exodus from debt valley

November 9, 2016

Shirley Noftsinger

Psalm 105:37 “He (God) brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person (weak, without force or effectiveness) among their tribes.

Earn all you can: Take a Talent Inventory

The first step in your exit plan should be Earn All You Can according to the Law of Responsibility. We are responsible as believers to rise to the level of our giftedness, that is, be a good steward of the gifts and talents God has already provided.

Honestly examine and answer these questions:

  • Are you passionate about your work? What drives your passion?
  • Do you work “as unto the Lord?”
  • Are you “under-employed” for your experience and talents?
  • Are you willing to take on more work “for a season”?

Let’s consider Elijah’s Seven Steps to Prosperity for the Widow- II Kings 4:1.

1 Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Eli’sha, “Your servant my husband is dead; you know your servant feared the LORD, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.” 2 Eli’sha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” She said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house, except a jar of oil.” 3 Then he said, “Go outside, borrow vessels of all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. 4 Then go in, shut the door upon yourself and your sons, pour into all these vessels; when one is full, set it aside.” 5 So she went from him and shut the door upon herself and her sons; as she poured they brought the vessels to her. 6 When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another.” Then the oil stopped flowing. 7 She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil, pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”

Step 1: Go! Once Elijah establishes “What she has at hand that she isn’t using,” he instructs the widow to go, leave her comfort zone and passionately impose on others. Her willingness would have accomplished little without her obedience. Her desperate condition was the motivation behind her actions. Also, she made this a family project. Her sons helped: their incentive? Stay out of slavery!

Step 2: Borrow empty vessels! Not a few. Elijah knew God would fill every vessel. Just as God gifts us with abilities and talents, He fills us with the Oil of His Anointing to make our tasks easy. Many of us have yet to identify our talents, passions, or calling because we are focusing on how little Oil (money, time, or energy) we have. We consider our current condition and fail to see where God wants to take us. Many choose to stay in a very miserable state because they are familiar with their circumstances. Had the widow been too uncomfortable or proud to borrow vessels from her neighbors, her sons would have gone to slavery and she would have starved. In borrowing vessels she simply got containers to hold the Blessing until she sold the oil. Ideally, she returned the vessels in better condition than she borrowed them.

Step 3: Shut the Door Shut-out all unbelievers, scoffers, mockers, who would tell her that “No way are you going to have enough oil to fill all those vessels!” Just as Jesus put everyone but believers out of Jairus’ house and shut the door, we must know when to take God’s instruction into our inner court of faith and obedience and shut the door. In life and death issues, these people did not have the luxury of wondering if, or why, or how God could change their circumstances. He simply had to provide.

Step 4: Pour the Oil After gathering vessels, pouring the oil relates to our actual day at work. Imagine the momentum of her pouring the oil, filling vessel after vessel as her sons ran to bring another, and another. Her thoughts, first of escaping debt, slavery, and death; then daring to think what she would do with the excess oil and money after paying her debt! Perhaps the best part of this story is that she was so busy pouring the oil that she had no time to look inside the original pot to see how much was left before she ran out. How often do we get caught up calculating how long until lunch? How many days until vacation? How many years until retirement? When my staff starts wondering around the office gathering orders for lunch, asking how much longer until they can clock out, I always comment that I must be over-staffed. With so much time to think about not working, they have too much time on their hands. If we answered the questions at the top of this chapter correctly, the day should fly!

The anointing of the Oil on our gifts and talents should:

  • Keep our time and work flowing with ease
  • Provide a smooth momentum to our day
  • Provide the Oil of Joy to combat any spirits of heaviness

Her first time she thought of running out was when her sons had no more vessels and the Oil stopped. If we picture her wide-eyed, looking around the house to see if they were mistaken; if there was anything else she could use as a vessel; we can imagine her dismay that they had gathered so few vessels. Sad to consider, but many times we ask the Lord for provision and are so amazed at His results that we repent that we didn’t ask bigger! At some point, we need to recognize that our request is not going to deplete God’s supply.

