faith

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!

Leadership

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Everyone is a leader. You might be thinking this statement is false, but it’s not. We all lead in some way. Someone is looking up to you and watching you always. The toddler looks up to the preschooler. The preschooler looks up to the elementary aged child. The elementary kids look up to the junior highers… All this continues throughout life. Someone doesn’t have to be older than you in order for you to look up to them or for you to make an impact on their life.

Hebrews 6:12 tells us to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit God’s promise. When we look up to people, we think they have something we don’t or are better at doing something. There are many reasons people impact our lives. The idea is that we should, to the best of our ability, impact people for the better and in a positive way. We should lead them in the path God wants us to go.

How do we do this? First, we should follow Christ. Let him be your example. Let him lead you. He has given the Holy Spirit to lead and guide into all the truth. Psalm 73:24 says that God tenderly and wisely leads us. Of course, where he leads will always line up with what his word says.

Then the Bible has many things to say about how a leader acts. We will cover a few of them.

In order to lead people into a “God-saved life”, as the Message Bible states, becoming a servant in whatever way we can is a must according to 1 Cor. 9:22. You might be thinking that servants aren’t leaders, but Jesus said whoever is the greatest among you is the servant of all. We lead through our example of serving others.

1 Corinthians 13:13 reveals there are 3 things that lead us to completeness – trusting steadily in God, having unswerving hope and loving extravagantly. As we walk in these three qualities we lead others to walk toward the completeness we have in Christ.

James 1:13 out of the Message Bible tells us to “lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue and let anger straggle along in the rear.” The King James Version says to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath. As we lead  we should listen… listen to God and listen to the needs and ideas of others. We should talk less. Proverbs says in the multitude of words, sin is not absent. A good leader doesn’t say a lot and doesn’t allow anger to control them.

A good leader motivates, leads down right paths and treats people fairly, Proverbs 16:10.

In these few scriptures I have given, we can see that everyone of us lead in some way or another. Our goal should be to lead others to Christ through our words and actions to the best of our ability.

Faith

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I’ve been thinking about faith and exercising my faith. I had to ask myself if I was actually exercising my faith or just coasting through. I discovered I wasn’t being proactive about my faith. I would recite scriptures and pray, but I wasn’t moving forward. When things would come up, I would use my faith, but I wasn’t using it on a regular basis.

When we don’t use our physical muscles, do they work well? The answer is no. How often do people go to the gym after not having gone in a while and complain about how sore their muscles are or are unable to do what the instructor wanted? That’s because those muscles hadn’t been used in a while.

If you never lift weights, you can’t expect to go to the gym and lift 500 pounds. It doesn’t work like that. You begin with something you can manage and increase the weight. Eventually, if you’re consistent, you can lift 500 pounds.

It’s the same with our faith. We can’t wait until we are having a crisis to exercise our faith and expect it to work.

Faith is a muscle. We should practice using our faith on a regular basis concerning smaller things so when a big opportunity arises we are ready. Our faith muscle knows how to work.

Heb. 5:12-14  for though by this time you ought to be teachers, You need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of god; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. NKJV

As we exercise our faith, our senses get exercised so we can discern how and when to use it.

Let’s take David as an example. When David met up with Goliath, he didn’t hesitate. He knew he killed the lion and the bear when they tried to take his sheep. He slew them with his slingshot. He knew he could do the same with Goliath. Goliath was a much bigger foe than the lion and the bear. Goliath was not only huge and experienced, but he had an entire army behind him. David had a lot to lose if he missed. His senses were exercised. He knew how it felt to use the slingshot. He’d done it many times before. I’m sure he practiced daily, just in case. He didn’t allow his slingshot to get rusty.

It’s the same with our faith. We need to trust God for small things on a regular basis, so our faith muscle has been exercised. Then it won’t be rusty when a situation arises to really have to use it.

Today, ask the Lord for something, or ask Him to help you with something. Do it daily. Exercise your faith. He wants us to be dependent on him. He wants us to trust him. Be proactive with your faith.