God-Like Generosity

One of the things that Satan uses to turn people off from churches and church leaders is that they are always after their money! In fact, one church did such a fine job in teaching about tithing that community members warned others from going to that church because you had to ‘pay’ in order to attend!! Today I want to encourage you to search deep inside God’s Word as He speaks through His Son, when He taught His disciples on the edge of the mountain. It’s about generously giving to others.

DATE WRITTEN: Thursday, 2021-01-14
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: Matthew 5:42
TRANSLATION: The Passion Translation (TPT)

BIBLE TEXT: 42 Learn to generously share what you have with those who ask for help, and don’t close your heart to the one who comes to borrow from you.”[bd]

OBSERVATION: One of the things that Satan uses to turn people off from churches and church leaders is that they are always after their money! In fact, one church did such a fine job in teaching about tithing that community members warned others from going to that church because you had to ‘pay’ in order to attend!! Today I want to encourage you to search deep inside God’s Word as He speaks through His Son, when He taught His disciples on the edge of the mountain. It’s about generously giving to others.

APPLICATION: In the serenity of the mountain, Jesus spoke to His disciples, and I believe that it was on subjects that He knew they were struggling with. I wonder what our list might look like? I believe that if a pastor kept a list of Christian principles that he was questioned about, he would have a long list to sit down and expand on, as he teaches us. So what do you suppose God would have to say about your giving: Generous? Looks like something a child of the Kingdom would do? If he/she gave any more, they would probably starve their own family? While I believe that God gave us principles to follow on the subject of giving, I believe that He is speaking here about the heart principle behind our giving. Imagine someone growing up in an environment where they were given a quarter to throw in the offering plate. Can you imagine what they must think as an adult when taught in the Bible to give 10% of their income? I’m sure there would first be a sanity check, as Satan tries to distract the individual from giving to further the work of the Gospel in their community! Of course Satan wouldn’t like that, and of course Satan will immediately cause your eyes to be turned towards your net expenses and how this type of giving would totally destroy your budget. But do you recall the Gospel message where Jesus said that if we do His perfect will and obey His commands, that all these things will be given to you? In other words, I believe Jesus is reminding us that if we follow His commands and do what He tells us, that we wouldn’t have to worry about anything else financially. Now let me be quick to remind the child of God, that this doesn’t mean that the minute you start tithing, its ok to commit to purchasing that boat, or a nicer car, or a bigger house, because God said He would take care of us. A child of God should trust in the Master to help them properly budget the income He has blessed us with. If you have been blessed to earn $1,000 per week in gross income, you may be obligated to the government to pay taxes, and God said that we should honor those He has placed in charge of us. Let’s assume that after taxes you have $800 remaining (net). I believe that God directed us for the first fruits of our income, so 10% of your gross income would be $100. I believe that God is true to His word and will help you pay your budgeted expenses, purchase groceries and gas, and still have a few dollars left from the $700 that remains. I am living proof of it, and I could vouch to you that God is true to His word. Your prayer life will be enriched by asking God to help you control your spending so that you stay within budget. Now, where I believe generosity comes in, is that in addition to the above, you may be approached by an individual in need. Instead of instinctively saying that you have no extra income, that you look to God and have peace about trimming your expenses that week so that you could help that person, or asking God to please provide the money so that you could give a certain sum to that individual. Friends, I truly believe that when we let go and let God, He will let go and shower the blessings on us that may be more than we could handle. He is a giving God, remember He gave His only Son for us while we were yet sinners. If He said that He will provide our every need, then as His precious child, I could only trust Him at His word and ready myself to receive His gift. We must be willing to look beyond what our human eyes could see, for with God, all things are possible to him who believes and trusts in Him. So be generous dear friend, just like a child who knows that they are cared for by the God of the universe, who promised to care for our every need. Allow God to be praised by the recipient of any gifts you may give. You are just the messenger, God is the giver of all good things.

PRAYER: You gave us Your very best, Your only Son, even though we were undeserving of such love. Thankfully You have also given to us – perhaps way more than we deserve, but with those gifts of love, You have commanded that we share with those in need. Please help us to discern abuse and evil intentions when approached by the ‘needy’, and please open our hearts to give generously when the need is legitimate. I sincerely believe that You stand ready to help those in need, and You also placed us here on earth, exactly where we are for the purpose of working through us to meet the needs that exist. Lord, we wait on Your direction, and stand ready to be Your hand extended to the needy, so that You may be glorified by them. 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 might 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 subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

Impacts of Giving/Not Giving

It is popular to remind Christians about the blessings that will flow from their giving, but seldom do we hear about the affects of not giving in return for the countless blessings that God bestows on us. However, God had such a conversation through His servant Haggai for his people at Jerusalem, and it was pointed enough to impact me, so I hope that it may also hit close to home for my readers.

DATE WRITTEN: Tuesday, 2020-12-22
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: Haggai 1:4-7
TRANSLATION: The Voice (VOICE)

BIBLE TEXT: Do you think the time is right for you to live in secure and lavishly covered homes when My house still lies in a heap of rubble? Think very carefully about your choices. You have planted a large crop, but your harvest is small. You have food to eat, but it is never enough to satisfy. You have something to drink, but you are never filled. You have clothes to wear, but they are not enough to keep you warm. You earn a salary, but the money runs out quickly, as if there are holes in your pocket. Think very carefully about your choices. 

