We Are Blessed

It is hard to argue that Americans are rich? But maybe you don’t agree. Maybe you look around and from your vantage point you don’t have that much because you see people that have even more. That’s because being rich is a moving target.

Many people equate being rich with having a surplus of money and a whole lot of stuff. That image is perpetuated by the media which inundates us with advertising for all the newest models and the latest styles. It naturally seems, after a while, our stuff, seems kind of average, outdated, or not-good-enough.

Let you remind you of a point I made in the kickoff message of the Be Rich teaching series on Sunday. There is nothing wrong with money or stuff. In fact, I highly recommend saving money because it is a commodity that is pretty difficult to live without. And our earthly possessions aren’t inherently sinful, but they are temporary.

Most of us know of the passage in Philippians 3:7-8, where Paul writes, “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.” In the Christian’s life, “considering everything as loss” is a process of giving up the temporary joy that I found in our “stuff.”

The joy that I find in my possessions is in knowing that anything that I do have is simply a physical expression of God’s love for me. I want to handle what God has given me the right way. I want to thankful, but I do not want to be attached to it. The right way as found in 1 Timothy 6: 17-19 is to be generous.

When Jesus talks about his followers, he talks about people who are generous, people who clothe the naked, take food to the hungry, take water to the thirsty, people who visit the prisoner, people who invite the stranger in, and people who give their time, people who give their energy, people who give their money. That is what it means to be generous.

Questions:
1. How do you define “rich”? How much money does someone have to make in order to be considered wealthy?
2. What can you do to be more generous?
3. You have been blessed. Who are you going to bless?

We Are Rich

One of the more popular bumper stickers you see on cars everywhere reads, “God Bless America.” My immediate reaction to seeing that bumper sticker is to say, God has blessed America. We are being pretty naive when we start to think that our world is “the” world. We are fortunate to live in the United States.

The Worldwatch Institute says that the United States, with less than 5 percent of the world’s population, uses about a quarter of the world’s resources. America has more private cars than licensed drivers. Over 92 percent of the people in the world do not have a car, and it doesn’t matter what make or year of car you drive, most of the world sees a car and they think rich.

We have access to clean drinking water. More than one billion people lack reasonable access to safe drinking water. We go the cupboard, pull out a glass, get some ice from the side of the fridge and pour a clean glass of water to drink. Hundreds of millions of people in the world that watch us do that daily task, that we take for granted, must think to themselves –  wow, it must be nice to be rich.

We probably ate more than we should have today. There are countless numbers of people around the globe who won’t eat today. A lot of them are children. People die from hunger every couple of seconds.

We are rich. God has blessed America.

Questions:
1. Do you feel blessed?
2. Why or why not?

Your Role In The Daily Devotional

Proverbs 1:1-6 says, “for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young—let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.”

You may be wondering why I would spend the time to write these daily devotionals. The reason is simple. Our walk with Christ is every day. I will never be all that God intends me to be unless I have daily, quality time with God.

Yes, I write the devotionals. But, you have a part to play as well if they are to be truly effective. It will take some communication on your part. Communication is a two-way street that involves talking and listening. We speak to God through prayer and God speaks back to us through His holy word. If you want to know what God thinks, what God wants, or what God expects of you, then read His word. Ask yourself what God is saying to you in this scripture? Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal Jesus to you. Then take a few moments to personalize what you have read, by asking yourself how it applies to your life right now. Perhaps it is instruction, encouragement, revelation of a new promise, or corrections for a particular area of your life.

My hope is that you will read these daily devotionals with great expectations that God has something for you somewhere in the text. Take your time and see if you can find and extract extraordinary truths for everyday living as well as in handling difficult circumstances. Pray to God expectantly before you read these devotions. Ask Him to open your eyes to all He wants you to see. Then ask yourself these questions, “What does the text say, what does it mean, and what do I do?”

You’ll be glad you did.

Drawing Near To God

“Draw near to God and he will draw near to you….” – James 4:8

The command we are given in this passage is to draw near to God. The reason and the main goal for writing this devotional is that we get near to God, that we have fellowship with Him and that we not settle for a Christian life at a safe distance from God until we need Him.

Let me share a fundamental truth that I want you to pause and think about for a few minutes: When we draw near to God, we will find Him every time.

This drawing near is not a physical act. It’s not reflecting on your achievements or what you have done right in your life. It’s not something that automatically happens when you attend a Northstar service each week or by being faithful to your Northstar Group. It is an act of the heart. This is the center of the gospel, that God sent His Son to suffer and to die so that through Him we might draw near. It’s all so that we might draw near.

Hebrews 7:25 – “He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 11:6 – “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who draws near to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”