The Daily

Daily devotions and thoughts from Cypress Meadows


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Week 1 - Grace

April 26 - May 2

Day 6

Contributed by:

Melisssa Schultz

Cypress Elder

Opening Prayer:

Lord, teach me to dwell in your presence for it is there I will experience the joy of life.


Scripture: 

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.  Abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in His love.  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.  John 15:9-11 


Reading: 

“Twinkle lights are the perfect metaphor for joy.  Joy is not a constant.  It comes to us in moments-often ordinary moments.  Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we’re too busy chasing down the extraordinary moments.  Other times we’re so afraid of the dark we don’t dare let ourselves enjoy the light.  A joyful life is not a floodlight of joy.  That would eventually become unbearable.  I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, and inspiration.” Brene’ Brown 


Reflection: 

In what moments have you found the most joy over the last year?  Did you recognize the joy of the moment within the moment, or is it most clearly seen in retrospect?  Can you pinpoint ordinary moments that almost always bring flickers of joy into your soul?  What does joy feel like to you both physically and emotionally?  How might you infuse some moments of joy into your week? 


Blessing:

Be people of joy. Let joy live in your heart and share the joy of Christ with all you meet.

Week 2 - Peace

May 3 - May 9

Day 1

Contributed by:

Marq Caughell

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Thank You, God for giving me your peace, not as the world gives it. May you keep my mind and my heart in perfect peace.

 

Scripture: 

When people’s lives please the Lord, even their enemies are at peace with them. - Proverbs 16:7

 

Reading: 

What seemed, when they entered it, to be a vale of misery turns out, when they look back, to have been a well; and where present experience saw only salt deserts, memory truthfully records that the pools were full of water. - The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis

 

Reflection: 

Some of the most difficult times in my life, when viewed with the benefit of hindsight, have changed from lifeless wastelands into essential experiences that needed to happen in order for me to grow stronger and continue on. I have also found that it is easier to be at peace when my actions towards others are peaceful - even when the circumstances suggest that it is ok to be filled with anger and frustration.

 

Blessing:

May your relationship with God provide you with a peace the world cannot take away. And may that peace allow you to show another way for a world that is far from peace.

Day 2

Contributed by:

Taylor Fletcher

Worship Leader

Opening Prayer:

Thank You, God for giving me your peace, not as the world gives it. May you keep my mind and my heart in perfect peace.

 

Scripture:

And through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. - Colossians 1:20

 

Unfailing love and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed! - Psalm 85:10

 

Reading:

I had a long talk with a man the other day about this bus situation. He discussed the peace being destroyed in the community, the destroying of good race relations. I agree that it is more tension now. But peace is not merely the absence of this tension, but the presence of justice. And even if we didn’t have this tension, we still wouldn’t have positive peace. Yes, it is true that if the Negro accepts his place, accepts exploitation and injustice, there will be peace. But it would be a peace boiled down to stagnant complacency, deadening passivity, and if peace means this, I don’t want peace. - Dr. Martin Luther King’s “When Peace Becomes Obnoxious,”

 

Reflection:

Peace is not complacency. Peace is unfailing love and truth meeting, righteousness and peace kissing, blood being spilt and new life being birthed from it. What does peace look like in your life and relationships?

 

Blessing:

May your relationship with God provide you with a peace the world cannot take away. And may that peace allow you to show another way for a world that is far from peace.

Day 3

Contributed by:

Jacque Poole

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Thank You, God for giving me your peace, not as the world gives it. May you keep my mind and my heart in perfect peace.

 

Scripture:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” - Phil. 4:6

 

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. - Isaiah 41:10

 

Reading:

Please underline this sentence: What you have in Christ is greater than anything you don’t have in life. You have a God who is crazy about you, the forces of heaven to monitor and protect you. You have the living presence of Jesus within you. In Christ, you have everything. He can give you a happiness that can never be taken, a grace that will never expire, and a wisdom that will never be equaled. He is a fountain of living hope that will never be exhausted. -Max Lucado

 

Reflection:

Peace is the opposite of anxiety and worry. Paul tells us that we can have peace because of the God who loves us! Just like I don’t worry about noises in the night when Douglas is with me. Paul and Isaiah tell us God is with us and will guard us and protect us, day and night, with His righteous right hand. I can be at peace day and night because God is with me. 