OBSERVATION: It is popular to remind Christians about the blessings that will flow from their giving, but seldom do we hear about the affects of not giving in return for the countless blessings that God bestows on us. However, God had such a conversation through His servant Haggai for his people at Jerusalem, and it was pointed enough to impact me, so I hope that it may also hit close to home for my readers.

APPLICATION: This is a challenging subject to write on, because it hits very close to home long before I could share my thoughts with you and allow it to impact you. You see, I was brought up taking a quarter to place in the offering plate at church. After a few years, I remember that amount increasing to a dollar bill, but never any greater. I won’t dare question whether my parents had more to give us and chose to give less, because their finances were never discussed with the kids. However, by the time I started attending high school, I went to a church that taught tithing a minimum of 10% of my income! After I started working, I remember writing that first tithe check and comparing it to the one dollar bill that I gave prior to that. Wow, what a discussion Satan had with me on that subject! Later in my life, I remember sitting in revival services and being asked to take my wallet out and hold it. The speaker then reminded us that God gave us everything contained in that wallet, so why would we hold back His future blessings by being stingy with the amount we give. I remember looking at my budget, which was already strained, and questioning God as to how would I possibly make this work if I gave 10% of my gross salary. God convinced me that He would bless me as I chose to give freely and happily to Him and His work. I remember times where Satan really used very tight budgeting constraints to try and have me change my tithing, but as soon as I drew closer to God, He convinced me that He was more than able. I apologize for the long personal experiences, but when I read this passage today, I believe that God drew those memories to mind, and I hope they may help you in your spiritual and financial journey. In the Scripture today God acted upon a people that had their priorities wrong. They had money for everything else, except their giving for the ongoing work of the Kingdom. Friends, I can tell you from a church perspective how challenging it becomes for a church to accomplish all they feel God placing before them to do, when the income is just not there. And this sounds much like the situation God recognized with the Israelites and their priority for maintaining His church. I am also aware that many families are struggling, and it sounds an awful lot like what the Israelites faced in the examples given by God in verse 6 of our Scripture. Unfortunately, I could also tell you of many who take care of their personal pleasures first and then, possibly give to God a small portion of what’s left over. Please Brothers and Sisters, know that our Scripture today is showing us that God’s work suffers when: we withhold giving of tithes from our income; when we do not acknowledge that it’s God that we are holding out on when we choose not to give biblically; when we look for excuses why we can’t give a percentage of our income – no matter what that income might be. Friends, I pray that God will forgive me if I walked over the line in judging, but I sincerely pray that He will touch the hearts of His children today and help them see how their mediocracy in giving, results in mediocracy in His blessings. May He never have to discipline us like detailed in verse 6 above, in order to get our attention on giving of the income that He blessed us with. I believe that the God who loves us unconditionally, desires to bless His children beyond anything we could understand or imagine. May we be careful not to place any stumbling blocks that would cause Him to withhold His wondrous blessings.

PRAYER: Lord You are so good to me, and I’m sure You are especially good to many who claim You as Lord and Master. Thank You for getting our attention about the impact of not giving, and reminding us of the blessings You bestow every day on us so that we might give. Lord I pray that You will get the attention of all who might read this devotional. I pray that You will get the attention of those who have chosen not to give generously and willingly to Your work. Please show them Your mighty works and remind them of Your love for them. May each one search deeply inside and put away the excuses they have developed, if they are not giving in line with Your wishes. Praise God we can’t out-give You, for Your awesome love is shown in so many ways. Thank You Heavenly Father for loving and blessing in so many wonderful and surprising ways. Please teach us to love You enough in return that we will give without hesitation to Your work. 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 might 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 subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

At Least 2 Benefits of Your Giving

As a child you may have been given a quarter to through in the offering plate, and that may have increased as time went along, depending on the financial success of your parents. Hopefully as you matured, this idea of giving became more of a partnership with God, and obedience to God. For His Word gives adequate guidance on tithes and offerings. But as we meditate on the Scriptures today, I want us to be reminded that God has promised that He will be even more generous to us, so that we might be more generous to the needs of His ministry here on earth. Let’s anticipate catching on to the generosity of our awesome God, and consequently imitate our God by giving even more through our tithes and offerings.

DATE WRITTEN: Wednesday, 2020-06-24
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: 2 Corinthians 9:11-14
TRANSLATION: Living Bible (TLB)

BIBLE TEXT: 11 Yes, God will give you much so that you can give away much, and when we take your gifts to those who need them they will break out into thanksgiving and praise to God for your help. 12 So two good things happen as a result of your gifts—those in need are helped, and they overflow with thanks to God. 13 Those you help will be glad not only because of your generous gifts to themselves and to others, but they will praise God for this proof that your deeds are as good as your doctrine. 14 And they will pray for you with deep fervor and feeling because of the wonderful grace of God shown through you.

