Mike Pence and How to Protect Your Marriage

During my 11-12 years of serving as a pastor, I also strove to abide by this rule. 

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The following link will direct you to an article in USA Today. The rule that Mike Pence lives by regarding his interactions with the opposite sex is a rule that my dad (a senior pastor in Northeast Texas) has lived by for decades. During my 11-12 years of serving as a pastor, I also strove to abide by this rule.

Wedding_rings

I have never met anyone that regretted living by this rule. However, I doubt there is enough space to list names of those who wish they had (including spouses, children, and friends who were hurt).

The rule that Pence lives by is not morally right or wrong. Rather, it is wise. Quite often, the question, “What is wise?” transcends the moral right-wrong divide.

Whether you are a pastor, educator, business owner, manager, or whatever else, I hope you will click on the link below, read, and consider this for yourself.

After Weinstein, consider Pence rule to protect your heart and marriage

Our Credit Card Journey

IMG_0475.PNGIs it Biblical to use a credit card? There are many thoughts on the subject. My wife and I take a pretty practical approach to the issue. This being said, we have also made some changes as of late.

God expects his children to be good stewards with every resource he has given. Whether this be time, money, relationships, a job, education, or a volunteer position in a local church, he expects nothing less than faithful excellence. Considering the fact that money was one of Jesus’ hot topics, the Lord is definitely interested in how you handle your money.

God also does not mind his children making money. My philosophy is this: Somebody has to make money, so why not the people who have the Holy Spirit in their hearts and are willing to let go of it to further God’s agenda and establish his kingdom here on earth? If you were going on a trip far away and needed to leave money with someone to give to your wife and children over time, would you not choose those closest to you, who have your heart, who care about the things that you care about? Of course you would. The more you trust them, the more you would be wiling to leave at their disposal to take care of your family while your gone.

All of this being said, is it Biblical to use a credit card? Because the Bible does not address this specifically, we have to use our minds to apply the general wisdom in the Bible to this particular question. I would rephrase the question in like manner: Can I use a credit card and still be absolutely faithful, a great steward, of my finances?

I believe you can. Matter of fact, I believe that God can use a credit card to bless you. On the other hand, I absolutely believe that our enemy can use a credit card to curse you.

How can God use a credit card to bless you? My wife and I have a Chase card that gives us 5% cash back of every purchase on three select categories and 1% cash back on all of our other purchases. After she gave birth, our Chase card had accumulated $160 worth of points. In other words, this was money that we would never had had if we had paid for everything with a debit card or straight cash. As I write, our Chase card has accumulated another $70. Again, this is free money. Sometimes we use this “credit” to do something fun and sometimes we use the credit to pay a bill. Either way, this is money Chase gives us for using their card.

Granted, before I make Chase out to sound like Santa Claus, there is something in it for them. They are banking on people being irresponsible and foolish with their money. What do I mean? Simple. Most people will use a credit card to buy things that they do not have enough money to pay for. This is what gets you in trouble. At the end of the month when your credit card balance is due, you do not have enough money in your account to clear the balance. When this happens, that charge sits there and you start getting charged interest. This is when a $200 purchase over the course of a few months (because you didn’t zero it out at the end of the month) can end up costing you $300-$400. It happens all the time and for a Christian, in several of these instances, it is sin.

From a financial perspective, past generations were characterized by a savings account. Younger generations are characterized by a credit card. Think about it. When you refuse to buy something until you have the money for it, you are exercising self-control. Is this not one of the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). When you go around using a credit card in an irresponsible manner, you are living for the moment. You are stealing from your tomorrow for the sake of instant gratification in the present. In other words, the price of your happiness now is a pain, stressful, debt-filled tomorrow. We are not future-minded. We live like there is no future, no God, no eternity.

So, is it possible to use a credit card and glorify God. Over the past few years, Chase has given my wife and I approximately $700-$1000. On the other hand, we have not paid them one penny more than the charges we made. How come? We treat our credit card like a debit card. At the end of the month, we pull from our checking account and zero out the credit card balance. By doing this, we are living within our means, pretending that this credit card is nothing more than a debit card, and at the same, by using this credit card, we are paying for everything we would be paying for anyway (bills, grocery, gas, etc.) in a way that actually leaves us with more money than we would have had if we did not use a credit card.

The bottom line is this: If you are undisciplined and lack self-control, do not consider using a credit card. It will be nothing more than an access point for Satan in your life. Debt and financial stress can destroy you, your future, your marriage, and your family. But if you can do it, in the end, you end up with a credit card company never earning a dime off you though they are paying you hundreds and hundreds of dollars. Last time I checked, God is not afraid of his children earning more money. What he stands against is the tragically selfish consumer lifestyle that Americans live while tens of thousands are dying worldwide from easily prevented causes (in many cases, $10-$30 a month would save a life and provide them with education, etc.).

One last comment. One thing Allison and I realized was that for some reason, we were not doing a good job sticking to our grocery budget. So what did we do? Starting this money, we use the credit card for all of our purchases except grocery. For grocery, we admitted to ourselves that we were not doing a good job, and have shifted to an envelope system just for this one category. So while we use credit for everything else (thus earning extra money), we use cash for grocery. So far, it is making a HUGE difference.

It feels good to handle money wisely. It pleases The Lord and it also frees you to have more money to give to others. Think about this: What if you used a credit card and decided as a couple/family to use all of your credit card points to bless someone else. Are you telling me that this would not glorify God? My point is simple: There are ways to use a credit card that honors The Lord, blesses your family, and even blesses others (if you so choose). Are you suppose to? Is your family suppose? Ask The Lord. Commit this to prayer, and be honest about your own financial strengths and weakness.

Jesus Doesn’t Play

When it comes to down to it, Jesus doesn’t play around concerning faithfulness. Read the following:

Matthew 11:20-24 NIV
Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. [21] “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. [22] But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. [23] And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. [24] But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

This passage implies the following:

1. There will be different levels of judgment dished out in the day of judgment (“…more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”).

2. The more miracles that a city witnessed, the stricter their judgment will be for rejecting Christ.

In other words, “to whom much is given, from him much will be required…” (Luke 12:48). I’m convinced that a significant population of Christians in America do NOT really believe, I mean REALLY believe, certain truths that are clearly revealed in Scripture. The existence of Satan, the eternal reality of Hell, the reality of demons, spiritual gifts, and the day of judgment are to name a few. Do you really believe that you, all by yourself, will stand before the Maker of the Universe and answer for your life? And if you really believed it, how would your life change on a daily basis? Would you be more generous with your words? Your money? Would you finally start tithing? Would you forgive that person? Would you start giving money to charities that can save starving children across the ocean? Maybe you would quit complaining about church and become part of the solution. Maybe you would quit finding fault with everyone and rather, choose to extend them the grace that you are so thankful for receiving from Christ. Would you finally dig/search the Scriptures as if your life, and others around you, depended on it? Would you quit wondering whether or not you heard God and finally take the leap of faith? Or maybe, you wouldn’t be so afraid of failure. Would you go back to school so you can end up one day doing the dream God has put in your heart for his glory? Would you obey Jesus and get baptized? Would you serve a person in need by doing their yard? Would you bless that widow by inviting her over for dinner? Or, maybe you would finally knock on your neighbors door and introduce yourself so that eventually, a spiritual conversation might ensue? Come on Christians, let’s jump. Let’s go for it! You live in America, the land of such spiritual opportunity and freedom. Yes, I, and you, will be held more accountable.