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The Heart of Financial Matters - Book Review
by Angela Doreathy Watkins
12/08/2012 / Book Reviews
If you are looking for a get-rich-quick scheme this is not the book for you.
This is a study based on biblical financial principles to help you keep the money you have, invest it wisely, and provide for a safe, secure, financial future. It for everyone, wage earners, professionals, young people, married couples, those who are having trouble making ends meet, and people without proper financial training or a background in money management.
Mr. Hedges have been involved in the banking industry for more than forty years at eight difference banks. He has been president and chief executive office of three community banks. His writings, observations, and comments are from a banker's viewpoint.
As a Christian businessman, he know that God will provide the answer to problems if we seek His guidance and study His Word. The Bible provides the principles for money management as well as solutions to the daily problem we encounter.
Goals are guides for building financial success. You will not reach your goals or become financially secure overnight.
Luke 6:38 refers to our love, time, material possessions, friendship, ideas, opportunities, or anything that we could share, as well as our money.
Be cautious of get-rich quick schemes.
Make a will.
Misuse of credit is an addiction and it becomes a habit that is very difficult to break.
Proverbs 22:6 can apply to any type of training for your child or children; such as spiritual, moral, social, educational, or financial.
Mr. Hedges and his wife sat down one day to discuss how to teach money management to their children.
Teach your children the principle of stewardship that God owns everything and we are stewards overseeing his possessions.
More important than teaching your children about money and finances is teaching them to live morally responsible lives.
Regardless of circumstances that may or may not be beyond your control, stay focused on reaching your financial goals.
You will need to write down your personal goals.
Keep in mind that you are the one responsible for taking care of your finances, and you are the one who will receive the benefit.
You never know the true character of a person until they face adversity. This is when their true character and integrity are revealed.
God wants good things for us and sometimes He must let us face adversity to truly reveal Himself to us. God is doing things in our best interest and He wants us to live life more abundantly.
Your good name is worth more than great wealth. All things can be taken from you, but you can still have integrity. You can maintain your good name and that will open more doors of opportunity for you than anything else.
Daniel served under three kings: Nebuchadnezzar, Darius and Cyrus, King of Persia. All three Kings trusted Daniel and placed him in a position of great responsibility because they trusted him as a man of integrity and good character.
No victory or success will come unless you put forth the effort.
We are not all capable of running a large corporation, but we are all capable of doing our best in our work.
Problems at work, financial problems, trouble with family members, health issues, the loss of a loved one, or any event that creates trauma or brings tension is adversity.
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn said, "If you really want to do something, you will find a way. If you don't, you will find an excuse." Once a person has mastered the area of finance, many other aspects of life will fall into place.
Mr. Hedges have given numerous financial and money management seminars in churches and other religious organizations over the past twenty-five years.
Our society has failed to recognize the importance of teaching money management in our homes, educational systems, and churches. Money is something that everybody needs and uses; however, very few people have formal training in credit, finances, investing, and the proper use of money. Without question, this is one reason why bankruptcy filings have increased dramatically over the last few years.
If we are not within God's will, we may gain wealth, but we will not have happiness or inner peace. When you let God be involved in your life, He will add no trouble to it. If He is not involved in your life, you will have trouble and inner turmoil.
In Deuteronomy 28, there are fourteen verses telling of God's blessings if we obey His commandments, but thirty-three verses concerning curses when we are disobedient.
You must change your heart before you change your pocketbook.
In an article in the May 2011 AARP Magazine ("Fix the Class Act, Don't Kill It," by Howard Gleckman), Mr. Hedges read that of every ten people over the age sixty-five, only three will be able to retire financially independent.
It is not the amount of money that you make, but what you do with your money that is of more importance.
There is an old saying that if you give a boy a fish, he will eat for a day; but if you teach him how to fish, he will eat for the rest of his life.
If you covet and pursue money, you will have many sorrows and disappointments
(ruin and destruction).
Money can be good. Money builds church buildings, schools, and hospitals. Money should never be put before God.
In biblical times, a city built high walls for the protection of its inhabitants. This verse says that a rich man trusts in his riches to protect him, just as the high walls of the city were supposed to provide protection. Do not let money or wealth become your security or trust in it for protection, because you are only deceiving yourself.
Why would God entrust you with more if you are not a good steward with what He has already given you? This applies to money, as well as any other gift or talent you have received from God.
Good stewardships in little leads to being entrusted with more.
Seeking God's counsel in the use of our money is the most important principle in the area of financial management.
God wants and desires to spend time with you. It pleases Him when you take the time to fellowship and communicate with Him.
Our relationship with God is established when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. We become a child of our Heavenly Father.
We receive his instructions by spending daily fellowship with God in prayer. Bible study, Church attendance, and hearing the Word of God taught and preached.
We need to remove unrighteousness from our homes and return to teaching the Word of God (Job 22:23).