OBSERVATION: As a child you may have been given a quarter to through in the offering plate, and that may have increased as time went along, depending on the financial success of your parents. Hopefully as you matured, this idea of giving became more of a partnership with God, and obedience to God. For His Word gives adequate guidance on tithes and offerings. But as we meditate on the Scriptures today, I want us to be reminded that God has promised that He will be even more generous to us, so that we might be more generous to the needs of His ministry here on earth. Let’s anticipate catching on to the generosity of our awesome God, and consequently imitate our God by giving even more through our tithes and offerings.

APPLICATION: Perhaps we should dispel a few myths that Christians in our generation tend to hang on to in their giving: a). I disagree with church leaders about supporting a certain cause, and since I never attend a business meeting to have my say on the matter, I will just stop giving. Perhaps then they will not have enough money to continue supporting that cause; b). The church is sitting on way more money than I have in the bank, so I will ease up on my giving and force them to use some of their own funds to fund the operating account for a while; c). I have found a needy friend that I will give my tithes to, until further notice. It’s a godly purpose, for God wants us to care for the needy; d). Unfortunately, I have run up a lot of debt and don’t have enough free cash remaining to support my church – tithes and offering; e). I have never given the church more than $99.99 at one time, so there is no way that I will fork over a check for $1,000 for that recent gift left in my dad’s will for me. I may give $100, but no more. Friends, I have a few questions for us to consider: 1). Is there anything in the Scriptures about any of the above examples? 2). Might we be ok doing any of the above and find a good explanation for God to support our actions? And 3). Do you suppose that God will still give you more for you to do more of the same that you’ve been doing? A great reminder for us every day is that we can’t out-give God! However, to know that two great blessings result from our giving, is super exciting: 1). Those in need are helped, and 2). Those who receive will sing great praises to their King for His goodness. You see, God never expects us to give because of the praise we might receive from our giving. Instead, recipients will sing praises to the King of glory! So let me encourage you today dear friend, to give from a heart that has been blessed already by the bountiful gifts of our Maker. Know that you are giving to the work of the Lord, not for the use, or abuse of church leaders. Your church leaders are answerable to God, because they were put in place by Him (according to Scripture). You do your part, and allow them to do theirs, for you both will answer to God for your faithfulness to the tasks assigned to you here on earth. Lastly, let me suggest that you place priority on things that you will use your income for. God is my priority, so I choose daily to give Him the first fruits of my income, knowing that He will meet my needs in the other areas of my budget as I place my faith and trust in Him. If you are not already doing something similar, please consider making God first in all aspects of your life, especially in your finances. Others who are blessed will praise God for all that you gave!

PRAYER: Thank You Lord for giving to me, thy great salvation so rich and free! Thank You also for blessing me financially! I am far from rich in the eyes of mankind, but You have given me more than enough to meet my daily obligations and to give of my tithes and offerings for the work of Your church and the needs of our community. Thank You for being such a generous God. Please touch the hearts of my readers as they evaluate their status on giving, and their true relationship with You. May we all place You first in all aspects of our lives, especially in the area of our finances, so that You may be lifted up by all mankind as they seek to know You personally and receive the free gift of eternal life. 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 might 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 subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

The Miracle of Giving From Fully Surrendered Saints

I believe that bank lenders may tend look at proposals from churches to build a multi-million dollar sanctuary, and they may wonder if the leaders have lost all sense of smart thinking and accountability. I believe the world looks at a congregation moving into a new building complex and they begin to evaluate internally if there are some drug runners attending that church, because they just can’t believe their own eyes that the congregation could afford such an elaborate building. Meditate with me on these verses from 2 Corinthians and let’s be reminded of how our Mighty God works in scenarios where His saints look to Him as the all-powerful, awesome God that He is!

DATE WRITTEN: Tuesday, 2020-06-23
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: 2 Corinthians 8:1-5
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)

BIBLE TEXT: Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters,[a] what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem.[b] They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.

OBSERVATION: I believe that bank lenders may tend look at proposals from churches to build a multi-million dollar sanctuary, and they may wonder if the leaders have lost all sense of smart thinking and accountability. I believe the world looks at a congregation moving into a new building complex and they begin to evaluate internally if there are some drug runners attending that church, because they just can’t believe their own eyes that the congregation could afford such an elaborate building. Meditate with me on these verses from 2 Corinthians and let’s be reminded of how our Mighty God works in scenarios where His saints look to Him as the all-powerful, awesome God that He is!

