Generosity

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What is something God cannot do without? According to 2 Corinthians 9:7 in the Amplified translation, he can’t do without “a cheerful, joyous, prompt-to-do-it giver whose heart is in their giving.”

Christmas is a time for giving, as we all know. Sometimes the purpose of our heart is not to give. Sometimes we give because we have to. Have you ever given somebody something because they gave you something? Many times I’ve heard people say they needed to send someone a Christmas card because one was sent to them. OR how about buying someone a gift because they bought you one?

God’s not looking for us to give without having heart. 2 Corinthians 9 talks about allowing giving to be the purpose of our heart. It exhorts us to give not because we have to and not to give reluctantly, half-heartedly, or unwillingly. It should be a main part of the purpose for living.

God’s nature is to give and if you are a Christian, it’s your nature too. John 3:16 is the most familiar verse in the world. What does it say about God? It says because he loved, he gave. This doesn’t mean we only give to people we love. God gave to us while we were in a vile state, as sinners. God didn’t love that about us, but he loved us and wanted us to be part of his family. The only requirement for it was to receive his son, Jesus as the Lord of our lives. It was to receive his gift.

When someone is given a gift, they can receive or not. They can decide to use it or let it sit on a shelf. It’s the same with the free gift of God in Jesus Christ. We can receive him and allow him to make a difference in our lives, or hear the truth and let it sit dormant somewhere, or say “No, I don’t want this gift.” It seems crazy for us to do either of these things, but we do.

When my husband, Robb, first received the Lord, I said, “No thanks. I’m a good, religious person. I’m not like you.” Then I saw the change God made in Robb’s life. He was a completely different man. It was faith in God that changed him. I realized I needed what he had. He had a relationship with God that I did not have, although I was religious.

Let’s get back to allowing giving to be the purpose of our heart. When we have God’s nature in us, we can give to people we don’t want to because it’s the purpose of God’s heart to be a giver. Our purpose should be to give, not because we have to, but because we get to. What a joy and privilege it is to give to others! 

During this Christmas season allow God’s love to control you so the purpose of your heart is to be a giver like he is.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

Gratefulness

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Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. For me, it paves the way for Christmas. I love to give, but being thankful puts me in a frame of mind to be more giving.

I think it’s really good to focus on being thankful before the Christmas season begins. Thankfulness gets us to thinking about what we have and how blessed we are all year long. Then we won’t be disappointed when we don’t get what we want and we won’t become self-centered. Gratefulness paves the way for being a giver.

Grateful people are giving people even when they don’t have a lot. They give of themselves as well as give what they have.

There are lots of benefits to being a thankful person. Here are a few I’ve found.

Grateful people are happier.

Gratefulness improves our relationships.

Gratefulness improves our health. 

An attitude of gratitude causes us to be more optimistic.

Gratitude increases our ability to appreciate and enjoy the good things in life.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 states it very simply – “No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”

God wants us to be thankful. He’s given us everything in Christ Jesus. What more can we ask for? As we think about all he has done for us, it should cause us to be grateful from now and throughout eternity.

I want to encourage you to keep a gratitude journal. Every day write down at least one thing you are thankful for. You can write more than one if you like. It will help to keep your perspective on the good report. It will make your life better in every way. It will bring you great peace.

Shame

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All of us have experienced shame of one form or another. It may have been in a minor way (which actually is embarrassment), like having your pants split in public, or in a major way, like something really bad you did from your past. NO matter what, we all deal with it.

The truth is Jesus bore our shame. He wiped our slate. He made us righteous in him. We are his masterpiece. As we embrace what God’s word says about us, it enables us to stand tall knowing who we are in Christ and whose child we are.

Romans 10:11 is a powerful affirmation of this.

Rom. 10:11 “NO ONE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM SHALL HAVE REASON TO FEEL ASHAMED.” Weymouth

Rom. 10:11 Scripture says, “Whoever believes in him will not be ashamed.” God’s Word Translation

Colossians 1:22 says that we are blameless in God’s sight because of the blood of Jesus. This means we are innocent of wrongdoing, without guilt, faultless, above reproach. With this there is nothing to be ashamed of. When God looks at us he sees Jesus.

Recently, I saw a movie about a girl who was a little chunky and did not like herself. She fell and hit her head. As a result of the fall, she began to think she was pretty. She walked confidently, faced people and challenges, and went after her dreams as a result of the change.

When we come into a relationship with the Lord, we change our thinking. We renew our mind to what God says about us in his word. Shame leaves because we embrace what God says.

Shame keeps us from walking confidently.

Shame keeps us from pursuing our dreams.

