Means + Motive = True Generosity

Post Date:

Friday, 2017-05-26
SCRIPTURE

From:

Mark 12:41-44 (ERV)

Text:

41 Jesus sat near the Temple collection box and watched as people put money into it. Many rich people put in a lot of money. 42 Then a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth less than a penny.

43 Jesus called his followers to him and said, “This poor widow put in only two small coins. But the truth is, she gave more than all those rich people. 44 They have plenty, and they gave only what they did not need. This woman is very poor, but she gave all she had. It was money she needed to live on.”

OBSERVATION:
Although Jesus had the advantage of knowing the heart and the intent of each person that gave that day, yet He saw a very obvious lesson in all this for His disciples, and consequently for you and I. Jesus was not dependent on the money that was given, for He proved over and over that He could do a lot with very little, or with nothing at all. He was more concerned about the heart of the giver.
APPLICATION:
I believe that one of the excuses most often used by those who don’t attend church, is that all the church or pastor is looking for is your money. It is very obvious that people find it very challenging, at best, to give charitably from their hard earned money, so let’s look closer at this in our study today. When you stop to consider the unemployed neighbor, or the hospitalized friend who has been out of work for six months, why do you suppose God saw, in His great mercy, to allow you the good health, and the job opportunity to earn a living for your family? So how much of that income can you give Him thanks for? So why again do you feel 100% of it belongs to you, with your choice about where to spend it? And why again do you feel like it is so unfair of God to even suggest that you give 10% of that income to His work? Friends, God has a plan for your life, and for His church. I am convinced that His work will be accomplished with, or without you or I, however I am also convinced that God would rather see nothing more than His children participate in His work and celebrate the blessings as He pours them on us. Don’t let Satan mess with your mind and try to convince you that $100 of that $1,000 bonus you just got is too much to put into the hands of your local church. Don’t believe Satan’s lies that the church is just greedy for your money, more than anything else. When you start looking at that, you have lost sight of the reason you are giving. If you withhold from, or lose the joy of giving, because of all the lies Satan will try to convince you of, will you also look to Satan in your time of need? May I suggest that you consider giving God ALL of you, then you will appreciate the 90% of your income that He allows you to manage your earthly affairs with. It’s all about your relationship with God, friend, and what God will do for you, and absolutely nothing at all about what you feel He wants to rob you of. God’s in the business of blessing His children, not robbing them. Give Him yourself, and watch His blessings flow into each area of your life, even in your finances. 
PRAYER:
Lord Jesus, You gave it all for us, even to Your very own life. Please open our eyes and remind us once again that it takes all of us to get all of You in return. Most of us really don’t like to do things half heartedly, so with Your help may we recommit ourselves to You in totality, especially in the one area of our life that seems to bug us most, our finances. Lord, we desire more of You in our lives and in our family and in our church. Please begin with us, even now. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE:
There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’.  If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Committed to Give!

Post Date:

Wednesday, 2017-04-05
SCRIPTURE

From:

Exodus 35:4-5; 36:4-7 (NCV)

Text:

