Daily Devotional

Tuesday

“THE CONFIDENT HOPE”

Ephesians 2:6 (NLT)For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.”

“Hope is an interesting thing and sometimes [our hope] seems to be tied to our attitude, our perspective, and our emotions” Pastor Ryan Malouff.

When we anchor our hope in our expectations or on some past memory or experience our hope often times deflates like a balloon and we find ourselves empty and hopeless.  This anchor won’t hold the air of hope because its security is based on what we feel we deserve, need or have done.

When we anchor our hope in lofty dreams such as being discovered, money, possessions, etc. our faith becomes a manipulation tool. Our love becomes fear based and our hope floats away like an unanchored balloon and we are left with emptiness.  This anchor won’t hold because once again it finds its security in us, our talents, and our abilities.

Hope must be tied down secured and anchored in scripture. Paul illustrates hope as being confident, secure and already done.  Our hope is anchored to heaven and it becomes the place where we sit, the place of our authority. We begin to understand that no one can take this position from us and that the hope of heaven is set up for us by Christ.

Paul changes our understanding of the future as well as the present. We have a seat waiting for us in heaven and we literally sit with God in heavenly places.  This seat is established, secure, and waiting for us.  When we anchor our hope in this reality our understanding of our present circumstances changes too. When our hope is based on what Christ has already done, it’s much easier for us to live out that truth here on earth.  Out of this confident hope of heaven flows our faith and our love.

Action Step – ask yourself
1. Where is my hope anchored?
2.  Where do I choose to sit?

Now
Decide to anchor your hope on the place where you sit, at the right hand of God the Father with Christ Jesus. Realize your position is in heaven for eternity, united with Christ and because of Christ.

[Adapted from a message given by Pastor Ryan Malouff (Children's Pastor of The City Church) November 28, 2010 @ TRC]

Daily Devotional

Monday

“RESERVATIONS WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE”

Colossians 1:3-5 (NLT) 3 We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, 5 which come from your CONFIDENT HOPE of what God has RESERVED for you in HEAVEN. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News.”

Pastor Ryan on Sunday shared with us a couple of his fears as a child growing up. Fear of not having enough food at meal times and a fear of not having a place/being left out.

He shared that these fears were based on unhealthy expectations he held onto.  Expectations based on the past and expectations anchored in the wrong things.  He also shared that these fears were displaced when he came to the great discovery of “Reservations”.

Having reservations in our name give us confidence that our seat will be waiting for us. Reservations give us the confidence that our place is secure, that we have a spot, and that those things promised to us on our arrival will be waiting for us. (i.e. food, a seat, a ticket etc.)

Paul in the scripture above talks about a Reservation that changes everything for you! You have a confident hope that God Himself has reserved for you a place in heaven that nothing and no one can take away from you. Your place is secure. Your spot at His table is waiting for you.

Action Step
- Grab securely onto the reality that when you asked Jesus Christ into your heart, your reservation was called in by Him. There is a spot for you in heaven with your name on it. No one else can take that spot.
- Pray today that He will continue to establish your hope in Him, not in you.
- Continue to walk out your new life in Christ – whether it is your first day or your thousandth.

[Adapted from a message given by Pastor Ryan Malouff (Children's Pastor of The City Church) November 28, 2010 @ TRC]

Daily Devotion

“Your Heart and Your Treasure” Week #6 Cut the BS Series

Friday

1 Corinthians 4:7 (ESV) “7For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?”

Haggai 2:8 (ESV) 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the LORD of hosts.”

Realizing that God is the owner of my stuff, and I am the manager allows me to adopt a steward’s mentality toward the assets He has entrusted—not given—to me.

“A steward manages assets for the owner’s benefit. The steward carries no sense of entitlement to the assets he manages. It’s his job to find out what the owner wants done with his assets, then carry out his will.” -Randy Alcorn

Our resistance to giving“Unfamiliar with good stewardship”
You may say: “Stewardship is a foreign concept to me as I have only heard about ‘the American Dream.’”

What does it mean to be a good steward?

We need to adopt this mentality; “God owns everything. I’m his money manager – We are the managers of the assets God has entrusted—not given—to us.” (Alcorn)

“My heart always goes where I put God’s money – Watch what happens when you reallocate your money from temporal things to eternal things.”  (Alcorn)

How to undermine our resistance to giving“Give of your time, talent, and TREASURE”

Stewardship isn’t just about money. It’s also recognizing that your talents (not the same as in the parable), gifts, skills, and time are given to you by God to steward correctly, and to use for other people as well.

