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Deciding Debt Was Not An Option

The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.
Proverbs 22:7

I am only recently becoming aware of how prevalent the use of school loans for college are in our country.  I meet more and more young people with tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt that simply drags them down and hinders their ability to flourish in life.  As a Christian I see it as another way our enemy seeks to put fetters upon the people of God, limiting their ability to be generous toward the Kingdom of God.  I find that money is the primary issue alongside pornography that requires counsel and it is also what receives the most push back when biblical options are considered.

Strangely enough debt can be resolved relatively easily if the person is willing to attack it like any other problem–with no mercy.  If the person believes that God wants them to still have a newer car, a nice apartment, internet and a smartphone then there is little that will be done.  But once one makes the critical turn in thinking and relieves himself of these hindrances then much can be accomplished.

Take Ken Ilgunas as an example.  Finished his undergraduate degree with no job options and a 32,000 debt.  What to do?  Go into more debt and get an advanced degree?  Go camp out at some 99% protest group and claim victimhood?  Just default and assume that his debt would be lost in the shuffle of all the others who walk away from their responsibilities?  Nope, he made an adult’s decision and carried it out.

First he got a job up in Alaska where the good money is.  His job paid 9.00 an hour and by living carefully paid off over 18,000 of the debt.  Then he got a better job and paid off the rest of the debt in another 2 1/2 years.  When he decided to return for an advanced degree he refused to go back into debt and that is where the story gets very interesting.  I won’t ruin it here, just read the whole thing for yourself, it is worth it.

I saw a man who made a mistake and learned from it.  I saw a man who was willing to make sacrifices for the purpose of a greater goal.  And I saw a man who achieved that goal with no regrets (except maybe identifying the school so that they now make what he did against the rules).

At my old church when someone came into for debt counseling the first thing the counselor would do after sizing up the problem was make them cut their credit cards up and write letters to all the companies canceling their account.  Often he recommended they sell their newer cars and buy older ones.  If they owned a home and they were in bad debt then they should sell the home and downsize.  No more eating out, no more vacations, no more cable TV and no more internet until the debt was paid.  Those who bought into it were helped by the church short term and they all were shocked at how quickly they caught things up.  Those who gave push back ended up losing most of those things anyhow but with a reputation now of being unfaithful in word and deed.

What about you?  Would you give up most of the comforts you enjoy for the purpose of removing debt off of your back?  Would you refuse to enter college without having saved the first year’s tuition?  Are you willing to work full time if necessary so as to pay for school as you go?  Just stuff to think about.

If You Don’t Succeed Try, Try Again

Here is a great little video to enjoy. Be interesting to see what this young guy grows to be in a few years.  Remember, he is only seven.

A Woman Scorned . . .

Proverbs 1:20-33,  Wisdom shouts in the street, She lifts her voice in the square;  21 At the head of the noisy streets she cries out; At the entrance of the gates in the city, she utters her sayings:  22 “How long, O naive ones, will you love simplicity? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing, And fools hate knowledge?  23 “Turn to my reproof, Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.  24 “Because I called, and you refused; I stretched out my hand, and no one paid attention;  25 And you neglected all my counsel, And did not want my reproof;  26 I will even laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes,  27 When your dread comes like a storm, And your calamity comes on like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come on you.  28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they shall not find me,  29 Because they hated knowledge, And did not choose the fear of the LORD.  30 “They would not accept my counsel, They spurned all my reproof.  31 “So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way, And be satiated with their own devices.  32 “For the waywardness of the naive shall kill them, And the complacency of fools shall destroy them.  33 “But he who listens to me shall live securely, And shall be at ease from the dread of evil.” (NASB)

Here we see Lady Wisdom shouting faithfully crying out in a very public manner.  This is a call to repent and to come to a fear of the Lord, the beginning of wisdom.  She is honest in her dealings as she describes the difficult road of growing in wisdom, involving her reproof.  But she also points out that she shall pour out her spirit upon the repentant one.

But notice what happens starting in verse 24.  She offered her wisdom and actively sought people and they rejected it.  She was not hidden in some alleyway daring people to find her, she is stretching out her hand for them, but is scorned.  Therefore, in verse 26 there is the dire warning that she shall not be present when their evil befalls them.  And that is really important.  It is “when” not “if.”  To reject wisdom is to reject life.  Though the way of folly seems good (though only to a fool) its way always ends the same, broken and destroyed, filled with regrets that cannot be removed.

Verses 26-27 give us three dire results:

  1. It shall come in its appointed and appropriate time (26b and 27c).  God is not mocked, whatsoever we sow, so shall we reap and for these people there is a time in the mind of the Lord that the cost of rejecting Wisdom’s call shall come.
  2. It shall come at an unexpected moment (27a).  The word is “calamity” and is the word that is commonly translated as “evil.”  It comes without warning, but when it comes, it comes as an earthquake that suddenly erupts around you, filling you with nothing but terror.  Believe me on this one, been in a big earthquake and there is nothing fun about it–utter helplessness.
  3. It shall come at an uncontrollable speed (27b).  Like a whirlwind, or tornado that suddenly becomes the center of your existence as it come bearing down upon you, so is the recompense of the Lord.

And for those who find themselves in these situations the picture is very bleak.  They shall cry out for that wisdom that they had made their habit to scorn and she will only laugh at them.  What a horrible place to be, desperately in need of wisdom and finding none.  The silence of God is a terrible thing for needy man to experience.

What is the answer?  Simply this:  hear Lady Wisdom and heed her.  Come to her and you shall find life.  And where is Lady Wisdom found?  In our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is “hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 1:3).

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