35:Moses said to all the Israelites, “This is what the LORD has commanded: 5 From what you have, take an offering for the LORD. Let everyone who is willing bring this offering to the LORD: gold, silver, bronze….
36:4 So all the skilled workers left the work they were doing on the Holy Tent, 5 and they said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than we need to do the work the LORD commanded.”
6 Then Moses sent this command throughout the camp: “No man or woman should make anything else as a gift for the Holy Tent.” So the people were kept from giving more, 7 because what they had was already more than enough to do all the work.
OBSERVATION:
In preparing to build the temple, Moses shared with the people what God had commanded them to do as their contribution to the project. Their response was so overwhelming, that Moses had to soon stop them from bringing their gifts. Seems just the opposite to what the response Moses received when he commanded them to stop worshiping idols. Perhaps God got their attention when over 3,000 was killed after the last incidence of disobedience.
APPLICATION:
I found this to be quite the contrast to the half hearted giving of God’s people today! Often when volunteers are needed, the able ones are the first to avoid eye contact and scoot out the back door of the church, because they just don’t have time. When teaching jobs are open, it is extremely challenging to find someone willing to commit the time to the job. Most would rather see the church pay for building repairs or yard work, as they simply don’t have time to do such things. If you read yesterday’s blog, you will remember that we were encouraged to always respond with the words “I just can’t make that a priority”, rather than “I just don’t have time”! I believe that it will be much closer to the truth and reflect more accurately that your priorities are elsewhere. Oooch! I know that hurts, but friends I want you to learn to be 100% honest with yourself, for God already knows your heart! This same attitude of commitment and priority also flows over to the act of giving financially to the Lord. To the able bodied brothers and sisters who may read this blog, may I suggest that you ask a handicapped person who is unable to work, “how much would they be prepared to give to the Lord, if He healed their body and gave them a job?” and I would assure you that they will probably respond 100%. My point is, friends, that in God’s Word He gives us a command to give at least 10% as a tithe to His work at our local church. In today’s peer pressure and wanting everything our neighbor has, how good are we doing with that command? Is it done before any other expenses are taken out of our income? God doesn’t give us the remains of a beautiful day, or half blessings in any way, but He gives us His very best, way more than we deserve. Giving more of self and even in our financial giving, are ways to express our gratitude to God for all that He does for us each and every day. The Bibles says that we will receive in accordance to how we have given. How are you doing friend?
PRAYER:
Lord Jesus, thank You for giving of Your very best so that we may have forgiveness of our sin and one day join You in glory! You’ve not asked us to give of our only son, like You did, so Lord may we learn to be in constant awe of all that You give to us each and every day, and may we give in return as You have commanded, or even more. As we express our appreciation through our giving, may it be obvious to You that our hearts are filled to overflowing. May this be reflected in all phases of our lives so that You may use this appreciation to open the eyes of unbelievers and draw them to Yourself. I ask these things in all humility and great appreciation for Your love and Your mercy to even me, oh Lord, AMEN!
FOOTNOTE:
There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’.  If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

The Purpose of Church

The Bible – Good News Translation

 Psalm 8:9-11

 9           Inside your Temple, O God, we think of your constant love.

10          You are praised by people everywhere, and your fame extends over all the earth.

You rule with justice; 11   let the people of Zion be glad!

 Thoughts:

Many people dress and head out to church on Saturday or Sunday. I wonder what some of the responses would be, if a news reporter stood on a street corner and interviewed folk as they were on their way to church! I bet there would be some interesting responses! In the Bible we read a lot about people going up to the temple to pray, or to offer up sacrifices. In our day, I believe the number one response would be that people go to church to worship God. The challenge is that most church goers feel like ‘worship’ is the worship and praise (singing) part of the service. What about the aspect of giving and Bible teaching and/or preaching? Also, is this ‘worship’ only once per week for no more than an hour? Is this commitment you have made to ‘worship’ strictly led by a praise and worship team for your entertainment, and a preacher who shouts at you for about 30 minutes to challenge you in your wrong doings? Friends, without the appearance of judging, I see these things that I questioned you on, as a description of our churches today. On the contrary, I love the description given by the Psalmist! Wouldn’t it be neat for us to awaken about an hour earlier before rushing out to weekend services, and instead of turning the television on, or getting on to Facebook to catch up on the gossip, if we gathered around the table over a cup of coffee and reflected back over the blessings of the week, brought back to reflection the highlights of our Bible studies (devotionals) from the week and said a prayer for the preacher and other worship leaders before we head out the door to go and worship God? Don’t you suppose that we would position ourselves for, and find reason to, truly worship God and to truly open our hearts to the spoken Word so that we might be filled with the Spirit and His reinforcing power for the week ahead? Can you see where we may then feel more like the Psalmist reflected on in vs 9, where we would then open our minds to think about God’s love and His wonderful power in our heart over the past week? I truly believe that we could then open our hearts in worship and be so filled with God’s wonder and His love that His fame would be evident in and through us wherever we went after that, in similar ways to what the Psalmist described in vs 10 & 11. We serve an awesome God, who is so good to us. Let’s not hold back the praises, and let’s be very open to instruction from His Word so that our lives might be guided accordingly.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, You made us so that we may worship you. I’m sorry for the poor excuses we give for not attending worship services, and even when we do – the little input that You receive from us. Our minds wonder, and we depend so heavily on the Praise and Worship team, that it is probably very obvious to You that we enjoy the entertainment more than the opportunity to lift up our praises and words of affirmation to You. We listen to Your Word read and expounded on, and it is often the only time that week that our Bibles have been opened. Oh how You must shake Your head in dismay and question why You ever made us. Thankfully, I know You are a God of love, and in looking at our hearts You know what we really are and what we would really like to be. I pray for mercy and Your continued grace dear Lord, because although You know our inward beings, how will the world know about You if they can’t see You reflected in and through our lives? Please don’t give up on me, and on us – Your servants. We need You more today than we ever did before. We need Your power and the extreme boldness to be Your witnesses. Touch me Lord and work with my friends and I so that we may be more like You in every way. My humble prayer I am asking in the Your holy name, dear Jesus, AMEN

