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Devotionals

All I Ever Did

Read John 4: 1-30

Something about his eyes, the way he looked at her…it was unsettling. She thought she knew all about men, understood how they thought. But this was different. “Go and call your husband,” he said. She hesitated, eyes lowered. “I have none.” He nodded. “True. You’ve had five…and the one you live with now isn’t one of them.” (vv 16-18)

Her body tensed defiantly. “Since you know so much, prophet, tell me this. Is God’s chosen place of worship here or in Jerusalem?” (vv 19-20) Her eyes flashed up to meet his, ready to tackle the judgment surely waiting. What she saw took her breath away. A raging passion matched only by the words washing over her in love. He said, “The Father is seeking worshipers in spirit and truth,” (v 23) and she heard, “the Father is seeking you.”

Her battered heart leapt for joy – it didn’t matter; it never had! What she’d done, where she’d been – her fruitless search for God’s hiding place. He’d been there all along, pursuing her, waiting for her to see Him. Her water pot forgotten, she ran into the city. The words burst out, a testimony that wouldn’t be held back. “Come and see a Man who told me all I ever did…!” He knew her past, yet still wanted to give her a future.

Jesus gave himself to save us. There is no greater love, no greater offering to be made. He went to the cross so that we might have a chance at life with him. This love, freely given, cannot be earned. But it must be accepted. Jesus knows all you’ve ever done…everything…and he loves and wants you anyway – Praise Him!!

Amen!! May we truly know the warmth and passion of His love this week and always.

Hope Awakening

Read: Ezekiel 1 and 37  
“He asked me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’” (Ezekiel 37:3a)

“Son of man, can these bones live?”

The question caught Ezekiel off guard. In that moment, he recalled his very first vision of God. Then, he had seen the heavens opened and caught a glimpse of God and the awesome majesty of His throne. “And when [he] saw it, [he] fell upon his face…” (1:28) Snapping back to present day, the prophet looked around the valley that God had spirited him to. Now, he “saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry.” (37:3)

Ezekiel hesitated. He still recalled the appearance of God’s glory, the fire, the brightness of His beauty. But right now, his eyes beheld another story – a valley full of dead, dry bones. Whatever life had once coursed through those remains was long gone. Could they live again? It certainly didn’t look like it. Still, if anyone could bring these bones back to life, it had to be God. Finally, he responded with the only truth he could wrap his mind around. “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” (37:3b)

Sometimes the situation in front of us is so overwhelming, it blocks everything else out – even what we know to be true about God and His promises. Hope seems lost, distant or unattainable. At times like these, our best recourse is to cry out like the father seeking deliverance for his son, “Lord I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)

God is faithful to meet us where we are. He responded to Ezekiel with a directive to prophesy to the bones. When all was said and done, “breath came into [the bones], and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.” (37:10)

In the midst of their captivity, God’s people felt like they would never get out of the hole their sin had dug them into. Babylon seemed unconquerable and hope improbable. And so, God sent them a word, telling Ezekiel, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord…I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,’ says the LORD.”

No matter where you are today, what hurt or disappointment you’re dealing with, God is saying, “ For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Father, give us the grace to receive Your word and promise of hope. Amen.

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Main Keyword Phrase:  Teach Your Kids Money Management

5 Reasons to Teach Your Kids Money Management Now

If you’re wondering whether to teach your kids money management now or later, consider this: do you want to retire in comfort, or would you prefer to support your kids for life? According to NerdWallet, nearly 50% of young adults receive financial support from their parents to cover housing and/or health insurance costs.

With that in mind, here are five reasons to start educating your kids about money management right away:

  1. Set Your Children Up for Financial Success and Security

A University of Illinois study found that “nearly a third of young adults were financially precarious because they had poor financial literacy and lacked money management skills.” The study revealed that this at-risk group had little to no education on financial concepts and had minimal exposure to thoughtful money management behavior.

Teaching your children financial concepts doesn’t have to be formal or rigid. They can learn by watching how you make spending decisions and listening as you explain your reasons to them. Even better if you provide them with opportunities to practice saving and spending. These lessons will serve them well when they make money decisions on a larger scale.

  • Prepare Your Children for Adulthood

‘Adulting’ means the art of living as a responsible adult. It includes successfully navigating activities like managing a home, holding down a job, paying bills and (you guessed it) managing money. Adulting classes are all the rage because many millennials and Gen Zers graduate from high school feeling unprepared to face the world. These classes are offered in universities, high schools and even online to help prepare young adults for independent living.

Adulting classes feature financial savvy as a core skill to be mastered for successful adulthood. Teach your children money management basics, and they will be ahead of the curve, well on their way to being self-sufficient, well-adjusted adults.

