by Dennis Wiggs

How do you approach each New Year? Here are several suggestions that will help. The recommendations demand organization and self-discipline but, they will produce much profit and personal satisfaction.

Save Receipts

Designate a box for you, your wife, and the entire family to deposit receipts from every purchase. A long wooden or metal recipe box is ideal. Place the container in the kitchen or someplace easily accessible. Encourage family members to place receipts in the box. You’ll be surprised at how many times you return to the box because you need to return an item or balance your bank accounts.

At the end of the year, place all receipts in a file folder and label it 1999 Receipts and start the process over again.

Place Warranties in a File

Most purchases carry a warranty, whether a watch, water hose, or wallet. While new purchases may appear to be unbreakable, don’t assume they will last. The average shopper will encounter items that break or do not function as they should.

Warranties or guarantees should be placed in a file. Periodically, thumb through the file and discard warranties that are out of date.

Get a Will

For many years, I was afraid to go to a lawyer and secure a legal will. In the back of my mind, something seemed to say that registering a will would mean I would die soon after. But when my brother-in-law, John S. Craft, died at age 38, leaving behind a wife and four children, I immediately went to the lawyer’s office and had a will drawn up. That’s been nearly 20 years ago and I’m still alive.

You don’t want the courts determining who takes care of your children. Get a will. The Free Will Baptist Foundation offers a free Wills Guidebook. Visit www.FWBGifts.org or email foundation@nafwb.org.

PIan a Budget

Record all anticipated expenses for the upcoming year. Make a realistic estimate of your income. Then balance the two. Budget tithes, offerings, taxes, auto expenses, home mortgage and/or housing expenses, medical bills, food, clothing, recreation, education, etc.

If the budget just won’t balance, make the shortage a daily matter of prayer. As you exercise frugality, give to the Lord, and pray, you will be pleasantly surprised to watch the Lord send additional funds. A simple budget will reveal where your money goes and how you need to cut unnecessary expenses.

Develop a Financial File

During the year, place receipts of items that are tax deductible in designated files. For example, auto, housing, office, books, newspapers, magazines, medical bills, etc., can be used to reduce your taxes. By placing receipts in different files, your preparation for filing income taxes is much easier.

Set Spiritual Goals

Determine where you will read in your Bible this year. I read the four Gospels over and over again for three years in a row. I read Acts through Revelation several times another year. This past year, I very slowly read the history book of Acts. What a blessing!

Decide the direction of your devotional Bible reading and stick with it. Write some spiritual goals in your prayer journal. For example, share the gospel each week, fast and pray during certain times, write a missionary each week, visit a mission field, write out a sermon each week, visit a rest home each week, and other goals you would like to reach.

List Prayer Requests

When you pray, expect God to answer! The year can be more exciting when you check off your prayer requests as they are answered. List the names of hardened sinners. List seemingly impossible prayer burdens. Record personal and family requests. And celebrate when God answers your prayers.

Expect a Great Year

Be optimistic. Stop grumbling. Approach every new day with enthusiasm. Express your love to your wife and children on a daily basis. Stop looking in; look out to help meet the needs of others. Live every day as if that day the Lord may return. Young pastor, it will be a good year as the Lord ministers to our every need for His honor and glory. Don’t miss the blessings.

About the Writer: Dennis Wiggs retired in 2004 after many years in ministry.

Adapted from Contact magazine, January 1999.