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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

One of my first memories of Christmas is in my backyard as a child, as the sun faded behind the houses in the neighborhood. A boy of maybe 5 or 6 years old, leaning back in a swing seat with my feet high in the air and my head hanging back so that I could see the sky through the pecan trees still clinging to some leaves, I remember the happiness just waiting for Santa Claus to arrive some time during the night. I searched the sky for that glowing nose, knowing that it was out there, somewhere, leading Santa to his destinations. At that moment, I remember grasping the concept of the world being very large – so large – that Santa could be out in that purple night sky and I couldn’t see him.

As a child I knew Christmas was about Jesus’ birth and Santa Claus coming to my house. During the younger years, it was more about Santa, but as years passed, I grew to love the celebration of the birth of our Savior. Then becoming a parent meant happiness was experienced seeing the smiles on my children’s face as they celebrated Christmas. I have to admit, that I have always loved Christmas and the way people seemed to transform into more loving humans, capable of spreading the goodness and happiness that saturated the world, at least the one around me. (more…)

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words falling

Tonight, I sit at my desk, in my chair that is often too low that it makes my knees hurt, and I have to lean back and push the monitors back on the desktop so that I can read the words; otherwise my weakening eyes are unable to discern what I’m typing. Tonight, my head hurts from allergies and crying, which only complicates the allergy symptoms. Oh, I have the sad songs playing; well, I don’t like to call them sad; I prefer to refer to them as emotionally-inducing muses that stir the rambling in my head that allows the swirling ideas to funnel down my arms to my fingers and eventually onto my keyboard to finally end up on the computer screen.

Occasionally, I feel the weight of the world – its problems, more like humanity’s problems. The sadness, loneliness, hurt, anger, fear, confusion, and pain that so many people push deep inside as they deal with their days. We hid it so those around us continue to function, but when the sun goes down, and the homes’ owners close their doors and turn off their lights, the sorrow rises and gnaws at our soul.

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Give God's AbundanceWhat is it to give? I mean, really? You can give money. You can give away stuff, and you can also give advice, love, affection, time, piece of your mind, your right arm, and what wouldn’t you give to have that last one back – whatever your last one might be. In giving, we are transferring something, whether it is tangible or abstract, from ourselves to either a person or a group. When giving, we should have no expectation of something being returned because that would be lending or selling, and yet, many times, people get their feelings hurt simply because they were expecting a “thank you.” We wanted the acknowledgement of our gracious behavior. But why did we give again? Was it for a “thank you?”

I would like you to consider this about giving: there are three parties in this equation – God, you, and the other person.

In John Chapter 1, verses 1 through 5: 1 In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He existed in the beginning with God. 3 God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. 4 The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. (NLT)

That means that when you give, what you are actually giving is God’s stuff; His love and abundance has already blessed you with money, things, love, intelligence, and all that you hold dear to your heart. If that is a computer, then through God creating everything, he gave you that computer. He didn’t hold back even though he knew you would spend Sunday mornings browsing social networks instead of being at church. God gave freely to you because he loves you. That’s part one.

So basically, God has blessed you. Now God asks you to give. Someone has asked you for money to eat. Whether he is your father, brother, best friend, spouse, or a stranger on the street, you should seize the moment and give it, freely, because God did so for you. Now, you gave something; you transferred God’s blessing to you on to someone else. It became your turn to bless someone. You fulfilled your part of God’s will. That is part two.

God has blessed you. You have blessed someone. The other person has accepted your gift. Now if the person receiving doesn’t use the gift as he said he would, that will be between him and God. Don’t let such foolish thoughts as judgment and condemnation of others get between what God is asking of you. God freely gave you his blessing. He didn’t judge or condemn you when you didn’t use his gift to its fullest potential or squandered it on something frivolous. God will deal with the consequences of the other person’s actions. That isn’t what he is asking of you. You did your part. This is about someone other than you, and this is part three.

