Weekly Devotions

Living Free from Debt

It’s important for us to understand that the battle for our finances is really a spiritual battle.  The enemy tempts us to spend more than we are able to pay off so he can keep us under pressure and distracted from our walk with God.

 
 

But we need to have a goal to enjoy the life that Jesus died to give us, a life of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  We can’t do that if we are under pressure and frustrated by financial debt.

 
 

It’s possible to live debt free by using biblical principles for managing money.  Reba and I have learned that if we learn to live within our income, or our borders, then God will bless us, our borders will be stretched, and we’ll have more.  Luke 19:17 tells us that God is pleased when we are faithful and trustworthy in little things.  When we are, it says He will give us authority over bigger things.

 
 

So don’t fall into the trap of trying to live “bigger” than what God’s entrusted you with. Stay out of debt by living within your boundaries…then watch God expand them.  He always does.

 
 

Make this your Prayer:

 
 

God, I want to win the spiritual battle over my finances, and I’m starting by refusing to live in debt.  I will not give in to temptation to spend what I don’t have.  Instead, I will be faithful with the boundaries that You have given me. 

 
 

Jabez, briefly mentioned in the Old Testament, was able to pray, “Lord, expand my borders, bless me indeed, keep Your hand upon me, keep me from evil, let no hardship fall on me … and the Lord granted his request.”  The reason God granted his request … “He was more honorable than his brothers.” ~ 1 Chronicles 4:9-10

 
 

His brothers had become distracted by materialism.  He was more concerned about God’s blessings!  They are many!  They are measured differently!   And there is no hardship with them!

 
 
 

“The blessing of the Lord enriches, and He adds no sorrow to it.”  ~ Proverbs 10:22

 
 
 

~ Pastor Greg


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Getting in Shape

Over the last year I have made a strong effort to get healthy.  The physical factors related to my life were impacting my emotional, social and intellectual capacities.  But I realize that everything I have is a gift from God. 

 
 

Most of us are accustomed to looking at our money, our talents, and our time as a gift. However, stewardship is so much more.  God wants us to manage every aspect of our lives in a way that will maximize our influence.

 
 

That includes how we take care of our bodies.  Honestly, I didn’t pay attention to my health for years.  But I had an epiphany earlier this year in my transformation:  I realized my health could limit my ministry, and I needed the energy to do what God was calling me to do.

 
 

God had given me a grand vision for our church.  As we move through our 100th Anniversary Celebration and to 2020, I look forward to sharing with you what’s on my heart for the next decade.

 
 

To fulfill what God had called me to do, I need more energy and I have to make the most of the life and health I’ve been given.  God has big plans for your life, too.  You’ll need every bit of energy, every ounce of your life, to complete what God has laid before you.

 
 

The Bible tells us, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV).

 
 

How do you honor God with your body?  You get in shape!

 
 

If you’re like me, you’ve tried to get in shape before but failed. Maybe you give it a shot every January 1, but by January 5, you’re ready to give up.  But you can do it! In fact, I believe if you embrace these three principles, you can do this time what you haven’t been able to do in the past.

 
 
  1. You need to lean on God’s power, because willpower isn’t enough. (Phil. 4:13)
  2. Let the Kingdom of God be your motivation. Your goal to get healthy can’t just be about you. The truth is, there’s a spiritual significance to getting healthy. You have a unique part to play in what God is doing around the world.

 

  1. You need to involve others in your journey to get healthy. You were made for community. You need others in your life to help you get healthy.
 
 

God created your body as a tool to help you fulfill his purpose for your life. To be a good steward of that gift, you must take care of it!

 
 

~ Pastor Greg


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Elements of a Healthy Family

There have been many portrayals of family on television over the years.  As long as there has been TV, the family has been one of its favorite go-tos.  Here’s a short list:

 
 

Downton Abbey, Happy Days, Different Strokes, The Flintstones, Frasier, Family Ties, Everybody Loves Raymond, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Little House on the Prairie, The Waltons, The Adams Family, Full House, Good Times, The Brady Bunch and Home Improvement. 

 
 

When we view these sit-coms and dramas it can seem like we are looking into a mirror.  All too often what takes place through media is a redaction of what is occurring in culture.  Sometimes it can be politically motivated to accept certain lifestyle agendas that are only marginal at best.  Hopefully you don’t see yourself in the Adams Family.  LOL!

 
 

Families in general are at best today dysfunctional.  In many ways they have moved away from a biblical functioning.  Here are a few elements that I believe demonstrate a healthy family.

 
 

1).  FUN!  Healthy families know how to have fun.  “A cheerful heart is good medicine” the Proverb writer tells us (15:3).  Jesus said that HE came that we might have a better life than we could ever dream of (John 10:10).  Healthy families make fun happen!  The key word is “make” in that sentence.  It doesn’t just always happen.  You have to schedule it.

 
 

2).  ATTENTION!  Healthy families give attention and pay attention.  Paul the Apostle reminds us to be interested in others, (Philippians 2:3-4).  In a selfie society our focus should be on those closest to us and not just ourselves.

 
 

3).  MEMORIES!  Capture memories.  The Bible tells us to “remember” 160 times in scripture.  Create anniversaries of significant events (Deuteronomy 4:9), especially God events.

 
 

4).  INSPIRE!  Inspire verbally through encouragement (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

 
 

5).  LOVE!  Healthy families love without conditions.  Too often our love is contractual.  That means as long as you fulfill certain requirements, I will love you.  But biblical love is always unconditional.  It’s a covenant love.  So love without conditions and do it with words and actions (John 15:13).

 
 

 6).  YEILD!  Healthy families yield to God first and foremost.  They surrender and relinquish every aspect of their lives together to God (Matthew 22:37-39).

