I Can Hardly Wait to See What God Does Today – Blessed

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Have you ever heard the saying, “I can hardly wait to see what God does today?” I really want to live my life with this mindset. I think I would be full of joy and hope. I would be looking for his blessings all throughout my day. I would be focused on trusting in Jesus, instead of being focused on my difficulties. I would live open handedly.

Lead Pastor Ben Snyder said, “Being open handed means being open to seek his blessings first through prayer and being open to see God meet your needs abundantly.” I love the word “abundant.” To me, it means overflowing with blessing.

John 10:10  ESV (one of my favorite verses)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Jesus didn’t just come to save us; he came so we could have joyful, satisfying, and blessed lives here on earth. God wants all of us to live this type of life. Who doesn’t long to live an abundant life?

Unfortunately, many don’t live that way and miss God’s blessing when they are closed fisted. Ben said when you close your hand, you stop trusting God and start trying to figure it out on your own. Sometimes I close my fist when I am not getting my way, I don’t think God is moving quickly enough, or his plan doesn’t seem to make any sense. (I can’t believe I just admitted that.)

Recently, I felt God calling me to do something, but I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to afford it. Ultimately, I decided I would obey, but I had a back-up plan just in case. God helped me realize that having a back-up plan wasn’t really trusting him. He wanted me to obey him and let him provide. I felt overjoyed! I know I can  trust him … I just needed to obey, sit back, and let him work.

We need to trust God to meet our needs, and meet them abundantly. God wants to bless us—with him, we have more than enough. So how are you going to live: open-handedly or closed-handedly?

Jeremiah 17:7-8
7 “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. 8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank. with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green and they never stop producing fruit.”

Questions:
Are you open or closed fisted? Explain. How do you respond to trials? How can you improve your trust in God? Why do you think Jesus desires for all of us to have a deep and satisfying life? Why do you think we should pray first?

Are you open to receiving God’s blessing even when it doesn’t make sense, isn’t what you want, or the timing is not what you desire?

Next Steps:
Pray first. Have an action plan ready for the next time you are facing a trial. Write the plan down and be prepared.

Meditate on Jeremiah 17:7-8.

Prayer:
Jesus, I can hardly wait to see what you do today! I trust you! Help me to live an open-handed life. Help my faith in you to overflow. Help me to live a life that draws other people to you. Thank you for loving me so much that you saved me and long for me to live a rich and satisfying life in you! Help me to always bring glory to your name. Amen.


This post was written by Marsha Raymond. Marsha has been happily married to her husband, Jeff, for 30 years. They have two grown sassy and fearless daughters. She loves spending time with God, her family and friends, reading, riding bicycles, yoga and walking.


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In God’s Created Order – Blessed

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This weekend, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder wrapped up the Blessed series with one of my favorite Biblical teachings—the miracle of the five loaves and two fish. As a child, I thought it was unbelievable that a boy with a meager amount of food could be used to feed a large crowd. I was also focused on the fact that among the multitude of people present, only one boy brought food to eat. How is that even possible?

Luke 9:14-15
14 For there were about 5,000 men there. Jesus replied, “Tell them to sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 So the people all sat down.

Can you just imagine being one of the 12 apostles when Jesus told them to sit the crowd of 5,000 down in groups of 50? Why would that be necessary since they only had a small sack lunch to feed everyone? And why in groups of 50? Was Jesus following the CDC guidelines for social distancing (Ha ha)?

Jesus brought order to the crowd because he is a God of order. If we want to live with an open hand, we need to be open to God’s created order for our lives. He wants to put order to our chaos so that we can experience a blessed life, one that we experience in the heart. When we put God first, everything else will begin to fall into its proper place.

Luke 16:10
“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.”

This is the principle of little and much. Only after Jesus looked toward heaven and offered a blessing for the loaves of bread and fish were they multiplied. If we want to live with an open hand, we need to be open to seeking his blessing first.

What would have happened if the apostles had kept the sack lunch instead of giving it to Jesus? They would have missed out on the miracle.

The same principle is true for us. If we hold onto the little that we have, God cannot give us the miracle of multiplication. You do not always see the miracle until you give away what you have. God blesses an open hand more than a closed fist, so give first and the rest will be blessed.

Questions:
Are you open to God’s created order? If not, why? Do you feel that God’s order is restricting?

Are you putting God first? If not, why? If so, can you see that everything else is falling into order?

Are you being faithful or dishonest with little? Your answer will determine if you are given much.

