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The Joy of Generosity

February 17th, 2015

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

Generosity blesses the recipient and enriches the giver.

My thoughts and comments today are about “the joy of generosity.”

EDL pix generositySome years ago my friend, Harold, piqued my interest with these words, “What you make happen for others, God will make happen for you.” That is a Biblical principle affirmed in both Old and New Testaments. If you need encouragement, find others to encourage. If you need friendship, be a friend to those who need a friend. There is always someone whose need is greater than yours. Give out of your own need until you can give out of your surplus. “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does.” Ephesian 6:8 NIV. Be the one who meets the needs of others, and God will be the One who meets yours.

Those times when your generosity seems not to be noticed or reciprocated, remember your reward comes from God, not man. And God keeps immaculate records. “God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.” Hebrews 6:10 NIV. I remember my grandfather saying, “God will be no man’s debtor.” God counts every benevolence as generosity toward Him. Jesus described a day when everyone will stand before God as their generosity or lack thereof is reviewed. “Come you who are blessed by My Father . . Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Read Matthew 25:31-41 NIV.

Know this; liberality enriches you, leaving you with more not less. Generosity blesses the recipient and enriches the giver. “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:24-25 NIV. You may think that you cannot afford to be generous; the truth is that you cannot afford to not be generous. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38 NIV. Generosity opens your life to the abundance of God while enriching the lives of others. I suggest that some measure of a person’s lack may even be the result of how little they give, rather than how little they have. “Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” Acts 20:35.

Liberality is a lifestyle issue. “As you abound in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us – see that you abound in this grace (of giving) also.” 2 Corinthians 8:7. Generosity is not only about money and things, it is about a lifestyle of generosity – in your words to and about others, offering encouragement, being positive, and giving praise – in a lifestyle of unrestrained expression for others’ kindness – by consideration and thoughtfulness where it would not be expected – in helpfulness through giving your time or lending a helping hand – and by tolerance and forgiveness for others’ shortcomings.

“Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously . . for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work . . so that you can be generous on every occasion.” Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-11 NIV. See Galatians 6:7-10 NIV. In the time of harvest the work and weariness of sowing is never regretted.

Today, my prayer for you is that what you make happen for others, God will make happen for you.

Christian Communications, Inc.

(Bible verses are NKJV unless noted)

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Abounding Life

June 13th, 2012

“Be steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV

A small life is no credit to your Creator’s intention.

My thoughts and comments today are about “abounding life.”

Every life has God-given potential. When lives with so much potential are lived on a marginal scale, it is sad. The routine and repetition can shrink your estimation of the expansive life available to you. Smallness and scarcity is not in your spiritual DNA. A small life is no credit to your Creator’s intention. Jesus expressed the Father’s heart, “I have come that you may have life, and that you may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 NKJV. In Christ alone, you find abounding life!

In his powerful explanation of resurrection, Paul concludes with a most practical application. “Therefore . .” in light of all that precedes and as introduction to what follows – . . be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV. My friend, Campbell, often reminded me that “whenever Scripture says, ‘therefore,’ stop and see what it is there for.” Jesus’ resurrection is God’s assurance of the “power of His resurrection” for abounding life today and everyday, not just someday. See Philippians 3:10 NKJV.

Would you describe your life as abounding – in your faith, marriage, family, relationships, career, or finances? This is God’s goal for your life, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 NKJV. What would abounding life look like for you? I think it would include bigger dreams, focused effort, clear priorities, strong confidence, firm faith, greater risk-taking, joyful anticipation, peaceful satisfaction, and so many other expressions of living above the norm. God intends His provision and purpose “more abundantly” for you.

The supernatural finds expression in the most natural, beneficial ways. “As you abound in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us – see that you abound in this grace [of liberality] also.” 2 Corinthians 8:7 NKJV. His life enables you to remain “steadfast, immoveable, and always abounding” in all you do in His name and in obedience to His direction. To the extent that you choose to live steadfast and immoveable in your life of faith, your life will abound with God’s blessing. “A faithful man will abound with blessings.” Proverbs 28:20 NKJV.

This supernatural quality of life does not just happen; abounding life results from the practical ways you choose to live your life. ”Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8 NKJV. You build an abounding life by living according to God’s Word.

My prayer for you today is that life abounds and overflows with goodness and blessings

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The Family Trait

July 15th, 2010

“See that you also excel in this grace of giving.” 2 Corinthians 8:7 NIV

Release is the key to increase.”

My thoughts today are about “the family trait.”

I think that most people would like to be generous, but giving just does not come easily always. It seems most natural to hold fast rather than to let go. We gather, store and hoard. The more one seems to have, the more reluctant to give any of it away.

The Bible is pretty clear about the path to abundance and blessing. “One person gives freely, yet gains more; another withholds what is right, only to become poor. A generous person will be enriched and the one who gives water will receive water.” Proverbs 11:24-25.  Release is the key to increase.

Generosity is the way to blessing. I guess you have to believe that what you give that you should give is not lost but merely loaned to the Lord who will repay. “Give and it will be given to you; a good measure – pressed down, shaken together and running over – will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38.

The first step to excel in giving is to realize that everything belongs to God, and everything you have comes from Him. “Now the One Who provides seed to the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness as you are enriched in very way for all generosity.” 2 Corinthians 9:10.

God established a principle of sowing and reaping. The principle is really simple. First of all, you reap what you sow. Then, you reap more than you sow. But you reap nothing if you do not sow something. “Remember this: the person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. Each person should give as he has determined in his heart – not with regret or from necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:6. My grandfather, a pastor, would remind his congregation, “Don’t give until it hurts. Give until it stops hurting.” That’s when you know you have made a spiritual breakthrough.

Giving isn’t really about money. It’s not about having more; it’s about being more – more than you ever would be if you kept it all for yourself. Release is the key to increase. Your releasing what you have is the way for God to provide what you need. Giving is about heart, and your trust in God. Growing up, I often heard my Dad say, “You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.” I have found that to be true. Where giving is restricted, love is lacking. Who has not watched a small child bring a pretty (or sometimes not so pretty) wild flower to Mom with the words, “I love you Mommy?” Even a child’s love has to find some way of expression, just like God’s.

Who could ever forget the most familiar Bible verse of all, “For God so loved the world that He gave . .” John 3:16. Giving is a family trait. Every time you give, you are a little more like your Heavenly Father. Jesus said, “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” Luke 12:32.

My prayer for you today is that you will live and love generously.

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