Well Done

20 04 2015

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”  Matthew 25:21

While certainly in this parable (Matt. 25:14-30) Jesus uses money (a talent) as his example, we can most definitely apply it beyond what God has entrusted to us financially and into the realm of what he has entrusted to us as our abilities.  I often hear people say, God didn’t give me any great abilities that will have a huge impact on people, and thus they decided they just won’t serve at all. However, if you look at what Jesus is trying to teach, its not about the greatness or amount of our ability; but rather its about your faithfulness in what you do with what He has given you, no matter how insignificant you may think it is.

Mother Teresa has been credited with saying, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” So when it comes to choosing if and how you will serve, don’t worry about how great or small it may seem, but instead be faithful to do what you can… and what you’ll find is your self entering into the joy of your master.  And then stop and listen to His voice saying to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant”!

by Paul Hansen

God Is A Generous God

19 04 2015

“If it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” – Romans 12:8

You have probably heard the phrase, “God loves a cheerful giver”. This actually is stated in the Apostle Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians – Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (9:7).  God loves those who are generous. God loved us so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, for our sake … He is a loving God, He is a generous God!

God has been a generous God since the beginning of time… He gave us this earth to live in with oxygen and water and the sun and the moon; He made the animals to roam the earth and a variety of vegetation to feed us. His love is filled with generosity towards mankind!  He expects us to be generous to one another – He commands us to love one another.  We can extend the love of Jesus to someone today by being generous to them in some manner.

by Jude Fernandes

Your Standard Of Measure

18 04 2015

“For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – Luke 6:38

Have you ever noticed that generosity breeds more generosity?  A woman at a Starbucks drive-thru in Florida decided to generously pay for the coffee of the driver behind her.  The next driver decided to pay for the coffee behind them.  Then next driver did the same.  For the next 11 hours, 378 people decided to be generous toward the person behind them in the drive-thru line.  One ladies generosity led to hundreds of people being generous to others.

God says that His generosity toward you should, in the same way, inspire your generosity toward those around you.  When you consider God’s favor, God’s provision, God’s grace, God’s forgiveness, and an overwhelming list of other blessings that God has generously poured out into our lives, how could we not, also, be generous to others.  He expects His generosity to impact the way we think and act.

Not only this, God’s generosity to you is also connected to your generosity to others.  If you are stingy with others, you will find God’s generosity toward you will diminish.  However, if you embrace His attitude of increasing generosity, you will find that God’s generosity toward you will also increase.  With the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.

It’s Not About Money

17 04 2015

“He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”  Proverbs 11:25

When you talk about generosity with people, most will quickly think about money.  Our assumption is that to be generous, we need to have an abundance of financial resources.  However, generosity isn’t a reflection of a person’s financial condition, it is a reflection of a persons heart condition.

In Luke 21, Jesus and his disciples were watching as some very rich people were dropping large chunks of change into the offering box at the temple.  These men were obviously drawing great attention because of their large gifts.   However, Jesus drew the disciples attention to an old widow lady who came to the box and dropped in just two small pennies.  You can imagine the disciples snickering as to her meager gift, yet Jesus says, “This poor widow has put in more than them all.” (Luke 21:3)  Jesus understood that generosity is a condition of a heart, and this woman had a generous one.

Just because you might not be the richest person on the block doesn’t mean that you can’t be the most generous.  Start being generous with what God has entrusted to you and you will reveal a heart that gives more than even the richest kings.

Where Is Your Treasure

16 04 2015

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth…”  Matthew 6:19

Your generosity says a lot about what you value here on earth?  It reveals what you think about, what you desire, and what you see as important.  Jesus makes it very clear in the Sermon On The Mount that worry and anxiety are associated with storing up treasures on earth.  His message to His disciples is that we should be worry free. If we invest in the Kingdom with generosity, He will supply all your needs.  (Matthew 6:33)

Matthew 6:19-20 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

A disciple can’t be generous when they put all their time and energy and heart into earthly treasures that are only temporary.  But when our treasures are in the Kingdom, in things that are eternal,  then when we stand before God, we will stand knowing that our generosity reflected the character and nature of our Judge.

by Carol Lopez

God’s Response To Faithfulness

15 04 2015

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house…”  Malachi 3:10

God responds to faithfulness, especially in regard to our faithful giving.  In fact, God calls His people to “Test” Him in this and watch for His response.  If we are faithful in obeying His instructions with that which He has given us, God promises to “throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” (Mal. 3:10)  That seems like a pretty good deal.

