By Ahmad Davis
Special to Inside the Pew

Scripture for study: “The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it” Proverbs 10:22 (NLT).

I can remember my first car that I bought with my own money (sort of), it was a bright red Geo Prism. I was very excited because itAhmad Davis was my first big purchase and I got a loan on it with a low monthly payment and a moderate interest rate. You could not have told me that God did not bless me with this vehicle, I was excited and thanked God repeatedly for this blessing.

My age was 19 and I had few bills, so I started to use my new credit cards to accessorize my new car with an improved speaker system, new rims, and custom interior changes. And of course there came a new wardrobe to compliment the new ride.

Over time, my payments started to stretch me thin and I had to start making choices between maintenance needs and bills, I chose maintenance. This was a cascading effect as my bills started to go delinquent and the pressure and stress started to mount in my relationships personally and at work. As a result, my personal finances were in shambles as well as my sanity.

As I started to read more on personal finance via the Bible and listen to people such as Dave Ramsey I have come to a simple conclusion, God does not bless people with debt-people rationalize it. There is not one scripture in the Bible that endorses borrowing money, every scripture either strongly encourages you to stay away completely or to get out quickly.

On the other hand, God can and will bless ownership. When you have ownership of something, it is under your authority to transform, rebuild, sell, or repurpose as you see fit. The Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13: 1-23) illustrates how God can multiply what you possess, but only if you own it.

The soil in the parable was not borrowed land; it was owned by the sower and therefore capable of being developed and transformed into good soil that God could bless, increase and multiply.

In this I challenge you to transform your thoughts on how God blesses you and position yourself to be an owner (the sower) and allow God to show you what to buy that will be something He can bless so that there will be no sorrow with it.

By Ahmad Davis
Special to Inside The Pew

My first experience with tithing was when I was homeless sleeping out of the back of my 1991 Ford Explorer. I heard Dave Ramsey on the radio and his show gave me hopeTithe and inspired me to get out of debt and start to tell my money what to do.

As I gained composure and wrote my first budget on a yellow pad and starting to see some traction in my finances, he was also inspiring me to tithe because of some of the testimonies and experiences I was hearing on his show. So I begrudgingly wrote my first tithe check to a church that I had only visited once, but they were kind to me.

I soon recognized that my own inner struggles with writing the tithe check was not isolated, many people have a tough time giving 10% to God for various reasons. But, one reason was reconciled with me a while back and I wanted to share it with you.

Tithing was pre-law. The very first tithe was performed by Abram to Melchizedek. According to Genesis 14:18-20 (NKJV), the author wrote, “Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: ‘Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemiesAhmad Davis into your hand.’ And he gave him a tithe of all.”

This scripture shows that Abram gave a tithe to honor God who has already blessed him. There was no commandment given by God prior to this event to give ten percent of your earnings, it was done because it was the right thing to do.

As a rule of thumb, the first actions in the Bible set the precedent.

You might have a few reasons why you do not tithe, but read over the entire Genesis 14 chapter and pray over what God’s word is saying here. Prayerfully, you will feel a sense of peace about this piece of the great debate.

Ahmad Davis is a coach with Victory By Design, a firm based in Beaumont, Texas, serving clients locally, nationally and internationally. Ahmad provides solutions for individuals, couples, and businesses who are overwhelmed and stressed financially. Ahmad’s typical clients’ are pastors, single parents, lawyers, couples, doctors, business executives, newlyweds, business owners, and others who want a simple solution with remarkable measurable results. For more information, visit http://www.thebiblicalblueprint.com. To get your questions answered on the Inside The Pew Forum, email Ahmad at coach@thebiblicalblueprint.com.

 

By Ahmad Davis
Special to Inside The Pew

According to the Wall Street Journal, 70 percent of people in North America live paycheck to paycheck. There are a few great timeless pieces of knowledge to avoid living To avoid living paycheck to paycheck, set a budget.this way.

1. Set clear written goals

According to Proverbs 13:16, “Wise people think before they act; fools don’t – and even brag about their foolishness” (NLT).

Keep your goals simple, but precise. If you have a savings goal, then it might look like this – $1,000 for my emergency fund by June 20.