Shame makes us shrink back.

In Christ the shame is gone. It’s been lifted.

We can do all things through Christ which strengthens us.

We are more than conquerors because of God’s love for us.

We are without fault.

We are blameless.

We are God’s masterpiece created in Christ.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made.

We are made in God’s image and likeness.

No matter what kind of shame tries to come our way, we have the antidote. It is a Father who loves us and has written many wonderful things about who he created us to be. We look and act just like him.

We have the ability to stand with confidence before shame or any negative thought that comes our way and declare,

“NO SHAME FOR ME. I AM FREE.”

 My prayer is that we would believe what God says about us so we can walk free from any shame.

He Directs My Goals

he new year is quickly coming upon us. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s important for us to think about our goals for 2017. Don’t wait to throw some things together January 1 and hope they come to pass. Spend time this month praying and seeking God about what he wants to see accomplished in your life.

Ask God for a picture of what he would like you to do. Don’t just come up with something and expect him to bless it. He will show you.

Prov. 3:5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart,  And lean not on your own understanding;

Prov. 3:6  In all your ways acknowledge Him,  And He shall direct your paths.

Prov. 3:7  Do not be wise in your own eyes;  Fear the LORD and depart from evil.

Prov. 3:8  It will be health to your flesh,  And strength to your bones. NKJV

 

It’s about going to God, acknowledging him and him directing our steps.

 

Psa. 37:3  Trust in the LORD, and do good;  Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.

Psa. 37:4  Delight yourself also in the LORD,  And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Psa. 37:5  Commit your way to the LORD,  Trust also in Him,  And He shall bring it to pass.

As we trust in the Lord, we will feed on his faithfulness. Feeding on his faithfulness, fuels delighting ourselves in him. Then he puts desires in our heart. As he gives us desires, we trust him and he brings it to pass. It’s not about coming up with a desire. It’s about spending time with God and he gives us desires that he brings to pass as we commit our way to him.

John 16:13 tells us that the Holy Spirit leads and guides us into all truth and shows us things to come. He lives in us. He shows us what God wants and he leads us in the way we should go to accomplish it.

 

No matter our age we should have things we want to accomplish and have desires, in spite of what it may be. Problem is over the years, oftentimes, we stop believing and we stop dreaming, we stop having goals. God is eternal. We will always be dicovering new things in him and we will throughout eternity. This means we will always dream, have visions and goals. There will always be new territory for us to discover and to move toward

First we go to the Lord. The next step is writing it down. Habukkak 2:2 tells us to write the vision and make it plain so we can run with it. Writing it down, creates some accountability, especially when we keep it in front of us. When we don’t look at it, it still nags us because we know we have it written somewhere and don’t want to look at it because we don’t want to be accountable to it.

When we don’t write it down, it’s not plain.

Map out the steps the Lord shows you to get to the goal or desire. All the steps may not be revealed all at once, but some of them will be. As you spend time with God and in his word, the Holy Spirit will lead you and God’s word will be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path (Ps.119:105).

If you had a light on your feet it wouldn’t brighten the whole path. It would only lighten the next step. Isaiah 28:10 says that it is a process that happens “line upon line…precept upon precept…here a little, there a little.” Be purposeful about what you do and continually move forward.

Don’t be hasty. Isaiah 28:16 says, “he that believes does not make haste.” In today’s society people want everything right away without effort or taking time. Let it be the like the story of the tortoise and the hare. The hare should have won, but he was overconfident and definitely not consistent. The tortoise was consistent. He kept moving forward. He didn’t allow distractions and his flesh to stop him. He stayed in the race, finished the course and won.

1 Corinthians 9 tells us to be like an athlete in training.

1Cor. 9:24  Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize. You also must run in such a way that you will win.

1Cor. 9:25 All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.

1Cor. 9:26 So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches.

1Cor. 9:27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. NLT

Head toward the goal with purpose in your steps. Move forward like you are going to win. Have self-control. Keeping your eyes on Jesus the entire time. He is the author and finisher of your faith.

Trust in the Lord. Commit your way to him. He has great plans for your life. He’ll show you the way to bring it to pass.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Power Of The Blessing

Power Of The Blessing

I have been studying what it means to be blessed and came across this article. I hope it ministers to you. So often we think of being blessed as mostly material things and that is the least of it. Being blessed is a mindset and blessing others is powerful.

Are You Blessed?

Are You Blessed?

In Genesis chapter 12 God tells Abraham that he would be blessed that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through him. Wow! What a statement! In Galatians 3 and Romans 4 we discover Abraham was blessed because he had faith in God. Pretty simple…being a person of faith means we are blessed.