Giving

June 18, 2013

Giving

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Around Christmas time we all think a lot more about sharing and gift giving. We have learned that it is not just the joy of getting, but that it is the joy of seeing someone else’s face light up when they receive something that blesses and pleases them, that is the greater blessing. I guess we tend to give more around Christmas time because it is the season, but we know that it should be an attitude that we carry with us throughout the year.
You know, God is an extravagant giver. He doesn’t just give to us what we deserve it and His gifts aren’t even based on how good we are, because His love is unconditional and it can not be bought or earned. It has been the prayer of my heart for some time now, “Lord, make me an extravagant giver like You are.” We don’t want the giving that is based on how much we have monetarily or in possessions, it is an attitude of God’s nature within us that says, “make me a blessing.”
When Jesus came into the earth as God’s most extravagant gift to mankind, He didn’t grow up to take what He could have rightly claimed as His own, He came to give His life day by day. He cared about people and He showed that love and caring in personal and real ways. His richest gifts weren’t money or wealth; it was himself. Oh, that I might give myself to bless others as He has blessed us.
Christmas often gets caught up in commercialism and gift giving and getting, but our most important asset is a giving heart. In all we give and do, I know that God looks at our hearts. Proverbs 21:2 says, “All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the LORD weighs the heart.” In Matthew 12:35 Jesus says, “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” Our giving then is not about how much, but the attitude of our heart in what we give. One day Jesus was observing the people giving their offerings. Many of the rich were presenting their offerings with great pomp and show. It didn’t impress Jesus, but He saw a little widow that humbly put in her two mites or about the equivalent of a penny and he said, “truly she has given more than them all, because she gave all that she had.” The Lord is looking upon our motives that same way.
“God so loved the world.” It is His love that makes us extravagant givers. In as much as He enables and helps me, I want to learn to give like our Father gives and with the same motive of heart, how about you?

Blessings,
kent

The Greatest Gift

December 24, 2012

John 3:16
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

The Greatest Gift

If we do the research we find that Christmas isn’t really a biblical institution as much as it is a religious one. One could get as religious about dispelling it as one could get trying to defend it.
Hopefully for most it hasn’t become just an obligation of giving, of materialism, of fantasy, gluttony and wanton revelry. It’s one good and primary focus should be to help us prioritize those things that are most important to us in life, God and family. With all of the busyness of life this is one of those Holidays that should get our focus off of ourselves and on to others. It is a time to re-prioritize our family and loved ones. It is a time to exercise God’s grace and forgiveness toward our family and others. It should be a time of reconciliation, healing, and letting old things go. Life is too short, for us to continue to hold offenses, anger, hatred, bitterness and resentment. Our humanly love, will at best , put up pretenses and false gestures while maintaining our grudge or dislike. God’s love in us will enable us to resign our feelings to be able to love, forgive and accept even those who have wronged us or hurt us.
The Holidays can pull us into all that men have made it about, but for us, as believers, it should be a time to remember and proclaim to the world God’s greatest gift of all to mankind. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 Out of the abundance and fruit of that gift, which we now hold in our hearts, should come the greatest expression of His love through us. People need to see through our lives, not just at Christmas, but in all seasons, the unconditional love and gift of giving we have living in us.
Perhaps at this time of the year some non-believers are more open and tolerant to hearing and receiving about Christ than at any other time. Our strongest message may not be in what we say, but in the actions with which we say it. This is our exceptional opportunity to be a blessing and to show Christ though the way we touch the lives and needs of others.
More than a tradition, Christmas should just be an exclamation mark of who we are in Christ and who He is in us. Christ is truly the reason for all seasons.

Blessings,
kent

Odd Little Christmas Tree

October 11, 2012

Isaiah 53:3
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Odd Little Christmas Tree

As I closed my eyes to meditate on what to write I saw a Christmas tree lot full of trees. The lot was a sea of dark green trees, six to eight feet tall, but in the front was a little, maybe four foot tree that was bright, light green. While it stood out from all of the other trees, it wasn’t what the majority of people would be shopping for. Every now and then I would catch a glimpse of an aura around this tree that was maybe twenty feet high and much larger around. This was a special tree, unlike the others, not nearly as impressive in the natural, but what it carried, made it the tree to really be desired and purchased. What it carried was not the appearance of Christmas, but the true spirit of it. It was not about a season when men summon up the spirit of giving and expectation. It was about a tree that carried that spirit through every season of the year. It was the Spirit of God that defined this little tree and though it didn’t appear to be anything in the natural eye, when you saw it by the Spirit, its stature and glory far exceeded all around it.
That little tree may represent you today. You are not seen as anything of importance in the world. The world may hardly notice you and if it does it may be to ridicule you and mock you because you don’t look and act like everyone around you. You may be in the same lot with all of the other trees, but you are unique and different.
The other trees are Christmas trees, grown and cut uniformly for the tradition of the season. You are not for the tradition or the season; you don’t just carry the imitation of Christ, you carry the Spirit and identity of His life within you. You will not die and whither in a month, because through the Spirit in you, you abide in the Vine and draw your life from Him. You are unique and special, but not in a worldly kind of way. You were cut and placed in the lot to bring new light, meaning and understanding to the traditional ways around you. You were meant to stand apart, because in that contrast some will see the real from the facade and fake. You are here to make a difference. Don’t allow what others say or think determine your value or your worth. That has been determined by the Father and you far beyond earthly value or worth because what you carry within you is without measure and price. It is priceless. Be who God is calling you to be, even if that doesn’t look like every other tree in the lot. You are here to make a difference and blessed are the people that choose you to adorn their home and their lives. Be encouraged, what some may reject, others will cherish. Be the light and the true Spirit of Christ in the earth for all seasons.

Blessings,
kent

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