Are You Scratching?

My family attends One Prayer Church which is a network location of Life Church.  Prior to Praise and Worship yesterday morning a video was played that caught my attention.  Not the whole video, but one line specifically.  It posed the questions, “Are you scratching the earth but never leaving a mark?”  I don’t know who put the video together, but I do want to let you know what inspired this post.

As I looked back at my life, I saw uncountable intentions that were never nurtured to harvest.  I was scratching, a little time here, a little effort there but I never saw things through to leave a mark.  I would write this or build that, but somehow, it would start collecting dust in the shop or on the hard drive like the multi-level marketing that left the garage or basement full of unmarketed product.

It’s funny how things sometime seem to fall into place.  Some may think this is a coincidence, but deep inside I believe it is truly the grand plan; fate, if you will.  This morning I was reading the forth chapter of the Gospel of John.  John 4:34 (NIV) “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”  Now I understand that we are all made in God’s Image.  I also understand that Jesus came to this earth to show us how we are supposed to live in addition to cleaning up the messes that we make when we chose how we want to live.  God gave his only Son to wash away our sins.

If we are supposed to be “Christ Like”, and Jesus’s food was to do God’s Will and finish His Work, then wouldn’t it be our purpose to do God’s Will and finish His Work.  What scratches have you made?  What marks did they leave?  Is there something boxed up in the closet that you need to pull down and dust off?  I know I’ve got some dusting and polishing to do.

And I’ll polish them one purpose at at time.

Don’t Let Money Be A Bully

Do you tell your money what it is going to do, or does your lack of money tell you what you are NOT going to do? This may surprise you, but this really is not dependent on your income level, unless your are currently facing a period of unemployment.

We all have a finite amount of money. You may not have a dollar in savings, or you may have thousands of dollars in savings. Both amounts are finite. Our incomes have a similar limitation, whether it is $2,000 per month or $20,000 per month. If our obligations for house payments, credit card payments, utilities, and car payments total $10,000 per month, we may be comfortable with a $20,000 monthly income, but we are in trouble if our income is anything less than our obligations.

Many of us sit down each payday and begin to pay our obligations, our expenses. And many of us discover each payday that our obligations sometimes stretch further than our paycheck, and that bully money makes us say “no” to the things we want or enjoy. Sometimes it screams so loud that we have to say “no” to some things we need such as health insurance, utilities, or food.

Are you ready to punch that bully in the face? Here is how.

Before your next paycheck arrives, prioritize your obligations on paper.
10% for tithe.
10% for your current financial goals.
25% for income taxes if they are not withheld from your paycheck

Next Follow these priorities with your necessities.
Food
Shelter
Utilities
Transportation

Then apply your paycheck toward your other obligations.
Insurance to transfer tomorrows risks
Debt Service to reduce yesterdays commitments and free up cashflow
Fun to enjoy today

When you prioritize how your money flows out from your control, you get to choose where each dollar is spent. Which beat cowering to those abusive telephone calls where others try to tell you how your money should be spent.

Interest Perspective

So many are quick to object to a mortgage being payed off because of the tax deduction that would be forfeited. Yet refinancing is encouraged without the tax deduction even being a part of the conversation.

Why is this tax deduction so precious? Let’s look at the numbers for a moment. If you have a mortgage balance of let’s say $150,000 with an interest rate of 4%, you will pay about $6,000 in interest this year. In a 30% tax bracket, this tax deduction would result in a savings of $1,800.

That math just doesn’t add up. It would be like me giving you $3,000 in return for $10,000. I’m available to offer that any day of the week, but I don’t think anyone would line up for it. Wouldn’t it be better to pay an additional $1,800 in taxes to save $6,000 in interest? Not only does paying off your mortgage eliminate the interest paid, it also frees up the portion of your mortgage payment that goes toward principle reduction, to use for other necessities in your monthly budget.

I don’t want to pay any more in taxes than I’m supposed to. But I also know than any dollar I contribute to charitable organizations receives that same tax deduction. And these dollars go toward a much better cause than building bigger banks.