Next Steps:

Through Biblical principles, Financial Peace University has dramatically changed people’s lives as the video this weekend demonstrated. Check out our Groups Directory at http://cedarcreek.tv/group to get connected with a life-changing Group.

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, give us the courage to live with an open hand instead of a closed fist. Grant us the wisdom to see your created order in the chaos of our lives. Keep us ever faithful to the plans you have for us so that we may experience your blessings. Thank you for giving us the Holy Spirit that dwells within us so that we may have insight into life’s challenges that would otherwise remain a mystery. In your Son’s name we pray, amen.


This post was written by Jennifer Macke. Jenn has a son, daughter, granddaughter, and grandson, and she thanks God every day for them. She is enjoying retirement and feels blessed to be writing for LivingItOut. She was raised in an Evangelical Church, but her spiritual life awakened when she started attending CedarCreek.


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Wanting More of What You Need – Blessed

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My children have a better life than my siblings and I had growing up. Well, let me rephrase that sentence: They have more than we had. And yet, they always WANT more, but we are teaching them to appreciate what they have. For instance, a choice between having spaghetti, hotdogs, or chicken nuggets seems like plenty of quality options for a child-friendly lunch. Those choices might be fine on Monday, but the rest of the week, I’m met with sighs, grunts, or a, “Why can’t we go to (fill in the restaurant)?”

At a certain age, the complaints from the older children require more of a “reality check” response. I share with them how my mother often created a feast with a few potatoes, an onion, and ketchup. Or how she wouldn’t dare waste milk on making hot chocolate or tomato soup. She raised us to appreciate the small things. And although we may not have had a lot, we weren’t without.

Lead Pastor Ben Snyder said, “Sometimes we get closed-hearted and closed-minded because we look at what we have and think, ‘It’s just not enough.’” All of us must be open to offering God what we have instead of focusing on what we lack.

I used to think a broken marriage, multiple sclerosis, and a lack of money would have given my Mom justification to think that she had had enough of not having enough. There were days when her spirit was broken, and she lacked strength. Sometimes, a little faith was all she had to offer to God. Thankfully, he used that to make an eternal difference in her life, which she used to make a difference in mine.

As I said, we’re teaching our kids to appreciate what they have, but we’re also encouraging them to want more of what they NEED. I felt so proud when our oldest daughter stepped toward fulfilling that need when she recently decided to get baptized.

Questions:
When have you experienced God using your or someone else’s “not enough” to make a difference? Do you trust that God gives you what you need? Do you find yourself wanting more of the wrong things? Are you open to giving God what you have?

Next Steps:
Practice giving to God first. Take GrowthTrack to unlock your spiritual gifts and understand your purpose. Pray and seek guidance when you feel like what you have isn’t enough.

Prayer:
God, help me appreciate the things, the life, and the purpose you have given me. Keep my heart open to share and give as you designed, and help me to remember that you can use what I have to offer, even when it doesn’t seem to be enough.  May my faith guide me to see our community’s needs instead of focusing on my own wants. Amen.


This post was written by Jaron Camp, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.


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When it Doesn’t Make Sense – Blessed

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Sometimes when God asks us to do something, it doesn’t make sense. Eighteen years ago, Kevin and I took our youth group on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. While we were there, we immediately felt at home in this unfamiliar country. We fell in love with the people, with the land, and with the ministry. We quickly felt a pull and a yearning to be a part of the work that God was doing there. During that trip, we stayed up late into the night talking and praying about whatever it was that God was doing in our hearts as our 6-week-old, youngest child slept on the bed next to us.

We returned home and continued to intentionally seek God. At that time, Kevin had a great job as a youth pastor, I was a stay-at-home mom, we had a cute little house, and our families were less than an hour’s drive away. We would have to sell our home and most of our possessions. We would have to travel 1,800 miles with three little ones to a location where only one of us spoke the language. We would have to raise financial support for our missionary income.

Were we experiencing mission trip “warm fuzzies,” or was God truly calling our little family—with three kiddos, five and younger—to move overseas? We confided in some close friends who began praying for God to provide us with clarity. Our parents weren’t on board (at first). In fact, another family member threatened to report us to child services (I wish I was joking). It didn’t make sense.

In his weekend message, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder taught us that “if we want to live life with an open hand, we need to be open to trust God even when it doesn’t make sense.Ben shared a story from Luke when Jesus asked his disciples to do something that didn’t make sense—to feed 5,000+ people with their meager provisions.

Luke 9:13b
“But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.

