What is your favorite thing about springtime?
Lord, teach us to fear You.
Genesis 1:28 NLT: “Then God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.’”
Genesis 2:15 NLT: “The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.”
The purpose of your life is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. You are not just here for yourself. A creator designed and created you for a purpose. God is the only one who can answer the question of your purpose.
In Bible days, a king would not leave his land without placing his kingdom into the hands of a steward. Accountability from that steward was required upon the king’s return. Jesus used this example when He spoke about the gifts and talents He has entrusted to each of us. The greatest way we can glorify God is to steward effectively what He has entrusted to us. We were intended to rule.
Just as an appliance is designed for a specific task, for what purpose has the Creator designed you? Share with the group.
Each of us has been given authority to govern our life and our garden as a steward. A good steward eliminates dangers and provides for a healthy environment. He maintains his position with diligence, and he multiplies the resources entrusted to him and presents them back to the owner.
What comes to mind when you consider the authority and autonomy God grants you as a person? Share with the group.
Have you thought about the possible reward for your stewardship here on earth? Share with the group what you imagine you will be rewarded for.
Keys to good stewardship are to eliminate danger, maintain with excellence, and multiply faithfully–first in your relationship with God, and then with others.
The most important thing to steward is your relationship with Jesus. What do you think of your stewardship in this area? Are you eliminating dangers?
Tend to your garden by stewarding your time, your talent, and your influence. Ask yourself, “How am I handling these three for His glory?”
Do you prefer Daylight Saving Time or regular time?
Thank You, Father, for being with us in the valley of the shadow of death.
James 1:2–4 NIV: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Each of us has a seed of potential in us. An acorn can sit on a windowsill for years and never realize its potential. It actually has to die and fall into the soil before it can become an oak tree. None of us is exempt from pain. Just as butterflies derive the strength to fly by breaking out of their cocoons, struggle and pain are designed to strengthen us. There is purpose to the adversity and pain that come into our lives. The valley is the place where we demonstrate the glory of God to the world.
We live in a generation that numbs pain, but some of the greatest testimonies in the Bible came from difficulty. Like the saints of old, when we are abused and mistreated, we have to choose how to respond to injustice. Dealing with pain in the right way increases our capacity to walk in maturity. The Scriptures say that we are strong when we are weak, because God’s power is manifested in weaknesses, difficulties, insults, and trials.
Why does God use pain and suffering to better us?
Injustice and abuse are present in a world that is broken. They are not designed by God as if He were uncaring, but they are the by-products of sinful men acting out in a broken world. God causes good to ultimately triumph in the lives of those who serve Him, even when they pass through the darkest moments of their lives.
Do you think that perhaps God is more concerned with your response to injustice than with intervening to make the road smooth before you? Discuss.
You best learn that God is provider when you face the most desperate need. Healing is more clearly revealed when you are healed from an untreatable ailment. God’s grace and glory are revealed in you when your suffering becomes apparent to others yet you remain steadfast.
Has God used you to minister to others through a painful situation that you went through? Share with the group.
Pain is necessary and at times beneficial. Instead of trying to escape suffering, remember that an olive is crushed to produce the oil that releases the anointing. Don’t waste pain, but rather take advantage of the maturity it offers.
Make it a goal this week to advance and not retreat in the face of adversity. Like the hero in the the movie Unbroken, commit to not give in to the enemy. We can be a generation that embraces our purpose if we don’t run from pain.
What was the most amusing Internet item you came across lately?
Thank You, Father, that You have a plan for us and it is better than we can imagine.
2 Kings 4:1–2 ESV, emphasis added: “Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, ‘Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.’ And Elisha said to her, ‘What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?’ And she said, ‘Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.’”
Our environment may set the financial stage for us, but it does not have to determine our financial future. The widow’s past was devastating her finances because her husband had unwisely made no preparations for his family in the case of his death. She found herself in debt. and the creditors had to be appeased. A time like this is not a time to just hope God rains down dollar bills on you. The prophet asked the widow a practical question: “What do you have in the house?” She had to combine faith in the miraculous with practicality of her financial wherewithal to allow God to rescue her and her children.
Have you ever had the Lord rescue you from a financial dilemma? Share with the group.
The first practical thing you must do is to analyze your behavior. What do you have in your house? This is the law of awareness.
Open your eyes; numbers never lie. Check your credit card bill. Balance your checking account monthly. Review direct withdrawals. After you objectively analyze your finances, have a pro go over it as well. Check your cash flow. The first step is knowing where every dollar goes. Consider a budget; it is like the gas gauge on your car. Knowledge is power. Be willing to deep-freeze decisions; wait 30 days before making large purchases. Listen to sound advice, and be ready to make adjustments. Proverbs 3:6 (NLT) says, “Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
How difficult is it for you to cut back in certain areas? Do you feel your eyes are open? Share with the group.
Ways to follow growth are to be under spiritual authority and to heed sound financial advice. Thinking about the future is spiritual. Proverbs 13:22 (NLT, emphasis added) says, “Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren, but the sinner’s wealth passes to the godly.” Yielding your finances to God gets His blessing involved in your growth.
Like the widow, what assets do you have on hand that God can bless? Are you following growth?
Know where you stand, and plan for the future. Protect your family with life insurance and sound financial decisions. You have a spare tire in your car; in the same way, you should have money saved for emergencies.
Trust God to guide you into a better future financially than the environment your past has put you into. Actively pursue sound advice. Attend Financial Peace University to learn more and develop your money management skills.
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