Financial Principle: Pray about matters relating to money. God knows your future financial needs, and He will prepare you to meet those needs.
We are stewards of God's possessions, including our bodies.
A steward is a person in charge of another's business. We are God's trustees or stewards and He expects us to manage His possessions to the best of our ability.
Financial Principle: Be a good steward of the time, talents, and possessions God has given you.
Exercise self-discipline to control your finances. This is a key element in all areas of your life, be it in marriage, business, religion, relationships with friends, or in our financial matters.
Let us not deceive ourselves, we are in a spiritual battle daily against the evil one and the devil is strong, deceptive, and cunning. We need the full armor of God as we struggle in this battle.
Our greatest pleasure, most of the time, comes from doing something good for someone else. Sharing our possessions, time, and talents can be one of the most rewarding experiences during a lifetime.
God will bless our giving (Proverbs 3:9-10). Our giving honors God. We are to honor God first and then we will receive the blessing or the promise of God.
What has God promised in Malachi 3:8-10?
He has promised to "pour out for you a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it" if you will give Him His tithes and offerings. These blessings are based on our actions.
You can not give out of greed with the intention of becoming rich. This is a heart issue. You give out of love, for God, and respect for Him and His Word.
We are to not only faithfully give to God, but we are to faithfully live for God. We are to be living sacrifices, holy, and pleasing to God.
When the multimillionaire Howard Hughes died, someone asked, "How much money did he leave?" The response was "all of it."
We are to do things that will have a lasing benefit on people's lives. Use your money, time, and talent, and influence for things that will have lasting benefit for others, even for generations too come after we have gone to be with the Lord.
All Christians are called to minister and serve God, but not all are called into full-time ministry as a profession.
Assume you are attending your own funeral. You are in the spirit and no one knows you are there.
Will the preacher's job be easy or difficult to say nice comforting words about you? Will he say your integrity was without question and that you loved the Lord and served Him faithfully?
When your family goes through your Bible, will they find it marked and worn from use or will they find it unused and covered with dust?
The legacy is something that you leave in someone.
Build treasures in heaven.
During your productive years, you must save and accumulate for the future.
Save and invest as much as you can. The 10 percent that you pay yourself should be after your tithe and offering to the Lord, but before paying any debt or making any purchase.
Start by saving 1 percent of your income per month. The increase this by an additional 1 percent each month until your goal of 10 percent is reached.
Be sure to place your money in accounts that are government insured. In the event that the company you are doing business with fails, your investment will be guaranteed.
You do not want to sell your home to pay for financial emergencies. It also depends on location, permanence of your employment in the town, the economy, price, and affordability.
Compounding is a term commonly used in banking and finance circles.
Compounding of interest can be daily, weekly, quarterly. Your money will grow faster if you reinvest your earnings, rather than spending the earned interest or income from your investments.
How are you going to grow spiritually? This growth comes from Bible study, prayer, church attendance, memorizing scripture, and fellowship with other believers. Growth must first come by living a spirit-filled life.
Sometimes we do things that may be harmful to God's work.
We will reap what we sow. Is the fruit that you produce of value to God's Kingdom? Is God able to give you greater responsibilities because you have been faithful in handling past duties?
Avoid use of credit, credit cards, and charge accounts. Credit looks just as attractive as food.
Much of today's advertising and marketing is directed to encourage debt.
From Mr. Hedges banking experience, a debt consolidation loan is one of the worst loans to make.
The only wise method of using credit cards or charge accounts is to pay them in full each month.
Seek the advice or counsel of experts before making an investment.'
If you use a professional advisor, it is best to avoid advisors who sell investments, especially if they sell only one product. Mr. Hedges recommend advisors who work for a fee and not on commission from selling a product.
Separate counselors are needed in real estate, the stock market, bonds, and commodities.
Do not cosign or guarantee loans. This is another financial principle about protecting your money.
Are you to turn your back on your friends and relatives who are having problems? No, that is not Mr. Hedges point. If you desire to help a person, do so in a way that do not bring their burden upon yourself. If they were truly in need of help, if would be better for you to simply give them a gift.
Another way to help would be to assist them in finding a professional financial advisor.
Regardless of education or social standing, many people do not know how to balance their bank statements and post to their check register or they do not take the time to do it.
Mr. Hedges is most thankful for the personnel in our military, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and EMT's. But they will be the first to state that they are not capable of protecting us the way that God can and does.
Take the gifts and abilities God has given you, develop those gifts and abilities to their fullest, and then use them as best you can.
Mr. Eddie Hedges is a retired banker with over 40 years experience, including CEO & President of three different banks in Texas. He has taught financial seminars in churches and religious organizations for over 25 years. His book shares his teachings along with numerous scriptures and banking experience in dealing with people with financial problems.
Read more articles by Angela Doreathy Watkins
The opinions expressed by authors do not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.