 

NOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray.

As You Give, So Will You Receive!

Scripture: Mark 12.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

Mark 12:41-44 (NLT)

41 Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. 42 Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins.

43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. 44 For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

God freely gave to us; the ultimate unselfish gift being when He gave His only Son to suffer and die for us so that we might enjoy eternal life with Him in heaven. Why do we then, give so selfishly of our money, time and talent. God gave it all to us, who are we to say that He only deserves a little portion of it? I am reminded of another scripture that says, “as a man gives, so shall he receive”. Especially during these tight economic times we may tend to think that we can’t afford to give financially, because we need every dime to survive. I can only say to you friend, that God can do so much more with the 90% that we may be left with after tithing, than we could ever do with the 100% that we may think that we earned and need to spend on our own selves. When we consider our time and/or our talent, can we possibly think that we could be selfish with something that was given to us by God to use for His glory? That just makes no sense to a smart, right thinking person. Whenever we feel like we are poor, whenever we feel like someone has more than us and we are not being blessed, let’s always remember to evaluate our giving at that point, for it is through our giving that we will receive. It is through the generosity and freedom that we give, that we will also receive.

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father, I am always in awe about how much You love me and all that you do for me and give to me every day of my life. You truly are awesome, and I so desperately need to be more like You in every way, so that others may know the joy of serving the Master of this universe. As I am reminded of this important principle in giving and receiving, may I always be one to give freely in consideration of all that You give to me. Thank You for blessing me in so many ways. Thank You for giving so much to me each and every day. Thank You for always loving me, and showing it in so many wonderful ways.

 

àWords underlined may be a hyperlink to a song that God laid on my heart while sharing this devotional this morning. Click it and be blessed by the song, like I was when I listened to it! …… I would be overjoyed to have the opportunity to pray with you about a need in your life that may, or may not have been highlighted by this Nugget today. Why not drop me a note and tell me about it? You may email me at:
nuggetsfromgodsword@yahoo.com.
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Those with a vested interest, Give!

Scripture: Exodus 35-36.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

Exodus 35:29 (NLT)

29 So the people of Israel—every man and woman who was eager to help in the work the Lord had given them through Moses—brought their gifts and gave them freely to the Lord.

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

I know that anytime there is a sermon on ‘giving’ someone will leave disgruntled, because they don’t appreciate anyone telling, or reminding them about their giving, or lack thereof. But before I talk about the verse above, let me just remind us that if we are to be imitators of Christ, we should never choose which attributes to imitate, otherwise we will miss imitating Him in all things! Let’s remind ourselves about how much God gave, and quickly remember that He gave it all – His one and only Son, Jesus, so that we may have life eternal. Now, can we really qualify why we shouldn’t give at least 10% of the money that God has blessed us with the health, knowledge and wisdom to earn in the first place? Can we disqualify God’s teaching about giving at least 10% for the ongoing work of the church? I thought it was extremely eye-opening to read the above verse this morning and note that for those with a vested interest, in other words they were anxious to help in the work of the Lord, and so they gave freely! Wow, does that speak to us today? You bet it does. When we become interested enough to give back to God in thanksgiving for all that He gave to us, then we will not only give of our talent and hard work, but we will freely bring our gifts to further His work. This is the method and teaching in 2 Corinthians 9:7, that we give cheerfully to the work of the Lord, not from a guilty conscience. If you are vested in the work of the Lord, you will give!