The major keys to this goal is that there is a specific target ($1,000), a specific goal name (emergency fund), and a date to achieve it. First, keep your goals simple and to the point, then work out a way to achieve them. If you challenge yourself during the goal setting process, you will find that you can achieve a lot more than you thought in a shorter period of time.

2. Create a written budget

“And the Lord answered me and said, ‘Write the vision and engrave it so plainly upon tablets that everyone who passes may [be able to] read [it easily and quickly] as heAhmad Davis hastens by’” Habakkuk 2:2 (AMP)

A written budget is the key to gaining control over your finances and start telling your money what to do instead of wondering where it went. Once again, keep it simple. You can have a spreadsheet, a yellow pad, a piece of paper, or whatever makes you comfortable. Work these basic steps every month and you will see results:

  • Write a monthly budget before the month begins (October budget written before October)
  • Start with your expected income at the top
  •  Subtract out expenses by priority (giving, saving, food, housing, transportation, medical, clothing, creditors, debt snowball, entertainment, other)
  •  Spend all of your income down to zero
  • Walk out your budget to
  •  Make adjustments the next month to fit your life and habits better

3. Save money for the expected and the unexpected

“The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get” Proverbs 21:20 (NLT)

One of the keys to building wealth is the ability to delay gratification. Saving and investing are the foundation of this principle. Now saving is for short term things that may occur within 5 years, while investing is long term five years or more. The very first thing you must do is start saving for things that you know are coming like:

  • Car repairs/maintenance
  • Non-monthly bills
  • Non-monthly memberships

In order to save for the unexpected you should have an emergency fund. I recommend three to six months in a non-investment account that is easy to get to, but not under your pillow.

4. Get Out Of Debt

“Keep out of debt and owe no man anything, except to love one another” Romans 13:8 (AMP)

Debt robs you of your ability to give, save, and invest. Every dollar in a loan payment is a dollar that could have brought you from broke to cash in the bank. Get out of debt as quickly as humanly possible, because you can slip into debt with credit cards, car notes, student loans, mortgage, and the like, but you have to be very intentional on getting out.

  •  Keep the process simple when killing debts.
  • Organize your debts from smallest to largest balance
  • Pay the minimum payment on all of the debts except the smallest
  • Send all extra monies to the smallest and pay it off quickly
  • Take the money you were using on the smallest debt and combine it with the next smallest debt to pay it off quickly
  • Repeat process until all of your debts are eliminated

Overall, the key to stop living paycheck to paycheck is to have cash in the bank. So work this process and I guarantee results.

Ahmad Davis is a coach with Victory By Design, a firm based in Beaumont, Texas, serving clients locally, nationally and internationally. Ahmad provides solutions for individuals, couples, and businesses who are overwhelmed and stressed financially. Ahmad’s typical clients’ are pastors, single parents, lawyers, couples, doctors, business executives, newlyweds, business owners, and others who want a simple solution with remarkable measurable results. For more information, visit http://www.thebiblicalblueprint.com. To get your questions answered on the Inside The Pew Forum, email Ahmad at coach@thebiblicalblueprint.com.

By Ahmad Davis
Special to Inside The Pew

Scripture of study: Proverbs 2:2″ So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding” (KJV)

When my wife Regina and I first got married, we had our biggest argument, not over money, not over kids, in-laws or something common like that, it was over how to communicate with each other. So my biggest lesson out of our first argument was the money fights were a symptom and not the problem. The problem was establishing a best practice for communicating. So here are some of those best practices I discovered.

Step 1: Listen and Repeat

One of my strengths from the beginning of our relationship is that I am a strong listener. Yet, if I do not take the time to engage the conversation back, it can and will be perceived as I do not care about what is being discussed. So my strongest and best suggestion is to repeat back what was said with your input. This method shows that you were listening, have an opinion, and you are engaged in the solution.

Step 2: Repeat and Review

As I mentioned, after you have listened and got a good understanding, then you make sure that your spouse knows you understand them first before you try and seek understanding. In Stephen Covey’s Book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” he expertly explains that most people are continuously seeking to be understood. As couples, we have to be very intentional in a discussion to NOT try and just explain our own point of view, instead repeat back what was said and make sure you ask if you understand what they said. Most people are more receptive to your feedback if they know that you respect their train of thought.

