Don’t “fall” into the comparison trap…

Don't compare yourselfto others.God doesn't.

Genesis 1:27

New International Version

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

You got it. God created each of us in his own image. He didn’t create you in the image of your neighbor or your cousin, so why would we compare ourselves to them? Strive to compare yourself to only one being, God. All other comparisons will surely bring disappointment.

-liveHislove,

Missy

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liveHislove — love your family well through the eyes of your kids!

You and your kids stop after school one day at a fast food restaurant. As you are waiting in line, someone cuts in front of you. How do you react? Do you immediately ostracize the person with arm flailing in a fit or rage or do you kindly tell them that you were waiting as well and suggest they probably didn’t realize that 🙂 ??

The ramifications of your reaction will help to mold how your children react to similar situations of conflict in their lives. I want mine to react to others in a kind manner, even if they are not given the same response. We are to model Jesus in our daily lives, and that sometimes requires taking the high road (and goes against our gut reaction :-).

As I mentioned Wednesday, we are followers of Dave Ramsey and his teachings related to money and the bible. His daughter, Rachel Cruze, also teaches along side him, but more related to kids and parental relationships. I love one of her tag lines, and I think it is an important ones for parents to adopt, “More is caught than taught”. Even though she is generally referring to how parents interact with money, it can be applied to most aspects of parenting and the role models we are for our children.

you're the greatest!

I want to be a parent who is remembered more by her actions, than her words. I truly do believe that “more is caught than taught”.

-Remember to liveHislove,

Missy

liveHislove — the week of loving your family well…with green!

developmenT-3

According to the IDFA (Institute for Divorce Financial Analysis), 22% of divorces are a result of money issues. That is downright scary! I want to make my marriage as strong as it can be, so we are taking steps to ensure our financial success. That success includes having a plan with our money. Bye bye stress!!!!!

If I had to grade our financial planning during our 15 years of marriage, we would be a C. During these 15 years we have saved in our work 401K’s, so we have some money for retirement. However, that is about as far as our planning has extended. We make a decent family income, but we felt like at the end of the month, we had no idea where our money went. Our money was managing us, not the other way around.

Last year, God called me to pick up “The Total Money Makeover” book by Dave Ramsey. My sister had given it to us many years before and I just hadn’t felt the strong desire at that time to implement it’s principals. Now, I WAS SICK AND TIRED OF BEING SICK AND TIRED! Where was all of our money going? We made a great income, but I felt like we were living paycheck to paycheck. Quite honestly, this was causing me more stress than my spouse because I was managing the majority of the bills. He had his own checking account and I had my own. We were living financially separate lives. It just wasn’t working for me and I needed a change.

Thankfully my husband was open to changing our situation too. We now have combined accounts, agree on a budget each month and we have paid off $15,000 in debt in the last year (we are now debt free except for our home) and are well on our way to having an emergency fund in place. Financial freedom is now a part of our lives.

I’ve been wanting to write about this for some time, but just couldn’t find the right time until now as part of my “loving your family well” week. Being financially responsible means loving your family well.

Proverbs 13:22 says:

 A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children…

I want to be able to leave this earth and leave my children a financial inheritance.

The teachings of Dave Ramsey are what have lead us to where we are now and I am very thankful for that. If you are unfamiliar with Dave, he is an evangelical Christian with a financial background. He has written numerous books and has a 3-hour radio show (The Dave Ramsey Show) everyday (available for download for free on podcast download). His show also runs 24 hours a day on I-Heart radio. In churches, businesses and schools throughout the country, his financial classes are taught. Through church, it is called Financial Peace University.  After growing extreme wealth in his 20’s, losing it all and declaring bankruptcy, he looked to the bible for financial direction. This lead him where he is today, helping millions and millions of families get out of debt and win with money. (I’m receiving no compensation for this plug, I simply just love Dave Ramsey and am dying to share his principals with others). His principals are really just common sense, but that seems to be lacking these days 🙂

There are over 800 verses in the bible that relate to money. The bible urges us to be debt-free, be savers and not be worshipers of money. Here are a few examples:

Worshipping money

Matthew 6:24
“No one 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.”

