Devotions

Author Archives: Philip Piasecki

How to Give #2 – Grumbling Gift

How to Give #2 – Grumbling Gift
Phil Piasecki | Worship Leader

Imagine that it is two days before my wife’s birthday and I still have not gotten her a gift. The reason I have not purchased her a gift yet is that I do not want to get her a gift. It takes too much time to figure out what she would want; I would rather spend the money on something for myself, and giving someone else a gift is not any fun for me. Begrudgingly, I pick something random off Amazon, have it shipped here in two days, and I give her the gift because “it is what I’m supposed to do.” I am sure by now all of you reading this are cringing. We all know this situation is not going to work out well for me in the end. Unfortunately, this is the way so many of us act when it comes to giving to the church. If I gave a gift to my wife with that attitude, she would be so disappointed. I am sure she would rather I just did not get her anything at all. This is the exact same way that God feels when our giving is done with a bad attitude. Let us get real here; nobody likes to talk about money. We do not like to talk about money with our friends, family, or especially at church. So, unfortunately, many churches and people ignore the topic completely, and they never get to experience something incredible that God designed.

2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

This verse so clearly and succinctly sums up how we are supposed to give. First, we are supposed to actually think about what we give. Take some time to pray and seek God asking Him what He would have you give. In the same way that I would actually take the time to think about what I should get my wife for her birthday, God wants us to put some thought into how He would have us give to His Kingdom. When we give, we are supposed to do it joyfully. If you are not able to give joyfully, then you need to take some time and examine your heart. A reluctance to give can point to many different deeper spiritual issues. Until those are resolved God would rather you did not give at all. Again, if I am giving my wife a birthday gift only because I have to, not because I want to, we all know she would rather I just did not bother. My gift to her should be a way for me to show my great love for her, not something given out of obligation. Lastly, throughout Scripture we see people giving sacrificially. The church in Acts 2 was not wealthy by any means, but they all gave sacrificially to the church to help each other. When we give, it should cause us to sacrifice some other luxury. We want to show God that He above all, He is most important in our lives. We can do that by giving back to Him some of what He has given to us.

Secret Giving #2 – Facebook Trumpets

Secret Giving #2 – Facebook Trumpets
Phil Piasecki | Worship Leader

When we see the Pharisees in Scripture, we find a great example of how not to behave as Christians. In Matthew 23, Jesus explains to the people that they should not follow the example the Pharisees set. In verse 5, Jesus explains that they do all their deeds to be seen by others. Everything that they did revolved around earthly praise and recognition and for this, Jesus condemns them. We all know it is human nature to want recognition for the good things that we do. However, Jesus commands us only to be concerned about eternal recognition.

Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

Matthew 6:1-4 adds, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

Both of these Scriptures very clearly show that our righteous deeds need to be done for the Lord and not for men. When we fall into the trap of doing righteous things for the recognition of men, Jesus tells us that we lose our reward. Understandably, sometimes it is impossible to do something good without having people recognize it and honor it. God uses the praise and thanks of other believers to encourage us to continue doing the things of the Lord, and God also knows the condition of our heart. We see in Matthew 6:1-4 that Scripture encourages the idea of secret giving. This way we know that our intentions are completely pure. People were giving to the needy and sounding a trumpet to make sure everyone would recognize the “good” that they did. We may not sound trumpets in the synagogues, but many of us are quick to post to social media the “good” that we have done. Charity and giving are such an important things; it is one way that we get to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. When we do these things, let us strive to do it with the least recognition possible. If you feel like you are constantly doing good without any worldly recognition, be encouraged by that! Understand that God sees you, and you will have your reward one day in Paradise.

Contentment #2 – Smartphone Fever

Contentment #2 – Smartphone Fever
Phil Piasecki | Worship Leader

Today it seems like everyone has a smartphone. Odds are you are currently reading this devotional from an iPhone or Android device. Many of us have jobs where we rely on our smartphone, and many of us live our lives in a way that is dependent on that device. The smartphone developers have come up with a brilliant marketing ploy to go along with these phones, to make a “bigger and better one” every year. We all know the feeling when that new phone is released and immediately we feel like our current phone is the worst thing ever. All of a sudden, it “does not work as well” or “has been extra slow recently.”  We all know these are just the things we tell ourselves to justify buying the latest and greatest. These companies understand that the human race struggles with contentment, and they are capitalizing off it. Godly contentment is something that each of us need to strive for, and it applies to so much more than just material goods.