APPLICATION: Notice a few very interesting points in these verses. While reviewing the facts surrounding the unexpected gifts from these churches in Macedonia, Paul immediately pointed out these were very poor churches, with various troubles going on at the time. Now, if we were to have God bless these hurting people, we would probably tell God to please settle their troubles for them so that their burdens might become lighter. We might also tell God to give them sufficient money to meet their needs so that they may not have an added financial strain on them. But how many of us would ever think of asking God to encourage them to give more. Never in a million years would we think of something so extraordinary. But fellow believers, let’s be reminded today of the awesome God that we serve. When people who are blessed beyond measure financially give, we tend to praise God for them. However, when the poorest congregations out give the churches in a community, we could only praise God for miraculously using them as His agents of hope, and to richly bless them in giving. It becomes very evident that it is only God, and nothing, or no one else who could be lifted up for the gifts that result. I believe that the most significant words in these verses come from verse 5, where Paul explains how the saints gained the attention of their Master – they gave themselves to God first, then they gave themselves to the leaders God had chosen to lead them through this special time in their lives, and the life of His church. In various denominations today churches are ruled in various ways. Some are Pastor led; some are Elder led; and some are directed and led by the church body. Regardless, the churches gave themselves to their leaders. I believe this means that they committed to God that because they were praying so consistently, persistently and regularly for His representatives/leaders at their church, they would be comfortable following God’s direction or theirs. It seems evident to me that God saw the humility of His saints in these churches; He knew the needs that existed in their community; and He knew their hearts cry to give generously for the work of the Lord, even if they had no idea where the money was coming from. God knew that His blessings would not be overlooked or abused by these congregations, and that they would be humble in allowing Him to give generously through them to this important cause. So where do we go wrong in our churches today? Of course, the church is made up of people, so we must ponder what has gone south, or wrong, with God’s people today? I would dare say that we struggle in getting over ourselves. I’m not sure if we truly know what it means to fully surrender to God, much less to each other. Friends, our Father is the giver of all good and faithful gifts from above, but He’s not a robot for which we turn on a switch for gifts to flow in certain areas of our lives. Through a one-on-one relationship with Jesus our Savior, He knows our every need and He knows when we need something, and how much we need. He needs no directing from us. He simply needs our dedication to Him and our total trust in Him. He will supply all our needs, and it will be obvious to the world that our giving is far greater than anything we could possibly come up with. Let’s look for the opportunities to lift up our God and sing His praises. As He is lifted up, He will draw all men unto Himself. May I encourage you today dear friend, to surrender your all to Jesus, and allow Him to be God in every way. He will be praised for His awesome works!

PRAYER: Dearest Lord Jesus, we stand humbly before You acknowledging that we are nothing without You. In spite of the many needs that we feel like we have, yet You are so very capable of doing it again – giving generously through a people that have no means to give. Make it obvious Lord that You are in control, and that You alone can fulfill our every need. There is so much that we want to do in the name of ministry, but You alone know what and when something is needed so that Your mighty works might be accomplished. In Your time; in Your space and through Your awesome power, please have Your will and way in our lives, so that we may meet the needs of our community – especially their need for a Savior. Bless as only You can, in Your perfect timing! 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 might 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 subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

Giving In Response to God’s Instructions

Perhaps one of the most controversial matters in a church is discussions around the subject of giving. Whether it’s how much we should give, or the ways that the church leadership spends the money, or how much the pastor is paid. But unless we miss the whole point of whether Christians should give, or the point of how much we should freely give, let us seek guidance from the Word of God. Our Scripture today is a good example of an individual not giving in a way pleasing to God. Perhaps this is something that God had planned to deal with you on today, so ask Him to help you place self aside while you meditate on His Word for a few minutes.

Friday, 2019-12-27

Bible Reference: Acts 5:3
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: God revealed their secret to Peter,[b] so he said to him, “Ananias, why did you let Satan fill your heart and make you think you could lie to the Holy Spirit? You only pretended to give it all, yet you hid back part of the proceeds from the sale of your property to keep for yourselves.

OBSERVATION: Perhaps one of the most controversial matters in a church is discussions around the subject of giving. Whether it’s how much we should give, or the ways that the church leadership spends the money, or how much the pastor is paid. But unless we miss the whole point of whether Christians should give, or the point of how much we should freely give, let us seek guidance from the Word of God. Our Scripture today is a good example of an individual not giving in a way pleasing to God. Perhaps this is something that God had planned to deal with you on today, so ask Him to help you place self aside while you meditate on His Word for a few minutes.

APPLICATION: Isn’t it interesting how……When we pray in times of trouble we seem convinced that God hears our cry, that He knows all about our troubles, and that He will take care of us and see us through our difficulty? Praise God He is such an awesome God, and He Cares for us in that way. But isn’t it strange how we pick and choose what we will share with our loving God? When it comes to tithing, I am convinced that our churches will never have another budget shortage, if God’s children would be diligent in their tithing/giving, as instructed in God’s Word. So what do you suppose might be the problem, child of God? Are we really putting the Lord’s Spirit to the test like Ananias and Sapphira did? Are we trying to pull one off on God, like we try to do with our government when we file our taxes or pay our import duties? Please allow me to simply clarify what I feel like God instructs us in His Word about giving, from the earnings that He has blessed us to receive. A guide is given to us of at least 10% of the first fruits of our income. In other words, 10% of our gross income, or before anything else is taken out. The discussion around this will often arise from individuals who feel like taxes should come out before calculating the tithe, or their house mortgage or other bills should come out first. But then God could also come back to us and show where He gave to us right from the very best that He had – His one and only Son. Friends, please allow me to assure you, that we could never out-give God, also, that God will care for His kids who makes every effort to be obedient to His commands and His calling. We may give and not have a clue where the money will come from to meet all the bills that are due, but when we are obedient to God, He will provide a way even when there appears to be no way. God will never ask us to give, then turn His back on us when it comes to meeting the remaining needs that we have. Ananias and Sapphira got into trouble when they thought that they were hiding something from God, and that their lie would never be detected. Of course God knew what was happening and He shared that with His servant (Peter). Are you also testing God, by keeping your income a secret? Remember, God knows all things. There is no hiding from Him. Also remember that you will never be disappointed with the blessings from God when you’re honest before Him and obedient to His commands. When He owns all of you, He will never fail you. Testing Him, is allowing Satan to interfere and have a ‘piece of the pie’. God never blesses you halfheartedly, He blesses you abundantly more that you can ever imagine! That’s our loving God my friend!

