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CHARACTER ON CREDIT?

March 30, 2010

We are all aware that our economy is under extreme burden.  Banker bailouts, ponzi schemes, credit scandals.  But what happens when good people find themselves unable to manage their finances after a loss of employment or medical emergency?  What happens to the credit rating of those who, by no fault of their own, see their once good “credit score” drop with a thud because of their unfortunate circumstances? 

Unfortunately, businesses seldom stop to consider the circumstances or the persons themselves when doing “credit checks” for new hires.  Even churches today rate a man’s character on his credit score.  This should not be.  What then becomes of the one who has been judged by the world’s standards?  He is disqualified from teaching the Word of God because he has been demoted in the eyes of search committees by worldly standards – certainly not God’s standards.  Sometimes, 1st Timothy 3:5 – 6 is used to justify disqualifying a pastor whose credit score doesn’t meet the standards of the world:

“He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?),…” (1 Timothy 3:4-5 NASB)

But does this apply to those, who like faithful Job, lost all he had but still gave glory to God?  I think not.  These verses speak about managing the FAMILY well.  If Job had lived in our time, his extreme misfortunes would have caused a trip to the hospital and then an exorbitant bill for services that he could not pay after losing all he had.  Sure, his credit rating would be a serious problem for those who judge by worldly standards, but in the eyes of His God, who put him in that position for His glory, it would not be an issue.

If God doesn’t count our inability to pay as a character fault, why do we?  Pastoral committees should not be as the world, but see people as God sees them.  What are we to do for a brother in need?  What about a pastor who has fallen onto hard times? 

My husband and I love the Lord and both of us have been serving Him faithfully as teachers, preachers, and everything in between.  Our congregation loves him as their pastor, but we would never pass the test on the credit score and it doesn’t matter to them.  They see who we are and our circumstances and judge righteously – not as the world does based upon our credit rating.

Our Testimony:

After Gary’s former wife passed away of cancer, he was stuck with juggling a mountain of bills with his income cut in half.  Later when we met he head already gone through his savings trying to stay afloat, and I was just beginning to build my own credit history back up after devastating medical bills.  I was laid off from my job and after my unemployment ran out, was fully expecting to be able to work in my new state of Arizona.  Unfortunately, just as I arrived, the economy here took a nose dive and after many efforts, I could not find employment.  My husband juggled the bills until he couldn’t make it any longer.  He held two jobs – one as pastor for a minimal sum and one supporting job.  Still, it was difficult.  Through no fault of our own, we fell behind in a car payment and his car was repossessed.  There literally was nothing he could do, and at this point we were living paycheck to paycheck and many prayers.  We were in the position that many are in today.  Then, the unthinkable happened.  My husband lost his supporting job and our fate was sealed.  We lost it all.  Our house was in foreclosure and we were living on $600 a month from his church salary and a small pension annuity for another $144 a month.  We also had to apply for food stamps for the first time in both of our lives just to survive – again, no fault of our own.  Until these unfortunate events, my husband’s credit score was very good. 

My credit problems began with a broken ankle and no insurance. To add to that, more medical bills were piled to that when I need my right eye enucleated because of malignant melanoma (that was over 15 years ago and I’m cancer free) and my non-believing husband left me to care for three children alone.  I watched helplessly as the bills piled up with absolutely no way to pay them.  Did I want to pay them?  Of course!  Do I love the Lord?  Yes, I do.

There are similar stories all over the world now.  One small step of misfortune for many families and they fall off the precipice they’ve been standing on for years.  The foreclosure rate has never been higher.  The number of good people plunging to the depth of the credit rating cesspool has increased dramatically.  The question is, how should we judge them – by the world’s standards or by God’s standards?

We as Christians are told not to be like the world.  We are to judge righteously.  Should we disqualify a man of God who loves the Lord and whose only mark against him is his poverty and the unfortunate circumstances that led to the “mark of bad credit?”  Are we like the world that judges the character of a man based upon the world’s idea of worth – monetary solvency and a good credit score?  Does a good credit score have anything to do with the character of a Christian who has experienced these trials?

