Off to Camp…

July 27, 2007

camp

Hey all! I’m helping with the youth camp for my church for the next 4 days so posting will be on a little vacation too! See ya when I get back!

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22 “You must not exploit a widow or an orphan. 23 If you exploit them in any way and they cry out to me, then I will certainly hear their cry. 24 My anger will blaze against you, and I will kill you with the sword. Then your wives will be widows and your children fatherless.

25 “If you lend money to any of my people who are in need, do not charge interest as a money lender would. 26 If you take your neighbor’s cloak as security for a loan, you must return it before sunset. 27 This coat may be the only blanket your neighbor has. How can a person sleep without it? If you do not return it and your neighbor cries out to me for help, then I will hear, for I am merciful.

Exodus 22:22-27 (NLT)

It says in verse 25 to not charge interest on a personal loan to someone in need. That’s an interesting thought. Payday lenders and the like charge outrageous interest rates and seem to exploit the poor and needy. I remember seeing an article online that mapped out payday lenders in their area. They were all concentrated in poorer areas of town. There were absolutely no payday lenders in affluent neighborhoods.

A co-worker of mine who always seems to have financial problems once told me that he was having some trouble paying back a payday loan. I told him that I would loan him the money to pay it off as long as he promised to never go back. I also told him that I wouldn’t charge him any interest. He took me on up that offer and although it may have taken a couple paydays, he always paid me back. Remember that it’s good to have mercy and patience!

From the Life Application Bible:

The Hebrew law code is noted for its fairness and social responsibility toward the poor. God insisted that the poor and powerless be well treated and given the chance to restore their fortunes. We should reflect God’s concern for the poor by helping those less fortunate than ourselves.

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rollercoasterdrop

The Dow took a huge hit today! It was the second largest point drop so far this year (-311). The biggest was -416 on February 27, 2007. The largest point drop in history was when the market opened back up on September 17, 2001 after September 11th (-685).

The thing about any drops (or gains) in the market are that they’re just paper losses (or gains). They are unrealized losses (or gains) “on paper” and they don’t really matter until you sell your investments. It’s always wise to keep things in perspective. People tend to get emotional and scared when the Dow drops. It’s never wise to be emotional when investing. That’s why many people buy high, and sell low. I had a co-worker who stopped his contributions to his 401k after a big drop a few years back. That’s also not wise. You’ll miss out on the the employer match as well as any gains that usually come after a big drop.

Remember that investing is for the long term. It’s never good to look at the short term when investing (unless you’re a day trader). Just leave your 401k or IRA’s alone and review them quarterly.

So what can you do to survive a market crash? (From a CNN Money article):

Amp up your 401(k). It is true that a down market can be a time when stocks are on sale.

Adjust your risk. If your mutual funds went down more than you’re comfortable with, you may need to adjust your risk.

Determine your deadlines. As you near retirement, you need to adjust your stock/bond allocation so that there’s less risk as you near retirement. The common method is to subtract your age from 120 to figure out what percentage you should have in stocks (some say 100 if you’re more conservative). So if you’re 30 years old you should have approximately 90% of your investments in stocks.

Spread your bets. Owning an international or overseas fund can be a hedge against big drops here in the U.S. Often when the U.S. market suffers, the international markets are doing well. Being diversified is the key!

Source: CNN Money

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1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.

James 4:1-3 (NLT)

From the Life Application Bible:

Conflicts and disputes among believers are always harmful. James explains that these quarrels result from evil desires battling within us: We want more possessions, more money, higher status, more recognition. When we don’t get what we want, we fight in order to have it. Instead of aggressively grabbing what we want, we should submit ourselves to God, ask God to help us get rid of our selfish desires, and trust him to give us what we really need.

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28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.

Ephesians 4:28 (NKJV)

Stealing includes “borrowing” the company’s pens or paper clips and acting like it’s a “perk” of working wherever you work. Whenever you take something that’s not yours, it’s stealing. The value of the item doesn’t matter; it’s the act of taking something that doesn’t belong to you.

From the Nelson Study Bible:

something to give him who has need: Instead of taking what belongs to someone else, a Christian should earn enough to share some of his or her own earnings with the needy. This is not merely a call to stop stealing or being greedy. Rather, this is a call to be generous, to have a true change of attitude.

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10 Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it. 11 Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have. 12 Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. 13 Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality. 14 Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal. 15 As the Scriptures say,

“Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over,

and those who gathered only a little had enough.”

2 Corinthians 8:10-15 (NLT)

From the Life Application Bible:

The Christians in the Corinthian church had money, and apparently they had planned to collect money for the Jerusalem church a year previously (see also 9:2). Paul challenges them to act on their plans. Four principles of giving emerge here: (1) Your willingness to give enthusiastically is more important than the amount you give; (2) you should strive to fulfill your financial commitments; (3) if you give to others in need, they will, in turn, help you when you are in need; (4) you should give as a response to Christ, not for anything you can get out of it. How you give reflects your devotion to Christ.

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3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:3 (NLT)

This is another verse on how works alone does not cut it. Even if you gave everything you owned to the poor and sacrificed your body, it does not mean anything if you don’t have love. In other words, the motive is something to boast about, not the action itself. Examine your motives in everything you do. Do they line up with God’s Word? If not, change your motive and ask God to help you. Faith without works may be dead, but without the right motives, it doesn’t profit you.