Devotions

Monthly Archives: April, 2017

Bursting

God or Money #6 – Bursting
Noble Baird | Guest Services Director

One of my first jobs, after high school, was washing dishes at a deli in Clarkston. The hours were terrible, I spent what felt like my entire summer and all my free time in this little shop, and of course, I was making minimum wage. Every dollar I made that summer I was saving for college in Chicago and the occasional dinner with friends. During this time, I always had this little voice that reminded me about the need to tithe. However, I would simply convince myself that I did not have to tithe because I was making so little and was going to Bible college! I could not have been more wrong.

In Proverbs 3:9-10, Solomon writes, “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first-fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” Solomon was undoubtedly one of the wisest men ever to live. When God asked him what he wanted, Solomon asked for wisdom. Here, he tells us how truly important it is to honor God with our wealth. However, he does not stop there; he explains why we must honor God with all that He has blessed us with. It is not so that we will be without; it is because He wants to bless us with even more.  Solomon writes that the vats will be bursting. They will not be half-full, topped off, or sufficient, but they will be bursting and overflowing!

You see, I was worried about myself and trying to prepare for what was to come. I was not trusting in God to fill my barn with plenty. Maybe some of you are struggling as I did with this whole concept of giving back to God a portion of what He has blessed you with. I do not challenge you to listen to me, but one of the wisest men who ever walked on this earth. Trust God with your wealth and first fruits; then sit back and watch your barns be filled and your vats burst!

God or Money #5 – What is a tragedy?

God or Money #5 – What is a tragedy?
Kyle Wendel | Children & Student’s Director

If you could think of a real life tragedy, what would it be? I want to talk about a certain type of tragedy we deal with. I am going to paraphrase a story by John Piper about tragedy. There were two elder ladies that were missionaries in Cameroon. They were near their 80’s and went from village to village helping out with medical issues and serving each village. Their main goal was to bring the Gospel to their people. One day they were driving, and the brakes went out in their car. The car went straight off a cliff, and they died instantly. What a sad tragedy most would say. Let us look at another couple. They were in their 50’s, and they took early retirement from their jobs. They were living in Florida, where they enjoy their time on their 30-foot boat, play softball, and collect shells. It is the American Dream at its finest. They are living the dream, right?

The thing is THAT is a tragedy. They will have to go before their Creator and have to give an account of their life. What are they going to say? “Look Lord at my shell collection!” They have completely wasted their lives on building up their investment here on earth. That investment will get them nowhere. The two elder ladies dying is not a tragedy at all. They spent their lives devoted to the Gospel. They did not build their treasure here on Earth, but instead, they made a Heavenly investment. See the retired couple has nothing to show for their life. Yeah sure, they have a nice job, nice house, a family, grandkids, the whole American Dream, but they had no eternal investment. They had wasted their lives on the here and now. Completely devoting themselves to their retirement to live happy and merry. What impact did they have for the Kingdom? They have absolutely nothing to show for their lives when they go face to face their Creator when they die.

However, the two missionaries will hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.” They knew where they were going. They knew that one day they would be with the Lord for all eternity in a perfect place called Heaven. They knew the value of that was far greater than wasting your life in earthly treasures. What is your life when you will have nothing to show for it? You cannot take your earthly treasures past the grave. It does not matter what it is. Where is your heart?

Do you know the Gospel? Have you confessed your sin and believed that Jesus is Lord? Are you making an eternal investment with your life, or are you too caught up in this world? Is the American Dream the best option you have? If so, you are truly missing out because someday your life will be accounted for before the Lord. If you do not know Jesus as Lord, then you will be spending your eternity in a very real place called Hell. Now THAT is a tragedy, not the two ladies that served the Lord their God and are spending eternity with Him in Heaven.

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.”

The Bible is very plain and simple when it comes to it. Do you want to know where your heart is? Where is your treasure? Your heart will sure be there as well. You cannot have two things mastering your heart. It will be either God or a false idol such as money. I beg you not to waste your life for things that do not matter. Rather I encourage you to seek the Lord with all your heart and have your eternal place in mind with the decisions you make in your life. To God be all the glory!

If you would like to hear the sermon of Pastor John Piper, the link is:
Boasting Only In The Cross

God or Money #4 – What is it?

God or Money #4 – What is it?
Isaiah Combs | Worship Leader & Young Adults Director

What is it?

  1. Everyone seems to get nervous when you bring it up. 
  2. Most people in the church will turn their ears off when the Pastor mentions it. 
  3. I will agree that it is a sensitive subject.
  4. In the society we live in today, it always seems like someone is trying to take advantage of you. 
  5. All of us at one point have made a bad decision in life, and it caused us to lose some of it. It usually ends up in another person’s gain. 
  6. We spend most of our time in life trying to earn it.
  7. We build our lives with it.
  8. Yes, it can be important.
  9. Is it needed in our society? Yes.
  10. It can rip your family to pieces.

Many of you guessed it. The answer is money, and every statement is true. 

 I believe the Bible has all the answers in life. I believe it can be used to navigate this thing we call life. I can use it to become a better husband, parent, son, brother, friend, neighbor, and the list goes on and on. 

The Bible can also help us on how to deal with money.  Although money can be used for good, I also believe that it can be a tool of the devil.  Most marriage problems stem from money problems.  Most fights between people stem from money. 

The list could go on and on about the ways the devil uses it.  Money is a giant problem in our society.

Mathew 6:24 is a verse that always makes me take a second to think whether God or money is controlling my life. 

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

The Bible clearly says that you cannot serve money and say you serve God.  We wrap our lives around making money.  Then if we have extra time, we give it to God.  Truth hurts. 

Is making money bad? No, but if it is your sole focus in life, then it is your master. 

The Bible is filled with verse and wisdom about dealing with money. 

Which master do you serve?

God or Money #3 – The Money god

God or Money #3 – The Money god
Ryan Story | Student Pastor

We live in a dangerous time. There is an undertone in American Christianity that tries to teach the idea that “if everything in your life is going well financially, God is happy with you, so you should give more, and He will give you more money. But, if there seems to be an issue in your life financially then God is mad at you, so you should give more, so He can give you more.” I am all for God blessing us, His undeserving children, but it scares me when people connect their relationship with God to their bank account. There is a scary false Gospel that is taught that God loves more to those who give more, but if someone does not give more, they bring ruin to their life. It is a scary thought that people start serving God, living for God, and honoring God for monetary gain. Now no one is going to say outright that he or she serves Jesus for the “kickbacks,” but we have created a Jesus who only gives back to those who give. If we are not careful, we can wind up becoming confused about who our Lord is. We can slowly be trapped into thinking that money is our master.

In Matthew 6, Jesus points out that “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” I like when Jesus is straightforward and to the point. There is not much need to bring out a commentary, or for us to get together and discuss what Jesus is trying to get at. Jesus is warning us of the control that money can have on our lives. To say someone has turned money into his or her master creates some interesting imagery in my mind. All I can picture is a dollar bill with a crown and people bowing in its presence. People getting excited when “king dollar” greets them on the street, and people saddened whenever something bad happens to the king. Now we may laugh at the thought of that, but the reality is Jesus is warning us about the power that money can hold over someone’s life.

Take some time this month to figure out if Jesus is your master or if money is. Do you hate Jesus when things are not going your way financially? We can only serve one master on this Earth; I am hoping we all choose to serve Jesus with our whole being. 

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 



Office: 8393 E. Holly Rd. Holly, MI 48442 | 248.328.0490 | info@theriverchurch.cc

Copyright © 2016 The River Church. All Rights Reserved.