There are those who never experience hardship, but the man of God is not destined for a life of smooth waters.  Sometimes, debt is not procured through reckless spending, although even a pastor can fall into the trap of owning credit cards!  I know that I have watched my husband make every effort to pay something on all his bills even when it left us with literally nothing.  He never defrauded anyone.

Whether accurate or not, the credit score system has the power to keep a person in bondage to his debtors by exempting him from employment.  Rating a person’s character by the numbers on a credit score is unbiblical; however, the world sees it as just because it is based upon the dictates of the god of Mammon.  Yes, this rating system can affect ones entire future and it might not even be based upon fact!

From Secret History of the Credit Card by Malgorzata Wozniacka and Snigdha Sen:

“The credit score system has been around for 45 years and is credited with making lending less discriminatory and credit more widely available. But while the meticulous collecting and sharing of consumers’ credit histories has dramatically improved the efficiency of U.S. credit markets, critics say the credit bureau’s information — affecting everything from who insures you to who hires you — may contain substantive errors and is increasingly being used and shared among companies without consumers’ knowledge.”[1]

With the world in economic turmoil, there will be many brothers and sisters in Christ that will fall between the cracks. The church should not spiritually fall into the cracks as well by judging by the world’s standards.  Our judgment must contain the elements of mercy and truth.  Ask – what are the circumstances of a low credit score?  As Christians, we must make sure that we are not disqualifying a man of God’s choice based upon the value placed upon him by Experian, Trans Union, and Equifax.  God’s kingdom is not based upon the dictates of the god of Mammon, but upon righteousness and truth.

Credit reporting was born more than 100 ago… “However, it wasn’t until 2001 that consumers gained direct access to their credit scores. Earlier that year, Consumer Reports had documented the problem of credit scores being off limits to consumers in an article entitled “New Assault on Your Credit Rating.” The article, combined with growing pressures from lending institutions wanting to disclose scores to consumers, finally opened credit score information to individuals. An updated version of the FCRA, signed into law by President George W. Bush in December 2003, requires CRAs to provide consumers a copy of their credit score at a “fair and reasonable” fee. Consumers can obtain their FICO credit score, for a fee, at myfico.com.”

Reference:


[1]  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/credit/more/scores.html

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TRUTH 4 LIFE

March 29, 2010

My favorite preacher is Paul Washer (second to my husband, of course).  Many are offended by his uncompromising “hell fire and damnation” preaching but I love it because God’s truth is pure gold and, if rightly divided, lights our paths as we struggle on that “narrow road” that leads to life.  The following sermon is my favorite.  Please take the time to watch and listen and let your heart be open to the truth of God’s Word:

 

GOD BLESS YOU!

WHAT ARE WE TO DO?

March 25, 2010

This e-mail was forwarded to me from a church member.  I am saddened but not surprised.  

I receive many e-mails every day.  The video she sent makes me sad but is not surprising given the way Obama has reacted toward Chrisitanity especially:

Her question reflects the frustration of what much of the country feels now:

“Okay, Victoria, I have a question:  As Americans we have all this info on Obama.  What do we do?  I have put my name on every petition to try and fight some of what is going on in government outside of pure revolt like in the beginning of our country.  What do we do?  I pray for our country but it feels like the course has been set!  Thank God he saw fit to save me.”

My response was to keep praying, but don’t be afraid of what is and what is coming.  We are not going to change what is destined, but we can keep our eyes focused on Jesus and allow Him to guide us through the trials we and our country will be facing in the future and even in the present.  I believe over emphasis on the minors distracts us from the majors.  For a Christian, our relationship with Christ should be above all and fear should not overtake us.

It is obvious for many that protesting is having no effect upon those intent on fulfilling their own agendas.  As a matter of fact, it seems the more protesting, the more labeling of those protesters as enemies of the state!  Where have we seen this before? 

There has been a 1776 battle cry from grass roots groups and that is admirable.  However, we are NOT in 1776, but 2010.  The battle field has changed, the enemy is many times ideological, and the weapons of war have become too advanced for the average patriot to stand against.  I’m not saying we shouldn’t make our opposition known, but it seems out voices aren’t being heard.  Better to wait until November, when our voices will be heard at the polls:  Get your ‘vote ’em out’ lists ready!