 

Be at peace, God is with you.

 

Blessing:

May your relationship with God provide you with a peace the world cannot take away. And may that peace allow you to show another way for a world that is far from peace.

Day 4

Contributed by:

Melissa Schultz

Cypress Elder

Opening Prayer:

Thank You, God for giving me your peace, not as the world gives it. May you keep my mind and my heart in perfect peace.

 

Scripture: 

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world” John 16:33 

 

Reading: 

“The warrior knows that peace does not come from control but from relinquishing control.  Everything in life that you try to control that is outside your control will steal from you your peace. You must choose to take hold of what you can control and let go of what you cannot.  You cannot control your circumstances, but you can control your character.  You cannot control the actions of others, but you can control the choices you make.  You cannot control the outcome, but you can control the process.”  - Erwin McManus 

 

Reflection:  

My personality is one that has always thrived on certainty and knowing.  My mind longs to know a problem, analyze possible outcomes, problem-solve solutions for every possible outcome, and then respond in a way that brings about the best hypothetical outcome.  Yet in the wisdom and life experience gained through my relationship with our Creator, I’ve learned that this is just a fancy way to say that I have a tendency to want to control.  I want to feel that I have a part in the outcome, and by doing the right things I can move toward a desired result.  And while it’s all well and good to take responsibility and hold ourselves accountable, there can also be a slippery slope into an unhealthy need to control (people, situations, outcomes, relationships) if not kept in check.  And isn’t that the beauty of this scripture and reading?  As Christians, we know the outcome.  And even more beautiful, God has told us the outcome so that we may live in peace.  His desire for us isn’t to live in frantic chaos and frustration, trying to control the outside world, our situations, or our circumstances.  Instead, we are responsible for how we handle ourselves and treat others; we can control our character, our choices, how we interact with others, how we show love; the processes by which we live.  

 

Blessing:

May your relationship with God provide you with a peace the world cannot take away. And may that peace allow you to show another way for a world that is far from peace.

Day 5

Contributed by:

Douglas Poole

Pastor

Opening Prayer:

Thank You, God for giving me your peace, not as the world gives it. May you keep my mind and my heart in perfect peace.

 

Scripture:

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  - John 14:27

 

Reading:

The Hebrew word for peace is shalom. The word shalom is layered, complex and elegant in its nuances. At its most superficial level it is a form of greeting. As you layer down the peace of shalom it means “harmony, wholeness, completeness, and tranquility”. To experience true shalom is to find wholeness. When we find peace, we are made whole…within are selves and with God, and others and even the whole of creation.  -The Way of the Warrior by Erwin McManus

 

Reflection:

Peace is an inside out journey. When I am mindfully aware of the presence of God in the moment…I step into shalom regardless of my external circumstances. Pause now and mindfully reflect on the Lord’s presence.

 

Blessing:

May your relationship with God provide you with a peace the world cannot take away. And may that peace allow you to show another way for a world that is far from peace.

 

Day 6

Contributed by:

Keith Killen

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Thank You, God for giving me your peace, not as the world gives it. May you keep my mind and my heart in perfect peace.


Scripture:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27


Reading:

Peace with God does not mean peace with the world.  In fact, peace with God means enmity with the world.  Peace with God is the status of our spiritual relationship.  It is not a description of the condition of our lives. Dr Skip Moen


Reflection:

Only in maintaining a close relationship with God can we find any peace in this world. It is an inner peace that the world cannot take away.


Blessing:

May your relationship with God provide you with a peace the world cannot take away. And may that peace allow you to show another way for a world that is far from peace.

Week 3 - Patience

May 10 - 16

Day 1

Contributed by:

Keith Killen

Cypress Tribe Leader

Opening Prayer:

Lord, help me to be patient and kind to those I meet today. May this spirit be a blessing to others and help them through the burdens they may be carrying.