Trapped by What You Said

Maybe it was a house.  It might have been a car.  Have you ever been asked to help a friend or family member out because their credit was a little dinged up?  Have  you ever been in a situation where Frankie couldn’t secure a loan by themselves but they could if you would co-sign for them?  It was just that one time, right?  All the promises where made.  All the payments would be made.  All the guilt trips had been laid to coerce you into helping out.  Your friendship or love may have even been painted into question.

Why did Frankie need you to co-sign with them?  You have known Frankie for so long.  You know Frankie better than the institution giving Frankie the loan.  You may not have been able to see it at the time due to your closeness to Frankie, be it friendship or love.  You know Frankie’s character.  You know Frankie is good for it.  So what is the risk?  Maybe Frankie had just fallen on a little hard times.  But this would be your chance to help Frankie out.  This would be your opportunity to let Frankie put themselves up by their bootstraps.

But the loan officer isn’t emotionally involved.  The loan officer sees the history that Frankie’s life has created, including those hard times.  And as we all know, history and hard times have a tendency to repeat themselves.  Frankie may really turn their life around.  There is the possibility that Frankie has changed the course of their life.  But statistics, older than the Cesarean Calendar, say otherwise.

Whether co-signing for someone else’s loan is currently working out good or bad for you, what should you do?  First off, always remember that the week cannot help the week, only the strong can help the strong. So your first responsibility is to take care of your own necessities first.  Once you are in a position of strength, free yourself from this obligation.  As a co-signer on the loan, you have the right to information about the loan such as are payments being made on time, or is extra money being payed toward the principle.  But you are not the first to be automatically informed when a payment is late.  You have to make the effort to monitor the situation.

Secondly, you have a choice to make.  If Frankie has in fact turned the corner and is doing well, there is a possibility Frankie could re-finance the loan without a co-signer.  If hard times have struck again and you are in a position of financial strength, you could supplement Frankie’s payments to accelerate the payoff of the loan.  If hard times have struck both you and Frankie, it may be time to convince Frankie to sell the asset that is securing the loan.  If the asset that is securing the loan has depreciated in value to where it will sell for enough to payoff the loan, you or Frankie may have to obtain a smaller loan to make up the difference.  Don’t overlook the word “OR” there.  There is no sense in making the same mistake twice and partnering on a second loan.

Thirdly, do not let any money you put toward freeing yourself of this obligation cost you your friendship with Frankie.  Don’t make it loan from you to Frankie.  Consider it a gift to Frankie and an educational expense to yourself.

Proverbs 6:1-5 New International Version (NIV)

Warnings Against Folly

My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth.  So do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands:  Go—to the point of exhaustion—[aand give your neighbor no rest!  Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids.  Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 6:3 Or Go and humble yourself,

Back Up That Clean Agent System

Water based fire sprinkler system are great for building protection but sometimes it is necessary to supplement your sprinkler system with a clean agent system. When your operations are dependent upon a data room, you need extra protection. When your assets in an area can suffer more damage from water than fire, additional protection would be your choice.

This extra or additional protection is best served with a clean agent system. It provides early fire detection, sensing a fire in it’s incipient stages when there may only be a smolder. When a clean agent system discharges it displaces enough oxygen from the area to extinguish the fire while maintaining adequate oxygen for occupants in most cases.

By detecting the fire early and suppressing it quickly, your down time is greatly reduced and you are back in operation. But here is something you need to consider. Do you feel safe getting your operations back on line quickly after your system discharges to extinguish a fire? Depending on the clean agent that is selected for your special hazard and how close your fire protection service provider is to you, it may take a few days to retrieve the agent cylinders, recharge, deliver, and recharge them.

Best practices are to have reserve cylinders connected to the system. Then, after your system actuates and suppresses a fire, a simple flip of a switch from main to reserve and your suppression system is back on line, along with your operations. Reserve cylinders require an additional initial investment, but it allows you to keep your system on line while the cylinders are being recharged. And as critical as your assets or operations are, that initial investment justifies itself with the return by keeping your operations protected and on-line.