Jesus’ request didn’t make sense.

Our first response to the call to serve in the Dominican Republic was similar to that of the disciples—in the flesh, with normal resources, and under normal circumstances—it didn’t make sense. We pointed out all of our excuses to God, and he graciously replied, “Trust me.”

That is what he called the disciples to do, and that is what he called us to do 18 years ago. And so, that is what we did. One step at a time.

Over the years, God has continued to call us to play a part in what he is doing to reach others with the good news of Jesus. Often it doesn’t make sense, including when we helped start a church 12 years ago. It is amazing to see what God does, though, when we trust him and offer our lives to him open handedly.

Questions:
Have you ever felt God asking you to do something that didn’t make sense? What was your first reaction? In what ways can you step out in faith even if it doesn’t make sense?

Next Steps:
If you feel that God is calling you to something, trust him one step at a time. Confide in some close friends or your Group to join you on the journey through prayer. Whether it’s to move overseas or share a meal with a neighbor, trusting and following God may not always make sense, but it is always worth it.

Prayer:
God, we want to live with an open hand and trust you, even when it doesn’t make sense. Help us to trust you and take one step at a time, knowing you have a plan, just like you did when you fed a crowd of 5,000 with only five loaves of bread and two fish. Open our ears and give us willing hearts to follow your plan and live out our mission for you while we’re here on this earth. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Kendra Grubinski. Kendra is passionate about her relationship with Jesus and loves studying and sharing God’s Word. During the week, she is a Spanish Teacher at Findlay High School. She also enjoys spending time with her family and pups, reading, traveling, drinking good coffee and being active outdoors.


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Open Hands – Blessed

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The last month has been a journey as we delved into what it means to live a blessed life, something that I think we all desire. We’ve learned that we experience God’s best when we give him our first and that a blessed life starts in the heart. Over the weekend, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder wrapped up the series by talking about how God blesses an open hand more than a closed fist—a truth that resonates deeply with me as I try to grow in this area.

Ben shared in his message that we have to be open to the part God wants us to play. For me, friction arises at the word “open.” There’s an uncertainty that comes as soon as we relax our grip and surrender to God’s plan, as though we think maintaining a firm, closed hand means we retain control over the direction of our lives or actions. We have a wriggling fear of God steering us away from the path we’d prefer.

In truth, that’s a possibility. God might call us to give up something we’d rather keep, do something we’d rather avoid, or move in a direction we’d rather shun. He might not miraculously take away the issues in our lives, but instead, invite us to grow through dealing with them. In Isaiah, we see that our plans do not always coincide with God’s.

Isaiah 55:8-9
8 “For my thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. 9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

But our concerns about surrendering to God’s desires for us ignore a critical fact: God’s plan is always better. Not easy, mind you, but deeply worth it. By releasing control to God, we open ourselves to him, allowing him to weave our lives together in a richer and more satisfying way than we could have imagined. The Bible assures us of God’s goodness in his orchestration of our lives.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

We don’t have to fear releasing our grip and surrendering to the part God calls us to play.  Obedience will undoubtedly lead us well outside our comfort zones, but we can confidently trust God’s loving wisdom. The small, sometimes hesitant, display of trust that comes with opening our hand will ultimately lead us toward a blessed life that’s even better than we could have envisioned.

Questions:
Would you describe your posture toward God’s callings as closed or open? Why do you have that attitude? Are there areas in your life that God is asking you to surrender to him?

Next Steps:
Identify the areas of your life wherein you need to release control to God. Ask him to guide you in this process. Join a Group to gain support as you grow your trust in God and pursue the part he has called you to play.

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, you are the author of my life, and your plans for me are always good. Help my trust in you to flourish as I live with open hands to the part you call me to play. Thank you for your everlasting kindness and patience. Amen.


This post was written by Sarah Pagel, a regular contributor and editor or the LivingitOut.


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Better Together – Blessed

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Last weekend, we kicked off our Group winter semester! Groups have a simple purpose: to bring people together. We believe God created us to live in relationship with others, and only then can we live the full life he intends for us. Sharing life through community is part of our design, but meaningful relationships aren’t always easy to find. That’s why Groups exist—to make these life-changing relationships relevant and accessible to you.

When I first joined a Group several years ago, I was the quiet observer. I wasn’t really sure what Groups were about, so my method was to watch, listen, and learn. My Group leader was so kind and welcoming. She allowed me to get comfortable but also subtly pushed me to be braver. Not long after that, I began leading my own Group. I’ve seen over the years how Groups can shift and how the culture can change. But one thing has remained the same—we support each other and are all eager to learn more about Jesus.

