Christian Debt Counseling

Christian debt counseling helps families and individuals to find workable solutions to financial difficulties. Some of those solutions include creating a budget, repaying debts, how to manage money, and even help with setting up a financial plan to get caught up on past due accounts. Christian debt counseling can provide information on debt related issues such as bankruptcy, how to deal with harassment from creditors, how to read a credit report and dispute errors, and how to set up a plan to start saving money. Financial management programs can provide a way out of having to file bankruptcy. Counseling can make all the difference for families and individuals who do not see a way out. They can provide Biblical counseling and can stand with a person through prayer and fellowship. "Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest" (2 Kings 4:7).

Some sources say that consumer debt is higher today than ever before; that more people are involved in debt management programs and are filing bankruptcy than ever before. Christian debt counseling can give families and individuals hope when there does not seem to be any. A professional counselor can set up a plan developed specifically for each individual that can set in motion certain events to tackle financial problems. The plan will include trying to figure out what caused the financial problems, what kind of behavior and decisions that have added to it. The plan can also provide some tips on how to change negative behavior into positive behavior so that a step by step plan can bring about resolution and alleviate the stress that being overextended causes.

Consumers who are deep in debt usually have to deal with collection agencies. Creditors may try to collect on a debt initially but when they have no success they usually hire the services of a collection agency. Some agencies purchase the account for a percent of what is owed from the creditor; others make a percentage off the amount that is collected for the creditor. Christian debt counseling will inform families and individuals about fair collection practices and their rights when dealing with collection agencies. Collection agencies are prohibited from harassment, making false statements, and any other unfair practices like trying to collect more money that the debtor owes. An individual can write a letter to the agency if they do harass him or her asking them to cease their unfair collection practices. A collection agency can be turned in to the state Attorney General's office and the Federal Trade Commission.

People generally think that filing bankruptcy is the answer to financial problems. Congress passed a law in 2005 that says a debtor must take a course in credit counseling before filing bankruptcy. Families and individuals should do some research and consider other options before filing bankruptcy. A bankruptcy can cost a great deal of money and will remain on a person's credit history for seven to ten years. The best place to start would be talking to a professional in Christian debt counseling. Some things to consider before filing bankruptcy includes talking directly to creditors, making up a budget that allows for catching up on past due accounts, and considering taking out a second mortgage or equity line of credit on a home to get caught up on financial responsibilities.

Families and individuals who are having trouble making their payments to creditors on time will probably see the result of this behavior when applying for new credit. The three major credit bureaus have personal identification, address, employment information, payment history, any inquiries from applications made for new credit, and public record information on anyone who has ever applied for credit. Christian debt counseling can help an individual to obtain a copy of his or her credit report to check for errors. Errors can be disputed and should be corrected by the credit bureau where the error exists. A dispute form can be filled out and any documentation that proves the error should be sent along with the dispute form. The credit bureau has 30 days to investigate the error. Getting any errors corrected could raise credit scores and help an individual get a lower interest rate when applying for a new loan.

Financial crisis can lead to illness and can affect every member of the family in a negative way. Christian debt counseling can offer a way out of this type of predicament. Counselors will want to see a list of all assets and liabilities, all income and debts. A person should provide a list of all creditors, how much they are owed, and how much the monthly payments are. Many consumers do not realize where all of their money goes each month. The counselor will suggest making a budget and writing down where every penny is spent so that a person can see where the money goes. Some people spend a little here and a little there not realizing the total amount that is being spent on little inexpensive items. Getting spending under control can be a big help to families and individuals who are living with high debt to income ratios. Even spending a small amount here and there can make the difference on whether a bill gets paid or not. Having a plan can help a lot with alleviating stress and can turn a negative situation into a positive one. A professional with Christian debt counseling can pray for the family and lead them through the word of God to find consolation and resolution to their problems both financial and otherwise.