 

Scripture:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: Romans 5:3-4

 

Reading:

Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting. -Joyce Meyer

 

Reflection:

My wife once expressed that she prayed for patience and got me; seems I was the tribulation she needed to learn patience. God allows difficult times to come into our lives so that we can learn to patiently wait upon Him. It is this ability to keep calm and trust through the storms that people notice and provides the greatest testimony. Patience also allows for me to respond to those who might have wronged me or been difficult with compassion rather than with anger or contempt as they might expect from the world. As our second scripture shows, learning patience is what leads to hope.

 

Blessing:

May you go about your day with patience and perseverance being gracious and present to all and through all things.

Day 2

Contributed by:

Jacque Poole

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Lord, help me to be patient and kind to those I meet today. May this spirit be a blessing to others and help them through the burdens they may be carrying.

 

Scripture:

Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly. -Proverbs 14:29 

 

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. -Ephesians 4:2

 

Reading:

Without patience, we will learn less in life. We will see less. We will feel less. We will hear less. Ironically, “rush” and “more” usually mean less. -Mother Teresa

 

Reflection:

I have learned that my impatience does not serve me well in any aspect of my life. Especially as I strive to be the person God intends. Impatience reflects my selfishness, thoughtlessness and unkindness. It pretty much is all about me. I am a much better person when I invite God into each moment and focus on others. Patience comes to me when I practice gratitude and joy and let go of scarcity and fear. I see more, feel more and hear more. Go back and read The Daily on Joy (May 3-8) as a reminder to assist you in growing patience. Focus on love and God says you will be humble, gentle and patient. Ironically, you will get more out of life with patience.

 

Blessing:

May you go about your day with patience and perseverance being gracious and present to all and through all things.

Day 3

Contributed by:

Marq Caughell

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Lord, help me to be patient and kind to those I meet today. May this spirit be a blessing to others and help them through the burdens they may be carrying.

 

Scripture: 

Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. - Ecclesiastes 7:8

 

Reading: 

They say of temporal suffering, “No future bliss can make up for it,” not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory. - The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis

 

Reflection: 

A difficult task is always daunting before I have begun the hard work, and it is often extremely painful in the middle of it all. In all honesty though, I have never looked back and been proud of doing nothing when I should have done something. 

 

Blessing:

May you go about your day with patience and perseverance being gracious and present to all and through all things.

Day 4

Contributed by:

Melissa Schultz

Cypress Elder

Opening Prayer:

Lord, help me to be patient and kind to those I meet today. May this spirit be a blessing to others and help them through the burdens they may be carrying.

 

Scripture: 

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.  For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long.  Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever.  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on the things that cannot be seen.  For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 

 

Reading: 

“Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind.” -David G. Allen 

 

Reflection: 

In reflection and retrospect, it can be so much easier to understand the “bigger picture”…to see why God took you down the specific path in your journey, especially if that path was riddled with challenges.  But in the moment…in the thick of it…it can feel so difficult to understand and accept the barriers.  Especially when you feel that the end goal is for the good of His kingdom.  In those moments, when every step forward feels like you’re lifting your legs out of quicksand, when you start questioning the goal and if all the effort is worth it, think of an image of one moment where you thanked God for unanswered prayers. One moment where the journey He led you on was more magnificent and beautiful than any you could have imagined.  And rest patiently knowing that in this current situation, He is also doing good works within you.   

 

Blessing:

May you go about your day with patience and perseverance being gracious and present to all and through all things.

Day 5

Contributed by:

Taylor Fletcher

Worship Leader

Opening Prayer:

Lord, help me to be patient and kind to those I meet today. May this spirit be a blessing to others and help them through the burdens they may be carrying.

 

Scripture:

the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. - Galatians 5:22-23

 

Reading:

“All we need is just a little patience” - Guns N’ Roses

 

Reflection:

Notice in the passage from Galatians, it is not fruits but fruit. It may be bad grammar but Paul’s point is that all of these elements of christianity go together. If you don’t have all these graces you don’t have any of them at least not they way God designed them. They are connected and interdependent. You can have the patience of the world but it’s built on cynicism, lack of care, or pride. Christian patience is built upon self control and self control comes from joy…Where does your patience arise from?