Right now, my Group’s main focus is simply studying a small chunk of Scripture to learn something new about who Jesus is. But many Groups follow a study or do an activity together. It seems there is a Group for just about every hobby—and if there isn’t one that aligns with your interests, you can create your own! Regardless of what the Group’s main focus is, there will always be shared scripture and a time where you pray together.

The friendships I’ve formed from Groups are like no others. They are founded in a mutual love for Jesus. And what better way to start a friendship than with him? Knowing the people in the Group have a heart for Jesus has allowed my Group members (and myself) to feel free to share and be honest. When we have authentic relationships where we can share our faults and struggles with others, we will experience freedom.

James 5:16
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

It’s not too late to join a Group! Check out the directory today at Cedarcreek.tv/groups.

Questions:
If you are in a Group, has it helped you take a step in your faith journey? How so?

If you’re not in a Group, what is stopping you? If you’ve had a bad experience in a Group, do you think trying another might be worthwhile?

Next Steps:
Even if you aren’t sure about joining a Group, I would encourage you to look through the directory just to see what types of Groups there are. You might be surprised to find something you want to try, or you might find the inspiration for  a Group of your own!

Prayer:
Dear God, I thank you for my Group and for the many others out there who are growing relationships with you by being in fellowship with other Christ followers. There is so much value in the accountability, the wisdom offered, and the sharing of burdens that Groups provide. I pray that if someone reading this is on the fence, or is a little nervous about trying a Group, that you give them the courage to move forward. Help guide them to a Group that fits their needs. Help the Group leaders to be encouraging and always pointing to you when they lead. Amen.


This post was written by Ashlee Cloud, a regular contributor and editor or the LivingitOut.


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From Above – Blessed

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Last weekend, Perrysburg Campus Pastor Josh Whitlow’s bottom line was: Do you have money, or does money have you? He began by speaking about competition. Humanity’s competitive nature is captured throughout Scripture. We see it all the way back in the story of Cain and Abel, continuing with Joseph and his brothers’ sibling rivalry. It is behind our need to keep up with the Joneses in our pursuit of happiness, and perhaps it has been a more significant influence in political discourse in our country than we realize.

Our natural inclination is to think our blessings are our own doing. Whether we’re gifted with athletic ability, keen knowledge, political awareness, or financial security, we tend to credit our hard work, our attitude, and our education for our blessings. While nothing is wrong with a sense of pride or healthy work ethic, we need to remember that everything we have comes from God—our job is to manage those blessings. God owns them, and he has given them to us to share.

Luke 16:11-12
11
“And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? 12 And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?”

We do have a choice. Will we let money rule us? Or will we listen to God and what he wants us to do with our money? Count your blessings and think about the choices God has given you to use them.

Luke 16:14
The Pharisees, who dearly loved their money, heard all this and scoffed at him.

The Pharisees chose not to. How about you?

Questions:
With this weekend’s message in mind, What steps do you need to take to ensure you have money and it doesn’t have you?

Next Steps:
Consider the blessing you have in your life. Write them down and thank God for being the provider of each one.

If money stresses you out and overwhelms you, it’s time for that to stop. Get a plan in place so that you can experience freedom in the area of money. Check-out the Groups Directory and join one of our Financial Peace University Groups

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, you have blessed me and my family. We are thankful for our blessings. We know this is your plan, your work. We understand our job is to be your hands and feet, to manage your blessings, and hopefully, to bring others to you! Thank you for the blessings you have given me, my family, and my country! Amen.


This post was written by Pam Haynam. Pam is a writer for the LivingItOut Bible Study and a cook for the weekend worship band. She has a passion for education having served her community on a district school board and is currently serving on a board that sponsors charter schools across the state. She and her husband have three grown children, a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law, and four grandsons.


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Faithful with the Rest – Blessed

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Have you ever watched a version of Stanford University’s marshmallow experiment? An adult places a marshmallow in front of a small child and then leaves the room. If the child can faithfully wait without eating the marshmallow until the adult returns, the child will get a second marshmallow. But if he or she isn’t faithful and eats the marshmallow, he/she will not get the extra treat. It is so funny to see how the children go about waiting—some sit quietly while others dive right in; some fess up to their impulsiveness while others try to cover their tracks. But it is striking to consider how similar situations play out in our lives.

Last weekend, Pastor Josh Whitlow talked about the importance of being faithful in the small things so we can be trusted with bigger things.

