Day 10: A New Way to Talk about Money

Think about the last argument you had with your spouse. If the fight started about money, you’re not alone. Money Magazine found that 70 percent of couples argue about money more than household chores, togetherness, sex, snoring, or what’s for dinner.

Few things can rile us up or put us on the defensive like someone questioning how we spend our money. That’s because how we spend money reveals what matters to us (Matthew 6:21).

When we question each other’s spending, we’re usually not arguing over the actual dollars and cents, but about what they represent. For example, one spouse dropping hundreds on a shopping spree might mean the other has to give up a night out or pick up shifts to pay the car note.

You can avoid a lot of resentment and anger if you both agree to submit to Jesus’ priorities and expectations. This changes the way you talk about money because it puts you and your spouse on the same team.

The conversation is no longer about who gets more. Instead, it’s about how both of you can get behind Jesus’ promises for your finances. You’re no longer pursuing two separate agendas, but submitting both of your agendas to the Lord.

You’re no longer pursuing two separate agendas, but submitting both of your agendas to the Lord.

Jesus tells us not to worry about keeping up appearances or building our own kingdoms. Instead, Jesus tells us to spend our money on what will last. All the things we buy will one day fall apart or disappear. None of our stuff comes with us into eternity (1 Timothy 6:7). But our relationships? Our faith? These are forever things worth fighting for.

We can spend our marriage fighting against each other, or we can spend time fighting for unity. A constantly squabbling family disintegrates, but a family pursuing Jesus will grow closer together (Mark 3:24-25).

Question for him:

  • What is most important to you when it comes to your family’s budget?
  • Is what’s important to you important to Jesus? Why?
  • If you could change one thing about how your family manages money, what would it be?

Question for her:

  • What is most important to you when it comes to your family’s budget?
  • Is what’s important to you important to Jesus? Why?
  • If you could change one thing about how your family manages money, what would it be?

Questions to talk about together:

  • Share what you wrote with each other. What’s one step you can take to rework your family budget to pursue those priorities?

Need help with your finances? View the sermon series titled “Master Your Money: 5 Principles From America’s Premiere Financial Planner – Ron Blue.


Article courtesy of NewSpring Church

Day 2: What Are You Looking for?

“… for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 14-15

Satan doesn’t need to scare us into submission. He simply manipulates the fears and desires we already have.

One of the easiest ways to get us to question God’s goodness is to convince us that He’s holding out. “FOMO” (Fear Of Missing Out) has been destroying human beings since Genesis 3. The enemy is the one telling us, “It’s better over there,” or “You’d be better off if you just…”

Whatever we think we need, we better believe the enemy will call attention to it. Whatever words we’ve been waiting for God to say, we’re going to hear them spoken over someone else. Comparison steals our joy by taking our eyes off the feast before us and putting them on what God is feeding someone else instead.

We don’t have to live this way. Grow in contentment instead of being controlled through comparison.


Article courtesy of NewSpring Church

Day 1: Don’t Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table

When we’re panicked and ready to run, God is perfectly calm. When we’re ready to retreat, He prepares a table for us. Why? Because no matter how out of control we feel, God is still in control.

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…”
(Psalm 23:5)

When we spend time with the King in the presence of our enemies, we realize we have everything we need to face the situation at hand. We start reflecting His peace to the people around us — including our enemies. Instead of seeing us squirm, our enemy sees us getting stronger.

But if we’re not careful, the enemy will pull up a chair at our table, and we’ll start reflecting his attitude to everyone instead of the Lord’s. Instead of feeling more secure, we’ll grow more paranoid. Instead of increasing in confidence, we’ll become crippled by fear.

The goal of this week is to identify our enemy, so we can banish him from our table. Take a few minutes today to learn more about who the enemy is, and tomorrow we’ll start looking at how to know if he’s been speaking to you.


Article courtesy of NewSpring Church

Day 2: Where you get the ability to love

Read: 1 John 4:7-21

What if I get hurt?

What if they take advantage of me?

I’ve tried helping before, and it didn’t do any good.

For all of the reasons we avoid letting people into our lives or getting involved in theirs, John gives us one good reason we should. It’s what God did for each of us.

When we were uninterested in God, He pursued us. God sent His only Son into the world so our sin could be removed and our relationship could be restored (1 John 4:10-12).

When we realize the depth of God’s love, it changes us. We want to spend time with Him, to know Him. We find joy in bringing Him joy. And after a while, we become so familiar with His character that we know what He would say or have us do. Like a couple that’s been together for decades, we begin to move in sync with one another (1 John 4:13-15).

That’s why the real test of our love for God is how we treat the people right in front of us. God is love. When we are living in step with God, love is what comes out of us. When we love one another, the invisible God reveals Himself to others through us, and His love is made complete.

God knows better than anyone that love can be costly. We might get hurt, and people might take advantage of us. But the way to quiet those fears is not by retreating. We get past the fear of putting ourselves out there by remembering God’s love and choosing to treat others the way He treated us.

