Tag: generosity

Are you so tight that you squeak?

Have you ever known people who complained incessantly about how they never had enough money, yet were so tight with everything they owned that they squeaked when they walked?

Maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but really, there are people who are so tight fisted with their money they seem to squeak every time they consider parting with a dime.

Squeak long enough and something will wear out.

“There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself.” (Proverbs 11:24 – 11:25 NKJV)

Squeakers need oil.

Generosity is the way to make sure everything stays oiled, and in great operating condition.

An example of this is found in the story of the widow woman, her son, and the prophet Elijah.

“Then the Lord said to Elijah, ‘Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.’ So he went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, ‘Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?’ As she was going to get it, he called to her, ‘Bring me a bite of bread, too.’ But she said, ‘I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.’

“But Elijah said to her, ‘Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again.”” (1 Kings 17:8 – 17:14 NLT)

The woman, I’ll call her Gertrude, faced a real dilemma. She could keep what she had, enjoy her last meal with her son, and then die, OR she could trust the man of God and give of what she had.

By the way, the prophet wasn’t being greedy or selfish. Neither is God when He tells you to give when you don’t believe you have the resources.

As for Gertrude, did she REALLY believe she would have only one more meal before she died?

Maybe.

It DOES, however, seem like doomsday when we’re down to our last penny, and our savings account is all but gone.

So Gertrude had a decision to make, just like you and I do sometimes. Would she hold onto the sure thing, or generously give her situation into God’s hand.

Note: A closed fist will neither give out nor receive from others. Though it may be risky, we need to loosen our grip and trust God.

And that’s exactly what Gertrude did.

“So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days. There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.” (1 Kings 17:15 – 17:16 NLT)

Stinginess reveals at least two things about one’s heart.

1. Their faith is in money

2. Their faith is NOT in God

But God CAN be trusted. His word is true, and its principles are unchanging.

One of the greatest truths we must understand is demonstrated, worldwide, day in and day out: “The Law of Seedtime and Harvest”.

Or, whatever a person sows, that shall they reap.

They will always reap MORE than they’ve sown.

Their seed is multiplied. But if little is sown, there just isn’t much to work with. Lack becomes MUCH lack.

However much a person sows determines how much they’ll reap.

Much sown, then MUCH MUCH will be returned; somehow, some way, at some time.

“Remember this – a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.’ And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” (2 Corinthians 9:6 – 9:8 NLT)

“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full – pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” (Luke 6:38 NLT)

Jesus wasn’t referring to a specific dollar amount when He said, “The amount you give…”

Rather, He meant, “Squeeze out the bare minimum, and that’s what you’ll receive. Be generous, and experience the generosity of others, as well as of God.”

Remember: loosen your grip and trust God, not your bank account.

Life flows from our generous God and King. He wants that same life to flow through us, as we are generous with all we have.

Squeaks are rarely a pleasant sound. 

Let’s make sure we’re well oiled, trusting our God to meet all our needs according to HIS riches in glory.

Just like He promised.

If you’d like to read more on this subject, please click on this link – http://tinyurl.com/htp76f8 (My book-“Breaking the Spirit of Poverty with the Spirit of Generosity”)

Generosity 2 (excerpts from eBook)

20140623-212509-77109262.jpgNo strings attached…

The Lord inspired the psalmist to write: “They share freely and give generously to those in need.” Psalm 112:9 NLT

Freely and generously. The blessings of God are upon the doers of the word, not those who only dream about obeying him. And freely means no strings attached.

Gifts aren’t gifts if strings are attached.

What do I mean by “strings”? There are people who love to “give” to others, and along with the “gift”, are instructions on how to use the gift. “I’m giving you this money so you’ll take a vacation.” The phrase seems innocent enough, doesn’t it? But there’s something attached; “take a vacation.”

But what if the person has another, more pressing need at the time? Like, maybe their oven just gave up the ghost, their car needs new tires, or the baby needs new shoes. Vacation?

But they can’t use their “gift” because it is earmarked for something else.

And what about giving to the poor, or better yet, the homeless person who stands on the corner of a busy intersection with his sign, “Out of work veteran. Please help”, and his three-legged dog? Would it be giving if I gave him twenty dollars and told him to buy food for himself and his three-legged companion? No, it would be something different.

How about the vagrant who walks into the church office, asking for a hand-out? Their story is they haven’t eaten in four days. Would it be giving to take the person to the grocery store and buy him several bags of groceries? Yes.

If you don’t feel right about giving per the person’s request, don’t give. But if you’re going to give, remove your demands and trust God.

Generosity gives up its right to control…

Are you a control freak? Do you have a hard time with generosity?

Thanks for reading and commenting. To order the complete eBook “Generosity – the Life Giving Power of Doing Good to Others”, please click on link:

http://tinyurl.com/pktxz4z

Churches Only Want Your Money?

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There’s a saying that’s almost as old as the planet we live on; well, that depends on whether it’s a young planet or an old one.

Anyway, the saying goes like so: “churches only want your money.”

Ever heard it? Better yet, ever said it?

