Getting a grip on your finances

Three principles for achieving true financial success
by Bruce Howard, Christianity Today

Some people point to credit cards as the principle villain behind financial crises. Companies, they note, encourage us to use credit to increase our present consumption. Want it? Charge it! Dispel your boredom and master the possibilities with MasterCard. Enter a new world of discovery with Discover Card. So we organize our patterns of spending around the one “low” easy monthly payment. But payments add up; and to meet them, people start working two jobs, lead hectic schedules, and they end up being unable to meet true financial needs.

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What are the blessings of giving?

“Whatever you spend,” the Lord says, “I will repay!”

Do you remember who else said that? – The Good Samaritan! It’s from the parable that the Lord told about the poor man that was beaten and robbed along the road by thieves, and the Good Samaritan picked him up and took him to the inn and told the innkeeper, “Whatever you spend, I will repay.” (Luke 10:30‑37)

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Forgive your way to better health

By Fred Luskin, PhD

Stanford University Forgiveness Project

We all know that hostility increases risk for heart disease. But new research shows that forgiveness can moderate these dangerous effects on the heart. People who blame others for their problems have a higher incidence of chronic pain, cardiovascular disease and other ailments.

Why is forgiveness good for you? There are two primary reasons… Forgiveness reduces chronic stress. Self-generated, chronic stress triggers negative physical changes, including increased blood pressure and heart rate and decreased immune function, all of which eventually lead to disease.

Forgiveness increases one’s sense of control. Feeling in control is crucial to health. It moderates the stress response because one is less likely to panic and overreact to situations. Feeling helpless can make you ill. When you learn how to forgive, you develop the emotional confidence to “get over” any difficulty.

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Give up the blame game

By Renata Waldrop

One thing that is very damaging to a marriage is blame placing. When you place the blame on your mate, in a way you excuse yourself from being a part of the solution, and you put the onus on your mate to do all the work of changing whatever you’re unhappy with.

“Honey, where are my navy pants? Didn’t you wash them?”
“I can’t worry about your clothes because I’ve got to get your son ready! Who else is going to do that?”
“Well, I worked overtime last night! I didn’t have time to wash and press a pair of pants.”

This was normal conversation in our house – one spouse offering up a sacrificial responsibility, the other countering with greater sacrifice. I even recall one or two arguments over the fact that he keeps more pillows on the bed than I do. (It seemed important at the time.)

Our marriage had become little more than dueling to-do lists – a competition to establish who had the most hectic schedule, as if that were the secret of marital superiority: “She who works hardest wins.” But what did I expect to win?

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Eight lessons of love

By Mike and Debbie Breaux

Growing up, I (Mike) had all kinds of confusion about the crazy little thing called love. In the fifth grade, I got my first crush on Kathy. She had that Laura Ingles Wilder thing going, with the braided pigtails. So cute! I chased her at recess. I threw rocks at her. All the ways you show affection in the fifth grade.

By high school my dating techniques changed – thankfully! I started to date Debbie. I remember sitting with her in a movie theater. My heart would pound because I wanted to hold her hand so badly! But I was shy. I’d go into this countdown mode. Ten, nine, eight … ten, nine …

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