Torch, Winter 1979

6 These expenses always seem to catch us unaware and we need to plan ahead for them. The next section should have a record of the monthly spending schedule. These are the boundaries that you should build for yourself based on your past experience as determined in the fourth step. In setting these limits, it is important that at least 10% be budgeted to the Lord through the local church. A percentage should also be designated for savings. Whatever is left over is to be used for living expenses. In this section the monthly spending should be broken up into pay periods, depending on how you are paid. As a check is written for each of these expenses, a checkmark should go to the left of the two recording columns. At this stage it is necessary to determine if too much money is being spent in any of the areas or if we have failed to allocate enough money to cover the monthly expenses in other areas. Abudget can not work if we are not realistic. Some adjustments may be necessary at this point. Accuracy in recording is an absolute necessity. Therefore, it is important that you keep up with your record keeping. Letting it fall behind so you are faced with a major task in updating your records can cause you to give it all up. The next section (the third) should be for individual record keeping. For example, a page for each utility (electricity, natural gas or heating fuel, water, telephone, etc.) will help to keep your overall expenses within a realistic budget. Each month such expenses are recorded in the first column and an accumulative figure for the accounting period is kept in the second column. At a quick glance it is easy to see how much has been spent on each expenditure. Other pages can be kept for such categories as grocery expenses, mortgage records, charge account usage and control, and payback schedules. The categories are up to your creativity and sense of organization. Let me add at this point, if you should find yourself in debt due to . . . when we tie up our 1nances in credit, we leave out the possibility of God providing our needs in miraculous ways which would bring glory to Him and make our faith stronger. credit buying, make it a primary goal to repay the debt and then strive not to use credit buying except in extreme emergencies. Some may even need to destroy the credit cards to avoid becoming a "credit-holic." Credit buying trouble often comes camouflaged as convenience and style, when in actuality it is too often overindebtedness, exorbitant finance charges and the temptation to make unnecessary purchases. Another consideration concerning such abstinence is that when we tie up our finances in credit, we leave out the possibility of God providing our need in miraculous ways which would bring glory to Him and make our faith stronger. Philippians 4:19 says, "But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." God many times does not have the opportunity to demonstrate His omnipotent character in our lives because we usually have gone ahead in our feeble ways, providing for ourselves at whatever the cost. The fourth section of your budget book should be for a record of giving. An accurate accounting of your tithe and offerings will be a blessing to you as well as a handy record for income tax purposes. Planned giving is a necessary part of all of our lives as the Scripture commands. The last section of your notebook should be for recording your short and long term goals. Goals need to be realistic and meaningful. Obedience to Scripture is of paramount importance in setting such goals lest it be a listing of selfish and materialistic desires. God cannot bless our efforts when we disobey Him in the process. The Bible clearly teaches many important principles of stewardship which have both a material and spiritual application. Obviously God considers it important that we take care of what He has given us. As our Lord Jesus Christ said in Luke 16:11, "If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?" We cannot add to that. Mr. Rohm is in charge of financial development of the Fruitport Bethel Baptist Church in Fruitport, MI.