Dessert First Devotions
For the next 21 days we are considering what our blessings are and how can we continue to fund the ministries of our church. I am inviting you to read God’s word each day and parry about what your gifts will be to our church. Let’s see what God has in store for us as we pray about what each of our individual gifts will be. I am reminded each time I think of my gifts the words to a song I learned as a child, the title of the song is” Count Your Blessings.”
When upon Life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
Count your blessings; name them one by one;
Count your blessing; see what God hath done;
Count your blessings; name them one by one;
Count your many blessing, see what God hath done.
Try it for the next 21 days. Count your blessings and see what God has done in your life, it is life changing! Seriously make a list, add to the list daily. I will begin: Trinity Heights is my first blessing. Thanks for allowing me to be your Pastor.
Day 1. October 18, 2015:
2 Corinthians 9:6 “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. “
How can we practice sowing generously in our lives? What is God asking you to sow generously? You may need to sow thankfulness generously. This is not just about money; it is about our attitude, also!
Close with a prayer.
Day 2. October 19, 2015:
2 Corinthians 9:7: “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
How are you deciding what to give? How can you practice being a cheerful giver?
Close with a prayer.
Day 3. October 20, 2015:
2 Corinthians 9:8 “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
What good works are you giving? How do you decide between a need and a want?
Close with a prayer.
Day 4. October 21, 2015:
2 Corinthians 9:11 “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
Do you consider how generous you can be in life? Do you realize how rich you are from God’s blessings? Being generous does not mean we do not save, it means we live thankfully and we give from Love.
Close in prayer asking God to help you live generously.
Day 5. October 22, 2015:
2 Corinthians 9:12 “The service of giving you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.”
We give to God and to our church. This reality has changed my giving. Do you give knowing your gift is to God, not to your church? The church just uses the gifts to glorify God in all we do. The budget doesn’t matter to our gift, the gift is to God.
Close asking God to use your gift in God’s church wisely!
Day 6. October 23, 2015:
Malachi 3:6-8 says some interesting things to us as a church. Insert our church name into this verse, and maybe we will understand the verse in a new way. “I the Lord do not change. So you, Trinity Heights, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Since the time you were begun there have been times we have turned away from God’s decrees and have not kept God’s words. ‘Return to me, and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty. But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’ Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings, says God.”
This passage is not easy to read, perhaps we think that it is the Old Testament and does not apply to us, or we just disagree with tithing because it is in the Old Testament. Tithing is a way of thinking about our gifts to God. It means giving 10 percent to God. , the first 10 percent of your income. You decide gross or net. You decide after bills and obligations or before. I think, however, it is a great way to think of giving, to decide that you will give a percentage of your income to God. As your pastor, I tithe so I am sure I am not asking you to do anything that I do not do, myself. I will admit I did not start out in my adult life tithing. It took me a few years to work into living without, paying off some dumb debts, and then it kept on getting easier to live on less. How would it change your giving if you thought about giving a certain percentage of income to God?
Say a prayer to ask God to continue to help you decide how, and how much, you will give to our church.
Day 7. October 24, 2015:
Malachi 3:10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
An old hymn, Trust Me, Try Me, Prove Me, has the words:
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse,
All your money, talents, time and Love,
Consecrate them all upon the alter,
While your Savior from above speaks sweetly,
Trust me, try me, prove me,
Sayeth the Lord of Hosts,
And see if a blessing, unmeasured blessing,
I will not pour out on thee.
It had a catchy tune and has stuck with me since childhood. I thank you for all the gifts of time and talents. It is why I pray for the gifts that cannot fit in our offering plate on any Sunday.
Close with a prayer considering all the ways you give to our church.
Day 8. October 25, 2015:
Thanks for going to church, or for doing these devotions. We sing a version of the Doxology in church: Praise God from whom all blessing Flow, Praise God all creatures here below, Praise God above ye heavenly hosts, Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
This is the shorter version many of us still wished we sang. Hum it to yourself or sing it out loud, and then say three blessings you are thankful for in your life. God loves us each, Thanks be to God.
Day 9. October 26, 2015:
Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to Christ who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to Christ’s power that is at work within us, to Christ be all glory in our church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Pray for our church that as we each consider our gifts, God will bless us with all we need to fulfill our budget.
P.S. Did you remember to bring candy to the church? 600 trick or treaters will really go through the candy at Trunk or Treat!
