You are not what you have. You are not what you don’t have. You are not where you live. You are not what you drive. You are not what you feel. You are not what happened to you. You are not what didn’t happen for you. You are not what others have said about you. You are created in the image and likeness of God. Out of the world’s 7.4 billion people no two people have the same fingerprints. You are unique. You are valuable. You were created for a purpose that God himself planned for you to do before the world began. The value of something is determined by what someone will pay for it. You are priceless. God gave his very best (Jesus) for you. You matter. You can define yourself by your assets or your debts. You can define yourself by your circumstances or choices. Or you can value yourself and interpret your circumstances in light of who you are to Jesus.
“For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles.” (Ephesians 3:1 NKJV) Paul the Apostle wrote this while he was in prison in Rome. Paul did not call himself a prisoner of Rome although he was in a Roman prison. Paul identified himself as a prisoner of Christ. He defined himself in light of his most valuable relationship. He identified himself in light of who he was to Jesus and who Jesus was to him. He refused to be a victim. Because he had the right perspective of his circumstances he was able to receive revelation in his circumstances. His place of limitation became his place of revelation. Later, in his letter to the Ephesians as Paul looked at a Roman soldier, what he saw was actually the Armor of the Lord. He was free enough to receive revelation from those who were holding him captive. Paul refused to have a chip on his shoulder in the midst of the injustice that he was experiencing. In Rome people didn’t serve long prison sentences. They were beaten, killed or let go. He was actually in prison waiting to be sentenced. He was guilty until proven innocent. Instead of feeling sorry for himself he chose to show concern for others and so he wrote Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. What if your place of limitation was actually your place of revelation? What if the pain that you have been through could help someone enter into the purpose of God for his or her life? Remember this: When you have been victimized and refuse to be a victim you enter into a place of victory. The victory that you have experienced you can help others experience.
These 4 ancient business tips come from the wisest and wealthiest man to ever live. These truths have stood the test of time and are still very relevant today. If you apply these principles you are positioning yourself to prosper. These are not opinions they are truths that have been tested by time, truths that transcend culture.
- Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, And attend to your herds; For riches are not forever, Nor does a crown endure to all generations. (Proverbs 27:23-24 NKJV) Diligence means we are aware of what we have and steward it well. We need to know our inventory. If you don’t know what you have you don’t know what you need. If you don’t know what you have you may not see the opportunities that are before you.
- A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold. (Proverbs 22:1 NKJV) Integrity is our most valuable commodity. Integrity is more valuable than money. Money is what you have, integrity is either what you are or who you are not. You either have integrity or you don’t.
- Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; But much increase comes by the strength of an ox. (Proverbs 14:4 NKJV) Hard word is messy, and it pays. Hard work is the only way to honest and sustainable increase.
- “It is good for nothing,” cries the buyer; But when he has gone his way, then he boasts. (Proverbs 20:14 NKJV) Here King Solomon is giving us a bargaining strategy. You never tell someone how bad you want something because the price is certain to go up. You can brag about your bargain after you bought what you wanted.
Donald Trump is fascinating to some and terrifying to others. He is either loved or hated, there is no neutral ground with the Donald. There has never been a more entertaining time to be engaged with politics. People don’t know how to handle him because he can’t be controlled. He is not intimidated by the media. On CNN he rebukes them while they host the GOP debate at his hotel in Las Vegas. He goes after Megan Kelly on Fox, he says Hillary Clinton lies profusely. He says, “I would bomb Isis and take their oil.” Some Americans are repulsed by him, personally I am very entertained by him. I am not saying I agree with all his tactics because I don’t. But more people listen to him speak on TV than they do President Obama. The media who hates him covers him more than they want to simply because he is entertaining. He is good for ratings, he is inflammatory and many Americans love it. Many Americans hold the freedom of speech and the right to bare arms very closely. He is very pro say whatever you want, to whoever you want, however and whenever you want. He is honest, courageous and arrogant. Many Americans will overlook his arrogance because they believe his honesty reveals his intentions. He truly wants to make America great again. The more he says what he really thinks the more people feel like they know him, the more they feel like they know him the more they trust him.
