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How to Seek First His Kingdom while Earning an Income

Seek First His Kingdom
Seek First His Kingdom

Seek first His kingdom and righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:33). These are comforting words from Jesus to His followers. What does it mean to seek first His kingdom? Apostle Paul and other disciples are perfect examples. More recent individuals include Corrie Tenn Boom and George Müller. Sadly, we do not grasp the essence of the life of a follower of Jesus because we focus on us and our entitlements. Besides, TV evangelists present God as a celestial slot machine from whom we demand comforts. When we don’t get them, these charlatans blame a lack faith. Meanwhile, their followers support their wealthy lifestyles.

The Bible says a lot about money, wealth, and possessions. Jesus’ essential message on this topic is this: Don’t be greedy; don’t be caught up with material stuff. Seek first His kingdom—focus on the eternal. Many people tell me this is impractical; they say it’s not realistic to be absorbed with spiritual aspects while bills must be paid now. How, they say, do we reconcile the need to put food on the table today with seeking first His kingdom? Often, they tell me they are embarrassed to admit this, but that’s their reality—they must earn an income first.  (more…)

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Budgeting Tips For Today’s Economy

Budgeting tips for today’s economy are no different from budgeting tips at other times. However, the state of global economies today will exacerbate the effects of not budgeting or sloppy budgeting.

What is Budgeting

Budgeting Tips For Today's Economy - Same as Before
Budgeting Tips For Today’s Economy – Same as Before

Budgeting is a four-part on going process. The basic parts one and two are difficult to compute. Part one involves estimating resources needed in a future period to do specific goals. Part two follows with allocating needed resources. The often neglected but key parts three and four are crucial for the process to work well. Compare results with the estimate, and then take remedial action as needed. This is time consuming but must be done to see benefits.

God alone knows the future. Still, you need to plan under his guidance to do what he calls you to do. A well thought out budget will help highlight opportunities and challenges ahead so you might prepare to deal with them effectively.

Global Economic Overview

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Great Recession started officially in December 2007. It ended in June 2009. Six years later, world economies are anemic. They are puttering along without signs of a recovery that might last for a while. Here is an excerpt from the IMF World Economic Outlook 2015: (more…)

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Greece’s Challenges are Structural not Financial

Greece's Challenges are structural, not financial
Greece’s challenges are structural, not financial

Greece’s challenges are structural, not financial. Fiscal signs are symptoms. More money won’t solve Greece’s major structural challenges.

Greece has been here before. It was bailed out in 2010. In fact, the accompanying austerity measures has contributed to the current financial strain. Undoubtedly, a difficult journey lies ahead. But let’s be clear. The current crisis can’t be solved by loans with conditions to make further cuts.

The real choice in the recent referendum was between accepting loans with known austerity measures, or receiving loans later with conditions unknown. Indeed, the referendum means future lenders will impose worse requirements than those existing when the referendum was called. Already, Greece defaulted on 1.6 billion euros owing to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Do Greeks accept that despite the “no” victory, significant lifestyle adjustments lie ahead? This is a significant issue today.

Greece’s Challenges Show up in it’s Economic Performance

Let’s look at the Greek economy and some structural challenges: (more…)

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Journey from Time Management to Personal Effectiveness

Personal effectiveness improvement is the journey
Personal effectiveness improvement is the journey

Personal effectiveness improvement is the journey need to move away from time management. That journey is slow. It needs a mindset change. Where are you in life’s journey? In college looking to be free from exams and papers? Working but craving retirement? Yearning for a day when you won’t rush from one assignment to another? This utopian dream is unlikely to materialize.

The key on this journey from managing time to personal effectiveness improvement isn’t changing locations or occupations. It’s understanding you can’t manage time, you manage your personal effectiveness in available time. You must journey from trying to manage time to improving personal effectiveness in fixed, available time.

Talking with a recent college graduate highlighted people’s desire to move from where they are to their next stop believing they will be less busy, and better able to cope with life’s demands. This student, whom I will call Peter, was devastated after one month in his new job. He dreamed about how awesome it would be—no homework, no papers, no pressure to perform in class. Sadly, he discovered he became even more stressed than at college. Now, he wants to go back to school to do a masters degree. (more…)

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Household Indebtedness in Canada Climbing To New Heights

Household indebtedness climbing to new heights
Household indebtedness climbing to new heights

Household indebtedness in Canada is climbing to new heights! Why are Canadians acquiring so much debt and ignoring lessons from the USA’s sub prime debacle? Cheap, easy money is addictive! Besides, history would suggest that in future, people won’t own their actions.  When housing prices fall and interest rates rise, many people will use the victim card. They will blame financial firms, merchants, the one percent … everyone, but them.