Day 10. October 27, 2015:
Ephesians 3:16-19 “ I pray that out of His glorious riches Christ may strengthen you with power through Christ’s Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Ask God to continue to dwell in your hearts. How big is God’s Love? What is your best descriptive word for so big?
Close with a prayer thanking God for loving you so much you cannot adequately describe it.
Day 11. October 28, 2015:
2 Corinthians 8:7 “Just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for one another—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”
How are you doing in excelling at giving? Keep praying about what God wants you to promise as an annual, monthly or paycheck, or weekly gift to God through your church.
Close in prayer.
Day 12. October 29, 2015:
2 Corinthians 8:12 “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.”
It is easier to think “if only I had more, I would give more.” REALLY? I am thinking you and I would still give the same and decide other things we could spend our extra money on. We live in a world that helps us always know what we do not have. We live in a world that helps us always know what we do not have. Commercials always tell us about a new product that will make us happy. Let us think what we can give knowing that God will bless our gifts and multiply them. It is not the size of the gift; it is the act of giving.
Close asking God to help you consider what your gift to our church will be.
Day 13. October 30, 2015:
2 Corinthians 8:13-14 “Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality.”
How profound Paul is being to givers: don’t compare while you give. This is hard. Do you think about comparisons as you give? Maybe you give thinking it is too small, or maybe you give wishing others knew how large your gift was.
As God to help you decide what you can commit to giving God.
Day 14. October 31, 2015:
Yeah! It is Halloween. Thank God we fall back and save an hour of sleep. This is the church’s holiday. This is the celebration of the Eve of All Saints Day. One of our saints is the founder of the United Methodist Church, John Wesley. He once said, “Earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can”. It is a great rule to live by. Work hard, yes, and make money. Perhaps living by this it is smart to use Wesley’s 80/20 rule: ten percent giving, ten percent savings, and then eighty percent to live on.
Close in prayer asking God to help you with your daily money management.
Day 15. November 1, 2015:
Happy All Saints Day. Who are the saints you can name in your live? Maybe it is a close friend or a relative? Remember a Saint is not always someone who has passed away. They may be alive and walking around, perhaps sitting next to us in church. Since 1962, many saints have come through our doors to worship and help us be the church we are called to be from God. Thank God for all the saints who help us be the awesome church God is helping us to be.
Close in prayer asking God to continue to help you be the Saint God has called you to be.
Day 16. November 2, 2015:
Luke 12:15 “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a person’s life cannot consist in the abundance of their possessions.”
How do you define greed? When do you know someone is greedy? Ask God to help you be able to live generously, not entitled as those who believe they deserve things.
Day 17. November 3, 2015:
Proverbs 10:22 “The blessings of the lord bring wealth, and he adds no trouble to it.”
Did you know you are rich in God’s blessings? How many blessings have you written down to be thankful for in the last few weeks doing these devotions? Lots of rich people believed money would make them happy. It didn’t. God is the giver of joy, which is more fulfilling and necessary than happiness.
Close thanking God for making you rich in God’s blessings.
Day 18. November 4, 2015:
1 Timothy 6:17-18 “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. “
What is God calling you to give as a gift to our church? Ask God to help you be generous in your gift to our church.
Close in prayer.
Day 19. November 5, 2015:
Jesus is asked in Mathew about paying taxes. He asks about the wording on the coin, and then replies. Matthew 22:21 “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
Our money says “In God We Trust.” How amazing! What would your tithe be after taxes, or what would a percentage gift of income look like for you?
Close in prayer, asking God to help you know what to give to our church.
Day 20. November 7, 2015:
Almost done with these stewardship devotions during this stewardship campaign. Tomorrow we bring our gifts and place them on the altar. There will be a basket for you to place your pledge card on the altar and we will do this during worship. In Exodus, when Moses is having the people bring gifts for building the sanctuary where they would worship we read these words: Exodus 36:7 “ And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.” Wow! Just think we may have to have more meetings to decide how to give away all of the gifts that God helps us each to decide to give. A great problem to have, isn’t it?
Ask God in prayer what you should give to our church for ministry and missions.
Day 21. November 8, 2015:
See you in worship to give our gifts, or if you wish, mail them to the office. We keep your confidences, Arleta tabulates our gifts, so don’t worry about privacy. God is going to bless us mightily.
Thanks for reading these devotions.
In Christ’s love,
Here are links to devotional materials that members of our congregation have recommended.