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For the best results, have the money ready to send once you have made an agreement and gotten it in writing from the creditor that they will accept the payment as payment in full.

Never make a payment until you have the written agreement in your possession. Make your offer at the end of the month when the creditor is trying to close out their accounts.

3. Focus on controlling your spending. Just about everyone wastes money in some way or another. Those lattes, candy bars and sodas can add up each month. To determine where your money is going, write down all of your expenditures for an entire month. At the end of the month add up your spending. Cut back on spending where you can and add those funds back into your budget.

4. Generate extra income. This is another proactive step you should take when dealing with a financial crisis. Consider holding a garage sale or selling unwanted items on Internet auction sites. If you enjoy a hobby, you can use it to increase your income. For example, if you enjoy sewing, offer your services to neighbors, relatives and friends for a fee. Use the money to help offset any drop in your regular income.

Getting a part-time job is also a way to get the extra cash you need to survive. However, it is important that the money you earn is more than the amount spent on child care or work clothes for that job.

5. Contact a debt-management company. A reputable debt-management company, such as Debt Relief Solutions, can assist you in dealing with your creditors. They can help you lower your interest rates and payments and pay off your debt faster than if you tried to do it on your own.a

Educate yourself in all areas of finance. Pray daily for God to give you wisdom and peace. The Scriptures state that "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him" James 1:5 (NIV).

6. Give to the Lord. When going through a financial crisis it is easy to become discouraged and stop tithing. Second Corinthians 9:7-8 says: "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work" (NIV).

When facing a serious financial challenge, my counsel to you is to give what you can. If you can't give your full tithe, volunteer your time and services to your church or to a needy cause. Time is worth money. Later, when you are re-established financially, increase your giving. God will bless you when you give what you can with a cheerful heart.

When we were going through hard times, God never ceased to amaze me by always making sure we had the things we needed at the precise time when we needed them. God will always come through when we are obedient to Him. During a financial crisis, remember that things will get better. In time, your situation will improve if you faithfully, consistently apply the steps outlined here.

Read a companion devotional.

Deborah McNaughton is a nationally recognized credit expert and financial coach.  She's also the founder of the Financial Victory Institute, a popular online financial newsletter.

Melinda Weinstein also contributed to this article. She is co-founder and managing editor of Financial Victory.

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