Another reason some Americans love him is because America loves money. America values money even more than our children, this is really sick. For money a doctor will murder your child, its called an abortion. If that isn’t a good illustration for you here is another one. Armored cars that transfer money are bulletproof and the drivers are often armed. So we protect our money with guns, but security guards at schools can’t have guns to protect our children while they learn. Both examples reveal just how much America as a nation loves money. He is perhaps the only one who can beat Hillary Clinton and I am not even sure about that. He is not a perfect man. If America elects him we are electing him to be the President not to be our Pastor. My better sense tells me that Bernie Sanders won’t win the Democratic nomination unless he buys every millennial an iPad with Donald Trumps money. So with that being said in my opinion it will be between Donald and Hillary and I would choose Donald over Clinton any day. Donald Trump is a billionaire because he knows how to bring the right people together, that is how he made his fortune. I believe that Donald is secure with his fortune but is seeking significance beyond money for his future and his legacy. I believe he thinks America can be great again and so it seems that he believes that and has put his money where his mouth is. Funding his own campaign means he is serious about what he says. In the midst of all this campaigning his net worth has rose. He is a winner and even if he looses the election he is still winning either way. He may just be the next President. Believe it or not America is more of a corportation than it is a nation. To be clear I am not endorsing Donald Trump. And honestly I disagree with Federal Funds going to Planned Parenthood. With that being said I would still rather have him as the next President than Hillary Clinton.
Powerful people don’t think I can’t, they think how can I? They don’t think this won’t work, they think how can we make this work? Powerful people don’t focus on the problem they focus on solutions and strategies. Let me share with you a private conversation I had with a powerful person who is happy, humble and really down to earth. This man is an inventor, an investor, a philanthropist and an evangelist. He is a good husband to one woman for many years and a good father to his children. He feeds orphans daily and sends young people to college that are not even his children. God has blessed him and he has made some right decisions over the course of his life and now he lives to give. I have leaned a lot from him. His life has taught me that the purpose of prosperity is generosity.
One day while in another country with my good friend I asked him, what does it feel like to be powerful? I said to him, you can buy a Mercedes or a house in the Caribbean or go on vacation for a few months. You can do virtually whatever you want. What does that feel like? When you get up in the morning what do you feel like? At first he really didn’t have an answer. In fact he said that it was a good question and that no one had ever asked him that before. From my question I learned that a good question is a question that has never been asked before. Not only will the asker grow from the answer, but the one answering the question will grow also because now he is thinking about something he never thought about before. The next day he answered me in a more clear and definitive way. He said, “to be honest it feels good to know that I can buy my wife a Lexus cash, but honestly I really don’t think about it until we need a car.” When he said that a thought hit me like a ton of bricks. Powerful people don’t allow useless thoughts to occupy precious head space. In other words my friend doesn’t wake up thinking about what he can buy or where he can go, he only thinks about what is pertinent to now. Because he planned for tomorrow he doesn’t have to worry about it. Powerful people live in now. They may plan for tomorrow, but they refuse to worry about it. Remember this if you are worrying about tomorrow you are probably not planning for it wisely, because fear and worry shut down the logical part of your brain. So worrying about tomorrow will mess up both today and tomorrow, making yesterday rather appealing. Powerful people don’t live in yesterday or tomorrow they live in now. You can’t be powerful living in the past or the future, because you live in now. If you are attentive to now, tomorrow will be better than if you focused on yesterday or worried about tomorrow. Whether you are day dreaming about the house or the car of your dreams, or worrying about how you are going to pay your bills. Dreaming and worrying are not how powerful think. Powerful think about what is the next right decision based on who I am, where I am, where I am going and what I value. Powerful people practice self control, which helps them to stay focused on what is most important. The more self control you have the more powerful you are. Powerful people don’t control others they control themselves.
3 things powerful people don’t think about.
- Powerful people don’t worry about what is out of their control.
- Powerful people don’t allow useless things to occupy precious head space.
- Powerful people don’t live in the past, they are focused on the next right decision.
Money will not make you happy, but debt will make you unhappy. – John C Maxwell. If you have ever been in debt you know this to be a painful reality. King Solomon who was literally the wisest and wealthiest man to ever live said, “the borrower is servant to the lender.” Before we move any further I want you to see the connection between wealth and wisdom. Yes there are rich fools, but there is a undeniable connection between wisdom and wealth. With that being said, I want to share with you one of the stupidest things that I have even done. It cost me $4000 dollars to know the difference between faith and presumption. John C Maxwell said, “if you want to impress someone tell them about your successes. If you want to impact someone tell them the stupidest thing that you have ever done and the lessons that you learned from it.” I am more interested in having a positive impact than portraying a false image of myself. In others words I am sharing my pain for your gain.