 

Blessing:

May you go about your day with patience and perseverance being gracious and present to all and through all things.

 

Day 6

Contributed by:

Douglas Poole

Pastor

Opening Prayer:

Lord, help me to be patient and kind to those I meet today. May this spirit be a blessing to others and help them through the burdens they may be carrying.

 

Scripture:

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.        -Psalm 27:14

 

Reading:

Without patience, we will learn less in life. We will see less. We will feel less. We will hear less. Ironically, rush and more usually mean less. -A Simple Path by Mother Teresa

 

Reflection:

The desire for “more” and the quest for “faster” lead to a life at 10,000 RPM’s all day, every day. Hurried and exhausted. Both being brutal enemies of a healthy soul.  What will you intentionally eliminate from your schedule of to-do’s so you have more time to-be fully present?

 

Blessing:

May you go about your day with patience and perseverance being gracious and present to all and through all things.

Week 4 - Kindness

May 17 - May 23

Day 1

Contributed by:

Marq Caughell

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Jesus, help me to be kind to others as you have been so kind to me. May my kindness provide opportunities for me to introduce people to You, the kindest person of all.


Scripture: 

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? -Romans 2:4


Reading: 

Everything else is good when it looks to Him and bad when it turns from Him. - The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis


Reflection: 

As beings created in the image of God, we have a seemingly limitless capacity to do anything we can conceive of. We are able to do Great Things, both horrible and wonderful. No matter what we choose though, God continues to extend his kindness towards us. He does not punish or afflict us, guilt or shame, laugh or smirk at us getting what we “deserve.” Where then can I be more kind to those who may be looking for help? 


Blessing:

May you show love and kindness towards others as God has shown toward you. May your acts of kindness bless others and help you to experience the joy in doing them.

Day 2

Contributed by:

Jacque Poole

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Jesus, help me to be kind to others as you have been so kind to me. May my kindness provide opportunities for me to introduce people to You, the kindest person of all.

 

Scripture:

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. - Ephesians 4:32

 

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. - Proverbs 31:26

 

Reading:

There are three ways to find ultimate success. The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind. - Mr. Rogers

 

Reflection:

Kindness is not something to take for granted. Kindness is something to learn, practice and cultivate. Mr. Rogers summarizes God’s truth about kindness with clarity. If you want ultimate success...be kind, be kind, be kind. 

 

Teach kindness, speak kindness, cultivate kindness. As you go through the day, look at every encounter as an opportunity to practice kindness.

 

Blessing:

May you show love and kindness towards others as God has shown toward you. May your acts of kindness bless others and help you to experience the joy in doing them.

Day 3

Contributed by:

Douglas Poole

Pastor

Opening Prayer:

Jesus, help me to be kind to others as you have been so kind to me. May my kindness provide opportunities for me to introduce people to You, the kindest person of all.

 

Scripture:

As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, cloth yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. -Colossians 3:12

 

Reading:

Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile. Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. -Come Be My Light by Mother Teresa

 

Reflection:

Kindness is a choice. What choices will you need to make today to chose kindness?

 

Blessing:

May you show love and kindness towards others as God has shown toward you. May your acts of kindness bless others and help you to experience the joy in doing them.

Day 4

Contributed by:

Melissa Schultz

Cypress Elder

Opening Prayer:

Jesus, help me to be kind to others as you have been so kind to me. May my kindness provide opportunities for me to introduce people to You, the kindest person of all.


Scripture:  

But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters.  Why would you come with me?  Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands?” Ruth 1:11 


“Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.” But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you.  Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.  Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Ruth 1:15-16 


Reading:  

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.  Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile” Mother Teresa 


Reflection:  

Everyone is fighting some kid of battle, large or small, seen or unseen.  And no matter our personal circumstance or challenge, we get to choose how we treat others in all of our interactions.  When given the opportunity, choose kindness.  Assume the best.  Show up with patience and grace.  Choose calm over confrontational.  Not only will these choices impact your world and perceptions, they may very well change the trajectory for a wounded soul.  