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Debt

Romans 13:8
“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.”

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Saving

Proverbs 21:20
“In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.”

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Have a plan!

Proverbs 21:5
“The plan of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.”

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If you are interested in becoming debt-free and having a plan for your financial future, here are the 7 steps in Dave Ramsey’s program as shared from his website (www.daveramsey.com)

$1,000 to Start an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is for those unexpected events in life you can’t plan for. Whether there’s a plumbing issue and everything but the kitchen sink is draining, or your brakes are squealing at every stop sign, you can be ready!

In this first step, the goal is to save $1,000 as fast as you can. Go through your storage boxes and sell some stuff. Work an extra job. Do whatever it takes to start saving money. Once you have it, open a checking account that is separate from your regular account and put the cash there. When a car battery goes out or a baseball meets a window in your house, you won’t have to go into debt to fix it. You don’t want to dig a deeper hole while you’re trying to work your way out.

2. Pay Off All Debt but the House
List all debts but the house in order. The smallest balance should be your number one priority. Don’t worry about interest rates unless two debts have similar payoffs. If that’s the case, then list the higher interest rate debt first.

This step will make a huge difference in your everyday life. You’ll use the debt snowball to knock out your debts one by one, from smallest to largest. Pay off the first one. Then add what you were paying on it to the next debt and start attacking it. When you start knocking off the easier debts, you’ll see results and stay motivated to dump your debt. As each debt is paid off, your cash flow will increase and the bigger debts will be gone sooner than you think. Before you know it, you’re debt-free!

3. 3 to 6 Months of Expenses in Savings
This step is all about building a full emergency fund. It’s time to kick debt for good, with 3–6 months’ worth of emergency savings. Sit down and calculate how much you need to live on for 3–6 months (for most, that’s between $10,000 and $15,000), and start saving to protect yourself against life’s bigger surprises. You’ll never be in debt again—no matter what comes your way.

According to Money Magazine, 78% of Americans will have a major negative financial event in any given 10-year period. Most people lose momentum after Baby Step 2 and don’t push to complete their emergency fund. This pile of cash will make sure you aren’t caught off guard by a job layoff or a leaky roof. Keep your emergency fund in a simple checking account or money market account with check-writing privileges. That way, you can pay the doctor or wrecker service on the spot.

4. Invest 15% of Household Income Into Retirement
Now it’s time to get serious about retirement. With no payments and a full emergency fund, put 15% toward the retirement of your dreams. Between your 401(k), Roth IRA, and Traditional IRA, you have a lot of options. Find the fit that is right for you. The money you were using to attack debt can now help build your future.

This step is all about building long-term wealth. Take 15% of your gross household income and invest it first into matching company 401(k) plans and then Roth IRAs. If your company doesn’t offer a retirement plan or match your contributions, then go straight to the Roth. Spread the money across four types of mutual funds: growth, aggressive growth, growth and income, and international. Even a couple hundred dollars a month invested now can make you a multi-millionaire.

5. College Funding for Children
By Step 5, you’ve paid off all debts but the house, and you’ve started your retirement savings. Now it’s time to save for your kids’ college expenses. College tuitions and housing expenses continue to rise. Don’t let college sneak up on you. Saving now will put you ahead of the game when your kids graduate from high school.

Two smart ways to save for your kids’ college are 529 college savings funds or Coverdell ESAs (Education Savings Accounts). These are both tax-advantaged savings vehicles that let you save money for your kids’ education expenses. As with retirement, you can also spread the money across the four types of mutual funds: growth, aggressive growth, growth and income, and international.

Both 529 plans and ESAs allow you to save money in an individual investment account. But do your homework first! Depending on your income and what state you live in, a 529 might be better than an ESA. All that’s left then is to get started!

6. Pay Off Home Early
There’s only one more debt standing in the way of freedom from all debt—paying off the mortgage. Baby Step 6 is the big one! Can you imagine life with no house payment?

