Joy In Sharing

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My Musings – “You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving.” (Robert Louis Stevenson).  Giving to those in need is “a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.

A Fragrant Offering – Be mindful of Christ and imitate how He gave of Himself.  “Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”  (Ephesians 5:1–2, NRSV 1989).

An Acceptable Sacrifice – Give sacrificially.  “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”  (Mark 12:43–44, NIV 1984).

Pleasing To God – Give cheerfully, without reservation.  “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”  (2 Corinthians 9:7, NIV 1984).

My Advice – First, picture yourself in the same situation whenever you see others in need.  Then decide how you can be of help. “Love has no meaning if it isn’t shared. We have been created for greater things – to love and to be loved. To love a person without any conditions, without any expectations. Small things, done in great love, bring joy and peace. To love, it is necessary to give. To give, it is necessary to be free from selfishness.”  (Mother Teresa).

Today’s musing was inspired by Pastor Steve Persson’s sermon on December 1, 2019. Check it out at https://www.fbcsycamore.com/sermons. If you live in or are visiting the area, come and join us Sundays at 10:30 a.m. We’d love to be partners in the Gospel with you.

 

 

Surviving The Flames

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My Musings – There is no condemnation for those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior (Romans 8:1), only commendation.   The only question is, what kind of commendation, what kind of reward? “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Revelation 22:12–13, NIV 1984).  What we have done will be brought to light and tested by fire.  Will the quality (not necessarily quantity) of our service to Him be consumed, or will it survive into eternity?

My Advice – Work diligently for His Kingdom, so you will be able to hear these words from Him, “well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your Master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23, NIV 1978).  Put your whole heart into it, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21, NIV 1978).  But the time is short and storm clouds gathering.  “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” (John 9:3–4, NIV 1984).

 

 

 

A Worker Approved, Not Ashamed

2 Timothy 2:15Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of truth.

My Musings – A great tragedy in life would be to live out our days in such a way that when we faced God on the other side, we felt ashamed because of the things that we had done that we should not have, or the things we did not do that we should have done. We can guard against that by learning the truth of His Word.

My Advice – Live your life in a manner that you do not need to feel ashamed. So as you face various situations in life, ask yourself if you would feel ashamed if God knew you had done this and shouldn’t have or that you did not do it and should have. Understand that it is not “if” He knows, He knows. That should be your best guide in decision-making.

Setting an Example, One Way or Another

1 Timothy 4:12Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Spiritual maturity has very little to do with chronological age. “Older” Christians can learn from those who are younger.

My Advice – You do not live your life for yourself alone. One way or another you are an example to other believers, non-believers and someday to a family. Be diligent in continuing to be a good example in the ways listed and in others ways that people might look up to you.

Compelling Reluctance

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2 Corinthians 9:6-7Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Stinginess implies reluctance. Reluctance implies compulsion. Compulsion implies grumbling. What kind of “gift” would that be?

My Advice – Give, not because you are able to give, but because you want to give. And remember, your generosity is not measured by how much you give, but by how much it costs you.

More Out of Less

Mark 12:43 – “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – God’s economy measures things a lot differently than man’s economy. Man measures by the value of what is given over. God measures by the cost of what is given up.

My Advice – As you gain in success in your career, your financial resources as well as your talents are likely to increase. So too should your ability to give both to God. Always remember that God weighs your giving by your ability to give. To whom much is given, much is required. You’ve already been given much. Respond to God in gratitude.

 

Test Me

Malachi 3:10 – “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – God will indeed bless if we do this, but we must make sure that our motive in doing so is not to obtain the blessing. We must make sure we want to contribute, but have been reluctant to do so because of our own needs. Then it becomes a measure of our faith, not our greed. God blesses faith, not selfishness or greed.

My Advice – Your mother and I have seen this in our own lives. My career did not really take off financially until we began tithing. Since then God has blessed so that we have lacked nothing we needed, yet we are not consumed by greed to get more. As you start your career, you may feel you do not make enough to tithe. Do it anyway and get ready to be amazed at how God stretches the resources.