Blessing:

May you show love and kindness towards others as God has shown toward you. May your acts of kindness bless others and help you to experience the joy in doing them.

Day 5

Contributed by:

Taylor Fletcher

Worship Leader

Opening Prayer:

Jesus, help me to be kind to others as you have been so kind to me. May my kindness provide opportunities for me to introduce people to You, the kindest person of all.

 

Scripture:

But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii[e] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ -Luke 10:33-35

 

Reading:

“Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty” - Anne Herbert

“Practice routinely purposeful acts of kindness and deeply intelligent acts of beauty.” -Dallas Willard

 

Reflection:

There’s nothing wrong with either of these quotes but one more clearly reflects the heart of God and the parable of the Good Samaritan. Random acts of kindness put a smile on a person’s face but routinely purposeful acts of kindness change lives. Which one do you find yourself practicing more often?

 

Blessing:

May you show love and kindness towards others as God has shown toward you. May your acts of kindness bless others and help you to experience the joy in doing them.

 

Day 6

Contributed by:

Keith Killen

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Jesus, help me to be kind to others as you have been so kind to me. May my kindness provide opportunities for me to introduce people to You, the kindest person of all.


Scripture:

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. -Ephesians 4:32


Reading:

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Maya Angelou


Reflection:

Most people remember true acts of kindness because it makes them feel valued and significant. These acts work with your children, your spouse, your family, your friends, and with perfect strangers. Why not begin some random acts of kindness. Not only will it make them feel better but see also how it makes you feel.


Blessing:

May you show love and kindness towards others as God has shown toward you. May your acts of kindness bless others and help you to experience the joy in doing them.

Week 5 - Money

May 24 - May 30

Day 1

Contributed by:

Taylor Fletcher

Worship Leader

Opening Prayer:

God I need your help to earn money honestly, to spend money effectively, and to be generous without being foolish.

 

Scripture:

Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. James 1:9-10

 

Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. -Ecclesiastes 5:10

 

Reading:

…be happy with or without money. Money only magnifies who you really are. - Robert Kiyosaki

 

'Cause I don't care too much for money. For money can't buy me love - The Beatles

 

Reflection:

Those who don’t have much should focus on how rich they are in Jesus. And, those who have done well financially should focus on how poor they are without Jesus. The only treasure that has real value is found in Jesus, and both those who have means and those who don’t can get it wrong and veer off course.

 

Blessing:

May God bless you with enough money to meet your needs, to bless others, and to fulfill His purposes for your life.

Day 2

Contributed by:

Jacque Poole

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

God I need your help to earn money honestly, to spend money effectively, and to be generous without being foolish.

 

Scripture:

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. - Proverbs 3:9-10

 

Reading:

As base a thing as money often is, yet it can be transmuted into everlasting treasure. It can be converted into food for the hungry and clothing for the poor. Any temporal possession can be turned into everlasting wealth. Whatever is given to Christ is immediately touched with immortality. - A. W. Tozer

 

Reflection:

I am encouraged by this statement from A. W. Tozer. The money that I earn can make an eternal difference if I choose to use it wisely. At Cypress we are committed to helping children step out of poverty here in Pinellas County, in Nakura, Kenya and in St. Louis du Nord, Haiti. I want my money to make a difference...and it does. At Cypress, downtown, through Malik Day. And it does in Nakuru at Springs of Hope Kenya where Molly uses my money to lead the ministry to impact 100’s of lives and has been the hands and feet of Jesus on the ground in Nakuru. And it does in St. Louis du Nord, Haiti where Pastor Jean uses my money to ensure children get an education and are safe at home in their community from child traffickers. Money can be transmuted into everlasting treasure. I am grateful and filled with joy at the thought that God is using my temporal possession and turning it into eternal wealth. Let’s keep making a difference with the money God has given us. It feels good!

 

Blessing:

May God bless you with enough money to meet your needs, to bless others, and to fulfill His purposes for your life.

Day 3

Contributed by:

Douglas Poole

Lead Pastor

Opening Prayer:

God I need your help to earn money honestly, to spend money effectively, and to be generous without being foolish.