Who Determines Your Priorities

What do you see when you look at your calendar? What do you see when you look at your bank statements? What jumps out at you? When you look at these things you will see your priorities, whether you want to admit it or not.

We all follow a plan with our lives. The question is, “is it our plan that we are following or nor?” Put your big rocks on your calendar first. Plan your key priority first. That may be your kid’s recital or dinner with your spouse. Every day things are going to come up to veer us off course. The better planned we have the course of our day, the less veering we will experience.

Plan each tomorrow before you retire every night. Determine your top six priorities for each day and let your subconscious strategize while you sleep. Start each day in God’s Word. Learning from His Wisdom, Grace, and Love. As you tackle your day, take on your priority list focusing on only one task at a time, striking it off and charging toward the next goal for the day.

Your money is the same as your time. Plan each paycheck before it is received. Decide where each dollar will be spent. Tithe off of the top. Plan what money will be used for your big rocks. Your big rocks may be eliminating debt, or investing for your retirement. Your priority may be saving for a big purchase or for a rainy day. Prioritize the remainders of your paycheck toward taxes, food, utilities, rent/mortgage, and transportation. These are your medium sized rocks, your secondary priorities. Then things such as debt service, insurance, and fun can be funded with the balance of your paycheck.

Plan for your success. Be precise in your actions. Be diligent in your footsteps.

Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭3‬:‭9-10‬ NIV)

Thomas Jefferson

I do not know who compiled this information, but I thought you would enjoy.

This is amazing. There are two parts. Be sure to read the second part.
Thomas Jefferson was a very remarkable man who started learning very early in life and never stopped.
At  5, began studying under his cousin’s tutor.
At  9, studied Latin, Greek and French.
At 14, studied classical literature and additional languages.
At 16, entered the College of William and Mary. Also could write in Greek with one hand while writing the same in Latin with the other.
At 19, studied Law for 5 years starting under George Wythe.
At 23, started his own law practice.
At 25, was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses.
At 31, wrote the widely circulated “Summary View of the Rights of British America” and retired from his law practice.
At 32, was a Delegate to the Second Continental Congress.
At 33, wrote the Declaration of Independence.
At 33, took three years to revise Virginia’s legal code and wrote a Public Education bill and a statute for Religious Freedom.
At 36, was elected the second Governor of Virginia succeeding Patrick Henry.
At 40, served in Congress for two years.
At 41, was the American minister to France and negotiated commercial treaties with European nations along with Ben Franklin and John Adams.
At 46, served as the first Secretary of State under George Washington.
At 53, served as Vice President and was elected president of the American Philosophical Society.
At 55, drafted the Kentucky Resolutions and became the active head of Republican Party.
At 57, was elected the third president of the United States.
At 60, obtained the Louisiana Purchase, doubling the nation’s size.
At 61, was elected to a second term as President.
At 65, retired to Monticello.
At 80, helped President Monroe shape the Monroe Doctrine.
At 81, almost single-handedly created the University of Virginia and served as its first president.
At 83, died on the 50th anniversary of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence along with John Adams.
Thomas Jefferson knew because he himself studied the previous failed attempts at government. He understood actual history, the nature of God, his laws, and the nature of man. That happens to be way more than what most understand today. Jefferson really knew his stuff. A voice from the past to lead us in the future:
John F. Kennedy held a dinner in the White House for a group of the brightest minds in the nation at that time. He made this statement: “This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence ever to gather at one time in the White House with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”
“When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.”
— Thomas Jefferson
“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”
— Thomas Jefferson
“It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”
— Thomas Jefferson
“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”
— Thomas Jefferson
“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”
— Thomas Jefferson
“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
— Thomas Jefferson
“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”
— Thomas Jefferson
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
— Thomas Jefferson
“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”
— Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson said in 1802:
“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.
“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property – until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”
%d bloggers like this: