Tag: giving

God’s Economy

Well, those Chinese are at it again. Messing with our stock market. Dow closed some 300-400 points down. 

Again!

It’s kind of nerve wracking, isn’t it? 

Up, down, buy, sell, trade; good grief! 

There are so many things which affect the stock market. Economies of other nations, friend or foe, can directly or indirectly have a bearing on how our stocks are traded. 

I’m not an economist, nor do I pretend to be a wise trader. Other people do that stuff for me. I’m no where near the likes of Warren Buffet, Dave Ramsey, or anyone else who’s known for their expertise in the realm of finances. 

But I have learned a few things. 

God’s economy does not depend upon the NYSE. It’s not governed by the Federal Reserve Board. Neither threats of war nor promises of peace affect the flow of God’s resources. 

Sure, like everyone else, I want to see the stock market do well. And I hate to see others lose lots of money when things take a dive. 

But Jesus warned us about the craziness of trusting in the uncertainty of riches. Paul told those who would listen that the love of money is the root of all evil. Peter reminded us that everything we see will one day be destroyed by a fantastic fire. 

So what about God’s economy? How can I live in this world, with its ups and downs, yet still tap into the blessings of God?

First thing to understand: God is not a counterfeiter! Nor is He stingy. He’s also not a hoarder, or a person who thinks only about His own wants and needs. 

God is RICH to ALL who call upon Him! (Romans 10:12)

Even if all 7 billion people cried out to God for the exact same thing, at the exact same time, He would have more than enough to meet everyone’s need; with gobs to spare!

He is RICH!

The number one way to connect to God’s economy is to nurture your heart until it becomes like His. In other words, learn how to release your grip on money and things, and become a giver like God.

A person who is tight fisted will never open their hand wide enough to receive from God, or anyone else. 

When your arms are wrapped tightly around your possessions, whether it be stuff, family, money, or whatever; you’ll never be in position to embrace God’s provision.

Giving is how the kingdom of God operates. Giving by faith, and as the Lord directs. 

Here are a few passages which will help explain what I’ve just said:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)

Very familiar passage, but look down the page just a few short verses.

“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” (Proverbs 3:9-10 ESV)

I’m not even going to mention the principle of tithing. Honor the Lord with what you have and what you get. Honor? Well, how would the Lord use your stuff? What would Jesus do with your paychecks, and with your savings account?

“One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” (Proverbs 11:24-25 ESV)

“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” (Proverbs 19:17 ESV)

The Lord will repay, and He NEVER reneges on a promise.

“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-10 ESV)

I’ve written a book, available in both eBook and paperback versions, titled “Breaking the Spirit of Poverty with the Spirit of Generosity.” It’s not a get rich quick, or at all, kind of book; but it’s loaded with principles and examples of how to live according to God’s economy, even when the world around you is going insane. 

It’s available at Amazon.com, or you can go to the “Our Books” page, click the picture of the book, and be ushered to the exact product page. For a quick easy connection, click the “Link To Amazon” link below.

There are several reasons why Jesus said, “It’s more blessed to give than receive.” I believe the main one is that it’s the doorway for you and I to participate in His economy.

Here’s what the book cover looks like:

Link to Amazon

  

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

Happy Thanksgiving!

20131127-192040.jpg

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m sitting here, kicked back on my couch, wondering how the phrase “Happy Thanksgiving” ever got started. Do you know?

And why is it “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Christmas”? Any ideas? Oh, well.

But what kind of a world would there be if people quit being thankful? I imagine a world without any kind of beauty, friendship, or love; none of the attributes of God. A world of hatred, violence, spiritual darkness, and complete chaos. Without thankfulness, all that’s left is ungratefulness; people demanding their own selfish way.

That would not make for a happy world!

Thanksgiving is giving thanks. Thanks for something specific, something in general, and possibly, just because.

Giving is an act of caring. I care for someone, so I give my love, my time, talents, and treasures to them; not so they’ll do something for me, but because I care. Giving is without strings.

So, we give thanks because we care. We are grateful, generous, and kind. We put other people first, above our own wants and desires. Because we care. Because we’re thankful.

This holiday season, how about laying aside all the “gotta-have”, “gotta-do”, and “gotta-see” feelings and take inventory of what you already have; things you can be thankful for.

It’s a great way to add beauty and love to your world. It’s a great way to build a friendship.

It’s an acceptable way to worship God, as you give thanks to His Name.

And, it’s a wonderful start to building an eternal relationship with the Living God Who sent His Son for you and I. Because He cared.

Give thanks to the Lord , for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1 NLT)

Happy Thanksgiving.

Be a blessing to someone around you!

Destroying the Green-Eyed Monster

20130927-070428.jpgThere’s a green-eyed monster on the loose.

I’ve seen it! Maybe you have, too.

No, I’m not referring to the Steppenwolf song, “Monster”, or “Green Eyed Lady” by Sugarloaf. I’m not mixed up; though some may argue that point. I’m not even HALF insane.

And, I have not listened to Michael Savage for at least a year!

There IS a green-eyed monster; not the bridge troll in “Three Billy Goats Gruff”, or something you’d see in a class B movie.

At times it is hard to detect; like a chameleon, it blends in very well with its surroundings.

But it’s loose.

It could be male or female, young or old. It cares nothing about anything, except itself.