Plus, God promises to “…prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the LORD Almighty.  This means that because of our faithfulness in giving to Him, His generosity is engaged in not only in protection, but also in increase.  When we are faithful, God makes it all worth while.

Some look at tithing as a chore, but a disciple sees it as an opportunity to unleash the generosity of the Lord in their lives.  For them, it’s not an obligation, but rather a pathway to the best life possible.

More Is Never Enough

14 04 2015

“One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give and only suffers want.”  Proverbs 11:24

Have you ever noticed that the more we have often times leaves us wanting more? I see this with my girls all the time. They will be playing with a toy, but instead of sharing they try to keep their toy and then start complaining or even fighting to get something else they want as well. Our human nature in many ways drives us to never being satisfied.

There are times thoughts run through our mind like this, “when I have a little more in my bank account, or I have a little extra time in my week; then I’ll be generous with what I have”. The problem we encounter then is that there is never enough money, never enough time, never enough. Generosity stems not from our abundance, but from our faith.

Today, rather than giving in to that kind of thinking, why don’t you try something different. Rather than keeping what is yours and finding yourself still wanting more, allow generosity to take over. Give away something that you have and see if you’ll find joy and satisfaction to replace your wanting.

by Paul Hansen

A Greater Blessing

13 04 2015

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  Acts 20:35

Whenever we receive gifts, we can feel as if we are blessed beyond measure.  However the Bible teaches that an even greater blessing comes to those who give.  When we have received a gift, we can feel the excitement and joy of receiving something that we have not earned, but when we give, there is an internal excitement and joy that can only be understood when experienced.

When a disciple chooses to give, they experience the greater blessing of seeing the lives of others enriched by their generosity.  They experience the greater blessing of walking in the character and nature of God.  They experience the greater blessing of God’s generosity flowing through them.  The greater blessing is to walk in the attitude of generosity.

Today, keep your eyes open for an opportunity to be generous into the lives of those around you.  When you allow God’s blessings to flow through you, pay attention to the internal reward that you experience.  It will be the Spirit of God welling up blessing within your soul.

How Can They Hear?

12 04 2015

“And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”  Romans 10:14

Have you ever walk by a piece of garbage on the ground and think “Oh, someone will grab that.” and then walk on past?  Have you ever driven past a person who was broken down and think, “Oh, someone will stop and help them.”  Have you ever heard about an opportunity to serve somewhere in the community and think, “Oh, I’m sure someone else will be willing to serve there.”

What if we think the same thing about Redemptive Relationships?  What if we assume that someone else will love our neighbor, but no one ever does?  What if we assume that someone else will invite our co-worker to Church, but no one ever does?  What if we assume that our friends will reject the gospel, and so we never share the truth with them… and neither does anyone else?  How can anyone “believe in one of whom they have not heard?”  And how can they hear without someone telling them?

We can’t assume that someone else will reach out to those whom God places in our path.  As disciples, we must make the most of every opportunity that God gives us.  (Ephesians 5:16)

Gentleness and Respect

11 04 2015

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks… but do this with gentleness and respect…”  1 Peter 3:15

John Maxwell, a pastor and world-renown leadership expert has said, “People don’t care how much you know, unless they know how much you care.”  Our love and care for those who are not a part of the family of God is what opens the door for them to actually want to know the motivations of our faith.  When a person knows that you genuinely care about them, no matter their relationship with God, then they are more apt to actually be interested in why your life is flavored with “Hope”.

People will know that you really care about them when you are gentle and respectful of their interests, beliefs, and spiritual foundations.  This doesn’t mean that you don’t talk about faith with them, but it does mean that you always let them determine the level of engagement.  If they don’t want to talk about their faith, you respect that.  If they do want to talk about faith, you walk them to the Truth with gentleness.

If you don’t walk with gentleness and respect in your relationships with those who are far from God, you will push them away from the very thing that they need.  But if you will genuinely love and care for the Lost, they will know that God genuinely loves and cares for them.  And when a person knows how much God cares… they will care how much He knows!