Do you believe it? A lot of folks do.

But think about this.

Why is it that only the churches get tagged with such a stupid statement?

What about these?

WHO WANTS YOUR MONEY?
-a poem by Jan Grace

“Walmart, Kmart, and little Shop’n Go’s,
Restaurants, bait shops, and tickets for the show.
Book stores, junk stores, the pet store down the street,
All demand the same thing, before your needs they meet.

“Time after time, you’ll hear each business say,
“We’re here for you; just don’t leave before you pay.”
Taxi drivers, your request is their demand,
But don’t depart, without your money in their hand.

“Lawyers, bankers, the grocer and the florist
Tea rooms, bar rooms, the tax man and your dentist.
Airlines, bus lines, their hands stretched out to you
Your money’s all they ask for, nothing else will do.”

Don’t get mad when the offering plate gets passed at church. You don’t have to give. You can keep every penny to yourself. No one’s going to steal it from you.

I will say though, it’s not much of a life.

“Remember this – a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8 NLT)

Here’s a link to a couple of books that just may help you change your mind about God and money; about living a life of generosity instead of stinginess.

http://tinyurl.com/nzkvd9o

http://tinyurl.com/pyv9rdx

Seeds and Bread

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Seeds and Bread

But this I say: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 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. As it is written:

“He has dispersed abroad, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”

Now may he who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 2 Corinthians 9:6-12 NKJV

God supplies seed to plant and bread to eat. It’s important to know the difference.

It’s also important to understand something about your seed, your soil, the amount of moisture needed, and the length of the growing season.

Did you know that everyone has some kind of seed to sow? Absolutely. Everyone has something they can sow into someone else’s life and/or ministry. It may not seem like very much, but everything sown generously has the prospect of producing a fruitful harvest…

…The seed in your hand represents your future. The bread on your plate testifies God has blessed you with what you need for the day. Hoard the seed and you’ll have no future. Plant the bread and, again, your future will be bleak and your present strength will fail.

God gives us the power to get wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18), to help establish his kingdom and declare his covenantal love and provision to those who will listen and respond to his call. The wealth is divided into bread and seed. Again, bread helps cover the day’s needs. The seed is preparation for the future.

–Excerpts from my new eBook “Generosity – the Life Giving Power of Doing Good to Others”.

To download book, please go to Amazon Books and type in Jan Grace Books. Thanks.

Generosity (excerpt from eBook)

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Windows of Heaven/Doorway of Destruction

When I was a pastor, I always enjoyed saying to the congregation, “Please turn to Malachi, chapter three.” I’d hear little whispers, and once in a while, a groan or two.

What was exceptional fun was to then add, “And no, I’m not preaching about the tithe today.” A few chuckles, more whispers, and a sigh or two.

And I’m not going to emphasize the tithe here. Why? Because to me the tithe is only a number. It’s a good place to begin training yourself to be generous, but it isn’t the heart of the matter. The heart of the matter is the heart.

Here is the passage from Malachi that we’ll reference:

“For I am the Lord, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob. Yet from the days of your fathers you have gone away from my ordinances and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts. “But you said, ‘In what way shall we return?’ “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed you?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and try me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.

“And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” says the Lord of hosts; and all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,” says the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:6-12 NKJV

Many have taught, and I have as well, that the Lord tells us to prove him, test him, by tithing. I don’t believe that any longer. And here’s the reason why.

The Lord told the Hebrew nation that they had departed from him. They replied, “What?!? What are you talking about? We worship you, attend services each Sabbath; what do you mean we’ve departed?”

He said, “By withholding your tithes.”

“Oh.”

Do you know many “tithers”? I’ve known a number of them through the years. In fact, I’m a tither. But did you realize people may tithe and still be far from God? Sad, but true.

The Hebrews could have been tithing, but still be running away from God.

Let’s say, just for teaching purposes, that God had given the Israelites this commandment: “You shall not walk on the grass.” For years, the Hebrew children stayed off the grass. But one day a rebel began walking barefoot in the grass. He enjoyed it so much, he started telling everyone he met about the joy of doing things their own way. He even started blogging, posting pictures of God’s people all over the world walking barefoot in the grass.

God, finally tired of all the rebellion and mockery, appoints the prophet Malachi to proclaim the word about returning to the Lord. Malachi said, “The Lord says you have left me by walking on the grass. Return to me.” “How?” “Stop walking on the grass!”

Tithing wouldn’t have brought them back to God in my example. Sacrifice of any kind never covers ongoing disobedience.

So in Malachi three, the tithe isn’t really God’s focal point. What is?

Obedience.

“You are cursed with a curse! Therefore, quit walking on the grass and see if I’ll not open for you the windows of heaven. Watch me pour out for you more blessing than you can handle.”

“And I’ll rebuke the devourer for your sake.”

It’s not about the tithe, it’s about obedience. And so is giving. So is generosity.

Allowing the Lord to direct every part of our lives (to include ALL of our finances) is where generosity and obedience connect. He leads, we follow. His leading includes every help Heaven has to offer. Disobedience has a way of slamming shut any heavenly windows. Instead, doors of destruction seem to open at the most inopportune times.