It has no political preference. Religion doesn’t seem to bother it, as it has been seen a number of times sprawled all over church pews.

It actually prefers the slogan seen on a lot of bumpers, “Coexist”.

But it’s not wise to try and coexist with something as deadly as a green-eyed monster!

And it makes a lousy pet.

The green-eyed monster I’m talking about is ENVY (its partner, its “significant other”, is known as Jealousy).


“Some people don’t know what it is to work hard. They have so much and don’t even have to work for it. I’ve never had much and have had to work hard all my life.” Such is the remark someone said to a friend of ours the other day; referring to some unnamed “lazies”.

It sounds as though the one who made the comment has green eyes. Green with envy and jealousy. Like they had been bitten by ol’ Green Eyes.

Ever heard of such a thing? Have you ever met a person who talks that way?

Have you? Do you?

What color are your eyes?

Are you envious of others? Are you irritated when others appear to have more than you?

Why?

Do you know EVERYTHING about the person you envy? Is it just barely possible you know little to nothing about the lazy bum you are jealous of?

Yes, some folks seem to “have it made”! They seem to have “the touch”. Everything they set out to do succeeds. But even those people work harder than most people realize, or want to admit.

I have this attitude, when I hear of someone succeeding: Great! Praise God! I hope God is the One blessing them, for “The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.” (Proverbs 10:22 NLT) Because if God is blessing them, I can believe God will do the same for me. God is no respecter of people. He doesn’t have favorites; ALL His kids are His favorites!

“Rich” doesn’t necessarily mean a lot of money; but it doesn’t mean a person WON’T have a lot, either. It DOES mean that the blessing of God enables a person to have more than enough for their needs, so they can bless others.

“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.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8 NKJV)

“And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God…” (2 Corinthians 3:4-5 NKJV)

Scripture teaches the blessing of God is upon the giver; the one who delights in giving. It is my experience, I’ve seen it numerous times, one cannot be envious or jealous of others and be a generous person at the same time. It just won’t work. Jealousy and envy act like chokeholds around the neck of generosity. They clinch their bony fingers around the person’s heart, refusing to allow anything out.


“No! You can’t, you won’t, give! I won’t let you give!”

Unfortunately, by allowing nothing to LEAVE, they allow nothing to ENTER.

And it is impossible to receive if everything is shut up tight.

Maybe it’s time to check up on your heart?

Instead of complaining about others having “so much”, how about learning God’s fundamental principle of generosity. Forget all about what YOU should have, and start asking God what you can do to BLESS OTHERS. Rejoice when others are blessed. Rejoice and complain not!

Here are a few scriptures that may help sort this thing 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 11:24-25 NKJV)

“Honor the LORD with your possessions, and with the first-fruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:9-10 NKJV)

“Be generous: Invest in acts of charity. Charity yields high returns. Don’t hoard your goods; spread them around. Be a blessing to others. This could be your last night.” (Ecclesiastes 11:1-2 MSG)

“Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19 NLT)

“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.” (2 Corinthians 9:6 NLT)

I’ll say it again – one cannot be envious or jealous of others and be a generous person at the same time. If you are worried about what others are getting, how easy they seem to have it, or how unfair God appears to be, you will continually sabotage any kind of blessing the Lord may be trying to send your way. And eventually you will become bitter towards God; your joy will turn into sorrow, your beauty into ashes, and strength into weakness.

So, the next time you hear of someone receiving a blessing, an honor, or anything good, REJOICE! GIVE smiles, GIVE heart felt compliments, GIVE congratulations, etc.

You will find the blessing of God running throughout your life!

And that old green-eyed monster will starve to death!

“GIVE, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:38 ESV)

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.

Why Are You Holding Your Breath?

hold breath

Ever stop and ask yourself, “Why do people hold their breath?”

There are several reasons why.

Some do it for spite, or to try to get their way. Some hold their breath because they can’t stand the stench in the atmosphere around them. Others may not like the way a certain food tastes, so they plug their nose, throw in the food, chew and swallow, THEN release their nose. I guess that works.

Breath is something everyone needs. We were created with the need to breathe. Without breath we wouldn’t get very far at all. 

Since breath is so vital, maybe we should all just hold our breath, keep what is ours, and make sure we always have it in case of a crisis. After all, you never know when you may need that gasp of breath.

I’ve noticed some people treat their time, treasure, and talents like their breath. It’s theirs, to use as they see fit. Some people have so much (earned, inherited, whatever), yet they are continually grasping (or gasping) for more. I’ve also heard of people who will stop their giving because they don’t like a decision made in their church. Or they’ll withhold their time to “teach someone a lesson”.

Have you ever tried holding your breath, like our friendly cat, and without letting any air out, try to get more in? You can only do that for so long. Pretty soon you’ll lose what you have to gain what you need to take in.

Breath is vital, but hold it too long and you die.

Proverbs 11:24,25 says, “Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” (NLT)

Jesus said, “Give and it will be given to you…the way you measure out is the way it will be measured to you.” (Paraphrased)

Now if you give all your breath away, you will die. If you try to hold it forever, you will die. The only way to live is to let the cycle of giving work in your life. You exhale, then inhale. You give, then receive. You touch people, they touch you. You bless others, you become blessed.

People don’t exhale for a tax deduction. Nor do they exhale just at Christmas time.

Breathing is part of living.

So is giving.

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