Financial Freedom God’s Way course

In the summer of 2016, I was searching for an online Christian financial course that I could take at my own pace and I found one offered by Christian Financial Ministries. This course was titled “Financial Freedom God’s Way” and it was created and taught by Bob Louder. It was a biblically-focused course that used many Bible verses to explain how and why God blesses us financially. I learned that there are over 2,300 verses that talk about money, and I don’t ever recall hearing a sermon that mentioned that. So, this was a very interesting and eye-opening statistic for me.

In the first half of the course, there were about ten students and only five advanced to the next one. However, at the end of the complete course, only three of us remained, and that was very disappointing to not only the instructor but also to me since I felt the others were not as dedicated to learning as I was. I bonded very well with Mr. Louder and he asked me to help him manage the social media sites for the course and help promote it to potential students. I was in the middle of paying off my garnishment, so this course helped me feel that God was right beside me and that my financial situation would soon improve significantly.

One of the things that I struggled with was tithing. When we began to study this in the course, I did not think it was that important to God. I had always donated money to my local church and other ministries but it didn’t add up to be a tithe or ten percent of my income. I had seen God bless me in past years when I was faithfully giving money monthly to my church and ministries and it had never dawned on me that I wasn’t tithing. I had never been taught that to tithe is the first step to full financial freedom and blessings. Growing up I always helped count the offering at my father’s churches, and I also helped him when he would publish the newsletter letting the congregation know where their offering money was going. So, I knew the importance of continuously supporting my local church. But I was never taught that God would bless me beyond measure when I started to tithe continuously. The best example of this was my own accountant who is a woman with a strong faith in God. I asked her once how she was able to be blessed so incredibly financially and she told me it was due to her practicing the tithe. She had learned this as a little girl in her church and it was ingrained in her that this would lead to her financial success. She not only tithes to her local church, but she also donates to missionaries and other ministries too. She owns two houses in an exclusive part of the city and also drives a very expensive luxury vehicle, and she has no regrets about it. She knows that God is using her to fund his great commission and He allows her to live this lavish lifestyle too. I never thought I could start tithing, and it wasn’t until June 2018 that I made the decision to become a tither. And from there on my financial situation improved significantly.

In my role as a Benefits Advocate for the major insurance company that I work for, I was eligible to receive quarterly bonuses based on certain metrics that I met monthly. For some reason, I had never been able to qualify for this bonus and it was frustrating for me. Looking back now, part of the reason was that I was not trained properly as to what I needed to do to qualify for this bonus. However, right after I started tithing, God allowed me to listen in on a call that enlightened me and I now knew what I needed to do to qualify for it. And since then, I have qualified for these quarterly bonuses consistently. It was $750 in 2018, but soon thereafter it was increased to $1200 with an additional $150 if I met other requirements. Every time I bonused, I tithed from that amount and I became a cheerful giver…or rather a cheerful tither. I received generous annual increases too, and I was on my way to reaching financial freedom.

I also want to mention that I finally paid off my garnishment in October 2016 and what a great feeling that was. My next paycheck after that looked like a million dollars to me. I didn’t have to pay the garnishment anymore and now I could focus on saving more money. This experience impacted me so much so that I became extremely frugal with my money, and I made sure that after every pay period I had at least $200 leftover. I didn’t want to ever experience having a lack of money, and I asked God to help me increase my income by finding another job or a side hustle. Since I had social media management experience, I decided to create my own company and I established it as a sole proprietorship. I was able to get two clients, a doctor’s office and a BMW service repair shop. I made $2,500 managing their Facebook and LinkedIn accounts for about three months but then these clients decided not to renew. This was very disappointing to me since I thought I was doing a great job at managing and promoting their social media accounts. I made a wise decision in placing this money in a savings account since I wanted it to be my emergency fund.

It was difficult to hold a full-time job while trying to get a side business going, so I decided to just focus on working overtime at work to get extra money. During this time, I was also applying for other jobs inside and outside of the company. I felt it was time for me to get a more responsible and higher-paying job. My interviews within the company were somewhat disappointing. I thought my accomplishments at previous companies together with my accomplishments at my current company would more than qualify me for a promotion. Unfortunately, that wasn’t how my interviewers saw me. I found out quickly that there were clicks within certain departments that I was applying for, and I had the feeling that maybe some saw me as a threat due to my qualifications. That is the bad side of working in the corporate world – things don’t usually turn out the way you plan them.

At the church I was attending they created a “prayer wall” by the lobby. There were Post It notes on the tables with markers where you could write your prayer request and then post it on the wall. The prayer team would then take these requests to pray over them. I remember submitting prayer requests twice – the first time it was for me to get a high-paying job and the other time to help me with a business idea. I truly believed that at least one of those prayers would be answered. I also submitted these requests to several online ministries because I felt that the more people would be praying over my requests, the louder it would sound in Heaven.