Step 5: Sell the Oil Elijah commands her to go to work! Sell the oil. I’m convinced that God provides single parents with a special anointing to raise children, manage their household, and work some type of job-or two-or more. What were the alternatives had she not gone to work at gathering vessels, pouring oil, selling the oil? She and her sons would have been slave to her creditors. Today, she might easily have sat back complaining how unfair life has been to them; how abused they have been; how they were left to “do it all” on their own; resigning herself to a life of poverty and lack; being a destructive role model for her children, manipulating others with pity and sympathy, trying to appear worse off than others in their situation. Teaching her sons to underachieve; expect less. We create generations of healthy, bright people who end up under-educated, under-employed, under-privileged, under-productive, often blaming God for their misfortune. Review the parable of the man who was given one talent and did nothing with it. The Lord was very displeased with his example and even took the only talent he had and gave it to the productive servant. — Use it or lose it!

Step 6: Pay the Debts Very simply, to walk out of debt we simply need to Work all we can, Pay our bills, Spend less than we earn! The widow took the money she made from selling the oil, went to her creditors and paid her debts. Like anyone else, she probably had stumbled into debt from her life circumstances, perhaps her husband’s death. Most believers do not purposely go into debt. Satan provides opportunity for debt through challenges to our health, marriage, or career. We make unwise, emotional decisions regarding our finances. After serious prayer and obedience, God brings provision to us to pay our debts. Our responsibility is to quickly use those funds to pay the debt.

Notice, the widow did not take the money from her sales, pay the MINIMUM payment, and run to the mall for the latest sales! Or run to the local auto dealer to finance a new car! Or browse through the furniture store to find a great NO PAYMENTS! NO INTEREST FOR A YEAR! LIVING ROOM SUITE! Her integrity and obedience to repay her creditors released God’s blessings to flow continually.

Step 7: Live on the rest! Isaiah 1:19 exhorts us, “If ye be willing and obedient ye shall eat the good of the land.”

Because of her willing, obedient spirit, God brought this widow out of debt with silver and gold, and she ate the good of the land. Now, let’s consider a final point. Elijah told her to LIVE on the rest- not Retire! Certainly, Elijah did not expect to pass that way next year and find her emptying her last vessel of oil again! She got a revelation of Accountability. She built business strategies to gain and increase wealth. He expected her to support herself and sons until they were old enough to carry on the Widow & Sons Oil Business.

According to the Law of Responsibility, she rose to her level of giftedness and walked in provision rather than poverty. Initially, she was driven by survival. Quickly, she switched to a passion to succeed. She became a Giver, Working for a Giving! These Laws work for those who have committed to the Lord to be honest and diligent with the Talent they have at hand.

Shirley Noftsinger, co-founder of DebtFreeAmerica.com, holds a master's degree from Kent State University and spent fifteen successful years as a single parent. Her prospering is a result of her faith in the Covenant Blessings of the Lord outlined in their book, Paid In Full, Reset Your GPS for Goal Powered Spending.

Resistance Training for Financial Fitness

October 11, 2016

By Shirley Noftsinger

New Success Image! Resistance Training

Resistance Training for Financial Fitness

3 John 1:2 Beloved, I pray that in all things thou mayest prosper and be in health (continually), even as thy soul prospereth.

Strong, healthy bodies don’t just happen. We see every type of fitness program repeatedly on infomercials, especially as the New Year approaches. The instructors all look “Perfect 10s,” and we actually start believing we can look like that, too…in six short weeks! Well, in truth, we might, if we are not so far gone that we can’t catch our breath while walking. Truthfully, the Key challenge here is “Eat Less than you Burn!” 

