Encouragement for Today - May 22, 2006
Encouragement for Today
“A Joy Stealer” - Part 1
Wendy Pope, Author, Development Coordinator, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
Proverbs 31:8, "She sees that her trading is profitable." (NIV)
To be honest with you, there was a time when I wished Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Principle Five, "The Proverbs 31 Woman contributes to the financial well-being of her household being a faithful steward of the time and money God has entrusted to her" did not exist. Being a faithful steward of the time and money God and my husband entrusted to me has not always been an easy task.
I supposed it started years ago when I rode in the Country Squire station wagon with my mother from destination to destination searching for the "bargain" of the century. My mother taught me to be an expert bargain shopper. So much an expert, that even now, many years later, friends call me for shopping tips and questions about where to get the best deal on what they are looking for. What I believe my mother meant for good, the enemy used for evil. Somewhere along the way, through disappointing times in my life and low self-esteem, I begin to see shopping as an escape. It became the way I brought myself happiness. I use the word happiness because happiness describes a temporary emotion based on circumstances. Joy is something within yourself that remains regardless of your circumstances.
I entered my marriage in debt and somehow managed to stay in debt during most of the early years of my marriage. The debt I accrued became my secret. I hid credit card bills as well as new things that I bought from my husband. Each month, I would scrape enough money together from my household budget to make the minimum payments. The lie kept me from having an honest and open relationship with my husband. It also kept me from experiencing real joy that comes with an intimate relationship with Jesus. It was a true sickness.
Today, I have a small balance on the credit card my husband and I agreed I could keep. I have the money to pay the balance when the bill comes. I’ve made it a rule not to carry a balance or to hide debt from my husband, or try to hide debt from my Heavenly Father. In tomorrow's devotion, I will share with you the "secret of my debt-free success." I will give you one clue to the success now: change. And I don't mean coins.
My Prayer for Today:
Father God, you are Jehovah-Jireh, the God Who provides. Help me to trust You to provide my physical needs as well as my emotional needs. Forgive me for making foolish choices when it comes to spending the money You entrust to me. Reveal to me changes that I need to make in my spending habits. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Write down the outstanding frivolous debt you have. (Frivolous: department store credit cards, cell phone, etc.) If you don't have any frivolous debt, find a praise song, and praise the Lord for your freedom from frivolous debt.
Pray and ask God to give you the courage to destroy all your department store credit cards. (Trust me, I know this is radical! I did it!)
What do you do in your spare time?
How often do you go to the mall or other stores to "window shop?"
What brings you joy?
Proverbs 17:16, "Of what use is money in the hand of a fool, since he has no desire to get wisdom?" (NIV)
Ecclesiastes 7:12, "Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor.”(NIV)
Habakkuk 2:7,"Will not your debtors suddenly arise? Will they not wake up and make you tremble? Then you will become their victim." (NIV)
1 Timothy 6:6, "But godliness with contentment is great gain." (NIV)
Cents and Sensibility, by Bethany and Scott Palmer
Dollars & Sense, by Cynthia Sumner
Let it Rain (Music CD), by Gwen Smith