Rebecca Duvall

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Persistence Pays Off

math signsI am so excited!  I have to share how amazing and hysterical God is.  For those who don’t know, I’m a numbers geek.  Excel is my favorite software program.  To me, working with numbers is like working on a wonderful puzzle.  No emotions or feelings can change it.  2 + 2 will always equal 4.

My husband does not share this same passion of numbers.  He often says “Math is not my best friend”.  I agree and would even go as far to say math isn’t even a friend of his.

Money has always caused a lot of stress and arguments in our marriage, especially around Christmas.  My husband would like to buy wonderful gifts for everyone, which is great, I would like to also.  The problem is our money coming in (income) doesn’t increase just because our money going out (expenses) increase.  We need to plan ahead, to save, for these occasions. grinch

My husband is the spender in our family.  I’m the grinch when it comes to money.  I write out a  budget each month showing money in and money out.  I factor in things like haircuts, birthday gifts, back to school or summer items, etc.  Then at the bottom it shows what “play” money we have or extra money there is, if any.

I try to explain it to my husband but all he sees is the money coming in.  Then all month long as I pay our bills I’m worried I’m going to bounce a check because my husband spends the money before the bill payments hit the bank.  I do continually remind him we have no extra money until the next check comes in, but he still continues to spend.  Coffee drinks, burgers or downloading music.  The crazy part is when I ask him about it, it’s always “it was only one”.  He doesn’t realize each dollar spent needs to be subtracted from the money available to spend.  Remember, math is not his friend.

To get to the amazing hysterical part…….In the past, whenever I’ve tried to get my husband involved in our finances he’s always made it clear he trusted me and didn’t want to deal with it.  The thought of money stressed him out and he had enough to stress about, so the finances were all on me.

I’ve been praying, for a while, for my husband to get a clue about our money situation or for God to help me explain it to him in a way that he would understand.

My husband is the Small Group Coordinator at our church and a few months ago he said he wanted to bring the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University course to our church.  At the time I had no idea what it was.  I didn’t think my husband really had a clue either because it had the word financial in it.

To make a long story short…..my husband has been organizing, planning and promoting this course at our church and it will begin in January.  That’s pretty amazing right!  Well the hysterical part is we are taking this course together and working with the couple who will be facilitating it, so if we do it again at our church we will be able to facilitate it together!  My husband even says he is excited about learning how to manage our money together.

I never would have imagined this happening and certainly could not have planned it if I tried.  God always has amazing things for us.  We simply need to invite Him in through prayer.colossians 4

My prayer for us today ~ Lord, I pray we remain alert to recognize when & how you answer our prayers so we don’t miss opportunities you bring our way, Amen

Giving Back

colors of fallNovember is a popular time for giving thanks and stewardship campaigns in churches.  I’ve heard that the attendance drops in churches during this month.  People don’t want to hear about the many reasons they should give their money to church.  I use to completely agree.

Money is a difficult topic to talk about.  Some people live paycheck to paycheck.  They think they don’t have anything to give.  Other people have plenty.  They feel they worked hard for it and won’t give it away with nothing in return.

2 Corinthians 8:12 says “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.”  God knows what you have.  As long as you are willing to give of what you have, and do, then it will be acceptable by God.

I do believe we should each give to the church.  I don’t think we should give, tithe, just because the church, oranswers found prayer pastor, tells us to.  I think we should each pray about it.  Ask God to reveal how much we should give.  Yes, tithe means 10%.  Again, don’t give 10% just because that’s what others are telling you to give.  Ask God.  Share with God your hesitations on giving.  Ask God to prepare your heart to give the way He wishes you to.  Then when you do hear from God, step out in faith by giving and trusting He will provide for all your needs and bless you in ways you could not imagine.

2 Corinthians 9:7 says “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

A little over two years ago we were told Robert’s medical pay had run out.  He was going to be medically retired and would only receive 50% of his salary.  We were devastated!  We had no idea how we were going to pay for everything each month.

Around the same time, God was calling us to increase our giving.  We felt God was asking us to quadruple our giving.  We weren’t giving much at the time, but quadrupling it when our income was being cut in half seemed insane.  After praying and talking about it, we decided to increase our giving.  We quadrupled our giving the next month.  What we gave monthly was now what we gave weekly.  We also decided not to worry about our finances.  We told God we believed He would take care of our family’s needs.

mailboxWithin about a month we started receiving unexpected checks in the mail.  One because of a miscalculation on his retirement, another because his sick leave was used incorrectly.  Then we were told we had paid into long term disability and were entitled to monthly checks to help with our monthly expenses.  I know it sounds crazy, but its true!

God blessed us abundantly for being obedient and faithful.  We weren’t filled with worry when we gave.  We gave believing we would be taken care of.  When God put it on our heart to quadruple our giving, it wasn’t 10%.  God knew what we were able to give.  The next year we did increase our giving.  We now give 10%.  Sometimes when extra expenses come up, I must confess, I do wonder how we will manage.  Then I give it to God in prayer and anxiously wait to see how He will provide, because He always does.

My prayer for us today ~ Lord, thank you for the gifts and abilities you provide daily.  I pray we are each the cheerful giver you created us to be, Amen.

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