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Posts Tagged ‘Luke 6:37-38’

Encouraged and Encouraging

August 25th, 2015

“That you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Romans 1:12 NIV.

Encouragement is evidenced in conviction, confidence, and courage.

Never Give Up

My thoughts and comments today are about being “encouraged and encouraging.”

Someone rightly observed, “Misery loves company.” Misery tends to choose similar company. Trust me; they will not be profitable for you and you aren’t helpful to them. Their depleted emotions further diminish yours. Encouragement is less about emotions and more about positive actions. Encouragement is evidenced in your conviction, confidence, and courage. I suggest three practical sources of encouragement.

Learn to encourage yourself in God and His Word. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:15-17 NKJV. Betrayed, deposed, and driven from Jerusalem by his rebellious son, Absalom, “David was greatly distressed . . but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6 KJV. The Word of God has power to heal your emotions, calm your fears, and refresh your heart. Read Psalm 19:7-10 NLT.

The Word of God and the grace of God is sufficient whatever your season or circumstance. The Apostle Paul describes such moments, “May our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father, Who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NIV. The Scriptures refocus your attention on Jesus; Jesus is the great Encourager. See Romans 15:4-5 NIV.

Choose to be an encourager to others. “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong – that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Romans 1:11-12 NIV. Is there anything you give others more valued and mutually rewarding than the gift of encouragement? You can’t encourage others when you are discouraged. Sow encouragement; reap encouragement. Encouragement returns from those you have encouraged. There is a familiar, but often misapplied, Biblical principle of generosity that is true in every application. “If you give, you will receive . . Whatever measure you use in giving – large or small – it will be used to measure what is given back to you.” Read Luke 6:37-38 NLT. Notice that the surrounding context is relational rather than monetary.

Seek the company of those whose lifestyle and fellowship encourage you. “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, Philemon, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.” Philemon 1:7 NIV. Everyone needs fresh courage for the day and its demands. Life can be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually depleting, leaving you empty of energy and optimism. Days, even seasons, can feel disheartening. At such times, people who are emotionally and spiritually healthy refresh your courage. “And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 NIV. Also see Hebrews 10:25 NIV.

Today, I pray that you will aspire to be an encourager, and refreshed in doing so.

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The Generous Life

May 5th, 2015

“Good people will be generous to others and will be blessed for all they do.” Isaiah 32:8 NLT.

Give with the quality and quantity you would welcome in return.

My thoughts and comments today are about “the generous life.”

The Bible establishes an inexplicable occurrence: the more genuinely you give, the more extravagantly you are given. Read Jesus’ words thoughtfully. “Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. Stop criticizing others, or it will all come back on you. If you forgive others, you will be forgiven. If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving – large or small – it will be used to measure what is given back to you.” Luke 6:37-38 NLT. Both good and ill will are reciprocal.

By your benevolence, or lack thereof, you choose the measure of generosity with which God gives back to you through others. That being true, when you knowingly withhold what you are capable of supplying, your soul is a bit more impoverished. Solomon wrote, “The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.” Proverbs 11:24-25 MSG.

The Scriptural and spiritual principle is simple. Give with the quality and quantity you desire to be receive; similarly, do not give a lesser quality or quantity than you would welcome in return. The principles of multiplication and reciprocation are inevitable and unvarying. Generosity rewards generosity; miserliness repays miserliness.

Reading Jesus’ words, you might first assume His reference to be only about money. In reality, Jesus’ words addressed the widest range of mutual interactions, much broader than financial giving or receiving. “A generous man devises generous things, and by generosity he shall stand.” Isaiah 32:8. Among the assortment of charitable expressions, money may be the lesser gift. When I think of people who have shown me generosity, I think of less tangible gifts like affirmation, appreciation, assistance, gratitude, kindness, encouragement, support, companionship, and so much more.

(1) Choose to give liberally because of how much you have been given. “He who did not spare His Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not, with Him, also freely give us all things . . Give as freely as you have received.” Romans 8:32 NIV/Matthew 10:8 NLT.

(2) Give without regard for return because it is the right thing to do. “Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice.” Psalm 112:5 NIV. I remember my Dad saying, God will be no man’s debtor. “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:11 NIV.

Today, I pray that your life will be blessed and you will be a blessing to others.

EDL pix graphic 2 generosity

 

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Prayer and God’s Forgiveness

March 7th, 2014

“Our Father . . forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive . .” Matthew 6:12 TEV.

For good or bad, you get what you give, but in multiplied measure.

My thoughts and comments today are about “prayer and God’s forgiveness.”

Thus far in our study of the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), we have examined, “The Pattern and Practice of Prayer,” “Prayer and God’s Sovereignty,” “Prayer and God’s Kingdom,” and “Prayer and God’s Providence.” Prayer also involves the practice of receiving and extending forgiveness.

Living without forgiveness results in soul-damaging condemnation, a heavy burden you were never meant to bear. Who has not needed to be forgiven by God and man? The Bible is clear; “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” See Romans 3:23-26 NKJV. This truth offers bad news and good. We all need to be forgiven; we all need to forgive. See Mark 11:25 NIV.

Here’s how the process works: conviction of sin, confession of sin, cleansing from sin, or condemnation due to sin. “If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.” See 1 John 1:8-10 NKJV. Be warned. If confession is not made, the Accuser imposes condemnation which worsens as confession is delayed. David suffered greatly when he failed to deal with his sin. His testimony is: “When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable . . Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me . . Create in me a pure heart, O God.”  Psalm 32:1-5/51:1-4/10-12 NIV.

In Jesus’ model prayer, He taught, “When you pray, say, ‘Our Father . . forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us.’” Matthew 6:12 TEV. The word, “wrongs,” is correctly and variously translated as, “debts or sins.” Elaborating further on His words, Jesus said specifically, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matt 6:14-15 NIV. Whether described as debts, sins, or wrongdoing, they come large and small.

Forgiving is neither optional nor easy, but is essential for spiritual health and growth. The measure and nature of your treatment of others determine what comes back to you – from others and from God. “Stop criticizing others, or it will all come back on you. If you forgive others, you will be forgiven. If you give, you will receive. [What you give] will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving – large or small – it will be used to measure what is given back to you.” Luke 6:37-38 NLT. Let me simplify Jesus’ words, “For good or bad, you get what you give, but in multiplied measure.” Unforgiveness of others is an unkindness you impose on yourself. Read Matthew 18:22-35 NIV.

The ability to forgive others flows from your experience of lavish, unmerited forgiveness from God. “In Him we have . . the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding . . Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.” Ephesians 1:7-8/4:32 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you will embrace and extend God’s forgiveness.

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Munificence

December 13th, 2011

“They gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us.” 2 Corinthians 8:5 NIV

“Munificence is a grace flowing from a heart devoted to Christ.”

My thoughts today are about “munificence.”

People assume that happiness and security comes from what they have, but the greatest joy is found only in what you give. Christmas is a good season of the year to re-establish a proper understanding of meaningful giving and sincere generosity, but this is much more than a seasonal practice. Your old nature, before renewed by Christ, wants to keep the most and best for one’s self. That is the surest path to unhappiness. Let’s look at some practical lessons to be learned about giving from reading 2 Corinthians 8:1-15 NKJV.

First of all, munificence flows from a heart devoted to Christ. Munificence – a great word – is defined as “lavish, bountiful liberality. Isn’t that how you want to live? The Apostle Paul commended Macedonian believers who gave “According to their ability, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift . . and not only as we hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.” 2 Corinthians 8:3-5 NKJV. Liberality is expressed to others but its seed is rooted and grows in your sincere love for God. Get the sequence right; first give yourself to God, then to others.

Liberality flows from one’s heart, not pocket or purse. “In great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality . . if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.” 2 Corinthians 8:1-2/12 NKJV. Giving is not about what you have nor primarily about the size of what you give; it is about your desire and ability to give. You have the capability of liberality if you have the capacity of heart to give.

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 NKJV. Generosity is not only about money and things – it is about a lifestyle of bigheartedness in your words to and about others, never failing to encourage, be positive and give praise – a lifestyle of unrestrained expression for others’ kindness – a lifestyle of consideration and thoughtfulness where it would not be expected or required – a lifestyle of helpfulness in giving your time and lending a helping hand – and a lifestyle of tolerance and forgiveness for others’ errors. See Luke 6:37-38 NLT/Ephesians 4:29-32 NKJV.

When you give freely and liberally, you are most like God. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor that you through His poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9 NKJV. True liberality is both an expense initially and an investment ultimately. My friend, Des, has often said, “It is not ministry until it costs you something.” I have found that true financially and relationally.

Generosity can and should be practiced by those who have less, as well as by those who have more. “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. Some measure of a person’s poverty may even be the result of how little they give, rather than how little they have. There are always good reasons to be generous; rarely is there a single reason not to be.

My prayer for you today is that you practice and perfect a Godly munificence.

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