People with no faith will store up their earthly treasure in an attempt to find happiness and comfort in this life, and only give when it means something better for them.

People with damaged faith will be torn between heavenly and earthly treasure, usually giving from what they have left over.

People with active faith will give radically out of a love for God and people, recognizing that everything they have is God’s first.

Action Step
Get together with your family or a small group and pick a charity to give to. Some examples might be the Outreach projects at the Rock Church. There are also some fantastic charities to give to locally and globally. A couple suggestions would be; Operation Christmas Child, giving water to those in need, a local Monroe charity, sponsor a needy family this holiday season. Be prayerful in your selection and stay committed to it. You can make a difference.

Daily Devotion

“Your Heart and Your Treasure” Week #6 Cut the BS Series

Thursday

1 Corinthians 8:1-5 (ESV) 1 We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, 4 begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— 5 and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.”

Our resistance to giving“Lack of experience receiving a substantial gift/lack of resources”
You may say: “I can’t give because I don’t have.” Or “When I [get that high paying job/win the lottery/etc], then I’ll give!”

Some people don’t give because they have limited resources, or because they have never received a substantial gift in a time of need. (See also Mark 12:41-44) for the story about the poor woman who gave all her money.  Giving is a matter of the heart. It’s not about what you give, but what you keep.

In the Scripture above, 1 Corinthians 8:1-5, the Macedonians gave out of their poverty, not their riches. Paul used this to encourage the wealthy Corinthians to give all the more. This isn’t Paul saying we should always be comparing ourselves to others, but 1) Paul showing that EVERYONE can give and 2) A testimony that challenges those who can give more to give more.

How to undermine our resistance to giving“Start today”

As with most things, the hardest part is being motivated to start. This is Newton’s “First Law of Motion” at work, but instead of physics, it’s the human psyche! The law states:

“An object at rest will stay at rest, forever, as long as nothing pushes or pulls on it. An object in motion will stay in motion, traveling in a straight line, forever, until something pushes or pulls on it.”

In other words, something must overcome inertia.

Action Step
A couple practical steps to overcome inertia in the area of giving.
1) Make a decision to start today! Take a baby step. Do something even if it seems like a small step.
2) Begin to give regardless of your income level. Give from the heart.  It’s not what you give that matters so much, but what you keep.

Daily Devotion

“Your Heart and Your Treasure” Week #6 Cut the BS Series

Wednesday

Matthew 6:21 (ESV) 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Because Jesus treasured his Father’s glory and his people more than he did his own comfort, he went to the cross to satisfy God’s judgment and paid for the sins of rebellious people. The gospel frees us from our self-centeredness, so that we can glorify God and love others by radical giving of our money, time, and talent.

Our resistance to giving“Comfort needs/trivialities of life”
You may say:I enjoy a certain way of life, and over time I come to demand that way of life.”

We all have things in our life that we believe we need, when in reality we don’t. These could be things such as a certain salary, electronics such as a new macbook every year, or a big screen TV or an iPhone, a particular type and brand of car, specific décor to make your house look just right, etc.  These things can keep us from treasuring Christ. These things aren’t necessarily wrong to have, but there are some questions everyone should ask themselves:

Two Questions to Ask Yourself with Every Purchase to Avoid Frivolous Spending.
1) What do I consider a “need” that is really a luxury?
2) Am I blowing up my budget to get these “needs” when I could rather be giving that money away sacrificially to those who are in real need?

How to undermine our resistance to giving“Celebrate success!”

God has blessed you to be a blessing! Celebrate your success but keep your mind on the kingdom. Live not for the dot, but the line. From the dot, our present life on earth, there extends a line that goes on forever – which is eternity.

Deuteronomy 8:18a (ESV) “You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth.”

“God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving.” Alcorn

“God gives us more money than we need so we can give—generously.” Alcorn

Action Step
Come up with some active ways you/your family can use the “things” you have in this life for the Kingdom and not just for yourself. An example might be: Ex: Big screen HDTV – throw a weekly movie night for those who can’t afford to go out, or for young parents who don’t get time to themselves and others.

Don’t forget to pray for your small group tonight