 

Scripture:

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.   -Matthew 6:24

 

Reading:

One of the dangers of having a lot of money is that you may be quite satisfied with the kinds of happiness money can give, and so fail to realize your need for God. If everything seems to come simply by signing checks, you may forget that you are at every moment totally dependent on God. - from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

 

Reflection:

The author of these words, C.S. Lewis once admitted that he was a panic-y person about money and that poverty frightened him more than anything except spiders. Nevertheless he was determined that money would not become his master, so every bit of the royalties from his many publications went into a fund that was dispensed to those in need. Money makes a great servant but a rather bad master. Peace comes from a deep trust in God…not deep pockets.

 

Blessing:

May God bless you with enough money to meet your needs, to bless others, and to fulfill His purposes for your life.

Day 4

Contributed by:

Keith Killen

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

God I need your help to earn money honestly, to spend money effectively, and to be generous without being foolish.


Scripture:

A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished. Proverbs 28:20


Reading:

But what was the actual experience of the society?  Riches brought power and power was addictive.  Ezekiel expresses it like this: “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy” (Ezekiel 16:49).  Yes, of course, the citizens of Sodom were sexually immoral, but Ezekiel’s point is that immorality is but a symptom of something worse—indifference.  They were rich but they showed no compassion for the poor.  This is the nightmare of human history. It is still with us today.  The rich take care of themselves.  The poor are left to deal with life as best they can.  Torah seeks social justice.  Man seeks social isolation. -Dr. Skip Moen


Reflection:

John D. Rockefeller rightly quoted “How much money does it take to make a man happy? Just one more dollar.” Because the pursuit of money does not bring happiness; it only brings the never satisfied pursuit for more. And our scripture above reminds us this pursuit will not go unpunished. Real happiness comes from using the money we have for the right purposes. When is the last time you felt the joy of meeting someone else’s need with no expectation of it being returned. The recent response by the Cypress Tribe’s to the fire at our Kenya orphanage is a perfect example of how a community can come together and make an investment in the kingdom. There is joy in knowing you have made a difference in this world. And I believe you have brought happiness into the lives of those who will be blessed by your generosity. What a joy to share in this kind of community.  


Blessing:

May God bless you with enough money to meet your needs, to bless others, and to fulfill His purposes for your life.

Day 5

Contributed by:

Marq Caughell

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

God I need your help to earn money honestly, to spend money effectively, and to be generous without being foolish.

 

Scripture: 

Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. - Luke 6:38

 

Reading: 

"I believed in the beautiful myth about having a good time so long as it does not hurt anybody else. You cannot live for your own pleasure and your own convenience without inevitably hurting and injuring the feelings and interests of practically everybody you meet." - The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton

 

Reflection: 

The more I focus on achieving all my wants and desires, the less they satisfy me. I need more. There can never be enough. Ever. It's a game that can't be won. Thank you, Lord, for rewriting the rules we got so wrong.

 

Blessing:

May God bless you with enough money to meet your needs, to bless others, and to fulfill His purposes for your life.

 

Day 6

Contributed by:

Melissa Schultz

Cypress Elder

Opening Prayer:

God I need your help to earn money honestly, to spend money effectively, and to be generous without being foolish.


Scripture: 

Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.  This too is meaningless. Ecclesiastes 5:10 


Reading: 

“No matter how little money we have, no matter what rung we occupy on anybody’s corporate ladder of success, in the end what everybody discovers is that what matters is other people. -John Ortberg 


“Money cannot buy peace of mind.  It cannot heal ruptured relationships or build meaning into a life that has none.”  - Richard M DeVos 


Reflection: 

Having some amount of money is a necessity within today’s society.  It enables us to provide for the basic needs of food, shelter, and clothing; those things that Maslow would refer to as basic needs .  Yet, when we’re exploring what’s really important…what really matters…the things that our Creator identifies as the most important factors that should drive our decisions, passions, and ideals; He calls us to focus on love, people, and relationships.  Money may be a necessity, but accumulating it isn’t all that important.  When we look back at our lives, on what brings us joy and satisfaction, meaning and a soul-filling existence, what I believe we will all find at the core is our relationships.  What is one thing might you do today with the goal of focusing on, improving, or growing in your relationships with others? 