There is a God in Heaven who is so in love with you and I, the only way to describe it is by using such words as whip, cross, and empty tomb. Get the picture? He has a wonderful life in store for anyone who’ll simply trust him enough to follow his lead.

May our hearts be willing to do just that. Don’t let the word “tithe” trip you up. Instead, allow your heart to fall in love over and over with Jesus. A generous, prompt to obey spirit will develop.

20140623-213303-77583750.jpgTo order the complete eBook “Generosity – the Life Giving Power of Doing Good to Others”, please click on link:

http://tinyurl.com/pktxz4z

Created for Generosity

Generosity

God is generous!

God is very generous!

Generosity is one of His characteristics. It’s as much a part of Him as is Love and Truth. Holiness and Righteousness cannot exist without Love, Truth, AND Generosity.

Grace would be of no help, could not assist a soul, without Generosity. For Grace is “God’s willingness to use His power and ability to help those who need His assistance, but can’t earn it.”

If God wasn’t generous, this world would not exist as we know it, for all of creation was designed by God to give, to help, to build. Even the sun, moon and stars give. The earth, clouds, trees, etc., all give. While not all things are physically able to give immediately after being created (such as plants and people), all creation is designed to give into the big picture – God’s Creation.

God has built that same characteristic into His New Creation; those who have been created in Christ Jesus by virtue of the new birth. (2 Cor. 5:17)

As born again children of God, we were created to be generous, to be givers. In fact, to be the opposite- stingy, cheap, and selfish, is to not allow God’s new nature to grow and develop in our life.

Remember the “Fruit of the Spirit” as mentioned in Galatians 5:22,23? “…the fruit of the Spirit IS…”, singular. Then there are 9 qualities or attributes mentioned. But grouped together they are one. Generosity, in my opinion, is evident in all 9. Remove generosity from love, or joy, or peace, or…how could any one of those attributes do anything? Why, they wouldn’t, couldn’t, be shared.

You see, love has to be shared. Joy has to be enjoyed by others, or what’s the use?

Here are a few scriptures that will help us understand generosity a little better.

“The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:25 NLT)

In other words, the generous, benevolent person will prosper, be anointed with the same anointing that breaks yokes of bondage. The Hebrew word for “rich” is translated “fat” and means specifically “anointed” or “to be made fat”. It also means “satisfied” and “satiated”. The word “refresh” is also translated “waters” and carries with it the idea – refresh, fill, satiate, bathe entirely, inundate others with generosity. So the generous one, the one who pours into another life to refresh it, make it fat (anoint), bathe it entirely, satiate it, will themselves be targeted, aimed at for God’s blessing and favor. They will grow fat with the anointing of God, becoming more fruitful and generous with each growing season.

“As a man sows, that’s how he’ll reap.” Galatians 6:7

We live on what we reap, not what we sow. A farmer does not go to his barn, grab his seed, take it to his kitchen and start eating it. Seeds are designed to produce after their kind, and much more than was planted, but they must be “given away”, or planted. The end result of planting will be more to eat and more to plant.

2 Corinthians 9:10 says, “now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness.” NLT

Notice this: there is something called “seed” and something else called “bread”. We need to know the difference. You plant seed and eat bread, not the other way around. Everyone has something they can and should use for seed, and something else for bread. Seed is for others, bread is for yourself. Plant the bread and eat the seed…well, you won’t last long. But follow God’s principles of generosity, you will always have enough and more besides.

I’ll say it again. EVERYONE has seed and bread. You may be as “poor as Job’s turkey”, but you have seed to sow. If you are alive you have something to give! It may not be money, but money isn’t the most valuable commodity on earth. It might be time, a loving gesture, or a number of other things. A stingy heart will take inventory of the seed and give the least amount, that which is easily replaced, won’t be missed, not worth much, etc. The generous soul will assess the need then inventory his seed and determine if there is seed to meet the need. But everyone has seed.

People really get hung up on the subject of “the tithe”. But I’ve never met an Oak tree that was concerned about how many acorns it scattered. Was it 5%, 7% or 10%. Ridiculous, huh? So why would someone like us, especially someone who has received Eternal Life, be so stingy with what we have? Could it be we don’t understand His Grace or just how generous He is? Or, maybe we don’t trust Him to do what He promised?

Proverbs 3:9,10 (paraphrased) -“honor God by what you have, and what you get. Declare His value, His worth, to you through generosity. Do that, and He will make sure you will always have more than enough for any and every situation.”

The Spirit of Generosity is within each child of God. It’s up to them to recognize it, yield to it, and nurture it until it begins to grow. Tithing is a good discipline to help a person get started in living a life of generosity. But it is not an end in itself. In fact, a person could tithe and still not be generous.

Lives will be transformed, miracles will take place, through the lives of generous people. (see Acts 4)

Don’t go through life close-fisted. Close-fisted people are in no position to help or be helped.

Instead, emulate the character of your Heavenly Father, the One Who created us for generosity. Generously.

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