Any extra money you can put toward the mortgage will result in tens of thousands of dollars of interest saved and months (or even years) of not having a payment hanging over your head. If you currently have an adjustable rate mortgage, interest only, or even a 30-year mortgage, consider refinancing to a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage and pay off your home faster. It takes the average family five to seven years to pay their home off early. This journey to debt freedom is a marathon. Stay focused and intense, and keep a steady pace. And don’t forget to celebrate each little victory along the way.

7. Build Wealth and Give
This is the last step and, by far, the most fun. It’s time to live and give like no one else! Build wealth, become insanely generous, and leave an inheritance for future generations. You know what people with no debt and no payments can do? Anything they want! And it’s all because you had discipline for a few years. Now that’s leaving a legacy.

It took perseverance and good habits to get you here. Keep setting goals and budgeting every month. Stay intense and have fun along the way! You started investing 15% on Baby Step 4. Now you can max out your 401k and IRA so you can continue to live and give like no one else in retirement.

Please let me know if you have any questions. I’d be happy to help!

-Remember to liveHislove,

Missy

liveHislove – Bigger than Josh Duggar

I must admit that I was recently disappointed and heart-broken. It may sound silly, but I had begun to think of the Duggars like members of my own family. For almost a decade, my husband and I had tuned into their show on a weekly basis. It was refreshing to watch a TV show that focused on traditional Christian beliefs. They were flourishing and I was secretly envious of their tightly knit, God-centered family where kids were respectful and the family worked together as a team. When the first round of Josh Duggar news broke I was furious with the media who immediately pounced on my “distant relatives” :-). It was easy for me personally to look past the sins of Josh’s past. He was a teenager, had received counsel, was married and now had a thriving family of his own. But then the bombshell of his Ashley Madison accounts and infidelity were revealed.  As an ambassador of our faith, was he making us look like hypocrites? My first thought was, yes. The more I ponder this question, however, the more I realize that he is not alone in personal struggle. Every single one of us struggles with our own sin. Jesus is the only sinless human to ever walk this earth. Isn’t that why we need him in our lives in the first place? We need to realize as Christians that our churches are full of sinners. It should be the job of the church to equip us with the spiritual tools that we need to fight off the enemy and his sin.

1 Peter 5_8-9 ESV _ 57 helpful votes Helpful

A recent article by Debra Fileta brings up several valid points from this situation, most of which are much bigger than the Josh Duggar indiscretions . She mentions that churches need to move away from “motivational preaching” and toward application preaching. We need to be better equipped on how to abstain from the sins of this world that can rock our marriages and our families.  I urge you to pray for Josh and his family as they work through the aftermath of his sin. I also urge you to pray for our nation, who should worry less about offending each other, and worry more about not offending God.

Here is a link to Debra’s article that was recently posted in www.relevantmagazine.com:

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/current/5-things-we-can-learn-ashley-madison-scandal

-Remember to liveHislove,

Missy

Day 5- Tearing Down Walls | Southeast Christian Church

As the final day for our Tearing Down the Walls series I wanted to post the following sermon from Southeast Christian Church. I’d like to thank Senior Pastor, Dave Stone, at Southeast for the inspiration for all of my blogs this week. Such a powerful message. I urge each of you to give it a watch….

Tearing Down Walls | Southeast Christian Church.

-Remember to liveHIslove,

Missy

Day 4…Breaking down the walls of racism

Today’s truth:

Racism violates God’s commissions

When we let racism or hatred into our hearts,

Simply put, when we let our own racist views take up home in our hearts, we are not allowing God’s will to be done in our lives. We are commissioned as God’s children to be representatives of our faith; spreading grace, love and forgiveness. When we do not live out these principles in our lives, it widens the gap between believer and non-believer.

You may have heard of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. They have held thousands of protests, some which were against Jewish and Catholic faiths. They have made their way into the news, but not for the spreading of love, but hatred. Racism is still so prevalent in our society that just a few months ago the South Carolina governor ordered the Confederate flag be removed after 9 church members were murdered by a man hoping to start a racial war.

