Give Generously and Joyfully

even-smaller-bug-light1

10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.  — 2 Cor. 9:1​0, 11 N​IV
 
When it comes to giving and receiving, God turns our worldly mathematics upside down. Worldly increase comes when we add or multiply. But God gives us increase when we subtract by giving and by dividing when we share with others. He is our source and our supplier.  We need to empty out our storehouses so He can refill them with fresh seed and food. As Jesus told the rich young ruler when the young man asked Jesus; “what do I still lack?”
 

20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. — Matt. 19:20-22 NIV ​ 

God’s supply never runs out. He allows us to be stewards over a portion of His riches fully expecting us to use those for His glory. As we learn to be good stewards over a little, He will give us increase so that our generosity will result in others giving thanks to God.

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 06-18-2018

Be Careful of Riches

even-smaller-bug-light1Your gold and silver are corroded. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. ​– James 5:3 NLT

God does not have a problem with us having money. He realized how important it is but He also realized, that as humans, we could become too attached to money and the material things that we could purchase with it.  Jesus talked about money more than He did Heaven and Hell combined. Jesus talked about money more than anything else except the Kingdom of God.

11 of 39 parables talk about money.
1 of every 7 verses in the Gospel of Luke talk about money.–Answers.com


Jesus wants us to understand that money, in and of itself, is neither good nor evil. Whether it is good or evil in our lives depends on how we acquire it, what we do with it, and whether or not money becomes our “god” .  
This passage is a warning to those who would get their riches using the wrong methods and use it to purchase the wrong things for the wrong reasons. God will not take second place to anything or anyone.

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.–Matt. 6:24 (NKJV)

Mammon means more than just money. In earlier times, mammon was the god of wealth and riches, so it refers to money, material things and false gods. It can also refer to a wicked spirit that causes people to do sinful acts to accumulate wealth of any sort. Jesus knew that we needed money to buy what we need to sustain life, but He also knew it could be a huge problem. Now we can see why Jesus talked about money so often and why He warned us about getting attached to it.  Having no money or very little money can be a problem as well as having too much. Having too much seems to be the bigger problem. There are more Christians who fail the “prosperity” test there are who fail the “poverty” test.


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 06-09-2017

His Prized Possessions

even-smaller-bug-light1

17 Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.
— James 1:17 NLT

Every good and precious thing that we receive while we are on this earth is a gift from God. He never changes or even gives any indication the He is thinking about or considering change. God is good all the time because God is God all the time. He is the same yesterday, today, and will be the same tomorrow. He is the Solid Rock on which we can plant our feet and know we are protected. He is the Father who never changes, but is always there when we fail him and come humbly back to Him. He gave us a new birth by giving us His Word, both written and in the flesh. We are His possession because He bought us at the highest price anyone could pay. The death of His only Son. We must be faithful in following the example of His Son because of the price He paid for us.

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave[g] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. ​ — John 3:16 ​


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 05-25-2017

Beyond Knowledge

even-smaller-bug-light118 “When he sits on the throne as king, he must copy for himself this body of instruction on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. — Deut. 17:18 NLT

God knew that once the Israelis had settled in the land and become comfortable, that they would look around and desire what the other nations had.  They would grow tired of the judges and desire a king so they could be like the nations around them.  God had given Moses several guidelines for the king once he had been anointed.  Most of those were what not to do and had to do with position and possessions.  But the positive thing he was required to do was to copy the whole body of the instructions on a scroll.  To be sure, he did this himself, he had to do it in the presence of the priests.  Then he must keep it with him and read it every day.  One would think that this would have been sufficient to keep the kings in line with what God expected.  But that was not the case.  The majority of the kings were not godly and worshipped other gods.  The lesson that we can learn from this is that head knowledge is useless unless it affects the heart.  The devil knows the Bible but it doesn’t keep him from being the devil.  Just reading the Bible on a daily basis will not change us.  A heart change only takes place when we fully believe that Jesus, the Son of God, died for our sins.  Just saying the words does not make it happen.  We need confession and we need believing.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and if you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. 10 We believe with our hearts, and so we are made right with God. And we declare with our mouths that we believe, and so we are saved   — Romans 9, 10 NCV​

Post 03-09-2016

The Prosperity Test

even-smaller-bug-light120 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God. — Luke 12:20, 21 NIV

Riches are neutral, being neither good nor evil.  It is our attitude about those riches that causes us problems.  In the parable of the “certain rich man”,  Jesus shows us the real issue with riches.  When we have the wrong attitude about money and possessions, we spend too much time and money in trying to obtain more of each. The rich man decided to build more barns which would require more of his money and time, so more possessions and money causes us to spend more time and money protecting what we have bought.  It  becomes a vicious circle that destroys relationships and eventually destroys us.  God blesses us so that we can bless others.  If we hold onto those blessings too tightly and don’t use them for His work, they can become our god.  We become dependent on them for our self-worth and happiness.  When we have the right attitude about riches, we use those things to advance God’s Kingdom here on earth and to lay up rewards for ourselves in heaven.  Jesus did not instruct the disciples to pray for riches, but rather to ask just for what they needed today.  

11  Give us today our daily bread. — Matt 6:11 NIV
Post 02-17-2016

Contentment

even-smaller-bug-light110 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. — John 10:10 NKJV

When we hear the term abundant, our minds quickly turn to material possessions, postion, and money.  Those things have little to do with abundant living in the Biblical sense.  The list of millionaires, actors, and other famous people that have committed suicide in the prime of their lives proves this to be true.  Perhaps, we need to rethink what brings true joy in this present time and in the future.  It needs to be someone or something that is steadfast, true and unchangeable.  It must be someone or something we can have with us all the time.  It must be someone or something that we have instant access to whether we are having a “good” day or a “bad” day. It must be someone or something that is affordable whether we are rich or poor.  God knows that we need money, food and things to make the journey but He also knows that dependence on those things will not bring us joy or peace.  We need friends but they can’t be with us every second of every day.  What we really, really need is to learn to access the shalom kind of peace that Jesus bought for us at Calvary.  If we can’t trust Him for our daily bread, how can we trust Him with our souls for eternity?   Abundant living is an attitude of the heart.  You can’t buy it with all the money in the world, a friend can’t give it to you, a doctor might prescirbe it but the pharmacy can’t fulfill the prescription.  It only comes when we learn the lesson that Paul learned,  “not that I was ever in need”.
11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. — Phil. 4:11-13 NLT
Post 02-05-2016

Four Rs for Peace

even-smaller-bug-light129 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill.30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. — Acts 17:29​, 30​ NIV

​When we​ read scriptures about idol worship, we tend to think of those that worship statues or symbols of dead men or useless religions.  While we may not have an image of the dollar setting on the mantle of the fireplace, we can still be worshiping all the things that money can buy.  While we may not have statues of anyone in our homes or churches, we can still hold others in higher esteem than we hold Jesus. If someone asks you to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or violates your beliefs and you go ahead and do it, you have placed that person above Jesus. Our work here is to do the will of the Father, not the will of those around us. 
 

38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.– John 6:38 NIV

We are not in a popularity contest.  Our goal should be to please our Father.  If we do that, He will take care of us.  If we are obedient and seek Jesus and His righteousness, He will handle all of the issues that satan puts in our way.
 

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. — Matt. 6:33 NIV

“All these things” is everything that we need to live a Godly lifestyle. Everything means every thing.  Don’t stress out. Repent, Relax, Remember, Repeat.
Post 01-03-2016