Category Archives: Debt-Free

Content in Christ – Debt Free House – Part 3

Mark, the young man who bought his house debt free and his two brothers read Buying a House Debt-Free. They report that the book was an encouragement to them, and they discussed, as a family, the biblical principal of living debt-free and being content in Christ. 

We Maxwells have a vision for families and the children in them learning to be content in Christ and live debt-free lives. With that seed planted in the heart, what seems impossible—a young man purchasing his first house debt free—can become a reality. It is true for our three married sons and our two unmarried sons have the finances to buy their homes debt free. In Buying a House Debt-Free, we share multiple stories of young men who have purchased their homes debt free and give practical steps toward that goal.

The story of Mark is yet another one that we hope and pray will not only inspire you but also motivate you—to own debt-free convictions, to live them out, to teach them to your children, and to read Buying a House Debt-Free if you haven’t already.

You may start small. That’s okay. Simply take the first step.

The exciting “end” of Mark’s story (see Part 1 and Part 2)? He just got engaged!

Mark and his fiancee

“The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower
is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7).

Content in Christ – Debt Free House – Part 2

Recently we began the story of a young man who wanted to purchase a home for his soon-to-start family. He had gained skills during high school years, had a solid job, lived at home, and saved his money. Houses were still out of his price range, but he was committed to remaining debt free so he looked at his possible options. Here is the rest of his story:

Every offer Mark made over the last several months was too low since others had more money, or an investor bought the house. We became discouraged but intensified our praying.   

About 1 week ago, we received notice of a 1700 square foot brick house that was a foreclosure, and it was only about 1 mile from where we live. The real estate agent showed it to Mark and myself (his Dad), and we were convinced it could be fixed up. The asking price was $40K below the assessed value.  We prayed and asked the Lord for wisdom. 

Mark put in a bid two days later. We found out yesterday morning that the bank accepted his bid! After he closes on it, he will have approximately $10K in the bank to start fixing up the interior. Also, since it is so close to our house, he will have minimal travel time and maximum time to spend fixing it up.

Mark waited on the Lord, experiencing many disappointments, but then was rewarded with a better house than he could possibly have dreamed of owning. The Lord is good.

“The LORD is good unto them that wait for him,
to the soul that seeketh him” (Lamentations 3:25).

Content in Christ – Debt Free House – Part 1

We are excited when we hear stories of young men who have committed themselves to debt-free living and then are able to purchase their first home debt free. That is the theme of our book Buying a House Debt Free. We are delighted to share this story with you about a young man who read that book and was inspired. Our hope is that his story will inspire you and your children.

Our 2nd born son, Mark, began courting last October. The courtship is going well, and he and the young lady he is courting are ready to get engaged once he has purchased a house.  

Mark lives at home and is an air conditioning mechanic working on commercial refrigeration in Jacksonville. We live in a small rural community north of Jacksonville.

Mark has saved a significant amount of money but not near enough to buy a new house or buy a piece of land with the intent to build. 

He remained committed that he would pay cash for the best deal he could find. We did much praying and looking and helped him look. The Florida real estate market is such that prices are typically overpriced. n Mark’s case, this meant the best he could find was a used mobile home on a couple of acres.

We looked at nothing but HUD foreclosures in Nassau County (north and west of Jacksonville). In some cases, these were 20 to 30 miles from our residence. Mark has great building skills and helped me build a 2-story addition in 2011, so gutting and fixing a foundation home or mobile home was not beyond his skill level.

This story will be continued in another blog post.

“It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth” (Lamentations 3:27).

Paying Ahead or Behind – Vocational Success

Seems like everyone has heard someone bemoaning their school debt. US News reports that the average college grad has more than $35,000 in school loans. That is a lot of money. Young families often struggle greatly under such a burden, and it puts tremendous pressure on a fledgling marriage. What if both husband and wife have loans? Trying to pay behind for “success” might be the greatest obstacle to their being able to attain it.