Likewise, strong, healthy Finances don’t just happen either. Financial Fitness is very similar to Physical, except we are struggling with Unhealthy Habits of over-limit balances, flabby credit card muscles, and a skin-tight wallet. One financial sneeze and we bust the seams!

So, we all need to exercise “Resistance” in some form or another: For most of us the challenge has simply been to RESIST “Spending More than we Earn!”   


Change Your Thinking!

Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

     For over twenty years we have counseled families in financial fitness management. Our goal (and name of our company) is a Debt Free America! That includes YOU! Initial training has often been Emergency Room and even Intensive Care Treatment. Many people we counseled were good Christians who had followed God’s “Permissive” plan and borrowed themselves into debt. The scripture says to be transformed (spiritually mature) to His Perfect will, “Owe no man anything but Love.” Romans 13:8 “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” No exceptions! Fitness is a bear!

Our “Financial Fitness” center has helped people stop the financial bleeding and -

  • Reduce finance charges! Reduce monthly payments
  • Avoid more Late, Past-due, and Over-limit fees!
  • Stop Collection Calls…Peace of Mind!
  • Build a CONSISTENT Payment History!
  • Restore and RAISE Credit SCORE!
  • Offer ONE monthly payment on YOUR pay schedule!
  • Eliminate Debt and poor spending habits!
  • Get cheerful, Certified Counselors to personally encourage you and monitor your progress-Like a Fitness Trainer.

Not as easy as it sounds? Maybe not, but let’s review the Program. Just as every gym needs a Personal Trainer, your Counselor, the Holy Spirit coaches you in resisting the deceptions of over-spending. Your part is to create an image of a new you, with successful, healthy Habits: a Financial GPS: Goal-Powered Spending Plan.

Create a Financially Healthy Image

Deuteronomy 8:18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today.

The Lord’s emphasis is on His Covenant Blessing-Be Fruitful, Multiply, Replenish, Have Dominion! Gen 1:28.You design a spending plan realistic to your monthly cashflow. Work with your creditors when you are going through job transitions or other life events that threaten to interrupt or extend your Financial plan.

Let The Lord personally help you tailor a lifestyle that is comfortable, within a realistic Financial Framework on which you can build the Image you once dreamed of for your future. Is it coming back to you?

Write the Vision!

Habakkuk 2:2 [ God’s Response ] “Then the Lord answered me and said: Write down the vision; Make it plain upon tablets, so that the one who reads it may run.”

So! Get your financial workout gear on (Cash Only), sketch out your new image for two years from now (DebtFree), and print it out to stick on your mirror. Skinny down on all your expenses, grab or create an extra temporary job, and start fire-hosing that debt! Your Personal Finance Trainer, The Holy Spirit, will instruct you on where to pay any extra income so that you get the best advantage with reduced finance charges. Be sure to contact the creditor first for exact pay-off amounts any time you are able to “Pay In Full” on a balance.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster; to give you a future and a hope.

The Lord wants to be your re-location agent and move you to the other side of debt! His Plans are to Prosper you and not harm you; to give you Hope and a Debt-Free Future! He has a narrow, disciplined path that will introduce you to your New Success Image!

5 Financial Habits of the Rich… but Not So Famous

November 27, 2016

By Shirley Noftsinger

“I wish above ALL things that you PROSPER, and be in health, even as your soul prospers.” 3rd John 1:2

As the system of exchange for goods or services in our culture, Money is Good. The Bible teaches us that the Love of Money is the root of all evil. God created all things for our good.

For twenty years now I have been counseling people in #debt. Sometimes it seems those are the only people I know, but please realize, I do have friends who have never had debt. They own their cars, homes, and have never had to pay college loans. Today, reading an article about wealthy lifestyle habits, several of my friends came to mind. Sure, I’ve taught people these basics, but rarely thought about rich people as having their own spending practices. What set these people apart from the thousands I have counseled over the years? In our book, Paid In Full, we actually refer to this practice as a Lifestyle of Financial Freedom. So, no more suspense: here is what Goal-Powered-Spending habits can get You.

