Loving > Judging

Maybe we should be less focused on JUDGING

In light of recent events in our society, I find my self turning to the bible for more and more guidance. Our society has such judgmental tendencies. I think that is why most days I leave the TV off.

Matthew 7:1-5 ESV 

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Matthew reminds me “who am I to judge”? It’s not my job on Earth to judge. I am to be an example of the love that Jesus has for each of us. I am definitely not free of sin, so who am I to judge. How is my sin any different that someone else’s?

1 Peter 4:8 shows us the power of love….

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Strive to be known by your love.

liveHislove,

Missy

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

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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 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

I am a __________.

I am a human.

I am a woman.

I am a daughter.

I am a sister.

I am a wife.

I am a mother.

I am lost.

I am a sinner.

I am broken.

I need a savior.

I need forgiveness.

I need hope.

I need grace.

I need a redeemer.

I need the cross.

I HAVE a savior.

I am saved.

I am complete.

Is the bible really for me?

B-I-B-L-E

Thee. Thou. Art. These are all words that make me want to run in the opposite direction. I feel like I’m in the middle of high school English class about to study something that will make me want to poke my eyes out.

Growing up and even into early adulthood I thought that this jargon was what mostly filled the bible. Along with that, I thought that the principles taught in the bible were vague and non-applicable to me in this current era. Little did I know that I was completely WRONG!

I grew up in a Christian household and we attended church periodically. I knew the basic principles of the bible:  God created mankind, Noah built an ark, Jesus died on the cross and my sin was forgiven. My grandfather was a retired preacher, so I learned a few things here and there from him. The few times that I did pick up the bible I was quickly discouraged because I didn’t understand what I was reading. Too many words that sounded like a Shakespearian play and that did not interest me.

I have been a regular attendee of church for most of my adult life now and I have definitely changed my views. I must admit that reading some simplistic books about the bible, like my children’s study bibles have helped me the most. They are short and to the point, allowing me to get a better overall picture of the bible. I still have a massive amount to learn, but I am making progress.

A few years ago I did a Beth Moore study that focused on the book of James. James is believed to have been written by Jesus’s half-brother. It is a short book, comparative to other books of the bible. What struck me about the book of James is the massive amounts of real-life applications that are contained in it. Here are a few:

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…Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (hello conviction:-) )

James 1:19

Guess that applies to me when I quickly lash out at someone with my road rage.

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Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. 

James 2:12-13

Do not judge, but be merciful. That one has been weighing heavy on my heart this week. Repeat after me: do not judge, do not judge, be merciful, be merciful. May take me a few thousand repeats to get this to sink in!

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…Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 

James 4:4

You mean I shouldn’t start a blog about 1,000 reasons why I love the Kardashians? Or maybe my self-centered ideology is a worldly inspired view-point?

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My point is that the bible was relevant then, now and will continue to be until the book of Revelation is fulfilled. I don’t know how many times I have been reading in my bible and thought “wow, that really applies to me!”. I urge you to give it a try. If you are intimidated by all of the thees, thous and arts, don’t be.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started on your bible reading journey:

1. There are many different versions of the bible available and most don’t contain Shakespearian sounding text. www.biblegateway.com for example lists at least 30 different versions for you to try (for free!). Try a few and see which version is most comfortable to you.

2. Don’t be too proud to start at a basic level. Check out the kids section at the bookstore or library for some quick reads that will give you an overview of the bible before you really dig in deep. If you have kiddos, read it together and create lasting memories.

3. Watch a movie about the bible. I am a very visual person. If I can picture what Peter looks like when I am reading, it helps me to remember the verses more effectively. NBC currently has “The Bible A.D.” series on Sunday evenings. Check it out!

God loves you and wants a close relationship.  Bathe your heart and mind in His word.  It is a book for me and you. It’s our handbook for a life lived for Christ.

-Remember to liveHislove,

Missy

What is YOUR verse?

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Frogs. Have you ever gotten warts from them? I haven’t and I have held lots of frogs in my lifetime. Some of us grew up believing that same lie though, didn’t we? Our parents and grandparents innocently fed us this lie (probably because they just didn’t want us holding them in the first place). After hearing that same lie over and over again, we begin to believe that it is actually true.

Someone else feeds us lies. His name is Satan and his goal is very much to distance us from God. He speaks nothing BUT lies. Everyday he feeds you the same lies, hoping that after a while, just like the frog and warts lie, you’ll begin to believe it as truth. Satan’s lies are very specific each individual. Your lie may be that your marriage will never improve, that your kids will never turn their lives around or that you just aren’t talented enough to find a new job and leave the one you hate.

My challenge this week to you is to flip the lie that the evil one fills your head with. Begin to fill your spirit with the word of God and your mind will soon follow. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to you through the healing powers of God’s word. God’s word has the power to tear down the walls of Satan’s lies.

…how incredibly great his power is to help those who believe him. It is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead…

Ephesians 1:19-20 TLB

The lie that Satan tells me (among others I”m sure) is that I am not a good public speaker. I have held many leadership roles in my life and have certainly had plenty of opportunity to embrace this skill. I have done fine at some points and really struggled with this at other times. I have used a particular bible verse to combat this lie. I know God wants me to succeed and this bible verse reminds me of this:

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength

Philippians 4:13

This verse may be your verse too as it is one that can be applied, quite honestly, to almost any situation. God doesn’t say ‘you only have Christ’s strength while driving through rush hour traffic or during a job interview’. It says  ‘I can do ALL things’.

I challenge you this week to come up with the bible verse that you will bathe you heart and mind in. His words are alive in you and have the power to reverse the lies you are being fed. Your life will change.

Please comment below what YOUR empowering bible verse is. Your verse may be just what another reader needs to see.

-Remember to liveHislove,

Missy

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