Reflect:

  • Who were you when you asked Jesus into your life? How has your life changed since then?
  • How would you describe the way God has loved you?
  • When it comes to loving others that way, are you retreating in fear or reaching out in faith?

Article courtesy of NewSpring

Day 7: But I’m Not Qualified

Read: Nehemiah 7

Have you ever had an opportunity that in the moment—or perhaps even in hindsight—didn’t seem deserved? The skills you had didn’t seem like enough, especially when compared with the others around you. When Nehemiah set off to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, he did so with a burdened heart.

The people of the city were broken and disorganized, in need of a leader who could show them what to do. During the reconstruction, Nehemiah became the leader who brought out their strengths. He organized the people, protected them, and pooled their resources so they could see each others’ strengths.

But once the walls had been rebuilt, Jerusalem needed new leaders—proper, permanent, capable leaders. And given what the Jewish people had gone through, their new leaders had to be strong. You would think Jerusalem’s next leader would be someone with a lengthy resume and accolades of all kinds. But instead, Nehemiah gave responsibility for the city to Hanani and Hananiah.

These men had no visible qualifications for leadership, but they were perfect for the job. Hanani and Hananiah were virtuous, faithful, God-fearing men who could be trusted to carry out God’s work. Their agenda was God’s will, and that’s what it takes to be a difference maker. Leadership techniques change, and popularity can diminish, but integrity and reverence never go out of style.

Consider This:

What does it mean to fear God?

Pray:

Jesus, help me to live a life of integrity, so that I will be ready to take on new responsibilities.


Article courtesy of NewSpring

Decoration vs Foundation

Pastor Kevin uses a house as a metaphor for our lives. We want to have a great house (life) so we put great energy – and money – into securing and decorating the best possible house. And so we think, if we can improve appearances and make life beautiful, we can improve our lives.

But soon enough a storm comes along in our health, our marriage, our family, our faith, our career, etc. And it’s in the storm, that we figure out, it’s not the decoration that determines if our house (life) stands strong – it’s what we have in our foundation.

How David Glorified God in the Cave

As David and his mighty men were holed up in a cave for his safety, David longed to be free and enjoy the comforts of home. Three of his mighty men risked their lives to deliver what he craved most. Instead of enjoying the water from his favorite well in Bethlehem, he poured it out as an offering to God.

Pastor Brian Tome of Crossroads Church explains how we can experience this kind of transformation. We know we’ve turned a corner in our suffering when we stop thinking about ourselves and our problems. And we start thinking about God, and how worthy He is to be praised and worshiped in all situations.

God Builds You in the Low Places

We all have times in which we feel down and like our tough situation will never improve. What should we do in those moments of despair? Some people turn to old vices and bad habits. Some people turn away and shut out the world.

Pastor Brian Tome of Crossroads Church encourages us to turn to God. Just like He did for David in the Bible, God will build us up and we will be transformed.

The Momentum David Gained

Senior Pastor Brian Tome of Crossroads Church recreates David’s run down the mountain and the casting of stones, as he tells the Bible story of the battle of David and Goliath.

In our lives, we can see parallels to being in a valley and facing a seemingly impossible-to-beat giant. With God’s help, we can gain momentum and conquer life’s battles.

Carry Your Own Load to Love Others

It’s an expression of love when we carry our own load. This means when we have a responsibility to do something, people can count on us to get it done.

When we carry our own load and live up to our responsibilities, it creates maturity, stability, and a healthy environment in which the people around us can thrive.

Bless Someone

No matter where we are, we can find someone to bless. When we start our day, we should ask God to show us who that might be. It could be a family member, a friend, a coworker – even a stranger. It doesn’t matter whether the blessing is big or small. The recipient will know they matter to God. And we might find that God even blesses us in the process!

Cascading Loss

Pastor Kevin shares a conversation he had with his oldest son soon after he finished high school. He uses the illustration of a parking lot to explain that we don’t drift away from God and our dreams all at once – we cross over one line at a time. Before we realize it, we’ve ended up someplace we never intended to be.

To avoid this, we should focus on pleasing God instead of pleasing ourselves.

Say No to Shirking

There are areas in our lives that we tend to avoid because they’re difficult or require extra effort. These areas we tend to neglect could be in our marriage, family, career, finances – even our faith.

It’s important to relax and enjoy time off when we can get it, but we shouldn’t allow that to move into shirking our responsibilities when the break or vacation is over.

Like John Maxwell says, “If you do the things you need to do when you need to do them, then someday you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them.”

Walls & Gates

Beach Chair Theology: The good life walls out bad things and lets in good things. Master your walls and gates!

Walls (keeping bad things out):

  • Shirking
  • Ungrateful
  • Sexual Sin

Gates (letting good things in):

  • Meaningful Relationships
  • Blessing Someone
  • The Truth in Love

Daily Prayers:

  • God, give me the strength to wall out the bad things.
  • God, give me the wisdom to open the gate to good things.

