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Archive for the ‘generosity’ Category

I need to give more loans to God.

Perhaps you do, too.

If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord— and He will repay you!” (Proverbs 19:17 NLT)

Find someone today who needs a financial or time-investment gift and lend to the Lord.

The returns on your investment will be out of this world.

As always, I love you
Martin

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One of the most compelling and memorable lessons taught in the Bible can be attributed to an elderly, impoverished widow.

It’s the account recorded in Mark 12:41-44. Jesus was watching a bunch of religious fat cats making large offerings at the temple. Jesus didn’t comment immediately about their gifts, though.

Instead, He saw the poor widow put all of her monetary wealth — two small coins — into the collection box and then He was prompted to speak.

“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. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”

Listen, one of the signs of spiritual growth is the willingness to give generously to the Lord’s work. Jesus taught in Matthew 23 that believers should tithe — give at least 10 percent of their gross income. But what this widow demonstrated was not a 10 percent gift, but instead a 100 percent gift.

What amazing faith!

Though this “all she had gift” is not to be seen as the minimum standard for faithful giving, it still serves as an excellent example for us of proper motives.

I have not yet demonstrated the faith of this widow.

I have need for more spiritual growth in my trust of God to sustain me as I continue growing in giving beyond the tithe.

Perhaps you do, too.

Please learn from Professor Pauper, the widow of Mark 12.

Her instruction is sure and already confirmed as pleasing Christ.

Give more generously.

God will sustain you just as He surely blessed this widow in the days after her faith-filled donation.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Sometimes, people learn about our character through subtle observation.

For example, if we believe that God has given us more than we need, we’ll leave some for others in whatever setting we find ourselves.

This principle of abundance shows up in how we tip restaurant servers, how we negotiate when buying things from relatives or friends, how we show grace toward someone who has offended us or even with how we make sure that others have a dessert at church dinners before we blindly add the last piece to the slice already on our dessert plate.

It’s not cool to have two pieces of dessert when somebody else is standing at the table, wondering where all the dessert went.

The life of faith is a life of sharing.

Actually, it’s more than that.

It’s making sure that others are provided for ahead of ourselves.

God’s voice is really the only compass that we can trust in this matter of knowing when and how to keep some for ourselves and when to simply give what we have to others.

I pray that you’ll ask Him for wisdom in this arena when it comes to your home life, your work life, your church life or your school life.

Here’s the passage from the One-Year Bible that prompted this devotion:

When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. It is the same with your grape crop—do not strip every last bunch of grapes from the vines, and do not pick up the grapes that fall to the ground. Leave them for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:9-10)

God was calling the Hebrews away from selfishness and into benevolent generosity. Yes, the people could take ALL the crops from the land they owned and had worked. But that didn’t mean that they should.

The harvest was a gift from God, obviously, and so God had every right to direct that some of the harvest be left for others as a form of Old Testament welfare.

For the soft-hearted person who cared about obeying God and serving others, NOT harvesting the field edges or corners was a visible way to display faith at the same time as serving others.

Listen, don’t be the person who squeezes and twists and coerces and manipulates others in order to get every penny out of the deal, whether it be in the restaurant or in the workplace or in the real estate deal or in the estate-settlement discussions following a parent’s death or in those difficult conversations when somebody is telling us they’re sorry.

Leave something behind for others.

Your faith will be on display in a positive way, if you do.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Please make a dedicated effort today to help a poor person in some way.

It’s what God wants us to do:

Those who are kind to the poor lend to the Lord, and He will reward them for what they have done.” (Proverbs 19:17)

Perhaps you’ll stop by the grocery store and buy a day’s worth of pop-top canned food and beverage to keep bagged in the floorboard of your car so that you might hand it to a homeless person at a street corner, along with an evangelistic tract and printed invitation to your church.

Perhaps you’ll buy a box of food or diapers to donate to the local benevolence pantry.

Perhaps you’ll pay the school field trip fee for one of your kid’s classmates whose parent just lost his or her job.

There are all sorts of ways that you can be God’s vessel of blessing to someone in need.

Whatever we do for another will never equate to what God has done for us in Christ.

Jesus was kind to us beyond anything we might imagine because He took the punishment for our sin that was intense beyond anything we can imagine.

Jesus received His glorious reward in heaven.

Be generous to the poor, my Christian friend, and you can be sure that your glorious reward will be awaiting you in heaven.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Nothing plugs Christian ears faster than lessons about giving more money to God.

Are your fingers heading toward your ear canals?

It shouldn’t be this way, of course, since every penny a Christian has is from God’s hand in the first place.

But who said logic determines every thought?

I’m not perfect in my logic and you aren’t either. Because of this, I’m not going to give you a lecture because it’s not my place and there’s somebody else much more qualified for teaching on giving.

His name is Jesus.

And here is what He said in Luke 20:25 found in today’s One-Year Bible reading — give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.

Jesus had been asked if believers should pay taxes.

Jesus said they should. But they were to also give the offerings that God expected.

Those offering amounts weren’t to be determined by the level of public taxation, He said.

A faithful Jew couldn’t legitimately give a smaller sacrificial gift at one of the annual temple feasts just because Rome imposed a tax increase.

Government’s appetite for taxes had no bearing on how the faithful were to obey God’s call for sacrificial gifts.

This principle is still true.

Government taxes should not determine how much we give to God as our tithe, just as the grocery store or gas station prices should not determine how much we give to God as our tithe.

Early believers almost certainly didn’t figure their tithe after taxes but instead before.

Shouldn’t our pattern be the same?

Please open your heart, your mind, your ears and your wallets so that “what is God’s” actually does end up being used in ministry for His Kingdom.

This is not just me talkin’….

It’s what Jesus said.

As always, I love you
Martin

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I have a preacher friend who writes a very brief daily devotion that he sends to church members and a variety of other friends.

Steve Jones of Vero Christian Church in Vero Beach, FL always has good thoughts to share in his one- or two-paragraph devotional thoughts.

And because of a verse I read this morning in the One-Year Bible, I’m moved to borrow from his pattern for the Mornning Devotion.

“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:25)

If you’re seemingly always scraping by financially, perhaps it is because you aren’t sharing enough with others.

God has called you and me to generosity. If we’re not blessing others with gifts of a dinner at our home or with flowers for the funeral of a church leader’s parent or with a donation toward a neighbor child’s trip to a summer Christian youth conference, then why would God bless us financially?

He provides for us as we provide for others, so please boost your level of generosity to others.

God promises that good things will come your way if you do.

As always, I love you
Martin

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