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05 March 2015

Vocational Health | Day 47 | Transformed

Verse

I pour out before him my complaint; before him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way. In the path where I walk people have hidden a snare for me.

Psalm 142:2-3

Devotional

You might know this guy: In his office, papers are scattered everywhere, all representing work “in progress.” He shuffles through multiple to -do lists and tries to remember what life was like before stick-on notes. They litter his work area, their different colors signifying absolutely nothing. Whenever the phone rings, this fellow utters an anguished, “Yes?” He thinks, surely no one else has thought of something else for me to do.

His wife calls to remind him of their sons starring role in fourth grade play that evening. She also reports her car has been running sluggishly “Oh, and you did remember to mail the mortgage payment so it won’t be late, didn’t you?” she asks sweetly.

By mid-morning our friend begins to look like someone who has been serenaded by chalk squealing against a blackboard for eight unrelenting hours. At 10:30, his boss stops by “Carlo, are you all right? You look terrible. Are you feeling a little stressed out?” “Stress?” he cries. “Stress? I don’t have any stress-s-s-s-” as he collapses in a heap. This scenario may seem a bit extreme-and then again it may not.

Yes, we all have stress, usually in more than abundant supply. It’s a natural and necessary part of life, but when served in the degrees and quantities many of us face every day, it’s no way to live. What can we do about it? What should we do about it?  Are you this person I am talking about? I have gone through this situation and I still have moments when I have to face similar situations. With Christ, I now know how to handle it better. How do you get recharged spiritually when you’re feeling stressed?

Pause for a reality check. God is in control and I am not Him. I take a deep breath; I refocus my mind on Christ and remember what He says about resting in Him. I know I am not alone and that He will never leave me nor forsake me.

Next Step

Pray and communicate with the Master! I look for a quiet place. I lift up my burdens to God and this means communications lines are open 24 hours a day and it doesn’t need any high-speed broadband connections. I tell God exactly what I am going through and how I feel.  And I feel immediate relief. God knows the desires of my heart and He wants me to depend on Him.

How do you deal with your own stress and challenges?

04 March 2015

Vocational Health | Day 46 | Transformed

Verse

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:16

Devotional

Can Christianity and business reconcile? Especially in an environment where corruption is the norm and compromise is the rule? If Christianity is so attractive, then why is it that people are turned off every time the terms like Bible studies, prayer meetings, pastors and ministers are mentioned?

The business and professional people of today have deep concern for relevance, for things that are real. They are not interested in the participation of minor doctrinal differences.  They are turned off with the churches’ petty quarrels and non-ending splits. All these things are insignificant to them. What they desire is the fulfillment of felt needs. What they desire is for true religion to make sense and work in their lives.

We need to show and tell that Jesus Christ is also concerned with people in the work place.  How could the teachings of a book two thousand years old, the Bible, possibly relate to the environment of Smart phones, cloud computing, video conferencing, profit and loss statements and annual reports?

That’s where you and I come in. When we demonstrate that the God of all eternity has a personal interest in contemporary problems like stress, goal setting, steamrolling change, and family pressures, those around us who don’t know Christ are bound to want to hear more about Him.

Next Step

We can argue the truth of Scripture, but too often we find ourselves answering questions few people are asking. What they want to know is: “How can I know if I’m doing the right thing?”

“How can I squeeze thirty hours worth of responsibility into a twenty-four-hour day?” “How can I win at work without losing at home?” “What will I do if I lose my job?” When people see the Christian businessperson living a life of genuine joy and success, they get curious and they want what you have.

Do people see Christ in you and are you really living life to its fullness because of Christ?

03 March 2015

Vocational Health | Day 45 | Transformed

Verse

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31

Devotional

We live in an environment today that generally wants nothing to do with God. The challenge of effectively and consistently representing Christ maybe more formidable than ever. And there’s a reason for this.

“Today men are asking not so much if Christianity is true or if it is real. They ask if it really does matter in actual life?” Men and women are asking this question-especially those who spend many hours each week working in the stress-filled and unpredictable environment we call the business community. Is there relevance between faith and the bottom line?

Consider this: Work is sacred. God ordained it from the beginning, before the fall of man.  After the fall, it just got tougher, frustrating, exhausting, sometimes even boring.

But work pursued with excellence and integrity is pleasing to God. Thru our work, we are honoring Him. God has equipped us with talents, which we use to serve other people, thru our businesses. Thru our Christian dealings we take the opportunities of proclaiming God, even within the realms of a broken, unredeemed world, through our virtuous example and by our honest words.