  • Give Your Children the Gift of Financial Freedom and Independence

Fran Pastore, founder of the Women’s Business Development Council, blogs about her experience of raising economically independent children. She started their allowances once they turned five, and even helped them to open savings accounts. She committed to paying them weekly through college, so long as they put half of their earnings into savings. In time, she also taught them how to invest. By the time her kids got to college, they had enough savings put away to fund major life choices such as studying abroad, taking extensive international trips, or living on their savings while they held out for a dream job in a new city.

When your kids learn how to manage money early on, they will have the chance to appreciate the difference between getting by and living well, with choice.

  • Secure Your Retirement Funds

2021 census reports indicate that 52% of young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 still live with their parents. The majority of that population is fully reliant on their parents for daily living expenses and healthcare. While having your kids around longer is not necessarily a bad thing, you don’t want to exhaust your retirement funds caring for them. If you set up your children for financial success, they will likely help you out in your sunset years so that you don’t have to work till you drop.

  • Your Children Will Thank You

If you just give your children money, you will provide for them when they’re young. If you teach your children how to manage money, you will provide for them for a lifetime. And they will thank you for it.

Don’t worry if your kids are a bit older and you haven’t taught them about money management yet – it’s never too late to start. Click here to learn more about a fun and engaging way for your children to learn how to manage money and kick off their ride to financial freedom today!

Sources for Additional Reading:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180824135007.htm

https://www.clevergirlfinance.com/blog/financial-literacy-for-kids/

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Rest Easy Knowing Your Child is Prepared to Navigate Life’s Challenges

Dear Parent,

You don’t have to be one of the many parents sacrificing their retirement savings to support grown kids who struggle financially. Rather, you can empower your children to live their best lives while you live out your golden years in bliss. What’s more, teaching your children how to manage money can be fun, engaging and rewarding (literally)!

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According to NerdWallet, when compared with their peers, children enrolled in Budget Brainiacs:

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  • Are better prepared to live independently as young adults
  • Have more confidence in their ability to tackle life’s challenges
  • Show less reliance on their parents when resolving difficult situations

Budget Brainiacs is rated by money magazine as the #1 US financial literacy education product for children under 15. And many middle school personal finance classes are starting to apply program’s principles to teach students about managing money.  As a busy mom myself, I’m grateful to have this tool to help educate my children about money matters. Now, I’m planning for retirement secure in the knowledge that my children will be able to stand on their own feet!

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CMS for Small Business: What You Need to Know

A CMS is a next step to drive the success of your business. With the numerous options out there, here’s what you need to know to make the right selection. 

According to Small Business IT professionals, the plethora of available platform options can make the decision to set up a Content Management System (CMS) a daunting one. However, applying the following steps will streamline the selection process and help to ensure satisfactory results:

Define Your CMS Strategy

What do you intend to accomplish with a CMS? The objective could be as basic as publishing content to educate consumers about your product/service, or it could be as extensive as utilizing the site to manage eCommerce activities. The strategy will drive decisions such as opting for a custom-built site tailored specifically to your business needs or an off-the-shelf solution that can either be customized or used as is (in the case of sites that are built for a particular purpose, such as car sales).

Determine What Features You Need

Defining your strategy will enable you to determine what features are critical to the success of your CMS venture. If the primary purpose of the site is to maintain content for consumers, key features might include ease of use, flexible editing functionality, multiple language options to support an international customer base and SEO optimization. Where the CMS will be utilized to manage eCommerce, vital considerations could include ease of collaboration and the ability to integrate with other tools/software utilized by your business.

Evaluate Available Resources

Once your critical CMS features have been identified, an evaluation of available human and financial capital should be performed. For instance, you could have in-house developer talent work on building and managing the site, or you could adopt a hybrid approach whereby the site is built in house, but management activities such as security, monitoring and maintenance are outsourced. In the same vein, you will need to consider what funding is available to allocate to the CMS. This could factor into deciding whether to settle for an open-source CMS – which is free – or a proprietary CMS, which requires a paid subscription or licensing fee.

Review and Compare Options

Having outlined your strategy, key features and available capital (human and financial), you will be in a better position to review and compare available options in order to make the optimal decision for your business. While there are several options available, only one of those may satisfy all the requirements you have identified. Top CMS options include WordPress, Google Sites (formerly Blogger), Joomla, Magento, HubSpot, Drupal, Ghost and Kentico.

Make a Decision

It is important to note that the above steps need not necessarily be performed in isolation and should ideally include some overlap. Available resources may drive decisions about strategy and features selection – eg there may be a specific requirement for ease of use if the site is built by personnel without coding experience. Additionally, considerations such as SEO optimization may carry more weight in the final CMS determination.