature.

 

Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, 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].”

 

I am no economics major but I have a message for Wall Street. The tithing system cures the greed that has brought on your recession. I have another message that will baffle math experts as well as economists. After you tithe, 90% of your pay check goes further than 100% of your pay check without tithing. Tithing is a systematic way to overcome greed. Greed is what has lead people to borrow more money than they can pay back, thus causing banks to go under. Greed is what has led people to spend more money than they have so they can live the lie that they are richer than they really are. You may think I am crazy Wall Street, but I believe the tithing system will cure the character problems that have brought about our economic decline. Sounds crazy I know, but I dare you to try it! At this point, what do you have to lose?

 

My bailout plan includes systematically returning tithes and giving offerings. This will help us develop the character, self control and creativity that will help us survive what is ahead for us as a nation.

 

God Himself says, “And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth [day] of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout [all] the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.  A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather [the grapes] in it of thy vine undressed. 

 For it [is] the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. In the year of this jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession. 

And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, or buyest [ought] of thy neighbour’s hand, ye shall not oppress one another: According to the number of years after the jubilee thou shalt buy of thy neighbour, [and] according unto the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee:   According to the multitude of years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price of it: for [according] to the number [of the years] of the fruits doth he sell unto thee. Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I [am] the LORD your God.  Leviticus 25:8-17

 

Forgiveness!! Debts forgiven! Wall Street will never go for this especially the more they themselves are in debt but I am going out on a limb here in allowing people to question my sanity by saying this, if you want to get out of debt, then cancel the debts of your debtors. Wall Street will tell you the first step out of debt is to collect all that is owed to you so you can in turn pay your debtors. Wall Street will never accept a “year of jubilee” where all debts are cancelled and debtors are not oppressed but set free. Therefore Wall Street will never be a sound infallible financial institution.

 

My bailout plan includes canceling the debts that are owed to me so that I can get in on God’s financial plan which is the only sound plan there is. Again there is a natural law that the Merciful will obtain mercy and forgiving people will be forgiven. Wall Street may not buy into it, but there is One who over rules Wall Street.

 

The Republicans are accused of having their eyes on Wall Street while the Democrats say let’s watch Main Street. My bailout plan has nothing to do with where Wall Street or Main Street is. Lets follow the plan that comes from Gold Streets!  Hhhhmmm…. Think about it, my plan comes straight from a place that is so financially sound they pave the streets with gold. Brave enough to try my plan?