Step 3: Review and Do

Now that you have effective dialogue going. The most important factor is to act on what you said. Nothing says I love you like action. Up to this point, you have listened intently, communicated your understanding of their point of view, and had your point of view heard. The best way for me to close this type of conversation is to agree to do ONE action that will SHOW you understood what was said.

KEY POINT: It is usually better for me to ask the other person to choose the most important action, that way I am not guessing and missing the mark.

Just in case you did not catch it, but the most important part of communication is listening, not talking. So strengthen your listening skills with effective an engagement system.

Ahmad Davis is a coach with Victory By Design, a firm based in Beaumont, Texas, serving clients locally, nationally and internationally. Ahmad provides solutions for individuals, couples, and businesses who are overwhelmed and stressed financially. Ahmad’s typical clients’ are pastors, single parents, lawyers, couples, doctors, business executives, newlyweds, business owners, and others who want a simple solution with remarkable measurable results. For more information, visit http://www.thebiblicalblueprint.com. To get your questions answered on the Inside The Pew Forum, email Ahmad at coach@thebiblicalblueprint.com.

By Ahmad Davis
Special to Inside The Pew

People who are debt-free got that way because they operate a littledebt-free different from everyone else. If you want to be debt free, this is a road map for you. “Keep out of debt and owe no man anything, except to love one another;…” Romans 13:8 (AMP)

1. They get help being organized

Paying off debt means knowing what you owe, developing a budget and sticking to it. Debt-free people keep track of their bills, how much they earn, how much they save and how much they invest. They learn from experts and have systems in place to help them tell their money what to do, whether it’s an Excel file or another program.

2. They have a lot less stress

Debt creates stress. I did (a long time ago), and most people around me go into debt to relieve stress, whether it is buying a new car to replace an older one, buy some new electronic, go on a vacation or going back to school to increase your earning potential. No matter the reason, the bill on the other end causes stress. So us “debt-free” people do not create a bill to relieve stress, they pay for it with cash, solve the same problem, but do not have a bill at the end.

3. They use a budgeting system

A budget is simply a way to tell your money what to do instead of just wondering where it went. Debt-Free people use their budget as a system to make sure the most important things always get taken care of first and they invest, save, and have fun on purpose.

4. They pay cash

When you are getting out of debt, you learn how to use cash to manage your impulse areas. After you get out of debt, you use cash to fund your impulse areas.

5. They understand credit

Credit is not evil. It is a short-cut. It is the “Hare” in the tortoise and the Hare story. The person who uses credit is trying to get to the end fast. The problem is that the tortoise won the race every time.

6. They maximize value

I was talking to a relative of mine this weekend and she was wondering if we could find cheaper cuts of steaks in Texas (that is where I live) because of the cattle industry being so close. My response was that we should definitely be able to find a better quality.

Debt-free people are not looking for cheaper products, they are looking for high quality at a better price.

7. They’re more patient

The patience produces higher quality purchases, the higher quality purchases mean less maintenance and upkeep costs, the lower upkeep costs frees up more money to make more high quality purchases.

8. They compare before they buy

The general rule of thumb is that they do not pay full retail. This applies to small things like shoes all the way up to high ticket purchases such as boats, ATV’s, and homes. They will let the high impulse consumers test the market and measure their reviews of products and services to measure value and quality.

9. They’re not materialistic

Debt-free people might like nice, shiny toys but they don’t define themselves by their possessions.

10. They are loyal

Because of the time that is put into finding high quality products and services, once they find a service that meets their standards, they become very loyal patrons. Over time, the debt-free individual starts to occupy their time using high quality products, receiving high quality services at average prices.

Ahmad Davis is a coach with Victory By Design, a firm based in Beaumont, Texas, serving clients locally, nationally and internationally. Ahmad provides solutions for individuals, couples, and businesses who are overwhelmed and stressed financially. Ahmad’s typical clients’ are pastors, single parents, lawyers, couples, doctors, business executives, newlyweds, business owners, and others who want a simple solution with remarkable measurable results. For more information, visit http://www.thebiblicalblueprint.com. To get your questions answered on the Inside The Pew Forum, email Ahmad at coach@thebiblicalblueprint.com.