PRAYER: Thank You loving Lord for giving Your ultimate sacrifice just for me – Your precious Son, Jesus. Thank you for giving guidance to us on what we should give in return to You. Please help Your children to stay true to You, regardless of what our worldly eyes might see as impossibilities in our limited view as mere humans. Lord, we honestly want to please You in every way possible, but the temptations of this world are so great that we need Your help to keep our eyes fixed on You, and our hearts determined to honor and love You in every way possible. Oh that our hearts may be moved in such a way, that our wallets will be opened to giving as You direct us to. Thank You Lord for first giving to us. As we give back to You, may we never regret giving towards Your will and Your work here on earth, that results in kingdom benefits for You. AMEN!

We Have Enough!

In your minds, I would like for you to imagine that you are looking at your neighbor in church when the pastor announces that he wants the congregation to STOP GIVING, because the building fund is fully funded and there is no need for additional funds! Can you imagine the shock? Yet in our time together today we will see where Moses did exactly that – he told the people that there was no need of additional gifts, for there was enough given already! Let’s dig in to learn more about this strange idea!!

Tuesday, 2019-10-22

Bible Reference: Exodus 36:4-7
Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

Bible Text:  4 Finally the craftsmen who were working on the sanctuary left their work. 5 They went to Moses and reported, “The people have given more than enough materials to complete the job the Lord has commanded us to do!” 6 So Moses gave the command, and this message was sent throughout the camp: “Men and women, don’t prepare any more gifts for the sanctuary. We have enough!” So the people stopped bringing their sacred offerings. 7 Their contributions were more than enough to complete the whole project.

OBSERVATION: In your minds, I would like for you to imagine that you are looking at your neighbor in church when the pastor announces that he wants the congregation to STOP GIVING, because the building fund is fully funded and there is no need for additional funds! Can you imagine the shock? Yet in our time together today we will see where Moses did exactly that – he told the people that there was no need of additional gifts, for there was enough given already! Let’s dig in to learn more about this strange idea!!

APPLICATION:  I wonder why things may have changed? Whether we talk to an individual or a well established church, there always seems to be a cry for help in their financial needs. First of all in our Scripture today, it is clear that not all of the people freely gave to the cause. In 2:21 we are told that those whose hearts were stirred by the message from God through Moses, responded to the plea for help in providing material for the building project. This sounds pretty much like our churches today, don’t you think? As a result of surveys, we are told that less than 20% of the people do more than 80% of the giving! So why have the others ignored the plea? Friends, I believe that the Word of God is clear on this. Just as the Word tells us that if we humble ourselves and pray, then God would save our nation, I believe that many of us need to humble ourselves to recognize that we have nothing personally to brag about. It is because of God’s grace that we have the health to work, the job to go to, and the income to survive. If we truly acknowledge that fact, why would we withhold giving to God in proportion to what He has blessed us with? The Word gives us guidance – at least 10%. Because there are other biblical references to ‘first fruits’, I believe that the guidance actually refers to 10% of your gross income. Now because our relationship is one built around love, I don’t believe that we would dare use this as a legalistic demand. People ‘in love’ will generally give freely, and way more than might be expected of them. In a love relationship, there is no such thing as excuses why we can’t give 110% of ourselves to our mate. Should there be an excuse, or a reason, when it comes to giving to our Lord and His earthly work? Don’t you know that if each person in our congregations gave like this, that our pastors would frequently be faced with an overflow of income, where pastors and church leaders could decide to expand the ministry after meeting all the needs that they are aware of? We are told that more than 70% of our county have no church affiliation, or relationship with Jesus Christ, so is there a need to to expand our ministries? God may hold us accountable for not giving as we should to reach the lost. Furthermore, I believe that the stress level on our pastors will be drastically reduced, when they don’t have to worry about funding the projects that God has shown them might be necessary to grow the ministry. When we receive our paycheck, there is no negotiating on amounts taken out for government taxes, why should there be constant decision making on how much to give towards God’s work? Determine in your own heart how much you will give and stick to the plan Brother and Sister. We are promised that we will receive more than we could ever imagine or expect. Furthermore, we will receive in proportion to what we have given. May I encourage you to always expect more from God, knowing that you have given in abundance towards His work? Furthermore, rejoice, knowing your loving and all powerful God will abundantly bless you and meet your needs!