Blessing:

May God bless you with enough money to meet your needs, to bless others, and to fulfill His purposes for your life.

Week 1 - Wealth

May 31 - June 6

Day 1

Contributed by:

Melissa Schultz

Cypress Elder

Opening Prayer:

Thank You God for all your blessings and for the wealth I already possess; not just in money but in relationships, resources and talents as well. Help me to use my wealth in a way that honors You, brings blessings to others, and fulfills Your plans and purposes.

 

Scripture: 

Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers it little by little will increase it. -Proverbs 13:11 

 

Reading: 

“I used to be afraid I wouldn’t make enough money.  Now I’m afraid I won’t make enough difference”. -Bob Goff 

 

Reflection:  

To properly dig into this scripture found in Proverbs, it seems important to first define the key terms.  Merriam-Webster defines hastily as “with excessive speed or urgency; hurriedly”, wealth as having multiple definitions, one being “abundant supply”, and dwindle as “diminish gradually in size, amount, or strength”.  Using that, I interpret this scripture to mean that in gaining an abundant supply of something, in a hurried or excessively quick way, we will likely lose it.  But in growth over time, gradually, progressively; the supply will increase.  And doesn’t that play out in our daily lives?  When things are quickly and easily acquired, without much effort, planning, or seeking of wisdom, they’re often as quick to disappear.  But those areas in which we plan and focus, essentially where we put our time, energies, and attention; we find accumulative growth.  We grow in our wisdom when we make wisdom a priority and seek our Lord in the decisions that we make.  We grow in relationships through careful tending of those relationships that we hold dear.  We accumulate patience and kindness and grace when we intentionally practice those things in our actions and interactions.  Thus, having “enough” of something is often the result of being thoughtful, intentional, and prayerful in moving toward that “supply” we desire.   

 

Blessing:

May you realize the wealth you already possess and begin to share it with others in a way that blesses them and fulfills God’s purposes.

 

Day 2

Contributed by:

Jacque Poole

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Thank You God for all your blessings and for the wealth I already possess; not just in money but in relationships, resources and talents as well. Help me to use my wealth in a way that honors You, brings blessings to others, and fulfills Your plans and purposes.

 

Scripture:

Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” -Luke 6:38

 

Reading:

If a man is proud of his wealth, he should not be praised until it is known how he employs it. –Socrates

 

Reflection:

Wealth is defined as “an abundance of valuable possessions or money, being rich, or having plentiful supplies of a particular resource.” Most of my thoughts about wealth focus on money. However, wealth exists in a myriad of ways and resources. For example, one may have a wealth of knowledge, wealth of love, wealth of natural resources (water, wood, minerals, etc.) or a wealth of friends, among many other resources. Socrates cautions us to consider how wealth is employed or used before we applaud one who is wealthy. Luke records Jesus’ words of caution regarding wealth…”Give and it will be given to you..For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Be thoughtful about how you use your wealth. Will you be praised? What measure are you using to give? 

 

Blessing:

May you realize the wealth you already possess and begin to share it with others in a way that blesses them and fulfills God’s purposes.

Day 3

Contributed by:

Douglas Poole

Lead Pastor

Opening Prayer:

Thank You God for all your blessings and for the wealth I already possess; not just in money but in relationships, resources and talents as well. Help me to use my wealth in a way that honors You, brings blessings to others, and fulfills Your plans and purposes.

 

Scripture:

Your wealth and silver are corroded. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This corroded treasure you have hoarded will testify against you on the day of judgement.  -James 5:3

 

Reading:

What will you do with your power, wealth, might and armies? What kind of world will you create with it? Will you use it to manipulate and overpower others to build your empire even bigger, or will you use it to help the widow, the orphan and the refugee among you? -Rob Bell

 

Reflection:

There is nothing wrong with wealth. Right or wrong is a matter of both how you acquire it and what you do with it. Wealth is a noun. A noun that only has meaning when used in conjunction with verbs…like give. If you are not careful you can end up with a garage and life full of nouns.