Faith Seeks God Earnestly

It’s not enough for us to live off someone else’s faith. We need to seek God earnestly ourselves so that we can have our own experiences with God and grow our faith.

When we seek God, we will see God – and that will compel us to seek God further. This practice helps us to solidify faith as the center of our lives.

Faith Sees God Early

Just like Joshua in the Bible, we can choose to see an opportunity for faith instead of falling victim to fear.

The faith of seeing God early in the midst of trouble is a mindset and practice we can develop. Then, when the rest of the world only sees problems, we can recall God’s promises.

God Asks Us to Join the Fight

Pastor Kevin shares the Bible story of Gideon’s against-the-odds battle with the Midianites, and what he loves most about the story – that God didn’t leave Gideon on his own, and God also didn’t remove the requirement for Gideon to fight.

We should all be confident that what God invites us to do with Him, He will do with us. Even when we’re afraid, feel defeated, and are exhausted, God will never abandon us.

What Is Denying God and Defeating You?

If we’re going to be lovers of pleasure, indulgence, and immediate gratification, we’re never going to accomplish all the things God has for our future.

But we’re not alone in this – God will empower us to become conquerors over the things in our lives that interfere with who He has called us to be. Simply ask God for His help, and in faith, begin making necessary changes.

God Grants Trampled Ground

Pastor Kevin interviews Worship Leader Chris Morgan as he shares the story of his wife’s journey through a painful, debilitating illness, and how God spoke uniquely to Chris while on a prayer trail about “praying trampled ground.” His wife, Mary Anne, was eventually healed, and his prayer life changed forever.

Heather’s Prayer for Her Daughter

Pastor Heather Semple, from Red Cedar Community Church in Wisconsin and a friend of Pastor Kevin, shares her story of a very personal affirmation from God through an unexpected prayer request for her daughter. In the midst of what she believed to be a big spiritual risk for her congregation, her obedience and this “surprise” prayer moment left Pastor Heather feeling closer to God than ever.

Today, she believes the more she lives like God’s daughter, the more she experiences His power in her parenting and in her pastoring.

How Do I Know an Answer I Get Is from God?

When we’re sure God answered a prayer, we want to shout it from the rooftops, and thank God over and over! But when we aren’t sure the answer was from God, we have a very different experience – we don’t thank God, we don’t get encouraged in prayer, and we don’t understand the value of the cycle of prayer.

Remember, the God of the universe has the supreme power to answer our prayers in unexpected, surprising ways. Trust His sovereignty.

How Can We Help Kids See Answers to Prayer?

As we pray with our kids and they’re getting older, we transition from mere thankfulness to the concept of being cooperative with God.

Think of it this way: the first half of things we ask of God can be answered by gifts He’s already given us – a body, a mind, the earth, the capacity to work, etc. The second half is God doing things for us that we cannot do for ourselves. We cooperate with God to answer prayers; we both do our part.

When I Feel Like God’s Not Hearing Me, Should I Keep Praying?

There are times we casually ask God for something, and we’re not even aware of what will be involved in how God answers that prayer. For example, if we ask God for wisdom, we should be actively working to gain it.

How? Our focus should change from a material-centered lifestyle to a spiritually-centered intensity. Combining the fervency and persistent nature of our prayers, maturing, and fasting will all develop our spiritual life and help us gain wisdom – and we can’t rush that process.

How Do You Balance Praying in Faith with Releasing It to God?

Our prayers should be based on the understanding that God, our Father, has complete and sovereign control. The question is not whether He has our situation in control – it’s whether we trust Him.

The things we can do (like pray), we have to do. The things we can’t do are up to God. And God grants us peace in the meantime. So take heart: We have no idea how many prayers God is answering that we can’t even see yet.

Should We Be Specific in Prayer?

There will always be tension between your faith in God and your faith in your expectations of God. The Bible tells us only to exercise our faith in God. He is sovereign and His will stands.

That said, it’s okay to ask God for specific outcomes. The important thing is to remember that it’s up to God to do His will, and we must yield to His will with a tender and thankful heart.

How Important Is It to Have Relationships for Prayer?

The Bible tells us “to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.” There’s a practical reason for this: we tend to distance ourselves from God at either end of these extremes. In good times, we can grow arrogant. In bad times, we can become desperate. God wants us to be in community with other believers so we can have accountability and support throughout all the stages of our lives.

How Do You Help People Understand God Has a Plan?

Tragedy has a way of making people doubt God and His goodness. Pastor Kevin explains there are two issues that must be dealt with: a head issue and a heart issue. Sometimes we want an answer as to why something happened, when what we really need is a changed disposition and a dependency. God’s only promise is that He will always be with us.

What if You Pray for Something that Isn’t Healthy?

If what we’re praying for is not consistent with the word of God, then whatever we’ve gained is not from God. When we violate the word and the wisdom of God, what we get on the other side is not the will of God. God will not answer our prayer in an unhealthy way that goes against what He teaches us in the Bible.