PRAYER: Father, it is exciting to see how You work. We give to bless others, yet You wind up also blessing us in return! There just isn’t a way that we can out-give You! Thank You for being so generous, loving and kind to us! I would say that we are so undeserving, but then I am reminded that even while we were undeserving, You sent Your only Son as a sacrifice for us, so that we might have a chance at eternal life in heaven with You. Thank You Father! Thank You Jesus, Son of God! Lord may we learn to give in similar fashion – regardless of whether we feel the receiver or the project is worthy of our love, may we react in obedience to Your will for us. Please bless us as we give, so that our own needs may be met each and every day. May souls be touched for You because of our obedience in giving. I ask these things humbly, although undeserving, but in the powerful name of our all-giving Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, AMEN!

Trust God and He Will …

Tuesday, 2019-08-27

Bible Reference: Proverbs 3:5-10
Translation: The Living Bible (TLB)

Scripture

Bible Text:  Trust the Lord completely; don’t ever trust yourself. In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.
7-8 Don’t be conceited, sure of your own wisdom. Instead, trust and reverence the Lord, and turn your back on evil; when you do that, then you will be given renewed health and vitality.
9-10 Honor the Lord by giving him the first part of all your income, and he will fill your barns with wheat and barley and overflow your wine vats with the finest wines.

OBSERVATION: If we are not careful, our world can bombard us with so much stress, that we might wonder at times if it is really worth it all. But then we are reminded in Scriptures like this one today, that life seems impossible when we try to do it alone. We serve an awesome, all powerful God who is ready and willing to answer our cry for oneness with Him. I am convinced that He longs to receive us, love on us and take good care of us until the day He calls us to live eternally with He and the Father. Why not meditate with me today as we analyze and satisfy ourselves as to the power of our God!

APPLICATION:  Like me, I would imagine that, throughout your day there are times when you are overwhelmed as to how you will ever accomplish everything on your agenda, and that you wish you knew what might be happening in the coming days, weeks and years, so that you could make good choices today. Friends, I believe that God has placed the answer to this dilemma right at our fingertips – in these verses today. For I believe that you will see clearly that although we may not have all of the answers, there is a God who does – praise His name for ever and ever! As you read the first two verses, let me remind you of Moses, who had millions of people following him, as God’s messenger and leader. Because He trusted completely in God, when he brought all these folk to the edge of the Jordan River, his ulcers didn’t explode from the stress of what to do next, for he was convinced that if God brought him to this crossroad, then obviously God would see him through, or across the river. These verses declare that when we place our faith and trust in Jesus, He will direct us into right paths and make our journey, or actions successful. Notice that this is not something we need to understand how or when success or answers will come, we are to just trust God and He will… Notice in verses 7-10, there are certain expectation from us, such as: 
* Trust and reverence God;
* Turn our backs on evil – of course the positive equivalent to this is to obey God’s commands;
* Honor God by giving Him the first of our income;
Just remember that God is all powerful and He could bless our health and give us vitality without us feeling like we had anything to do with the formula, but by demanding that we participate in the above simple actions, we learn that God’s goodness is for those who have an interest – those who want it. Similarly with our finances – God could very easily bestow great riches on everyone, but don’t you know that we always abuse anything that is given to us without us have some ‘skin’ in the game? When we give the first of our income, we are not only showing obedience to God, but we are acknowledging that there is nothing more important in our life. It also helps us to recognize that because we are blessed by God to be able to work and provide for our family, the least we could do is give back to Him unconditionally from our financial earnings. In true form to the goodness of our God, He foreknew the temptation of money, so He still threw in a blessing for those that obey this commandment to give. I believe that God’s Word is clear that we will be blessed financially in proportion to what we give. Are you ‘blessed’ financially? Check your giving, perhaps it needs adjusting!

PRAYER: Lord God, You have proven Yourself to us in so many ways, yet we often feel like we could handle this thing called ‘life’ all by ourselves. Please forgive us for our littleness Lord. You are Creator; Master; Lord and the Savior of this world. Thank You for giving us clear instruction of what is expected of us to receive optimal results from You. Please touch our stubborn hearts today and convince us of the need for obedience and faithfulness to You. Lord, we want to benefit from all the great things You have promised to us, but more than that, we are anxious to one day be with You in glory, where we could worship You endlessly. Bless us this day with Your grace and your mercy. Please lead us into total obedience to Your Word, for I ask these things in the gracious and loving name of Jesus, AMEN!

Why Discipline?

I’m sure that the Israelites must have thought, and no doubt complained about the necessity for discipline by God, if He (supposedly) loved them so much. Isn’t it interesting that we still hear that happening today? let’s meditate on this today and consider the qualities we have gained because of discipline.

Wednesday, 2019-07-10

Bible Reference: Deuteronomy 8:2-3
Translation: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Bible Text: And you must remember the entire trip that the Lord your God has led you through these 40 years in the desert. He was testing you. He wanted to make you humble. He wanted to know what is in your heart. He wanted to know if you would obey his commands. He humbled you and let you be hungry. Then he fed you with manna—something you did not know about before. It was something your ancestors had never seen. Why did the Lord do this? Because he wanted you to know that it is not just bread that keeps people alive. People’s lives depend on what the Lord says.