I believe, as many pastors and awake Christians, that we are feeling the beginnings of the birth pangs (Matthew 24:8).  Therefore, how should a Christian react to what is happening in the world around us?  

“Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap; for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth. “But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36 NASB)

IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HEALTHCARE

March 25, 2010

The following article is one of the most informative I’ve found lately.  I contacted the author, who is a strong sister in the Lord, for permission to post. 

By Kelleigh Nelson
March 24, 2010
NewsWithViews.com

We know the Obama healthcare overhaul has nothing to do with healthcare. It’s all about control, and specifically population control. In 1973, the supreme court found for Roe in an unbelievable 7 to 2 decision that abortion was legal. Since then 50 million babies have been murdered in their mother’s wombs in the United States of America, where LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is promised in the Declaration of Independence. Read more…

APPOLOGIES – MOVING!!!

March 16, 2010

I wanted to apologize to my readers – I know you haven’t heard from us for some time, but we have been insanely busy with the coming changes in our lives – we feel God moving us on and we are packing up. God is directing our path – possibly up north – and when we find out what His will is, we will once again be on a “blog” schedule. I will be adding some interesting articles and making efforts to increase our audience. Gary still pastors in Chloride and we love them, but everything just seems to be God’s direction and we knew two years ago that we would be ending our time in Chloride. Circumstances (not in the church) seem to be indicating this.

As some of you know, I have been an insulin dependent for about 6 years now. I finally decided to dump the insulin with a regimine of healthy eating, vitamin supplements and exercise. After a month, I had lost 23 pounds and have never felt better. I have to listen to my body signals on when to eat, even a bite of the wrong food can give me that “foggy” feeling, but I’m learning how to feel good again. I feel 100% better than I ever did shooting up insulin four times a day! For those who don’t know, the additives in the insulin are KILLERS!  In the insulin I was taking, there was an extremely toxic ingredient used in pesticides called Metacresol and hydrochloric acid!  NO WONDER I FELT TERRIBLE WITH A BURNING IN MY BACK AND LUNGS!  I literally have no pain now that I’ve dumped the stuff. 

PLEASE NOTE!!!  This is not in any way a recommendation to try this yourself – just my experience. In any case, there is so much to thank God for.

Blessings to Richard Tovia who began his new ministry. He visits churches and explains Jesus in the passover. A wonderful brother in Christ.

When I have more time, I will certainly be concentrating on adding more paintings in the gallery and info on cults. In the meantime, God bless you, and live long and prosper!

8.8 CHILEAN EARTHQUAKE

February 27, 2010

This morning another earthquake hit, the death toll now at 120+ and many more injured.  I dare say there will be even more casualties as the day goes on.

PRAY FOR THEM.

HOLY SPIRIT WARNING

February 20, 2010

The other day I awoke praising the Lord and as I was praying I felt the urge to pray for protection.  Now, I usually don’t do that, but this morning was anything but usual.

After my prayer, I walked sleepily into the kitchen to plug in our hot pot to make coffee.  As I reached forward I noticed a poisonous Mohave Green snake coiled on top of my stove, about a foot away!!!  He rattled, and I was rattled!  I screamed for my husband and when he saw it he ran to get his gun.  Since the dogs heard my scream and ran to the rescue, I quickly rushed them into the bedroom and shut the door.  The last thing I heard were gun shots.

Out here in Arizona we do have snakes, but we rarely see them.  My husband has never seen one in the house in all his 22 years here and to have the reptile on top of the stove?  Well, let’s just say it was a bit unusual.  Sorry, but I didn’t think to take a photo of him for the blog…lol!

Even though the snake was saying, “Don’t tread on me,” God was saying, “Don’t tread on my child.”  I can’t even tell you how many times the Lord has delivered me from the hands of enemies, human and non.  

The Christian life is full of surprises, but there is no surprise in God’s love for us.

“But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3 NASB)