You see the ads on TV and hear them all day on the radio asking if you know your credit score. They all want you to use their service and get copies of your credit report and score. But is it really necessary? Do you really need to know your FICO score? Here’s a closer look…

If you have any kind of credit history at all, either through credit cards, loans, mortgages, etc., then you will also have a credit score. These scores will range from a low of 300 all the up to 850. Naturally, the higher the numbers the better.

Your scores are used by lenders and other financial companies to determine whether or not you qualify for things such as a new car loan, a credit card, a lease on that new apartment, or even a new job you have applied for.

Yes, employers have the right to pull your credit history as part of their pre-screening process for anyone applying for a job. Not all do, but all have the right to do it, and many do!

Knowing upfront exactly what your credit score is will help you know if it is even worthwhile to apply for a loan or other transaction. Obviously, if your credit is poor and you try to apply for a new 6% 30 year mortgage, chances are it isn’t going to happen. Better to know upfront how your credit looks than to be “surprised and embarrassed” later on.

Another great reason to know your score ahead of time is that it gives you the ability to begin making changes to your credit history. You can clean up your credit before trying to make that new loan.

You’ll also be able to look at your report and see if there are any errors or information on it that shouldn’t be. If so, you have the right to dispute it and have it removed. But this takes a few months to complete. That’s why you want to know what your credit report looks like ahead of time, so you can get started making the changes necessary.

These two reasons alone are why it is always a good idea to get an annual copy of your credit report and score once a year. The good news is that the report is free of charge once a year. The score will cost you a small extra amount, but it is well worth it. If you haven’t requested a copy of your credit history in the last year or more, I would urge you to do it while you’re thinking about it right now.…


Every family has experienced some level of sibling rivalry, but Esau and Jacob are the poster children. In the womb, these boys could not get along. In life, the fighting continued. Genesis 25:31-34 show us how dangerous greed and envy can be.

Esau was the older of the two boys. As the eldest son, tradition held that he would get the family birthright. He was considered second to his father, Isaac, and he had special privileges. Upon his father’s death, he was also entitled to a double portion of the family estate.

Since Isaac was also an heir to God’s promise to Abraham, this also put Esau and his descendants in line to inherit God’s promises.

While the temporal benefits held some value, God’s promise was priceless. This promise was a great honor, and even Jacob could see the value of such an inheritance. He was determined to be able to share in that promise.

God will consider our methods

While Jacob’s yearning and desire might be considered admirable, his approach made his efforts dishonorable.

Jacob used his brother’s desperation as an opportunity to take advantage of him. Knowing how vulnerable Esau was in his hunger, Jacob coerced his brother into exchanging a priceless treasure for something that fulfilled his need for instant gratification. How often do we lose a piece of ourselves as we seek instant gratification in our own lives?

Even if the prize is of priceless value, we must consider the questions asked in Matthew 16:26: “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (NLT)

The Bible reminds us to consider our methods of achieving any goal, even if it is a goal that could be admirable. Deuteronomy 25:16 tells us, “For the LORD your God detests anyone who does these things, anyone who deals dishonestly.” (NIV) God will not approve of our accomplishments if we go about them the wrong way.

Solomon urges us to think of the possible negative consequences of our actions. “The integrity of the honest keeps them on track; the deviousness of crooks brings them to ruin.” (Proverbs 11:3 The Message) We may end up doing more harm than good, even if our intentions in the beginning were right.

We should always strive to be like Christ. Paul told the Hebrews about the lifestyle they hoped to exemplify: to “have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way.” (Hebrews 13:18 NIV)

Go back to the basics

While we may find ourselves putting on our blinders as we focus intently on our destination, we must constantly remind ourselves of the foundation for working toward living honorably. James reminds us of the Old Testament’s greatest commandment, as found in Leviticus 19:18. He writes, “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right.” (James 2:8 NIV)

If Jacob would have loved Esau as he loved …