I also began following pastors whose ministries focused on financial blessings and I was immersed in a totally new realm. I often wondered why churches avoid talking about the financial blessings that God can bestow upon us by following the instructions in the Bible. This would bless so many people and help their ministries too. I also studied books on Jewish wealth since the Jews are one of the most financially successful people in most countries of the world. The one book that had the most impact on me was “Thou Shall Prosper” by Rabbi Daniel Lapin. It is a very enlightening book and he basically wrote it to teach us “gentiles” that we can also attain the same wealth as they do by following what they are taught as youngsters.

That’s it for this post and I will share more miraculous stories next time.

Let me know if you are enjoying reading about my financial journey so far by commenting here.  

My Financial Storm – Part 2

As I mentioned on my previous post, I was let go after one month as the assistant branch manager of a cleaning company and it left me in complete shock. I had been laid off twice previously, and I was not ready then and much less at that moment. From 2005 to 2009 I worked for a disease management company and I was making decent money. They relocated me to Miami and I had a company laptop, cell phone, and got reimbursed for my car mileage. I was a Provider Relations Specialist and my duties included visiting doctors offices, hospitals, and other medical facilities to educate the providers on our company’s disease management program. I was also a member of the Miami-Dade Council on Aging where I served for several years, and I received a Certificate of Appreciation for my continued participation in the meetings and events. That was the best job I ever had, unfortunately due to economic downturn of 2008, the company laid off most of the staff in 2009. That was the first time I was ever laid off and it hurt.

After losing this assistant manager job in 2015, I immediately went searching on the internet and I found one at a local auto insurance company making a little bit higher than minimum wage. I was desperately searching since I didn’t want to rely on unemployment compensation. I was starting to wonder if I would ever be able to have another high-paying job. I was basically doing clerical work and greeting customers as they walked in to make their monthly payment. The owner wanted me to get licensed so I could sell policies and then make around $40,000 with commission. At this stage in my life that’s not what I wanted to be doing, so I kept applying for other positions. I always yearned to find another job in the healthcare field, but my job searches always led me back to the call center industry where I’ve had the most experience.

I had several interviews lined up but I was not getting hired. Then I received the call that would change my life and set me on a new career path. It was from a major health insurance company, and I was longing to get back to this industry since it’s where I had the best experience. It was for a senior bilingual representative position in their call center and at this point I wasn’t necessarily looking for supervisor jobs, I just wanted to find a decent job with decent pay.

The first interview was a phone interview with a recruiter who asked me a few questions about my work experience and why I was applying for this role. Since I am bilingual, that was a plus because they were looking for people to fill these positions, and there was a pay differential once I passed a Spanish certification test. I told the interviewer that although I had previously been a supervisor in other companies, I wanted to start from the bottom here so I could educate myself on this industry before I moved on up.

The next interview was in person at the call center. I believe it was God-incidence that the supervisor who interviewed me was a member of a church where a friend of mine was the pastor (I didn’t find this out until months after I was hired). After the interview, he took me on a tour of the call center and then he offered me a decent starting pay which was more than double what I was making at the small insurance agency. I accepted it and went through an intense four-month training program and I felt that I would be working here for a long time.

The biggest shocker was when in my first month out of training I had worked a lot of overtime and I was expecting a huge check. To my surprise when I checked the online paystub it was half of what I had calculated it to be. I immediately called the HR department to ask what was going on. They bluntly explained to me that I had been served with a garnishment and the company suing me found out I was working there so they had to comply with it. My heart started racing at a high speed because I was not expecting this at all. Later I came to find out it was a company where I had purchased my laptop and other electronics, but they had not notified me that this was going to happen. I had stopped paying them when I got laid off several years earlier. It would have also been nice if my new HR department would have sent me an email or a letter to inform me about this.

I then called the collection agency that was handling this garnishment to work out a new payment arrangement since they were taking half of my paycheck. I had to have money to pay both my studio apartment rent, my car payment, and I had to have money left over to pay my other bills. Thankfully they were able to grant me a lower payment arrangement. And thankfully as well, that year the company offered overtime every single month and I took advantage of it and paid off this balance in six months. From that point on I became a minimalist, being frugal with everything I bought. I increased my 401K contribution and made it a point to have money left over from paycheck to paycheck.  And I made over $40,000 that year and I knew I had made the right decision to work here.

This all happened in 2016 and that summer I also enrolled in a Christian Financial Freedom course that would enlighten me more on how God blesses us financially. I will share this story and more on my next post.