1. Every Dollar on Purpose: Know where your money is…every penny!

Personally, as a single parent scratching my way out of poverty, I literally had to log every dollar I spent. As a theatre director I had blocked actors saying, “Every Move On Purpose.” So, in regard to debt, I switched it to “Every Dollar on Purpose.” First, get a Dome 12 month Bookkeeping Record book, and start TODAY recording your weekly income, expenses, bank fees, taxes, snacks, and anything that exchanges from your paycheck to someone else. I discourage the use of software programs initially, especially if you need to really see where your money is going. Later, the software graphs and charts will be great incentive to watch your expenses shrink, while the profits expand.

2. Credit: What is your Spending Pattern and History?

Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endures forever. Psalm 112:3

Go ahead! Take a deep breath and check your #Credit Score. Equifax offers a free Credit Report without flagging your credit rating.

If there are discrepancies or debts you don’t recognize, contact and verify accounts with creditors. If you have delinquencies you were unaware of, plead for mercy! Explain your case and ask for a grace period, temporary hardship, or have the creditor wave a fee one time.

For credit cards in Good Standing, ask for a better interest rate. If you were the CFO for a multi-millionaire you would pride yourself in saving every penny you could for their company. So, Do it for You! Even your first rule for GPS is to know your starting point. Then, you can determine the #Financial path you need to improve your Financial Address.

3. Spending Plan:

Once you have logged your income and monthly expenses, you can establish a spreadsheet. You will know every expense and when to expect to pay it every month. You will see any extra income and how you might pay extra on a bill, or pay your savings account. I actually logged my income in pencil at $100 less per pay period. (It’s funny how you can fib to yourself and actually start believing it.) That forced me to spend less than I actually earned: a Million Dollar secret! My Dome book made me actually SEE where my money went each week. No Mystery Money Monster. I was the one leaking cash out of my wallet.

4. Shop Smart! Pay Attention, not Retail! Proverbs 31:10 Virtuous Woman!!

Whenever possible, shop and stock ahead. Except for groceries or fresh produce, I buy on-line at sale price with Free Shipping. My list is made up of what I will need the coming month. That means I am not buying under pressure. Inventory your household, especially each wardrobe, and purchase at off-season prices. You’re going to know if your kids have outgrown their sizes, or if you totally wore out clothes at the end of a season.

If you really want the latest style on something, just don’t spend money for something else ahead of time. Our book calls this “GPS-Goal-Powered-Spending.” Keep a picture posted of what you are saving to purchase. You might even start a “Special Purchase” envelope to save up for a few must haves.

When you’re purchasing at the store, always ask, “Is that the best you can do for me today?” So many times I have gotten “Secret” percentages off! The clerk has even given me their discount, or used an extra coupon for me. The Favor of God!!

Be polite, respectful, and expect FAVOR! Always be able to walk away if you don’t feel good about the price. Say NO to up-sales. They cause you to spend CASH earmarked for your Special Purchase Goal. Put pressure on the clerk to lower prices. Just picture what you are saving to purchase. It’s YOUR money. You cannot spend it twice! That’s called #Debt! Just remember “Every Dollar on Purpose!”

5. Pay Ahead: Lay-away Memories- Exchange less value for better value!

Whether you pay into a savings account, schedule automatic payments for car, college, rent, or mortgage, think of your income as payment for valuable memories on hold. The millionaire next door to you never sees cash as “extra money.” Keep the big picture of how that cash will add to a larger investment. Cage the impulsive-compulsive spender in your emotions, and train it to be tame, purposeful, inside a framework of time and experiences.