Nevertheless, others have seen business and commerce as deeply Machiavellian; that doing business is exploitative and totally depraved and corrupt, in its pursuit for greater wealth. This philosophy has even left preachers, ministers and certain people of the cloth to think that people who are engaged in enterprise have no interest for spiritual things. This is of course farthest from the truth.

Next Step

Many successful business people I know have very deep faith and are deeply in love with Christ. They do business with impeccable integrity and they are highly respected in their business community. They have discovered that Christ and business do match and they know that it is God’s will that we be productive and make the most of what He has provided. And when Christians show excellence and righteousness in their fields, their lives become testimonies of the greatness and power of Christ.

Is your work a masterpiece such that the signature of the Master is seen and recognized in it?

02 March 2015

Vocational Health | Day 44 | Transformed

Verse

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

1 Corinthians 1:18-21

Devotional

It has been said that the 21st century currency will no longer involve money, it will be time. Time turns out to be the ever-precious commodity that seems to be coming in short supply these days. And in the midst of this turmoil, we yearn for stability, a sense that as the winds of change intensify to enormous scale, there is something firm and steadfast on which we can depend on. Slowly but surely, I am convinced that as the world may constantly change, there will always be two things that will remain the same. One is change and the other one of course is Christ.

The Bible tells us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and forever.” It does not say ◌ׂexcept in the business world.” Understanding this Truth and learning to live it, brings to us stability and provides us with security. However, there is this nagging question: How can faith in Christ be made relevant in a world where business people like me need to battle with all kinds of “lines?” like, deadlines, headlines, break-even-lines and profit lines?

How can we integrate faith with work in the field of business and search for that sense of security and stability, which may competently equip us to deal with the challenges of an even more uncertain future? This is a very typical thinking process that goes on in the minds of business people; very pragmatic, very sensible and very practical.

But do we know that having an intimate personal experience with Christ brings forth wisdom and power to live a life of victory? Don’t we know that The Bible offers wisdom that is so practical and sensible?

Next Step

This could all start on having a deep personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.  This may sound silly to a world that does not know Him but let us not forget that God’s wisdom is constantly in operation.

Do you find this to be true? If so, how does it fit with your life story?

01 March 2015

Vocational Health | Day 43 | Transformed

Verse

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Hebrews 13:8

Devotional

Business people like can be very practical people, sometimes too practical for our own good.  But how can you blame them? The world today is entirely different. The pressures and the tensions associated with the unthinkable fast pace of change is enough to blow anybody’s mind. And the unwelcome challenges of a receding economy make it worse.

It was just in the end portion of the last century when new words were invented in the work scene. Words like: Downscaling. Restructuring, Downsizing, Multi-tasking, Outsourcing and Streamlining.

“Job Security” has become a contradiction in terms. Less people today do more work but their pay has not increased. Time Management: is a joke heard during increasingly rare coffee break. “Let’s do lunch” has come to mean, “You sit at your desk and I’ll sit at mine, and we’ll try to spend lunch time crawling from under the pile of unfinished projects that were due yesterday”

Never have we been busier. Never have we been more stressed out. And there seem to be no offer of relief in sight. And so in the midst of this turmoil, we yearn for stability, a sense that as the winds of change intensifies into a hurricane magnitude, there is something solid and steadfast on which we can rely.

Next Step

Could it be possible to have Christ operate in our lives even when we are in the very competitive world of business?

Why not spend some time and think about this question. How does Christ become operative in the cutthroat world of business?

28 February 2015

Financial Health | Day 42 | Transformed

Verse

Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.

Proverbs 13:11

Devotional

In his book The Millionaire Mind, Dr. Thomas J. Stanley studied the habits of several hundred individuals with a net worth of at least $10 million. He really wanted to find out what makes the typical millionaire tick and uncover any common characteristics that contributed to their wealth. As he examined the results of his interviews and surveys, Stanley found a definite connection between personal integrity and financial success. In fact, he ranked integrity as a prime predictor of wealth potential – even higher than an individual’s chosen business or industry.

In other words, integrity matters! The reason so many people struggle with building wealth is that they also struggle with integrity. They lack a basic commitment to honesty. That’s a strong statement. In fact, it may be so strong that you think it doesn’t apply to you. But if you’re breathing and if your heart is beating, you have wrestled with being completely truthful at one time or another – and some of those struggles probably had something to do with money. Simply put, there are two ways to make money and build wealth. You can rely on dishonesty, or you can stay completely committed to integrity. In Proverbs 13:11, Solomon drew a sharp contrast between the two.