 
 

Did you notice that I used the acronym F.A.M.I.L.Y. in this article?  I did so in hopes that you would easily memorize these important characteristics of strong families.     

~ Pastor Greg


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Replace Your Fears with Trust

“And He did rescue us from mortal danger, and He will rescue us again.  We have placed our confidence in Him, and He will continue to rescue us” (2 Corinthians 1:10 NLT).

 
 

God is watching over you, so don’t listen to your fears.  This is a choice.  Trust God, and don’t give in to your fears.

 
 

God’s promise to believers is that, no matter what happens to us, he is working for our good—if we love him and follow him (Romans 8:28).  If you’re a believer, the Bible says all things are working together for good—not that all things are good but they are working together for good.

 
 

That means we can stop listening to our fears, because there is no difficulty, dilemma, defeat, or disaster in the life of a believer that God can’t ultimately get some good out of. There is no need to fear the future.  God is at work!

 
 

Did you know that your fears reveal where you do not trust God. This week why not make a list of your fears, and ask God to help you identify why you have fear in those areas.  Then, ask him to help you replace your fears with trust.  Begin to research the scriptures and write down the promises of God that relate to those fears. 

 
 

Now, this is important:  Expect God to help you start learning to trust Him with each and every fear that has ravaged your soul.  Then, watch to see how He helps you.

 
 

So lets see …

  • What fears have you identified in your life?
  • Why do you think you trust God in some areas and not in others?
  • When have you seen God come through when you thought he wouldn’t?

I love the lyrics in the song “Whom Shall I Fear.”  My strength is in your name For you alone can save You will deliver me Yours is the victory

 
 

Whom shall I fear?  Whom shall I fear?

 
 

~ Pastor Greg


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Follow the Ark

“Three days later the Israelite officers went through the camp, giving these instructions to the people:  ‘When you see the Levitical priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord your God, move out from your positions and follow them.”  ~ Joshua 3:2-3, NLT

 
 

Another translation concludes … “leave where you are and follow it” (NCV).

 
 

Verse 4 in the NIV states … “Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.”

 
 

Sometimes life directs us into new avenues, places we have never been.  God, in His sovereignty, has been influential in these new directions.

 
 

Are you facing any new opportunities right now?  Whatever those opportunities may be, it’s always important to “follow the ark.”

 
 

What do I mean by that? Well…sometimes we can hang on to old, stale situations in life, simply because they are familiar to us, and we’re really just afraid of getting into uncharted territory.  And then there are times we can sense something new ahead of us and we just want to step right into it, before it’s God’s time for us to do it.

 
 

In Joshua 3:3, God talks to Israel about following the ark of the covenant.  The ark represents the anointing of God … the presence of God … the will of God.  It’s very important for us to learn to follow the will of God and not our own will or the will of others.

 
 

God has a plan for you and me, and the only way to see that plan unfold is to follow the ark, or the will of God, and not our flesh or other people or our emotions.

 
 

Remember today that whatever God’s will is for your life, He will provide the way for you to accomplish it.

 

Why not pray: God, like the Israelites, I know that I need to “follow the ark.”  My timing for the new opportunities doesn’t matter … only Your will matters.  As I follow You, I know that You will make a way to bring Your plan for me to pass. 

 

~ Pastor Greg


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“You Better Wise Up” – Getting a Grip on Your Life

“Getting Wisdom is the most important thing you can do.  Whatever else you get, get insight!  Love wisdom and she will make you great!”   Proverbs 4:7-8, GN
 
 
Have you seen those series of books “… for dummies?”  Have you bought one?  Who could have guessed their popularity?  Millions upon millions of copies sold.  The series offers expert advice under titles like these …  Parenting for Dummies.  Law for Dummies.  Fishing for Dummies.  The Internet for Dummies.  And the list goes on. 
 
 
Someone said, “it takes the intimidation out of learning.  It’s all spelled out in simple terms.  They make the complex understandable.” 
 
 
I think of the book of Proverbs like this.  Practical wisdom.  Insightful intelligence.  Priceless principles.  If God were to tell you, “You can have anything you want,” what would you ask for?  Solomon got that opportunity and his response was … give me wisdom.  Essentially Solomon knew that to really have it all you must wise up!  Seek wisdom because wisdom pays.
 
 
The world overflows with information, data and knowledge, but there is precious little wisdom. 
 
 
The problem is we usually don’t respond to life from God’s perspective.  “There is a way that seems right to a man but the end thereof is death”  (Prov. 14:12).  Our natural inclinations lead us astray.  Our predispositions are preposterous.  They always lead to a dead end. 
 
 
So how do we move away from our own detriment?  (1) READ GOD’S WORD!  Solomon starts off the Book of Proverbs by telling us the purpose of his writings.  “Solomon wrote these proverbs to teach his people how to live – how to act in every circumstance.” ~ (Prov. 1:2, LB).  (2) DO WHAT IT SAYS!  “Never forget what I tell you to do.  Do what I say, and you will live.  Be careful to follow it”  ~ (Prov. 7:1-2, GN).  And (3) GET TO KNOW GOD!  How?  Proverbs 1:7 tells: us “How does a person become wise?  The first step is to trust and revere the Lord.”  In Proverbs 9 we are told, “Reverence and fear of God are basic to all wisdom.  Knowing God results in every other kind of understanding” (v. 10). 
 
 
Get a grip on your life by getting to know God through His Word and Your Obedience to it.  And remember, 1 Corinthians 1:24, “Christ is the wisdom of God.”  All roads lead to Christ.  He enables you to stand strong when things go wrong.
 
 

~ Pastor Greg


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