Household Indebtedness Warnings

Let’s look closely at the size of this household indebtedness problem as reported over the past three years: (more…)

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3-Ways To Use Your Tax Refund

Tax refund excitement
Tax refund excitement

You can’t wait to get your tax refund to buy an Apple Watch, right? Perfect timing, isn’t it? You’ve ordered the watch and won’t pay until June when it will be shipped. And voilà! Your refund will be available.

This is your special time of the year. Waiting for the government to confirm your tax refund and send your check. It doesn’t get better than this. That’s the essence of a recent discussion with an elated individual.

Regrettably, I could not agree with this person, whom I will call, Tom. I know how deeply indented he is. I suggested to Tom that he should consider using the tax refund to repay his debts. I told Tom I believe present life stage and circumstances should guide the use of tax refunds. First, however, it is important to know what the refund represents. (more…)

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Is Your Business Customer centric?

Customer centric businesses serve all stakeholders
Customer centric businesses serve all stakeholders

Customer centric firms are primed to create value for all stakeholders. Is your business customer centric? The late management guru, scholar, and author, Peter Drucker said, “The purpose of a business is to create a customer.” No customers, no business. No students, no school. No sports fans, no stadium! It’s that simple. If we believe this, why is poor customer service rife?

Oligopolies are not Customer centric

In Canada, two key industries, banking and telecommunications, are oligopolies. They are not customer centric. Yet, consumers accept the lack of effective competition, and are complacent. Often, firms in these industries provide poor services while hiking fees often. Ironically, when the government wanted more competition in telecommunications recently, companies played the patriotism card successfully. (more…)

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Is Your Résumé Working For You?

Résumé Working For You?
Résumé Working For You?

Is you résumé working for you? Your résumé is a marketing document meant to show a recruiter you are the best fit for the advertised job.Your résumé is the start of building your brand. It is not meant to convey your life story.

Your goal in writing the résumé is to show clearly, concisely, on one page, maximum two, why you are the best fit for the organization. Effectively, how you might create superior value than someone else.

A two page résumé is better than a cluttered one page document. Eliminate fluff, be stingy—show only information that will help someone decide if he or she should invite you for an interview. Your résumé must pass the eye test. Does it look crammed? If it does, reduce the words. These are a few areas that should be in and out of the résumé: (more…)

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Why are Christian Bookstores Struggling?

Christian Finance Advice Blog is pleased to present this blog from two budding authors, Briercrest College & Seminary seniors, Nicole Chenard and Meghan Friesen.

Christian bookstore must follow solid business practices
Christian bookstore must follow solid business practices

There was a time when Christian bookstores were prominent in the community and seen as a relevant resource for churches and Christians. However, like so many other businesses, times and consumer demands changed and most Christian bookstores did not adapt. In fact, many failed. They struggled to provide adequate returns on investment, and often they did not implement effective marketing strategies.

Many Christian business owners justified their poor business performance by saying, God would meet our needs; but they did not perform critical research to adapt to the changing marketplace. This lack of research crippled their businesses. Simply put, Christian bookstores performed sub optimally because they did not apply effective Bible-based business strategies, management systems, and performance metrics routinely.

Why don’t these businesses provide adequate returns on investments? We believe there are at least five main reasons:

(more…)

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Oil Price Drop, Blessing Or Curse For Canada?

Is the oil price drop a blessing or a curse to the Canadian economy?  It is a reversal of the 1970s. The oil shock of the 1970’s caused panic worldwide. Businesses scampered to become more energy efficient. Under the guise of discouraging consumption, governments seized the chance to raise taxes on energy related income and energy use. And economies adjusted to high energy prices, which became the acceptable norm.

Oil price drop needs changed behaviour
Oil price drop needs changed behaviour

Oil Price Drop Shows Economy’s Weakness

In the past ten years, the Canadian economy, and the Canadian dollar strengthened. Strong and growing oil prices, among other fuelled this boom. Meanwhile, the world has been congratulating Canada on its skillful economic prowess. People overlooked Canada’s excessive household and provincial debt levels (excluding Saskatchewan). Ontario has been spending recklessly and racking debt and deficits at an alarming rate.

Alberta appeared to be doing well. But, the real situation has surfaced. Lower oil prices mean less income. In turn, this shows wasteful spending that oil revenues masked.  Meanwhile the Federal government’s budget-balancing games continue.

Today, the fragility of the Canadian economy is being exposed. The excessive dependence on energy and commodities generally has been highlighted. Instead of rejoicing that lower oil prices will boost many segments of the economy, bloated governments are worried they won’t be able to rake in energy related taxes. Will this steep drop in energy prices cause governments to see their waste and the need to shrink? (more…)

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