Dishonest money may seem to come more easily, but it never lasts. It dwindles away like sand running through our fingers. But honest money, gained through hard work and investment over time, grows. It provides security – not to mention a clear conscience.

Next Step

Integrity matters – in your finances and in every other part of your life – because a moral breakdown is not a victimless crime. Dishonesty will deeply wound you and those around you. Unless you hold yourself to an ultra-high standard, you will walk through life with an emotional and spiritual limp.

Fortunately, it’s not too late to correct course. If you’ve skimped on integrity in the past, now’s the time to come clean – to yourself, to others and to God. Repair that chink in your armor today. Remember, integrity matters!

27 February 2015

Financial Health | Day 41 | Transformed

Verse

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.

Proverbs 15:22

Devotional

On the first day of every year, people make resolutions about how things are going to be different this time around. Unfortunately, few of those resolutions ever make it to January 7.  For example, polls consistently tell us that two of the top resolutions involve losing weight and managing money. But every year, the results are the opposite of what we hoped for: Our waistlines get bigger, and our net worths gets smaller!

To be honest, resolutions are a joke! We know life would be better without extra pounds and credit cards, but we just can’t say no. Why can’t we follow through with our January 1 resolutions? Because without teeth, resolutions are nothing more than wishes we make to ourselves. We can give them teeth by sharing them with someone else. It’s called accountability, and it’s one of the most powerful motivators for change you can imagine. In Proverbs 15:22, Solomon challenged his readers to build accountability into their lives. He understood that the worst crashes often happen when we’re flying solo. We can make a lot of plans, but the chances of failure increase when we try to go it alone.

On the other hand, “many advisers” (otherwise known as accountability partners) lead to success. When we are willing to hear and heed the advice of others, we can prevent a landslide of future headaches.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we let someone else run our lives or that we have to follow through with every suggestion. But it does mean that we let others speak into our lives and – for a moment, at least – entertain the idea that we don’t know everything about every situation. We’re teachable.

Next Step

Who are some people you trust? Family members, lifelong friends, pastors, fellow church members, leaders and co-workers can all serve as guides for your money questions. Find a few key people and let them help you reach your financial goals.

Don’t set yourself up for failure. Accountability is biblical … and it works!

Handling money can be tricky, but the good news is you don’t have to do it alone.

26 February 2015

Financial Health | Day 40 | Transformed

Verse

My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger…Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler.

Proverbs 6:1,5

Devotional

How much do you know about gazelles? I never really gave them much thought – until I read Proverbs 6 one day in my quiet time. If the Bible offers a way to escape debt, I want to know the secret! Wouldn’t you? But how does this answer focus on gazelles? It can be a little confusing.

There was a documentary on TV, and guess what showed up? Gazelles! Of course, you know the gazelles weren’t out there all alone! Before long, Mr. Cheetah showed up looking for lunch.

The cheetah sprang into the clearing, and the gazelles took off in 14 different directions. Now, a gazelle can’t outrun the world’s fastest land animal, but it can zigzag around long enough to wear him out. And that’s exactly what happened. Cheetahs rarely win these races. Because the gazelle is so focused on doing whatever it takes to survive, the cheetah only catches it about once in every 19 attempts. That’s intensity! That documentary helped me understand the gazelle reference in Proverbs 6:5. The only real way to beat debt is to be intense! You’ve got to work hard. You’ve got to fight for survival. You’ve got to run for your life!

Next Step

The truth is, you will never wander out of debt. You won’t stroll out. It won’t happen by accident. You only get out if you set your eyes on the goal and attack your debt with gazelle intensity!

We all need a plan for our money and that is why Financial Peace University (FPU) is offered to teach people how to handle money God’s ways. If you are interested in getting gazelle intense and learning how to get rid of debt, manage your money, and spend and save wisely ask your HOME Group Leader how to get connect to the next FPU course being offered.

25 February 2015

Financial Health | Day 39 | Transformed

Verse

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.

Proverbs 22:7

Devotional

After nearly three decades of talking to people about money, Dave Ramsey figured something out. If you tell a lie loud enough and long enough, people will begin to believe it’s true. Even if they know in their hearts that the myth is complete bunk, they’ll live as if it’s real.

These days, there’s a big myth that’s fooling a lot of people. It’s the myth that debt is an effective part of their financial plan. Credit has been marketed to us so effectively that most people think they can’t live without it. They think it’s a good thing, a necessary thing. And they think anyone who lives without debt must be crazy!