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While studying for the bar exam in London, Gandhi was given a copy of the New Testament to read. It is said that he was enamored with the Sermon on the Mount and hoped to see Christians living up to the teachings. While living with Christians in England, South Africa and India, Gandhi expected to experience qualities like unconditional love, forgiveness, willingness to sacrifice, meekness, for example. After reading from the bible and learning about Christ, Gandhi was eager to explore the Christian faith. He was then living in South Africa and decided to attend a church service. When he reached the steps of the church, the elder of the church said “Where do you think you are going….there is no room for you in this church. Get out of here or I’ll have my assistants throw you down the steps”.

To his utmost dismay, Christians in his time never lived up to the standards preached by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount and on the Cross and he was quoted years later as saying “I love your Christ but I hate your Christians because your Christians are unlike your Christ.”.

When we let racism or hatred into our hearts, it’s like a weed, and pushes out any love that had the ability to grow there.

Choose love today, and everyday, and watch God’s commissions become fulfilled in your life…

-Remember to liveHislove,

Missy

Day 2: Racism violates God’s compassion

Today begins day 2 of our week of exploring the topic of racism and how it relates to Christianity. Today, may I present to you this thought:

Racism violates God’s compassion

When we create divisions between each other based on stereotypes, race and religion, we are not allowing the love that God has for each of us to be reflected through our hearts. God loves each of us equally. Period.

Sure, different cultures have different traditions and lifestyles. These differences should be celebrated and not minimized. We should, as Christians, embrace the differences in each other; for at the core of our souls, we have one thing in common and that is our Heavenly Father. He created each of us in His image.

Let the differences between people be cause for celebration, not division.  

Don’t let racism inhibit your heart from exuding compassion. 

Go and love one another, just as God loves us.

-Remember to liveHIslove,

Missy

Christianity and racism can’t co-exist – tune in each day this week for a short reading

This weekend our church message was on Tearing Down the Walls of Racism. This seems like the perfect time in our culture to address such a topic. Please know that I approach this topic with a loving heart and with one that hopes to unite and not divide. I should tell you that I write this from the perspective of a caucasian and that I do not pretend to understand what prejudices other races and ethnicities have encountered. I do come to you with an empathetic spirit and as one who longs for us as Christians to be models of Christ. We are, after all, ONE in the body of Christ.

I think it’s important to look at some bible passages before we begin further discussion on this topic.

From the beginning, we know that God created us in His image. Every person who has, currently is and ever will walk this Earth, was created in God’s image. Simply put, all human beings are from a single family. Nothing excludes you from being party of this family.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Genesis 1:27

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:26-28

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Jesus died for each of us, regardless of nationality or race
One of the most iconic bible verses reiterates this fact:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

It was the 1980’s and Carol and her husband had just moved to a predominately white neighborhood and community. They were an African-American family. They joined a new church and loved it. While at a bible study one Sunday afternoon, a woman at Carol’s table, with very honest and well-meaning intentions asked Carol, do you prefer to be referred to as black or African-American?

Tune in Friday to see Carol’s response.

the wild

-Remember to liveHislove,

MIssy

Monday Motivator…. What’s your calling?

For I was hungry and you gave me something

Last night, I delivered the packets that we made for our first ever #BlessingBlitzForHomelessness to a local organization. If you aren’t familiar with our packets, here is a brief summary:

*This summer my children and I decided to assemble packets that we could hand out to homeless folks as we encounter them in our community (see photo below)

*We organized an event where people could help us assemble packets

*We organized a sign up genius (www.signupgenius.com) to sign up workers and donations

*Everyone who helped our mission in some way received Blessing Blitz packets to keep in their cars to hand out to those in need

BB11

Here is a finished product

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BB13www.livehisloveministry.com

The kids also colored pages to be included in each packet

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Our packets were donated to Fed with Faith, a local organization that serves as advocates to the homeless population in many facets. Last night they were organizing a meal (which smelled delicious!) to be served to those in need. I am always humbled when I see a large group of people giving selflessly of their own time. This organization is spear-headed by a husband and wife team who saw a need and took action. They felt God’s calling and listened.

What is God calling you to do?

Listen.

He has amazing plans for you.

Your life could be forever changed.