Now, picture raising your children with the mindset of paying in advance for success. They learn to make the most of their youth years. From twelve on up, they use their time preparing to be skilled adults while making a reasonable income in exchange for their time. This does not mean that they don’t have fun. They just find beneficial ways of having it. Instead of video games, they thrive on the enjoyment that comes from learning. Instead of hanging out with friends, they work out with siblings or dad or mom, which build strength and family relationships.

Soon they will seek the endorphins adult-type achievement brings as opposed to skateboards and amusement park rides. All choices involve a trade. Will they trade up or trade down for the value of their time? Likely, those trades will have great bearing on the value of their future vocational time. What their time is worth to others will directly correlate with how much time they will have available for their future family and serving the Lord.

Pay for success in advance.

“The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness;
but of every one that is hasty only to want” (Proverbs 21:5).

Loving “Dough” or the Maker?

It takes money to live, and sadly for many, money becomes their reason to live. “The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands” (Psalms 135:15). Food and procreation can have a similar hold on people’s lives becoming their joy, passion and primary purpose in life.

What really is your purpose with money? Is it to make you happy, to have fun, to eat, or …. is it a means that your Lord directs its use of to make a difference in the world? Everything is His, and He graciously extends the use of it to us for His purposes. “The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” (Psalms 24:1).

A good way to self-evaluate the place your money has in your life is to analyze your budget. (Don’t have one? Make one and use it. Not having one is a pretty good indication of a likely problem.)

As you look at each category that money is spent on and how much, ask yourself tough questions. Is the Lord pleased and the One ultimately directing in this area? Is this selfish or wasteful? What place does giving have in your budget?

Unless money has its correct position in our lives we will struggle to be content in Christ and debt-free. Growing up years will have had a significant impact on your attitude about money. We can’t ignore the impact of our choices on shaping our children’s attitude toward money.  Are you committed to your children being debt-free?

Content in Christ: Debt Free – Time

God created time. Time used wisely coupled with God’s gracious provision, enables our children to be content in Christ. It is the universal bank account that puts everyone on the same level. We each have twenty-four hours a day to draw from and invest. At the end of the day, week, month, year, lifetime: what will we have to show for it?

It’s a trade, the most basic of all transactions. Read about successful people and men devoted to the Lord. I dare you to find one that squandered his time. When I was young, I traded my go-cart for a ball glove to a teenage neighbor. I mistakenly thought, “The go cart won’t run, so what good is it?” I didn’t value my go-cart as I should have, and I made a bad trade. Today, it seems, so many squander their time away on poor trades.

Some say that self-discipline/will power is the greatest predictor of individual success, even beyond intelligence. I certainly agree. However, in addition, I have to wonder if the driving force behind self-discipline might be how much a person values his time on earth. Possibly for Christians, the next step up is our level of desire to please our Lord in all things. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17).

Will we teach our children to value their time? Productively using one’s time is vitally important in having the funds needed for life. That is foundational in being content in Christ and that is a powerful motivator for self-discipline. Learning to spend their time productively will provide dividends that those who spend their time on entertainment will not receive.

Follow-on thought for Dads.
We often receive e-mails from frustrated, struggling moms who are drowning in desperation. They know that their children are suffering from lack of a productive home and will have lifelong consequences as a result. They want to believe managing their lives is possible. Of those who purchase Managers of Their Homes, we know that some number will still needlessly struggle to be successful. The book is capable of helping them as it has tens of thousands of moms, but what is missing is their husband’s support. Many husbands don’t value time, a peaceful, productive home, and their family pays the price.

An example is bedtime/wakeup time (BTWT). We often hear how a husband likes to stay up watching the news or movies and won’t go to sleep nor get up at a consistent time. We have found over the years that BTWT is the single, biggest predictor of a mom’s success in managing her day. Yet, Dad won’t inconvenience himself to have the discipline to go to bed and get up when he should in order to be an example, leader, and help to his family.

Valuing time is critical to your children’s success. If you aren’t consistent with BTWT, I would encourage you that it is time to begin. Support your wife by being consistent. Your children’s futures are worth it. Don’t you agree?

Steve

“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”
Ephesians 5:16