OBSERVATION: I’m sure that the Israelites must have thought, and no doubt complained about the necessity for discipline by God, if He (supposedly) loved them so much. Isn’t it interesting that we still hear that happening today? let’s meditate on this today and consider the qualities we have gained because of discipline.

APPLICATION: Surely you’re no different to me, in that you hated to hear your mom and/or dad say how it pained them to discipline you! For we always thought ‘then why do it?’!! As adults we now know that to discipline shows love, caring and concern for the individual you are disciplining. The easy thing to do, is to ignore the issue and hope that things will get better. But to care enough about the individual to correct them and possibly discipline them, shows that you love them enough to want them to succeed in life, and to be the best individual they could possibly be. When disciplined at home, it becomes easier for our children to respect and understand the need for discipline by an employer. None of us like to be disciplined, but let’s look at why God thought it was necessary for the Israelites. As His chosen people, God couldn’t stand it that they were being mistreated in Egypt, so in cooperation with their leaders, God decided to get them out of there and into a very chosen place that He had prepared for them. Because of their ungratefulness and disrespect during their journey, God disciplined His children in a few serious ways – food, water, obstacles in the path they traveled, etc. And time and time again, God showed love and deliverance for His people. In our verses today, the Israelites are being reminded of what they should have gained from those challenging times of discipline. And I believe that God wants to use these words to remind us of the same thing today. Like the Israelites, we are a spoiled and rotten people. We want, we want, and we want, but oh how seldom do we ever stop to recognize all that God has provided, and how He has taught us along this path called ‘life’. Do we have time to visit the sick or help the poor, or are we too busy tending shop? In other words, are we so caught up in the many material things of life, that we have no time, love, or respect for God, to seek out the needs of others? God disciplined the Israelites because He wanted them to know that there were more important things in life than their stomachs, their material things, and their selfish desires. He wanted them to see, and I believe that He wants us to also learn, that it is the very words of God that teaches us about LIFE, and not at all about what we have, what we see, or what we want. So what’s important in this life to you my friend? Would it require a good dose of discipline by the Almighty God to help us refocus on the really important things in this life? Why not stop, listen and obey today, for there’s no other way, but to trust in our Lord, and obey His commands!

PRAYER: Thank You precious Lord for the many gifts that You shower on us each and every day. Thank You for those times that You stop us in our tracks and, through loving discipline, You redirect us to the things of Christ. May we have that same kind of love for our brethren, for there are so many in need all around us today. We are often so caught up in protecting all that we have gained, that often we lose track of praise, honor and glory that is so deserving of the One who has blessed us. Thank You dear Lord. Please touch our hearts today. Draw us close to You and help us to use all that You have blessed us with, to bless others in return.. AMEN!

How To Give Your Two Cents Worth

No doubt you have always given your ‘two cents worth’ in every conversation you overheard! But in today’s Scripture we can see where two cents was everything that this poor widow had, yet she gave it for the work of the Lord in the temple. Still today people give from their abundance, while others give out of deep gratitude to all they have been blessed with, no matter how small that may seem to some. Let us meditate on this one little illustration that made it into the Gospel. Let us truly understand all about how we may apply this illustration to our lives today.

Saturday, 2019-05-25

Bible Reference: Mark 12:41-44
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: 41 Then he sat down near the offering box, watching all the people dropping in their coins. Many of the rich would put in very large sums, 42 but a destitute widow walked up and dropped in two small copper coins, worth less than a penny. 43 Jesus called his disciples to gather around and then said to them, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given a larger offering than any of the wealthy. 44 For the rich only gave out of their surplus, but she sacrificed out of her poverty and gave to God all that she had to live on, which was everything she had.”

OBSERVATION: No doubt you have always given your ‘two cents worth’ in every conversation you overheard! But in today’s Scripture we can see where two cents was everything that this poor widow had, yet she gave it for the work of the Lord in the temple. Still today people give from their abundance, while others give out of deep gratitude to all they have been blessed with, no matter how small that may seem to some. Let us meditate on this one little illustration that made it into the Gospel. Let us truly understand all about how we may apply this illustration to our lives today.

