This is my favorite time of the year! Why? Because there always seem to be a shift in most people's attitudes. People are happier and getting caught up in the spirit of holiday season! The weather changes...it starts getting cooler outside. It's very pleasant. The sweltering heat is gone for the most part. It's not quite sweater weather yet, at least not here in Houston, but it's probably time to put away the flip flops and tank tops.
Now if you love this season as well, you also know that it is also a time of frivolous spending. Many people get caught up in the glaring 'SALE' signs in the store windows, television ads and Internet pop-ups. These ads are even more crafty nowadays because your previously viewed websites now appear as advertisement banners on your e-mail homepage. And these ads are very specific. Try looking at an item for a second too long, I guarantee you, the very next website you visit, that item will be there reminding you to buy it.
Anyway, if you're like me and you love this time of the year, don't allow the euphoric feeling to dictate your spending. Let your wallet do the talking. If you haven't prepared a budget for your holiday spending, now is the time to do so. Think about your past gift-giving habits. Do you overspend? Who are you going to purchase gifts for? Are you planning to decorate your home? Are you planning a holiday party? Whatever you're planning to spend money on this holiday season, make sure that you don't overspend.
If you started this year off with a financial goal in mind, try as much as possible to stick to it. You can do it! Sure, you may have fallen off a time or two this year but don't decide to blow it and start over again on January 1 just because you want to give in to the spending impulse. Isn't that what you did last year?
You can enjoy the holiday season and give to others. I only encourage you not to go into debt while doing it. Who wants to spend the next year paying off Christmas gifts from last year? It'll be time to set new financial goals, right? :-)
***My latest book, "Not Without You" has been nominated for the Henri Award. There will also be a Readers' Choice award. Please vote for "Not Without You" here: http://christianliteraryawards.com/2014/09/15/readers-choice-voting/
And if you haven't had the chance, check out my new video posted to my website: http://www.encouraging-works.com/more-encouraging-works.html ***
Thursday, October 2, 2014
But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve. (2 Corinthians 11:14-15 NLT)
The enemy is subtle. Those whom he uses won’t always have a blaring red flag on their foreheads alerting you that they are being used by the enemy. Most times, the enemy is among you trying to fit in to win you over. He learns what your secret desires are and uses them against you to tempt you into sin.
You have to be aware that the enemy wears a disguise. You have to pray and use discernment in everything that you do. The enemy is smart and quick but you have to be smarter. I am reminded of the insurance commercial where the agent is using a fishing pole to dangle a dollar over the head of one of his customers. He says, “You have to be quicker than that.” In the same way, we have to be quicker than the enemy. The enemy will often dangle lies, temptation and deceit over our heads but we have to be quick to discern his tricks.
God freely gives wisdom and discernment to those who ask for it. Although God knows what we need, we are still required to ask for it. I encourage you to petition His throne daily so that you will not be outsmarted by the enemy.
Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, give me the right amount of wisdom, knowledge, understanding and discernment that I need for today. Help me to see the enemy for who he is and reject his advances. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Additional Scripture reading: 2 Corinthians 11: 1-15
And if you haven't already, be sure to check out the speech I gave at the Pink Petals for Pat event:http://www.encouraging-works.com/more-encouraging-works.html