Happy 2010! As always, if you don't find these monthly emails helpful, you can unsubscribe at the bottom of the page. If you enjoy the messages, please forward to your family and friends.
Please allow me to paraphrase my friend Dan Stratton with this blessing for your New Year:
"May 2010 be your best year yet, not the best year you will ever have,
but your best year up 'til now: with your Family, as well as Spiritually, Physically, Mentally, Emotionally, Socially and Financially . . . by far."
As I think about 2009 and previous years, and as I visit with family and friends, I'm reminded of the importance of making good choices. Yes, Virginia, choices have consequences. It saddens me when I meet up with a friend whom I've known since high school or college, and I realize that something they "tried" when they were younger is no longer a "lark" for them: it's become a habit. And in many cases, whether it's a way of thinking or speaking, an attitude, or something they put in their body, I can see how that choice has become a habit that now actually enslaves them.
During my life I have made many bad choices. I sometimes think that one reason why God allows me to give financial advice is because the defeats I experienced help me empathize with those who are searching for ways to improve financially. On the other hand, I believe that one reason God put almost 2500 verses in the Bible about money and wealth is because we constantly need to remind ourselves that money is not God: it has many similar qualities, though, and therein lies the danger.
Money can purchase happiness, comfort, peace, and security, but when we look further down the road, we see that money's benefits are temporary and 2nd rate at best. That's why we see so many public figures who, though they "have it all," self-destruct due to one or more vices. On the other hand, God's blessings are much richer, they last forever, and you can't overdose on them!
So I encourage you to take some time over the next few days to "consider your ways." Think about the choices you've made, and re-evaluate how you can make wiser choices so that 2010 truly is your best year yet.
Below is the January 1st excerpt from my book. If you haven't purchased the book yet, now would be a good time to order it at www.todayswordonmoney.com. It's only $12.95 and I truly believe it will help you get the New Year off to a better start.
New Year's Day-Today's WORD on Money™: Your Best Year Yet!
Today you may be watching parades or football games, thinking about a new exercise program, or enjoying time with family and friends. I encourage you to spend some time today asking yourself two things. Then write your answers down and put them into action every day this year.
1) What can I improve this year to bring more glory to God and to walk in more of the good things that God has planned for me? (Ephesians 2:10, Jeremiah 29:11)
2) What habits or behaviors should I get rid of this year, so that I go from "glory to glory" and so that I don't cause someone else to sin?
I know--these are tough questions. But I think you'll agree that if you take the time today, and maybe even for the week, to do some soul searching, then this year could be your best year yet.
Let me share with you a few thought-provoking questions to get you started.
1) Should you eat or drink more of something and less or none of something else? (I recently read of a study which showed that simply eliminating soft drinks, even diet sodas, was one of the top 4 predictors of longevity in women!) For this question and the next two, my pastor has a great quote: "Christians should not have evangelical minds and pagan bodies."
2) Do you dress appropriately? Is your attire modest, or have you bought into Hollywood's lies? (It amazes me sometimes when women, even Christian women, want men to respect them for their minds, and then they expose massive amounts of their bodies! Christian women, please don't cause your Christian brothers to stumble! Seek God's approval, not the approval of people.)
3) Men, I'm not letting you off the hook--ask yourselves this: are you avoiding everything that can cause you to stumble sexually? If pornography is a temptation, have you installed whatever you need on your computer to block what you shouldn't view? If not, get rid of your computer, don't stay at hotels with black boxes, get accountability partners, or do whatever it takes! My good friend Terry Ermoian has a ministry that can help. Go to www.settingcaptivesfree.com. Terry tells me that since our culture is so loose morally, it's hard for men to avoid the first look at an improperly dressed woman. But a committed Christian then quickly looks away and doesn't look a second time. God help us!
4) Do you invest in companies that profit from or support activities which are not in concert with your moral and Biblical values? (A Biblical advisor will have access to information that can help you answer that question.)
5) If you're married, do you pray with your spouse? I recently heard that Christian couples experience about the same divorce rate as non-Christian couples: approximately 50%. But for Christian couples who pray together, only 1 in 1000 get divorced!
If those 5 questions don't fire you up, then your wood is wet!