For instance, take that morning drive-thru cup of coffee. Yes, you deserve a $4.00 cup of pleasure to start that long, hard workday. Five days a week, 4 weeks a month, even just 10 months this year will total $800.00. If you only indulge half of those you still spend $400.00. What would you like to do or have at the end of this year that costs $400-800 dollars? Put that picture on your dashboard, and every time you start toward that drive-through, look at that picture and pay $4.00 to your Special Purchase Goal. That’s how you change your habits and improve your lifestyle. Never think of bonuses, gift cards, raises as “extra money.” Think of it as pre-payment for paying off your car, having cash for college, making a larger down payment on a dream home.

If you’ve paid off your car, keep making payments to your savings. You will need another vehicle someday. Then you’ll have your trade-in plus the cash you’ve been building interest on in your savings account.

Second and Third Jobs? Count the Cost!

Luke 14:28 [Full Chapter] For which of you, desiring to build a tower (Or a dream home), does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he have everything (time, energy, health) to complete it?

Wealthy people also weigh the pro’s and con’s of second incomes to be sure they really get the cash value over all they have to spend for the job. Work extra jobs only if you are not spending the income on childcare, extra vehicles and insurance, restaurant food because you can’t go home to eat. Calculate the expense of doctor bills, medicine for blood pressure or poor diet against the actual bring-home pay. Be selective about which jobs are actually going to benefit your household and skill training, and which ones will add stress or burden to your family.

Too bothersome for you? You thought being rich was an easy lifestyle with no cares for money? Then a #DebtFree Lifestyle won’t work for you. Sounds strange to say when living debt free is an available option for most households. You may not be able to save bundles of money back for retirement, but at least go into retirement with your home paid for, no debt, no heavy financial weight to your monthly income. Start that as your Financial GPS and see how quickly your lifestyle improves.

Proverbs 31:10 (Amplified Bible) A Virtuous Woman- Not exactly a Stay-At-Home Mom!!

10 An excellent woman [one who is spiritual, capable, intelligent, and virtuous], who is he who can find her? Her value is more precious than jewels and her worth is far above rubies or pearls.

11 The heart of her husband trusts in her [with secure confidence], He will have no lack of gain.

12 She comforts, encourages, and does him only good and not evil All the days of her life.

13 She looks for wool and flax And works with willing hands in delight.

14 She is like the merchant ships [abounding with treasure]; She brings her [household’s] food from far away.

15 She rises also while it is still night, gives food to her household and assigns tasks to her maids.(YES! Husbands, if she’s doing all these wonderful things, she NEEDS a housekeeper!)

16 She considers a field before she buys or accepts it [expanding her business prudently];

With her profits she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.

17 She equips herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task]

And makes her arms strong. (Fitness Spa)

18 She sees that her gain is good; Her lamp does not go out, but it burns continually through the night [she sleeps, but is prepared for whatever lies ahead].

19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hands hold the spindle [as she spins wool into thread for clothing].

20 She opens and extends her hand to the poor, And she reaches out her filled hands to the needy.

21 She does not fear the snow for her household, For all in her household are clothed in [expensive] scarlet [wool]. (May be from a thrift store but it is high quality!)

22 She makes for herself coverlets, cushions, and rugs of tapestry. Her clothing is linen, pure and fine, and purple [wool]. (Spends her time on valuable needs for her family-not just hobbies!)

23 Her husband is known in the [city’s] gates, When he sits among the elders of the land.

24 She makes [fine] linen garments and sells them; And supplies sashes to the merchants.

25 Strength and dignity are her clothing and her position is strong and secure; And she smiles at the future [knowing that she and her family are prepared].

26 She opens her mouth in [skillful and godly] wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue [giving counsel and instruction].

27 She looks well to how things go in her household (Quality Control) And does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired); Her husband also, and he praises her, saying,

29 “Many daughters have done nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness], But You excel them all.”

30 Charm and grace are deceptive, and [superficial] beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD [reverently worshiping, obeying, serving, and trusting Him with awe-filled respect], she shall be praised.

31 Give her of the product of her hands, Let her own works praise her in the gates [of the city].