Well, I’ve been called crazy before, and I’m okay with that. When it comes to debt, I don’t want to be normal. And I’m in pretty good company because King Solomon – who knew a lot about money and wealth – felt the same way.

In Proverbs 22:7, he was adamant about avoiding debt. Why? Because he understood what so many people today totally miss: Debt enslaves us! The Bible says that the borrower is slave to the lender. That’s pretty strong language, but it’s totally on target. Think about it.  A slave can’t give because he doesn’t have anything. He can’t go where he wants to go or do what he wants to do because he always has a master calling the shots. That’s exactly how it feels when you’re up to your eyeballs in debt. Hey, why do you think they call it MasterCard?

Next Step

Solomon knew what he was talking about. This guy was the wisest man who ever lived! He didn’t use the word “slave” by accident, and he wasn’t being overly dramatic. He was just showing us what debt really is: a cruel master.

If you feel like debt is enslaving you, don’t wait any longer. You can do something about it today. Talk to your HOME Group Leader about getting more information about Financial Peace University (FPU)

24 February 2015

Financial Health | Day 38 | Transformed

Verse

The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.

Proverbs 21:20

Devotional

Going bankrupt was a wake-up call for Dave Ramsey. He had enjoyed a lot of nice stuff, but lost it all because of his lack of discipline. So when he was forced to start over from scratch, he decided to do things differently the second time around.

One thing he decided to do was to learn the habits of wealthy people. He figured that if he wanted to be wealthy, it only made sense to learn (and do) what wealthy people do.

Over the past couple of decades, he spent time with millionaires and billionaires. He picked their brains and tried to understand how they built and maintained wealth. What he found is that the principle behind Proverbs 21:20 really does work in real life. Wise people do have enough when they need it because they plan for emergencies. But fools really do spend all they have – and more – as soon as they get it.

For example, he found that many wealthy people don’t live like wealthy people. Instead of flaunting their money, they adopt upper-middle-class lifestyles. Some even live lower middle-class lifestyles – and they don’t suffer from it a bit! They just keep doing what got them there in the first place.

One of the most basic things they do is save. Instead of chasing a lot of extravagant toys, they continue putting money aside. They keep using the power of compound interest to build wealth. They always think about creating security for the future.

In contrast, many people are like he was before he went bankrupt in his 20s. They don’t have the discipline to do even the simple things like saving money. Instead of becoming wealthy by doing what wealthy people do, they stay broke by doing what broke people do!

Next Step

On the budget forms his company provides, the first line item is “Giving” because we wantyou to honor God first. But the second line item is “Saving” because we want you to pay yourself before you pay anyone else.

Wise people save money. It’s a basic, crystal-clear biblical principle. And if you spend every dime that passes through your fingers, then guess what?

You’re a fool! Don’t blame me – God said it!

23 February 2015

Financial Health | Day 37 | Transformed

Verse

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.

Proverbs 16:9

Devotional

The late Zig Ziglar used to say, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” This quote is a great reminder about the importance of planning. You can settle for breezing through life with no plan, but you’ll end up going nowhere. Anything of substance in life requires some careful thought ahead of time.

Jesus taught a similar lesson when He talked about discipleship in Luke 14:28 – 30. He said no one building a tower would move forward on construction without sitting down to “count the cost.” After all, quitting halfway because the resources dried up would make the builder a laughingstock. The foundation for his tower would become a monument to his incompetence. What Jesus emphasized about discipleship – evaluating your situation and planning for the costs – works for money too. Planning ahead is at the heart of success. For personal finances, that means telling your cash what to do each month by creating a zero based budget.

Creating a budget shouldn’t be some calm, casual afterthought. You need to let your money know who’s the boss. You need to sit down with your pencil, paper and calculator and make those dollars dance! For a zero-based budget, take all your income and assign it to a budget category. Every single dollar should have a name and a job to do – and don’t forget savings!  The goal is to make your income minus your outgo equal zero. If you’re over or under, goback and tweak the math until you hit that magic number: zero!

Next Step

As a believer, there’s another part of budgeting that you can’t ignore. The money you manage really isn’t your money. It’s God’s money. So He needs to have the final say on what goes where. Solomon said “a man’s heart plans his way.” We get that. We all have hopes and dreams, values and passions. But he also said that God should be the One directing our steps. That means every plan – and every budget – we make should be filtered through Him.

22 February 2015

Kidz Creek Parent Connection February 22nd

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