On June 27th, 2009 at 12:00 pm I married Sarah Bruce and in a moment she became Sarah LiVecchi. The next day we left for the beautiful Dominican Republic. There we helped lead a missions team and then stayed in the 5 star RIU Palace Punta Cana right on the beach for a 15 day honeymoon. We came home for about two weeks and then headed to Nicaragua to serve the poor with Impact Nations. It was exciting, we were newly married excited about life, each other and what we were doing. The $4000 mistake was the Nicaragua trip. The mistake wasn’t going and serving the poor. Remember what Jesus said, “what you have done to the least of these you have done unto me.” The mistake was not being prepared for the trip, not fundraising before the trip. The mistake was using a credit card when we didn’t have the money to pay for the trip. It became very apparent to me why MasterCard is called MasterCard. If you use the card and do not have the money that card will really become your master. What we were doing was right, but how we went about it was wrong. The problem was that we presumed we would have enough money from our wedding to pay for the trip, unfortunately we were both sincerely wrong. Our motives were right, our actions were right, but our presumption cost us $4000 dollars. Remember this, faith prepares not presumes. Faith is about preparation not presumption. Faith plans and prepares, faith does not assume and presume. It is important to know that having the right motives is not enough. You also need to make the right plans and the right preparations. I no longer have any regret from this mistake, now I have a lesson learned. I didn’t have foresight, but I gained some priceless insight for the price of $4000 USD. I am hoping that my lesson learned can be your problem avoided.
Financial freedom is not just about having more than enough money. Financial freedom is also about money not having you. There are many people who have no money, but money has them. Then there are a few people who have money, but money doesn’t have them. The question is not how much money do you have. The real question is how much does money have you? As a young man I had an almost fatal attraction to money, and what you can acquire with money. Over the last 13 years I have learned that the most valuable things in life are priceless and no amount of money can buy what people really want. I know we need money to pay bills and live, I am not naive to the reality of real life, in fact the website you are reading this blog on isn’t free so I get it.
I want to share something that I did that was really stupid. This is very personal but I am sharing it with you because I think it can benefit you. Your well being is more important to me than my ego or image. About 6 years ago I was a newly married. Sarah and I were married less than a year or so when I made a rookie mistake. The mistake wasn’t what I bought, it was when I bought it and how I bought it; with a credit card. I bought a Thompson Chain Bible, sent it to Texas and had it wrapped in calfskin and then had it sent to me in New Jersey. This Bible is so nice, they wouldn’t write my name on it. When I asked if they could engrave my name on the bottom right of the front cover of the Bible they said, “we don’t do that, this is a calfskin Bible.” This was a $250.00 purchase. When my wife found out what I did she was pretty upset, and for her to be upset is very uncommon. In fact in my marriage if I don’t create a problem I will have no problems. My wife Sarah is a beautiful, patient, considerate woman. So this purchase led us to what we call the $100 rule. Neither one of us will spend more than $99.99 without the consent of the other. What this says is that – you are more important than what I want. We have both committed to value each other over what we may want in the moment. This rule is easy for her but hard for me. It has become easier over time now. If I was a perfect steward of money we probably wouldn’t need this rule, but it has served us well. As we pay off debt and earn more the rule may become the $250 rule but for now we are keeping it the $100 rule. A large portion of fighting and divorce is over money. Setting financial rules of engagement is very important especially if you want to have a peaceful and lifelong marriage. If you are single it still pays to set financial boundaries for yourself. I am hoping that my transparency and vulnerability can save you an unnecessary calamity. If you choose to be accountable now with your spouse or a trusted friend you are actually protecting your future. This is only the beginning. I can’t wait to tell you about a $4000.00 mistake I made. My intentions for sharing my mistakes is so that my lessons learned would be your problems avoided. I just want to save you pain, tears, money and time.
Busyness is an enemy to what matters most. In my last blog I wrote about progress. The danger with progress is busyness. What I have observed about people who have a strong sense of direction is that they are driven. People who are driven need to be careful they don’t drive them self right off a cliff. Almost everyone is busy, but hardly anyone is getting anything done. Being busy is not necessarily bad. It’s hard to find anyone in life who is successful and not busy. However the busyness should be analyzed and prioritized. For example you could ask yourself why am I busy? Is it to medicate my anxiousness? Does being busy for busy sake give me a false sense of importance, that also gives me a false sense of security? Asking ourselves hard questions is essential for those who want success and longevity in the areas of life that matter most. Here is a thought in the form of a question about prioritizing your busyness to secure your success. Are you willing to sacrifice what money can’t buy for more money? If we are not careful in hopes of serving God we can become to busy for him. If we are not careful we can neglect our families today with the hopes of providing them with a better tomorrow. The most powerful thing you can give God and your family is you. I understand that we need to make sacrifices today for a better tomorrow. I get it. But I myself feel cautioned about sacrificing what money can’t buy for just a little more money. Slowing down may cost you now, but in the end slowing down now and learning when and how to rest will keep you fully charged so that you can give your best to who and what matters most. If you are to busy to rest one day a week you are to busy. The God who doesn’t get tired even took a day to rest. Remember Sabbath (rest) is about renewal not ritual. If you slow down now you will wind up going further in the long run. Life is more like a marathon than a 400 meter sprint. Find out what matters most and pour everything into it. Give your best to what matters most. You will never regret giving your best to who and what matters most.