Philippians 4:11-14 says,Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

When Paul writes this letter, he was literally sitting in a jail cell. I think of all the places in the world we would think it is ok not to be content; it would be a jail cell! Here is Paul, explaining that he has learned to be content in every situation, no matter the current circumstances of his life. Many people want to read Philippians 4:13 without acknowledging the previous verses. When Paul says, “I can do all things through Christ,” he is saying that even in the worst circumstances in life, he can find contentment in Christ. How often do you find yourself in a situation in life where you are not content? We all can point to times in our lives where we failed at finding our contentment in Christ. I know that I am guilty of not being content with my material goods. I see a new car or the latest tech gadget and desire for those things swells up inside of me. Instead, I should be grateful for the things that Christ has given me and not covet after the things that I do not have. You may be in a job you hate, be struggling with direction in your life, or personally be going through a tough time. Look to Christ for your contentment. Seek after Christ, understanding that He is the only thing that can fulfill you. When we look for fulfillment in the things of this world, we will find ourselves discontented. Our circumstances are always changing, but through Christ, we can always be content.

Eternal Investment #2 – Temporal or Eternal?

Eternal Investment #2 – Temporal or Eternal?
Phil Piasecki | Worship Leader

I have always been very interested in the life of Steve Jobs. A couple of years ago I read his biography, and once I started it I could not put it back down until it was finished. It was so fascinating to hear all the stories of the early days of Apple. It had story after story of how he came up with each of his different brilliant ideas, how he came back to the company and rescued it and built it into one of the most successful companies in the history of the world. The biography was also littered with stories of how his family collapsed around him and how he burned bridges with everyone who cared about him. Much of the biography also focused on his consistent pursuit to find spiritual truth, and before he died, there is no record that he ever believed in Jesus Christ. This was a man who invested everything he had in the temporal and never once invested in the eternal. Mark 8:36 says, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” This verse unfortunately perfectly sums up Steve Job’s life, and if some of you are honest with yourselves, it may sum of your lives as well. Many of us are believers, and we are not in danger of forfeiting our soul, but we are in danger of not truly investing in eternity.

Matthew 6:19-21 says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Each and every day our actions are either storing up treasures here on earth or in Heaven. Now the Bible does teach us to be wise with our money, but it strictly commands us not to allow it to become our treasure. What we value most in life is where we are going to spend our time and energy, and what we spend our time and energy on is the treasure that we are “laying up” for ourselves. Our vision can become so clouded by the things of this earth when our focus needs to be on doing things that will matter for all of eternity. When I get to Heaven, I want to hear the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” I want to be able to look back on my life and see that things I did on earth made an eternal difference. Please do not waste your life pursuing things that are temporal, instead invest your life into things that are eternal.

God or Money #2 – Money, Money, Money

God or Money #2 – Money, Money, Money
Phil Piasecki | Worship Leader

Our world revolves around the all mighty dollar. Our culture is constructed in a way that to survive a person must make money and spend money. Every day we are inundated with advertisements trying to get us to spend our money on their products. It is impossible to even drive to work without seeing billboards or signs begging us to spend our money. When kids go to college, many times they are encouraged to pick a major that has the highest earning potential. At times, it can seem like every decision we make in our life ultimately revolves around money. With this being the world that we live in, it can be easy to lose focus of what is most important. Scripture warns us of the dangers of money.

1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”

Ecclesiastes 5:10 says, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.”

First, let us clear something up that money is not inherently evil! When we look throughout Scriptures, there are many examples of people who were blessed with immense wealth. The money is not the issue; it is the heart behind the money that needs to be kept in check. When we love money more than we love God, we are in serious trouble. Christ needs to always be our primary focus.  He needs to be the one that we are relying on for our needs. The question becomes, is our master God or money? It takes some serious reflection to figure out the answer to this question. For those of you who have been blessed financially, make sure you are using that blessing to honor God. I was very lucky to grow up in a family that was blessed financially, and my parents were always using what God had given them to bless other people. We constantly hosted church events in our home, and they were always looking for ways to use what God had given them to bless others. If God is truly our master and not money, we will use what God has given us to His glory. When we love money that is when sin and destruction can enter our lives. One of the simplest ways to show God that He is our master, and not money, is by tithing to the church. This simple act shows the Lord that we understand everything we have came from Him and already belongs to Him. Each and every day we need to rely on the Lord for our provision, with the understanding that EVERYTHING we have has been provided by God. Let us love Christ above all, and use the material possessions that He has given us for the glory of God 



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