Luke 16:10
“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.”

This is true at work, with finances, and in relationships. If you are trustworthy with small jobs or small amounts of money, you likely can be trusted with more. But if you are dishonest or untrustworthy with small things, you couldn’t possibly be relied upon to be faithful with larger responsibilities. One particular man in the Bible stands out for his faithfulness.

After many years of slavery, the Israelites were ready to enter their homeland. They chose twelve men, including one named Joshua, to scout the land in advance. The land was full of good food and crops, but it was also abundantly full of enemies. Joshua didn’t let that blind him. While ten of the twelve scouts embellished the truth to make it sound like the area was too dangerous, Joshua was faithful. He knew that God was with them, and so he told the people that they had nothing to fear. And because Joshua was faithful in this, God made him the leader of Israel as they finally entered their homeland.

Joshua 4:14
That day the Lord made Joshua a great leader in the eyes of all the Israelites, and for the rest of his life they revered him as much as they had revered Moses.

Because Joshua was faithful in the little things, he was given bigger opportunities to lead and inspire others. We all mess up—there are times when we are less than completely forthright. But, when we are faithful, God is overjoyed to bless and celebrate with us. Let’s all work on being faithful in both the little and big things.

Questions:
Have you ever experienced the reward of being faithful, like a promotion at your job or some additional freedom from your parents? Where in your life can you work on being more faithful?

Next Steps:
Practice being faithful in every part of your life. Think about times when you were dishonest and confess those to God. If there are relationships that need to be mended, consider how you might begin earning back that trust.

Prayer:
Father, you give me so many opportunities to be faithful. Help me to be trustworthy in the little things so that I can experience larger responsibilities. Teach me how to faithfully follow you. In your name, amen.


This post was written by Lydia Snyder. Lydia has been a story-lover for as long as she can remember, often found reading books or writing. She is thrilled to be making a difference by inspiring others to take part in the best story ever – God’s story. Lydia lives with her three wonderful siblings and two amazing parents.


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Turn Stuff into Stories! – Blessed

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Last year, we decided to give up our wanderings in the motorhome and find a more permanent winter location. Coincidentally, some of our friends were selling their mobile home in our park. We bought it! The purchase included almost all the contents, and we found ourselves with at least two of everything.

At the same time, a sweet lady who did maintenance in our park needed to move out of a bad situation and had no furnishings for her new apartment. Mike and I invited her over to take whatever she needed from our bounty! Sheets, towels, dishes, glasses, silverware, pots and pans, a coffee maker, a toaster oven—whatever she needed, we gave her. Since then, she has become a dear friend and has come to church with me several times. We were blessed to be a blessing to her! As Andy Stanley says, we turned our “stuff into a story of God’s goodness and provision”!

Last weekend, Josh shared a parable from Luke about a shrewd manager, which Jesus used to illustrate one of the ways you can have money instead of it having you.

Luke 16:1-4
1 Jesus told this story to his disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a manager handling his affairs. One day a report came that the manager was wasting his employer’s money. 2 So the employer called him in and said, ‘What’s this I hear about you? Get your report in order, because you are going to be fired.’
3 “The manager thought to himself, ‘Now what? My boss has fired me. I don’t have the strength to dig ditches, and I’m too proud to beg. 4 Ah, I know how to ensure that I’ll have plenty of friends who will give me a home when I am fired.’”

The story goes on to tell how the manager reduced the debts to ingratiate himself with his master’s debtors. He did this so they would perhaps look more favorably on him when his master let him go. His master even congratulated him on his shrewdness. Now, Jesus is not advising us to be dishonest in our dealings with others, as it may seem on the surface.

Luke 16:9   
Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your possessions are gone, you will be welcomed to an eternal home.”

We can take what we have here today and invest in something that is eternal. Our resources can impact eternity. God can take money, which is neutral, and turn it into saved souls!

Our method of giving is an indicator of how we view God. Whether or not you give the first of what you have been given reflects whether “you have money” OR “money has you.” When we give to God first, whether with money or what money buys, we are showing him (and ourselves) that we trust him to meet our needs through his provision! He is so very generous to us—let us adopt that attitude of generosity toward others!

Questions:
How can you turn your “stuff into stories”?

What has God blessed you with that you could use as a blessing to others?

Where might you be experiencing “holy discontent,” a situation where God is calling you to become involved and make a difference?

