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An Abounding Life

September 9th, 2016

EDL sowing and reaaping                  

Whatever good toward God or man will be returned from God’s own hand.

“Whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord.” Ephesians 6:8 NKJV.

 

 

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

There is a simple lesson in life. What you do and say, whether good or bad, eventually comes back to you in some form of either kindness or distress. Because you feel like speaking or behaving in a certain way does not mean that you should. When you give and what you give determine what you will receive. Therefore, it would only be wise to consider carefully the effect of what you do or say before doing so.

Solomon wisely observed, “Your reward depends on what you say and what you do; you will get what you deserve.” Proverbs 12:14 TEV. Now that can be either encouraging or terrifying. It’s great to know that God rewards goodness; It is not so comforting to realize that He does not spare you the bitter fruit of wrongdoing. The Bible calls that sowing and reaping: “For he who sows to the flesh will of the flesh reap corruption. He who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” Galatians 6:7-10 NKJV. Whenever you are not reaping enough, you are not sowing enough. 2 Corinthians 9:6-11 NIV.

As a child, I remember my grandfather McGinness saying, “God will be no man’s debtor.” I have come to understand what he meant by that. A simple rhyme comes to mind: “Whatever good toward God or man, will be returned from God’s own hand.” My grandfather had learned that whatever good is done, toward God or man, will be returned with added blessing from God, in one way or another at one time or another. God lets no good go unrewarded, however unnoticed by others. Your return may not always come from an expected source, but your reward always comes from the true Source of all that is good. God uses whom He chooses to do His work.

Here’s the practical lesson in this. Never hesitate to do what is right or to deal generously when you can; those opportunities come your way with God’s promise of blessing and enrichment. Conversely, never do what you know is wrong, nor withhold what you know is due, however small or secret that may at first appear. Solomon was specific. “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is the power of your hand to do so.” Proverbs 3:27 NLT. There is a moral law. Good comes from the good you do or the grace God gives.

You can count this to be true, “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.” Ephesians 6:7-8 NKJV. You may not realize the connection with a previous occasion at that moment, but God does, and remembers and rewards accordingly.

Today, I pray for you to do good freely and receive reward extravagantly.

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You may be receiving “Abounding Life” twice, we were notified that the majority of readers did not receive this devotional because of a server error. We want to provide this devotional for those who did not receive it. We apologize for that. Know that much time and effort has been invested in rectifying this technical problem. We trust the error has been corrected. And watch your Monday email for my thoughts on, “Living Passionately.” Spiritual life weakens when passion lessens.

Christian Communications 2016

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Providence

April 19th, 2016

“My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory.” Philippians 4:19.

In the sovereign plans of Almighty God ample provision awaits.

Lauren and Cody, my comments for you today are about, “providence.”

Life does not always happen as you planned. You assume life will give you what you earn, and to a great degree that is true most of the time. But there will be other times when what you receive is disproportionate to the effort you gave. It’s not always your turn or the time for your expectations to be realized. In such a time, be steadfast, “I trust in You, O Lord. I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hands.” Psalm 31:15 NIV. Life will take some twists and turns that you will not have expected. But none are apart from God’s attention.

In the Old Testament, the story of Ruth recounts a remarkable instance of divine providence, “the foreseeing care and guidance of God.” It is my opinion that we often view as random occurrence what becomes truly providential. Because of a famine in Bethlehem, a Jewish couple, Elimelech and Naomi, with their two sons, moved to Moab. Read Ruth 1:1-3. Their misfortune is summarized in those few verses. Naomi’s husband died. Across ten years, her two sons married Moabite women. And then, her sons died.

Still, providentially, God was at work. “In the country of Moab, Naomi had heard that the Lord had visited His people by giving them bread.” Ruth 1:6 NKJV. Behind the scenes, God’s presence and providence are at work in your moments of disappointment, even despair. The best of life is not behind you because you experience reversals. God can reverse your reversals. Naomi and Ruth, “. . came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.” Ruth 1:22 NKJV. Harvest. God’s timing is impeccable – “the beginning of harvest.” Coincidence? I thing not. Divinely fortuitous? Definitely. God’s providence offers new beginnings for you.

After the years of famine in Bethlehem and the untimely family deaths while in Moab, Ruth and Naomi had nothing left.  They had come in the time of harvest, but they had no fields to reap. What would they do? How would they live? Are you asking questions like that? They accepted that they would be at the mercy of others’ kindness, but they did not yet realize their future was safely within God’s divine providence. After the reapers had harvested grain from the fields of Boaz, Ruth and others were allowed to glean what was left over, bringing home the meager result of their efforts. No longer leftovers, Ruth received what was providentially blessed by God and provided through Boaz’ generosity.

