Summary: Dealing with financial debt and spiritual debt
DEFINING MOMENTS – PART FOUR
THE DEVIL IS IN THE DEBT
Matt. 18:21-35 - Dr. Larry L. Thompson (2015)
Today’s Defining Moment is relevant for all of us. It is going to be an uncomfortable topic for some and yet it has the potential to be liberating for everyone. My goal today is to help you have a Defining Moment in your life as you consider how to deal with your debt.
I will share with you later my own defining moment regarding our debt and how the Lord convicted me and led me to lead our family to be debt free. Remember this:
Debt’s fun when you acquire it; but Hell when you can’t retire it. I mean that literally & will explain later in message.
2014 U.S. HOUSEHOLD CONSUMER DEBT PROFILE REVEALED:
•Average credit card debt: $15,611
•Average mortgage debt: $155,192
•Average student loan debt: $32,264
IN 2014 AMERICAN CONSUMERS OWE:
•$11.74 trillion in debt - Increase of 3.3% in one year
•$882.6 billion in credit card debt
•$8.14 trillion in mortgage debt
•$1.13 trillion in student loans - 8% increase in a year
Pew Research: “Less than 50% of American households have saved the equivalent of ONE month’s salary in the event they lose their job.” Study reveals that Americans are NOT living within their means; spending more than their monthly income will allow them to repay. 8% of Americans are in the “critical stage” regarding debt. The “critical debt stage” is defined when 41%, or more, of household income is consumed by debt. Debt leads to physical and emotional problems and is one of the leading causes for divorce in America. Debt also creates stress and which leads to heart disease.
MY DEFINING MOMENT REGARDING DEBT CAME AFTER WE WERE MARRIED ABOUT 10 YEARS. I was not raised in a wealthy family but we had what we needed. Once I got a job and began making some money I would get all these offers for a credit card. I had at least four with great intentions of paying them off at the end of the month! BTW “The Road to Hell is paved by Good Intentions.”
I started just paying the minimum amount and I would get my statements at the office. If you have to hide your debt from your spouse you are already in bondage. Finally, once the debt became obvious it was very painful and stressful in our relationship. We took Crown Ministries. It was like what we offer here, “FPU.” We developed a plan to deal with debt aggressively and destroy the credit cards. We had a four year plan but when we began to really honor the Lord we found that with His help we were able to become debt free, with the exception of our home mortgage within three years.
FOR THE FIRST TIME WE WERE LIVING IN A NEW FOUND FREEDOM; we were able to give more to the Lord, His church, and to other ministries. I have always loved to give; it is just that there were times when I was younger that I went into debt to give.
The reason debt causes us such great fear is because in life we live by a very simple rule: “You Owe-You Pay.” If you don’t believe the rule…then stop making payments!
Their computer automatically slaps you with a late fee.
Next you’ll get phone calls at all times of the day and night from very stern people who could care less about your situation.
If you keep withholding payment on your debts they take you to court and even take money from your paycheck.
CREDITORS REALLY DON’T LIKE IT WHEN YOU DON’T OBEY THE “YOU OWE-YOU PAY” RULE.
FYI: The average American household holds 12 different credit cards. Credit card companies send out more than 1 billion new credit card offers every year.
Statistics reveal the disadvantages of using credit cards for purchases.
• Consumers spend 23% more money with credit cards than when they pay with cash.
• “Credit card companies have a name for people who pay off their balances monthly” “Dead beats. They “rob” us of the interest that we depend on.”
We are a credit-based society. THAT’S NOT ALL BAD. After WWII, Veteran’s loans were made available to returning soldiers to obtain home. The resulting housing boom was so impressive, that FHA loans were created to help 1st time buyers purchase a home. Without those kinds of loans, many of us in America would be renters, not owners of their homes.
It’s time to deal with this uncomfortable subject; Start with the teachings of Jesus. HE USES THE DEBTS AND DEBTORS to help us understand a foundational part of the Lord’s Prayer; as we will see in a moment. Let’s look prayerfully at this step by step plan…