Next Steps:
This week, take some time to think about how you could use your gifts from God to bless someone else. It may be as simple as offering to babysit, providing a meal, or just lending an ear to someone who’s lonely. Maybe God is inviting you to give your time by participating in a Group, or even leading one. Perhaps he has placed a certain need on your heart that only you can fill through your specific gifts. Answer the call!

Prayer:
My Jesus, thank you for all your gifts. I know they are not for me alone, but rather, mine to share with those you put in my life. Help me hold them with open hands, Lord. They are only mine to steward, as they have been given to me to further your kingdom here on earth, as it is in heaven. Your gifts multiply as I share them! Give me a generous spirit, Lord, and I will give you all the glory! In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Lauri White. Lauri is one of the 25 people that God used to start CedarCreek in the Fall of 1995, and was on staff until 2013. Lauri loves Jesus, and loves helping people, especially women, live out of the truth about who we are in Christ. She and her husband Mike live in Oregon, but now spend winter months in Florida near daughter Kelda and her family.


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Do You Have Money, Or Does Money Have You? – Blessed

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Last Friday, the news announced that a winning ticket had been sold for the Mega Millions $1 billion jackpot. The winner, a person in Michigan, now has a claim to the $739.6 million cash payout—the 2nd-largest total ever.

When you hear a story like this, it is easy to begin fantasizing about what you would do with that much money and how it could change your life. With that much money, you could pay off your house, buy a bigger house, and buy a place for your mom. You could replace your older, high-mileage vehicle and get the new 2021 F-250 King Ranch you have been eyeing. You could quit your job and pursue the dream career or start-up business you never felt secure enough to go after. You could give a large amount away to someone in need or to an organization that makes a difference in your community. And, for all of you parents, think about the ability to ensure future opportunities for your kids. That would be nice. Right?

Honestly, it can be fun to dream and think about money. And it’s okay to “imagine if” for a bit, but there is a danger in falling in love with money—believing that money is the provider, not God.

1 Timothy 6:10
For the love of money is the root of all evils. Some people in reaching for it have strayed from the faith and stabbed themselves with many pains.

Josh Whitlow’s bottom line to this past weekend’s message asked this question: Do you have money, or does money have you?

When money has us, things can go wrong in a hurry. Look no further than past lottery winners. Last year, according to the National Endowment for Financial Education, 70% of people who win a lottery or receive a large windfall go bankrupt within a few years. They stop working, give too much away, taxes negate the winnings, or spend it all.

When money has us instead of us having it, it distracts us from what God wants to do in us and through us. Josh pointed out this weekend when money has us, it can affect every area of our lives, including our marriage, career, influence, and perspective.

God wants to give us freedom in this area, though. That is why Jesus points out that money is a chief competitor to him.

Luke 16:13
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.”

In this verse, “money” is shown to be a potential master competing with God for our trust and loyalty. A few weeks ago, Ben Snyder taught us about the principle of firsts. That principle is at the heart of this verse. This verse isn’t saying wealth is evil, but it tells us God must be first, not money or possessions.

When God takes his rightful place in our lives, the rest will fall into order. Trusting God to provide for our needs and relying on him alone for our security is the beginning of finding freedom in every area of our lives.

Over the next few days, we will look at how we can use our money in a way that will lead to a life of freedom—a life where we are ready to receive God’s best.

Questions:
Have you ever thought, “If I had more money, my life would be better”? What do you think would be better about it?

This weekend’s bottom line is “Do you have money, or does money have you?” What are the ways you’ve witnessed money “have” someone?

Be honest, have you been looking to find security, significance, safety, or anything else in money instead of God?

Do you have money, or does money have you?

Next Steps:
Take time to think about the final question above. Right down the ways that money has you today. Commit to putting God first and begin using your money in a way that leads to a life of freedom. Read the LivingItOut each day this week.

Prayer:
Dear God, you are worthy of being first in every area of my life. As I reflect on today’s scripture, help me see the place that money has in my life. Forgive me for the times that I allow money to “have me” and for the times that I look to it for security or significance instead of looking to you. As I seek you, grow my love for you and help me to follow you today. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Ben Bockert. Ben is a proud husband and father of three beautiful daughters. He is honored to serve as the Director of the LivingItOut Bible Study.


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

The LivingItOut Podcast is released every Wednesday morning. It discusses key takeaways and principles from the weekend message. Listen to the weekly podcast in your car, during your lunch break, or any other time that works for you. You can find the latest podcast here.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Series Theme Verses
LivingItOut Podcast
RightNow Media
John Reading Plan