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January 2 is Emancipation Day, marking the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, which started the ball rolling to free all Americans from slavery.

Our organization, the Emancipation Network, takes its name from the Emancipation Proclamation, and we also strive to free Americans from slavery: debt slavery.

The author of the Emancipation Proclamation, Abraham Lincoln, is our example both as an emancipator of others and as one who escaped from debt slavery himself. As a young man, Abraham Lincoln had participated in a failed business which left him in debt for an amount about equal to the cost of a home today. Yet he managed to live his life and achieve his destiny despite his financial disaster. He is a pathfinder for all of us who have suffered financially.

Lincoln teaches us that we should continue to build our lives while working through our debt problems. He never quit working, even after some of his assets were taken by his creditors. He increased his earning power by educating himself to become a lawyer. He married and saved money to buy a home, all while still in debt. Eventually, he was able to pay his debt and thereby earned his nickname of "Honest Abe." He kept control of his life and did not let his creditors rob him of his future, giving priority to his family but working to be fair to his creditors.

His experiences escaping debt slavery gave him an understanding of the importance of debt relief, and he became a bankruptcy lawyer. His compassion for the down and out led him to oppose slavery of all kinds, whether financial or physical. In the end, his path led him to become the Great Emancipator.

The best way to honor him on Emancipation Day is to follow his example.

Start building your life before you pay off your debts and help others once you are set free.

And may you have a blessed and happy New Year.

Ron Allen is a Christian businessman, CPA and author who serves in local, national and international ministries, spreading a message of reconciliation to God, to men and between believers. He is founder of the International Star Bible Society, telling how the heavens declare the glory of God; the Emancipation Network, which helps people escape from financial bondage; and co-founder with his wife, Pat, of Corporate Prayer Resources, dedicated to helping intercessors.

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