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Thank You Father for giving so much to me. Especially I want to say thank You for giving Your only Son upon the cross so that I might accept that free gift and live eternally with You in heaven when You see fit to end my time here on this earth. Thank You for giving me health and strength each day to be able to work and earn a living. Thank You for blessing me with a job, especially during these days when I look around and see so many who are jobless. Thank You for doing such an awesome job in helping me budget the 90% of my salary that I am left with to meet my expenses. Thank You that I have always been able to honor my financial commitments. I realize that there are many times that I wish I had 150% of my salary, but those are times when my ‘wants’ are in overdrive, however as long as I stick with my ‘needs’ then I have no trouble. Thank You for being God and for being so very special in my life, especially in my financial affairs.

Be One Who Gives Sacrificially

A Quality of a Mature, Reproducing Disciple of Jesus Christ

 

How am I handling the resources God has entrusted to me?

 

SCRIPTURE

Studied: 2 Cor. 9:6–9, Prov. 11:24–25

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

  1. 2 Corinthians 9:6-9 ~ [Remember] this: he who sows sparingly and grudgingly will also reap sparingly and grudgingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to someone] will also reap generously and with blessings. Let each one [give] as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, “prompt to do it”) giver [whose heart is in his giving]. And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation]. As it is written, He [the benevolent person] scatters abroad; He gives to the poor; His deeds of justice and goodness and kindness and benevolence will go on and endure forever!
  2. Proverbs 11:24-25 ~ Sometimes you can become rich by being generous or poor by being greedy. Generosity will be rewarded: Give a cup of water, and you will receive a cup of water in return.

APPLICATION (How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

I believe that God expects us to be a giving people; after all, He has blessed us with a lot so we should then turn around and bless others also. I can see from this passage also that when we decide in our minds to give, we should do so in all happiness and with joy – in other words: out of appreciation for what we have, who gave it to us, and who will provide the next dollar to help us meet our financial needs. Unfortunately, this is quite opposite to what our carnal minds would convince us to do, for of ourselves we are convinced that we can only give out of the excess, after all our bills are met (which often include many of our unnecessary wants). We often fill our minds with many arguments to help us feel good about not giving our first gifts to God – well who knows what the church will waste that money on that I give, or surely God expects me to be a good manager of my funds and not give more than I can afford after meeting all my concrete, worldly, frivolous bills. I am convinced that when we give at least 10%, as taught scripturally, off our gross income then pay our bills and give to the poor, etc, I believe that God will honor our heart way more than if we depend solely on what it appears that we have left that we can give to the work of the Lord. Furthermore, I believe that this teaches me that I must give freely and happily to God, for He gave freely and happily to me, His child, out of love. One method that I have talked about here is seeing through our eyes of faith and out of thanksgiving, the other is our seeing based on the numbers in front of us. When God is in charge of our giving, He will help us take care of the numbers. He gives us the health and abilities to hold a job and earn the income, all the more should we listen to Him about how we should spend that money that He has blessed us with.

PRAYER (With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Lord Jesus, I believe that if I was asked what I believe is one of the most important things that the Bible says to me, it would probably be that God gave so that I may: have eternal life; have a beautiful earth to enjoy; have a beautiful family to help me in my daily physical and mental needs; have enough finances to meet my needs and many of my wants. Bottom line is that You gave, and gave and gave, even to the extent of giving Your one and only Son so that I may have eternal life. If I am determined to be Your disciple, and to be more like You in every walk of my life, then I have to give, and give, and give with a generous, sacrificial, happy and thankful heart. Please help me to always be of the mindset that what I have is all Yours, and that I should carefully follow Your commands in using what You have allowed me to have. I want to be known as a great example of You, because I want others to see You in my actions, words, and yes – in my giving. Thank You for blessing me with all that You have given for me to partake of, may I freely give to Your work and others in return.