God + you = someone else blessed

With that in mind, when you give, you can’t place rules upon your gifts because giving from God cannot be bound by what you want to do; it is only bound by what God has asked you to do. Search from within, and you will feel what is being asked, and yes, sometimes it will hurt, and it won’t be easy, but doing what God asks sometimes sucks.

I love my wife, and she knows the difficulty of giving what God asks. I’m so proud of her for listening to the spirit and doing what is most difficult for her. A few months ago her company instituted an incentive plan, and as a reward, she could earn extra money for her hard work; soon after learning of the program, she told me that God wanted her to give her first incentive to the His Father’s Heart Ministry at our church, and sure enough, she has earned it. We don’t know what she is getting, but she has already promised it. I love you babe.

But it doesn’t have to be gobs of money or require a lot of effort. Carry McDonalds’ gift cards with you so that when someone asks for money, you can give a $5 gift card. But remember; don’t place your restrictions or your hesitations upon the gift. If someone asks, give. You might be wondering what if they use it for alcohol or something else or they haven’t been wise so far with what they have been given. Think about this story.

Over the span of many years a man built a substantial business kingdom of money and properties, but when he got old he was alone and had no family to share his fortunes with, so he decided to share it with all the employees that had helped build his kingdom.

He called upon two of his oldest and most faithful employees. He explained that he wanted them to handle the affairs of providing for those under him. For their efforts they would be rewarded with all the riches they could imagine. The businessman only asked one thing of them — that they serve all those that asked for assistance.

The businessman then emailed all his employees and spread the word that if they needed anything, they were to go and ask the two he had commanded to help.

The first employee did as he was asked. When someone asked for money for food, he took him shopping. When people needed money to pay for rent, he went to the landlord and paid the bill. If someone needed money for a car repair, he took her to the mechanic and made sure the car was fixed.

The second employee thought it was unwise to give to those who have been foolish with their money, so when someone came asking for money for food, he told him, “I know you. You drink all your paycheck away, and now you wonder why you have no money for food. I will not help you if you cannot help yourself.” And if someone needed money for rent, he would say, “I know you; you buy lottery tickets hoping to strike it rich while your family might be put on the street. I will not help you if you cannot help yourself.”

After a year, the businessman called his two most faithful employees before him to evaluate how well they were helping all his employees. When he saw the records for the first employee, he was happy and delighted that the employee had given so much of his riches away and helped so many others. The businessman told the employee, “because you have served all that came before you, anything I have is yours.”

When the businessman examined the records of the second employee, he saw that the man had hardly helped anyone. “Why did you not do as I asked?”

The employee said, “I felt it was unwise to help those who didn’t try and help themselves, so I only gave to those that I felt deserved it. I wanted to make sure that your money was not spent foolishly.”

The businessman stood up and said to the man, “It was not your fortune to decide upon; it was mine, and I am angered by your lack of compassion and for the disregard of my only rule — which was to serve all those that asked. Not only will you not inherit any of my riches, but you are fired and must leave this company and never return.”

So it is with the kingdom of God. All that you now have is God’s that he has bestowed upon you, and one day it will all be reclaimed from you when you die. If you do not give of God’s kingdom, you will never share in its glory when he calls you back home.

I want to close this post with Mark, Chapter 12, verses 41 through 44: 41 Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. 42 Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins.  43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. 44 For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.” (NLT)

Maybe I shouldn’t use that as an example of giving as I wrap this up, but come on, that is giving. Right? I’m not here today to write that you have to give all that you have. I’m here, writing this, because I want you to know that God just wants you to start giving something – anything, and once you’ve done that, then you will see what joy it brings to your heart. You will give because God gave to you and now you are transferring his grace, love, and abundance on to someone else. You won’t expect even a “thank you.”

I promise you, if you open your heart and listen for the spirit of God, he will tell you whom to give to, where to do it, and what you should give. Remember, we have a living God. He communicates with us. Go out and listen, and you will know his love, and you will be able to give his love as well. Live with the spirit of God within you now while you have something to give.

photo by: http://www.flickr.com/photos/atoach/

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