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Monday, November 20, 2017

Seeking Wealth

John G. Wendel was one of the wealthiest men in America in the early twentieth century, but he lived as if he were poor. Although he and his sisters had received a large inheritance, they spent little of it and hoarded as much of their wealth as they could. Five of Wendel’s six sisters never married, and they lived in the same house on New York’s Fifth Avenue for 50 years. When the last sister died in 1931, her holdings were valued at more than $100 million. Yet she owned only one dress, which she had made herself and worn for many years. Oddly, it was the Wendels’ desire for wealth that drove them to live like paupers.

Jesus gave a similar warning in His Sermon on the Mount. Those who pursue material wealth wind up missing out on the real treasure. Those who place their first priority on things other than wealth will find themselves blessed with all of the riches of their Father in heaven.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

Jesus asks us to examine our hearts to determine where we have placed our ultimate trust—on earth or in heaven, in self or in God.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Wealth Control

It has been reported that John D. Rockefeller proposed three simple rules for anyone who wants to become rich: (1) Go to work early. (2) Stay at work late. (3) Find oil.

Whether accurately reported or not, the remark rings true. There is something unpredictable about wealth—what it takes to find it and keep it. Some people work hard their whole lives and never manage to accumulate much money. Others are blessed with good fortune and become rich virtually overnight. While we may believe that we control our own economic destiny, we live at the mercy of many forces beyond our control.

And while it is certain that those who work hard are more likely to live comfortable lives, Rockefeller’s quip holds a valuable lesson on the best attitude toward wealth. Rather than seeking seeing our economic well-being as fully within our control, we should realize that we depend on something other than our own efforts to succeed. You and I know that we depend on God for our daily bread.

What freedom!

This week in our Give to Live series we’ll examine Jesus’ core teaching on money and discover that it is really a teaching on trust (see Matthew 6:19–34). As you begin to see God as the provider of all good things, you will discover greater contentment, greater confidence, and greater trust in Him. He really does care for you.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Hurt People

How do you deal with hurts in life? The reality is we’ve all been hurt. Hurts are part of the human condition. Have you ever heard, “Hurt people hurt people.”? 

Even though we all hurt we are responsible for how we respond. Retaliation has its appeal, but Jesus has a better idea.

Jesus sets the example.

“Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.” (John 13:3–5 nlt)

Jesus’ command.

“And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought     to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.” (John 13:14–15 nlt)

“Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’” (Matthew 18:21–22 nkjv)

Don't miss accepting God's grace and using it in your life.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Financial Opportunities

I recently came across an older Lifeway article that grabbed my attention titled: "Our Church Was Robbed Recently." The story that followed said:

"We are thankful that no one was injured physically, but it will be some time before things are back to normal. It's clear that more than one person is responsible - in fact, there may actually be many people who have been party to the crime. Two things are most unfortunate about the robbery - one is that we have no assurances that it won't happen again, and that is a bit unnerving! The other unfortunate element is that we're certain that those who carried out the robbery are members of our church. It's bad enough to know that a theft has occurred, but it's really hard to imagine that professing Christians would actually steal from God and the ministries of his church. We can certainly hope that anyone who has participated in this act will repent and repay what has been taken. It's reported that some of the stolen money has been used for vacations, cars, boats, designer clothes, athletic equipment, homes, and even dining out. We don't have a complete list of all the suspects, but there is consolation in knowing that God does.

"You haven't read about this in the papers and hopefully you won't. I realize that some of you will disagree, but it would be difficult to get a conviction in the courts given the clever way in which the robbery was carried out. You are probably also interested in how much was taken. The amount is undetermined, but at the very least exceeds many thousands of dollars.

"By the way, the robbery happened in full view of the church during Sunday services. It happened as the offering plates were passed during Sunday school and worship. It also happened as people who didn't come simply didn't give the Lord's tithe."

The people in the prophet Malachi's day had treated God badly by robbing from him. Some things haven’t changed… Prepare your heart to receive wisdom and instruction on how to give to God. It can change your life and make you more like Jesus.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thirsty Soul

I came across an old sermon the other day. It's title, LIVING WATER for a Thirsty Soul. It's based out of the story of Jesus at the well with a Samaritan woman. You can read about in John 4:5-14. It asks the question: How can we find living water for our thirsty souls?

We can take on different world views:

1. It’s all about Me!

The woman at the well is honest and admits the truth about her life.

2. It’s really all about Jesus!

The woman at the well is open and accepts the truth about Jesus’ life.

3. It’s all about telling Others!

The woman at the well is enthusiastic and tells others about the truth she has found.

We need to pass it on - just like the woman did. Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers. They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” - John 4:39-42


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

God in Action

The Lord reigns: The Lord reigns, let the nations tremble; he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake. Great is the Lord in Zion; he is exalted over all the nations. Let them praise your great and awesome name—he is holy. The King is mighty, he loves justice— you have established equity; in Jacob you have done what is just and right. Exalt the Lord our God and worship at his footstool; he is holy. Moses and Aaron were among his priests,  Samuel was among those who called on his name; they called on the Lord and he answered them. He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud; they kept his statutes and the decrees he gave them. Lord our God, you answered them; you were to Israel a forgiving God, though you punished their misdeeds. Exalt the Lord our God and worship at his holy mountain, for the Lord our God is holy. and worship at his holy mountain, or the Lord our God is holy. - Psalm 99

The Lord restores: For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)  and find out what pleases the Lord. –Ephesians 5:8-10

Amen and Amen - How does this look in your life?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

With All

All of us have different skills, talents, and gifts, but no one can have them all. In fact there are probably few characteristics all of us can share. There is one especially when it comes to being faithful and obedient to God's call on your life. We can all be passionate about Jesus! I love this quote:

Passion’s a lot like aspirin: it’s effective in many ways, but no one’s quite sure how it works. Passion is love that’s found a means of communicating. That’s why passion is important—because after the words we speak are tangled or forgotten, people will often remember the heart that communicated them.

So when you go about your business this day remember to be passionate about the things of God. It shows you love Him.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' - Jesus' answer to what is the greatest commandment in Mark 12:30