 

Blessing:

May you realize the wealth you already possess and begin to share it with others in a way that blesses them and fulfills God’s purposes.

Day 4

Contributed by:

Keith Killen

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Thank You God for all your blessings and for the wealth I already possess; not just in money but in relationships, resources and talents as well. Help me to use my wealth in a way that honors You, brings blessings to others, and fulfills Your plans and purposes.

 

Scripture:

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. -Matthew 6:19-21

 

Great wealth is in the house of the righteous,

But trouble is in the income of the wicked. -Proverbs 15:6

 

Reading:

Jesus said something else about the relationship between wealth and real treasure.  He drew another lesson from Proverbs 15:6.  Jesus commented that great financial wealth is a significant hindrance to God’s treasures (remember the camel and the needle?).  God’s treasures are found in a life of humility; a life that has left self-sufficiency behind.  But great wealth easily seduces us into self-reliance.  Wealth can be a substitute for dependence on God.  It is a trap for pride.  Very few can handle wealth and remain servants of the King.  Fortunately, for those of us whose tendencies lean toward self-reliance, God is gracious enough not to put great wealth in our path.  His treasures are far better. -Dr Skip Moen

 

Reflection:

As the song so aptly put it, “Lord, its hard to be humble.” As we accumulate wealth, there is a strong delusion that we can manage on our own and control our future. Both are lies that rob us of our peace and calm. The last time I cried out to God and said I was out of control, God so vividly revealed to me that I was never in control. With the truth that God is really in control, there comes a peace in letting go of the illusion and impossible burden of trying to take control. Real wealth comes when we realize wealth is not the size of our bank account but in the blessing God has already poured out on our lives as we follow His leading.

 

Blessing:

May you realize the wealth you already possess and begin to share it with others in a way that blesses them and fulfills God’s purposes.

Day 5

Contributed by:

Marq Caughell

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Thank You God for all your blessings and for the wealth I already possess; not just in money but in relationships, resources and talents as well. Help me to use my wealth in a way that honors You, brings blessings to others, and fulfills Your plans and purposes.

 

Scripture:

And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? - Luke 16:11

 

Reading: 

“All men who live only according to their five senses, and seek nothing beyond the gratification of their natural appetites for pleasure and reputation and power, cut themselves off from that charity which is the principal of all spiritual vitality and happiness because it alone saves us from the barren wilderness of our abominable selfishness.” - The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton

 

Reflection: 

All types of wealth require some sort of sacrifice. I can sacrifice relationships, time, health, my beliefs and anything else that gets in my way to achieve worldly wealth. Or, I can sacrifice my desires for power, pleasure and reputation and begin to experience the first tastes of heaven’s treasures (Love, Peace and Hope) here and now. 

 

Blessing:

May you realize the wealth you already possess and begin to share it with others in a way that blesses them and fulfills God’s purposes.

 

Day 6

Contributed by:

Taylor Fletcher

Worship Leader

Opening Prayer:

Thank You God for all your blessings and for the wealth I already possess; not just in money but in relationships, resources and talents as well. Help me to use my wealth in a way that honors You, brings blessings to others, and fulfills Your plans and purposes.

 

Scripture:

“Moreover, I will give you (Solomon) what you have not asked for, both wealth and honor, so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands… I will give you a long life.” - 1 Kings 3:13-14

 

Reading:

"If those who 'gain all they can,' and 'save all they can,' will likewise 'give all they can;' then, the more they gain, the more they will grow in grace, and the more treasure they will lay up in heaven.” - John Wesley, “The Use of Money”

 

Reflection:

Solomon was the wealthiest man to ever live. He received over a billion dollars in gold each year (1King 10) and had an estimated net worth of over 2 trillion! And even though he was the wisest man to ever live (1King 3:12) he was not the most generous. Solomon, his family and nation suffered for it. How are you living John Wesley’s principle with the wealth you have?

 

Blessing:

May you realize the wealth you already possess and begin to share it with others in a way that blesses them and fulfills God’s purposes.