Ruth could not have foreseen the provision Boaz would release into her life. Boaz and Ruth soon married and a child was born, Obed, father of Jesse, father of David who would be, “a man after God’s heart,” and greatest king of Israel. Nor can you know all of the grace and blessing that God purposes for you – to give you something extra, providence beyond your efforts alone. “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NKJV. God can bless you in the most natural, everyday ways. God places people in your life through which He supplies your need. In the sovereign plans of Almighty God ample provision awaits.

My grandfather was a pastor. As a young boy, I was intrigued by a series of books in his study titled, “Handfuls of Purpose.” When I inquired, he opened his well-worn Bible and read me the story of Ruth, where this phrase is found. Boaz instructed the men harvesting grain from his fields, “Let fall some of the handfuls of purpose for her.” Ruth 2:16 KJV. What you might consider fortunate coincidence or the random kindness of others may just be the “handfuls of purpose” God intends for your life and happiness.

God’s provision is always, “handfuls of purpose.” He has the same for you; “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 NIV. That is God’s wondrous providence. Our God is “Jehovah Jireh – the Lord who sees and provides.”

Today, I pray for you to know what comes from God’s hands will be enough, with extra.

Christian Communications 2016/EDL website and archives allenrandolph.com

EDL Ruth and grain

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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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Underappreciated

February 18th, 2013

“God . . will not forget how hard you have worked for Him.” Hebrews 6:10 NLT.

Anything done for another’s good will be neither unnoticed nor unrewarded by God.

Ever felt underappreciated? Most of us have. Spouses and parents often do, but friendships and social relationships can also result in an unexpected lack of appreciation, mostly unintended I choose to believe. A good and Godly habit for you to nurture is a simple, sincere “Thank you,” appropriate to every occasion. There will be times when you are thoughtful and helpful, choosing to be benevolent but the beneficiary takes you and your kindness for granted with little or no expression of thanks. Those are times when you might feel underappreciated, or maybe unappreciated altogether.

Be sure of this; your kindness may go unnoticed by men, but anything done in the Lord’s name will be neither unnoticed nor unrewarded by God. “For God is not unfair. He will not forget how hard you have worked for Him and how you have shown your love to Him by caring for other Christians, as you still do. Our great desire is that you will keep right on loving others as long as life lasts in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true.” Hebrews 6:10-11 NLT. People may fail to thank you but God observes and records what you have done sincerely and charitably. God does not forget the smallest good done in His name, even if offering just “a cup of cold water.” See Matthew 10:40-42 NLT.

Is the kindness you show others for your reputation and personal gratification, or for their appreciative response, or simply reflecting God’s goodness to you with only His “well done” expected for your satisfaction? When disappointed by someone’s lack of notice or gratitude, consider if you are preferring a person’s praise rather than God’s. Reflect on Paul’s practical guidance, “. . in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:22-24 NKJV) . .  with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord.” Ephesians 6:5-8 NKJV. Recognition of good may not come at the time, in the manner, or from the person you expected, but God’s reward is sure. I remember my grandfather saying, “God will be no man’s debtor.” In my life, I have found those words true.

Joseph is a good example of deferred but certain reward. In prison with Joseph for displeasing Pharaoh, the chief butler had a puzzling dream. Joseph discerned the dream was from God and said, “within three days Pharaoh . . will restore you to your place.” Read Genesis 40:1-23 NKJV. Joseph only asked, “Remember me when it is well with you . . mention me to Pharaoh . . Then Pharaoh restored the chief butler . . yet [he] did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.” Ever feel that has happened to you? For two years, Joseph and his kindness were forgotten! Others might forget but God does not. Joseph’s kindness was not forgotten forever, and at precisely the right time God used Joseph’s underappreciated helpfulness to promote him from prison to prominence. See Genesis 41:9-41.

There are two lessons for consideration today: (1) Perfect genuine appreciation and practice sincere expression to God and others for every grace and generosity received. Read Proverbs 3:27 NKJV. (2) God remembers the good you’ve done for others even when they may themselves forget. “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of [patient endurance], so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.” Hebrews 10:35-36 NKJV.

My prayer today is for you to prefer your praise and reward come from God before all others.

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