APPLICATION: I believe that all of us could look in on this story and conclude that God wants our very best, and He wants us to give willingly and freely. Imagine for a moment that someone blesses you with enough money to pay all of your expenses for the rest of the year. Would you be forever thankful? I bet you would be besides yourself with gratitude, right? But wait a moment, this gracious person who blessed you has asked for your help on Saturday afternoon while the game is on, plus you have already invited friends over to party with you during the game broadcast on television. So what will you do? How will you respond? There’s no right or wrong answers, this was intended to help you examine your heart for its level of gratefulness. After you have pondered those few questions, now stop to ponder your feelings when you’re paid for your hard work and for the stress you’ve encountered at work. How willing are you to commit to God a portion of what He has blessed you with financially? Remember, He opened all the doors for you to get that job, and He has truly touched the heart of your boss to give you good increases each year. Because of your good health, you have been able to handle your work each and every day. So do you suppose that it was more than anything you could personally have achieved, that made you succeed at work and earn a good income? Since God partnered with you, don’t you feel like you should return thanks to Him by sharing generously from all that your boss paid to you? Friends, we serve an awesome God. He blesses us in ways that we could only imagine; He loves us, in spite of our selfish and conceited attitudes; He provides for us when we wonder where the next dime is coming from. He’s our Almighty; All-powerful; All-loving; awesome God, that sacrificed even His own Son for our eternal benefit. What is it that we would withhold from Him and/or His mission in our family, our church and our community? His Word is specific of where we should give financially, and His Word also gives us a good guide for the amount we should give. In His Word God tells us that we will be blessed in return for our willingness to give. Be blessed today my friend, and give to God’s work freely, lovingly, and with a happy heart. We could never outgive God. And we know that God is pleased when He sees His children show their gratitude in giving freely to His earthly cause. With our hearts in the right place, we will not only give financially to the work of our Master, but we will be much more apt to give of ourselves in His service. So let’s imitate the widow in our story today, by giving of our ‘two cents’, even if it is our last two cents.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord Jesus for giving everything to us. There is nothing that You withheld, and we are forever grateful for Your precious love in blessing us each and every day. May this lesson of the poor widow invoke a new sense of release inside all of us, so that we may give freely from our financial resources and of our time that has become such a precious commodity anymore. It’s all Yours dear Lord, please help us to be open in responding in ways that will please You. Please continue to bless us, and make us channels of blessings; ones that will give and give, back to Your mission here on earth. AMEN!

Kingdom Giving

I find it fascinating that the Bible gives us direction from our Father on every aspect of life. However, we often hear people say that they don’t want to be told about their giving, because what they give ‘is their business alone’. God is very thorough in His Word though, for he tells us what we should do, even in our giving. Let’s meditate today on this very sensitive aspect of every person’s life.

Monday, 2019-01-14

Bible Reference: Matthew 6:3-4
Translation: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Bible Text:  So when you give to the poor, don’t let anyone know what you are doing.[a Your giving should be done in private. Your Father can see what is done in private, and he will reward you.

OBSERVATION: I find it fascinating that the Bible gives us direction from our Father on every aspect of life. However, we often hear people say that they don’t want to be told about their giving, because what they give ‘is their business alone’. God is very thorough in His Word though, for he tells us what we should do, even in our giving. Let’s meditate today on this very sensitive aspect of every person’s life.

APPLICATION: This is probably one of the most sensitive matters that a pastor can preach on, as parishioners often allow this subject to not only challenge their hearts, but they tend to start comparing what they give to what they believe others are giving, with hopes that they could feel better about themselves. In the business world, giving to any need in the community is a marketing opportunity, because the business owner wants you to know that they are giving back to the community from all that they make off you, in profits. Of course, this is done to help you feel good about such a company, and therefore spend even more money with them! For individuals, we might often see a case of public display, because some feel good about the public praise they receive wherever they go. So what about the Christian, for that’s what most readers of this blog will look for. I believe there are two aspects that we need to seek God’s guidance on. First of all, how much do we give to the church? I believe it is clear in God’s Word that we should joyously give at least 10% of our gross earthly income, and that it should be given to your local church, with no strings attached. I was once told by an attorney that in my will, I was trying to control well beyond the grave!!! Unfortunately, we tend to think a lot like that when it comes to church finances, for we find fault with how the offerings/funds are being used and, of course, since we have all the right answers (from a distance), we feel like we should designate our giving to make sure it is spent in an area that we feel good about. Friends, giving unconditionally, or to undesignated funds, is the 10% tithe that’s directed in God’s Word. Secondly, we may want to give to a ‘Designated Fund’ such as missions, or any other fund, but that’s over and above your tithe. But why can’t I give my tithe so that ‘Suzi’ could put a roof on her house, you might ask? Why, is there a trust issue with your church’s financial team? Please don’t forget who that team answers to – the same God that you will answer to on Judgment Day. These types of designated giving, or to any other special need that God may place on your heart, these are freewill offerings that you are free to do at will. However, our Scripture today warns us about giving for personal gain, or personal recognition/praise/glory. As a child of God, the only glory that should really matter to us, is the reward mentioned in verse 4 today. No one on earth may ever know what you may have given to various needy people or projects, but to hear the Master tell us how He saw all that we gave, and how proud He was, and is of us, will be worth it all. So when we give my friend, let’s learn to give as unto the Lord. Sure, it may help an earthly need, but only God needs to know that it was us who gave as a result of all that He blessed us with.

PRAYER: For the awesome gifts that You have blessed us with oh Lord, we say thank You. Often we feel so undeserving Oh Lord, but to be able to share those gifts with others in need, is so rewarding. Please speak to my readers, and reemphasize in my life, the importance of helping the needy and giving a committed amount back to You, in return for the 100% earnings that You made possible for me/us. Please continue to bless in the same amazing ways that we can already attest to from past experience. You are our good, good God, to whom we owe our total selves and every blessing that You send our way. Lord, may we follow in Your example and bless others beyond all measure. AMEN!