My Financial Storm – Part 1

In my first post, I mentioned how I had lost my job just one month after having relocated to another city. This job had been offered to me by a couple who was vacationing in Miami where I was living, and they lived in San Antonio where I previously had lived and met them. I had known them for many years and we had originally met at church. They came to the United States leaving everything behind in their native country to pursue a better life. Since they didn’t know English, they had to initially settle for cleaning jobs at first, but they were able to save money to buy a small house. Eventually, they both learned English and the wife was offered a sales job by one of the ladies at church at the cleaning company where she worked. The wife excelled at sales and was later promoted to branch manager. During their vacation in Miami, I met them for lunch and it was when they suggested that I move back to San Antonio and become the assistant branch manager. I was going through a tough financial situation in Miami, since it is an expensive city to live in, and my paycheck wasn’t enough to cover my expenses. I told them I would pray about it and let them know. After a few days of praying about it I decided it was the ideal time to move back to San Antonio. They were already back in San Antonio and I called them to accept the offer. The salary was more than I was making at the time and I was ready for this new career path.

I would be moving back to familiar territory, and San Antonio was fast becoming a major metropolitan area. I was excited to be back living here and on learning about my new position with this cleaning company. Unfortunately, this turned out to be one of the most disappointing and eye-opening experiences in my life. I had never really had too much interaction with the wife at church, only with her husband. I thought that by the manner in which she acted in church, always raising her hands during worship and sharing her testimonies, and by our many years of friendship, that she would hold me in high esteem. I was wrong. Pardon the pun but she turned out to be “the wicked witch of the west”. On my first day at work, she told me she would only train me for one day and the rest I would have to learn on my own, because that’s the way she started her career with the company. From there on, it was all downhill. She even humiliated me in front of the owner, which was personally devastating after I had professionally introduced myself to him on my first day at work.

I felt a demonic presence whenever she was near me, and many of the staff didn’t respect her. One lady quit and threw the cleaning towels in her face. And I was thinking to myself: What part of all the sermons and Bible studies did she not pay attention to? How could she raise her hands during worship and share testimonies of how good God had been to her, and she was treating people this way?

Well, she called me into her office on the fourth week and told me I was not progressing as she expected me to, and she told me my position had been eliminated. I was in shock. How could she treat a “brother in Christ” like this who had known her for over 20 years, and who had shared meals with her and her husband and with other church members? I considered them like family. It took me many months to forgive her because I felt extremely humiliated by her actions toward me. And to top it off, when I shared this with the pastor of that church, he basically told me to forget it and to look for another job. Did I really feel “Christian love” throughout this experience? Absolutely not! I was flabbergasted. I also didn’t understand why God had allowed me to go through this.

Nevertheless, I started attending a megachurch since I didn’t want to mingle with anyone from that other church. I needed to strengthen my relationship with God and move on from this unfortunate incident.

But now looking back, I can see that the main reason for me moving back to San Antonio was because God had something even better planned for me. He just needed me to be back here, and the way he did it was by having that couple convince me to do so. As they say, God moves in mysterious ways and in this case, I can certainly say that he did.

I will continue with this story on my next post.

Welcome to my blog

Since 2015, I have been studying the different ways that God can bless us financially. I began by researching stories of people that had received supernatural provision, and that led to me to the story of George Muller. In the 1800s, he founded and maintained an orphanage in England simply by praying to God. He never asked anyone for money, and God met his needs every single time. There were periods where he had to wait before God came through with the money; and that made him stronger in his faith.

George Muller

That is so different than what most of us in the modern world expect – we want things to happen now. Maybe you got in to some financial trouble and you may lose your house or car due to being late in your payments. Or maybe you have been on a spending spree and have almost nothing in an emergency savings account.  Don’t worry I was there too, but with God’s help – offering me wisdom and opportunities to make money – I was able to become debt-free on February 2021. That’s when I paid off my car loan, and it was a little over a year after I had paid off my credit card balances.

One of the major changes in my life was transforming myself into a minimalist. Which means I was no longer pursuing material things, instead I started focusing on giving more money to my church, other ministries, and charities. Then that’s when miraculous things started happening in my finances and in my life. I developed a stronger bond with God and I felt as if I was in a heavenly realm here on earth. I also downsized and have lived in a studio apartment for six years. This allowed me to save even more money.

I remember relocating to my current city with hardly any money in the bank. Then within a month, the assistant manager job that I had relocated for was eliminated, leaving me unemployed and with bills to pay. For the first time in my life my bank account was overdrawn – the auto-pay for my car loan caused this to happen. I had tried to negotiate with the finance company but it was too late. I remember walking out of the bank after talking with the bank officer about my situation, but he could not reverse the car payment transaction. I walked out of the bank with my head down feeling defeated, and then I looked up at the sky and asked God why he was allowing this to happen to me.

Thankfully, my brother and other close friends came to my rescue by giving me over $2,000 to help me pay my rent and other bills. Later on, I would realize that I had to go through this experience in order to learn the financial lessons that God was going to teach me. And at the same time this will serve as a powerful testimony for many of you who are reading this and may be going through your own financial struggles.

I hope by reading my posts you too can live debt-free and continue to receive financial blessings for the rest of your life.