Christian Financial Planning

When it comes to Christian financial planning, believers need to go by the Book. For a follower of Jesus Christ, the Bible is full of principles designed to bring prosperity and keep believers out of the bankruptcy courtroom. Managing personal finances requires an application of Biblical principles combined with the wisdom of God and at least a cursory knowledge of the global economy. Beginning with the principle of tithing, or giving a tenth of one's income, Bible-believing Christians can realize financial prosperity as they allow the Spirit of God to become their Chief Operating Officer. According to the Bible, Christians are destined to be wealthy, healthy and wise; as a reward for obedience to the Word of God and diligence in bountifully sowing materially and spiritually.

Surveys indicate that a majority of believers feel that tithing is an essential part of Christian financial planning and that giving to God and to Christian ministries is the key to personal monetary gain. Tithers regularly give and trust the Lord to enable them to live bountifully on the remaining 90% of their gross income. "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:" (II Corinthians 9:6-8).

In the secular realm, money makes the world go around. And while believers are in the world, but not of the world; having a working knowledge of how money works locally, nationally and globally equips believers to exercise sound Christian financial planning and prosper in a complex secular system. The people of God are better able to respond to fluctuating economic climates and act responsibly to gain and retain the world's goods so necessary for survival. The knowledge of global money markets; how to purchase stocks, bonds, and mutual funds and build a portfolio; and day-to-day financial management simply enables believers to intelligently and efficiently compete for a share of the earth's wealth.

Obeying the commandment of God and the law of the land is another key to good Christian financial planning. As followers of Jesus Christ, believers readily adhere to the commandment to "render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's." And as part of a good Christian testimony, believers are more prone to be good tithers and taxpayers. Christian money management also includes acknowledging God before making major purchases, such as new homes and vehicles; going into new business ventures; planning for a child's college education; or taking family vacations. Ane when it comes to handling daily money matters, believers are just like non-believers. They shop at the grocery store while agonizing over escalating prices and balk at the gas pumps as prices continue to rise. Born-again believers are just as concerned about healthcare as any other sector of the population, and face just as many financial trials. But the prevailing factor in how believers handle Christian financial planning is their faith and trust in God.

True followers of Jesus Christ are led by His Spirit in every area of life, especially in Christian financial planning. When believers tithe, the expectation is not that money problems won't occur, but that God will uphold His Word to rebuke the devourer for the sake of His children. So when Christian homeowners face the threat of foreclosure due to job loss, or when faith-filled families undergo the trauma of a diagnosis of cancer; they have the confidence that God will supply a remedy and a way of escape from natural, spiritual, and financial trials and tribulations. The Spirit of the Lord will not only guide distressed homeowners to call the bank and arrange workout plans, but also give them favor with the banker. The Spirit of the Lord will not only lead distraught families to pray for healing, but also provide a financial miracle to cover medical expenses. And as believers acknowlege Him, the Spirit of the Lord will govern the finances of faithful to lay aside funds for a rainy day, or to make wise investments, or purchase high-yield assets as a hedge against inflation.

While some believers throw caution to the wind when it comes to Christian financial planning; and others blithely believe in a "name it and claim it" doctrine of prosperity; God is a God of balance. As believers grow closer to the Lord, adhere to His Word, and are led daily by the unction of His Spirit, then wise money management becomes second nature. God will begin to guide believers to make lucrative investments or refrain from spending and concentrate on saving due to economic conditions that only He can forecast. On the other hand, as believers acknowledge Him through financial giving, He will lead them to the right job, car, house, or even the right spouse -- all the things which the believer will need in this present life to prosper.

When the Lord sees that His children are obedient in tithing and giving the firstfruits of all that they possess, then He grants wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of the world's systems of financial prosperity, divine health, and agape love. The child of God who allows the Lord to be their CEO and Chief Operating Officer will live the abundant life without gimmicks or religious hype. Through prudent Christian financial planning, which begins with liberal giving and obedience, God will shower believers with a bountifulness of natural and spirital prosperity, including freedom from sickness, longevity of life, the love of a faithful mate, and the fruit of the womb.

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